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The embarrassing Herald restoration thread - idle hands and the Devil's work...


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Yes I was in contact with Chic... 'remember that convertible tub you sold me?'... he was very very helpful with repair sections and sent me a range of photos of assorted bits I may need, including a complete floor section, but the carriage alone was £225 plus VAT. I think I'll just use my local bodyworker and we'll see what we can salvage.

In the meantime lockdown sort of still on-going, it's time to test my engine skills. I've got a block bored out to +30, +30 oversize pistons, +30 oversize rings, new bolts by the dozen and complete sets of bearing shells... so let's have a go. Gallons of assembly lube later...

The crank is in, plus a new rear oil seal - different to the earlier 1200 engine in that it uses a plastic oil seal - and torqued up to 55 ft / lbs. It turns, so I'm happy. Next, in no particular order, was the camshaft - slid in, well lubricated, and loosely clamped in place using the original front clamp. At the rear... there's a hole! I remember removing the core plug here before the block was sent off to be bored, however there's a slight problem. The Parts Manual lists 148353, core plug, bucket... it can't be bucket as there's not enough depth to seat it. The dished version is supposedly 44473, 2" dished welch plug and yes I have some of those... except they're too small. Every Parts Manual and every supplier lists a 2" core plug, but 2" just falls out again by a wide margin.

A quick check with good calipers reveals it's actually 2 1/8" - the photo below shows the larger one set under the recommended version for comparison. Thanks to Core Plugs International who supplied the correct version which fitted first time. So: why are late 1200 engines (1967) different, and are other engines similar?

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Now to the business end. Brand new County pistons, VanderVell Old Stock tri-metal bearings, new circlips and gudgeon pins, new rings plus a nice set of piston ring compressors that I bought at Stafford for £1 many years ago, just in case. Start at no4, make sure front is front in which case the con rod faces in that direction... assemble it all together, lots of assembly lube, trial fit it. Then take it all apart and put the con rod in the correct direction. 

A little bit of faffing about with the piston rings. I've bought piston ring pliers but found they may be a little... brutal... for the rings:

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One down at the first hurdle.

The rest went on easily enough by hand, just be gentle and don't bend anything. There are good instructions and little colour-coded markers to show the rings are on correctly, and of course top means top. A little bit tricky getting the ring compressors on, and the rings down into the bore by very gentle pressure so as not to bend, scratch or damage anything, and the first one was away. THEN I remembered to fit the bearing to the con rod. Jumping the gun a bit... No 4 back in, tightened gently. Why is the word 'FRONT' at an angle? I couldn't work out why so left it in favour of the next two, but by the time they're fitted it seems they're all at the same angle. So: no worries.

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So: three down, and a new set of +30 piston rings ordered at a total cost of £44. I'll not do that again. I'll now have to wait until tomorrow for the new rings, but that'll be the crank and camshaft fitted and all pistons in. I must remember to torque the bolts once they're all in place. Oil pump next. One thing I did notice, and it's a bit of a let-down - the new front sealing block I bought last week is too thick. Trial fitting to the block reveals it's proud by at least a millimetre, and the sump gasket will never seal in a month of years. I can either have it faced /skimmed, or use the old one which seems flat enough on inspection. 

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It's a pity but at least I'm not completely stuck. Once the sump goes on I'll have a stab at the timing. That's going to be fun...

 

 

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One of East Berks, Malcolm, has a GT6s being restored at Chic Doig's (Why?!! It's a long story) 2 weeks ago he went to view progress and found Chic's premises closed down. The staff are gone and Chic is now working alone out of his house 20 miles away. Malcolm found the place and then his car in a barn. Malcolm was concerned that there was only domestic power and not the 3 phase Chic had at the previous place to operate heavy machinery. Although Chic has promised to finish the car it looks like he's winding down. 

