August 4th

A nice clean headHaving got back from the family holiday, we went up to Burwell to get the heads back that I ahd deposited there just before we went away. I asked the chaps at Cambridge Rebores to replace the valve guides for the new ones bought from Real Steel, replace the valve seats and grind in the new valves.

Everything looked great when I got them back, wonderfully clean and with very nice fitting valves and three-angle seats.

So, I took the valves out again, storing them in a piece of cardboard so I don't forget which one is which, and set about the first head with some grinding tools. The idea is to do some minimal modifications (the bulleted guides and waisted stem valves should increas flow anyway) by:

  • Opening out the valve throats to the same size and the valve seats. (Presently, there's a small lip around the valve seat.)
  • Opening out the ports to match the manifolds.
  • Cleaning up any obvious casting flaws inside the ports.

Another viewI went to Mackays and bought the needed tools and set about it. It's a long process but I'll probably get better at it, although I'll need to be careful I don't get carried away and go straight through the head. I'm also going to have to be very careful to clean out all the bits of aluminium after I've finished. It wouldn't be a good idea to get some of it jammed up the valve guides.

At the end of an hour or so, I had managed to clean up one cylinder's worth of the head, meaning there are only seven to go...

August 5th

I spent some time today carrying on grinding various bits of the head. I've just about finished one head now, which means I'm half way through...

August 8th

Finished one of the heads, now I have to clean out all the bits and refit the valves and seals along with the new springs. At least I'm getting quicker at it now.

August 11th

A gearbox in the Rimmer Bros catalogueI received a letter from Dax today, saying that the car was scheduled for build over the two weeks starting on September 4th. This is now less than a month away, which is rather odd after all this time. Of course, there's a sting in the tail in that they want another £500. Still, I posted it off immediately, "with alacrity Col Raeburn"*.

With the impending delivery of the chassis I really am going to have to shift the Westfield, although I'm not clear how. I also need to sort out the gearbox as the chassis has to have the correct mounting welded into it. Hence, I phoned Dave Ellis and asked him what he thought.

His view was that it was much the best thing to do to get a reconditioned SD1 (aka LT77) gearbox. (Available from him of course!) Apparently he gets gearboxes rebuilt by the chap who used to be responsible for gearboxes at Rover. I discussed something with him that I've found confusing. There seems to be some confusion about the oil to use in the LT77 'box. The original Rover suggestion was normla EP90, or something like that. This worked alright but was, not surprisingly, rather baulky when cold. Rover then changed the recommendation to ATF, auto transmission fluid, as that meant the gearbox could be used by little old ladies and the like. This has always seemed odd to me as ATF is, well, not oil really. Dave recommends a rather expensive synthetic oil instead. This is rated as 75W90.

Anyway, after chatting for a while I ordered some stuff from him, specifically:

  • Reconditioned LT77 gearbox
  • Lightened and balanced flywheel
  • Clutch
  • Bell housing
  • Slave cylinder
  • Gearbox oil

*A line from the 1960s TV series, Space Patrol. I was beginning to think that I imagined this as I have never found anyone else who remembered it but I have just discovered that there is a now a video of the entire series and even a couple of web sites: and

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