John’s Near Death Experience

a near miss on the Westminster West road

Safety Fast: You Can Do It In An MG

Last Thursday afternoon, I road tested one of John’s scuttling kindergarten of MGB’s back to its owner in Axle River, just up the road from us.

John was following in my MGB.  The resident of the yellow house came down her driveway, let me by and pulled out in front of John, who was about 500 feet back.  I saw the whole scene in the rear view mirror:  He locked up the brakes, and took evasive action as she lurched out over the double yellow line.

The net result:  Excellent brakes and quick reflexes mean a Toyota Prius will live to see another day… Maybe.  When we went back to survey the scene we initially stopped at the wrong set of skid marks.  Perhaps it is a regular occurrance around 4520 Westminster West Road.

Butch welds a broken Triumph steering bracket

Butch welds a broken Triumph steering bracket

broken bracket repaired

Tight Squeeze: broken bracket repaired

An interesting local stress point on a Triumph TR6 is the somewhat inadequate steering column mounting bracket fixed to the passenger compartment bulkhead.  The steering wheel is probably not a functional handgrip to raise and lower yourself to and from the driver’s seat.

After extensive excavations, John freed up enough space to allow for repair by welding, which at the very best was still a fiddle.  Butch has the best helmet and the best skills.  He made the repair.

Austin Mini Panel Van

Butch wires the Austin Mini Panel Van

Owing to an incredible 40 year run, Minis seem to have an uncanny ability to almost spontaneously mutate.  This seemingly straight forward external door hinge car is a veritable hotbed of mechanical and electrical quirks.  It’s an early car with a late A plus engine, nothing unusual really in that, but Butch has been sorely challenged trying to create a seemless cohesion out of electrical components and wiring that seem to run thru the full 40 years of model changes.  He’s winning, barely.

L/H front XK 120 brake assembly

XK 120 brake assembly with something extra

Contrary to my strong expectations, the wheel cylinders in the XK 120 Fixed head Coupe seen here last week were in good to excellent shape, To get the most out of a drum-braked XK Jaguar it helps to have a strong right leg, and if the wheel cylinders are starting to seize, that effort goes up.

We don’t do a lot of these cars, although I have one, so when I compared the front brake linings to the rear, I thought it was unusual that they should be about 2 inches longer.  A quick consult with the factory parts book confirmed my suspicions that front & rear brake shoes are indeed the same, and should be lined up to  the round notch visible at roughly the 11:30 & 5:30 position.  In fact if you look closely, you’ll see the lining material lifting away from the shoes at either end.

A page from Jaguar XK 140 Explored

"Original Brake Linings were MINTEX M.20, secured to each shoe with 12 Rivets" click to enlarge

A consultation with Jaguar XK 140 Explored by Bernard Viart, and available  confirms this.  The magnificent Viart illustration shows where the lining is supposed to be, and even tells us the original material, Mintex and the number of rivets (12).  When in doubt find a knowledgable source.

If you have an XK 140, buy the book !   If you have an XK 120 you can soon rejoice, your book’s coming out this fall.

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