Union Jack

Restoration of My 1967 AH Sprite MK4

Chapter III -- Begin Assembly

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Note: Each photo below can be clicked for a larger view

Fuel pump bracket Pump mounted After painting the bottom and interior, I still wanted to do some of the other work related to the under side before taking it off the rotisserie. The suspension parts are really too heavy to deal with that way but I could install a few of the lighter components. The first was the brake pipe to the rear; it was run through the tunnel to a bracket on the back bulkhead where it attaches to the rear axle hose. Next was the fuel line from the pump at the back to the engine bay where a hose connects it to the carburetors. Last was the fuel pump. There are two permanent studs provided to mount a bracket for the pump, one in the bulkhead and one in the floor over the axle. We never found that bracket though so I made one from some scrap steel. We Lines run from rear also didn't find a pump so I bought a Facet and mounted it. This is the bracket and bracket and pump mounted. The third photo shows the routing of the fuel and brake lines and the hand brake cable. The cable attaches to a cleat on the body where it exits the tunnel where a nut tightens it down. It is not possible to get a wrench on that nut inside the tunnel. The only way we found to tighten it is to jamb the nut with a screw driver or some other wedge then tighten the cable against it. This still does not work very well because you can't really get a wrench on the cable all that securely either.

With those done, we took it off the rotisserie and set it on jack stands to begin assembly. The first thing was to install the wiring harness. I also temporarily mounted the tail lights and backup lights to test everything in place. While I was prepping and painting, Dan had gone through the existing harness and, with a little help from me, made any corrections necessary. Fortunately I had a fair sample of wires left over from the Prefect wiring project and was able to match the Lucas color coding. The old braided cover was pretty much shot so he finally wrapped the entire harness in black, non-sticky vinyl tape. It is not strictly correct for this car but apparently was a factory feature in later cars. Well we will just live with that to save a few hundred dollars.

Front suspension Front suspension Next was the suspension and brakes. I found a complete major overhaul kit for the front among the boxes of parts so that saved a few dollars. Mike Glass, our local professional, checked the existing bushings against the new king pins and declared them "all right" which saved a bunch more. The bushings have to be pressed into the spindles then line reamed to fit the king pin. The reamer to accomplish that is $1000 and no local shop has one. The whole mess has to be sent off to be done. I bought new rotors and kits for the calipers. The hub ball bearings also seemed good so we serviced them and reassembled the front suspension. These photos show two views of the offside finished and ready for its wheel. There was one setback discovered here. When trying to mount the rotors to the back of the hubs, the two machined surfaces did not meet flat, resulting in rocking between the two. The DPO got us here again. He had removed the wheel studs from the hub and replaced them with ordinary bolts (I wondered why at the time) which do not have the necessary splined mating surface so he welded them in place. Not only the welds, but the bolt heads stood proud of the mating surface. I had to cut the welds away and replace the bolts with proper studs. The mating splines in one of the eight holes turned out to be too loose to hold the stud so I did have to tack weld that one in place. Maybe that's why he replaced it, but why all eight? Finally, I rebuilt the calipers and painted them red, not the correct color, I know. During installation, I discovered that I have two left calipers and no right. According to Mike, that will make the right side impossible to bleed and Lower control arm Installing the spring I suspect he is right. Before buying another, I will try removing it and holding it upside down to bleed. If that doesn't work then I guess caliper replacement is the next option. I'm not sure whether it is advisable to replace only one or should it be done in pairs.

I should point out one really handy feature on these cars. The front springs can easily be installed with no weight in the car and no spring compressor. This photo shows the bare lower control arm in place. The large hole in its center is larger than the spring's diameter so the spring can be inserted through it and located at the top. Then there is a pan that fits the spring from below and bolts to the four holes around the large one. You just need four suitably sized bolts, 4 inches long and threaded all the way. Actually, the Haynes manual only specifies two but we liked four. Insert them through the pan then the arm with the spring between and tighten them up, keeping approximately even force on each. When it reaches the end, replace them, one at a time, with proper length bolts. The other photo is of Dan finishing the first spring.

