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Alastair

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  • Location
    Writtle, Essex, UK
  • Interests
    vehicle restoration, desert travel, astronomy
  • Occupation
    Retired defence systems engineer

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  1. Happy New Year to everyone. I am sure I am not alone in being frustrated in not being able to lie under other peoples' cars to answer technical questions for ones self. I am still supposed to be working on the Riley but I cannot help eyeing up the Renault alongside from time to time. As a result of a most helpful article by Ken Goddard in the latest Veteran Car magazine, I now know in broad terms how the rear universal joint works on the propshaft. I had been puzzled by the big lump of metal I have that carries the pinion. It was clearly for a universal joint and I now know it comprises a pair of trunnions each of which has a sliding block fitted, which in turn slides in a broad slot in the aforementioned lump of metal. However some questions remain and I am hoping that someone on the forum has knowledge of these Renaults or that this form of UJ is sufficiently generic for the answer to come from elsewhere. Referring to picture number one, the pinion shaft has two plain, shouldered, bearings to support it in the diff housing. There is a thick washer between the second bearing and the pinion itself. Should there be a thrust washer of some sort between this washer and the second bearing? The propshaft is open with the reverse torque being taken on another tube that runs from the axle casing to the centre cross member of the chassis. I suppose the reverse thrust on the pinion is catered for by this and the three-quarter elliptic springs. Is this so? I think it must be, because the propshaft cannot take the thrust itself as it needs to be splined to allow for the change in geometry as the back axle moves up and down. In Ken Goddard's article, the trunnion assembly is retained on the propshaft by a large nut and a shoulder plus what look like splines. I guess that this is easy enough to arrange. The second picture shows the UJ housing from the business end. The wide slots for the sliding blocks are plainly visible. There is also a brass retaining ring. How does this operate? Is it to hold a grease seal? Is it to hold some sort of bearing (I do not think there is room enough)? Or, is it there to retain some sort of plate to keep the trunnion from wandering towards the gearbox (I would have thought the choice of propshaft length plus some sort of spring at the front end would sort that out)? Thanks Alastair
  2. I have failed at this sort of thing because the coach bolt threads are rolled. The resultant thread is the correct size (16mm in this case) but the shank is undersize.
  3. Well, as I said previously, other commitments bar me from working on the Renault for the time being. That said, it sits alongside the Riley I am supposed to be progressing so I have strayed from time to time. You will have seen in the Peerless thread the splendid work that Andy Pugh did on my exhaust manifold. The first thing is that I have always been bothered that the back axle ratio is more suited to a commercial vehicle than to a car. I calculate that the top speed will be 21mph on a ratio of 5.7:1 whereas the cars are more likely to have a ratio of 4:1. I then came across a factory publication that showed that indeed commercial vehicles had been produced on this chassis. I also noticed that the toe board support brackets (the only bodywork that survived apart from the bonnet) placed the floor much higher than is the case for the contemporary cars. This has persuaded me that I should rebuild it as a commercial vehicle and would like to make a WWI ambulance. Searches on the web show that Renault ambulances were indeed used in WWI (it would be astounding if they were not) and some of them are on light chassis (pneumatic tyres, single wheels at the rear, long overhang at the back. I will get the Renault Freres club to sanction this but would be interested in any advice as to how one approaches the DVLA when it comes to registering the finished vehicle for road use. Progress on the rebuild so far has been limited mainly to the steering. This is of the worm and sector type (as opposed to what it says in at least one official Renault publication) and the steering box is in two halves. I was missing the bearings but they were available off the shelf needing little machining from Simply Bearings. The bottom half of the box has been used brutally at some stage and the mounting feet on both sides had broken off. These had been welded on but at the wrong angle. This gave the column a sporty rake back but misaligned the fixing to the fire wall. So the next job was to make two new toe board support brackets and a dummy fire wall to determine the correct angle and hence the required packing under the rear feet. The steering box has only one thrust bearing. This is above the worm wheel, Below the worm wheel there is a peg of about 18mm diameter that sits in a plain bearing in the lower half of the steering box. There is a threaded hole below this that, at the very least needs to be closed but I decided that some sort of thrust bearing was required here as well. I turned a special bolt 16mm by 1.5mm pitch and then silver soldered a ball bearing in the end. This bears on the bottom end of the steering column and allows adjustment of the free play. I would have liked to have used a more effective thrust bearing at this lower end but there was no room. BK van 1912.pdf
