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Flash's 1965 Ford Thames


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Today I made a start on tidying up some of the loose engine parts. 

De-greased the tappet cover and sump and then took to them with a wire wheel. Chucked a few coats of satin black engine enamel on the tappet cover and it came up mint. 

The indentations on the sump need a bit more work before its ready for paint so I'll carry on with that tomorrow.

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I got tired of tripping over the back bumpers so thought I'd fit them. First time that they have been on the van during my ownership so it's going to take a bit of time to get used to the different look.

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Well it's been another week of slow but steady progress on the old Thames.

The first part of the week was spent cleaning, refurbishing, painting and then fitting more of the small bits and pieces. In between I've also been making a shopping list of additional nuts, bolts and washers that I need to pick up on my next trip to town.

Towards the latter half of the week I thought I'd start finalising the steering setup as I still need to get the intermediate steering shaft that joins the rack to the steering angle box shortened to the correct length. However, the dilemma is that I can't work out the final length of this shaft until I am 100% happy that the steering rack is mounted in the correct place. The rack mounting bracket is currently tech screwed to the L300 front beam and I don't want to weld it up until I've confirmed that the position is correct. In it's current position the rack end pivot points form a nice straight line with the upper and lower suspension arm pivot points, so I know that I am more or less in the ballpark, but the unknown at this point was whether I'm going to experience any bump steer issues. I'm the first to admit that I'm a little ignorant when it comes to bump steer so I popped up a query on the tech forum asking for some guidance and I'd like to thank @cletus, @adoom and @thepog for their input. @cletus kindly provide me with copies of the LVVTA  bump steer doccos which provide some valuable info and at the same time he and @adoom encouraged me to build my own bump steer tester. 

I've now tested for bump steer and can confirm that I am experiencing 1.6 degrees of toe in under maximum suspension compression and 2.0 degrees of toe out under maximum suspension droop. The LVVTA docco suggests that my tie rod is currently sitting too high and @cletus and @adoom have confirmed that I need to raise the rack a bit. I've currently got the engine and gearbox out, but from memory I've only got about 10mm of space between the top of the rack housing and my harmonic balancer and I don't think I can raise the engine any higher without causing clearance issues between the top of my carby hat and the underside of the cab floor. 

Despite this challenge I'm pretty chuffed with the results as I could have been facing rack length issues which would have been a lot harder to address.

I'm thinking I need to get the engine and gearbox back in and then see if I can squeeze a bit more space to raise the rack.

Pic of one side of my rudimentary bump steer test setup at maximum compression included below. The measuring tool on the other side looks the same.

Thanks for reading.

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I've started preparing the gearbox for final installation. The gearbox paintwork looks fairly fresh so I'm not going to bother with a repaint. Just gave the exterior a good clean. Next thing was to locate the missing speedo drive, so I groveled around under  HiAce donor 2 and discovered that whoever had done the 5 speed swap from donor 2 to donor 1 had pulled the drive out and left it attached to the speedo cable for some reason. Luckily the little nylon gear was still there too. Gave it a clean and chucked it in the side of the box, then put my battery drill on the main input shaft and hey presto the cable spins so looks like the drive still works. I'm sure I'm going to face calibration issues as I'll be using the original Thames speedo, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Turned my attention to the clutch fork. I have two of them. The one that was on the 5 speed has the little two pronged riveted retaining spring that holds the arm on the pivot. Sadly one prong is long gone. Although it still seems to hold with only one prong I've decided to use the other arm which came off the 4 speed and has the looped spring wire instead of the two prongs. For some reason the chosen fork doesn't have the little lug for the slave cylinder return spring so I fashioned one out of a little steel off cut and glued it on. Gave it a lick of paint and its good to go.

While I had my grinder out I also fashioned a chassis re-enforcing plate to strengthen the chassis leg where I had to open up the elongated hole for the gear selector lever. This is something that my Certifier requested when he did the first inspection. I'll only drill the holes and bolt it in place once the gear selector movement has been confirmed for the final time.

Last thing I did today was pull the drain plug and I'll let the old oil drain overnight.

Thanks for reading.

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Spent the morning giving the dirty old 3Y a tickle with an old toothbrush and some stale fuel and then declared it ready for a rattle can reco. Figured satin black would help it blend into the background as I don't really want to advertise the fact that I've slapped a Toyota heart into the old girl.

Will let it dry overnight and then I'll strip off the masking tape and plastic garbage bags to reveal it in it's true glory. 

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Just after New Year I decided it was time to start selling parts off my donor vans, so I chucked a few listings up on Gumtree and I can't believe the responses I have received. Looks like the older Jap vans still have a following and I've even shipped a quad headlight setup including matching front grill to a HiAce fan in New Zealand. It's taken quite a bit of my spare time, so progress on the Thames has slowed a bit, but I have managed to do a bit more assembly on the 3Y engine which is now at a point where it is ready to go back in the hole.

Talking about the 3Y I'm trying to puzzle out some of the engine plumbing particularly the various breather pipes. With reference to the pics below can anyone advise me what gets attached to the various numbered and lettered inlet and outlet pipes. There is also a smaller pipe on the air intake hat for the carby. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

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The original plan for this weekend was to get the engine and gearbox back in the hole, but I hit a snag yesterday when I discovered that I have been supplied with the wrong clutch kit, so I've had to change tack until I can get that sorted out.

One of the jobs on the "to do" list was to strip the wiring loom out donor HiAce number one so that I can reuse the plastics plugs that match the Toyota alternator, distributor and starter motor. Its a real dirty and time consuming job, so I've been putting it off for a while, but this morning I thought I'd bite the bullet and get it done. So after stripping out the rest of the dash and grovelling around under the dirty old HiAce  I have managed to pull out the entire wiring harness intact. While I was on a roll I stripped the wrapping off the loom so that every wire is now exposed and easy to trace.

Tomorrow I'll start harvesting the specific wires and plugs that I need.

Thanks for reading.

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