Sunday, 7 April 2013

Double Pronged

How many David Sheppards does it take to mend an SU?

The answer is, of course, two...

At my end of the M4, M5 and A38 this weekend, I've been concentrating on cleaning up the gear linkage which, you'll remember from last week, had to leave 270 KTA in its entirety.

We've now managed to separate the rods which had been welded up, and with equal difficulty have removed the three universal joints. These are swivel devices which allow connected rods to bend through two plains, except when they're as seized as these three were...

I've also stripped and primed the prop-shaft (the bit that turns with the output of the gearbox, and via the differential, effectively makes the wheels on the bus go round... and round). The universal joints on this are good, but were so heavily caked in muck that they couldn't be seen, let alone maintained.

Meanwhile, 200 miles up the road, David Sheppard Senior has been working on the turret that sits on top of the gearbox and houses the mechanism that selects the gears.

This has been mercilessly bodged over the years: worn bushes have been literally bolted into position to reduce play, and best of all, a new and unfinished end-fork has been bashed onto the end of the linkage and bolted up in the wrong position.

Compare the fork we have (left) with how it should be (right)...

Spares Department

The most significant progress of the week, though, has been in the hunt for bits. The most common question at rallies is "where do you get spare parts?", and the answer to that requires a blog post in itself - if not an entire blog. I'll elaborate on it more once we've finished the job, but suffice to say that using a mixture of cross-referenced part numbers, contacts, ingenuity, improvisation, adaptation and more, we now have:

- 1x new oil seal for the spigot bearing (on order);
- 1x new oil seal for the front end of the gearbox (on order);
- 3x new imperial sized universal joints (the same, we suspect, as steering joints on the E-Type Jaguar - on order);
- 1x new brass bush for the front end of the gearbox turret;
- 1x correctly machined end fork, plus replacement rods for those damaged by the Phantom Welder.

We're still struggling with (but will need to find or make):

- 1x spigot bearing (an unusual imperial size with no inner race);
- 1x brass bush for the back of the gearbox turret;
- 1x clutch plate.

And getting the stuff is just the start. Just as well we're an illustrious team of old...

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