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Saturday, June 27, 2015

I'm Such a Slug

The wife and boys went to NJ last weekend for to visit the extended family. Since I needed to conserve some vacation time for the rest of the year, I stayed home. Though I was waiting for a box from SpitBits to hopefully give me everything I need to put it all back together (I've said that before, I think), there was still much I could do. I had grand plans to do it. Needless to say, while I did accomplish some stuff, it was sporadic and not anywhere near what I wanted to get done.

I did finish putting in dedicated electrical service for my as yet un-boxed Hobart Handler 140 Wire-Feed MIG Welder. I got this on sale around Christmas time from Tractor Supply Company. It's normally $520 (~$500 from Amazon) from them but I was able to pick it up in-store for $450. The thing has great reviews no matter where you look, so hopefully it will be forgiving when I finally get around to welding with it. I'm sure I will document my first attempts and let you know!

Bottom breaker on the left. 20A should be enough when there isn't anything else running on it.

Cut the wall open and used a box that a pro installed for our portable generator tap.
I also purchased a 6-ton bench-press from Harbor Freight. I am not yet regretting this purchase, but I think I probably will in the long run. I don't have much room left in the garage and was afraid I wouldn't be able to fit their larger, 12-ton shop press, so I went with this one. Unfortunately, I think it's going to have too small of a working distance to get everything done. I purchased it primarily to re-bush all of the suspension parts; I was able to press out the bushings of the leaf spring from the '64, so hopefully this will be indicative of how it works for everything else.

The bench press.
While I haven't bought a whole lot of stuff from HF, this was the first time that I ran into quality control issues. Turns out I received too many of one type of bolt (too short), but none of the type that I needed to complete assembly of the press. Since I figured it would be much easier to run to my local True Value hardware store than to hike back over the Gold Star Bridge to hit HF and exchange it, I got two bolts, lock washers and flat washers for about $2. Cheaper than the gas and my time needed to return it, that's for sure.

On Tuesday I got my parts from SpitBits. Last night I did a bit of work, mostly within the clutch housing, replacing the worn out parts that I should have replaced in the first place. A new pin for the release fork (improved), its sleeve, and bushings along with that bolt that I mentioned in my last post which has now been made right along with its accompanying copper washer.

New and improved (top, with "cap") and old (obviously the bottom). Nice wear grooves.
I won't insult you with which one is new, but check out the wear on the old one! Nothing left of that one side.
Tonight the boys had a friend over so I was able to take advantage of them being occupied after dinner to do some work (does that make me a bad parent?). Essentially, I installed all of the new cooling/heating circuit with the exception of my new-to-me radiator and the heater, which I am cleaning up.  I don't have any pictures of the differences between the Mk1 and Mk2 heater units that I mentioned in my last post, but I will eventually. I haven't seen this documented elsewhere, so this is a curiosity to me.

Elbow mounted with the new temperature sending unit.
Shiny new water pump...makes me embarrassed for the rest of picture.
Nigel at SpitBits fixed my previous order and I received the correct heating circuit hoses. A quick dry-fit to see how it all comes together.

All routed up...and it fits, too! Awfully complicated, though. Note the (eh hem) original-style pipe clamps.
I also got the clutch re-installed. Decided not to go with a new one because it looked good with no abnormal wear or tear. In hindsight, I'm sure that when I installed my freshly rebuilt clutch slave cylinder, I pushed it in too far. This caused the release lever to come into contact with the spring retaining nuts, scoring it as it rotated. Heck, maybe that's why they made the release lever out of a soft metal!

Back in and torqued down. Gearbox to follow.
That was it for tonight. The weather is supposed to not be so hot here late tomorrow and into Sunday, which means that I will do family things tomorrow (taking the boys fishing, I think) and that will give me Sunday to do some work. I'm hoping to get the gearbox installed and then see what I want to do after that. Need to finish up the cooling/heating circuit, obviously, but I have to clean up and make new foam gaskets for the heater.

