It’s being a while that we consider getting a couple of headrests pads. While we do long drives, using the helmets, AM always says it would be nice to have a soft pad behind our heads. So, she can rest laying the head a little backwards, with a soft contact between the helmet and the roll hoop.
Morgan Motor Company offers a set of headrests integrated in the roll hoops, but those come only with the tall roll hoops. And we don’t plan to change our standard roll hoops for taller ones. They may be safer, for sure, but we don’t like their aesthetics.
They are screwed on four metallic plates welded to the roll hoops. Nice fixation method. But they are small as the inside of the roll hoop, letting the stainless steel visible all around them.
Although they look too small for our liking, these headrests have a positive point and that is that they do not protrude much. This is an important point for us, as we use helmets for the long drives.
A too thick headrest pad may be uncomfortable if it forces our heads forward because it’s in permanent contact with the back of the helmet.
The other “standard” option are the Allon White headrest pads.
They look neat, and they would have been an excellent choice if we weren’t so perfectionists.
Their first inconvenient is that they protrude much more than we desire. 5,5 cm – or over 2 inches – is a little too much and the helmets would be rubbing almost permanently against them.
And they have a nice fixation system, consisting of three straps with a “lift-the-dot” clip. Not a bad system, but it can be improved, in our honest opinion.
A big thanks to Chas and Steve, from M3W Services, for the pictures they provided! Check their web page! www.m3wservices.com
And on the top of that, we have a physical obstacle in our roll hoops: the new luggage rack fixation system. You may have noticed it in the very first picture.
Those two pieces are quite big, and they are obviously incompatible with the above-mentioned headrests.
Allon White makes special headrests for roll hoops with the new luggage rack fixations. But I haven’t seen them yet. And they may still be too thick for us.
Then, we decided to take the 3-Wheeler to the same upholsterer that made our luggage set. We trust him as he has done fantastic jobs for us before. First with the stunning brand-new upholstery of our 1988 Range Rover, and later with all the amazing luggage pieces, back cushion for AM and other details for our Morgan 3-Wheeler.
As soon as he got the car in the workshop, with the luggage rack installed, he got the first brilliant idea for the headrests: they shall be made as a champagne cork. What does this mean? That the headrest body will enter inside the roll hoop, like the Morgan Motor Company ones. And shaped around the luggage rack support. But the head, so the front part where we will rest our heads, will be larger covering all the width of the roll hoop, as the Allon White ones. In the pictures below you can see the original piece made to check if the idea was feasible in an elegant way.
And yes! It could be done that way! This shape has serious advantages. The first one is that the headrest pops inside the roll hoop, as a champagne cork – as we said – so it keeps in place and can not move or rotate in any way. Then a very simple strap with a basic buckle can secure it to the roll hoop, making it so simple to put and remove!
The job was finished, using the same leather color and type as the main car’s upholstery, with the quilted stitching. Again, the leather craft work is impressive…
We can’t be happier with the result! Look how they fit perfect in the roll hoops!
They’re so easy to put and remove! And they protrude just 3 cm over the roll hoop, being comfortable to drive with our helmets.
They are perfectly shaped to the roll hoop with the luggage rack fixation piece. Fantastic job!
Spring is finally here! These months between September 2020 and this spring of 2021 have been quite challenging in many aspects: the Covid19 situation, the travel restrictions in Spain (and worldwide), the worst snowstorm of the past 70 years in Madrid that blocked the whole city for more than a week, more Covid19, etc. But hey! It seems that things are finally getting right!
We left our Morgan 3-Wheeler at the dealer’s workshop end of October, to solve a bevel box oil seal leaking, and the idiotic “check engine” light that, without any real alarm triggered, was always lighted on our dashboard. Because of the travelling restrictions, and the cold winter weather, we were not in a hurry to get it back, so the dealer took the time to properly check everything. They finally decided to remove the ECU and sent it to MMC so they double checked and saw why this “check engine” light was always on, while no alarm was apparently triggered by the program.
So, our Morgan stayed at the dealer’s workshop in hibernation mode for many months, and we picked it up in mid-April, after Eastern. With a reflash ECU with an updated program, and the bevel box oil seal properly changed with a much more reliable Viton one, solving the leakage.
It was not before end of May that we could travel across Spain again, when the government finally withdrawn the travel restrictions between regions. And we decided to go visit some good friends in Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast.
Valencia is just 375 km away from Madrid, and you can cover this distance in 3h30min if you take the motorway. But, as usual, this is not the option we chose! The 3-Wheeler is for smaller wild roads!
This was our itinerary.
First section – From home base to Alcocer
We leave home and take first the A-2 motorway to leave on exit 26. We pass through few roundabouts to reach the M-300 and then the M-213 until we arrive to Pozo de Guadalajara. During this relatively short drive, we can enjoy the early morning light and those typical country roads, with nice landscapes tainted in different tones of greens of the spring. And we even must brake after a curve when a fox surprises us crossing the road in front of us.
Pozo de Guadalajara is the first stop we make. We fill up the tank as the roads we’re about to take have not so many fuel stations. The Morgan creates a lot of expectation, and all the workers and customers of the gas station take photos with it. If we charged royalties per each photograph or video taken of us in our Morgan, since we got it in January last year, we could retire right now in a private island in the Caribbean!
Then we continue the CM-2027 and the CM-2028 to reach the N-320. This last one is a main national road, so we drive really fast on it until we reach the reservoir of Entrepeñas, one of the largest in Spain, fed by the Tajo River (Tagus River as known in English). The views over the dam from the viewpoint on the road are really spectacular.
