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Freewheeling                                                             3                                                               October 1983
For the steering box and column, bronze multi-start nuts were available in the UK and I got one with the car. The RSR workshop manual gives instructions on reconditioning old nuts. The inside of the outer tube and the steering shaft rust, and iron oxide makes a very efficient abrasive which falls down to the bearing surface of the nut and the steering box. The inside of the tube and the shaft must be primed and painted after cleaning out the rust and treating the surface with Deoxidene or similar product. This rusting of the inside seems to be the downfall of Rover steering boxes; P4 and P6 have it too, and the angle downwards makes sure that abrasive gets into the vitals. I fitted a tight felt washer inside the column right at the bottom, well saturated in oil to catch any future rust.
With all steering gear mounted and ball joints reconditioned where necessary, clutch and brake pedal shaft on, I then completed all the Luvax oiling system. I made a die to remake the metal ends on flexibles which are petrol-resistant hose (rubber and canvas), obtainable from auto spares suppliers. The metal which compress the hose round the acorns on the ends of pipes are made of ½”00 copper water pipe. The pump diaphragm was replaced with one from a petrol pump kit. I turner the outer swaging off and silver brazed a large brass washer cut from 16g sheet to each half, then put two together with ½” Whit csk. Head brass screws from the underside.
Back to the lathe and the 00 and screw ends were turned off. So far, it has passed as original. The whole system works very well now I have attended to some regulators which passed too much oil, but the vacuum regulator at the oil reservoir is the most important part in controlling the pump action. We can now park for petrol without “leaving our mark”:
The body was placed on the chassis with the original shim washers between, and at the point of contact, I placed sheet malthoid. It was necessary to add shims at the front to avoid straining the body as the bolts were tightened. The floor was cut from ¾” exterior waterproof pine plywood, much cheaper than marine but does the same job. Doors needed bits cut out and patches welded in. You have to cut through the inner skin at selected places with a hacksaw and fold the pieces back to position before welding the saw cuts. Some people say weld the door skins together at the edges, but if you cut your margin for folding accurately and make a tool from 3/8” bar, as shown below (click on image on your left) (depth of cut “ the amount you fold), little at a time and a nice edge can be produced.
Curves need a V cut cut at equal spacings to get rid of surplus metal. After folding the outer edges over the inner door frame and hammering down, set up vise grips to squeeze the edge together. I used 22g CRCQ mild steel which I ordered from Hardware & General at Brookvale
Freewheeling                                                        4                                                                    October 1983

With the engine reduced to parts, I found the crankshaft was less than .0005” under standard and ovality of the same order at mains and conrod journals. With .002” brass shims in caps, bearings were tight. I expanded pistons and made up a hone from one damaged piston from engine No.2. The piston thickness was reduced by the thickness of 80 grit aluminium oxide paper which I used to do the cutting. The paper is held in a saw cut which runs down one side of the piston and through the crown at 90 degrees to the pin. (See sketch, click on image on your left). An expanded screw was made up in place of the gudgeon pin. This pin passes through the hole in the end of the driving bar and gives a fixed diameter to the hone; it does not follow the taper, rather it grinds the bores parallel and round. But it needs a big drill  to drive it.
The combustion spaces in the head were polished and the ports and passages smoothed and polished. Valve guide ends were streamlined and the head sent to Central Coast Clutch and Brake for a surface grinding, 70 thou off. This lifted compression to 130 PSI, about 7½” to 1. This made the engine more lively; it pulled like a 90. They also recut the seats for me to suit a new set of valves which I obtained from Vic Lewin. The guides were not worn, camshaft and followers were in first class condition, but the timing chain is noisy at idle. I intend to do a complete overhaul of the second engine as soon as I rebuild the bank balance, and hope to incorporate hydraulic chain tensioning. The rocker shaft was a new one and I rebushed the rockers. There is plenty of hard metal on the rocker pads to smooth these out to a new surface with a fine hand stone.
New gudgeon pins were fitted {Hillman Imp}. They are too long but can be reduced in length in the lathe after grinding off the case hardening on one end. The water pump needed refacing on the joint face with the cylinder head, and a metal plate with a gasket each side added to make up for the refacing which had been done before. This is necessary to leave clearance for the impeller cover to align the fan pulley with crankshaft and generator. I used a small stone on a spindle at high revs in the bench drill to recut the seal faces with slight oscillations to prevent grooving. The operation was very successful. New races of the correct type are from Bearing Services.
The Solex Carburetor took quite a bit of understanding. The needle valve which regulates the supply of petrol to the float bowl was worn at the seating and also at the end of the needle. The overall difference was about 5mm and measurement over the complete valve should be 2.5cm. With some wear at the pivot pin of the float, the petrol level was much too high, resulting in a rich mixture. I pushed the needle and seat from the valve and made a new stainless steel needle. After reassembly, I ground the end of the needle to dome shape, giving a light tap or two as it turned on its seat. This gave the required 2½”cm or 1”. Fine adjustment can be made with seal washers of different thicknesses. The needle face must be polished and the assembly checked to be sure it will hold suction because if the needle leaks at all, the float level will be too high.
  The bi-starter device was also badly worn between disc and carburetor, resulting in a continuous flow of petrol to the engine even when idling. This made control of the idle mixture by adjusting screws impossible. I rubbed the disc flat on 600 grit wet paper on a small piece of glass and polished it with Brasso, also on the glass. I then filed the carburetor faces flat using a smooth flat file and polished them with 600 paper on the glass, finishing with Brasso as for the disc. The mixture is about right now and I will know more after a few runs to check fuel consumption. A clean cloth stretched over the tail pipe when idling shows no soot on the cloth, a very simple E.G.A. On the first trip to Armidale the car gave 13 MPG. Now the bi-starter device has been attended to, this has been improved to better than 30 MPG.
I received two clutch cables with the car. Both had strands broken. Looking for a suitable replacement, I found a freewheel cable doing nothing, so I machined new ferrules for the ends (mild steel), a little longer than the original so that I could silver braze at the ends without heating the cable too much.
The RSR workshop manual gives the cable lengths for the inner but not the outer cables. It is necessary to check before assembly and I found a shorter inner cable to be better. I added a short brass sleeve to cover the outer casing where it had been worn on the chassis. The clutch is light in operation, but not as smooth as I would like. This will be investigated at another time.
I had trouble getting a clutch plate so I fitted a 90 plate with a small amount machined off the diameter. The pressure plate was machined on the face in the lathe after setting up accurately. New toggle pins were made from silver steel. The 90 degree cut-outs in the pins were milled with a cutter in the chuck and the pin clamped in the tool post of the lathe. The pins were hardened by heating to bright red, quenching in oil, and tempering to a light blue. Bearing services supplied  4: ¾” balls for the clutch withdrawal bearing.
The gearbox is straightforward, much as a 90. The uni joints came from James Moule, to whom we are indebted for his parts service. I was surprised to find that the Bearing Service Co. have records of bearing requirements of the 1947 Rovers, and they supplied a set for the diff. I set up the pinion height with the original shims, using the pinion height gauge which I made up some years ago for 74 diffs and used the dimensions given in the 14 manual.
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