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Sorry to hear this Bernie. But you know that a lot of cars are restored as 'stationary works of art' that hardly ever run, much less get driven........so shady engine builders can take short cuts and usually not get caught. You on the other hand drive the heck out of your cars, which is GREAT!  I know you will fix it right, but I hate that you have to pay again for that. I admire your perseverance on things like this.

 

Once you get this car running and touring with it, hopefully the sting this issue will fade away somewhat.

 

Looking forward to updates on what it takes to get the engine right.

Edited by r1lark
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I synpathise Bernie, from a similar position. The 26 Rover was 80% rebuilt when I got it recently, with many receipts for work done. BUT all the mechanical work was done in the early 90s, and ALL of the businesses involved have now disappeared. Car came fully assembled, new woodwork and panels, basically needing wiring, interior and a hood. Receipts said starter, maggy and dynamo all rebuilt. How far do I go checking things if it requires extensive dismantling? 

So far I have got the engine running for short spells (carb full) and it sounds OK, oil pressure is very good (verified pressure before giving it spark), dynamo produces 10A. A little coolant weep on pump and one core plug.Apart from inspecting obvious stuff, all I can do is cross my fingers and wait for signs that things are not as they should be.

 

john P

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It is easier to damage things taking them apart than it is reassembling them and people who do a poor job with the reassembly virtually never do a good job with the dismantling. I tend to look for stressed parts... nuts with the corners banged, pieces that require a hook spanner that have been whacked with a chisel or screw driver... split pins missing or the wrong size. There are all sorts of clues but you have to be looking for them. This doesn't guarantee everything will be right but it does show that the obvious things aren't wrong. Were I to buy a car with a supposedly rebuilt engine that was not running or hadn't run, I'd remove the sump and take a look look inside before I did anything. Engines are far more likely to get abusive treatment than transmissions or rear ends but a look inside the top cover or taking the wheels off to see the ends of the axels is prudent, if not necessary. On my car, the rear wheel bearings are retained by large threaded collars and those were badly chewed up by being hit with a hammer and chisel by someone who didn't have the right tool. You can also look for washers & lock washers in place and tab washers that have been bent and re-bent into place. This is all part & parcel with brass cars and probably the case right up through the 20s. If they have survived, they did so for many years as worthless junk and it's unrealistic to expect they haven't seen a fair amount of abuse or that everyone who worked on them was knowledgable.

Edited by JV Puleo
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1 hour ago, r1lark said:

Hi Bernie, haven't heard from you in a while. Just hoping that you are doing ok. We care about you!

"I estimate that we will drive (in the Rapier) approximately 2,000 to 2,500 miles by the time we arrive home again in 2 weeks time."

 

I do believe that Bernie is burning up the roads in the Rapier.   Hopefully he's having a great time!

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Hi ya all.

