History and Part 1 - strip down of part built kit

This is a log of the build of my PEMBLETON trike. It is intended to be a light hearted look at the project but may help others or indeed others may see my mistakes and be able to give me pointers in the right direction.

Introduction

It all started in the early 1990s. For whatever reasons my son, John, and I went to the nearby Stoneleigh Kit Car Show and I saw and wanted a Lomax. I even went out and bought a fairly good 2CV and used it to go to work in Birmingham whilst I sorted out the Lomax kit. The 2CV buckled at the front of the chassis one night coming home and realising I needed a new chassis I put everything on hold. SWMBO did not like the fact that after about 6 months the 2CV was still on the drive in its broken state so it had to go – I got £50 for it.
A year or two later I went back to Stoneleigh and being persuaded that any car needed 4 wheels I bought a Robin Hood. This was 1996 – the car was completed in 2004. I have to say that during this time my employment changed dramatically and involved a great deal of studying whilst lecturing at the now Northampton University to complete my Masters and my surgery finals. I still went religiously to Stoneleigh each year with John and mused over the fact I hadn’t completed the Robin Hood. We saw much change over the years, kit car manufacturers coming and going, but the Lomax still niggled in the back of my mind. One year it wasn’t there anymore and enquiries suggested it was to go out of production. By this time I’d seen the JZR and this appealed rather more than the Lomax. Then I found out at 6’ 2” and 100Kg I wasn’t ever going to fit the JZR to great disappointment. Still the BRA did a nice car – it too went out of production.
Then I retired – well semi-retired - and found I had time on my hands. I completed the Robin Hood over the summer of 2004 and sold it.


The Robin Hood




The Aristocat


Then I bought an already built Autotune Aristocat and drove that for about 18 months – nice car but I still wanted a three wheeler. It went and I was now looking at the Avion but was cajoled into buying an MGB being told it was ‘the real deal’ not a kit. We were to have over three years of fun in it but it still had 4 wheels. By this time I had fully retired and my son was becoming brassed off with hearing I needed to build a trike and at the 2008 Kit Show was quite impressed himself with a couple of Pembletons (I still wanted an Avion but guess what – it had gone out of production!) and started to push me ever so gently down the Pembleton route. Over a couple of beers after the 2009 Show he finally succeeded in persuading me of the merits of the Pembleton build and I wrote off for details and started to look for a suitable donor. I was quite surprised to see that the price of a fairly good second hand 2CV had shot up since I first bought one and any cheap ones were snapped up quickly. John had registered with the Pembleton Owners Club and was keeping an eye out for a donor or part built kit. One day an e-mail arrived from him to say a part-built kit had just been added to the ‘For Sale’ page of the forum and I should go for it. I was lucky – I contacted Paul and arranged a viewing. John came up from Winchester and met Jan (my better half) and me at Oxford, which was half way for us, and we drove to Pinner not far from where I was born and brought up. The car had been bought by Paul’s friend in 2002 but he had died tragically one year later. Paul bought the car intending to complete but due to commitments hadn’t had time to do anything. The car had suffered somewhat by being outside for some of that time but most of the bits needed were present and the deal was done. I took home the documents and build manual to study and all I had to do now was collect the kit from Pinner.



The collection and sorting of the Kit

Paul was happy to leave the kit at his place for about 2 weeks but no longer as he had the builders coming in and needed the front drive to be clear. I contacted an old friend of mine, Richard, to tell him I’d found a Pembleton and could he help with the collection. Richard is a mine of information and general expertise and also has a way of making things happen. No problem he says, leave it to me as I can lay my hands on a trailer and borrow my brother’s 4X4. Three days before we were due to pick up the kit Richard phones to say the gearbox has gone on the 4X4 and can I find a car with a tow-bar as he hasn’t time to look around. The short answer to that was, no. After a couple of minutes of panic I telephone around and found a van hire place near to where Richard lives and hired a large Luton van with a tail lift. And am I glad I did – I don’t think hauling the kit and bits on and off Richard’s flat bed trailer would have been easy when we found out it was bigger than we thought. We duly went off at about 9 o’clock and arrived in Pinner at 11.30. Paul is a nice guy and helped us load the kit on to the van having put as much as he could into boxes for easy transportation. We drove back to Stratford for lunch and unloaded the van. The various boxes were stuffed into the garage around the MGB and the kit itself put on the drive and covered with a waterproof car cover. We then drove back to Oxford to return the van which had to be back by 5 o’clock or we incurred more charges – we arrived back at 4.30. On the way home I wondered if I’d done the right thing. I realised the kit as it was had been a good buy but all the bits were pretty filthy and rusty and I didn’t know how well the things that had been done so far had been carried out. I convinced myself that at least I didn’t have to strip down the donor and the strip down of the kit to check everything would be easier. I slept uneasily that night.

