The MGA With An Attitude
MGA Guru Is GOING MOBILE - (July 16 - July 31, 2017)
Sunday July 16, 2017:
Deadhorse, Alaska, 300 miles north of the Artic Circle, sitting on the Artic Ocean. 47dF last night, 42dF this morning, life is good in the summer, good sleeping weather. Up early today with a bit of time to spare, finding the
correct hotel, where to meet the crew for the Ocean Tour. The town here is named Deadhorse after the construction company that built the place in 1974. It is a few miles from the Arctic Ocean, and the land in between is restricted space belonging to the oil companies. Once past the checkpoint it is known as Prudhoe Bay, which is defined as an area of 558 square miles, which is where the oil production happens. We paid $69 each for the bus ride intending to get a picture standing on the "beach" at the Arctic Ocean. Oh rats, left the camera in the car. Oh well, such is life, but sorry I didn't get the picture (as I did 20 years earlier).
"The beach" on the Arctic Ocean, June 19, 1997.
After the 90-minute tour, off to one of the self service fuel stops to fill up. Then to get a picture at the Prudhoe Bay National Forest. Yes, the plywood cut-outs are a joke. The nearest trees are about 200 miles south of here. While there we noticed a missing Bearing Buddy on the trailer. Crap plastic parts anyway, but the wheel bearing had some dirt in it.
Picked up new all steel Bearing Buddies at NAPA in Deadhorse (yes, there is one there). R&R the trailer hub complete with wheel and tire, wipe off some dirt and pull the bearings apart.
Tap the MG fuel line for some petrol, clean the moving parts.
Repack with grease, reinstall the trailer wheel.
Adjust bearing clearance, install Bearing Buddy, and ready to roll in about 20 minutes. It's just maintenance.
Lady in the post office wanted a picture of the MG for her Wall Of Fame. Then off to fight our way down the Haul Road again. One of the extended construction stops offered the opportunity to fix lunch.
We were seeing quite a number of motorcycles on the Haul Road, as those guys like a challenge. We also saw several bicycles here, which is a bit of a stretch for punishment, but some folks like it. Some of the long steep grades went on for a couple of miles hard on in second gear. We would get a better handle on this temperature issue later.
A quick stop for fuel reload in Coldfoot, and on we went. I took unfair advantage of a couple stretches of relative smooth blacktop, sometimes a bit in excess of the posted speed, tolerating a large number of whoop-dee-doos. Got a good picture of Finger Mountain on the fly. Closer to the end of the Haul Road I was feeling a bit more bold on the rough road, but we would realize later that gravel roads are hell on trailer tires (and none too good for car tires either).
490 miles later back in Fairbanks. Ran the Haul Road south 416 miles in 9-1/2 hours, woo-hoo, a blazing 44-mph average, and we still didn't break anything. Oh, well, there is another crack in the windscreen from a rock, but the glass needed to be replaced anyway due to prior cracks from California heat, so no big deal. I have always had a fond appreciation for the 6-inch ground clearance and relatively rugged construction of the MGA, being able to handle rough roads quite well.
Monday July 17, 2017:
Spent the day catching up email, lots of time on a few tough tech questions. Finally had time enough to post the photo sand notes from Satuday and Sunday, almost finished that by closing time. Then late night we pointed it northeast and went a little way up the Steese Highway before crashing for the night (well that's not the right word for a snooze on this road).
Tuesday July 18, 2017:
Took off to visit Circle, AK today, at the end of another road. Running up the Steese Highway this time, beginning with 40 miles of relatively good pavement. The mountain vistas were nice, but the road soon changed to gravel surface that got worse as we went. For a short distance there were some rather large rocks in the road, one in particular on the opposite side that I made a mental note not to hit or straddle on the way back.
Driving into the low morning sun was a bit tough for visibility at times, here crossing the single lane Birch Creek bridge (lots of creeks in the mountains). 162 miles from Fairbanks, at road's end we went one turn too far ending up in a private drive. This picture may show half of the residences in Circle, being a very small town. Back to the town square, the welcome board on at the Yukon River. This is the farthest point north you have driving access to the Yukon River, a bit more north than the river crossing on the Haul Road. Apparently the town was named Circle because the founders thought it was on the Arctic Circle, but in fact it is about 50 miles shy of being that far north.
