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(the months are 2015/2016)

The French Blatting Company

1949 MG TC

February 2016


Into the workshop at 0900. Moved four cable clips from old loom to new. Cleaned them on the wire brush and painted them black. Tried to solder the ferrules but I couldn't get them hot enough. I'll glue them on later. I went to the supermarket to get Lynne a spare bottle of gas for her porch heater and fill the car. When I got back, I took the gas bottle out and loaded the car with all the tools for today and tomorrow (for the bodyshop). I texted my friend to let him know I was leaving earlier and would therefore get to him earlier. On the way I called into Casterama at Nantes for a tub of lino glue, for the remaining tiles in the workshop, 2 light bulbs for the light over the kitchen table and a can of anti-rust lacquer. I got to my friends about 1300. Got the engine balanced on the two axle stand that the car was on so the sump was pointing upwards then took the clutch and flywheel bolts off. Then all the sump bolts and replaced the front and rear crankshaft seals. I think the rear oil leak was from the half round cork seal but not sure why the front was leaking. Reassembled with plenty off black silicone gasket maker. Got the sump on with all bolts started and the four corners tightened then realised I hadn't put the flywheel on. Off with sump, on with the flywheel and sump refitted. All tightened up and on my way home at 1700. I had been surprised that my text this morning ahdn't been recieved. When I left I found out why.... I had the wrong phone number in the new phone. I sent an email and rang him when I got home, about 1830. Whilst I was there I went up to the kitchen to soak the cork seal in hot water and form it into a U shape. The house is a bit confusing with corridors and rooms everywhere. I couldn't find the door back to the garage. Felt a bit stupid.. which, of course, I am. Eventually found the door which I had thought was a cupboard.

Looks a mess, it is. There are all the bolts that have already been taken off and my friends tools on the floor plus all mine.


New rear seal fitted.


The two cork seals that came out and the new one which is edge on.

All buttoned up.


Got to the bodyshop at 0800. Unloaded the tools from the car and parked it in the sales area across the road. Then laid out all the tools on the bench I have and got the chassis central and jacked up. I put two pieces of lino between the front stands and chassis to get the chassis level. I had few problems. I had to cut the top hose shorter and the hose from the pump to the metal tube as well as the bottom of the metal tube. After all that it fitted. Then I brought the bulkhead out of the store it's in but couldn't see the bonnet panels. I had another look but in the end I asked where they were. Ah, says the panel beater and he gets a key from the office, goes ouside and in a lock-up next to the garage is the bonnet panels which have been primed. Last problem is that I asked if they could paint the bulkhead by Friday so I could run the loom and fit all the bits to the bulkhead. No chance as they are on holiday next week. So I'll have to have a week off.

I'll let the pictures do the talking.

This is the chassis number which i've picked out in yellow and sprayed with a clear lacquer. It was better than this but the lacquer melted the yellow paint.

The radiator hoses that need cutting.

Looking good.....

I'll have to tidy up the yellow painted tips on the fan blades. I'll touch in the black.

Looking better....

... and from this side.

AT LAST, it's beginning to look like a car.

and from this side....

... Back....

....and the other side. I'm going back on Friday to fit the bonnet centre fixings as I left them in my workshop. I think it will all line up when the bonnet is fixed. Then I have to take it all apart for the bulkhead and bonnet to be painted. But the body is now bolted down and all is in line. I've drilled  20 holes in the front face of the body for the bulkhead to be bolted.

I finally got my repro jack and spare oil can (which goes on the bulkhead.... when it's painted.



 Our day out was to Nantes. We parked in a multi story near a restaraunt I'd found on line. When we got to street level I asked Lynne for the map with the address but she'd left it in the car.... never mind I do love her.

We found the restaraunt by memory, had a nice lunch and then walked up the road and spent the afternoon in the chateau. They have an exhibition about a shipwreck off Madagascar (or something like that) and a museam about the Duc de Bretagne. After all the chateau was his summer gite!

Wonder how long that took to grow?

Oooh, a moat,

They have ducks on the moat, beats the two on my pond.

I always wonder how long these huge buildings took to build. No power machinery in those days.

Can you imagine the size of the chicken that laid this egg. Just think of the size of it's arse!

Tomorrow I have a hospital appointment in the morning then lunch at the Chinese in Attol and then home.


Left at 0830 for the hospital appointment at 1020. The hospital is 50 minutes away. So why so early? Well, the hospital at Angers is huge but has no proper car park and finding a parking space can be a nightmare. It took us 20 minutes to find a space and then a 15 minute walk to the chapel. The chapel was the original chapel around which the modern hospital has been built. The interior of the building is quite amazing, I try and get some pictures on the next visit. Anyway, I've to have another MRI scan in September. The professor is happy the levels are down to normal but he wants to be absolutely sure they have solved the problem. We then went to Atoll where we did some shopping and had a nice Chinese. Called in at the bodyshop on the way home. Jean-Luc has said they will paint the bulkhead week after next. One that is finished I have a week’s work and it will be running with floorboards and seat. I won't finish the interior until the rest of the panels are painted and on.

Now, I must tell you a story about a grumpy, forgetful, old man and a neurotic wife. When we went out yesterday we used Lynne’s car as it was only 4c and my Mini's heater doesn't work. I took her keys and was going outside to warm her car up so gave her my keys to lock the door and asked her to put them in her bag. Then I started answering an email about a gite booking so we then left together and I locked the door with her keys. This morning I asked her for my keys... "I haven't got them" says she, "yes you have, you put them in your handbag yesterday". She rummaged in her bag and said they weren’t there. I checked on my desk and looked around but no keys. I came back into the kitchen and asked her to completely empty her bag. She did and no keys. I'm now getting worried as they are the only set I have. By this time she is getting a bit het up, well there's steam coming from her ears. She then asks me to look in my bag (yes, I've morphed into a Frenchman and have a man bag). As she says this I remember that I put them in my bag..... She started talking to me at about 1600.