Regardless, I've made some progress and, though I was a slug, I don't feel so guilty now. Oh, and on a separate note, I got the bicycle back from it's first (after 5 years and 2000+ miles) professional maintenance and post-accident. No issues and she's as good as new!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Weekend Work

Got some stuff done this weekend. Nothing spectacular, but progress all the same. My largest goal this weekend was to get most of the cooling circuit put back together or at least lined up and ready to go. I painted the new water pump housing, radiator support and heater return pipe, not necessarily in that order.

I gasketed and installed the water pump housing. I need a new water pump, however, and I will order that from SpitBits in a day or two.
Fresh paint and install. Makes everything else look kinda yucky!
 I also fitted up the new heater return pipe. Some interference issues here with the throttle rod. Not sure how this supposed to fit, but I wouldn't think it's different between the Mk1 and Mk2 motors and that it definitely shouldn't touch. ** In discussion with my favorite forum, it may be the fact that the gearbox is removed and is causing the engine to rotate back a bit since there isn't anything supporting it from the rear now. **

Heater return pipe fitted.

Throttle bar hits right up against the heater return pipe.
I also mounted the heater control valve, though I actually did this a few weeks ago. No exciting pictures of that since it's not exciting.

Outside of that, it was mostly cleaning and taking stock. I figured out that the kit I ordered from SpitBits for the heater and radiator hoses was actually the Mk1 kit vice the Mk2 kit. I did order the right kit, but I was sent the wrong stuff. Nigel replied to my Sunday email with about an hour and I am confident will make it right come Monday. I have another order to make and hopefully we can get it all in the same box. Upon receipt of those items, I should be ready to get the cooling and heating circuit all installed. On a side note, I found some interesting differences between the Mk1 and Mk2 heaters, but didn't take any pictures. I will for my next post.

Finally, while double-checking my completed gearbox, I decided to get a new copper washer for the bottom clutch housing bolt, a new (and improved) release fork pin, its sleeve, and its bushings. While doing that, I learned that the bottom bolt that gets the copper washer should be shouldered instead of fully threaded. Since I didn't remember checking for this during reassembly, I pulled each of the five bolts, one at a time so as not to destroy the gasket seal, to find where the shouldered bolt was. It wasn't. Guess that's an indication that the gearbox has been apart before! SpitBits to the rescue again!

What should be a shouldered bolt and a copper, vice brass, washer. Both on order!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Still Alive - Part Deux

Somehow, I manage to get lucky. You may remember my previous post about my Honda Fit's windshield getting smashed with a bunch of snow and ice thrown over an overpass by a snowplow. Thankfully, there was no other damage and, more importantly, no one was hurt.

Today was something that was potentially much more dangerous, but ended up about the same. I took up cycling several years ago as a means to maintain myself in shape, see the countryside, and otherwise re-live my youth. Over the last 4 to 5 years I like to think I'm rather serious about it and easily log several hundred miles a year, breaking 1000 on good years. In all those miles, I've never had a flat tire, let alone any mechanical break down that has left me stranded. While I wasn't stranded today, I was hit by a pickup truck.

Actually, I feel more for the guy driving the truck. At least I saw that I was going to get hit and was able to prepare, however quickly. He had no idea I was there.

He was crossing a broken intersection across a busy two-lane road where he intended to take a left onto the road, drive a short distance, and then take a quick right. I was coming down a hill on that busy road, doing about 25 mph.

The scene of the crime.
As he pulled out and straighted up, I came about even with his truck bed. I was positioned such that I could not see his brake lights or turn signals and I'm sure he could not see me. Something told me that he was going to make the turn into me and, though I don't remember doing it, I locked up my brakes. If you look really close, you can see my skid mark below. It extends out of the frame another 10 feet or so. I've never locked the brakes up before, so I must have really known I was in trouble.

That faint black thin line in the center is my skid mark from the 23mm wide tire. If you click on the pic, it's easier to see.
Sure enough, he turned. I dented his passenger's side door with my left shoulder (kick myself that I didn't take a picture) and went down, dragging through the turn.

