I t’s always very annoying to scrape or bang your head, especially when trying to finish a job in a rush. With the recent need to spend more time under Lily’s bonnet, owing to breakdowns and maintenance, I’d done this one time too many. The sharp-edged corner of the bonnet is just the wrong height and gives a nasty thwack in the middle of the forehead.
Desperate for a solution, which wasn’t a piece of stick or some string, I went online to see what my options were. As luck would have it the Dorset Morris Minor Owners’ Club Branch spares department (http://dorsetmmoc.co.uk/wordpress/new-spares/) had come up with a solution, in the shape of an off-the-shelf extendable bonnet stay. It’s like the standard one but has a retracting pin that allows the bonnet to be raised much higher, well out of harm’s way which makes accessing the already vast engine bay even easier. As it is basically the same as a standard one it uses the existing mounting points and was really only a five-minute job to fit. I have put one on Lily and will fit get one for the Lowlight at some stage. At the moment it
is jacked up so I can work underneath and the bonnet would hit the roof of the garage if I opened it any more.
Now the engine is in the Lowlight, hopefully for the foreseeable future, I have finished off the hydraulic clutch, with new seals in the master cylinder, a new slave cylinder and a home-made connecting pipe. I bled the system to remove any air and was relieved (surprised, even) to find that the motley collection of bits actually works! I’d been worried that the pedal pressure would be far too high, as a Minor pedal is shorter than the Marina/ Ital set up.
However I won’t need to be wearing lead shoes when driving it, as it feels about the same as a normal Minor. It’s taken hours to get this all sorted out and I made three different supporting brackets before I got it right, but with this in place I have been able to fit the brake master cylinder and start making all the hydraulic pipes. I have fitted the servo (more home-made supports) and will soon have a complete system. It will be good to have a few more things finished off. I’m half-way through so many jobs, it’s like a jigsaw with lost parts. Currently lots of these jobs are held up waiting for the correct shade of brown paint for the steering column assembly but that’s another story.
I have also had a long think about the wipers; Minors up to 1956 had a rather weedy motor hidden away behind the dashboard which is a nightmare to remove when it goes wrong, (which they often do), flimsy wiper boxes and very primitive blades. I do want to be able to use this car in all weathers, so with a bit (well quite a lot) of fiddling about I managed to fit a complete, much more robust, system off a later Morris 1000.
I used new wheel boxes and rack as these are still an awkward greasy job to replace once the car is all assembled. You would need to be a real expert to spot the difference from outside the car. The original motor etc can go in the American Tourer; I hope not to be driving that in the rain!
I was relieved (surprised, even) to find that the motley collection of bits actually works!
The Minor’s bonnet shown opened to its standard maximum height...
... and extended. The difference in access is already very noticeable.
The finished hydraulic clutch system. The pedal pressure is only about the same as an original Morris – success!
The non-original but much more efficient Morris 1000 wiper motor fitted into place.
Dorset Morris Minor Owners two-stage bonnet stay as arrived, clearly showing the extra length. It fits into the original mounting points and so is only a 5 minute job to fit.
Bleeding up the hydraulic clutch system.
Servo fitted into place. Next job is to finish the braking system.