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Bill Dawes15/10/2020 14:11:33
370 forum posts

Watched another interesting little film onTalking Pictures TV, 'Precision makes perfect'

It showed the Austin inspection process , it looked very impressive but bear in mind this was a promotional film, not a warts and all fly on the wall documentary

What interested me was the ingenious tools and jigs they had for measuring stuff, mainly on the Go-No Go principle, very little in the way of conventional workshop measuring tools, anyone that worked in this industry would be well familiar with it I guess.

My dad worked at Land Rover Tyseley as a capstan operator, he was always complaining about inspectors and machine setters, held him up I suppose, he was on piece work.

Any that has an old Land Rover, post war up to about early 70s might have a gearbox with bits made by my dad.

I remember going to a Christmas party there in the works canteen and was intrigued to hear the word 'Shop' used, I probably had visions of a tuck shop somewhere in the factory.

Bill D.

Grindstone Cowboy15/10/2020 14:47:59
360 forum posts
28 photos

TPTV have some very interesting short films on a variety of engineering-related subjects, it is worth signing up for their weekly "What's On" email as the shorts are sometimes omitted from listings magazines. Hope mentioning this is allowed?

On tonight (Thursday) at 18:30 is one about Daimler Benz, called "The Three-pointed Star". And there's one that gets repeated occasionally about Spheroidal Graphite Iron - fascinating stuff.


martin perman15/10/2020 16:43:20
1891 forum posts
78 photos


Thanks for that link, I usually sit a trawl the on screen guide for the week to find the shorts. The Austin film was interesting.

Martin P

Howard Lewis15/10/2020 17:42:24
3783 forum posts
3 photos

Although most of my learning was done on my father's 803cc Morris Minor (The engine was a Longbridge design, now known as the BMC A Series ) my test was actually taken on a 1934 Austin 10.

It had been stored all through the war, with the handbrake hard on, so that the brake drums were oval. This meant that when the foot brake was applied, the pedal rose and fell under your foot!

No matter how carefully the brake compensators were adjusted, it would not pull up in a straight line when braked hard. During the test, some steering lock had to be applied to have a reasonably straight line pull up , for the Emergency stop!

The clutch pedal had the short travel that was common to Austins of that vintage. The pedal was attached to lever that was directly arttached to the shaft carrying the clutch throw out fork!

Adjustment meant slackening a pinchbolt, and moving the lever relative to the shaft before retightening the pinchbolt.

The clutch was unusual, since the friction facings were attached to the Flywheel and Pressure Plate, with the Centre Plate being plain steel.

This arrangement survived into the modernised pre-war version of the car, known as the Austin Cambridge, which my brother had at one time.

It was none too tolerant of oil contamination, which caused it to slip!

The valve springs were retained by a pin passing through the valve stem. The lower spring plate was counterbored, so that the spring pressed the plate over the pin to prevent it falling out.,

After a de coke, valve grind and tune up, with a following wind, it was sometimes possible to see 60 mph on the speedo!


Nick Clarke 315/10/2020 18:52:01
937 forum posts
33 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 15/10/2020 17:42:24:

After a de coke, valve grind and tune up, with a following wind, it was sometimes possible to see 60 mph on the speedo!

Ok you could see it on there, but did the Speedo needle ever point towards it?smiley

