Tag Archives: rust

You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!

I’ve spent the last couple of months gradually stripping parts off the Herald before either discarding or cleaning, painting and generally refurbishing them in preparation for the great day when I start reassembing the car.  It’s a bit of a mixed bag; some parts have come out literaly as good as new, whilst others have needed a fair amount of attention to bring them up to a good enough standard  – and a few have gone straight in the bin.  At the end of the day I’m not aiming to produce a show car, but it would be a shame to drop the standard of the rebuild for the want of spending a few pennies as I go.

Along the way I’ve found one or two ‘nasties’ where the tin worm has eaten its way through the bodywork.  At the moment things don’t look too bad, but its difficult to be sure about the state of some of the panels, especially the floor, until I’ve had them bead or soda blasted.   One thing I’ve been surprised about is the amount of mud that was clinging to the bottom of the car – the chassis rails were full of the stuff, to the extent that it looked as though the car had been driven through fields before it was taken off the road.  The fact that the underside of the car was coated in this stuff for at least three decades makes me wonder that rust didn’t consume the entire car long ago! 

The arrival of family manpower home for Christmas provided the opportunity to lift the body off the chassis, so with the help of Dave Hardy (a fellow Gloucester TSSC member) we spent an interesting 15 minutes yesterday morning ‘getting her top off’.  All went smoothly with the exception of one retaining bolt which refused to budge until it succumbed to the attentions of the angle grinder. 

Once the chassis was exposed it became clear that fairly major repairs have been been carried out previously – the two side rails and three of the riggers have been replaced at some time in the past, though without welds on the upper edges of the rails – which indicates that the work was done without removing the body and therefore resulted in a substantially weaker repair.  Of the five remaining riggers the two front ones seem to be OK but the remaining three are dangerously thin and will have to be replaced along with the two side rails.  My plan is to do so before sending the chassis off for blasting to reduce the risk of distortion and problems when it comes to replacing the body. 
The body itself is now sat on the drive waiting for me to get the chassis and running gear sorted.  The first job will be to remove the engine, gearbox, differential, suspension and brakes in preparation for getting the chassis welded and blasted.  Not much to do really!


Stripping the Old Girl down

Completely stripping a 50 year-old car of all her parts and panels can have its challenges and it’s odd how some fasteners that you expect to prove difficult can give way quite easily whilst others can be a bit of a nightmare.  On the whole, however, the Herald has so far chosen to give up most of its parts gracefully, though I have had to grind or drill my way through a few nuts and bolts that decided that they weren’t about to give up without a fight.  

As far as rust is concerned there have been no great surprises as yet.  As predicted the rear quarter valances went straight in the scrap bin, though I was quite pleased that they came unbolted relatively easily.  Unfortunately the left-hand side of the boot floor behind the petrol tank resembles ‘brown lace’ and will have to be replaced, and the sills and front valance were too far gone to save. 

N/S boot floor 'edge' showing definite signs of the Rust Worm
N/S boot floor ‘edge’ showing definite signs of the Rust Worm

The latest unwanted find was a couple of holes in the driver’s footwell and where the scuttle meets the rear tub, which will also need the ministrations of the MIG welder; hopefully that will be the last of the rust discoveries –  at least until such time as we take the body off the chassis.

Sun visors - before and after cleaning
It’s amazing what a little bit of ‘Jif’ and elbow grease will do

I quite enjoy the process of cleaning and refurbishing parts as they’re removed from the car; at least that way I know that they’ll be in good order when it comes to refitting them to the car once the bodywork has been sorted.  The problem at this time of year is that the weather isn’t particularly condusive to working in an unheated and over-crowded garage – still we addicts must suffer for our enthusiasms!

Brake and Clutch Master Cylinders 'before and after' cleaning
Brake and Clutch Master Cylinders ‘before and after’

As I go I’m putting together a growing list of all the parts that will have to be sourced, whether new or secondhand.  As the 1200 (1147cc) engine is well and truly seized I’ve decided to find a 1296cc engine from a Spitfire or Herald 13/60 to replace it; I bid for one on FleaBay a couple of days ago and only missed it by £2 – very frustrating, but no doubt I’ll find something eventually.

Collection and ‘first look’

The day set for collecting the car finally arrived and I was grateful to Eric for his advice, strength and trailer which made the whole process so much easier.  We were joined by Jane Rowley  who kept me greatly amused (!) by repeated comments such as ‘all it needs is a few tins of T Cut’!  The rear N/S brake was well and truly locked on but we managed to get the car on the trailer by using one of the ‘dollies’ that came as part of the deal and, staggeringly enough, all of the tyres managed to hold some air – not bad after around three decades of deflation. 

Ms Rowley trying her best to recruit a new member for TSSC Gloucester – don’t bother Jane, he’s an Austin man!

Getting the car into a sensible position once Eric and I got it home was a different matter.  Dollies with 3 inch wheels don’t rotate easily on gravel drives and I eventually decided to leave it ‘abandoned’ in the middle of the drive until such time as I could release the locked brake drum.  The bad news is that it’s still there as the next day I came down with a full-blown case of flu and have been bedded down for the last 12 days while the car starts to look even sadder and more dejected!  Not a great start to the restoration.

Being a bit of an impatient sort of chap (really?) and a bit of an idiot (really!) yesterday I decided to rise from my sickbed and make what I suspect will be the first of several assaults on the car with the power washer.  The results were interesting.  As expected the rear valences immediately disintegrated into an unpleasant mixture of rust and mud, whereas the rest of the body panels, although carrying plenty of surface rust, appear to be sound with no gaping holes or spectacular views of the gravel drive from inside the car.   The passenger door in particular seems to have been repainted at some point in the car’s history; although under the force of the power washer the top coat immediately parted company with the door skin the undercoat/primer seems to be in good condition.  I suspect that it may be a different story when it comes to examining the points at which the body attaches to the chassis – but you never know.

For some reason 30 year-old grime can be more difficult to remove than 50 year-old paint!

Anyway, the priority over the next week will be to get that rear brake drum unlocked and manouevering the car into the relative ‘sanctuary’ of the garage.