Friday, December 14, 2012

The Continuing MG Saga, and a Merry Christmas!

It's been a while since writing last, but I have been very busy with work and doing some business traveling that has kept me occupied.  Now that the holiday season is upon us I thought it would be a good time to say Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Merry Kwanza, Happy New Year, blah, blah blah.  I also wanted to update the progress on the MG Roadster as it takes another turn in its evolution.

The little red roadster we call Scarlett, well my wife does anyway, was born with wire wheels.  Always a desirable feature until you have to maintain them; they take a little more work than bolt-on wheels.  You are also stuck with few options for changes as after-market splined wheels are only available in the minilite reproduction version.  So I decided to change the car over to bolt-on wheels.

Amazingly, there is always someone who wants what they don't have so I was able to find a local MG club member who had a bolt-on car and wanted to swap hubs and buy my wheels.  This allowed me to move to a 15" Retro Sport Le Mans style wheel; very 1970's looking as the original American Racing version. So after a few stumbles, like getting the right sized sockets for the front and rear axle nuts - they are not the same size on both ends of the car and are also huge - I was able to make the swap.

Of course the "while I'm at it" syndrome and some needed maintenance led me to also re-do the rear brakes and flush the system and install new brake hoses all around.  This is where it got interesting as the proportioning valve in the braking system decided to lock out the rear portion of the system and not allow bleeding to occur.  A couple of phone calls determined the solution, open both a front and rear bleeder and allow the system to equalize, and we were on our way.

Except I've now had to do it multiple times to get the braking system to bleed properly and I'm still not done as I inadvertently left the key in the on position and drained my new battery to nothing.  We are re-charging as we speak.  Perhaps this weekend I will finally finish the job!

I've also completed the "Garaj Mahal" project; 3 bay double-deep 1,100 square feet of work space with a 9,000 lb Atlas two-post lift!  More on that next time along with some pictures once I figure out how to post them.  Can you say Garage Party!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Transition to The Soggy Footwell... Goodbye!

After almost three years of writing on about collector & classic cars, I  have decided to give that up in favor of this blog, The Soggy Footwell, which I started earlier this year on a lark.  I wanted to have a different outlet for some of the things I wanted to write about that didn't fit the format at Examiner. As they have become more and more stringent on their requirements, it has become less and less fun to write for them.  When I started at Examiner it was because I was out of work at the time, I was looking for something to keep my mind sharp, and a few extra dollars above and beyond my unemployment checks sounded good at the time.

Although I never made more than beer money, it did provide me with an outlet as well as a way to keep my already feeble mind from deteriorating any further.  Now that I have been gainfully employed once again for about two years, I am leaving mind deterioration up to my employer!

So I hope you will find this content just as fulfilling as the previous content from Examiner.  I still plan on writing about car stuff in the greater Atlanta metro area, but this will give me the opportunity to do different things as well.  Posts may not be as frequent as in the past, but I hope the quality will be just as consistent.

For my friends in the Peachtree MG Registry and the Georgia Triumph Association there is a charity tour on October 27th to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in combination with the annual Three Square Meals Drive.  We will be leaving from the Starbucks at Hwy 9 and Mansell in Roswell at about 9:15am or so, but come early for coffee and snacks if you want.  Lunch is at Wolf Mountain Winery and Dinner is at 61 Main Restaurant in Jasper. Get back with me if you want to attend as I need to give both restaurants a head count the week before.   All donations will go directly to JDRF and no contribution is too small to help a good cause.

Thanks and see you soon!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Returned in the rain from MG2012

I attended the MG 2012 National MGB Convention last week and, you guessed it, drove home in another driving rain storm.  Again, water seeped in around the top corners of the hood/top, running down the insides of the doors and making small puddles on the floor.  Again, the mystery leak that appears from below the dash dripped water onto my left leg, with a corresponding leak on the passenger side.

I was then reminded of a conversation I had at MG 2012 about water leaks in the MG.  A fellow I was speaking with about these drips asked me if I had ever had the windshield washer nozzles removed from the panel where the wipers and center vent reside. I replied that I had when the car was painted last.  "Did you seal them when you replaced them?", he asked.  Hmm....I don't think so.

