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(the months are 2015/2016)

The French Blatting Company



1949 MG TC

May 2015


Started at about 0730. Had some breakfast and then photographed the tachometer and speedo. I had taken the glass off the tacho and asked Lynne if she could gently clean it. I was going to show her how but, as usual, she had something else to do. When I came in for lunch (this was yesterday) she had been using an abrasive paste and the rust spots were still there but the numbers weren't (well a bit faded). the needle was around the 5000 rpm area. So I took it apart to see what I could do. Not a lot. Today I asked the TABC group where I could get them refurbed and got a lot of answers. I've now sent out 4 emails to the UK, if none of them can do it I'll ask the 2 or 3 in the States.



Tacho with clock removed. I cleaned the area between the 1 and 2 with olive oil on a cotton bud, Lynne did the area by the 5.



The clock.



Speedo with broken glass. Can I tell you a funny story? I was getting it out of the dash but it wouldn't come past the rexine material. So I pushed harder, like prising a champagne cork off, and it went pop - and fell on the floor and broke the glass!



First thing I did (on the car) was to remove what was left of the exhaust. This is probably the original. The two pipes should be one tailpipe and the top of the silencer has a hole in it......


................and the bottom has a bigger hole, a 66 year old hole!


Close up of a hole. Now don't rush, you can all have one-in time.


Having got the exhaust off I took the transmission tunnel out. Fortunately the bolts weren't seized as they were covered in oil and grease.



Took ages to get the N/S wing off. I had taken the luggage rack off and the spare wheel carrier. Only had to cut a few bolts off but the wings were a different story. The N/S screws into the ash frame were all stuck fast. I cut them halfway through with the Dremel and then prised them out with a large screwdriver. The bolt going through the wing into the petrol tank came out easily. Note the pile of dirt on the floor. It was 3 full shovels  and each was heavy enough to need two arms to lift.



The N/S again with the dirt removed. The bolt hole for the tank securing bolt is clearly visible. The O/S was a lot easier, I just cut the screw heads off and away came the wing.

The rust at the bottom of both inner wings. I'm going to see how much new ones are before repairing it with a new section of metal. 


The fuel tank, the spare wheel carrier and the luggage rack have been removed. This is with the N/S/R wing off but the O/S still on. Once both wings were off the tank came out. It's bone dry inside and I'm going to get our powerful torch and look inside to see how rusty it is.


The centre tub removed and hanging on the crane. This is heavy enough to need 4 men to lift so I've no chance on my own. Lynne will come and help in the morning. She can work the crane while I pull and push to get it away from the chassis. 


From the front. I undid the windscreen locking butterfly nuts and the screen folds flat. It's about half way down in this picture.



Looking up it. It's on it's side and this is the view as if you were looking upwards.


If you ignore the tub, this is a bare chassis. 

So, not a bad days work. I had to cut off several seized bolts, some had rusted so much the socket just spun round. After we get the tub out of the way in the morning I'll try and get the shackles out of the rear springs the get the rear axle out. The front axle has to come out as well. Then the big clean up can commence. 

My target was to get a bare chassis by the weekend. I'll probably just about do it but with the master cylinder, brake pipes, loom and some brackets to be removed. I'll spend most of tomorrow getting the shackle pins out. I feel the Oxy-Acetylene calling....



Late start, about 0900. never mind I'll have my pay docked an hours money. 

First job was to get the tub off the crane, it was jammed on. I tried lifting it and letting it down on the jacks and blocks of wood but that didn't help. So I undone the bolt holding the chain. Went twang and the tub settled. It's only a small crease in the running board, will knock out easily. Then Lynne and I got one end on the floor creeper and wheeled it out the way, turned it over and stood it, upside down, on two axle stands and two blocks of wood.

Then spent the rest of the day getting as much off the chassis as I could. Loom, handbrake cables, brake pipes, various brackets and then the rear axle which I separated from the springs. The master cylinder came out much easier than I thought it would. So, I now have all the stuff off the chassis except the springs. The oxy-acetylene spanner will be used on Monday. I stopped at about 1700 as I was knackered. The corset was in the wash and I was using the old one, which is now too big so won't go as tight as it should.

I'm sitting here typing this up wearing a thick jumper and a fleece with the old corset on so it's tight.

Rest day tomorrow, we're going to the local track for a horse race meeting.


The tub caught under the chassis. Maybe it's because I left the grease nipple pipe connected!



The tub, on the creeper with a sleeping bag protecting the folded windscreen.


The inside, the wood is rotten.


The other side is just as rotten.


Creeper removed and on axle stands. 


I've got to clean all this. Right down to shiny metal. Then paint it all. Makes me tired just typing about it.


When was the last time you saw fabric insulating tape. This lot, with the metal clips (on right) came off the loom.


The loom. It's fabric covered but the plastic has gone brittle and cracks if bent.


