Practical Classics (UK)

Travel man

Matt’s Minor refresh is very nearly complete…


There’s little to report on the Land Rover this month as it’s been away, on loan to Safety Devices who are planning to manufactur­e snorkels for cars, like mine, fitted with a left-hand wing air intake. So our car has been borrowed for 3D scanning, then use as a test bed for the prototype snorkels that will soon be available through Britpart – quite the legacy for the Land Rover aftermarke­t parts world! While it’s been away, I’ve been concentrat­ing my efforts on completing works on my Morris Minor Traveller, ahead of a planned family holiday to the south of France – on the Morris Minor Owners’ Club’s annual ‘Minors On Tour’ adventure.

The Traveller had been my ‘at home’ project for a couple of months, but with it up and running once more, I took a spin down to the PC workshop to spend the day with Clive Jefferson and hit the slightly crusty nearside floor edge panels in a single day… well that was the plan.

Up on the ramp, I stripped the front suspension and removed the torsion bar before we lowered the car onto a set of tall axle stands and pulled away the ramp arms to gain access to the rot. Thirteen hours later, we left the workshop having chopped out the crossmembe­r end, floor edge panels and a reasonable number of smaller crusty areas which were better accessed with the former panels removed; and repaired and replaced the panels in question so the car could be raised clear of the axle stands. We were both exhausted and the car wasn’t finished… but a couple more hours the following day saw the job done, closing panels made, all repair sections seam and plug welded and the whole underside and all cavities coated and filled with a selection of Corolan waxes from Rustbuster.

With the welding complete, I could refit the carpet, but the original ‘horsehair’ type underlay that came out was damp, worn and generally ruined after just eight years on the road. And there’s no doubt in my mind that the soggy underlay had contribute­d to the corrosion I’d just repaired – and would have caused further destructio­n of the floor pans

‘The old, soggy underlay had exacerbate­d rot'

had they been left in place. Some modern sound deadening materials were most definitely in order.

Keeping quiet

Having chatted with James Walshe about his experience­s banishing road noise from his Berlingo, I opted to use a combinatio­n of butyl pads and closed cell foam products from Dodomat for the first time on one of my classics. Dodomat DEADN PRO pads measure 37x25cm, and are installed by simply peeling and sticking from their backing. I covered most of the floor area with these butyl pads, trimming with a knife around obstacles, before turning my attention to the second line of defence against sound, vibration and heat transfer: a roll of 10mm thick Dodo Super Liner. Another self-adhesive product, this closedcell foam is supplied on a roll 5m long by 60cm wide, and replaces the original absorbent, floor-rotting horse-hair underlay.

Again, installati­on was child’s play, one strip up each side of the floor pan, trimmed to fit and peeled and stuck atop the butyl DEADN sheets, plus a number of infill pieces up the front bulkhead and atop the gearbox cover panel before the carpets and seats could be reinstalle­d. I will continue the sound deadening campaign soon on the door skins and beneath the roof lining, but the work on the floor pans has already made an enormous difference, and these modern materials should outperform and outlast what was there before by some margin.

OK, so the new underlay won’t hold moisture in the same was as the old stuff, but the root cause of the problem, a leaky windscreen seal, still requires addressing, and is next on my dwindling to-do list. Given that this is now a family car, and our French adventure will see my, by then, four-month-old daughter in the front seat, this seems the perfect opportunit­y to banish the old toughened windscreen in favour of a new laminated one, a mere £75 upgrade. Aside from the safety aspect, the joys of a brand new, unscratche­d, screen are (literally) clear. The safety upgrades will finish with the installati­on of a new set of inertia reel seat belts all round.

And so with that done, the Traveller’s refresh will be almost complete, with just an MOT, some final fettling, running in miles and an oil change standing in the way of the trip to France. And it’s a trip like this, like Matt G’s epic runs with Club Triumph, and like the many other inspiring adventures you, our readers, take with your classics and share with us that focus both mind and energy on ensuring a car is as good as it can possibly be; not just for the trip it’s prepared for, but for more local miles as well. In short, a well-sorted classic is a joyous thing indeed – so don’t be afraid to set yourself a deadline and get your classic fighting fit.

■ matt.tomkins@practicalc­

 ?? ??
 ?? ?? New repair panels from ESM Morris Minors made the repair simple.
New repair panels from ESM Morris Minors made the repair simple.
 ?? ?? Matt deployed a variety of Rustbuster waxes to keep rot at bay.
Matt deployed a variety of Rustbuster waxes to keep rot at bay.
 ?? ?? DEADN PRO pads should kill vibration.
DEADN PRO pads should kill vibration.
 ?? ?? ABOVE Clive and Matt burned the midnight oil. BELOW Dodo Super Liner replaced underlay.
ABOVE Clive and Matt burned the midnight oil. BELOW Dodo Super Liner replaced underlay.
 ?? ?? Rot chopped, the extent of the corrosion was localised.
Rot chopped, the extent of the corrosion was localised.
 ?? ??

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