  4. Well it is a 10HP Renault that I bought in Australia 20 years ago. I am supposed to be working on my 1934 Riley which I bought 33 years ago but I ran out of wood for the rebuild of the wood frame so I dragged the Renault out of the bushes and rebuilt the engine (see separate thread "10HP Renault"). So, not being able to resist your request for a picture I cleared a considerable amount of tut from the chassis this afternoon. The first picture shows the rear end of the chassis. Ignore the casters; the vehicle came with none of its original wheels. Everything wooden, including the body, had been eaten by the ants in the outback. It has three-quarter elliptic springs with the correct date of 1911 on them. There is no prop shaft. The shaft you can see is to take the reverse torque from the back axle. The diff ratio is 80/14 so, working through the ratios/wheel size/max engine revs (1200) I worked out that the top speed is 20mph. Given that cars on this chassis had diff ratios more like 64/14 I think I may have a commercial vehicle here. This brings me on to the question of what sort of body should I build. I would like to put something like an ambulance or pickup body on it as a wartime vehicle however I am having difficulty in finding pictures of WWI trucks. Any ideas? The second picture shows the gearbox (3 speed and reverse all working and dated 1911) plus transmission brake. The steering column is raked at the sporty angle option so may be a marriage as the antiques trade would describe it. The under-tray is causing me some problems. I am told I have all the bits (albeit some are in a parlous state) but I have yet to see how they all go together. The only bits of body I have are the two rusty brackets for the driver's floor and toe boards. I do have the bonnet however. The third picture shows the front end. Do not be fooled by the wheels, they have the wrong bolt spacing for my hubs. They are however snap ring wheels such as one might have found on a commercial vehicle. Also shown is the rebuilt engine with its splendid exhaust manifold. Sorry to hijack your most entertaining thread. Alastair
  5. It was on my 1910 Renault manifold that Andy kindly cut the new thread for me. What he did not mention was that he also made a new union to fit as well. Thanks Andy Alastair
  6. Things are going to move slowly on this project for a while as the upholsterer for my 1934 Riley Lynx has given me the hurry up. The problem is that I am only part way through building the new wooden body frame (the car had nothing rearwards of the front doors) and this is a job that is proving to be almost beyond me. However, with the kind help of Mike Smith I had the makings of the gaskets for the valve caps. All I needed to do was solder the four together, turn the inside and outside diameters to the correct values, unsolder them and fit them. Note to self: do not wear shorts when you sweep the surplus molten solder off with a rag as it inevitably lands on your thighs. I then decided to clear the bench of the Renault engine so I dug my way through the undergrowth and de-cocooned the chassis. I dragged it into the garage using various blocks and tackles, into the garage. I dropped the engine in OK. I will post a picture when I have removed a ton of tut that is still residing on the chassis. Work in progress includes making a new fan. On this model it comprised a spun metal band to fit the profile of the flywheel to which are rivetted 24 pressed steel blades. I have had the band spun and the blades are being laser cut. A year or so later the problem was greater as the fan was cast aluminium. In both cases the fan suffers greatly unless great care is taken the chock the engine once it is taken out of the chassis.
  7. Actually the seals are for the four core plugs at the tops pf the bores and are 25mm I/D. These core plugs sit in the water jacket and each one provides a fixing to hold the top water manifold down. The other seals (that Mike Smith kindly supplied) are for the caps over the side valves. They are 66mm I/D and the spark plugs are in the centres of these caps. I am very impressed with your concrete mixing efforts. I have never mixed 5 tons of anything but maybe some of my colleagues in the defence electronics business may have said that some of my work reminded them of 5 tons of something. I am a bit overawed by the link you gave. the standard of the workmanship is awesome. Mine will never be up to that standard so do not look too closely.
  8. I have now solved the problem of the gaskets for the core plugs at the top of the cylinders. I went to Newcomb's, a well known motor bike shop in Chelmsford, and they supplied me with asbestos based gaskets, which fir beautifully. In the course of conversation they told me that they used to make motor bikes, were still in the family and the oldest one they could show me in a picture was dated 1903. So I know of two motor industry concerns in Chelmsford, them and Clarkson's who made steam busses.
  9. The perils of typing while trying not to disturb others watching television are that you can miss words out. When I said that my brother owned two examples of the marque, I should have added "Autovia".
  10. Tony, I like your suggestion of stove string. My brother, who owns two examples of the marque, let me have some spare exhaust gaskets. The hole is just too big (but would probably do) so I may take up the gap with stove string or paste. There is no timing mark visible when the engine is assembled so I took the oportunity of marking the front face of the fly wheel while I had the chance. For the bigger gaskets, Mike Smith kindly sent me some copper gaskets that will do the job. This week's exercise is to find a metal spinner to help in the making of the new fan. Pictures to follow.
