Holidays in early June – a lucky, fine week in the Isle of Arran – but consequently no progress on the Ace! However, in the last few days I’ve made an adapter plate and finally fitted the fuel pump. Everything’s very tight and a third hand with double jointed fingers would have been a real asset. This took a long time, and really would have been much easier with the body separated from the chassis. Whilst doing the job I did wonder whether it would have been a better option to bolt the pump to the underside of the cockpit floor just behind the rear chassis outrigger, but persevered with the standard location.
I also drilled the chassis and fitted the P-clips to support the fuel line on its way to the engine compartment, wondering why I’d bought 16mm clips – 13mm would have been a nice tight fit. I used 5mm Rivnuts in the chassis. I routed the fuel line up the side and across the top of the nearside inner wing, feeding the Filter King which I fixed in a forward position above the damper.
The seat belt frame was also fitted. This is fairly straightforward, but needs a bit of care to make sure everything lines up, particularly the bolts holding the bracing struts to the main frame.
I’d got tired of lifting the bonnet on and off, and decided to fix the bonnet stay. The Rose joint is positioned on the offside of the bulkhead, the retaining clip on the nearside. I’ve also drilled the bonnet for the lock escutcheons, and fitted the locking mechanisms. The escutcheons with their little hinged flap protrude at least 7mm so may have to be removed for the IVA test.
I’ve ordered the seats from Gerry. We were impressed with the quality and comfort of those on display at Stoneleigh. I’ve also ordered the loom – which has to be made to order depending on engine installation.
Obtained and fitted correct 13mm P-clips for the fuel line. Fitted ‘IVA’ front indicators. The big job has been to fit the pedal box – it’s now loosely in place, waiting for the brake balance bar to be delivered. Meanwhile I’m making up the remaining brake pipes. I think the pipe runs are neater if the rear brakes are run from the outermost cylinder. I’ve also decided to make this a 0.7” bore, leaving the cylinder feeding the front brakes at 0.625”. This should reduce any offset on the balance bar, and leaves me with a 0.625” cylinder for the clutch, which I hope will do. The front plate of the pedal box isn’t flanged, and instead of a large cutout I’ve opted to make three smaller cutouts in the end of the footbox to accept the profile of the master cylinder flanges. These profiles have had to be replicated in the aluminium cladding panel, which is now riveted in place.
I’ve been pondering the gearshift – the Sherpa gearshift I have is certainly in the right place axially, but canted over to the right so the gearknob (when I’ve fitted a new shorter lever) will be quite close to the steering wheel. I want to reduce the cant so it looks a bit more normal, at the same time lowering the position of the gearshift housing so I can improve the mechanical advantage with a shorter gearlever. It all looks do-able with a bit of re-drilling of the gearshift housing mounting holes – time will tell!
Sherpa gearshift modified as follows: new mounting hole drilled on the nearside of the vertical flange face connecting with the gearbox, between the two existing holes. This allows the effective length between gearlever ball and actuating lever to be lowered by about ¼”, which increases the mechanical advantage to the gearlever, which will help as it has to be much shorter than the Sherpa original (which stuck out above the scuttle top!); the lower end of the gearlever – the pin that sticks through the spherical bearing on the actuating lever – has been shortened by ¼” to avoid clashing with the tailshaft casing on the speedometer drive bulge; the spring dowel pin has been driven out and the Sherpa ‘wand’ replaced by a shorter straight lever (knob to be acquired). With a bit of adjustment to bias the lever into the 3rd/4th plane, all gears seem to be selectable and the lever is usefully, rather than extremely, biased towards the steering wheel. The clamp bolt holding the spherical bearing housing to the gearbox actuating rod has been replaced with a button head setscrew as the head looked in danger of fouling the underside of the lowered gearshift casting.
I’ve made up a bracket for the fluid reservoirs from some galvanised steel sheet I had to hand. I might replace this in stainless steel when I acquire a piece. The bracket bridges between the rear of the offside wheel arch and the footbox. Careful positioning should allow reasonable access.
Fitted a Mallory twin-contact distributor. This required the removal of the drive gear and cutting off the oil pump engagement dog from the shaft (gear held by 1/8” spring dowel), the dowel hole in the shaft opening up to 3/16”, and fitting the drive gear and flexible oil pump drive from the Lucas unit. My Lucas Opus unit, although apparently new, was missing a key component, needed wires replacing and seems to have a bad press. Being an oldie, I know where I am with points and it seems more in the spirit of the age I’m replicating!
During this fortnight I’ve received the seats and loom from Gerry.
I’ve fitted the petrol tank, through-floor connection to pump, vent and also fitted the rear part of the loom in position so I could wire up the fuel sender. The sender was modified to fit the float on the single wire – the extension wasn’t necessary. The marking out of the body was spot on for the quick-release fuel filler. The boot stay’s also in place, but may need a few mods.
I’ve also fitted most of the lights, except for the side flashers. Now it has a proper face!
I’ve made a framework for the radiator header tank, and am in the process of designing the cooling system in a way that will eliminate airlocks. The ideal position for the header tank is on the bulkhead, the highest point under the bonnet, but the pipework gets rather extensive and it competes for space with the bonnet stay.
The chrome demister guides are now in place, and the body slotted for the air flow. I’ve sent for new wiper wheelboxes and bundy tube. The holes have been drilled to accept them.