Up 'Schmitt Creek

Another fine mess...


On the Cover

Martin McKeever's KR200Martin McKeever's KR200

S
ome of you may well know Martin McKeever and his ever growing collection of microcars that includes, among others, a Berkley T60, Scootacar Mk1, a Goggomobil, Nobel 200, numerous Bond Minicars, and... a rather nice KR200. Having a large collection of cars is nice and all, but presents our man with the problems that he needs somewhere to keep them and, distressingly, he can only drive one at a time. The later is usually addressed by periodically roping in some friends to drive out for lunch or to visit something interesting. You can find the gory (somewhat more gory than usual actually) details of the most recent expedition at www.tinthing.net. The last time I drove this car it needed a bit of 'adjustment' to the brakes, but these days it's much more civilized and thanks to a rebuilt engine and one of Russell Church's B&Q table leg exhausts it goes rather well. My only slight quibble with this was that it fell off after a mile and a half ("hmmm, you really do need something to lock the exhaust nut you know").

In fact trying to hold on to your exhaust is a sport with a long tradition for 'schmitt owners.In fact trying to hold on to your exhaust is a sport with a long tradition for 'schmitt owners. The vibrations that the engine produces seem to be enough to loosen even to most murderously tightened exhaust nut, and the application of pastes and sealants never seems to do the trick. And once the exhaust has parted company with the cylinder head it can be a !@*?% to get back on as it is a) extremely hot (obviously) and b) tucked away in a hard to reach spot between the cylinder and the firewall. Ready To Go?: Deciding which of Martin's cars to driveReady To Go?: Deciding which of Martin's cars to driveEven once you have managed to successfully feel the nut back onto the manifold thread (and not drop the gasket) and take it up to being hand tight it's almost impossible to get a tool on it to tighten it up properly. Really the only time you get to properly attach the exhaust is with the engine down, and there have been times when I've preferred to drop the engine at the roadside rather than continue mucking about with it as this generally only takes ten minutes or so.

My ultimate solution which has served very well for many miles is simply a jubilee clip around the neck of the exhaust. This has a 'finger' riveted to it that reaches up and engages with one of the slots in the exhaust nut. This gives just enough restraint to keep the nut from turning. After refitting the exhaust, and especially if a new gasket was used, it generally needs re-tightening after a few weeks use as the gasket crushes a bit.