Some of the bits taken off the chassis. The fixings and small brackets are in boxes and jars.


Rear axle. I did notice the oil leaking out as it's upside down. Never mind, something else to clean up Monday morning.


Bare chassis except for the rear shackles still holding the front axle on...........



...........and the rear shackles holding the rear springs on.

So, I reached my target-almost. The shackles will be off by lunchtime on Monday as I'll use heat to free them. Then the big clean. I should have the first stage, jet washing everything done by Wednesday night. Then to start de-rusting, that will take a lot longer, probably 3 weeks (or more!)

I came in and bid for an old 200 litre compressor on Ebay and got it. Mines had it, it takes 10 minutes to get up to pressure and then runs every 5 minutes again for 10.


Big ain't it!



I had a day off and we went to the races. Lynne lost on every race bar one. That was the favourite so she won 80 cents. Not bad for laying out 16€. But she enjoys it and it's a cheap afternoon out. Highlight was a friend of our got upset because Lynne didn't back her husband, a jockey running in the next race. Lynne's horse came in second last - the friend came in last!



See, happy gambling away our money!


I had a horrible night! As you can see above (not Lynne, the second of May entry) I bought a compressor off Ebay. I had offered the seller £150 if he could keep it for a week or two whilst I sorted out transport. He refused so I bought it for £100 as the only bidder. He wasn't happy. I got some quotes from transport companies to collect it, store it for a week or so then meet me at Portsmouth, transfer it from one van to the other and I would go back on the same boat. But the best quote In got was over £100. So I re-arranged everything and we're going over on Thursday. I'm planning on collecting as many parts as I can order to save the carriage charges (could easily be over £300!). When we got back from the races I spent an hour taking the dash apart (see below) then started making a list of the parts I could order from Moss. 

Went to bed at midnight but kept remembering items I'd not listed. I have a pad and pen by the side of the bed just for this eventuality. But something else was bothering me and at 0500 I realised that I was going to check other suppliers who would be cheaper than Moss. So I came down and spent two hours going through the lists on TABC and other club sites. Fired off several emails for availability and prices. We're booked on the overnight boat on Friday night so have all day. Moss is about half hour from where the compressor is and an alternative supplier is near Stanstead. I've not booked the Premier Inn for Thursday night as if we have to go to Stanstead, which I hope we do as it could save me £1000, I'll book a hotel near there. I hope to get an answer early in the morning and then I'll know what we're doing.

Anyway, I went to bed at 0700 and got up at 0830 to go to Super U to book a high top Sprinter. 

Then I came back and did some more booking for the trip (ferries, hotel at Ouisterham, reserve some stuff at Machine Mart, Southampton) the started to get the seized shackle pins off. Got three off (pictures tomorrow) and I gave up at 1700 and came in. I'm still up at 2200, I'll sleep well tonight!

I've taken these pictures so I know how to put the wiring loom back correctly.






No Lucar connectors, all screwed in and the insulating tape is cloth, not PVC. It will need a new covering, which is easy to get, and a new centre metal dash which is scratched and in a poor state. I laughed when I took the ignition switch out, the key number is engraved on the switch, no need to worry about you car getting stolen in the 1940s. How times have changed.


The dash that will be replaced. It's bronze but badly faded and scratched. I'll take the lamp out when I get a minute.



I went to Chateaubriant this morning to get a 2 legged drawer, 2 bags of dry sand (for sand blaster and 4 tools I've ordered at Norauto. all I got was the sand, and 2 small bottles of de-ruster, only 35€ each!

Got back and changed into working clothes and started jet washing. First the 4 shock absorbers, which I'm now going to overhaul. Then the chassis and last the engine and gearbox.


This shackle is off, it's the other side that's seized.


The front axle before cleaning.




This is the distance piece that will not come off! It did eventually! All springs are now off.


The rear axle on the creeper.


Rear axle being washed


The hub of the rear axle.


Rear axle during the wash.


Three springs, must be a song there somewhere.


Before starting... ready to start





... and the back end.



Two problem shackles.


Partly cleaned engine.


Front cover, now that's dirty


Starter and exhaust



The clutch inside the bell housing


Cleaned N/S


cleaned O/S


Cleaned front.


Workshop floor after a sweep.


The bigger picture


4 Shock absorbers after cleaning.


Spent the morning dealing with emails and making phone calls. A lot of planning went into the trip to the UK to collect the £100 compressor i bought on Ebay and collect a lot of the bits for the TC.


At 1145 we went off to Super U (supermarket) to collect the Merc Sprinter. No problem, we then came home to get some tools and the engine crane into the back of the van. This van was huge, and the floor was high, the step ladder was between the top step and the step below. However, with a lot of shouting and swearing we got it on, I set the legs down and tied it to the side. 