There is a boat ramp here, but maybe more often small float planes may land on the river to service sportsmen in the area. There is also a gravel landing strip just down the road, and small wheel planes will taxi up the Steese Highway to park and refuel in town. The low building is the local restaurant, bar, supply store. The dish antenna are a recent addition. The larger building now boarded up is a mystery to me. I don't recall it being here in 1997, as I do recall an airplane taxiing through that area at midnight on the way to the bar.
A gentleman on an ATV ambled up to ask about the MG. I recon he was native Aleut Indian (Eskimo). He was camera shy, so no picture. He said he didn't recall ever seeing a car like this in Circle. When I mentioned something about the world getting smaller he said, "As long as it doesn't come here it will be okay".
Just before leaving town I noticed the Bearing Buddy missing again on the right side trailer hub. The grease was still clean, and the thin rubber seal washer was still stuck in the grease, so this must have happened just as we were arriving here. I suppose this one was dislodged by one of the large rocks in the road. Not long to hammer another Bearing Buddy in place. This is getting wierd, as I had never lost a Bearing Buddy before, but have now replaced four of them in a few weeks. I wonder if I should lay in a supply of them for future service? Like other service parts, if you carry one around for the rest of your life you may never need it.
We picked up four gallons of (expensive) fuel before leaving town, enough to get us back to Fairbanks. Working our way back on the rough road, remember the big rock I mentioned earlier? Well, apparently I didn't remember where it was, and we hit it, making loud knocking noises as it bounced around under the car. But subsequently everything seemed to be okay with road conditions improving some with time.
About 100 miles of gravel later we obviously had a flat tire on the trailer. You might recall the one trailer tire that had carcass failure early on on California. Now the mate to it just gave up the ghost, pretty much worn out with large chunks of rubber missing out of the tread surface. Didn't I tell you gravel roads are hell on trailer tires? Having gotten that last mile of these two, it was time to install the two new trailer tires (nice advanced planning this time), and put the 20 year old half worn spare back on the side mount. Having been accustomed to trailer tires making 25,000 miles or so, these last ones only did half that distance. Did I say gravel .... yes I did. Clean off some mud and toss the junk tires back in the trailer for future proper disposal.
While I was swapping trailer tires, navigetor was cleaning bugs and mud off of the car radiator with lots of water, a wet rag and a little soft brass bristle brush. Too bad I didn't get the "before" picture, but a flock of bugs subsequently coated with mud had completely blocked air flow on half the radiator surface. Getting this cleaned off should reduce the heating issue under heavy working conditions.
All that done, we casually notice the car had a flat tire as well, not the one that was patched in Deadhorse, but the other side rear. This appears to have road hazard damage in the center of the tread, possibly from the same rock that ultimately did in the trailer tire? Not long to install the spare to be on our way, but notice the spare is a little low on air pressure. Kick myself for that bit of negligence, but the spare hadn't been used for about 15 years. Then running with no spare tire, 24 miles of gravel and 40 miles of pavement to go, being very careful not to screw up another tire on the way out. Also keep it under 45-mph to avoid overheating the tire running with low air pressure. I did stop a couple of times to check, and it did get warm to the touch but not too hot. In the end we survived.
Just outside of Fairbanks we ran across this jewel of a 1936 Dodge truck, followed by mutual honks and waves and grins.
Back in Fairbanks to refuel, the gas station air supply was disabled. So we picked up a 12-volt tire inflator. Should have done that a long time ago. I did carry one on the prior Alaska trip, but I think it died some years ago, and only now is replaced. We topped up the tire before dinner, and it appears to be holding pressure okay. We began the search for replacement tires, but it got rather late in the day when tire shops were closed. Walmart said they could get three, but it may take 10 to 14 days for delivery. Really? We would drive to Anchorage to get tires rather than wait that long for delivery. We will keep looking. Spent rest of the evening catching up photos and notes from last weekend.
