The MGA With An Attitude
MGA Guru Is GOING MOBILE - (August 16 - August 31, 2016)
Tuesday, August 16, 2016:
Tonight we had a meeting with Keystone Region MG Club in Nazerath, PA, beginning with a nice barbecue (with loads of deserts). Seems like folks were playing musical chairs. If you can figure out who was sitting where and when, I'm pretty sure there were 17 people present. Typical short business meeting, old business, new business, friends and visitors. And we have a new appointment to check out another MGA needing a little assistance (tomorrow).
Wednesday, August 17, 2016:
Today we had just a short drive to visit Bob Pilat in Whitehall, PA (who we met at last night's club meeting). The yellow MGA is his wife's car, and it had a profuse oil leak. He had recently replaced the oil pan gasket, which shouldn't leak but was of some concern, as the profuse leak occurred immediately thereafter.
In the third picture he has that big grin, because it didn't take long to find and fix the oil leak. It turned out to be the flex hose for the oil pressure gauge signal line. It had sprung a leak about 3/4-inch from the input end, right underneath the yellow plastic band and on the bottom side of the hose (where you can see the black spot on the yellow band). The only way to spot it was with an inspection mirror looking at the bottom side of the hose while the engine was running.
The new replacement oil hose was borrowed from his other MGA roadster, a wire wheel 1500 in process of restoration and progressing on reassembly. It is supposed to be hush-hush, because it doesn't like being seen
in its underwear (wants to be fully dressed before unveiling).
We had a chance to hit an auto parts store just before 9-pm closing, so I picked up a replacement plug-in side marker light for the trailer. That was a quick fix for the broken marker light from two days back, still needing to decide what I may do about the broken fiberglass.
Thursday, August 18, 2016:
Today we were suddenly a few hours farther north to visit Al Tirella in Olivebridge, New York, in the Catskill Mountains foothills just south of Woodstock, NY. The last nine miles or so was fun, climbing up the hills
on some nice winding tarmac roads through the forests. Immediately on arrival we were introduced to Al's house, which used to be a little vintage church (before it got a few wings added).
Then we were poking around the yard and a few out buildings to check out his car toys. There is an MGA 1600 with a Universal Laminations fiberglass hardtop, a California car with some surface rust but no cancer, waiting patiently for restoration.
And there is an MGA 1600 Coupe with wire wheels, a mostly complete car looking tatty, but more solid than it first appears. This one may be looking for a new home, and may have a lot of new parts available to go with it. Also two MGA engines, one 1622cc with the correct "16" cylinder head, and one 1600, and a 1600 type gearbox.
Beside the Coupe is a very nice Volvo 1800S call it a daily driver car. One neat feature is a remote brake servo that handles a dual line braking system.
Next in line is an equally nice Volvo 122S, low mileage, all original, very spiffy.
Around the corner is a vintage Saab 96 with 1500cc V4 engine. Al has restored a number of these cars, but is moving on to other things so this one is likely looking for a new home. It could come with a large array of spare parts, as nearby we find a number of extra Saab front drive gearboxes and a few engines, a raft of bumpers and an assortment of spare body panels. There is more here than meets the eye, more cars and parts under the covers. We chat late into the night.
Friday, August 19, 2016:
We spent a good part of the day chatting about things like liquidating cars and parts no longer needed building a useful workshop, and how long it may take to get organized before beginning restoration work on a couple of MGA. By mid afternoon it was time to roll out, as well all had other things to do. We opted to continue generally north, being a couple months late doing so. This turned out to be a short run northwest 80 miles to land in Oneonta, NY for the evening. It was a very pleasant and casual drive through the Catskill Mountains,
winding roads with rolling hills, some liking 3rd gear up hill or 3rd gear down hill, mostly smooth pavement, top down, T-shirt, lightly overcast, plenty of sun but not scorching hot, in general wonderful roadster weather. Very nice to have a pleasant drive in daylight for a change.
Saturday, August 20, 2016:
Dayoff, I think. Maybe I can't remember.