Physio at 0900, back by 1000. Changed and set off for the bodyshop. I got there at 1045 and glued the rubber strip for the rear edge of the bonnet to the frame and had a good look at the bonnet allignment. It will be OK when I refit it all and adjust the position. I then drilled the holes in the bearer at the rear of the tub and bolted the rear of the tub to the chassis. Bonnet off and wrapped in bubble wrap then removed the bulkhead. I treated the rear of the tub where I took the strip that goes over the back of the hood, with undercoat. I then decided to wait until 1700 so I could get a second coat on. Whilst I waited I greased the track rod ends and drag link.... no I didn't, because one of them has no grease nipple, must find out why. Then touched in. with black paint, the fan blades where I'd painted the tips yellow. I also painted the new chassis bolts. When I popped into my friends on Wednesday to collect my wood blocks I noticed the cup washers on his front engine mountings where upside down so told him. I thought I'd check mine as I didn't remember if they went on correctly. Just as well I did as they weren't fitted! I found them in a box, derusted them and fitted them. I painted the underside before fitting and top side after. I was lucky as I could jack the engine just about high enough to get the N/S bolt high enough to get the washer in without having to remove the dynamo. Lastly I fitted the clutch and brake switch springs. Final coat of undercoat to the strip on the tub and home... well not quite yet, battery flat as I'd left the ignition on, with the headlights on, whilst I worked from the tools which I'd packed in the boot to bring home. I used the battery pack to start it, filled it with petrol and away. Jean-Maurice, the panel beater and painter had started painting the bulkhead in the spray booth. I think he will get the undercoat on tonight and top coats Monday week (they're closed next week). He says I can refit it on the Tuesday.


Plans.... never work, do they. Plan was to start at 0800 and build the windscreen. I need Lynne's help to fit the glass to the frame but have a new stud to fit on one side. The old, broken, stud will not come out so I have to drill it. It is the stud that the windscreen butterfly nut goes to. End up drilling it totally so have to tap it with a 3/8 UNF thread and make a stud which steps down to the 1/4" BSF thread, This takes time so don't start building the screen until 1100. We gave up at 1315! The problem is the wiper wire, I'm not sure which way it goes in and none of the books show it. I think I have the correct route now but Lynne says it'll have to wait until tomorrow. So, in the meantime I get the Land Rover in and put 3 gallons of petrol in to find the petrol leak. Nothing! Then I remove the three track rod ends and find, as suspected, the swivel joints are siezed. Have a nightmare getting one wheel nut off the O/S/F. After lunch Lynne puts her foot on the brake pedal while I use a long bar with a jack handle on the end and still have to put all my feeble strength on the end of the bar before the nut comes loose with a loud crack. If I ever find out who did it up that tight, I'll ..... Oh, hang on, that would be me. As I leave I see petrol dripping, look underneath and it's the tank leaking. I come in and look up the price of a new petrol tank. At £91 plus VAT, it's not too bad so I order one, a swivel housing kit and tank sender unit gasket and a choke cable (mine's siezed). Have you noticed the deliberate mistake? No? OK, I need two swivel housing kits and have only ordered one. I'll ring them at 0800 (UK time) on Monday morning and ask them to add another kit. Also I need new fuel pipe but cannot find it on their web site. I'm now watching the football scores come in. My team have just got an equiliser.. 1-1 Shefield Wednesday against Birmingham. Amazing result from Leicester beating Man. City 3-1. Pelligrini said Leicester were the better team. And now Spurs have won (my boyhood team) and gone second in the league. and Wedneday are in the lead 1-2 to the Owls. WhoooooHoooo.


I did the Mini first thing, fixed the cigar lighter and got the spot lamp working. I'm still thinking about the heater. I think I'll order a new matrix and fit it when it arrives. Everything on this car becomes major due to stupid design. It took me nearly an hour just to get the panel that has the cigar lighter in it so I could get the wires out. Why? So there are no visible screws. Stupidity in my opinion.

Screen is now done, Land Rover fixings are soaked in Plus Gas, the N/S has freed off OK so I'll only replace the O/S. Parts are ordered and I'm hoping they'll be here by Friday so I can put it all back together next Sunday and Monday. I'm taking it all apart and the tank out tomorrow.

Windscreen completed. I can't find the plastic block for the wiper motor so have ordered a new, second hand, one.

Land Rover hub. This will be dismantled tomorrow. The kit should be here by the weeksend along with the new petrol tank giving me next Sunday and Monday to finish it. 


In the workshop at 0700, well to be wholly accurate, I was in the lane adjusting the spotlamps on the Mini. I covered the headlamps and one spot lamp with a blanket so I could adjust one spot at a time. Only problemwas there was 50 MPH winds vlowing and it was difficult keeping the blanket in place. I did and both spots were adusted. I then laid out the blanket by the O/S/F of the Land Rover, got all the tools I could possibly need and dismantled the hub. I've put all the pictures on the Land Rover page HERE scroll to bottom and then up above the pictures. So, not a bad day, hub dismantled, and all parts clened on the wire wheel. Petrol tank out and all fittings removed. I only had to cut one bolt of the tank fixings. All the nuts and bolts came off the hub without major trauma. Tomorrow I'll sort out the wiring behind dash and make a new stepped stud for the windscreen hing bolt. Shower and change now, I smell.


Up early and started by tidying the workshop then took the dash down (Land Rover) to see if I could find the aux terminal on the ignition switch. Failed so left it as it was. It means I can't have my radio on if the ignition is off. I have a period MW/LW radio and get Radio 4 quite well. Next job was to remove the seized choke cable, only it wasn't seized, the mechanism on the carb was jammed. Sorted that out so I will now have a spare choke cable as I've ordered a new one. I've had to make up a bridge pipe for the petrol tank vent as it broke off when the tank was removed. The bridge pipe it self wasn't a problem, fitting it was as it's behind the seat and only has about 4" showing. I made a new stepped stud for the TC widscreen lowereing hinge and this one is much better than the first attempt. Over the weekend I ordered a new, used, plastic block for the wiper motor to screen mount. I couldn;t find the old one. I ordered new engine mounting bolts a few weeks ago then found them so cancelled the order, last week I couldn't find one of the bonnet hinge fixing plates so ordered one but then cancelled it as I found it. Guess what I found this morning? Got it in one, the plastic block. Never mind, too late to cancel the one on order. So, I brought the screen, wiper bits and tools in the house, cleaned the screen and frame with vinegar (to get the oil off) and fitted the wiper motor. I then went and found the spindle for the O/S and fitted that. I have one wiper arm but it will not tighten on the spindle so I'll have to sort that out. Finally I'm giving the floorboards a second and third coat of varnish.


