Britain’s 64th favourite classic car

The Morris Marina has been voted Britain’s 64th favourite classic car, in a poll of Practical Classics readers. One hundred classic cars assembled at the top secret Millbrook circuit for a celebration of Britain’s favourite classics, following a survey by Practical Classics magazine.

 

Get your £1 money off voucher for the December edition of Practical Classics (MMOC & IR Login required) 

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Do it in a day: Repair broken manifold stud

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The O series engine consists of iron block and aluminium cylinder head. The original manifold studs that are threaded into the head can snap off leaving very little of the stud to work with and more often than not mean the head would have to be removed and sent to an engineering company for repair.

Here we will show you a way of making this repair yourself with the engine in situ.

Firstly, you will need the following tools and parts:

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5/16” UNF blind tap (to clean out remaining holes on head).

5/16” UNF thread repair kit (includes: HSS second tap. HSS drill bit, coil driver, tang remover and inserts)

Tap driver

Battery operated drill (variable speed with various drill bits)

Drill punch

Die grinder with a 40grit flapper wheel (or grinder with a 40grit flapper wheel)

File

Calliper gauge

 

Our engine is in the process of being fitted back together so we have a lot of space around the N/S of the engine. You may need to remove the carburettor, air box and manifold to gain access here. We were also lucky that the stud that snapped was at the front of the engine.
Start by cleaning out the remainder of the cylinder head stud holes with the 5/16” blind tap and measure their depths with a calliper gauge.

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Next, you will need to use the flapper wheel to carefully grind down the stud so that it is flush with the face of the head. Get the stud small enough so that it protrudes slightly and use a file to flatten it down so not to damage the head.

 

Now take your drill punch and mark the centre of the old stud Make sure the stud is flat when you punch it in the middle

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Carefully start drilling the stud with a 6mm HSS bit slowly. Check your alignment of the drill to the stud. The idea here is to eat into the old stud and remove it. You must continually check the depth and alignment of the hole as you do not want to go too far and drill into the oil gallery! Check depth against one of the other holes.

 

Move up a drill size once you have got the correct depth making sure you do not go above 5/16” at this point!
Clean out stud hole with a hoover

 

Once you are happy the stud is gone and the depth is correct, take the over-sized HSS drill bit from the repair kit. Centre your drill across the stud hole and drill out the hole.

 

Take the HSS second tap from the repair kit, centre it over the stud hole and carefully tap out the hole. You may want to use a light oil here to help lubricate the tap during this process. Wind the tap in and out a couple of times making sure that you have gone down all of the hole and removed all of the swarf. You may want to hoover out the hole before the next step.

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Using the coil driver from the kit, carefully wind in the insert into the stud hole. Once you are happy that it is flush with the cylinder head manifold face take the tang removal tool and tap the end off the insert. The tang tool is magnetic and will hold onto the tang when it is extracted.

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Test fit a new stud, or bolt.

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You can now re-fit the manifold.

 

 


Do it in a day

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So you have a daily driver that needs attention, or a project that needs work but you don’t have a lot of time to get really stuck into it? Why not figure out what jobs you could do in one day.

In an up and coming series we will guide you through some of the jobs that don’t have to take an age to complete, if you plan and prepare the parts and tools in advance.

Not only will we be covering general mechanical jobs, but a bit of welding and bodywork too. We will also go through some more basic tasks for owners that are new to the Marina or new to cars in general.

So stick around and take note of Do it in a day.

 

Coming up in this series:

Repair broken manifold stud – Live now!

Valve grinding and stem seals

Jacking point repair

Floor pan replacement

If you have any jobs that you want covering, please let us know and we will do our best to fit them in.


Do it in a day: Floor / Jacking point repair

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So you have a daily driver that needs attention, or a project that needs work but you don’t have a lot of time to get really stuck into it? Why not figure out what jobs you could do in one day. Apart from the normal maintenance jobs like: Oil service, suspension greasing and brake adjustment, what could you do in a day?

My LHD some of you know. This car was imported back in February and transported back to the UK by my friend Martin Wallis. Since being in my workshop very little has happened to it, apart from being put on axle stands – I’ve even had it for sale both in the Club’s magazine and website but it hasn't sold. No one seems to want projects.

