Monday, 18 March 2019

Doors & Glass

It's amazing how a car can come to life again, isn't it? What was once a lump of rusty metal becomes almost a living thing with a regained personality. That's what's happening to my car and various items of work make the whole thing grow.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been working on all aspects of the interior and exterior trim, including the bumpers, grille, cruise light blanking plates etc but for this short post we'll concentrate on the doors and glass.

As you can see the door locks were very past their best, so were stripped and painted. This was quite a satisfying job and I am pleased with the results. There's still a bit of patina there, but I like that - they are the original locks from the car and those little dinks tell a story.
Next, the glass. Thankfully I had a complete set of new sundym glass which was patiently waiting under my bed for their day in the limelight. When that day came, I started on the quarter lights first, which was easy. A clean of the rubbers and a lick of paint to the frames, and they went in a treat. See what I mean about it coming to life?
Next stop was the drop glass, which was a real pain. Starting with a pile of bits I had to transfer the bottom retaining rail to the new glass, which was no fun. Then it had to be hefted into place and lined up with the new regulators.
Getting the whole lot to align was a nightmare, as you have to get three lobes on the regulators to fit in various channels in both the door frame and under the glass. I had less hair immediately prior to this job, but in the end we got there.
More next time!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Headlamps, Dash, Exterior Trim

Since my last report the weather has gotten better, making working in the garage much more pleasurable. When we were here previously we were struggling with the left hand headlamp actuator, which was going really slowly. Having slept on it (not literally, obviously) I decided to clean up all of the earths in that area. I am delighted to say that the problem was solved and Terry and I then went on to fitting the headlamp pods. Carefully.

Terry the hand model strikes again. He's kind of becoming like The Stig. Maybe one day you will see his face?


With the headlamps fitted, the car has got its face back! Sorry this video has so much bluriness! Every time the lights flashed, the camera had difficulty focusing.

Next was fitting the dashboard, which I had been looking forward to. This took some time, as we had to fathom out what needed to go where; what had to be moved out of the way. As it was, it went in quite nicely and without too much of a fight once the centre console had been removed.

One thing that was a bit of a nightmare was the heater pipes. One of them split, so we had to repair it with self amalgamating tape.

Heater pipe mended.

Bare bones fitted.
Nearly looks like a car!

Dash and clocks all fitted nicely.
It's nice bolting new things onto the car, as it gives you a boost. One of the things I wanted to do was fit the fuel filler cap, as the last time the car had one was back in 1994, but not for long. It got left on a petrol/gas station pump in Reims, France. I recall that for most of that trip the car had the cap from an Orangina bottle on the filler.

However, in order to see my dream of a filler cap fitted, I had to fit the filler neck and pipe. It is a horrible and impossible job as the alloy filler neck has to fit into the rubber pipe, and that lot has to fit into and around the fuel tank entry. I needed four pairs of hands. After much cursing it eventually went in, but tightening the lower hose was very fiddly.
New old stock fuel bezel. Very expensive these days but I had one in stock.

Damn thing.


The first time Bessy has had a filler since Reims 1994.
And finally, I fitted one of the B-pillar trims. First job was to make a new vent flap thing from some spare vinyl I had around.
Lower flap is my own reproduction.

I had in stock two new B-pillar trims, but rather typically they were both for the offside. So one side gets a brand new one, the other I will have to clean up and paint with matt black plastic paint. The stupid little "T" clip things were a nightmare too, as the metal nuts just don't want to screw to the plastic clips. I got there in the end.

Nice, eh?

Sunday, 27 January 2019


Well, the strategy of making sure we get the electrics working 100% before rushing to put the car back together is paying off. Yesterday, I scuttled into the garage and assisted by Terry starting wiring more things up. We made a check list of everything and slowly but surely the car began to awake from its years of slumber.

From number plate lights to boot lamp, instrument illumination to dials, clocks, fan and exterior lamps it began to come to life.

Having had problems with the headlamp lift actuators and motors, we disassembled and rejuvenated the headlamp stalk switch and the hazard switch (the latter due to erratic indicators and hazards).
The lamps stalk switch predictably fell apart and we were left with an assortment of springs, a ball bearing and various "weeee bits" (they go "weeee" when you check them over your shoulder, having decided the part can do without them. Actually, we didn't really chuck anything). The Micky Mouse contacts were cleaned up and the whole thing put back together feeling altogether tighter than before.

That done, the hazard switch was stripped surprisingly easily and again its contacts cleaned before reassembly.

By the way, and I forgot to say, the wiper motor and rack went back in the car and worked a treat although I don't think it is parking correctly. There's an adjustment for that, but more another time. We're doing lights at the moment, right?

So, onto the headlamps and their wretched lift actuators. We connected up the lamps themselves and all was well, hurrah. But the actuators themselves were being a pain: the driver's side went up when it should have gone down and vice versa, and the passenger side, well, didn't really do anything.

First things first, we swapped over the whole assemblies. The faults swapped side, so we knew the problems were with the motors rather than wiring. As it was blowing a gale even inside the garage and these two old blokes get cold easily, we retired to the house and stripped the motors.

Alas I don't have photos but what we found was this:

Actuator A: the big cog inside the motor was 180 degrees "out". That'd be why it went up when it should have gone down. We rectified that. Why was it like it? My fault, I had refurbished these motors a while ago and got it wrong, obviously;
Actuator B: Two problems here: the contacts on and under the brass strip in the mechanism had tarnished to the point of no conductance, so the run/stop switches were inoperative. We gave them a good clean and hoped for the best. Secondly, some of the wiring was very iffy so we cleaned and resoldered them.

