The MGA With An Attitude
MGA Guru Is GOING MOBILE - (November 16, 2015 - November 30, 2015)
Monday November 16, 2015
Time for a brief bit of maintenance on my MGA today. Long travel brake pedal wants some attention. Jack up and remove front wheels to adjust front brakes. While there, take five minutes to R&'R the brake drums to check the linings. At least half lining still left (not bad for 23,000 miles). Adjust front brakes, 4-clicks on 4 snails (a lot of clicks), now high pedal, and half an hour well spent
Noticed a little problem with Thane's grandfather's floor jack. Looked like a good idea to tighten that nut before something worse might happen. Five minutes for a stitch in time.
The "evil" Mini is not getting any less evil. I recon it's a way of life with these cantankerous older cars. Thought I might get to drive it today, but no way. First "simple" task was to bleed the brakes, but spent a half hour to put some of the interior back together and re-install the driver's seat to make life easier. Being helper-less today I figured reverse bleeding would be easiest, especially since I have been having great success with the new trigger pump oil can. Tried injecting fluid at the LR bleed nipple, but no go (probably a clogged hose). RR corner, smaller bleed nipple, hose doesn't fit. LF corner, easy peasy, and same for RF corner. So the reservoir is full, and no air up front. Disconnect new steel pipe at rear subframe, and pedal the pedal a bit. Squirted fluid and spit air, so some hope for the master cylinder. Reconnected the pipe, pedaled some more, but no joy. Switched the rear bleed nipples to have the larger on on right, tried reverse bleeding RR corner and it worked (sort of). Lots of thumb pressure required (somewhat obstructed hose), but I got a few ounces pumped up to the reservoir. Three corners with no air, try the pedal again but still no joy. The only air left would be between the rear frame 3-way and left wheel, which is a very small volume. Time to remove the master cylinder, looks easy enough but not so easy with rusted threads and over tightened pipe nuts. Wrenching hard 1/12th of a turn at at time. Want to try that last nut on right in the rear? Oh BTW, the clutch pedal would not budge from the raised position, solid as a rock.
Had to disconnect the clevis pin before lifting out the brake master cylinder. In the tight space way up under the dash, fearing a fight with a rusty split pin, I found no split pin, and could push the clevis pin out with my fingers. That was easy. While in there, going to remove the clutch clevis pin as well, and found the same thing, no split pin. Better yet, the clevis pin had moved about 1/4-inch out of place, and the head was fouling on the bulkhead. Push the clevis pin back into place, and the clutch pedal moves normally. Go figure. Maybe this is why the car was parked several years ago. Sometimes the simplest little things.
So let's see if the clutch works. No initial pedal force. It didn't take long to reverse bleed the clutch, all the toys on top this time. Full of fluid, no air, but still no slave motion with full pedal travel. So the clutch master cylinder is toast too. I had the brake master in a fixture, pushed the pushrod, got a squirt. Oh? Releasd the pushrod, and it sucked air. Oh. Try again. Push, spurt. Thumb over port before release, and it does not return. That figures. It generates a high vacuum on the return stroke making it impossible to "pump up" or to blead. Good time to quit for the night. Order up new brake and clutch master cylinders, two rebuild kits (just in case I get lucky), two rear hoses, and the radiator hose. Parts may ship tomorrow, might be here sometime Wednesday if expedited. Clean-up and WiFi time. Hello world.
Tuesday November 17, 2015
Day off. Really. Waiting for parts and catching up on WiFI work. Kind of nice to be casual for a change.
Wednesday November 18, 2015
Still waiting for parts, so take the opportunity to go visiting a bit. First stop was Ron Edwards about 5 miles south of Bolivar. He s working on restoration of a 1954 International P/U truck. The center picture is something he used to drive in 50's (mostly for snow plowing). Third picture is classic example why I hate modern cars, a plastic radiator tank cracked in less than 10 years use, and the only repair is replacement of the whole unit. Put that item on your maintenance schedule with every second coolant change.
Then there was his Studebaker Hawk with V8 engine. For the space allowed he could have AC or a SC, but not both, so he opted for AC. He drives it regularly, but currently laid up waiting for repair of the brake booster.
Then the short cut out, actually his quick escape driveway back to the highway. Followed by a short trip up MO-F by daylight (nice to be away from the expressway for a change).
Next visit was with John George on the west side of Bolivar. I think these are '55 Chevy trucks, trying to make a good cab to replace a bodged up one. Nice workshop (once you find the open aisles).
And he has a 1978 MG Midget 1500 with rebuilt engine, bit of trouble fitting replacement radiator, still needing a patch in the driver side floor, but getting close.
Well it was something to do while waiting for parts. Last word is, not shipped yet (after paying for priority shipping). Seems like MiniMania is not so swift on customer service.
Thursday November 19, 2015 thru Sunday November 22, 2015
Waiting for parts. Catching up on web site work. Sent monthly report to club for newsletter. Contemplating a separate web page for each part number in the MGA. Doesn't that have to start with digitizing the SPL?
Monday November 23, 2015
Fuel prices dropping about a penny a day, now $1.76.9, just $0.07 to go to my target.
