Sunday, May 04, 2014

Its been too long !!! but I'm still at it

Yes it has been a long time since the last post. I've not lost interest in fact things have been progressing very well.
A quick recap has seen me finish just about all of the bodywork and panels and solve the issue of oil/water mixing in engine oil after the head skim and pressure test.
I must admit this had me worried over the winter of inactivity, however come this spring it appears to have vanished. How ?
I don't really know.
 I emptied the engine of oil of about half and refilled with fresh oil (NOT the cheap Wilko stuff) and set to work trying to get the engine running smoothly.
First was to re-torque the head bolts.
Then adjust tappet clearances.
Then fit stainless steel exhaust and brackets, bought second hand off E-bay for £35 quid. Excellent condition + bought brackets from MGOC £18.
Next removing old rusted on Brackets.
This was not a simple task. The bolts at the rear holding the complex rear exhaust mount are inside a tiny box section and were a swine. I reverted to the angle grinder to get most of the bracket off without slicing a finger or skull part off. The nuts however were inaccessible and well rounding off, same for the centre bracket.
So I soaked them in Duck Oil and left it for another day.
Another day.....
The bolt heads are 11mm....doh. Just when I was well and truly stumped on how to get them off I thought I'd try the more accessible middle bracket first and (they ) came undone easily with an 11mm spanner.
So same tactic for rear bracket, more fiddly but done with some patience, swearing and filthy head.
Then buy new jump leads ( where oh where have my originals gone?. Suspect a family member but no one owns up)
Read up thoroughly on carb tuning thanks to John Twists excellent you-tube vids.
Re-fit dashboard sort of, actually only connected gauges plug. This looks like its going to be a major fiddly job eventually as it wouldn't even sit where it should under the dash rail, let alone clean and fit all the loose wires everywhere as well as troubleshoot any probs. Hey  ho, another job for later.

Fitted exhaust easily but the manifold nuts were fiddly and needed some clever socket extensions and lateral thinking.
It was while I was supine under the sump spannering the manifold nuts ( Liberally coated with copper new best friend) I noticed a long standing oil leak (as in years) and where it was coming from.
What looked like a simple tighten up of one sump bolt also needed lateral thinking and a bit of bravery.
It transpires that trying to tighten it was just rounding off the nut........or so I thought. The nut in question was at the very rear of the sump 4" up in a tight spot next to the gearbox. The problem was that the sump mating face has a downward facing lip on its outer edge, I presume to give it some form of strength. This was next to the nut and a socket didn't fit on it very well, hence it was not tightened fully.
              Being a dolt at times I imagined sump off and new gasket, not an easy, good or clean job to do upside down on the floor, also being a tightwad and possessive of my tools I didn't want to grind down a socket.
So I took a lump hammer and blunt pointing chisel and gently bashed the rim outwards some/ enough to get the socket on firmly and apply some/more force. I think its far.

Whilst starting, nay cranking over I noticed more leaks. Two actually, one oil and one water.
The oil cooler hose where it meets the oil cooler needed a little nip up and job done. More tightening of the leaking exhaust manifold saw me source the water leak, from the footwell/copper pipes underneath to the bulkhead to the plenum chamber (of sorts) to the heater to the matrix. Some years ago I'd refurbed the heater box so it was easy to remove. As we speak the matrix is standing outside full of water with one end bunged up in an effort to pinpoint the leak even further, However this will not detract from the march onwards.
Trouble is, as we restorers know, it does.

Should I get the engine bay looking good or just better, it looks crap now, or carry on with fitting up as a whole ?
Since wifey said I could have £100 quid to spend on pure MGB stuff, I bought the exhaust, bracket and a new ST front spoiler... £35+ delivery.

Its gonna be a bit fiddly to fit since some of the holes in the body valance have their welded on nuts missing from when I removed the original valance a few years ago. Also I can't remember where I put them or what size they are.To make matters worse its not an exact fit to the contours of the front of the car. The spoiler has a squared off flat  middle section !! is this normal ?.

Never mind though as this area is covered up by the (eventual fitting of ) chrome bumper. The re-positioned indicator holes have also left the area below a little weak as some of the "L" shaped body has no vertical lip underneath. Should I weld on ? ( tricky as the piece has two curves,... Fibreglass mat it ? don't improve strength but looks better or Ignore altogether as again its not seen behind the chrome bumper ?

Since the engine runs quite nicely (see vid above) should I :

Continue fitting the dash and electrics ?
Continue adding chrome and glass parts ?
Refurb engine bay ?
Bleed brakes ...or buy new master cylinder ?
Faff around doing bits of all of the above ( most likely outcome)

Another startling discovery made recently after a review of as to why I can't bleed the brakes ( from last summer) was I'd fitted a master cylinder seal the wrong way and trapped one with the retaining pin.
One major problem is wifey has to help me bleed the brakes ( unwilling and bored easily!!) and I don't want to really fork out for a master cylinder if I don't have to.
Some extra money due to a birthday has given me something else to think about buying ( NOT master cylinder amounts) so I'm thinking splash guards.....or maybe some thing else !

I promise to post more often. At least I have six, yes SIX weekends off soon.

Just to remind you, my restoration is like the perfect storm : several elements have to come together all at the same time, viz

1/. Money
2/. time off work
3/. good weather
4/.No DIY or gardening chores to do
5/.Inclination to get up early and know exactly what I'm going to do and how to do it
6/.Not feel tired from work

That's my excuse anyway !!!

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