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Car is back in the shop and the freshly primed body panels have moved to the living and dining rooms to await further work.  I'm back to trying to get the car running, stopping and turning again and darn it if I'm not having issues.  I bought new handbrake cables and they're an inch shorter than the original ones which means once installed (with the handbrake fully off) they pull enough to engage the rear brakes.   Both tie rod ends have issues (they were new) so I've taken them off and await new ones that will hopefully not have issues.   The wiring has gone well and I'm close on it.  The floorboards and rear shelf have been installed and they're done.  I mocked up the side curtain box so everything will be ready when it is time to do it.   Instead of taking the gas tank back to Sims I just fixed it myself and will re-seal tomorrow and get some epoxy and 2K on it.  I'm going to bleed the brakes today, refill the coolant and hope to get enough wiring done tomorrow to get the engine running again.  I bought a bunch of parts earlier in the week but given the whole pandemic thing... nothing has shipped yet which is certainly understandable.  As such... I'll need to put some of the bad stuff back on (tie rods end) so that I can get to my goal of running/stopping/steering car by end of weekend.  I need to be able to drive it out of the shop and in to the garage on a routine basis.  While I am able to push it, there is a hill between the two and it takes about all I got to make the uphill stretch and... with no brakes, the stretch back down the hill is a little nerve racking. 

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4 hours ago, Luv2Wrench said:

I can get to my goal of running/stopping/steering car by end of weekend

 

I hope that works out well and everything goes fine. You have restored a beautiful car. I've followed your progress with interest.

 

Hopefully you have one of these caps for when you drive your car. It seems to be a standard MG garment (especially for the older TD's.) 😃

 

 

Director - Walrus Hats Grey Plaid Polyester Ivy Cap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ran into some health issues in November that left me with muscles that would cramp on the slightest bit of effort.  Thankfully I've gotten that sorted out and work has resumed on the car.  I will admit that there for a little while I was getting rather worried.  On the tool side I've some better luck.  I managed to acquire a neat little bench top die filer.  It was a little dirty so I took it apart, made sure everything was lubed and fitting correct, gave it a quick coat of paint and put it back together.  I don't have any files for it and they are a bit difficult to locate.  I modified a file and gave it a quick test run and it really works great.  Very quiet and will move a fair amount of material.  Very happy with this purchase.

 

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I also found a small shaper for sale on CL down in Florida.  I'm headed down there tomorrow to rescue it.  I'm hoping it isn't as bad as the picture makes it seem.  It is a 7" Rhodes Shaper from the early 1900s.  I already have a 15" shaper so it isn't a "need" but I'd like to have a smaller one as well and this little guy definitely needs to be rescued. 

 

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I think your instincts are good on that one...they are rarely as bad as they look. Most of the critical surfaces are cast iron which rusts at a far slower rate than steel and almost never rusts very deep unless it's in constant contact with water... this is why steel water jackets rust out while engine blocks rarely do.

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I was wondering where you went. Glad to hear your doing better.  You've been finding all kinds of equipment.  Wish that stuff was around here more. Not much heavy iron, just the HF junk everyone wants to resell at a higher price. Take care and be safe.

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16 hours ago, Dave39MD said:

I would be interested to know which chrome shop you are going to use? I have used Dallas and it has been okay except for the last batch.

 

Thanks

 

Dave

I used Dallas and would not recommend using them.  I think it is obvious the guy that does all of the work can't very well anymore.  If you don't look closely at the chrome it looks fine.  If you look closer there are scratches, bubbles and all kinds of stuff going on.  I pretty much wasted $5000 by going there. It took nearly 8 months as well.  It is unfortunate because I really can't spend the money to have it done again.  I would say the job is more than acceptable for daily driver, probably OK for a show car, but absolutely not concours level. 