Doug

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We organised a trip to Chics some years ago; a large party of NI TSSC members travelled across in a Triumph convoy and stayed at various B&Bs or hotels in Kircaldy in the mid 1990s. He had a huge place, masses of cars and parts stacked high around the walls. I've still got some great video of the place. He then downsized to Jamphlars Road and I remember him saying he had to throw so much good stuff out, into skips, as there was just no room for it. I was in contact last week and they've now relocated to his home place in the wilds; substantial enough with barns full of spares but presumably fewer overheads. I hope he's not another casualty of 'progress', never mind lockdown...

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Well we both got here and if I've timed this right it's my 10,000th post, so I wanted a momentous occasion to mark it.

Piston rings arrived this morning - thanks again to excellent service from James Paddock - so as I only required one no2 ring the piston has been fitted with gudgeon pin, new circlips and new rings, well greased, and slid into place with what seemed like indecent ease.

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The Herald engine now has all four pistons, crankshaft and camshaft fitted, and we're all systems go for fitting everything else, getting it back into the car, and running the engine for the first time since 2003. As all of the other mechanical bits have long been overhauled, we should see this Herald Estate moving under its' own steam before the end of 2021.

I never thought I'd say it but: THANK YOU LOCKDOWN. I don't think I'd have had the spare time otherwise. 

I've also found that despite advancing years I can still lift a complete engine block - okay, minus head - off the bench and set it down onto a trolley without breaking, straining or tearing anything. Not bad for a pensioner!

 

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  • Colin Lindsay changed the title to The embarrassing Herald 1200 restoration thread - flyin' along

Things are flying along now that I've got mechanical things to concentrate on again instead of interminable bodywork.

As soon as that last piston went in the engine end plate went on to give me alignment for the sealing block; as I mentioned earlier I have a couple of spares so as the new one didn't work out I'll use one of those. I've used Loctite sealer (sparingly) to seal things in place and avoid the worst of any oil leaks, but all surfaces are as level as I can get them, the wooden wedges are in place and sanded down flat.

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Next step was refitting the oil pump. It may seem strange to some after all the work but I'm reusing an old pump - I can't find any original versions and I'm not keen on the modern repro versions.  I've checked for wear, alignment and end float and all seems good enough to be reused. I'll monitor the oil pressure on startup with a spare gauge and if anything's not right I'll see about a replacement then. After that the sump went back on with a new gasket and bolts, including the spacer for the breather pipe bracket and the small bracket for the manifold drain pipe.

Next, rear engine plate and flywheel. I had a choice of two metal end plates but found that one is bent around the starter mountings, same as my alloy plate was, so I narrowed the choice down to one. Plate on and flywheel fitted and torqued. This is a three-dowel wheel for the diaphragm clutch as opposed to a two-dowel coil clutch.

The clutch was bought at Stafford about 1995 and has been stored in the original Borg and Beck box ever since. The plate is reassuringly thick so should outlast me. Centralised with a spare input shaft and torqued in place.

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After that it seemed a simple job to reattach the refurbished bellhousing and gearbox. It went together quite easily, and I had a full set of nuts and bolts ready for the reassembly. Ten minutes later it's now a complete unit again. I think I'll fit it to the Herald before the head goes on - I'm in two minds about setting the timing, either by use of rockers, or the marks on the front plate, so will leave my options open until I get that far. 

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One thing I've found - if you're rebuilding an engine from scratch, keep an old spare unit handy for reference. On some parts of the engine when the bolts are of different lengths, it's easy to forget which go where, so a quick check of the same bolt in the spare engine makes it easy to match a replacement for the refurbished block. Simple!

I have one brake pipe to remake, or at least to bend to a different area of the bulkhead - it fouls the starter solenoid when I try to fit that, so the pipe needs moved by about an inch. After that there's nothing stopping me refitting the entire engine and box back into the car. Maybe one small thing... when I dismantled the engine I broke a stud which I had to drill out; it came out eventually after a lot of work but may have thinned the threads in the block by a little too much. I'm wondering if I should seal the new stud in place? It's through to the water jacket and the last thing I need is steam escaping when the engine heats up... must check tomorrow and see what needs done.

