Monthly Archives: May 2007

Climate change – get that roof down!

Last week I was at a meeting in the House of Commons with climate change minister Ian Pearson. He said that the UK had not only met our Kyoto targets but surpassed them. So that lets ROJ off the hook then…

But then news arrives of plans to ban/restrict the use of cars over 10 years old – does this mean I’m rebuilding the largest mantelpiece ornament of all time?

Sign the petition to save ROJ

And why is all the fuss purely about CO2? Methane is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas, and nitrous oxide is 300 times more. Surely any climate change bill should take on board a multiple gas approach to mitigation – mind you, whatever the government does, it’s bound to be bad for us petrol heads.

Instead of mitigating against climate change we need to adapt to those elements that are inevitable. Plant palm trees in Preston and produce more convertible motor cars…!


One done – one undone

I was looking forward to this weekend. I had two jobs planned – fitting the new rear bearings and hubs, and removing the pistons in all 3 sets of brake calipers. The bearings I was going to do on Saturday and the pistons on Sunday. As it was I did them the other way round.

On Friday evening I placed the bearing seats in the freezer so that they would be as small as possible when I inserted them in the de-Don tube.

bearing seat lollies

Aston Renault

We often joke on the farm about building a hybrid car, a Renault with my spare Aston Martin V8 engine, or a Renault 4 engine in my Aston body.

Well – getting the pistons out of the calipers was fiddly and messy but a simple idea on Malcolm’s behalf. He was in the process of dismantling (another) Renault 4. So we hooked up a brake pipe to its master cylinder with an imperial fitting at one end and then plugged in each of the calipers one after the other. Some were easier than others – and I had to use a pair of clamps to hold in two pistons while encouraging the third to pop out.

 pumping pistons

 Brake fluid is horrid stuff, it takes off paint, it’s slippery underfoot, and it gets bloody everywhere!

I managed to get 9 of the twelve calipers done. One set was already fitted with stainless steel pistons – which is mildly annoying as I had bought a full set of new Aston Martin Parts SS pistons at great expense. I’ve also ordered a caliper paint kit (gold) new seals and brake pads, so I will do up all three sets, use one, and sell the others later.

Get the drift? …No!

Feeling flushed with success after flushing out the pistons, I spent Sunday morning attempting to get the bearing seats into the de-Dion tube.

bearing set

First job clean out the ends of the de-Dion with very fine wet’n’dry and WD40, then coat with LM grease:

greasy hole

Then apply heat to expand the aperture, rush to the freezer and grab a seat, smear with grease and tap into the hole.

Two problems – not enough whack in my hammer arm and no drift to get the seat in straight. Nor could I not use the press in the other workshop because it was impossible to manipulate the five-something foot de-Dion into position. I will have to go to a machine shop and get a disc cut in 3/4 inch steel to use as a drift. This is really annoying as I now have to wait a whole month before I can try again.

I have on order an hydraulic spring compressor that has 4 tons of pressure, so I hope I shall be able to use this to squeeze the seats in next time.

Madame Guillotine

I know the Renault 4 is French, but it is hardly aristocratic enough to warrant getting it’s head chopped off, but Malcolm seems to delight in removing R4’s bodies from their chassis. Although to be fair he did put one back on Sunday.

Grumpy and frustrated with the Aston I wandered round to the back garage and gave Malcolm a hand taking the body off the green R4 pictured above and putting it onto a chassis that he has totally rebuilt and modified. I’m sure he’ll be putting details on his R4 site soon.

Hey, Malcolm – maybe you could call this one Marie-Antoinette!

A full MOT..

If any one has any doubts over the efficiency of the NHS, just walk into your nearest A&E at 7:30am and tell them you’re a 50 year old man with a pain in his chest and a pain down the left arm…

It was terribly frustrating. I had gone up to Bedford on Friday evening with the plan to start work early on ROJ. Instead I woke up at 6 with an ominous pain. The only one up at that time of day (apart from the cat) was Clive – happily chomping on a bowl of low-fat muesli at the kitchen table.

 “Er, Clive,” I stuttered “pains here and here…” Like a caped crusader he flung down his spoon, bustled me into his pick-up and whizzed me down to Bedford infirmary.

Within minutes I was stripped, chunks of chest shaved, plugged into machines, blood tested and x-rayed.

After a full morning of being fussed over, tested and fed tea and toast, it was clear that I was not on brink of death, and sent on my way with a letter to my GP for further tests. God bless the staff in Bedford hospital.

The positive side is that although I lost a half day’s work on the car, I have now had a full MOT check on me.

Nearly wheels

Yes folks, the new camera arrived, and happy am I with it.

The DeDion – Watts linkage assmebly is now all rebuilt. I was highly nervous of using the press to get the metalastic bushes into the swing fitting – I expected them to explode at any moment under the pressure, but they went in like a dream.

Once I had got this job done, it was a matter of minutes to bolt all the bits together:


I spent the rest of the time on Sunday sorting out the new rear bearings ready to fit the axles on my next visit.

Balls to you all…

Yes it’s snooker season again, with all the greats up at the crucible. I’ve just spent two days in Sheffield on business – sadly did not get time to go to any matches, but many of the players were staying in my hotel – saw Denis Taylor and Terry Griffiths at breakfast… I wonder what cars they drive?