The French Blatting Company





I'm off to Angers to fit a new silencer and a fancy rocker cover to Alex's TC. Alex owns the red TC that was in the bodyshop when mine was there. I want to go in the Caterham but Lynne convinces me it;s going to rain most of the day. So, on a chilly but sunny morning I set off for Angers at 0845. I need to get some petrol in the Honda but am so deep in thought I drive right past teh petrol station at Combree. I remember to go into the one at Lion D'Angers. I arrive at Alex's workshop at 0930. I have my overalls and work boots on but have a clean change as we're having lunch at his house. I send a text to Lyne and get out of the car, which I've driven into his huge workshop. The car has the bonnet off and he somewhat surprises me when he says, in French, "can we take the engine out and dismantle it" It does need doing as one cylinder has a very low compression and it smokes light a steam train. I wish I'd have known as I haven't bought the tools we'll need. Never mind we'll manage. By 1300 the engine's out, head and crank off and pistons drawn. All top piston rings are broken and one piston is burnt in one place, the one with no compression.

We clean up and get changed and go off for lunch. After lunch we return so I can take a piston and some bearing shells to see if I can read if they are oversize. I have the cylinder head in the car and will remove the valved tomorrow to see if I need new valves and guides. At the moment it will need new pistons and rings, new crank bearings a new timing chain. However I wasn't sure if it's been rebored before and if so by how much.

I clean the piston crown whilst watching the football scores coming in (Sheffield Wednesday lost, boo hoo). The piston is very old as it has MOWOG and PT.N. 24470 and TO SUIT .010" BORE. I estimate this piston was fitted in the 1950's as I cannot remember a part number with only numbers so it should be before 1961. However it has been bored 0.010". I have thought about it and will return with a dial gauge to see if it needs a further 10 thou. or 20 thou. rebore. The main bearings are standard but I need to check the big end shells. I suspect they will be standard.

I need some experienced person to explain why the sump is different to mine and the engine plate is by number one exhaust branch and not on the crankcase next to the bell housing on the other side. Here's some pictures, I'll take some pictures of the head tomorrow.


The right hand side of the sump. Mine doesn't have the ribbed plug or the two hole flange. Mine is ribbed, this is smooth.

The left habd side and same comment applies.

The filter side of the engine with crank underneath. The engine number palte is not where it should be.

Pistons and rods. I have No. two piston.

The bores. It will need a rebore as there is a "lip" on number one and they all have light scoring.

Best picture I could get of the piston engraved "MOWOG Pt N. 24470" Not sure what the B and U52 signify.

Best I could do to show "TO SUIT .0101" BORE"

The whole piston.


I thought there were several differences between Alexandre's engine and mine. So I asked the TABC group. Turns out it's an early TD engine. In the workshop for 1000. Cleared up the bench and started stripping the cylinder head. The water by-pass outlet was blocked solid with crud. The carbs are good. The valves are OK, when cleaned up and lapped in. Finished by 1200 but will have to clean the head and lap the valves in before re-assembling it. I've had lunch, updating this then going out in the Caterham to find some retaurants in Chateau-Gontier and Laval.

The cooling by-pass totally blocked.

Some of the crud that came out. When I got it off the thermostat housing there was a lot more jammed in there.

 Like this.

The other side. Took some digging to get it out. I've left it soaking in phosphate.


The head with the manifold off and valves out.


One of the exhaust valves. Looks like they've been in there a long time and run on poor petrol, probably in the 1950's

After cleaning on a wire brush on a grindstone. Will need a bit more chiselling to get that carbon off.

The inside's a bit better.


This is the face of an inlet valve.


 And this is the inside.

 The outside after cleaning.

 And the inside.


Yesterday afternoon I decide to go out in the Caterham. I wanted to go to Chateau Gontier to find a restaurant I'd seen on the web. I had a great, fast, drive there. Went to the road I had seen where the restaurant was and drove down it. It overlooked the River Maine but was all houses. I went about half mile and decided I'd got it wrong so turned back and started back home. As I went round the last roundabout leaving Chateau Gontier I couldn't get any gears. I pumped the pedal and it was OK. I carried on bit but a mile further on the pedal went very loose and to the floor. I assumed the master cylinder was empty. No problem, I can drive without a clutch by synchronising the engine speed to the gearbox. Only problem is if I stop I have to switch off, select first and start in gear. Fortunately I didn't have to stop so got home without a problem. When I got home I looked at the address again and used Google Earth to loacate it. It was about 100 metres further on from where I turned around-pillock! I'll bleed the clutch on Tuesday morning as I want to get the engine out of the Mini today.

