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Flash's 1965 Ford Thames


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Spent the morning fabricating a mounting bracket for the power steering reservoir.

I've tucked the reservoir out of the way in the back corner of the engine box. Just need to give the bracket a few coats of Hammerite and I'll call it done

My mate Lane dropped by and will take the original L300 pressure hose back to work so he can solder some new hose tails onto the existing fittings. Then its just a case of crimping on a new piece of hose and it will be good to go.

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At the moment I'm trying to fund the Thames build by selling off parts that I don't need from my donor fleet. Last week I sold a HiAce fuel tank to a chap who is converting his camper from LPG back to petrol which means I have the funds for the shortening of my driveshaft, so I dropped it off in town yesterday for a little nip and tuck.

Before pic

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Today's task was to fit new rear wheel cylinders. I did a bit of a quick and nasty job of it as I plan to do a full strip down and paint when I replace the rear wheel bearings. I'll leave that till after some road testing as I might need to change the diff ratio at the same time. I've got a few centres with different ratios stashed away including a LSD centre that I'm tempted to fit.

Anyway, I've been putting off this brake job for a while as its real fiddly.

The original right hand side cylinder was seized and the left one looked a bit crusty. Did a quick de-crud job while I was at it. The shoes have probably got enough meat on them for now, so I'll save the new ones for when I do the full axle rebuild.

 

 

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With the brakes done i thought I'd reward myself with a few easy jobs.

Fitted a new set of Bosch HT leads and then replaced the rubber toggles that hold down the engine cover lid. One of the toggles had snapped in half shortly after I purchased the van and the other was badly perished.

The new toggles came with their own cheap looking metal brackets but I was keen to keep the originals if I could. To retain the original through pins I cut the old rubbers out and then pressed the pins into the new toggles. They are a tight fit in the rubber which holds the pin in place.

And that's another two small jobs ticked off the list. 

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This morning our Postie pitched up with my new power steering belt. I was keen to see if my hare brained method for estimating the correct belt length had worked so I dropped what I was doing and quickly chucked the new belt on.

Sure enough the length is perfect so I'll happily take the win.

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Now that my new rear brake cylinders are installed, today's focus has been on progressing the pipework for the rest of the braking system.

I suspect that its going to take me a few goes to get the correct combination of parts sorted out, so for now I'm going to use as many of the existing brake lines as I can and I'll then make up new ones once I've proved that everything is working as expected.

Thought I'd start with the easy stuff and work my way up to the complex bits.

So first step was to install the original HiAce hard brake lines on the rear axle. Gave them a quick clean and offered them up to the axle. I had to tweak a few of the bends to clear the Thames axle mounts that I've grafted on to the Toyota axle, but apart from that it was pretty straight forward.

The single flex hose that runs from the HiAce axle is too short to reach my first chassis cross brace and I don't fancy mounting anything to the plywood load area floor, so I'll need to source a longer flex hose when I'm next in town.

After the flex hose, the next component in the chain is the load sensing proportioning valve. My initial intention was to use the lever style one that is standard on the HiAce, but as far as I know this valve only activates when something heavy enough to move the lever is loaded into the cargo area. I'd much prefer to use the other type of valve which senses fluid pressure and compensates accordingly. Luckily the Starwagon is fitted with this type of valve, so I pulled it out for a closer look. 

The Starwagon valve only has two pipes compared to the HiAce one that runs a third bypass pipe, so from a plumbing point of view its going to be a bit easier to install. I reckon its worth a shot. If it doesn't work out I'll go back to the HiAce setup.

So with the valve in hand a crawled under the Thames to work out the best place to mount it. My initial thought was to tuck it into the U shaped chassis rail for extra protection, but the inlet pipe enters the valve from the top and there isn't enough clearance. My next thought was to use a box section to space the valve far enough out that the pipework will clear the top of the chassis U.

I rummaged around my scrap pile but couldn't find anything suitable so took a walk down the road to my mate Sno and he had the perfect little off cut in his stash. Like me he hardly ever throws anything away. So tomorrow I'll poke a few holes in the spacer and will mount it in place.