Off we went, going to Norauto on the way to collect some stuff I'd ordered. Then to Ouistrham to stay overnight and catch the ferry in the morning. Whilst having dinner a women was telling anyone who would listen that the dockers were on strike and the ferry was cancelled. At first I thought she meant the overnight boat but it was all sailing until the strike finished. I phoned Brittany Ferries on the commercial line which is open 24 hours a day. They confirmed the sailings were cancelled and that we should go to Cherbourg. I asked the waiter how long it takes to drive to Cherbourg. "Eh?" was the helpful answer. I tried again, and again and again but the answer didn't change. When I went to pay the bill I took the I pad with me and showed him Cherbourg. Ah, Cherbourg he says. 1 hour 10 minutes.


So at 0600 in the morning we are on the way to Cherbourg and arrive at 0730. No further problems and we get off at 1530.




Lynne, in her "I'm sleeping on a boat" position.

And the shutter wakes her up.

We are supposed to be at the man with the compressor at 1600 and we made up some time and got there at 1630. Not too much problem getting the compressor on the van, he was strong!

The we had to go to pick up the TC parts at MG Parts near Stanstead. I set our new SatNav to the address and off we went. It took us off before Stanstead and across country. About 20 minutes later we arrive. Peter is still checking the parts but we load up fairly quickly and off. I had booked us in to the Premier Inn at Newmarket. Big mistake, it's 1/2 hour north and no parking. We left the van on double yellow lines in the street, then in the morning moved it into Waitrose car park.





And the driver!

In the morning, without rush we set of to Croydon, to a customer of ours called Kinghams. Got to the service department but the parcels we had to collect were in the showroom. No problem we're told, to the bottom, turn right, first right and then right again. Problem was the showroom is 3 right turns. So I'm not sure were we are and put the van into a space in the high street. Ring Tanya and ask for the address of the showroom. Enter it in and then move forward, to see Kinghams showroom! Collect the two parcels, next stop is Moss in Feltham. 

Now the problem starts. The sat nav is still going to Croydon. We get onto the M25 and it takes us off and along a country road and back into Croydon. I'm now aware so reprogramme to go to Feltham. Took 3/4 hour to get to the area but another 2 hours to find Moss as the SatNav still taking us to Croydon. Stop at a petrol station and ask. They have no idea where Feltham is. So Lynne marches up to a heavily tattooed youngster and asks him. Yes, he works opposite. Gives us directions and 20 minutes later we find it. Just shows, never to judge a book by it's cover, the lad said most people look at him and jump to the conclusion he's no good, with all those tattoos, but he went out of his way to explain the route. I knew that Moss were at the end of the M3. We set the SatNav to Portsmouth and turn left out of the estate, 2 minutes to the roundabout and join the M3. 

We go straight to Machine Mart then find a post office to post 4 parcels we've brought over and then to Halfords. 

We were  booked on the 2200 ferry back to Caen. However it was cancelled so we booked into a Premier inn (this time with a car park!) Went to the bar but now decent beer so went across the road for a pint. Then to Tesco so Lynne can get a clean pair of knickers as she wasn't expecting to stay overnight. In the morning we have to go back to the 24 hour Tesco and get more knickers, they're good value for money, apparently. 


Get the boat at 0815 in the morning, docks at 1500 at Cherbourg and we get home at 1900.




Started early to unload the van and get the compressor off. Didn't take long to get the bits off, but the compressor took the rest of the day. Lynne had to help and eventually we got it into the air and Lynne moved the van forward. Then the fun started. The wheels of the crane were sticking in the grass and I couldn't get it up the slope into the workshop. It fell over twice and has broken two pipes. Nightmare!


The reason for the problem is the height of the deck.

A work of art, the new rocker cover.


And, finally, the object of all the trouble.



Took the van back at 0900 (well 0930, but the bed was warm!). Then to Brico to get the compressor pipes. Spent nearly all of the rest of the day fixing the compressor. It works fine. I'm so tired I'll finish this tomorrow and put some pictures up. Off to bed now. (only 2130!!!)



I hit the wall today, totally knackered. So no work but caught up on DVLA SORN's, tax return, and trying to get the Caterham insured in France on UK plates. I did give the leather seats a good rub with saddle soap and they are softening up. Did one at 0800 and the next at 1230. I'll do it again in the morning. If I can get the leather soft and supple again, it will clean and I'll be able to apply the correct shade of dye. They won't look new, they'll be better than that - real patina.

In the afternoon I went through all the parts I brought back and marked off what I had so we know what's outstanding. Then I messed about with the compressor and got the fittings in a better way. I also, at last, measured something on the 7 for a friend. I'm now feeling better and the aim tomorrow is to get the iron brackets off the tub and, in the afternoon, cut the grass. AGAIN!


Pictures of the last 2 days tomorrow.



