Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline January 2012
Special Feature
Tales of the Mongrel
By Ralph Arata
“A Day with Jim”

I had meant to write this article for the Driveline 2 months ago but with work and business travel, like so many things, it just did not get done! Well, the Christmas Holiday combined with sunny (and relatively warm) weather provided me with both the time and the motivation to write about a “Day with Jim Evans”!

My question to those who are NOT true MG mechanics, and that is about all of us, is don’t you get curious about your car and what engine rebuild might really look like! After all, who really has the time, facility, tools and know-how to do some-thing that big!! If you are curious and you would like the opportunity to watch some of our club masters at work then a day with Jim is what the doctor would order!

I think it was October – a warm and sunny say when Jim held court at his house in Glen Ellyn. He is rebuilding his 1977 blue MGB and the work done so far (paint, body, bumpers, engine well, etc…) looks really good. However, it was engine assembly that promoted 4 or 5 spectators (such as myself) to see how it is done. Jim was assisted by Barney Gaylord who is also known as “The MG Guru” so there were 2 experts on location.

All I can say is that the drive to Jim’s house was worth it. It is amazing (and re-assuring) to see the guts of an MG engine and just how it is re-assembled. The adjustments (such as using emery cloth to hone the tappet wells) provide both an understanding and appreciation for how an MG engine is put back-together! This is a real education.

Not that I was going to run home and rebuild my MGB but to see this done is really great. As Jim worked he also shared his experiences with machine shops and alternative to buy your MG parts. It really was a day worth spending there!

The other thing you notice that even for the experts it can be tricky. Assembling the timing gear and front engine plate took some discussion as some bolts were not quite flush and some “alignment” wasn’t quite there. Jim and Barney talked about the issues, made adjustments and everything feel into place.

It was a very good day!

This type of thing and the tech sessions sponsored by the club are priceless opportunities to learn about your car – I encourage you to watch the Driveline starting March and you will see when these events occur.

~~Ralph Arata

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