Sunday, August 21, 2016:
Someone blundered in us today. I had a nice chat with Bob Beierlein, partly about his daily driver Midget, somewhat about his other Midget vintage race car, and several other cars he has owned. And he provided information about another Service shop.
Monday-Tuesday, August 22-23, 2016:
Some time with email and BBS, answering tech questions and posting a few web page updates. Lots of time spent contacting clubs and friends, accumulating more lines on the Planning spread sheet. One day we wonder what we may be doing next week. The next day we are wondering how to cram all this stuff in New York state into the next few weeks. Hang on for more fun.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016:
On the road again. Early evening we joined the MG Car Club, Western New York Center in Canandaigua, NY for a cruise to the east, intending to meet with MG Car Club of Central New York "half way" for dinner in Waterloo (NY). We bopped into the designated Wegman's parking lot at 5-pm joined by a sole TR Spitfire, and proceeded to wait. Eventually more cars began to dribble in, and someone claimed the intended arrival time was around 5:30 with departure time of 6:00. I believe we collected 17 cars (counting a couple non-British and family cruisers).
It was just a 20 mile cruise down US-20, landing at Mac's Drive-In in Waterloo. The restaurant was large enough to accommodate a lot of people. There were a couple dozen traditional car-hop bays (which we did not use), and at least couple dozen seats under the front awning (which a few of us used). When we arrived en mass we temporarily overloaded the wait staff, but of course they liked the extra business. Out back we were quadruple parking the British cars in the grass, which provided some entertainment for the street rods parked up front. The odd bit here was that apparently no one from MG Car Club of Central New York showed up, so we will have to send them some pictures to show them what they missed. It did make a jolly good social event.
Almost forgot, but on the way out we got some pictures of the Drive In at dusk. Kind of nice, as we don't see these places so much any more.
Thursday, August 25, 2016:
We just had another day off, which means it was a work day rather than a play day. We certainly stacked up a bunch more appointments. I also spotted a nice 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury, too good not to take the picture. Love the steel dash, and all the chrome you could smash your head on. Lap belts standard but not required to use them (yet). Late night we took a 2-1/2 hour sprint west to be in the right place for a morning gig.
Friday, August 26, 2016:
Today we were off to visit Frazer and Beverly Rice in Orchard Park, NY. We last saw these folks on Feb 1, 2015
in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. They still have the MGA 1600-MK-II and this time it has a few "minor issues". The first was a bonnet that wouldn't stay completely latched, but would occasionally pop up about a quarter inch (luckily never totally unlatched). I found the standard issue spring on the release pull rod was disconnected, fortunately still dangling on the rod bracket, and reconnected it on to the wing bolt (as intended). That seemed to improve the re-latching function considerably. A lot of cars (including mine) are missing this spring.
Next was a question of hot running. Here we have an electric fan in front of the radiator, and a wide blade plastic fan in back of the radiator, and it still runs hot (relatively speaking). The "recored" radiator with "modern" VT core with lots of water tubes and lots of fins is the culprit (as usual). Too many tubes and fins obstruct air flow. An original type cell core radiator would be the cure, if/when the owner may pop for another radiator rebuild.
There is a turn signal that nearly caused failure of the safety inspection as it only blinks if you whack the flasher unit. Easy fix there, just needing a new flasher unit. And the heater blower wouldn't blow. That was traced to a bad snap connector near the heater switch, soon fixed with a little pinch of the female connector to make it tighter.
And the fuel gauge would forever sit on the Empty mark. This was traced to the sender unit with zero resistance, first guessed to be an internal short to ground. We opened the outer cover for investigation, and it turned out to be a sunken float that always sat on bottom of the tank. Bummer, but at least the cure is simple, buy a new sender unit (as we likely cannot buy the float by itself).
Saturday, August 27, 2016:
Where does the time go?
