Well, it's been a busy two weeks or so since I was last on the forum; I disappeared off to recharge the mental batteries and get some things done, which include insulating a roofspace, sanding a ceiling and trimming bushes! There was also some fairly intensive work on the Herald 13/60 for an impending MOT - over here we test in Government Test Centres and the waiting list is almost three months. Add to that the fact that this Herald has been prohibited from use on the public road until repaired and retested, so this would be the first drive in the Herald since purchase.
I rebuilt the brakes and bearings, but the brakes were still amazingly spongy. It may be down to the fact that they have not been bedded in - in the hopes of a quick settling-down I had already binned the terrible EBC Greenstuff pads and fitted NOS brake pads from the shelf. The system was again rebled, still poor, and a quick inspection of the rebuilt caliper revealed traces of brake fluid dripping down...
Thankfully it turned out that it was just spilt fluid from the bleed process. The brakes are as good as can be; I suspect the master cylinder is worn or an incorrect size , due to the length of pedal travel - it's the extension version for drum to disc conversion using type 12 calipers, and these are 14s - and a new one is ready for fitting. I also have to remake new pipes to overcome the somewhat imaginative routing by the previous owners.
The biggest problem was the rich running; the smell of burning oil from the engine is intense. The car started from cold with no choke. I simply could not strike a balance between a good idle speed and a stalled engine. My first action was to replace the carb with a spare - this made no difference whatsoever and in fact would not run properly at all; the fault was traced to serious wear on the replacement carb which might as well be binned. Next job was to strip down the original carb, and the state of the diaphragm was amazing. This one had been trapped between the two body halves...
The carb itself was black with deposits and full of gritty debris. All was stripped down, jets removed and cleaned. A new diaphragm fitted, the piston would not seat, and close examination revealed a bent needle. This was also replaced, but the engine still ran very rich. The fact that the car was idling for long periods did not help, so I sneaked it out on the road in the dark, and drove 300 yards to a nearby Demense with a cloud of smoke so dense it showed in the rear lights. I met one car, a Range Rover, who blinded me with his full beam in revenge... mine are too high, I think, and one of the reasons for the MOT failure in 2019. It also felt very wandery, and the brakes were very soft.
Back to the garage... the new sparkplugs looked like afro hairstyles. Very very sooty.
This time I replaced the jets, but again it made no difference. However, I was not sure of the spare carb from which the jets had been taken - it was a very clean, almost unused version, but something still niggled. I dug out an old 13/60 carb and took the jets from that, removed the carb from the car once again, and assembled it on the bench. This time I set the mixture off the car, turning down 2.5 turns instead of the recommended three. Back on the car, it started with the choke, and died when the choke was pushed back in... looking good so far. Unfortunately the PO has fitted an incorrect choke cable on which the outer cable was too short and he had added a length of rubber tubing, so I decided to risk the cable with an unclamped outer and manually set it at the carb. I tuned the idle by ear and it seemed alright...
Next job was to align the headlamps, which were so far off they signalled to passing aircraft. It was quite a difficult job to align them as the adjusters were all stuck or painted over, but eventually with the aid of my garage door I set them to low and left. They'll have to do.
Following the discovery of sooty black water dripping on the garage floor I reckoned the silencer was defunct, but could find no holes in it... however take no chances. I pinched this new one off the red convertible and it certainly looks better, although no quieter - I've since discovered that it's a semi-sports box... Back on the bench I found that the old one had split along the seam, so there was the fault - invisible from below.
While it was up there I readjusted the rear brakes, in the vain hope of improving them. After that there was nothing to do but wait for Saturday afternoon. I don't think we'll pass but at least I'll know what else needs doing.
The first legal drive in the Herald - on the way to a pre-booked test. I wanted to go with the top down, so the weather was dry but cold. In fact it was Baltic.
The Herald started well enough, and ran well, and once the choke was pushed back in at the carb end we set off for the fourteen miles to the Test Centre along quiet roads - deliberately, to avoid any embarrassment of breakdowns or clouds of smoke. Amazingly, there wasn't any, although I was paranoid for the entire journey. Pulled well, accelerated well, ran quietly.... amazing. At one point I smelled smoke but it was only a farmer burning hedges.
I braked repeatedly; every few hundred yards I stood on the brakes. No idea if it did anything at all to improve the bedding-in but we did slow to a stop most of the times. At the Test Centre they took the Herald off me, into the test bay, and closed the doors. Due to Covid I have to remain outside. My parting desperately hopeful shot to the tester was: "Stand on the brakes, there's no servo in these..."
Twenty minutes later they drove back out again and parked in the car park in front of all the other drivers waiting on their cars. Embarrassment...
"There's a problem" announces the tester. "Can you confirm your address?" I did.
"The printer's gone down. We can't print the Certificate so we'll post it out." It passed. No minors, no advisories, a full pass and no Prohibition any more. We're fully legal.
I drove home in the freezing cold, 60 mph, hardly a car on the roads, it started to rain, the wipers were terrible, and I fell in love with Heralds all over again.