The following day I braved the cold garage and tried to sort out a few of the boxes of bits. This left me somewhat dismayed as I found that the spare engine which had been dismantled had been split between two boxes one of which had about 1” of water in it and the camshaft and one of the sides of the crankcase were ruined. There were hundreds of rusty old nuts, bolts and bits in each of the boxes mixed in with what appeared to be the new pieces supplied by Phil Gregory together with myriad bits of what I can only describe as junk. The two pieces of the wiring loom were in two separate boxes neither of which was labelled still with some ancillaries hanging off. The first owner had bought two 2CVs and was going to use bits from each car. He had obviously retained a number of components from each but they were all muddled and some were of no use – for example he had retained all the shock absorbers but had bought new ones which were already fitted to the kit. I tried to rationalise what was around but it was a daunting task hampered by the fact there was no room to spread it out as the garage was full of MGB which I did not want to damage as this was to be sold ASAP in the New Year. I cleared up as best I could and decided to wait until after Christmas and New Year.




The kit as it was first seen at Pinner – the engine and suspension are fitted but these were to cause much consternation. Also the floor, scuttle and front bulkhead have been fitted.




Some idea of the state of the kit as first seen – note the lack of gaiters on the mid-shaft and that the brakes had been fitted the wrong way around.

Christmas came and went as did the snow. During this time I felt pretty rotten and a trip to the docs diagnosed a touch of troublesome ticker with atrial fibrillation. I was told to take it easy whilst an appointment with a consultant was sorted so used the time to market and sell the MGB.









Here is the beast, a 1964 pull handle restored in 2002. It had a very interesting registration but it was not transferable and was thus worth nothing except in the marketing area. I advertised it on Classic Cars for free and had quite a few enquiries of which three were obviously very interested. One was trying to buy the car without even seeing it and offered a low price but was willing to negotiate. This left two, one a dealer in Nottingham and a chap who was a company director and said he’d been looking for a green MGB for a couple of years. The dealer had made the first move so in fairness I let him have first bite at the cherry. Upshot was he made a fair offer and I accepted. He put the car on his website for nearly double – yes double – what he gave me for it. Don’t know if he ever managed to sell it at that price as there are many, many good MGBs out there at far less than he wanted.