I ended up putting 5 coats of varnish on the floorboards. As the lid was damaged I decide to use it all rather than throw it away so put another coat on every two hours. Final coat went on at 0030.

This morning I went to physio then came back, collected Lynne and we set off on our travels. Went to the body shop to collect my box of grease nipples but it was all closed and locked as they are on holiday this week. Then on to the shopping complex near Angers and bought a multi cooker and a deep fryer. After that we went to Ancenis to the Fishermans Restaraunt and had a really good meal.

When we got back I set up Lynne's new toys and then searched for any documentation for fitting the loom to the TC. As usual, Doug Peltons tech tips had all I needed. Whilst reading his stuff I decided to get two new loom conduits for the lighting. Mine were so rusted I had to almost drill and chisel them out. I also noticed he has a battery strap to secure the battery as the modern battery has no ears. I told this to Lynne and she came back quick as a flash, "but it's got an arsehole, the bloke that's fitting it". Thanks darling, I love you too. I rang NTG and Mike (or Mickie) answered. I asked for LInda but she was on the phone so I asked Mike. Only problem was I'd forgotten what the second item was. They have the coduits but I said I'd ring them back about the other item because I'd forgotten waht it was, having looked it up 30 seconds before ringing. Who's getting Altzhimiers? Anyway, I looked it up and rang back a spoke to LInda. She said they don't keep it but could get it from "From the Frame Up" as they trade parts between them but thought I may as well get it direct. Now, let me say something. I started getting parts from Peter Edney but he let me down with an order and it took me 3 weeks to get him by phone/email. I then went to Moss and explained i'd been getting parts from their agent but as he'd let me down could I get stuff from them with their 10% discount. Yes, of course. Not a penny discount on the next two orders. I then rang NTG. What a difference. Nothing is too much trouble for them, they are very nice and helpful. Also they applied a discount even though I didn't ask. Moral of the stoty. If you need T or Y type parts just ring Linda at NTG. Great buying experience from them.

I then rang Doug Pelton from "From the Frame Up". He answered the phone and we had a chat. He knew me from the TABC email group and is sending me a battery strap in the post. He's a genuinly nice chap.

OK, endorsements done, I'll go back to sleep now, a bottle of wine and a Brandy with the coffee have made me sleepy.......


Left at 0830 to the opthalmic surgeons place in Chateaubriant. Had an injection in each eye after anesthetic injections. HORRENDOUS. I don't mind going to the dentist, have been in almost constant pain with 5 fractured vertebrae for nearly two years plus a frozen shoulder which is painful if I use my left arm. I can cope with this but have a real fear of having stuff, like drops, put in my eyes. So, I'm sitting in my chair, listening to Radio 4 with my eyes closed waiting for the stinging to stop. I'm not sure if the spilling is OK with this as I can't see it.


Last night my friend with the TC brought the rear axle and front suspension parts from his Alfa Romeo Guilietta which is being restored by someone. The chap has had the car for three years now and my friend, shall we call him Pierre, that's very French, has complained but to no avail. The chap wanted 1100€ to clean and paint the stuff so I've volunteered to do it. I'm resting my eyes today and tomorrow so I'll take some pictures tomorrow. The Land Rover parts arrived this morning and they will be fitted on Sunday. Monday will see me visit the rubbish tip three times and then pack the Land Rover with all the tools and parts to start final phase of reassembling the TC.


I had to go to the workshp as I'd left a light on. So here's the pictures.....

Rear axle

Front suspension.

Looks like the air cleaner and pedals.

Steering box and column

The other side of the front suspension, brake drum and springs.

Prop shaft, springs, tie rod and .... no idea.

Should keep me busy for a few days.


Our nearest town, Pouance, has only one super market. This means with no competition they aren't to fussy about the quality of the Veg. and fruit. Before Christmas we went to Rennes on Saturday morning to look over the huge farmers market. This morning we left at 0900 with a small suitcase on wheels for the market. Lynne asked me if I had cash on me, I checked and had 95€ We were like two kids in a sweetshop. We bought all sorts of Veg and fruit including 3 pommegranets the size of footbals... wel almost. I ran out of money! Paid by credit card for the oysters and prawns. The case was so heavy I couldn't lift it!

Then Lynne spies a jewellery shop. She has some money put aside to buy something with "mum" and "dad" engraved on it. So in we go and end up buying a really large, solid, silver bracelet which they are having "mum" and "dad" engraved on. I didn't take pictures but will be picking it up on Friday 26th so will get pictures then. We had a nice lunch and then got the train back to the park and ride and got home just in time for "Final Score". Our team did a blinder and won 4-0 and are now 5th in the league. 16 years after drooping bout the premiership we may just get back this year. Come on you Owls!


Plan was to get up at 0600, in the workshop for 0700, fit the new swivel hub and fuel tank and put a new voltage regulator on the gauges and have the afternoon off. Reality was I got up at 0700, in the workshop for 0730, did all the work but didn't finish until 1700. Then spent an hour and a half clearing the garage, putting the tools away and loading the Land Rover with rubbish for the tip in the morning. I have tried the steering around the block. It's a lot better but the box needed adjusting as did the O/S/F brake. I'll try it on the way to the tip in the morning. I think the N/S swivel will have to be changed. It's not seized but is a bit stiff. I didn't take any pictures, it's the same as it was before I took it all apart except it's all clean and shiny.

