Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline March 2016

MGAguru is on the Prowl
MGA Guru is Gone Mobile

Beware, we do not rest in the winter, we just stay south where it is still driving season, and things are still busy as usual. On Saturday January 30 we had breakfast with Florida Suncoast MG Car Club in Clearwater, FL. 32 people present, some nice chat, and a presentation by an art collector about "The " team of painters who "mass produced" and sold thousands of single issue paintings. It was a good story, worth review for the curious, not much to do with MGs.

Then we were off to Glens MG Repair in St Petersburg. We were here for a short visit in December 2014. This time I caught Glen trying to fit together a body buck for and MG TD. New wood parts from a well-known supplier do not fit well. But now we were here on business. The cylinder head on my MGA has been getting somewhat long in the tooth. Having been on two different engines in the past 15 years and accumulated 220,000 miles, it is suffering a bit of valve recession, so we want to change it out (or at least have a new one on hand) before anything nasty might happen. Glenn found us a good core cylinder head and will rework it, planning to be shipped to us later.

In addition to normal web site work, I have been working regularly on the new list of parts mechanical workshops that will service your LBCs. The list is already up to 190 shops and I still need to add the shops we have been visiting in the past 21 months. The people and clubs we visit are generously contributing more for this list, so far off to a good start. You can find this Shops list at

On Feb 2 we had our second (annual) club visit with Bay British Cars in Panama City Beach, FL, with 40 people. The following day I worked on an Austin Healey 3000 BT7 with some electrical problems to get the overdrive working, and also fuel gauge and speedometer problems. Next day, same town, another AH 3000 that wouldn't start without a shot of ether, but would then run, but had been getting terrible gas mileage. It had misadjusted choke linkage, sticky choke cable, and a "lawn sprinkler" fuel hose, all fixed. Same guy had a 1952 MG TD with a new wiring harness and relay box for turn signals work, but they didn't work. Turned out the car had single filament front parking lamps which need to be changes to dual filament bulbs. Problem solved and new bulb holders to be installed later. Also fixed the horn which was just a deceptively bad fuse.

Feb 5 we were visiting Robert Moore in Panama City who has a Jag E-type, 1941 Ford, Jag XK-140, MGA 1600-MK-II, a HUGE collection of vintage memorabilia (buildings full of the stuff), and does a lot for Historical Society of Bay County Museum. Then were heading north into Alabama where we are regularly finding fuel under $1.50/gallon, having filled up a couple of times for $1.35.9/gal.

We stopped for a visit with Ed Stone in Dothan, AL, who has a 1961 Rolls Royce, a TR6, Jensen Healey, Austin Healey 3000, Morgan Plus 4 and a 1961 Bugeye Sprite (among other things). I was investigating a rear brake drag problem on the Rolls one wheel only, appears to be a frozen slave cylinder (no parts on hand, so take that up later). The TR6 had two non-standard Weber downdraft carburetors, one running rich and one running lean, easy to fix. But it had a nasty problem throttle linkage problem with a push bar link that would fall over center. To prevent this from locking up the DPO had installed a throttle stop limiting travel to half throttle (very bad work), so the throttle linkage will have to be changed later (no parts handy). The Sprite had sat too long and wouldn't run, had ugly smelly stale fuel that had to the drained and fresh fuel installed. One carburetor had a clogged fuel inlet port and a stuck float valve, and both carbs has severely stuck main jets (no possible choke action). Some heavy muscle got the main jets moving freely, cleaned gunk out of the float chambers, adjusted choke linkage, and then it ran like a champ. The other cars are regular drivers and need nothing, so in just a few hours we were finished on our way. Temperature was hovering just above freezing, and we were going farther north?

By evening Feb 7 we were in Tuscaloosa, AL to visit Elizabeth Bearden who had a 1978 MG Midget in need of a lot of TLC. She had it for several months, and there was at least one club tech session, but it was never running and had a number of problems. It has a Weber downdraft carburetor and a points-type distributor (gear drive out of orientation). By late night we had spark but found a no-fuel-flow problem. Next day we fixed a leaky hose clamp to solve fuel delivery, so new ignition coil and fuel pump can be returned for credit. Then we found a mis-oriented distributor drive gear, shuffled HT wires on the distributor cap as expedient to get the engine running, followed by adjustment of the electric heat release automatic choke. Then the badly leaking radiator (previously badly repaired) went off to a shop, ultimately determined to be not repairable, so order up a new radiator. We then did a gross adjustment to get the parking brake working, standard bleeding to get hydraulic brakes working, and a start on clutch bleeding before running out of time (will get back to this later).

On Feb 9 we were at a dinner meeting with Birmingham (British) Motoring Club (BMC) in Birmingham, AL (our second annual visit). Just above freezing is downright cold for these folks, so attendance was just 15 locals and 5 guests (ourselves and three friends we brought along). After the meeting we were enjoying King Cake for Fat Tuesday opening Mardi Gras.

Next day I was posting a new web page about an MGA "Drop Head Coupe" recently discovered in Naperville, Illinois. (You can check out this odd car at The following day (Labor Day) I was
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