Started the day by rubbing in another coat of saddle soap into the seats and door trims. They are definitely getting softer. Then had breakfast and started on getting the iron stays and bracketrs out of the tub. The chap making the new tub wants them sandblasted and painted. That's not a problem, getting 66 year old rusted in screws out is. I spent all morning and had only cut and drilled about v6 out. So after lunch I looked up how much he wanted for new ones. About £400 and I get new shiny ones and don't have to spend 2 days cutting a drilling a really set of rusty old iron out. Order placed. First part of afternoon spent getting the door shut catches, hinges and door lock plates off. No real problem other than 2 (of 4) screws in in of the  door shuts are seized. I've left them soaked in Plus Gas overnight, if they won't undo in the morning I'll have to drill the heads out



This is the steel frame I was trying to remove. The 4 bolts and 4 screws on the horizontal rail at the top of the picture are out but the screws and bolts on the diagonal and the bottom one won't move./TC13-05%20(8).jpeg


Door hinges and door stay to be undone. It's upside down because, er, the tub is upside down

One of the door hinges, one screw has been drilled and the other is coming out all on its own. Good boy!

When I got the running boards off, which wasn't too bad, only 6 screws to cut through, I found this:


Rust along the bottom edge of the side panel. The other side is the same.


This is the panel behind the running board.

Up to now everything has gone as expected. I've had seized shackle pins which took time to get out but nothing too difficult. This wasn't expected so, this morning, when I found it I thought "I HATE MY CAR" Had to come at some time but feel better about it tonight. Tomorrow it's going to rain so I'll turn the tub over and remove the cross bar on the rear panel. This will mean removing the rear trim which is rexine. It's so brittle I'm expecting it to tear. New trim's aren't that expensive. In the afternoon we have a race meeting to go to so I won't be able to do too much.


I forgot to photograph the chassis after a good coating with a rust killing solution. So here are two close ups.




Almost shiny metal, well it will be when I sandblast it on Friday (weather permitting)

Last thing I did today was to take the windscreen apart.


The long bits are the top and bottom rail the short sections are the uprights and the frame for the hinges to fold the screen flat. The upper and lower frame sections have 66 year old rubber sleeve inside them that will need chiseling out. I can remember doing them in the 60's when the rubbers were only 15 years old. They were difficult to get out then. I may try softening them with a blowlamp.  The plastic box has the wiper motor and the screws in it. The wiper motor is fixed to the passenger side at the top of the screen. Just the right place for your passenger to smash their head into if you brake sharp (not sure a TC can brake sharp!). Note the original 3 spoke steering wheel. They are sought after and I've already had an offer for it. I've said I'm not selling anything until the renovation is complete. I may clean it up and frame it to hang on the wall.


I spent some time last night messing about with the limited fittings I have to get the compressor set up.


Got the oil feed and water trap on the side with a PCL connector. Should be a screw in but I haven't got one. I'll probably get some BSF unions and do it properly later.


And put this in the top. Only problem is the brass right angle isn't a tapered thread and it's leaking slightly. I'm ordering an electric pressure switch and adaptor to fit in there so it will switch the motor off when the pressure is reached and back on when it drops. At the moment the motor runs all the time and there is a mechanical bypass valve on the pump to stop pressurizing the tank.


I have bought 4 new road springs but wasn't sure it needed them. If you look closely at these pictures you'll see it does.


The front. The old one is almost flat compared to the new as you can see with one on top of the other.


Fronts again.


Rears and you can see how "flat" the old one is.

Plan is to get the chassis and axles sand blasted by Monday. Then apply POR15 black paint to the axles and four corners of the chassis. I have a US quart of the stuff, which may not be enough. I've ordered more but it won't be here until early June. I will have the correct colour chassis black here next week and that will be put on over the POR15. With the axles and corners of the chassis painted I can get the axles and springs back on and then the chassis can be rolled away so I can then get on with stripping the engine.


I do love plans.



Before we went to the races, I spent the morning in the workshop. I put all the tools from the previous day away and swept up. Then I turned the tub over, with Lynne's help, and got more bits off.


This is my rusty bottom. It's the bit under the side screen box between fuel tank and passenger compartment


And this is the pile of rust and chips of wood that fell off when I was hammering at seized screws.


I think this is called the door hinge brace. It took ages to get off with screws seized in and rivets to chisel off.


A few days ago I mentioned a very expensive interior mirror. Here it is:




 Small picture of a small mirror

I suppose you can say I've got this in hand. Small and lovely, and only £107.

We then had lunch and went to the races. It was windy and cold so came left at 1900, instead of staying to the end at 2005. Had we put money on the races we did see I would have been ahead, but only by a few Euros and so would Lynne even though we had selected different horses. I just chose the horse with the best form, Lynne chose the name she thought was nice. All were placed.



