The Day Went Badly

MGB in muddy ditch

Vehicle Off Road

In the parts business the term V.O.R.  is code for a critical special order.  Of course there is a more mundane meaning, as illustrated here.  It is my practice to road test every car upon completion of repairs to make sure it passes scrutiny.  Are the instrument lights working ?   How about the hand brake ?   Are there any unusual noises or vibrations ?  This MGB had the latter two.  Returning from a 20 mile run, and within a mile of the shop, I stopped to investigate the source of a vibration like a bad wheel bearing.

left front wheel under driver's door

Left front wheel under driver's door

The unusual noise turned out to be the left front wheel starting to come loose before the car ran over it !   I did the same thing you woulda’ did and planted my right foot on the brake and steered left, but to no avail because the tire under the car precluded much steering grip from the right front wheel.  So off the road we went for a mostly soft landing in a muddy ditch, which bent up the sheetmetal on the right side pretty good.  John had run-in 12 miles on the Interstate Friday afternoon so, all things considered it could have been a lot worse.  No, we didn’t leave the wheel loose, we use a tag-out system when we have wheels off a car, but we didn’t bodyshop-paint the front suspension & brake calipers, either.  Somebody else did that.

used pistons, new rings

Used pistons, new rings

Chris has been busy this week trying to turn around the series 1 XJ6 in time for the British Invasion of Stowe this weekend.  As this is being written, the cylinder head is still in the machine shop, although it may be ready later this afternoon (Thursday).  Because an exhaust valve blew thru it, we needed a replacement 8:1 C.R. long skirt piston for #2 cylinder, which we didn’t have, so we threw in a set of split skirt 9:1 pistons from an early E-type, which we did have.  As has been mentioned here before, the Brits had horrible problems with oil control when these cars were new, and a tight fitting split skirt piston (to take up the heat expansion) was one putative fix, a second oil ring on the bottom of the piston skirt being another, but we’ve discussed that here before.

old brake fluid

Old brake fluid

new brake fluid

New brake fluid

Saturday while I was finishing up some brake work on an MGB, I had my camera in my pocket and snapped these before and after pictures of a typical S.C.S. brake fluid change.  On the left is the grotty old brake fluid, which is on the verge of being really bad news.  When it turns black what you’re seeing is the dissolving brake seals, and that’s not good.  On the right is the same cylinder with fresh fluid.  One more time now:  Change that brake fluid every other year.

Austin Healey at Shoreham Upholstery

Austin Healey at Shoreham Upholstery

This has been a week of very long days.  Tuesday I ran this real smart Austin Healey up to Shoreham Upholstery in Shoreham on the banks of Lake Champlain.  It’s a beautiful ride up two lane Vermont Rte 22A, thru rolling farm country, where the truckers are moving at 65 and I pass them.  The Healey owner found Jim Ortuno, who was trimming out a Ferrari 212 Barchetta when Jeff first popped in on him.  Jim was also the Proprietor of the Shoreham Inn next door, thankfully sold-on apparently, but a great place to stay if you’re gonna have some upholstery work done.

This entry was posted in This week at the shop. Bookmark the permalink.