I worked on the Mini in the morning.... NIGHTMARE! I've had to buy a ball joint splitter to get the lower joint and track rod end ball joints off so the drive shafts can be removed. I start by putting the splitter on the left hand bottom ball joint. Nothing. I tighten it with a the jack handle over the long bar, the jack handle must be a meter and a half long. Still nothing. I then get the centre of the small axle stand and use it as a drift and hit it with a heavy club/lump hammer. Nothing. It's now 1230, two and a half hours and I've got nowhere. I pull it as tight as I dare with the jack handle and go for lunch. An hour later and it's still not come apart. I then remove the front calliper so I can get a direct hit on the top of the lower wishbone. I hit it really hard and tighten the splitter a bit more, anymore and it may shatter or the thread may strip..... then CRACK, it comes apart. The crack is so loud Lynne hears it in the kitchen, about 18 meters and a double glazed window away. I then get the steering arm ball joint off. Again I have to tighten the splitter so much it damages the nut which I left on to protect the thread. Takes me half hour to get the nut off the joint. The other side came off easier but still needed the calliper off to get a good hit on the lower wishbone. With the hubs undone the drive shafts should have come out easily. No chance. I had to lever the left hand one off with a long bar and the right hand one needs the bracket which holds the shaft centre bearing removing so the shaft can be withdrawn. The two lower bolts on the bracket were easy but the top one is so buried that, whilst I got it loose I cannot get my fingers on to to remove the bolt. By this time I'd had enough so packed up and came in, Shower and changed I felt a bit better. 


 Start at 1000 and get the top bolt of the bracket off without too much trouble. I hold the end of a 13 mm ratchet combo spanner on with a long screwdrive and get my hand in through the side so I can turn the spanner. The shaft comes out a bit but the bracket is catching on the subframe. I leave it like that as I think it may be out enough to get the engine out. I then remove the gearchange cable. I bit difficult but they are off. Put a jack under the right hand side of the engine so I can remove the right hand engine mounting. Mounting, a huge ali bracket, comes off without too much trouble. I can now use one of the mounting bolts to hold the chain for lifting the engine out. The other end is on an inlet manifold stud. Now for the left hand mounting. It's in two parts and I have to remove the plastic box that holds the ECU to get to one of the bolts. A lot of struggling and lifting the engine and remove some more wiring clips and the engine is free. Lynne is helping me and is working the crane. There are two wiring terminals going to the power steering to come off. One has the clip on the underside and I cannot get to it. The cover snaps off as I try and get the cable out. The other has the clip easily accessable and comes off easily. We lift the engine a bit and then start to pull out. I'm looking down the back for anything still attached or in the way. There are two heater hoses to come off. They are held on with those horrible spring clips and, of course, one is on upside down so I can't get to the jaws. I eventually get a pair of pliers on the jaws and turn it so I can get a better grip and get the clip off. OK, all clear.... except the drive shaft is in the way. Lynne lifts the hub end whilst I guide the bracket out and it comes all the way out. A bit of lifting a pulling and the engine is out. We go in for a cup of tea. I then remember we must bleed the Caterham clutch as I want to use it this afternoon to go to Angers to sort out a few questions about Alex's engine. I get some spanners and brake fluid and Lynne meets me in the garage next to the gites, where the Caterham is. The clutch hydraulics on the Caterham is a concentric slave cylinder. It's bolted inside the bell housing over the first motion shaft. There are two pipes going into the bell housing, one is the feed pipe and the other is the bleed pipe which has the nipple just above the bell housing. I put two spanners on the pipe and nipple and find the bleed pipe is loose and moving. DAMN!!!! this means engine out to fit a new bleed pipe, Never mind, yet another job to go on the list. I'll go to Angers in the TC.

I want to measure the bores for wear so I can order the correct oversize pistons, bring back the rocker shaft and tappets so I can dismantle to inspect for wear, look at the big end bearing shells to see if the crank has been ground, inspect the cam followers for wear and take the details of the engine number to ascertain if it's a TD or Y. If it's a Y I'll have to work out if it still has the Y camshaft as the Y type has a "softer" cam which gives 45 BHP instead of the TC/TD 54.


