Jun 172012

The fuel and brake lines were other items that were to be replaced as a matter of course during the rebuild. I had intended to purchase lengths of piping and make the individual pipes myself. However the cost of decent pipe flaring tools, able to achieve consistently good joints, are considerably more than complete kits.

So I’d purchased a brake kit from Automec, a similar fuel line kit from Hutsons and a pipe bending tool. Both kits were supplied in copper rather than bundy or cunifer which is closer to the original look. So I’ll have to see how they look on the car and I may revert to fabricating my own in cunifer; an alloy of Copper (Cu), Nickel (Ni) and Iron (Fe).

More importantly, I subsequently found out that copper brake pipes are banned in countries like Australia and the US, where cunifer is the norm. Apparently the copper pipes are susceptible to work hardening over time which can lead to fracturing. The introduction of Nickel and Iron addresses this problem. I think more research is needed especially as it’s a safety issue.

Back to the pipes … the problem with the kits is that they are fabricated from coiled piping. In order to get neat, straight pipe runs they need to be straightened before forming into the correct shapes.

I found an article on an American car site with a rather over-engineered process for straightening coiled fuel pipes. I had a spare afternoon so I thought I’d give it a go. The main point is that the coiled fuel pipe should only be straightened/bent in the same plane as the direction of the original coil.

The first step is to lay the coiled pipes on a flat surface and uncoil them against a straight edge, therefore ensuring additional bends in other planes are not introduced. Once released, the pipes will spring back to some extent in the direction of the original coil so the pipes will now form an arc.

Trial run with the shorter engine bay 5/16″ fuel pipe

Long boot to engine bay 5/16″ fuel pipe

The second step involves deforming the pipes beyond a straight line so that this time, when they spring back, they (hopefully) return to a straight pipe. As it happens, the pipes need to be bent beyond the straight line to exactly the same radius as the arc of the now uncoiled pipe.

I used two pieces of old shelving and some 9mm cladding, the latter would act as channel down the centre of the form. I guess you could just use one board against a flat surface.

The radius of this arc is determined by the pipe thickness and the diameter of the original coil. Therefore, for a given pipe size from the same original coiled length, the arc radius will be the same regardless of pipe length.

The final step is bending the arced pipes over the form. Starting at one end, position the pipe arcing away from the form but in the same plane. Then bend the pipe around to produce a straight pipe when released. However be careful not to allow the pipes to rotate when doing the final step.

I thought the results were quite good for a pleasant afternoon spent taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut!

Jun 142012

It’s fairly common for the bootlid springs to wear and eventually fail. Mine were certainly no exception and the bootlid had never sprung open of its own accord. Each spring should consist of a pack of five leaves but the majority had worn so thin that they’d sheared in two. Hence the lid’s unwillingness to open.

I’d read Eric Capron’s very useful article on replacing the bootlid springs and so it was a job I really wasn’t looking forward to! I’d been meaning to ask Hutsons to do this before they returned the painted bodyshell but, in the excitement of finally having the car returned, I forgot to mention it.

As well as a variety of implements to prise open and hold the leaves apart, it’s a jolly good idea to use some heavy duty protective gloves. Once several leaves have been added the spring force is quite strong and the leaf edges sharp enough to do serious mischief to any fingers left in the way.

The first task in constructing the spring packs is to get the 3/16″ bolt on to the first leaf. I deviated from Eric’s guide as I found it wasn’t that easy to open the leaf sufficiently to insert the bolt with the leaf clamped in the vice. This was partly due to the fact that the vice really needed to be clamped securely to a bench rather than free standing, which made the whole process far more difficult.

To start each leaf, the outer end was pushed until there was just a sufficient gap to insert a flat-bladed screwdriver. The screwdriver could then be turned through 90 degrees, lifting the leaf end away further. This allowed it to be slid over the vice’s swivel lever and the screwdriver removed, see the photos below. A solid bar passed through the centre of the leaf could then be pivoted on the vice body to prise it open. The other end of the swivel lever was hard against the vice body so that it couldn’t rotate.

First leaf : this only needs to be opened sufficiently to insert the washer and bolt. This was quite fiddly and would have benefit from a second pair of hands.

A screw driver was used to prise away the leaf end Inserting the bolt was very fiddly With the bolt in place, the remaining springs can be added to complete the spring pack

Remaining 4 Leaf Springs
The spring pack is completed by adding the remaining leaf springs in a similar manner, one by one. A new leaf was opened as before and placed on the vice swivel lever so that it could be prised open using the bar. This time the leaf needs to be prised open much further so the whole of the first leaf can be inserted and the bolt end passed through the hole in the new leaf … it’s much more fiddly than it sounds!

Once inserted, ease the pressure on the bar allowing until it can be removed. It’s a very good idea to loosely fit a retaining nut at this point otherwise the new leaf is likely to slip off the bolt. Now put the bar through the first leaf and prise open. In doing so, the new leaf will also open and finally pop into place. The process is then repeated until all five springs have been added.

If was a surprisingly fiddly job but I suspect the hardest part will be fitting them to the boot hinges. I’ll put that off as long as i can!