Alvis TA-14 restoration story so far

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pryantcc
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Alvis TA-14 restoration story so far

#1 Post by pryantcc » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:50 pm

Hello All,

A lot of you will have seen this before, so apologies, but I've started moving on this again & would like to post updates here as I go.

My girlfriend's step-father gave me this car in this condition in 2005.
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He had done an amount of work on it when he bought it in the mid 80s. some of the ash frame had been replaced and all the old paint had been stripped off and the aluminium protected with primer.

Nothing had been done with anything else though. the car had been laid up in about 1986 by him, but not been used regularly ince 1965. Apparently it was running before it was parked up.

I started by stripping it bare down to the chassis.
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There was a small amount of obvious cutting and welding to be done towards the rear off side
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The next idea was to get it dipped and coated by Surface Processing in Dudley. That way, the internal sections of chassis would be as clean and protected as teh external. The old Mondeo was elected as transport for both round trips Dundee to Dudley and performed admirably!

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The coating people damaged two of the outriggers. It looked like they used them to lift the chassis with. both were bent significantly. a small discount was offered, but I'd rather have got it back in the same condition I had left it off!!!

Once I got it back in the garage, the stripping had revealed a couple of thin areas that needed patching.

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Last edited by pryantcc on Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Luxobarge
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Location: Horne, Surreyshire

Re: Alvis TA-14 restoration story so far

#2 Post by Luxobarge » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:16 pm

Ah, I'm glad you've re-posted this, it's a lovely car and a great restoration. Now *that" is how to weld!

Cheers :D
Some people are like Slinkies - they serve no useful purpose, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them downstairs.

pryantcc
Posts: 289
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Re: Alvis TA-14 restoration story so far

#3 Post by pryantcc » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:23 pm

Luxobarge wrote: Now *that" is how to weld!

Cheers :D
It doesn't always work out like that Luxobarge! I took that photo as I was proud of it & was worried I'd spoil it by making a mess of the remainder! I get on OK so long as it's hefty stuff & pretty clean. It ends up looking like pigeon poo more often than not! I got my welder for free (big old oil cooled Arc plant) and reckon I don't do enough to justify forking out for MIG. Thanks for the compliment though! :)

messerschmitt owner
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Re: Alvis TA-14 restoration story so far

#4 Post by messerschmitt owner » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:51 pm

looking good - I've always liked Alvises

pryantcc
Posts: 289
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Re: Alvis TA-14 restoration story so far

#5 Post by pryantcc » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:19 pm

Hello all, here's the next bit. It's quite a way behind where I am now, but if experience is anything to go by, the thread will catch up with the work way before it's finished!

Once I'd patched up the holes that showed up during the stripping process, I got on with painting the bare chassis. The coating from the surface processing guys is impressive, pretty hard stuff and very well stuck! Electrophoeretic coating they call it. Paint is attracted to the metal by electricity in a similar way to chrome plating. It was not my choice of colours though, nor particularly traditional! So, I painted it all black.

A guy on Ebay was making stainless box fuel tanks for kit cars etc. my tank was rotten, and WAY to expensive to get a replacement from Red Triangle, the guys that supply "new" parts for Alvis cars. I asked if he could do roundy tanks, and he said he'd give it a go. He did a great job and made it perfectly to my (incorrect) drawing. Once I realised my mistake, he took it back and adjusted it for me!

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I spent an awful lot of time cleaning and painting components. It's a mechanically simple car, but the brakes are operated by mechanical rods which adds significantly to the list of bits to clean and paint. I found the rust removers from Bilt Hamber to be fantastic! everything I took off was scrubbed, de-rusted and painted. They have gradually been stuck back onto the chassis.

Axles were next. The most expensive thing so far was the king pins in the front axle. I had to give it to a guy to do because I don't have a press. It turned out to be a good thing to do because he found that each side of the axle was a different size. He had to machine one of the pins to fit. Anyhow. all done now and shiny looking!

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Rear axle was another mission. I took it on myself to re-align the crown-wheel and pinion. This was necessary because the pinion bearing was shot and the pinion was flopping around in the housing which had destroyed the oil seal. So, re-alignment took me weeks! The adjustment is made by adding and removing shims on the pinion shaft which meant pressing the bearing out to make each adjustment. To say my methods were Heath Robinson would be an understatement. Home-made pullers and a big hammer! Much swearing, sweating and disbelief that one little shim was going to make much difference later, all looked good and it was stuck back together. I had both axles shot blasted and plasticoated as they were too big for my Bilt Hamber baths! Time will tell if it's any good!
Later edit: There is already some rust showing on the rear axle where they obviously didn't clean it off properly before they coated it. It's only two years ago and the car has been in a garage all that time! I'm dissappointed and think I probably would have been better off just getting them to blast it, then take it back myself so I could check it before painting!

The 'Blue' marking ink is an appropriate colour considering the profanities directed at this piece of equipment!
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Axles back on, and back on 4 wheels, wohoo!! (the original tyres and tubes are still holding air, if only for a few weeks!)
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Last edited by pryantcc on Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Luxobarge
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Re: Alvis TA-14 restoration story so far

#6 Post by Luxobarge » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:00 pm

This is fantastic stuff.

That stub axle is pure metal-porn - love it.

And any restoration where you get to use engineer's blue to get the adjustment and alignment right gets 10/10 for me. Brilliant stuff, I'm quite envious.....

