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Lucie: The vehicle

March 2010. Part 2 of 2

A week later I went back round to the garage armed with a new Solex carburettor. Removing the old one and inspecting it, various parts did seem to have a lot of play in them which occasionally resulted in fuel leaking from various parts of the carburettor.  As the new carburettor had a different top, I swapped the tops over along with the bracket that connects to the throttle rod and then refitted the new carburettor.  Once connected I primed the fuel pump and then turned the key and within a couple of turns she fired up.  Whilst adjusting the tick over I then noticed water on the manifold. 

Perplexed how it got there I checked everything all water hoses were tight and they were though a closer inspection it seemed as though the water was coming out of the side of the head.  Watching was the engine was ticking away I noticed water squeezing out through the head gasket.  Unfortunately the nuts on the head are 1/4 whitworth and I do not have any whitworth sized spanners or indeed a torque wrench to see what torque is behind them (last time I was at my brother’s house and we used his tools).  Rather than risk rounding the bolts with a metric spanner I left it alone and logged onto the Internet and ordered a set of whitworth sized spanners and sockets along with a torque wrench.

A week after that it was back round to the garage again for the third week in a row, I checked all the buts on the head and they had the right torque - 25lbs.  As I was doing this Geoff arrived and he checked them and we decided the best thing to do was start again.  So the carburettor and dynamo can back off and the head soon followed.  This time it was a lot easier and just lifted straight off.

Inspecting the head it did not appear to be warped but looking at the head gasket it seemed to have a slight ripple in it and indeed the central layer of it was water logged.  Looking at a close up of the photo that shows the leak, you can see that the head gasket has not compressed evenly despite the correct torque on the head nuts.  Luckily I had another spare head gasket and so we cleaned everything up again and fitted a new one.  Again everything was rebuilt and re-torqued and with the carburettor back on we started her up again.  This time there were no leaks and the throttle seems very responsive with no flat spots.  With the dynamo still off, I took the van for a little spin round the car park and all seemed fine so we refitted the dynamo and got everything fastened down.

I then took her for a longer spin and she kangarooed a couple of times as she was cold so I gave her a bit of choke and she was then then and ran great around the car parks.  Geoff then got in an with a heavier foot took off and its the first time I have heard her from the outside with a new exhaust and the exhaust note has changed quite a bit.  The sound is slightly louder (though the pipe is a bigger bore and is a Standard Reliant pipe rather than the copper tubing used before) and it sounds, dare I say it, slightly more sportier.  

From Geoff’s quick drive he seemed to also think she had a bit more power and was definitely more responsive.  Cleaning the car out and screwing the centre tunnel back into place inside the car she is now ready for the MOT.  Chances are that will be in April now though it does not actually run out until April 20th.

As for March though it has a good checklist:

  • New Core Plug - leak fixed.
  • New Chest cover gasket - leak fixed.
  • New exhaust.
  • New spark plugs
  • New carburettor
  • New head gasket.

Lucie was also on TV again in March though this time for folks in Canada as on the 19th March the SCM channel showed episode 87 of The Royal that features Lucie.  Still no news as to when this episode will be shown in the UK though.

Elvis Payne.

March 2010

Go to April 2010

New carburettor in place.

Leak from the headgasket

When magnified parts of the head gasket do not appear to be compressed.

Geoff having a test drive in Lucie.


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