Made to Measure

Steve flares brake lines

Steve flares a brake pipe

Butch took the week off to go to Texas so we sorted out five MGB’s which landed on us from Maine, Cape Cod & Chicopee, Massachusetts, North Walpole, New Hampshire and Tyson, Vermont.

In the picture on the left Steve can be seen flaring new rear axle brake pipes for the Cape Cod car.  The old ones had been pinched off by some  towing & recovery operator  who flattened them with the “J” hooks on his car carrier.  This is hardly an unusual occurrance so be mindful of the potential  consequences of the ride back home on the tow truck.

Steve is using our NAMRICK british flaring tool which puts a perfect I.S.O. bubble on 3/16′ Bundy-Flex tubing (we use the copper-nickel stuff) in less time than it takes to read this sentence.

John makes an axle flange gasket

John makes an axle flange gasket

Well we did have one other Abingdon-built classic sneak in here.  This Bug Eye has been off the road for a while and the owner asked us to put it back in good running order so it can be sold (INQUIRE).  The right rear hub carrier was leaking oil into the brake assembly, which  was about as much of a surprise as the damaged brake pipes on the MGB, but what was a surprise was that we were out of the UNIPART GFG 110 flange gaskets.  So John grabbed the .020″ gasket paper and made one.  All repair shops used to have it, but walk into ADVANCE Auto Parts or the like and they don’t know what you’re talkin’ about.  Go to NAPA instead.

Payen head gasket on an MGB

Payen AK 660 head gasket

John’s first assignment of the week was to change the head gasket in the MGB  from Maine.

Virtually all MGA & MGB engines have a valley (low spot) above the engine I.D. plate, and this one was no exception.  ANY time we have an MGB (or MGA) cylinder block out for overhaul we have the machine shop deck it, which means make it dead flat.  What was interesting about this one was that the  N.H. “high performance” machine shop that did this one decided to use a copper head gasket and plenty of blue RTV sealer instead.  Yeah, we know who the guilty party is, it’s the same guy who thought he’d never get dimed-out for using a combination of left-over Glacier and Vandervell main bearings on the 100-M of our intimate acquaintance.

Regrettably, he didn’t know how to use his balancer too good either, and we found ’em when we pulled it down to have it balanced correctly with only break-in miles on it.  We also changed out the cheeseball sand cast pistons and substituted a set of forged JE pistons instead because one of them had already cracked thru the ring lands.

Take a closer look: The black Payen head gaskets are the gold standard for performance engines.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.  The nice thing about the copper head gaskets is that they peel off easily when you change them after they’ve failed.

It’s fall in Vermont.  This picture is from earlier today

foliage on the Westminster West road

Foliage on the Westminster West road

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