TECHNICAL TIPS - GENERAL

WINTER:
ROPEY SNOW CHAINS::
As well as carrying a spade, candle and a box of matches (as recommended by the RAC) it is well to carry a couple of lengths of rope.  You can use these as
snow chains by wrapping them around your tyres and rims.

GRIT: A plastic one gallon container filled with grit can be sprinkled on snow and icy ground.  A must for any motorist!
FOOT WARMER:  My wife keeps her legs warm in the Seven by filling a plastic bottle with hot water and placing it on the floor in front of the seat and behind her legs.  We find a one gallon container stays warm for about 1½ hours.
GENERAL WINTER JOBS: Alhough it's been a mild winter so far don't forget to add antifreeze, this not only stops freezing but it has anti corrosion properties as well, use only the blue type in your austin7.  Make sure your brakes are in tip top order and adjusted correctly, And most important, check your tyres for tread depth and for cracks in the side walls. Check tyre pressures, Austin recommend 22lbs sq.inch in the front and 24 lbs sq. inch in the back.  Also check oil levels in the engine, gearbox and don't forget the back axle. Check all lights are working properly.  Enjoy safe, happy motoring.
Glyn
MARKING UP: You know the problem: a saw-cut needs to be made or a hole drilled in a particular place where the light is not good and the metal is inevitably blackish or black-painted. Identify the general area for the cut or hole, place a piece of ordinary masking tape on it, mark the line or spot with a black ball-point or dark pencil, do the job, and pull off the tape – hey presto, job done and no unsightly marks left on your little beauty!
RCDs: When using an RCD safety adapter, which you should always use with power tools, it is most important that you plug it as close to the tool as possible. I.e. if you are using a 100 foot extension lead, put the protector at the power tool plug, not at the mains supply at the start of the extension lead.  The reason being that if you put it too far from the tool, electrically speaking, the delay due to the resistance and voltage drop down the extension cable, may well prevent a vital trip out in the event of an accident.  Another tip, if using an extension cable reel, you must fully unwind it from the drum, before use, otherwise the coiled up cable will act as a resistor and cause voltage drop, and will result in the cable heating up and at worst catching fire.
REMOVING RUST: It is often difficult to remove rust from small, intricate parts but the following electrical process works well: Ingredients:- plastic container, a piece of lead, a handful of salt or bicarbonate of soda and a direct current source of electricity.  This can be provided directly from a car battery or through a battery charger.  Thoroughly dissolve the salt or bicarb in a quantity of water.  The rusty article is attached to the negative terminal, the piece of lead to the positive terminal and both are then immersed in the solution making sure that the two metals do not touch one another.  Turn on the power supply and watch the bubbles rise.  These bubbles are hydrogen and oxygen and both are highly explosive.  Do not carry out this operation in an enclosed space!  The hydrogen takes oxygen from the rust leaving a loose sludge that can be washed away, probably needing a wire brush, before applying a primer.  The time taken depends on the area and thickness of the rust and the amperage used with heavy encrustments taking several hours.  After a time, the lead will become coated with a sludge which, if left, becomes a hard deposit and so should be cleaned from time to time.  The article is unaffected but, if left in the salt solution for too long would soon be attacked.  The solution becomes rusty and muddied but, as long as bubbles appear, the process will continue to work.  With many thanks to Phil Allman from the Isle of Wight Austins Club.
OIL FILLER TUBE: One way to prevent oil spilling (or dripping) onto the ignition wires and the starter motor etc., is to temporally extend the oil filler tube. I use a plastic Coke bottle with the bottom removed, the screwed top seems to just fit nicely into the top of the filler tube of my Box saloon and the ignition wires support the bottle too. Now I rarely spill any oil over the off side engine area. Sandy Croall (Cornwall A7C) with many thanks.
LUBRICATING LOCKS: If your door key, or any other key for that matter, is a bit 'sticky' in the lock, don't use oil to free it off, rub the key with a soft lead pencil. Most pencil leads are made from graphite, which is a great lubricant, with the added bonus that it will not attract dust and dirt like sticky oil will. You can also buy powdered graphite which can be 'puffed' into keyholes. You can also rub the pencil over the latch on your door, this will make it shut a lot easier. Lee Webster. Cornwall A7C with many thanks.