Now the MG was out of the way I could consider re-arranging the garage to give me some working space. Richard had been (and still is) rebuilding his house and had recently stripped out his kitchen. He had a few old units to get rid of so I asked if I could have two or three. We arranged for him to deliver these but in the meantime he’d unearthed a large 8x3 workbench which he didn’t want – yes I’d have it. He brought this up with one kitchen cabinet and we cut and fitted the two to give me a really good working area. I re-arranged the garage sorting all the various bits from the kit purchase. I also bought a small blast cabinet and installed that. As I was still on orders not to do too much I tried to write down some rationale to the build. I had always thought that a V twin looked far better than the flat twin of the 2CV and decided, after reading much on the Pembleton forum, to go down that route. Mike M and Alan W are fans of the small block Guzzi and gave me a great deal of help in that direction. I almost bought a small block engine from Pete Morcombe of Reboot Guzzi but it needed a lot of new bits. Secondly there is no ‘off-the-shelf’ conversion all having to be manufactured either yourself or via negotiation with a local engineering set up. However I did take a run out to see Phil Gregory (he who designed and manufactures the Pembleton) to discuss all the ins and outs of fitting a Guzzi. This proved to be a most thought provoking trip. He obviously has a great deal of expertise and his theory was that because of the extra weight and torque of the Guzzi it upset the front end dynamics and thus the handling of the three wheeler regardless of whether it was a small or large block Guzzi that was being added. He felt it was probably safer to add the small block to the four wheeler Brooklands without any modification but, in his words, was downright dangerous in the Super Sport. He has modified his own demonstrator with a T3 Guzzi and had played around with it until he was satisfied it was safe and handled correctly. As he said, if people were going to do this sort of thing then he felt he must address it and give the best advice. I left to consider all this and stopped in the local pub for a bite – no beer though as this had been banned by the doc until I’d seen the consultant. Pity as the pub had been voted CAMRA pub of the year locally.
After a weekend of chat with John, my lad, who can always be depended on for a pragmatic approach to things, I decided to go the big block route and buy Phil Gs conversion kit along with a number of other bits I wanted like wire wheels and his stainless steering wheel.
The hunt was now on for a big block Guzzi and to cut I long story short after scouring the motorcycle ads and the dreaded e-bay I contacted Pete at Reboot Guzzi to see what he could do. He had a couple of engines that would do the job, a T3 and a lump out of a California III. The T3 was a nice engine, albeit that it had one broken fin but it was a bit pricey. I plumped for the Cali and we agreed to meet up when he came over from France where he is now based, to the Classic Bike Show at Shepton Mallet on 20th February. The price included a pair of carbs, alternator, rectifier and regulator and seemed good value. Pete is a very friendly and knowledgeable guy and it was good to meet him at the show after speaking to him on the phone to sort all the arrangements etc. I can highly recommend him if you wish to go down the Guzzi route and want an engine and ancillaries without the hassle of buying a complete bike and stripping it. Jan and I went off for a day out to collect the engine anticipating a nice pleasant day out. The sun was shining as we set off and we had thoughts of a relaxing lunch and a carefree drive through the countryside. How wrong can you be? Morton–in-Marsh was closed – this is a small town on the Fosse which would take us almost directly to where we needed to be. Driving up one-way streets the wrong way (hoping no cameras were about) we found our way back out on to the Fosse (the official diversion was about 15 miles out of our way). I took a wrong turn at some new road works further on and found myself stuck on a road with no turnings leading halfway back to where I’d come from and on to the M5 motorway. So change of plan – let’s go to Bristol and then east to Shepton – no problem except wasted time. It took over an hour to traverse Bristol but then cleared to sail on to the show. Just about 500 yards short of the entrance to the show there was a car crash and we were all waved on frantically by the police with no directions as to get into the showground. I drove on with the sat-nav lady telling me to turn around until she decided a recalculating route instruction was the flavour of the day. She sent me up a very narrow back lane along with about 20 others – some coming the opposite way. What fun we had especially one lady who, one suspects, had never driven her car backwards before and held everybody up for some considerable time. We eventually arrived having done 110 miles in just over 4.25 hours. Tempers were frayed and stomachs empty, not good news. Then because the field we were to park in was too wet we were sent off to another entrance where the guy wouldn’t let me in without paying for two tickets neither of which I wanted; as I tried to explain to the ‘jobsworth’ parking was free and I didn’t actually want to go into the show I only wanted to pick up an engine. With traffic building up behind me he eventually caved in and directed me to a place he could monitor saying I was only to phone Pete and must not move. I parked up and waited until he was occupied and shot off into the show to find Pete. We did the business and I trundled the engine back on a trolley Pete had lent me, collared a French Hell’s Angel to help lift the engine into the car, returned the trolley and set off for home. We stopped for a quick bite at a McDonalds and completed the 100 miles back in 2.5 hours. What a day but at least I had the power unit for the project.
Finally saw the consultant who put me on beta blockers for the time being and still banned alcohol!! However she did say I could start moving about a bit more so the strip and rebuild could commence.




