Sabra ST4878 ( 20/07/2010 )  Back 

Jef & Els Neefs

AEM - 879

Picture Versailles 1976

André's pictures are always better: must include this one: thirty years after the above

Pic Richard Dredge

Sabra ST4878 stage II (double SU-carburettor) convertiblel

Numberplate: AEM-879 since  August 4th, 2000 but I own the car since 1975.

First use 12.06.1967, by a Mr Appel (reknown architect in Antwerp), second owner is Mr Pauwels, still interested in Sabra's, to tell Mr Pauwels' story we needed a seperate page: Owners Sabra ST4878x.

Bought the car and got the numberplate BKB-992  July 17th,1975.

Engine: 1703 Ford Zephyr so the one that should be in it but not the original one, mine misses the special oil-filler-cap (should have replaced it)and the chromium rocker-cover.
The original engine ran some 500 miles before breaking down.
Then found a mecanic who had bought a stock of  the English Army including some Zephyr-4 engines and the man hung one in my Sabra (thus my purchase-price was doubled). 
Pity I didn't salvage the chromium rocker cover.

Color bleu: state: poor,  originally was dark-red.  The car suffered from several collisions at the right front side.  Had to correct somewhat to the frame and certainly to the motor-hood, renewed the inner - mudguard at the right side.  We hope to get the car straight enough to have it sprayed (again in bleu) (once-upon-a-time).
The chrome-wings at the rear were so thin I had them renewed.
The chrome-points are removed, think I'll have them renewed too.
The release-mechanism of the bonnet was missing and replaced by two rubber straps (see picture above), made kind of a copy of the original mechanisme - 2004 bought the original set from Markus Tanner.  It's a pain in the ... to fit everything where it should be but at last it works.

Suspension:  when I bought the car the front springs and dampers were replaced by some that were 7-8 inches too long, the catch above was welded higher on and several  several other catches were welded to the frame to prevent the wheels to jump too high or fall too low.  The king-pins were quite worn: the rims of the weels moved freely an inch too and fro.  Replaced, renewed springs and dampers.   Suspenion now OK, although perhaps the dampers might be somewhat firmer.
2004 mounted Spax-dampers, much better.
2005 after some problems the Spaxes perform very well, still testing how firm I will have to trim them but the car behaves better than ever now.  Still I have a small king-pin-problem on the right but could be repaired spring 2006. Repaired with a new king pin and a replacement flailing arm (thanks David Womack).

Temperature: Also caused quite some problems, the radiator was recored, as was the otter-switch as was the electric fan itself.  Found a very good replacement for the fan by using the fan of a VW Golf.  Simply had to drill the tree holes a little wider and it fits perfectly.  Doesn't "look" classic but works fine.
Meanwhile two (MGB-Anglo-parts) fan motors have blown up and refitted the VW Golf. Had a part made on a lathe to fit the original blades on a SE5 fan (thanks Geoff), but I still must fit the motor and fan: perhaps after Northcape?
2005 replaced the fan-engine with one from an MGB (62->80), fits perfectly and takes the original blade of the fan.
Done some re-wiring too so the fan gets its current over a 20A-wire allways connected to the tension.  So like on modern cars the fan comes up often after parking the car.  Think the MGB-fan-engine does it's job as well as the VW Golf's did: when running into a queu after a quicker drive the fan comes up for a minute and then stops again, eventually comes up again but allways gets the water cool enough to stop turning (temp-gauge showing +/- 90°C otter switch switching at 92°C)..
Planning to remove the core-plugs and spraying the rust-particles out of the engine's cooling system. (Arranged 2003).

Runs: OK now 01/05/2001. After using a 12V coil.  Now (2003) replaced it with a 9V-coil with ballast (easy with a Sabra) and an electronic ignition (no contact points to replace anymore).

Frame OK should be cleaned.

Gear-box propellor: OK, presume they are original.

Wheels: wirewheels 15' chromed, not original, originally had 13' wirewheels at the rear
Found (during the years)  3 extra 15' wheels and had 4 torn apart - chromed - nitted again. 
As the spokes were starting to break one after another: bought four new stainless-chromium-wheels (not original I know) but beautyfull.

Defects: The original steering wheel is broken, welded and broken again. Nowadays I drive with a replacement-one that I like very much.  Found an original steering wheel but I esitate to put it on the car as I like the one I'm used to. The Sabra-logo is missing as on the bonnet and on the hub of the steering wheel.  Had (nice) replacements made.
Fuel-problems resolved.
Hood is worn, have no hardtop, 2004 hood is repaired, bought a tonneau cover from David Womack and had it fitted.  Very usefull..
Seats and inside-finishing poor and worn.  Renewed the carpets provisionally (2005) - will hold untill the car will be repainted??