Applied more saddle soap to the seats and door trims. I decided it would be better to slap it on by hand rather than rubbing it in with a cloth. I really slapped it on, it was thick on the surfaces. I had some breakfast and, as I walked passed them I noticed the seats were dry. All the saddle soap had been absorbed by the leather. I'll slap some more on in the morning but then I'll have to buy more.


Then I got the chassis outside on to cardboard sheets. It took longer to get the cardboard boxes opened out than bring the chassis out. Then I started sandblasting. It was not coming up as I expected so I asked a question of the MG Tabc group (by email). I wanted to know if they thought it was worth sandblasting when I was going to apply POR15 which can be put onto rust. I got some replies which varied in opinion. However I then discovered that what I thought was the original paint was in fact dries in grease. If I scraped it off the sand blaster got down to the metal. So I'll carry on blasting.


Chassis outside and me getting ready for a blast.


Sandblasting. Even though I'm sitting down it's very tiring. Sand gets everywhere, and I mean everywhere.


 Caught in the act, I never do this in the house. It's the ultimate recycling, used sand.


The result after scraping off the grease. This is the inside channel just after the forward rear spring hanger. The black specs are grease not paint.


This is a section which wasn't covered in grease, Pitted but OK. The POR15 paint will cover the pitting and it will look good.


And this is a section that needs more attention. Tomorrow.

Stopped at 1800 and put a car cover over the chassis. Put all the stuff I'm using in the back of the Land Rover and all ready to continue tomorrow. Took 15 minutes in the shower to get the sand from hair and all my orifices. 



The weather forecast was for rain. Yesterday it said no rain. In fact it wasn't raining but very damp. I decide not to sand blast as it was damp but to strip the rear axle. If you recall the previous owner told me a story about a broken half shaft. I'll repeat it here: The reason why the off side rear spinner is wired is because sometime in the late 50’s the half shaft did break. I was working in GEC in Birmingham and having bought a ½ shaft I had asked a machinist in one of the workshops to remove the hub from the broken ½ shaft, which they could do (I had been recommended this was the correct procedure to adopt) as they had hydraulic presses to do the extraction. Unfortunately (Initially he did not tell me) he damaged the hub in doing so. He then found a replacement and pressed the ½ shaft into the procured hub. Sometime later when I noticed that the spinner seemed odd I queried the machinist what had happened he admitted his error. I vaguely remember (not to certain about this) he found a replacement hub by means of the one that mounts the spare wheel replacing it with the damaged hub, and used that to press on the new ½ shaft. His recommendation to be on the safe side was to wire it! as you saw.


I now know what he did:


So, new hub required. I have a 10 ton press so no problem fitting it.


Thought you'd like to see the end of the axle casing. Good, ain't it.


The diff, slightly out-of-focus but looks good. I haven't checked the backlash yet. I'll fit new bearing and set up the backlash, the CRW and pinion are Ok though.

Stopped work at 1500, had a shower and I'm watching the football scores as they come in. Will have tomorrow off and Monday morning I'm shopping for bits and pieces.




DISASTER DAY. I spent a few hours heating and scraping the chassis and it was going well, slow but getting there. I came in for lunch and thought I’d get a new copy of Word to replace my non working one from Office 2000. I purchased and downloaded it and the machine crashed at the end. When I rebooted the Office 2000 was gone taking with it all my emails and contacts (as well as Front Page which I used to update the web site) I’m now using my new copy of word to do it so that’s one problem fixed (Thanks Simon, I never realised Word 2013 was Front Page as well-I’ve downloaded 4 HTML editors but they are all just that, you have to write in HTML). So, if you’re reading this and haven’t emailed me in the last 4 days but have done in the past can you just drop me an email to norman@frenchblat.com Especially if you’re booked into a gite this summer as I’ve lost all your emails as well. Computers, must be the biggest cause of grief in the world J





Well I was going to work hard on the chassis as this may be the last dry day for a week or so but I’ll probably be trying to get my emails back somehow. Oh, woe is me.






Just trying out Word for putting pictures on. Not sure if I should use the hyperlink or just put the picture on.



Finished recovering my lost emails first thing. Then spent an hour or so sandblasting. The transport company left a message on the phone. I couldn’t understand a word. He was speaking so fast. We phoned the company I’d bought the new compressor. Anyway, she said she’d ring back when she could find out what they wanted. She did and they’re coming tomorrow between 10 and 12. Now then, I seemed to have forgotten to say that I’d ordered a new compressor. There’s nothing wrong with the one I bought a few weeks ago. It pumps up to pressure quickly, is quiet and works well. Problem is that it runs non-stop, when the pressure is reached it vent the compressed air from the pump into the atmosphere. However, when the pump is pumping the lights in the garage and house flicker as the pump is on the compression stroke. I got up early, so nothing new there, and searched the web to see what sort of price a 200 litre compressor. In the UK, Machine Mart have them from about £850. I found a few for about 900€ then looked at a site with a Chinese 200 litre 3 horsepower compressor for 499€ That’s £363! Too good to be true, well I’ll let you now in time.


