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Roadside Tech Session

Old 05-05-2019, 08:11 AM
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Default Roadside Tech Session

For kicks I thought I would share a story of yesterday's MG adventure. I am thankful this happened now and not on the trip to Spring Fling.

Roadside Tech Session

After some debate the Quinn’s and Smith’s decided to follow several other Rowdies to Dexter when the Inverness Inn party broke up. The Rowdies were heading to the Dairy Queen but our plans were to find an offbeat spot with adult beverages. However just a couple miles down the road our plan came to a cough, cough, sputter . . . stop as Dave’s heater control valve turned into a small shower onto the distributor below it. Thankfully Dave’s worst fears did not materialize. The water did not fry his year-old Pertronix distributer even though some water did get inside the cap. One thing Dave is generally not short of is repair-supplies. One thing Curt Smith is never short of is “MacGyver-like” extraordinary problem solving. To divert the flow of water Curt snipped a notch into the end of a spare radiator hose and slid as much as possible over the nine year-old heater control valve. By itself that was not enough. A heavy plastic ex-name tag pouch was placed at the bottom that directed the water inwards toward the engine block and away from the cap. These items were secured using plastic wire ties and a hose clamp. The trusty MGA fired up and they returned to the Inn to get a couple sheets of aluminum foil. It was the one thing Quinn didn’t carry; apparently using it up on previous road kills. Curt wrapped the foil around the distributor cap and wires; added insurance should the coolant strike again. Car ran perfect for 40 miles home. A trip to Dave’s used parts bin revealed two heater control valves. Thankfully it was easy to decide which one to use as a replacement – the one identified as good. That’s something to keep in mind when storing used parts of questionable condition. Especially important when online reports say new replacement valves are of questionable quality. As we always say, driving an MGA is an adventure - especially when the British design a failure point directly above the distributor! Thanks Curt.

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Old 05-05-2019, 09:10 AM
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:19 AM
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I trust that it is neither the first nor the last time that you or I will see the roadside attractions on behalf of a British car.
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:39 AM
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My MGB had a notice similar to this on the dashboard:

-- Chuck
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Old 05-05-2019, 11:00 AM
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Pretty slick Dave! You know what they say about “new” parts..new stands for never ever worked.
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Old 05-05-2019, 12:16 PM
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You guys got talent! Glad all is well! Were adult beverages had later on?
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Old 05-05-2019, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Lainey View Post
You guys got talent! Glad all is well! Were adult beverages had later on?
Oh yeah, after getting safely home, we jumped in my much never truck and went out for dinner and drinks.
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Old 05-05-2019, 04:10 PM
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I thought you told me that MGs were reliable if you gave them the proper maintenance. As much as I love them, you can never be sure you're going to get home at night.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ralper View Post
I thought you told me that MGs were reliable if you gave them the proper maintenance. As much as I love them, you can never be sure you're going to get home at night.
Says you. I've only needed a flat bed once in over 40 years and that was due to a generator failure. It was midnight I wasn't prepared to replace it with the spare I carry. In that same time I've had a few roadside repairs but none from lack of maintenance. I've had new coils fail, new rotors fail, etc. but there's nothing I can do about the quality of crap from Asia. I just took a quick glance at my maintenance record for the past five years - all routine. I developed a leaking front shock at the end of last summer; the same shocks that were on the car when I bought it 14 years ago. Last fall was the first time I ever removed the fill hole bolt since I don't believe in tempting fate - a shock is either leak proof or not. Since then I've been adding fluid to it till I can exchange them.

Rob, being the nice guy that I am I will share with you my annual Spring checklist. For those unfamiliar with living with 60 year old cars it may seem excessive but it really isn't and doesn't take that long.

Annual MGA Lube & Inspection Checklist – last update 4/13/18

Bounce each fender. 1 to 1-1/2 bounces before resting is good. No reason to top up unless leaking.
It essential the shock top is clean before removing the fill plug to prevent dirt entering. Top up till fluid hits bottom of the screw hole. Bounce the car several times to expel air before replacing the fill plug.
Hydraulic jack oil is ISO 32 hydraulic oil, the equivalent to SAE 10W. Recommended over using engine oil as is anti-foaming, non-detergent, and high temp tolerant. Total shock capacity is 5 oz.

