Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline May 2013
Technical Corner

(Continued from page 12)

I’m not sure why that happened that way – mostly I guess because I bought a second car (1979 Pageant Blue) as a daily driver and didn’t really need MG-X and didn’t have a good place to finish the restoration.

By the spring of 2009 I had just built a new garage and knew that it was time to finish the work on MG-X. The car was pulled from storage and evaluated: the discount paint job was blistering, the oil smelled funny and the hydraulics had actually solidified in some places; all interior items needed replacement. A second repainting ensued and all undercar and underhood components were either rebuilt or replaced. Since my 1979 car was still running well, there was no real urgency to the MG-X project, so it wasn’t until the fall of 2010 that the engine was sent to a rebuilder; I put it onto a stand when received back. During 2011 and early 2012, work continued on installing new interior items and rebuilding/replacing/refreshing all visible components. Many of these items had been acquired when starting with the original bodywork, so some had been stored new-in-the-box for over 10 years.

Engine assembly started in the early spring of 2012. A high performance camshaft was ordered directly from Piper in England and was installed and degreed during a club tech session. Wires were spliced, cleaned, and connected as required. New hoses, belts, clamps and fasteners of all types were installed.

Finally, in early May, the project was done (I thought). The engine fired on May 9 and the first test ride revealed no leaks or other issues. I scheduled the car for its debut at the Spring Chicken Rally. But first, some more road testing was in order….

At about 20 miles on the odometer, the car engine developed a puzzling “clicking noise”. It seemed to increase with more miles. The origin of the noise was unclear to myself and others: perhaps a sticking valve? Lots of analysis here – compression checks, stethoscopes, and more. The freshly installed head was removed and the guides reamed to factory spec. Clicking noise continues: no one has heard a noise like this before; no one can identify exactly where it is coming from in the engine. By now the Chicken Rally and other club events are long past. Time for a trip to Tom Josefek – maybe he can help.

Well, yes, Tom knew what it was – a bad rod bearing. Gadzooks! On a fresh engine??!! Better get home quick. Unfortunately the clicking noise soon morphed into the type of clunk that no one could misidentify and MG-X came home on a tow truck that day with a trashed crankshaft. How demoralizing! So much for club driving events last summer.

The engine came back out of the car (how I hated to do that!) and went back to the shop. The shop agreed to warranty their work, but time dragged on and the engine did not get back into the car until just before the Halloween Rally. Not enough test time to feel confident so MG-X missed the next-to-last driving event also (and the Rock would have required a quantum leap in confidence by now).

So, even though MG-X didn’t get to any club events last year, it is now “On The Road Again!”….Again. Hope to see you all this spring with it.
~~Jim Evans

Francen & Son     Auto Appraisal Group
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