I have had to put the gearbox aside while I assembled the windscreen, this is to enable the painters to check and, if necessary, adjust the fit to the body. To be honest this was a difficult and time-consuming job. I had a complete set of new screws even though I had rethreaded No2 BA some 3/16 Whitworth to use when I straightened the frame. Firstly I carefully measured the position of the holes in the bottom rail, marked them from the center onto the new screen to body rubber and punched them with a 3/8” wad punch. I then pointed the sides of the T in the rubber at each hole, this to help each one to start as each hole in the rail came up. Checked as carefully as possible the T slot and made sure the screw heads of the joining pieces were clear. Some recommend soapy water as a lubricant when inserting any rubbers into windscreens, I didn’t like the idea of using any water as the steel joining pieces rust out soon enough so I used rubber grease. This comes in a tube and is formulated so as not to damage the rubber in any way, something-ordinary petroleum grease will do.

After a bit of serious thought as to the method of assembly I decided on the following. I greased the first quarter of the screen to body rubber and the bottom rail, then started to thread the rubber into the bottom rail, got about 30cm on and couldn’t budge it any more. Pulled it off and applied more grease and started again got about 40cm this time but no more. After more serious thought I decided the T section of the rubber was just a little tight for the slot so I rubbed it down with some sandpaper and started again. It was still a struggle with lots of huffing and puffing but success at last. Next I trimmed the ends of the rubber to fit the frame sides, this was quite tricky as there are some funny shapes to cut. The joining pieces were firmly screwed to the sides top and bottom, I then threaded the side frames onto the rubber and loosely did up the end screw leaving the other one off.

Next I fitted the windscreen rubber onto the glass and carefully marked the center of the bottom rail and the glass, three new 5/16th NF bolts were fitted in the bottom rail. I put a liberal quantity of the rubber grease to the frame and rubber, then with help, lined up the two marks and started to install the glass. When we had the bottom in as far as it would go we started to close up the sides, a fine screw-drive was used to get the lip of the rubber over the frame. A rubber hammer also helped to close up the sides plus more use of the screw-driver, checking the top rail for fit. When all was in the right position the top rail was greased and pushed into place, all the screws were inserted and tightened. In fitting the top rail the careful use of a sash-clamp was very helpful even then getting the glass in was a two-person job. I have heard of a windscreen installer who replaced a screen without dismantling the frame, must have been a tricky job.

I took the assembled windscreen over to the painters with a template of the angle from the top of the doors. Put the screen in place and bolted the three bolt down, a quick check showed that filler was needed at the sides to get the right angle. This has now been done and a check today 15th July shows the car ready for the Spritz coat. By all appearances this is going to be one of the straightest cars around when it is finished. Now 28th July and the car is undercoated ready for a fine sand down then the final colour coat, could be home in about a week.

Now back working on the gearbox, first cut a whole set of new gaskets, no trouble here. When I was dismantling the box I checked everything I could to see if anything was worn and needed to be replaced. The only thing I didn’t do at the time was the clearances as described fig. H19, page H28 in the workshop manual. As mentioned in an earlier article I broke the main-shaft circlip and had two goes at getting the right one to replace it, in the end sending the broken one to the Spares Club as an example. Fortunately I didn’t get the broken one back as if I had used it to test the clearance as described I would have been in trouble. I threaded the 2 thrust washers and 2 bearings onto the shaft and tried the new circlip in the groove. It wouldn’t go anywhere near the groove. Out comes the micrometer and I measure the thickness of the 2 thrust washers. The 2nd gear one was .121” as specified but the 3rd gear one measured .146”, about .025” too thick. The conclusion I came to was both the 3rd gear washer and the old circlip were not genuine SP parts, a thinner circlip and a thicker thrust washer had been used to make up the difference.

I rang our friendly local SP Guru, Steven Carr, knowing he had a lot of bits and he kindly gave me a plastic bag of parts to sort through. There were several 3rd gear washers of the correct thickness so threaded one on and the clearance measured .010, the day saved. As an aside in the bag was a circlip that was .025 thinner than my new one, a trap for someone in the future.

