When we’re dealing with cars which have been off the road for a length of time, frequently measured in years or even decades, one of the first tasks is to get them running (usually off a soda bottle fuel drip feed) in order to make some snap judgments about engine condition. Then we flush and refill the clutch & brake hydraulics and attempt a road test, commonly with a two and a half gallon jerry can in the trunk because stale gas is the bane of our existence.
In the photo above, Patrick has just emptied the contents of a series 3 E-type gas tank on the cement pad outside the shop and flared it off. It’s resemblence to motor fuel was but a distant memory.
John has been catching up 25 years of deferred maintenance on an MGA from Charlotte, Vermont, not too far from where the Lake Champlain Ferry docks. He is doing a complete brake overhaul, which means replacing the rear wheel cylinders and rebuilding the disc brake calipers and combined brake & clutch master cylinder, for which we use an original casting re-sleeved in brass.
All original MGA master cylinders still in service have severely pitted cylinder bores. Back in the day, no one thought to change the brake fluid, which then attracted large amounts of moisture, which in turn caused that damage. The brass sleeves won’t pit.
But I digress… This MGA also needed new brake discs, which means R&R front hubs, which in turn means strip, clean & repack front wheel bearings. The inner and outer bearings are located on shoulders in the hubs, and those shoulders are provided with notches which allow the bearings to be driven out with a punch.
If you click on the picture on the left to enlarge it, you can see where some hammer mechanic missed the notches completely and punched up the shoulder instead. Regrettably, these hubs are not currently available in the Taiwan Motors catalogue, so we had to fix ’em. The fix was to set them up on the Bridgeport and turn down the damage with the boring bar. I took an additional .003″ cut to true everything up. Because it was B.M.C. practice to support the inner bearing races as well, I also took .003″ off the bearing spacer cone that locates inside the hub.
Here’s the series 3 E-type headed out for a road test with Patrick at the wheel, and a 2.5 gallon gas can in the trunk. Take note that the rear hatch is on the safety catch and the brake lights are on. They’re inconsequential to our road test, although they will feature prominently on our punch list. Patrick reports lots of V12 power, even with the Borg Warner Model 12 automatic, but the severely flat spotted tires impart a Flintstones-like ride quality. We’ll be sorting it all out in our usual thorough and methodical manner. With the month of May almost upon us, is there anything we should be sorting out for you ?