midge Mk2 build diary

I experienced my first session of car build blues over the last couple of weeks. I know it won’t be the last but as I write the latest update it is more with a sense of relief that satisfaction.
The task involved removing and renovating the front axle and leaf springs which were very grubby at best. They had been married for the last 30 years and were quite happy with their lot. Removing them was never going to be easy even with the assistance of an angle grinder.

IMAG0379IMAG0377
I didn’t even try to undo the U bolts, I just cut half way through them and the snapped them off. This was before I discovered that replacements weighed in at £60 a set. It wouldn’t have altered the modus operandi, it would just have been executed with moist eyes. The rubber bushes had melded into a compound with the steel springs and had to be part drilled, part burned to remove them. I got a replacement set for a reasonable £35 although they were cheap by virtue of being a rather strange shade of purple.

IMAG0382 IMAG0380
The next step was to separate the spring leaves, should that be leafs? And then dump them in a bath of rust remover. The bath was fashioned from shuttering ply from the oddments bin at the local time merchants. I lined this with a waterproof membrane and was ready to add the remover. Now the observant reader may notice that this membrane changes colour in the pictures, this wasn’t as a result of the chemical process but because there is waterproof and waterproof. Just because a material repels moisture doesn’t mean it will contain it. I therefore advocate the use of builders membrane over tarpaulin.

IMAG0388IMAG0391IMAG0394
The rust removal was one again left to a Bilt  Hamner product, the Oxy C in the bath and the Oxy Gel on the bits I couldn’t get in the bath. The C makes 20 litres of solution per kilo of material. This was more than adequate for my needs. It is biodegradable and contains no nasty chemicals. The parts soaked for a couple of days and then washed off. The results were nothing short of remarkable.

IMAG0408
The gel didn’t produce the same level of rust removal but it was far better than I would have managed by any other means available to me and certainly once the paint was applied the finish was none the poorer.

IMAG0397IMAG0399IMAG0405

Armed with paint brushes and Hammerite Smooth Black I spent the next few years covering the rejuvenated parts to a satisfactory standard. It only took a couple of coats but at the same time I had decided to paint the anti roll bar and the steering box silver. As I couldn’t get any brush paint from Wilkos, I resorted to using spray and even though a little more work had to put in to masking parts off and more consideration given to overspray, I think the finished result was far better and worth the extra effort. For that reason when I do the next batch of parts I will be spraying them.

IMAG0424 IMAG0426 IMAG0427 IMAG0411 IMAG0412
After putting it off for a number of days I finally got on with the inevitable and rebuilt the springs and mated everything together. For no apparent reason I had a mare of a job getting the new U bolts into place, it took two hours to persuade them to play nice and the rest of the connecting up took another two hours. I am getting too old and infirm for bullying car parts but as I stood back and admired the handiwork I had to admit it was worth it.

IMAG0430 IMAG0429
I will be reconditioning the swivel hubs at a later date and it makes sense to paint them when they are apart. Now that is a job I am looking forward to as I became increasingly sick to the back teeth of painting. I still have the back axle to do so I had best man up and get it done over the next week so the drive can be used again.

Advertisements

The Simple task of removing the body from a Suzuki SJ Part 1

Image

After waiting three weeks for the planets to align and the Dalai Lama to pop round and bless the project I found myself unable to delay things any longer. The time had arrived to remove the body from the SJ. First things first, this is occurring on our drive, with no special tools, just large amounts of foolish confidence. The logistical issues started even before the battery was disconnected as my roll cab had to be manhandled from my workshop to the front of the house. This necessitated a ramp to be made and moving most of the workshop around to get the tools out.

At the crack of nine o’clock the first spanner was wielded in anger. The bonnet and the rear door offered no resistance, the same could not be said for the doors. Somebody somewhere in Japan must be pissing themselves at how they designed the door hinges to be held on with large cross head bolts and no amount of persuasion caused them to yield. As the hinges are needed for the rebody the easy option of cutting them off was unavailable to us so the next best option of welding nuts to the bolts was called into action. This required the welder being unearthed from the bowels of my workshop and manhandled up the garden in a wheel barrow replete with punctured tyre. Oh the joy of it all. The joy continued as the welder’s shroud collapsed and the tip melted. This happened to be the last tip and the first road trip began to buy some welding supplies. Eventually all the bolts surrended and the doors parted company with the body.

ImageImage

After that is was merely a case of removing everything that looked like to was attached and didn’t want to be. The wiring loom was removed and carefully marked up. The last time I built a car the wiring proved more complicated than Sudoko after a Tequila tasting session and I was mindful not to suffer a repeat. .

Image

Dinner was enjoyed from the comfort of the SJ’s seats

The afternoon was spent in the same vein as the morning, going through the endless list of parts that needed removing. None of it was particularly taxing, a number of parts really didn’t want to budge but were made to do so, I had to create a puller to remove the steering wheel and it didn’t half go with a crack. A number of the redundant parts were perfectly serviceable and hopefully they will bring a few pennies back into the pot as will weighing in the body at the local metal recycling plant.

I am feeling quite nervous about the next stage, as I am not exactly able bodied and it looks quite heavy. I can’t quite get my head around how it will play out  I guess I will have the answer by tomorrow night.

Image