HELICOILS: are supplied as a kit with the correct drill, tap and insert tool - everything you need but at

Bolt size

Helicoil drill size
BSF   mm

Helicoil drill size
BSW mm

3/16

4.9

5

1/4

6.6

6.7

5/16

8.3

8.4

3/8

9.8

9.8

7/16

11.4

11.4

1/2

12.9

12.9

9/16

14.5

14.5

5/8

16.1

16.5

3/4

19.3

19.7

an eye-watering price (£73.59 including 20% discount).  For this you get 10 helicoil inserts so I guess at £7.35 per repaired hole it is not too bad. With the kit (incidentally now marketed as Armstrong Precision Components - Armacoil Thread Repair Kit, Helicoil to you and me) came a table of drill sizes which I list below. To drill out prior to tapping for the Helicoil insert, very little extra metal has to be removed – really just the removal of the remnants of the old threads. This compares well with tapping out to the next size up. The special tap supplied is quite short and well tapered, so care is required to keep it running straight and to avoid too much swarf build up. The helicoil inserts went in easily using the insert tool. The inserts are effectively springs and the tool slightly compresses them so they wind in easily. On release of the tool they grip tight. John Miles (DA7C)

CIRCLIPS: We all use circlips, but did you know there’s a right and a wrong way to fit them?  A careful inspection of the flat sides of the circlip will reveal a dead flat face and, on the opposite face, a slight curve on the edges.  When fitting the circlips in their groove, always have the dead flat face taking the force in the groove, i.e. away from the cause of the pressure the circlip is trying to stop.  Vince Leek
FOOT REST: Am I alone or do other A7 drivers seek a place to rest their left foot whilst not using the clutch? A little dodge I use is to undo the centre top bolt on the drivers side of the gearbox cover, drill a length of steel strip about 1.5 ins. long at one end and bolt this to the gearbox top (length is critical as it must leave clearance for your foot to depress the clutch) - Hey presto! A nice comfortable foot rest. Glyn Llewellyn
UNDER-CHASSIS GREASING: Now that Spring has Sprung it is time to do those routine under-chassis greasing jobs. Pump sufficient grease in to clear away any old grease particularly in suspension joints and kingpins where road dirt will combine with grease to form a very effective abrasive inside sleeve type bearings. Spray leaf springs with motorcycle chain lubricant. Bumbling, A7OC Magazine
CLEANING UP FILINGS: A little trick for cleaning up metal filings or swarf:  Wrap a magnet up in some rag and pick up all the metal into the cloth, then removed the magnet—nice and clean! Gary & Colin
STUBBORN WOODSCREWS: How to remove a stubborn woodscrew, the slot for the screwdriver having been damaged? First centre-punch the centre of the slot and using a 1/16th drill and drill the screw until you have reached the bottom of the screw head. Successively increase the size of the drill drilling to the same depth until you reach the full size of the screw head. This will allow you to remove the item attached by the screw and leave a small stump which you can grip with a Molegrip with sharp teeth. Lock the Molegrip on and rotate the stump backwards and forwards carefully until you break the seal between it and the wood. The remainder of the screw should come out easily now - ‘Bumbling’ (A7OC) with many thanks.
REAR HUB BRACE: Another use for a worn out brake drum:  Drill 2 x/8 inch (16mm) holes in the side of a brake drum, slip in 5/8 bar. Assembly can now be used to brace the rear hub when tightening the half shaft nut up tight. Roger Ballard

RUNNING PROBLEMS: Q I had an Austin 'Seven' decarbonised about two months ago. Afterwards, I found that it was pulling very well, but had a tendency for the engine to stop while negotiating left-hand corners. This tendency is gradually increasing, so that now it is almost impossible to rev. the engine in order to change up or down, or, when changed down, to pick up until the car is once more on a straight course. I do not want to readjust the carburettor, which is a standard vertical 'Zenith' unless this is necessary, as in all other cases the car pulls remarkably well and does 40-45 m.p.g. G.M.S.(Minehead)  A The controls on your car are partly seized in the steering column and counteract any pedal movement you may make on the throttle. Disconnect the arm from the bottom of the column and test this. It is the only part that can have an effect on the carburettor.  From the Practical Motorist Magazine.

