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9 Sports Special. They also referred me to the Singer Owners' Club which my father joined on my behalf. Over the next ten years, with plenty of help from

quote to replace the bottom hose of £40, which I thought very reasonable. The following Saturday morning I set off in search of the workshop, even with a sat nav it proved hard to find, tucked behind a scrap dealer and a lorry park. Steve, the radiator repair man, quickly had the radiator pressurised and submerged in the testing tank. Predictably it leaked like a tea bag. The core was shot and the bottom tank was perforated across numerous surfaces. The estimate leapt fromthe original £40 to close to £600. Having made this investment I needed to crack on. I still didn't feel comfortable about the blown head gasket but figured I either needed to strip the lot down and get it crack tested or put it back together and test it again (and hope for the best). I decided on the latter, yes a poor strategy but I was short of ideas. Next I did what I ought to have done six years

both my parents (my mother was a very competent upholsterer and my father was an engineer), I rebuilt the car. I had a part time job in a car repair workshop which gave me plenty of access to tools and expertise, the car went back together satisfactorily and achieved and MOT in the early 1980s. I used the car on and off over the subsequent

years. In 2004 my son Oscar was born and my use of the car fell to little more than the annual MOT. It was as I prepared for a trip to the MOT test that

I noticed water in the oil, I changed the oil but by the time I had run the round trip for the 2006 MOT the oil was once again badly contaminated. I suspected a blown head gasket,

disappointingly I found nothing obviously amiss with the gasket. It was about this time that our second child, Amy was born and all opportunity to disappear into the garage for a few hours came to a firm stop. Over the next few years I pondered the likelihood that something was cracked and maybe I should strip and crack-test the heavy iron. Last year Oscar reached his 7th year and started showing an interest in the old car and asking why I wouldn't (or couldn’t!) fix it. Over the 2011 Christmas break I was explaining the concept of New Year resolutions and Oscar suggested we make a new year’s resolution to get the 'old car' back on the road. How could I refuse? So we made a list. The cylinder head had to go

removed the head,

earlier and called Dave Hardwick to order a new gasket. Dave's enthusiasm and knowledge is inspiring, as we chatted about the car and its history he asked a very good question "are you sure the head gasket is blown?" "No" I replied, "I couldn't see a fault with it, I am worried something may be cracked", Dave then enlightened me as to a core plug behind the timing gear at the front of the block. The next day Oscar and I (frequently assisted by Amy) stripped the covers and timing gear from the engine to reveal.... absolutely no core plug! It had gone completely, just a rusty hole. I called Dave back with the good news and he dispatched a new core plug to me along with the gasket and the oil seals to fix my back axle problems. The core plug is threaded, given the condition of the hole I was doubtful there would be enough thread left to retain

back on, there were a couple of other nagging issues that had been festering for some time before the car gained its SORN ticket. The bottom hose connection on the radiator was in poor shape and there was an oil leak from the back axle into the off side brake drum. I was still unsure of the reason for the rapid water flow from the radiator to the sump, I looked carefully again at the gasket, the block and the head but nothing was obvious that could account for the volume and speed of water ingress into the sump. I decided to start with the radiator. It came as a bit

the new plug. Dave counselled to give it a try as in most cases a thread can be picked up, in the event it doesn't Dave has a backup plan, an alternative core plug that can be bonded in with araldite. As it turned out the threaded plug went in fine, under Dave's advice, I coated the threads with Wellseal and screwed it in firmly. Thanks Dave! I cut some new paper gaskets for the timing

of a surprise that radiator repair establishments which had been so plentiful last time I needed one had all but disappeared. After a bit of digging on Google and several phone calls I found a workshop on the outskirts of Romford that had the capability and enthusiasmto do the job, I received a telephone

covers and reassembled the front of the engine, then stripped it all down again having dropped a clipping of copper from the front legs of the head gasket down through the chains, removed the clipping and put it but together again. I should add this was all done with the insistent help of Amy and Oscar. Managing the delicate balance of task


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