OK, anyone want to buy 2 compressors? A 50 litre and a huge 200 litre, won’t cost much.


I cleaned the chassis with a scraper and sandblasted the O/S leg down to the front. I was just going about to start on the N/S when it rained. So I packed all the kit away and moved inside to finish stripping the rear axle. The O/S hub came off easily; the bearing didn’t come out the hub that easily. I pressed one out on the 10 ton press and it went with a very sharp crack. The other, which has a collar, came out with a hammer and drift. I’ve now got to clean the axle ready for painting. I’ll take it outside and blast it. But not tomorrow, it’s a Wednesday and we go out for the day. We’re off to the shopping centre near Angers for lunch and to collect a battery I left for “repair”, under warranty at Casterama. Got a nice shopping list for stuff to do the chassis.


I forget to say that it’s a year today that my first vertebrae fractured. I was sitting at the table outside the gites talking to two lads, one with a Westfield and the other in a Porsche. I got up to come in the house and a terrific sharp pain shot up my back. A few days later we were in the UK and I had to go to the hospital at 0400 on the 28th, Lynne’s birthday. They said it was a muscle and gave me some paracetamol.




As above, shopping in Atoll, a shopping complex near Angers. We got there late because we had to wait for the new compressor to arrive, Then he wouldn’t come down the drive because of the overhanging trees. To be honest, I don’t blame him, it was a tall lorry. I wnet back inside (our drive is about 150 metres long) and when I got back he had tipped it out. Problem was the oil had run out. Lyne and I got it out of the box and put the wheels on, all this by the side of the road. Then I had the idea of towing down the lane and into the garage. Great, we hadn’t gone a few metres when the front wheel dug in and the whole thing reared up and nearly toppled over. So we pulled it the rest of the way.


Then set off for Attol. Got there at 1345 and had a nice Chinese meal. After that an hour or so in Castarama (B&Q) buying stuff to de-rust the chassis. Oh, and a plastic cupboard to keep the sheets and towels from the gites.


After that we went into C&A and, against my principle I bought two pair of jeans. These are needed as my current ones are so large I could get two people in them. Anyway, got two that fit perfectly but at 35€ each I thought they were expensive. Next stop was Gemo as Lynne wanted a new bag. I bought a pair of shoes to replace those I cooked in the micro wave. Didn’t I tell you about that? No, well you’ll have to wait. I also got a new bag as the very nice one I have is so heavy it’s weighing me down when full with wallet, phone, camera and all the other rubbish I carry. New one is much lighter. I noticed their jeans were 19€. Nothing to say other than I should have stuck to my principles. Funny thing was when we went to the checkout; the girl was confused because I had transferred everything into my new bag, to see if it all fitted. She couldn’t understand why I wanted to pay for my own bag. I explained and she gave me that looks that says “nutter”.


We then left the centre and went to Norauto to get some silicone gasket stuff. I got a bit lost finding it but, of course, had I listened to Lynne we would have gone straight in. It’s now too late and I haven’t got the will to put two 25 kgs bags of sand in the back of the Mini so we came home.


OK, The shoes. In the morning the gas lorry turned up. Just as Lynne was going to phone to order a tank full of gas.. She didn’t believe it. It was like thought transference. Anyway I went out to oversee and my trainers got soaking wet. So I changed socks and put the trainers in the microwave to dry them. Only problem was I put them in for too long and the soles not only melted but caught fire. Ok, I’m an idiot, my wife keeps telling me that.



Up early and off in the Land Rover to get the two bags of sand for sandblasting. I also got a 2 litre can of compressor oil. Got back about 0930 and filled the compressor with oil. Well I tried but there was no stick on the thing that was supposed to be a dipstick. But there was a sight glass. So I looked in the manual. Only shows a dipstick. Phone the French importer but they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) put me through to technical assistance. Then phone the UK distributor and got the info I needed. I had to fill to the red dot. This is where I had guessed and filled it so all was OK. Plugged it in and it went off like a train. 5 minutes later I have 10 bar pressure. Marvellous, the other compressor only went to 4 and a bit bar. Modify the PCL fittings and I’m away, starting on sand blasting, only two hours late.


I’ll take some pictures tomorrow. It’s coming up nice, with good clean, non-rusty metal for 80% of the chassis. I will not get side-tracked on anything else tomorrow and it will be finished by the time I stop. Actually I’m hoping to finish in time to do the rear axle, which will only leave the front axle to be done outside, everything else will fit in the blast cabinet.


Oh, the Land Rover steering, which I think has seized hubs seems to be freeing off.