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On 15/06/2021 at 12:32, Colin Lindsay said:

A quick check with good calipers reveals it's actually 2 1/8" - the photo below shows the larger one set under the recommended version for comparison. Thanks to Core Plugs International who supplied the correct version which fitted first time. So: why are late 1200 engines (1967) different, and are other engines similar?

4D4588AC-CDE2-411F-A14A-0D5124B4085A_1_105_c.jpg.058d6891e0d04e83bb2a8c9649145083.jpg  

I wonder... I know the Mk3 Spitfire camshaft runs in bearings, unlike all the others, because it's a carry-over part from the Mk2 engine. That presumably means the 1200 block has a smaller line bore than the 1300, but I wonder whether they commonised it on late engines? The difference in bore is 1/8"

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14 hours ago, NonMember said:

The difference in bore is 1/8"

There were numerous small changes to the 1147 Herald engine with some manuals referring to the late 1200 engine as using the same camshaft as the 12/50.

This engine is a very late 1200 from June 1967 having the revised head, later pistons and other parts which differ from the earlier 39bhp engines and indeed differ again from the engine changes in 1965. I've gone through nearly all of my Herald manuals (amazing how many use exactly the same wording for everything) and only the Peter Russek book mentions changes to the camshaft at GA177973 where he states that the journal diameter increased from 1.8402 in to 1.9654 in and the bore from 1.8433 in to 1.9695 in.

This leaves a difference of 0.125, or 1/8 in, same as the Spitfire engine. Is it as simple a step to claim that the core plug was enlarged proportionately?

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On 18/06/2021 at 12:55, Colin Lindsay said:

This leaves a difference of 0.125, or 1/8 in, same as the Spitfire engine. Is it as simple a step to claim that the core plug was enlarged proportionately?

I think, given the type of plug used, there would be little option but to enlarge it by the same amount.

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  • 1 month later...

I haven't been on the forum much recently, haven't been in the garage much either but things are now settling down to a point where free time has reappeared and I can progress things once again. Firstly: the core plug was sorted thanks to Core Plugs International and has now been fitted, the rear plate attached, clutch and flywheel fitted and the gearbox added. If all goes well the unit will be back in the car by the weekend.

In the meantime I've been working on the body yet again, and a bonnet that will not drop nicely into place. I'm very forgiving of others' door gaps when I see Heralds on runs, but for some reason not my own, so I want these as exact as possible. The bonnet was fine on the passenger side but not the drivers'. I was worried as this was the original bonnet from the car and had been restored by a local bodyworker back around 1999 and then resprayed without ever being properly fitted and fettled, so may have distorted over time. There was just no backwards movement and the gaps were not right no matter what I tried.

Once again the entire front end of the car came off and at this point one problem became evident. The original bonnet brackets were at full stretch, and jammed against the chassis front tube. I had put so much force on them using the adjusting rods that the brackets and bolts had actually eaten into the paint. Thankfully I had had a few sets of longer brackets manufactured a while back, in lovely shiny stainless steel, and these were duly fitted.

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Not only did the bonnet drop down at the front but it also moved fractionally backwards - just not enough, despite the extra range of the new brackets. If not the front, try the back - is the wheelarch tight against the bulkhead? It was. A few whacks with a soft mallet soon put manners in it and gave me the required quarter inch of rearwards movement. I reckon I've now got the side profiles as good as they'll ever be.

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The larger gap at the top of the passenger side is due to damage that was not correctly repaired but it'll do. I'm not going to ruin the paintwork!

Now that that's done, another problem has appeared. The side profile is fine but the front profile has a large and very visible gap on the driver's side.

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I need to pull the wing out at this point, but the inwards movement of the side panel has led to the bonnet centre panel raising up; or is it the other way round?

