These tips have been extracted from our monthly SEVEN FOCUS magazine, and are based on the experiences of our members who solved the 'problem' in their own way!
I use the 2ft square carpet samples to collect drips from the car when parked in sensitive places – such as the Maritime Museum forecourt in Falmouth. These are heavy enough not to be blown away by the wind and look attractive, and they are cheap, about 50p each.
For home use I have a longer piece of carpet nailed to a piece of ply with small wheels at each corner (see photo). This is pushed under the car on the drive or in the garage, not only to catch any drips from the engine, but also further back where the (engine) oil drips from the chassis channels.
I’ve added a handle at either end for easier manoeuvring.This quick tip came from Sandy Croall and appeared in Seven Focus Aug 2007 p12.
.... another Drip Tray idea
I used to drip embarrassing amounts of oil everywhere I stopped. After forgetting the drip tray for the umpteenth time and dropping oil in the petrol station and the Torpoint Ferry I decided to fit a rear bearing lip seal whilst making some adjustments to the engine.
Full of enthusiasm I started up the engine and marvelled at just how much oil still leaked out!!
Forget lip seals , instead I had a cunning plan which would stop the drips onto peoples driveways and eliminate the problem of forgetting the drip tray. I decided to fit a small drip tray/catch tank under the car that followed me around everywhere! A small paint stripper tin seemed to fit the bill and I cut out a large rectangular hole in the side and made a couple of brackets to hang it on its side from the bell housing bolts. The edges of the hole were left sharp to deter thieves.
It works like a dream! No more oil drips, all you have to do is empty it of oil now and again, which you could reuse if you strained it. The photo almost shows how it goes together.This quick tip came from Steve Martin and appeared in Seven Focus Sept 2007 p10.
Following Steve Martin’s idea, I had the same sort of problem; oil coming from the hole in the casting under the flywheel. The easy remedy would be to plug the hole, but that would be the quickest way to get clutch slip, with the plate getting oily and slipping, with the car staying where it is even though the engine is racing. So, like Steve, I did the same sort of thing but in a slightly different way. It’s a lot easier than taking the engine out!
This quick tip came from Mike Easton and appeared in Seven Focus Apr 2008 p27.
The 'replacement' Contact Breaker sets available for the DJ4 and similar distributors have the contact hidden within a 'C' shaped lever. To set the gap at 12 thou with normal feeler gauges I have found difficult ! It has also been difficult to see exactly when the contacts are opening as I check the timing.
Then a clever man said:-
a) "Why don't you use the original Lucas contacts" or
b) "Why don't you grind away the leg's away by the contact on the lever".
To my knowledge there are not many unused original Lucas Contact sets about, so I decided to try the second option, but only doing the top leg, converting it from a 'C' shape to a 'L' shape, on the basis that some strength is retained with the bottom leg and I can see the contacts clearly with just the top leg removed anyway. I also painted the bottom leg under the contact white to making sighting the contacts easier - Problem solved, it's too easy for words.
Because the ammeter did not work on the 1938 Ruby I had to remove the dashboard to investigate and found that the battery wire had only been passed through the ammeter loop once. Easily fixed, but then I had to replace the dashboard. Anyone who has already done this must have the patience of Job! It’s bad enough dealing with the oil pipe, the speedo, the starter cable and the choke – but those seven dashboard screws with their loose nuts are a nightmare to reunite, especially the top ones.
It is possible to use 4BA captive nuts and the proper setting tool. The existing holes had to be enlarged very slightly to accept the captive nuts. Now the fitting of the dashboard screws is straightforward.
This quick tip came from Roger Jelbert and appeared in Seven Focus Nov 2014 p21
On a recent run, the familiar scent of unburned unleaded wafted into the car; the culprit was the fuel input banjo. This is a VERY delicate thread, so heaving on a spanner and crushing the fibre washers was not an option.
Fortunately, I was given something that was new to me. A Dowty seal is a washer that has a rubber sealing ring moulded into it, such that the seal is the thickest part of the whole assembly. When closed up in a joint, the rubber is compressed to form a fluid tight seal. This can be done without too much torque, and gives a very good joint. Needless to say, a couple of spares are now always in the on-board spares.
This quick tip came from Geoff Hardman and appeared in Seven Focus June 2009 p24.
This idea has been used by several of our members to lift the engine.
It is best to use a pair on cylinders 1 and 4 to spread the weight.
