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Monday 8/18 we were traveling south through Delaware and crossed the ($18) toll bridge/tunnel into Norfolk, Virginia about 9 pm. Just entering another tunnel the MGA engine broke #4 piston and continued running on three cylinders. Apparently the top of the piston was stuck in the top of the cylinder while the rest of the piston continued to cycle with the connecting rod (slightly out of balance). We made through the tunnel and ran a bit slower while looking for an exit ramp. What was left of the piston then disintegrated, leaving the connecting rod and wrist pin to rattle around in the cylinder. We finally managed to nurse it off the expressway into a McDonald's parking. At 10 PM we posted an SOS on the MG Experience BBS with information and a call for assistance. We then spent the night at a hotel across the street, and returned to McD's in the morning.
Tuesday 8/19 the car hitched a ride on a flat bed trailer about 70 miles South to Kill Devil Hills, NC. (near Kitty Hawk of the Wright Brother's fame). Since then it has been "recuperating" in a friend's garage. On Wednesday we pulled the engine apart, Wednesday night and Thursday morning we spent time finding a machine shop that could do the required machining in short order. Then we picked up a rental car and drove to Moss Motors east warehouse in Petersburg, VA, (300 mile round trip) to pick up a cylinder sleeve and piston set (among other things). Also made a late evening stop on the way back at the machine shop in Chesapeake, VA
to drop off the engine block and parts. Plan was to have the machine work done on Friday before noon. Then we retired back to Kill Devil Hills for the night.
Friday morning we drove (rental car) up to Chesapeake again to be sitting close to the shop in case of contingencies, and there were some problems. The #3 cylinder was slightly distorted out of round and needed to be rebored. And The Moss sleeve was too thin to serve as a wet liner for +0.060 pistons. To expedite things we drove to Charlotte, NC, to pick up a thicker cylinder sleeve, 700 mile, 11 hour round trip returning late night. Saturday morning we made another trip to the Moss warehouse to return and exchange some parts, coming back with 0.060" o/s pistons. Saturday evening and all day Sunday we had time off for a dearly needed rest break.
Monday 8/25 we are up early, back in Chesapeake to deliver the sleeve and pistons to the machine shop at 8 am. We are now sitting in a nearby McDonald's to compose and sent this message while we wait for the machining to be finished. Assuming everything works out as planned this time, we should have the engine back together, in the car, and back on the road tomorrow morning (Tuesday 8/26).
You can check our latest daily trip notes and photos at www.mgaguru.com/tales/mobile.htm
Cheers to all from Barney and Elliot