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What have you done today with your Austin Seven
Braved the early-morning snow for 15 miles of local running around, making the most of the, as yet un-gritted roads.

A trip to the printer's to collect some architects' drawings, then took my daughter into town for coffee and cake. Met a nice chap from the Vintage Motor Cycle Club who was delighted to see the Ruby in the multi-storey. Popped down to the carpet shop then called into the petrol station where I met a man who has some A7 spares he wants to get rid of.

Home from nightshift a little too sparkly to sleep (& the weather looked like it would turn to instant pudding later in the day) so, with neighbour's Jack Russell, Mercury (who divides his attentions between both houses), took off to the supermarket in Dougal (ostensibly to check the brakes. ;-)) Home  for a quick trip to the Land of Nod then off with Dougal's front (4th time in a year - nearly know how to do it now) to remove the (loosely behaving) fan doohickey which bolts through the casing thingamejig which sits on top of the coggy whatchamacallits. Darned helpful it is having guru's not far away - crossed fingers on a smooth reassembly by the pleb whose body I inhabit on the morrow.

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On the first day God created the Austin 7, then he rested
Determined to finish running in the Ulster rep this year - so played hooky and did a sunny 155 mile / 6 hour round trip on white roads from Bedford up to The Wash and back. Chased the sunset all the way home.

We're up to 855 miles now and clocking 43mpg. Although 8 degrees outside (does an Ulster have an inside?) I'm pleased to say I stayed cosy in my NATO surplus coat which may well be heavier than the car.

Sorry no photos...nothing to take them with!
Popped down to the local Co-op for essential supplies - as I have done so many times in the last twenty years - always makes the trip an occasion.  

I collected one Native American, a Circus Elf and Hermione Granger from school, delivered them to their swimming lesson and then dance classes.

Ah yes Colin, the Co-op run!...

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Yes, the Co-op run - one of life's simple pleasures.  In addition to the reward of starting and driving the car, there is usually some minor entertainment of some sort to be had.  For example, part of the journey involves a long straight but narrow road with parked cars - in a 30 limit.  It is gratifying to watch the van or 4x4, which has been pressing against my rear bumper for half a mile, drop back suddenly when they realise that they cannot fit through the gap for which I am happily aiming against on-coming traffic.

I've been making a wooden seat base for my special. The base is wood recycled from an old set of drawers. I stripped a Ruby seat then cut about a 2 inch slice down the middle and welded it back together. I did the same with the base frame part so I can retain the forward/backwards slide and locking mechanism. I won't retain the tipping though. I welded a strap across the back and the seat frame is bolted to the floor with four bolts, one passing through the crossmember and the other three will be held with a L shaped strap with nuts welded to it to spread the load under the wood floor.

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It is necessary to slide since there isn't much room between the seat and the wheel and the sides of the car which are high.

Because of the high side I am also adding a small step which will go just in front of the rear wing. It will have a steel strap back to the rear crossmember which is conveniently just in the right place. I am trying to cast the top of the step in aluminium. I have a wooden pattern and am experimenting with gluing on details I have 3d printed. My first experiment went wrong. The 3D printed part, the Austin wings logo, was too complex and the casting sand couldn't pick up all the detail. I pressed on anyway (as I need the practice in casting again) but then the pour went wrong and the mold exploded! Not enough venting and possibly too damp casting sand. Molten aluminium everywhere! Luckily I was wearing all the right gear and apart from a tiny drop that went down the back of my gloves I was fine.

I am now 3D printing a simpler pattern. This was the first go but I am redoing it with better spacing between the wheel and wings and with more draft on it. 

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It's a bit Batman!

Oh, I also got in touch with Andy Bird and after sorting out NZ to UK bank payments managed to order some close ratio gears. I want to replace all the springs and balls in the synchros. Can someone tell me how many I actually need? The manuals don't seem to say. I am guessing 3 or 4 per synchro? I haven't taken one apart yet to see! I'll replace the selector balls and springs too I guess.

Simon a 3syncro box there are 12 balls/springs a 2syncro box uses 6, also replace the hyatt roller bearing on the mainshaft spigot with an
inter bush as the hyatt roller bearing causes ridge line wear on mainshaft spigot and inner bore of 1st motion gear.

The Ruby took me to work yesterday afternoon, a short trip to a job over in Seaford, came back and as it was nice and sunny wanted to stay outside for a bit and give the engine a wipe down, last week, the oil filler cap either fell off whilst I was out driving (or I did not re-fit this and just left it on the bulkhead - not very likely) and a couple of days subsequent driving without a cap on made a bit of a mess of the engine bay, I cleaned the worst of it last week, got a new cap and then found the old one alongside the road (I remembered the location of where I heard what I thought was a stone but it was in fact the oil filler cap bouncing off) a few days later, intact! New one is a much snugger fit, so quite possible the old one was shaken off - the stretch of the road where it came off is rough and the car pitches quite badly on this stretch.

However, after the quick wipe down last week, I noticed that there was a fresh oil leak from the forward plug to the oil jet, got a spanner to tighten, but wouldn't, removed it and found the thread completely stripped, bugger. Must have been on its last legs and all the heat from recent usage expanding & contracting has probably finished it off, I have not touched the plug since whenever so this was a recent fault (and I had been quite pleased that the engine was relatively oil-tight).

So that is that, Saturday, it will be an engine strip down, to fit a helicoil insert, hoping I can do this without removing the block - it is not looking good as it is a tight fit to get the drill & tap in there, but wondering if I can just bodge this with JB Weld for a short-term repair, I don't really want to stop using the car whilst the weather is still ok. Hoping that the stripping of the tread will mean that I don't actually have to drill, just tap a new thread... Oh well.

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