In order to improve accessibility we have now put all the manuals (Instruction Manuals, Spares Handbooks and Workshop Manuals) into a password-protected dedicated area in the Archive under Bristol Manuals.
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Note: Even if you don’t live in New Zealand here is some useful advice!
Having checked everything people have suggested to improve my cooling with no change, I pulled the rebuilt radiator and the water pump and took them to Trevor French Radiators in Auckland (www.trevorfrenchradiators.co.nz ).
He saw nothing wrong with the water pump, so he suggested that he unsolder the radiator and check it out. First they put a hose into the top, and water flowed out the bottom, but he said that did not mean that it was travelling through the cooling fins. Not sure I understood that one, but as it turns out, he was correct.
For a fixed fee of NZ$90, he completely disassembled it and found the engine rebuild resulted in debris that had blocked the reportedly rebuilt radiator. He rodded it out and soldered it back together. He began at 2 pm and handed it back to me at 5 pm with a fresh coat of black paint. He also recommended that I take a woman’s nylon stocking and put it over the entry of the upper hose to catch any more debris.
He also said that the radiator design was quite good… more sophisticated in construction and should last another 30 years before needing attention.
On reinstalling it, I hooked up a second capillary temperature gauge and discovered that the Smith’s gauge was reading 140 C while the aftermarket gauge was about 93. Without that second opinion, I probably would have presumed I had not cured the problem. Unlike previous runs, the engine was not making those noises related to high temperature, so I am more comfortable that it is running in the 90’s. The fans going off and on seem to agree,
After a few runs up and down the hill, I pulled the upper hose off to inspect the nylon stocking. I found significant debris, blue engine paint and other junk that would have contributed to the need for a 3rd disassembly of the radiator.
Advice to others in the future…
1. When you install a newly rebuilt or cleaned radiator, or if your car has been sitting and may have built up scale in the engine block, use the nylon stocking trick to protect the radiator.
2. If the car overheats, it is easy enough to remove the Bristol radiator and have a shop take off the top to check for any obstructions to water flow. Even if it was just rebuilt, it could be blocked again.
3. Do not rely on the Smiths temperature gauge. The engine block has nearby places to add a second temperature gauge, which costs less and is more reliable than an infrared gun.
4. Other advice they gave was to never use a water blaster that comes near the radiator fins. It flattens and does damage. I’d never given it much thought, but it makes sense. He showed me an example.
Finally, anyone in NZ needing radiator work, these guys are highly recommend. Three older fellows, all white hair, the oldest radiator in the shop was from a 1927 Alvis. Good prices, great service, super knowledgeable.
The following contact details and addresses are for companies who undertake supplying spares and who conduct strip and rebuilding of automatic gearboxes (ie Torqueflte) and Salisbury axles.
- American Auto Spares Ltd., Kingsbury Road, Minworth, B76 9DD.
Telephone:- 0121 351 7655. Contact: Phil
- VMTP Midlands Ltd., Unit 10, Conduit Road, Norton Canes, Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 9TJ.
Telephone:- 01543 270555. Contact: Nigel Bishop
- Penn Autos Ltd., 3 Spring Lane, Wolverhampton, WV4 4SH.
Telephone:- 01902 344004. Contact: Andy Frost.
American Auto Spares Ltd. no longer conduct strip and rebuilds but can provide most engine, gearbox, starter motors, alternators, etc. which is now the focus of their business.
The others are renovation companies who have conducted strip-down and rebuilding of Bristol V8 gearboxes and axles in the past and felt confident in ensuring a good outcome.
They always prefer to have the vehicle and are quite prepared to remove the gearbox which is taken out from the inside of the car and replaced. Both stated that the final adjustment to the auto-box is best achieved by a series of road trials.
The axle can also be stripped whilst still assembled to the vehicle saving the cost of removing it and the shipment cost of transporting such a large and heavy item.
Manufacturers do not want to make replacement from other sources that easy, regularly mixing two standard bearings into one assembly, although I doubt that Bristols went this far.
Take off one complete set of bearings (2 sets of bearings per hub; the inner bearing is usually larger than the outer; both will be tapered roller bearings) and find yourself a local machine tool service company. Take your bearings in and they will measure them while you wait (about 5 minutes). There are 3 grades of bearings used classed A, B and C. The tolerances in manufacture are, of course, extremely tight so they employ an automatic grading system – A being the best and that’s what you want. C are the poorest and probably go into washing machines and the like. I think the classification system may have changed possibly 1 – 3. If the numbers on the bearings are visible you should be able to quote these to any bearing company and avoid the need to go to a machine tool service company.
Valid at time of writing in October 2016:
There are a number of good bearing suppliers eg Seager Bearings, Kings Heath, Birmingham (0121 444 5391) who will supply at trade prices.
If you follow the literature tab on this site you’ll find the 603 drivers handbook. The nearest you’ll get to a workshop manual is the one for the 407 but little changed between the 407 and 603.
Just wondering if a Bristol 603 manual exists?
If so, can I purchase one, or get one photo copied?
Any information would be appreciated.
Please find contact details of the Furflex/draught excluder supplier:-
William Marston Ltd
70 Fazeley Street
Tel: 0044 121 643 0852 or 0044 121 643 0372
The boot seals can possibly be obtained from:-
Unit c1a Langlands Business Park
Devon EX15 3D4
Contacts: Nigel or Kaye Coles
Tel: 0044 1884 849294
Woolies (I & C Woolstenholmes Ltd)
Northfields Industrial Estate
Tel: 01778 347347
Both of these companies carry a large range of extruded sections and just may be able to help with boot and door sections.
This company can supply any of the Bristol key patterns, either as a duplicate or to a code. The code can be found on the barrel of the lock. This does entail removing the barrel from the lock.
Unit D1/D2, Pinetrees Road, Pinetrees Business Park, Norwich, Norfolk, NR7 9BB
The Bristol Owners & Drivers Association is a Member of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs. Bristol Owners & Drivers Association Ltd is a company limited by Guarantee of £1 per member.
Registered Office: The Old Sawmill, Shawbridge Street, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 1LY
Company Registration No. 07270546. Data Protection Registration Z2297300
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