This blog will describe my daily, lets say monthly, restoration project of an iconic car: an Austin Healey Sprite MK3 1965. It´s a nice, cute, little car. As said in many period magazines, it’s a "little sports men car". I will restore this car to its former glory, and will share it with all of you....
Friday, 24 June 2011
Fuel tank cleaning and wheels restoration
Progress is slow....
Some days ago, I removed the 4 wheels and went to the wheel shop that will be fitting new tyres and tubes. Finding in Madrid a wheel shop that has previously worked with wire wheels has not been an easy task. Looks like it´s a black art nowadays. Plenty of phone calls, until a friend told me to call a shop outside Madrid. I called the manager Pedro, who confirmed that they had all the necessary equipment and special cones to correctly balance wire wheels. They have several customers with wire wheel classic cars. The company name if anyone is interested is Aguilera e Hijos.
Original wire wheels looked to be in good condition, so we removed the original 145 Michelin radial tyres, dated 1998. Once the tyres and tubes where removed, I found that most of the spoke heads where rusted, so then realized that the best option would be to professionally sand blast them, as using my hobby cabinet would be slow and I will really destroy most of my blast material, which is so expensive. So I gave them a quick clean, and gave them to a person who will in theory tomorrow, sand blast them. He will also apply a primer, and I will paint them with a special rim silver spray paint.
I am concerned, that when the tubes where removed, I only found a protection band in the center spoke head circle, but not on the lateral ones. The only image I have found on internet of a wire wheel with the protection band, will show two of them. I need to verify is only one is necessary, or I need two.
Two days ago, I made a huge parts order to Moss Europe. Mostly all the necessary part to completely rebuild brakes, suspension, filter, hoses, lights, and plenty of new gaskets, grommets, seals, bolts and nuts, to pass the MOT and make the engine run again. I was aware of the existence of the company MOSS, but I had never made an order from them. After verifying they have a vast stock of parts (even the last bolt), reading good references, and verifying the prices where good or better that others, I made the first of my future orders. The huge parcel should be arriving next week, i'm so excited about it!!!!
Today I made a small weekend project, and removed the fuel tank. As the car was with jack stands because I have removed the 4 wheels, I had a great opportunity to do so, and the access to the fuel tank was fantastic. I first used my trusty Kartcher to clean it and the surrounding to have a better handling. First unbolted the fuel line (yes, it is bolted as if it was a brake line into a brake cylinder). Then removed the 6 nuts that hold the tank to the underbody, and finally removed the fuel neck inside the boot. What I found was an original fuel tank, with plenty of surface rust, and some areas with the original paint.
I cleaned the fuel tank with the Kartcher, and then removed the fuel sender units, total of 6 small bolts. The inside of the tank looks to be in very good condition, some small rust pitting, and some deposits of years of use. My technique to clean fuel tanks is always the same: I filled the tanks with about 1 kg of very small tones, like the ones used in fish tanks for home use, and then with high pressure water I move them inside the tank. Today I have used the Kartcher with the 90º angle tip, that makes the stones scratch all the inside surface. Others have used chains from a chain saw, with some water and shake for some minutes. I´m sure it's a good option also. I know many people would just buy a new fuel tank, as they are cheap, but I believe to try maintain most of the original parts when it´s possible and restore them. Buying new parts is always possible and easy, you only need money. But restoring a car for me is not buying all new parts, the funny thing is to restore as much as possible. For me a classic car made out of all new parts, has nothing special.
Next week I will use a wire wheel to clean all the surface, and paint it. I will use POR-15 black paint which should give a great shine and paint durability.
This weekend I will be cleaning some parts with the sand blast machine and paint them. Will post some updates then.