Tagged: Shifter

Norman “Rapide” – Stripped & Parts Collection

In this second post for the Norman I’m beginning the hunt for parts as well as stripping down the frame to get a better idea of the condition. The stripping came first and knowing the trouble the alloy / steel mix can cause I thought I was going to have a fight on my hands. Fortunately the bike gods were looking down on me and the stem came out with ease – a bit of penetration spray and a tap on the stem bolt shifted the wedge and I was able to twist the stem free.

After removing the bottom bracket, I think I can safely say at some point in the past someone has removed one cup (and possibly the axle), lost a few bearings and left the bike exposed. There was practically no grease in and around the axle or the remaining bearings and I even tipped out some dried leaves and the crumbling carcass of a wasp – nice. The bottom bracket cups are made by T.D.C and could really do with being replated and the axle is a Bayliss Wiley #15 item, which needs a good clean.

The headset, thankfully, has been left untouched and in each cup was a good layer of thick, dirty grease. It’s protected the bearing surfaces and left them in brilliant condition. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the outer surfaces exposed to the elements – these will need to be send to be replated in chrome. I’m not sure of the brand on the headset but nearly every part is stamped with “Made in England”.

Once everything was stripped I soaked the chrome forks in Oxalic Acid to see if they would clean up and rubbed the frame down with some WD40. The original blue on the frame is beautiful. After the dirt was rubbed away a deep blue shone through and colour was seen in some of the transfers. The forks cleaned up about as well as the frame but both will need to be completely re-done. One discovery on the forks was some red detailing around the crown.

The search for 100% original parts for this bike is not going to be easy. I only have the one brochure shot to go by and although some parts are listed, most fall into the break in the page where unfortunately it looks like two or three words are missing.

There’s absolutely no mention of a brand for the chain ring but what I can see is a pattern. To me, the brochure looked to show a single chain ring with a 3 arm spindle, flowing into a chainring with intersecting lines creating a flat topped triangle. It’s very vague and a good few cranksets match. I was scrolling through eBay, following different searches when I found this one particular set. It looked to have the right design, but it also had the red detailing on the cranks, much like the forks. I bought it, just in case. Continuing to look, I’ve found Williams do a similar design but it appears to be a very rare design. I’ve test fitted the crankset I have on the axle and the non drive side looks to line up nicely but the drive side has something obstructing it. I think there’s a slight lip around the cotter pin hole that’s stopping it so I’ll have to investigate that. There’s no branding on this crankset as far as I can tell.

The only mention of the brakes in the brochure is cut off by the page join so all I can read is “Continental P…*missing words*…t alloy. Silver cables”. It’s not much help so I’ve gone with the safe bet by buying a pair of GB Superhood brake levers and GB Sport calipers. I really can’t pinpoint a specific design or brand with the details I have so hopefully this choice will be ok.

Lastly I’ve looked into the gearing and I had some choices with this. The standard gear for the bike seems to be “light alloy front and rear (hubs) with track nuts. Fixed or freewheel”. However there are additional options underneath listing “Continental derailleur gear. Mondial or Simplex, Sturmey Archer 3 or 4 Speed with tr…*missing words*…olite, Airlite, or Duralite special light alloy hubs.”. I already have a fixed gear, well, two if you count the option I have on the France Sport and I already have a nice Sturmey Archer 3 Speed in the Trent Sports so I decided to look for the derailleur option. Having looked through the Veterans Cycle Club Library at the few Simplex brochures and looking around at for sale adverts I decided to go for the set up pictured below. The derailleur is in excellent condition and looks to have already been refurbished. I believe it’s a 5 speed however I’ll have to double check that.

That’s where I am right now. I missed out on a set of Phillips pedals that I believe the bike came with but I’m keeping my eye out for more. I’m also watching a few sets of Airlite hubs which are pretty pricey! I’ve got till next summer to get this bike done though so there’s no rush!

Advertisements

Raleigh “Blue Streak” – Part Hunting

I’m really getting somewhere with this project now. Having started with just a bare frame I’m happy to say my shopping list is very nearly complete. It’s taken a lot of searching to find the parts I have so far and a lot of luck with the auctions but I think I’m almost there. The last few parts will be an extremely tough find though.

