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New Member Restoring Ruby

The username NICKADAM is made up of myself Adam and my friend Nick who inherited a Ruby. Together we plan to do some restoration and get it moving. I live in Guildford Surrey and Nick lives in Church Crookham Hampshire. If anyone is around this area give us a shout, it would be great to meet people who have cars running and moving.

Picture below is what it looks like and in this link are a selection of photos: - [Only registered and activated users can see the links Click here to register]

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The car worked fine two years ago but it has not moved since. We are going to change the oil, new battery, gaskets for the radiator in/out (they are a bit crusty), coolant pipes (also look perished), spark plugs and then have a go at starting it.

Question 1 - How do you start it? Smile

It has a starter motor and crank handle. Do we set timing full advance or retard, clockwise or anticlockwise as you look at the distributor? Choke out I guess... I read somewhere that normal 95 pump petrol is ok as long as you run slightly advanced timing once driving.

Question 2 - What is the high/low charge switch on the dashboard? What is the red light and black knob next to it?

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Handbrake seems strong but the foot pedal brakes and clutch have zero pressure. The pedals just flap around. I assume the fluid has leaked out or something behind pedals has come loose. Once the engine starts we will move on to fixing the brakes and clutch. Guess we could put it on axle stands and go from there.

If anyone has any words of wisdom they can share to some newbies that would be greatly appreciated!

Many thanks, Adam and Nick
Adam & Nick, Go to A7 Clubs site,then look at Member Clubs. The Cornwall & Devon clubs are good sites then go to their Technical Articles. Should be some good advice.
You will be best to await contact from local members. It sounds as though you are completely new to the concept of pre-war cars with mechanical brakes and other features which were typical at that time. I could do a long post in reply to yours, but you will be better off with face to face contact, and looking at another late Ruby which is already running will give you lots of clues as to what you need to do, as will its owner. In the Austin Seven world we are always pleased to meet others who are endeavouring to get another Seven back on the road.
Robert Leigh
I agree you definitely need help and advice before you jump in.
First thing to do is buy a handbook.
Do try and find a local Club and get involved, that will be the best way to get advice and information. Looking at the club meetings map here:

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It looks like the Brooklands Centre of the 750 MC isn't a million miles from you... Perhaps someone that attends that centre who frequents the Forum could get in touch with Adam and Nick?
Portray Austin’s meet at the white hart Charter alley. The 750 motor club brooklands is near you or north Hampshire enthusiasts are quite near.
I am always interested in any information about Rosengart details or current owners.
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Look here for Austin original handbooks.

What is your chassis number? - should be on a small plate on the passenger's side of the scuttle, under the bonnet.

What is your engine number?- should be on the rear top face of the aluminium base of the engine, to the left of the oil filler pipe on the driver's side of the engine.

These two numbers will help the forum members be a bit more specific in their answers.

Your car may have been fitted with hydraulic brakes - if you could post some photos here, people can tell you what you have.

Best thing is get someone local to you to come and have a look, and maybe giving you a drive in a Seven so you know what you are aiming for.
To answer your first question, the Rubies had automatic advance, so you don't have to think about advancing or retarding the ignition to get it started, it is just a case of turning the ignition switch on, pulling out the choke and then pulling the starter - assuming everything is in order it will fire up - if it does not run, then checking everything is set-up properly (the 750MC companion book - green cover - is useful, as are the "Pitmans" books - eBay - or the Woodrow manual, along with the A7 websites mentioned above).

As for using the starter handle, you have an electric starter motor... if you do use the starter handle, really important that your thumb is on the same side as your fingers, so if it kicks back it does not hurt... others advocate using the left hand as an extra insurance against injury.

I use standard unleaded petrol, at the time these engines were developed, unleaded did not exist, this was introduced in the 1930's (back in the days owners worried about the effect of fuel additives on their engines - sound familiar?), so should be fine, octane rating is much higher than pre-war.

Red light is the ignition warning light, will glow when the engine is idling and the dynamo is not putting out much of a charge, same as a modern car, but with an alternator, there is always a charge so it is only red when the ignition is turned on.

The black knob is for dashboard illumination, David Cochrane on his website has handbooks that you can download at

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High/low charge is for the rate of charge to the battery, during the summer, the load on the battery is less than in the winter as demand for lights, windscreen wiper is less, manual adjustment is required...

If the brakes are original, they will be mechanical, if someone has altered them to hydraulic they will be different, you need to have a look underneath to see what you have got!

Good luck with your car, these are a lot of fun and addictive! These cars are well supported with new & secondhand spares and are very useable, even in modern traffic, a few modifications make them even more so!
I'd leave those water manifold gaskets alone for now, unless they are actually leaking... a world of trouble awaits if the studs break off, which they are inclined to do. At least hear her running first...
Looking back to when I bought my car 10 years ago I would echo previous comments. Don't change, start, replace or remove anything until someone who has experience with an Austin 7 has been to see it.

You risk opening up a world of unnecessary hurt (but if it was running fine 2 years ago you might just find that fresh fuel and an oil change will see you off), but then are you sure that the gear box oil is OK, and what about rear axle oil, how sure are you that all is OK there. If you don't know then you should drain and replace it all (search for oil as it is important to use the correct type).

Not trying to scare you, but you are clearly new to pre-war as noted by others and there are so many 'ready to help' owners out there who will happily help with a look over and some first advice which will give you confidence in what to expect from the driving experience, what is normal and what isn't, and what to take care about.

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think!

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