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Thread: Whitworth Question

Discuss general restoration and car care topics (paint & body, upholstery, woodworking, etc) as well as tools.

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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Whitworth Question

    I think <think> that the Austin 7 might have some Whitworth bolts. I still don't get the concept of Whitworth (but then I don't get the concept of many things)

    I have imperial wrenches and I have metric - will either of these work on whitworth or do I need to buy new wrenches? (I don't think there is a downside here)
    John-Peter Smit
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    Great Pumpkin NutmegCT's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    As I discovered on my MG, you can substitute *some* Whitworth tools with English or metric when you've got a Whitworth fitting.

    But not all.

    (Just want to cheer ya up ...)
    Mac & Phyllis Take a Trip: http://nutmegflyer.com/trip-details-daily-updates/
    History: 1976 MGB, 1959 Triumph TR3A, 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190b, 1958 Rambler American.
    Current: 1953 MG TD27318.

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    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    Then there are all the Whitworth tools you already have; like the BSW Crescent wrench, BSF pipe wrench, BA pliers ...

    Seriously, here are a few conversions that usually work. They are NOT precise, might fit a little tight or a little loose; but usually they'll work
    3/16 BSW = 7/16" AF
    3/8 BSW = 8 mm
    7/16 BSW = 13/16" AF
    9/16 BSW = 1" AF
    11/16 BSW = 30mm (maybe, this one is pretty tight, I had to file down the nut just a bit)

    BSF head sizes are always the same as the next smaller BSW, so for example 1/4 BSF takes the same wrench as 3/16 BSW (and 7/16" AF is just a bit tight).
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

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    Obi Wan
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    Be careful. JP. Rounded nuts and skinned knuckles are lurking out there.

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    Luke Skywalker Roger's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    To answer your first question, the Austin Seven, assuming you mean the pre-war car, is mostly a mix of BSF and BSW, with a sprinkling of BA for smaller, mainly electrical, sizes.
    With deference to Randall, please try to get a set of BS wrenches (spanners in English). In particular you'll find the 1/4, 5/16 , and 3/8 BSF most useful, and in an old car, some will be tight. If you buy combo wrenches get 2 of each, so you can hold the bolt while unscrewing the nut, if you get my meaning.
    I was brought up on Austin Sevens. What model do you have?
    Roger
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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger View Post
    To answer your first question, the Austin Seven, assuming you mean the pre-war car, is mostly a mix of BSF and BSW, with a sprinkling of BA for smaller, mainly electrical, sizes.
    With deference to Randall, please try to get a set of BS wrenches (spanners in English). In particular you'll find the 1/4, 5/16 , and 3/8 BSF most useful, and in an old car, some will be tight. If you buy combo wrenches get 2 of each, so you can hold the bolt while unscrewing the nut, if you get my meaning.
    I was brought up on Austin Sevens. What model do you have?
    This is helpful - thanks! 1930 Boat Tail Tourer, thread is here:

    https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/...I-did-it-again
    John-Peter Smit
    1976 MG Midget
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    1958 Fiat Multipla (Barn art)

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    Luke Skywalker Roger's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    Thought there was something familiar, I saw your post on Austinsevenfriends. You signed up to the right place there, pace Basil!

    Good luck. I have nephews in Toronto, maybe I'll get in touch next time we visit?
    Roger
    Ancient Briton
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    '72 Lotus Europa TC
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    Darth Vader
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    One source of British wrenches. The also have British taps and dies.

    David

    https://www.metricmcc.com/catalog/Ch7/7-715.pdf
    TR3A TS75524L

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    Re: Whitworth Question

    I might still have a couple sets of wrenches; and possibly BSW and BA tap and die sets. Been stored a long time, and were not top quality to begin with, but they work and I'll sell a lot cheaper than MetricMCC. The plastic rolls for the wrenches are probably worthless by now, but the plastic boxes for the tap & die sets should still be OK.

    PM me if you're interested and I'll see what I can dig out.

    BTW, I agree on it being best to have the right tools. Was just trying to answer the question I thought you were asking
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger View Post
    Thought there was something familiar, I saw your post on Austinsevenfriends. You signed up to the right place there, pace Basil!

    Good luck. I have nephews in Toronto, maybe I'll get in touch next time we visit?
    you are more than welcome! Come in September for British Car Day!

    https://visitoakville.com/events/british-car-day/
    John-Peter Smit
    1976 MG Midget
    1969 Vauxhall Viva GT
    1958 Fiat Multipla (Barn art)

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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    Quote Originally Posted by TR3driver View Post
    I might still have a couple sets of wrenches; and possibly BSW and BA tap and die sets. Been stored a long time, and were not top quality to begin with, but they work and I'll sell a lot cheaper than MetricMCC. The plastic rolls for the wrenches are probably worthless by now, but the plastic boxes for the tap & die sets should still be OK.

    PM me if you're interested and I'll see what I can dig out.

    BTW, I agree on it being best to have the right tools. Was just trying to answer the question I thought you were asking
    PM sent
    John-Peter Smit
    1976 MG Midget
    1969 Vauxhall Viva GT
    1958 Fiat Multipla (Barn art)

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    Yoda waltesefalcon's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    "I still don't get the concept of Whitworth (but then I don't get the concept of many things)"

    JP, Whitworth is just the oldest type of standardized fasteners. Your old Austin was built around the time that the Brits were converting from BSW to BSF.
    Cheers,
    Walter
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    Luke Skywalker Roger's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    Not quite, Waltese. BSF is a fine thread, BSW is coarse. They co-existed, and there are both in an Austin Seven.
    Analogous to American fine and coarse threads, and Metric for that matter.
    BSW threads are used for studs and bolts into the Austin's aluminium crankcase, for example.

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    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    The odd thing about Whitworth (odd in the sense that it's different), is that the head sizes were specified by thread size. Standardized wrenches also did not exist, so Sir Joseph Whitworth defined the head size for each fastener in proportion to the nominal thread size. That's why the actual "across flats" dimensions of Whitworth wrenches are so much larger than the nominal size. (Like a 3/16" BSW wrench being close to a regular 7/16" wrench. A 3/16" BSW wrench is the one that fits a 3/16" BSW bolt or nut.)

    The heads didn't need to be as large for fine threads, so when BSF was defined, they used the next smaller "Whitworth standard" head for each bolt size. So that's why a 3/16 BSW wrench is the same as a 1/4 BSF wrench.

    Just the concept of standardized fasteners was a huge step forward towards the industrial revolution. It seems obvious in hindsight, but Sir Joseph is the one who recognized it before anyone else. Still a great accomplishment, even if a few minor features didn't stand the test of time.

    JP, I'm sorry, I got distracted by other things. I'll try to dig out what I've got this weekend.
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

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    Yoda PAUL161's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    I have sets of Whitworth wrenches that I use on my car, but if your in need of one in a hurry, get a pair of Proto fit-alls! PJ

    proto.jpg

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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    Quote Originally Posted by PAUL161 View Post
    I have sets of Whitworth wrenches that I use on my car, but if your in need of one in a hurry, get a pair of Proto fit-alls! PJ

    proto.jpg
    Ooo excellent idea! Now, to be accurate are those left hand or right hand? or do I need to get both?
    John-Peter Smit
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    Darth Vader
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    You will need a set of Metric as well.

    David

    Quote Originally Posted by PAUL161 View Post
    I have sets of Whitworth wrenches that I use on my car, but if your in need of one in a hurry, get a pair of Proto fit-alls! PJ

    proto.jpg
    TR3A TS75524L

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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidApp View Post
    You will need a set of Metric as well.

    David
    Duh - I already have Metric and Imperial - this is Whitworth remember!?
    John-Peter Smit
    1976 MG Midget
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    1958 Fiat Multipla (Barn art)

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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    OK riddle me this batman - aren't BSW & BSF threads?

    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-classic-cars...ationFlag=true
    John-Peter Smit
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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: Whitworth Question

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSmit View Post
    OK riddle me this batman - aren't BSW & BSF threads?
    Yes, BSW and BSF are thread types but as mentioned by others previously, they are/were much more complete standards which (as was also mentioned above) was quite unique for the time when they were introduced.

    The things that set Whitworth apart from what we commonly use today are the root radii, crest radii, and 55 degree angle of the threads. Functionally the Whitworth threads are stronger with fewer stress risers than what we commonly use today. Modern threads (both metric and imperial) were introduced more for ease of manufacture and gauging/inspection than for their mechanical properties.

    A point of contention for classic Mini owners is the tapped holes in the ends of the A-series crankshafts. They are neither modern, nor a true Whitworth size. They are a 5/8-16 thread cut with a Whitworth thread profile. The special 5/8-16 Whitworth profile taps are available, but they are very expensive. You CAN clean up the female threads using a much less expensive 5/8-16 UNS (special) modern tap but purists question doing that.
    Doug L.
    '64 Morris Mini Cooper-S 1275
    '67 Triumph GT6 Mk1

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