Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Imp low compression piston?

For those who would like to find out about such an item, check out the link below .

The one on the left is the low compression one, the top deck height is misleading!

Read the two blogs on the same subject.

I have never seen this discussed before, just a mention the the Imp Commer van and some export cars being fitted with an 8:1 compression motor over the normal 10:1 compression engines.


From Imps 4 Ever, many thanks

Pistons are cast in LO-EX aluminium alloy and have two compression rings and one oil scraper ring. The piston runs in a nominal bore size of 2.6770 in. dia and the piston-to-bore clearance, measured at the skirt is, depending on tolerances, between 0.0017 in and 0.0010 in. These measurements are taken at right angles to the gudgeon pin hole.

On all except very, very early engines, of which only a few were built, the pistons have two cutouts machined in the top to provide clearance for the valves. Two compression ratios are available as far as the pistons are concerned. The one for use in the cars gives 10 : 1 cr, whilst the low compression for commercial vehicles such as the Imp van give 8 : 1 cr.

Pistons come in 2 types: small pin and large pin. Low or higher cost depends on what quality you are looking for.

Reboring of an 875cc engine up to 30 thou oversize is considered to be the maximum. But many people do go to 40 thou.60 thou pistons can be obtained.

  Note the lack of valve pockets in the pistons!
I rebuilt this very early engine block last week, I have to assume its dated from the first batch ever made. the sump was stamped July 7th 1963, just two months after the Imps release.


NB: If you want to remove seized Imp piston rings check this link

Freds Cape Henry 21 model continues

This is Freds demo model to show him the steps along the way before he starts work on the actual full size kit we shipped to him.

Models like this can be posted to you easy enough, you will get the panels that are in the full sized boat kit.
Thats bulkheads, hull and deck skins, cockpit and coachroof. The size is about 860mm long and will be suitable to use as a radio control boat.

The hull is now painted and its been turned.

Thats Santas christmas stocking cap there I think?


The first Hillman Imp engine?

Note quite the first but certainally very close!

The Imp came out May 3rd 1963 I have engine number B / 41 / 50 1572 here, a gift from fellow Imper Eric who lives just around the corner. I had shown him my own early Imp block just after I had done its rebuild, engine number B41 / 1 / 50 2369.

Does anyone have an earlier engine than 50 1572?

A Mk1 camshaft and alloy carrier off the early engine from Eric, the cylinder head it came off is casting number 7010031 and again predates my own early head by some numbers, as mine is 7010128.

This is the head I now have, number  7010031 it predates the one I have built into another engine.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

The later heads had a recess where those webs are.


Yes, it does look new and is in top condition for an engine part 49 years old.

Washed and bead blasted clean, it shows the quality that Rootes Cars put into the Hillman Imp.

I assume this is the first camshaft casting number 7010141 and from engine number 50 1572, the last four digits inicate the amount of engines built at that time.

Another number set in the camshaft casting , 2350 what does it mean?


Friday, 7 December 2012

Dix Design Oppikat kits

One request for an Oppikat kit has seen us in turn request the CNC cut files from Dudley Dix, he sent them to us and we were able to confirm the price to a client in the USA.

The unusual thing with this kit is we can use the RSA and US postal services to do the delivery!

The bulkheads are numbered and pre marked with the water and center lines.

This sure will save you many hours of cutting by hand  .

Our first Oppikat kit, so number 001!


Mail just in from Greg the customer:

Accuracy and time saved well worth the cost – thanks!

I'm sure my wife will take lots of pictures – the kids are starting to understand words like "bulkhead"

Time to order the strips and the epoxy!



HBYC club youth sail training

Connected with my blogs on why SARS and Customs should leave the visiting cruising yachts alone, is the starter groups who most clubs have worked hard to train, the pictures show just how well its been going in Hout Bay waters.

The older guys train those coming into the program, we need further Lotto assistance to employ a proffesional to carry the training on to its higher levels. Which includes the countries top L26 event, the Lipton Cup.

These guys learn fast and become good sailors.

Here one on one training is being given.

Just out of site is a dinghy with crew and outboard motor as back up in case of difficulty, this program is self funded by the HBYC but needs lots more in the way of funds to really make it work. The club has self funded new boats recently, its a slow process raising funds via raffles!


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Why cruising yachts should be given time to stay in South Africa

There will be the odd bad fellow I suppose but in the norm of things the way we see visiting yachts is either passing through and as a single season passage or those with work to do and wanting to repair,change or service their boats, South Africa has a good name for this kind of work.

This is not a cruising boat of course but does serve to show what standards of crafstmen we have in this country. Click on the pictures for larger views.

In this year alone Hout Bay has seen boats arrive for such works as teak decks, full hull resprays, new engines, sails, rigging etc etc, the list of boats is a long one. We even had a German visitor return after a six year gap to service the teak decks we had laid for him, the boat was left here while it was worked on, this took a year but he has a new looking Hallberg Rassey 43 now. All this work brings valuable employment to dozens of local workers at all levels and all skills.

Hout Bay is worth a visit for such restoration.

The spin off in income to the community is massive, shops, car hire, yacht club membership, etc, etc, we even had one boat, another Hallberg Rassey 43 sail all the way here and from Southampton, England to have his teak decks sorted out. The reason being we were half the price as could be found in the UK!


SARS Import Tax on cruising boats?

This one popped up quite recently, I was contacted by the Commodore of the OCC (ocean cruising club) John Franklin to ask if I knew about what was happening in places like Durban where members had heard that visiting yachts were being either fined or taxed for staying in South Africa to long?

I contacted Richard Crocket of Sailing magazine, he is also the Commodore of the Royal Natal Yacht Club, so very well placed to sort things out if at all possible, first thing was of course was the story true?

Richard found that it was true but was a wrongly placed tax, I think thats the truth but of course it creates a bad impression on any visitor and some may never even come here now just in case.

To read more about this please buy the December issue of Sailing magazine, then read Richards Editorial and after that turn to page 25 and read all about this frightening and mistakenly applied tax.

How stupid can they be?


OCC Port Officer for Hout Bay

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Polyprop rope soft eye splices

The fishing boat crews do splices as part of their job as a daily task, its the way to join ropes and secure lines.

Seen here as a fishing line and one that needs to float, the line runs to a bouy with a short pick up float.

Seen often on the Hout Bay Harbour quay, the working part of the harbour is what makes Hout Bay special.
Note, it is not advised to use a polyprop rope as a mooring line, it chafes quite fast, it will also degrade from the effects of UV.


A new boat launch in Hout Bay waters

I say a new boat but in fact this boat was built in 1956 and in Sweden. The class is the Dragon and its the first we have seen ever on our marina as far as I can remember.

CKD Boats cc supplied much of the materials used in this restoration.

Materials supplied were ABE 201 fairing epoxy, Dow Corning 813 black silicone deck caulk, Khaya Mahogany flexible veneer, Teak solids.

Yet another great finish by South African tradesmen!

Hout Bay is well known for the restoration and refits of yachts, this one is different and quite special.

The next few days took many hours of work and sorting out rigging and fitting the boom and furler gear.

Now tucked up and ready for some fine sailing weather!

Pictures by R McBride


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

What does plywood weigh?

This is a question some will need an answer to when calculating the final weight of the boat your about to build? Check the numbers, they can be very different indeed.

This should enlarge if you click on it, if not email me and I will send you a copy.

Use " kits at comlumber dot com "

One Dix Designed epoxy/ply boat I know of was thinking of using exterior hardwood WBP ply over genuine ockume marine ply? the added weight was 500kgs! He chose to pay and save all that weight.


A traditional boat seen in Hout Bay

When the wind was from the SE this very large boat could hang off the inner marina but as soon as it swung to the north he had no choice but to move as the wind was then on his port stern quarter.

The converted German fishing boat Schwalbe.

Having a waterline of 57 feet long can have its own challenges! the boat is around 80 feet long overall?


The soft eye splice

This is when they are done by a pro, two such guys in fact, one sails fishing boats way down south, the other is an ex North Sea diver and also worked on the Thames River Barrage, the largest such construction at the time.

These are done at some speed when compared to myself, its a matter of practice I am sure.

Such rope tricks are nice and neat, in this case the rope tail is then made off to the dock, it can be the other way around also.

Signs that traditional rope work are alive and well on the HBYC marina, try it yourself!


Monday, 3 December 2012

South Africas first i550, the building stocks.

Seen here is the build stocks which Will has constructed and soon errect his new i550 sailboat on.

They certainally look well made and ready to go.

Will is waiting on his CNC cut plys, we will have them ready for him this week and can then look forwards to watching Wills build progress.


Splicing a nylon mooring line to a stainless thimble

It can just be a loop end of course, the open type that lays around a mooring cleat or bollard?

This is what I started with an eight meter long length of 16mm three strand nylon rope,
the very nice mooring spring in 316 stainless, its rated to 450kgs, so the line can be quite light. There is also a 316 stainless thimble and a stainless Fid made in Sweden.

Ready to start?

How to start, well this is how I started and I need to add I am no expert, having done it many times, I nearly always get it a little wrong but have never had a failure as yet!

This is about seven loops long, it will never come adrift.

When done the loop around the thimble was a tad slack, I tightened it with the Fid and moved the slack line along to the point where it exits the line.

In use, the second line will remain lazy untill the wind gets up, it then acts as a back up.

How easy was that, well sort of, try it and see for yourself!


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Fitting new Rootes piston rings to a 1963 Imp piston

Now and again we have the choice to re use whats original given the status of the parts, in this case why fit a new set of pistons and replace those which are by now quite historic?

This engine is now some 49 years old, its not perfect but will be a fine runner with brand new Rootes piston rings fitted. In this case the bores and pistons are standard sized with no valve cut outs in the pistons, finding a standard bore engine of this age would be hard to do? The original Rootes piston rings were a perfect fit!

There are three types of rings, this is the center one, it fits with the small groove upwards.

This is the top compression ring, chrome steel or plated I believe.

The lower and third ring is named a Scraper and is the oil control ring.

Fit the new rings firmly but carefully, ensure the gaps are correct in the bore before you do so, in this case and on a used motor the gaps were fine. stagger the ring joints and place them to the side of the piston and not on the thrust face.

Use a quality piston ring compressor, this one is sized to fit the Imps 877cc to 998cc pistons, thats 68mm to 72mm in diameter.

Right click on the picture to enlarge it and see the seriously high quality of engineering that Rootes produced in their Imp engines fifty years ago!
Pistons and conrods fitted and all tab washers are in place and folded over the bolts, dont forget the thrust washers that fit either side of the center main bearing!


To free off seized Hillman Imp piston rings try the link below.

Yacht Schwalbe visits Hout Bay Yacht Club

My mail to Notty in the UK reads below.

I spoke to the guy with the big white boat the NSRI Station 8 towed in from the bay, he had 2.5mtrs of water under the keel by then.

Friday nights SE gale went to East and topped out at 82 knots, so that was a bad un, his boat was ok, mine too.

That boat of his was built in Germany in 1927, Oak on Oak and 2.25”thick planks, its 57ft on the water line and about 80ft Overall. Used for fishing once it was cut in half and and an extra 4mtrs added in, then more frames a between the existing frames
It’s a tank he says.

He is from Kirkdale, near Bootle, Liverpool, so close to my home of Maghull.

I have not looked yet but the boat is on  U Tube, he said look for the name Schwwalbe (means swallow) , his name is Charles Holland and will be todays blog!

Once schooner riged she has just one mast now, just check the length of the boom!

A longside the tourist boats  pick up quay in Hout Bay Harbour.

Hout Bay YC Marina, the place to be!

The boat was originally schooner rigged and there used to be another mast in forward of that deck house.

As the boat is now that boom just seems to go on forever!

The lad in the picture was really impressed by this boat, so am I!