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The bonnet is sitting high in the centre, almost enough to hide the screen washers when viewed from the front. I need to push this area down, which should then push the side out. Push it down and keep it down, I should say... but do I pull the driver's side out and hope this flattens the top, or flatten the top and hope this pushes the side out? I'll have to try a few solutions and see what works, all without causing creasing or paint damage. I think a lot of head scratching is required before I try anything. Measure twice, break once, repent at leisure, as they say.

 

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  • Colin Lindsay changed the title to The embarrassing Herald 1200 restoration thread - a front wing and a prayer

Colin

Have you got the counterbalance springs fitted?

These effect the position of the bonnet when closing

Also don't set the vertical gap between the top of the bonnet and door too tight or you will chip the paint (Ask me how I know☹️), I reckon 1/4" maximum 3/16" minimum is about right

Gary

 

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2 hours ago, Gary Flinn said:

Colin

Have you got the counterbalance springs fitted?

These effect the position of the bonnet when closing

Also don't set the vertical gap between the top of the bonnet and door too tight or you will chip the paint (Ask me how I know☹️), I reckon 1/4" maximum 3/16" minimum is about right

Gary

 

MOT man already chipped the GT6 passenger door edge way back when he opened the bonnet single-handedly... so been there! I know, too... :(

Counterbalance springs are fitted and yes they pull the bonnet forward quite a bit - there are also different sizes and profiles depending on the age of Herald!

Packed the side of the bulkhead out today with a pair of old working gloves, just the edge where the cone is, and the bonnet was at a perfect profile to the door. Sadly it also jammed the bonnet catch and took me a few very worrying minutes to get it opened. At least I know the theory works.

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I`m fighting the same issue. Sort one gap, and another "moves". The other issue is refitting the front Valence. It was not fitted properly, I suspect, and is an obvious "retrofit". I am still not happy with the doors the tops of which look too low to me, but the adjustment is at it`s highest?. I can lift the doors (A bit) but then the gap on the Cills increases!. Annoying/frustrating, But keeps me out of the pubs!.

Week off next week, Off to chill in  the Camper for a few days, Nice site behind a Pub.👍😀

Pete

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  • Colin Lindsay changed the title to The embarrassing Herald 1200 restoration thread - cluck cluck

Chicken noises coming from the Lindsay garage this afternoon; I set the timing on the 1200 estate engine, new timing chain and tensioner, tab washers locked in place, distributor drive fitted in the (hopefully) correct orientation, a few other small jobs done... yes, I was putting off fitting the engine to the car. This involves lifting the engine on a chain hoist, high enough to clear the bonnet, then dropping it down - when the hoist doesn't stick, that is - and gently rotating and tilting it into place without damaging the bodywork. I've done it before, alarming creaks and groans from the ropes, trying to tilt the engine against gravity and reason both, and hoping the ropes don't break.

I couldn't do it. Chicken noises all round... cluck, cluck, cluck. In the end I removed the bonnet again, undoing all of my beautiful door and bonnet gaps in one fell swoop. Well, it might give me a chance to see if wider bonnet bushes help the brackets any. The entire garage had to be disrupted to clear a space big enough for the bonnet to rest out of harm's way.

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I also ditched the ropes in favour of heavy straps, which looped round the block front and rear leaving the gearbox free; this makes it easier to tilt under control. There was no danger of these breaking, they were used to lift heavy H-girders so an engine is wee buns.

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Once hoisted into the air the Herald was rolled in underneath and the unit lowered, whilst moving the Herald as required until the gearlever cleared the bulkhead and the mountings lined up. 

I left the rear gearbox mounting loose; it can be adjusted in a number of ways and so once the gearbox mounting bobbins were straight and undistorted I screwed everything down. I've seen far too many of these heavily distorted which really shortens their life on the car.

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So: engine now fitted. The only... slight... problem is how to remove the straps, which were looped round the block and now won't pass over the engine mountings, which are attached, nor out over the gearbox, as it's also attached... I'll worry about that one later. For now, that's a major step forward with the Estate.