We drive over the dam and some tunnels and continue driving fast on the N-320 to the first important waypoint of the day: the village of Alcocer.
Second section – From Alcocer to Cañamares
We finally leave the fast and a little bit boring N-320 to enter the natural parc of Sierra de Cuenca. As you may have appreciated in the previous video, we had very little traffic in the N-320, which is supposed to be a relatively busy road. Now we cross no car at all!
The landscape is getting more and more beautiful. The harvest fields are surrounded by green fresh spring grass and thousands of poppies.
We arrive to Priego, in the center of the “Ruta del Mimbre” (The Wicker Route). These small valleys are specialized in the cultivation of wicker, and in each village we find artisans who make multiple utensils with this material.
The fields become red from November to May. We passed few fields still not recollected and we could appreciate their beauty.
After Priego we enter a stunning part of this road: the “Estrecho de Priego” (could be translated as “Priego’s narrow pass”), that goes along the River Escabas, in a narrow gorge with beautiful stone walls. Pure 3-Wheeler road! We are enjoying so much the drive!
We continue to Cañamares where we make a short coffee break, and visit the “white porcelain room”, just before the best part of today’s route: the CM-210!
The Morgan stays under the sun in the village main square. It’s a typical Castilian village with some old stone houses with their classic charming.
Third section – From Cañamares to Cuervo River Spring
Rehydrated and with energy recovered after a nice coffee and soda, we jump into the cockpit again and head towards the best part of the route: the CM-210.
This area is known not only because of its amazing nature, but also because the, probably, most famous Spanish spring water is located here: Solán de Cabras. This spring water bottling facilities and the spa are situated close by the village of Puente de Vadillos, over the crystalline waters of the Cuervo River, and are known since the Roman times, in the 2nd century BC.
Just after Puente de Vadillos begins the Beteta Sickle. This amazing road section welcomes you through its stone arc.
More stunning stone walls surround this narrow road. The lower part, by the Guadiela River, has a beautiful hiking. And on the upper part of these walls is one of the most important vultures’ nesting area of Spain. We could see those magnificent big birds flying over our heads.
After this stunning section of the road, we leave the CM-210 and take the CM-2201 and CM-2206 driving on the top of the plateau, until we get to the Cuervo River Spring. This road is beautiful, with a bright green color grass and plenty of pine trees. The best time of the year to drive here!
The Cuervo River Spring
The Cuervo River Spring is situated is one of the most famous attractions of the Sierra de Cuenca natural parc. The river is born from underground caverns below the Muela de San Felipe, at about 1469 meters of altitude. It empties into the Guadiela, a tributary of the Tajo River (or Tagus, as known in English), next to the town of Puente de Vadillos, after passing through the well-known Solán de Cabras spa and mineral water bottling plant.
It was declared a natural monument in 1991 and occupies an area of 1709 hectares. In this place, the water gushes from a travertine spring and runs through huge stalactites of calcareous rock covered with moss, forming long streams that freeze in winter, offering a beautiful picture photographed thousands of times every year.
Some people prefer to visit it in winter, precisely for the frozen cascades. But in our opinion, it’s the springtime – between April and June – the best moment to visit the place. The greens and the crystal-clear waters and the natural pools are stunning under the clear skies and sun of the season.
As it is a Friday, and not any holyday, we are almost alone. We cross very few people in the parc. The visit, at a reasonable walking rhythm, takes about one hour and a half. This is a very well spent time. A worthy visit you should not miss if you are in the area.
Fourth section – From Cuervo River Spring to Carboneras de Guadazón
After the fantastic walk in the Cuervo River Spring we hit the road again, driving on the CM-2106 and CM-2105 to the Southern part of the natural parc of the Sierra de Cuenca. The road is still amazing, and we cross pine trees’ forests, prairies with green grass and poppies, and with no traffic at all.
Then we deviate to take a smaller road, the CU-9112, taking us to a tiny village called Beamud. This smaller road looks promising: narrow, without traffic, and curving between pine trees as we go down and up hills in a very thick forest. A true 3-Wheeler paradise.
But when we arrive to the village, we can’t find the exit. The road is supposed to cross it and continue until the next village, Valdemoro Sierra, but we turn in circles in the little village as we can’t clearly see which way to go.
We navigate the old fashion way. I mean we create a roadmap with indications and pictures and AM works as a wonderful copilot reading the roadmap on each turn and deviation. But here, we are really lost… What’s going on? We always get to the same point at the end of the village. Look at the picture and be sincere! If you’re supposed to follow a normal tarmac road, which option would you choose? 1, 2 or 3?
Option 1 seems to be the obvious choice, but it turns uphill around the village and takes you back to the entrance.
Option 2 then seems to be the right one, after option 1… Wrong again! Cul-de-sac!
Then… option 3? Really? It’s a dirt road. Really a dirt road. No tarmac, at least for the hundred meters we can see from here… But our smartphone and Google maps say this is the right way! OK let’s go and check! The Speedy Marmots have driven in worse dirt roads than this one! We drive very carefully because it appears to be made of gravel and has a lot of potholes where the Morgan could graze the belly. In some sections we can see that in the past, under the gravel, there was asphalt. The road is really a rural road with little or no maintenance at all. We even have to cross a stream!
Despite the conditions of the road, we really enjoy the drive. We cross a beautiful forest, and the nature is as wild as it can be in such isolated paths.
Apart the risk of hitting the bottom of the Morgan, which we avoid driving very slow and carefully, the other con is that what we expected to drive in one and a half hours became almost three hours!