The engine, out, at last. It's only taken 4 days work!

 From the top....

 .... the front.


 The engine bay

The head gasket. I can't see where it's been leaking. Hope I haven't done all this work for nothing!

The head.

The piston tops. No wear on the bores so just a decoke needed.


Left at 1630 and got to Angers at 1730, half an hour early. Alex turned up at 1655 and we went in and a did my stuff. The bore's are worn less than 0.010" so a +0.020" set of pistons and rebore a further 0.010" will bee fine. The cam followers are not worn so there OK, I have brought back the rocker shaft assembly and will dismantle to see if it's OK. I also have also brought back the crank, con rods & main bearing caps> Alex is brinking the block, flywheel and sump on Saturday.

The engine plate doesn't tell me if it's a TD or Y. It has the number on the outer edge of teh plate and the centre has, in very feint letters "TYPE XPAG" I suspect it's a Y because the number is too low top be a TD, which I thought continued from the TC numbers.

The engine plate.

The right hand side of the engine.

The big-end bearing shell, showing STD.....


.... what are these? They were between the rod and the end cap.


I fotget to mention yesterday that I am having fun..... the TC broke down! I consider myself lucky as I'd driver from home to Angers, about 40 miles, and back and broke down 3 miles from home. At firts I thought I'd run out of petrol so put my spare gallon in. It did cross my mind that it should have had about half a tank in but who knows. Got back in and no clicking from the pump. Opened the bonnet and tapped the pump (no idea why, it's a new electronic pump). I tested it has electrics and is earthed. It's cooked. I'll organise another later this morning. Phoned LYnne who came with her car and the tow rope and towed me in. Poor dear, she was shaking. When I asked her why she reminde me of the last time she towed me (with the Caterham) and forgot I was 3 foot behind on a rope and was doing 70 MPH along the lane to our house. I had said to go no faster then 20 and I would do the braking so as to keep the rope tight. "Yes, she replied, but I wasn't towing a £35,000 car and I was terrifyed I'd damage it". Bless her, I do love her so much.

So, Mini in bits, Caterham needs engine out to fix clutch pipe, MG broken fuel pump. That obly leaves us the Honda Jazz and the Land Rover... oh, and a 1973 tractor. I am having fun, aren't I.

What is it with me and Chateau Gontier restaurants. Every Wednesday Lynne and I go out for lunch. I found a new restaurant in Chateau Gontier to try but when we got there we couldn't find it. We had lunch in a cafe. It was nice but not a "proper" restaraunt. Then on the way out of town I saw the restaurant. We went back again the following week and parked outside. It was a  bit early to go in so we looked at the menu before going for a little walk and looking in the shops. We didn't really fancy their menu so had a little walk, found a kitchen stuff shop and looked at some very expensive saucepans. We ended up in a little Italian cafe, again nice but not a "proper" restaurant. I looked on the web again and found a nice looking place overlooking the river. I went up, in the Caterham, on Sunday to locate it and went down the road I thought it was in but turned around because it was all residential and I assumed I had the wrong road. When I got home I checked it on Google maps and it was 100 meters further on from where I turned around. I showed Lynne the restaurant web site and she noticed a little note that they were closed this week. OK, so I find another, in a park on the other side of the river. We go there early and spend 650€ on stainless steel saucepans and other stuff! Go over the river and find the restaurant.... it's closed! We end up in the cafe we went to three weeks ago. We will have to go back to pick up a saucepan lid which is on order and we'll try the one that was closed this week. What's the chances of it being open and having a decent menu?


Started by fitting the con rods from the TC to the crank without the tiny shims. All seems OK so my theory is that whoever had the engine apart to do the rebore, probably in the 1950's thought there was something wrong because the bearing shells were slightly proud of the rod and cap. They should be as they compress when tightened. Maybe the shims were a mistaken attempt to cure the non-existant problem. I then removed the rockers from the shaft. I only took two off each end. There's slight wear so I'll fit a new shaft and rocker bushes.

