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The embarrassing Herald restoration thread - and now, the dreaded MOT


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Well, it's two steps forward and three back on this car. We had a slight setback in the form of a missing radius arm bracket, which I had obviously either misled or more likely given away as being plentiful - there's always one in a box somewhere until you need it; so I put out an online SOS and the correct bracket was soon very gratefully received from Steve P on this very forum. Blasted, repainted and fitted, it's looking very well.  I must add the driver's side / right hand bracket to my list of essential purchases next autojumble I get to, and salt any away that I find. Someone's bound to need one and I can return the favour.

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That was the final part of the jigsaw so without further ado, on went the wheels, and the car was back on all four for the first time since 2008.

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I've tightened most of the suspension bolts to a loose torque; they'll get the final torque once I can get the car laden but as usual without the weight the top ball joint nut just goes round and round, as does one of the steering track rod end nuts. They need the downward pressure to give grip, in order to overcome the grip of the nyloc locknut and not just spin in place without tightening. I'll rig up some kind of solution later in the week.

With the chassis now rolling, it was the obvious next step to trial fit the body, especially since the welder wants it mounted to the chassis to preserve the rigidity before he cuts large bits off the rear tub. I started with the bulkhead, which has already been professionally restored; easily dropped onto the mounting pads that I'd glued in place earlier.

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All of a sudden it starts to look like a car again. Must go tighten up the body mountings, thinks I... only to find that two out of the four do not line up with the holes in the chassis and I can't even get the bolts up through. I sent this bulkhead off to Scotland to have it rebuilt a few years back, but it appears the replacement panels at the base of the A-post don't match the chassis. Way out, in some cases by almost an inch. I've compared the chassis with the estate version beside it and the side rail holes are exact to the 1/8 inch, so it's not the fault of the chassis.

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Looks like the welder has another job on his hands when he gets the car. I can overcome the front corners, which are maybe 1/2 an inch out, by elongating the mounting holes which the body clamp / bracket should overcome, but the rears are too far out of place and the entire mount will need moved. It's not a great deal in the scheme of things, but it's still extra expense on top of the rear tub welding, and bother I could well do without. Ho hum, 'it's always sumfin', innit?' as Velvet would say. And there we were, doing so well...

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  • Colin Lindsay changed the title to The embarrassing Herald 1200 restoration thread - Feelin' down...

Things are not going well in the 1200 convertible department; I'm on a real downer this morning as nothing seems to be going right. The patching to the rear tub gets worse and worse, the more I look at it; the rear wings are welded on completely wrong, bulging out around the wheelarches before ending up an inch out of place towards the rear, and it seems at the B-post they were tacked on over the remains of the old wing and almost half an inch too far out, so the doors - when I get that far - will not align. It's a real cut-n-shut job, disguised by filler that the shotblasting has now removed.

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It wouldn't be so bad if I had not discarded the original tub which was ten times better than this and still scared me off, in favour of this one which was bought from a major restorer. I wasn't expecting brand new, but a good base from which to start would have been a bonus. I don't think this is even worth working on - it's going to need wings and wheelarches and even then I'm not sure how distorted and bodged the rest of the tub is, with regards to achieving anything even close to a good end result.

So: the only thing to do is to trial fit the entire car to the chassis, and see what we end up with before commencing any major and more importantly expensive work. The bulkhead has been fitted and, as has already been seen, the mounts are quite a bit out from the chassis mounting points. This morning was the turn of the bonnet:

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Not an easy job for one person. The way to do it is to cover everything with old quilts, blankets etc then rest the bonnet on the seal across the front of the bulkhead. The rest will lie on the quilts, safely padded, until the bonnet links can be fitted and loosely tightened. Even here we have problems; the bonnet support tube is missing one of the front bushes, and the two tube ends, at rest, are almost two inches too far apart for the mounting brackets. I'm hoping the small amount of movement allowed in the wheelarch mounting points will allow some flex but it's still quite a bit to bend inwards. 

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Luckily I have a spare tube so can remove the bush.... eventually. Both are solid and it seems my small bench vice isn't up to the job. Heat, penetrating oil and the vice have so far drawn a blank. I'll just have to keep going, in the hope that the bush shifts, it fits the tube, the tube fits the brackets, the bonnet fits the bulkhead and the car looks vaguely gappable. There are too many unknowns at this point, and the big fear is that when it's all on the chassis, it will not gap or sit properly due to too many variables when each component was restored, and we're back to square one. I'm scoring minor victories with the major ones as yet untouched.

