Saturday, 30 July 2011

Fitting your own motor glass

It started as many things do,just one step at a time,I though to see how the new side window rubbers fitted the body frame,they are after all a reproduction of a seal made over forty years back.I sourced them from the Hillman Imp Clubs excellent spares department.

The new seal fitted the cars body just fine,so next was to try the seal on the just cleaned motor glass,water and a razor blade work really well on glass.At this time that was all I intended doing,the budget for the rebuild includes a motor glass refit specialist.

Of course by now I was curious to know what comes next and will the glass and the new seal fit the opening? I soon developed a method and to my rather great surprise saw the very first motor glass panel installed that I had ever attempted to do.

By now Henry was real keen to inspect the progress,he even came inside the car with me to see what the method was.

Henry up close takes a look

By now I was on a roll and soon had the second side fitted,then finished the trial MDF template for the rear window,which on this car will be fixed to save the weight of the steel frame.

Fit your own motor glass? why not,how hard can that be!


Technicar magazine,1972 and all that.Racing with a Hillman Imp in Cape Town.

Mike Monk wanted to change his day job from what ever he was doing at the time, he chose motoring journalist as a new profession,for some reason he asked me could he write his first interview based on my car,this was back in 1972,here is the story.

Imagine,they do a story on my Hillman Imp and place a Leyland Mini on the front cover!

Left click any page,I hope the script will be readable then.
As you can see,Mikes very first story was published,this says quite something for his writing style at the time,he later joined the magazine as a full time writer.

Part two tommorrow!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Chrysler,USA,the Rootes car company and the arrival of the Pentastar

Those solid brass Hillman Imp water pipe nipples remind me of the dark days when one of Britains top car builders,the Rootes Group were taken over by the massive US based company Chrysler,this was circa 1966 or so? This was a turning point in the British car manufacturing process,a sad time for many?

A body badge set,one only fitted to our 1967 Singer Chamois,did they really try to save this kind of money back then?

Known tastefully by the Rootes employees at the Linwood factory in Scotland as 'The Puckered Arse'

Maybe it was too late and the cars that Rootes built were not right for the then market,they had Hillman,Sunbeam and Singer,all well established and quality car brands which sold world wide.Chryslers first move with the Imp range was to save build costs,small items in some ways but ones that in time make a difference,the brass water pipe nipples were a case in point.

To save production costs,being a rise in profits they sought to save money on what went into the cars,these brass water nipples became steel which were plated,they lasted long enough to cover any warranty but never as long as a brass one.

A close look at the front bonnet on a late model  Imp will show you just one cross brace support,before Chrysler there were two which formed a perfect cross brace.They even saved money on their own branding,the Singer Chamois came out with just one small Pentastar badge on the passenger side of the car,its plastic,worth very little but there was never one on the drivers side.Build quality of the bodies was also said to suffer,less spot welds and the like.Chrysler later handed over to Pugeot who took over the damage really,it was too late by then?

The Pentastar was created by Robert Stanley, at the Lippincott & Marguiles design firm. He wanted, according to his blog entry, “something simple, a classic, dynamic but stable shape for a mark that would lend itself to a highly designed, styled product. What that meant, basically, was a classic geometric form. We wanted something that was not stolid. That’s the reason that we broke up the pentagonal form that became the Pentastar. It provides a certain tension and a dynamic quality.” [This was reversed by Trevor Creed].

Cheaper by the dozen,solid brass cylinder head water pipe nipples

I am sure they will be but in my case four were needed,two to an engine in progress and two to stock.

There has always been a very positive side of life in South Africa,someone somewhere can copy just about anything?

We had a sample (thanks Eric)  and  a local engineer soon crafted the new set from a solid drawn hex bar,such quality!

Note, Quality car builders like Jaguar with their XK range of engines and the 3.4 ltr plus the 3.8ltr engines used the same type of brass nipples.


Thursday, 28 July 2011

New batteries for old

Well that sounds good to me,when I bought a brand new Exide sealed 40amp hour battery for the Imp we have in progress,I was asked do I have an old one? the reply was no and I thought little about it,except when I saw I was charged R171 tax on not having an old trade in.

The new battery,it cost just under R600 but with the tax (thats what I call it) added on a stinging R771,the tax is probably a single levy and on any size battery but in this case over 25% added to the new one.
In the past I have given old batteries away but not anymore.

I was told it is a green issue and a lever to ensure you return the old battery,as they do not want them finding their way into waste dumps and rivers,looking at it this way I think its the right way to go,well done South Africa!


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Boat kits,ours are cheaper

Well from August 1st we will re structure what we have offered over the past eight or nine years.In the past we always used the designers materials list and supplied it as a bulk order,plys,wood to stringers,deck beams,build stocks and epoxies,this must have been favorable as we have sold so many kits and world wide.

