A Californian drying out in South Africa

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The Nun
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by The Nun » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:15 am

I think I use 13mm 6 sided socket to do that.
Very often now a metric one will fit the more obscure imperial nuts and bolts better than the proper tool especially if its a little worn/corroded and a 6 sided hex socket is better for releasing a tough nut as less likely to round off the corners like a 12 sided will and slip.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by moose » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:22 am

Before blaming the carbs (oops too late) have you checked you have the correct ignition set up, forget all the numbers on the bodies of dizzy etc

What is the max degrees above 4000 rpm ?

If you have been religiously setting timing to the workshop manual setting at idle, vac advance pipe blanked blah blah then you may not be getting enough advance at higher revs.

Regardless of what the weights say and what dizzy you think you have get the engine up to temperature and set up timing light, check timing at idle and note down the figure. Rev engine to 4000 rpm and check timing and write down the figure if for example you have 34 degrees at max advance and at idle you have 10 deg the weights and springs are adding 24 deg advance.

what i would do is rev to 4000 set advance at 34 deg then see what idle timing is at and make a note. If the car is idling ok take it for a drive if you can hear pinking stop and retard timing. If the car pulls cleanly through the rev range beyond where it goes now keep retarding in 2 deg increments until power drops off or it will not pull the revs you want then advance up 2 to 4 deg you will then have max power available for the ignition curve in the dizzy and not have detonation (pinking) now check the idle advance it could well be 8 deg leave it where it is and set idle up on carbs as per normal. You will have now optimised your dizzy. If you have a flat spot it will be the spring rates in dizzy either not allowing enough advance at the correct amount of revs or holding the advance back at certain revs.

Are the points of a suitable quality that you are not suffering points bounce?

Unlikely but are you running out of big powerful sparks at high revs as the coil and condenser cannot charge and discharge fast enough?

It costs nothing to try this ! Let me know how you get on and we can work on any issues from there.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by moose » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:35 am



Do not listen to some on here rev it with no load it will be fine :lol:


seriously do not try this with your engine an unloaded rev up over half max rpm will be ok every now and then but buzzing to the max will not be good for a standard engine.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:27 pm

Moose, Many thanks for the advice on sorting the timing and its advance out.

If I need to check from say 10 to 34 degrees I will need a suitable vernier marking on the crank pulley?

Your Ideas on how to do this please?

Points are Lucas, distributor changed twice, Lucas points and condenser in each dizzy, not the same parts moved to another one.

Same with the distributor cap and NGK leads swop, I have a spare and new set here, I tried those too.

The coil was swopped, in fact I have swopped everything, one by one to try and find a source of error.

Todays image, the white Imp belongs to Eric Wells, I fitted an L4 head for him, plus three weeks of other jobs, one just became another but the Imp parts he has gifted to me go a long way to cover my efforts.

Today I torqued down the new cylinder head gasket, he has run 90 miles on it now, I will advise that he re does it in a few months time?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:02 am

While working on Eric Wells Imp engine yesterday I was able to check out the Dowty washers that I had fitted to the cylinder head oil drain pipe where it connects to the engine block.
I have never used them before, I also thought they were a soft alloy washer but when I purchased some I found they are an electro plated steel.

Some silicone sealant was used on fitting them, I suspect that was not required?

In the past few weeks Eric has driven some 90 miles, the pipe fitting and washers are as I found them, with not a sign of an oil leak :D

Next is to fit them to the oild drain pipe on the Imp Californian?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by 617sqn » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:46 am

Wow ! I'm surprised you've never heard of them before. I was using them back at least in the 70s. I use one on the sump drain plug every time. And, no, you shouldn't need silicone.

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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:53 am

617sqn wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:46 am
Wow ! I'm surprised you've never heard of them before. I was using them back at least in the 70s. I use one on the sump drain plug every time. And, no, you shouldn't need silicone.

Andy G
By the time we get any Hillman Imp over here many things have probably happened to it, the rubber in a Dowty washer has been lost due to say a hard sealant being used before?

Would they have been a standard fitting on the transaxle filler and drain plugs were they standard on the sump pllug, as I have only ever seen a copper washer used in those applications before, a cost inplication exists here i think?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by 617sqn » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:59 am

No, you're misreading what I said. Dowty washers have been around for ages is what I'm saying. Soft copper or aluminium would have been used as standard. Dowty were developed for hydraulics if I remember correctly.

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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:00 am

As I have spare Dowty washers I thought to fit them to my own cylinder head oil drain pipe, the picture shows that while what I have now is not as neat, there is no oil leak.