In the event: the bush fitted, albeit slightly loosely, and with all of the bonnet to tube securing bolts loosened I was able to get both tube ends fitted to their respective brackets and links. It's only roughly gapped, currently about 9/16 instead of 3/8; I can't tighten any of the bulkhead bolts, or shim any of the mounts, until I get the rear tub on, and that's definitely not a one-man job.

Remind me never to restore a Herald from scratch ever again.

As a cheer-me-up I drilled out the badge holes in the rear of the tub - not a difficult job, although I was worried that I wouldn't know where they went and so the badges would be off-line. I needn't have worried; this was originally an early Herald tub, that was used as a Vitesse tub, and from the holes in the floor, and the resulting cracks and damage, had a roll-over frame fitted so was probably used in banger racing too. It can't have gotten into that state otherwise. The holes for the flags had been filled with weld, so were easy to drill out again. I'll get the hole to the left, for the Vitesse trim, likewise filled in and covered over.

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In the meantime I'll have to try to find out what repair sections are available - not easy when some manufacturers aren't currently answering e-mails, and those that do are proving negative. Surely I can't be the only Herald owner that has ever needed these areas repaired?

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  • Colin Lindsay changed the title to The embarrassing Herald 1200 restoration thread - Giving Up.

Well, that's as far as we go, as the train driver said. I can do no more. The bodytub is proving beyond economic repair, even assuming the welder who keeps putting me off ever gets here, and my metalwork skills are not up to undoing and repairing the nightmare that is the rear tub. There are just far too many holes, and perforations, and frills, and huge welds, and no repair sections for the areas I need, and even then no guarantee that the tub isn't distorted and will actually allow them to fit. Back under a cover in the corner it goes. My fault, I suppose, for buying a replacement tub from a supplier and not stipulating that it had to be actually useable. You learn by your mistakes.

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I'll hold out for another replacement tub or even a scrapper that I can get repair sections from. Something has to turn up; not helped, of course, by lockdown and these totally frustrating restrictions on everything, but it's not going to be on the road again either soon or cheaply.

In the meantime I've returned to the engine, which at least is something I can do. A goodly number of years ago I set the rebuilt head onto the block to stop nasties dropping down inside the engine, so was surprised to find the head nuts tightened down. I don't remember doing that! Off it came again to find the copper head gasket very sticky in fact stuck to the block, so that it had to be forced off and bent in the process. To be honest I wouldn't have used it anyway after so long, and have a good stock of replacements. You can see the lighter patches in the photo where the coating stuck to the block. Digging through my stock of gaskets I found an incredibly early version suitable for 'GA1 and onwards'. It has strange raised patches and appears to be made simply of pressed metal. Too old and rusty to be of use, even if the holes actually did line up with the head.

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New gasket is more of a composite variety but fitted very well (I bought a job lot off eBay!) and with the cleaned head back on, the nuts can be loosely set in place. I'm using the uprated nuts with collars, as used in Minis, for a little bit of extra grip. I'll not tighten them fully as the water pipe needs to be fitted, which means the waterpump housing needs to go on to properly distance the fit, and the rear lifting eye also fits here; but in the meantime it's keeping me busy and away from the bodywork.

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I can't give up on the Herald completely; at the moment it's just stalled but it's so frustrating. As my back is getting worse and the GT6 is proving a challenge I need something with an open roof to make entry and exit easier, so have placed a Wanted ad for an early Herald 1200 convertible. Something good, that needs no work, just servicing, and will drive from the word go.

Anything out there that wants a good home?

 

 

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If your after a 13/60..... mine could be available.....its all sorted now apart from a tiny bit of paintwork which you only see, if looking,  from close up, also I need to find another similar car which needs some TLC ?? (2lt vit)

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32 minutes ago, Bordfunker said:

Colin, probably a good idea putting the tub to one side for now, as it does look very Frankenstein!

I’m sure something will come up regarding a decent replacement tub.

Karl

I hope so, Karl. There are just far too many holes in that one, even for a welder to fill in or add small repair sections. It would take hours of fairly intensive labour. I gave away the original tub as being poor in places; it was actually nowhere nearly as bad as this but I had already enquired as to a replacement tub and reckoned it would be a fairly easy swap once the new one arrived, so sadly jumped the gun. You learn! I'll place an ad for another replacement tub and see what comes up.

With regards to an on-road Herald while I'm working on the others... no 13/60! Much too modern. A much earlier car, possibly pre-1965, preferred.