Remember I bought some pomegranites at Rennes farmers market.....

Big enough?



I HAD A HORRIBLE DAY!!!! Left at 0730 for the bodyshop. I wanted to ask Jean-Maurice (the painter) to paint the toe board as well as the bulkhead. When i left him, Friday week ago I thought he said the bulkhead would be ready on Tuesday this week. I assumed he would paint it today. He's not in until tomorrow so I won't be able to start on the car until Thursday as I'm at the hospital on Wednesday. I looked for the toe board but couldn't find it. I also checked in the lock up next to the garage and found the running boards but not the toe board. I'm going there in the morning to ask him and find the missing toe board. I get back at 0900 and get Lynne up. She's not been well since Saturday night, I think she has food poisoning from the meal we had Saturday lunchtime. She was much better this morning. I left at 0930 with the first load for the tip in the Land Rover. At first I thought the steering was better but still not right. As the day wore on It got harder and harder to steer. It'll have to wait now but I'll get a swivel pin kit for the other side and test the steering box and idler again. Get back at 1100 and load up with the second load which is four old sun loungers, more cardboard boxes and the old petrol tank. I go back and return at 1130. Too late to go back on the third run as they close between 1200-1400. So, I load up all the old, sogging wet cardboard which has blown off the top of the Fiat. There so much it fills the back of the Land Rover. I then pop inside leaving the Land Rover ticking over. When I came out it's stopped... and won’t start. So I put more petrol in, another two gallons and it still won’t start. It's now 1530, I came in and start painting the bolt heads of the 20 bolts that hold the bulkhead to the frame. At 1630 I go out and it starts so off I go. On my return I stop at the shop in Combree to post a letter and buy a pizza for tonight. Their post office counter is closed and she tells me to go to the main PO across the road, which has had the counter closed for about two years. It's now open but the girl can't work out what the postage is for the packet I'm sending to the USA. She phones the shop and finds out. 2.50€.I set off for home. About half way the car starts to falter. Like it's running out of petrol then getting a squirt. It comes to a complete stop and will not restart. I ring Lynne and tell her I'll wait half hour and see if it restarts. It doesn't so I ring her back to tell her I'll walk home. No answer. I assume she's fallen asleep so ring again, and again. Then her mobile but that goes straight to answerphone. I'm now really worried. I try again and this time she answers. She has been out looking for me. I'm not lost but she didn't understand where I was when I told her. I almost went ballistic. She's done this before and just doesn’t understand not to leave home with me not knowing in these situations. She picks me up and I leave the Land Rover by the side of the road. I have my pizza and the phone rings. It's the Gendarmerie. I can't leave the Land Rover where it is without a warning triangle in the road. I don't have one but agree to go back and see if I can get it started. I've already loaded Lynne's car with all the parts and tools I want to take to the bodyshop and have 2 gallons of petrol to try and get the Land Rover started on the way back. We get to the car and there is a department van and man there with cones all around the car and his yellow lamps flashing. As I approach I realise the keys are in my jacket and my jacket is over the chair in the kitchen. Pillock! So we go back, get the keys and return. I pour the petrol in and after a few turns it starts. I've worked out what's wrong. When I fitted the new tank the pickup pipe was too long and was hitting the bottom of the tank. I checked the two tanks and the new one had more slope on the top panel so I cut quarter inch of the pipe. I reckon the first two and a half gallons are below the pickup pipe. I'll sort it by putting a short rubber hose on the end of the pickup. What a day


I didn't say it above but I really must say a big thank you to my everloving wife who came and rescued me then took me back to the Land  Rover, twice. Thank you darling, you're a gem.

This is what I finished of last night. 20 bolts, de-rusted, primed and two top coats of shiny black gloss.

Lynne says they're my shiny nuts

At the bodyshop for 0800. I emptied the car of all the tools and parts I'll need to finsih the car. Jean-Maurice returns from holiday but doesn't know where the foot board is. He searches the store and the lock-up but no foot board. I get one metre of 8mm fuel pipe and return home. I start checking who has a new foot board. After an hour and no luck, the bodyshop ring-they've found it.I then get changed and have some toast... with home made peanut butter. Lovely. I start the Land Rover and drive it in the workshop. Forgetting to remove the areial it breaks when it goes under the lintel over the door. Bugger. I then change the petrol pipe from plastic pipe from pump to carb. I take the pick-up pipe out of the tank and measure the distance from the top to bottom of tank. 31 cm. The distance of the pick-up pipe is...... you guessed it, 31 cm. So I put it back. I've come back with 2 gallons of petrol so I'll put that in and go and fill the tank. Before that I jack the front up and remove the track rod end from the idler box. I then adjust the steering box which I'd overtightened on Sunday afternoon. This was the problem with the steering being very heavy. The wheels turn easily (well easily for a Land Rover) and the steering box is free. So put the track rod end back on, replace two blown fuses  and go and fill up. The steering is easy now but the play makes it difficult to steer on the very narrow country lanes. On the way back from the super market I use the dual carriageway and it's fine on the wide road. I'll get a steering box kit and a swivel pin kit for the near side when the MG is finished (or I run out of work I can do). I have noticed that when the tank is full the fuel gauge has risen to just over half. I've got a new sender unit and, now, a new vlotage regulator. I'll have to take the dash down to sort out, but not now.


Left home at 0750 for the hospital appointment to investigate my lack of energy/tiredness. Had an x-ray and a full lung function test. No problems on x-ray and lung function is 100%. I'm now booked in for an overnight stay to test my sleep patterns.

Went to Julien to get rust treatment and chassis paint for the Alfa-Romeo parts. BMW next for the heater install kit. Only BMW can sell you three rubber rings, two screws and a small bracket for 23€. Need oil for the Mini, antifreeze for the MG and a new arial for the Land Rover so went to Norauto but they are closed for a refit of the shop. We had a chinese at Attol and then went to Chateaubriant Norauto. They had the oil and arial but no Gycol antifreeze.