The first thing to do was to remove the engine and gearbox. After removing the bolts that attach the drive shafts to the gearbox and moving them out of the way this was simple, just supporting the unit on a trolley jack and undoing the bolts through the hangers on the chassis and then the two bolts on the gearbox support attached to the steering cross member. The gearbox support was perished – this was probably the first of a number of problems to be found with the previous partial build. The gearbox and engine were persuaded to part and I now had a gearbox with disc brakes and callipers attached to clean up. It was at this point I realised the callipers had been fitted the wrong way round – I started to wonder what else I would find.
Next I needed to remove the front suspension arms to send to Phil for exchange with the modified arms. First the steering arms were undone from the track rod ends and tied up out of the way. Then the track rod ends were removed from the hub carrier – again all very easy so far. The next job was to remove the shock absorbers and suspension tie rod. This revealed another couple of wonders. Firstly the shock absorbers had been fitted upside down and the knife edges for the eye bolt on the tie rod had been replaced with bolts. At least the triangular holes for the knife edges hadn’t been drilled out even though I was to replace the arms with exchange units from Phil I didn’t think it very commendable to give him some knackered arms. Next the large nut holding the drive shaft to the front hubs was removed on each side and the drive shafts eased out. Luckily the previous owner had replaced all the bearings both in the suspension arms (and on the swivels/hub carriers) and thus the large notched retaining ring holding the suspension arm to the cross member moved easily with a small copper drift and both sides were readily removed. However Phil wanted the arms without the needle bearing races inside the suspension arm. I must admit this phazed me a bit as I was sure they would never come out as they had almost certainly been there for 30 years as I didn’t think the previous guy would have bothered to change them even though the needle bearings obviously had been. A phone call to Phil was encouraging – “just drift them out – there’s a small shoulder to give purchase to the drift”. OK says I and off I go. Sure enough gently does it and bit by bit they came out – let’s hope they go back in the same way. Next up was to drive out the king pins. I knew this was coming and had invested in the right tools to do the job – £30 but worth every penny – especially as I knew I’d need to put new ones in later. I could have gone to a local garage for this but they wanted an arm and leg to do it – had they been more accommodating I may have used them – certainly I’d advise anyone who can get the job done cheaply to do that. Removing the king pins revealed the next delight. There were no plugs in the bottoms of the hub carriers not surprising as the threads were – let us say – beyond their best. More problems to overcome. All the various races, bearings and hub carriers were labelled and carefully put in bags to be attended to later. With the king pins out all was ready for a trip to Bayton to pick up the converted arms and the Guzzi conversion kit together with the wires and steering wheel. All went well but the kit is pricey and I did think I’d have some adjustable shocks in the price but these are extra. Also something that was a bit of a shock (excuse pun) was the lack of a starter ring on the special flywheel supplied. Instructions just state remove old starter ring and shrink to fit on new flywheel! Not looking forward to that. However generally I was a happy bunny with all my goodies and set off for home with a renewed vigour.

This is a picture of the Guzzi conversion kit supplied. The starter ring has been fitted - more of that later.

Not shown are the extended suspension arms and the welded on shock absorber mounts.


I put in orders for most of the bits I thought I would need e.g. knife edges, new gearbox mount, tap to re-thread the kingpins etc. etc. spreading my favours between 2CV City and ECAS. Some bits are cheaper at either site and it’s worth doing your sums but do consider postage.


As can be seen in the picture of the Guzzi kit the starter ring has been fitted to the flywheel. I spent some time thinking about this and even found a video on YouTube that shows the process. However I was alarmed at the way the two American guys approached the problem – primarily with a large blow torch, a big hammer and a much laid back attitude – well that’s the Yanks for you. I thought there must be a more subtle way. I read that the ring only had to be heated to about 250 degrees centigrade to expand it enough to fit the flywheel (in the Haynes manual I think) and this could easily be achieved in a domestic oven. Removing it from the old flywheel was a different matter. Again the previous owner had removed the flywheel from the engine he was refurbishing – remember I said parts of it were in about 1” of water – so I had one to play with and if I cocked up then at least I knew another was on the engine I had removed from the kit. I heated up the ring by running a hot air gun around the outside of the flywheel for about 15 minutes directing the heat over the ring itself and then gently drifted the ring off the flywheel. Far easier than I thought it would be. The ring was blasted in my newly acquired blast cabinet to knock off some of the age related crud and put to in the oven with the volume turned up to eleven – come on you all remember Spinal Tap. The new flywheel, as supplied by Phil G, had been placed in the freezer overnight – I was trying to apply some schoolboy physics here as I guessed the flywheel would shrink and the starter ring expand. Once the ring had been in the oven for 30 minutes at 250 degrees I pulled out the flywheel from the freezer and quickly placed the ring over it and with a couple of nudges from a copper hammer it fell onto its seat – job done. Not only did I achieve the ring fitting but as any of you domesticated people know the interior of a self clean oven occasionally needs the temperature to be set at high for 30 – 60 minutes thus I had achieved two operations in one go; well you have to do your bit for the environment don’t you?