The aim:

The shopping list:

Pump Clips – Campagnolo
Rims – 27″ x 1 1/4″ Endrick
Tyres – Dunlop White Sprite
Handlebar – 15/16″ Steel Maes, taped and plugged
Stem – 2.5″
Brakes – G.B. Alloy
Mudguards – Britton’s Celluloid, Electric Blue
Gears – 10 Speed Benelux “Mark 7”
Chainwheel – 46/49T Double
Saddle – Brooks B15 Leather
Equipment – Polished Alloy Pump & Twin Coloral Bottles in Handlebar Carriers.

In the last post, all that time ago, I’d managed to find the original crankset, chainwheels and pedals. They’re matched exactly to the photos I’ve found and thankfully, I didn’t pay too much for them! Here’s what I’ve found since.

Frame Pump

A Bluemel’s Featherweight pump. I found this in my Grandpa’s garage along with two other pumps. For some reason I thought this bike needed a white pump but after reading that brochure again, I think I’ll swap the pump out for the polished alloy Afa pump I also found.

Handlebars

Ok, the brochure does specify steel but I must have missed that first time around. I found these alloy G.B. Maes bars on eBay for a good price so snapped them up. I’ll work on polishing the alloy up so that it shines like steel – it’ll be fine!

Stem

Now there’s no mention of a brand on the advert with regards to the stem, however, after careful studying of the photos I narrowed my choice down to a select few. The photo shows a specific style, with the handlebar clamp bolt angled on the front underside, the stem bolt should be raised and the rear of the stem should overhang. The Titan stem’s jumped out at me and after a few failed attempts to get one I came across this recently rechromed item and made sure I won it. It’s a beauty!

Saddle

Finding a Brooks saddle isn’t hard – eBay is littered with them. Finding a specific Brooks saddle in good condition becomes a little more challenging. I don’t think I paid much for this example, less than £30 and for that price I’m very happy. It is used and it does have some tiny scuffs but it’s in excellent condition and will look great on the finished bike.

Brakes

The brochure stated G.B. alloy for the brakes and that’s exactly what I’ve found. I did do a bit more research than that though. Looking through picture after picture I tried to identify the specific model. In some pictures I saw the Sprite engraving and so, found a set and bought them. They’re in good condition and will look even better after a thorough polish.

Gears

Now these are the parts I love the most and the parts I’ve had most trouble finding. Starting with the “Mark 7” rear derailleur, I looked around and found a few examples but they were either extremely high in price or poor condition. I’ve honestly searched for months until I found this specific derailleur. It only cost me £25 and all it really needs is the red filling in on the logo. After that I kept an eye out for the shifters and the front derailleur. Lots of single sided shifters were popping up but never a double. When this one made an appearance I couldn’t let it slip away so bought it straight away – I think that was another £20. The front derailleur is proving to be a very rare part. I’ve seen one in the UK and I was beaten to it. I’ve seen a few more rod shifters pop up but I need one to work with my downtube shifters. If worst, does come to worst, I do have an option in the States but at over £200, I really want to avoid that…

To get the bike working, I’m only really missing the wheels. I don’t think they’ll be too hard to find but I may need to send them off to be rechromed along with the crankset and pedals – I won’t know until I find a set. As for the hubs, the catalogue doesn’t specify a brand so I think I have free range there. The only other parts (apart from the front derailleur) that I need to source are the mudguards. The brochure states “Britton’s Celluloid” but I haven’t found anything under “Britton’s”. In terms of Celluloid, well there’s lots of them. I’ve seen lots of NOS Celluloid mudflaps pop up in all colours of the rainbow, however finding the right colour is tough. It’s hard to match what I see on eBay / Google to the exact colour I need. I think I’ve found a couple that are a near match – close – so close.

I’ll start contacting companies to see if I can get the transfers replicated next and after that, it’s strip and spray time! I’m excited!

What Can £40 Buy You?

As I’ve said before, I’m always on the hunt for bargains on eBay. I don’t like spending a lot but I always end up spending too much in a month because I find these bargains. I’m still on the look out for the last piece of the puzzle in the Blue Streak build, a Benelux front derailleur. It’s a rare part, so naturally I have an eBay search set up to notify when a new listing pops up including Benelux. This time I didn’t find the part I needed but if you’re lucky, this is what £40 can buy you.