We are now back from the epic drive to take part in the VSCC NSW "George Green Memorial Rally. Now you really need to be a "dab-hand" at google maps or something similar. After leaving home about a week or ten days ago we drove the senic route via Yea and Benalla before joining the main interstate highway north. We stopped for our first night at Jugiong. This little town is now by-passed by the Highway and is little more than a "fly-spot on the map". Next morning we set off along the Hume Highway as far a Gunning where we again left the highway to travel via Crookwell, Laggan and Taralga and a marvellous long run through Black Springs to Oberon then Katoomba  where we spent our second night, right in the heart of the famous "Blue Mountains".  Next morning it was just a short run to Wentworth Falls Country Club and the start of the Rally.  From there it was an uneventful drive to Bathurst and the next over night stop. The second day of the Rally included morning tea at Orange, our lunch stop was alfresco at an interesting tourist attraction of some caves but unfortunately our schedule did no fit in with "Visiting times" so we were off again heading to Dubbo. By now it was becomming noticeable that the road surface were quite badly broken up due to recent heavy rain and extensive flooding. I am sure that some of the"pot-holes" could have swallowed up the Lagonda, but there was worse to come. Having taken up residence in the   Dubbo, Cattlemans Motel we had three days of out and back drives to a number of really interesting locations including lunch in a vast (sheep) shearing shed at Gilgandra and on the next day a country (horse) Racing day at Willandra complete with a "Fashions on the Field" beauty contests entertain the local young ladies. Having had a small win on the first race Helen lost the lot on the second which was the end of our efforts as "punters". By now the Rapier was starting to sound a little "ragged" and I correctly diagnosed that the ignition points had started to close up. It was just a few minutes to put this right. As part of my preparation for the journey I had a week earlier installed new ignition points in the distributor. we set off for the long journey home intending to go as far as we could before booking into a motel for the night. We had done well travelling on some of the roads we had used on our northbound journey but again the Rapier was sounding ragged. Two of the pipes in the exhaust headers had split from the rentless pounding of the potholed roads. I was convinced that it must be a fuel blockage and stopped at looked at the filters in each carburettor and the one in the Petrol pump. All these were completely clean so I imagined that one or both the filters in the two main pipes just below the fuel tank must be blocked but I really needed to have the car on a hoist to look at them. We stopped at the NRMA (National Roads and Motorists Assn) in Junee but the service Manager explained that they were simply Ford Dealers and could no help me. We pressed on into Wagga Wagga  where we booked into a very comfortable Motel and contacted the RACV ( Royal Victorian Auto Club) basically a road service organisation based in our home state of Victoria. They organised another NRMA service man to come and look at the car but again he was reluctant to delve into something he did not have a clue about. He did suggest that at no cost to ourselves they would pay for another night in Wagga Wagga, have the Rapier transported home and pay for two day's one way car hire for Helen and myself. He suggested that it would not be a good idea to attempt  to drive home with so much of the exhaust leaking directly in front of Helen.

And so to cut a long story short that we did finishing our journey in a Renault Koleos SUV . The Rapier arrived home first thing this morning only a dozen or so hours behind us. I have now had time with no external pressure on me to look and it was indeed the distributor points closed up again.  It has been cold and showery for most of the day so I will leave fixing the exhaust for a day or two.

One thing I can promise is I will not be trading the Rapier in on a new Renault! Not counting the miles spent on the back of a truck we had covered 1374 miles. Given another day or two to attend to the exhaust leaks and give it a thorough wash and quick polish It will be ready for our next adventure. The telephone operator at the RACV did explain that it was only  due to my length of membership (over 60 years) they were prepared to  extend their normal service arrangements.

 

Bernie J

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)
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Hello Jeff

We were only away for about 10 days so i am flattered that some people have missed my input. Rather than a hole in a muffler or something similar, the headers suffered a crack that went down the back of number 2 primary pipe then wrapped around the bi-furcation joint with number 3. looking at the photograph you can see where the hot gasses were blowing out onto the starter motor. The crack can be seen as fine black line running around the pipes just above where they run into the secondary pipe. The problem was that the exhaust gasses were blowing out through the bonnet louvers and back along the side of the car into Helen's face. You can see the discolouring on the bonnet side. If we had continued on driving the 150 miles home I would have had a very sick passenger/navigator.

Unless you are accustomed to driving an English "pre-war" sporting two seater, you may think that we are a trifle eccentric but we drive without side screens and with the hood (top) safely stowed away. Apart from anything else unless you have experienced driving in an open car you cannot appreciate how much more of the scenery you can enjoy. Our normal highway cruising speed is between 3,200 and 3,600 rpm (60-70 mph).  For the technical minded the Rapier has a 4.75:1 rear axle ratio and runs on 450/500 x 17 Michelin "Super Comfort"tires. These are designed to run at a maximum of 20psi.

Michelin introduced these low pressure tyres in 1936 as a fore-runner to radial tires. Michelin "Super Comfort" are still available in some metric sizes. I was lucky to obtain some (8) of the last batch of 17 inch to be made.  

