A big thanks for all the helpful and suggestive comments above. ;D ;D
Today was a day of learning. As many of you know, I'm not a car enthusiast, so most car mumbo-jumbo goes straight over my head. However, I was forced to get my head around various bits of info relating to the axle, and some of it ain't pretty.
1. Hubs/bearings: The hubs/bearings are not standard FJ Holden, and appear to be a specially made wheel for caravans. The large bearing cups are supposed to be press-fitted into the hub, but on one side it slides out easily, and on the other side it falls out. The bearings are in "fair" condition, and on one side there is a mark from a dry bearing, which I'm told is not an ideal condition. The bearing cup that fell out had been doctored to try and get it to stay in position, but that didn't work any more. There's talk about maybe using a Loctite product to "glue" the bearing cups back in position, depending on this next bit of information...
The bearing numbers translate to old Wolseley bearings..quoted cost for one new set was $300, meaning $600 for both sides (Every time I think of this figure, I have to reach for a brown paper bag to breathe into. ). My other brother (my boilermaker man) has a friend who is restoring a Vauxhall Viva, and who is apparently buying parts from the UK for about a quarter(?) of the Oz prices, and so we're going to suss out whether these old Wolseley bearings can be bought at more reasonable prices from over there.
I keep looking in my wallet, and after shooing the moths away, I'm kinda wondering at what point I forgo "originality" and get a whole new axle. Does anybody have any suggestions about whether the present set-up can be salvaged, or should I just cut my losses and move on? Anybody have any ideas about Wolseley bearings and costs? Anybody know of a reputable axle manufacturer within a 100kms of Wollongong, NSW? Exploring all options at the moment.
2. Brake levers: My boilermaker brother can braze up the holes and redrill them, so there doesn't look like there'll be any issues there. (Obviously depends on the decision in (1) above.)
3. Springs: Thanks for your detailed suggestions, Col. I went to the local spring works today and chatted with the owner. I actually worked with him nearly 40 years ago in the local steel industry, but I didn't realise he had been in this business for the last 35-odd years. Apart from an hour spent reminiscing about all the old names that were in the steelworks back then, he was able to tell me that he could do everything that you'd suggested. His old man started the business probably way back in the 1600s ( ), so Dennis has inherited all his Dad's traditional skills for doing things the right way. I was more than happy to give him both thumbs up and leave the whole job in his capable hands. Springs reconditioned, new U-bolts, bushes, shackle bolts, spring hangers...the lot.
Welcome to the "original old bearings keep 'em or chuck 'em" club (you do remember the problems I had with the bearings on Ol' 36 don't you ?)
The suggestions from the above two learned gentlemen you should follow.....the blokes at AA bearings are very helpful.
Regarding the bearings you have ...... if they fell out into you hands and had previously been bodgied up to hold them in the hub........... probably they are the wrong bearings for the hub, so not much point getting the same ones again ??
Al I can't point you in the direction of axle manufacturers in your area but I can tell you when I rang around for ours the quotes ranged from $660 to $1400
I am happy with the outcome for ours - for roughly the cost of your bearings (so far) you could replace the lot with a brand new electric braked axle with probably a higher rating and complete with brakes. Ours came complete with mounting ubolts and plates, and I ended up using the old springs which will need a job done on them at some stage.
I have refurbished the metho stove as best I can. Pulled it apart as much as I could, and gave all the bits a good clean. Put it all back together, and at least it worked...
This is the first metho stove I've dealt with, and what a 'primitive' bit of gear they are. I can only presume the Mums of the 1940s and 50s were only too happy to see the introduction of gas stoves in the late 50s. The heat generated in this metho stove transfers to the metal casing and the bakelite control knobs. Have it running for 15 minutes, and you need a pair of oven mitts to be able to work with it!
Hmmm...this one might end up being a display model only, methinks.