Then onto the Mini. I cleaned the face of the head and run a wire brush in a drill over the cumbustion chambers and the ports. I then removed the four valves of number one and cleaned the valves and the ports under the valves. Lunch after which I went to Chateaubriant to buy a new grinding stick, mine has gone hard and doesn't suck.... OK, I'm talking about the rubber suckers on the stick. Whilst I was there I went down to the machine shop to arrange the rebore. They are having a new extension built which doubles the size of the building. I waited for someone to talk to me and when the manager came back to the office I asked if he would do the rebore and if he had an acid bath to clean the parts. I was surprised when he said they couldn't do a rebore and they didn't have an acid bath. I asked where I could get the rebore done and he said his company could do it at their Rennes factory. On the way home I called into the local tractor garage and asked them. They had a name in Laval, a bit nearer than Rennes. We'll go for lunch at Laval next Wednesday and I can call in and arrange a rebore. When I got back I struggled to get the 4 valves which were now ground in back in. The problem is I can't see the cotters very well so struggle to get them back in. I've asked Lynne and she'll help me with the rest of them. I'll get the rest of the valves out in the morning and start grinding away.

Con rods refitted to crank and all OK.

The other side, same really.

The wear on the rocker shaft.

The complete, rebuilt shaft. I'll take it apart when teh new parts are here.

The Mini cylinder head after cleaning with the rotary wire brush....

.... and before. OK, I know it's back to front.

The valves before cleaning

and a better picture. Well I took it so you may as well see it.

The head after cleaning with the rotary brush.

And the valves after cleaning.

Grinding in the valves.

The valves back in the head. I've only done the 4 in number one cylinder.

From another angle.


Got up late, had breakfast and then went with Lynne to the doctor. On the way we went to a local DIY store and bought a strip of steelk and a length of 6mm rod as well as set of small pliers. The steel and threaded rod are for the tools to remeove the front cover on the Mini. As usual we had to wait nearly an hour to see doctor. He is vey good but takes three quarters of an hour with every patient instead of the half hour allowed. Never mind, he seesm to have sorted her out.... time will tell. We came back and had lunch. Then I messed about all afternoon and then we got ready to go out to dinner with Muriel and Alexandre. We had a great eveing with them, they are very nice people.


Alexandre arrived in his van with the block and all the other engine parts at 0900. We got them out of the van and into the workshop. The block is heavy. I will strip the pumps, filter, water pump and front plate off and then give it all a really good clean. Alexandre has given me an address in Angers for a place where I can get the rebore done. I'll probably go over there on Wednesday to arrange it all. I'll take the block there when the pistones arrive. I have to work out what the rebore sizes are in millimetres. So far I have looked up that 0.010" (ten thousands of an inch) is 0.254 mm. so the stardard bore is 66.5 mm. Add .254 mm, which is the 0.010" rebore already done and then another .254mm (for another 0.010") and I get 67.008mm, Probably call that 67mm and it'll be OK. However I'll see what they say.

We then went shopping. Had lunch at the cafe in the supermarket and spent ages walking around the huge supermarket. I had to buy a new beard trimmer as I seem to have lost a part of my current one and it doesn't work. I think Lynne's getting the idea that raking me with puts the bill up 25% so she may go back to doing the shopping on her own.

When we got back at 1530 I was so tired I just laid down and slept to 1730. Watched England play football. I really think they are very poor. Yes, they did win 2-0 and they did play a team with ten men in defence but England played like 10 strangers who had never played together before. They got better in the second half but still couldn't score more goals.


 I'm having a day off. I've put all my pills for the next 28 days in the pill pots and I'm now typing this up listening "Desert Island Discs" on Radio 4. I'll find something to watch or listen for the rest of the day. Tomorrow and tuesday I want to decoke the Mini head (partly done), get the front cover off and remove the engine from the transmission to get at the clutch. Then I can start cleaning and stripping the TC (well TD) engine. Parts for the MIni may be here by the end of the week then I can start putting it all back together.


Started by removing all the valves from the Mini head, including the four I've already cleaned and ground in. They will need new stem seals. I cleaned the valves on the wire brush on the grindstone. Then I decoked the head with a rotary wire brush in the drill. After that I ground all 12 valves in. Finished at 1305 so had lunch. After lunch I seperated the engine from the transmission then started to get the clutch cover off. It's held on with Torx headed screws so I have to go to Segre to get a torx socket to fit. Get back and remove the clutch. Only problem is one of the screws is rounded off so I have to cut and chisel it off. The clutch is just about down to the rivets so it's just as well I took the engine out. Renaud, the owner of the TC in Nantes pops in whilst I'm undoing the sump plug to drain the oil. The plug, which I've had problems with before rounds off so I give up for the day. It's 1700 and I'm tired. I'll hammer a torx socket on the sump plug and fit a new one. I have one somewhere, it's just a case of finding it, or getting a new one.