After we both stopped, I got up rather quickly, assessed that I had suffered no serious damage, and walked to the curb and sat down. The guy was very apologetic and was more shaken up than I. Another gentleman pulled over shortly thereafter and stayed with us during the entire thing.

The extent of damage to my bike. I usually keep my hand right about there. That blue handlebar tape left a nice blue streak on his door about a foot long.
Here is a shot of the results from the bike computer. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite have the granularity to show it that well, but the total time is about 5 seconds. Seems like a lot now, but not then. Time did not slow down for me as some people say it does during accidents. This happened very quickly.
As shown, my speed (the top) is going from about 26mph to 0mph, and my heart rate (the bottom) jumps from about 145 to 165 (hmm, wonder why?!). The power (the middle) jumps because my power "meter" is a CycleOps Power (which I don't think they make anymore) heart rate monitor that uses your changing and absolute heart rate to estimate power output.

My shoulder is pretty sore, but only soft tissue, not the joint. I'm sure it will turn some lovely shades of purple. My left buttock suffered some minor road rash, but my lycra shorts didn't even tear. Oh, and I have a small scrape on my right ankle where I think the pedal got me. So lucky.

I had to re-align the handlebars on the bike, but otherwise there was no damage there. Even the brake levers were fine. Lucky again, though on a different level.

After all was said and done and the police report was made, I was able to ride the bike back home with no complaints, either from the bike or the body. And, no, I didn't tell the wife until I got back. I was about 15 miles from home when it happened and she was at my youngest's baseball game...no reason to worry her. Niether she nor the kids really believed me at first because I couldn't have been hit by a car since I was standing right in front of them. The pictures and the scrapes on my butt convinced them.

Let me just say, when you tuck your kids in tonight, say goodnight to your significant other or just think about the important people in your life, give them an extra hug, tell them you love them again and otherwise just be a bit more appreciative of their presence in your life. Take a look around and appreciate what you have and the world that surrounds you. While my life didn't pass before my eyes, but maybe for a couple of feet or mph, my life my have been changed today in ways that I shudder to think about. Thanks!

Monday, June 8, 2015

British By the Sea Car Show

Man, but I do love some British cars. There are my favorites, of course, but they are all sharp and, of course, they all have personalities. Being surrounded by foreign and small cars growing up, I'm sure, led me to prefer those over some American muscle. I have never owned a V8 and I've only driven two V8 sports cars in my life. One was a 1978 Porsche 928 that my brother owned for a short time (that was cool) and a Camaro Z28 that was owned by a high school friend's father. Meh...cheap plastic.

The show was hosted by the Connecticut MG Club. The volunteers were very kind and the weather was perfect. Me and my oldest went. There was just about everything there: MGs of all flavors (MGAs, MGBs, Midgets, TD, TCs, etc), Aston Martins, a couple of Rolls Royces, Lotus, Minis (both old and new), Austin-Healys, a few Bugeye Sprites (called Frogeyes on the other side of the pond) and Triumphs (TR3, 4, 4A, 6, 7 and 8). Only 4 Spitfires, though, and 2 or 3 GT6s. There was a 1966 Spitfire, same color and interior that I will have, eventually, and only a few thousand commission numbers off. Took a bunch of pictures for reference, but never did find the owner.

We spent a few hours there, had some great pizza from Rolling Tomato and got a few T-shirts. All in all, a fun day surrounded by great cars and good people.

One of the Rolls Royces.

The TR3 corral.
Aston Martin DB9. Betcha she's not fast.
Old MG..forget which. Manual-crank windshield wipers, though, with that little black box up there.
Good showing of some E-Types.
A "big" Healy.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cooling System Re-Fit Starts

Been a busy few weeks for me. Unfortunately, I haven't accomplished as much on the car as I wanted to, but I did do some fun stuff.
I started ripping apart the cooling system to back-fit the Mk 2-style water pump housing.