A whole heap of old tools. There’s a couple of Brooks spanners in there and a King Dick chain tool but in all honesty, I wouldn’t spend more than £10 on that lot. I would however spend £40 if it included all this.

That’s a lot of goodies right there! The listing popped up late in the evening as a “Buy It Now” style and after I’d had a look through I just had to buy it. To me, there’s a lot of useful parts in there and they’re worth a lot more than £40. The seller was fantastic too, emailing me first thing in the morning to let me know how and when he was going to post them out and when I should receive them. I got a knock at the door first thing this morning with the parcel. So here’s what I got.

Hubs

Three hubs in total with one pair of GB wing nuts and a few other random wing nuts. The Sturmey Archer hub was one of the most eye catching pieces. It’s a three speed dyno hub that has a date stamp of 1967. It’s the AG model which means it has some wide ratio gears on the inside and comes fitted with a 20 tooth sprocket. It’ll go nicely on a town bike of that period to run some Dynamo lights if it all works. It definitely needs a bit of grease but cosmetically it looks pretty sound. The front hub and rear hubs unfortunately don’t have any form of stamp or marking on them so I’m a bit hard pressed to say what brand they are. The rear hub is a useful find though. I noticed it hiding in a picture on the listing. Look closely and you’ll see both sides are threaded (one side with two sets of threads). I’ve got myself a nice “flip flop” track hub here, something I can run both fixed gear with a lock ring and single speed. Very handy.

Freewheels

First is a 18 tooth single speed freewheel by T.D. Cross & Sons LTD., stamped “De Luxe” and “AB”. The teeth are starting to show signs of the shark fin wear, the mechanism is a little stiff and someone has really given it a beating when trying to remove it from a hub. The prong slots are completely mashed but it may still be useable… maybe. A 1961 catalogue lists this freewheel with three different chain sizes, none of which seemed to be stamped into the freewheel.

Next up is a 3 speed Cyclo freewheel (14/16/18) which is cosmetically great but the internals are not engaging as they should. I can spin it both ways by hand freely so I would say either the pawls on the inside are broken or they are completely gunked up and frozen in place. It’s a “Type B” freewheel but looking through the catalogues that are floating around I can’t pinpoint an age. A 3 speed freewheel with Type B appears on the catalogues of the 50’s and 60’s but reading on the number of teeth don’t seem to match up. It does look like the rings could be interchangeable though; there seems to be a lock ring on the rear of the freewheel.

The remaining four freewheels are all products of Regina. The first is a large 3 speed freewheel stamped G.S.Corse S.I.C.C. MERATE. There’s no date stamp that I can see and again cosmetically the freewheel looks quite good, however the mechanism is very rough. The tooth count is 16/22/25. It’s a slightly odd looking freewheel as in it almost looks like it’s missing a ring with the exposed threads and the jump from 16 to 22.

After that I have two four speed freewheels (14/16/18/20 & 15/17/19/22) both are in good condition and have exactly the same markings as the three speed, although they aren’t as abbreviated. They read Regina Gran Sport Corse – Soc.Ital.Cat.Cal.Merate. On the rear of the smaller freewheel I’ve found a numeric stamp of 1148 and on the larger freewheel a stamp of 455. The smaller freewheel seems to be siezed but the larger rotates and locks in place as it should, although it is a little rough. They look to be 70’s items so I’ve no idea what the numeric stamps on the back are for.

Lastly I have a 5 speed freewheel with exactly the same markings as the 4 speed, however the rear only has two digits stamped and they read 61. The smaller and larger rings look to be the most worn but the freewheel mechanism does work. Tooth count is 15/17/19/21/23. I think with a good service I’ll be able to use all the freewheels.

Stem

I picked this out straight away in the listing. I knew straight away it was a GB Spearpoint stem. It’s a forged alloy stem which would have polished up really well but unfortunately it’s broken. it wasn’t visible in the pictures but the handlebar clamp has sheared off so I’m afraid all it’s good for is a decorative piece.

