This shop has been pretty busy the last few years, although the last few days have actually given us a little breathing room, so when the owner of the completely gutted, very low milage 1275 Mini Cooper “S” which has been sitting on saw horses in the barn called Wednesday, the timing couldn’t have been better to get something done about it.
It seems he has a relationship with Sports Car Restoration of Plainville, Connecticut, and Patrick and I decided it was high time for a field trip. This is a very impressive shop with a particular specialty in BMW’s, but there were others, and it was readily apparent that while their paint work was impressive, their fabrication skills are absolutely first drawer, top shelf stuff.
In the picture above, Matt McGinn and Nate Williams and crew (that’s Patrick back, left) can be seen admiring their new work piece. Not seen here is another of our mutual client’s cars; a rear-engined BMW 700 coupe with, I believe a horizontally opposed two cylinder motor, and my limited reading on it suggests that it is the car that saved BMW from oblivion in the late ’50’s. It was obvious these guys really know what they’re doing.
Meanwhile, things are still moving along in MG TD World. In the process of sorting thru a number of issues, some long standing and some recently installed, Butch noticed that the oil gauge flexible hose executed a nearly perfect 360 degree loop. Unusual. Also, the copper pipe from the bulkhead to the gauge was installed backwards. How do we know this ? Well, the wrong end of the pipe is illuminated here by Butch’s blue flashlight and more or less directly below it is the threaded abutment of the gauge for the pipe. Take note: There’s a small tit at the top of the threads, around which a small leather washer is usually found (our cars are analogue, not digital). This is the sealing joint between the flat pipe nipple that was at the other end of the pipe, and the instrument. The Bad Boy under the glare of Butch’s flashight has a tapered end meant to engage the reverse taper in the flexible hose. Why can’t we ever get away with this stuff ?
O.K. here’s another: An XPAG engine has a hydraulic timing chain tensioner to take up the slack in the chain, as you can see here. Unlike it’s later British Motor Corporation Breathern, the MGA’s & MGB’s and also Austin Healeys, it doesn’t have a ratcheting mechanism to retain the relative position of the guide slipper, and over time as the chain stretches these engines can develop a gently knocking at the front of the engine at idle as the chain slaps the slipper back into the housing.
Many years ago Rick Smith (formerly of Automotion in Allston, Massachusetts) told me how to counteract this phenomena by putting a leather washer over the shaft of the slipper, as you can see here. I make them out of a belt I long ago outgrew. Also of note is the oil thrower installed backwards on the cam gear.
And here’s another: The badly damaged threads on the oil pan of this formerly “rebuilt” engine. There’s nothing worse on a fresh engine than an oil drain plug that won’t seal, which was sure to be our fate if this condition had gone unnoticed. It didn’t, and it’s gone out for repair along with our specially made 20 X 1.75 millimeter thread cutting tap.
More news next week.