The French Blatting Company


APRIL 2017



Welcome to April, no April fool jokes other than me here today. But I'm an April fool every day! With all the things on my mind I haven't been sleeping too well again. Last night I drank a bottle of red wine hoping I'd get a good night's sleep. Great, fell asleep about 0100 and woke at 0300 with cramp in my shin (didn't know you could cramp in the shin). Didn't get back to sleep. Got up at 0500 and after breakfast was so tired I laid down and slept until 0900. Went to the workshop and finished putting the last bits, other than the radiator on the XPAG engine. I now found, or rather didn't find, the fuel pipe. So I rang Alexandre and asked if I could come over and collect the fuel pipe and dipstick. He was out this morning and I had Louis coming after lunch to take the third load to the tip. I arranged to be at Alexandre's garage for 1700. I got the ride-on out of the garage next to the gites and gave it a good wash. It's advertised for sale so I thought it had better be presentable. I then started to "bleed" the oil system on the XPAG engine. Problem was my battery pack was almost flat and I couldn't turn the engine over fast enough for it to pump oil to the first union. I put it on charge and also charged the battery on my TC so I could use that as a slave to turn the XPAG engine over. Lunch followed and Louis came after that. We set off for the tip. He had a problem, the stuff in the trailer had settled and we couldn't get the tailgate of the trailer open. Louis climbed into the trailer and was lobbing stuff out and I was taking it to the correct place for disposal. Wood, metal, general rubbish. I was totally exhausted by the time he'd got enough out to open the tail.

We got back at 1545, I had a cup of tea and set off to Angers to meet Alexandre at 1700. Got all the bits I needed and we went into a local cafe for a drink. The TV had the Chelsea v Crystal Palace game on. It just shows how much the good managers are worth. Palace were doomed to relegation before (disgraced) Big Sam took over. Now they're climbing the table and have beaten Chelsea, the first team to so do for ages.

Got back and my battery was fully charged. I made up a battery lead and fitted the starter solonoid I've bought for the tractor. It spun over and after priming the pump with oil from a pump type oil can I get oil at all the joints working from pump to the head. And the final cherry is oil squirting out the rockers. I'm happy.

Won't be able to do much tomorow as I've the house to tidy for someone coming round to view.

The trailer. This is the 3rd load to go to the tip. One more will see the barns emptied.... then there's the workshop to do.

Backed up for the last few items before driving to the tip.

This is what's left to take. Louis is on holiday next week so he's got the mattress in the trailer, the chassis with the two other cars, the engine stand (red metal) in the barn for now for disposal and the rest of the stuff he's taken

Oil, Beautiful oil. Coming out the rockers. So petrol pipe and radiator on and it should start. Probably Monday.


Spent all morning tidying the house for a prospective buyer to view. He turned up at 1700, looked round and offered 120,000€ being all the money he had. As the advertised price is 230,000€ we said thanks, but no thanks. I think the day off may have done me good.


 Physio at 0900 then to the estate agent then the Notaire (solicitor) got back at 1200 and fell asleep! Got the ignition wired up and the fuel pipe to the carbs on the TC engine. Downpipe is on and I was struggling to get the radiator hoses on when a French chap rang about coming here on Saturday to view. I'll have to tell you the whole story after he's been.

At this point I was going to get the hose on and start the engine but Louis turns up to empty the last barn and for me to take the trailer to the tip. This barn has all my old Caterham bits and I was almost sobbing as wings, side screens, nose cone, best part of an engine get lobbed into the skips. Oh well, They've been in the barn for 10 years so I guess I don't need them. 


The last load other than the several that will be needed for the workshop when I get the cars out.


 I've had a nightmare of a day. Started at 0800. Poured petrol into the overhead can and it was leaking. Took me an hour to get it sealed. Then struggled for an hour to get the radiator hose on. Eventually I had to get Lynne to come over and help. We got the hose on in minutes, wonderful waht an extra pair of hands can do. Then I connected the battery to the motor but it turns over as if it is a flat battery. So I left it on charge for an hour (this is the battery on my TC). Lunch and then I wired up a switch and asked Lynne to come over and press the switch whilst I worked the choke and throttle. Still turning over like a flat battery. I'm wet and cold and pissed off (that's fed up for non-English). I give up for the day as my back is hurting and I've just about run out of the will to live. I've put the tractor battery on charge and will move the engine to the garage opening tomorrow, get the tractor in front of it and use the jump leads to start the TC engine. One step forward and 3 back.... It also doesn't help when the space is so cramped.