Off to the bodyshop in the morning to start the rebuild of the body. At last.


Arrived at the bodyshop at 0800. The bulkhead was painted but he hadn't painted the foot board yet. I glued the rubber strips for the bulkhead in position, put some screws in the bonnet rubber did a few other bits and pieces (which I can't now remember, welcome to my world.... now, what was I saying?). About 1100 Jean-Maurice and I lifted the bulkhead on and I then set about bolting it up. I got all the top and side bolts in except for the bottom three each side. These six bolts were very difficult to get in as the side of the bulkhead needed pressing in to align the holes. Took a while but I got there in the end. Then for the six bolts, three each side, that go to the uprights. These were even more difficult to line up and get in. After an hour or so I had all six in. I then tightened all the bolts to the body and then realised that I'd have to take the six that went into the uprights out again as they go through the toe board, which isn't fitted yet. Never mind, it will be easier second time around. I always say that and it never is! Then we lifted the bonnet on. I put three pieces of lino tiles under the 4 front body bolts to raise the body in order to align the bonnet. I also had to pack out one side of the radiator mounting as the rad was leaning over. All in all this took about two hours but it's all looking good and aligned now. It was now 1650, I was freezing cold, and totally knackered (a permenant state with me these days). The very nice lady in the garage made me a coffee and a biscuit and after that I left for home. Got in and backed into the garage. Being an optomist I put the battery and a few more spanners in the boot for tomorrow. The worst job today? Feeding the battery cable through the battery box whilst trying to keep the grommet in position and stop the cotton braiding being held above the grommet. Did it the end with a piece of rubber tubing acting as a sleeve. Got the same to do tomorrow as it also goes through the foot board. Oh what fun!

Sunrise on the way to the hospital yesterday morning at about 0815.

Shiny black bulkhead in place. All main bolts are in but no nuts on yet.

Regulator on.

Fuel pump and coil on.

Bonnet and rad aligned.


Looking straight. I used a spirit level on it but it's best lined up by eye.

I know we had it like this two weeks ago but this time everything is aligned and the bulkhead is a permanant fixture now.

Our new family member. This rabbit has dug a hole outside the workshop and is running around the workshop and house. I wonder how long it will take for Lynne to start feeding it?


 What a horrible day. What a disaster. Ever feel like you've worked hard all day and have nothing for it. Did I say the six bulkhead to upright bolts would be easier second time around? Well, I lied, they were worse, much worse. So, what went wrong. Well to start the tale I have to inform you that whilst they did find the foot board, what they didn't tell em was in was under a 1920s Citroen lorry which has no tyres on. This moster (it's not that big, but is a monster) had been backed in to the lock-up and the steel rims went over my foot board! I knew Moss, Bradfor had one so I asked them trom send UPS express. It arrived yesterday and he painted it in the afternoon. I must ring LInda at NTG and apologise for fratenising with the enemy, hope she forgives me. So, this morning I get there at 0805, empty the boot of battery, books and paper, tools and my sarnies and tea. Park MIni in used car lot over the road. Started by fitting the right angle adaptor to the fuel pump and clipped the pipesI also did a few other bits and pieces, but I acn't remember what.Time to fit bthe toe board..... it won't! Fit that is. I've either got to undo the eighteen bulkhead bolts to lift the bulkhead about two inches or it may go in if I take the pedals off. Easier to move the pedals. Clutch pedal comes off easily but the brake pedal is diificult. I have to remove the pushrod and that's almost impossible with the pedal solid having bleed the brakes. But I do get it off and angle the pedal to the rear. The toe board goes in, just. I have to feed the battery cable through it so it will go all thye way in but there's no hole for the cable. I look at Sherrils books and the spedo and tacho cables aren't there nor are the hole for the brass adaptor on the oil pipe or the hole for the pipe itself. I ring Carl at Moss and he's surprised but thinks thay may have been modified as the racing lads don't want the holes. So, having struggled to get it in, it comes out. I compare my board with the diagram in Forever TCs and can now see that the large holes for the grommets are "marked" with small pilot holes. Take the panel to their machine shop and drill a hole for the battery cable, two 30 mm holes for the cables and smaller holes for the oil pipe and bolt holding the brass adaptor. All holed out I refit the board. I have to remove those  six bolts that hold the bulkhead to the uprights. Having got the battery cable through the toe board I get it flat on the inside of the bulkhead. Then to refit the six bolts. Jean-Maurice helped me get the top bolt in the right hand side and I refitted the other two on my own. Then I refitted the pedals, that tooks an hour! Jean-Maurice was now busy in the spray booth painting a huge Merc 4 x 4 thingie so couldn't help. I had three setscrews to get through two panels and into the captive nuts then the four setscrews along the top. I struggled. At one point Iwas levering the panels together and pulled so hard the car came of it's axle stand. I had the upright supported on a jack trying to get all three holes in line. Farve followed as I tried to lower the jack so I could get it under the chassis and the car back on four stands. The FRench jacks they have are not easy to lower as they have safety devices so, with the rocking on three axle stands, I'm trying to lower the bloody jack and not having much sucess When it did go down I jacked it on the axle and placed the two front stands under the springs. I didn't bother trying to raise the uprights again. Lynne thinks two hours on a screw sounds good, no comment please. It tooks me over two hours to get them all in and tighten the left hand upright. The last one was a nightmare until I noticed the captive nut at a weird angle. I took it off, ran a tap through it and the last screw went in easily. On;y spent half hour on one screw. Lucky I'm not on bonus! By this time I was so knackered I could hardly stand. So I came home, it was 1730. A full day's work and only one panel held on with 10 setscrews fitted. 

A foot board that will not fit as the battery box (and the captive nuts undet it) stop it from going back. It did go in with the pedals removed so I could get more angle on it.

Finally in. I'll polish it next week.... probably not it won't be seen with the carpet over it.

The two cable grommets, the oil gauge brass adaptor fixed to the bulkhead and I know the rad supports need the nuts fitting.

