The clock is ticking for the British Invasion of Stowe, and the hour has already struck for Vintage Festival at Lime Rock Park, so what should come limping into our dooryard Thursday afternoon, but the oft-rumored, yet seldom actually seen, Mike Bounanduci, purveyor of truly esoteric british car parts, source of the Jaguar Mk IX steering side rods, and always our first call when we need a camshaft & seven tappets for a Triumph Mayflower. In this case the rescue call was going out in our direction. Mike’s “Military” as their fanciers call them, suffered a sudden loss of power on the highway near Bernardston, Massachusetts while en-route to Lime Rock Park. He limped it the 25 miles back to Westminster on one carburetor, barely scaling some of the steeper hills, where ground snails were leaning on their horns for him to get out of the way. This truck has a cab-over 3.5 litre V8 and one carburetor just isn’t equal to the task.
The cause of Mike’s distress was a collapsed ball socket on the right hand carburetor. The solution came from the Austin Healey BN7 that Butch has been assembling. We had hoped that it would be running Friday, but it’s throttle linkage will be putting in a cameo appearance at Lime Rock Park, instead.
Here in the shop we’ve been engaged in a heroic struggle to get this MGC running right again. This is a car that will keep up with a series 1 E-type and say ‘good-bye’ to a series 2. MGC Tony put the car together back during the Dot. Com boom.
We put the engine together. After Bob Couch ran it on his dyno, with the results noted in the picture caption, we tuned it up, it had been running horribly rich on the engine brake, so it wasn’t producing the kind of power it is now. The MGC is now part of the Lippoth stable of fine british cars and it came back in a week or two ago to address a poor running problem in the form of a skip at low rpm and lack of power.
When you’re not certain about a running issue the place to begin is at the beginning. I ran a compression test, which was good, and handed off to Chris to do a valve adjustment, which was also good. However, what he did find was a loose metering needle in the center carburetor. Reattaching it to the carb piston made an appreciable difference in the power, but we still couldn’t shake off the low speed skip. The distributor was checked by substitution, but it was Butch who had the “Ah Ha” moment when he discovered two timing scales on the crank pulley, which meant the car came in running about 60 degrees of ignition advance. We should have known right away by the abundance of “Octane Booster” visible on the spark plugs.
This has also been brakes week. On the right is an MGB brake assembly which is probably about the worst we’ve ever seen. The brake linings look like someone used up the last of a batch of chocolate frosting on them. Gear oil had been leaking on them for years. Chris remediated it. On the left is an MGA 1600 brake caliper in the vice. In order to remove severely seized caliper pistons our procedure is to drill and tap the piston and use a bolt as an extractor. MGA calipers are a bit more challenging because they have a central guide pin which locates in center of the piston. Also, the pistons are hardened.
So to extract these we drill two extraction holes using cobalt bits and run the tap VERY carefully. We rebuilt them with stainless steel caliper pistons, so with regular maintenance it should be close to a forever repair. I forgot to snap a picture of the very attractive finished product. They rolled back to Peterboro, New Hampshire aboard a very attractive MGA last night, so here’s a picture of Chris coming back from a road test earlier in the week, instead.
This journal is a little late going up because of a “Brute Force” attack against our web host’s servers. Welcome to the New Normal.