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So I had a wonderful trip, everything went as well as it could possibly have gone.  I turned it into an overnight trip so that I didn't have to drive 11 hours.  For younger me that would've been no big deal, for older me it just doesn't work as well.   I'm glad I did it that way because I could take my time and see the sites along the way.  With COVID I really haven't been out of the house much so it was great to get away.   The shaper was located nearly 2 miles down a sand road deep in the Apalachicola forest.  Unfortunately it was stored in an open shop so the Florida swamp humidity did take a toll.   Here's a pic as she sat up against a wall. 

 

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The owner had a younger lady selling some of his tools and I dearly thank her for doing that.  She's basically rescuing a "shop" full of machines.  She and her boyfriend loaded it in the van for me!!  By far the easiest pick yet. The Rhodes Shaper is a very early machine.  The name on the casting is L.E. Rhodes and it was made in Hartford Conn.   Most of the pictures I've seen of these shapers has the company name as "The Rhodes machinery co" or similar.  After removing the hideous vise and a quick cleaning I was relieved to see it was actually in fairly decent condition.  I was able to loosen up everything and get reasonable movement.  Full restoration will still be a ways off but it should be relatively straight forward.

 

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As per the MG, I have the wiring to the dash completed.  I have a couple of things left to wire like the distributor and coil.  I replaced the tie rod ends so I need to finish that up as well as get the final pieces of the steering assembly buttoned and the steering wheel back on.  At that point... it should be a matter of dropping the battery in and firing it up again.  From there it will be a short drive into the garage and I'll move the remaining body panels down and get to work on them.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So... bad news, good news.  The bad news is the cramps came back with a vengeance.  I wasn't able to leave the house for nearly a week.  The good news though is that finally I think the Dr and I have figured out that the synthetic Thyroid medicine I've been taking was not enough.  With that change I've been feeling better and better.  I was able to get back out to the shop some and had a blast restoring the little shaper.  On the MG I got the generator and coil wired in as well as replaced the tie-rod ends and re-aligned the front end. I'm really feeling good now and it is such a relief.  There were a few days last week when I really wondered when I would ever make it back out to the shop.  Should things hold up I should be able to get started on bodywork and paint prep next week. 

 

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So it was with GREAT joy that the moment to drive the MG out of the shop had finally arrived!!  I fitted a temporary gas tank, connected the battery and verified all the electrics were correct.  I removed the spark plugs and turned the engine over to verify oil pressure and all was well.  I put the spark plugs back in, turn the ignition "on" and saw the proper lights appear on the center dash and heard the fuel pump kick in.  I also heard the fuel pump not stop.  I looked around at the carbs and saw fuel spilling out and onto the shop floor.  A simple stuck float I thought.  I opened up the top and realized the inside of the first bowl was corroded and couldn't figure out how that happened... it was sealed??  The I tried moving the plunger and it was stuck as well.  I looked in the second bowl and it was empty?  The valve was corroded shut.  I then noticed that the top of each of the plungers is vented which means the whole time it was outside in the near daily rain it was going down into the carb and... into the head through the intake manifold, an absolute disaster.   I took the carbs/intake manifold off and sure enough the intake ports into the head were corroded and literally had some strange crystal like things growing in them.  I pulled the head off and the domes for cylinders 1 and 3 were both corroded and had some orange growths in them.  The cylinders/piston themselves cleaned up easily.  I'll probably take the head back to the machine shop and have them dunk it and check the valves and seats.  There doesn't seem to be any real damage but it is a big time setback and, of course, I'll need new head gasket, head bolts, carb rebuild kits and all kinds of other gaskets along with new fluids.  All because I didn't see the tiny vent holes.  I did a thorough check over the engine and covered what I thought was every possible entry point but missed those.  2020 has just not been a very good year!

 

 

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Edited by Luv2Wrench (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Jeff, that's just par for the course in 2020.  How could this NOT have happened?  Sounds like you'll be able to get it fixed with a little effort and be back in good shape soon.  Happy New Year.

 

-Chris

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry to hear of your health problems, hopefully things are getting and will stay better. Enjoying the thread. I am a woodworker and the old iron you have resurrected has me intrigued. You call it a shaper, I think of a wood shaper but cant wrap my head around how that thing works. 