I do like a clean head.

Valves, all cleaned on the brush. and sixteen springs in egg boxes.

A dirty bell housing.

An out-of-focus picture of the clutch.

Pistons which will need cleaning.

One side of the centre plate.....

.... and the other side.

Pressure plate. The bit in the middle is the release bearing.

A mangled torx screw which held the clutch to the flywheel.


 Started by getting the sump plug out. I hammered a 12mm torx socket on to the chewed up end I just got it undone. I then made the tool to "open" the drive belt tensioner. Having made it I asked Lynne to help as I had a feeling it wasn't going to be easy. It wasn't - it was siezed. I removed the hydraulic ram and loosened the pivot bolt and sprayed it in Plus Gas. It freed off and I levered whilst Lynne put a 4 mm drill in the tab to hold it open. What would I do without her. OK, now time to draw the crankshhaft pulley off. I get all my 3 legged drawers out but they all have legs or are two legged. I need a three hole plate type puller. So I drive up to Segre to see if they have a flat plate type drawer. No, they don't. I think. I'll order one from somewhere and it should be here at about the same time the parts arrive. So, I'll leave the Mini for now and start on the TD engine, after lunch.

I pull the TD engine out of the workshop on it's little trolley and, on the driveway into the workshop start taking the front plate, distributor, oil pipes, filter and oil pump off. I then start cleaning all the bits in petrol. The engine has, at some time, been run for a long time without an oil change. The inside has a thick, black, oily sludge on all the surfaces. It took ages to clean it and even then I wan't happy with it. I poured Acetone over the inside and left it to soak in. I put everything inside and came in at 1715. I'm typing this up then I'll shower and get changed. Tomorrow is our day out and we're going to the reborers to arrange for the rebore. I'll see if they have an acid bath to clean the engine.

The tool, partly made, to compress the drive bely tensioner. I have to drill two holes at the angled end and fit a 500mm bar to it. The hole goes over the pivot bolt of the tensioner and you then lever the pulley up and put a 4mm drill in the tab to hold it "open".

Cutting the 500 mm bar.

The 4 mm drill in the tab, holding the tensioner open.

The crankshaft pulley. You can see the three 6 mm threads that a puller has to bolt to. A puller with "legs" won't work as there's not enough space between the back of the pulley to get the legs in. At the bottom right is the fulcrum bolt for the tensioner which the hole in the tool fits over and the short end of the tool levers the bracket which holds the jockey wheel below the spring. The picture is on it's side as it's easier to explain where things are.... (my story and I'm sticking to that).

The TD engine. You can see the black goo on the inside of the tappet chest.

The top. Before everything has been taken off.

The front panel, just about to be washed in petrol and the old gasket scrapped off.

The water pump. In very good condition. Not the original as it has a brass impellor.

The inside of the block before cleaning.

A close up. You can see the sludge below the camshaft.

Outside. The cylinder head studs have been removed.

The inside after a wash and the sump gasket scrapped off. I've never see a gasket stuck so hard. It must have been there for a long time. I almost had to chissel it off. It stilll needs more cleaning.


We went to lunch at the Chinese at Atoll. Lynne bought some winter shoes and a few scarves. I got a pair of warm, fur lined boots.

I took the cylinder head and rocker shaft to the rebore place after lunch. They don’t have an acid bath but have a chemical cleaner. So I left them with them for cleaning. I’m taking the block there as soon as the pistons arrive, probably next week.

The petrol pump arrived today and I fitted it tonight. Bit of a difficult job as the battery has to come out and it’s very heavy and a tight fit in the battery box. I ended up tying some rope under the lead bridge straps and lifted it that way. The risk is the strap can pull out of the battery. I got it all fitted and back in and switched on. The pump went mad for a few seconds, slowed down and stopped. Just as I thought it would. But it wouldn’t start. I’ll charge the battery in the morning then do a systematic check for fuel in the carbs, spark at the plugs and then try and start it again. I moved the car into the garage on the starter so the battery may be low enough to take all the power into the starter leaving insufficient for the coil.

All I can do tomorrow is tidy up the tools and clean all the Mini engine and gearbox bits as well as push the car outside and jet wash the engine bay.


