A quick update – March 2018

Hi folks. The YouTube channel has certainly been keeping me busy in 2018, even more so since I made stickers available! See the Merch option top right. Sadly, demand was severely under-estimated and I sold out of stickers in two days! More are on order, and should be ready to send out by 27th March 2018.

In the meantime, if you haven’t seen it already, here is the latest chapter of the Project Invacar story. Getting her on the road is far from the end of the tale, and we have some big adventures planned – perhaps even a trip to Thundersley where she was built!

 

As if that wasn’t an exciting enough experience, the very next day, I drove 300 miles to the North East of England to sell the Lexus, and buy something else…

I’m also experimenting with new technology – behold Beard Cam! It got used in the Invacar video, and I’ll be doing a Beard Cam review of my new car soon too.

This weekend, I’m at the NEC for the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show. When not abusing the free tea facilities in the press office, you’ll probably find me lurking on the 2CVGB stand, though Elly will not be with me this time. Do come and say hello!

2018: YouTube takes off

You’ve probably noticed it’s gone a bit quiet on here. That was entirely planned. I think 31st December 2017 really marked the end of me using this Blog as a platform.

That’s simply because the HubNut YouTube Channel has taken off so well. It has several times the audience on the blog, and frankly,  I’m struggling to keep up with the comments at times.

The ride of the video channel is very rewarding, and represents about four years of my hobby time. From my first drive in an electric car, to the utter failings of an Invacar, there’s a right mix of content, which is just based on whatever I have to hand at the time. There’s no plan, no script and precious little professionalism. It’s just a bloke in a shed.

Latest video, number 183.

The latest video has caused some upset, because of my ineptitude, but I’m not professing to be an expert here, showing people how it’s done. No, I’m recording the exploits of a complete amateur, like many drawn to older cars, just having a go.  People like the realism, which stands as a fine alternative to proper TV.

You see, the problem with TV is that it’s made by TV people, who always have to consider the wider audience. Specialising to the degree of my videos is just not possible. On the internet, people will either watch it or they won’t, so there’s much more freedom. I don’t depend on the income (useful as it has become lately), so it’s not the end of the world if a video doesn’t do well.

As of today, HubNut boasts over 1.6 million views, over 8300 subscribers and an increasingly engaged audience that provides instant feedback. To someone who has worked in magazine publishing for over ten years, this is a new and exciting development!

So, the blog will be retiring, sitting here merely as a placeholder to direct folk towards YouTube. I apologise if that comes as a disappointment, but it’s getting harder and harder to keep on top of absolutely everything. My creative energies are already split between two magazines and the videos.

Thanks to all those who’ve supported HubNut in the long term, going back to the ClassicHub days. It’s that feeling of having an audience, no matter how small, that has kept me going. All the best! Ian.

Invacar latest – running!

Oh dear. I’m not doing very well at keeping the blog going. There’s a simple reason for that. Life is getting in the way. As well as a hectic schedule of magazines to edit, the HubNut video channel on YouTube has also been exceedingly busy. I’ve published over 70 videos this year, and it has to be said, feedback is much more plentiful on my channel than it ever has been on my blog.

Invacar blue three wheeler

2017 has really been a busy year, with some remarkable surprises!

So, I’m going to be toning things down a bit on here. I’m sorry if that’s bad news, but YouTube is where it all seems to be happening at the moment. In fact, I’m struggling to keep up with the comments! I like being able to reply to as many comments as possible. There may come a time when that’s no longer possible either.

So, here’s a video recap of December. Firstly, I did get the Invacar running. It now starts absolutely beautifully, and I’ve fitted a new exhaust today. Bodges to the old one didn’t hold!

 

Amusingly, having got my 493cc Invacar to fire up, I then couldn’t get the Lexus started after replacing the auxiliary belt tensioner and idler. New spark plugs sorted that out, but I’m still not entirely sure why.

 

Which allowed me to put together this short Vlog update on the fleet.

Thanks to everyone for their support on Hubnut.org over the years, and in its previous ClassicHub form. As ever, I’m active on Facebook as Ian Seabrook and Twitter as @Dollywobbler, but like I say, the YouTube channel is becoming the best place to stay in touch and see what I’m up to. Visit http://www.youtube.com/HubNut

Lastly, I hope you’ve all had a marvellous Christmas time. Here’s to new and exciting projects and experiences in 2018!

Lexus alternator fix

Well, I’m not sure why I grumbled so much about the Lexus alternator job. Fitting the new one progressed remarkably easily! The full details can be seen in this video.

I still have a broken fan cowling to replace, but I doubt I’ll miss it at this time of year. The good news is that the Lexus has so far covered 260 miles without trouble, though I suspect there’s an exhaust leak on one bank. It’s a bit chuffy at times.

The Lexus rests in Tiverton. No, I couldn’t be bothered to walk outside for a pic.

Still a marvellous way to travel though. It really is very good at eating up the Wales. After whisking us back home tomorrow, I’ll be swapping it for a 7.5 ton truck on Tuesday, in order to collect the Invacars. I suspect that drive won’t be quite so joyous…

 

Project Bluebird: Actual progress!

There has been progress with the Bluebird! In short, it runs again, holds coolant (after a bit of a leaky moment) and is ready and raring to go for an MOT, hopefully next week.