The car is extremely solid and only needs a couple of little bits of body repair to make the shell 100%. My task for today is to cut out and repair where someone in the past has used the car’s jacking point and it has lifted up through the floor a little. This is a common area that needs attention in most old 70s BL cars, especially Marinas. With this car I have been lucky that the rest of the floor area is spotless and it only needs a small patch letting in.

Tools for the job (these are what I used – you can substitute to suit).

Socket set (removal of front seat)
Screw drivers (removal of trim)
Welders blanket (if leaving some interior in place
Block of wood
Body hammer
Sharpie pen
Tin snips
Cardboard (corrugated)
Cut off wheel (or grinder with a 1mm cutting disc)
Flapper disc (40 grit)
Masking tape
Sandpaper (coarse grit) or Die grinder with attachment wheel
Drill (with wire brush attachment)
Spot weld drill bit
Various drill bits
Workbench and steel for forming
Ruler
16 or 18 guage steel plate
Weld-thru primer
Zinc rich primer
Body matched paint
Cavity wax
Seam sealer

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  1. Remove front seat, carpet retaining strip and carpet

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2. Remove underfelt and protect trim with welder’s blanket

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3. Inspect affected area – use block of wood and hammer to knock jacking point back (make sure to check integrity of jacking point first).

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4. Clean area around jacking point with sandpaper and mark sport welds.

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5. Mark area to be repaired with masking tape.

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6. If the jacking point is to be replaced, carefully drill out spot welds – be sure not to go through both levels!

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7. Using a cut off wheel (or angle grinder with 1mm cutting disc) carefully cut along your marked lines. We will be attempting a butt weld repair here as it will be neater, if you are replacing the complete jacking point you can do a lap joint and seam weld or plug weld the panel into the floor.

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My repair will be in two pieces as I want to try and retain the original look from under the car – I am also plug welding this plate onto the original jacking point.

8. Clean up both sides of the floor and be sure to clean out the original jacking point with a wire brush attachment if you are keeping it.

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 9. Make a template from corrugated cardboard: A simple way here is to cut a piece of cardboard about the same size as the area to be repaired – press it against the edges of metal – turn it over and you will have a base to start your template!

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10. Cut and trim cardboard to suit – if butt welding, make sure you leave a small gap all the way around (roughly about 1 – 1.5mm).

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11. Paint all areas with weld-thru primer (once in bare metal).

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12. Transfer cardboard templates into metal using tin snips – trim to suit as necessary.

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13. Here I have drilled the top piece of my repair so that I can plug weld it to the bottom piece. I have also re-plug welded the original spot welds after I removed some rust from them.

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14. Once you are happy with the fitment of the patch spot weld it into the floor making sure not to overheat the repair. You should alternate your welds across the patch until they look like a continuous seam weld.

15. Clean up the welds as you see fit.

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16. Prim bare metal with a good quality rust inhibitor primer.

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17. Use seam sealer to protect welds.

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18. Prim area on both sides with a zinc rich primer

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19. Paint to match body colour

20. Wax cavities with a quality wax


Converting to automatic

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Simply put, to turn your classic car from a manual gearbox to an automatic you just need to find the right parts. If the car in question had an option for a slush box, then all the better. But why bother? Sure, if you wanted to shoehorn more horsepower into a British classic relatively cheaply, an automatic box will take more torque than its manual equivalent. The Marina auto versions were all low compression engines, denoted by the ‘L’ in their engine number. With the low-down torque these engines make the automatic box is very well suited and can transfer this into a very well-mannered car around town, but still kick down and pull hard when provoked out on the motorway and B roads.

These conversions seem to be carried out as a necessary evil, rather than an upgrade to an already capable car. Owners often want to keep their pride and joy, but may feel strain when using the clutch – switching to an automatic means they can keep the car but drive it in comfort.

The car we converted is a manual spec Marina HL but all of the steps are for 1800/1300 single and twin SU cars.

Parts for these are no longer off the shelf, so it is vital to make a list of what is needed before striping your car of its manual box. I’ve heard of complete cars being pillaged for their autos, linkages and connections – but this really isn’t necessary if you know what, and where to look for it. For example, the Marina auto engine is identical to any other Marina with a manual transmission – and it is more than possible to add an automatic to a high compression engine. The low comp engine would work better with the torque converter, making better use of the power, but all that is needed would be a set of LC pistons should you want to go this route.

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Parts required for 1800/1300 auto conversion

Auto box/torque converter:

Borg warner 35 (mk1 ->73) or Borg warner 65 (mk1 73->, mk2, mk3 and Ital) – Boxes are available both new and second hand via Club contacts.

