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Long lost 'family'

December 2017

As Christmas is a time for families to get together here is a list of George's family...well all known previous owners...nine including me.

You may also want to wish him a Happy Birthday...on the 22nd December..he will be 58 years old!



Boys Toys!

26 November 2017

Here are a few new pictures of my model J/JB Type vans, one hundred in total. The larger ones are 1:43 & 1:50 scale and the smaller ones are 1:76 scale. New ones are difficult to come by or very expensive right now.
Just two Austin 101 vans amongst them! Can you spot them?
If you have photos of others I will be happy to add them.

On a slightly different subject I am after a Morris grill so I can give my full size Austin 101 a dual identity. I know I have approached some of you out there already but if you have a grill and/or a Morris/Morris Commercial grill badge you are willing to part with please get in touch. Thanks
Email address is ''

All 1:76

Axle Pinion Oil Seal Replacement.

Nov 13th 2017
Just a note, in case it helps others, on replacing the axle pinion oil seal.

Only done a few short trips, to gain confidence in the van's reliability and to help me get to grips with it, when I realised that oil was seeping from the back axle quite quickly, seemed to be dripping from the drain plug. Upon closer inspection it was getting past the pinion seal and dripping off the drain plug.

So back in the garage.

To replace the rear axle pinion oil seal. (My version)

1. Without jacking the van up, undo the 4 nuts holding the prop shaft universal to the axle flange and remove the bolts. Roll the van a few feet to turn the axle to get at all of the 4 nuts.

2. Slide the prop shaft  a little towards the gearbox sufficient to separate the joint and drop the rear of the prop shaft to the ground. (I removed the prop shaft from the gearbox also as I wanted to inspect the universal joints but there is no need to do this if just changing the pinion seal. If you do remove the prop shaft prepare to catch lots of gearbox oil, or drain the gearbox first.

3. Mark the position of shaft to flange with a centre pop on each and mark the position of the nut to flange with paint..

4. Undo the pinion nut and remove it and the washer. I used 2 spare bolts in the flange holes and a bar extension in contact with the garage floor to prevent the flange from turning. Needed an extending car jack handle on socket to effect release and all my 70+ years of muscle!

5. Pull the flange off the pinion shaft to expose the seal. Mine came away by hand force only. 

6. Remove seal from axle casing. I used a large screwdriver to do this.. Seal was very hard and brittle! Don't be surprised if the pinion seems loose at this stage as it sits in a tapered bearing and as this separates the pinion is very sloppy!

7. Get a new seal. Got mine from  'oilsealman' on ebay. Seal number NA319 C520. This is 2.75 inch OD and suits 1.50 inch shaft. It has a metal outer casing on one half.

8  Fit the new oil seal. Tapped mine in with a nylon mallet until flush and then used a small bolt, hex head against the seal, to tap the seal approximately 3 mm below the flush position. Why? The flanges 1.5 inch diameter shaft sealing surface had about 0.010 inch wear caused by the old seal so by positioning the new seal differently I am hoping it will contact an unmarked part of the shaft. 

9. Re-assembled everything and topped up back axle oil.

Flange showing wear.

Seal removed exposing tapered bearing

New seal installed

Position of brace -nut tightening position

Seal NA319 C520

  • Austin A90, A95, A105 Westminster (1956-59)
  • Austin A99, A110 Mk1, 2 Westminster (1959 on)
  • Austin Princess Mk1, 2 (1960-64)
  • Morris Six, Series MS (1949-54)
  • Morris Isis Series I, II (1955-58)
  • Morris Series J Van (1948-57)
  • BMC JU Van
  • OD = 2.754 in
  • ID = 1.5 in
  • Width = 0.375 in

British Railways -JB Type van -1959

5th November 2017
That's all for a while.....see you out and about at next year's shows!

6 years..5 months..14 days later

25th Oct 2017...And finally! BR logos added

J-Type 'Review'...