He then went on to explain that he had the same problem which was resolved with some small rubber o-rings and the miracle product, RTV.  I will pursue this at my next opportunity.  The good news is that the boot/trunk arrived back home relatively dry, just a little dampness which could have been from condensation it was so small.  I believe that the boot/trunk problem has been resolved. 

BTW, the MG 2012 MGB National Convention was awesome!  I've only been to a couple of these things, but this was a really great event.  The host club out of Atlanta really put on the dog and we were all treated to a super event.  Besides the show there was a cruise-in at a local drive-in theater where over 100 MGs showed up, I heard.  I didn't count them but there sure were a lot of MGs there.  Really great event, makes me want to go to next year's event, but I think it is in Oregon.  Maybe the 2014 show will be back east again.  Maybe it won't rain.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends.....

MG ownership is somewhat masochistic. You will put up with abuse from the vehicle over and over and over again. My MGB Roadster, or Tourer for you purists, is not a show or trailer queen.  I actually take the damn thing out and drive it, though not as much as I would like.  Nevertheless, it is perfect in its imperfections, if you get my drift.

I was out with a group yesterday when the car suddenly sputtered and died, no apparent reason. I thought immediately of the ancient SU fuel pump residing in the trunk. Every now and then you have to bang on it to get it to work properly. I thought of this first as, you guessed it, it has happened before.  Also, one of the license plate bolts that I had recently slathered with RTV sealer to stop a trunk leak is also part of the rear wiring harness grounding strap.  If this was loose the whole car dies.  Neither was the case and just as mysteriously as the car had stopped it started again.

Off we went to our next stop were I noticed that the temperature gauge was rising unexpectedly.  Pull into our stopping place, raise the bonnet/hood and noticed that the water control valve was leaking onto the distributor.  I am unsure why the engineers at the MG works in Abingdon, UK thought it was a good idea to place hot water next to an electrical component, but they did and we now have to live in constant peril of water ruining a perfectly good distributor. 

Because of driving in the rainstorm that caused this whole thing, I had opened the knob on the dash to get some warm air up to the windscreen/sheild to keep vision at a premium.  What I didn't realize was that the water valve was faulty and leaking on the distributor causing spark to go away.  Fortunately, turning the knob back to off sealed the valve and the leak. But it is another thing that will need fixed, again.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More hole(s) than Courtney Love....

An MG boot/trunk is a holey place, not a holy place!  I have discovered 12 apertures in just the boot lid alone, 8 for the luggage rack, 3 for the MG emblem and one big-a** one where the lock mechanism resides.  All of these have been re-sealed with generous amounts of clear RTV sealer.   But I think I am on to something with this suggestion of the license plate holder.

The assembly itself bolts to the rear panel with two bolt/washer/nut combos, pretty straight forward, put some RTV around them.  Then I saw them!  There are two rubber grommets where the electrical wires for the license plate light come off the rear harness and through the rear panel and up to the lights themselves.  Over time the weight of the covered wires, they are sheathed in black vinyl, have pressed downward in the grommets and have made the holes oblong rather than round.  Even though they weigh next to nothing the movement of things in the trunk has drawn them in a downward position and made the vinyl coverings a virtual pathway for water running off the boot lid to drip into the trunk floor.

No wonder the rear panel and carpet covering it never seemed wet, the water ran down the vinyl covering behind the carpet and down to the lowest point, the bottom of the trunk floor.  Where the carpet became a giant wick and sucked up all the water until it could hold no more.  I think I've found my problem; slathered RTV around the vinyl tubes and the grommets until it covered everything.  I will let everything cure a day or so and then give it the water test.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yet another opportunity for leakage...

It came to my attention that the other areas for possible water infestation are the seams of the rear panel and the mounting bolts for the license plate.  The rear panel seams extend into the lip of the mounting area for the rear lid seal and often there is some rust or degradation of the seam along there.  I will check this out as well.

I don't think the two bolts which hold the license plate mount to the rear panel are the culprits, but I will check them as well.  I will, however, remember to securely and accurately re-attach the grounding terminal of the rear harness in its proper place.  Did this poorly once and wondered why the car started but stopped soon after and then had intermittent starting problems.

