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Pembleton build


Philip Hardcastle

I finished my last update (ePAG 67) with the optimistic quote 'I aim to have a rolling chassis by October and floor petrol/brake plumbing by Christmas'. Well it's now Easter and I'm slightly behind schedule!

It's easy to forget just how much time is spent 'solving problems' on a build. I'm sure that I sleep much better when I had a project on because it's the last thing I think of as a drift off. This build has already involved a huge amount of problem solving, I'd guess that's 40% me being a novice, 40% having no real plans to go from as it's a one off, and 20% sheer procrastination because I'm worried about making a mess of it all!

About the time of my last update, I was pushing towards getting a rolling chassis because I wanted to get to Duncan's Weekend Workshop in November. In the end, my suspension bits came too late but I manage to get it moving by fixing wood in place of the tie rod arms!

I won't go into detail about the Weekend (I'm hoping there will be a report or similar) but it was a fantastic experience. Just to have Duncan's knowledge alone is great, but accompanied with his (new and rather snazzy) workshop, it made difficult tasks quick and easy. I must also say at this point a huge thank you to Dave Parr who spent the whole weekend working with me on my floor rather than fixing the bike he was there for another great example of selfless help from fellow Pembletoneers and something I just couldn't have managed without.

floor pan

I came away with a beautifully fitting floor and lower front bulkhead so a very productive day. It was also the first time I'd driven a trailer on the road so the whole day was filled with new experiences!

chassis on trestles

At this point I had won some flooring off eBay - the EVA interlocking tiles - not perfect but it's better than the concrete floor! Then I also struck lucky with some Ikea PS cabinets on Gumtree - a quick hour and a half to Nottingham one morning and I now have a garage stocked by Ikea. I always think those Ikea metal cabinets are perfect for the garage - and some bargains to be had secondhand. Plus I enjoy the roadtrip of picking them up.

Next plan was a little chat with my father who mends lawnmowers - some sweet talking and he lent me his lawnmower lift. A good result!

on its wheels

Before I make the roof and screen section, I needed to sort out the rear. I wanted a rounded rear more like the current M3W - and in line with the Jon Wells drawing. I took a deep breath and got the angle grinder out...

on its wheels
floor in

I followed Duncan's tired and tested bending method:

The plan was to chop the rear wheel mount off, bring the sides together and then weld back together so it all sat flat. It wasn't as simple as that but here was the result.

floor in

As I needed a rounded back, I thought that if I bent some round bar using my tube bender (more about that in a bit), then I could make a nice curve between the outer rails and the 'flat' on the back. Quickly knocked up this.

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Which I just wasn't happy with - the rear was too rounded and stubby. Looking at pictures of old Morgans, there needs to be an obvious flat part where the number plate sits. What made it doubly annoying was that I'd already bent some new bottom rails to fit the profile. I was going to leave it but thought this morning that I'd go in and have another play. After cutting off my (rough!) welds I tried again with one flat piece of bar. Also bought the rearmost section out by 50mm to give some definition. Not many pics but you can see the underside here:

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I've not decided what to do with the original section that connects the two side rails but I think I'll leave it in as it takes most of the load. The bar coming down can be used to support a mud guard and I as it won't be seen I think I'd rather have the strength of an extra brace.

I've been thinking about a windscreen for a while. In the Jon Wells design there was one flat windscreen (a la Caterham) but I initially thought about a split 'v' screen which comes back at the sides. I've been following an american fabrications company on instagram who made a B52 inspired side car and was planning to copy the 'screen' design from there. Then late one evening scouring eBay I saw a dickie windscreen from a triumph roadster. Bidding was at £13.00 with a day to go but the seller wasn't answering my emails or calls about widths. Chose the technical option and got my ruler out along with a picture on my screen (no kidding) and guessed it would be about right. Won the action (went up a little and ended up paying a good deal more than £13.00!) and it was delivered shortly after... About 2" too wide on each side!

Next was to make a bottom rail which runs parallel to the top rail. With me not having the top hoop I thought it would be good for keeping strength in the frame. Also it gives me two fixed points to attach the side panels to. I knew this was coming and a few months back I bought an electrician's tube bender off gumtree. Electricians because conduit is 1" diameter - the same as I'm using. It had been sat in the garage unused until the weekend it was required when I got it out and realised that apart from having the mandrels it was missing almost everything I needed to bend the pipe - stop bar, the guide on the bending arm etc. A royal pain but a bit of time with some spare steel and I got it to a usable standard.

