Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Wobble Limiter: Jimny steering damper.

One annoying aspect of the little Jimny was the way the wheels seemed to wobble over slight irregularities in the road surface. It almost felt like the wheels were too heavy for the car. The swivel pins and all other links were checked and the wheels were balanced several times and that made a big difference. New shock absorbers and springs made no difference at all. There remained a slight and sometimes undulating feeling that really detracted from the balanced little machine the Jimny really is. So, the last thing I decided to do was to fit a steering damper kit supplied by Jimnybits in the UK.
As you can see the kit comes with all the brackets and bolts you need. There is even a set of instructions. It's just a pity that the instructions show a different shape of bracket and there's no diagram showing where all the differently shaped shims are supposed to go. Otherwise the strong and nicely finished brackets fit well and it all comes together in a logical way.
Also the clamps on the steering arm could be a bit smaller to be a perfect fit. The bolts are rather too long or maybe our Jimny has a steering rod that's thinner than usual.
 The bracket on the chassis frame fits well and looks nice and strong.
They claim it is a ten minute job, but taking my time to find the best combination of shims and re-positioning the brackets a few times it took me an hour. Not bad though. But does it work? I must say that it does help, though not sensationally so. It steers a bit heavier, but it feels much smoother. The wheels don't wobble at every ridge and puddle, so the car feels like a better driving car overall.


Monday, 4 December 2017

Old sewing machines: The monumental Gritzner(Pfaff) GSZ and the Smoky Elna Grasshopper

Not to deviate too much from the slight Automotive bias here, I'll start this post with a soothing picture of the rear end of the Blaze MG. But what is that old suitcase in the back?
It is a nice "One owner, Low Mileage" Gritzner sewing machine built by Pfaff. Not sure about the build date, but I think it's probably a late Sixties machine. And it's heavy, all German quality iron and steel. You might be wondering why we need Sewing machines in the Rusty collection? Well, they are mechanical (sometimes even rusty)marvels and did you notice the upholstery and seats in the B? 
 Even the name growls at you: "I'm big and strong!"
If you look underneath you see lots of heavy rods, levers and a few interesting looking wheels and even though it all looks big and heavy, it's also very finely engineered and the machining is beautiful.

And all that power comes with a proper accelerator paddle. "Fly by wire".
This metal door shows the fine mechanism and the lamp. This machine does not look old or worn out. It looks brand new, and it works beautifully too.
Here's another old box. Not very heavy, but strong enough to make you wonder what's inside.
The lid hinges upwards and shows us the contents: an Elna "Grasshopper". Built in Switzerland and designed by a Spanish genius. Do you see that thing looking like a bent coat-hanger? It folds out to form a knee operated control lever. Simple and clever, just like the rest of the machine.
The body is all Aluminium. Straight lines and round edges. This is the rear. There is even a little box for feet and bobbins.  Previous owner told me his mother had bought it new in 1942 and used it a lot. The paint has worn off the top of the arm. But the rest looks undamaged and the machine worked beautifully without any nasty noises or rattles. for a while that is...
After a little while sparks and acrid smoke filled the room. The wire on the connector to the transformer made a nasty short, so the wire and the transformer burnt out. 
As the machine was originally built for 125 volt mains and we have 230 volts here, it came with a transformer. The transformer was in homemade wooden box. I'll replace it with a more modern transformer.
Meanwhile cleaning the internals made the machine turn much easier. Mechanically it looks just as strong as the Gritzner, but as the body is Aluminium and with fewer options it is much lighter.
Even the box is clever as it folds out to form a platform, so the free arm is incorporated into a flat working surface. There is also the original manual. US version, so this is probably the US market machine.
The internet is crammed with information, so I was not surprised to find a website with a reference to serial number and build year. The interesting thing is that the serial number seems to refer to 1946, not 1942. They say 60.000 of these machines were built, so if Austin built 290.000 Sevens, the Elna must be rarer than an Austin Seven.
Note the difference in design and size of the two machines.
The seller of the Elna mentioned he also had an English railway (oil)lamp to find a good home for. Of course when I saw the label "Eastgate & Son, Birmingham, 1944" I had to take it home. There is a blue and a red lens. By turning the top you can change the colour.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

"Dalek" Hydrolastic pump fix

Here you can see our little Churchill Hydrolastic pump feeling a bit sorry for himself. I've had him for a long time and his job is to pump up our Wolseley and several other Hydrolastic suspension cars, but most days he can play "Exterminate" as much he likes. Many years ago, shortly after I bought him, I took the pump apart and cleaned all the internal parts. I did notice a metal ball had fallen out, and even though there were several other ball (bearings) on the bench from previous jobs, I presumed I had refitted the ball that had fallen out of the Dalek. The pump worked good enough, but it needed very short strokes of the handle to pump up enough pressure. Pumping up a car just took a bit longer. I made a note to myself to check the pump every time I used it. As This is not a tool you use on a daily basis I ignored the issue for quite a few years. And then, a few weeks ago I had to pump up an MGF and decided to check a few manuals for the pressure needed on the F. I also found a manual describing what size steel ball was required. It turned out I needed a 3/16 Stainless steel ball! So I ordered a pack of twenty. Today it arrived and I decided it was time to see what size I find in there.
 Taking off the steel panels, the internal organs are quite simply a pump and a few pipes, hoses and several valves.
The valve with the 3/16 ball is actually inside this banjo fitting on the underside of the pump unit.
On the right you see the ball that I extracted. On the left the new ball of the correct size. It was easy to fit the new ball. As a test I pumped up the Wolseley. Much better!
As you can see this little Dalek feels much better now. Two arms in the air!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Cloudy kajak day

Though slightly colder it seemed a good day to grab the kajak to go for a paddle
Ready to cast off
 The low sun lighting up the trees and the water
Light filtering through the branches.
 Under the trees in a small kreek
 I wonder how long this old Military tyre has been here.
Beached the kajak to see a small(tiny) war memorial.
 Part of a crashed Hawker Typhoon mounted on the levee.
The plaque was badly bent. I straightened it as much as possible, so I could read the text.
Light failing quickly, so it's time to go back


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Moody November first


Very nice weather for the time of year.
Surprised to see sign of beaver here
The river is still at record low, so the trees are high and dry and all kind of lost items come into view. Like the waterski below.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Amazing Autumn paddle

 Beautiful colours. Actually, this is Japanese Knotweed.
 Fading light. Where is the sun?

 Behind this cloud. Something's brewing here.
Blondie is saying "Hi" 

Monday, 23 October 2017

Morris Minor Shock absorber fix

There was some play at the main shaft of one of the front shock absorbers of the Minor. As most suppliers of Minor parts expect a rebuildable example in return before shipping rebuilt items, this was not an option and it took some time to find a working replacement.
By chance I spoke to the friendly proprietor of Minorel and he had a usable shock absorber for us. Within days it came, complete with Polyurethane bushes, pivot pin, lockshims and a locknut. 
This is the old item with play in the main shaft.
 The bushes slipped on easily almost without any pressure.

The whole assembly in place. The blue bushes don't clash with the blue arm from the painted shockabsorber.
The final result. The new bushes and painted shock absorber look good and a test run showed it was a succes.