Some Simple Fixes

Alpine windshield

Alpine gets new glass

Cheaper windshields are available from the catalog merchants (believe me,  you get what you pay for), but whenever they’re available we prefer to use genuine Triplex glass.

Alpine windshield

Quality trademark

In new news, we’ve now discovered replacing a windshield in an Alpine makes the same service operation on an MGB appear to have all the drama of an oil change, and I like to say that the only easy part of an MGB windshield replacement is asking for your money when you’re done.  At any rate we found the correct gasket for the glass (hint: you won’t find it in Lenexa, Kansas).  Butch persevered, and you can be the judge of the result.

Overdrive MGB gearbox

Cleaning up an overdrive MGB TX

While Butch was struggling to keep his sanity, Patrick decided that the best approach to a baulky 1st gear synchro (a truly unintended pun) in his MGB GT winter escape car was to take out the engine & TX and replace it.  I suggested ignoring it completely, after all I’ve been driving MGA’s for 40 years and I ignore the non-working 2nd gear synchromesh.

Engine & TX go back in

Return Trip

The teardown revealed that the synchronizer baulk ring had split, an unusual event to say the least.  We had ’em on the shelf of course, with a 1992 invoice date.  While the engine was out, Patrick threw in a new set of piston rings to improve oil control, it already had received something resembling a valve job.


gunmetal grey E-type

Ready for departure

We were going to ship the gunmetal grey E-type to Ernest Hillier today, but this is Vermont, not Florida, and it was snowing.   After consultation with Mike Savage we decided to scrub the mission until next week.  Discretion is still the better part of valor, and anyway when we talked to Mike he was on his way up the Interstate with a car from Philadelphia bound for Green Mountain Classics in Springfield, and his home in Weston was a whole lot closer to Springfield than we are.

Posted in This week at the shop | Comments Off on Some Simple Fixes

Headed In & Headed Out

Jaguar E-type

Back from a road test ?

Patrick and I hiked over the mountain to Bennington Friday morning for the purpose of paying a call on Mark Goyette to get his assessment on the MG TF we sent over there on Monday.  As you can gather from last week’s post, some additional assembly will be required, and paint & sheetmetal fall well outside of our skill set.  We took Patrick’s MGB GT, recently acquired on the cheap, and likely to be his winter escape vehicle this year.  It’s an interesting car, mostly 1973 model year build, but very definitely 1970 in the back as evidenced by the one year only split rear bumper, a body clip very possibly obtained as the result of  a day such as you see here.


Sunbeam Alpine

No, just making room

Mark was quite interested in the Mallard Green livery because it’s the same color he’s chosen for his MGB tourer, which is also a ’73.  Now I have to tell you that it’s nice to know the he’s a member of The Loyal Order of Owners and Admirers of The Immortal And Ubiquitous MGB.  One overarching reason being that as we were bidding our fond adieus Patrick discovered  his heater valve had gone South for the winter even before he did, and if wern’t for Mark ponying up the heater valve from his car we’d have been going back over the mountain by bus.


Snow covered Vt. Rte. 9

Somewhere in the Green Mtn. National Forest Friday

This is frequently a seven day a week undertaking, which is why this post is going up a little later than usual.  So to put your potential unease at rest, the red E-type is only being shuttled back into the barn, its period of use as a useful pattern for the reassembly of the Gunmetal Grey OTS being over for the time being.  The G.M.G. E-type ships to Ernest Hillier early next week for upholstery. B.T.W:  You can run them in the snow if they’re properly ballasted and shod with appropriate winter tires, but I don’t recommend it.

another MGB GT in snow

Going to get the mail Saturday

Northern New England hasn’t seen much snow so far this winter, unlike coastal Southern New England which is getting clobbered today.  But enough snow has fallen here to make for engaging drive down to the Westminster Post Office, and there isn’t much traffic on the roads.  With the red E-type moved out and the Sunbeam Alpine moved back in for the start of Alpine Round IV next week, the last remaining task of the day is to clear the work benches and  sweep the floors in advance of Monday’s onslaught of general pandemonium.