I guess we've all been there on that one.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Curmudgeon? I think not!

I have been told I am a bit of a curmudgeon, but I think NOT!  I am not old enough to be a curmudgeon as my perception is that they are old retired guys with nothing else to do but sit around and complain about stuff.  I do like to complain and argue a point, but I've got lots to do and not yet retired. So maybe I am a curmudgeon in waiting or apprentice curmudgeon.  Let Donald Trump put that on TV!

I am a stickler, however, for certain laws, regulations and courtesies that should be followed and respected.  Like the parking spot rule; don't grab the spot even if you have the positional advantage if you weren't there first.  So with that, here is my rant du jour. 

To UGA Mom from Nebraska:  if you cut me off on the on ramp again you will find yourself stuffed into the Interstate outer retaining wall faster than you can say Corn-husker.  Remember, we invented NASCAR here. The YIELD sign is for you, not me as you are merging into traffic; I am traffic, I have the right of way!

And if your little b*tch daughter flips me off again she will find that finger somewhere very unpleasant.  Although somehow I have a feeling it has been there before, just not by a man; if you get my drift.  Best yet, go back to Nebraska with the little trollop and enroll her in Omaha Community College where she belongs.


Friday, May 18, 2012

What Could It Be?

The search for boot/trunk leaks continues.  What could it be?  There are only 4 things, if that’s not enough, which could cause water to get into it.  First is a bad seal around the boot/trunk lid, but that is relatively new and upon inspection appears to be in good condition.  The others are where the metal skin of the boot lid is pieced by an outside fixture.  In my case those are the MG emblem, the luggage rack mounting points and the lock mechanism.  Most of these are common to all MGB Tourer/Roadsters.

I’ve had trouble with the luggage rack mounting points before and with the last removal and re-assembly used clear RTV sealant around the edges and in the screw pockets.  I wonder if the sealant could have aged and caused a leak?  RTV is supposed to have excellent UV resistance, but over time it could have degraded.  I will check there first, I think since it is the most probable leak point.

I also noticed two things about the seal area.  One thing is that there is a distinct difference between the Tourer/Roadster and the GT sealing method.  Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you about my GT; maybe another time.  Anyway the GT hatch utilizes an inner and outer seal, one mounted to the body just like the Tourer/Roadster, and a second mounted to the hatch itself.  My GT NEVER leaks in the hatch area. Could the second seal be the answer?  I will investigate this more.

The other thing is the metal mounting flange where the seal mounts on the T/R (tourer/roadster, I’m tired of typing the whole thing already).  All around the opening it stands proud and accepts the seal with a channel snap fit, quite nice.  Except at the bottom near the latch mechanism where it appears to be flattened by years of opening and closing the lid.  Peeling back the seal and prying it up with channel lock pliers allows the seal to better meet the space in the lid where it is supposed to rest.  Maybe this is the leak!  Further testing and I’ll let you know.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012

In a country were the average rainfall nears 100 inches per year, you would think that they could make an automobile that doesn’t leak when it rains.  Granted, parts of the UK are quite dry, the low end regional average being about 18-20 inches of rain per year, but the upper limit regions being nearer to 190 inches.  That’s quite a difference; so you would think Enever, Thornley and Kimber would have sought to fit a proper fitting hood/top and appropriate weather seals.

Not the case, but I guess they did their best with 1940s technology, even though it was the late 1950s and early 1960s when they built and designed the damn things. 

Have you ever looked at all of the parts that have to come together to make an MGB hood?  It boggles the mind to think that a similar top, say on a Miata, has fewer bits, goes up and down at the flick of your wrist, doesn’t need to be partially disassembled to put down, and most of all doesn’t leak.  A friend has a Volvo C70 with the old style cloth top.  He only has to make sure that the handbrake is set before he pushes one dash button to watch the top go down automatically.  Best yet, it stores itself in a hard tonneau behind the rear seat.  Amazing!

I am convinced that continuous improvement can find a resolution to these issues, and as such I am off to find them.  It is one of the things that make owning one of the flying anachronisms all the more fun.  Just when one thinks it’s got you beat; man once again triumphs over technology,. Even if it is 50 year old technology!