Finally, we connect with the CUV-9142 in Valdemoro Sierra. When we appear in this small village from this dirt road with the Morgan, the locals, sitting at the bar, stare at us and clearly thinking we are crazy… A man jumps in front of the car, blocking our passage, and asks us if he can take some pictures. Surrealistic situation in an isolated village deep in the rural Spain. Well… that’s also part of the joy of driving the 3-Wheeler through such isolated areas!
When we manage to escape the mob of the village, we are back on a decent and really pretty road. The CUV-9142 takes us out of the natural park of the Sierra de Cuenca, but not before passing by a spectacular place called the Lagunas de Cañada del Hoyo. This set of small mineral water pools has a peculiar beauty. And even more when, only in few occasions and due to specific subterranean temperature conditions, in one of them – Lagunillo de las Tortugas – the waters turn a shade of pink and red. The scientific explanation is that, motivated by thermal stratification that is broken by the action of the atmospheric agents and the anaerobic zone dominated by purple sulfur bacteria that rises in the water column and is seen on the surface, the water turns red.
We continue driving and connect with the N-420, which in a few minutes takes us to Carboneras de Guadazón, final destination of this section.
Fifth section – From Carboneras de Guadazón to Utiel
We take the CM-2109 heading towards Utiel. This road runs along the original Madrid-Valencia railway, and we can enjoy some of the old railway bridges on our way.
Sorry for the pink spot in the top right of the video. A kamikaze bug had a good aim with the GoPro lens protector!
We leave behind the Sierra de Cuenca, so the landscape becomes progressively flatter as we approach Utiel. We enjoy again nice empty roads over green prairies with thousands of poppies.
A short stop in Camporrobles to refuel, and we get to Utiel, where we stop for a late lunch in a very nice restaurant.
Sixth section – From Utiel to Valencia
After a really nice lunch, we pretend to arrive to Valencia as soon as possible. We left Madrid at 7h45 in the morning, and it’s already 16h30 in the afternoon! So, we take the motorway to speed and get to our destination much faster.
It’s just one hour drive, this time with classic motorway traffic, which, while you’re driving a Morgan 3-Wheeler, means you have many cars keeping your same speed aside you to give time to the occupants to take pictures, videos and cheer up with the sight of the little rocket. Smile! And a little of hand waiving make our spectators really happy. The funniest is to pass a bus and see dozens of hands and faces on the windows. I don’t know how much a sudden change of mass to one side of the bus can surprise its driver!
No videos taken in this section, as the motorway and its traffic aren’t worthy.
We finally arrive to Valencia, and our friends receive us in style with a nice plateau of cold Spanish meats and cheese. It’s being a very long driving journey. But as always, we’re happy and more in love with the Morgan.
Our destination for this weekend is the city of Valencia. Situated in the Spanish Mediterranean coast of Spain. Today, with 800.000 inhabitants, it is a nice modern city and its port is one of the busiest of the Mediterranean Sea.
A little bit of history: Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 BC. Later, in the year 711, the Muslims arrived in Valencia. After a time of splendor, and with the construction of the Arab wall by Abd al-Aziz, a certain instability appeared in Valencia. El Cid Campeador took advantage of the occasion and drove the Arabs out of the city. This did not last long. In 1102 Valencia returned to Arab hands. But during the War of Reconquest, it was finally recovered by King Jaume the 1st, in 1238.
The night we arrive, we walked the historic city center. It is a large pedestrian area with excellent ambience and plenty of restaurants with terraces and historic buildings.
The historic city center preserves majestic buildings such as the cathedral or the church of Santa Catalina Mártir.
We have a very nice dinner at an Italian restaurant. A nice home-made pasta and wine help us to recover the energy!
Our hosts here are Paulina and Daniela, daughters of one of our best friends. The two girls live here in Valencia as students, in a beautiful causy centric appartment. And they proved to be the best guides!
You want to know more about Valencia? Today Valencia is also famous for the City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic structures such as the planetarium, the oceanarium, and an interactive museum, designed by the famous Spanish architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.
The buildings are stunning. If you like modern architecture, this is probably one of the best places in Spain, and, why not, in the World.
We visit this area on Saturday, before enjoying one of the best paellas we ever had. Yes! Valencia is the capital of the paella! Here this typical Spanish dish is meant to be the best of the best! The restaurant we chose – El Racó de Lluis – is reputed to have one of the best paellas in town. And we have to say, it is absolutely true!
Valencia also has several beaches, including some within the nearby Parque de la Albufera, a wetland reserve with a lake and trails, that can be visited doing a short cruise in traditional charming wooden boats.
We go to the Malvarosa Beach in the night for a nice lighter dinner. A beautiful spot plenty of restaurants with beach-side terraces. Very touristic, but worth a visit.
On our way back to the apartment, we have some light rain. We were supposed to have a full sunny weekend! So, we checked the latest weather forecast and, surprise! For tomorrow, Sunday, that we’re driving back to Madrid, scattered showers and even some hard rains are announced. Not good news while you’re driving a 3-Wheeler! We decide we’ll leave Valencia early in the morning, when the chances of rain are lower, and get back home using the motorway, so we take much less time behind the wheel.
Returning to home base – From Valencia to Madrid
The way back home this Sunday was the toughest test we had in our 3-Wheeler… We leave Valencia with just few raindrops falling over the City. Equipped with our nice quality raincoats and of course our helmets, we leave town and take the main motorway A-3 to Madrid.
