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REPORTS ON A 1914 HUMBERETTE RESTORATION


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6 hours ago, alsfarms said:

It appears that you are going to be doing some serious rebuilding of your engine.  Have you checked around to see if any replacement pistons can be re-purposed form another application and fit your V-twin?  Have you looked to see what the bottom end looks like?  I would encourage your to "bite the bullet" and simply do a good rebuild while the car is down then you would be able to enjoy it for a long time with not fears of breakdowns. Al

 

Al, I do like to try and do the job properly. As they say if a job is worth doing, its worth doing well. I am hoping to get to visit our old engine builder next week to see what he thinks about the bore and pistons etc. He still builds engines for Jaymic and used to build my BMW 2002 race engines. He recently built a special engine for my daughter with 635i pistons and twin 'dummy' 40 Weber type carburettor's that are fitted with fuel injectors, and a separate ECU engine management system. She wanted the engine as a test bed for her 2002 touring to try out the new oil pumps that she has had made for BMW 4-cylinder M10 engine.

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Well, Mike, that car is more than 100 years old. Who knows what happened to it during all those years. Both valves had to be replaced and the original type was no more found, therefore they were replaced with compatible ones using the split collets.

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Those slotted valves are A LOT more difficult to make than appears at first, largely because they were talking about two-piece valves with cast iron heads and soft stems. Any new valves you buy will have much tougher stems. The stainless valves I used would be virtually impossible to slot (at least with my equipment, you might be able to do it with EDM). I used the single pin attachment that R. White describes which is just as "period correct" and much easier to do. I'll take a photo when I get in to the shop of the end of the valve.

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I remembered I'd posted a photo of the valve cages early on. Here is the top of the valve.

 

381603035_ValveCages1.jpg.45a51d510d1176d4b30104e4b9b55e5f.jpg

 

And the parts...

 

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The pin and the large end cap are the salient parts. That light spring and the smaller end cap are for the secondary springs, located inside the the valve spring, that holds an oil soaked felt washer in place as a valve seal. It's a little complicated but I could think of no other way to make a valve seal and these cars never had them to begin with. It was a serious shortcoming because the valves were also fully exposed. They wore out quickly. I drilled 1/8" holes in the stems and used 1/8 dowel pins to hold them in place. The pin fits down into the recess in the top of the cap so the spring is always keeping pressure on it and it cannot come out.

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20 hours ago, Roger Zimmermann said:

Well, Mike, that car is more than 100 years old. Who knows what happened to it during all those years.

Roger, the car was taken off the road in 1926 when it was 12-years old. I am wondering now if that was due to an engine problem? When the first person started the restoration in the 90's he 'rebuilt' the engine with the different valves. Anyway, it looks now if I am going to have to do a complete engine strip down and rebuild. I think also a look inside the gearbox maybe a good idea and possibly the diff?

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19 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

I used the single pin attachment that R. White describes which is just as "period correct" and much easier to do.

 

I have not come across these type valves on any of the engines I have worked on in the past. I like the idea, and the felt washer and second spring. When I first joined this forum and started reading your posts I was wondering why you had double valve springs. Now it becomes clear. Thank you Joe for the photos and description.

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It probably did have some sort of problem matched to lack of parts availability and there was not a good enough blacksmith or ... in the town they lived - hard to say, but usually people just did not park things and walk away - especially something still fairly practical and in a Country cars are relatively rare in. 

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19 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

It probably did have some sort of problem matched to lack of parts availability and there was not a good enough blacksmith or ... in the town they lived - hard to say, but usually people just did not park things and walk away - especially something still fairly practical and in a Country cars are relatively rare in. 

I believe the car was in West London, in 1926 it was taken off the road and put in the owners garage. In 1947, the owner moved to Devon and took the car with him, storing it in a barn. In 1993, the son, who was now 80-years old, decided he would not get around to restoring his Dad's car and sold it to a Devonshire farmer. It was possible that the farmer replaced the valves during the 20+ years that spent 'restoring' the car. He died about 2-years ago. I wrote to the daughter of the farmer asking for information about her fathers ownership but got no reply.

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3.77:1 Static Compression Ratio seems low???

 

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

 

The reason I need to know the compression ratio is that I am trying to find some pistons that I can use that are 0.25mm oversize, as one of the bores has 'score' marks in the bore from the gudgeon pin, (I think in the USA you call them piston pins). I would also like to increase the compression ratio some. I still need to have a look at the bottom end of the engine to ascertain if that is strong enough to take any higher compression. My thoughts are that I could possibly go up to 7:1 CR, may even 8:1?

