Friday, September 25, 2009

The 1622cc Engine

When Kim bought his various J's, all of the engines were seized through being left with the cylinder heads off inside roofless vans. A Morris Major became the donor of a 1622cc B-Series engine and gearbox, which to Kim looked like it would be a suitable power plant. The only visible difference between the 1622cc engine and the standard 1489cc engine appeared to be the shape of the sump, and the rear gearbox mounts.

The engine went away for reconditioning, and ended up requiring a number of replacement parts including a crankshaft and cylinder head. The photo shows a trial fitting of the engine to the chassis, using Morris 1100 engine mounts. These mounts fitted nicely, and reproduced the original round shape of the J's standard engine mountings.

Kim's Progress

As can be seen from the photos below, Kim has been rebuilding his J-Van from the bottom up. Of the ex Henry Morgan van body, Kim says: "I bought this van about two years ago. I had previously bought six wrecks to build one good one, and only bought this one because the body was far better than the others." Kim does admit though that although the body was described as "restored" before he bought it, it most certainly wasn't. The body's dents and rusted bits were "bogged up", and some major rust areas were simply plated over. The body will be fully restored as part of the project works.

Kim also says that: "Being of a pedantic but patient nature I am now restoring this van back to a factory finish, but have included some user-friendly options, as it will be fully registered and used when complete.

"Although I am using the Morgan vehicle body work (a 1954 J) I am using the chassis of a JB to utilise an OHV engine more suited to everyday driving. This engine originally came from a defunct Morris Major I owned and will give the van a 1622cc capacity."

Kim has also altered the diff ratio to 4:1, by fitting the crown wheel and pinion from a 1955 6-cylinder Austin Westminster. This will give the van a much better cruising speed for getting out and about.

Kim's attitude to producing a vehicle that is arguably "better than new" is displayed with the comment that "I always find it interesting that so much time effort and money goes into making parts that no one else will ever notice on the final restoration - but I know it's there!"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Rear Axle Breather

Kim has fitted a differential breather cover to the axle. The J-Van originally had only a hole drilled in the top of the diff housing to provide for pressure relief. This hole unfortunately also allowed dirt, mud and water to enter the axle housing and diff. Kim took a breather cover off a Morris Minor diff and tapped the J-Van’s diff with a matching thread, allowing the breather to screw onto the axle housing. This should now keep the nasties out and the inside of the diff clean.

The Axle Assemblies

Four new front spring shackles were fabricated to mount on the overhauled suspension. All bearings, kingpins, and brakes were renewed and new brake hoses fitted. Kim also managed to find two brand new handbrake cables. The rear springs he had manufactured as was the packing between the front springs and the ‘I’ beam, being recast in bronze. The diff ratio is now 4:1, having the crown wheel and pinion taken from a 1955 Austin Westminster 6-cylinder sedan. The axle assemblies were all cleaned and sandblasted before being primed and painted. All looks like new so far!

Front, Rear and Inside

Now this is what is called "starting from scratch!"