A special tool is needed to fit the circlip, a tapered sleeve and a tube. There is a description of one on page H30 but be warned don’t make it to the dimensions they give, they are wrong, measure the shaft etc. Even though I have access to a lathe I decided to fabricate one. First a piece of ¾” ID tubing 2’’ long from the scrap box that fitted over the bearing spigot, then from some 16 gauge sheet a piece to form a tube about 1” long over that and a repeat of that again each this time ½” long. Position the outer ones to form a stepped cone, being sure to try for a fit on the shaft, light up the gas torch and braze the lot together. Next on to the grinder and work to take off the steps until a smooth cone is formed, polish with emery. I couldn’t find any tubing 1 ¼ “+ in my scrap box so cut another piece of the 16g 4” by 6“, rolled it to form a tube 6’ long. This is to push the circlip onto the shaft.

The lay-shaft had been in the box for some time so it was removed and the whole lot given a good clean. On gearboxes I have worked on in the past it has always been a juggling act lifting the lay-shaft into place so the dummy shaft can be pushed out with the real one. I put those little grey-cells to work and decided there must be an easier way. Before putting the lay-shaft in, I put 2 strips of heavy tape (strong cord would do) in the box with plenty hanging over the side, the shaft was put in with the thrust washers in place. Next the main shaft was inserted, the gears threaded on as per the manual, the circlip fitting tool was given a coating of grease, put over the spigot and the circlip pushed into place. It all worked a treat. The 3rd constant mesh gear was put onto the end of the mainshaft and the whole assembly was pressed into place. The primary shaft was then pushed into place now all was ready to lift the layshaft.

I had one short length of square tubing, but a piece of wood would do. This was placed on top of the box and the tapes were then tied tight over the top. I then cut two wedges and eased these under each end of the tubing until the layshaft was the right height both ends, see photo, the dummy shaft was pushed out then with out any bother. The dummy shaft I had was solid, others I have used in the past have been thick walled tubing, with them it is possible to put a rod through and lift the assembly that way. Having now done it both ways I think my latest method is easier and safer.

The rest of the box was then bolted up using Loctight 515 for the gaskets, the clutch actuating shaft installed and preparations started to marry the engine and gearbox. The new locally made gears seem to be A OK up to now – won’t know for sure until a test drive. The gearbox, then the table was lifted off the trolley, the motor lifted off the building stand and lowered onto the trolley. The 2 bolts holding the rear crankshaft seal at the back of the block were then tightened as I couldn’t get at these while the block was on the stand.

As mentioned in an earlier article the car had a Jag OD box fitted at the time of the crash. The bearing in the end of the crankshaft for them is ½” so it had to be removed, the SP’s is ¾”. Now normally this is not a big job, just pump a lot of grease into the hole get a piece of shafting the right size, introduce it into the hole and give it a good belt with a hammer and the bearing should pop out. Got a piece of ½” rod and tried it, no good as the bearing was very worn, and the grease just blew out, nothing bigger to hand so decide to solder a brass ferule to the end, cut from thin sheet and rolled. Only made it ½” long, should have been over 1” as I had great difficulty getting the hole filled with grease. The end would go right through the bearing and the piston effect was lost, plus always getting pockets of air and the hydraulic principle wouldn’t work. In the end I managed to get the bearing to move but had to put more grease in and be sure to get all the air out for each 1/8” of move.

I still had the original SP bearing and a check showed it to be as good as new so it was pressed in. Shows it pays to keep everything that may be of use at a later date. The oil pipes feeding the rocker shafts was now bolted on using new copper washers, the back plate for holding the gearbox was cleaned up and bolted in place. Next the fly-wheel was bolted on using new lock plates. I noticed one of the locating dowels for the gearbox was missing – no trouble just a piece of 3/8” rod , ¾” long tapped in and that job done.

It’s the first of August and I am working to get as much preparation done so a start can be made in putting the car together when it comes back from the painters, which could be a week to ten days. The upholsterer says he will be ready about the end of August and I don’t want to miss my place in the cue.