Shifters

I have three shifter which fortunately match up with the three derailleurs I have in this lot. The newest is a Huret shifter, complete with the rubber hood, dated to 1976 I believe. It’s in great condition and should work well. The second shifter is also a Huret item but this one is a few years earlier. It again comes complete with the rubber hood and although it is functioning it is in need of a complete rechrome. Date wise, it’s hard to tell. The rust is obscuring any small date stamp and the catalogues online only go back to the 70’s. I’d imagine this shifter (which is matched to the derailleur) is at earliest a 50’s part. The final shifter is a Cyclo part of the same era as the early Huret. It’s in better condition cosmetically but it came in pieces so I’m going to have to play around for a bit and get the right alignment to get it working fully.

Rear Derailleurs

This is where I knew the £40 price tag was a bargain. The first derailleur is just your standard 5 speed Huret from the 70’s. It’s clogged with grease and dirt but looks like it should function well after a clean. Once I’ve cleaned it I’ll be able to tell the specific model and the appropriate freewheel to use with it.

The two earlier derailleurs are where the money is though. The first is an early Huret. It’s not too bad cosmetically and I’m hoping the rust will clean up from near the hanger section. Mechanically, the jockey wheels are very stiff and need to be regreased but the gear selecting action seems to be fine. The second is jewel to me. It’s a Cyclo Benelux “Mark 7” 4/5 speed derailleur which seems to be mechanically sound. It will need a good service and clean but (in my mind at least) this is quite a desirable part. I spent a long time looking for one of these for my Blue Streak build and although I’ve already found one, having a spare won’t hurt. The date of this derailleur is circa 1960.

Brakes

Unfortunately I don’t really have a complete set out of any of these parts so these brakes will mainly be for spares. What I got was half of a Weinmann Type 810 caliper, a complete Weinmann Type 730 caliper, a near complete GB Coureur and an incomplete pair of Raleigh calipers. The complete Weinmann I should be able to use, along with the GB once it is cleaned up but the Raleigh set are missing some essential parts and look to use the double ended cable system rather than the clamp at the caliper end.

Crankset

The crank set will be a nice one once it is cleaned up. It’s a Williams crankset with a Williams 48 tooth chainring. Unfortunately the chain ring does look to be quite worn with the shark tooth shaped teeth so I think that is going to stay as a decorative piece but if I can find a replacement I will reuse the cranks. The pedals on the other hand need a lot of work. The axles are very loose and as you can see rust has displaced the chrome. I can’t make out what brand of pedals they are but I’ll have a good root around once I’ve cleaned it all off. It’s, again, quite hard to pin point the date of these. The brochures online jump from the 30’s to the 70’s. The 30’s brochure definitely shows a similar crankset but I find it hard to believe it is that old.

There were a couple of other small odds and sods in the parcel, like spokes and chains but nothing really that noteable. All in all, I think the £40 price tag was an absolute bargain and after a good clean I should be able to put all these parts to good use.

Always keep your eyes peeled on eBay!

France Sport – The Resurrection

C’est fini!

Fully built. Fully working. I love it.

The finishing touches:

Wheels & tyres: The front wheel was already built after coming from one of the bikes I’ve had lying around. The rim, spokes and hub polished up nicely. The rear was a complete build. I took the rim from the same bike as I took the front wheel, the hub from one of the 27″ wheel sets I had, bought new spokes and built the wheel up myself. It was a bit of a learning curve. The spoke length calculator I used suggested two spoke sizes with the longer being on the cassette side but after building the wheel I found I needed shorter spokes on that side as the spokes just wouldn’t tighten. With the shorter spokes in the wheel pulled into shape and tightened up nicely.

I fitted a 3 speed Atom freewheel to the rear hub and a set of Michelin World Tour tyres before fitting the wheel to the bike. They’re a bit fatter than the bike originally came with (in theory) but they do fit in both the drop outs and mudguards so I will be able to use them.

Chain: The 3 speed freewheel required the “fatter” 1/8″ chain so I bought another Izumi chain, sized it to the largest sprocket (plus a bit of movement) and fitted it to the bike. That was a nice easy part but working out the correct chain tension seemed a bit tougher. I’d fitted the chain tensioner so that it did supply tension but was still easy to move by hand. I thought that would have been sufficient but after fitting all the gear cables and going for a test ride I found out it wasn’t enough and the chain skipped.