Got parts today, so back to work on the Mini. Have to remove the master cylinders. What a pain, rusted bolts, no room to swing a wrench more than 30 degrees at a swing. Persistence pays, so they were finally out. Clevis pins way up behind the dash were also a real joy.
New master cylinders with plastic reservoirs. Hoping they hold up for some years before the plastic cracks. Reinstalling clevis pins no joy, had to remove the front seat again. Bought hair pin clips to use in place of split pins to make the chore easier. Two new rear brake hoses, nothing easy on this car. Half of the wrench fittings are tucked inside the subframe where you can't get a wrench on them. One side the battery box is in the way. Other side the fuel pump is in the way. Failure is not an option, so eventually the deed is done.
Reverse bleed the clutch circuit until the master cylinder is full. Reverse bleed the brake circuits until the master cylinder is full. Guess what? None of the hydraulics work. Go figure. Time to take the rest of the night off.
Tuesday November 24, 2015
Took navigator along today as a "pedal pusher". Began by bleeding the front brakes normally in the forward direction, which worked. No air, firm pedal, good front brakes, no rear brakes, but the hand brake works. Me thinks the rear slave cylinders are frozen. Need an impact driver to remove the frozen flat head screws from the rear brake drums. Maybe tomorrow.
Meanwhile bled the clutch slave in the forward direction, which worked. Then the pedal was hard as a rock and would not move. Open bleeder and the pedal moves. Close bleeder and no pedal movement. Conclusion was the slave cylinder was frozen. So I did a Grapes Off Wrath repair. Remove slave cylinder, open it up, clamp in a vice, use a big punch and heavy hammer to smack the piston to break it loose. Clean crud our of the bore best as possible, and reinstall it. Bled it forward to get the air out, and it works (for now). Note to owner, get a new clutch slave as this one will most likely leak soon.
Wednesday November 25, 2015
Picked up an impact driver at O'Reilly's, made short work of 3 out of 4 of the rear brake drum screws. Drilled out the 4th and carefully cleaned the thread back to 1/4-28-UNF. Could not release the adjuster screws (frozen) but did manage to lever off the brake drums. Shoes were adjusted very near the drums, so the parking brake worked. Linings 3/4 gone, so the adjusters are at end of adjustment range. Lots of PB Blaster and patience was not going to get them loose. Slave cylinders also frozen solid. Trying to twist the piston using brake shoe as a wrench only resulted in slightly bending the brake shoe web. Smacking the pin hard with a hammer wouldn't move the piston. Same on both sides of the car. No Grapes Of Wrath repairs here. Put new adjuster screws and new slave cylinders and new brake shoes on the wish list. Meanwhile, put the rear brakes back together and wheels back on so it can roll, and reinstall the drivers seat (again).
Changed out the failed upper radiator hose and topped off with coolant. Reconnected battery (old battery mostly discharged again). Used quick start charger to get it running. While it was warming up, cleared a path to get the little beast outside for a test run. Clutch is a little shy working at floor level. Brakes work good (considering fronts only). Took a few zippy laps around a large parking lot, running through all the gears, and I recon it drives like a Mini. Back in the barn with a wish list for all new rear brake parts.
Thursday November 26, 2015
Hey, it's Thanksgiving, give a guy a break. I had lunch with the Kifers. Also officially closed up shop in Bolivar, turned the cars back over to the owner. The 1800S and Alpine still need some electrical work. The Mini still needs rear brake parts. Otherwise they are all drivable for the first time in eight years).
Friday November 27, 2015
Rained all night and all day. Prediction was for 5 to 8 inches and flash floods. Good day to be sitting out the weather.
I spent much of the day finishing the drawing for the Dipper Switch Bracket for MGA 1600 LHD.
Saturday November 28, 2015
Rain and cold, another good day to be sitting still, hoping this stuff will blow over.
Sunday November 29, 2015
It didn't blow over, but we're tired of sitting still, so off an running in the rain today. Heading south, first a banking stop in Springfield, MO. Then more south and east for a brief visit with David Darby in Kissee Mills, MO. Been here six weeks earlier. A variety of medical problems not withstanding, the Magnette is now driven reguarly, and the BGT has been getting closer to a fix for the differential.
By evening we were two hours farther east to visit Chuck Bruce in Myrtle, MO. He has a nice 1958 MGA Coupe in restoration, with a neighbor doing the sheet metal work.
A few hour later we were holding up on th outskirts of Little Rock Arkansas.
Monday November 30, 2015
First up today is a visit to Gary Neely in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is a dyed in the wool MGB enthusiast. He especially likes GTs and hardtops. But recently he has a few MGA in his collection as well. The black one is a daily driver The red one is a 1600-MK-II low mileage, very original. There is just this case of too many toys and not enough time to play with them all. But we would do a special delivery.
We picked up an MGB cylinder head at Neely's to drop it off at our next stop, McLeod British Cars in Maumelle, AR (NW suburb of Little Rock). Hundreds of British cars here, this would be British Car Parts central in Arkansas.
They also restore cars here occasionally, and like to show off the indoor storage. The Lake Corvallis Yacht Club is a bit of a mystery, but a good place for the local club meetings.
By late night we were travaling south, gone through and out of Arkansas and into Texas, heading west on I-30 to stop just past Texarkana.