Started at 0800 and took some pictures of the compressor and other stuff. Then worked on the chassis and finished at 1230. Had lunch after which I went to Chateaubriant (20 kms) for more sand and to get a steel bar to make a tool to hold the diff pinion whilst I undid the pinion nut. The Tabc community have a Yahoo group email system. I asked how to get the pinion nut undone and a dozen or more people told me. Having been told I remembered. When I got back I started on the rear axle casing. The amount of air the sandblaster uses means the tank is below replenish pressure in less than a minute and then takes about 3 minutes to get back to 10 bar. So, whilst it was pumping up after I had almost emptied the tank, I made the tool for the diff pinion and got the nut undone. Then cleared away, covered the chassis and tools and put the axle casing inside. Had dinner and now doing this. Which, whilst I’m on about this can I tell you that I’m about to go to Seattle and kill a Microsoft employee. As you may know an MS download of Office 2010 destroyed my existing copy of Office losing all me emails and Front Page, which I use to build this web site. I’m now using the new Word 2013. However I resize the pictures but next time I open the document they have reverted to the previous size which is too large. Then I can’t find todays pictures where I put them and get myself in a right tangle resulting in having 4 of everything on my web site file (not the server, my file on my machine. It will take me a few hours to delete the copies, but it’ll have to wait.


OK, pictures. I’ll post some of the finished chassis tomorrow.



The new compressor, nice, isn’t it.


The gauges as they were this morning from overnight with the compressor switched off. I’m pleased that it doesn’t leak too much (the pipes, not the compressor).


The N/S/R shock absorber bracket that is broken. Close inspection shows that someone has repaired it but not very well. I asked Lynne to find one and between the Tabc community and Lynne we have on it’s way.


The good one.


Sand, I’ve now had 6 bags. There is one new one unopened and about of a bag of hovered up sand to re-use.

The axle, nearly done. It’s a case of scraping and sandblasting. A long and messy process, but I think it’s worthwhile. I could just paint over it with the POR-15 paint but I’de prefer it clean and rust free.



The other side and my feet J


Removing the diff pinion


The diff flange with the tool I’ve made to stop it turning as I undo it.


And the electric impact wrench rated at 350 lbs/ft that I undone the nut with.

The one metre bar (available from places like B&Q) with two holes driled and the half circle cut outr to clear for the socket.




I promise to take several detailed pictures of the chassis tomorrow.




Started at 0830. Stripped the diff and cleaned all the components. Then took the front axle apart, tie rods and ends, hubs and backplates off and cleaned. Lunch, then started cleaning the backplates in the blast cabinet which is filled with glass bead. Scraped as much of the crud off first. Really pleased with the result even though they will be painted. I didn’t get the pictures of the chassis as promised as it was dull and grey and showers were promised, Thought it best to leave it covered. It din’t rain at all and become a bit sunny and warm in the afternoon. I’ll finish sand blasting the chassis and front axle tomorrow but I’m stopping at 1530 to watch the football results on Final Score (we’re an hour ahead of the UK)



This book came with the new Li-ion battery I got as a replacement for a Bosch drill. There are two pages of stupid warnings on each language.


The chassis number stamped on my chassis. I’m going to mask it when painting and then paint with a clear lacquer.


Diff stripped and cleaned. Yes, that  is the pinion bearing…..


.... pinion bearing fell out in bits.


Backplates, before and after. Is it necessary, it takes an hour each. Yes it is, even though it will get painted.


One cleaned and the other as the first was.


This is how you look after an afternoon of sand blasting. Lynne said I looked like the coalman who delivered the coal when she was a kid, black!





Started at 0830 and got the cover off the chassis, tools out and compressor on. Did an hour of sandblasting and came in for a break. Had an email which I replied to except Outlook crashed. I spent the next hour rebooting running registry cleaners and slowly puling my hair out. I left it planning to install Thunderbird later. Back to the sandblasting and finished the chassis and front axle  at 1240. Came in for lunch and checked my emails. As I was typing an answer to someone in the TABC yahoo group I remembered that I had two track rods to do. So, after lunch I blasted the two track rods, and put everything away. I dragged the chassis back into the workshop along with the front axle. So, a job I thought would take a few days took over a week. I’m having tomorrow off, I’m knackered!



Rear of chassis from up a step ladder


And the front end.


A clean chassis, not shiny but good.


The front axle. The white part on the right has been blasted.


Close up and personal.


All done, with the shadow of the chassis and my feet.


Looking good.


If you look at the pictures when the car came out of its prison and was loaded onto the transporter you’ll notice it had a bump on the N/S/F. The fog lamp is smashed and there is some damage to the front apron. When I stripped the car the front cross rail was detached at that end. I tapped it back in but I’m not sure if it should have a bolt going through it (from the side)


This is the joint in question.


Day off tomorrow, then start painting.