Then, after 70 km driving fast under a dark grey sky, the rain starts. We have driven the 3-Wheeler under light rain before, with no issues of course, but now it’s not light rain what we’re talking about, and we’re almost at 300 km from home, in a fast motorway!
We keep driving fast. And we’re surprised that, with the helmet, the raincoats, ad the speed of the car, we’re not getting wet. How is it possible? It’s really heavy rain!
And at a certain point, after 150 km drive, it’s not rain anymore but a real shower. All cars must slow down radically and with the fog and warning lights we drive slow for few kilometers with extremely poor visibility. It’s then when we decide to stop to refuel and take a little bit of cover, while really black clouds pass over our heads.
This is harder than a Navy Seals training! Or at least it looks like for a couple of our age! But we are still surprised that we’re not wet!
When the rain comes back to normal, then no more like Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, we jump back into the cockpit. This time we add our nice Morgan scarf for the neck, and our green fleece blanket over our legs, for extra protection against the low temperatures.
We keep driving under the rain for another 100 km. With the neck scarf and the fleece blanket, combined with the heated seats – oh yes! Now we’re happy to have added this option! -, we drive warm and surprisingly dry. But the best part is to feel the 3-Wheeler under such weather conditions: perfect! I never felt uncomfortable with the car, and we were driving at good speed of 120 km/h!
Just 70 km before our destination, it stopped raining, then had some sun peeking through the clouds, and finally ended with a superb sunny weather while arriving home!
Once in our garage, we check everything, and we happily confirm that the car is not flooded and we’re really dry. It was a hard but very learning and satisfactory experience!
The Speedy Marmots are not scared anymore about driving the 3-Wheeler under the rain!
Last weekend I spent many hours in the garage soundproofing and sealing the 3-Wheeler’s cockpit (see Hangar works #18).
To do this, I had to dismantle some parts of the car, such as the seats, the backrest and the seat bulkhead panel. To remove the backrest, I had first to remove the boot tray, exposing the whole rear wheel area.
Taking advantage of the fact that I had access to that area, I cleaned as much as I could and checked that everything was in its place, and the screws, nuts and all the parts susceptible to loosening were well tightened.
And then I had a bad surprise: my fuel filter was hanging from its bracket, but totally loose. The support seemed to be broken.
Being very concerned about having a piece of the pressurized fuel system loose, I immediately checked if this was normal, chatting with my colleagues and discussing in the Talk Morgan forum later.
I received pictures and found some drawings, showing different supports and brackets. The supports holding the fuel filter have evolved with the years, so not all are the same. My car being one of the latest manufactured (December 2019), it has a new support consisting of two pieces welded together. The first piece is an Ω-shaped bracket that is screwed to the chassis structure, behind the backrest. Welded to it is the second piece, consisting of a simple O-shaped metal plate, so like a ring, with an open side with a screw, that embraces the fuel filter. The fuel filter is secured to it by tightening the screw.
Investigating further, and analyzing the pictures received, I suspected that my support was mounted already broken, because some drawings and pictures showed the two pieces welded back-to-back, and not by the internal faces of both pieces. Like shown in this drawing.
Just removing the boot tray, there is plenty of room to access the screws and bolts. All screws are M6, so using a 10 mm wrench you’re good for all screws, bolts and nuts holding the Ω-shaped bracket and the filter itself. Once all are loose and removed, I can slide the support out from the filter.
The first thing I notice is that I was right about the two pieces being welded together, but also wrong about how they were welded. They were not welded back to back, but by their internal faces.
My initial anger has turned into simple frustration when seeing that the piece has been split by its weld. At least I can say that the design is good at welding both parts by their internal faces, since when what happened to me happens – that the welding fails – the part that holds the filter remains hanging from Ω-shaped bracket, instead of falling on the drive belt next to the left shock absorber, which would have been disastrous.
Here below you have some detailed pictures my broken support. It’s a pity to see such a piece broken with just 4500 km.
If you look closely, you will see that the two pieces were welded together by just a couple of small solder spots. The vibrations of the car have broken these two small weld points, even though the bracket only holds the fuel filter, which is light, and without tension of any kind.
The good news are that this is easy to fix. A couple of drills and good quality marine degree stainless steel bolts, lock nuts and washers, and the support is back with, in my honest opinion, a more solid and much more reliable union of its two pieces. I chose to do this task using two M6 bolts and lock nuts, to be aligned with the size of the original ones used in the support. One set of bolt and nut may suffice but putting two will keep the assembly more solid so I can really forget about it.
First thing to do: drilling the two holes in the O-shaped ring that embraces the fuel filter. Once fixed to the vice, I start drilling with a small diameter drill, and increase to end up with the correct size, as usual. I better change the size of the drill as many times as necessary rather than trying to drill directly with the “big” bit and do a mess. And with this support, this is really the best way, because the support, that seems to be made of dichromate steel, is soft as cheese. Using the high-quality bits, I don’t have to do any pressure for drilling. Just with the weight of the drill, and the machine at the lowest rpm, the bit cuts through the support like a hot knife through butter.
In this case the sequence goes as follows: 2,5 mm bit, then 4 mm, and finally the 6 mm one. This is an easy and fast task.
Once the holes are done on the O-shaped metal ring, it’s time to use this piece to mark the holes to be done on the Ω-shaped bracket and repeat the drilling process.
With all drills finished, and the edges of the holes smoothed with a metal file, I check that the chosen bolts and nuts fit correctly. The M6 bolts, lock nuts and washers are made of 316 stainless steel. The bolts have a hexagonal head and are 16 mm long. I use a tooth washer for the side of the bolt’s head and standard washer with a nylon lock nut on the other side.