Started about 0930. I put all the tools away then put the MG on charge in case the battery was low after moving it around on the starter. It was OK but I left it on charge for a while. I tested the live feed to the pump and there wasn't any. Took the steering wheel off and got under the dash. Found what I suspected was the problem, two wires had come out of the multi plug connecter. I pulled it apart and pulled the two spade connecters in until they clicked locked. Put the connector back and not only is the pump working but the rear lights came on as well. (I had noticed they weren't working a week or so ago). I took the MG out of the workshop and moved it out of the way. Got the Land Rover backed up to the workshop door and tied a rope from the Land Rover to the old ride on mower. Lynne then drove the Land Rover with the ride on behind over to the gites. I then pulled the Caterham out and Lynne gave me hand pulling it. I jumped in.... well crawled in, I don't do any jumping these days, and found some idiot had taken the battery cut off key out. My darling wife went into the kitchen for me to get it. I started it and warmed it up for a few minutes. Then switched off, put it in first and started it in gear and drove to the workshop. Remember it has no clutch. We then pushed the new ride on out of the garage annd towed the old one as near as we could get it to the door. I undid the rope and we pushed it in. I then brought the old lawn mower from the workshhop to the garage and we pushed the new ride on back in. Lynne put the Land Rover away whilst I rolled the Caterham across the field then started it in reverse and backed it as far as I could into the workshop. We then pushed it in backwards and got it parked up. I brought the MG back to the front of the workshop and we put the bonnet back on. What would I do without this wonderful wife, who tows, pushes and pulls!

I put a couple of black screws in the drivers side carpet to hold it in place pending fitting the correct carpet studs after the Mini is finished. I also bent the throttle pedal up and nearer to the brake pedal so I can heel and toe for down changes. I'll try it tomorrow if it isn't raining. After lunch Will from TGW, the chap who's getting me all the Mini parts rang to let me know all the parts were packed up in a box, it's size and weight. I've arranged for UPS to collect it and bring it here. I'm now waiting for his invoice so I can pay him.

I have refiited the bottom ball joints on the MIni hubs as well as the track rod ends. All are loose. I've let the car down on the ground and will get it outside tomorrow to jet wash the engine bay. The three legged puller has arrived so I'll get the crank pulley and timing cover off tomorrow as well as the sump and crankshaft. I'd forgotten I ordered new main and big end bearings as well as a set of piston rings so I may as well change them now that the engine is out.

I'm showered and changed and will settle down to a bit of TV now. (this means I'll have a sleep!)


 I had to selloptape labels on the box to go back to NTG. It has the faulty fuel pump and old clutch cover and centre plate for Alexandre's engine.  took a few pictures of the workshop and went to the post office and physio. Got back from physio and felt too tired to do much. I phoned Will at TGW about paying for the MIni parts. He said he's sent an email. It wasn't in my inbox so I clicked "send/recive" and hey-presto, it appeared. I was expecting it to be about £1000 but was a bit surprised to see it was £2088. Phew! And I though MG TC parts were expensive. So, I went with Lynne shopping. We had a nice lunch at the supermarket, did the shopping, came home and got it all in. I then brought the gas heater back from the gite and brought a new gas bottle in and connected it. Had the rest of the day watching TV.

The MG with the Caterham behind it. Better tan two old mowers!

Just realised, looking at this picture, that I've left the bonnet in the garage next to the gites.

I'm getting swamped in boxes. These two have parts from the TD engine.

The Mini engine and gearbox, which has deposited it's oil on the floor. The red tow rope was used to let the Mini down off the axle stands. I used the engine crane to lift the car, remove the stands and then let it down.

The towel covers the cylinder head, the camshaft and rockers are next to it


I've had today off. I was going to get the Mini out to jetwash the engine bay but as it was raining and I didn't want to leave the MG out in the rain I left it. So caught up on all tyhe forums and watched TV. I may do some work tomorrow, if it isn't raining.


Did nothing all day. That's it, nothing.