Last Edit: Jun 5, 2019 14:16:28 GMT 10 by Franklin1
As mentioned previously I have (and use) a couple of these metho stoves and neither of them have that reflector/heat shield around the fuel tank........ it is an unauthorized MODIFICATION and as is usually the case with modifications to the original design it has produced unwanted side effects.
If it was put there to protect the fuel tank from heat it is unnecessary.
If it was put there to reflect heat back onto whatever your trying to cook it's probably succeding... with the unwanted side effects of making the knobs too hot to handle..... give the heat shield the flick mate and return the cooker to its original condition
How are you going with your search for new wheel bearings ?
This, my friend, is a genuine Ravia DELUXE MkIII model which was only sold to people who had a proven income of more than £15,000 at the time!
I can see the shadow of what looks like it might have been a sticker, on the aluminium shield, just below the tank screwcap. I presume the sticker might have related to something to do with the stove. [Or, it might have been one of those "Save a Don a Day" stickers that people put on their bumper bars when there's no whales in their neighbourhood ]
The heat shield ain't the problem. It's the heat conducted through the burner tubes and the grill bars that transfers to the knobs and casing.
Nup, the shield is definitely "original". Even the slots in the cup-head bolts holding it on are all horizontal. It's been too well-made to be a home jobby, by the look.
When you say "I have (and use)", do you mean you personally, or do you mean Yvonne? Can you put her on the phone so I can ask her personal opinion?
Bearings? [groan... ] Hopefully in another week we'll know how we're going there. Waiting for Mr. Postman...
Al I suggest forget the old axle and get thee a new 1960 axle ( ). My Brother was a boilermaker (old school ) and he made the axles for his car trailer no worries. Maybe your brother could do the same after all the axles you buy are made by fabricators and nobody questions that. Just get a couple new stubs and wheels to suit. Pete
...Or, it might have been one of those "Save a Don a Day" stickers that people put on their bumper bars when there's no whales in their neighbourhood ...
;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
"Save a Don a Day" - You've seen the light at last! I'm overcome...
Hey, wait a minute... What do you mean by comparing a Don with a whale?
But maybe you mean that they're big and roomy like a whale? (Just ask Jonah.) Or that they look very elegant as they effortlessly sail the roads like a whale frolicking in the ocean? Or that they live a long time like a whale? Yes, that must be it...
;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
PS Great to see what you're achieving with the Newcastle - it's a big task, and you've run into a few obstacles, but you are making progress!
Al I suggest forget the old axle and get thee a new 1960 axle
You and a number of others have made the same suggestion to me, as I try to work through the bearing frustration. I'm very tempted when I see internet sellers listing complete axles for around $600 or $700. However, there's a bloke who lives about an hour and a half away from me whose words keep ringing in my ears: "Keep it original! Keep it original!"
So, whaddya do in this situation? Spend $600 on new bearings (could be true!) and keep the old drop axle and the three FJ wheels you've already got, OR spend $600 on a new axle plus go buy 3 'new' wheels to suit??
Get my brother to make a new axle? Hmmm...he's good, but I break out in red blotches thinking about depending on an axle that he's made.
Hey, wait a minute... What do you mean by comparing a Don with a whale?
I've always been under the impression that YOU were the brains behind the "Save a Don a Day" bumper sticker campaign. Maybe I've got you mixed up with Surf Tragic. The pamphlet I got in the mail box about the campaign talked about how Don owners are always having a whale of a time when they go camping. ;D
I was walking along my local beach the other day, when I came across about 20 people trying to push a Don out into the surf. I started yelling frantically, "What are you doing?!! What are you doing?!!". They all pointed to the bumper sticker. I had to sit them all down and carefully explain what the sticker actually meant.
I thought I'd put some information here about the frustration I had finding replacement bearings for the van. From a starting position two weeks ago of knowing "stuff all" about bearings, I'm now quite "knowledgeable" ...and poorer
1. Hubs: mine are set up for FJ wheels...
2. The inner bearings: The inner bearing cup is a Timken special bearing # 12474S, which is not interchangeable with the basic bearing cup # 12474 (different ODs). The special cup is no longer manufactured, so the price of this cup depends on who has one, and how much they're prepared to sell it to you for. My retail quote was $232.10 for one cup.