Flasher Unit - 6v
A while ago OY’s indicators went on the blink (I know, I know they are supposed to blink but OY’s were blinking continuously). A wise old sage said ‘ere boy’ what you need is one of they Electronic Flasher Units. From these wise words I understood that the electronic type are more reliable/longer lasting than the normal thermal units.
So after driving around the internet I found the firm Auto Electric Supplies Ltd of Tenbury Wells, who could supply the very thing, being: 6 volt Electronic Relay (flasher unit), 2 x 21w capacity, 3 x 6.3mm blade terminals and c/w mounting bracket, part number 140108.
This is now fitted and working well, providing a very modulated signal/indication.
Also whilst on their site I noticed that they also supply a “proper” 6v ignition coil (not 12v ballasted) with the older style (Acorn) screw terminal HT connection + low tension 5mm studs and mounting bracket, part number 060707.
So one of these is also now fitted to OY – good quality – and whilst I have not made any tests, I feel that it provides an improved/smoother performance (and OY seems happy).
Auto Electric Supplies Ltd. Website: www.autoelectricsupplies.co.uk
NOTE: The electronic flasher unit is only available for negative earth systems.PS: 'OY' are the registration letters of a 1933 RP Saloon.
This quick tip came from Eddie Angell and appeared in Seven
Focus Apr 2008 p27.
The electronic relay above is not suitable for the positive earth Big Seven,
so I used a
relay, made by Bosch with 3 x 6.3mm blade contacts, which can power 2 x 18/21W
indicators and a separate dash mounted warning lamp. Item: 140106 also
from Auto Electric Supplies.
Unfortunately, it soon started to fail after about 30 miles on a run. I returned the unit for testing and it was deemed to be satisfactory. However, it kept failing.
Due to the shape of the front bulkhead the flasher unit is mounted alongside the cut-out/regulator in the engine compartment, and I found that the unit was hot to touch when it failed. I realised that it was being affected by the engine heat and so wrapped it with cloth; it did not fail.
For a permanent solution I mounted it inside a plastic pot with the connecting leads entering through a hole drilled in the lid; the unit no longer fails, even on long runs exceeding 160 miles.
A quickie from Doug Castle.
Head Gasket tip
Many of us hold a head gasket in the car spares. But how many of us keep the little hand book with the sequence of tightening the bolts? So here is a very quick and easy solution to the problem.
Write the information on the back of the cardboard. I have used a felt tip marker but a piece of paper carefully slipped into the cover without disturbing the protective film works just as well. (The missing number is 10.)
When tightening the cylinder-head nuts remember that they must take the strain evenly to avoid distortion, so, in the correct sequence tighten each by half a turn at a time. Do not over-tighten as it is easy to strip a thread or break a bolt. After a few hundred miles check and tighten a little more, if necessary. Torque values are not mentioned in the Austin Seven handbooks.
This quick tip came from Mike Davies and appeared in Seven Focus June 2010 p13.
To help reduce the moisture within the headlamp, which normally appears after driving rain or when the car is washed down, place a couple of Silica Gel crystal sachets within each headlamp shell. We get these sachets with all sorts of odds and ends, but if you don't have any then your local chemist should stock the crystals. Then just make up some cotton bags and all is done.The sachets will absorb some of the moisture and release it when the headlamps get warm in use or as they bask in the sunshine! This may also help to reduce the deterioration of the reflector chrome.
This quick tip appeared in Seven Focus Sept 2003 p30.
Carrying Oil in a Seven.
Use 1 pint plastic milk bottles with a screw lid. When the oil level drops about half an inch on the dipstick you know that you need to put the whole of the contents of one bottle into the sump. This saves a lot of time pouring and dipping to make sure that you do not overfill the sump. These bottles are quite short and fit under the seats in the pre-Ruby Seven’s. If you have a Ruby then a Radox Herbal bath liquid bottle makes an equally good container and will stand upright in the under-bonnet tool box and take up very little space. These are 500 ml and therefore can be treated as a Pint and used accordingly. You can actually get a least 6 of these bottles in the tool box which is useful for long journeys.
Less Oil Spillage
One way to prevent oil spilling (or dripping) onto the ignition wires and the starter motor etc., is to temporally extend the oil filler tube. I use a plastic Coke bottle with the bottom removed, the screwed top seems to just fit nicely into the top of the filler tube of my Box saloon and the ignition wires support the bottle too.Now I rarely spill any oil over the off-side engine area.