I tight them with a 10 mm combination wrench (box-ended side) and a 10 mm socket wrench.
All fit in and get very tight thanks to the lock nut on one side and the tooth washer on the other side. But the 16 mm long bolts are a little too long: they protrude from the side of the Ω-shaped bracket. The ideal would have been to find 13 or 12 mm bolts, but 16 mm was the shortest I found in the hardware store.
To solve this little problem of excessive length, I use my good friend the Dremel tool to cut out the excess length of the bolts.
Being careful not to damage the support, it takes me around ten minutes to cut properly the two bolts and smooth the cut surface.
Now the bolts don’t protrude over the Ω-shaped bracket, so they won’t interfere with the chassis plate where this bracket is screwed to.
The result is neat. And, in my honest opinion, a lot more solid than the support as it comes from factory.
Down in the garage, it takes me less than 10 minutes to fit the support and fuel filter back in place. I did not need to disconnect the fuel filter. It’s really easy and with a simple 10 mm open-ended wrench you have room to tight all the nuts.
You just have to be careful to put the fuel filter in the correct position, as it has a short pipe section ending with a yellow cap that, if the filter is not twisted to the best position, can touch the spring of the left shock absorber. In the picture below you can sense (because the photo perspective doesn’t allow you to see exactly how close it is) how close this pipe ends by the spring. It’s just 3 cm away! If the filter is twisted counterclockwise, this yellow cap will be in direct contact with the spring.
After closing the boot tray and put away all the tools, I go for a short drive to make sure everything works fine. The 3-Wheeler roars as it should.
There is no reason to think that all the new fuel filter supports fitted in the latest 3-Wheelers will fail as mine. And as commented before, if they fail, the design is good, so the fuel filter doesn’t fall over the drive belt. However, if you are a more preventive than reactive owner, I recommend that you take the time of reinforcing the support with at least a drill with a screw and nut, in case the welding fails like mine.
Yes, we know it: the Morgan 3-Wheeler is a noisy car. Nothing strange, as it’s a fully open cockpit powered with a huge V-Twin 2 litres engine with loud exhausts. In fact, this is precisely one of its charms. If you buy such a machine you can’t complain about the noise it makes!
However, it has some parasitic noises that are not so attractive. Once you know your 3-Wheeler, your eustachian tubes start to detect them. Here and there, a rattle, a clonking, a rubbing, a squeaking… We have a permanent battle against metallic rattles and vibrations. The difficulty to cancel these is to find the source. But once you find it, these kinds of noises are easy to solve. With a little effort and persistence, the 3-Wheeler stops sounding like a maraca.
Then there is the most famous noise: the bevel box situated just behind the seats.
For those who are not familiar with the 3-Wheeler powertrain, the bevel box is a simple gearbox that transforms the movement of the transmission shaft into the rotation of a pulley at 90º on which the transmission belt that goes to the rear wheel grips. Here below you have a nice scheme of the 3-Wheeler’s transmission (built 2014 and on), with the bevel box in the red circle.
Some describe the bevel box’s sound as a whining, others as a howl, or like a whistling… Others say they don’t hear it at all… It depends on every car, and I guess it depends on the pilot’s eardrums too. Some bevel boxes happen to be much noisier than others, without a clear technical explanation, but don’t get me wrong: the bevel box’s noise, if you can hear it driving your 3-Wheeler, is not as loud as a WWII air raid siren. It is a permanent white noise, inherent to its mechanical characteristics and design, and many are not bothered at all with it.
Some owners try to reduce it using different methods, such as an oil type / brand change or filling it to a different oil level, with more or less success. But it’s a noise that can’t be fully cancelled. Fortunately, in our 3-Wheeler it’s quite discrete; or at least we don’t notice it that much.
The most common way to reduce this bevel box noise, and many others, is to do a proper soundproofing of the cockpit using sound and vibration absorbing materials. The most popular is the Dynamat Extreme. It’s defined as “a light-weight, elastomeric, butyl and aluminum constrained-layer vibrational damper“. You can find it very easy on the Internet and acquire enough sheets to line the 3-Wheeler’s cockpit for less than 200 €. In our case, I bought three packs of what the brand calls “door kits”. Each one has four sheets of 910 x 300 mm. It showed to be more than enough!
There is another task to do once you remove all seats and panels. And it’s as important as the soundproofing; or even more in my personal opinion: to seal the cockpit.
What do we mean by sealing? The Morgan 3-Wheeler cockpit suffers from permanent ingress of dirt, and water when it rains, because there are gaps between the panels. So, the dirt and dust (and water) lifted by the rear wheel and the aerodynamics of the car sneak into the cockpit through these gaps. It’s not a major issue, because the dust getting into the cockpit is little. But little by little, it becomes a lot… To seal the larger gaps, I will use a 10 mm thick and 50 mm wide very dense neoprene self-adhesive tape. This material is more resistant than any other kind of foams, and it lasts and repels water much better. For the thinner ones, I’ll use a classic self-adhesive aluminum tape. The combination of both tapes will dramatically reduce the ingress of dirt and water into the cockpit, according to the comments in the Talk Morgan forum. We hope so!
Let’s go to work! I come down to the garage and download the 3-Wheeler from the trailer where we keep it safe. I move our SUV to make room for the Morgan between it and the trailer.
For this occasion, I have a new toy: a superb 50W LED working lamp on a telescoping tripod. If you plan to do any job in a garage as I do, I recommend you get one of those!
