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.

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