It also didn’t help that the chain tensioner, which is fixed to the shifter, actually removes tension from the chain as you shift up (onto the smaller sprockets). This puzzled me. it should be working in the opposite direction so to work around that I set the tension arm in the highest gear, meaning when I ride in the lowest gear the cable is loose. It works. I also moved the tension arm to the next position in its mount and managed to fight it back into place. Those couple of tweaks worked and the bike rode well and changed gears without too much issue.

There is a slight rattle from the chain hitting the derailleur however I can’t seem to remove that without throwing the shifting out.

Brakes: Well I couldn’t go anywhere without the brakes being adjusted. The cables have all been correctly tensioned and the bike stops. I also bought some new cables guides to fit to the frame so I didn’t have cable ties on the finished product.

The badge: It turns out I should have refitted the badge before reassembling the bike. The badge pins that need to be hammered in require you to shave them down from the inside after and with everything being fitted… well I couldn’t do that. Araldite has come to the rescue though. That super strong glue is holding the badge in place with the holes exposed so I can fit the pins if I ever take the bike apart again.

That’s it. The bike is done. I took it out for a ride earlier to grab some photos.

And to think, this is how I got it…

Raleigh Pioneer Spirit – Mistaken Identity?

Believe me, there’s lot more bikes sitting in my garage. This one in particular, I bought at the beginning of the year. I originally missed out on the bike but got a second chance offer through a week or so later, saying I could have it for just over half of what I’d bid. Naturally I couldn’t turn that down. It looked a pretty solid bike that would need minimal work but this weekend I’ve been doing a bit of research and it’s confusing me. Parts are mismatched, from different eras and I can’t find any information about this chrome Raleigh Pioneer Spirit…

At first guess I figured it might be a 90’s bike with the square taper crank and SIS derailleurs but I’ve since found out square taper cranks came into fashion a lot sooner than I’d thought. Still, it could be a 90’s bike so I searched Google for Raleigh brochures and found a site listing a brochure for almost every year from the 70s. The “Pioneer” bikes seem to appear in the 80’s with a white and blue colour scheme, although that depended slightly on the model. Fast forward to 96 and a chrome version is added but it’s called the Pioneer Trail Alivio and it comes with cantilever brakes which would definitely not fit this bike. The random brochures in the 2000s don’t contain this Pioneer Spirit model either so I’m a bit stuck as to where it comes from.

There’s also confusion over what type of bike it’s meant to be because of the mismatched parts. All “Pioneer” bikes that I’ve seen fit into a hybrid category. A bike that had the frames and wheelset of a road bike but the bars and gearing of a mountain bike. Hybrid, town bike, commute… I’ve seen the Pioneer bikes described as these but non specifically have drop bars. The part mystery get’s even more confusing when you realise that there is a 20 year gap between some of the equipment.

Here’s how it stands:

Brakes

The bike has Weinmann brakes all round but they’re not exactly matched. On the rear it has a Type 730 caliper dating to February 1979. I can trace this caliper back to a 70’s catalogue from Weinmann and it also appears in the 1983 catalogue where I can find the dual pull brake levers. The front has a Type 570 caliper but unfortunately there isn’t a date stamp. I suspect it’s from the 80’s judging by the amount of 80’s bikes I’ve seen listed with the 570 components.

Shifter / Derailleur

This is something else that’s going against the grain of the “Pioneer” label and adding yet more confusion with the dates. Every “Pioneer” bike I’ve seen listed has some form of trigger shifter however this bike has a down tube mounted shifter. The frame has the brazing for the shifter location so it’s possible it is standard but it doesn’t fit the Pioneer name for me. The shifter itself is a standard Shimano job and while I can’t find a part number, I can find a date stamp that reads “MH” (or 1988 / August).

As with everything else the derailleurs are something else that doesn’t match. Both are Shimano items but the year of production and style don’t match the down tube shifter. The front derailleur is a Shimano FD-TY15-SS with a date stamp of WA (1998 January). It seems to be a “Tourney” part but apart from that, there’s not much accurate information. Some parts of the internet say it’s a part for double chainrings, some say triple. It’s on a bike with a double so I can only assume it works with that set up.

