Starts & Finishes

John & Butch sort an overdrive

John & Butch sort an overdrive

Last Saturday I hustled out to Buffalo and retrieved the Austin Healey 3000 Mk III in which John, operating the throttle, and Butch, manually engaging the overdrive, can be seen  performing a basic diagnostic test.

When John first examined the car he noticed that the O/D setting lever was aligned in the engaged position.  This was consistent with owner’s report that sometimes the car wouldn’t back up, and at other times when parked in reverse, it would creep down his driveway as if freewheeling.  Because the solenoid had stopped working sometime in the distant past, John & Butch  ran it on the stands.  After the current band of rain passes by, we’ll evaluate it on the road with a new solenoid, although I srongly suspect we’ll end up tearing down the overdrive to check for damage to the annulus caused by running the one way clutch the wrong way.

Tapping plate for mounting convertible top

Complications with a convertible top

Most of the time putting a new convertible top on an MGB is a pretty straighforward routine for which we tell the customer to plan on five hours, although it usually takes us less.  That wasn’t the case with this one.

On an MGB the top frame is secured to the car by three long 1/4″-28tpi phillips screws on each side that are located by captive nuts spot-welded to the inside of the rear quarter panel.

Occasionally, one or two will take it on the lam, and when that happens we just replace ’em with with square-sided cage nuts in sheetmetal cages which we pop-rivet in.

A tapping plate pop-riveted in place

A tapping plate pop-riveted in place

However, on this car all six of them escaped en masse, and truth be told, we stand in awe of the previous top installer who fixed the frame in place with nuts & washers.  How he or she was able to get a wrench on the nuts on the blind side of the rear trim panel defies easy explanation.

Butch solved the problem by making up a couple of threaded tapping plates which you can see in the top picture to the right of the tonneau bar bracket he used as a pattern.  In the bottom picture, the right hand plate is pop-riveted in place.

MG TD Mk II on a road test

MG TD Mk II on test

Road Test Time: Our work nearly always begins and ends with a road test, non-running cars being an initial exception.  On the right is the TD MkII

Andrex friction shock on a TD Mk II

What makes it a TD MkII

Butch spent much time cleaning out the cooling system.  TD MkII’s were delivered in what was essentially the TF tuning, 1-1/2″ carburetors, bigger valves & two fuel pumps, and perhaps most interestingly a set of front & rear Andrex friction shocks in addition to the Armstrong levers, as seen here.  This car has highway gears in the rear axle instead of the TD’s standard 5.125:1 stump puller ratio, which means  it goes down the road just splendidly.

On Test: We've asked the N.J. owner of this Austin Healey to come and put his car thru its paces this weekend before we begin our final fettling. We like it and we'll soon find out if he does, too.

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