Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline June 2017

MGA Guru Gone Mobile

As last report ended we were nursing our MGA with what I thought might be a burned valve. Turns out it was a blown head gasket, which was (perhaps) marginally easier (and a bit less expensive) to fix. All
The mysterious blown head gasket
very odd, as I hadn't blown head gasket since 1989, 350,000 miles ago. I did replace the cylinder head a year earlier, with only 37,000 miles since, so maybe this was a result of some deficiency in the bolt torqueing procedure. Also odd, the gasket breach was between #3 and #4 cylinders, not where we might expect at the hot spot in the middle of the head. Maybe a slightly deficient head gasket? I did take the opportunity to hand-lap two intake valves to fix very minor compression leaks. In any case, we have already done another 1,200 miles with the new head gasket, and all seems well. We have also replaced a drippy heater valve (about 20 years old) and failed dipper switch (only two months old). The replacement dipper switch is now failing after only a few nights in the hills.
Navigator getting into the swing of car repairs

This report should be a little different, since we have just passed the third anniversary of his road trip, 115,00 miles on. Early in the trip we had time to do the covered bridge tour, go dot-hopping and light house hunting, and spent "free time" contacting Clubs and Friends. More recently we have been much busier, beginning to feel spread kind of thin, running on 6-hours sleep a night much of the time. This I'm sure is related to our endeavor of shop-hopping in the past year, vowed to verify all the workshops that will work on vintage British cars, supply parts, or rebuild sub-assemblies. Making the list of about 800 shops around North America was only the beginning, but in the past year we have visited 386 of them (to date), so the rest of the quest now at last seems feasible.

We have been in California for a month, and will be here for another month until after the NAMGAR GT-42 convention. On pace as usual helping people fix their Cars about two a week, and visiting Friends about two a week, and Clubs about two a week. Also visiting Shops, 25 in the past month, but hoping to pick up the pace a lot for that endeavor, as there are about 50 more in California to visit in the next 4 weeks before the GT. Also another 20 Friends already on our list, which we need to kick up to 4 or 5 per week. The toughest part is the car clubs, about a dozen more of those, some of them being difficult to contact, and spread all over the map in chronological sequence (where most of the travel miles accumulate). For planning we put the club events and club meetings at top of the priority list, go wherever and whenever needed to get to those events. Then we try to visit the Friends on the way by, whenever it may be convenient for them and for us. The Shops are generally easier, as we just drop in any time during business hours, and we usually get a friendly reception. Most of the remaining shops are clustered around the Los Angeles area (where we hate the traffic conditions but muddle on).

There is no way I can write a short report on everyone and everything we have visited and fixed in the past month. To keep it brief, here are the visits for the past month, all in California:
Bruce Obbink's supercharged MG TD
Mazda rotary engine in MGB
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