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 15/10/2020 18:52:20

Nigel McBurney 115/10/2020 19:43:40
763 forum posts
3 photos

I had a Morris 1000 pickup around 1963 quite low mileage but gutless so a decoke was tried to see if it would improve the performance,I aquired a couple of part used tins of valve grinding past I was to tight to buy a new tin,in my local motorcycle club there were a couple of good vehicle mechanics and one showed me how to decoke a car engine,with the comment "i shall show you how a garage does a decoke none of you rmotor cycle porting and polishing,despite a lot of checking, performance did not improve. later on my my wife had a 1098 traveller from new,and did that one go,it clocked up 185 K miles the engine ,transmission clutch were all original ,regular oil changes no doubt helped,it had a mon morning transmission and a friday night shift body,Anyway those two tins of grinding paste lasted until a few weeks ago when they finally run out after grinding in the valves of a National o/crank engine,so I went into Halfords to buy some more paste,half expecting to find none,asked an assistant if they still sold grinding paste his reply yes we do ,but in the 5 years I have worked here no one has asked me for some,Apart from vintage engines I have not decoked a car for at least 35 years. A lot of the older stationary engines have a hole drilled and tapped in the centre of the valves so that a threaded rod with a handle can be used to grind the valve in.A tip learnt in those days ,was that very often when hitting a bump or landing after a jump on competion motor cycles,the handle bars would move in their clamp , the cure was to remove the clamps ,clean off any paint and then smear the clamps with coarse grinding paste,and then do the clamps up tight,It stopped the bars moving on my Greeves.

Clive Brown 115/10/2020 20:05:38
538 forum posts
18 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 15/10/2020 17:42:24:..

The clutch was unusual, since the friction facings were attached to the Flywheel and Pressure Plate, with the Centre Plate being plain steel.

This arrangement survived into the modernised pre-war version of the car, known as the Austin Cambridge, which my brother had at one time.

It was none too tolerant of oil contamination, which caused it to slip!

My first car was an Austin 10, bought in 1960 for £5 as a nonrunner. 1938 'ish IIRC.

It drank oil, a goodly portion of which leaked onto the clutch via the rear main bearing, making it slip like crazy. I cleaned the plate once or twice but a quicker dodge was to occasionally toss in a couple of spoonfuls of Fuller's Earth through the inspection hole in the bell housing. This would restore some servicability for maybe a week or so.

Howard Lewis15/10/2020 20:10:43
3783 forum posts
3 photos

Yes Nick Clarke 3, the needle did hover over 60, for a few yards!

The A series engine could be made more potent by radiusing the end of the "deflector around the Inlet valve. I did this on Dad's and it it would round the clock to indicate over 70 mph (We don'y know how optimistic the speedo was) Dad had a few gallons of petrol from our local garage, for demonstrating how our car went, to help them sell one that they had in stock.

Ours was one of the last 803,s . Bit of a hybrid with the 1000 type dashboard and radiator grille.

It had a hearty appetite for Big End Bearings until we fitted a Fram C3 by-pass oil filter, and flushed the system out with flushing oil. Something had been blocked with swarf, but once thoroughly flushed it was OK.

(Sump, off, galloon tin of flushing oil under the oil pick up and run engine until "splat" and oil pouring out of the pipes to the external filter. ) CRUDE but effective,.after that I gave up fitting new bearings lying in the road outside the house.

Haven't had the head off one of our cars since early 1973! How reliability has improved.


Peter G. Shaw15/10/2020 20:59:24
1191 forum posts
44 photos

re gutless 1098cc engines.

The GPO ran Morris Minors, then the Minor 1000 series vans for a long time and they were always fitted for as long as possible with the 803cc engine & a low ratio gearbox, or maybe back axle. However, there came a time when BMC stopped making the 803cc engine and so the GPO had to have the 1098cc engine. Which of course gave the vans quite a lot of extra poke which the younger end used to take advantage of. Ultimately, the GPO, certainly around Bradford/Huddersfield area fitted a restrictor plate on the carburettor air inlet. This had the effect of reducing acceleration and top speed and of course created a large number of complaints, usually along the lines of objecting to being overtaken uphill by the local buses. Needless to say, the plates remained where they were - except in a few instances where the driver was known and trusted.

I doubt if Nigel's pickup was one such vehicle because as far as I know, the GPO didn't have any pickups.

Incidently, the GPO bought some Minivans with the 848cc engine - and these could motor as long as the distributor & ignition leads were kept dry! If wet, performance was severely restricted!

How do I know? I was a GPO Customers equipment & overhead maintenance technician from Nov 1961 to July 1964 driving Minors & Minivans with occasional spells on the Z type.