Correct assembly Handbrake equalizer On the rear, I wanted to at least service and replace seals on the hubs as well as overhaul the brakes. New wheel cylinders are almost as cheap as kits. One of the drums took a lot of effort to remove but both eventually looked good enough to use and we found a nearly new set of shoes among the parts. We found that the DPO had assembled the brake return springs wrong and just omitted the handbrake mechanism entirely. I understand. Assembling these things is a bit fiddly at best. Both adjusters were rusted in place and one even required the "oxy-acetylene wrench" to remove it. Some time on the wire wheel rendered both as good as new, however. Dan installed the springs and shocks and we mounted the axle. Attaching the rebound straps was another matter. It required the weight of both of us on the back end and a third set of hands to get them attached. These photos show a properly assembled rear brake system and the hand brake equalizer. Note the brake pipes are not installed yet.

Revised pump bracket Pump relocated While installing the offside shock, we noticed that its arm would interfere with the fuel pump outlet in its upward travel. I had to modify the pump mount to compensate. Later, when installing the rear brake hose, we discovered that it would interfere with the relocated fuel pump inlet with the required filter in place. I had to change New filter to a different style filter which, of course, required a whole new method of mounting it and another modification of the pump bracket. These photos show the extension added to the pump bracket and the pump installed on the modified mount to clear the shock arm. The last one shows the final installation with the offset filter in its new bracket to clear the brake hose.

The only thing left at the rear after that was the fuel tank. We noticed it had a small fiberglass patch already when we cleaned it up. I found another hole that the DPO had tried to plug with a sheet metal screw. Dan glassed that for me too. I then put a gallon of white vinegar in it and let it set for a week to clean the inside and treat what appeared to be a little "surface rust". That did its job fairly well but it also opened a couple more small leaks and showed some other suspicious spots. Therefore, we determined to fiberglass the whole bottom. I will replace the tank someday if I have to. We removed the rear bumper brackets that were used to attach to the rotisserie, installed the tank and the rear. After Dan adjusted the rear brakes and the hand brake cable, the underside was finished.

Rear brake pipe Master brake pipe While Dan was doing much of the other work, I wasted a lot of time sorting out and fitting the remaining brake lines (this seems awfully slow work) and mounting some of the other under-bonnet parts, the heater box, the solenoid, the control box, the flasher unit, the fuse box, etc. The left photo shows the brake pipe from the union to the rear. I really don't understand now why it seemed to take me so long to shape and install although there are two retainer clips inside the tunnel as well as the one shown on the foot well bulkhead. The other photo is the line from the master cylinder to the union. Notice how it runs up to the top of the bulkhead then over and down to the union. This is how the factory did it but the line I had to start with was not shaped that way at all.

I had made a couple of attempts at getting the wiper motor to run without success. Continuity and impedance seemed all right but it just would not go. Yesterday, I tore it down one more time, thinking maybe something was binding. All seemed to be good except for the brushes. They were somewhat worn and possibly dirty. I cleaned and polished them, reassembled the motor and it ran. The park function also worked. This is a single-speed DR3A which is no longer available new so making it work was a priority. I have a mounting kit for it and, as soon as I can figure out how to get it assembled, I will install the wiper motor. The rest of the wiper system will probably wait until after painting.

Wheels mounted Wheels mounted I am a little concerned about the rear springs. It took both of us (about 400 pounds) sitting on the back of the body and a third set of hands to install the rebound straps. I have read on British Car Forum of new rear springs causing the car to set too high. I can't be certain but my springs looked like they could be new. Anyway, we installed the wheels and tires today and, after a couple of suspension details, set it on the ground. At that point it would have been nice to have a steering wheel to make it easier to move around the shop. Unfortunately, none was to be found. See the full steering wheel story here.

About a week later I discovered we had left out a necessary spacer related to the rebound strap installation. Removing and reinstalling barely required the weight of one on the rear. Maybe the springs are relaxing a little. Well, that's about it for this session. I just ordered the Rivergate 5 speed adapter kit with both the speedometer cable and clutch slave cylinder options and it should be here in a week or less. But, that is for the next chapter. Stay tuned or come back soon. Front view