KEEPING TABS ON SERVICESNot so much a technical tip, more of a reminder!  I am not getting any younger and being the privileged owner of more than one Austin 7, it is not always easy to remember when the various mechanical and lubrication checks were last carried out on each vehicle!  I find it very useful to keep a notebook in the glove box of each car noting the date and mileage of any works carried out on each vehicle   together with reminders of jobs such as brake re lines (and tax date reminders etc) that might be due in the future. So when I think back, was it maybe 2 months ago when I last checked the axle oil, my little book can then tell me it was in fact 6 months ago! I had better check the level to avoid VERY expensive repairs!!!  Gary Munn
TONNEAU COVER ZIPS:  I notice a few of us do fit a tonneau cover to their open A7s – some with a long zip down the centre. Whilst not very ‘original’, it’s extremely practical and very useful. The other day I was shopping in Ringwood with Rhubarb and struggling with a recalcitrant sticking zip when a very chap stopped by and reminded me a small drop of suitable lubricant would do the trick. Like you, the idea of greasing a zip hadn’t occurred to me. However, a small smear of Vaseline on the offending item worked wonders and the tonneau opens and closes as smoothly as silk. Many thanks to that passer-by. Probably works for zips in other places!  Ian  - Ed's Note:  I have also rubbed an old candle down zips of coats and tonneaux with much success.

REAR VIEW MIRROR AND THE MOT: If your only rear view mirror is only fixed to the windscreen by suction alone and the tester noticed it, then your car would probably fail the MOT. [MOT Inspection Manual Rule 8.1 View to Rear and 9.8 Drivers View of the Road] Vince Leek

GASKETS: We are all fully aware that it is almost impossible to keep an Austin 7 engine oil tight for long, indeed this incontinence has probably saved many a chassis from terminal rust!
At Munwellyns we have tried various methods to alleviate leaks over the years, generally we find that provided surfaces are clean, flat and completely free of contamination we still tend to use traditional paper gaskets using a smear of Loctite 5980 gasket sealer on both sides of the joint. This is a black silicone looking compound available in tubes. We generally assemble, pinch tight and after a short time fully tighten down once the paste has gone off a while. When fitting the rear main housing be careful not to apply too much compound near the crankcase rear oil return hole, many a c/case we have found this hole blocked with compound!
With the recent advent of Teflon gaskets available for certain joints from Jamie at the 7 Workshop, we have followed his instructions, so far with continued success.
The cylinder base gasket: both bottom of block and crankcase mating surface must be completely contamination free - we generally clean with cellulose thinners. Assemble without ANY jointing compound and just nip up nuts. Leave a short while (over lunch) and tighten down. Leave again (overnight if time permits) and fully tighten home, then adjust tappets.
The Teflon later tappets’ cover strip: notice it is shaped to fit in the cover lip. Apply Loctite compound into cover lip and let it go off a while before setting the Teflon joint into it and try to fit cover before it jumps back out or leave the cover plate on the bench face down and weighed down letting the compound dry off, then fit to engine.
The new Teflon sump gasket: like most rubber gaskets, Loctite paste one mating surface, fitting the gasket accurately to that surface and let dry. Then offer the other component to it WITHOUT any further compound. and tighten, not stupidly tight. This method should ensure the gasket does not slide away as you tighten.
New copper head gaskets: especially lately we have found, after a short while, you need to re-torque new head gaskets. They seem to settle a lot and if you do not, you will end up with a blown gasket just when you don’t need it!!  Gary Munn DA7C