Peter G. Shaw

Bill Dawes15/10/2020 23:01:50
370 forum posts

My very first car was a 1946 Austin 8, it had a metal sunroof which showered me with rust when opened. I bought it for £50 at one pound a week from a fellow apprentice, he was a year or so older so further on into the car buying elite. Very few of the older generation there had cars, usually rode push bikes, the older apprentices mostly had motor bikes.

Going fishing one day deiving through Evesham I had to brake 'rapidly' behind a coach, foot hard to the floor, handbrake hard on pushing against the seat back I just managed to stop inches to spare. Examination of the brakes later revealed the back brakes saturated in oil from the diff, it was a solid axle of course.

Didn't have a garage in those days in working class Sparkhill in Brum, always seemed to have snow every winter so spent many 'happy' hours on my back in the snow down a side street mending rusty exhausts with Gun Gum bandage. No car heater either!

Happy days

Bill D.

john halfpenny16/10/2020 09:58:51
74 forum posts
13 photos

I learned on a 1936 Lichfield 10. Clutch control was quickly mastered as the self-starter was not working, so a stall required hand cranking. My first car was an MM Minor with the side valve engine. I bought an overhead valve conversion made by Geoffrey Taylor of Alta racing cars. Regrettably never fitted due to the demise of said Minor, and sold on to a man from Liverpool whilst on a visit to Salford University. I believe it would cut the 0-50 mph time from 32 to 18 seconds. (0-60 could not be quoted for the standard car).

Cornish Jack16/10/2020 10:19:24
1185 forum posts
163 photos

My first car was a pre- WW2 Austin 8, bought in '56 in Aden. In retrospect (and unsurprisingly), it was lethal. The leaf springs were loose, the steering had over 3/4 of a turn play and the brakes were totally ineffective. An optimistic visit to a local 'garage mechanic' in Crater gave no improvement but resulted in one of the rear wheels detaching on the way back. I have no idea what I did with the thing when I left at 'Tourex' - and probably just heaved a sigh of relief!



Mike Poole16/10/2020 10:31:33
2810 forum posts
66 photos

It’s funny to think that the tuners getting 100hp out of the A series was quite a feat once but 200hp per litre is nothing extraordinary now ( not with an A series though)


Howard Lewis16/10/2020 12:36:29
3783 forum posts
3 photos

The Alta OHV conversion made the MM engine quite potent, and it was, IMO, a better engine than the A Series.

A chap nearby had one fitted with twin SUs, it went well and sounded nice with a straight through exhaust.

My first car was a Singer 9. Oil poured out past the pulley on the distributor drive to the fan. The hydraulic brakes were good once I had removed the bolts that someone had fitted to restrain the shoes!

The front springs wobbled from side to side because the bushes were worn. Handling improved once the front cross member had been welded to the chassis (The rivets and holes were badly worn, so everything moved about ) But the front dumb irons still flexed when the steering wheel was turned.

Being a two bearing crank it flexed and oil got on to the clutch.. It climbed the hill, southbound out of Ludlow, at the same speed, ( engine and road ) irrespective of whether it was in top or second. The difference was the size of the cloud of oil smoke through the floor boards when you lifted off at the top!

The oil leak from the cam cover decreased after I fitted a restrictor to the oil feed to the cam.

Someone had fixed a kirbygrip across the terminals of the charging control resistors for the third brush dynamo, but the battery never went flat! It did not take too long in the well lubricated engine bay to restore the charging control to how it should have been.

But that was how things were that many years ago!

HSE would be horrified by some of the schemes published in Practical Motorist

Did anyone seriously believe that an exhaust brake would be effective on a pre war Austin 10


Perko717/10/2020 09:16:13
361 forum posts
25 photos

Re: After a de coke, valve grind and tune up, with a following wind, it was sometimes possible to see 60 mph on the speedo!

My first car was a 1949 Ford Prefect, 1172cc side valve, 10HP, 3-speed gearbox, transverse leaf springs, great car to learn how to drive properly.

Happy on the open road at about 40-45mph, I did see 60mph in it once, it was definitely accompanied by a 'following wind', everything clenched and eyes wide open laugh.