Started by pushing the Mini back, after the MG was put outside, then trying to get the crankshaft pulley off. The new three legged drawer didn't work, the jaws were to thick to allow them to close up on the three bolt holes. So I ground the sides down and tried again then found the centre part of the hub has stripped threads and the large centre screw will not grip. I spent some time trying to get my three legged jaw type drawer, with ground down jaws, behind the pulley but it won't work. So I had my everloving help me take the spring loaded drive belt tensioner off then removed the alternator, air conditioning pump, supercharger, sump and flywheel.  I then dragged the gearbox outside, no chance of picking up, it's far too heavy. I got the engine on the crane and took that outside. Spent some time brushing petrol all over the gearbox and engine then jet washed both. Got most of the crud off so soaked both in a strong solution of detergent and left it to soak in whilst I had lunch. After lunch I jet washed both again and they aren't too bad now. I took the engine off the crane and used the crane to move the gearbox back inside. Then Lynne backed her car into the workshop driveway and I lifted the engine into the back. We're going out tomorrow as the lady who gives me my checkup on the mask is coming on Wednesday. I'll take the engine into the BMW dealer at Angers and ask them to pull the pully off. Last jobs were to push the Mini forwared and bring the MG in. I've washed my hands, got my wet clothes off and am typing this at 1705. Shower and changed next.

The spring loaded tensioner, air-con pump and supercharger.

A dirty engine, before cleaning. I'll take a lot more pictures on Wednesday when it's in bits.


Started off at 1045 and went to the radiator place in Angers and left the Mini rad for repair. Then met Alexandre at his garage and left him the windscreen rubbers for the Jaguar XK120 FHC and the new carpet set for the TC. WE then met Muriel for lunch in the town centre. After lunch Lynne and I took the Mini block to the BMW dealer for them to remove the crankshaft pulley. They found the BMW drawer but it didn't fit, the three holes are too far apart. In the end I left the block with them to get the pulley off and I will collect it on Monday. We got home at 1730.


I went to the workshop to get the MG out to go to physio and found a big blue box. The BMW parts. We normally go out on Wednesday and UPS always seem to deliver on Wednesday. So we go out on Tuesday and they deliver on Tuesday. I get back from physio, get changed and open the box and lay it all out. Only problem so far is that I have 4 rear hub assemblies instead of two front and two rear. I need a hand to push the Mini out so I can jetwash it. Lynne's on the phone so i get the leather kit out and clean the seats in the MG and apply another coat of red dye. She's still on the phone so I wait. It's then lunchtime so after lunch we push the Mini out. This involves jacking up the left front to refit the track rod arm which has fallen off and to refit the brake calliper so the wheels will turn. We then push it so it's almost out. I jet wash the engine bay and then call Lynne to help me refit the valves into the Mini cylinder head. I've already changed the oil stem seals. We get the eight inlet valve springs on, with a struggle. I can't see the small cotters well enough to get them on the valve stem so Lynne is doing that and a very fine job she makes of it. What would I do without her? At about 1630 the lady arrives to check my apnea mask. When she leaves we push the Mini back in and I put the MG away. Tomorrow We'll put the eight exhaust valves in and I'll spend the rest of the day cleaning the TD engine parts. I haven't got a picture of the Mini block as it's at the BMW dealer. I'll try and remember on Monday when I collect it. Odds on they don't get the pulley off. I spoke to will at TWG, where I got the parts and he says BMW have made the puller incorrectly and three new holes must be drilled for the screws to align with the pully.

The parts for the MIni.

Four rear hubs instead of two front and two rear.

MIni cylinder head with inlet valves back in.

The parts from a different angle.

The seats in the MG. They do look better in the picture than with the eye.


Started at 1000 and put the exhaust valves back into the Mini head. Only problem was that the last cotter in the tin was for the TD engine not the Mini. I cannot think how it got there other than when it flew across the workshop when I took the valves out of the TD head it landed in the tin with the cotters for the Mini. Where the cotter for the Mini is seems to be a mystery. I'll order another on Monday. After a cup of tea I started cleaning the MG engine parts. I'll let the pictures tell the story.

The new valve springs for the MG seem to be a bit longer than the originals. They're on their way back and correct ones will be sent along with some more gaskets and a set of con rod pinch bolts, one of which is stripped (see below).

The crankshaft (TD) after first clean in petrol.

Con rods before cleaning.

I found this piece of plastic and other smaller bits stuck to the oil pick up gauze on the Mini. I think it's from the timing chain tensioner. Luckily it didn't cause oil starvation.

A better picture.

The parts for the MG, which arrived this morning. I need some more gaskets and a set of con-rod pinch bolts.

The crankshaft after cleaning with Acetone.