If my TC wasn't there I'd have much more room and life would be so much easier.


Started at 0800. I moved the XPAG engine from the front of the workshop to the door so I could use the battery of the tractor. Moved the petrol feed, refitted the bottom hose which had come off and connected the coil. That should have taken 30 minutes but took me two and a half hours. Lynne came over and we tried to start the engine. No chance, it turned over like it was on a flat battery. I put the charger back on the battery and went and had a cup of tea. Lynne went shopping and I thought I'd give it another go. Yesterday at the tip I found two ignition coils, I brought them back. So I changed the wiring to lucar connectors and fitted one of these coils. I held the choke open with one hand and pressed the starter button with the other...... VROOM, VROOM, it lives. I ran it for a minute or so and noticed a serious oil leak from the filter pipe. Switched off and removed and refitted the pipe. Started it again and no leak. All sounds good. Lynne came back and we had lunch. After lunch I had a big clean up, well put all the tools away and then did the MG front wheel bearings. Louis was cutting grass and then wanted me to show him how the tractor worked. He carried on with the big tractor instead of the ride-on. At this point I asked Lynne if she could put the pin (drill bit) in the drive belt temsioner on the MIni. She is so frightened of this that she just went to pieces and we gave up. Put everything away and, with Louis, pulled the old Fiat and Saab out ready for the scrap man to take away tomorrow. So, after all this struggle I have finished Alexandres engine and got the TC back on the road, pending all the work which I will now do over winter in the UK. Now to finish the Mini.

 It lives. vroom, vroom.You can just see the oil leak. This got worse, so much so that it was squirting all over the place.


Went to the opticians in the morning. He reckons my right eye is now cured and the left needs one more injection. I guess after that I'll need new glasses. Lunch at Buffalo Grille then home and went to sleep.


At the lab at 0800 for a blood test. I have to lie dowen for 20 minutes for this one. Then wait outside the physio until 0900. Get home at 1015, changed and into battle. Lynne is doing her ironing so I remove the throttle body from the Mini so I can get the new clutch pipe in. Struggle to get the throttle body back in. I remove the right hand engine mounting bracket so can get the pin in the belt tensioner. We struggle to get the pin in the spring tensioner so I can get the belt on.  We get the pin (drill bit) into the first hole. Lunch and Lynne says she's going to have a half hour lay down.. I refit the shock absorber to the tensioner then thread the belt around the pulleys. OK, now I know the drill bit is supposed to go in the second hole because the belt won't go on. It's been an hour and ten minutes that Lynne has been sleeping so I wake her up and she gives a pull on the belt tensioner and I get the belt on. Engine mount back on. I'm knackered. The ride-on mower needs a wash as there's someone coming to buy it on Sunday. After a good wash I come in for a rest. No rest.... I decide to put the hoses on. PROBLEM... the throttle body has to come off to get the bottom hose on the outlet. One step forward, two back.

The throttle body. On, off, sahke it all about.

The hose outlet. I've got to take the throttle body off to get the hose on.

The pin aka drill bit in the strap that holds the tensioner compressed


I decided to have the weekend off then throw myself into finishing the Mini. We had a man come to look at the house. He likes it, agreed a price but must wait until his partner returns from Norway in May. Whilst he was telling us all this a chap, his son and uncle turn up to look at the ride-on mower. They were supposed to be coming tomorrow. They bought it, I drove it up the ramps on to their trailer and they departed a very happy family. We finished showing the potential property buyer around. He left at 1200 and we went to lunch at Joel and Claude's. Got back, had a little sleep and put the TV on to Final Score on the red button. PROBLEM! No sound. I went through all the menu options as steam was coming out my ears. I try and connect the Humax recorder but can't find where i change the source. The new TV has freesat built in and I've been using that. Look up LG on the net and ring the help line. Answered immediately and the chap suggest retuning the TV and tells me where the source button is. I retune nut it's the same. I then connect the Humax, change the source and all is well.


