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Silver Surfer II

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How to build a round-bum limper

Part II

Duncan Grimmond

"Of course everything takes much longer than you think it will" he said pointing out the obvious.

My first job on the next stage was to sort out a position and connection for the fuel tank. I had thought of running it straight out sideways but concluded that this might result in fuel slopping out as I went round right-handers. A Monza type cap in the rear top would involve a rigid pipe running through the luggage space I'd created by enclosing the rear wheel arch, making all that work redundant.

I knew that a hatch was going to be needed to gain access to the rearmost stowage space and that this would also interfere with the route of the filler. Another consideration was the position of the exhaust which would be likely to intrude or approach a low side filler.

So, after much deliberation I decided to put the filler inside the rear space with access through the hatch. Having created a larger boot space I didn't want to lose it to a closed compartment and after much searching found a filler-funnel in aluminium at Demon Tweeks.

This is a square funnel set in a flange with a screw type filler cap. Mounted in a shallow box with a sealed lid this is now in place and, having connected it to the tank and poured in 1/2 a gallon of petrol to check for hose leaks, there is no discernible smell of fuel in the rear compartment.

This allowed me to fit the lower rear panels and clecoe them into place ready for the rear top. I fitted both sides and the rear top with clecoes and drilled all the holes ready for riveting.

The next challenge was to make a hatch door which would be relatively waterproof. My experience of driving a Pembleton in heavy rain showed that water gets in through any tiny hole or crack and some form of seal would be needed to keep my camping gear dry in the rear boot. As the rear top is slightly "sprung", a major problem to overcome is the 'bursting' effect when a hole is cut in a panel under tension. I fitted an extra half hoop to the forward end of the top and relied on the rear tubular hoop to keep that contour in line. Even with these braces the panel distorted slightly when the hole was cut and I made pairs of curved formers in 20mm birch ply to use when turning the edges of the hole under to form a safe edge. This edge was left partly open to allow three joggled and folded strips I used to create a rebate for a rubber sealing strip on which the door shuts.

All this forming and fitting took the best part of a week with the double-skin door taking a further couple of days. Now I've done one I know how to do it next time. The trouble is that it's unlikely there will be a next time!

The hinge for the door is a stainless piano type riveted on the underside with a strip below to carry a sealing strip in hope of stopping too much water getting through.

With an escutcheon under a socket-head screw to turn the latch-bolts the door shuts fairly tightly the door seems to work fairly well with an acceptable shut-line. Rain will tell all.

I had planned to make the rear nose (or bum) cover in one piece but three failed attempts warned me off a fourth so I made it in two pieces.

This meant that there had to be two thicknesses of metal instead of one over the rear spine which entailed moving the join slightly to one side to avoid creating a step in the longitudinal line of the rear end.

However, I think the end result fits in with the ethos of the Pembleton riveted construction design and I am pleased with the final result. All that remains now is the final finishing of the build, 80% done with only another 60% to go!

Duncan


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