The inner cone is Timken # 14120 and is still made and readily available. My retail quote for a combined cup and cone set was $303. A special "trade price" through my brother's mechanic shop for the set was $190 'delivered', a saving of $113.
These photos show the special cup, the cone, and the seal...
3. The outer bearings: Both outer cup and cone are still made and are a pretty common combination, apparently. The outer cup is Timken # 09194 and the cone is # 09074. The best local "trade price" we got was $120 per set, or $240 for both sides. I discovered these could be bought on a USA website, and also on their related ebay store. The price for two sets shipped to Australia was $68, compared with our local trade price of $240. It took 9 days for them to arrive in my mailbox. Quality seems to be A1, with no surface rusting or staining on the bearings, and "Timken - USA" is stamped on each bearing. They don't come in Timken boxes, but each bearing is cling-wrapped, and then bubble-wrapped before being put in the postal box. Shipping cost $14 for the basic postage, or $26 for the quicker delivery with tracking. I risked the $14 cost, with no problems.
Here's a photo of the package and one of the bearings...
4.Links: If you're searching for bearings, here are some links you might find useful...
Timken Catalogues - Various catalogues available giving all sorts of information about bearings.
Even cheaper is this RockAuto website that geoff'n'jude gave me recently (...I never discovered this one ). I could have got the two outer sets for a total of about $45, including postage, versus the $68 I paid with the other mob.
So, it sure pays to shop around!! It also pays to put a Wanted post on the forum. You never know who might be able to get a cheaper price for you for one or more of your bearings. (thankyou, member...you know who you are... )
Last Edit: Jun 5, 2019 14:20:53 GMT 10 by Franklin1
Post by sportsman 1 on Feb 24, 2011 14:50:04 GMT 10
I certainly admire your quest for originality. I hope the bearing saga is now coming to an end and all works out for you. I see that AA Bearings have already been suggested as a good supplier, they are who I use.
I admit I took the old unbraked axle out of the Clipper and replaced it with an electric brake one. This got me down to a reasonable size of wheel and tyre as well as satisfying the rego authorities who insisted the van had to have brakes of some description at its weight.
As well as that if I end up towing it with the Vagabond at least I will have the certainty of knowing that the van brakes are going to be doing their share of the work. No brakes would have meant no Vauxhall tow car.
Post by Surf Tragic on Feb 24, 2011 19:47:04 GMT 10
Good to see you found what you wanted with the bearings, I have kept those links you supplied for future reference too thanks. Keep at it, no doubt you get a lot of satisfaction doing it the way you are.
Well done Al, It is a shame there is such a price difference between going to your local supplier and shopping on-line.
You talk about the frustrations of trying to stay as close to original as possible...... I'd rather call it the satisfaction of staying as close to original as possible...... anybody can go down the easy path the extra cost is of no consequence in the long run.
I'll also explore those links you found..... might find a better solution for what I put on Ol' 36..... deep groove roller bearings, because of problems I had fitting an Oil seal to Timkin type bearings.
G'day Al, the wheel with the big hole is a off an earlier model 48-215 or FX....they use a wider nut with a different taper ,so no you can't mix n'match. You'll have to chase up the right nuts ,from memory they have a 7/8" hex , the regular small ones are 3/4" hex. If you used the smaller nuts they will bottom out on the thread before they pull up tight on the wheel....happy huntin', Col.
Boy! Just wait'll I see that ol' codger again! I'm gonna hit him up for a "refund"!!
He's away this week showing off his "family jewels" to all the other ol' codgers for Seniors Week, so I'll send him a PM and see if he's got another wheel that's the right one. Too technical for me to be mucking around with carrying another set of wheel nuts.
Hasn't reddo just acquired a set of FJ wheels? He wouldn't miss one wheel, would he?
This project is progressing slowly. Almost every day I try to do another little bit on it, even though I don't post an update very often.
