The first of my diary / waffle months. I'm not sure how well this will go, how often I will get to keep it up to date, if I'll get up to enough to warrant it this winter or even if I'll remember to take pictures of things I do get up to. I'll try it for a while and see how it goes.

Tuesday 18th - Thursday 20th - Quick-Shift Modification - Jason's Engine

Having carried out Dave Andrews excellent gear lever modification on my car last winter, I offered to do the same to Jason's while he was away. It is very straightforward, once you know how hard to hit it. Basically you rest the ball joint on the vice, give the top of the lever a few hard blows so that it moves through the ball by 8mm. Fill in the void under the stick that is created with some car body filler and then find some suitable spacers to lift the whole assembly back up by the 8mm. I have used 3 M8 nuts, drilled out for clearance and 1 normal M8 washer. I also found that using some silicone sealant in each corner helps to hold the spacers in place during assembly. A bead along each edge also adds a bit of a seal from dirt/grime. This mod effectively keeps the position of the gearknob in the same place, but the pivot point is raised, so for a given amount of gearknob movement, more movement occurs at the gearbox end - therefore it follows that less gearknob movement is required to change gear. Which is cool.


Thursday 13th - Friday 14th - Jason's Engine Out - Jason's Engine

With Jason's engine making some rather unhappy noises something had to be done to keep our local everyday-se7en-driving-nutter in the right car. Although he briefly entertained a few interesting options, (see here), from selling and buying a Blackbird to swapping to an offered 206bhp 1.8K.
In the end both of these were deemed a little unproven for everyday use and a swap to a 1.8, possibly breathed-on, would suit better. At the same time a close ratio gearbox would improve things further.
With just a couple of days before Jason was away on business we could take the opportunity and have the 'box modified and save time later. Unfortunately by the time we decided to go for it, whilst sitting in the pub on Wednesday 13th, we had just two evenings before Jason would be busy picking up his new engine. Couple this with Jason's forced reliance on public transport and we couldn't start until 8.30pm each evening.
Ordinarily ripping and engine out of a 7 is a pretty quick and straightforward procedure. Although I have not timed it, I don't think mine takes me more than a couple of hours. But, as is always the way with Jason's car, things don't go to plan. We had various problems, mainly getting off the exhaust and removing the drivers seat. The first evening was called to halt at 1am with both of us having work the following (same) day. I got about 5hrs kip and was thankful of a quiet day. The second evening went better, with the exhaust finally releasing it's hold and I managed to hacksaw through the drivers seat bolt that was refusing to undo. So eventually at 1 minute to midnight on the Friday night the engine was out. After another short struggle we split the bellhousing from the block and then the gearbox from the bellhousing. Job done, the gearbox was ready to be dropped off to BHG on Sunday morning. I left at 1.30am and unfortunately had to get up early again to attend the L7CGB A.O meeting with Steve - I must look into my method of planning!
All in all, it was a good experience. I've not lifted a K before, and I think it is a more complicated installation, with more cabling and a terrible water system that never seems to finish draining down. I guess putting the new one in will be just as much fun - bring it on!

 
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