Pushrods before cleaning....

Con-rods after cleaning

Con-rods and pushrods after cleaning.

Close up of pushrods.

The con-rod pinch bolt which is strippped. Probably been cross threaded by previous engine builder.

OIl pump after cleaning........

........... and the other side.

Old pistons, including a burnt edge. All the top piston rings were broken.

The main bearing caps and nuts before cleaning....

............ and after.

Timing gears, crankshaft pulley and timing chain tensioner before....

.... after.

Crank and camshaft fixings before....

..... after.

Cam followers before....

.... after.

We go shopping and lunch tomorrow. I'll clean the rest on Sunday as I'm out all day on Saturday.


After physio I did some work on the route for tomorrows trip. We then went to lunch and shopping. Got back about 1500 and slept for an hour. I have a heavy cold so took lots of medicine.... whiskey, about half a bottle.


 Got up at 0630. Felt a bit better, well I would do after half a bottle of whiskey. I got all the routes and maps into the car and then drove down to the end of the drive and waited for Renaud. He arrived on time, at 0800. We set off to visit Alain in Normandy. He lives in a tiny village not far from Caen but we're taking the back roads. There is heavy mist all the way and I have the wipers going most of the time, when they work. They did work but won't switch on now. I fiddle with then switch as I drive and they start. The mist clears so I switch them off. The mist cames back so I fiddle again. It took us four and a quarter hours to get there. We get there and warm up then Alains wife, Martine, serves lunch. It's very good. After lunch Alain gets his TA out and we all go for a drive. I'm driving Renaud TC, he's driving mine. We get to a small town and park in the car park and have a photo session. Then Alain and I swap so I drive the TA back and he drives mine. Renaud adjusts his steering box which has had a Tompkins type screw fitting to the top. We set off home, Reanud leads and I get in just gone 1900 so that was quicker than going. In all it's over five hundred kilometres. I had two problems. I think the front wheel bearing are falling apart. There was a terrific grinding noise from the front hubs. It quitened down after I thought both front wheels would fall off. Then the engine hesitated and ran "funny" for the rest of the day. It's not missfiring but is hesitant. I'll look tomorrow. When I got in I saw Lynne's first effort at a water colour. She's bought a painting kit with a small easel, oil paints, acrylic and water colours. She found a tutorial on the net and did her first painting in water colours. I think it's brilliant. I'm so proud of her.

Well what do you think?

A TA and two TC's. The one on the far right is the TA

Renaud fussing over something.

OK, it was posing and now he's joined by Alain. 

These were taken by Renaud and Alain

We stopped for a call of nature.... the cows watched with interest.

Alains new MGB with Rover V8 engine. Me on the phone to you know who.

The car park, part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.


Stayed in bed/on armchair all day. My cold has turned into man-flu.


As yesterday.


As yesterday.


I had to get up today. Went to physio, came back and loded the TD block into the back of the car along with the new pistons, rocker shaft and bushes.Plan wa to stop off at Julians and pick up some oil and POR15. Then lunch at Atoll followed by Lynne doing some shopping and me meeting Alexandre to take the block and other parts to the re-borores. We got to the re-borers and took the block out. He measured the bores and they wewre way oversize. So much that he want's the +0.020" pistons changed for +0.040". He also wanted the valves as he wants to recut a few seats. I agred to take the valves in tomorrow so, on his basis, I dropped Alexandre off at the garage and went back to Atoll for a coffee and on to the hospital. Hospita was good and I must stop taking one of the pills for six months. Lynne drove home as I was knackered.


Left at 0745 and got to BMW dealer for 0830. They haven't got the pulley off and have ordered a new puller which will take three weeks to arrive. I loaded the block into the car and went to the re-borers. I handed over the valves amd he showed me the block on the mill having the head surface refaced. He couldn't get the pulley off so I collected the radiator and returned the block. Back home and tucked up in my armchair foe 1230.


We went shopping but I sat in the bar. We then had lunch. Thew pompes were in the restaurant in force so we had to do lunch after shopping. Weent home via the chemist and got more cough mixture. Upgraded Whiskey to Cognac.


The same as yesterday. Lynne is nagging me to go to the doctor. He'll only give me anti-biotics so I won't bother.


The same, didn't even get dressed today, just stayed im my dressing gown.


The same, got showeerd and dressed today after a better night.

OK, move on to November, it may get better.

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