Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Chassis Returns!

All restorations have their own little milestones, which seem to take the project into the next phase. This is one such milestone, where the chassis has arrived back from being sandblasted and etch primed. As mentioned earlier in the blog, this chassis is from a JB van and will be used to mount the 1622cc engine and the 1954 J-Van body.

New Brake Pedal Bushing

Even the brake pedal has been re-bushed! This most likely means also that the shaft on the brake pedal mounting bracket has been machined, with the brake pedal bush supplied to suit.

Diff Casing Ready to Assemble

This photo shows the diff casing and left side axle tube after being sandblasted and etch primed. All openings had blanks made to protect the internals from the sand while being blasted. The crown wheel and pinion used was taken from a 1955 Austin Westminster, and has a ratio to 4:1. Once on the road, the new diff arrangement will give the van a much better cruising speed on the open roads and freeways around Perth.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Trial Fitting Front Axle Parts

Here we have the trial fitting of the new front axle components. The front axle required considerable building up of metal where bolts and springs had caused serious wear. The picture also shows the new king pins as fitted to the re-bushed wheel stubs. Also visible is the new phosphor bronze thrust washer that sits between the wheel stub and axle. Kim made the felt washers out of the new felt rings sold to go on car batteries. He cut them to size and naturally used red for port and green for starboard. Kim’s comment: “Yes, another small and pedantic point!” The cylinder near the shock absorber mount on the axle of the left (port) side photo is a drift made to remove and replace the bushes in the wheel stubs. Note the new black tapered wedges inside the U-bolts on the axle.

Kim used small engine core plugs to replace the plugs found on the bottom of the wheel stubs, with a rubber sealant applied before being tapped in to place.

Front Suspension Components

Pictured are the front suspension components painted in primer. The front springs were dismantled, cleaned and hot re-set to the correct camber before being reassembled. Kim used brake pipe of the correct diameter cut to length as spacing tubes to hold the bolts that run across the top of the springs, which worked well. The front bumper brackets also needed heating and straightening.

Unfortunately the rear springs were badly rusted, and were used as templates for the local manufacture of a new pair of springs, at a cost of approximately $350 for the pair.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Front U-Bolt Packers

Kim’s original suspension U-bolts were no longer serviceable so a search was made for suitable replacements. The U-bolts which best matched the original dimensions were, believe it or not, from a Suzuki 4WD!

The above picture shows the four new packing pieces Kim had made to fit under the new front spring U-bolts. The standard U-bolts for the Morris J-Van are rounded on the bend, while the Suzuki ones are squarer. To compensate for this Kim had new packing pieces made to fit. That’s the four rectangular pieces in the middle of the above photo. See, no problem is insurmountable!

The cylindrical things look to be aerosol can tops, simply used here as convenient stands.

Front Spring Packing Wedges

This photo shows an original Morris cast steel packing wedge (pictured on left) used between the front springs and the axle to ensure the spring angle is correct. Kim’s were broken and severely worn with the hole in the middle elongated due to back and forward movement of the spring on the axle. It was simply worn out and beyond use.

Kim took two of the packing pieces and built them up with bog to make them slightly oversized (pictured in centre). They were then used to make moulds at a local foundry in order to cast two new packing wedges in a bronze-based material. The slight over-sizing allowed for 1-2% shrinkage in the casting. The new bronze wedges were then machined to match the original Morris wedge (pictured on right) before being etch primed and painted black.

Kim comments that he now has two reproduction wedges that being cast in bronze will now last longer than he will!