Wednesday July 19, 2017:
Okay, finally caught up with all the grunt work. Searching for car tires, we seem to have found three in Anchorage, so we will drive there to get them installed, not waiting for Walmart to procure them. Only 372 miles and a tank and a half of gas one way, just hope we get there without another non-fixable flat. But then have to return most of that distance for heading back to Canada. Departing Fairbanks 8-pm, guess we're driving until midnight again.
Turn signal flasher unit crapped out again. Some time ago I installed 4-way flasher system on my MGA, then switching to heavy duty flasher that can flash one to six bulbs. The replacement flashers from Walmart are notoriously short lived. Some time ago I installed a plug-in socket on the wiring harness for quick change. Out of stock in the local Walmart anyway, so off to NAPA to look for a better flasher unit. NAPA didn't have the traditional thermal flasher, so bit the bullet and bought an electronic flasher unit ($14). 30-second plug-in installation, works a treat, hope it lasts longer than the prior $4 junk parts.
Then heading southwest on the Parks Highway from Fairbanks to Anchorage. Built in the 60's, this is the only highway in the whole state that was build to be a paved road from the beginning, so it is a nice smooth pavement. About 90 miles out of Fairbanks we passed the spot where our friend Dick Criswell was killed in a car accident during our prior Alaska trip twenty years earlier. Those who may have known him or may have been monitoring the trip in 1997 may want to pause a moment to recall the incident, and the life and times of Dick Criswell, may he rest in peace.
Thursday July 20, 2017:
Arrived Anchorage this morning to take care of tire issues. American Tire Warehouse had two tires for us, not three as expected (although there may have been a third one at some other location). And they were not Nexen tires but were Nanking brand. We had kind of been avoiding this brand for a few years, but now we would have the chance to road test the things first hand to find out if they would be good or bad value. Warehouse doesn't install tires, but they referred us to their local shop that does. Tied two tires on top of the trailer for a short ride, then a short shuffle to empty the boot to remove the flat tire, toss in the two duff trailer tires for disposal, toss in the new tires, and get the car into the service bay.
These guys are quick, installing and balancing new tires on the alloy wheels (with tape weights) in short order.
Then it was time to say goodby to an old friend. The tire that has been serving us well as the emergency spare for decades was on the car when I bought it in 1977, and it was a used tire then. It is Firestone 5.60-15 4-ply bias-ply nylon tire from maybe 1972 (45 years old?). It has been used maybe 50 miles at a time once ever 10 years or so when needed. But its most recent job was a 500 mile run from the Steese Highway, 24 miles of rough gravel road before the rest of the distance on pavement. For reference, when running at highway speed on pavement, after half an hour I stopped to lay a hand on the tires for temperature comparison. The old bias ply tire was notably warmer than the modern radial tires, wild guess maybe 135dF vs 120dF. The temperature difference represents rolling resistance from internal friction, generating the heat, affecting fuel economy. At highway speed the temperature rise limits the speed rating of the tires (to prevent overheating). This is why the world has largely moved on from bias ply to radial tires, and the bias ply tires are now for concours show cars only.
This tire was in amazingly good condition, mind-boggling for the professional tire technicians. I had a brief tear-jerking reaction with an overwhelming desire to stick it back in the boot. But it was time to say goodbye, conduct a brief memorial service, bless the thing and send it on its way to a better life (possibly to be recycled into new road surface).
The remaining good radial tire was reinstalled on the steel wheel to resume service as the spare tire. The two expired trailer tires were tossed out to be properly recycled, and we were soon on our way.
Soon to be traveling extensively in Canada, we wanted to convert some U.S. currency into Canadian currency.
Could maybe be done at a currency exchange for some unreasonable fee, better done at a proper bank, but banks like to deal with their regular account holders. So we made a call to request a favor of a friend in the neighborhood, then a short run across town for another visit with Del Rawlins. We were spotted on the street and ultimately followed, to Del's place by Ken Morton, newsletter editor for British Sports Cars Alaska. Small world among good friends. After some idle chat we had to take care of the banking business.
Then we dropped by to visit Ken and check out his MGA 1500 "RDSTER". This one has been in the family for decades and will be a keeper, ultimately to be restored, but meanwhile it is a running regular driver car.
