Upstairs, Downstairs, Left, Right & Wrong

 Reilly & John haul out  1500 Midget engine

Reilly & John haul out a 1500 Midget engine

Very late in the game when British Leyland realized a Federalized 1275 “A” series engine wasn’t going to have the woof to haul around an MG Midget and still meet emissions requirements, they pulled a driveline swap with the Triumph Spitfire.  Apart from some congenital weaknesses in a bottom end that started out around 1147cc, it’s a pretty willing engine, although we note with some amusement that BLMC “forgot” to put oil pressure gauges in the late Midgets.  This Midget is from Chicopee, Massachusetts and it’s in very good ‘nick, too.  Reilly, who took three weeks leave from his military obligatons, rode his Harley Davidson Sportster 8,000 miles thru 33 States, but he got back early and chose a propitious time to show up at the shop again.

Chris & Butch toss the XJ6 enigne back in

Chris & Butch toss the XJ6 engine back in

Not long before I left for Chicopee, Chris, with some help from Butch reinstalled the XJ6 engine.  Over around Rupert (Vt.) somewhere, is another Midget with an engine swap, a Jaguar DOHC six cylinder.  It was on the Classic Motorsports calendar a year or two back, and that’s no fraud, I saw it at the British Invasion of Stowe at the time.  I have also seen one other Midget engine swap of note; a Ford V8-60 flathead which an older gent shoe-horned into an early roll-up window car, and turbo-charged it.

Wheel cylinders & shoes installed wrong way 'round on an MG TD


Wheel cylinders & brake shoes correctly installed


There were several responses to the question last week about what was wrong the the MG TD front brake asembly.  Tom Rymes came the closest when he said the trailing & leading brake shoes were reversed.  They were.  But, the reason they were reversed was because someone put the wheel cylinders on upside-down, which you can do on a TD (or TF) because they are not “handed”, like an MGA.  The wheel cylinders are supposed to push the shoes into the direction of wheel rotation, which creates a ‘self-servo’ effect.  This TD stopped great backing up, but not so good going forward

Rear axle seal holder on wrong

Wrong again

Seal holder correctly installed

Right, finally

John snapped the picture of the correct brake assembly with his phone, but I amped the contrast.

It looks like the same genius also worked on the back brakes.  John noted a good-sized oil leak into the left rear brake assembly, which was somewhat odd, because it’s the right rear seal that usually leaks.  We don’t know why that is, it’s just what happens.   However a closer inspection revealed the cause: Instead of mounting the seal holders directly on the axle, where they also control the end float of the axle half shafts, our highly skilled repairer put the brake back plates on first with the seal holders on top of them !   A little knowledge is still a dangerous thing, so John fixed those, too.

Right hand drive MGB GT

It went back to New Jersey

A Monday storm knocked out power many places around here and also took down the bright reds & oranges.  That fact not withstanding, Wednesday we still had visitors galore, including folks from England & Sweden, but beginning with Erik Running from Howell, New Jersey, who retrieved his right hand drive MGB GT.  This is another car we pulled apart for paint, then John reassembled it.  When it came in, a lurid green valve cover sticker announced that it had been tuned by “Boop Speed”.  Well, the name apart, it does go down the road nicely,  but regrettably Erik says he has to sell it.  If you’re interested, it’s a super clean, never rusty car, get in touch and we’ll connect you.

Since last week’s notes mentioned the foliage, here’s a colorful scene just up the road


Sunday afternoon in Saxtons River, Vermont

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