Archive for the Tag 'Midget'

08 Jan 2018

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

First MG Repair of 2018

Not a very auspicious start to wrenching season – about 4 months before expected! As we were heading out the last Saturday, when we got into the garage, there was a pretty overwhelming smell of gasoline. A quick look under each car revealed the culprit – the MG had decided to mark it’s territory with a substantial puddle of gas. Not really something that can be ignored…

A quick trip to Canadian Tire yielded a few feet of new gas line and some new clamps. Fortunately it was a fairly warm day with a high of about 9°C, but the concrete floor of the garage was nowhere near that warm. I got the MG jacked up and crawled under – it was pretty obvious where the problem was. There is a short section of hose between the metal gas line that runs along the body and the metal line that is connected to a bracket on the engine and eventually to the carb. The hose is there to absorb the differential vibration between engine and body. Or it would do so if 40 years time hadn’t hardened the rubber to the point were there was no give.

The leak was clearly indicated by frozen hydrate crystals where the hose had cracked. That was kind of interesting to see. I managed to replace the hose fairly quickly and also another section that between the metal line and the carb. It took less than and hour and once I was done I fired up the engine and made sure all was good.

Comments Off on First MG Repair of 2018

27 Oct 2017

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

End of the Season

I accomplished quite a bit with the MG this summer – it took plenty long enough, but the results were quite good. The rear suspension was refreshed, rear axle repainted, rear brakes replaced and the clutch hydraulics all replaced as well. There was a noticeable improvement in the handling from the suspension work and the cost was fairly reasonable. Parts are easy enough to find, it’s just the US dollar sticker price and the cost of shipping (especially the gouging from the couriers on brokerage fees) that is painful. Fully half of the parts cost is exchange, shipping and handling, duties and brokerage.

The front brakes, cooling system and the front suspension update never quite got to the top of the “to do” list. Since the car didn’t get on the road until August 1st, I wasn’t too keen to lose any more driving time. The level of trust that there was sufficient reliability to go on longer day trips really never was there due to marginal oil pressure and really poor gas mileage. 20W50 motor oil seems to have addressed the worst of the oil pressure situation but the fuel efficiency problem lingered. There was always a smell of unburnt fuel and it wasn’t until the last day of the season that I figured it out.

After topping off the gas tank, I let the car idle after I got home while I added fuel stabilizer to the tank for the winter. After letting the car run long enough to get the treated fuel to the carb, I moved the car to it’s winter parking spot. When I got out of the car I saw a big puddle of fuel where it had been sitting and idling. Unfortunately, the next day it got cold and the fix will have to wait until spring time.

Comments Off on End of the Season

31 Jul 2017

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

Better Living through Hydraulics

With one day to spare before my weekend clutch repair on the Midget rolled over into a 5th month of work, I got the car on the road for it’s maiden voyage for 2017. Well, it was less of a maiden voyage than a fingers-crossed “hope this thing will stop” test of the braking system up and down the local side streets. The MG did stop when requested, the gears shifted without complaint and the handling was improved due to the rear suspension fixes. Overall, a successful repair effort despite the large number of weeks elapsed and the great number of hours of work.

A lots of effort just went into cleaning up decades worth of grime and making efforts to take care of the details. For example, every fastener that got re-used (many were replaced where possible) got cleaned up on the wire wheel and had the threads chased with tap or die. Some parts were given a fine sanding or polished depending on what was needed. Lot’s of the type of task that would never be done by a shop as just too time consuming. For the most part, no one who is unwilling to lie on the ground with their head under the rear bumper will ever see the pieces that got this kind of attention!

And the things that you have to learn the hard way – like the order of operations when reinstalling the clutch slave cylinder. It’s easier to bleed if the slave is left loose and as low as possible under the car – except for the small problem that the slave can’t be fitted into it’s housing with the hydraulic line attached. The result is that the line must by disconnected and then, while forcing the slave into place, the clutch pushrod compresses the slave piston and all the hydraulic fluid spurts out the line fitting. And, of course, the contents of the master cylinder dribble out of the line at the same time. What a mess. Then the bleeding process starts over.

Interestingly, the final step in bleeding the clutch is highly satisfying. After a couple of hours of struggling with the installation and bleeding of the clutch, there were still a couple of tiny bubbles trapped at the high point of the line which is translucent, so you can see what’s going on. The line curves up from the master to be able to “make the corner” down beside the battery into the space beside the transmission where the slave cylinder lives. Air bubbles at the high point are exceedingly reluctant to flow downhill in either direction making Midget clutch bleeding a source of huge frustration. It turns out that the recommended solution is to kick the living daylights out of the clutch pedal. 50 kicks, as fast as possible, is the prescription – I figured if 50 is good, 60 would be better. Sure enough, in the mid 40’s the pedal feel started to come back and by the time I got to 60 it felt just right and no bubbles were left in the line.

After that, it was a matter of getting the wheels back on and lowering the MG from the jack stands after nearly a year in the air and firing it up. Over the next few days, there are a few remaining tasks – the hood needs to be re-fit and a year’s worth of dust needs to be washed off and it’ll need a coat of wax. Then, it will be time for some long awaited top down cruising on the long weekend. See you in Bragg Creek!

Comments Off on Better Living through Hydraulics

14 Jun 2017

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

Kneebone’s Connected to the Thighbone…

Like the old song “Dry Bones“, the progress on the Midget is a string of connected activities that I trust will end up with a resurrected vehicle; preferably before freeze up. Although prescient, my list of things yet to be done back at the start of April seems to have fallen far short of reality and a lot of work is accruing to the “fix other stuff” item on the list.

As I’ve worked away on the car since the start of April, I’ve discovered that the clutch hydraulics bone is connected to the brake hydraulics bone,
   which is connected to the pedal box bone,
      which is connected to the “buy a sandblaster” bone,
         which is connected to the rear brake shoes bone,
            which is connected to the leaf springs bone,
               which is connected to the rear axle bone…

I think you get the picture. To make it even more interesting, some bones were connected with 35 years’ worth of rust and corrosion that did not yield gracefully to the gentle persuasion of the spanner. Much to the delight of aftermarket parts retailers in the US, I’ve had to order another few hundred dollars worth of bits and pieces – mostly for the rear suspension. The price for the parts isn’t too bad, even with the 35% exchange rate premium on the US dollar – it’s the shipping that is the killer. The last order was for about $200 CAD worth of parts and the shipping, brokerage, duty and taxes was another $125 CAD – 60%! Unfortunately, getting parts in Canada is basically impossible.

So, after more than two months of this project I still haven’t actually fixed anything, but I might. I’ve removed the entire rear end from the car end have completely disassembled the rear suspension. The clutch hydraulics are still out as is the brake master cylinder and all the rear hydraulics. I made a false start on the rear brake shoes, springs and wheel cylinders – re-shoeing the left side before deciding to take out the axle. I’ll end up re-doing that bit of work later on.

Lately, I have been working on taking the rust off the axle and suspension parts, lots of hours of cleaning up oily gunge, wire brushing, sanding and media blasting to get the parts cleaned down to bare metal. Just this past week, I finally started to reverse the process of undoing stuff by priming the suspension parts, pedal box, clutch pedal and brake pedal. Hopefully, the next few weeks will see the rear axle and springs repainted and then I can start reassembling some of dem bones that I’ve disconnected.

Comments Off on Kneebone’s Connected to the Thighbone…

Next »