Ford Prefect Hot Rod - Putting the v8 Engine back in

Published on 28 September 2023 at 10:35

My mate Russ, a true gent, a lifetime of experience and lovely blue gloves that contrast beautifully with the red overalls. The lob would have been 10 times harder without him, thanks mate.

Within 45 minutes of Russ arriving the engine was back in it's rightful place, I reckoned we would be finished by lunch time.

This area proved to be nowhere near as strong as I had intended it to be. It now has a 5mm thick steel plate covering the whole area, there is now no flexing at all, a similar thing has been done the other side. A nice little side effect is that it looks a lot neater.

I always thought that the finest thing one can do is to disappear in to a workshop and dick around with a car or bike for a few hours. I was wrong, dicking about with cars or bikes with a good mate that has a similar interest is actually the best thing.

I have struggled a bit recently to get my head straight and to get back on with the Prefect. Getting the engine out had proved to be quite a task and I really wasn't looking forward to getting it back in, the workshop floor is not flat and pushing the engine crane around with a Rover v8 and box weighing it down is no small task.

Fortunately, I am lucky enough to know Russell, a man that not only knows more about car renovation than anybody else I know but also a genuine geezer that is an absolute delight to be around. With his help the job I would have taken a couple of hours to complete with much bad language and probably a fair amount of damage took less than half an hour.


The great thing is it was a second pair of eyes as well as a second pair of hands, thanks to that a potential disaster was averted. Russ had been standing to the side of the car when I lifted it on a jack to move the axle stands. It was he who noticed that the chassis was flexing excessively at the point where the old bit joined the new bit. I was convinced I had made it strong enough -- clearly I was wrong. If he hadn't been stood there at the time I would most likely not have noticed but the weight of the engine and box was definitely causing more flexing that I would want. 

We had a chat about it and decided the best way to deal with it was to make two strengthening plates out of 5mm thick steel that would extend both well forward of and well behind the join. We reckoned that with the two pieces fully welded the joint would be stronger than the rest of the chassis and any load would be spread nicely. I have to say it worked beautifully as when I tested it by lifting the whole weight of the car on a jack positioned right at the front it all moved as one. Now it doesn't have the rigidity of a space frame, it ain't no Lotus but I think it will be more than stiff enough to give great and predictable handling.

I wasn't expecting today to turn in to a weldathon but it's much better to find these problems now when they can be sorted. I am certain that what we did today will make the car far better and safer than it would have been without Russell's intervention.

After he left I tidied things up a bit, applied some new paint and knocked up some spacers that I will need for the suspension. The weather forecast is for a storm coming in tomorrow so I don't think I will get anything done, I also have to go and have a look at a go-kart that is misbehaving itself. I am well chuffed with what we got done today, I hope to get the prop shaft back in and the front suspension back on in the next few days, it will be nice to have it sat on it's wheels again for the first time in several months. the brake pipes are laid in now so once the suspension is back together I can fill the system, bleed it up and will hopefully then have brakes. That will then be a true rolling chassis, the handbrake is already sorted and working extremely well.

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