It was now time to get down and dirty. I had put off the dreaded cleaning tasks but they could wait no longer. I decided to start with the track rod end assemblies. Hell’s teeth were they filthy. I removed the perished rubber gaiter covers to be presented with a solid amalgam of grease and road dirt. Next I had to remove the castellated end nut which I assumed would be rusted solid into the housing. I removed the split pin and made up a removal tool by cutting a short piece of steel bar such that it would fit across within the nut and locate in the nut itself – the following picture illustrates this:




Note I cut this to various widths to fit a few different things – I guess you could make up individual tools but as they’re only to be used a couple of times economy is the name of the game.

Surprisingly the nuts came out easily from both sides and the assemblies were dismantled. Is the opposite of dismantled – mantled?



Assembly before dismantling (above) and after (below)



All the bits were blasted in the cabinet and washed in engine degreaser and blown clean with the compressor to ensure no grit remained. They were in good shape and didn’t need to be replaced. An old design yes, but it seems to work well.



Above is a picture in of one assembly in its cleaned state, together with a steering arm, which has been treated with anti-rust covering before being painted. Below is a picture of the re-assembled unit with its new gaiter – you need strong thumbs to fit these!



One of the pictures above shows a steering arm of which so far I have said very little. These actually caused a bit of a problem and anyone wanting to remove them, as you must do for the Guzzi conversion, may benefit from my mistakes. I had asked Richard if he had a ball joint splitter. As usual although he didn’t own one but he knew someone who did. Looking at the problem it is necessary to fit the splitter between the end of the arm and the slider of the steering rack. There is an anti-rattle rubber slab in this gap but in my usual Scrooge attitude I was of a mind to try to save this. We tried to fit the splitter with the rubber in place but only succeeded in denting in the slider which then locked up the steering. Dismayed I left it at this point and came back to it later. I read a little around the subject to find you MUST sacrifice the rubber plate and this then gives a small gap in which to fit a removal tool. The correct Citroen part is mega bucks so I invested in a Halfrauds ball joint puller at £8.50 intending to grind it to fit – it was only going to be used twice and I wasn’t too worried what I did to it as long as it did the job. I offered up the puller to the first arm and to my surprise and delight it fitted exactly – how often does that happen? Taper joints have always been a mystery to me. How on earth do they fit so tightly? As I tightened up the tool nothing was happening and I was becoming worried that the whole thing would go bang – the tool that is not the steering arm. There was a sudden POP and assuming the worst I picked up the tool which had fired itself across the garage to find it intact and the joint released – result!! Did the same on the other side and put the arms aside for cleaning and adjusting as per the Guzzi conversion instructions. Inspection of the steering slider showed damage was not as bad as I thought and was easily rectified although it didn’t look quite as pretty as it did. At this point I decided to remove the cross member and steering rack complete to refurbish. I found that it had only been fitted with two bolts, easily removed, but because the floor had been fitted it is impossible to remove the unit without cutting out a large flap of the footwell. This could be done and a plate riveted over but I decided that the unit could be rubbed down and repainted in situ so left it where it was. I had had to remove the steering column to try to release the cross member and this too was put aside for refurbishment.
Back to the steering arms. The instructions say that the arms must be bent forward by 5 degrees. This is to help mate up the track rod end and steering arm as the exchange unit suspension arms from Phil G are lengthened by about 100mm. I drew a couple of lines on a sheet of hardboard which followed the existing angles of the arm and using a protractor drew other line 5 degrees more acutely. The arm was then gently bent bit by bit in a large vice until it conformed to the new dimensions. The arms were blasted, anti-rust treated and painted with Hammerite.

Before finishing with the blast media, garnet, which I was using for steel components I cleaned the exhaust fitments for the Guzzi. Just a word about using a blast cabinet. Choose your blasting media carefully. I chose garnet as it is only a medium abrasive which was OK for me as much of what I wanted to clean was lightly rusted or coated with flaky rough paint that needed to be removed. However the exhaust fins were very bad and it took quite a while to get a reasonable finish but the garnet still did the job although it would have been quicker with say, aluminium oxide.


A before and after picture of the exhaust fins – these took ages to do with garnet.



