15.1 Kei car, an almost unknown phenomenon outside South East Asia

Before the repair story starts I recommend the curious to study Kei-car in Wikipedia. Mazda produced 4000 cars under the name Autozam between -92 and -94, primarily for use in Tokyo. The car is imported from Japan in extremely good condition with only 500 kilometer on the odometer and in a condition as an almost new car. Few cars, less than 10, are known in Europe.

During a club event a visitor decided to close the opened bonnet not observing that it was kept opened by a rod. After big effort only resulting in a deformed hinge, the bonnet was still open, he gave up. Image 1 show the deformed hinge temporarily repaired. From image 2 and 3 the misalignment at the right side is visible compared to the left side.

Image 1 Repaired, but badly, bonnet hinge.
Image 2 Bad alignment of the right side of the bonnet.
Image 3 Correct position, at the right side, of closed bonnet

Before we are going further it must be said that the car have an unusual construction. The chassis is made by steel but the entire skin is made from GRP (glass fibre reinforced) plastic bolted to the chassis. Like Rover P6 and Citroen ID/DS but not in metal as those cars.

The repair began with the removing the bonnet by unscrewing the nuts keeping the hinge and the bonnet together. Next step was dismantling the panel surrounding the rear window by unscrewing a number of screws giving access to the hinge fastenings, Image 4.

Image 4 The rear window surrounding removed and the hinge nuts are loosened.

The undamaged left hinge was measured and drawings was made, Image 5, and supplied to a firm using laser to cut a new one in 2.5 mm sheet. The measurement was a tricky operation, only minor deviations from the original shape and measurements were allowed. The possibility to adjust the position of the hinge and the bonnet was very restricted with small holes for bolts in the chassis. During the drafting an important measure was indicated with a steel ruler, Image 6.

Image 5 The complex drawing of the hinge parts, fulcrum pin to the left.
Image 6 The most important measure of the hinge is controlled.

After some time the new hinge was delivered. The hole for the fulcrum pin was slightly under dimensioned After some and the correct dimension was achieved by reaming, Image 7.

Image 7 Reaming of the hole for the fulcrum pin.

The fulcrum pin was welded in place, Image 8. After painting the hinge, bonnet and the rear window surrounding was able to fit.

Image 8 A washer is welded to the fulcrum pin.

Image 9 show a correct gap between the bonnet and the rear window surrounding panel. Compare with Image 2.

Image 9 A new and painted hinge is fitted.

Now a few word about the Eckold. The device in Image 10 is a shrinking tool. The equivalent, the stretching tool, looks the same.

Image 10 With the new hinge the alignment of the bonnet is restored.

Different makes are very similar. The principles are the same: see the book, even if the working faces have different shapes. Only Eckold, the inventor and the maker of the original, offer different sizes, Image 11, with the smallest and the biggest ones from the manufacturer assortment. A stop using the edge of the sheet is advantageous in the work, Image 12. A stop using the edge of the sheet is advantageous in the work, Image 13. Unintended indentations can be created of the tool, Image 14, when working without the stop. Strongly recommended!For strange reasons only Eckold offer this accessory and only to the Kraftformer machines. The stop in the figure fitted to an Eckold Handformer is not made by the factory but in my workshop.

Image 11 The smallest shrinking/ stretching tool for the Eckold Kraftformer.
Image 12 The smallest and the largest shrinking/ stretching tools for the Eckold Kraftformer.
Image 13 The stop for the Eckold Handformer.
14. Unintendd scratches from the shrinking/stretching tool.
Image 15 A picture from the Wenngarn meeting.
Image 16 Another picture from the Wenngarn meeting

To be continued…..

Panel Beating Doctor Bengt Blad

At this point in my life when I was about three quarters through the medical schooI I discovered the English wheel and the Eckold machine, and, one thing leading to another - no more time for med school.

More about the book

This book, with around 1,500 pages of reader-friendly text and about as many illustrations, is a summary of 40 years of working with vintage, collectors' and racing cars.