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1 hour ago, Pete Lewis said:

thats where the holes come in 

cars get holes with age   ..............we get wrinkles 

Pete

 

Speak for youself, when i work on a car i seem to get a hole and this red liquid comes out!.

Colin, your doing the best thing. Best to leave and wait until either something comes up or in a better position. You could always rebody (for now). Perhaps a kit car as a sideways step. Or have i gone too far.

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It'll come Colin.  Good to avoid the red liquid and holes.  

When I was building the Fury it was in a yard 30 miles away.  3 weekends running I cut my hands or head badly on tools or the underside of the lift there and had no first aid kit.  Then I had to drive home so put a fresh rubber glove on my hand every now and again and a handkerchief under my cap.  My son just looked at me pityingly and took me straight to A&E each time I got home for stitches etc. It became a bit embarrassing at the hospital and the family are convinced I'm a liability.  The good thing is that they don't expect me to do any DIY any more which I hate.

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  • Colin Lindsay changed the title to The embarrassing Herald 1200 restoration thread - Giving up on the bodywork.

Another two steps forward and one back routine, but things are more positive with the mechanical side of things. If only the bodywork would play ball. 

I had a bit more work on the engine, building it from bare block with pistons, camshaft and crank to something more like an engine. A quick check of the rear crank oil seal confirmed this is an early 39 bhp engine which has the scroll-type oil seal, so just needs cleaned up rather than replaced, as in the Estate engine which is five years later on in production and used a rubber seal. Oil runs back along the threads as they spin and then drips off onto this deflector plate and back into the sump. 

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With that all fitted it was time for my nice alloy end-plate, which has been safely stored for almost ten years. Then it was time for the flywheel (diaphragm clutch conversion; I have two brand new B&B clutch sets salted away and it's a shame not to use one.) The modern flywheel bolts do not use the early tab washers, but are an interference fit and will stay put when torqued up - with a little help from threadlock. Of course, torquing up the engine did put a lot of sideways pressure on it... which overbalanced it off the pedestal it was sitting, on and a slow, majestic roll sideways would have to land on the only protruding part of the backplate...

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Both bent and distorted out of round. Having heard the tales of problems caused by distorted backplates I removed it again but then realised it's perfectly straight everywhere else, so it was sandwiched between two old steel plates and flattened again. By using a starter motor spacer I was able to mend it back to a perfect circle so happy days, it's now reused.

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The engine was now connected to the gearbox and early alloy bellhousing, not helped by the fact that the fitting kit I bought last year was supplied with over a dozen incorrect nuts; only the two starter motor nuts were correct. I had to pilfer some from the Estate kit that was from a different supplier, and was therefore correct. The engine and gearbox were then suspended from a hoist, from one piece of nylon rope - NOT recommended for anyone of a nervous disposition - then lowered and adjusted as the chassis was moved about in underneath so that it cleared the bulkhead. Bolts inserted, nuts tightened, and we have an engine and gearbox again, with the head resting in place until it can be properly painted. Rocker assembly is just set on top to prevent loss or damage on the bench...

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It's a bit morale boost, not to mention clears a bit of floor space, and means I can crack on with the engine ancillaries whilst waiting for the bodyworker to appear.

As a diversion, with the relaxation of lockdown rules I had some of the local Club members over yesterday and did a bit of servicing on some of the Club cars. It was nice to have some company again and get some life about the place, including a real rarity - a genuine on-the-road Herald which is a 12/50-engined convertible, hence the rear badges; but in very nice condition and a pleasure to work on. Plenty of reference photos taken, above and below, before Barry reversed it out and took it away again.

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I'll get there, just as long as time and money are no problem and the right parts come along at the exact time they're required...

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ups and downs..... a few of each.

I've given up on the bodywork - my welder has mysteriously vanished... "I'll be in touch after Easter"... he didn't say how much after Easter. Might have scared him off...

Anyway the mechanical end of things is sailing along. Propshaft is now fitted, all new UJs, and I've added the bracing bar between the gearbox and chassis that the early cars had. I had hoped to fit a tubular manifold and twin carbs, but the manifold is fouling the bellhousing and is going to require some serious metalwork - it needs heated and bent, so in order to make some progress I've just gone back to the original cast iron manifold and single Solex. Don't worry about the position of some of the nuts; they're not tightened yet.

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This was not without its' own problems; I replaced the exhaust studs with a full kit of studs, washers and brass nuts, and it lasted thirty seconds before the nuts stripped their threads. Even the studs were so soft, they distorted when the stud puller was screwing them into the manifold.