Tomorrow morning I'm taking the heater matrix out of the Mini and will attempt to reverse flush it to unblock it. Let's hope it goes  better than today did.


Imagine, if you will, a laboratory in Munich. It's all white and pristine. In the labarotory are three white coated men with long straggly white hair. They are cackling as one leans back from his drawing board and says "that will fruck the mechanics, they'll never get that heater out if I do it like that". I've seen poor design but the Mini Cooper S wins the top prize hands down. Instead of brnging the two heater hoses into the cabin before puttting them on to the metal pipes that go to the heater matrix they have the pipes going through the bulkhead and then put the rubber pipes on. Problem is the joins are buried under the plastic enclosure, you cannot reach it and can hardly see them. Then to add insult to the injury they have secured the pipes with spring hose clips. I got one clip off but the other is just not possible to get to without taking the engine out. So I just pulled on the pipes and it came out. The metal pipes insert into the matrix with O rings to seal them. I'm currently soaking the matrix in phosphate and keep flushing it through. At first it wouldn't flow at all but now, after quite a bit of sediment has come out, it's just got a little flow. I've left it soaking and will flush through and refill with phosphate every two hours. I'm now going to have a rest and probably fall asleep until the football starts. I'll refit it all tomorrow, assuming it's cleared out.


 Spent all yesterday afternoon and evening filling the heater matrix with a 4:1 solution of phosphate. Every two hours I would empty the rad with vigorous shaking a brown sludge would come out. I left it full of soloution overnight and this morning more sludge came out. I then filled it with vinegar and left it an hour whilst I had breakfast and watched the football. At the end the rad was flowing, not at full gush but flowing. I started to put it all back together at 1000. Now, it may be that I can't move my left arm out to the side and/or I can't see what type of screw driver is needed for small screws but it took me 2 hours to get the clamps on the pipes to the heater matrix. Lynne helped and she was a star being my eyes and left arm. It took me an hour to get the air cleaner box back in. I was going to change the oil and filter but it will have to wait for now. I left the engine running whilst I tidied the spares cupboard looking for the new sump plug for the MIni. Couldn't find it. It may be on the bench but that needs a good tidy as it's full of MG bits and pieces. I bled the cooling system and the heater is warm to hot. Not 100% but far better than cold. I then started to get the car off the axle stands. As I jacked the car up one side it slipped on the opposite side stand at the rear which was on the lower suspension arm and slid from end to the other. I eventually got all four wheels on the ground using two jacks, one at front and the other at the rear, on the sides. There is nowhere to jack the car front or rear so you have to do it on the sides. I finished 15 minutes before the football so just flopped into my chair exhausted and watched Chelsea thump Man City.

All-in-all this job, which probably has a book time of 1.5 hours has taken me about 12 hours. I think it's time to give up repairing modern cars. At least the fixings on the MG are all large enough for me to see and I know every bolt and screw on the Caterham.


Was so tired from yesterday it was a struggle to get out of bed at 0645. But up I got, dressed, answered emails and set off to the bodyshop in a car with a heater, well warm not hot but OK. Forgot to take the wiring tools which were needed... you'll see.

Now, we all know Rodney's a plonker, but did you know that Norman is one too. (For our French and US readers I refer to a BBC Comedy show). So repaeat after me "Norman, you plonker"... we'll come back to it.

I started by fitting the clip to the fuel pipe. Removed the rad case, elongated the holes in the frame and refitted the case an 1" or so lower so I can now get the rad cap on. I then fitted the brake pedal springs. I'm not happy about the brake pedal, after fitting the return spring, which seem to be locating too far back, it's in front of the clutch pedal. When pressed it goes back to the correct place before operating the cylinder. I'll look at it later.

So, start fitting the loom. I start by connecting the wires to the regulator. Looking at the lovely fan of wires on the "From The Frame Up" tech tip, I decide I'll do the same. So I fan out the wires and cut back to the correct length to look as good as the pictures. Only problem, remember, I'm a plonker. I have the regulator back to front so the shortest wire has the furthest to travel. (Why am I telling the world this.... ah, because I'm a plonker, remember). OK, no real problem, I have some connectors so will join the three wires that are too short back on.... ah, yes plonkeritis at work again, I left the crimping tool at home ... plonker! Borrow a crimping tool from the mechanic who comes in on Monday (everyone else has Monday off, the French only work 38 hours a week). Wires crimped and run, looks OK and no one will see the joins under the dash, except the plonker has told everyone. Lunch and start on pulling the loom through the bulkhead. Take it slowly and do more damage to my ribs by laying across the sills. By 1600 it's through and I fit the brown wire to the starter motor and strip the two green wires that go to the brake light switch. It's now getting on for 1700 and getting dark. It's too dark for me to see well so I call it a day and go home.

The petrol hose clipped. I'll go around with the paint brush later.

Radiator case back on. I'll paint the fixings later. I've not used the originals but six brake drum screws. Brown and Gammons sent me 24, I've no idea why when you only need two per drum!

Does it look straight? I think so and I double checked by using a spirit level and comparing the chassis side member to the centre bar of the rad.

The brake pedal springs.

Looks OK, nice fan.

Yep, OK.

We just won't mention the plonkers efforts, out of sight, out of mind.

The first wire of the loom to be fitted, the brown main feed. You can just see the two green wires hanging down by the brake switch.

The main loom which is the larger of the two armoured cables. The other is the tacho cable.

The front, centre and rear sections.

If you look carefully you can see the coil and petrol pump wires. I'm taking a mirror with me tomorow so I can see under the coil to see which side is which.

Under the dash. Sorry it's a poor picture. The black speedo cable is to the left, the dash cables are in the centre and the tacho cable is on the right. I've got to strip all those dash wires tomorrow, but I have put the wire strippers in the car so the plonker doesn't forget.

A better picture of the aforementioned.

OK, a fairly good day's work for a plonker.

For those who have no idea what a "plonket" is this is the entry in the Urban Dictionary.....

dope, idiot, moron, wally, pillock, dunderhead, dimwit
You are such a plonker, Rodney.


