Smokey Yunick’s TD

MG TD with no gas tank

Wot', no gas tank ?

When we pushed this MG TD into the shop Wednesday afternoon it reminded me, for no particular reason, of one of the notorious exploits of the famous stock car mechanic Smokey Yunick, late of Daytona, Florida.  Quite apart from being the reason to this day that NASCAR uses hood & roof templates to check the shape of all competitors, one legendary Smokey Yunick incident involves a gas tank or the lack thereof.

During a particularly rigorous tech inspection, when NASCAR officials allegedly removed his gas tank for further examination, and sent him back to the track garage with a list of deficencies, he is reputed to have said “make it one more” as he started up the car and drove off, courtesy of the fuel reserve in a  2″ diameter fuel line.

MG TD gas tank

It's over heah ! John preps the tank

We are now seeing a steady procession of 40, 50 & 60 year old cars with fuel starvation problems caused by a deteriorating gas tank.  Fuel tanks tend to corrode internally over time until scale begins to obstruct the fuel pick up.  Eventually they  also develop pin holes and start to leak, which can be kind of dangerous.

In some cases the solution is a replacement tank, but in other cases it isn’t.  “T” series MG’s fall into this latter category because all of the replacement tanks we’ve seen over the last several years won’t accept the old fuel tank side covers.  So better to repair them.

Repairing the Daimler control head

Butch fettles the Daimler control head

We send them up to Rodney at B&R’s Garage in Lebanon where he cuts ’em open and cleans them out by sandblasting and replaces any metal that’s too thin, before he puts in a liquid liner that hardens to a consistency somewhere just south of bullet proof.

Like it’s Coventry-built cousin the TR3, the Daimler SP 250 uses a so-called steering wheel “control head” to switch the horns & turn signals.  This car’s control head had been badly mistreated by some particularly inept hammer mechanic who finally attempted to glue the whole thing back together with silicon sealer, but by using a few donor parts from an Austin Healey and some colorful language, Butch was able to stitch it back together again.

missing dog teeth on a Daimler constant mesh pinion shaft

Dog teeth gone missing from a constant mesh pinion shaft, right

Meanwhile, downstairs I was I.S.O. some usable parts for the SP 250 transmission.  A TR3 gearbox yielded up a suitable 2nd gear set, but we were S.O.L. as far as the input shaft (a.k.a. constant mesh pinion shaft) was concerned.  It’s a longer and has a different tooth count as well.  Fortunately an out-sourced input shaft was forthcoming, value priced at only $150.00.  You can’t even make one yourself that cheap !

So we’re on the upswing with this car, and we really hope it won’t be raining next weekend so the owner can be out enjoying his car.

The sun shone, the pre-test checks were completed, and Chris got this late Austin Healey 3000 Mk III out for a road test Friday afternoon.  The mellifuous tone of the new Stebro stainless steel side exit exhaust is just magnificent, but alas, his road test was not uneventful..

Austin Healey 3000 Mk III

Chris comes back in Friday afternoon with the BJ8 after running out of gas mid-test.

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