The 1200 convertible has hit a slight snag in that none of the body mountings on the bulkhead will line up with the chassis. They are wayyyyy out. The floors and a-post sections were replaced but it seems not necessarily in the right place, as the photos show. I set the bulkhead on the chassis, screwed down the two front mountings, then poked a bolt smeared with copper grease up through the chassis mounting points. The results show a worrying disparity in where they are and where they should be.

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One side is close, I may get away with just enlarging the hole, but the other, left photo above, won't fit as is. I think the easiest solution is to cut the mountings off and reweld further along.

That's for the future, my garage time is up for this week. At least I can go out on a high, with lots more to do on the Estate but the end of the road in sight. When it does go back on the road I hope they don't hit me for road tax...

tax.jpg.b3c92005e0eca367f05f3e8d58fc4ba5.jpg

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  • Colin Lindsay changed the title to The embarrassing Herald 1200 restoration thread - not another diversion!!

As if I didn't have enough to do... I got fed up driving about in the lovely sunny weather in the GT6, so wanting that 'wind in my hair' experience, while I've still got some that is, I made a few local enquiries and in almost record time I'd done a deal for yet another Triumph.

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The eagle-eyed among you may have already have spotted that although it's got a Vitesse front end and alloy bumpers, it's actually a 13/60.

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Well, I do like the smaller engine - less things to go wrong! Belfast-registered from 1970, it came with two spare gearboxes (one 3-rail J-type O/D) two propshafts, one shortened for O/D, two differentials, two radiators, two front seats from a large saloon that might be worth trying out, five new tyres, and three boxes of assorted spare parts including stainless-steel sleeved rear wheel cylinders. I've already taken all the stickers off the windscreen, replaced the gearknob and petrol cap and fixed a few small things that were annoying me.

The downside? It's been MOT-exempt since 2019 and the last MOT states there is a problem with the headlamp beam pattern. Due to Covid it has had no retest since, so I don't want to drive it until I sort out the headlamps and get it fully MOTd. I just don't know what the problem is - all headlights work and they're at a good height, as far as I can test. I don't think it'll be on the road for this weekend, so although I got it very cheap and at present have no worries about fixing the immediate problems, the long waiting list for MOTs over here means it might not be on the open road until late September, by which time it'll be cooler and not as much fun with the top down... by then it should be well sorted, but the 1200 convertible and Estate are now shunted further back along the production line...

Still, it keeps me off the streets.

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Another thing to watch for is cheap Chinese replacements, during a Club Permit annual renewal here in Vic (cheap rego) we did a club inspection of a members Stag and advised we wouldn't renew the CP until he sorted out his dipped headlights as they were pointing upwards. Upon closer inspection the molded in glass locating lugs on the rear were out of position causing the lights to be rotated near 45 degrees around hence the misalignment. The get out of jail solution was to carefully cut new and extended slots in the mounting ring to re-align the headlight, Cheap PRC rubbish! 20 years on same headlights are still fitted, but he has a spare set of mounting rings in case he gets original correct headlights!.

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How many club cars does that bring to the fold now?

I think ive only had five at once, never more than two on the road though! When the yellow one is done i will probably sell one of them. But choosing which one!?

 

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Four... and only one on the road, but I'm trying.

I've taken one of the headlamps off this morning, they're halogen conversions but the glass is very grey. I don't know if it's on the outside or inside yet; it looks like the inside but I haven't tried any cleaner at all so far. How on Earth do I clean the inside? They're certainly bright enough, but may be Eastern versions where the beam pattern is not road legal over here. Will have to do more detective work once I've finished on here.

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Anyway as a start I've replaced the aftermarket gear knob, changed the petrol cap, and flushed the cooling system which had no antifreeze at all. Maybe that's why it came with two spare radiators?

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Colin Lindsay said:

How on Earth do I clean the inside?

With the unit off the car and the bulb removed, a stiff 1/2" paintbrush through the hole. Use a solvent of your choice - white spirit's probably good. Dry them with warm air before reassembly.

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  • Colin Lindsay changed the title to The embarrassing Herald restoration thread - idle hands and the Devil's work...

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