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Old 05-09-2017   #121
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

Quote Originally Posted by BambinoClassic View Post
This is despite the new discovery that there is no thermostat flap!
Not sure if I should bother putting one on, it's pretty warm here. .
Show-off.
I would fit the thermostat and flap eventually.
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Old 09-09-2017   #122
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

Quote Originally Posted by fiat500 View Post
I would fit the thermostat and flap eventually.
Indeed, it is on the parts list, though I'm hoping it's not too complex. Looks hard to get at without removing the distributor, which could create its own set of problems

This morning's job was out with the little girl who was dying to 'help' with the car, and so it seemed a good time to check out the valve clearances and show her the inner workings.

The first thing I noticed was that on the cold engine, the gaps were all tight on all rockers, I couldn't get anything in.

And so I followed Toshi's Advice and we did the clearances together. I'm not yet sure if we did it right. Essentially using my ebay feeler gauge (thanks @fiat500, second time it's come in handy after adjusting points gap on distributor) I adjusted the gap to be as close to 0.15mm as possible. Obviously this is difficult as it's a precise amount, but for example:

- put car in first gear
- rolled forward until 1 rocker was down, gap tight
- gap was also tight at 4, so I loosened the nut at the end and twisted the little flat knob thing: is it odd that I didn't need a tool for this and could just do it with my fingers, once the nut was loosened?
- twisted this loose, slipped my 0.15 gauge in, then tightened it not until it was gripping the gauge, but til I could feel it just touching on top and bottom of the gauge

Continued as per Toshi's advice, adjust 4 when 1 down, 1 when 4 down, etc.

The only thing I'm confused about is if I've adjusted everything as necessary, as I note that peter commented "inlets very slightly wide and the exhausts slightly tight" - I'm not sure if I've fixed just the inlets or just the exhausts and not the other! I did forget to check the 'down' tappet when I was adjusting the clearance of the 'up' one, but I figure that as they were all tight to begin with, then I assume they will remain tight when meant to be?
Not sure if there is a new 'clatter' now, or if I'm imagining things (or if a little clatter is fine)

Regardless, she's just starting to run more and more sweetly now. What a car!
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Last edited by BambinoClassic; 09-09-2017 at 02:15.
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Old 15-09-2017   #123
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A few bits and pieces arrived today from van der laan.
Mainly the tyres and orange side lamps needed to get me through registration.

Also ordered these spark plug covers. Have I inserted them correctly? I assume they are there to keep the air cooling in, so having them on the inner part of the gap will optimise this.

Just that I've seen some other photos of engine bays where they just sort of sit over the hole.

Simple small questions but could be important
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Old 15-09-2017   #124
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

Quote Originally Posted by BambinoClassic View Post

Also ordered these spark plug covers. Have I inserted them correctly? I assume they are there to keep the air cooling in, so having them on the inner part of the gap will optimise this.

Just that I've seen some other photos of engine bays where they just sort of sit over the hole.

Simple small questions but could be important
Until relatively recently I hadn't worked out that the way you've done it must be the correct way.
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Old 18-09-2017   #125
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These are fun cars, I think I can hear the tyre guy swearing now. In for new tyres to be put on, freshly imported from the other side of the world as it is still half the price to send two Pirelli from holland compared with buying locally.

They used the mechanical bolt tightener and sheared off the end. Half an hour later the swearing continues as they try to remove the stuck thread!

Fingers crossed it is ok, and that I can find a replacement bolt at the hardware store. A temporary at least.
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Old 29-09-2017   #126
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

Gorgeous weather again and perfect for tinkering patiently and not looking to hurry.

My 1/4 windows were in pretty poor state, and by all accounts the replacement seals and frames are rubbish. So I decided to fix mine.

I was able to remove the glass using some WD40 between it and the old seal, and very gently wiggle it out. Underneath it wasn't a pretty sight, the frame under the bend had rusted pretty badly. I managed to wire brush out as much of the rust as possible then spray some rust converter onto it.

Next day it was time to put the glass back in. I had fetched some black sealant in preparation and slotted the glass in with just a few segments of the original seal that hadn't rotted away remaining in the frame to hug the glass tight. Then time to put the sealant around it. Rubbish job, but with patience it was ok. I took the advice of other members and didn't bother too much about getting it perfect right away.

Once it had dried, I fetched a stanley knife and trimmed an even line around the seal, then scraped it off.

Some metal polish and elbow grease and the end result is pretty reasonable, and I think will last a while. With a bit of time and effort, it seems possible to keep as much of this car as original as possible, and that will remain the plan.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #127
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

My neighbour went away for ten days so I took the opportunity to take little blue off the road and use his garage for some work.

First up was the inside. My intention was to strip it all out and do a good assessment of any rust, then put it back. (Obviously I got a bit carried away).
The floors looked great, no real rust or even evidence of welding. There was some early signs in the driver side footwells and a few other small places so those were dosed liberally with rust converter.

With long term plans to fit a radio, I thought it would be good to cut down on noise, so laid a double thickness of sound insulation that we had leftover from when I laid our hardwood floors. This stuff is technically not for automotive use but it is rated to cut flooring noise in half so thought why not. I had half a roll left and it can be easily cut to size and lie under the carpet and over the rear wall. To be confirmed if it is now whisper quiet!

