Well a day that held out promise, turned out to be disappointing.
Plan for today was to attend the classic meet at the Blacksmith’s Arms in Cudham. With the nice weather it would have been great, but the car had other ideas.
When I went to get the car ready to go, I looked into the driver’s footwell and spotted a wet patch. Turns out it was brake fluid, leaking down the brake pedal.
Decided that it wouldn’t be wise to drive the car with a leaking brake system. Following some digging on the web it sounds like this could well be the secondary seal in the master cylinder failing! So the next learning exercise for me is going to be removing, repairing/replacing the master cylinder and then the fun of bleeding the brakes.
I’ll try to post all the details here as they happen.
17th October: Update
I’ve decided that since it will take me a while to replace the master cylinder and I don’t want the car off the road that long it’s better to take it to an expert – so that’s where it’s going. Hopefully be back on the road soon.
More prob… challenges recently.
The car had been going well, but as is to be expected this doesn’t always continue.
As I indicated in an earlier post, I had problems starting the car on the day of the Coolings Car Show. On the day I simply assumed that it was one of those things and the battery had just lost some charge due to sitting for a while.
Turns out this was wrong. On the following Bank Holiday I took the car out for the afternoon. No problems on the way out, but on the way back I had to put the lights on. Got home no problem, stopped on the drive and turned the car off. Went and opened the garage and then went to restart to put the car away – stone dead. No movement in the starter at all. Checked the voltage across the battery and they were barely giving 12v. So back on the charger for 1/2 hour (couldn’t push the car up the slope into the garage).
After 1/2 hour charging, try again and it started. So back into the garage and a new issue to resolve.
At the next chance I had I started looking at the batteries and the charging circuit.
Batteries seemed OK, just flat. They are less than 2 years old, and although they are a pair of 6v units they should have lasted longer than that. So that left the charging circuit.
I didn’t think that the dynamo should be causing the problem either, it was replaced when the car was put back on the road.
That left the wiring and the voltage regulator. So I checked the voltage across the battery with the engine running. It appeared that it was struggling to get above 13v at 2000 rpm. This seemed low as people I’d asked on the forums seemed to think it should be closer to 14v. I did find instructions on checking and adjusting the regulator, but I wasn’t sure that I had the right tools and I was also slightly concerned about damaging the dynamo. The instructions said that you should measure the voltage at the dynamo with the engine running, but not exceed 20v (which could happen at around 1000 rpm) This seemed a bit risky as the car idles at over 1000 rpm!
I decided to take a punt and get a new voltage regulator as it was fairly cheap.
Switched it out, cleaned up the battery connections and charged the batteries on the bench – boy the battery clamps are hard to get back – especially getting the little hooks in the holes!
Put it all back together and fired her up. 14v+ at 2000 rpm, much better. Took her for a 45 minute run and all seems well for now.
I’ve taken the cover off the old regulator and it looks like the contacts are well and truly carboned up. I might try cleaning it up – and I’ll add some photos to this post later as well.
At last back to the story to date, sorry for the delay.
We’d left it last time at the stage where I’d replaced the radiator and water pump as well as flushing the system and repainting the fan.
So what next?
Well initially everything was fine, the car was running well.
Then it started to play up again, initially proving difficult to start, until one day it started back firing, stopped and wouldn’t start again. After being taken home on a breakdown lorry, the next task was to identify the problem.
Following the purchase of some inline spark testers and a multimeter, and much checking of voltages, my initial thought was a faulty coil. So order a new coil and replace – still no joy. No spark at the plugs at all.
After some hunting on-line and asking questions on the MGOC forum, decided to check the spark with the top of the distributor cap off. Lots of sparks but they were very messy – so next to be changed was the condenser. After changing the condenser, better sparks with the distributor cap off, but still nothing at the plugs. So final option, the rotor arm.
Changed the rotor arm for a new RED one and bingo, we have sparks to the plugs and everything is working again.
For those interested, the original BLACK rotor arm was suspect – these have a habit of developing a short, which is probably what happened here. If you are going to replace the rotor arm, always go for the new RED ones which have the brass part molded into the body avoiding the rivet which causes the short-circuit, thanks to Distributor Doctor for the explanation.
Since the Bromley Pageant was fast approaching and I wanted to take the car to its first show, the next task was to install the new hood to replace the torn original.
As can be seen in the first photo, not only was the original hood torn, but it wouldn’t reach the windscreen when opened up. It had shrunk during the 35 years in storage and so could no longer be closed.
After considering our options (colour, material – vinyl, mohair etc.) we decided to get a new black vinyl hood. We did look at grey as an option, but the standard grey available seemed to be too light compared to the original colour. We plumped for a hood from Prestige Auto Trim.
After taking lots of photos whilst we took the old one apart, fitting the new one wasn’t too difficult, although getting it tight enough and fitting the screws to hold the header rail on took some effort. We had to finish it in time to get to the Bromley Pageant 2012, so we didn’t quite complete everything, and the press studs still need to be completed. In fact we’ve decided we didn’t quite get it tight enough and so will adjust that before finishing it off completely. Having said that it doesn’t look too bad as the photos from the Pageant show.
The hood is the early grey folding frame arrangement, which was an option when the car was supplied. I’ve been told that it’s easy to catch your fingers in this hood mechanism and I can see that this is possible. Having said that now we’ve put it up and down a few times, we’re getting quite good and can, with care, get the hood right down into the space behind the seats. This is great as it means we can use the hood cover for top down driving and the car looks really good. I do need to look at the mechanism again at some point as it is a bit stiff and doesn’t fold evenly, but for now it’s fine.
I’ll try to do the next update again soon. I’m hoping to get the car out and about this coming Bank Holiday weekend – might take some pictures for here with the new hood up and down!