Please do not worry we will be back to the Humber very soon. It is waiting very patiently, Right now it is too cold, wet and windy to be working outside. The Rapier has been part of the family since 1978/9 and as such enjoys special privileges. Despite our trip being cut short we drove 1,374 miles in less than 10 days! Not too bad for a 82 year old car with a very nearly 80 year old driver and a 77 year old navigator.

 

Bernie j.

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Edited by oldcar (see edit history)
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I have just bought the two little "in-line" fuel filters to replace those tucked away under the petrol tank at the rear of the car. The ones that were on there were well and truly ready to be replaced. The new ones have clear bodies so it is easier to keep an eye on them. I have left the exhaust headers with a friendly local "man" for him to produce the necessary "bends" so I  can replace the section that had split. I still have to come up with a solution to the problem of the aluminium drivers side panel cracking. Right now I do not want to even think about welding them up and then repainting the affected panels. I will have a look at some of the 2 pack alternatives. All this means that very little or nothing is happening on the Humber for the next week or two.

 

Bj

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Hello all,

I now have sorted out the Lagonda Rapier and have it running properly again. I still do not know why the distributor points closed up. Possibly the fibre block was wearing prematurely due to a lack of lubrication. I have replaced the two main petrol filters and checked to other three, These were all OK. In case you are wondering there is one in the main (SU) electric petrol pump and one in each carburettor float bowl. The inline filters are one in each of the two main pipes from the tank to the reserve tap. I have a second (solid state) Electric petrol pump under the car in the "main" petrol pipe.  This is controlled by a seperate switch on the dashboard. It is run only occasionally as a "back-up". The car is set up for long distance (fast) touring and is normally extremely reliable. Buying petrol at out of town and unfamiliar service stations alway's seems to have the potential for problems. 

 

Bj.

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Thank you for being so patient. I hope to get back on the Humber very soon. I have pulled the radiator out to see what needs to be done with it.

First task is to sort out the drive dog in the right back hub and get it onto four wheels. Then I have to sort out what needs to be done in the engine. It had previously been cobbled together and will need to be completely stripped down. The camshaft is highly suspect but until I get it out and on the bench I will not know just how bad it is. At least one cam follower needs to be built up and re profiled. None of it is exactly "hi-tech".  I just need to adjust my "motivation" slightly, or to put it another way, "Put my mind into gear". Certainly a couple of thousand square feet of space would help but I know for sure that is not going to happen.

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Hello Moe

You have to take the prize! Doing a ground up, body off, total restoration  under those conditions, you have done remarkably well.

It is one thing just to buy a restored going car, but what you have managed is great.  Do you have any progress photos of your car, starting with it completely dismantled?

 

Bj.

 

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Edited by oldcar (see edit history)
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I changed the sump gasket once, actually twice. Does that count?....:)

 

I totally understand how you feel BJ. I have done a couple restorations, to be fair, nothing like what you are doing, I have total admiration for your efforts, skills and knowledge.

Many restorers question their reasons for the project throughout the process, going through the roller coaster of self motivation.

I think when you enjoy the challenge of finding solutions, seeing results and knowing that you are just a custodian of some history of the car, really helps self motivate.

 

Im 47yo and have always wanted my own shed, I have spent all of this year to get a shed plan approved through city council with no luck so far. Maybe next year...:)

 

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The attached may give you some idea of the frustrations that come up at every turn with the Humber. Among the various items of rusty metal that came with the collection of bits are three shafts. Any one of these may be the main drive shaft but none seem to fit and none have provision for a sliding joint to accomodate the variations in length necessary.

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"The attached may give you some idea of the frustrations that come up at every turn with the Humber. Among the various items of rusty metal that came with the collection of bits are three shafts. Any one of these may be the main drive shaft but none seem to fit and none have provision for a sliding joint to accomodate the variations in length necessary."

 

Actually all three shafts have provision for a sliding joint  but they are missing the square nuts which fit on the two little protruding stubs.  These nuts would slide in a protrusion bolted to the differential pinion. The middle shaft in your photo looks dubious to me like it has been modified with the square nut on the end but who knows I might be wrong. If the protrusion is not already bolted on to the pinion perhaps it is amongst your bits.