Keep it up! :D
Some people are like Slinkies - they serve no useful purpose, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them downstairs.

pryantcc
Posts: 289
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:35 pm

Re: Alvis TA-14 restoration story so far

#7 Post by pryantcc » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:25 pm

Some info on the car.
Alvis made the TA-14 as their first production car after the factory returned to normal business after the war. This means that is is made from whatever stuff they could lay their hands on from pre-war production and really a little out-of-date in the technology department for 1947 when the first models were sold. Rod actuated drum brakes all round. Cast iron cylinder head push-rod engine, seperate ladder style chassis, Marles worm gear steering box, Armstrong shocks and leaf springs on all four corners. Plywood floor just doesn't seem right!

On the plus side, this makes it easy to work on. They made about 3,000 of them. 2,000 were bodied by Mulliners and Carbody coachbuilders. The remaining 1,000 were sold as a bare chassis. They ran and could be driven. I think they came with front wings, bonnet and radiator grill. Not sure about the dash-board, but instruments seem to be the same for all of them!

Mine was bodied by a company called Benson's in Birmingham. An ash frame with aluminium panels. This has meant that the body (at least the metal part) is not rotten! The steel front wings are bad though and extensive work is required there.

I have a fairly good service history from the second owner in 1959, at 90,000 miles, but nothing before that.

A boot full of bits that were too big to fit in the plastic window-box I used as a de-rusting bath. I took all of this to be blasted. Some of it was plasticoated, the rest just primed and I painted it. I'm pretty dissappointed with the plasticote on the rear axle and regret it now. It wasn't blasted properly and there's rust coming through now in nooks and crannys!
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This is some of the brake mechanism all cleaned up and reassembled. The pedal is behind the chassis member, the rod on the left activates the front brakes, and there’s a rod that connects in from the right that works the back ones.
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Front axle brake rod arrangement.
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Engine and gearbox on the floor. I cleaned the crud off the gearbox, but the engine was very awkward to move around, so I decided to clean that up once it was mounted back in the car.
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I haven’t done anything mechanical to either engine or box. Everything I’ve read suggests that the gearboxes are pretty bullet proof (although there is slight play on the output shaft).
The water jacket on the engine was full of a terrible amount of muck. Here’s what it looked like when I took the end plate off.
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And here’s a pic of some of the stuff that I shovelled out of it!
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To finish cleaning it out, I used heat-shrink to fit a thin plastic pipe to the narrow hoover attachment. I let the block dry out and then sucked out the rest of the gunge having loosened it up with bits of wire and bottle brushes!

My service history says that it had new pistons 20K miles ago, so I’m just going to start it up and see how it is. I can’t really afford to have it all stripped down and machined just now. I’ve cleaned out the sump and oil filter gauze as well as I could. I’ve also done my best to check that oil is travelling around as many internal oilways as possible.
I fitted a new clutch plate. I actually found it at my local motor factors from an old tractor catalogue. What’s even stranger is that they had 2 on the shelves from the 80s! Fifteen quid for it seemed like a bargain when a spring-shackle bolt from Red Triangle cost me 25!

Engine and box re-united and about to be dropped onto lovely new rubber mounts.
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And installed!
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I then wheeled it all outside so I could clean up the engine without destroying my garage floor any more than it already is!
Last edited by pryantcc on Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pryantcc
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Re: Alvis TA-14 restoration story so far

#8 Post by pryantcc » Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:30 pm

Now, I'd been told that the engine ran when the car was parked up, I hadn't tried to start it, but I reckoned there was very little compression as it was very easy to turn it on the starting handle. There was a new head gasket in the boxes of bits that came with the car, so I decieded to take off the head and see how things looked.

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It looked like there wasn't much of a seal on the very small amount of 'land' betwen 1&2 and 3&4. At least that was what I was pinning my hopes on! I'm no engine expert, but otherwise, things didn't look too bad. It's definietely worn, a little lip at the top of the bores where the rings come to I guess. No nasty scoring on the bores though. Just a bit of carbon to be dealt with.

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So, I set-to with the wire brush on the end of the drill and cleaned up the head. This was the worst cylinder with slight recession on the inlet port and pitting on the exhaust. This photo will probably be too small to see it!
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Here's the head all cleaned up and ready for a lick of paint.
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Valves re-ground and placed back in the head.
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I painted the block and head seperately. Also got carried away once everything was shiny and stuck loads of bits back on without taking any step-by-step photos :?
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Last edited by pryantcc on Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TWOTENS
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Re: Alvis TA-14 restoration story so far

#9 Post by TWOTENS » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:03 pm

I know the feeling, just done the same with a boot lid repair. The trouble is that cameras and workshops aren't always easy bedfellows!!

bnicho
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Re: Alvis TA-14 restoration story so far

#10 Post by bnicho » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:56 pm

You are doing some fantastic work there, keep it up!
TWOTENS wrote:I know the feeling, just done the same with a boot lid repair. The trouble is that cameras and workshops aren't always easy bedfellows!!
My problem is I get stuck into concentrating on the job and forget all about the camera.
Brett Nicholson
1965 Morris Mini Traveller - Trixie
1966 Austin Mini Super-Deluxe - Audrey
1969 Morris Mini Van - Desert Assault Van
1971 Morris Moke - Mopoke
1974 VW Super Beetle - Olive
2009 Nissan Pathfinder

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