A Rusty Coil And A New Clutch

Patrick inspects a '67 Cooper "S"

Patrick inspects a '67 Cooper "S"

Saturday afternoon my MGB GT stalled abruptly out on the Westminster West Road, and I coasted into a farmer’s barnyard for a perfunctory look under the hood.  No spark.  It was close enough to walk home, so I wandered into the milking parlor and asked if it would be O.K. if I left it there for a while.  I was dressed for it, of course.  You’re a fool if you venture out in the wintertime dressed otherwise.  It’s been a good car, so I gave it one last try, and wouldn’t you know it ?  the old warrior started up.

Butch watches while John & Patrick crank the Mini

Butch looks on while John cranks the Mini under Patrick's watchful eye

Sunday morning it wouldn’t start at all, but a close inspection of the ignition system revealed the cause: a rust-out on the bottom of the coil drained it’s liquid medium, a condition known as “No Juice”.

It’s kind of unusual to run across an unmolested Mini Cooper “S”, even more so in this case because the odometer is reading around 34,000 miles, and it carries a set of  1974-issued Maine plates.  Judging by the general lack of wear, the milage is almost certainly genuine.

Patrick got it running with a condensor and a new set of points, but not for very long , because with no oil pressure showing either on the gauge, or around the cylinder head, he shut it down before it made any of the expensive noises.    We consulted with the owner, who said, “Take it out and fix it !”.  O.K.  Can Do.

John & Steve pull a TD body tub off the chassis with help from Patrick

Lift Off: John & Steve pull the TD body tub with Patrick helping on the right.

Last week Steve was breaking down another MG TD and Friday afternoon with a little help from Patrick and John, off came the body tub.  Patrick has already stripped the engine, and I hauled the chassis frame and body panels up to East Coast Collision & Restoration Wednesday.  Today they were at work on it.

There’s quite a bit going on up at E.C.C&R, too.  Go to our “links” page and log on to their website to have a look at what’s happening in ‘Their Week at The Shop’.

Patrick lifts the old XPAG head gasket over the studs

Patrick pulls off the old XPAG head gasket.

This is the second XPAG engine Patrick’s stripped in a week.  An MGA 1500 with a broken crankshaft is on the yellow engine stand, and  on the floor next to it is an MGC.

Directly behind him is the gear set from a four synchro Jaguar transmission, with a damaged mainshaft.  The damage is to the hardening on the nose of the shaft where it is supported on the input needle roller bearings.

You can buy a new one of uncertain parentage for around $1000.00, but we have it out for repair, which is to hard chrome and regrind it.

Jaguar Borg & Beck clutch kit for a Healey

Sports Car Services uses Borg & Beck clutches

George Borg apprenticed under his father Carl at John Deere and hated it.  Marshall Beck was a lawyer with a mechanical aptitude.  Working together they developed the most widely used automotive clutch design in the world, which is still the standard by which all other power transmission clutches are judged.  You can buy a cheaper clutch, and some of them are very good, but not all of them.  Sports Car Services uses only Borg & Beck clutches, and stocks them for everything from a Bug Eye Sprite to a V12 Jaguar.  We’ll change your Sprite clutch in a day, but give us a week, please, with your E-type.

Engine & transmission installed in the Austin Healey BN7 two seater

Engine & transmission installed in the Austin Healey BN7 two seater

A Jaguar 10″ clutch is a heavy duty replacement clutch for an Austin Healey 3000 (except BJ8, which is a 9.5″ diaphram clutch).  All it takes  to make the conversion is the Healey graphite release bearing, which has just a little more offset than the Jaguar bearing.

Warner lowered the engine and new side shift transmission into the Healey 3000 two seater late Wednesday afternoon.  There are bags of room with the sheetmetal off the front of the car ,which makes it a very easy job.  It’s a little more fiddly when everything’s there, but the only time we haul the engine out of an Austin Healey is when we’re doing engine work, because to get at the clutch you pull the TX thru the passenger compartment.

We’re storny busy right now, but if there’s something you’ve been putting off, please don’t put off that e-mail or phone call too much longer if you’ve got springtime motoring on your mind.

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