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Hi Stude 17

What you see is what I have, attached is today's photograph of the Pinion housing with the pinion in place. The Drawing from the owners hand book really does not give a lot of information if I am to start making a coupling. Perhaps I am missing something. This needs to be a universal joint to allow for the vertical movement of the axle on the springs. It also needs to be a sliding joint to take up the difference in length as the joint travells through an arc.

Oops sorry!  I should have swept the floor before taking the photograph.....,,

 

Bj.

 

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Thanks Mike

I do have quite  a collection of illustrations similar to yours but some more detail would be a help. It seems as though none of the present owners of sinilar cars even know what I am talking about. It would be probably better to discuss the brand of polish they use to preserve the leather upholstery in their cars. Apparently you are not meant to even think about driving them. That  seems to be my problem; if I have a car I want to be able to drive it.  Silly me!

If it is just going to stand on jacks in a "collection" it does not even need a drive shaft.

Now, what metal polish should I use on the radiator? I bet there are lots of people who can answer that!

I rather like the nice purple one that all the Harley Davidson "boys"use.

 

Bernie j.

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Yes it appears what you are missing is called the  "Back axle coupling".  What I can do is take some photos of my Studebaker coupling and the the drive shaft to give you some idea as to how it works.  It is not complicated just a machined out piece of steel so the two nuts slide back and forth.   Hopefully I can take some photos tomorrow and when you see what I am talking about you might find one in your boxes of parts.

 

 

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I have decided to put the drive shaft into the "Too hard basket" and move on to something else. Some more bits may drop out of the sky. There is no shortage of other things to do!  If nothing turns up, I can go to a modern joint that will do the job. I imagine that it will be some time before I run out of things to do.

 

Bj.

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)
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The 'back axle coupling' is a sliding pot joint or sliding block joint depending what you were taught. Two shaped square sections are required, each with a hole to fit the ears on your shaft which slide in what is basically a keyway inside a drum on the pinion shaft. The one I saw had rather hard to describe parts, as they weren't flat on the outside but convex on the outside face so as to allow them to slide.

I believe it shall be easier and cheaper to replace it with a modern equivalent.

Matthew

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I tend to agree with you about using a modern joint. As this can be virtually the last thing needed to complete the car I have time on my side. By then the original coupling may have turned up. Meanwhile I have plenty to keep me occupied.  If I run out of things to do I am sure that there is plenty of things in the garden and around the house that could benefit from my attention. I will never die of boredom.

 

Bj.

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As I continue to dismantle the Humber engine I cannot fail to be "impressed by the high standard"of work carried out at "great expense" to the previous owner

N.B.  Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit!

Thankfully he never got as far as trying to start the engine.

Now That I have engine 90% stripped down I can see exactly how little had actually been done, that nothing had been cleaned properly and the whole thing cobbled together with little care or attention to detail.

I am a self taught amateur mechanic but if I ever turned out work like this I would shoot myself!

 

Bj.

 

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Bernie,

This pic shows the diff joint on my Rover9 moderately well - the shaft going in is just round, but it lookes like it has 2 trunnions inside the split joint, which is bolted to the diff input flange. I suspect that your Humber had something similar. The prop shaft has a taper with keyway at both ends, the front with a 3 finger fabric UJ to the gearbox, the rear with cross pins fitting into the joint below, similar to one of your drive shafts. Let me know if you would like a closer pic.

john

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Hello John

Thank you for your interest. I am still not sorry that I did not buy your Rover when I had the chance to. I have just finished a 60minute terlephone conversation with an old friend. He has Austin Sevenitus  and keeps telling me why I should have another Austin. I tell him that it took owning about a dozen over a period of years to realise how bad they are. My problem is that I keep buying cars that have up until now escaped me only to discover that every make has their own inbuilt vice. I must have looked at three or four early Rovers but I really wanted a two wheel brake. I have this "thing about early cars with no front brakes...........

