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4 Mar 2012 - Some assembly

I'm very nearly at the end of the cleaning phase of the project - thank god! Most things apart from the engine and gearbox have been stripped, cleaned and painted and so ready for the exciting part - re-assembly! It has taken me 5 weeks to get to this stage, which is not bad as I am only doing it in the evenings and weekends. I set myself little goals each week to get finished and so it keeps the project moving forward. It is a had graft getting it all cleaned and painted, but it pays dividends in the long run in my mind.

This week I laid out all the seperate bits and pieces on the table to check I had everything, and luckily I didn't have to replace much, even the brake pads and shoes were good and will be re-used. This build is on a tight budget, but I am not going to compromise on safety or practicality - that is, I am doing the bits that will be a pain in the backside to do when the car is fully built, such as the universal joints (UJ's) on the propshaft and rear axles.

The nice thing about everything being cleaned and painted is that the putting together is really satisfying and marks a significant step forward in the build. The brakes went together quickly with the help of the workshop manual to make sure I had springs and spacers in the right place. I built as much as I could and sorted out the nuts, bolts and washers so when it goes on the car, I have everything to hand. It is much easier to sort out in the warmth of my lounge than outside on the driveway.

All the front suspension bits were put back together, well almost all - I had managed to lose a front shock absorber and hunted everywhere for it! Almost resigned to having to buy some new ones, I had one last look in the garage only to find it had rolled under my toolbox! After having a coffee to calm down, I cleaned and painted it and got it assembled with the cut down spring and some new nuts and washers. It did require a new lower bush which was £1.20 from ebay.

Everything is being painted black on the chassis, mainly because I am going to paint the car a cream colour, and I am going for the subtle look rather than the multi-coloured approach. I want to exude the classy 1950's look, but with out the expensive chrome! Although I all looks very black and the same, when it is all together, it will not be so in you face, and will be broken up with other components, particulately in the engine bay.

Saturday was pretty grotty weather-wise, so the assembly and sorting out was nice to do indoors. I did manage a trip to Gary's workshop at Holton Heath to pick up the lowered battery tray, rear suspension lowering kit and the front grille. It was nice to see a number of project cars underway and I was fortunate to catch Dave Thickens who is doing the Sammio turnkey builds 2 units down from Gary. Dave had a Spyder in there that was painted and awaiting the interior so it was great to be able to check how everything goes together and discuss any challenges I may face! In particular I had a look underneath the rear end to see the room I have for the petrol tank behind the rear axles, and also the fit of the bonnet.

Sunday cheered up a bit and I started to put some of the suspension components on the chassis, with the steering rack and anti-roll bar also being added to make it look like it is progressing! Putting it together is quick when you have it all sorted, but unfortunately the weather and interuptions from interested neighbours meant I didn't get too far.

Back in the garage, I decided to attack the UJ's and took off the real axles ones and the two on the propshaft. I had been soaking them in WD40 for the week - each night they had a liberal spray so it had time to soak in. This meant that they all cam out with not too much bother. The ones on the axles were not too bad, but the propshaft ones had a small amount of play in them, and were corroded as you can see in the pictures. The UJ's are only about £5 each and are a real pain to do when the car is together, but really easy to do when you have it all stripped down to this stage, so I am replacing them all. After I have painted everything of course!