by Mike Peake
It is now March 2014 and the re-commissioning continues. The water pump and recon callipers arrived along with all the other brake parts required and my trusty flask of tea and I were back at the lock-up bright and early the following Saturday.
The plan was to fit the water pump, refit the radiator, fit the front callipers, hoses and master cylinder before turning Poppy around so I could work on the back brakes in the light from the open door.
Well I soon had the new water pump fitted and after searching for over an hour for the “safe place” refitted the fan and the radiator. Then I filled up with the correct mix of water and antifreeze. The callipers, hoses and all associated parts were also fitted up properly and looking lovely and shiny. It went so smoothly, it was almost as though I had a clue what I was doing!
The fly in the ointment though, was that while I was so successfully fitting all these shiny bits, I noticed that the bush had come out of one of the anti-roll bar links, the track rod end gaiters were horribly split and there was a small hole in the offside steering rack gaiter.
I started by removing the anti-roll bar link and tried to get the bush and tube back in, but it all refused to co-operate. Pushing with fingers didn’t work. Hitting it with a hammer didn’t work and neither did hitting it with a bigger hammer. Nor did a Fatbloke standing on it or jumping up and down on it manage to get the bush back in so I gave up and went home and decided to order a new one with all the rubber bits now required.
The wonderfully patient and helpful people at Canley Classics were subjected to yet another call and all the additional parts were very quickly received.
The date for the Prom was approaching worryingly quickly so I planned a full weekend of spannering and optimistically booked the MOT test for 1st thing Monday morning before work.
The new anti-roll bar link was quickly fitted and it was time to turn my attention to the track rod end gaiters which looked easy. It would just a matter of undoing the single nut, slipping the track rod end out of the steering arm and swapping the new gaiters for the old.
I am sure all the old lags out there have already spotted the flaw in my plan. The nut was undone but I could not separate the track rod end from the steering arm. I tried pushing it, wiggling it, pushing and wiggling at the same time. Then I tried standing astride the wheel and lifting it, until I remembered the calliper incident. I even consulted my trusty Haynes manual which had never let me down so far. It simply said “remove from steering arm” which I didn’t find particularly helpful! I am ashamed to say I then resorted to a big hammer…which didn’t work either.
It was time to cancel the MOT and consult the experts… I posted a plea for help in the technical matters section of the Practical Classics car forum and they didn’t let me down. The first reply from “Zipgun” said “Whatever you do, don’t hit the threaded bit with a hammer”…oops….I had left the nut on the end though so it will be alright… won’t it…?
Apparently, track rod ends are also known as “ball-joints” that I need to “split”. I did consider Zipgun’s two hammer method but Mrs FB pointed out that I was dangerous with one hammer, let alone two. Luxobarge then came to the rescue. He pointed out that there is a cunning tool imaginatively called a “ball-joint splitter” which of course, I didn’t have.
A quick trip to my local machine mart rectified this and my ball-joints were very quickly and efficiently split, gaiters changed and all reassembled and I’d discovered a new favourite tool. It’s called “the right one for the job”!! Handy hint though: NEVER pick up the Machine Mart catalogue. I have wasted an awful lot of time drooling over it planning my “lotto win” workshop full of all the “right tools for the job”!
Logic would suggest that I should have changed the steering gaiter while the TRE was off. However, I’d been reading up on this job and everyone was saying how difficult it was to get the new gaiter onto the rack housing without offering any real suggestions. Time was short. So I decided to stick a bicycle puncture repair patch over the hole and hope that that would do for now and added “find my puncture repair kit” to my “to do” list.
Flushed with my success, I went ahead and re-fitted the master cylinder and promptly cross threaded the union into the cylinder! Well I thought it was just a bit stiff, which means I didn’t stop and now the thread in both the MC and union are completely ruined.
I said lots and lots of REALLY bad words and went home to consult a bottle of Merlot on how best to proceed. The Merlot suggested that I buy a new master cylinder and section of brake pipe from Canley’s. Which I did, after drinking the Merlot.
to be continued ...
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