Now full of cornish pasties, soup and hope, we scuttled back into the garage and connected everything back up. Guess what? Both worked! Up, down, down, up, flash, the whole lot.

We then set about tidying everything up, cleaning connectors, screwing the relays back in, attaching the switch stalks etc and generally making the car look presentable in a slightly Terminator way. We were allowed to do that now as the lights popped up and down, and represented the last electrical frontier. I made a video.

Then the passenger side actuator started going weird again and the daylight faded, so we had to call it. At the end of the day we had achieved a huge amount, with nearly all of the electrics working. From a bare shell and a box of wiring loom, we had woken the car. That's still a result.

So, more next time and in the meantime here's my latest cinematic epic. Terry is the hand model again, in the scene with the interior light and door. At this rate I will have to pay him royalties.

Please don't forget to follow my blog. Click on the "Follow" button on the far right. It looks like this:

Tuesday, 22 January 2019


I love this post!
Courtesy of the MGF register.

I should also say that this group does great work. I know, because I also have an MGF which I love very much.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Electrics again

It's really important that before commencing the glamour jobs (like fitting the dash and interior) the electrics work 100%. I mean everything. That's a noble sentiment, I know, and so far I'd say about 70% works. Yay! However, it is the remaining 30% giving the biggest headache.

Back end wired and working. 

On a happy note, the boot/trunk is all wired up and fitted and working fine. Result!

Well, ready for driving I'd say.

On the inside, most of the dials, lamps, clocks etc work although the flashers and indicators did work but now don't. I suspect a faulty stalk switch.

I mentioned in my last post that at the last "power up", the wiper motor didn't work and got very hot. That was a blow after I had repainted it meticulously and Terry and I had spent an age fitting it. But last weekend we removed it and, with the help of Neil, totally stripped it.

Terry is our hand model today.

What we found was everything seized solid, including the gear wheel in the motor, the rack and the wheel boxes. Oh, and it was full of water which I am sure wasn't an original design feature. However, after a merry afternoon of cleaning, mending, re-lubricating and reassembly, it worked a treat when connected to a power supply. The spirits of these three grumpy old men were lifted sky high when it started whirring and doing its thing. I even made a quick video, which is so gripping that I am convinced it will go viral and become an internet sensation to rival Justin Bieber. I hope you like the arty bit at the end where it goes all out of focus.

A trade off to our success, however, is the spectacular failure of progress on the headlamp lift motors. One doesn't work and the other works in reverse. It must be a case of bad earths, or it may be any of the million and one issues commonly associated with this excellent Lucas design. More next time, if I can manage to extract myself from the engine bay.

Can I get out yet? I have been here for four years.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Electrics Continued

Terry and I have continued to inspect, clean, repair and fit the loom plus of course make sure everything works before the dash is put back together. Today was quite a moment as we connected a battery to the car.

I should also say that three big boxes of spares have appeared at work, courtesy of Robsport. But more on their contents another day.

So, after much repairing of the loom I applied some 12v power from a battery today (the engine isn't in, so all engine wires etc were insulated with tape to stop any shorting). My view was that any number of things would happen, namely (a) nothing would work (b) it would blow all the fuses, catch fire and burn my garage down  :roll: (c) some things would work and (d) it would all work perfectly. Clearly (d) wasn't really going to happen, but here's what did:

Working: Rear side lights, rear stop lamps, reverse lamps, boot lamp, indicators, horn, centre console green lamps, cigar lighter lamp, instrument back lighting, instrument turn lamps, clock, front side lights, front indicators.

Working but weirdly: Numberplate/licence plate lamps in the boot/trunk lid (dim), hazard lights (they did work for a while but now don't), headlamp lift motors. One is always up and doesn't move, the other goes up when it should be down and vice versa

Not working at all: interior light, instrument cluster vertical centre warning erm things (choke-on lamp, ign, oil brake, coolant etc), washer pump, wiper motor (which is getting very hot. I did say it might burst into flames...  :shock: )

I have listed these just in case someone with better knowledge than me may say "aha, some of those things share an earth or +VE feed in common".

After all of that, it was nice to just look at it.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Electrics etc

When faced with a giant "Airfix" model of a car, where do you start? I stripped the TR7's shell over twenty years ago so reassembly was always going to be challenging.

My logic is something like this: 1. The electrics will be the most troublesome, so get them right first 2. Do some stuff which gives the car a visual boost, to make me feel good when the electrics don't work and 3. fit some engine bay stuff and then the engine and gearbox.

So, I started with putting in some sound deadening, which was really satisfying. The first new additions to the freshly painted shell! This job involved refitting the original sound deadening panels around the front bulkhead, which were in an ok (if a bit grotty) state. They are fitted with little square spire clips which you can't get anywhere now, but I found some in my shed and together with a can of spray glue. It looks nice.
As you can see in the above photo, a lot of other work was done too. This included the steering and brackets, pedal box, wiring loosely thrown in and the bracketry for the heater.

Working out where all of the wires go wasn't easy, as it would have helped if I had labelled the loom when I took it out. However it is fairly intuitive and I used the workshop manual to retrospectively label everything. I enjoyed that.

My friend Terry has helped me over these last few days and together we have solved all sorts of conundrums. The master cylinder and servo were added, together with the clutch master cylinder. The conundrum with the master cylinder wasn't a conundrum at all, really - the low brake pressure warning switch things had broken off, so I'll need to order one of those.
The boot is pretty much wired up, with new licence plate lights together with the NOS rear lamps. I told you that sometimes it is nice to just bolt stuff on which makes the car look like a car again.