Flex plate

Made up of a starter ring gear and round plate welded and balanced. Certainly something that a good machine shop could make up or available through Club contacts.

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Selector and linkages:

Ok, so technically these are only available on Marina automatics – but when you look closely you could make something up from various BL cars of the era. For example, have a look at small triumph cars of the 70s such as the 1850 Dolomite as it may be in better supply through Triumph specialists. The selector rod is only a piece of steel rod with a threaded end and adjuster linked onto it – something that could be made up with some hand tools, a pillar drill and a tap and die set.

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Engine back plate

On the automatic version there is a 1 ¾” round hole that sits between the sump that allows access to the torque converter bolts when the box is in the car. If you don’t have an auto back plate simply measure up the distance between one of the bolt holes on the flex plate and the back plate, then use a pillar drill and hole saw to open up the plate.

Crank spacer

Now this part is what allows the flex plate to sit out further from the end of the crank and centres the starter ring gear with the starter motor – a rare part but if you are serious about making an automatic Marina the Club can have one machined up for you (P.O.E)

Spigot bush

Removal of the bronze bush is required before fitting the crank spacer.

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Kick down

This function not only allows the box to drop down a gear when the accelerator is pushed to the floor, but monitors the location of the throttle position and makes the box change down correctly – A kick down that is incorrectly fitted or missing will mean the box will not function as designed. The bracketry for the Marina is simply made up by an angled metal edge and crude connector on the end of the rear SU carburettor. For our conversion we had to guess as at the time we couldn't find an accurate diagram – whilst it is crude, it allows the accelerator to operate between idle and wide open throttle and kick down to work as designed.

Inhibitor switch

Part number: DRC2918 – same as Rover SD1 and London taxis!

 

Inhibitor wiring

The Marina wiring for manuals is identical to the autos. The only difference is a connector block that sits under the heater box. On the manuals it has a loop for the starter circuit, and on the auto it connects into the inhibitor. Three cables needed here and a connector. Available from many auto spark companies.

Prop shaft

Identical to the manual version

Gearbox mount

Identical to the manual version

 

In conclusion

So, before you venture into buying a complete Marina auto to convert your classic, be sure to contact the MMOC & IR to see if we can help you. Marinas and Itals are in limited numbers and we are committed to help new and existing owners keep these cars on the road for future generations.

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Our car:
engine type     naturally aspirated petrol
engine manufacturer  Morris
engine code 18V
cylinders          Straight 4
capacity           1.8 litre 1799 cc (109.782 cu in)
bore × stroke   80.26 × 88.9 mm 3.16 × 3.5 in
bore/stroke ratio        0.9
overhead valve (OHV) 2 valves per cylinder 8 valves in total
maximum power output (din)    86 PS (85 bhp) (63 kW) at 5500 rpm
specific output (din)    47.2 bhp/litre 0.77 bhp/cu in
maximum torque (din)    135 Nm (100 ft·lb) (13.8 kgm) at 3000 rpm
specific torque (din)    75.04 Nm/litre 0.91 ft·lb/cu3
compression ratio       9:1
fuel system     2 SU carbs
bmep (brake mean effective pressure)         943 kPa (136.8 psi)
engine coolant            Water
unitary capacity          449.75 cc
aspiration        Normal

July 269 Club Results

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July results for the MMOC&IR 269 Club:

Want to join up? Download the forms here:

28th July      
  Winnings Ticket Number Name
First Prize 60%= £14.40 7 Mr T Painter

       
Second Prize 30%= £7.20 11 J Bush

       
Third Prize 10%= £2.40 23 Miss L Mundy

       
Total £24.00    
       
       
Independently drawn by Tim Forde Accountant TGFP from Royal

Leamington Spa.

       

May & June 269 Club Results

Morris Marina 1.8 TC Coupe - boot badge

May and June Results

May and June results for the MMOC&IR 269 Club:

Want to join up? Download the forms here:

26th May      
  Winnings Ticket Number Name
First Prize 60%= £14.40 10 Mr R Clayton
(to be left in the fund)

       
Second Prize 30%= £7.20 12 Mr R Snaith

       
Third Prize 10%= £2.40 18 M C Talkington

       
Total £24.00    
       
       
Independently drawn by Independently drawn by Solicitor Mr David Leigh-Hunt in association with Moore & Tibbits  Royal Leamington. 