M.O.T. (2001) diagnosed that the left rear wheel could move in- and out for some mms (sorry).
After dismantling it showed that the bearing of the rear left axle wich should have been about an inch wide was a little less wide so could shove in and out.  Filled the gap, mounted again and mounted a new oil seal.  Seems fine... passed M.O.T. august 2001.
Still have problems with water-temperature-indicator and fuel-indicator... is being worked on.
And 2005 is OK: mounted a new Voltage regulator, discovered that it could be trimmed and now the gauges are stable an consequent, only the fuel-gauge might show a little lower.  I learn that the gauges can be trimmed individually but but the trimming screw is stuck... must take some time for it.

Replaced: or had thoroughly serviced: front springs and dampers, the system to adjust the right-seat (was missing), several oil-seals, carburettor-jets, floating-chamber needles and seats, clutch master and slave-cylinder, brake master cylinder and front brake cylinders and one rear, fuel-pump valves and diaphragm, finishing of the doors, had a new core fitted in the radiator, mounted a new electric cooling fan , and a new otter-switch, fuel- tank is cleaned, renewed the outlet-collector, renewed the rear part of the outlet, mounted an electric fuel-pump to discover that the "fuel-problem" was caused by the iginition coil, now repaired (Voeren-meeting 2001), recently 21/05/2001 fitted a new "Sabra"-logo on the back, looks fine;
21/05/2001 also fitted a fuel-filter wich fits in the kind of glass-bowl (Jaguar) also nice.
Fitted new oil seal left rear wheel (August 2001).
Refurbished the inside of the steering gear, some bronze bushes replaced made a world of difference.
By re-introducing the steering-rod ruined the horn-switch, replace the latter one by one that I bought 25y ago
Glued the new-made Sabra-emblems on the hood and the steering boss, looks a lot nicer now.
Fitted a new cigar-lighter, mounted a nice rear-sight mirror.

Had quite some problems with dynamo's recently, looking for a pulley with the right "looks".

Fitted new main-beams and mirrors, and halogen-bulbs

Waiting  (and looking) for:  plastic caps for the headlights, etc..

Probleem : F Steering arms ?? - bushes - excessive play

2006 MOT the man noticed that when turning the steering wheel from left to right, before any movement was passed from the steering gear rack (200090) to the steering rods (200700) the idler bracket shaft (200176) moved forwards when turning right and backwards when turning left. Picture of steering system

First suspect was the idler bracket which I thought would be stopped from moving for-aft  by something. The pic showed two thick felt washers, no other device to stop for-aft movement. See pics: When the connection between steering gear rack and idler arm was removed the idler bracket could freely move for-aft squeezing the felt washers.

This lead to the conclusion that the for-aft-movement of the idler bracket was to be stopped by something else: Not the track rods i.e. so suspicion went to the combination: steering gear rack, link-steering gear (200960), and its bushes.
As all was dismantled I soon found quite some play between the bush in part 200072 (steeering gear rack end[LHD]) and the UNFB409A.
As the steering damper was intended to hamper or "damp" (quick) movements of the steering rack and it is attached excentrically (from the rack) to the end of UNFB409A it could cause a for-aft movement on the  other (right) side of the link-steering-gear.
I noticed that part 200072 held a bush in it, in fact two bushes, the outer fitting inside 200072 inside the outer there was a rubber bush and inside the rubber bush another metal bush with 3/8 inside dimension. See rightmost bush on the pic: John Valler sold it to me last year (2006-Goodwood)

Glad I bought it because for weeks now I've been trying to locate another spare but in vain.

The above shown bush should be fitted in 200072:

But the bush was little too wide, perhaps could have fitted it by heating 200072 and freezing the bush but I didn't dear so I sawed a groove in the outer bush and I filed one side down so it would get more easy in part 200072.  Pushed it in on a vice, needed quite some power.

As the bush was to fit between the two legs of the "H" 28,3mm wide and the inside bush was 31,1mm and the outside 29,1 I filed them a little shorter before pushing them in:

Other way to look at it.

Fitted, btw the thread of 200072 is 1/2' UNF

And fitted on the car  used an 12cm long UNF 3/8 bolt to lock the steering gear rack end, the link steering gear ("H" - 200960) and the damper together. 