Posted in This week at the shop | Comments Off on Headed In & Headed Out

Back to Work

TF chassis build up

MG TF chassis build up

Pending an uncertain weather pattern, the MG TF rolling chassis should be departing for Mark Goyette’s shop in Bennington, Vermont Monday morning around 8:00 for the restoration of the sheetmetal & body tub and fresh paint.  The photo which you see here was taken on Thursday and it is of Patrick lubricating the shackle bushings so he can finish installing the rear springs which are already attached at their front mounting points.  This has proven to be a relatively quick build up.  Work commenced Wednesday and around 4:00 Friday we wheeled it out to the loading dock.

Leaf Francis crankshaft on grinder

A heavy cut on the LEAF crank

Tuesday morning I ran down to Greenfield to check on progress on two engines which we have in for machining.  Among the many indignities suffered by the TD engine (see “The Lady Was Innocent” posted November 14).  was the use of mismatched connecting rods & caps, but another faux pas which I’d forgotten about was that the pistons were sized kinda’ tight in the cylinders, measurement of which seems to indicate that the bores were never honed to finished size.  Seen here is the Lea Francis crankshaft undergoing a .100″ journal cut on the crank grinder.  Not a misprint, that’s 1/10th of an inch !   But we’re assured thses Laystall manufactured crankshafts can take it.   I think the shower of sparks under the grinding wheel is a nice touch.

E-type front suspension

Cad-plated front suspension in the E-type

We ‘re officially closed on Monday (Dr. King was a great American), even if I’m going to be meeting Mike Savage and his car trailer at 8:00 AM. Mike’s gonna be busy next week because it’s anticipated that the gunmetal gray E-type will be on the move as well, in this case to our friend Ernest Hillier for  installation of the upholstery.  The three next steps with this car are attaching the steering rack &  door checks, and putting the Independent Rear Suspension back in.  It should amount to less than a day’s work.

Posted in This week at the shop | Comments Off on Back to Work

Old News Repackaged

work station

Work station

This is my alternate work station.  On the bench are pistons, rods, bearings and the crankshaft for a Jaguar 4.2 litre engine which is just out of sight behnd the camera.  on the left on the top tray are a couple of dial indicators which we use to establish settings like piston Top Dead Center and cam timing, which is measured in degrees before and after top & bottom dead center.

Patrick examines engine bearings

Patrick measures up engine bearing inserts

Next to it on the right is our Churchill BMC “B” and “C” series main bearing cap puller, and at the other end of the tray next to a can of WD40 is the tool we use to centralize the 4.2 rear crankshft seal.  Here on the right is Patrick performing the essential starting task of measuring up the engine main bearings.  Later on he will be taking Plasti-gage readings on them to ensure that the running clearances are correct.  We record all of this information on the build sheet as we go along so that we know what our working tolerances are.

Jaguar engine

engine number on negine

chassis plate

misrecorded on I.D. plate

But sometimes errors can creep in.  This is a particular favorite: the 23rd production E-type engine(R 1023-9) still with traces of left over XK150 S engine paint on it, recorded on the chassis plate (also left over XK 150) as R 1033-9.  Was this the product of work stress or a pint of stress relief ?   It was 1961 and we’ll never know.

Dave LaChance at work

Innocenti Mini with admirer

Right around the time of the British Invasion of Stowe I was contacted by a Mini enthusiast from Seattle who wanted me to take a look at a car which was stored in a small town a little way north of Burlington, Vermont.  Being an active  Hunter-Gatherer, which is a prectical means of supplying Sports Car Services with a steady steam of work, the timing of the request lined up pretty well with a trip to return a completed E-type to Stowe, which put the Mini just an hour up the road, instead of three hours up the road.  I went up and looked and strongly advised the putative buyer to buy it, but ended up hauling it down to Westminster for a closer inspection which only served to reinforce my initial judgment.  In any, event the sale fell through, so we did what we do in special situations like this, and rang up our friends at Hemmings Sports & Exotic Cars, and Dave LaChance trotted over pretty soon thereafter because afterall, how many Italian-built Innocenti Minis are still out there with 17,000 kilometers on the clock ?

Next week we’ll be back to our regular diet of engine teardowns, chassis buildups, Jaguar & MG assembly work etc. but right now I’m using up some file photos because we’re still slogging thru inventory.

Posted in This week at the shop | Comments Off on Old News Repackaged