       
       
30th June      
  Winnings Ticket Number Name
First Prize 60%= £14.40 21 Mr E Furnell

       
Second Prize 30%= £7.20 13 Mr B Viney

       
Third Prize 10%= £2.40 8  Mr V Watson

       
Total £20.00    
       
       
Independently drawn by Mr James Justice from 

Justice Roach Web Designers Royal Leamington Spa


March and April 269 Club Results

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March and April results for the MMOC&IR 269 Club:

Want to join up? Download the forms here:

31st March      
  Winnings Ticket Number Name
First Prize 60%= £12.00 12 Mr R Snaith
       
Second Prize 30%= £6.00 20 Mr G Prossor
       
Third Prize 10%= £2.00 6 Mr M Hanson
       
Total £20.00    
       
       
Independently drawn by Mr Paul Scally of Tebis UK
       
       
28th April      
  Winnings Ticket Number Name
First Prize 60%= £12.00 19 Mr P Dunster
       
Second Prize 30%= £6.00 9 Mr C Weedon
       
Third Prize 10%= £2.00 6 M M Hanson
       
Total £20.00    
       
       
Independently drawn by Mr Paul Scally of Tebis UK

February Draw for the MMOC&IR 269 Club

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We have 21 members  that have paid. The rules state each member pays £24.00 pa on a rolling year. Allocation is a 12th which equates to £2.00 per month, 50% stays in the 296 club leaving £21.00 for prize money. As stated in the Spring 2015 ”UNDEERSTEER” the first draw is a rollover the prize money equates to £42.00.

The draw was drawn by Mr P Bullas of “Wilfirs” of  Coventry

Prize money allocated as per the 269 Club  rules are as follows:-

· First Prize           60% =£25.20      Ticket Number 3 

· Second Prize     30%= £12.60      Ticket Number 4 

· Third Prize          10% = £4.20        Ticket Number 8

                                                     -------------

· Total                               £42.00

March’s prize money can only be increased  with new members. Currently prize money for each month stands at £21.00 so come on all you Marina Club members and get your friends to join.  The funds are for the benefit of the club.

Surplus funds held in the A/C, one  possible option that has been suggested is to purchase some wheel arches to hold in stock as these are the most popular along with jacking points.

Club member and want to join in? Click here to download the sign up form. Good luck!


The Missing VDP Marina

The club had the very good fortune to meet with Harris Mann-the designer of the Ital at the 2014 NEC Show.

Over the following year we attempted to move towards BL clubs working together in the future.

The story behind Harris’s designs for a Vanden Plas Marina or ‘Posh’ Marina to use his own description.

After leaving Ford then Pressed Steel Fisher, Harris Mann’s first job at Cowley was working on prototype Morris Marina variants.

During a one year period, Harris worked alongside Roy Haynes in a 70/30% partnership, with a futuristic theme running into other British Leyland models such as the Jaguar and Rover aspects.

Roy Haynes resigned as the production design teams prepared to move to Longbridge under Harry Webster.

This left Harris and his team with the Marina variants and Allegro designs.

But from the mid-seventies, around the time of production of the MK 3 Marina, he was also looking at, to use his own word, ‘sweeten’ the design of the Marina.

 

Face lift

Face/front and cosmetic changes in the design-looking to upgrade in line with Harris’s other futuristic original designs as seen in the Allegro/Metro/Princess, along with other originals.

The completion of the concept (two design sketches) of the VP Marina, or ‘Posh’ Marina, as Harris describes it, ready to his satisfaction, fell just after the end of production of the MK3 Marina.

This as plans were made towards the beginning of production of the Morris Ital in 1980 to 1982 at Cowley, the Ital then moving on to production at Longbridge from 1982-1984, with the last Morris badged vehicle-the Morris Metro van marking the very end of the Morris line.

As Harris indicated, 18 months to 2 or 3 years may separate design concept to production.

The rest is history-the production line model Itals went ahead and the VP Marina concept shelved and placed to Harris’s design archive-until now.

We would, along with Tom Morley, the organiser of the BL Autumn Rally 2016, like to invite you along as clubs or individuals, to the above. 

BL Autumn Rally

Sunday, 25 September, 2016

At the Milton Keynes Museum of Rural Life. 

Further Reading:

Concepts and prototypes: Morris Marina - AROnline

Concepts and Prototypes: Morris Marina - ADO77