Of particular interest is the factory fiberglass hardtop, which was an accessory part for MGA 1600 (aftermarket for MGA 1500). This one apparently had a rough past life, looking like it had something heavy sitting on it for a long time to deform the LR corner downward, skewing the rear window in a strange fashion. This may be tough to fix. Suggest blocking it back to original shape and applying heat lamps for a while to see if it can revert to its original shape. -- Ken took a nice picture as we were leaving.
Addendem: On 7/28/2017, Ken Morton wrote:
"The problem with my hardtop seems to have been caused by a poorly installed back window.
With the window out, and the top securely bolted on the car, I easily reshaped the aluminum frame around the opening and achieved a reasonable shape for the entire top. Getting it perfect would probably require more effort or possibly a new aluminum frame. --
The top is somewhat flimsy without the plexiglass, and I think the DPO got the top all out of shape while struggling to fasten the new window in. With the window securely screwed and caulked in place, the distortion was locked in. I think the secret may be to have the top bolted down to the car when installing the window".
Friday July 21, 2017:
No appointments, so spent half the day catching up photos and notes and email, and then it was laundry day. Heading nor-east from Anchorage up the Glenn Highway in evening. Must have taken 40 pictures of sunset on the mountains to get one to come out right in the failing light. Made it a little past Glennallen and just onto the Tok Cutoff late night. One more picture of our last midnight in Alaska.
Saturday July 22, 2017:
Three weeks in Alaska already? Time to go, but this is the way we like to remember Alaska, clear blue skies and fluffy white clouds over the mountains, and the forever undulating roads and hills through the forests. Arrived Tok 11-am for refuel and lunch and email check. Still flipping a coin over which way to go. I recon we will stop at the Visitor's Center to ask what they may know about Top Of The World Highway and the road from Dawson City to Inuvik. Then we may be out of touch for a few days.
Yup, sure enough, out of touch for three days, but now time to catch up with photos and notes. Headed east out of Tok and hung a left for 94 miles on AK-5/Taylor Highway. Roads are much better than 20 years earlier, some of it now sealcoated, and the gravel parts much improved, this was almost too easy. Well, not all easy, considering construction delays. Below right, what used to be more than half of Chicken, AK, missing Post Office and school.
With some improvement in the roads comes more traffic and tourism. They have dramatically increased the size of the town, now including another restaurant, fuel stop, convenience store, camp ground, maybe a rafting company, adn air service. Boo, hiss, no more frontier. The mining dredge that used to be rotting away missing boards, rusting and full of holes has been somewhat refurbished, still not functional, but now looks like some sort of attraction for the tourists (along with the gold panning franchise). From there on the dusty gravel roads were more like I remember, but if the motor home can get through anyone can. Hello little caribou.
After the Taylor Highway, then another 79 miles on Top Of The World Highway, crossing into Canada (Yukon Territory). Nice Welcome to Alaska sign within sight of the checkpoint, and wonderful view of Alaska. Easy border crossing with smiles, but no Welcome to Canada sign on the other side.
First look at Yukon Territory from the north, and then the caribou, lots of them.
More cruising along Top Of The World Highway. I think that is the old road running up the hill to the right. It was old and pretty decrepit 20 years ago when we ran a few miles of it just for kicks, and now inaccessible. And finally the free ferry across the Yukon River, followed immediately by Dawson City.
Dawson City was sure a lot more commercial than I remember. Boom days of gold mining era long gone, now replaced with boom days of tourism. A little disappointing.
Entrance to town along the water front, some of the seemlier streets (primarily residential with gravel), and some of the nicer historical buildings. After tanking up we were quickly out of there (as we are not tourists).
24 miles out of Dawson, hang a left onto YT-5/Dempster Highway toward Inuvik.
Any idea how long it will take to go 457 miles on a ratty gravel road? Mapquest says 12 hours.
And then back again, of course. Are we having fun yet?
Nah, it was just a tease. We didn't really go there, not part of the mission statement, and we have no idea what we might find or accomplish that we can't find on the internet these days. I don't suppose we have to do it just to prove that it can be done. So, turn around and head south another 86 miles on YT-2/Klondike Highway, a nicer road anyway. 87 miles on a short after hours fuel stop at Stewart Crossing, and roll on.
