By John and Brenda Almonte
My wife and I have always wanted to own a classic sports car….actually, “another” classic sports car. When I met Brenda in the Fall of 1980 we used to drive around in a 1976 MGB that I had owned since 1977. We had our first date in that car in September of 1980 and enjoyed the car quite a bit. (Come to think of it, the car broke down on us late at night the very first time we went out together!) That car was purchased at an imports car dealer for $5151.00. That included tax. The car was purchased new and driven right out of the showroom floor. Our son used to ride with us by either sitting or laying down on the shelf behind the two seats. When our daughter came along in 1986 we needed to have a more family friendly car so we had to sell our MG. Anyway…..this narrative will be an attempt to chronicle our time, however long or short, with our TD. Maybe someday our kids, grandkids or great grandkids will enjoy this and have some idea of how we spent our time taking care of, traveling and enjoying our retirement toy.
As part of the “Say Yes To Education” initiative in the Syracuse City School District we were working at Nottingham High School two days a week in a study and support program for freshman and sophomores. Since we were now retired we had time to help these disadvantaged kids. On Tuesday November 21st the fire alarm went off at Nottingham and we all had to leave the building for a while. As we were standing outside I noticed a tan colored canvas bag on the ground with a MG logo on it. We asked who it belonged to and an older woman who we had been working with since September said it was hers. She went on to tell us that she and her husband had owned 5 very old MGs over the years and still had 2 she didn’t know what to do with. We got very excited because we had been checking the internet and the classifieds for years trying to find an old MG without any success. She told us the car was in pretty good shape but had been sitting for 4 years or so in her garage. She invited us over to look at it if we were interested. The next day we called her and told her we would definitely like to see the car on Friday November 25th, the day after Thanksgiving.
November 24, 2012 (Thanksgiving)
On Thanksgiving day we visited my wife’s parents in Morrisville, NY. Brenda’s father showed us a classified ad for a 2001 Audi TT Quattro convertible. We looked at a few pictures of the car online and it looked spectacular. We decided to look at that one also and made arrangements to see it on Friday before we looked at the MG.
Friday November 25, 2012
We drove out to a place near the Carousel Mall to see the Audi. It was amazing. Perfect inside and out. We drove it on Route 690 and it was very fast and handled really well. It was fun to drive. The only issue was it had 125,000 miles on it but it did run great and looked brand new. The owner was asking $8500.00 but we felt he would take less. We told him we were looking at another car and would get back to him. From there we drove to see the TD near Syracuse University. As we drove by her house we passed her driveway and we could see the car in the garage. It was beautiful. We looked at each other and said how nice it was. The owner came out to the garage and showed us the car. She told us that she and her husband took a trip called the “Lap Around the Rock” in New England with about 75 other cars like this in 2008. Her husband died on that trip and a few of her friends drove the car back to Syracuse and the car had been sitting in her garage since then. After looking the car over we realized it was worth more than what we wanted to spend. We told her that but she responded by saying she just wanted the car to have a good home…..like a puppy, and to just make her an offer. We had done some research and knew that top dollar for these cars in decent shape was $25000 or better at the high end and about $6000 at the low end. I told her what we had planned to spend. Without hesitating she said that would be fine. We told her we would think it over. We talked about the Audi and the MG afterward and decided we always wanted a classic British sports car.
Saturday November 26, 2012
We called the owner and told her we would buy the car. I went over to her house and gave her a check for a down payment and also took some pictures of the car. Since the worst months of central New York winter was coming there was no hurry to get the car home. She said we could leave it there as long as we wanted. Over the next few months we located the original MG T Series shop manuals, restoration manuals, and we did a lot of research about the car. We had no idea if the car would run. The owner said it was running but not very well when they brought it back from the New England trip. We had no idea how many miles were on the car. There was no battery, no ignition wires, no plugs and the fluid levels were all down. We bought some tools we needed to work on the car and a few other TD odds and ends including a gear shift knob and MG key fobs.
Tuesday February 2, 2012
We gave the owner the balance for the car. We also checked on classic car insurance found it was relatively inexpensive, and purchased that right away.
Wednesday February 8, 2012
We called a classic/antique car towing service to make arrangements to have the car picked up an brought home. I also made a trip to the auto parts stores to pick up the correct engine oil, filters, transmission fluid, antifreeze, spark plugs, lead additive, and some cleaning supplies as recommended in the MG T series shop manuals.
Friday February 10, 2012
Today is the day the car will be brought to our house. I went to the owner’s house and met the towing service. We pushed the car into the street and the tow driver carefully winched the car onto a flatbed. After a 20 minute drive the MG was in our driveway and pushed into our garage. I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning off the dust and dirt off the car, inspecting the engine compartment and putting a protective coat of wax on the body and the chrome. We pushed the car into the driveway and took some pictures of each other in the car and sent them to our family and friends.
We continued cleaning the car inside and out and evaluating what we may need to be done to get it running. