Monthly Archives: December 2005

Rust Traps in the Sills

Having spent forever replacing the sills on the Oscar India I’m not about to have them rust again. These cars have stainless sill covers that trap wet mud against the sill creating the ideal conditions for rot. I’m planning to make some small modifications to stop the mud getting behind the sill covers in the first place and, as this is impossible, let it out again once it’s found it’s way in.

Here’s one of the worst offenders – the sill extends rearwards to form a mounting surface for the rear wing. Mud will be trapped on top of the sill, and some will fall into the stainless sill covers and rot away inside them.

Mud trap on top of sills

I have two cunning plans. First one is to space the stainless sill covers away from the bottom of the sill by nearly 1/2 inch, and drill lots of holes in the bottom so water can drain.

Second is to screw a sloping cover to the top of the rear sill which will prevent mud from collecting in the first place, and to cover the gap at the rear caused by spacing the sill cover outwards. I make a cardboard template which demonstrates the idea.

Cover for rear sill

Should be the end to the major V8 rust trap once I’ve fabricated the cover from aluminium.

Engine Troubles

Not an Aston Martin problem but food for thought.

My company in the garage most weekends is Robert. He’s supposed to be restoring a Rochdale Olympic (strange glassfibre monocoque car from the early 1960s) but more often gets distracted by his Davrian (strange glassfibre monocoque car from the late 1960s).

Davrian Engine

Robert’s Davrian has engine trouble. The problems started off with a head gasket failure, due (we think) to crazy cooling pipe routing which didn’t allow the cooling system to be blead. A lot of modifications followed and the car now has a problem with cold starting.

Robert spent several weekends investigating and replacing all the obvious things, but still the problem presisted.

Finally we’ve twigged. “How long has the car been standing here?” The petrol in the car was bought in September when it was lovely and hot. But petrol companies change the petrol grade through the year as it gets colder, and winter fuels are much more volatile than summer fuels. Add that to the petrol being stale (the useful hydrocarbons having evaporated) and we have our answer.

A new tank of fuel and the car now starts.

V8 Rear Brakes

Ask any V8 specialist what sort of work your new (1970’s) V8 is likely to need and the first thing they’ll say is rear brakes. “They all do” And there is a good reason for that – here’s a photo of the rear brake installation:

Aston V8 rear brakes

To replace the rear discs, or remove the brake calipers, the exhaust, rear suspension, differential and differential carrier first need to be removed. That can take the best part of a day. Putting it all back together will be another day, and that’s before any actual work on the brakes themselves.

Even then the caliper bolts aren’t all that accessible (positions arrowed in yellow). Interestingly the calipers are spaced from their mountings by lots of very thin shims which I found quite charming.

The caliper pistons on this car have rusted and will need to be replaced. While the discs are in good condition I’ll price up some new ones. No point going through all this again anytime in the next 20 years.

Right said Fred..

… have to take the doors off!

Then the wheels, bonnet, bootlid, trim, engine, gearbox – there is more of ROJ stored in the barn than the workshop…

First priority in 2006 Get a Big Heater for the garage!

Malcolm and Robert looked far too smug in their workshop with the wood-burning stove….

Despite the cold (and trying to prevent Malcolm from chopping up my crate to feed his woodburning stove) It was a very productive weekend.

Lifecycle of an Aston

Aston Martins are usually bought new by wealthy people who either treasure them as part of the family, or have fun with them (or pose with them) and then sell them on when a new toy catches their eye.

If the latter, the poor car is at risk of working it’s way down the food chain, each owner wanting a flash car, but less and less prepared to spend the right kind of money on up-keep. Until it hits the ‘Arthur Daley’ who buffs it up and insists that it’s a beautiful piece of British engineering, and as such is worth three times its actually value…. And some poor sucker buys it without a clue as to the cost of getting it even safe to drive, let alone beautiful again.

If you are going to buy an Aston Martin ‘in need of some restoration’ , I have two pieces of advice – do your homework dilligently, and start saving now.

ROJ, when finished, will be a working car – he’ll have to be to earn his keep – and will be available for promotions. exhibitions, weddings funerals etc etc…

There is great debate among AMOC members split between the concours brigade, and the love it but use it brigade. Me – I’m in the latter.

Aston Martins and submarines

“I’m intrigued Bond-san.”

So were visitors to the farm this week. Parked in the yard is a large crate labelled ‘Submersible Vehicle Mk1 D 007.

Submarine crate

With a Royal Navy supply label.

crate label

Hmm, a spoof spy car in the workshp, and now a James Bond submarine! Is there something Nigel isn’t telling us?

Actually, it’s all pretty straight forward. A friend acroos the pond bent his Aston in a race and needs a new front end. So I am sending him one. I phoned a chum in the movie logistics business for some advice, she pointed me towards a company who had a crate for sale as they had ‘lost’ their submarine!! Perfect for packing panels for a pranged Aston Martin…

Poor Malcolm nearly had a fit when they delivered it, he had to use his trusty Renault 4 (The one we use as a starter motor for ROJ) to pull the crate off the low loader. Lucky it didn’t slip otherwise it would have flattened the poor R4.

A Tidy Garage

Work in the garage for 8 hours and spend 4 of those hours looking for tools? That’s where I was. Things weren’t organised so I spent the whole weekend tidying. This is the result:

A tidy garage

Half a skip full of rubbish came out of the garage. Things that were saved because they might just come in handy in the future hadn’t come in handy (because they were lost behind other junk) and were thrown away. It’s amazing how quickly it had accumulated.

The red shelves to the right are still packed full of parts left over from previous restorations that really need to go on eBay. They take up space that could be more sensibly used to save other bits and pieces from ending up on the floor.

I’ve decided that the ideal workshop would not have any storage at all. The car would be there with the tools to work on it, but nothing else. I’m not going to put any more shelves up. I’m going to take them down. I’m going to build a shed and put the rubbish in there from now on.

This is what a garage should look like (Nigel and Gary have this one):

A very tidy garage