 Just lying around in a dressing gown, bored out of my skull but resting.


Physio at 0900 back before 1000. I start by getting the stripped downpipe stud out of Aleaxnadre's exhaust manifold (TC engine). It came out a lot easier than I thought it would and didn't need the heat spanner. Lynne and I then struggeld to get the bottom hose on. In the end I took the spring clip off and fitted a Jubilee clip. All morning to get two hoses on. But...... see below.

After lunch I started fitting the plastic front panel on as the radiator and air-con condensor go to this. The plastic panel broke in half when taking it off so I had to go to Brico to get a strip of aluminium to make fixings to hold it together. Lynne went out to get a prescription and I struggled to drill the holes and fit the screws as I couldn't see them very well. When she got back she gave me a hand and we had it all strapped up in about 20 minutes, after I'd spent half hour trying to do it and getting nowhere. At this point I offered up the rad and realised that the bottom hose is miles from the radiator outlet. This plonker has put the hoses on back to front. So all back to step one in the morning.


0800 this morning saw me taking the two hoses we fitted yesterday off and refitting them the other way around. Didn't take that long. Next fitted the rad and the top and bottom hose, needed Lynne to help get the spring clip over the top hose. Next came the air-con condensor followed by the rad fan.... errrr. it goes inside the rad so the plastic panel has to be loosened to pull it forward and the fan fiddled in. That can wait until after lunch. It was a bit of a fiddle but I got it in. Now I have to solder the wires back to the fan resistor thingie. Lynne is asleep and I need her to hold the two wires (with pliers) whilst I tin the wires. I wake her up at 1500 and we solder the wires but I have to make a new prong for the soldering iron. Takes ages to get the wires hot enough for the solder to run. Now for the tabs on the resistor.... no chance! I'll leave it for tonight and use the welding torch in the morning. Before I pack up for the night I refit the air cleaner and computer and  fill the engine with oil forgetting there's some in it so I'll now have to drain some off. Filled the header tank with coolant. Once I've got the resistor soldered to the wires I can attempt to start it. I fully expect it not to start as I'm sure I didn't match the flywheel to the marks on flywheel and crank. I did this when I was in a state of sleep deprevation, when I put the timing chain on upside down... and knew it but left it. Then had to turn it round in-situ. What a plonker,

 The rad hoses after being turned around.

Somewhere in there is where the hoses go.......

... ahh, that's better, it's somewhere in there.

One of the plugs that I don't know where it goes.....

.... and the other.

This is how I left it tonight... getting there, at last.


 I didn't have a good nights sleep and felt like poo this morning. So, I went to sleep until 1000. I then finished putting the air cooler back on and drained the 5 litres of overfill from last night. I thought there was no oil in the engine so filled it with 5 litres. When I checked the dipstick it was right to the top, way past the "full" mark. So this morning I drained it out until it was on the full mark, all 5 litres - what a plonker. I then fitted a short lead to the rad resistor thingie by drilling a hole and screwing it on and soldered the other by leaving the solder iron on the metal tab for twenty minutes. Finished by soldering the resistor back on. Crimped spade connecters to all ends but when pushing them in the resistor joint came away. I really must get a decent soledring iron.....

I got the wheel back on and dropped the car to the ground and pushed it out. Then got the TC out and washed it. Last year I bought a wringer for the large leathers I bought. I assembled it to use when leathering off the car. It's worse that an chocholate fire guard. I'll look at it tomorrow

On it's own in the field.

The two wires I need to find a home for. I've sent pictures (from yesterday to Will at TWG Automotive in Camberley and they are working out where they go. Current thinking is one goes on the thermostat and the other to the gearbox.

