About Me

New Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Name: Todd Russo Location: New Hartford, CT, USA

Thursday, July 21, 2016

She's official!!!


It has been three and a half months since I last posted. Yes, it is uncharacteristic of me to have such a gap but there was a reason. I was bored of me saying (and you probably were, too) that I still have to have “Old Biddy” color sanded and registered all the time and it never actually happened.  I waited until I had good news and real progress before I posted again. Here is the good news, bad news…bear with me.

First, I wanted to get the car roadworthy in case there was going to be a Dept. of Motor Vehicle (DMV) inspection on her. Therefore, she needed a couple things buttoned up. One thing was that I had to have rear view side mirrors installed. Holding true to my goal of keeping “Old Biddy” the same configuration she was when she arrived ten years ago, I put them on the front fenders (wings). This seems to be a love/hate thing with British car enthusiasts. Whatever anyone else thinks, I bowed to her original condition.





The car had no title when I bought it out of state in New York. To make a long, long, long story short (which is one of the reasons for not posting in a while), here are the papers I ultimately needed for the State of Connecticut to officially register the car. A Q-1 form (in lieu of a title and bill of sale), her insurance documentation, and a registration application that they wanted me to fill out each time I went to the DMV (four to be exact). Then they finally issued me a temporary plate which gave me permission to drive the car to the shop get her Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) inspected.


After all that…She was finally issued her license plate!!! This, too, is temporary as I will be getting vanity plates in the fall.


Last week when I drove her to get the VIN inspection done (with her temporary license plate in the back window), the ride was only a 6.2 mile round trip. At a top speed of 58mph @ 3800rpm she ran great. Four days later, the same evening when she got her permanent plate issued, I decided to go for a longer ride to bond with her and do a “shake down” cruise. All went well, except that the next morning I noticed she was leaking oil out of the front of the engine. We will need to investigate.



There is still a punch list of things to do. One item on the list is to modify her spare tire hold down clamp. The screw is not long enough to thread into the bracket. The tire was clunking around a bit in the trunk which made it sound like the wheels were falling off! It should be an easy fix with a big enough drill bit.


That is the good news…and here is the annoying news.

Al, the guy who did all the bodywork on Old Biddy, was already paid to color sand and buff the car a few years ago, has not returned any of my calls since I started to contact him last summer. I have decided to take Old Biddy to a local fellow who has been detailing cars for thirty years to do the job instead. He is very honest, and is a great professional at what he does. He is excited to help me out any way he can as he loves cars and takes pride in what he does. I have all the receipts and invoices and paperwork needed to go to small claims court if I do not receive a refund from Al. How can people do business like this and go to bed with a good conscience?
Thanks for visiting,
Toddy

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Rear brake drum/hubs


This week’s project was the final project for this winter…cleaning up and inspecting both spare rear brake drum/hubs.

I would like to thank everyone who responded to my question a couple months ago! I asked what color everyone’s 1100 drums were. The answers ranged from them being bare cast metal, to black, to having separate hub and (non-painted) drum parts (in the later 1300s and Austin Americas). My book of “highly exalted words” illustrates the unit as Part no BTA375 (which is also stamped on the drum). They were originally painted red outside and black inside. So-be-it, they shall be that again.


Mine were both rusty and caked with fifty years of grease and grime.


But the braking surfaces still have a good bit of material left on them although they will have to be “turned” to smooth them.


The inner bearings (MoWog part no. BTA373, or in the real world 14LJT 7/8) are common “trailer” bearings. They are in good condition and only need to be cleaned and regreased.


The outer bearings (MoWog part no. 13H113, or real world MJT25) are a total loss and need to be replaced. Check out the grooved balls!! Of course, it figures that these are the more expensive and harder to find part!


I decided to just clean the drums up and paint them for now.


I am happy with the outcome besides the fact that they need to be turned and need new outer bearings. If I ever decide to sell them or need to put them on Old Biddy, I will tend to those issues then.


At least my three winter projects ( the radius/trailing arms, the hydrolastic diplacer units and the brake drums) are completed and I know what each of them needs for parts to “finish” them when the time comes. But warmer weather is arriving and my attention shifts back to getting Old Biddy color sanded and registered.

Thanks for visiting.