The rear derailleur is a Shimano RD-TY22 with a date stamp of VC (1997 March). It’s another “Tourney” item and seems to be widely agreed that it’s a 6 speed mechanism (There is a 7 speed variant but it has a “7” after the part number). Whether it is indexed or not I have no idea. What I do know is that bolting up the 6 speed wheel set I have and trying to use the worn out shifter only moves the chain through 4 gears. A bit of adjustment might work but the mismatched parts are making me think it might not have the right gear.

Crankset

The crank set is produced by SR (Sakae Ringo) and although it is missing both bolt covers it seems to be in pretty good condition. The crank arms are 165mm long and have a date stamp of 79 C (March 1979). Again this throws in to question the date of the bike! At the moment the drive side is only a double but there is on option for a third chain ring (currently occupied by a chain guard). I haven’t stripped the bike down yet so I don’t know the condition of the bottom bracket but it seems to spin freely.

Wheels

Well the bike didn’t come with wheels. I bought a 27″ wheel set separately (from the same person) and it has a 6 speed freewheel so I’m going to try and use this set on the bike. They have Rigida rims but I haven’t checked any further than that.

So that leaves me with components ranging from 1979 to 1998. A bike with the name (Pioneer) of a town bike but the looks of a road bike. I really don’t know where I stand.

My final attempt at identifying the bike lies with the serial number stamped onto the seat tube…

NG3002080

I’ve looked into the Raleigh serial numbers and found one site in particular. It lists a “standardised” system from 1973 that included serial numbers stamped on the seat post. There is some margin of error in their chart but it roughly says:

N = Produced in the Nottingham Factory
G = Possible month of production (May in this case)
3 = Year produced, which would indicated 1973.
Remaining digits = Production number

However they do state their research is from the US and the serial number only contains 6 numbers. However another site suggests:

N = Produced in the Nottingham Factory
G = The fortnight the bike was produced. Having 26 letters in the alphabet and 52 weeks in a year, the fortnight seems like a good choice. It would put the bike in the 7th fortnight of the year, or the 13th/14th week.
3 = Indicates the year produced but the decade is a guess. It could be 70’s or 80’s.
The remaining numbers are again possibly production numbers.

It’s SO CONFUSING!

Looking at the 1983 catalogue, there is only one bike that comes in chrome, the Prestige GS, but it has completely different components!

Apart from the confusing parts list the bike is in pretty good condition and won’t be too hard to get up and running. The confusing history still bothers me though! Without knowing what era it came from I can’t fit the right parts…

Waxing Timelapse & New Buy

Over the weekend I was busy “dog sitting” so I couldn’t really get anything big done. In fact, the only thing I could really do is give the old girl a good wash, polish and wax. In all honesty, she’s a 10 yard car. Looks great from a few paces away but as soon as you get close you see all the scratches, touch ups, mismatched paint, stone chips, cracks, and dents that previous owners have left. Still, from those 10 yards away, with a good polish and wax, she looks amazing.

I decided to take all my polishes and wax with me, set up my GoPro and film the whole thing. It took a good few hours but it’s been condensed down into a 4 minute time lapse. Unfortunately, again, YouTube has decided to block the video from mobile playback and some countries (I don’t know which) because of my choice of song. I tried to pick an instrumental to avoid this happening but I guess they’re that picky.

AutoGlym products are my weapons of choice (apart from the Turtle Wax soap):
Turtle Wax Soap
Autoglym Deep Shine Polish
Autogylm Fast Glass
Autoglym Vinyl and Rubber Care
Autoglym Instant Tyre Dressing
Autoglym Leather Balm
Autoglym Aqua Wax

Here’s the results:

If only the paintwork was just as good looking up close!

My replacement gear knob turned up today too. After the listing on BuddyClub UK for a Toyota was wrong and the incorrect knob returned I received the Subaru fitment today. In case you missed it in my last post, the listing on the website for Toyota is for a M8 threaded gear knob. As far as I can tell this only fits automatics. The Corolla needs an M12 gear knob and the only one that matched (after deciphering the part codes) was the Subaru one. It fits perfect.