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I ended up getting round that by buying steel studs from Spalding Fasteners, who also supplied double-sized brass nuts with extra grip on the studs. Well, they did the second time; the first ones were incorrectly-labelled UNC. Well, it was worth a try once the new UNF nuts arrived... the last quarter-turn of the spanner wrung the stud in the manifold, so I ended up with two Spalding versions, one original stud, and three good short brass nuts as the longer ones wouldn't fit the shorter original stud. Still, manifold and exhaust fitted.

Next step was the waterpump housing; three bolts all of different lengths. Top left bolt is the long one but why the different lengths of the other two, especially when the hole in the head is the same length for both? The longer one wouldn't tighten, so of came 1/4 inch with the aid of the Dremel. Perfect fit! I have a lovely stainless water pipe for the rear of the housing - but not only does it not fit, it's the wrong profile and won't reach the head stud at the rear of the block. I can't be bothered bending it, so fitted an original steel version from a 1200; slightly tatty, but still sound.

Next was fitting the water pump - all okay there - for the time being. It's an early pump with the grease nipple and removable pulley.

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Then came the alternator... where does the bracket go to? Top left bolt.... why is it too short? Because some idiot has shortened it... new bolt required. Don't so that again. Nice stainless steel alternator bracket dug out of many years storage. Bling! Of course things were going too well and it came time to fit the water pump pulley, which is not Stanpart but Qualcast. They made a lot of Triumph parts back in the day including brake drums. A quick sandblast revealed a problem - the keyway inside the pulley has fractured to about 50% of the way along. No idea how that happened, but it's not all the way through. My other Stanpart pulley won't fit as the woodruff key on this pump is larger - maybe this is the cause of the damage? In any case I trial fitted the damaged version and it grips very well, so I might tempt fate and use it whilst keeping the spare just in case. It won't affect the function and certainly won't cause leaks, and I've never heard of one falling off completely.... yet.

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So there we are; progress so far. Water pump, exhaust, thermostat and various other little bits leaving it looking once again like a real engine. Maybe I'll just bolt seats to the bare chassis and drive it like that. Who needs bodywork anyway?

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could a very short length of thin wall steel (exhaust) pipe with the same ID as the pulley inner boss OD be driven on to put the cast iron and keyway back in compression be a fix!

Thats how compression fittings on plastic pipe fittings are reinforced 

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If you look at the way it's made, the keyway starts off on this fitting flange but then continues on to the front of the pulley; the actual metal is very solid as can be seen from the depth of the screw holes. The broken piece is only the rear 'lip' which I assume acts as a spacer. It's cracked but solid - I couldn't move it with either a screwdriver or pliers and must have taken enormous force to break in the first place. There are two of these pumps, one Stanpart and one Qualcast but they can't be mixed due to slight differences. I'm going to chance this one, in that when the front washer and nut are fitted it won't be going anywhere and the 50% of the keyway that remains whole is sufficient for purpose. I can't honestly see it shearing completely off under normal running conditions.

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  • Colin Lindsay changed the title to The embarrassing Herald 1200 restoration thread - a huge leap forward?

So: a chance remark last week on the local TSSC Run and I was like a dog with a bone - jump on it, grab hard and don't let go.

Someone casually told me: "Yer man over there has a Herald bodytub." Does he now? I barely gave the poor man chance to draw breath. 'Not perfect but too good to scrap, and unmolested.' I wasn't giving an inch; yes I would like to see it and yes I was bringing a trailer. No ifs or buts. I drove about 50 miles to a shed beside a house where we firstly had the wrong key, then stopped for coffee when the house owner arrived, fixed a conservatory window, had lunch, and only then four hours later got round to business. That's the Ulster Way.

Not only one bodytub but two... although the first used to be mine, from a 948 saloon, and had lost the boot floor in the meantime. The other was in much better shape. It's a late 13/60 saloon tub, part green and part white with the rest either rust or very very thick soundproofing or underseal... Gawd not more of the stuff. Since it didn't dissolve on first inspection, and I couldn't see any visible patches, it went straight onto my trusty trailer and was home 90 minutes later. Now...

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As I've said it's a saloon, and the tops of the wings at the rear deck are bad. A little modicum of welding and patching required. However: the floors are amazingly sound as are the boot corners.

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The spare wheel well is perforated in the usual area, but it's a mirror image of my other tub so the rear of that well can be grafted into place. The entire boot floor and rear spring tunnel are inches thick in a kind of underseal, which lifts off in huge chunks when prised with a screwdriver. Underneath the metal is quite sound and still painted.

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From the pattern remaining on the white paint it may be sheets of sound deadening material that has been stuck on and has now moulded into shape. It seems to come off easily enough and the screwdriver has not - so far - gone through the metal underneath. It looks like we're essentially sound and unlike the other tub, undistorted, so might be a much better base from which to start patching and replacing panels. I'm going to have this one cleaned up and sandblasted, then the welder and I can sit down and work out how to convert a saloon tub to convertible, in the sense of how much of each to use and where to cut and splice. Measure three four or five times and cut once... but this tub is a major boost and a real leap forward.

 

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I'm going to attempt a saloon rear tub to convertible conversion very shortly; when I say 'I' I mean myself in the initial stages then a professional welder coming in to weld together the bits I've altered. I'd love to hear from anyone who has done this already; what to remove, what to keep and any pitfalls. It's my equivalent of ask twice, study lots and cut once.

I've studied both tubs and from the outside to the door seal seam is identical on both. The saloon has a double seam, and the convertible a triple, as it has the extra curved panel around the b-post to cover the hood frame. I'm assuming that in behind this extra panel, it's all the same for both? (Bar the bracket for the hood frame of course) I've felt round it (car restoration in braille?) and there appear to be corresponding holes in both visible convertible and invisible saloon brackets.

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On top, the outer wings look the same but the inner is missing from the convertible and in place it has the curved hood rail which attaches to the rear spring tunnel and both b-posts. Interestingly the saloon b-posts have the captive nuts in place for the anti-burst catches so the same assembly must have been used for both models. 

5469C862-11A1-4250-B54B-2546E14BC18B_1_105_c.jpg.4110378c14bc06da2de081064486ce45.jpg C1D248FF-0642-4350-8B63-64CAA202E895_1_105_c.jpg.76a20f44b7e0da9a3d7b942996bcbfed.jpg

So: where to start? Should I remove the inner wing top from saloon b-post backwards? What's easiest - drilling out the spot welds or chiselling along the line?

All I need to confirm is how much I need to remove before getting back to the basic homologous tub to which I can then add the convertible extras. If you know, let me know!

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Not much help to you as i have only had the saloon 13/60. Best i could do is remove the hard top, then no hard top!

Unfortunately i know there is a little more to it.

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Colin, that tub looks a million times better than the last one!

I would be inclined to invest in a good quality spot weld drill, and drill out the spot welds carefully to separate the panels one by one.

Try not to use a chisel as it can easily tear through the metal (Ask me how I know), particularly old rusty metal, and you’ll be wanting to re-use the panels from the convertible.

Karl

 

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10 hours ago, Bordfunker said:

Colin, that tub looks a million times better than the last one!

I would be inclined to invest in a good quality spot weld drill, and drill out the spot welds carefully to separate the panels one by one.

I've found a few holes, but only small ones and as yet unmolested, so nothing to undo.

I have a spot weld drill bit that an optimistic relative bought me, over ten years ago from the Club Shop... still in the packet in the drawer. I'll practice on the saloon tub, removing the panels I know to be unnecessary first; I've also cheated and sent photos to Chic Doig in the hope that he can make or obtain two good B-post panels for the convertible - just in case. The welds on all those horrible patches at the bottom will have to be ground off and I'm not sure what's in behind.

I've lost my Dremel cutting attachment somewhere in the garage chaos so can't grind the welds back until it's located.

DSCF1248.jpg.158a840ed64bf9c1f507ac2274f086fa.jpg  DSCF1250.jpg.3bba872ead6a731a030f5b1ee1d8a9d9.jpg

 

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I'd love / need a second opinion! The bodyworker who repaired my GT6 looked at the original tub, claimed it was no problem... and then never came back...

My problem is biting the bullet and starting the work. Measure twice or multiple times, check, discuss, ask for advice, check again, measure again, and then cut - and that's the worrying bit. Once it's cut it's done! I should really start by cutting the rear deck off the saloon tub which will give me extra access 'behind the scenes' as to where I need to cut the convertible parts.

I don't want to start prematurely only to have someone look at it in horror and go: what on  earth did you do that for? :)

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I know what you mean but we've all been there in the past and still learning. Mine is the first GT6 Ive done, I was initially worried about doing the sill replacement but after cutting off I wondered why I was worried as theyre straightforward, just more alignment than normal lol

Youll get there hopefully, I just might have held out for a convertible tub rather than convert it unless theyre easy enough to do, chat to Chic Doig hes really helpful 👍🏻

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  • Colin Lindsay changed the title to The embarrassing Herald restoration thread - and now, the dreaded MOT

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