As above, day off. Watched the football scores as they came in. The phone rang at 1600. French chap from Nantes wants to come over, he’s read the article about me in Totally T Types. I try and talk him out of it but he insists. Says he’ll ring back, He does at 1610. He’s on his way in his TC. He rings from Noellet and I guid him in. We spend aboy 3 hours talking cars and looking at each other’s-cars that is. He had brought his daughter and she is a lovely 10 year old. He leaves just after 200 and I make my tea. Lynne is feeling much better but not up to cooking yet.



Start at 0900. Clean up and get the chassis on the axle stands. The start painting. Paint the chassis, front and rear axles and two track rods. Also the diff casing. During the day I ring Caterham to see if they will issue a certificate of conformity for my 7, they can’t. So looks like I’ll have to take a different route to getting the car registered in France so I can get it insured. Finish about 1700, get showered and clean clothes on. Haven’t got too much paint on me, I cleaned that on my face off with thinners-painful. Then pop over and get the cork glands out of the SU repair kits to soak overnight in oil. Guess what I’m doing tomorrow.



Front corner of the chassis with masking tape over the chassis number.


And the same corner painted.


Fully painted chassis, except for the inside of the O/S…


Rear end with rear axle casing underneath.


Rear again


Nice and shiny.


Getting into the box sections was difficult. I’ve an aerosol tin of POR-15 coming but it won’t be here until mid June.


Rear axle casing looking good.


Front axle as equally good. This was taken at night and I couldn’t see how much was in the picture. Missed again!


Two springs just hanging around. Are they on spring hangers by any chance?


So, that’s it folk, painted with 1 and a bit of a coat. I’ll have to do other things until the paint arrives to give it a good second coat and then the correct chassis black on top.


I'm waiting for the rear axle bearings and seals etc., the front hub bearings and seals, and other bits that will enable me to get the axles and springs on. But, I’ve got to wait for the paint.





I’ve run out of paint and am waiting for lots of parts to arrive including the parts for the diff and wheel bearing etc. So, rather than start another job before I can finish those currently started I decide to cut the grass, Both tractors (proper and ride on mower, needed new drive belts. And both had flat batteries. So whilst the batteries are on charge I clean all the spring hanger bolts and nuts etc. When I’d done that the batteries were charged so I fitted the belt to Herbie, the ride on. It’s too long and I’ll try and adjust the deck to get it tight, but tomorrow. Then fit the two new belts to the big tractor grass cutter. Have lunch and start cutting the grass. Did well, the small filed in front of the gites and the large field in front of the orchard as well as most of the orchard. Tomorrow I need to adjust the new belts and cut in front of our house and the path to the front of the hose and the driveway. By then I hope the diff part will be here. If not I’ll cut more grass, we do have 10 acres. Fall-back position is to remove the carbs, strip and overhaul and put the newly built carbs away until the engine is overhauled.




Lynne hasn’t been well so we went out to lunch. In the afternoon she was more unwell. She’ll be better tomorrow. Not a good birthday for her.



Went to the doctor and got some shopping in. Got home, had lunch and fell asleep. So no work on the car.



Went shopping for our guests in the morning, got back and changed and spent the rest of the day cutting grass with the tractor and then all afternoon strimming round the edges. I think I did quite well considering I have 5 fractured vertebrae, Our guests arrived at 1830. We spent some time looking at bits of an MG. Lynne and I then left to go to a Jazz concert. I won’t go on too much but it was very good Organ, drums , two sax’s and a guitar and about 30 odd kids from the singing school of a school in the next town. No, it wasn’t just good, it was fantastic. The organist was Emmanual Bex, a chap who was born into a musical afmily and won firts prizes for piano, basson and chamber music at the age of eight. He composed all the pieces and was using his voice as an instrument. The sax player was Julien Behar and Maxine Bruant was on Drums, Pierrick Menau on Alto Sax and Nicolas Rousserie on guitar. The second session Arnault Lechantre was on the drums. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Look him up on YouTube and see what you think.  It finished at 2200 and we left. I was really hungry but where we live everything is closed by 2200. Except McDonald. Now this is a secret, you’re not to tell anyone but we went in to McD. The restaurant had closed but the drive through was open. Now try and imagine this. Lynne is on the serving side. We drive down a lane and a big arrow directs us to a big shiny pillar. It speaks. Lynne isn’t sure what’s talking and says, in French, “where are you” the disembodied voice replies “I am here”. She is asked what she wants and a long silence follows. The menu is directly in front of us but Lynne is talking and looking at the pillar expecting a man to appear. He asks if she wants a menu and a menu appears on the screen on the pillar. She then sort of gets it and orders a B IG Mac and frites. We then have to drive on and pay at a window, having paid we then move on further and queue behind the car in front and collect one BIG mac and fries, I drive out, park up and demolish a BIG mac and fries. When we get home I watch my recording of the Cup. I hate to say it but Arsenal did well but Villa played it wrong. 



Ok, you can now move along to June……,









Not it’s not,

It’s here





No, it’s not,

It’s here               I






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