It was time to change the blast media in the cabinet from garnet to glass beads in an attempt to clean the brake calipers and carburettors. In both cases I was mightily concerned about leaving residue in any of the many orifices of the castings. I thus spent a great deal of time blocking holes with either bolts that should fit in the threads or using paper tissue from an absorbent roll plus masking tape. I set off carefully and was pleased with the results. It is essential to clean the parts well after blasting with a solvent and then blowing out everywhere with the compressor.


I have included a couple of pictures of the calipers and the carbs – as usual as a before and after picture – although as the sharper eyed will notice they are really left and right, albeit that both were as bad as each other. This way of doing things certainly speeds up the cleaning process and is to be recommended for a fairly decent outlay of £90 for the cabinet and £25 for 10kg each of garnet and glass beads. I expect to sell the blast cabinet once finished and even if I only get back half of what I paid I’ll still be happy.



Above the carbs came out quite well but the calipers below were better.



Cleaning continued with the pedal assembly. This had already been fitted to the car but I had removed it along with the master cylinder as I wanted to look at the condition of both. The pedal assembly was pretty good and only had a small amount of surface rust on the top section. This I simply wire brushed off and treated with anti-rust before putting aside to paint later. One worrying aspect was the lack of the accelerator pedal axle and a quick look in the Parts catalogues suggested £12 for a new one. This for a simple threaded length of rod with a welded stop washer seemed excessive. However, as I was rooting about for a washer to fit on one of the caliper bolts and emptying all the jars of bits I had put together in the initial sort out I found the axle – this was thus attached to the pedal box assembly so that it did not walk away!!
The master cylinder looked OK but it is difficult to tell if all the rubber innards are perished or not. However I am reliably informed that LHM tends not to cause the corrosion that is seen with ordinary brake fluid which is hydroscopic. I have yet to decide what to do here as removing the roll-pins in the cylinder is a bugger and it may be best to leave well alone. Trouble is the brakes are somewhat important. I shall be putting new seals in the calipers and having already blown the pots out of their seats in one of the calipers I can attest to the fact that there is absolutely no corrosion evident although they must be 30 years old – so perhaps LHM has done the trick. I have also invested in a new set of brake pipes made up specifically for the Pembleton by Bonapart. As I say brakes are very, very important.

It is the end of March and we are off to South Wales for a break. I shall start up again once back when I must start on the larger components – i.e. the gearbox and engine. This could be fun.


Back from a good break just before Easter and before I could start again on the project I needed to do something with the garden so spent the main Easter holiday trying to repair some of the ravages of the winter. We seem to have lost quite a few plants and a number of pots have fractured. Still, we cleared up a bit and cut grass so I feel justified in getting on with the Pembleton.

I note I said I would be addressing the engine and gearbox before I moved on but I realised I hadn’t yet cleaned and painted the front suspension tie bars, springs etc. The eye bolts appear to be new and as I don’t think these come with the kit I assume the previous owner had bought these. Anyway I dismantled the set-up, rubbed them down and re-painted with Hammerite. They were in good condition from being enclosed I guess and did not take long to do. I must admit I’m not too sure about Phil Gs spring assister system having attempted to set the plastic bits between the springs – rather too difficult to space correctly and may well go down the line of fitting Grayston assisters as, I believe, others have done.

I then cleaned the starter motor by bead blasting and although it has cleaned up well it is not as sparkling as I’d hoped.

Suspension, spring and cup cleaned and ready for fitting



Starter motor cleaned and oiled, not quite as good as I’d have liked.

Whilst I was tidying up a bit I thought it better to continue with the cleaning and painting of the front suspension arms than moving on to the engine/gearbox although I am keen to get started on these bigger items. Dave Parr e-mailed the other day to invite me over to see his rather splendid Silverfish and I need to grill him a bit on the engine etc so perhaps I’ll wait until then when I can progress with some idea of what to do for the best.

The modified exchange suspension arms supplied with the Guzzi conversion come primed and wrapped in cling film. I undid these and was a bit surprised to see that the seating for the needle bearing races had been sprayed over here and there when the arms had been primed. Also the seating was damaged a little where whoever had removed the races hadn’t taken much (any?) care. I was annoyed at this both from the point of view that the seatings hadn’t been checked and dealt with and also that whoever had done the spraying couldn’t be bothered to put a small amount of masking tape over the seats prior to painting – how long would that take?



Arm as supplied in its cling film wrapping.

Below is a picture of the race seat partially cleaned – I’ve put the race against it but you can quite clearly see the primer at the bottom of the seating, I have already cleaned it off the sides. I put all the races in the deep freeze, suitable greased and wrapped in plastic, to see if the physics used to fit the starter ring on the flywheel can be used here to help shrink the ring and aid its fitting. I can’t really heat the arm as it will burn off the primer.



Whilst I waited for the races to cool I attacked the damaged threads in the hub carriers with the tap I bought from ECAS. Suffice to say that with the correct tool these types of job are straight forward. One side was a doddle the other a little more taxing but gently does it and the result was excellent. I tested both sides with the bottom plugs supplied with the new king pin assemblies and they fitted well. One more small job done which should make the assembly of the front end easier when I come to it.

Went to see Dave Parr and his machine. It is truly a testament to care and ability. He has spent a great deal of time considering all the aspects of the build and has produced a well thought out and well built car. He has the same engine as myself and it was interesting to experience the performance of the trike on the open road – exhilarating or what? I certainly picked up a number of ideas and Dave talked me through some of the pitfalls he encountered and gave me some needy info on how to update the 2002 chassis I have to comply with the current MSVA regulations. Anyway the trip has spurred me on.

With the roller bearing races nicely cooled and the seats cleaned to accept them I put them back into the suspension arms. They went in OK but took more effort than I thought. However as long as you are careful and don’t attack the job with too much brute force they will seat correctly. Interestingly as I drifted in the races the vibration obviously loosened a fair bit of rust from within the arms and I was left with quite a pile of it after it exited the king pin end. Perhaps a shot of Waxoyl wouldn’t go amiss before I refit the hub carriers.

The two suspension arms as supplied by Phil G were obviously of different eras. Later arms were better welded than the early ones in terms of neatness of finish. The early ones usually have great mountains of weld splatter and look like the Alps whereas later ones were welded, let us say, conventionally with a fairly neat rounded appearance to the weld. I need to smooth out the welds a fraction but I have heard of disasters where the weld has been taken down to make it flush with the body of the arm which has resulted in weld failure. A quick post on the forum (temporary for the time being) brought a few ideas and the general consensus is to file carefully either by hand or via a finger belt sander, never using an angle grinder, until the weld appears reasonable and then fill any bad imperfections. I shall give this a go and have ordered an air driven finger file.

While I wait for that to arrive I had a good look over the gearbox I am due to use and was dismayed to find that part of the bell housing was broken. This in itself would pose no problem but didn’t look too good. The previous owner had bought two 2CVs to use as donors and thus there was a spare gearbox BUT it was the brake-drum type and thus couldn’t be used as it stands. A quick look confirmed the bell housing was intact so I set about removing it to transfer to the disc-braked ‘box.

The removal went well albeit a bit fiddly in places to access the bolts on the ‘drum’ gearbox. It is simply a matter of undoing all the bolts and nuts and carefully setting them out such that they go back in the same place. Also note that when the drive exits the box there are some shims which should be retained without damage. I cleaned the bell housing from the ‘drum’ box and after removing the damaged one from the ‘disc’ box fitted the undamaged one. I put some blue Hylomar on the metal faces – whether or not this is recommended I don’t know but a lack of gasket prompted me to do so. I’m sure someone out there will tell me if I’m wrong in doing this. I then cleaned the box as best I could to prepare it for painting. I have decided to paint both the gearbox and engine as the years of surface corrosion have wreaked their havoc by discolouring the surface despite wire brush and wire wool. The picture shows the gearbox ready for its final degrease and subsequent painting. The painting will be a while as I want to pick up a fair amount of stuff, including paint, at the Kit Car Show at Stoneleigh on 2 May. I have made a long list of bits I need but inevitably I shall forget some things. The show often has ‘show specials’ and by buying as much as you need saves postage from various sources which can add up quite significantly.



The gearbox in its cleaned state ready for final degrease and painting.