The standard one was well worn, so this is more of a visual upgrade. Ideally I was looking for something heavy to help with shifting but the BuddyClub Type B actually seems lighter than OEM. I’ll have to see how I get on with it, whether the comfort and “feel” are improved or not. For now at least, it looks better (it actually has the blue BuddyClub logo stuck on top now… I just forgot to take a photo).

Something old and something new.

Today, I’ve took delivery / gone to collect a few more parts for the Corolla. The first, something old, is a set of O.Z. Racing Saturn alloys. I’ve been searching eBay for a cheap set for weeks and came across these listed as “For Parts / Not Working” because they were a bit curbed. The last second snipe came into play again and I managed to pick them up for the low price of £32. This evening I drove up to Liverpool (which probably cost me as much in petrol as the alloys did) to pick them up. I don’t really think they’re as badly curbed as the advert described so I’m pretty happy with this little bargain. I might attempt to refurbish them myself but I think it’s more likely I’ll get them professionally done. A nice deep bronze should go down well I think.

From the looks of it, these wheels were produced in 1997! They’re not the lightest by a long shot but they’re only going to be “daily” wheels.

The new parts come in the form of a short shifter and brass shifter bushings. I really think a massive weak point on the Corolla are the gear changes. The OEM gear is so sloppy that getting it into gear can be really awkward sometimes and if you’re trying to do a quick gear change before entering a corner you don’t want to have to try two or three times to get it in gear (which does happen).

After looking around Corolla Club UK I read that these shifting problems are usually caused by the sloppy, weak rubber bushes in the gear linkages. A member on the site has produced some brass shifter bushings which are a direct swap for the rubber bushes and stiffen up the whole linkage making shifting more accurate. He also produce replicas of a short shifter that is no longer in production for the Corolla which again comes with some metal bushings instead of rubber.

I have to say, I’m very impressed by this guy. He seems to have stock of these parts and as soon as I’d made payment he’d bagged them all up securely and sent them with recorded postage to me. When they arrived today I was pleased to see not just the parts but a small bag of Haribo’s and an excellent guide on how to install both parts. If only all people provided a service like that!

The short shifter can be purchased HERE

The brass gear linkage bushings can be purchased HERE

Hopefully I’ll get chance to fit the shifter and bushings at the weekend and the wheels will be refurbished as and when I can afford it! I’ll have to make some more random woodwork to pay for that I think.

An Update For The Track Build

It’s not much but I’m making a bit of progress again.

First up, after helping Kyle out with his gearbox change, buying the pizza and donating a space saver I had lying around, I was kindly given his old gearbox to use. It’s a S80 LSD gearbox out of an Integra Type R so that narrows down the choice of engine I’ll end up using! It also came with the gear linkages and what looks like the dual bend shifter from the Type R too, which is cool. The box and the linkages will need a bit of work first though. Kyle mentioned the box was making some “weird noises at high revs” and it grinds into fifth gear so my aim is to teach myself how a gearbox goes together by stripping down and inspecting this box. Once it’s all together it will make a really good box for a N/A track build, especially with the LSD. I’m really looking forward to the challenge!

I’ve also got a bit of an update for the headlight intake I’m building. The last post I made about it was when I had assembled it and fibreglassed the centre of the duct. That had left a lot of messy fibreglass hanging out of the back but the front was also quite rough. I wasn’t originally planning on doing this but I’ve decided to tidy it all up and make it look pretty as well as function.

The first thing I did was trim off all the excess fibreglass and grind down the joins so they were all flush. That was a nice simple job with the Dremel but it couldn’t cope with levelling off the front face. I had to use a couple of skims of filler to get that smooth. Unfortunately, while sanding it down, the fibreglass has got very thin in places. So thin it can be depressed and would probably easily break and leave a hole. I’m going to have to strengthen it with a bit more fibreglass and sand it down flat before laying down a coat of primer.

Even with all this work I’m still undecided if I’m going to sue this intake or sell it though. I think it looks good and will function well but I’m going to create a V2 with a bigger diameter and no backing before choosing my favourite to use.