Thanks for reading. 

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A while back I was giving some thought to what I was going to do about a brake fluid reservoir. The original Thames reservoir is a two compartment metal bottle that is used for both the hydraulic clutch and the brakes. However going to a dual braking system I need to run a three compartment reservoir to separate out the two brake circuits. At the time I toyed with the idea of using the plastic reservoir out of the HiAce, but I couldn't come up with a suitable mounting place. So I changed tack and decided to fit a second Thames reservoir which will allow me to run the clutch and back brake circuit off the existing reservoir and the front brake circuit off the second reservoir. I'll then just blank off the clutch outlet on this reservoir.

I was able to order a new reproduction reservoir from the Thames Owners Club and Sandy also had a second hand mounting bracket amongst the clubs stash of parts.

The Covid lock down delayed the parcel a bit, but as luck would have it the courier arrived with the UK parcel just after morning smoko so I'm a very happy bunny.

The existing reservoir is mounted through the cabin floor under the driver's seat. To check the fluid level you slide the seat forward on its rails to expose the lid. I plan to use my 50 mm chassis punch to create another hole alongside for the second reservoir. So that's another job to tackle sometime over the next few days.

Below are two pics of the existing reservoir setup from above and below. The brake outlet is temporarily blanked off for now. I'll move that blanking plug across to the clutch outlet on the new reservoir once the rest of my pipework is in place.

Thanks for looking.

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Got a call first thing this morning to say that my driveshaft was ready to be picked up from the hospital after its nip and tuck operation, so took a drive through to town to grab it.

After a quick test fit I gave it a quick spank with a flapper disk and chucked a bit of satin black about the place and its looking a lot better.

I'll let the paint dry overnight and will fit it up in the morning. 

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As detailed in a previous post I'm using the original Thames muffler and rear section with a HiAce flange glued to the front of the muffler that attaches to a slightly tweaked HiAce intermediate pipe. The new setup places the muffler closer to the centre of the van and at the time I suspected that I may need to tweak things to gain maximum clearance between the driveshaft and the exhaust.

To put things into perspective the muffler sits on the left hand side and the exhaust tip exits on the right hand side of the van just in front of the rear wheel. So as the pipe runs from left to right it has a hoop which in theory should sit directly above the driveshaft.

With both items in place a quick check confirmed that the position of the hoop needed some tweaking. I ended up cutting 120 mm of pipe out in order to centre the hoop, but needed my mate Sno's help with the welding as I'm not setup for stainless. Sno did the deed for me yesterday afternoon and its now all back together.

With the bit of pipe removed from the centre, the tail pipe no longer sticks out ridiculously and I even gave the end piece a polish  for that extra little bit of bling.

I might give the end a bit of an extra trim, but I'll leave that for later.

Thanks for reading.

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Managed to poke a few holes in the spacer for the load compensation valve that I harvested from the Starwagon and its now bolted up to the right hand side chassis leg.

I'll leave it in position so I can bend up all of the pipework and I'll then whip it out again for a clean and paint.

The two tubes floating about above the valve are my gear shift cables which still need to be bracketed to the chassis leg.

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Today I took the bull by the balls and poked a ruddy great hole in the sheet metal under the drivers seat for the additional brake fluid reservoir. Started with a 15 mm pilot hole which is the size of the bolt on my 50 mm chassis punch. The chassis punch made short work of the cab floor and I then poked the 3 smaller mounting holes for the bracket.

I cleaned and painted the second hand mounting bracket that I got in from the UK and gave the new reservoir a few coats of satin black to match the existing one.

I've ordered 2 meters of 3/8 EPDM fluid reservoir tube which should be more than enough to plumb the dual reservoirs to the brake master cylinder.

 

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Progress has been slow of late.

