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29 Jan 2012 - Working at the rear

It was a nice morning today, so after the guy came from Exeter to pick up the Vitesse hard-top I sold on ebay, I set myself a task to get the rear end stripped of wheels, axles etc. It was the second time the man from Exeter made the 2 hour each-way trip as he came last week in a small car expecting to get the full size fibreglass hard-top in it! Needless to say after a few obligatory attempts he admitted defeat and went home to return the following week with a VW T5 van! Moral of the story is always check the dimensions of the the thing you are collecting BEFORE you set off on a long journey!

Anyway, back to the Vitesse. I will soon have to stop calling it that as there is getting less and less Vitesse left and so maybe I will start to call it the Spyder from my next installment. The progess today was quite swift and pleasing, with me spending about 3 hours dismantling the rear suspension, removing the differential and all the wheels and associated components.

Before I started this morning I went round first thing and sprayed WD40 on all the nuts and bolts I could find, although most were covered in layers of underseal. This then had a chance to work its magic while I had my cup of coffee and porridge.

It was a bit chilly so I was glad of my orange ready-brek glow, and was extremely encouraged by the fact that underneath the layers of underseal, the nuts and bolts were actually in really good condition and all came off easily without and bleeding knuckles or rounded heads.

On my last Herald rebuild, every nut and bolt was seized and sometimes you just pray they shear off so you have a fighting chance of getting it dismantled, and it is even more frustrating when the bolts are siezed into the rear suspesion arms and you can't get them out, even though the nut has come off. No such dramas with the Vitesse, it is all good and only a few bolts showed signs of rust enough to warrant a replacement. Everything was put in a tub for cleaning and painting, which I will do in the evenings when it is too dark or cold to go outside.

With everything off, the Vitesse now resembles a large wheel-barrow and I am starting to find a few more dodgy repairs that will need attention before I get on to the full build up. I am also starting to think that I may get the whole chassis shot-blasted as it will make life a lot easier and cleaner for me, which will please the wife and neighbours. I am lucky where I live, as there is an industrial estate over the road that had a shot-blasting company on it and I think they charge about £100 for a chassis. I may consider if the funds allow.

With all the rear stripped down I will turn my attention to the front next weekend, and beg-borrow-steal an engine hoist to remove the engine. I will also start to draw up a list of the new bits I need to order, like the rubber suspension bushes and brake pipes. I do have new fuel pipe and brake pipes "in-stock" and a flaring tool to make up my own brake lines, so I am fairly well-equipped in that department (sadly only that department!)