October 2017

Received a copy of J-Type 'Review' magazine, number 45, just the other day and was pleasantly surprised to see my van had got a mention along with another recently restored Austin 101 van.
See for more about the Morris J, JB & Austin 101 vans.

I name this van...George

Oct 2017

In remembrance of my late father whose engineering tools I have used on a frequent basis during this restoration I always referred to my van as 'George'

Now I have gone and made it official. May not be part of any original livery but I think it suits.

A tale of two leaks.

Sept 2017

Leak 1 -Sump gasket
Decided to try and stop oil seeping from the sump gasket to engine joint. No big leaks just 
the odd annoying drop now and again. Also keen to see the state inside the sump.

So drained the oil from the sump and removed the 19 bolts holding it in place. Needed a slim 7/16 A/F socket, long extension bar, (250 mm used) and ratchet socket tool to make the task easier. All came off okay, Also decided to remove the oil strainer cover to inspect and clean it.

Upon inspection part of the cover mesh had disappeared. 
Searched for a replacement oil strainer cover but failed to find one.
Anyone know where I can get a replacement?
As a fix I removed any loose bits of mess wire and filled the hole with a piece of zinc mesh, the sort you get with a fibre-glass kit. Epoxy glued this in place all round. Seemed to do the trick...only time will tell.

Cleaned the sticky mess from inside the sump, fitted a sump new gasket with non setting gasket sealer and put all back together .
Not sure if the effort was worth it but at least the oil is staying much cleaner and no drips yet!

Leak 2 - Steering Box
Again steering box was always showing signs of leaking oil.

  • Drained steering box of what appeared to be a very small mixture of oil and grease and added the correct amount of EP 90 oil. Great job! 
  • However a very little time later oil appeared to be dripping from the bottom cover plate. So I drained the box, removed 3 of the 4 bottom cover bolts ( the 4th could only be loosened as it hits the chassis) cleaned the joint and smeared non setting sealer all around. Re tightened all bolts and refilled the box with oil. Another great job done!

Well no! ...As before a lot of oil appeared quite quickly!

  • Upon deeper investigation the oil was leaking past the felt seal on the main steering shaft.

So should I replace the oil with grease or look to replace the felt seal? Could the seal be replaced without taking the steering box off the van?

By chance I had a spare steering box so took this apart to look to use the felt seal from that. However that felt seal had a hole about 2 mm bigger than the shaft, so was unlikely to be of any use.
Decided to try and replace the felt seal with a modern rubber seal. Measured shaft and housing of spare box and ordered a 36 mm OD x 27 mm ID x 6 mm oil seal off E-bay for £3.15.
While waiting for the seal started to dismantle parts to get the old felt seal out. 

  • Jacked up front of van and put on axle stands,removed offside road wheel and then separated ball joint at opposite end of drag link to the drop arm ( difficult to get the ball joint splitter in at drop arm ball joint), removed split pin, nut and bolt from drop arm. (need to remove bolt completely as it sits in steering shaft groove)
  • Drop arm was difficult to remove from splined shaft....unable to get any form of puller in place. Eventually eased off drop arm from shaft using a small crowbar. (remembering to mark drop arm to shaft position before removal)
  • Used large mole grips to free spacer piece and picked out felt seal with a sharp pointed tool.

The felt seal was in a bad state and had completely separated.

When oil seal arrived it was a perfect fit on the shaft but not quite a tight enough fit in the housing. So wound a couple of turns of PTFE plumbers tape around the outside to fix this.

( After ordering the seal I found an article in the J-Review, Spring 2002, of the same fix but using a 27 x 37 x 7 mm oil seal)

Inserted the new seal using a thin tube wrapped with masking tape to push against the seal face. Then put it all back together. Did not need to modify spacer.

Did it work?   Not sure!  

Why? As a plan B I was looking at changing from oil to grease.
Along the way I came across:-

Penrite Steering Box Lube
It is an extreme pressure, NLG100, Lithium based grease, blended with effective anti-wear, rust and oxidation inhibitors. It is a high viscosity, self levelling grease that features non -corrosive extreme pressure (EP ) additives to provide enhanced film strength protection. protection.
So this seemed a good replacement for EP90 oil.