Jack up MGA level on four stands & shake to ensure safe.

Change engine oil & filter

Transmission oil level
Add Castrol GTX 20w50 as needed using red fill spout.

Wheels & tires
In neutral, spin & check rims with a screwdriver. Movement should not exceed 1/8” in/out or up/down. Excessive tire movement at 12 & 6 indicates a worn kingpin. Excessive tire movement at 9 & 3 indicates a loose tie rod end or inner ball joint wear. Clunks indicate worn splines. Check born-on- date if tires are aging.

Remove wheels & inspect hubs
As splines wear they become sharper in appearance, more pointed, & narrow. Measure hub size - new: 2.450", good: 2.440", operative: 2.430"; borderline: 2.425", & dangerous: 2.410". Lube hubs with a coat of Vaseline.

Wheel bearings
If greased, do not over grease as grease heats up & expands.

Differential oil level
Use 3/8" ratchet to remove plug. Add Valvoline ‘Standard’80/90as needed using 80/90-hand pump can.

Rear brakes
Remove drums & inspect shoes, piston movement, springs, & lever movement. Lightly sand drums & shoes. Clean with brake cleaner & a sponge paintbrush. Replace drum if worn larger than 10.060 inches.

Rear oil seal
Check for oil contamination due to a failed oil seal. Goldspec part number 01 235 is correct replacement O-ring, with new oil seal & paper gasket. Hub nut torque 140 pounds.

Brake adjuster
Back off adjuster completely & lube. Replace drums & adjust by tightening & then backing off one click.

Rear suspension [always tighten rear springs annually]
Insure leaf springs double nuts tight. Check for spring separation. Inspect shocks & links.

Gas tank
Insure no leaks especially at sending unit. Replace fuel filter if needed.

Use pair ½” wrenches ensure driveshaft bolts, front & rear, tight.

Cruise control speed pickup
Wipe pickup and magnets with a paper towel to remove any oil film.

Lube U-joints
Grease front and rear. Note rear u-joint nipple is buried.

Empty oil catch pan, clean excessive oil off frame, replace diaper mop.

Front suspension [always tighten coil springs plate annually]
Inspect wishbone rubber seals, kingpins, tie rod ends, A arms, & coil springs.

Lube front suspension [always do annually]
Grease 2 kingpin nipples, upper & lower, jacking up each side under the spring pan to release the weight. Pump grease until it runs out along the kingpin. Use 45° pliers to pop off grease hose if the nozzle sticks on the grease nipples. Newer steering arm ends no longer have a nipple to grease

Master cylinder
Check level. Normally brake fluid level should be good unless there is a leak or pad wear.

Front brakes
Replace in pads down to 1/16”. Replace disc if 0.34” or less; new would be 0.40”.

Replace brake fluid every few years.
Replace using “silicone’ brake fluid, DOT 5. Bleeding sequence is LR, RR, LF, RF using long single slow strokes.

Hand brake
Test & exercise hand brake & adjust cable if needed.

Lube steering rack
Add Valvoline DuraBlend80/90 using 11/16" BSF open end if needed. Inspect rubber gaiters for splits, clamps, & steering column.

Lube hood latch, trunk latch, and door latches
Spray latch & cable with WD40 or similar.

Replace wheels & tires
Set on ground. Check tire pressures, 28 front & 28 back. Check spare tire pressure.

Fan belt
Check for wear. Should have ½” play on lower side; tighten if needed.

Lube generator
A couple squirts of 3&1 oil

Coolant hoses
Check for coolant leaks. Almost always a hose leak is at clamp, not in middle.

Replace coolant every few years
Flush & replace as rust inhibitors wear out. Use 50/50 mix of water & Prestone coolant.

Wiper blades
Clean with rubbing alcohol using a green scrub pad.

Clean battery & frame ground

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Old 05-06-2019, 10:59 AM
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I also have a spring check list for my 1979 Accord:
1. Make sure it starts.
2 Make sure A/C is up to snuff.
3. Change oil and filter.

Maybe in a few years I will replace the transmission oil. It's only been a couple years since I bought the old Honda and one of the first things I did upon purchase was get everything inspected and have all the fluids flushed and changed.
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