Flash

Flash's 1965 Ford Thames

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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

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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.

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It was a nice sunny morning here at Rough & Ready Restos, so I thought I'd crack into the spacers for the L300 front beam.

My mate Snow donated a nice chunky bit of 8 mm angle iron to the cause, so I spent a bit of time doing a bit of carving with my little grinder.

Nek minnit :

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Tomorrow I'll cut the front faces out of the same angle to form the last bit of the U.

Thanks for reading.

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Did some more metal carving today.

The Starwagon beam has an extra reinforcing skin welded on where the original mounting perches sat. Even although it was factory done the sides are not uniform so it took me ages to get the cardboard templates just right to ensure minimal gaps.

Clamped them up and sat them in position on the beam. Needed to fine tune the cuts a bit, but levels are now spot on so next step is to glue everything together.

Ground away the galvanising to aid penetration.

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In the little driving that I did before the tear down it became apparent that the old Thames handled like the good ship Lollipop in a swell. So on my "to do" list was to address the rear shock absorbers - or lack thereof. 

The Thames is blessed with these puppies from factory:

 

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I figured if these were any good every modern car would have a set, so the loose plan is to replace these with a set of modern shocks.

First thing this morning I nosed around my personal scrap yard and the HiAce setup looks like just the ticket.

So without further ado my neigbours were roused from their sleep by the dulcet tones of my grinder.

And in next to no time the HiAce ended up looking like this:

 

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Plan is to bolt the plates that I have left onto the original Thames mounting plates. These are currently welded to the inside of each chassis rail. I will then poke the reinforcing rods through a 20mm hole that I will drill in the outside face of each chassis leg. A little bit of welding around the nub sticking out of the 20mm hole and I'll call the job done. 

Tomorrow I'll tackle the lower shock mounts.

Thanks for reading.

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The L300 front suspension is now tacked into position. Our local workshop which is about 2 km from home has a wheel alignment machine so the plan is to get it on the machine for final checking before fully welding everything up. But that's still a way down the track.

In the mean time my attention has now turned to the strut mounts. With the front suspension now quite a distance from the chassis legs I'll need to build a spacer.

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I took a look under my donor vans and have come up with a cunning plan that will involve using the boxed chassis rails of the Starwagon as the spacer.

I'll leave the strut brace eyelets fixed to the chassis rail and will just need to swap them left to right as the strut braces now face backwards on the Thames.

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Fired up my trusty grinder of angles and gave the Starwagon chassis a damn good spanking.

Ended up with this which I'll carve up further tomorrow :

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Woke up to a nice sunny Sunday and figured it was a good day to tackle a bit of metal carving.

Sculpted a bit of 6 mm flat plate to fill the triangle between the main chassis rail  and the angled offshoot that used to support the gearbox mount. Then trimmed the brackets off the chassis cut that I took off the Starwagon yesterday. 

Result isn't the most pleasant looking thing, but it will do the trick. I just need to box the front and rear of the hollow chassis rail and glue everything to the plate. I'm going to bolt the plate to the Thames chassis so that the modification can be reversed if some old Barry ever wants to put the van back to original.

I'll repeat the process tomorrow for the other side.

Thanks for reading.

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And then there were two. I managed to keep a few of the crush tubes intact on both sections which will aid overall strength.

Managed a quick bit of metal carving before morning smoko. Time for a quick cuppa and then I'll crack into carving the second flat plate.

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Second plate cut. I then temporarily fitted the plates onto the chassis legs with some clamps. and bolted up the strut braces. After checking some measurements I then drilled a few holes and bolted the eyelets to the plates. This is also a temporary measure to make sure that everything stays aligned until its glued together. 

Next step is to chuck a few tack welds about the place and I'll then drill the mounting holes that will hold the plates to each chassis leg. 

Again, I'll hold off on the full welding until after I've had the van on a wheel alignment machine.

Thanks for reading.

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Managed to get a few blobs of hot glue onto the strut brace mounts. That will do for now. I've still got to drill the mounting holes in the plate and corresponding holes in the chassis before I can bolt them up.

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