On the other side of the "H" part 200960, there was a shouldered bolt (part 200956) (Pin Idler Arm) connecting the 200960 link to the idler bracket rear arm (200071).  When removing it, some years ago I thought it was a UNF 3/8 bolt with a bush shoven over it. As I ruined it trying to remove the bush, I replaced it now with a new-made bush outer width 13,5mm, inner 3/8 ' and 38,3mm length.  The 3/8 bolt simply holds the bush in it's place within the "H".  !!Could be I drilled the holes in the "H" and the idler arm wider... to 13,5mm to catch the home-made bush.

Probleem : F Steering arms ?? - king pins

At MOT they had been pointing me last years at some play on the right king pin. Not terribly much but still play.

See pic:

Over the years - also me - by replacing the king pins - swivel pins by non-original ones, handmade, but not hardened (expensive) there had come some play between the swivel pin itself and the flailing arm, partly because me, and a mecanic later, used a cotter pin that was too small to lock the swivel pin completely.

Anyway, though normally there's play, wear, between the swivel pin and the bronze bushes, in my case there was play between king pin and bushes, but also play between  king pin and flailing arm.  Very small because I had a larger cotter pin made, that held the king pin almost fixed. But any play between flailing arm an swivel pin makes the (hardened) king pin hammer into the bushes so this really had to be fixed.

Bought king pins with John Davis but the repair was only possible after I got two flailing arms from David Womack.
David replaces the flailing arms with newer Triumph suspension arms so flailing arms are rubbish for him, I'm lucky he threw away some rubbish in my direction.

This meant I had to remove my right flailing arm.  Went incredibly simple.

Removed the wheel, loosened the brake pipe, removed the cotter pin, emoved the dust cover of the king pin, hammered out the swivel pin - with ease - and removed the wheel assembly.

Removing the flailing arm was quite easy:

Though it hadn't been off in fourthy years the 5971 loosened quite easy and I tapped out the 206078 quite easyly to the rear.

The flaling arm then quite easyly came out tilting it to the front.

To be completed

2007: It's now for two years that I'm having problems with the right window. Every now and then, when the window is swung up or down by the female hand of my wife, the window suddenly sticks and cannot be moved up or down anymore. The front one of the rollers on the arms has then jumped oud of the profile that holds the window.

I allways pushed the roller back in the profile and as I saw no reason for the roller to jump out, just put on the cover again.
Last time I thought that perhaps the roller was pushed out by the bar that goes from the inner door-opening-handle backwards to the lock.
So I put a thin aluminum plate over the door-opening-bar so that the roller couldn't possibly get stuck there.

We'll see what happens next year(s).


Picture of the windscreen wiper engine: click to enlarge

On the way back from Northcape I had felt that full power was missing, after a long climb at 100KM/h the engine showed a lack of power  when overtaking some trucks. No real problem, lots of extra space but a warning.

2000 km further the car couldn't get to 50km/h anymore shows there was a kink in the fuel lead.

The damages by the towing company are much worse i.e.:

This is the first time I saw the car after it was towed.
The towing company that damaged the car was not the one on the picture but:
Autotransport Boes

I immediately noticed that the frame of the hood on the right side prevented a passenger's entrance (see picture).

Boes really did his job in an unprofessional way: a.o. he left the contact on - everyone knows that this would empty the battery (indeed it was dead and had to be replaced) but he also risked the ground connection of the breaking points to burn.

The bootlid was off the car and was transported in the passenger's cabine of the towing truck.

Picture of the top's frame, the arrows show where the frame had been for the last fourthy years.

This is picture of the left side, where the frame is undistorted.

Picture taken by the towing company before the job started

Foto taken by the same man to show the results of his work.

New condition.

That's where the hinge was fastened.

The little white spot is where the bootlid encountered the top. How deep are these circular cracks??? 

The bootlid stay showed compairances with a corkscrew.

At last some work done:
Geoff provided me with the wiring from loom till front lights - in the correct colour.

Shows one can't keep on repairing the repairs.

To remember:
The length of the wires is best some 80 cm
and there could have been bullit connectors on all ends.
But that's or every different car to be checked.


Jef Neefs
Arthur Matthyslaan 21
B 2140 Borgerhout
Contact (difficult but avoides SPAM)


                                                                See: not the original steering wheel


Some chromium mounted again may 2001.


                                    And invisibly fastened, should come the "Sabra"-text and the lock of the hood. may 2001


The "Sabra" is back!                                                     On such a green background red would be nicer may 2001.

Mail me if you have tips or hints of any kind

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