Austin Seven

The Lambda has just left for the European Grand Tour, previously the Bug emigrated to the US, the Lotus although still in the shed is destined for South Australia and I am now motorcycles-less. I have been left with a hole or three in the shed and time on my hands so if not to do the devil’s work a new project was needed. (although some would say an Austin Seven is the Devil’s work)
I seems that everyone I know has had an Austin Seven at one time or another although it must be said that usually it was when they were young, broke or both. However, when I started to drive in the early seventies a dearth of cheap under-powered motoring was no longer the Austin 7 but truly terrible cars that were not just under-powered but over weight as well.
So after winning a gruelling Ebay auction where apparently all sense of proportion and reason left me a 1935 Austin 7 Special has duly arrived at the Altona North Toll depot after its long trip from Darwin. Although none the worse for wear it certainly would not have made it under its own steam. A week or two later a long list has been compiled and I’m just starting to realise that the initial cost of the car may be the cheapest part.
The basics are good however it seems that the basics were built by one person who thought things through and the rest was thrown together by someone else.  So it needs to be un-thrown together and that is where I am now.   In a masochistic way the rectification is  proving to be quite satisfying.



Posted in Austin 7 Special | 2 Comments

A really silly way to clean an engine

I have had the SU from the Lambda with Ian Ruffley for the last week as it was running so rich that even hot spark plugs (NGK B4ES) were carbon fouling. Ian found the following.

  1. I have a reasonably recent SU it should not have a vent in the dashpot cap as it already has an internal vent so the dashpot circuit had a permanent leak.
  2. The main jet was oval as it had not been centred.
  3. The thottle butterfly had been replaced at some time but it didn’t fit the hole.

IMG_20160605_150104Ian rectified all the above.  Next I fitted the inlet manifold and took a photo as I couldn’t get my boofhead around the back of the engine and found a bit of a step between the head and the manifold.  The Lambda has a reproduction aluminium head and it appears that  things like studs and ports are not quite where they should be.   It was suggested by Andrew C. that a half round file may do the job so I duly stuffed a rag into the inlet port and filed away, after a few trial fits all was good.

Carburettor was refitted and after Glenn pointed it out to me, spark plugs were also fitted (NGK B6ES). Choke on, hit the starter and immediately settled to a good idle.

IMG_20160605_160543At some point while we were cleaning up Glenn asked me if I had taken the rag out of the inlet port, he didn’t ask me this because he has a great memory it was just  that about 2 metres behind the car were a couple of fragments that looked familiar…..


Posted in Lancia Lambda | Leave a comment

On Bentley tuning, Sizaire axles and Lambda Head Gaskets

IMG_1696First up Des has just added 1.9 litres to his 3 Litre Bentley all done very nicely by Up the Creek Workshop the car is now quite a weapon, however it was running a bit rich.  Most of us would at this point start randomly stuffing around with different needles for the SUs, this is where Des’s engineering background makes this a bit more like science.

If you look at Des’s photo on the left you will see the laptop is connected to a camera looking into the inlet of the SU, to the right the 10.3 is my air/fuel gauge temporally lashed to the dash and the gauge above the red lamp is the tacho.  The readings in the pic were just in neutral however the next day   it was repeated  on a long hill,  so with some measured guestimation new needles were ordered and it’s now running around 13:1 throughout the rev range, so all those gadgets have at last come in useful.

The Sizaire Naudin has now been off the road for 18 months waiting for a new front axle to be cast after the old one was found to be cracked.  Alas after receiving the new one (and a spare luckily) it was found to have a warped spring pedestal so back it goes, hopefully the spare can be used as I don’t fancy waiting another 18 months.

IMG_0975 (1)The Lambda has been up to UTCW for some fettling before its holiday to Europe, as with so many jobs the list started small with reset the rear springs, check the brakes and the front wheel bearings. The springs were reset but the rear hubs were shot as were the rear wheel bearings and seals but the brakes and the front wheel bearings were fine so sort of equalled out.  But there was a niggling problem of running hot at speed and this would need the head removed.  Now any Lambda owner will tell you if you do not have a blown head gasket leave it alone, removing the head usually exposes the sorry state of an aluminium block in its final stages of decay but I just had to know.

The picture on left  shows my rather unique block which is not too bad for a Lambda although a bit of a shock was the size of the bores as they have been sleeved down to make good some previously dodgy machining making my car the smallest capacity Lambda in existence. On the bright side it shouldn’t break a crank as overstressed it isn’t.

Lastly, I’ve stymied some oil leaks on le Bébé but I am struggling with my bargain Zenith carburettor that has the engine idling at slightly less than flat out, the throttle butterfly is a bit of a square peg in a round hole so that may be the problem.  Once the Lambda is on the boat I’ll get back to this one.

I wonder what normal people do with their spare time?


Posted in Bebe Peugeot, Lancia Lambda, Sizaire Naudin | Leave a comment