Ri­ley RMA

Danny’s big RMA project gets a dose of dirty and shiny!

Practical Classics (UK) - - CONTENTS -

My res­i­dent Ri­ley RMA ‘CFM’ is kept well away from the PC work­shop and is my es­cape from the world project. Other peo­ple like their gar­den­ing or the gym, I dis­ap­pear into a world of rusty me­tal and rot­ten wood to get my R&R. My daugh­ters, Emma and So­phie, love ‘Ri­ley’ and our dog Nut­meg is still fas­ci­nated by my con­tin­u­ing ob­ses­sion. And weirdly for me, progress is ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing.

Re­cently the project has bro­ken out of the Hop­kins shed and into the world of spe­cial­ists in or­der to make my rolling and run­ning dead­line of the Prac­ti­cal Clas­sics Clas­sic Car and Restora­tion show next year (March 23-25: put it in your di­ary). If I can have a com­pleted Jensen and a run­ning Ri­ley RMA at the show, then I will call my­self a very happy chap­pie… and will prob­a­bly spend the en­tire week­end with a va­cant grin my face. I’ll also post a set of tick­ets to pre­vi­ous owner Ron, with whom ‘CFM’ had lived for four decades.

To work then! En­gine re­build progress at Broms­grove En­gine Ser­vices is dic­tated by the amount of time I can spend over there. I asked Keith Alling­ton and Greg Healey to pause the re­build when I wasn’t present so I could be in­volved with the process. I want to know the beast that pow­ers me as I waft my way through our green and pleas­ant land.

The up­shot of this is that the 1.5-litre twin cam spends months on end in a cup­board as I try and fail to get over there. I’ve got this mag­a­zine to pro­duce and it can get in the way. As men­tioned pre­vi­ously the de­con­struc­tion process re­vealed and en­gine in de­cent nick.

With the head re­moved the bores were bizarrely smooth and dis­played a dis­tinct ab­sence of ridges. A quick look at a brass plate on the front of the block an­swered a few ques­tions. This was a Ri­ley re­place­ment en­gine and po­ten­tially, I could have a low mileage gem on my hands.

Still worth a re­build though, even if it would only in­volve and clean, skim, pol­ish, new rings and a shell con­ver­sion. The con­ver­sions swaps out the white me­tal for bear­ing shells from a BMC B en­gine. Sim­ple and sen­si­ble if you are go­ing to give your RM some use.

Studs re­moved (al­ways a heart in mouth op­er­a­tion) we grabbed the Dial (or Vernier) Bore gauge that is used (you will not be sur­prised to know) to mea­sure a bore’s size.

It re­quires the op­er­a­tor to de­velop the cor­rect feel to ob­tain re­peat­able re­sults – and Keith, has the feel. I don’t. Keith’s gauge has three sym­met­ri­cal anvils (shiny pointy bits) that pro­trude from the gauge body that are con­nected to the dial mech­a­nism. As Keith ro­tates his knob (stop snig­ger­ing at the back)

it moves the anvils in or out with re­spect to the mea­sure­ments. The mea­sure­ment given is the mean di­am­e­ter of the three anvils. The re­sult was that the block would only need glaze bust­ing, all the bores were good to go again. I had brought a box of replacements parts for Keith and Greg… None of which might be re­quired, but all of which could be very use­ful in­deed. No­body makes this stuff any­more. The next visit should in­volve fit­ting the shells and the be­gin­ning of the process of re­con­struc­tion. Once it is done, things will get very ex­cit­ing in­deed.

Paint the wagon

Over in the paint­ing and dec­o­rat­ing de­part­ment, once again I am in awe of the work done by old school crafts­men. John Spencer and his paint part­ner Paul Kirk are be­ing fed pan­els bit by

‘I want to know the beast that pow­ers me through this pleas­ant land’

bit and the work they have done so far is ex­em­plary. Apart from any­thing else the prep re­quired has been deep. The me­tal un­der­neath the old paint has re­quired fet­tling, de-corroding and fet­tling to get it ready for the filler and primer coats. It has taken weeks but the re­sult is worth it. Yes, it has been re­done in two-pack not cel­lu­lose (John’s cel­lu­lose work is so good I couldn’t tell the dif­fer­ence at first) but in black it just looks good, not too pla­s­ticky. Once the doors are com­pleted I will be tak­ing the en­tire body up to Ri­p­ley for John to com­plete the work and then after that I am hop­ing to visit Blue Di­a­mond at Bices­ter to re­unite en­gine, box and body… with po­ten­tially a rewiring ex­er­cise be­ing com­pleted, too. Then, I could have a run­ning RMA!

Or not. Keith and Danny dis­cover the bores only need glaze bust­ing and new rings. Bore wear min­i­mal. A pos­si­ble virtue of teh fact that the en­gine is a Ri­ley re­place­ment item.

All the data on one shiny plaque. Old school.

Fresh: off­side run­ning board.

Bon­net pan­els prepped and ready.

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