… was the oil taking its time to get up to the camshaft on the Hillman – indicated by a bit of a rattle on start-up – was in actual fact the water pump seal completely shot and letting the impeller shaft bounce about in the bearings (the shaft is stepped at various points for some reason although another pump I’ve got – equally knackered – is not so machined).
The upshot of which, with a breakfast run in the offing, was that I needed to dream up a fix as quickly as possible. I fitted new sealed bearings to the casing and (probably wrongly) assumed that they might be water-tight so all I needed to do was turn up a top hat section to block off the body of the pump and bung some silicone sealant down the drain hole. If water leaked along the spindle, it wouldn’t get any further than the sealed bearing in the body of the pump – problem solved.
… and I had a handy piece of PVC large enough to fill up the hole where the seal used to be. Refitting the pump and filling the system with water took only a few minutes and there wasn’t a leak. However, on the test run down to the local garage there was evidence on the forecourt of something not going completely according to plan and by the time we were home, the water was spilling out again.
What had happened was the PVC had somehow softened with the heat produced by the friction (although the shaft wasn’t a particularly tight fit), then glued itself to the shaft which in turn spun the PVC in the pump body and let the water out. I had to chisel the PVC off the shaft and think again. The PVC plug was a good starting point; perhaps turn up a bronze bush for the spindle and counter-bore the plug to take a modern lip seal?
With another run coming up, I thought I might cover a few more bases and ring Mr Morris to see what he had in his spares department. He couldn’t help me with the exact seal but he had a couple of old water pumps and a few seals of the same type but the wrong size. I could take a swire out of the casing and fit one of those? To have a few spares up my sleeve wouldn’t be a bad thing if something went wrong – highly likely – and I could also see if he had a twin carb manifold for the spare engine I planned to build up in my spare time….
And at a local motorcycle meeting, this very sparsely appointed Harley Davidson took my fancy. I remember when, some years ago I sorted out the timing on a friend’s 1960’s Harley and I took it for a test run through the lanes. All was well until I got to a roundabout; what I thought was an urban myth turned out to be absolutely the case – they’re not built for cornering.