I would need to drain the engine oil from the engine to fit the dowty washers?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by moose » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:40 am

You need a timing light with a variable dial on it. Connect up to the car and read degrees at idle by turning dial on timing light to make the marks line up.

lets say you have 3 degrees

then set dial on timing light to 28 degree and rev engine to 4 k if the marks line up and the one on the crank does not go past then you have 28 deg all in.

you can then set the idle timing to 6 degrees and you should have 31 deg at 4k

test drive the car and see if it pulls better at top end. you may need to trim your idle speed and mixture for a smooth tickover as you have introduced some more advance.

I would not want to go to 36 degree unless engine is properly modified and on high octane petrol and 36 would be possibly too much for a race engine (depending on spec) 34 degree could be on edge of detonation taking into account petrol quality, condition and spec of engine.

so have a play set the upper limit at 32 deg do not get too hung up on the idle degrees unless it effects the initial pull from the car when setting off so if the book says 3 deg and you find the car runs better at top end at 7 degrees idle and you can adjust mixture and idle speed for a smooth idle then 7 is good despite what the manual says.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:59 am

The use of Dowty washers?

If I were to use them on the sump plug I can also use them on the transaxle filler and drain plugs?

To check the plug dimension I tried ( and failed ) to remove the filler plug on a spare transaxle that I have.

At first I used a short bar extension, no joy, then assisted that with a one pound copper hammer, that did nothing either, so next I extended the short bar extension with a gear shift tube, still nothing.

This shows the extent of abuse that Imps can get here, well anywhere I expect?

How to remove the filler plug and without damage? Jean my wife suggested that I go with the transaxle to our local tyre fitment shop and aske them to use their air hammer tool, a great idea and she came up with a similar suggestion once before when some other nut would not undo :D
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by The Nun » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:05 am

Gearbox and sump plugs originally had copper crush washers, not Dowty, fitted that were supposed to be renewed every time the plug was removed.

The plugs are supposed to be tightened to 35 lbft which is probably a lot more than I do them up and why not as much as some folk do which is why they are often found with signs of being undone with a chisel.

It might come out easier on yours if you heat it up a little first, maybe someone has refitted it with a sealant in the hope it will stop the drip rather than go and buy a new washer?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by moose » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:55 am

Spot heat the casing on the diameter by the plug 12 oclock position this expands the ally in one place opening up the diameter in one position prevents heat transfer to the plug which starts to expand and tighten into the ally if you use the method of heating all around the dia of the ally. think of a circle and apply heat to the 12 o clock position that part where the heat is expands as does (but slightly less) from 12 to 3 and 9 position increasing the dia of the circle 6 o clock position will still be relatively cold as will the plug. if the plug stays roughly the same size and the ally expands it will release, a good plumbers blow lamp with a narrow flame will work.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:02 am

The Nun wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:05 am
Gearbox and sump plugs originally had copper crush washers, not Dowty, fitted that were supposed to be renewed every time the plug was removed.

The plugs are supposed to be tightened to 35 lbft which is probably a lot more than I do them up and why not as much as some folk do which is why they are often found with signs of being undone with a chisel.

It might come out easier on yours if you heat it up a little first, maybe someone has refitted it with a sealant in the hope it will stop the drip rather than go and buy a new washer?
I do see that someone has tried a chisel at some time?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:04 am

moose wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:55 am
Spot heat the casing on the diameter by the plug 12 oclock position this expands the ally in one place opening up the diameter in one position prevents heat transfer to the plug which starts to expand and tighten into the ally if you use the method of heating all around the dia of the ally. think of a circle and apply heat to the 12 o clock position that part where the heat is expands as does (but slightly less) from 12 to 3 and 9 position increasing the dia of the circle 6 o clock position will still be relatively cold as will the plug. if the plug stays roughly the same size and the ally expands it will release, a good plumbers blow lamp with a narrow flame will work.
Thanks on this advice, I will try the local tyre fitment shop and their air hammer first, if that fails then I will revert to your recomendation :D
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by 617sqn » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:06 am

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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:44 pm

moose wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:40 am
You need a timing light with a variable dial on it. Connect up to the car and read degrees at idle by turning dial on timing light to make the marks line up.

lets say you have 3 degrees

then set dial on timing light to 28 degree and rev engine to 4 k if the marks line up and the one on the crank does not go past then you have 28 deg all in.

you can then set the idle timing to 6 degrees and you should have 31 deg at 4k

test drive the car and see if it pulls better at top end. you may need to trim your idle speed and mixture for a smooth tickover as you have introduced some more advance.

I would not want to go to 36 degree unless engine is properly modified and on high octane petrol and 36 would be possibly too much for a race engine (depending on spec) 34 degree could be on edge of detonation taking into account petrol quality, condition and spec of engine.

so have a play set the upper limit at 32 deg do not get too hung up on the idle degrees unless it effects the initial pull from the car when setting off so if the book says 3 deg and you find the car runs better at top end at 7 degrees idle and you can adjust mixture and idle speed for a smooth idle then 7 is good despite what the manual says.
Moose, thanks on the detailed advice.

That moves the job into an expense that I really cannot justify, as in my case I may use that variable dial gauge just the once, as it will cost say R1000 to R1500 here, so about 55.00 pounds on the lower price scale, I need to try the other way which will be to advance the timing bit by bit and do road tests each time.

With that arrive at the same result given time?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by moose » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:05 pm

Yes it is a possible way to do it keep adding advance until it pinks and then back off until you feel a drop in performance then advance up just to the point the performance picks up again i would use a marker pen on clamp plate to dizzy and mark the point of too much advance and then mark the point at which performance dips this way if you have say 6 mm between marks you know you only have to move 1 mm at a time to gently increase advance if 3mm gives performance back you know not to go any further as you are only 3 mm away from audible pinking. It could be pinking at 5 mm but you cannot hear it. Keep an eye on plug colour after you have achieved what you think is enough advance as you may have the mixture wrong now to suit the incorrect timing as it is now.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:01 am

moose wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:05 pm
Yes it is a possible way to do it keep adding advance until it pinks and then back off until you feel a drop in performance then advance up just to the point the performance picks up again i would use a marker pen on clamp plate to dizzy and mark the point of too much advance and then mark the point at which performance dips this way if you have say 6 mm between marks you know you only have to move 1 mm at a time to gently increase advance if 3mm gives performance back you know not to go any further as you are only 3 mm away from audible pinking. It could be pinking at 5 mm but you cannot hear it. Keep an eye on plug colour after you have achieved what you think is enough advance as you may have the mixture wrong now to suit the incorrect timing as it is now.
Thanks, I can remember someone once posted that he turns the distributor until the engine pinks then backs it off, sounds like a similar process?

I may make a vernier card to fit under the distributor so that I can better see the degrees moved on the card.

The vernier screw on the distributor is worth three degrees each full turn?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:14 am

My weeks working on the Mk2 Imp for Eric Wells went well enough, excepting he was finding that the number two spark plug was fouling and the engine then ran on three cylinders.

Eric tried a change of spark plug, also from Champion to NGK, that made no difference.

I had checked all the normal things out, then gave him my spare distributor cap with copper wire cable and NGK plug caps, a copy of what was on his car.

Since then I have heard the car driving around the local area and have to assume that change fixed the problem but what was the problem?

Taking his distributor cap and leads I inspected with a magnifying glass for cracks in the cap, it is not an old one and looked fine to me.

I next inspected the plug leads, the main one from the coil to the cap was found to be hard, why was this, would it be the poor end connection and what happens when the expected current does not move through the wire as intended?

Looking at the end that enters the coil I saw that the HT wire was clean cut, then a metal end was crimped onto the HT wire.

So no obvious connection of wire to crimp end?

What I found was the tiny point in the crimp which should connect with the internal core wires was probably not making full contact?

If Eric continues to drive and not foul the number two plug I may be right?

The coil of HT cable on the left is how I end my wire to the coil, it may be a little basic but it is a positive connection and is what is now in the coil in Erics engine bay.
He has since driven into Cape Town City, a return trip of over forty kilometers, there was no issue with the plugs fouling up.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:23 am

Eric has just been to see me and with his Hillman Imp, the spare distributor cap and leads that we fitted yesterday looks to have solved the plug oiling up issue and he has had no similar issues since yesterday :D

Eric drove into Cape Town city and back with no ignition issues, which is a distance of just over forty kilometers. :D

I have now cleaned his distributor cap and leads,NGK plug caps, fitted a new HT to coil wire and put it into stock. Imp011
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by The Nun » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:04 pm

What happened to his front bumper?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by 617sqn » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:11 pm

Just like the rest of us "hip and down with the kids" Impers, he's removed it. Looks better, saves fuel and chrome cleaner. :lol:

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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by moose » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:17 pm

Hip problems and kids!
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:07 pm

The Nun wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:04 pm
What happened to his front bumper?
I have them here, the front and the rear bumpers, all twisted and bent, they will cost a small fortune to repair or replace :(
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:40 am

With Eric Wells retiring to the hamlet of Greyton soon he was doing his big clear out of the Imps garage, I was the person who had a first option on his Imp related parts :D
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:43 am

One of Erics parts he needed to move was a rebuilt Mk2 engine that I had supplied him back in 2007.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by The Nun » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:01 am

African Imp wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:07 pm
bumpers, all twisted and bent, they will cost a small fortune to repair or replace :(
The fact they are twisted and bent means theyve done their job in protecting the bodywork, the next bump it will cost even more than fixing the bumpers to fix the bodywork though? :?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:19 am

With new bearings and piston rings, Erics spare motor reads to a higher compression than the engine in my car, plus today is the first time that the engine has turned with a starter motor since I rebuilt the motor in 2007.

It reads two bar over my own motor.

The pistons are a used set in used bores, they should bed in and we may see the compression go up some?

Standard camshaft, with a new timinng chain.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:27 am

The Nun wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:01 am
African Imp wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:07 pm
bumpers, all twisted and bent, they will cost a small fortune to repair or replace :(
The fact they are twisted and bent means theyve done their job in protecting the bodywork, the next bump it will cost even more than fixing the bumpers to fix the bodywork though? :?
Yes but what can I say, the owner is an accountant after all! Imp011
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by The Nun » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:34 am

African Imp wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:27 am
Yes but what can I say, the owner is an accountant after all! Imp011
That explains it, not mechanically minded, they were the folk who cut the costs down on the IMP over the years so it ended up only half the car it was to start with quality wise. :?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:11 pm

African Imp wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:27 am
The Nun wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:01 am
African Imp wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:07 pm
bumpers, all twisted and bent, they will cost a small fortune to repair or replace :(
The fact they are twisted and bent means theyve done their job in protecting the bodywork, the next bump it will cost even more than fixing the bumpers to fix the bodywork though? :?
Yes but what can I say, the owner is an accountant after all! Imp011
Seen here at the Killarney Race Circuit Springbok Revival race about four years back.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:51 am

While Erics Mk2 Imp was here I mentioned to him that rust stains can be seen around the UJ on the passenger side, I gave him a new UJ so that when he does want to change it he does not have to search far to find one.

To grease the one on the car I loaned him a one inch long grease nipple extension that was supplied to me by Bob Allan of The Imp Club Spares department.

This was a reminder to grease the passenger side UJ on my own car, it was making a noise now and again when the car came back to me, I made up my own grease nipple extension and this far greasing the bearing now and again has worked for me :D

I have just pumped some Shell Retinex A into the bearing, it took quite a bit to the galleries will be open?
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African Imp
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sat Sep 21, 2019 6:32 am

When the UJ does start to fail I have a spare drive shaft ready to fit, it will not be required just yet I hope?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by The Nun » Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:49 am

Its a good idea to have another spare IMP really in case one starts to fail :D
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sat Sep 21, 2019 9:11 am

The Nun wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:49 am
Its a good idea to have another spare IMP really in case one starts to fail :D
Peter, parts wise and most of the Imp body I do have a spare Imp?

What I need to discover is an old shell which needs body parts and the mechanics, I am into the next build then?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:17 pm

The intention to grease the drivers side UJ went well enough, tools , grub screw removed, extended grease nipple ready, then I remembered that while the UJ on the nearside has an imperial thread into the grease hole, the new UJ on the drivers side is metric, so while I did get some grease pumped in I think more could be accepted?

I am now making another extension and with a metric thread :)

The hex bolt will have a section cut off the end, the hex nut is to check the thread size is correct, when I have drilled a hole say 15mm long in the end of the bolt I will remove that section and connect it to the grease nipple that came with the UJ bearing using a section of suitable metal tube.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:41 am

I made do with some copper tube and a 6mm tap, not the best in workmanship but if the Loctite thread loc works and stops the grease from escaping I will achieve what is required.

The pipe clamp allowed me to hold the copper tube and the nail punch opened enough of a flare to allow the thread tap to enter the tube.

While not being exactly elegant, it will do the job which is only required once a year?

Job done, the home made grease nipple worked a treat, I have now found some steel tube with a suitable hole through it but that is no longer required now.

By using this forum record I find that the drive shaft on the drivers side was fitted with a new UJ date October 18th 2016, so it was due for some grease now I would think?
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by The Nun » Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:32 am

There was a time when the new UJs that had a greasing point came with the nipple extension in the same box.
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Re: A Californian drying out in South Africa

Post by African Imp » Sun Sep 22, 2019 2:19 pm

The Nun wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:32 am
There was a time when the new UJs that had a greasing point came with the nipple extension in the same box.
Those of a certain age will remember that I am sure, time to check your dads tool box?

Seen here are the two nipple extensions that I ordered from Bob Allan, both are imperial as one is for InfraZA.

The Agric brand UJ has the grease hole center and is not recomended, as you cannot access it when the drive shaft is on the car.
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Last edited by African Imp on Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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