Toddy

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hydrolastic displacer unit clean up


Since spring seems to be coming quickly this year, I have to hurry up and finish my winter projects of refurbishing the spare parts that I have. My ultimate goal of organizing our cellar depends on it.

This week I concentrated on the hydrolastic “bags” that came off of the spare car. They are in very good condition with no leaks and the hoses and couplings seem solid. They are just rusty and crusty. There are quite a few sites that explain in much detail the inner and outer workings of these units. I will save you from ad nausea.












One point that the sites never really explain is the only difference between the front and back units. It is the flexible hose to steel hose connectors. The front has the air bleed valve, also known as the Schrader valve.


And the back ones do not have this.


One minor issue I had one of them was that the lower rubber was distended. Not a big deal to fix. Just used one of the piston cones to push it back up, and then I had to clean up the workbench where the hydrolastic fluid squirted out.


To save all the gory details of showing you the sanding (with wire brush and drill wire brush), primering and painting, I will just post the final “money shot”.


The only thing needed is a set of displacer rubber boots, Part number 21A1496. In Britain, they sell for between 7 and 9 pounds which calculates with the conversion rate to only $11 - $12. Here in the States they run from $18 - $25. A set of four would cost about $80 with shipping!! Right now the priority is putting that money towards getting Old Biddy registered.


Everyone one around the world has told me to keep these as spares and not sell them as they are growing rare. I have seen a set of four selling for $750 and up. Tempting but not persuading enough!! Next up is the final project of the winter…the rear brake drums, an interesting tale indeed.

Thanks for visiting.

Toddy

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Radius/trailing arm project Part 3. Finally Finished!!


I know it took a month and a half. But, the trailing/radius arm refurbishing operation is completed! Parts BTA 626 (right) and BTA 627 (left) are officially off my workbench!

After stripping the outside of the arms and scrubbing them down with a wire brush, the inside parts were next. I took the arms to John’s and used his angle grinder with steel cutting wheels to get the pivot shafts removed.


Then I brought them home and had to cut the rusted and "frozen" bearing races with a Dremel and pound them out. This was by far the hardest and most frustrating part of the whole operation!!




I decided to use a wire brush wheel on my drill to polish them up instead of sandblasting them. They de-rusted very nicely so they were primered.




And painted.




I found a complete pivot shaft rebuild kit on that auction site. It was a bit pricey but, then again, how many of these kits are there in the world?


The rear brake backing plates were also wire brushed and sanded down. They painted up well. I also splurged and got new handbrake lever boots since the old ones crumbled to bits.


The cleaned up parts...the brake adjusters and handbrake levers, were reinstalled.


I have all the parts…new shoes, springs, retaining springs, and brake cylinders…to rebuild them. But, then again, I may just save everything as spares for Old Biddy.


They were then reassembled. All the newly painted bits look great!!


To see what I started with, scroll through the previous two posts to refresh your memory. I am very pleased with the outcome. And they do not smell bad any more!!


I do not know if I am going to rebuild them completely or try to sell them as is. A few questions come to mind if I decide to sell them. How much are they worth? Will someone actually be interested in purchasing them? Would I get my money back if I sell them completely rebuilt with pivot shaft kits (and roller foot joint kits) installed and all new brakes? Will I need these in the future as spares for Old Biddy?


Next projects to go up on the bench will be cleaning up my spare hydrolastic displacement units and the rear brake drums.


Thanks for visiting.

Toddy

Monday, February 1, 2016

Rear trailing arm project part 2


Work continued on the winter project this week.

The first thing that had to get done was to remove the tapered skirt (or displacement unit cone) from the shaft. It was soaked with Aerokroil for three days and then hammered apart. Once the cone was separated, I went searching for the other cone for the other side of the car. I found it still inside the displacer unit. I have heard horror stories of folks who ruined their hydrolastic rubbers by forcing the cones out. Therefore, my decision was to leave it in.
 

Both struts cleaned up great! I placed their respective roller joint feet by them as a reference for myself later. The same "feet" (and all the parts in a rebuild kit) are used for the front control arms, which are pricey but still available. I have decided to paint the struts since they seem to rust easily.
 

Then my attention turned to arm number 2 which was equally as rusty as number 1.
 

Notice that the drum brake hub is red…both of them are. I do not know if that is an original color or if they were replaced at one time. I will decide what color to paint them later. I would like to keep them as original as possible. What color are your 1100 rear drums?
 