The whole of the last couple of weeks has involved cleaning and refurbishing bits and a filthy job it is. I tackled the drive shafts next – you may remember a picture of one from the time we picked up the kit. I had removed them and stored them away and taking them out for cleaning reminded me of what a state they were in. I separated the two parts, remember there were no central gaiters on the shafts, and scraped them with a narrow paint scraper to remove the years of accumulated gunge – ended up with quite a pile of it! I carefully washed down the exposed metal with degreaser and dried it off before rubbing down with aluminium oxide paper and wire wool. This left a fairly good surface primarily free of rust which I then painted with black Hammerite. Once this had dried, overnight, I fitted the two parts back together, greasing the sliding shafts, and fitting the central gaiter. The gaiter is a tight fit and again, like the gaiter on the end of the track rod ends, requires a bit of grease and strong thumbs to encourage over the shaft. I didn’t have any decent zip ties to hold the gaiter in place so used what I had for the time being. Also the existing ties (or lack of them in two instances) will need replacing (the ties are on the list of stuff to buy at the Kit Car Show)





The pictures above show a before and after treatment – I think I’ll need to beef up the ties around the central gaiter before use.

The air finger file has arrived so I returned to the welds on the suspension arms and how to reduce them. I tried to attack them with the air file but quickly realised this would take for ever and, despite warnings to the contrary, I broke out the grinder and very, very carefully began to grind them down. I started with the arm with the worse spiky weld and splatter and found with care a good finish could be obtained. I did not try to completely flatten the weld and smooth it into the surrounding metal as I had been warned by Dave Parr this could lead to the weld becoming unstable. The area ground down was finished with the air file and gave a respectable finish. During this process I was dismayed to find the suspension arms supplied in the Guzzi conversion had obviously not been shot blasted (or at least not properly) and the grey primer finish had simply been sprayed over the top of rust. I therefore had to clean the arms with a wire brush and aluminium oxide paper. The finish was not bad but it was not overly good either. Although I went ahead and painted the arm I’m still not sure whether or not to remove the roller bearing races and have the arm shot blasted and primed correctly – I’ll contact a local firm that does this sort of thing and find out how much it will cost.



Above shows the extent of the awfulness of the weld and where I have rubbed it down a touch to show the rust beneath. Below is the finished weld reduction.



With both arms painted I put them to one side to await their fate if I decide to have them blasted and primed (or even powder coated although I’m not keen on that as any damage to the powder coating allows ingress of water which leads to rust and the whole coating is ruined – believe me as this happened to some expensive powder coating done on the Robin Hood). I think I’ll probably go down the painted route as it stands and see how they perform when the car is built. They are so easy to remove I can have them refurbished if necessary over a winter in the future.


I haven't posted much of late as I've been tied up with other things but I have been able to do a few bits and bobs. I removed the rear suspension arm after lifting the chassis on to trestles - no great drama but I did find another strange bit of previous work. The rear hub had new bearings, something I've found throughout that had been replaced but a seal had been fitted to the outside of the bearing and the 44mm nut crushed down on to it. I don't know what possessed the guy to do this at is obvious it wouldn't work. However it was easy to remove and I also took out the rear seal as I intended to replace these whilst everything was stripped.




Above shows removing the hub - the flanges on the wheel nuts give a good purchase for the hub puller. I found it easier to do it this way than simply bolting on the wheel and pulling as I achieved a good steady pull with little effort.





Above shows what greeted me on removing the hub. I stripped it all out as I intended to replace all the braking system for obvious safety reasons and whilst looking at the state of the whole thing I decided to have all the suspension arms blasted and painted professionally. I took the the arms to a local place in Alcester and they did a great job at £30 per arm. Below is a picture one of the front arms.



I bought the bits to refurbish the rear braking assembly but of course I had to buy two lots - ie 4 pairs of shoes and two fitting kits - perhaps they'll come in handy in the future or I can sell on to a 3 wheel Pembleton builder!



I have centred the shoes as best I can but as I write I've not refitted the drum and bearings - I'll then see how well I've done.

I also started to fit the fuel tank but realised the sender was missing its positive terminal. On removal and close inspection the terminal must have been damaged at some time and the inner metal strip from the rheostat to the terminal was snapped. A new sender is about £30 so I managed to source a secondhand one, along with the missing handbrake ratchet that I needed but found that when it arrived it was as rusty as hell and the negative terminal was broken off. Rather than send it all back (it was dead cheap) I set about moving the rheostat and its accompanying bits to my original which was in good condition. A bit of drilling and careful fettling put it back together and it seems to work fine - certainly gives a good variable resistance reading when moved through its range of motion.

Basically I have now completed all the strip and clean part of the build except for the engine which I shall put on a separate page and will start a new page for the actual assembly.