Next step was to polish up the interior paint, but I got a bit carrier away, with all the interior out, and ended up rubbing back all the paint, masking up and applying a 2 pack aerosol paint that has a hardener added so baking isn't required. A beautiful blue if I may say so myself...

Next was the upholstery... I took recent delivery of a new set from Passione as the red vinyl fitted wasn't to my taste.
Technically the fabric was only fitted until 1963, so the replacement may upset the purists but she's to be driven and enjoyed not displayed so I wanted comfort and style.

Unfortunately the base of the rear seat had disintegrated completely! Upon trying to remove the old vinyl it just fell apart - there was what looked like a hardened black foam/plastic base with soft foam over the top, and the black was left in pieces. Fortunately months ago I had predicted this might be an issue, and I had stashed away a huge roll of foam I spotted discarded on the side of the road. Together with a piece of MDF found for $2 in the discard bin at the local hardware store, and a staple gun, and I was able to produce an attractive and really comfortable base. Thankfully all the other covers went on without issue, and the seats looked great.

Something I picked up from one of my old Mini restoration jobs was that new is not always better - in that case I had a beautifully fitted carpet that had faded horribly. Thankfully there is something called Vinyl and Fabric Dye that is also meant for carpets, and it is just fantastic stuff. Little blue's carpets were tired and grey, but a good fit still, so I essentially died them a satin blue to match the rest of the car, and am very happy with the results.

Finally it was time to toss the old seatbelts. The clasps were hardly working and they were a real fiddle. So I bought some 3 point inertia reels and installed without too much hassle, after taking bits and pieces of advice from across the forum! I hate that there are holes in the chassis for the upper mounting point but seeing as they're there, I decided to just keep using them. The reels were mounted on the floor horizontally, and the whole setup works and looks great I think. I don't even feel that obstruction of entry to the rear seats is that significant.

I'm pretty happy with the end result. It's still classic look but polished, tidy and comfortable. And I still had time on my hands, so it was on to the front boot!


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #128
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

The under bonnet was something I wanted to tackle from the moment I got Little blue. It didn't look terrible but was tired looking and the kids want to put their schoolbags in there (ok they actually need to because there's no space in the car).

Pulled out the tank and spare and it actually looked pretty tidy. Some superficial oxidation but no structural rust, and on rubbing back the metal was very tidy underneath, except in the spare tyre well, which had a little bit of rust around the drain holes, so got a good sand back all over and some rust converter. The rest of the interior was rubbed back and given a recoat of paint.

The fuel tank needed some love. Siphoned all the fuel out then gave it a good swish out and scrub - minimal sediment came out and afterwards it looked pretty good. After a sand, prime and respray (with fuel resistant paint!), it came up even better.

The wiring was a bit of a mess. Years of grime and lack of love around the contacts. Every wire got a good clean and the contacts all brushed off with contact cleaner.

Fitting it all back together with new fuel hose and together with the interior it feels like a new car. The fuel hose isn't the modern type, but on balance I a) don't plan on using any ethanol blended fuels and b) don't think I could fit the new ones through the grommets as they're very thick. I'm happy the modern hoses are at the back for the shorter linkages between the metal hose to pump and carb...

I'm pretty happy with the finished product and to have investigated and preemptively treated any threats of rust. Again it's not concourse but it's tidy, the wiring is clearer and cleaner, and it's a much more functional space than it was. Plus everything I do myself allows me to learn more about these little rippers.


Next step - installing a radio! I found a beautiful old specimen, AM only, on ebay, and think it will make a great little addition.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #129
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

it does look nice.....

I would ask what do you see the point of seat belts being?
You don't expect to walk away if you are in an accident where they are actually effective

The cloth seats are much nicer in my opinion...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #130
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

Quote Originally Posted by Bigvtwin996 View Post
it does look nice.....

I would ask what do you see the point of seat belts being?
You don't expect to walk away if you are in an accident where they are actually effective

The cloth seats are much nicer in my opinion...
Cloth seats will be comfier and more absorbent, but vinyl easier to clean in case of a non-fatal accident or near-miss.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #131
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

That's an amazing amount of detailed work in a short time.
I admire your renovation rather than restoration and getting it all back together straight away.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #132
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

Nice work, you've done a great clean up. I think the fabric seats will be much better in the heat of Australia than vinyl.

As you can see in the photo, I've got fabric in my car.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #133
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

Thanks guys, good word - “renovation” as opposed to restoration. A mostly enjoyable past time (we all kick and scream at our 500 sometimes don’t we?)


Seat belts are to protect the car from me in case of accident. Replacement original steering wheels are expensive! Would hate to damage it on my thick skull or something.

I suggest we start a cloth interior movement! Certainly has a classy feel although heaven help my kids if they get em dirty 😡
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

Quote Originally Posted by BambinoClassic View Post
I suggest we start a cloth interior movement! Certainly has a classy feel although heaven help my kids if they get em dirty 😡
I want to start a "Wicker" seat movement....
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Re: Project Little Blue - an introduction (and cry for help)

Quote Originally Posted by Bigvtwin996 View Post
I want to start a "Wicker" seat movement....
That's a Jolly idea
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