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Build report – Pembleton Van


Philip Hardcastle

Only a short report from me this time as there's not a huge amount to report. As ever life is quite busy and with Mrs Hardcastle expecting our first Child on 1st September it's meant that my focus has been elsewhere at times!

On a previous report I'd mentioned being at Duncan's weekend workshop at which I made my floor and front bulkhead panel. These had been stored in the garage loft space until now, and I'd been itching to get them fitted but was waiting to get my pipe work sorted before doing so.

I don't have a picture but I'd found some aluminium double pipe clips/holders on eBay which, with a bit of modification, (a big hole drilled in one) meant that I could attach one half of the clip to the chassis rail, before sandwiching the pipe with the other side which screws into the first half. I've not done a very good job of explaining them but basically it left me with the ability to neatly run two pipes down each chassis rail. The plan being to have a fuel send and return on the near side, with brake and electric cable on the off.

I had also invested in an air rivet gun which I couldn't recommend enough, especially for long runs such as the floor. I only have small hands too so found the air gun saved a lot of hard work! Using the rivet gun I got the floor and front bulkhead in without issue.

Because I moved the rear upright back by 6" it meant the floor needed extending by the same to the rear. I also needed to make up my footwells and ideally the bulkhead top. With this in mind, and half term providing me with some time, I made a trip to see Duncan near Ripon. I know I've said it many times on here but Duncan's help is second to none and I wouldn't have managed either build without him. He helped me to make the footwells and other bits needed, and after an enjoyable day I was back home getting them fixed in.

This has also allowed me to look at fixing the pedals and gearbox, although I found the ‘box to be too far back. To fix this I've cut a rudimentary inspection hole in the front bulkhead so I can get to the mounting bolts. I didn't think much more about this until today when I was looking at the front gearbox mount and found that the whole gearbox needed to be moved forward by almost 20mm, in order to both fit the mounts and not foul the steering arms. I'm not sure why this is but can only think that my rear mounting is wrong in some way. I've fixed it using 20mm spaces to bring the box out which seems a reasonable solution.

Also this week my tank arrived. I have no connection to SM engineering in Wales but I would recommend them one hundred times over. Spencer was great to deal with and made me a tank which is quite beautiful. I think the turnaround was only about 10 days from initial call to delivery and it's millimetre perfect. In fact it's so good I think I'd like to lacquer the aluminium to keep the look. Has this been done before?

For the filler I'd wanted a similar set up to a Landrover defender or old truck. The tank has a welded neck with screw cap which I want to fill directly into from the side of the car. Hand on heart I think I've set the neck slightly too short, but initial mock-ups with cardboard suggest I can do what I want, as long as the exhaust is moved lower onto the bottom rail of the body. This is not a real problem as I wanted a lower exhaust run anyway. I had contemplated trying to run an exhaust under the car but as yet I'm not convinced it's the right method due to both clearance and aesthetics.

The current job list is to finish the brake lines and gearbox mount before fixing the driveshafts. I really feel like I'm making progress which is a great feeling.Phil

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