Thursday, 29 November 2012

back on the road again

 Driving an old Morris isn't all Housewives Choice on the radio and bowling along Devon lanes in search of cream teas and ginger beer, you know.

Sometimes, maybe.

Grubbing around underneath the car on a winter's day is a whole lot less fun, but sometimes inescapable. The rattle that had been coming from the front wheel was getting worse. I'd thought it was a worn rubber bush in one of the trunnions (trunnions are the things that connect the upsy-downsy bit to the lefty-right bit on the front wheels. Sorry, but sometimes you have to use words like 'trunnion' and 'kingpin', because otherwise there aren't any convenient words available).

It wasn't that, though, it was the damper. The damper has an arm that connects to the top of the wheel assembly, and smoothes out the up-and-down motion as the wheel rides over bumps or leans into and out of corners. It's got a little hydraulic piston inside it, that damps the motion. Hence the name.

Anyway, the damper had come loose from the bulkhead, and the retaining bolts and the place they screwed into had been damaged beyond repair.

So there was much quiet intaking of breath at the thought of the narrowly-averted disaster of a wheel collapsing at speed. And 'O no! How am I going to fix this?'. There was quite a bit of that, too.

When I  finally got going, and had all the stuff I needed (after cycling miles and miles all around Bristol, to the Charles Ware Morris Centre on the southern fringe of the city (UNF bolts and recon damper), Bristol Tools (ace shop on the Gloucester Road) and Stone's Fastenings in Old Market (ace nuts and bolts shop in Old Market)) ....finally, as I say, getting the bit between the teeth, it was quick and straighforward.

I drilled two big holes in the cross-member, to get access to where the retaining bolts go through. Then drilled out the worn threads of the bolt holes. Then inserted extra-long bolts, and secured them with nuts and spring washers. Job done.

You can only see one of the holes in this picture, because the torch is sitting on top of the other hole, illuminating the bolt end there. See?

Here, by the way, is what the damper arm looks like if you take away the wheel assembly. The trunnion sits on that pin there, with a couple of rubber bushes sleeved on.


  1. Glad to read you're roadworthy again. I think I'd get busy with the Waxoyl on that crossmember, too many memories of dissolving 1970s steel.

  2. I like the cream teas and ginger beer bits best. Oh and don't forget the cider, Dru.

  3. Dru, your Moggy blogs are great for stirring up the old memory cells with words like trunnion and waxoyl, even get a physical shudder at the memory of skinned knuckles dealing with recalcitrant rusty bolts. And you reposted my favourite Moggy pic...

  4. Dru, I am firmly with Deborah on this one, now that I have stopped laughing at the line "getting the bit between the teeth, it was quick and straightforward." Well actually, reading it again gave me another chuckle, thinking how every project I take on always takes at least three times as long as it seems it should; nothing being as simple as it looks.
    It may be that you are dealing with a technology designed to be accessible and straight-forward, whereas I am not.

    Glad to know you will not be 'throwing a shoe' anytime soon at least! :)

  5. Trunnion, that comes from French for an apple core, doesn't it? (My eldest son always called his little brother trognon).

    It's easy when you know how - I could manage the ginger beer and cream tea part.

    Housewives choice, I remember that

  6. Don't you love old cars! When the woodruff key failed on my Spitfire no one I worked with even believed it was a word! Let alone a tiny slither of metal that allows the car to move.

    The only thing is... I'm not sure if this makes me miss my Spitfire more, or makes me a little scared for getting it back with my friendly mechanic (aka dad) 1600km away!

    And I agree with Caroline, I adore that picture!

  7. Mobile again...lovely vehicles....and, as The Pirate just said Great, you have to have a bike to fix your car!!

  8. I think the days of Waxoyl are long passed with the Trav, Jenny... I foresee some major restoration work in the medium term. Ouch.

    Forget the cider, Deb? -perish the thort!

    It's my all time fave pic from my photostream too, Caroline. Oh dear, that timber looks so clean! -there's moss and a toadstool growing on it at the mo.

    It's so frustrating, Halle, isn't it? -in an ideal world I'd have a workshop for the car, and all the tools laid out. Having a rainstorm hit while the car's in pieces, as happened last winter, is totes miserable....

    I looked it up on the OED< Anji; yes! That's jolly interesting. It can refer to the heartwood of a tree too; presumably a dowel made of the core would be more solid than another part because all the rings are concentric. Sound likely?

    I like Woodruff keys too, Stace. My MZ's clutch was not equipped with one; it was pressed onto a taper on the end of the crankshaft. Which led to an unfortunate spinning-off incident in deepest Somerset one afternoon. Talking names, have you heard of Miss Shilling's Orifice? -an important modification to the Merlin engine

    Sond chap that Pirate, Gwynneth. Ideally there'd be a folding bike installed in the back of the car like a lifeboat.

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