Also, I had a fire in my shop a few years ago, I have a heavy duty planer that suffered more damage from exposure and water than fire. Problem is I cant get the 4 legs to free up, which regulates the cutting depth. I have periodically soaked them in PB blaster with no luck. Do you have any ideas to free them?

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I don't think Jeff will mind if I jump in here...on the the metal shaper ... the tool, which looks like a lathe bit, is held at the end of the reciprocating arm. As the machine runs the arm moves in and out but the tool is mounted on a "clapper" which lifts it slightly on the return stroke so it only cuts on the forward stroke. At the same time, the work piece, which is held in a vise or bolted to the table, moves across. The result is that the machine cuts a very flat surface. These machines can be used for slotting, cutting key ways and gears as well as planing flat surfaces. They do most of what a modern vertical mill does, often far better but much slower.

 

Post some photos of your rusty parts and we'll make some suggestions.

 

 

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Thanks for the explanation. I was thinking that the tooling would mount on the threaded shaft, still had a hard time visualizing it.  I thought my Delta shaper was scary to run! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got some time in the shop!  I got the carbs taken apart, cleaned and re-assembled.  I ended up using a complete rebuild kit so all the gaskets, washers, jets, needles, etc are new.   I might have gotten away with just cleaning everything but the rebuild kit was about $120 and I didn't think it was worth risking. 

 

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For the cylinder head I decided to take out the intake valves.  I'm glad I did because it wasn't good.  I don't have a picture to show it, but there was some strange stuff in there.  It was more like mold than corrosion but it certainly wasn't mold.  I'm really not sure what it was... it was very flakey and pretty much wiped out with a cloth.  There's a possibility running the engine would have removed it but I do think it would have kept the intake valves from seating well.  Now that I have the valves out and everything cleaned I will lap the valves and re-install.   I also bought a head gasket kit so I have all new gaskets for the head, intake/exhaust manifold, valve cover, tappet cover and other various places.   This was my first time removing valves (the engine shop rebuilt the head for me) and I was a bit intimidated but it went smoothly.  I bought a nice valve spring compressor that made the job much easier.  It is the style that looks like a huge C clamp and reaches around the head to hold the valve on one end while compressing the springs from the other.  It is very easy to use and quite sturdy.  I'm glad I paid a bit more for it and waited a few days for it to be delivered. 

 

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Lapped the valves which was pretty easy since the engine had less than 10 hours on it.   Getting the valves back in went smoothly as well.  Sat the head on the engine and will button things up next week.  Time is still limited but I did make some progress at least.

 

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Edited by Luv2Wrench (see edit history)
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Made some good progress this afternoon.  Torqued the head down and installed the rockers.  Changed the cork gaskets on the carbs and mounted them on the intake manifold and hooked up the linkages.  Mounted intake and exhaust manifold to engine and connected various cables and wires.  I think I'm going to make two more changes to the carbs and then set a static tune on them.  Refilled the radiator and bought new oil.  I'll change the oil tomorrow so I can check and see if any water made its way in there.  I don't think this is the case as the rust stuff I found was likely just caused by excessive humidity when some water was able to make its way into the body of the carbs.  It won't hurt to check it though and I was going to change the oil anyway but probably not this soon.   If things go well tomorrow I might be able to try starting it and seeing how it runs.  Weather doesn't look so good so I might not get it moved into the main garage.  At this point hearing it run again will be a big relief.   Based on everything I've seen so far there wasn't any real damage done and it should all be fine. 

 

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There's a joke about British cars that goes something like "if there isn't a puddle under it, then it isn't a British Car".  That's funny but not really, because it is true.  Truth be told I've come to hate this car.  I went out this morning to change the oil and get the engine running again when I was greeted with a puddle on the floor.  At first I thought it was the damn core plugs that I've replaced 3 times.  I was wondering how it could possibly fail after my last repair but this time I found it was leaking all along the head gasket.  Yep. A properly torqued head was leaking around the head gasket and I had not even run the damn thing yet.