What we will now do is structure the kit from the plys and CNC works only,this will drop the percieved price by around 50% and for some this may suit what cash they are working with.We will still offer you our epoxies and related products but as an extra should you decide not to by similar in the area you will build in?


A 12 volt battery,make the connection

Seen in pictures there are a number of ways to connect battery cables,if we use the crimp end method,its easy to then fit to the marine grade batteries which have a threaded rod,rather than a lead pole.

Two options and they will both work,the crimped one at the top is the neater and has the ability to fit to an AC Delco Delphi type marine battery too.

Look closely,the blue wire has a positive battery terminal end on ( + ),while the black wire has the negative ( - )  or ground terminal end.The positive is larger than the negative,so we can not mix them up.

Making the connection.

Note,normally the earth or ground cable is black and the positive or live cable is red,the picture above just demonstrates the connection to the battery.

If possible coat the terminal with Fluid Film or Vasaline jelly,both will stop a bad connection due to moisture.

A crimp end and shrink tube end is made off to a starter solenoid,only tghe crimp end works in this case.

Another crimp end application,in this case to Lucas M 35g starter motor.


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Fraser Imp replica

The owner will apply the Saltair white cross on the cars roof himself when the car arrives in Scotland,progress on many fronts is taking place,door cards,sender unit fittings,fuel pump and battery being in progress now.Lucas Halogen head lights are in the post too!

Clean glass makes a nice change.


The Bayfront Maritime Center e-newsletter

They built one of our Didi Mini Transat kits and made a great job of it too.Using what they termed 'Inner City Kids'they went through the many and varied assembly processes and with many schools involved produced a great looking boat,who says boat building is hard!

Based on Lake Erie,near Philladelphia,USA.

EASE Underway

The Erie Adaptive Sailing Experience (EASE) got underway on June 24th. This program provides sailing opportunities for people with physical and intellectual disablities to get out on the water and have some fun.
Running through August 12, there are 22 sailors participating in two 4-week sessions and 21 volunteers donating their time to make sure all runs smoothly.

EASE is now operating four boats, after the recent purchase of another Access Dinghy. EASE sailors are also sporting new personal flotation devices (PFDs) through another generous donation from a local dentist. The pontoon boat that accompanies the sailors as a safety boat has a newer engine and a refurbished awning. A little cooperation from the weather and we're bound to have a great sailing season!

The D and W Boatworks,Arizona

Dave and Wendy bought a Didi Mini Transat kit from us some while back,the build has been long but very proffesional as Dave is an airframe engineer and wanted to introduce some of his own ideas into his new boat.

Daves standard of work is top class and having painted the insides of two of these boats white,I know that the bright woodwork Dave chose in varnish is by far the best way to go.

Note,when Running With Scissors was launched here in Cape Town,it was the very first cant keel boat ever in South Africa,or was that Africa,I think so?

All pictures taken from the D&W Boatworks site.

Welcome to Our Web site!

We are building a Dudley Dix designed, CKD Boats kit, of an Open 6.50 Meter or "Mini".

Ours will have the canting keel and water ballast.
We live in Phoenix, Arizona USA, and plan to sail it in Southern California costal races,
as well as our local racing and just sailing a fast boat! (their J 22)

CKD Boats cc have the moulds to the Didi Mini Transat keel and have supplied many sets world wide so far.

Dave made his own cant keel foil,we can supply them and the fixed version too.

Keel lead ballast halves painted and ready to fit.


Battery cables,crimps,make your own,work like a pro.

Boats and special car applications probably need a special length battery cable,in the case of the car being assembled right now the fact that we are moving the 12 volt battery into the car for better weight distribution,this is the case.

Being organised is a large part of success,where to find the parts needed can take a while but any decent electrical wholesaler should have the three main elements seen above.

Note,fit the shrink tube at this stage!

The cable will be used as an earth or ground strap from the Exide battery,the car is a negative earth,so we connect the battery to the cars body as close as possible,shorter cables are prefered.
The three elements here are the heavy duty battery cable,welding cable can be used too,then the crimp ends,which have been pre drilled to take the bolt that will fasten them.The wider black sleeve is whats called Shrink Tube,this really finishes off the job properly and keeps the ends neat and some moisture out.

All pictures will open larger if you left click on them.

The wire ends need cutting back to the depth of the copper crimp,use a sharp knife and do not over cut.

The crimp and cable with shrink tube is ready to do the next stage,crimping,the crimp will push home the last bit when held firmly.

This heavy duty crimp tool will be beyond the availability of most,me too,so I borroed this one from a good friend (thanks Charles) I would expect some hire shops may have them,or if not,you do all the preperations and just go to an Auto Electrical shop and have them do the actual crimp job for you,its fast,so should cost very little.

The finished job,just look how neat it is.You can also do a reasonable job with a large punch,say a 6mm diameter,you can do with out the shick tube too but why not finish the job properly.

This is one way to shink the tube,I would normally use my Bosch heat gun but as most boats tend to have a gas stove,I have used this option instead.Please work safely and keep your hands back from the flame.
The tube does not need a massive amount of heat,do not flame the cable outer cover,it will melt very quickly.

The finished job,see how neat it looks.

Both ends heated and complete,remember to switch the gas off!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

a new Imp race manifold from below

Better pics today!

The heart of the new 998cc engine is the crank and piston set but the related bits we fit and bolt on really decide what power output we see in the end.

The original 875cc engine came out with just one Solex carb,the choke was only 19mm but with this set up we have two twin choke Weber dcoe size 40 and each choke is a massive 32mm!
Expensive? well in any currency its never a cheap option but if you want the results you have to start with the right parts,its a waste of time and effort otherwise.

We have fitted the new liners and 998cc Hillman Imp pistons but also new camshaft followers (tappets) and new R20 camshaft,with a stroke of good luck I also found a brand new camshaft carrier,how can we do this when the car was introduced some 48 years back? contacts! 


Service your own boat,how hard can it be?

Servicing our own boats should be uppermost in our minds,more so now with the so called hard times but also as a means to get to know your boat and its hidden parts.All items tend to need some  service at some time,the only item I think can be left alone is a solar panel but even that needs cleaning at times.

Here we have a simple bronze water pipe nipple,its reasonably easy to remove and see whats going on with it.The scenario is this:

You have an engine thats over heating,should you call in the ABC Boat engine Co,they will start with the thermostadt to see if it opens when hot,thats a very simple test in a kettle of hot water,you will probabaly need a number 13 spanner to remove its housing,the rest is simple enough.To replace just do what you did to remove it but in reverse.

So the thermostadt was found to be ok? whats next,well we then start to look at the rest of the cooling system and if your engine has a heat exchanger,this can start to add up to many hours of strip down,this far the clock will be at an hours labour and a gasket only,say R400,thats about U$58 right now.

So the strip down starts,I would first start with removing the heat exchanger,it runs the engines fresh water through it cooling with the raw water from the sea outside and pumped normally via a Johnston type rubber impellor pump,which we have checked was still pumping before the process started (you do carry a spare impellor of the right size?)

We have now found that the heat exchanger was clean enough to not be the cause,whats next,well in this case,we can remove the two bronze nipples that take the raw sea water through the alloy gear box,thats simple,just two hose clamps and a flat spanner.

What we find is the cause,check this picture,the hole,which is small even when its open is closed 50% with a build up of salt,easy to clean of course and when replaced the engine will then run cool,end of story,yes but the cheque book is now about to pay for four hours labour.In this case its R360 per hour x 4 and a R40 gasket and sealant tube,so we have to pay R1480 or U$215 for the fix.

Given we needed a size 13mm (1/2") spanner and a medium sized screw driver only,I think you could have done this job your self,how hard can it be.

Is that a good name for a book?


in windy bay,at 35 knots plus.

Hout Bay
South Africa.

Imp full race exhaust,seen from the loud end

We will have to think hard at what silencer we get to install on this exhaust system,the idea being that the car is street legal and a fast road/hill climb car.

The special inlet and exhaust manifold was made here in Cape Town,we have shipped them to customers in many countries now,based on a 1974 Janspeed large bore exhaust manifold I purchased in England,I managed to be re united with it many years later,its a handy tool for us to re model from.

The twin Weber dcoe 40 carburetors are made in Italy,we are told that some have been made in Spain and are missing some jets or passage ways and are not so effective?

Perkins 4108 diesel engine temperature gauge and the Hillman Imp

Now what can these two possibly have in common? well they were both built in the UK some common parts like Lucas generator and alternators were the same but in my case I have made an Imp water temperature sender unit fit the Perkins cylinder head using an Imp oil gallery fitting!

The code on the sender unit reads FAE 29L,left click any picture for a larger size view.

The top fitting with the red cap is an Imp engines water temperature sender unit,the lower fitting which has a
3/4"thread and fits the Perkins 4108 sender hole in the cylinder head is really the take off from an Imps oil gallery,the oil pipe to the oil gauge on the dashboard came out of that once.

I asked Peter,a local  engineer to drill and tap the hole and thread,leaving the sender units end far enough out into the water space in the Perkins 4108.

The metal base unit has been electro galvanised.

Why go to all this bother,well the Imps sender costs just six pounds,the VDO gauge it will be connected to can be expected to cost a lot more,yes, I tested them and the Lucas sender unit works on the VDO 50mm water temperature gauge!