So, what did the plonker do today.... not a lot it seems. First job was to fit the two wires to the brake light switch. Time traken 2 hours! Why? Well the two grub screws were very tight so I decided to take the switch off and free the screws off. Problem was the screws that hold the switch to the bracket were rusted and covered in POR 15 paint. One came off, the other had to be cut off. I freed off the screws and refitted the switch with new screws and nuts. Then the edge of one of the grub screws broke away. I cut a deeper slot with a junior hacksaw and fitted it all back. I also adjusted the brake pedal and can see why the pedal is returning too far. I've put the Thackery washer at the wrong end of the shaft so the pedal is not coming to stop on the stop lug. It's a bit of a job getting the shaft out of the pedal cage with the body on so I'll extend the stop quarter inch. Next was to fit the coil and petrol pump wires, no problems about 10 minutes. It was taking longer than it should because my fingers were frozen and I was trying not to drop any small nuts. Then the dynamo wires. Problem here was the larger of the two nuts was missing and I spent about half hour trying to find a nut that fitted. When I did it took a could of minutes to fit the two wires.... after I had wrapped the loom in tape and pulled it through the chassis. Lunch, my everloving made me lovely cheese and salad sandwiches. After lunch I bared all... well stripped all the wires going to the dash, then I started on the dash. The dash has been sitting on my table at home for months waiting for me to finalise the wiring. Never got around to it. So I fitted all the earth wires and a few others but had a problem. I couldn't work out why the dash bulbs wiring wouldn't reach all three bulbs on the tacho side. I tried it every way I could think but one end was always short of the bulb holder. I then looked at the pictures I took when I first took the dash out. The centre bulb holder, the one for the oil pressure gauge is on the opposite side to the original. This is the new center panel I bought from Barry Walker. No problem, I extended the wiring. At this point Jean-Maurice starts fitting all the side panels and points out a plonkerism.... more later. Next problem is the wire that goes to the speedo for the 30 MPH light is terminating by the Fuel lamp. I'm not sure what's happened here, I'll check that the warning lamps are in the corect place. I've also got a problem with the new 30 MPH lamp and map lamp,, they are not earthed and have the wrong colour wiring. I'll sort it out, probably drill very small holes in the casings and earth the body that way. Last thing I did was to connect the battery to the dash lights. Some work some don't. The bulb on one that doesn't work seems OK. I'll order new bulbs for the whole dash, it's easy to fit them whilst the dash is out. OK, today's plonkerism, well actually it was last week. When I packed the body up to get a good fit on the front of the bonnet to the rad casing edge I only packed the front four bolts. I read somewhere it was OK to have the body slope slightly so I didn't pack the two rear monunting. Jean-Maurice pointed out the body is split by the door hinge on the passengers side!. I filled the gap with glue, undid the two rear bolts, jacked the body and slid the three pieces of lino tiles between body and chassis. The gap closed. I then tightened the body fixing bolts. I drilled a small hole through the hinge piller and fitted a wood screw in to hold the split together. It's OK.

Brake light switch all wired up and ready to be refitted.

I bared all.

It's taken me ages to work out what this is, do you know what it is yet.... OK, it's the dynamo wiring cover.

This is the split body by the door hinge. I've no idea what the green stuff is. I may take a picture of it all back together tomorrow.

Jean-Maurice fitting the side panels. I'm not sure if the panels or the tub are wrong but he had to make a new fold as it overlapped the front edge of the door too much. Note the repair to the side of the scuttle. He's welded in patches either side where the scuttle panel had all but rotted away where the windscreen stantion fits. I rubbed my fingers across the seam and couldn't feel a thing. You can also see the clamp holding the split piller together and the screw that I've put in.

The new centre panel bulb holder by the oil gauge......

.... and this is where it was on the original panel.

Late start tomorrow, blood test at 0845, physio at 0915 and then to the bodyshop. Should get there for 1100.


After physio I clock in at 1100.  Sort out the wiring loom which has one end the wrong way around. It now has the MPH wire next to the MPH lamp. I then put some ends on a few wires and test everything. The dash lights work as does the map and mph lamp. Don't know yet if they work correctly but they do light up. After lunch I fit the throttle pedal, with help from Robin, the apprentice and feed the 3 control cables through.  I make another connector for the dash wiring and then place the dash on two clamps which I've clamped to the frame. Only problem is the loom isn't long enough to reach the connectors on the dash. So I put the dash in place and attempt to join the loom wires to the dash switches. No Chance. It's 1600 so I ring Lynne and ask if she'll come with me for an hour or so in the morning to help. If she holds the loom up and out, I'll be able to fit the wires to the switches. I hope........


The glued and screwed door hing post.

Coil and petrol pump wired.

The armoured section which needs clipping to the bulkhead, I'll do all the clips when I've got the loom connected and run.

The dash in place ready to have the loom connected.

I sometimes take a longer view.

All we've got to do in the morning is connect the loom to the dash. With Lynne helping, she may be able to pull the loom out so I can connect the wires to the dash with the dash laying on two G Clamps on the frame. It will be much easier than grovelling under the dash. Of course, in my youth I would have laid on my back and had the job done in a few minutes...... but those days are long gone.


 You know when someone helps you and you just don't know how to say thank you as "thank you" seems so poor a response. Well I have to think of some way of saying "thank you" to my lovely wife, who helped me almost all day wire the dash.

We set off at 0830 and arrived at 0900. We started by trying to get four red wires into the slot of the lighting switch. No chance! in the end we soldered all four to one heavy wire (OK, it's black but is ony a few inches long) and then covered the join in a shrink sleeve. We then realised that the wiring diagrams we had were not correct. I had three and all differed slightly.I have a new dipswitch/horn from Moss. It comes with a wiring diagram as it says it's different. I can understand the loom colours being different but how do you explain that their diagram with their coloured wires do not corrospond to the diagram. I eventually decided to follow the one that matched the colours I had, I had to leave the wires to the dip switch as there are two wires that have two wires going into one. We tried soldering them but the iron wouldn't get hot enough. I'm taking some Lucar spade connectors with piggyback spades so I can get three wires on the male/female connector. I tried not to use these as they weren't used originally. In hindsight, if I was doing this again, I would cut all the wires to the dash, fit the wires to the dash on the bench and then use bullet connectors to rejoin the loom.