Another 44 miles on we found this nice eagle's eye view of Pelly Crossing on the Yukon River, which turned out to be a nice place to rest for the night, having gone 455 miles (in 12 hours driving time).
Sunday, July 23, 2017:
Some noisy crow woke us up early, so we were off and running again, continuing down the Klondike Highway. No appointments in Yukon Territory, no clubs and maybe no MGs up here, at least none that I could ever find. So today is just about laying down miles heading south, with a long way to go. 177 miles on we hit Whitehorse for a fuel stop and lunch mid day, then went looking for on oil change. Walmart auto shop had a sign saying "Auto service by appointment only", and the door was locked. Jiffy Lube was closed on Sunday; bummer. Also still looking for a couple more car tires, but Canadian Tire said "Not in this town".
So we drove on, heading south on Alaska Highway/YT-1/YT-2 (which is really going east at this point). We crossed the Continental Divide here. I knew it ran down the center of the Rocky Mountain range, but I didn't realize it was this close to the Atlantic Ocean this far north. It is the headwaters of the Yukon River heading west, and the Liard River Watershed on the east side.
260 miles from Whitehorse we made a fuel stop late night at Nugget City near Watson Lake, YT. Here we met the road touring Dune Buggy. I suppose if motorcycles can do it this guy can. This is also where we catch YT-37/Cassiar Highway heading due south. The road surface deteriorates some, but still mostly sealcoat wih a few short stretches of gravel. I dunno what the car on the flatbed was, just interesting seeing it out here at midnight.
As it was getting dark enough to have benefit of headlights, the recently replaced dipper switch began to fail. Like the last two failed switches, at first it was difficult to switch, requiring multiple kicks to get it out of high beam mode (blinding oncoming drivers in the process). Then it sometimes failed to switch from low beam to high beam. This is scary, especially when it is blinding oncoming drivers, and oncoming headlights are blinding me so I have to be looking at the dash light to tell if it is on high or low beam. Must find a better replacement dipper switch (maybe a good used one), and tell Moss about the repeating switch failures.
Hour and a half and 88 miles down the Cassiar Highway it got too dark in the woods to drive safely in wild animal country. Dark? What's this? We hadn't seen dark in more than three weeks. The Garmin identified a rest stop that turned out to be interesting. 3/10 mile down a ratty side road there was a dead end, a picnic table and a bear can (bear-proof trash can). Pretty sure this was a decades old abandoned section of the road with a missing bridge. In any case it was an isolated spot on a babbling little creek that maybe didn't see one visitor a month, but it was a nice quiet place to sleep. Tick off another 525 miles today.
Monday, July 24, 2017:
Swat a couple mosquitoes and get back on the road early, continuing south. Getting desperate for an oil change, almost considering draining it on the side of the road (well, maybe not that urgent). Finally cruise into Smithers where we hit four different shops, all too late in the day for an oil change, so time for a late lunch break and try WiFi again. So far all bad luck on McDonalds WiFI in Canada. While browser functions generally work, I can't use FTP to upload suff to my web site, and I can't download email, although I can send an email message (very odd). Also the Canadian cell phone still doesn't work this far north, so I'm beginning to refer to this as the "communications desert".
Sort of caught up with BBS, otherwise can't get much work done here, so shuffle on down the road. Dark again, and the dipper switch was getting worse. Not only is it reluctant to switch up or down, but now occasionally shorting to ground which kills the headlights (and the dash lights). Luckily another kick clears the short, but the end result is random high or low beam (usually high beam). Time to get off the road ASAP, so we parked in the first pull-off with a couple big trucks, after only 471 miles for the day.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017:
Up early again, 190 miles into Prince George, the first big city in a long time. Finally Walmart Superstore would do an oil change for us, although it turned out to kill a few hours. The lady tech got a kick out of driving the MG in and out of the service bay, didn't mind at all getting dirty.