Perko717/10/2020 09:20:42
361 forum posts
25 photos

Brakes on the Prefect were mechanical, but when adjusted properly I could lock up all 4 wheels on bitumen. Didn't stay adjusted well for very long though, and large changes in temperature played havoc with them because of the big difference in length between the rods to the front and rear axles.

One of the good things about it was the thermo-syphon cooling system. No water pump, no thermostat, just a big tall radiator and a marginal fan. The hotter the engine got the faster the water would circulate. Never boiled once even in the Australian sub-tropical climate while driven by a teenager.

John Hinkley17/10/2020 10:17:12
972 forum posts
333 photos

If we're getting into reminiscing mood, my first road car was a 1936 Austin Seven Ruby saloon bought for the princely sum of £26 10shillings. A king's ransom to me in those days ( 1965 ), still being at school studying A-levels. I'd already passed my test and set about it, to strip the light blue brush-applied Dulux gloss from its bodywork. What seemed like an eternity later, it was resprayed ( by me - in the open air! ) British Racing Green, re-trimmed and re-chromed. The original updraught Zenith carburettor was replaced by a 1" SU sidedraught and the engine rebuilt. It went, what seemed to me at the time, like manure off an earth moving implement and looked the dog's danglies. So much so that I was approached by an advertising company to use it in an advertisement for a new, faster-acting analgesic tablet. I was asked to present myself and car to a quiet nearby road early one Saturday morning and there I was met by a small group consisting of said advertising company bloke, a cameraman and a couple of hangers-on. The guy in charge had a Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans coupé and I was to drive my car at 20mph along the road whilst he sped past me at about 50mph, thereby demonstrating the difference between the old and new tablets. After about twenty minutes of various shots, they were satisfied they'd got acceptable photos and gave me a fiver for my troubles. I couldn't believe it! I was working a couple of half-days a week in sweet shop cum tobacconist to help pay for my petrol, earning about £2 10 shillings for the week! Mind you, Jet petrol was only about 2shillings and ten pence a gallon then or thereabouts, I forget exactly how much. I certainly remember buying a pint ( yes, PINT ) of two-stroke for my Vespa Clubman to get me home when I only had a shilling in my pocket one evening. I never did get to see that advert or even know whether it was used.

I recently looked the registration up on the DVLA web site and was delighted to see that it was still registered - BGU 940. I thought that it would have gone to the scrap yard long before now.


( Wiping away a nostalgic tear )


Edited By John Hinkley on 17/10/2020 10:17:45

Peter G. Shaw17/10/2020 10:26:24
1191 forum posts
44 photos

My parents first car was the 1953 Prefect. Dad always seemed to drive it about 40-45 mph, maybe he realised that it was happiest at that speed. Dunno. Uncle Ronnie had a 193x prefect, and later a 195x Pop. Both cars, as far as I know being mechanically similar to Dad's Prefect. Anyway, Uncle Ronnie used to drive quite a bit faster than Dad - which was why my siblings & I used to like to ride with him.

Dad tried to teach my mother to drive. At one point, whilst taking a corner, she exclaimed "Whose that squealing their tyres?" Yes, it was Mother! And when she went for the first of three tests, she was told that she was driving like a lorry driver, which, of course, was what Dad had been many years before!

Re boiling. On one of our trips to the East Coast (Bridlington) Uncle Ronnie & us got to the top of Garrowby Hill and waited for Dad. Eventually we went back only to find that Dad had indeed boiled over halfway up the hill.


Brian H17/10/2020 10:41:55
1863 forum posts
106 photos

I got into Austin Sevens (you can take that 2 ways) some years ago and my favourite was a 1928 Austin Chummy with an aluminium body.

I rebuilt the engine, gearbox and back axle and the car was very reliable, taking my wife and me to many places in England as well as several trips to Holland for motoring events.

We were once pulled over by the Dutch highway patrol because they thought that we were headed for the horrendous main road system and tunnels near Rotterdam. We weren't but being pulled over was a bit nerve racking because we were sure we had done nothing wrong although we were only travelling at the minimum speed for Dutch motorways.

When we got to their depot everyone had to pose for pictures with the car!


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