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.
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 wasÂ 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.
Â 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, soÂ 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.
First job clean out the ends of the de-Dion with very fine wet’n'dry and WD40, then coat with LM grease:
Then applyÂ heat to expand the aperture,Â rush to the freezerÂ 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.Â Nor could I not use the press in the other workshop becauseÂ it was impossible toÂ 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, soÂ I hope I shall be able to use this to squeeze the seats in next time.
I know the Renault 4 is French, but itÂ is hardly aristocratic enough to warrant getting it’s head chopped off, butÂ 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!