Flash

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  1. With it's bum back on the wheels I gave it a few bounces and then let it settle overnight. In the morning I grabbed my measuring tape and was able to confirm that the back is sitting about 7 mm higher than original. I then played around with some temporary spacers between the Starwagon front beam and the Thames chassis. Took a few goes to get the optimum height and again I gave the front a few hefty bounces and let it settle overnight. Result is that I am back to more or less the original ride height before I started the conversion. From the start of this project I have been hoping to dial in some low, so this isn't where I had originally planned to end up. But sometimes when you can't find an easy solution its best just to learn to love the problem, and I can with all honesty state that over the last two days I have learned to love the problem. Reasons being as follows: Engine and gearbox are now almost 80 mm closer to the ground than original setup. Original 4Y carbie now fits perfectly under the floor so I have the choice of running the original Aisan or a 32/36 Weber or the SU on its snorkle manifold. Steering rag joint no longer clashes with chassis leg. Side mounted selector levers on the gearbox are in a much better position. The lower selector clears the chassis leg completely and the top selector should be easier to sort out. I can run 15 inch diameter rims with the same profile tyres which will drop overall revs slightly at cruising speed. Front wheels happily clear the front doors with plenty of gap for suspension travel and steering. Gearbox bell housing clears the rear wall of the engine box. Clutch slave cylinder is now way below chassis leg. Some things are just meant to be. I've pulled the front beam out once again and have started making up some templates for the front beam spacers that I'm going to fabricate out of 8mm plate. Thanks for reading. Pic of dirty old Aisan carbie back on the mock up engine.
  2. Grovelled under the Thames and fixed the cut off rear axle perches to the original leaf springs using the original Thames U bolts. Then offered up the HiAce rear axle. Took some measurements to make sure that everything was aligned correctly then hot glued the axle to the perches. It's only tack welded in position for now as I may have to fine tune the pinion angle once the gearbox is mounted in its final position, but at least I could get it back on its rear wheels to get a feel for how it is sitting.
  3. Having set a new direction I started puzzling the next steps. I'm still keen to replace the Thames rear axle with the Toyota. Reasons being greater availability of spares and diff ratios for the Toyota as well as bigger drum brakes. So current thinking is to fit up the diff first and then I can fine tune the front to match by making up some spacers between my newly fabricated front beam mounting brackets and the beam itself. Getting the front beam further away from the chassis gives me the added advantage of dropping the engine and gearbox lower to the ground which not only buys me a lower centre of gravity, but also gives me more clearance between the chassis rail and my clutch slave cylinder which up to now have been in close contact with each other. The gearbox bell housing will also clear the rear wall of the engine box whereas before they were touching and I was looking at having to notch the wall. So all round I'm killing a few birds with a single stone. With this all decided yesterday I set about sorting out the axle perches for the Toyota diff. I took a bit of a short cut by cutting the original Thames mounts off the spare Thames axle that I picked up in New South Wales earlier in the year and that has been languishing in the back of my other HiAce parts van since then. I felt a bit guilty for destroying the old housing, but it's for the greater good. A quick cutty, cutty with my favourite little grinder of angles and I'm half way there. Just need to glue them onto the HiAce axle
  4. So looking at the "path of least resistance" I've decided to stick to something closer to standard road height. Not only does it solve my rubbing front wheels, but it addresses a few other smaller challenges including a steering rag joint that is rubbing on a chassis leg. Someone on the Book of Faces posted a pic of their Thames running on 15 inch diameter Torque Thrust 2s at standard road height. He is running 6Js up front and 7J rears. The 15s fill the arches really nicely. The Torque Thrusts give a similar look to the Dragways, but the chrome on my Dragways is flogged and would cost moonbeams to re-chrome. The Torque Thrusts are alloy so no similar problems going forward.
  5. Okay, so back to the drawing board. I could go for a custom 4 link rear setup with coil overs, but again outside of my limited budget. I could get the springs re-radiused but the closest place to get that done is a 5 hour drive from home. So more thought required all round. Stay tuned.
  6. Taking a quick few measurements I quickly realised that there is no way I can achieve this without altering the radius of the leaf springs. In the pic below at full droop you can see that there would be insufficient travel if I was to fit the Toyota axle between the leafs and the chassis. To prove this I quickly clamped the new axle in place, threw on some wheels and put her under weight. The new axle was resting firmly on the bump stops. So another fail.
  7. My initial plan was to fit a Toyota G series diff out of the donor HiAce on top of the leaf springs, thus allowing me to dial in some low. So I pulled the Thames rear axle out to get a closer look at the rest of the setup. Thames out.
  8. There ain't no way I can roll that lip. Although the 6J Dragways aren't the permanent wheels I will be running, they certainly represent the width and offset of my final choice although the Dragways are 14 inch and I plan to go to a 15 inch American Racing Torque Thurst 2. I'm also not a fan of the look where the wheels and tyres are way narrow in the arches and much prefer the look of a filled arch, I could go a lower profile tyre up front but I can't go too low. I could go for a rim with less offset, but the "off the shelf" old style mags in either 14 or 15 inch diameter pretty much have similar offsets. I do like something with a dish and the Thames would look odd with a more modern rim. I could go for widened steelies with bespoke offset and whilst I like that look I wouldn't want to be limited to just the single choice. Custom made alloy wheels would cost moonbeams and are out of my budget range. I could run negative camber up front but that will just chew tyres so not really an option. So whilst I am giving this more thought I figured I would take a closer look at what I am going to do for the back axle. The standard Thames setup was the rear axle sitting underneath the leaf springs like so:
  9. On the vehicle front I had a few other things to contend with over the past 10 days. Mrs Flash's Moke got a bad case of the flu and I ended up splurging on a brand new dizzy for that. Battled to get the timing set only to discover that whoever assembled the reco'ed engine for the previous owned fitted the distributor drive shaft one tooth out. Got that sorted but wasted a heap of time battling that one. Also looks like the BCM on our modern has gone tits up, so I'll probably need to hand over a kidney to Holden to get that sorted. In the mean time I'm just bridging the starter motor relay to keep it on the road. Anyway, in between the fun and games I have managed to spend a day or two on the Thames. Hit a bit of a stumbling block there too. Got the front end with the lower springs in position and bearing weight. Everything looked good until I tried to close the front doors. Instant fail.
  10. Thanks again to everyone who provided me with guidance. I can confirm that the distributor drive shaft was one tooth out. I flipped it a tooth and now the factory timing marks line up. Took it for a quick spin and it is like driving a totally different car. No more miss fire. Pulled a plug after the drive and noticed it's running a bit lean, so tweaked the mixture a wee bit. I'll monitor the plugs for a few days in case it needs a bit more tweaking.
  11. Fellas, thanks heaps for the suggestions and advice. Armed with the extra info provided I'll poke around a little more later today and will let you know what I discover. Thanks again.
  12. I'm calling on some advice from those that know the Mini A series engine a bit better than I do. Mrs Flash owns a 1974 1100cc Mini Moke that we bought a while back. There are signs that the engine has been apart before and it’s always suffered with an intermittent misfire that new plugs, points and condenser didn’t solve. I figured if I ignored it long enough, it might go away, but sadly not. The misfire got steadily worse and then last week it got to the point where it died and it was a battle to re-start it. When it did eventually start it sounded really sick. So I figured it was high time that I investigated the issue. As a first step I popped a timing light on and noticed that at idle the timing mark was intermittently jumping around. I then pulled the distributor out and discovered a huge amount of play in the distributor shaft. I decided to invest in a new 45D electronic distributor rather than having my tired old 29D refurbished. The new distributor arrived yesterday afternoon and I set about installing it this morning. It's at this point that things started to get interesting. When I went to re-fresh the timing marks on the flywheel with a bit of white paint I discovered that the dull painted marks placed by a previous owner are not actually on the correct flywheel factory markings. I decided to ignore these home-made marks and proceeded to use the factory flywheel timing marks to setup the engine at the correct position for cylinder 1 using the procedure outlined in my Moke repair manual (cylinder 1 at TDC on compression stroke with factory TDC flywheel timing mark aligned with the pointer). I then installed the new distributor and it's at this point that things became really interesting. My repair manual states that with cylinder 1 set to TDC the key at the bottom of the distributor should align with the slot in the distributor drive shaft and the rotor should point at roughly the 1 o'clock position. In my case with the new distributor snuggly fitted into the distributor drive shaft slot the rotor points at the 3 o'clock position. This, together with the presence of the home made timing marks on the flywheel has got me wondering whether at some point in the past the gear at the end of the distributor driveshaft has been set a tooth out. Does this sound like a reasonable assumption ? Thanks for reading Picture of Moke as everyone likes pictures.
  13. Finally got my new front beam mounting brackets glued together. Neglected to take a pic of them together before I mounted the first one, so the one in the pic below looks a bit lonely, but you get the idea. Now that I am running the shorter coils up front I need to double check that the front wheels are nicely centred in the arches before attaching the beam to the mounting brackets. Thanks for reading.
  14. Figured I would quickly pop the upper ball joints with my trusty old puller to get the old springs out. Easier said than done.They were tight as. Tried soaking them with CRC and then smacking the side with a BFH while under puller tension but they still wouldn't budge. My neighbour came to the rescue with his oxy-acetylene setup and we fried the bastards till they popped. First time ever that my puller hasn't managed on it's own. It wasn't a good feeling fitting brand new springs to the crusty L300 front end, but I want to get my ride height and beam positioning sorted and the new brackets welded on before I paint and refurbish the rest of the front end. Proceeded to compress the new King Springs with my state of the art spring compressor made up from a bit of old threaded rod, two nuts, a square washer and a hardwood decking off-cut (all leftovers from our recent house reno - nothing ever goes to waste here at Rough & Ready Restorations.) Got both springs in and called the job done. Sorry for potato camera pics. Thanks for reading.
  15. This week I've been slowly working away on the MK1 version of my gear selector, but more about that later. Getting back to my L300 front suspension the new King Springs arrived earlier in the week, but I had also ordered a new set of Holden HR spring insulators from Rare Spares which only arrived yesterday, so this morning I cracked into fitting them. Pics of the new bling: