Stevens Sienna-Prototype Resto Pt 6
Floor and inner panels with carpet removed are treated to a matt black finish, later alloy plate
Now the car runs and rolls, we were rather excited about having a little run up and down the road; did we have all the gears? would the clutch be ok? and finally, would the new brakes work? But all good things are worth a little wait, so I thought it would be best to at least fit one part of the floor prior to our adventure. The original internal panels are a fibre glass and most were covered in ancient black carpet that was rotten, this was all removed and the panels cleaned down with brake cleaner before both sides enjoyed a matt black finish. The plan always has been to line out the floor with alloy plate or chequered finish but these will sit inside the original panels and contrast with the dark paint. The inner panels would also be required in place before we could confirm our frame repair welding is located in the right place; for example, we replaced the front box section and with the inner panels in place the outers could be fitted. Better to find out now that we have ‘dropped a clanger’ than try and correct it once the panels are painted.
The exhaust is made of various angles and flexi joints plus a Mini silencer no wonder it leaked.
Our new exhaust system had a small blow, an easy fix but the leak from the rear of the gearbox presented a major issue. I had the correct rubber seal to stop the drip, our problem was that in its distant past someone had tightened the main securing bolt into place with an air gun but without the correct washer in place. The nut had chewed into the sprung spacer and was totally locked into place. Several hours with air guns, breaker bars and lots of bad language failed to make any impression on the nut. The leak wouldn’t stop without a new seal and the nut was offering no signs of budging; choices now involved either an engineering shop or a new gearbox, both guaranteed hours of extra labour. Alan brought his super airgun along and we adjusted the compressor to give max output for our do or die last attempt. Third rattle from the gun and the nut surrendered and with the old extremely brittle and broken seal replaced we went for a celebration fry up.
Most worrying but Alan’s super airgun meant we could remove the leaking rear gearbox seal
Time for a Break
Summer is arriving and after six months working most weekends on the Sienna we are ‘all restored out’ so we will put her away until the winter and hopefully begin again around October with a freshly painted body. With the prospect of having to move the car to another location we thought it wise to fit the seats, making it easier to drive and gets them out of the way. The bases were both seized and covered in corrosion, so required gallons of WD40 and grease to release and allow for adjustment. Once we had movement Alan took the chance to weld in an additional support we could use to secure the base, then several hours cleaning up before primer and black top coat sealed in our good work. The bases were then re attached to the seats followed by the arduous task of fitting into position, one of those jobs that should require an hour but took most of the day.
Big Feet, Small Pedals, No Space
The seat bases were rusted in several places so Alan welded in new sections to secure.
The driver’s side inner panel will require a lot of modification to allow my giant ‘size ten plates of meat’ to operate the pedals, the space only allows for a very small ballerina to drive this car. This problem became apparent immediately, as I found jumping on the brake also involved the accelerator or stamping on my other foot, neither ideal. The pedals are too close together, so to increase the width a large section of the fibreglass was cut away to be replaced with reshaped alloy plate; for the road test we omitted to fit the inner panel. With almost all the internal fibreglass fitted we began to adjust the outer ones, getting them into place and checking for fit. Where the original framework had not been replaced, all matched up correctly and only minor adjustments were going to take place fitting over new metal. Our calculations had been pretty exact and the front wings sat square on the frame whilst the doors went into their required gaps; at least now we could expect all parts to fit back together roughly where they should.
Blimey that Goes
Once solid, rust resistant under coat and top covering of matt black before refitting to the seat.
Alan’s surprise at the way the Sienna went up the road was apparent but even considering the weight of its body would certainly slow the car somewhat, it still impressed. The clutch is light and the brakes although still to ‘bed in’ stop our weightless machine very well and our fears of the disc conversion ‘locking up’ at every opportunity proved unfounded. The gearbox has stopped leaking but selection is far from precise with too much gearstick contributing to its vague feel finding the next gear; this we can address later. We found our throaty homemade exhaust wasn’t loud enough to annoy the neighbours but offered enough, although repositioning will be necessary as it runs too close to the rear tyre. All fixable without breaking the bank, so we hope those who have followed this rebuild have enjoyed our trials and tribulations and you will look out for the continuation later this year.
The first time the Sienna has moved under its own steam for at least two decades.
Grant Ford for classiccarmag.net
Thanks to Simon Fitch- www.stevens-cipher.com
Brian Marshall Reliant Kitten Register- www.kitreg.org.uk
Peter Bird & Dave CorbyTags:Classic Car Restoration
, Classic Cars