Stevens Sienna-Prototype Restoration Part 4

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Stevens Sienna-Prototype engine beforeWith the chassis complete I was able to admire the framework finished in gloss black, now able to offer many more decades of motoring, although the vision was somewhat let down by the rear axle covered in years of thick grime; a guilty oil seal was at fault here. Removal was fairly straight forward and the opportunity arose to take out the driveshaft after making location marks at either end. The fuel tank was removed over a year ago when we tested the vinegar and baking soda method of cleaning. Once we had evicted years of solidified fuel, the inside of our tank looked new; to preserve this, a mix of oil and petrol was ‘sloshed’ around and to this day it remains spotless. Stevens Sienna-Prototype engine after after many hours and a couple of quidThe suspension has received a makeover and was reassembled with little fuss, apart from when we tightened the new ball joints the steering wheel became very difficult to turn. More than a little worried I bothered all the leading authorities on the Lotus derived Reliant set up. The reaction I received was ‘don’t panic it will be fine once the weight is returned to the wheels’. Really?  Once the car is back on the deck the steering should work normally; to be honest I wasn’t convinced and would have to wait to be sure as the wheel refurbishment was still on going. Uprated Stoppers Stevens Sienna-Prototype shock absorber beforeJoe Mason from Reliant Spares obviously carries a wealth of knowledge on anything that originated from the Tamworth factory but also mods and upgrades to improve performance. I was keen to try out the disc brake conversion which should not only improve the Sienna’s ability to stop but also aid handling but first we had to make all fit. The kit arrived and each side consists of a spacer, mounting bracket, disc, caliper and carrier also pads and a wheel spacer plus various bolts. Luckily, I was able to follow a Stevens Cipher owner Dave Corby having recorded the same upgrade in the Reliant Kitten newsletter only a couple of months prior. Once the old drums are removed the stub assembly needs to be cleaned perfectly, the spacers need a perfectly flat surface to sit correctly. Mounting bracket followed and all was going swimmingly and we ground the corners from my original hub so it would fit easily into the VW discs supplied. Whilst Joe’s conversion has been developed over the years, it is worth pointing out that when fitting modern parts to a 40 year old car it is unlikely to just bolt together first time; some re-engineering maybe required. The wheel spacer wouldn’t sit flat over the old hub and the inner edge required grinding back at 45 degrees to accommodate. My caliper carrier looked resplendent in red gloss but much of that needed to be removed for a flat edge plus several edges ground back as they were catching the disc. That said, once the carrier fitted correctly the Ford caliper (I believe they are Fiesta) looks comfortable and we had the minutest of runout, so once new hoses arrive we can bleed the all new system. Stevens Sienna-Prototype shock absorber after many more hours and a lot more than a couple of quidThe original master cylinder was as old as the car, so following some sound advice from Simon Fitch (Cipher owner) I swopped it out for a new single exit MGB version. The rear drums have also enjoyed new shoes and wheel cylinders so whatever else, the Sienna should stop; but first we need to make it go. The Motor Under the bonnet could only be described as grim therefore a degrease of the block was our first task, followed by the removal of oil stains from the driveway after getting ‘told off’ yet again. Alan fitted new hoses after we flushed the system through several times, this followed warnings from various sources of corrosion issues within the Reliant engine if left unused. The rocker cover received fresh paint which offered the opportunity to reset the tappets and check for excessive wear. New ignition leads with coil and a full tidy of the maze of wiring continued to improve the motors presentation and a sexy air filter and braided fuel lines added some bling. Alan took away the carb for its ultrasonic bath and on its return the mirror finish was good enough to shave in. Alan serviced the Reliant motor completed with a quality oil changeEncouraged by our success the drive shaft and rear axle also enjoyed a degrease (got in trouble for that one too) and several coats of paint to match. New gaskets, seals and bushes courtesy of Phil at Reliant Specialist Brook Hill Garage meant just coolant and Shells X100 oil remained before we could run up and check for leaks. No oil escaped but coolant drips required re tightening of every hose and connection whilst the exhaust chose this moment to give up on the world and blow from several places. The Sienna’s exhaust was ‘homemade’ forty odd years ago, so we will re manufacture a new system losing the rear end exit by fitting a Mini box and bringing the tail pipe out of the side; just prior to the rear wheel. The list of ‘to do’s is still lengthy and whilst the garage is packed with semi prepared parts from the Sienna we had reached the point where it cannot get any worse, the time has arrived to start assembling the car again. Grant Ford for - Thanks to Simon Fitch- Brian Marshall Reliant Kitten Register- Next time My GKN Silverstone wheels enjoy paint, rubber and super bespoke centre caps Alan redesigns the dash with some really novel features We have a rolling chassis at last but without a floor it’s tricky to driveTags: