Sunday – Julie joined me and we spent a few hours packing and cataloging everything going into the car. This inventory serves two purposes, it will be the packing list for Chinese Customs clearance on arrival in Beijing and we will also use it to make sure we can find things quickly. Inside the rear lockers we are using Festool modular tool boxes for storage, they are strong and easy to remove and fit the space perfectly. Once we had finished packing we had 30 minutes tent practise – pitching it and putting it away.
Marathon Four Days – I took Friday and Monday off work to have a final blitz on getting the car done. Friday the first job was the refitting of the relined brake bands, this is already a painful job, but was made more painful by the marks I had put on the bands to ensure they went back on the same wheel being shotblasted off by the company that relined the bands ! The refitting and adjusting of the brake bands took most of the day and come the evening I drove the car out of the workshop to see how the brakes worked and discovered that the pedal just went down to the floor and the brakes did not come on at all – so Saturday morning was spent re-adjusting and test driving several times until they were working – very pleased to move on to the next job.
The running board box was next on the list, the carcass was constructed from 9mm marine ply by Aussie Dave, I had to fit the dividers, hardware and paint. Once finished it was fitted to the car with bolts going down to the running board brackets that come off the chassis. This box is great, it takes all the wheel changing equipment and removes a load of weight from the locker area.
Next was the new fuel gauge for the original tank – having “stolen” its slot to split the temp/pressure twin gauge into two separate gauges. Really tight on space and in the end I put into a pod on the steering column – I can’t actually see it without leaning forwards, but I don’t need to look at it too often and Julie can see it clearly.Then I moved onto the tonneau cover, this needed some poppers fitting and will help keep the weather out overnight – we hope to do the rally with the roof down.
Route Changed – With the recent problems in Kyrgyzstan the Rally Office have been forced to make a difficult decision and change the route. Regrettably, one of the most stunning countries on the route has had to be removed – we will now stay two more days in Kazakhstan with an additional rest day in Almaty, then traveling to Shymkent before crossing into Uzbekistan.
Penultimate Weekend Before Shipping – Julie graced the workshop with one of her very rare visits to start looking at how we pack and label all the kit going into the car, whilst she sorted and created an inventory spreadsheet I concentrated on getting a few things crossed off the list. First job was to strip off the brake bands so I can get them up to Saftek for relining – whilst there is plenty of meat left on them I want to start the rally with a new set of linings plus the relined spare set from the Sedan. Proved a good move, as the rear nearside had lots of oil all over the drum/band, so a big clean up required before refitting. I then got quite close to finishing the tool box that will sit on the nearside running board – this will hold all the jacks and wheel changing/puncture gear. Purists skip the following ! I was very surprised a few weeks back on a visit to see Chris that he had fitted the Model A with a sound system. I decided that this was an absolute must to try and relieve the monotony of long long days behind the wheel, but fitting “in car entertainment” to a 1929 car is not obvious. After a lot of research I decided on an amp that will be fed by an iPod and for speakers I opted for waterproof speakers you would usually find on a boat. The speakers fit quite nicely on the ends of the top box and don’t stand out too much and I fabricated an aluminium “rack” alongside the AUX fuel tank for the amp. I had one small disaster as I went to turn it on for the first time, after a few seconds smoke everywhere and all the insulation and spiral loom melting – killed the main isolator and spent an hour trying to work out what I had done wrong – nothing ! It was the brand new bloody switch from Halfords that was shorting the circuit. So a good three hours were wasted recreating the wiring again and feeding through the car – time I could have used for other things. I did consider canning the whole idea, but on reflection, thought that we would probably appreciate those three hours once on the rally.
Benson ready to collect – RPS have sorted the pulled thread, in the end the block was drilled out and re-threaded and then a one off stud was made that fits this new oversize thread in the block and threaded at the top for a nut. Yet another early start to get a train and taxi up to RPS in Witney. Simon had asked me to garb a couple of spares from the Sedan as a rocker adjusting screw had broken on them and one of the steering wheel mounted levers also needed swapping. I arrived at RPS at 8.30, in need of coffee. Andy set to work and replaced the broken rocker adjuster and then the hand throttle lever, whilst I ran through the planned list of spares and repair kit for the rally with Simon. By midday I was on my way back to London, the car seemed to be running quite hot, but it was a hot day and this was the first time I had driven the car with the new Racetech temp gauge, so not possible to compare temperatures with the previous Smiths gauge. I stopped once at the end of the M4 entering London, when the gauge climbed to just above 90 degrees and fully expected a boil over, but nothing happened – just “Buick Head Gasket Paranoia” !
Great work by RPS to turn the car around in three days, given the pressure they are under trying to get all their client’s cars ready for the imminent shipping deadlines. Thanks to Simon, Bill, Andy & Christian (again !)
Car off on another transporter – Up early to go down to the workshop and load Benson onto a transporter up to RPS in Witney for them to work out a solution on the pulled thread on the head bolt. Transporter got stuck in Monday morning traffic and was late, but I managed to get a few things done whilst waiting – now just have to sit tight and wait to hear from Simon.
Weekend Works – Graced with Julie’s presence we went down to the workshop. Julie started packing spares and recording everything going into the car and where it will “live” – so we can find it in a hurry. We fitted a front bonnet hinge from the Sedan at the back of the bonnet, as the recently fitted rad seems to have shifted the front hinge forwards by 5mm, but the front hinges from the Sedan is 5mm longer than the rear hinge on the car, so resolves the problem. We also trimmed and fitted new rubber mats to the floor, we decided to fit these on top of the original mat. On Sunday I removed the water pump and stripped it completely and repacked the shaft with new packing and ZX grease – I could not run the pump in and adjust as I can’t start the engine, the adjustment and tightening process will have to be done once the engine is running again. Final job was to follow a long set of instructions from Monit in New Zealand to troubleshoot the fuel gauge side of the T-200. Careful measurement of the large AUX tank and the sender revealed that the sender does not “get wet” until there is circa 12 litres of fuel in the tank. Then rigged up a positive feed to the tank sender with a 300 ohm resistor in line to mimic a fuel gauge. Then I pumped out fuel into jerry cans and the tried a fuel calibration when re-adding the fuel to the tank, managing to cover myself in fuel in the process. Various voltage readings were taken during the process and sent back to Monit – the TC-200 still refused to calibrate !