I haven’t got time to go into the details at the moment, but shall list my most recent videos for Project Bluebird below.

A lot has happened since this photo was taken…

The car arrives.

I start pulling it apart.

I start ballsing things up and generally not having a clue.

A miracle happens. Eventually.

 

Part Four – hopefully soon!

Thank you for words of encouragement and support during this project. It’s the first time I’ve partially-dismantled a four-cylinder engine, and it has certainly been a learning experience!

But what do I do with it once it is finished? I’ve got a Proton awaiting attention now…

 

Video: The Shitefest Series

UPDATED!

Shitefest has been and gone, already a week ago, but I’ve been working hard on getting new video content uploaded since the event. Here’s what I have so far. Do keep an eye on my channel, as further videos will be forthcoming over the next few weeks. I’m afraid the day job is about to get seriously busy again, which may delay things, but there are already three videos for your enjoyment, with a wealth of unusual car content!

First, an overall event report, including my visit to the 2CVGB event Registers’ Day.

 

Next, a thoroughly boring review of a Renault.

 

And for variety, the Innocenti Small 500! Daihatsu power, in a Bertone/BMC spin-off. Wonderful.

Now with more videos!

Do subscribe to my channel, and you’ll automatically be notified when new video content has been uploaded.

I’m quite proud of that channel. It now contains over 120 videos, covering cars as varied as the Tesla Model S, LDV Pilot van, Innocenti Small 500 and Nissan Bluebird. It also now has over half a million views! My videos will never have impressive production values, nor an actual script. It’s just me and my mobile phone. I’m thrilled that folk appear to enjoy them!

A Mini, but with Italian styling and Japanese mechanicals. Pic courtesy Michael Carpenter.

Project Bluebird: Head off, issues…

I think I like this car. You see, it’s very easy to work on – apart from the horrible location of the spark plugs. That’s good, because I started dismantling the engine without a manual. It must be easy though, because I managed it. I must pay credit to Japanese-spec bolts. After years of working on British and French motors, I half-expect every single bolt to snap. Not Japanese ones though, seemingly the same even when the car is built in the North East of England. There’s a delicious crack, and then the bolt simply comes undone. Even the long bolt that goes into the ‘stat housing, and which looked like it had lived in the sea for 20 years, came out with very little argument. I like that.

No special tools were needed either, with most bolts and nuts 12mm, 14mm or 17mm, the latter just for the exhaust manifold-to-downpipe. Good penetrating oil (I like the No Nonsense stuff from Screwfix, even if it really does pong) helps of course. Before long, I was able to lift the head free and inspect the damage.

Here’s the old cylinder head gasket.

I suspected cylinder three was at fault, due to a mouldy spark plug, and I was not wrong. The surprise was that cylinder four had also blown. If anything, this one was even worse, and looked pretty old. The edge of the combustion chamber looked like it had been nibbled away.

Aluminium-eating mice have been here.

Damage such as this is often caused by water leaking in, then getting superheated by combustion, putting too much strain on the aluminium. As well as this, there was, as you can see, a great deal of pitting. This was after I’d deployed some ‘home-brew’ magic too – a sheet of sandpaper under plate glass, to keep it smooth and level. In theory, it would have been sufficient to clean things up. In practice, it did a great job of removing bits of old gasket, but the damage was too severe for that technique to work.

So, I headed off to a machine shop – quite a trek down to Carmarthen to find one recommended by friends. I’m glad I did travel so far, because Adam at Hargreaves Engineering was certainly very knowledgeable, and had no problems with me hanging around to take photos.

After removing the camshaft pulley, Adam loaded the head into the milling machine. A ferocious looking bit spins around a wide circle in this machine, which can be precision-controlled to take very small amounts away. The first rough cut left a crinkle-finish, but allowed Adam to confirm that we would be able to get deep enough to take out some of the low points in the head.

Rough-skim gets us started.

You can certainly see the wide arc the milling machine makes as it passes over the head – or, rather, as the head passes beneath the cutter. Having confirmed that all was ok, Adam could then slow down the table, to give the final clean finish.

Voila! Skimmed clean.

There’s not a lot that can be done about the corrosion around the water ports – that’s what you get when you don’t replace your antifreeze regularly. In fact, some of these ports were entirely blocked. Five years is considered a suitable maximum for OAT coolant, but older types should be changed every couple of years – and rarely are.

Next, Adam tested the valve seats. Put simply, if the valve can’t hold a vacuum when one is applied to the relevant port, then it isn’t seating properly, which means combustion pressure is lost, which means efficiency is lost – more fuel, less power.

Big breaths…

That’s a duff inlet valve being tested there. It could generate very little vacuum pressure. The inlet on cylinder four, and most of the exhaust valves, also gave a poor reading. This means the valve seats at least need cleaning up with a lap, if not recutting, which means all the valves need to come out. This job had suddenly got a fair bit bigger. All of which means it’s going to be a couple more weeks before I can actually drive my Bluebird. Oh well! See below for a nice shot of it, taken before the dreadful Daimler departed. Yes, it’s gone!

One day, I might get to drive it…

Finally, here’s a video of the first stage of the cylinder head gasket replacement tale.