 

1654.thumb.jpg.87694e3c24887d41c3b6ba7dd803f8cf.jpg

 

While I still had the valves and valve covers in the barrel of one of the Humberette cylinder barrels I decided to check the combustion chamber volume. I had estimated that the combustion chamber volume would have been around 120cc's with a guess at the engine having around 4.5:1 compression ratio.

 

I set the barrel up in the vice and used a spirit level to get the barrel approximate level.

 

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. . . and rotated the level to check the bottom of the barrel was level both ways.

 

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In the past I have used paraffin for measuring cylinder head volumes, but as I didn't have any paraffin at hand, I used water. I was only trying to roughly check the volume at this stage and not trying to equalize combustion chamber volumes.

 

I poured in 100cc's of water first from the measuring cylinder, then used a 10cc pipet to add more water until the water level reached the position at the top of the bore where the piston would be at TDC (Top Dead Centre).

 

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This photo is from the bottom of the bore looking down into the combustion chamber full of water. I had put in just over 180cc's.

 

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I double checked the measurement by carefully pouring the water out, back into the measuring cylinder. Just under 182cc's. 180cc's would do for the compression ratio calculation.

 

The compression ratio calculation is:

CR = (Swept volume [Vsv] + Combustion chamber volume [Vc]) divided by Vc

Vc = 180cc

Vd = 499cc

Therefore the compression ratio is approximately 3.77: 1

 

I spent last night and this morning on the computer looking through nearly 1500 pages in a piston catalogue trying to find a piston that maybe suitable, with modifications, at 84.25mm diameter.

 

Below is a photo of the worst piston from the engine.

 

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You can see the crack at the bottom of the piston skirt. What's the hole on the right - piston worm?!?

 

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It's another crack which is difficult to see in this photo. Possibly somebody has drilled the end of the crack to stop the crack spreading?

 

After my search in the piston catalogue I found that there were a few pistons that maybe worth investigating further. One was BMW 3-series piston. I know my daughter has a large stock of new pistons for old BMW's (www.jaymic.com) and I gave her the part number and she came up with a box of 4-off new pistons at 84.25mm.

 

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I now need to do some more measuring on the barrel and the pistons to see if I can use two of these pistons in the engine. It will need some scheming!

 

 

 

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I agree with R.White on the compression. 4.5:1 is actually on the high side by the standards of the time so I would not exceed 5:1.  Your 3.77:1 is probably average. I am aiming at 5:1 on my car and may not be able to get it because of the shape of the chamber.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Just had an email back from the Vintage Radiator Company regarding the repairs to my radiator. I am glad I was sitting down when I read it. 'Ball Park Price' FROM £7,500! That's nearly as much as I paid for the car! I expect that is plus VAT of 20% as well!

 

I will be repairing the radiator myself and will live with the dents - let's call it 'Patina'

 

1554.thumb.jpg.547ed7e8de7bcb42104c9077dd8939de.jpg

 

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Oups! On my thread we exchange thoughts about chrome; I see that radiators can also be an expensive proposition. At your place, I would try to repair it myself and close an eye about the dents.

regarding compression ratio: as some wrote, I would not increase the ration too much: the knock is one aspect, the bearings at the connecting roads another one. they are not calculated for a significant power increase.

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7 hours ago, Roger Zimmermann said:

 

regarding compression ratio: as some wrote, I would not increase the ration too much: the knock is one aspect, the bearings at the connecting roads another one. they are not calculated for a significant power increase.

 

I agree with Roger and the other posters above on the CR.  Having just checked a 1926 Belgian engine and found it to be at 6:1, I was a little concerned and did some research. Of around 100 US made cars in 1923, the highest CR was 5:1. Average would be below 4.5:1. (Dykes). While this was largely dictated by the fuel of the times, the engineering of the crank, rods, gudgeons etc was calculated to handle those pressures. And the lovely Humberette doesn't appear to be particularly massive in the bottom end, so I would approach raising the compression ratio with some caution.

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16 hours ago, Roger Zimmermann said:

On my thread we exchange thoughts about chrome; I see that radiators can also be an expensive proposition

 

Yes, I am still getting over the shock!

 

16 hours ago, Roger Zimmermann said:

I would not increase the ration too much: the knock is one aspect, the bearings at the connecting roads another one. they are not calculated for a significant power increase.

 

8 hours ago, Bush Mechanic said:

I agree with Roger and the other posters above on the CR.

 

Many thanks for your ideas, thoughts and research. I will bear it all in mind, and not decide on the pistons to use, until I have stripped the engine and inspected the bottom end of the engine. At present I am attempting to find a method of fitting a plastic timing disc to easily find top dead centre and the position in the cylinder of the top of the existing piston with a dial gauge. Out of interest, I will also determine the valve timing's while I am doing the measuring.

