Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline July 2017

MGA Guru Gone Mobile

The bulk of our efforts in the past month has been directed toward visiting most of the shops remaining in the California shops list, 47 more this month (about 80 shops total in CA). I am not going to list them all this time, as the details with hundreds of photos are in our travel log, and I'm trying to keep this brief (short on time at the moment).

There was one notable moment when I stopped to visit Steve Lefaro in Simi Valley, CA. He had documented three successive failures of

The missing oil adapter fitting

Incorrect substitute oil adapter fitting
an MGA 1500 engine after three engine rebuilds by two different pro shops. Each time the engine ran well for several hundred miles before it failed some connecting rod bearings and ate the crankshaft. Both shops had thrown in the towel, given up, and refused to work on the engine again. After a half hour inspection of all oil flow paths and the oil pump (all of which were okay), I found the smoking gun. It was an incorrect oil supply fitting on the right rear corner of the engine block that would allow oil to flow from the oil pump into the main oil gallery without going through the oil filter. As a freshly rebuilt engine wears metal off the cylinder walls and piston rings to seat the rings, the resulting fine metal

Wrong oil adapter installed, no oil filtration
particles end up in the oil. With no filter in the circuit, the metal powder content builds up in the oil with time, being embedded in the soft metal of the bearing shells, there to work as an abrasive to grind away at the bearing journals on the crankshaft. The damaged journals will then in turn eat away the soft metal of the bearings, until the ultimate bearing failure was pretty much inevitable.

In early June, our MGA blew a radiator hose, not necessarily a big deal except that we were pushing the temperature limits climbing hills in the mountains at the time. Cool down, refill with water (a couple of times), and we eventually got where we were going. Replacing the failed hose was easy enough. We also failed three ignition condensers in 10 days, the last one going only six miles before dead. This is looking like another tech page to trace bad ones and find good ones. Very recently we fixed a few issues with our

Three failed condensers in 10 days
luggage trailer, after someone backed into it to smash a fender and knock off one of the Bearing Buddies. We also changed a structurally failed trailer tire (first time ever), and replaced a couple bolts in the spring shackles. There was also a third failure of a headlight dipper switch, the second one to be returned to Moss Motors for their consideration, and minor fix of a broken wire on the heater blower switch.

The Healey version of the Enigma rebodied car

We dropped in to visit Kevin Roots at English Roots (fine automobile engineering) in Phelan, CA. Aside from running the regions only British car repair and restoration shop, he also heads up development and sales of Enigma cars. These are essentially re-bodied Mazda MX5 (Miata) which sell for about $35,000.
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