Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Family camping holiday touring France in an Austin Seven Summer 2018...
Two years ago, as a family, we took our 1928 Chummy from the North of Spain, over the Pyrenees and back up through France, see here:

Our girls (twins aged 7 and older sister, 9) are now too large to fit in the Chummy for longer trips so when deciding to tour France we knew it would have to be in the family Pearl (purchased by my mother on 1968 for £17 and used as the family hack ever since).  This car took my, now, wife and I on a grand tour of passes in 1999 (Galibier, Simplon, St. Bernard, Bonnette and the mighty Stelvio to name but a few) and also as a family of five to Switzerland and back in 2013 (see below):


Mechanical preparation

I built the engine in 1999 and, despite just over 80'000 miles since, it ran fine but was beginning to make a few noises and knocks.  I agonised over the decision to change it, I am very much in the camp of "if it an't broke..." but - knowing I would need every ounce of power to complete our journey I eventually opted to build an entirely new engine.

The new engine was built over a period of months with the following spec.:

Pheonix 1 5/6" splash fed crank (unmodified oil trough - "as supplied"), Austin rods (machined out to suit the crank by me), Seven workshop pistons and rings, standard camshaft (reground by Paul Bonewell), standard Seven Workshop valves and springs, standard radius cam followers, silicone base and tappet chest gasket, original Mk1 Whatmough Hewitt aluminium cylinder head, Seven Workshop head gasket, 1" s/d SU Carb (rebuilt by Steve Hodgson), super accessories exhaust manifold, Accuspark Dynamator and electronic distributor, Tony Betts semi deep cast aluminium sump, original 4-blade, export, fan (supplied by Bill Sheehan in 1978).  I also replaced the radiator built at that time (1978) with a new one (original style core) from Tony Wilder.

This engine was fitted and run for around 30 miles, although very quiet it had a tick and I really struggled to locate the cause of until I removed the cylinder head and saw this...


Removing the valve I expected to find it seized in the guide, it was not but this was clear...


I am not sure if the valve caused the crack or the crack seized the valve - it extended into the block so I made the decision to remove it (in situ) and machine up another block to fit - I did this over the space of an evening, finishing by torchlight...


The engine fired up quietly and I started my 1000 mile pre trip run-in - my troubles over (so I thought)!

After around 300 miles of quiet running I noticed a slight tinkle on tick-over and on removing the timing gear cover was horrified to find this...


Caused by the new gears supplied with the Dynamator the wear was significant and I resigned myself to another very long and frustrating day removing the camshaft and fitting another set of gears, if I look slightly deranged in the photo after I completed this task, it is accurate!


The Dynamator gear problem was resolved by swapping them out for original Austin ones, this proved wholly successful.

Throughout this rather frustrating time the voices in my head kept up their manta "if it ain't broke..." and I hoped my troubles were now behind me. Due to the problems I was only able to get 600 miles of run-in, pre trip, against my desired 1000. None the less I was happy with the 600 miles and now turned my attention to the rest of the car.

Messages In This Thread
Family camping holiday touring France in an Austin Seven Summer 2018... - by Ruairidh Dunford - 08-08-2018, 08:28 AM

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)