Sunday, August 28, 2016:
Twin Tiers Sports Car Club "Boys’ Breakfast" near Elmira, NY, on Harris Hill at Big Flats (soaring capital of the world). This means the guys cook while everyone pigs out. I thought I might have been in the wrong place on arrival, all those sport-utes in the woods looked like someone's family reunion. Then several more smaller cars rolled in, and I didn't feel so much out of place. There was a TR GT6, three "honorary MGBs"
(Miatas), a nice Alfa Romeo, and one or two real MGBs (and my MGA). The GT6 had a sagging exhaust pipe, but it was quiet and not dragging (yet). Someone was hiding an MGB and MGA in process at home, which may be fodder for a later visit.
At least 15 cars (maybe 17), about 25 people (could never get everyone in one picture). A swell time was had by all, lots of car chat, breaking up at mid day. The final group picture was going to be a problem when everyone wanted to hide behind the trees and flag.
Monday, August 29, 2016:
Start with the good deed for the day. Found a rusty Chevy Malibu with dead battery and dead alternator. Use jumper cables and charge it for 15 minutes, one of the better uses for the conversion alternator in the MGA. Followed the Chevy home several miles to be sure, then on our way.
Kind of nice driving around the Finger Lakes area of New York state. Plenty of winding 2-lane with some 3rd-gear hills. After a few miles excursion to get the Malibu home, the GPS continued north on the side roads, finally landing us back in Canandaigua.
In the afternoon I was off to visit Finger Lakes Vintage & Sports Car LLC in Shortsville, NY. Simon Pontin (and at least one more mechanic) has been at this location for two years, and he is looking forward to the day he may run out of space. The shop has five service bays and more work space inside. He likes vintage cars, just finished an MG T-type, has a couple Porsches inside, and outside a BMW 2002, a modern mini, and a VW Westfalia camper waiting their turn.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016:
Not sure what to make of this trailer found in Auburn, NY. The logo says "Commercial Roofing Specialists". The artwork is a 1955 Chevy, possibly a vintage dragster. The trailer (and artwork) might have been sitting here since the car was new, but the trailer tires look more modern. Another point of interest was a 1957 Chevy table inside the McDonald's restaurant next door. Can't help but wonder if these things are somehow related.
Early afternoon we were off to visit Franklin & Co. Automotive Restorations in Syracuse, NY. Say hello to the Pres,
Jef Franklin, a jolly old soul. This is primarily a body and paint shop doing lots of restoration work, having started with all British cars and still doing much of the same. There is 1959 MGA 68849, next to the last 1500 produced, all pretty body waiting for the chassis to return from the mechanical shop. There is an MG TD in better condition than it looks, belonging to Jef and his wife. They dust it off and take it for a run occasionally. Also a AH Buyeye Sprite body in the back, all body work done and in primer, next in line once the 1959 MGA is finished and delivered.
Then on Jef's advice we were off a short way north to visit Dane Miller at Miller's Auto Hhaus in Phoenix City, NY. This is another body and paint shop doing restoration work, and heavy into British cars. There was a very sweet Morgan outside waiting for installation of the doors. Inside two MG TDs in process, the second one having MGA 1500 engine, 5-speed gearbox, MGA front suspension and rear axle to have the Wire Wheel conversion. This one will be nice road cruiser.
Not finished yet. In the evening we were off to visit Jim Werner in Camillus, NY. He has an MGA 1500 that has had a prior body transplant from a 1600-MK-II, body rear light holes filled, 1500 type lamps on all four wings. We recon this was just assembled from the best parts from two cars.
The gearbox was rebuilt by a pro shop, using an "upgrade" steel synchronizer ring and matching (used) 2nd gear. Now it doesn't want to upshift or downshift into 2nd gear. I recon the synchro ring must be sticking on the mating cone.
We have a few hours to spare, so a mild suggestion leads to pulling the engine and gearbox for internal inspection. 2-1/2 hours later with gearbox on the bench and side cover removed, we confirm the synchro ring is sticking (not rotating) on the mating cone. The rebuilder wants to to make to right, but we figure it may be best to go back to brass synchro ring to use with the original 2nd gear. Late night. Maybe another visit later?
Wednesday, August 31, 2016:
Catch up day, BBS, email, tech questions, posting a few new tech pages. Got to be pretty late evening before I got to posting the previous day's photos and notes. Somewhere past midnight it was time to .... Zzzzzzz.