I am astounded at the length of time it has been since the last post (again), however, the blog did seem to be turning into a ‘look what’s gone wrong now’ type thing, which although is part & parcel of owning a 43 year old car, it just seemed a bit of a downer.
So this post will be the ‘downer’ post, and the next few at least will be about the good times we have!
Perhaps I will start with a little picture…
That would be Martha without an engine.
Yes, on 24th September 2011, Martha pegged it. As yet, we aren’t sure of the (many) causes of the break down, but it was a MAJOR breakdown – un-drivable, new engine required breakdown. Just in case you wondered, the old engine is the one on the hoist.
I managed to acquire a refurbished engine from a local fella (known only as ‘The Engine Man’), and on 14th October, my lovely friend Matt Tomkins travelled up from Oxford to help me put the new engine in.
Matt worked so hard all weekend, the poor lad, and I did what women are best at, I scrubbed the engine bay, and painted it a lovely gloss black with Hammerite (it prevents rust, don’t you know).
As well as the engine being buggered (to put it politely!), the majority of the fittings had to be replaced too, so it ended up being rather expensive as you can imagine! Having just started university, it was important that Martha was back on the road as soon as we could manage so I could actually make it there! It was touch & go as to whether it would happen or not…! Being a 43 year old lady, as happens to us all, a lot of bits had siezed up on the poor old girl, making things take a little longer than they probably should have done!
After going on for 24 hours worth of work, the new engine was finally in!
Thank goodness! It was a hard weekend, I did my back in and could barely walk on the Monday, but I’ll tell you what, it was worth it to have the beast back on the road!
Matt, you’re my hero! xxx
Sunday mornings are generally the time when I like to go & have a tinker with Martha, I get little chance the rest of the time.
This morning, as is usual or a Sunday, I was awake before 8am (seriously, it’s a Sunday, why can I not have a lie in? Why does my body hate me so???!!!), so I decided I’d go down & take the bonnet flash & bonnet lift handle off so I caould give them a good clean, pain the bits that needed painting, and wack them back on again. No problem, easy little job!
So off they came, in pretty good nick really, not rusty, but very dull, and the handle is quite badly pitted, but a polish would make them nice enough until I get new ones!
So off I went to put them back on, this is where the trouble started! Putting the bonnet lift handle back on, the screw shirred off, and so won’t stay put! The screws on the flash wouldn’t tighten properly either, so that was flopping about a bit, but at least it was on.
After a particularly terrifying drive yesterday, where the gear shift kept sticking in between 2nd & 3rd, I decided I would definately have to check the gear box oil. I have been meaning to do it since I got her, but never got around to it!
Unfortnately the tool I had wouldn’t fit in the little hole properly to get the screw out, so a trip to Maplin was on order to buy a socket set!
Happy days, £4.99 spent, and the largest socket was not big enough to fit in.
So I still haven’t been able to top up the oil in the gearbox.
When I was out, I also noticed that a bit of metal was coming off the side of the bonnet, and when I was driving along, the glove box surround at the drivers side came off. Crazy day!
However, I did have a bit of a clean up in the engine bay, and the sump now looks very clean, and I even found a bit of metal underneath a lot of grime.
I polished the bumper too, but then found the boot won’t lock.
Ce’st la vie, and all part & parcel of owning a classic car. So if anyone has a spare boot catch, lock handle & bonnet lift handle lying around, you know what to do…I have cake…