 

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Some further research determined that the copper head gaskets sold today don't work that well because they're not as thick and don't crush easily.  The only way to make them work is to torque way past the 50 ft/lbs specified.  To do that, of course, you need special studs because both the original and reproduction studs would break.  The other options are to have a custom head gasket made or find a NOS one.  So how did this work when I rebuilt the engine last year??  I had a gasket kit made in the late 70s so I guess those were still good.  Fortunately I do have another one that I didn't use because I wanted to get a brand new one thinking it would be better.  Hah!

 

I'm also going to take this opportunity to replace the head studs.  There is a gentleman named Tom Lange who is a bit of an icon in the MG T series world and he sells several custom manufactured parts for the T Series.  He has ARP build a set of head studs out of 8740 nickel-chromium-molybdenum steel with a black oxide finish.   These are far superior to the both the original and reproduction studs and are torqued to 60 ft/lbs.  I shouldn't have any more leakage issues with the new studs and the NOS head gasket.

 

Of course one of the joys of replacing the head studs is removing the old ones without having them twist off flush with the head.  Fortunately I removed the studs when I rebuilt the engine and properly chased the threads and used a quality thread sealant when I re-installed them.  As such, a little heat and some patience and they were all removed without further issue.

Edited by Luv2Wrench (see edit history)
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I feel your pain, I collect early jeeps and often just when you think you’ve gotten all the problems resolved more seem to roll in like oranges. I have no doubt with all the ingenuity and skill you’ve shown that you’ll be cruising around in no time.  

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I literally had a garage full of antique british motorcycles. It looked like a super fund site! (they dont leak, they're marking their territory)

 

Good looking work with the motor. Keep it up. Enjoy following along.

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12 hours ago, Bloo said:

Copper head gaskets are trouble. They have their place when nothing else is available, but I like your idea of using an NOS gasket.

 

The original gasket was copper but is was multi-layer.  The replacement is as well and looks very similar but a set of calipers tells a different story.   On the plus side I've gotten very good at removing/replacing the head in situ. 

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On 5/24/2020 at 11:33 AM, Luv2Wrench said:

 

This is a reality though... I paid $4,500 for the car and I was being very generous.  I've put $18,000 into the car so far.  The only two labor tasks in that were about $1,000 for the engine work and the $5,000 for the chrome.  I bought parts off eBay and restored them when I could.  While I haven't cut any corners I certainly have made every effort to reduce costs.  Even given all of that... and not including ANY of my labor, this car will have $25,000 in it before it is done.  Again... that's not including anything for my labor.   I've enjoyed the process and I'll get some money back when I sell it, but it does make one pause when thinking about the next project.  Oh, speaking of that, the 1913 Metz has no chrome... so we're OK there. ;)

 

 

I dove in the deep end with a 57 Chevy.  To get an ashtray re-chromed was $260.  A bloody ashtray....  Luckily this is a driver quality build so it is getting mostly repop chrome pieces like bumpers.  Everything else is stainless steel that can be polished.  That's why I'm thinking of building a replica of a late 20's Frasier-Nash or buy a Model A with minimal chrome.  I can copper and nickel plate small parts if needed.  

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On 2/1/2021 at 3:34 PM, Luv2Wrench said:

 

The original gasket was copper but is was multi-layer.  The replacement is as well and looks very similar but a set of calipers tells a different story.   On the plus side I've gotten very good at removing/replacing the head in situ. 

 

Just a thought, I wonder if it was possible to make a 2D CAD drawing of your gasket and have someone water jet cut a dead soft copper gasket.  What is the compression ratio of the engine? 

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22 hours ago, AURktman said:

 

Just a thought, I wonder if it was possible to make a 2D CAD drawing of your gasket and have someone water jet cut a dead soft copper gasket.  What is the compression ratio of the engine? 