The first easy task is to remove the seats and mats. A small portable vacuum cleaner and some wet rags to clean the floor, and we’re ready to continue with the dismantling of the backrest and the propshaft cover.
The backrest of the 3-Wheeler is made in two pieces. To take them out, you need to remove the four M6 screws that fix the upper part from behind the upper closing panel where it lies on. And to access them you must first remove the boot tray. Easy task. All screws are accessible. First surprise: our four M6 bolts of the upper backrest are very loose. So loose that their big metallic washers move quite free. This was a source of a metallic clinking for sure! One more detected and solved (while all back in place).
The second step is to unscrew and remove the seat belt buckles from the side panels. Otherwise, it won’t be possible to take out the lower part of the backrest.
Then, the way I take out the backrest is as follows: gently, I pull forward the down part of the lower backrest while I punch downwards its upper part. The lower backrest then, little by little with every punch, tilts and slides down and forward-out. As you see in this next picture, this maneuver is to liberate the two aluminum plates screwed to the lower backrest, that are inserted behind the upper backrest.
After removing the lower backrest, again with gentle punches I push downwards the upper backrest, so it slides out as it is wedged between the rear upper closing panel and the body profile. Now the seat bulkhead panel (lower part) and the upper closing panel (upper part) separating the cockpit from the rear wheel area are totally visible.
In my car, built in December 2019, I can see that the Morgan Motor Company has already put a sound insulation kit over the seat bulkhead panel, to reduce the famous noise coming from the bevel box that is just behind it. It’s a hard layer of dark grey material. I ignore what is it, but it’s nice to see they’re improving and trying to solve known inconveniences.
At this stage, I could stop removing parts and panels, and simply put the Dynamat sheets over the floor and the visible panels. But I want to do a reinforced soundproofing and sealing with the neoprene tape as many gaps as possible. So, I keep removing parts, such as the propshaft cover, the seat bulkhead panel, and the lower side panels. Of course, cleaning as much as possible during this process is mandatory. Now the interior is ready for a deep soundproofing and sealing!
The first piece I work on is the detached seat bulkhead panel. I put Dynamat on both sides. Even over the factory sound insulation kit, because this is the panel that gets over the bevel box.
The Dynamat Extreme sheets stick to any clean surface really well. In fact, the product is so sticky that you have to be wise and very precise while putting it! You need to measure the surface and cut to shape the sheets with high precision. Using paper or carton templates is the best way to assure you don’t do a mess over the difficult surfaces. Because if you make it wrong, removing a sheet is not easy and will leave a mess of black sticky paste on the surface.
To work with these Dynamat sheets, you’ll need large scissors and gloves. Be careful with the edges! The aluminum is very thin and sharp. You can easily cut yourself if you don’t wear gloves.
The result on the seat bulkhead panel is very satisfactory. The Dynamat sheets are flexible enough to adapt to curves and edges. However, I prefer to cut some specific pieces out of them, for very precise spots of this seat bulkhead panel, as its shape is complex just where the bevel box is covered.
Now it’s time for the propshaft cover. I put two layers inside this cover, as there is enough room for it, and because this tunnel is open on both ends to the front (gearbox) and rear (bevel box) areas below the car. So, air currents carrying dirt and water can ingress this area. The Dynamat layers will reduce the noise and protect the piece against this dirt and possible water ingress.
Now I come back to the car. It’s time to cover the grooves through which dirt and water seep into the cockpit. Neoprene thick tape in hand, I start filling the big ones. In some cases, I need to put a double layer of this neoprene tape! In the following picture you can see that just behind the seat bulkhead panel, you can see the tarmac below.
From there, the dirt can ingress between the side panel and the aluminum body through a massive gap. Here below you can see I blocked this gap with the neoprene tape, sticking two layers one over the other and applying pressure to insert them there.
To fill the grooves between the edge upper closing panel and the body, I continue using the thick neoprene tape. I manage to block almost every gap around its edge. This tape is really useful and seems to be really tough. I hope it lasts for long.
After looking for every little gap, I come back to the Dynamat. Time to do the floor. It’s probably the easiest area as it’s flat and the shapes are almost rectangular. Few cuts with the scissors and the floor is done quite fast.
Only the area of the front mat on the pilot’s side takes longer, because I have put some industrial 3M Velcro strips to avoid the mat moving around in front of the pedal set. So, I have to cut small pieces of Dynamat to be fitted in between the Velcro stripes.
The last areas to be covered with Dynamat sheets are the upper closing panel and the sides. Cutting first some carton templates, the upper closing panel is relatively easy, and I use the aluminum tape to make sure the very thin grooves around it are sealed. I avoid overlapping the seat bulkhead panel, so it can be removed for maintenance without damaging any Dynamat area.
The inside of the body sides are probably the most difficult parts because they have an angle rear side, the two plates and bolts supporting the exhausts, and a chassis vertical bar at the front. I manage to make those with a single long Dynamat sheet. I first cut the sheet to the exact shape, then cut holes for the nuts, and finally stick it sliding very carefully the sheet between the front vertical chassis’ bar and the aluminum body panel. A delicate move with such sticky material!
With all soundproofing and sealing works done, I re-install all panels, backrest parts and seats. It is relatively easier than dismantling them. The whole process, working alone, took me about seven hours.
Looking at the cockpit with all back in place, you can’t notice any of these works.
Then we take the Morgan for a test drive. And we can’t be more satisfied! It really works! The car is truly more silent. This improvement is one of the best we’ve done!