Water pump housing (Mk 1-style) and associated items.
Mk 2 on right. Notice the outlet port for the water-supplied intake manifold.
I loosened up the dynamo, pull off the belt and moved the dynamo down and out of the way. Then, I drained the coolant and removed/trashed all of the hoses.

The "cooling circuit". Not quite to plan. Note the back of the heater return pipe here only has one outlet.
Mk 1 heater return pipe on left, Mk 2 on right with the T-outlet. You can see where the PO bent the heck out of the mounting bracket to try to make it fit (it didn't work).
Another thing I found interesting. After cleaning up the new heater return pipe, I found that they used to braze these things with brass. Pretty cool.

Brass braze joints of piping and mounting bracket. Old school.
Then, it was on to unbolting the radiator (only two bolts) and it's cradle. The radiator, though functional, is shot. Though it is a Stanpart radiator, it is not a Spitfire one that I can figure because the radiator cap is in the center of the radiator vice offset to one side.

Ummm, yeah, pretty sure it's not supposed to look like this. Doesn't seem to leak...so it's got that going for it.
Next, I removed the bolts holding the water pump housing and off it came. I was worried there would be some significant rust/corrosion, but happily everything was in pretty good shape. I have no idea when this engine was swapped into this car, but I'm pretty sure there was some work done to it before it went in.

4-bladed fan, as fitted for exported cars. Interestingly, British cars had two blades...cooler there?
I then pulled the cooling fan off of the water pump pulley, and then popped the pulley off the pump itself.

Pulley removal. Popped right off and I didn't even spill my beer...well, it was empty, so I didn't knock the bottle over.
The water pump looks like it's seen better days. I'm soaking it in some Purple Power, so we'll see how it cleans up. Hopefully that doesn't destroy the bearings.

Water pump. I'll clean this up and see what it looks like.
After that, I cleaned up the rest of the heater return pipe, taped it off and painted it with high temperature Rustoleum which seemed to come out fine. I used the high temperature stuff because of the hot-ish water that runs through the pipe but more so for the fact that it runs right next to the exhaust manifold. 
You cannot tell in the picture below very well, but I taped off about 1 to 2 inches from the ends of the pipe to prevent interference with rubber hoses.

All nice and pretty. Need a new olive nut for it.
Other than that, I cleaned up the new water pump housing a bit more. I haven't decided if I am going to paint it or not, but I probably should. It won't be flat black, though. I'll probably do the black that I painted the transmission with. I also cleaned up the thermostat cover. I'm going to get a new temperature sender for it as a matter of course, though the old one worked fine when I last ran the car.

I also finally got around to painting the transmission rear mounting brackets with VHT Self-Etching primer. I haven't used this stuff before and, after some not-so-intense research, it seemed that this was best since the alternative for good corrosion resistance (not that I have that problem on my car...wink-wink) is epoxy primer and that is a two-step mix process and therefore does not lend itself to home (at least not my home) use.

Primered up. I'll be putting a coat of black on top of this.
Tomorrow my and my oldest will be attending the British by the Sea Car Show, hosted by the Connecticut MG Club. I've spent some time at Harkness State Park, where the show is being held, flying kites with the boys and just hanging around. It's a beautiful place and, with good weather on tap for tomorrow, I'm sure it's going to be a great time. I've already touched base with a few people from my favorite forum and I plan on looking them up when I get there. I hope to get lucky, unlike the last car show I went to, and find some round tail Spitfires that I can study and take pictures of.

On a side note, last weekend my father-in-law and I took the boys to the NASCAR race at Dover International Speedway, otherwise known as the Monster Mile. The last two years we went up to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Sylvania 300 and we'll probably go this year, too. It was fun to see a different type track, even though it was pretty hot. There was a good breeze and just enough clouds to keep it bearable and I think I put sunscreen on everyone about 30 times. But, a good time was had by all!
The Monster. That's a full size car up there in his right hand. Wonder who the sponsor is?
25-degree banking. I took this picture trying to keep the track "flat".
I took this picture trying to keep the horizon flat. Hard to walk up the darn thing, I'll tell you that.