Close up of the two connectors. If you know were they go, answers on a postcard please (or an email if you insist)


Will came back last night and informed me that the two wires go on the thermostat housing and the head next to the thermo housing. I'll remove the airbox on Friday and put the wires on. The wiring for the front lamps have to be refitted then I'll try and start it. Today I have a hospital appointment and have arranged lunch in Angers with Alexandre and Muriel. After lunch Alexandre is bringing his van to take the engine back to his garage. We are refitting it on Saturday. 

All went to plan and I had the afternoon off. With a bit of luck, er, well, a lot of luck, I may get the Mini running and finished tomorrow.


Took the airbopx off the find the sockets fort thew two plugs. We spent three hours looking for the socket for the oval plug. The square plug was easy, it's next to the thermo housing. Eventually, after lunch I found it. It's under the gearchange levers on the gearbox. Put the airbox and computer wires back on, cleaned and refitted the spark plugs and started to bleed the clutch. It wouldn't bleed so I thought I'd get the engine started and then try as it shares the brake master cylinder. We trurned it over with the plugs out to get oil flowing around. Then, after the plugs were in, attempted to start it. Petrol running out at a fair rate. Looked and number 4 injector is leaking. Took the air cooler off and tried to push the fuel rail onto number 4 injector. On the basis that it didn't even give a hint of starting and the fuel rail won't go on we, well I, gave up. I'll talk to the BMW dealer tomorrow and tow it there on Tuesday as I think the flywheel is on the wrong position. I just can't face this bloody car anymore.


Left home at 0715 and got to Alexandre's garage for 0800. Alexandre arrived two minutes later. I put his battery on charge and we changed the engine mounts and then put the engine in. It was a bit difficult to get the engine mated to the gearbox, probably because the car was on all four wheels whereas I normally have the front raised, but is went in after some pushing and shoving. All the bolting up done, starter fitted and battery lead connected, distributor wire on, dynamo wires on, oil feed pipe to gauge fitted (now with correct union), petrol pipe and carb cointrols connected. At 1230 we attempted to start the engine but the battery was hardly turning it over. Also I noticed the choke cable was getting very hot which indicated the engine wasn't earthed. I tried to get the tailpipe out of the old silencer but it wouldn't come out. Alexandre went to his house to bring a blowtorch whilst I tried to fit the new silencer. At this point I realised the exhaust system is wrong, It's for a TD and the downpipe bracket doesn't meet the bell housing bolt. The silencer flange studes are too narrow. I'll order a new downpipe and tail pipe for next week. OK, time for lunch. We got changed and went to a very nice restaurant where I had six snails followed by a Marmite (iron saucepan) of fish and seafood followed by cheese and coffe. Also two pints (half litre) of beer.

We got back and checked for an engine earth strap.... missing. So found a piece of braided wire and fitted that. I thought it was a bit lightweight and so it proved to be, the choke cable still getting warm. At this point I suggested we leave it for tomorrow and I'd bring my jumps leads to provide an engine earth and use his to jump the battery from another, bigger battery.

I got home at 1700, loaded my big battery charger another battery, the jump leads and two boxes of nut, bolts, screws and washers. I'm going back for 0900 in the morning.


Alexandre's Jaguar XK120. Very nice.

Nearly finished.

Note the wrong dynamo, I suspect it's a TD which is probably a later Lucas model with Lucar connectors rather than nuts for the wires. The fan belt is longer than to correct item.

Note the starter and solonoid are TD, not TC. Also no fast idle cable.


Got the MG out and polished the front end so the bodyshop can identify the paintweork that needs rectification. Lynne hoovered the Land Rover so it's now all nice and clean inside.


Connected the Land Rover to the MIni ready to tow it to the BMW dealer in the morning. I've borrowed a solid bar from Aleaxandre. Lynne says we should have a quick tow to make sure she's OK. I start to move forward and she has a panick attack, can't get the door open which makes it worse. OK, we'll give up on the idea. In tye end I book a tow truck through the insurance company. He's due at 0900 in the morning.


0900 comes and goes, no tow truck. 1000 comes and goes. He turns up at 1030. We get it loaded and set off. Get the the BMW dealer and they are not happy. Eventually they agree to sort it out so, after an hour discussing it we leave. It's now gone 1200 so we go for a chinese at Atoll. Get home about 1500 and I fall asleep. I've got a bad cold now and feel like poo.