Then we ambled over to a McD's that had typically crappy WiFi, but next door was a Starbucks with great WiFi (which we tapped into without moving). First good WiFi connection since leaving Alaska, so we spent the rest of the day half way catching up with the world. Still three days behind on photos and notes, and we have a very long driving day ahead of us on the morrow. Forest fires have closed Route 97, so we will have to detour on 16 and 5 which will add another 105 miles. Hour and a half down 16 makes it dark again, but this time we found a slightly more formal rest stop for a couple creature comforts near Houston, BC. Only 271 miles for the day, but it was a decent trade-off, and we were within striking distance of tomorrow evening's appointment.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017:
Up early and haul out with a long way to go. These roads go on forever, and increasing traffic as we go, but at least they are paved and faster. 175 miles to a fuel stop in Blue River, another 70 or so to a bag and go lunch stop in Little Fort. A bit concerned about high coolant temperatures when pulling hard on long hills, and then I noticed the Ignition light was glowing. Oops? In-cockpit voltage display was 12.0, not good but still tolerable.
Pull off next exit, poke a few wires, no change. Visit local NAPA part store in Merrit to pickup a jug of glycol (which wasn't actually needed) and ask if they could test an alternator. Not today, but the NAPA auto shop down the street might. Auto shop said couple of hours, and we didn't want to wait. Fuel up here so we don't have to stop again, and drive on with hustle (using minimal electrical power). Just over 150 miles to go, and I figured we could make it okay on battery power, and we did, no problem, 436 miles for the day. Something like 2250 miles since we left Tok, AK, four days ago, and over 8400 miles since we entered Canada one month ago.
Meet Peter Tilbury in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, with his nice daily driver MGA. My car and trailer got tucked into the workshop. The MGA on the rack belongs to a friend, has been in the family since new, but has been off the road for 40 years. It is currently in process of recommissioning, which should be done soon.
While Peter and his wife were off to dinner with friends, I got to work on the huge back log of guru grunt work. We had a little time for a short chat later evening, after which I'm sitting past 4-am to get caught up with the last three days of photos and notes.
Thursday, July 27, 2017:
After last nights marathon to get caught up on the trip log, I slept in to late morning. Then had to write my monthly trip report for the Chicago club. It isn't easy to condense more than 8000 miles into a couple of pages, and I sent more than 50 pictures with it for editors choice. By the time I got back to BBS and email the day was gone, and I didn't get to look at my alternator problem yet. Top of the priority list for tomorrow.
Friday, July 28, 2017:
Mopped most of the mud off the car today so I could work on it without getting filthy. Electrical tests, dead alternator, no output and gentle growling like a bad bearing. New alternator on order for pickup in the morning. I'm a little ticked that this one only lasted 18 months and 60,000 miles, where the last one made 200K.
Then it was party day with half a dozen friends and at least four more MGA over to Peter and Anne Tilbury's place for BBQ. Which means I didn't get any more work done for rest of day, so now I'm a little behind and working past midnight again (so I can review the forum and post these notes and photos).
First user report on Firestone F-560 radial tires (165-80-15 size). Aside from anything else, they are apparently not round, wanting to be shaved to be round before use. Also the sidewalls are soft, feeling a bit mushy to drive.
The red MGB, with current owner a couple of months, had air in the clutch hydraulics, leading to discussion about reverse bleeding. Lots of sidewalk supervising for the project MGA being recommissioned without restoration. Give it another week or so to get fuel tank and brake hoses installed, engine in and see if it drives.
BBQ party and time to chat about travels and cars until rather late, after which I have to get back to work to bring you these photos and notes, check email and BBS, and answer some tech questions.
Saturday, July 29, 2017:
Today's significant objective was to install a new alternator in the MG, but it wasn't going to arrive until mid day. With some spare time in the morning, it seemed like a good idea to swap out the dead battery cut-off switch for one we had procured (used) three months earlier. The switch is in the bulkhead behind the driver seat with cables behind the bulkhead (underneath), so jack up the left side of the car (yes, there was a jack stand involved). As the switch is above the exhaust pipe, it was a bit of a fiddle for access, but not too long to remove the old switch.
Old switch out, and replacement switch ready to install, which also didn't take so long. But the short of it is, the replacement switch was also duff, so in the end I had to crawl back under to bypass the switch, reverting to solid ground and no switch again. Bummer. Note to self, never buy a used switch when you know others have failed.