 

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I think the only place I can fit this is on the starting handle.

 

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Hopefully, I can use the dial gauge to not only determine TDC but also use it to show me the valve timing of the inlet and exhaust valves.

 

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So far I have marked a position of the starting handle connection point to the engine, as it can fit two ways.

 

I have got behind with my posts over the last week or so. This weekend, I hope to post more information regarding the 'coach trimming work' and other 'stuff' I have been doing on the car.

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Top (hood in the UK) and Interior trim work.

 

Paul Moore and his guys and gals at Moores Coach Trimmers and Upholsterers (http://www.moorestrim.com/) have been getting on well with interior trim and the top. If I get carried away and start calling it the hood, I apologise, it is because the top is called the hood in the UK, which is very confusing.

 

A few days after taking the Humberette body over to them Paul rang to ask us to go and have a look as he thought the rear top bow should be taller.

 

1622.thumb.jpg.1ed4ce2101de9a89c4f5ac93f6ef16d7.jpg

 

He fitted an extension to the rear bow to explain to us what he meant.

 

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Before the visit on Friday, Jane, looked through some old adverts for the Humberette's of the period and found the following photo showing the hood folded down.

 

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You can see from the above that the rear bow stretches much further back than the other two bows. I suggested that rather than make another wooden bow I would 'cut and shut' the bar on the metal frame to extend it by 6". We brought the bows and side frames back home and said to Paul that I would take the modified frame back on the Monday morning.

 

1632.thumb.jpg.1cd4d988a6ab478af00e531df252e429.jpg

 

I fitted the hood back in its jig, that I had made previously, and clamped the rear metal bar so that I could cut through it at 45 degrees with the angle grinder. The reason for a 45 degree cut, rather than 90 was so the joining weld would be longer, hopefully giving the joint more strength.

 

1633.thumb.jpg.490abcc61372974f0b4ee64da89c36a5.jpg

 

I had not got a piece of metal than same width as the original so I used a length of metal of the same thickness and marked up my cut lines for the extra length of bar to be welded in. I finally decided on an extra 5.5" extension.

 

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You can see above I needed to cut 1/8" off the width.

 

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Another 45 degree line was marked and I was ready to cut.

 

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After cleaning up the new bit of metal on the linisher I checked the fit, marking the bits to weld with a number 1.

 

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I was pleased with my fairly accurate cutting along the length of the metal. The more you do, the easier it seems to get close to the cutting line without going over it and cutting too much metal off.

 

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I ground each side of both parts to give a V to weld into, welded the parts together and cleaned up the weld.

 

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The extended bar then needed to be welded back onto the metal frame. To do this I removed all the wooden bows from one side so I could do the welding on the bench and clamp the parts in place before tack welding.

 

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Easier said than done!

 

 

 

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Welded up on one side.

 

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Turned over ready to weld the other side.

 

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I didn't want to repaint the complete frame. I masked up all but the rear bar.

 

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Painted the primer with an aerosol can and peeled back the masking to hide the paint join before the satin black was applied.

 

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I'll let the paint dry for a bit and then fit this side back on the bows before I remove the other side.

 

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Ready to screw the wooden bows back onto the frame.

 

I managed to finish both sides over the weekend and got the complete top frame, with bows attached, for Monday morning.

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Your right. Although I still have three planks of the sweet chestnut, it would have meant modifying the bending jig to have longer 'bending arms' and all the other woodwork with sawing, shaping, sanding the wood to get it ready for bending. I enjoyed the challenge of our first attempt at wood bending, but for just one more hoop, I thought the 'extension solution' was a better option. I don't normally like modifying 'original' parts, although in this instance it seemed sensible.

 

The trimmer has sent me the following photos, he is certainly getting on with the job.

 

1673.jpg.33ff9c6c4dcde20facbc4c78af68e3cb.jpg

 

Making the Humberette into a Ghost!

 

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That's starting to look 'hood like'. Sorry, you American's 'top like' doesn't sound right!

 

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What about around the back.

 

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I didn't realise it's a bit like 'dress making'! I was pleased to see he had masked the paintwork.

 

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It's now starting to look like a top (hood) in the black material.

 

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Paul has even started the interior leather panels. And . . . .

 

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. . . . the leather flap for the door map pocket.

Photos by Paul Moore at Moores Coach Trimmers and Upholsterers http://www.moorestrim.com/ I am very pleased with the work they have done so far.
 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Mike Macartney said:

That's starting to look 'hood like'. Sorry, you American's 'top like' doesn't sound right!

Exactly. It is a Humber, so it is a hood! If it were a Dodge Brothers, it might be a top, but it would still be a hood in our lingo.