I'm not sure, but the NOS gasket worked fine before so the other one I have will work as well.  The trick, as I've now learned, is to replace the head studs some some that are custom ordered from ARP (Automotive Racing Parts).  These are torqued to 60 ft/lbs which will keep the head gasket from leaking now and in the future.  There is a very real possibility that while the first time I had the head on it didn't leak it could have blown the head gasket later as the original studs were no longer capable of doing their job.  Lesson one is to alway replace the head studs.  Lesson two is to talk to enthusiasts to find out what they recommend.  I'm sure I'll continue to learn lessons as I go. :)

 

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2 hours ago, Luv2Wrench said:

I'm not sure, but the NOS gasket worked fine before so the other one I have will work as well.  The trick, as I've now learned, is to replace the head studs some some that are custom ordered from ARP (Automotive Racing Parts).  These are torqued to 60 ft/lbs which will keep the head gasket from leaking now and in the future.  There is a very real possibility that while the first time I had the head on it didn't leak it could have blown the head gasket later as the original studs were no longer capable of doing their job.  Lesson one is to alway replace the head studs.  Lesson two is to talk to enthusiasts to find out what they recommend.  I'm sure I'll continue to learn lessons as I go. :)

 


+1 on the new studs. Any time I build an engine, it gets all new bolts throughout that have a torque value over 40 lbf-ft.  Snapped a main stud on a 55 265 Chevy trying to reuse old bolts, never tried it again.  ARP are the best in my opinion (I have more of those...  opinions, not bolts).   What was the lead time from ARP on those custom bolts?  

Edited by AURktman (see edit history)
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16 hours ago, AURktman said:


+1 on the new studs. Any time I build an engine, it gets all new bolts throughout that have a torque value over 40 lbf-ft.  Snapped a main stud on a 55 265 Chevy trying to reuse old bolts, never tried it again.  ARP are the best in my opinion (I have more of those...  opinions, not bolts).   What was the lead time from ARP on those custom bolts?  

 

Lead time was zero.  Tom Lange, an MGT enthusiast, had these custom made and has a quantity in stock.  He got them to me in 2 days.  I'm indebted to him for offering the community both the knowledge and these parts.  I'll install them tonight or tomorrow.

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It runs again!!  Things went back together smoothly and it is running again.  I let it run for a bit and then torqued the head again.  In the morning I'll add the coolant and hope it doesn't leak out.   I'll give it a quick tune and then drive it up to the garage, clean the shop out and get ready to finish up the bodywork and paint.

 

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That's great! But you've convinced me (if I wasn't convinced already) that it's best not to even look at any "chrome era" car. Not that it's a big sacrifice since I much prefer the brass and nickel eras and painted radiators don't offend me at all but it's clear that paying more for the plating than the car is not for me...and from what we read here, you got off lightly.

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It appears, at least for now, that I've convinced the MG to not mark its territory!!  I added coolant this morning and a couple of hours later it still remained inside the engine and radiator.  I started the car and got it up to temp and spent 20 minutes not making any progress adjusting the carbs.  I did some more research online and found a fantastic resource (David Braun's definitive guide) and realized all the multiple things that were probably wrong.  Once I understood the issues I realized it would be a couple hour job and decided to do it later. :) 

 

I took the MG for a run through the neighborhood and it was a blast!   The horrid grinding noise when the clutch is fully depressed is finally gone, so it appears the pilot bushing was indeed at fault.  Second gear still engages with a bit of a clunk/grind so the synchros for that might need to be looked at.  The brakes are still an issue though I'm starting to suspect that my idea of what they should operate like might also be part of the issue.  I think that the car should stop well before the "holy %^$#* I'm going to die" thought runs through your mind.  In respect to the brakes, they do indeed stop the car before that point.  The only other issue I noted was that the ammeter isn't moving off zero.   I haven't checked to see if that's the fault of the ammeter, generator or the wiring.  Given that the battery was nearly dead before I started the car this morning and that it was much stronger after the 20 minutes of no progress tuning the carbs, I think it probably isn't the generator.

 

The car now resides in the garage (main house) and it will be interesting to see if it choses to mark its new home. :) I'll be cleaning the shop out and organizing again as things really got out of control over the past few months.  Once that is done I'll be able to start on the final bodywork and paint. 

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