Lynne went at about 1600. I carried on and fixed the inspection lamp black socket which the black plastic ring had broken. I made a new one from a bottle top, better than £54 for new ones!

I then got help to install the battery. At first nothing worked. So I removed the earth lead from the side of the battery box, removed the paint to bare metal and refitted the lead. It worked! But there is a short somewhere as the battery terminal gives a hefty spark when touched against the battery post. Also, if I leave it on there appears to be smoke coming from the carbs! It may be from the starter below but it really does look like it's from the braided petrol pipe between the carbs. The starter works but nothing else seems to, no ignition light, no map light, no.... well nothing!

I'll sort it out on Monday morning, we're out tomorrow.

This is what we awoke too. Lynne has named them..... but I can't remeber what, I'll ask her later.

The four into one connector.

And fitted.

My helper. Isn't she just wonderful. Well I think so.

Dash, all wires fitted, even though some may be wrong!


I've remembered the rabbits name. The first to appear was named Moby and my everloving was convinced it was a female. When the seocond appeared all became clear, it is called Dick.... you work it out.

 Do you know that I'm becoming so French it's no longer funny. Plan was to go to St. Bruiec, which is a 2 hour journey from here. Lunch with friends and then pick up the two rear side screens from the trimmer and then back to Rennes to collect Lynne's new bracelet which has taken two weeks to be engraved with 6 letters (MUM and DAD). I hadn't had time to phone the trimmer to let him know we were coming so Lynne rang as we drove along. "Oh, sorry madam, I have forgotten about them and haven't done them" OK, no problem, usual for France. Whilst we are waiting in the restaurant the jeweller rings to say the bracelet isn't ready, maybe next week. There was a time I'd have gone balistic over this but I just shrug these days and smile.

On the way home we called into Ikea and bought another book case. Then to Castorama (B&Q)  and bought a decent soldering iron (this one actually melts the solder). A few other bits and pieces, including a mains driven door bell as we're fed up with the wireless one flattening batteries every few months.

I'm having the weekend off, apart from fitting a door bell, changing lightbulbs in the kitchen, fitting a new bulb in the downstairs loo, and trying to get my new ccd camera for the telescope to be seen by the new, second hand, PC notebook I bought to drive the camera.


Just about to start fitting a door bell. Ding Dong.


Built the bookcase we bought at Ikea yesterday. Then listened to Radio 4 and watched "The Lady in the Van". I must repeat what Hugh Bonneville said on Desert Island Discs. He said he was ever grateful to his parents for the start they gave him and strove to justify their faith in him. Kirtsy then said "so you're happy about your contribution to society". He answered about a girl he went to school with who managed a team dealing with the Ebola outbreak in Africa and is now helping refugees who arrive on Kos. "I prance about in tights, go figure" Good man.


 Got to the bodyshop for 0800. It was -1 C. My tiny hands were frozen. Put the Mini on a ramp ready to drain oil and change filter. Problem. I've forgotten the 12 mm Torx socket that fits the sump plug. The socket they have has 1/4" drive and I cannot undo the plug with the tiny bar and they have no adaptors. Take car off ramp and park it opposite in their used car lot. I'll do it next week. I then start on the TC. I'm so cold my fingers are frozen and my brain, what I have  of it, wont work. I get the short fixed and get ignition. I then go to sort out why I have no lights and want my little LED torch... can't find it.... then realise it's still under the Mini, shining on the sump plug. PLONKER. Bring Mini over, jack up, retrieve lamp, return Mini. Get lamps working. I test each circuit with a multi meter. I have an early lunch, 12.45 and sit in front of a heater for 35 minutes before my hands warm up.  After lunch I look at why I have no ignition warning lamp. As I'm doing this, young Robin turns up. I'd asked him to come in on his day off to help put the loom and fuel pipe clips on and to fit the grommets. We got to work and fitted the clips on the loom and fuel pipe as well as the clip on the armoured section of the loom. It was about 1600 so I decided we'de start the engine. I got a piece of rubber hose and ran it from the fuel pipe at the tank end into a can of petrol. Switched on and waited for petrol to come out of the slackened pipe union at the carb. Nothing. So we undid the fuel pipe union under the bulkhead and blew through the pipe with an airline. Nothing, the pipe is blocked solid with 48 years of dried petrol. I'll order a new pipe tonight. In the meantime I fixed a piece of rubber pipe from the good section of pipe into the can. Petrol at the carbs, the pump stops ticking. I operate the starter whilst Robin watches for oil pressure. The ignition is off. No pressure but I can see oil coming out of  the rocker feed. So, ignition on, choke out and I turn it over. Nothing. It's now 1645 and I'm tired. So I decide to go home and leave starting until the morning. I get my wallet to pay Robin.... it's empty! How embarrising. I shoot out to the bank and return with his money. He's delighted and wants to give half back. I insist he keeps it, it's a good investment for future help.

LOOK! Lights.

Can you see them all glowing. I had a problem with the bezels on the tacho and speedo. They weren't crimped over enough and were coming loose when the instruments were tightened. I removed them, tighten the tabs and refitted. Problem is now, the bulbs are not shining through the gap of the tacho. It's on the list.

LISTEN! Can you hear it tick. Well it is, you'll just have to take my word for it.

The temporary petrol feed. Tokk ages to fit teh clips to the fuel pipe and loom. Now I've got to undo them and fit a new pipe.

There has been some discussion within the TABC group about how best to refurb wheels.This is my effort with sandblasting, primer and rattle can paint from Moss.

Difficult to get a decent picture. Too much light for the flash but not enough to avoid shadows.


OK, another month gone. I'll just pop over to March and get that started. See you there.


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