Number 2 was not as much of a struggle as number 1. I brought the whole assembly up to John’s to use his hub puller and other tools that my tool box lacks. After an hour and a quarter, number 2 was stripped.  And the rusty bits soaked overnight…
 

And were taken out, polished and/or painted…wash, rinse, repeat…
 

Notice that both arms still have the pivot shafts stuck in them (bottom of the picture). Before they get cleaned and painted, the shafts will need to be extracted since the bearings are completely ruined and the races are frozen onto them.
 

And, the roller joint foot seats are a rusty mess.
 

 I hope to at least get them stripped out and cleaned this week.
 

Next post I hope we will be painting and reassembling both trailing arms. I would like to finish this project so I can move along to the next…cleaning up the hydrolastic displacement units.
Thanks for visiting.

Toddy

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Winter projects (Trailing arm project Part 1)


Since work on Old Biddy has come to a halt, I have decided to work on projects left over from the donor car that I have been putting off. My ultimate goal is to have my cellar all cleaned and organized. The project I am working on is refurbishing all of the 1100 rear suspension parts that I have so I can sell the extras and keep the rare ones. Since I never posted about the 1100 rear suspension, this is relevant.

The biggest parts are the rear trailing arms (or as the parts book says “radius arm assembly”). Both of them look like they were pulled up from the bottom of the ocean.
 

My main objective is to strip all the ruined bits off, sand blast the good cores, then repaint, and reassemble them with the good savaged “bits”. Some parts came off easily after they were squirted with Aerokroil and soaked for a few hours.
 
And some parts were pretty stubborn, but with patience and perseverance, they too eventually came off.
 

The smaller rusty parts were put in a container of Evaporust and left to soak overnight.
 

When I went back downstairs the next morning, the liquid had turned black. At that stage, the parts were taken out and given quick wire brush scrubbing, and a rinse off with dish detergent and hot water.
 

They came out pretty nice!!
 

And after I polished them and painted the hand brake cable/hose anchor thingy, they look great. Even the hand brake cable quadrant sector pivot part, which I thought was going to be trashed, looks great!!
 

Now the stripped radius trailing arm and brake backing plate are ready for the sandblaster. The radius arm still has the pivot shaft in it (on the side towards the bottom of the picture) since the bushings are frozen on. That will have to be taken out somehow. I do not think that the shaft stub (on the other end of the arm) will be touched as it is in excellent condition.
 

This hydrolastic displacer unit strut, which is equivalent to the Mini’s trumpet, still has the hydrolastic unit skirted or tapered cone/cup piston part attached. That part has so many names!! I will be getting that detached this week.
 

My goal is to have everything that is going to get sandblasted set aside until I can get to John’s blaster when it warms up. Reassembly of the “bits” and pieces should go quickly as I am only cleaning everything up and not rebuilding them.

Thanks for visiting.
Toddy

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Two months of bloglessness


It’s been over two months without much progress on Old Biddy. More on that in a moment…

First, I received a message from a reader about what was done to the baby moon hub caps to “fix the problem”. Since winter is approaching and the snow tires will be put on the Fiat in a few weeks, I had to get them done. As an experiment, I poured some Evaporust into each hub cap and let it sit for a day until the greenish liquid turned black.
 

Since I did not know that this operation was going to be blogged, I did not take any pictures of the de-rusted caps. But believe me…this stuff works great!! I cleaned them out with hot water and dish soap then dried them off and let them sit for a couple hours to let the water totally evaporate. Then, I just sprayed them first with a rust inhibiting coating, and then primered, and clear coated them.  They are not perfect but no one will see that, and I just hope it preserves and protects them for a while.
 

Now back to Old Biddy…I could go on a full on rage induced rant about what I have been through with the State of Connecticut Motor Vehicle Department, but I will not. One good thing that came out of the whole “ordeal” is that she is fully insured now. Once spring rolls around, I will be back on task of having her registered. I will leave this year by giving you one word of advice…Never ever buy a car (in your state, or out of your state, or country) without a title!! So for now, Old Biddy has been put to bed where she can dream of being fully completed and driving legally on the road.
 

The thought that has been coming back to me is that “it is not meant to happen yet.” It will.

Thanks for visiting.

Toddy