Ordered some and used this in place of oil after fitting the rubber oil seal. It has the consistency of syrup. 

So far no leaks -but like all wise experiments you should only change one thing at a time!

Item 32 was the leaking felt seal.

PS will see if I can get a 27 x 37 x 6 seal and see if it is a better fit in my spare box.

October 2nd 2017
PPS Only managed to get a 27 x 37 x 7 seal for comparison.
Did a trial fit of seals to my spare steering box parts.

Both seals, 27 x 37 x 7 &  27 x 36 x 6 were a a good fit on the shaft.
When fitted to the shaft the 27 x 37 seal had an outside diameter of 1.4605 inches, and the 27 x 36 seal had an outside diameter of 1.4225 inches.
The seal housing measured 1.4325 inches.

Thus the 27 x 37 seal was 0.0280 inches larger than the housing.
The 27 x 36 seal was 0.010 inches smaller than the housing.

I personally feel it is easier to make the smaller seal (27 x 36) fit by adding PTFE tape than trying to reduce the 27 x 37 seal by grinding away the outer diameter. Also the extra thickness (7mm) of the 27 x 37 seal may prevent the Distance Piece from seating correctly.

Hope this helps.

Near final photos

August 2017

While the weather has been good here are a few more photos of my van.

More Messing about.....

August 2017

Still got to get the British Railways signage for sides, front and back sorted but due to holidays have not found time to drive van to factory unit to them sorted. Also had to fix radiator weep and release stuck distributor to fix timing issue.

However have now done a whole 2 miles on the road! That's a lot of £££'s spent per mile!

Since last post have fitted mud flaps, two front and two rear. See pics below. Used 18 x 12 inch mudflaps cut in half to make two 12 x 9 inch ones, rounded corners and fixed inside wheel arches with nuts and bolts. Filled any small gaps on inside with under body sealer to finish off. They are very shiny! They came that way.

Also was not happy with view from wing mirrors so made some new arms to give a wider and hopefully better view to the rear. While this did make an improvement I was still not convinced I would quickly spot all of the many vehicles that were likely to pass me out on the road. Particularly difficult to get a good view from offside mirror.

So...bought a rear view/reversing  camera and 7 inch monitor, (less than £30 from Ebay). Set this up to give a constant rear view when switched on.
Mounted camera inside chassis channel and made a hinged door to hide it away when not in use.
Monitor sits on drivers tray, held in place by strong magnets, and can be fully unplugged and hidden away when not in use. Whole system is turned on by switch mounted on front edge of tray. This feeds power to monitor and camera. 
Whole thing a bit James Bond like for a 1959 van! Is that what Type JB means?
But hopefully ultimately useful.  See pics below.

Mud flaps

Wing mirror arms



Rear view camera
With door closed and open (door moved manually)

View showing camera position on RHS. blanking plate added to LHS to match appearance when camera door closed.


 Monitor does not restrict forward view from driver's seat

Beware...slow moving vehicle ahead!

16 July 2017

Insured, taxed and ready to take to the road!

About to take the plunge and drive on the local beware any Redditch drivers for a slow moving van!

Have added lettering, both sides...just need British Railways totems on cream sides,back and front  to complete. Hope to get these sourced soon.

Looking to add mud flaps all round also.

For now van looks like this:-

Interior Reveal....

30 June 2017

Some photos of the interior....very little more to do here, just the odd tidy up.
As always the photos make it look slightly better than it is in real life..but I am happy with it.

In the rear have added lockable toolbox/seats built over the existing wheel arches.
Gear lever boot is off MGB..

The Great Reveal...well almost

23 June 2017

Drove 'George' out of the garage for the first time in ages and took a 'few' photos.
Just need to get paperwork in order, insurance, tax & MOT exemptions and then it's off to have some British Railways decals applied.