Then we were off to the parts store to pick up the new alternator, thanks to Alder Auto Parts in Surrey, BC for ordering it on Friday, and for being open on Saturday for our pick up and return. Otherwise it's just a parts store, and just a Japanese part we were putting in our British car. I wouldn't recommend this part to others with British cars because of the amount of fettling required to make it fit. But since I already did this in years past (when I once had a free alternator), it was as convenient to fit another one now as it would be to find the parts on short notice to convert it to the "easier" Lucas alternator.
Then for the fettling. First, several minutes with an angle grinder to relieve the front mounting ear, plus a couple minutes with a hand file to make it acceptably flat. This is to get the pulley to line up with the belt in the MG. Second, a personal determination of mine, drill out the 8-mm thread and tap through to install a 5/16-24-UNF Heli-Coil, so I can use a "standard" 1/2-inch wench for adjusting belt tension, and not have to carry a 12-mm wrench in my traveling tool kit.
Third, a quick 90-degree reorientation of the power output terminal, which this time had one size larger male thread (for which I had to scrounge up a new 8-mm metric nut). Then install the thing (standard fare) with a new fan belt, fire it up and verify 14-volts output, and pack everything away. The failed alternator that had been making mild growling noises had a notable amount of end play in the armature shaft, meaning it had failed ball bearings. I was somewhat disappointed that this rebuilt replacement unit only ran a bit over 18 months and 60,000 miles (when the prior two originals had done 200,000 miles each). The adaptation was a heck of a lot more difficult the first time around. Back to the store to return the core (which they won't notice has been modified).
After a mid afternoon breakfast (priorities, you know), I had an extended chat with Peter Tilbury (NAMGAR Web Site Coordinator) about club interests and procedures and web sites and all sorts of tech stuff. This was followed by an interview for Peter to gather information about our road trip for a possible local club news article. Then I had to get back to work for photos and notes other internet stuff, spiffy up the records for recent car maintenance, and of course start thinking about tomorrow (for which we presently have no fixed plan and only a vague idea what we may be doing next).
Sunday, July 30, 2017:
Slept in a bit, made a phone call, headed west, and hopped a ferry ride from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. Nice boat, like a floating city. Vehicles on decks 2 and 4 (deck 3 was closed). Creature comforts on decks 5 and 6, including lounges, restaurants,vending, game room, sun deck, and WiFi (slow but sort of works). So hello from sea for current pictures. We will likely spend a few days on the island, since it is more than 300 miles long with slow traffic.
After two hour wait for ferry loading, and hour and a half ferry ride, and unloading, We ran briefly through the city of Victoria. Then it got rather late. We have been cruising up the east coast of Vancouver Island a bit, nice road, not too much traffic once away from the big city. Got dark enough to be missing the view, so time to stop for the day Will take this up tomorrow.
Monday, July 31, 2017:
Running up TC-1 N, which becomes Trans Canada Hwy, which becomes TC-1 N again (just a name change). The we veer off onto BC-19 N where TC-1 changes name in Nanaimo, where we stopped for late lunch and a WiFi check. Not to be confused, we were just heading north on Vancouver Island, which was going to be a 300 mile trek. We made another phone call, but response was slow. Then made the contact in early evening, and drove another 30 miles north to visit Len and Bonnie Smith in Qualicum Beach, BC. Len has a nice assortment of toys on his workshop.
First up was a trio of MGA. These are described as an experimental project in digital color on demand, beginning with the basic RGB colors. Intention is to be able to change color on demand, but the project is still in early development, limited to just three colors so far.
In back is a mid production MGB (1972 I think) which "ran when parked", and is next in line to be recommissioned. Outside two more MGB, one driving, one not. The blue one may be early pull handle type (with a hardtop), very desirable. As it was getting dark we closed up the shop, and the chat continued until half past 10-ish. Then we made a mad dash for town to see if we could find a late night dinner. A nice pub was open, but the dining room not, so we ended up at a drive up window somewhere else. Then continue north just a bit before retiring for the night.