  11. Tony. I buttoned the timing case together without photographing the timing marks. The crank shaft gear is steel and is keyed on and then a taper pin is fitted through both parts. Unusually, the taper pin has provision for a split pin at the narrow end. Maybe Renault had problems mating the tapers of the holes to the pins so added the belt to the braces. The cam shaft gear is made of brass. The crank gear has a scratched mark between two of the teeth and the cam gear has a center pop on one of the teeth. Lacking any other marks, and not having made any myself when I took the engine apart, I used these to time the cam shaft. The result is credible but I will check with a dial gauge when I have fitted the valves. I must go back to the Peerless thread to remind myself of who supplies springs. President Kennedy famously said, "We are going to the Moon not because it is easy but because it is hard". In other words for the challenge. I think that this sums up our hobby quite well. We take a vehicle which is clearly beyond economic repair (or worse) and set about repairing it for the challenge. For example, having made new stainless steel studs for the places where the studs pass through the water jacket, I was missing the nut for the cold water inlet elbow. Presumably this was lost when the stud rusted through. The three nuts on the top of the engine are of a particular shape and style so, rather than use any old domed nut, I spent most of a day (I am a very slow worker) making a replica. I'm pleased with the result. I did not have much time for the Renault today as I had to make a new top for a barrel (I won't explain why). However, I did have time to ponder on the caps over the valves where the spark plugs go (I do not know what these are called). I am going to have a problem here. Each of them is supposed to have a copper/asbestos ring gasket and I do not have a clue where to get such a thing. The ID of these rings is 66mm and they are about 2mm wide. It occurred to me that an old head gasket off a car that has a bore of 66mm could be carefully cut up to provide said rings. I will try googling likely cars instead. As to feet on my engine stand - do not tempt me. It is just the sort of thing I would get up to but make them all Left feet!
  12. Thanks for the support, Tony. Yesterday I did a number of small jobs (more broken studs etc.) and one major one. With the help of my brother Peter and a chain hoist, we dropped the cylinder block down and inserted the pistons. I have left it an inch up as I want to spend some time checking that the mating surfaces between it and the top deck of the crank case are still spotless. Right at the beginning I confessed that I had never worked on an engine of this type (cylinder block+crank case+sump) before. I now know that it would have been much easier if I had built it upside down. Firstly the top surface of the cylinder block is flat so the whole would have been steady (see my cunning engine stand in the picture below). Secondly, having attached the pistons to the con rods, each piston could be inserted into its bore easily. Then the crank case would be dropped on top, the crank shaft inserted and the sump attached. It is true that the engine is best turned over to sort the valves out.
  13. The fence is progressing well but yesterday had a number of rain squalls. I took this as nature's way of saying I should work on the Renault engine. I found the correct grey colour and have been painting the cylinder block and other bits and pieces. I decided that it was time to fit the pistons. You will see in the picture below that the rings are very wide by today's standards. I was missing a ring from each of two pistons so have had to fit double narrow rings in place of the wide ones. the pistons otherwise are unusual (to me) in that the gudgeon pin is held on place by two tapered bolts into slots. I suspect that there may be a bit more to it as there are vestiges of a thread on the narrow end of the taper. These are in a poor condition. This must mean that the bolts are machined to fit a particular piston but when they get swapped around the narrow thread at the end gets mashed. In my case I think there has been a lot of swapping around as I noticed that the gudgeon pins are stamped with the piston number in some cases but are no longer in those pistons. The result is that the bolts do not all go home by the same amount. For safety the bolts are cross drilled at their heads to take a split pin the head of which stops the bolt from turning. One piston caused me some problems. The gudgeon pin had been hit rather hard on one end which had slightly belled the end. the result was that it would neither come fully out nor would it have been possible to fit the conrod and slide the gudgeon pin into the opposite boss. The only way I could dress the end was to hold the gudgeon pin in the lathe chuck and, after selecting slow speed and holding the piston in my left hand, I was able to dress the pin with a stone. I really do dislike getting carburundum anywhere near the lathe or a piston for that matter but since the gudgeon pin is so hard I would never have been able to rectify matters using a file. Now all four pistons are fitted to their con rods I just have to fit the split pins to the bolts. I can see that I will need to have a neck like an anglepoise lamp to see what I am doing. Maybe the pistons should have been fitted to the rods long before any assembly of the engine was attempted.
  14. David, Here is a picture of the top deck of the crank case. It shows the eight cam followers I was trying to describe earlier. Between the two sets of four can be seen the top hat bearing for the oil pump drive shaft. To the right, the brass tube is a sight glass in which an indicator could be seen (if I had taken the picture from a favourable angle). This is a brass ball on top of a rod which emerges from the sump. The rod is attached to one end of a bar that pivots at the other side of the sump and has a float in the middle. Thus the indicator gives the level of the oil in the sump. I do not believe this feature was continued for long. The only work I have done since my last post is to prime the cylinder block with Bondaprime. The original colour was a dark grey. I will try to copy this but acknowledge that it will not look as nice as the black or red paints more often used in restorations. Meanwhile, putting up a new fence has unfortunately come to the top of the to-do list. Alastair
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