If you’ve read the blog, so our previous posts, you should know already that the seating position in the 3-Wheeler is quite different from the one in a standard vehicle. And for many reasons. Not only because the seats and the steering wheel aren’t adjustable, but because you are seated really low, on the floor of the vehicle. In a standard car, the pedals are in a clearly lower plane. The 3-Wheeler looks much more like a super sports car, with the base of the pedals in the same plane than the seat and therefore than the driver’s hips.
You have just a quite simple cushion, consisting of a wooden plank base, a foam padding, and the whole elegantly upholstered with leather. No springs, no memory foam, no technology but, in our case, an electric heating pad below the leather, as we ticked the box saying “heated seats” in the options list. This is fitted between an L-shaped profile of the floor at the front, and the plate that serves as the base for the backrest at the rear.
This seat is just 8 cm high in the back and 12 cm in the front. As it lays flat on the floor of the car, its slope by this difference in height gives you the slight sensation of being fitted in a sportier way. But the reality for a tall driver is that the seat is still too flat. When I sit down, and despite having the pedals positioned as far away as possible from the seat, I have all my weight resting on my hips, on the back of the seat next to the backrest, and my knees are always bent. Therefore, my thighs do not rest on the seat, since the front, despite being 12 cm high, is still too low for me.
In my case, this causes a slight overuse pain in my right knee. This leg is the one that moves the least while driving since the right foot must be permanently on the accelerator or brake. Probably because when I change the pedal I do it with my ankle fixed on the ground, or just moving it a few centimetres, and therefore the rotation of the foot also affects the knee. The discomfort only appears after driving for a couple of hours, but it is just as uncomfortable, without being unbearable. If my thighs were laying on the seat, the knee would suffer much less with so much less weight when rotating the ankle.
I’m clearly not the only one feeling that the seat is too low at its front. Many of our friends in the Talk Morgan forum have solved this in the simplest and most efficient way: adding a wood slat below the front of the seat. The size of this wood slat, so how much it rises the front of the seat, will depend on your height and your personal preferences regarding the driving position. But having your thighs supported by the seat is clearly a much better and comfortable position.
The discussions in the forum clearly stated that this wood slat below the front of the seat improves the driving position. So, I bought one of 44 x 56 mm.
But until now, I did not have the time to work on this support, meaning that we went for our first Long Range Campaign in France without it.
During this trip with the Back Adder Team, we enjoyed a fantastic first day driving the 3-Wheelers through amazing French roads. And my pain in the knee obviously reappeared. Then, the second day, during a short stop at the Gorges de Saint-May, I saw that Chas was using the famous wood slats under his seats. I told him I was thinking to build a couple of them for our Morgan and asked him if they really make a difference. As his were not screwed nor fixed in any way to the bottom his 3-Wheeler, he simply took the one under his co-pilot seat and he lent it to me to test if I noticed a difference. I can’t be more grateful to Chas for it! Only when I sat down did I realize the enormous difference. And as soon as we started up again and were driving several kilometres, the pain in my knee disappeared as if by magic, and I felt much more comfortable behind the wheel. As Chas was driving solo, he lent me the wooden slat for the whole trip. Thank you again my dear friend! This helped me so much!
Knowing now that this solution works so well, I started the brainstorming thinking about the best way to build our wooden slats.
The first thoughts were about how to solve its few inconveniences. I found three.
The first thing I noticed when I put the wooden slat under the front of my seat is that, as the seat was not fitted anymore over the thin edge of the L-shaped steel profile at the front, it slipped forward when I moved my hips. It also slipped forward during the driving even when I wasn’t moving, probably caused by the vibrations, the braking, and the road bumps. With the seat resting over the edge of the L-shaped steel profile, it still happens, but not so notoriously. So, I need to find a way to avoid the seat moving forward.
The second thing is that the wooden slat could also move. The one I was using was not perfectly shaped to my 3-Wheeler and had no way to be fixed to the floor. Being loose, it moved sometimes with the seat. Not as much as this one, but still moved. I will see how to fix mine to avoid any movement.
The third thing is about the shape of the wooden slat: if its profile is square or rectangular, the seat rests over a thin edge of the slat.
I will have to work on mine, to make it follow the same angle than the seat with the floor, so this last one rests over a flat large surface on the slat and not a thin edge of it.
With these premises in mind, I get down to work and, after making a very simple paper template, I cut the wooden slat to get two pieces and shape them so they fit perfectly in front of each seat.
I wish I had a table saw to make the slope on the top of the wood slat. But I still don’t have that fancy tool and instead I use my jig saw and the orbital sander. The result is not bad at all, despite the basic tools I used.
Being of 44 x 56 mm section, I decide to cut them so they’re taller. This means that the front of our seats will be raised by 56 mm.
When I made the paper template, I marked the exact location of the three bolts that help to fix the floor with the L-shaped steel profile in front of the seats. With the position of these screws marked, I drill holes deep enough to allow the screws’ heads to get into the wood, so my wood slat lies totally flat over the steel profile.
I finally give the wood few varnish layers to protect it against moisture and any possible water ingress.
I was thinking about other ways these wood slats may help to improve the 3-Wheeler beyond their main purpose of lifting the front of the seats.
By simply been there and lifting the front of the seat, I see their first inherent advantage: the cable and connector for the heating seats will not be crushed anymore between the seat and the floor. Good news!
Also, under the co-pilot seat we carry the vehicle’s papers inside the black leather Morgan pocket, together with a classic yellow high visibility safety vest. With the seat lifted at its front, the room below will be high enough, so these won’t be squashed anymore under the co-pilot’s weight. Same for the yellow high visibility safety vest below the pilot’s seat. More good news.
