Friday, 28 March 2008

Bespoke J Type Leafsprings

I just talked to Kev Jones at Jones Springs Ltd and may well be getting leafsprings (incl bushes)from them. It isn't cheap: works out at £120 per front spring / £140 per rear = 520 + VAT = £611 total OUCH!

That's a lot of money, but when you think what you are getting for it in terms of skill, ride assurance and saved time, I guess it is value for money. I think I really need to bite the bullet on this.

But to be sure, I ought to shop around just a little bit.
( The front springs have 11 leaves and back have 10. The width of each is 44.45mm and the thickness of material is about 6.76mm (though these dimensions may be affected by corrosion, obviously).

Thursday, 27 March 2008

fabricating sides

Having made the shoulder pieces, one of which I adjusted and adjusted and finally scrapped (!) ,
I made the sides, one with a particularly nice bottom.

Some of the bends caused mild distortions which needed adjusting with stretcher and shrinker
The bottom of the "side" formed around the tap
Lots of welding and trimming needed but the essential shape is there.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Radiator sides - shoulder pieces

Haven't spent long in the Bat-Cave today, but managed to get a couple of hours of metal bashing in. Am making radiator sides from scratch. Had planned on just modifying another set of sides from a different vehicle but found that they'd need so much adjustment it just wouldn't be worth the hassle. Anyway, the J type rad is rather special and the sides are far more elegant than on this other car.

I am pleased with the shoulders. Tomorrow I shall make the sides and bottom bits. Welding will have to wait until Sealeys replenish their gas stock. I hope to get the radiator plus sides to Sheldrake and Wells on Monday at the latest. They promised that I can take pictures of the process for the blog.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Friends Reunited - J-Type style (+ fabrication)

Great day today (about which, more later)...but in short, finally got hold of Truman after ages (thought he might have died), exchanged emails with Magpie (for whom I have promised to start a blog, as he is a terrific restorer and a very funny writer) and exchanged email with Andy Joyce who is selling his van on ebay....this is the one he built in incredibly quick time from two wrecks. Nice guy. I first talked to him when I was going for my 101 on ebay, when I begged him not to bid against me, and he very kindly backed off! What a generous, decent bloke. Sadly, he is under pressure from family to get rid of his van, but I may have persuaded him to abort the auction and feature the van in the forthcoming June meet. Hope so. He said he couldn't go without his van, he'd be too sad. I hope I have persuaded him - he'd kick himself if he didn't take the van...and the credit.

Been working in the shed today fabricating radiator sides from scratch (mine are almost completely gone) ...and once re-cored, my rad will fix into my fabricated radiator stand. I have also cut and shaped some windscreen surround and surgically removed some of the rusty parts it will replace. Fitting it will be tricky...a combination of drilled-spot welds and POR-15.

Thinking of producing a coloured schematic showing just how much of the vehicle I have had to fabricate. Looking back, I am pretty proud, considering I'd never worked in metal before. Hopefully the schematic will go some way to explaining why the project has taken me so long.

Fabrication examples- click on each: replacing the A pillar ; inner arches ; inner wing ; panel interior ; dash panel with captive nuts ; outriggers ; radiator frame: dash repair; rad blanking plate; cab floor support etc

Am waiting to hear back from Carl Jones with a quote for leafsprings, having sent him manual drawings and dimensions. Also waiting for Sealeys to get more CO2 I ran out ages ago. Very frustrating being unable to weld.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Bat-Cave Manoeuvres

Today I reorganised the workshop and tested out my new concrete ramp between the upper and lower room...and tested the motorcycle dolly/ turntable. I then pulled out and adjusted the cab skuttle jig and put my new shot blast cabinet in its place, as I want to start work on the upper windscreen surround this week.

Friday, 14 March 2008


I have moved the Mechanic's Gate project postings to the Car-B-Que blog.

I went to see Paul at NTG today, with a view to sourcing bushes, leafspring clamps, shackles, etc and came away convinced that instead of restoring the old springs, I need to bite the very expensive bullet and get new ones.

When I talked to Truman about this a year or so ago, he told me he'd had his made at £300 per pair! Someone at Rossendale Road Springs said they'd be about £450. I just emailed an outfit in Birmingham recommended by Paul, called
Jones Springs Ltd and am hoping their price will be more competitive.

In order to save cash, I had
dismantled my old springs and cleaned up every leaf, but it seems, based on Paul's extensive knowledge, that they are pretty far gone. He says that if I plan on running the van once restored, I really ought to bite the bullet on this one, and I think he is right, sadly.

Friday, 7 March 2008

The elusive gas regulator tap

Bloody hell, you know that regulator tap that I couldn't find anywhere...and which I have been looking out for for two months? Well I found it today, in the most unlikely place!

My back is feeling sore today after a heavy week in school, which included an observation (which went very well indeed, but which was stressful), so I thought I would clear up the house, which I have neglected while prepping for school and otherwise doing stuff in the garage. I started by sorting out school notes and the box of school detritis from Xmas, which I'd shoved in a corner at the end of last term.....miscellaneous xmas tree balls, cards, a tangerine, etc....and came across my pencil box, where I put pencils picked up off the floor in give to kids who never seem to have one...and opened it to put some left-handed scissors in it...and there was my regulator tap.

It must have been when I was working on the trailer post, welded it up, left the welder in the front room/hall...and later hurriedly tidied the floor (which is a dumping ground after school) and tidied away the regulator tap.

Damn, I might never have found it!

The moral? Looking in illogical places makes sense.