Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline February 2016

MGAguru is on the Prowl
MGA Guru is Gone Mobile

Time flies when you're having fun. I had to look at last report to see where we left off last time. Twas the night before Christmas, and we had been in Louisiana a few days. Since then we blew through southern LA, MS, GA, and into Florida where we have been rattling around for a whole month.

The day after Christmas we had Cars and Coffee with 10 people from British Motoring Club New Orleans. I then spent a couple days in Mandeville, LA working on a MG ZB Magnette, fixing a befuddled traficator and A/C compressor mount. Also found misaligned throttle shafts, mismatched carburetor spacers, leaking float chambers. We installed thicker spacers, then had to change to longer mounting studs for the carbs. Another day I was realigning a door latch on an MGA and checking out an original spare tire cover. The I spent a few days doing web site work, and beginning a list for mechanical shops that will do work on an MG, hoping to eventually make the list cover the entire country (another big project).

For New Year’s Eve we shot up from the Gulf coast to Jackson, Mississippi, clearing up some electrical issues on an MGA 1600. When fixing brake lights and turn signals we found a burned up and shorted heater motor. Then back down to Saucier ("Sosor"), MS for a New Year’s Eve party with a bunch of British Car friends. Next day (Jan 1) we were checking out a couple of MG TCs with superchargers, an MGA Coupe with air conditioning, and a really slick all aluminum box trailer. Late night we slipped out of Mississippi, through Alabama, and into the Florida panhandle.

In the few days to follow we visited a friend with a couple of MGBs, spent a lot of time working on the new web pages for mechanical shops, and posted a bunch of photos for an MGA 1500 rear parcel shelf. On Jan 6 we were in DeBary, FL (east coast) for lunch with All British Car Club of Volusia County. Here we met Barbara Walters (the original Barbara Walters) who bought a 1952 MG TD new and still drives the same car.

Then we drove west a couple of hours to Fruitland Park, FL (middle of the state) for the first of a few visits with George and Joyce Horton. This is the bloke who invited me to Alaska in 1997, resulting in the opening of my web site for posting the Alaska trip pictures. Now that he lives in Florida I have been helping with some restoration work on his MGA 1600 Coupe. We have been routing service lines under the right side frame and in the engine bay, installing a new fuel pump and the interior headliner, adjust valves and distributor, ignition wiring, float valves, choke linkages, fired it up and gave it a tune up.

One day we were sitting on a WiFi spot in The Villages (55 miles from Orlando) when a friendly bloke named Orlando (Tom) from Staten Island, New York dropped by to chat. someone spotted my MGA and sent a picture of it to Tom, and Tom rushed right over to say hello. Tom has a 1959 MGA in VERY good condition, and a 1964 MGB as a pile of parts. We will look him up when we get to New York again.

On Jan 12 we missed a club meeting with British Car Club of SW Florida in Fort Myers, because my alternator crapped out a few miles short leaving a very dead battery. After a few phone calls a club friend showed up, hauled us up to a parts store to procure a new alternator, and with a bit of knuckle busting the car was back on the road again by late night. The following day we were in Fort Myers fixing some electrical problems (horn wiring) on a TR3, but first we had to get the engine started. This seemed to be an issue with stale fuel that would not fire easily. We got it going with starter fluid, after which it ran okay but after a couple hours cool down it required starting fluid again. We traced a turn signal problem to a failed flasher unit, and horn failure to a loose bullet connector inside the horn cover. In the end the twin Windtone horns sound like a Cadillac.

On the 14th we spend a day at Joe Ciavarella's shop in the south end of Fort Myers. He has a long work list for a wind selection of British cars including an MG TD, a Jaguar XJ-12, on MGA restoration, a bugeye Sprite and a couple MGBs. We did a bit of work on the front suspension of BIG Jaguar 420G or Mark X (limousine), and some time building roller pallets (just for grins). Next day (Friday) we were in Bonita Springs, FL at "Tech Central" with friends and members of British Car Club of Southwest Florida (whom we had missed on Tuesday). In spite of a rainy day they were doing primer paint on an MGA resto project. We got to tweak a Weber carburetor accelerator pump. We also revived an MGB after tracing a no-spark problem to a new condenser that was faulty out of the box.
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