Today I thought I'd talk about the springs on this van...
I took them to the local springworks for assessment, and ended up trying to get my mind around his 35 years' worth of information and experience. I'd like to put some of his knowledge in this post for your interest...
There are a number of things to consider when matching the correct spring with a vehicle or caravan.
1. the mount length = the distance between the centres of the bolt holes on the chassis rail...
A standard mount length for caravans in the era of mine, was 331/2". The mount length on my van is exactly that.
2. the chord length of the spring = the straight-line distance between the centres of the spring eyes...
For a mount length of 331/2", the spring should have a chord length of 321/4".
And 3. the camber of the spring leaves...
Camber can vary depending on the load rating, but for my van an ideal spring camber would be 43/4".
Another important thing to consider when choosing the correct spring is its load rating. Having a spring with too high a load rating on the van is just as bad as having one with too low a rating.
So now to the springs on my van...
The spring man assessed them and didn't like them. "They don't look right", he says. The chord length was too long, and the camber was about half what it should be, even though the load rating was about right. He thinks they are old car springs that have been fitted. "Are they the original ones?" Who knows??!
He said if I wanted to persevere with keeping them on the van, the cost of having the spring pack dismantled, plus inspecting each leaf for fatigue cracking, plus resetting the camber, plus reassembling the pack, would be a lot more than the cost of a new set of springs that more correctly matched the van.
I consulted with my wallet...
And bought a new set.
308 dollars later I had a new set of springs, plus the whole kit and kaboodle that goes with them - bolts, nuts, plates, bushes...you name it...
This photo shows the comparison between the old and the new springs when fitted to the chassis...
It means the van will now sit about 21/2" higher off the ground, so I'll have to be mindful of that when I build the cabin back on the chassis. I have a height limit through my Roll-a-door of 2500mm.
That's enough for this post ...
Last Edit: Jun 5, 2019 14:25:10 GMT 10 by Franklin1
Interesting post - I found it very enlightening after planning to go down the same route not that long back in late Jan just after we bought our Olympic.
Just before Xmas holidays last year I saw an older caravan (80s?) disintegrate on the highway about five car lengths ahead of us, and couldn't avoid driving through the cupboards and clothes and other detrius. The car towing the van was flung into the Armco, and there were kids in the car. Noone was seriously hurt, but it scared the hell out of me.
I'm not singling out the springs by any means; the van had a range of issues. It was going down the road with quite a wobble on for quite a distance before the car breaked and all hell broke loose.
But needless to say when we bought our own van about a month later I was on a total safety kick. I wanted everything older than me (everything on it is older than me!) taken out of it and certified safe or replaced - never wanting my family face-planted into a highway barrier.
My thinking (probably flawed I'm sure) was that shocks help keep you on the road, so I was very keen to ensure the springs were top notch - and really I wanted them replaced. New axle, etc. So that was my mind set.
For a number of van owners for a range of reasons you may not have a common mount length, chord length or camber, which is what happened in our case. The old guy at the trailer place (who kept trying to buy my van off me) said his preference was to replace them if he could, but this was not a standard set.
Remaking them was going to be prohibitive, so they did go the full reconditioning route and added an extra leaf in. I wasn't completely happy about it at the time. I think I only felt ok about it after I handled all the chassis while we cleaned it back and painted it - it was pretty tidy.
So the advice you got was excellent from your repairer, but it appears that they occasionally still recondition them if the alternative is to make them new (rather than off the shelf).
I guess then, if you find yourself in that position, you have to weigh up if you have a set that can be saved or if you just have to pony up the cash if they are too far gone.
Thanks for the good post Al - and good progress!
The Blue Flyer - 1951 Homemade Bondwood
Chryssi - 1966 VC Valiant Safari
The Seeshell - 1969 Olympic Riviera (deceased)
Sometimes I consider myself to be rather lucky to live in an industrial region. We have a number of businesses who can make/repair things for heavy industry, and the spring works is one such place. The new springs I bought were made from scratch in the factory/workshop on the premises. Dennis (the owner) is "old school craftsmanship", and turns his nose up at some of the practices and engineering designs churned out today.