I keep telling myself that the Humber has to be the last "old car" I restore. Having spent an hour or two yestreday afternoon, lying on my back removing the con-rods from the Humber I now have some idea what the engine needs. (A total rebuild)

Going back to John I am sure that some where I have the remains of the rear coupling. I need the time to go back through  a thousand or so photographs to find it. Having found the photograph all I then need to do is find the coupling.

Sorry John,  there I go wandering off again... Thank you for your continued interest, 

It is amazing how quickly old age kicks in once you turn 80!

 

Bernie J.

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Hello John

I am just in the middle of stripping down the engine. It is about 80% in pieces (and a mess). I have to decide just how far I want/need to go in rebuilding it.

General consensus is that it would be a waste of money having the crank pins reground and new white metal big end bearings done.

In the past I would have done the whole thing but it seems difficult to justify spending $20/25,000 on the motor of a $7/10,000 car  and that would be just for the motor, there is still tyres, the body, trim, paint, plating etc etc,  how and where do you stop. The Humber is a rare car but it is not a Bugatti, Bentley or even a Rolls Royce. I guess that if I thought about it, I would end up doing nothing  but where is the FUN in that? Now that I have actually turned 80 I have to think how much time is left and what do I want to do in that time? I will try to find some photos for you. I can tell you that it is, 4 cylinder, side valve, fixed head, two main bearings, cast iron block and aluminium crankcase. 1750cc. Magneto ignition, NO electric starter or generator.  Three speed gearbox, cone clutch, foot brake on drum behind the gearbox, hand brake on rear wheels. 

All the "experts" tell me to do the body and cosmetics first then worry about the motor. They tell me "Nobody wants the drive these cars, if they had to crank start it they simply would not bother! As long as it "looks" OK then it is OK.

 

What do the people reading this think?

 

Bernie j.

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I think that attitude is the main reason I've lost interest in virtually all "car clubs". Those folks should just collect models and leave the real cars to those who will use them.

 

As to crank starting... if it takes any real effort at all to start an engine that small, whoever "rebuilt" it - or "tuned" it, didn't know their a-- from a hole in the ground.

 

(edit) Earlier this summer I was looking at a fabulously restored, big brass car (recently purchased for something in the area of 1 million dollars) with a friend who is the owner of some equally impressive brass cars. My friend is getting on in years now but his knowledge of the brass car world is encyclopedic. He said to me, a bit under his breath, "I wouldn't trust it to go 1000 yards down the road." There are a lot of "restored" early cars that are a cosmetic gloss on worn out machinery. This is the product of just the attitude your experts reflect.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Thank you JV

That makes just two of us against the world. I will almost certainly do one of my "normal" restorations on the Humber. My problem is that I am still unable to change the habits of a life time. My attitude to "the Experts" is very similar to JV's. Perhaps that is why my circle of (genuine) friends keeps getting smaller and why my interest in attending Car Club meetings has all but disappeared. When I am "gone" there will be very few people notice but I will be beyond caring.

 

For Unimog John,

Here are todays photographs of the engine.

 

Bj.

 

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You are welcome, Bernie.

I was certain we were on the same page here. That said, aside from the main bearings and the crank, there are probably many ways to minimize the cost of a rebuild... maybe to 90% of new, without breaking the bank. You're probably in for a rebore, if that wasn't done if only because these early cars, without air filters, almost always have badly worn bores but it may be possible to find a piston that will work without the expense of having them made. That goes for valves as well. I see it has a silent chain drive for the camshaft... if those parts are badly worn there are alternatives there as well. I'd love to see some photos of the engine parts when you've finished tearing it down, I may have some worthwhile suggestions.

 

Cheers,

 

jp

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Hello. Up to this point, I've been a silent observer of all your activities. I  had to chime in here because I've always found it sad to look at a beautiful vintage car only to find out that the beauty was only skin deep due to either updated or non-working mechanicals. A big part of the history (for me, anyway) is seeing the engineering and technology of the era represented. Thank you, Bernie. Oh, and please forgive my past silence!

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