Lubricating Door Locks
If your door key, or any other key for that matter, is a bit 'sticky' in the lock, don't use oil to free it off, rub the key with a soft lead pencil. Most pencil leads are made from graphite, which is a great lubricant, with the added bonus that it will not attract dust and dirt like nice sticky oil will. You can also buy powdered graphite which can be 'puffed' into keyholes.
I must admit though, I don't know where to buy it here in Cornwall. You can also rub the pencil over the latch on your door, this will make it shut a lot easier.
Polishing & buffing
Do your fingers ache whilst polishing and buffing the ‘Seven’? A power polisher/buffer is large and heavy, the 180mm (7”) pad does not fit into the curves of the ‘Seven’; the ideal size is a Black & Decker KA161 or Bosch PSM 80 sander/polisher. Apply the small area of polish as directed and then, with the soft foam pad attached, cover the base with a micro-fibre polishing cloth, switch on and, without pressing too much, keep the cloth moving slowly over the area to obtain a good result. (Note: product details are mentioned for accuracy of information, other small hand held sanders may also be suitable.)
Seeing in the Rain
A little tip might just help someone else.
So if any of you have glasses for long distance sight, why not try them in the rain in your Austin Seven. There is one situation that is impossible to solve though and that is thin drizzle or mist. The tiny droplets of water lodge on the windscreen and seeing becomes impossible until enough has collected to allow the drops to merge and run off. Before now, in freezing fog, I have had to drive with the windscreen open and that is an extremely chilly experience.This quick tip came from David Charles and appeared in CA7C Seven Focus in Feb 2007 p17.
Starting Handle Tip
You know the feeling when you start that job which first requires the removal of the radiator. 'The starting handle has to come of first'. After removing the cotter bolt it is normally tap tap (and generally ending up with a thump thump) with the hammer on the handle to try and get the blasted thing to release from the starting handle shaft.
An easier method (this may be known to many of you but to others not) is to put the car into gear and then get the nearest or your dearest to sit in the car and firmly apply the brakes. Then catching hold of the handle and slightly pulling towards you, wind the handle off the shaft. Easy eh!
This quick tip came from Eddie Angell and appeared in Seven Focus Apr 2008 p27.
Loading a Seven onto a trailer or ramps.
If you need to put your Seven on ramps don’t try to drive it up. Its much easier to put the Car in 1st or reverse gear, depending on whether you want to lift the front or rear, and then by turning the starting handle you can “wind” the car up the ramps with very little effort.This quick tip came from Andrew Jarmin.
Wheel Spraying Made Easier
Members might be interested in a simple jig I’ve recently made for spraying Austin Seven wheels. It consists of a discarded inner wheel hub, which has the three mounting studs still in place, together with the large ball bearing.
Through this bearing is pushed (tight fit) an
1¼" dia tube, rod or even a piece of wooden dowel (I’ve used an old post
’35 engine oil filter tube with the end removed) so that the assembly
can be held in one end of a Workmate or similar vice. Four 5/16" flat
washers are first put on each stud as spacers, then the wheel can be
secured in the normal way.
When spraying with an aerosol a vast improvement in the finish is obtained by pre-warming the wheel using a hot air gun.
The paint dries quicker and there is less risk of runs and prevents blooming if any dampness is in the air. Ideally a nice warm, calm day is preferable as this is definitely an outside job.
After spraying, a quick going over with the heat gun – keep it moving – will dry off the cellulose.
Using this method all areas of the wheel are easily painted.
This quick tip came from Geoff Greinig and appeared in CA7C Seven Focus in Feb 2007 p22.
If blowing through the pipe or using compressed air does not work then thread a piece of Bowden cable through the offending pipe. Scrape it back and forth to remove whatever crud comes away easily. Then attach it to a hand-brace and spin it in an ANTICLOCKWISE direction. It unwinds inside the pipe, spreads out and buffs the sidewalls a treat. A final puff with the airline and all should be well.
Do not use a power drill near fuel vapour.This quick tip came from Andrew Jarmin.
Door lock covers for the Ruby and Big Seven are notoriously brittle, especially the ones which you have to cut the slots yourself. The newest version from The Seven Workshop is stronger but it is still worthwhile reinforcing them with 25mm self-adhesive glass fibre tape, available on e-bay.
Lost one or more of the corner screws holding the covers to the base plate? The long screws which fix the face plate to a wall-mounted electrical socket have the right size head for the covers, so cut to size and job done.
This quick tip came from Doug Castlet and appeared in Seven Focus July 2016 p17.