Then I though it would be nice to put some snap buttons to this leather pocket, and then have it fixed at the bottom of the seat, so it doesn’t move around while driving, and when you lift the seat you can get the papers more comfortably. When needed, as it’s fixed by very simple snap buttons, you can easily take it with you. Plus, it’s way more elegant than just letting this pocket lie on the floor of the car.
Still thinking about the possible advantages, I remembered about the wind jackets. During our trip in France, both Ana Maria and I carried a nice wind jacket. Useful in the cold early mornings, or when the temperature drops, or when it rains.
When we were not wearing them, we rolled them and kept them under our knees, just in front of the seat. There, the jackets didn’t bother us too much while driving, but with time they started unrolling. And as being on the floor, they permanently caught dirt and dust. To solve these inconveniences, back in Madrid we ordered a couple of nylon bags 30x10x10 cm in size, perfect to keep the jackets protected from the dirt inside!
These bags are really practical, but they could still move around below our knees. But now I have a nice wood slat just there! Turning to the snap buttons again, I put three on each bag, and on the wood slat. Now the bags with our wind jackets inside will stay clean and nicely fixed in front of the seats. And again, as they’re fixed with snap buttons, we can take the bags with us anytime!
Now it’s time to deal with the problem of the seat sliding forward over the wood slat. To avoid this to happen, the solution is obvious: to put some kind of stop under the seat, so that it touches the wooden slat and does not allow it to slide forward. But considering that there will be people on the seats, so quite an amount of weight, this stop needs to be quite serious. I search inside my boxes looking for a metallic profile that would do the job, I find two fantastic steel plates with a 90º tongue. They will do a fantastic job! But before using them, I use the table swivel vise to bend them, so the angle is closer than 90º, so the tongue makes a flat contact with the wood slat. Remember the seat is not flat but has a certain slope with the wood slat at the front! Therefore, the tongue of these metallic profiles needs to be bended to reduce these 90º to the proper angle for a flat contact.
While screwing them to the base of the seats, one of the seats showed a little obstacle: the leather upholstery gets too much below the seat, so the metallic plate won’t sit flat on the base. Easy to solve. I remove some staples to access the leather layer and cut a piece of it with a cutter. Then put all back with new staples and screw the metal piece, now totally flat on the base.
I come down to the garage to double check measures and that everything goes as it should. I see that the wood slats will lay over the L-shaped profile properly, but just for half of their size. The profile is 20 mm “deep” while the wood slats are 44 mm. So, 24 mm will hang out. The L-shaped profile lies over the floor of the 3-Wheeler and has some black sealant mastic between them. In total it’s 3 mm step.
As the wood slat will be screwed to the front vertical side of the L-shaped steel profile, this may not be a real issue, but I prefer to add a 2 mm thick aluminium plate down there. Considering I will very soon line the inside with Dynamat Extreme sheets, and being these 1,7 mm thick, but these being not totally rigid, the 2 mm aluminium plate plus the 1,7 mm of the Dynamat sheet should be good enough to fill this gap.
With this last detail finished, I can go down to the garage and screw the wood slats to the L-shaped steel profiles in front of the seats. And the job would be finished. However, there still another detail that bothers me… The stop I screwed below the seats to avoid the sliding forward, are made of solid metal. And every time we’ll lift and put down the seats, and also every time the seats are going to push on the slat trying to slide forward, the metal will be hitting and rubbing over soft wood. Not a good combination for a long-term solution! The metal will scratch and finally tear apart wood from the slat.
After thinking about the best possible solution, I decide to avoid the easy way, and do a nice artisan job. I cut a piece of aluminium plate and bend it properly, so it has the right angle to sit on the wood slat.
Then with the Dremel and a lot of patience and delicacy, I carve the wood slat the shape of the aluminium plate.
After a long time with millimetric cuts with the Dremel, the aluminium pieces finally fit into the wood. I love the result! It’s very elegant and will do a fantastic job protecting the soft wood from the metal seat stops!
Now I’m finished for good. Let’s see how they fit in the 3-Wheeler! First thing to do when I’m in the garage is to drill three times – one per screw – the vertical parts of the L-shaped steel profile on the floor. I will use 4 mm diameter and 40 mm long wood screws to fix the wood slats to this profile.
With the drills done, and the wood slats in place, I use a marker to see where the screws will get in. And then I pre-drill the wood with a 3 mm bit. I do this to avoid the soft wood to crack while inserting the screws, because the screws will enter very close to the bottom side, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this pine wood cracking. After so much work and dedication to make them look beautiful, I don’t want to risk seeing them cracking because of the last screws!
Finally, I fix the wood slats. They look really nice!
The co-pilot seat with the Morgan leather pocket fixed with the snap buttons looks gorgeous!
When I put down the seats, as I supposed the metal plate screwed at the bottom of the seat lies on the aluminium bended plate inserted in the wood slat. I need to push backwards the seats, with few light punches to see them sliding to the correct position, and perfectly fitted between the frontal wood slat and back below the backrest. Excellent fitting!
Then we try to fix the nylon bag with a wind jacket inside, in the snap buttons screwed in the front face of the wood slat. Success again! They fit and get fixed perfectly. Now we can travel with the jackets protected inside the bags, fixed to the front of the seats, away from dust and dirt, and so practical you can take the bag with you!
Work done! We take the 3-Wheeler for a short drive to feel the new seats position. Both Ana Maria and I are extremely satisfied. It’s a huge comfort difference! And aesthetically we’re very satisfied with the result! I hope you like it too!