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Doors & grill painted

Sept 2012
Progress has been very slow, (waiting for body work repairs beyond my current skills), but during a few days of fine weather I did manage to spray prime all the doors and front grill. This was my first attempt at using a spray gun and it all seemed to go very well with good results.
After the first coat I did spot a few minor dents and blemishes which I filled and sanded before re-spraying. Have about 4 coats of primer on to date and all looks blemish free!
Here are a few pics after the first coats.

YMJ 702 reclaimed.

With the help of the Morris Commercial Club 'George' has got a new identity...or rather his old one back!
He is now to be known officially as YMJ 702, his original vehicle registration number.
The process of change turned out to be fairly straight forward taking just under 5 weeks from start to receiving a new V5C.
So many thanks to Nigel Harrison of MCC for his help along the way.
On the downside I wasted quite a few hours restoring the old plates  ' LSV 492' !
If anyone has any information or history on YMJ 702 I would be glad to hear.

More Bits & Pieces

While waiting for body repairs to be carried out I have made a couple more parts.

Wing mirror arms.
Made these from 5 mm steel plate and 10 mm bar. The triangular shape uses and covers existing holes where the previous mirrors were fixed.. When installed the screw holding the arm can be slackened from inside the van, the arm rotated to suit and the screw re tightened.  Will shorten the arms to suit when installing the mirrors later.

Budget locks for door.
Bought locks and made handles from 10 mm bar, bent, filed a square on the end and  tapped a 5 mm thread in the end.

Father's Day

Got a special card from my daughter for Father's Day. I'd recognise me anywhere!

Ragley Hall Car Show...27th May 2012
Popped into this local classic car show. No Austin/Morris J types there. But I did spot a couple of commercial vehicles and a lot of beautifully restored cars including a gathering of Metropolitans.
Here are a few pics of my favourites.

1953 Austin 3- way van

1959 Bedford CA

Bits & Pieces

While waiting for 'George' to go and have some bodywork done I have been working on various bits and pieces.

Removed all the glass from all the windows..cleaned up the good ones and had new toughened replacements made for the rear doors and one front windscreen at the local glaziers. In all quite cheap, costing about £40 for the three.

Removed the sliding door gear both sides, cleaned them up, primed, painted and greased up. Also decided to add some missing ball bearings. Got some new 5/16 ones and managed to easily add them in by bending the holder open, popping in a bearing and bending the holder back with a pair of pincer pliers.

Also removed all the glass runners from the front doors and again cleaned, primed, painted and fitted new felt.

Took quite a while but I have now repaired all the doors and front grill. Had to knocked out and/or fill the many dents. All doors are just waiting to be primed once I have my spray gun up and running.

Managed to buy a new rear door handle of the same pattern as the one fitted...not sure if that was an original though. Had to modify the fixing for the handle as the mounting holes were slightly wider apart. The old fixing holes were no good anyway as the wood had rotted away in the region of the screws. I used two 6 mm Riv-Nuts and washers to make new fixings. See pics below. The raised head of the Riv-nuts sit nicely inside the handle escutcheon.

Finally I got quotes for chrome plating a couple of door handles and the front grill badge. Wow! At anywhere between £100 and £200 for the badge alone I decided to try another method.
I applied some fairly bright  50 mm wide aluminium adhesive backed tape all over the badge front surface. I carefully worked this into the nooks and crannies using the round end of an artists brush. Used one piece for the letters and background and then several pieces for the edges, top and sides, being careful to only join pieces where there is a bend or corner. Don't try this with plastic based shiny tape as it will not deform into the tight corners on the badge. This looked pretty good so I polished with some metal polish and got a decent shine.
Next I added about three coats of signal red enamel to the background, by hand, and finished off with a couple of coats of clear enamel spray paint.
Here are the photos at various stages. As I don't see George being out in the rain too much I think it will do until I find a much cheaper source of chrome plating!
Old paint cleaned off

Aluminium tape applied and polished


March 2012....General Update

Have decided to call my van George, in memory of my dad who passed away just over a year ago.  He left me lots of engineering tools and every time I need some special drill, tap or tool I look in his chests of goodies and there it is! I have thanked him many times for making a difficult job much easier. So its 'George the J-Type' from now on.

Have spent the winter on a number of tasks including having the front brake shoes relined at Villiers Services, Merry Hill, Birmingham. Then  managed to successfully get the hydraulics bled and the brakes working. Also had a local glazier make replacement toughened glass for the front and rear windows.  However the highlight has been getting the engine to run.  Repaired the battery box and bought a new battery.  After initial teething trouble with the starter solenoid not earthing correctly, (cured by running a permanent wired earth) it was all systems go. (See video following.) I did have a large oil leak afterwards but just needed to tighten the oil filter housing a few turns to cure this. Even managed to drive back and forward  6ft...!!
It's the body work next....

Pictures of Models (No not that sort!)

Got a bit bored not being able to get on with work on my 1:1 model so I have added a slideshow of the 82 models I have collected over the years. One are two are self made and a few are classed as Code 3 models. There are both 1:43 and 1:76 scale models. If you have other pictures of different models I would willingly add them in.

Van History for LSV 492/ YMJ 702

I am trying to put together as much information as I can on the background history of my Austin 101 van. There is some confusion as the registration changed, around 1986, from YMJ 702 to LSV 492. If anyone knows why please let me know.
So far I have pieced together the following timeline. ( Refer to map for an idea of location)
A- Manufactured prior to Jan 1960 at Adderley Park, Birmingham.
B- First registered in Bedford, on 27 Jan 1960, to the Eastern Electricity Board. Colour was Green.
Colour changed in 1964 to duo blue.
C- Next registered by Frosts garage on Chesterton road, Cambridge around 1973.
D- October 1986 registered to a Mr Kidd in Cambridge. Colour is now Brown/Beige. Change of address in June 1987 to Cockthorpe Hall, Wells, Norfolk. To date the van still retains the Toy Museum livery and the Cockthorpe Hall address.
E- May 1994 there is a change of ownership to a Mr Johnson at the 'The Old Butchers Bookshop and Gallery, Cley Next the Sea, Holt, Norfolk. 
F- Next change of ownership is in Feb 2000 to a Mr Darling at Langham Hall, Holt, Norfolk.
G- In Sept 2004 ownership passes to a Mr Jinx in Leicester.
H- Then on to a Mr Cocken, at Hessle near Hull in Nov 2009.
I-   Finally ownership passes to me Mike Bell in May 2011. Now located just south of Birmingham.

If anyone can add to the van's history then please get in touch and in particular about the change of registration. 

Rear Shocks

Jan 2012
After a couple of weeks of trying to find some suitable rear shock absorbers I finally came across a local mechanic who did a search of his stock and found a pair of KYB 443020 shocks that have the required length and stroke. ( 11 inches compressed and 17 inches extended, centre to centre ) The only difference is that these have bushes with a metal tube each end. They need 1/2 inch bolts to secure. So out can the top pins and in went the bolts. Needed 3 1/2inch  long at the top and 3 inch at the bottom. Only needed a few minutes to install.
For info KYB 443020 shocks are listed for the rear of a Mk 1 Ford Escort (1968-80). Hope this helps.

Fuel Tank

Jan 2012
Took the plunge and removed the fuel tank for inspection and a clean up. Condition was pretty good with only light surface rust in a few areas. managed to sand down all over, treated the surface rust and applied two coats of black Hammerite and then a coat of underseal to the lower half.

Here are a few pics along the way.