He has had his fair share of caravans limping into his driveway with a broken spring leaf or two. He has no respect for the poorly designed spring set-ups that he comes across, even in some of the more modern vans. He told me of plenty of incidents where people have bought a box trailer from a yard on Saturday morning, went and filled it up with a 'ton of sand', and then took the trailer to him on Monday morning because the springs were stuffed. Totally inappropriate springs for the trailer. You can expect a bit of the "stretching of the truth" in his stories, but the gist of the problem is a real one.
Like I say, I'm lucky to have access to an actual spring factory. If I didn't, then I'd probably be looking at the same outcome as you ended up with... find a repairer who can weave some magic with the springs already on the van.
I remember frankidownunder saying it cost him $480 to get his springs refurbished and fitted back onto his van. That's probably around the same sort of figure it would have cost me to have my old springs fixed up. When I consulted with my wallet, we both agreed that $308 for more appropriate brand new springs was pretty good value, even though I had to do all the refitting to the chassis myself.
The information I posted is certainly not intended to make readers panic in any way about the springs on their van. For me, it was a case of being at a point in the restoration where it made good sense to have the springs checked out. Had I not done that, the old springs could very well have lasted another 50 years. Who knows??
I don't want anybody to think I'm dictating to them that you should be getting your springs checked/changed/altered/whatever.
Yes that's about the same for new springs (not an option for us) - our refurbishment might have been a bit more than you would have had to pay, and new/custom (non stock) was going to be about as much as half again on top of that.
I agree - though it is a packet - it's not to scare anyone or suggest that leaving them alone might not be the perfect outcome. Apart from the highway scare, I had read a whole bunch on the forum before we got the van - and there was very strong advice about doing the safety/unsexy parts first.
I was very happy with my old gent who did the repairs - crotchety as hell but actually a lovely old bloke. He did a fantastic job - and really, I'm happy to know its been done properly.
You are lucky to have some heavy industry contacts or locals to tap into. A bit envious, and not just of the Franklin shelf.
Last Edit: Apr 30, 2011 19:01:30 GMT 10 by seeshell
The Blue Flyer - 1951 Homemade Bondwood
Chryssi - 1966 VC Valiant Safari
The Seeshell - 1969 Olympic Riviera (deceased)
Time for another catch-up on some of the things that have been done to this van over the last few months...
The axle was refurbished by my mechanic brother. New brake pads bonded on the brakes. The drums were machined. New bearings were fitted (Oh My God...the price of bearings!! $365 for the lot.). And it got some coats of paint when it came back in my garage...
The wheels were cleaned and painted all over before new tyres and tubes were fitted...
The cable holes in the brake levers were brazed back up and redrilled...
And the mudguards needed a bit of "Rustbuster" treatment before getting a coat of zinc-rich primer, and topcoats...
So far so good...
Last Edit: Jun 5, 2019 14:28:33 GMT 10 by Franklin1
cobber, if you're out there reading this, this post is aimed at you and other Locktite coupling owners...
We've talked before about these couplings possibly requiring a towball that's smaller in diameter than the 50mm ball. I checked mine out and my 50mm ball fits into the coupling rather easily...
My coupling was missing the two locking bolts in the coupling head. I scrounged around in the shed and found two bolts that were the appropriate size. Now it looks more like yours does, although you don't seem to have the ball adjustment bolt on yours...
I decided to modify the locking bolt for the handle a bit, and cut up one of the old U-bolts and welded a handle onto the bolt. Heaps easier to tighten it now rather than having to use a spanner...
I'd offer you the other half of the U-bolt to use on your van, but then your van wouldn't be original anymore, and you know how picky that reddo fella can be when it comes to originality. He'd laugh you out of the next caravan park!
Last Edit: Jun 5, 2019 14:30:13 GMT 10 by Franklin1