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In case this helps, there are motorcycle pistons in that diameter. That BMW piston is domed, and the distance from the pin to the top looks large. Maybe even 2-stroke pistons could be a possibility, I don't know?

http://www.amazon.com/WSM-Piston-Kit-Oversize-010-826-04K/dp/B000GTT8U8

 

 

Piston 84.25.jpg

 

This pair is for a Yamaha Jet Ski actually. They are 84.25mm, which is 84mm plus first overbore.

Wsm 010-824-04pk piston platinum yam 1300r 84.25mm (010-824-04PK)

 

Wsm 010-824-04pk piston platinum yam 1300r 84.25mm (010-824-04PK)

Edited by mike6024 (see edit history)
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Thanks Mike for info on the pistons. I only managed to find a piston catalogue for Nural and Mahle pistons on line. Do you know of any other makes of pistons that may have catalogues on line showing the piston the dimensions, such as the crown height, pin diameter, etc for motorcycle pistons? I only know car piston manufacturers as the only motorcycles I have been involved with in the past has been veteran and vintage ones.

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15 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

Did Humber have a big "H" on the door panel? 

 

I believe it is a flap for a door map pocket inside the door panel. I have two photos of two different Humberette's with these flaps with the 'H' on them.

 

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Capture1.PNG.9998f5c6c51df04dd6c8c5a416b0fa4f.PNG

 

I would guess they are original - but you never know - they could have been retrimmed in the dim and distant past?!?

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11 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

If it were a Dodge Brothers, it might be a top, but it would still be a hood in our lingo.

 

I have always wondered why the technical names for car parts differ so much between the USA and other English speaking countries.

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Hello Mike,

I have been away for a week or so.  I see you are getting after your engine issues.  Do you have a good idea of the direction your rebuild will be taking?  How much over boring can you do to clean up the cylinder walls?  How will that affect your piston size?  Do you have a good compression height for the pistons you need.  What size is the crankshaft rod bearing journal?  It may be possible to use a different rod and make it a bit easier to locate pistons to match the desired CR and to have a better design grudgen or wrist pin configuration.  You moving along at a good pace....god for you.  I am anxious to see more progress with your seat and hood.

Al

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Should you treat a half finished project as a 'basket case'? Below, is a photo showing why! It's the coolant inflow pipe to the right hand cylinder barrel on the V-twin Humber engine.

 

1707.thumb.jpg.452bffb763e4d4f98d89999c66c6e631.jpg

 

How they expected the coolant to flow through this gasket baffles me!

 

I was told by the son of the deceased previous owner that he has the engine running. Not for long, I bet.

 

It would be a difficult problem to find, and not something you would expect when you had overheating!

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All I can say is "WOW", some of the things that are passed off as rebuilding/restoring!  You would make a good Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Watson!  You sharing your project here is surely one of the high spots of the day for me.  Not only  can I learn, but am entertained by the things you say and pictures you post.

Al

Edited by alsfarms (see edit history)
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Thank you Al for your comments. As Sherlock Holmes said:

 

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

 

It seems to be true with this car!

 

When we inspecting the bores to decide on what needed to be done to them we noticed peculiar 'graunch' marks at the bottom of the bore. I didn't look on the outside of the bore at the time.

 

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But when you actually look carefully on the outside.

 

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You can see the reason for the marks. The corner had broken off and has been welded back on. I don't know how I missed seeing it! Although it does look worse in the photo.

 

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Perhaps, this is why I missed it? It was hidden by the water pipe.

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Hello Mike, 

Are these pictures of the same jug that had the odd connecting rod, gasket covered water supply pipe  and now this broken mounting flange ?  I am thinking that your engine suffered early on with a near very catastrophic failure....a thrown rod/bad bearing.  This may be your opportunity to locate a nice light weight modern rod that will place your compression height in a location that suitable modern pistons could be used.  This could really unload the swinging weight inside this engine and be the basis of a very spunky engine that will have a significantly improved life cycle.  Have you looked at your oiling system yet?  The root cause of the before mentioned issues may become very evident.  No engine will last long if lubrication is fouled up.  Of course, my opinion is just like the nose, we all have one!

Al

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Regarding the welded ear on your jug.  I made a similar discovery on my 1906 Franklin. During the engine rebuilding it became apparent that the welding had knocked the jug off perpendicular from its base enough to cause excessive uneven wear on the piston, the rod bearing, the jug and eventual seizing of the piston. It is worth checking.

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I suspect that gasket blocking off the water connection is intentional. Those water heating systems made sense for the very low octane gas they had but today they aren't needed and, to a small extent, inhibit performance. Cold air is denser than hot air.

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