I used the top frame as a guide and to be honest I was really happy with the results. The only tricky bit was that I wanted the side panels to come up towards the rear because I felt that staying parallel all the way along can make it look a bit slab sided and on the old Morgans they were 'kicked' up towards the back wheel. This meant a small bend at 90degrees to the others, judged by eye in a dark single garage, but either way it worked and I had this to show for it:

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I can't remember if I had explained in the last ePAG but one issue was I can't weld. Ade had been very helpful in explaining TIG welding and it sounded like a great idea. I have an arc welder from Aldi for tacking bits, which I'd got pretty good with - but it was useless with anything thin. I'd looked online and saw it was possible to convert the Aldi inverter welder to a TIG setup, so I bought a TIG torch, Argon, rods and tungstens, only to find out the Aldi welder had some kind of circuit protection which wouldn't let me TIG. I'm not knocking the £60 Aldi welder though it's great fur thick steel. It left me with the option of either going out and buying a TIG setup, getting a friend round to weld it (all fine but hard work when I'm designing it on the hoof) or just buy a MIG and get on with it. I always try to buy things second hand but I thought that this time I'd have a treat and get a decent one new. Cue lots of youtube research and I decided on a Clarke 135TE in go-faster red.

So, Sunday morning comes and I'm up early and on my way to Machine Mart in Hull. I have a love hate relationship with the place (Hull, not Machine Mart) because generally it's a dump, but there are some gems - both people and places - hidden inside. That weekend Banksy had just done a new piece round the corner from MM so it made sense to combine the visits. Just a shame that some complete idiot had decided to whitewash over the whole thing. Anyway, I got to see what was left and it was pretty impressive. I was also excited about welding.

I make no bones that I'm a poor welder, but I enjoy learning things and most of the work here was an 'add on' rather than structural. I spent the rest of the weekend practicing with scraps of metal before just deciding to have a blast (so don't look closely at the welding!).

About the same time as buying the welder, I found a Westfield Narrowbody screen on the Westfield Owners Club site. I was a member years ago when I had mine and the classifieds usually have some interesting stuff. Quick chat with a man called Sean and it was mine. Can't remember the price but I think it was about £50 delivered, and the lower frame size is perfect. The other benefits to using the Westifeld Screen is that there are lots of other bits I can use such as wind deflector mounts, wipers etc. Also, it's not uncommon to have a heated screen, which would be great for MSVA regs as I don't really want to run half a Dyson's piping over my dash. Got the Triumph offloaded on eBay for £75 (so a hit but at least it was gone) and had a go with the new screen. The stanchions will go but they're handy for the mock up.

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The post man was busy that week as he also delivered me this NOS Landrover Defender Duckie seat. I've not decided on seat choice yet, but I needed something which would help me mock up head height for the roof. I'm still toying with using 2 x defender middle seats with the 'deluxe' trim from Britpart. It's a cheap option and fits the 90cm max I have to play with. There are some other seats made from narrow body 7's etc but I want the vintage feel without paying a fortune and this might just do.

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At this point in my update I'd been to Machine Mart, seen Banksy's work and started welding. The bits of angle are a complete mess I know but they'll get trimmed down and they will allow for post-MSVA light fittings either side, á-la Morgan 3 wheeler. Don't ever say I'm not prepared! The two bits of flat should give me better definition for the shape of the rear.

Next was a bit of roof-line mock up. Using the most advanced of engineering tools (I'm looking a bit unsure here!). Happy with the line of the lower rear rail though.

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After getting the roof hoop fixed in place, the problem was going to be getting the windscreen mounted. The Pembleton scuttle has too much of a curve for a windscreen (especially the Westfield one) so I needed to make a new scuttle strap which the ali would follow. I'm still not entirely sure how to put a nice curve on flat bar but in the end a mixture of bending it round a gas bottle and using the pipe bender produced the profile of the bottom of the windscreen. In the pic below the screen is sat on the new scuttle curve.

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At this point I was about there with the welding - some additional supports for seatbelts etc and some primer and we had this:

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And that's where I'm up to. Hopefully now we'll see some real progress as I'm about to start bolting bits on. I won't make any predictions about time scale this time!

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On a side note I bought this photo from eBay a 1936 Morgan 3 wheeler pickup in the paddock at Brooklands.

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