I get up at 0600 and get all my stuff together and leave for Alexandre's. I get ten litres of 98 octane petrol to mix with the stale stuff in his tank. I start work at 0800 and take the rocker shaft off to pull the head down. Get it put back, set the tappets, refit the rocker cover. It takes forty minutes to pump fifteen litres of fuel into jerry cans and I dump the ten litres of fresh petrol into the tank.  Try and start it. It fires but won't run. I clean the plugs which are wet. The battery is starting to go flat so I connect the charger. Eventually it sort of runs but won't respond to the throttle. I'm freezing cold, fed up and want to go home to my bed. Alexandre caomes back at 1145, he goes and gets a sandwich and I sit down in the office. I decide it's time to go home, I'm begining to shiver. Get home to find Lynne in bed as ahe also has a cold.... what a pair. I wrap up in two blankets and fall asleep in the chair. Assuming the parts I've ordered (exhaust and tappet screw and nut) arrive on Friday and I'm better I'll finish the car on Saturday.


 Did nothing at all. Felt cold and shivering all day. Hope I'm better tomorrow as Lynne will have me off to the doctor.


 Feel a bit better today, stopped shivering. Let's hope the improvement continues. The parts for Alexandre's car won't be here until Monday so I'm hoping to finish the car next weekend. We have hospital and dentist appointments all week and I'm due for an eye injection on Thursday.


Just lazed around. The rest is doing me good.


Up early, as always. Had breakfast and watched the football and then the marathon. After lunch I took the spare wheel and bracket off the MG. I replaced four screws in the petrol tank unit with self tappers as the threads are stripped and it weeps. I also straightened the contact for the fuel light but it still doesn't work. I'll have to find some cheese headed self tappers because phillips screw heads are wrong. It can wait until next winter.


We went to the local hospital for Lynne to see the anethatist pending her cataract replacements. Then to NorAuto for all sorts of cleaning stuff for the Honda. As soon as the Mini is back on the road I'll put the Honda up for sale. I needed new shoes so two pair of shoes, two pair of jeans and Lynne bough some tops after which it was time for a huge steak in Buffalo Grille. When we got home Lynne started cleaning the interior of the Honda and I cleaned and gapped the plugs on the MG, removed the air cleaner manifold and adjusted the carbs. At 1800 I went for a drive with only a shirt on (trousers as well but you understand me). It's running back to normal, I found a plug had no gap on the electrode and the back carb was very rich.


Spent most of the day cleaning Lynne's Honda. Just cleaning the boot and all the door shuts at the moment.


We went to see the anethatist for Lynne's upcoming cataract operation. Then to NorAuto for cleaning stuff for the car. Bought some shoes and Lynne got some tops.Lunch at Buffalo Grille and home for a sleep. In the evening we went to Angers for dinner with Aleaxandre and Muriel. He had a work collegue from Canada and his son join us. I had insisted it was my turn to pay but when I went to pay the owner said it had been paid. Alexandre hads phoned ahead and told him not to let me pay. I was a bit mad. It was a great meal. Little restaraunt behind the theatre. Alexandre returned my repaired amplifier


We set off early for my injection in my eye. I'm getting used to it now but the two tranquilizers I take beforehand helps. When we got home I plugged the headphones in to the amp and spent the rest of the day resting my eye and listening to music.


Took it easy resting my eye.


In the workshop at 0700 and had the engine out of the Caterham by 1000. This used to take less than an hour! Made a new end to the broken clutch pipe and then started to refit the engine. The problem was I can't find my chain for taking engines out so had to use a rope. This gave the wrong angle and "twisted" the engine. I had to leave it until Lynne came back from shopping. After lunch we both attacked the engine which took an hour to get back in. I put the two engine mounts on and left it at that. I'll finish it tomorrow.

Rad off, now for the rest of it.

Engine out and the broken pipe is in the bell housing..........

The broken pipe.

The engine quitely bleeding (anti-freeze)

Back in but only just.


Had the day off and tried to recover from my exertions yesterday.

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