I've been mocking up the brake hard lines using old lines that I've harvested from my fleet of wrecks. I'm using them just to get the correct shapes and lengths as well as identifying the correct end fittings since I've got a mixture of brake components from both the Thames and some of my donor vans. It's fiddly work, but is worth investing the time to get them right.

One of the Thames parts that I will be using is the brake light pressure switch and T piece. It was originally plumbed in to both the front and rear brake lines, but now that I am upgrading to a dual circuit setup I'm going to plumb it into the front circuit only and will blank off the remaining outlets.

In other news I've finally installed the second fluid reservoir. I just need to complete the pipes feeding the master cylinder. 

Once I've got the pipes all mocked up I'll take them along to my local brake and clutch place to have new ones fabricated.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Still plugging away at fiddly little bits and pieces.

My mate Lane was back from his swing this weekend and brought a few hoses and fittings home with him so we were able to mock up the pressure hose for the power steering and complete one of the fluid return hoses. He will take the pressure hose back to work with him so he can crimp it and we just need a short length of 5/8 hose to complete the second return line. The adapter plate that mates the Mitsi power steering pump bracket to the Toyota engine needs a slight bend as the belt isn't running perfectly true at the moment, so I'll take that out and sort it before the big fire up.

Talking about brackets I'd noticed that the accelerator cable bracket that I made up a while ago isn't going to cut the mustard. Everything looks fine with the accelerator at rest, but as the pedal is depressed the cable starts running at an angle. Here is a photo of the angle of the cable under full throttle. Not good.

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There is nothing nicer than a bit of metal carving on Mum's Day, so this morning I fired up my trusty grinder of angles and before morning smoko I had myself a mark two version of the accelerator cable bracket. The two brackets side by side show the difference in style.

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After smoko I slapped it in for a test run. The photo below shows things under full throttle. Much better.

Will give the pie cut a quick tickle with my glue gun before I slap on a few coats of Hammerite.

Thanks for looking.

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My accelerator setup seems to be the gift that just keeps on giving.

Although I’ve solved the issue of the cable pulling at an angle I’m still not happy with the overall feel of the pedal.

The first issue is that the force required on the pedal feels a lot harder than it should be.

The second issue is that the overall pedal travel feels pretty short to me.

First thing this morning I grabbed the HiAce accelerator pedal and after hooking up the standard HiAce cable to my carby I was able to confirm that the HiAce pedal travels a total of 45 mm from idle to full throttle. In contrast my current setup results in around 30 mm of travel.  The HiAce pedal also feels a lot lighter. Good to know that I wasn’t just imagining the issues.

So I dusted off my trusty piece of old house carpet and crawled under the Thames for a bit of a lie down. Well it may have seemed like that for any one observing, but I find that the creative juices flow better when I’m actually looking at the problem.

Now as a young un I was never any good at science and maths, but lying under the van I had a sudden thought that maybe some type of uneven lever between the cable and the Thames pedal might solve both my issues in one go. Okay, let’s go down that path I thought, and because I’m a bit of a lazy sod I started scratching around for something to repurpose rather than building it from scratch.

The first thing that I turned my attention to was the loud pedals from my donor vans thinking that I may be able to scavenge something suitable from the innards of each pedal. Sadly, no such luck.

Then I cast my mind back to the original Thames throttle linkage that was made up of a number of rods and pivots. So after a bit of hunting around I found it languishing in the pile of cast offs sitting in the back of the Starwagon. Pulled it out for closer inspection and as luck would have it there is a nice little pivot lever at the very end of the mechanism.

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Because my life is pretty sad, I spent a few hours building this working mock up of version 3 of my HiAce to Thames accelerator cable bracket. Stole the mini ball joints off the ends of my gear shift cables for the intermediate shaft, so I'll need to order in some replacements.

Even went as far as to make a longer pivot lever so the accelerator pedal is now nice and soft with heaps of travel. Should make for nice smooth acceleration.

So all that's left to do is to replicate this mock up in something tougher than a piece of dirt old plywood. I'll hopefully make the finished article a lot more pleasing on the eye.

Thanks for looking.

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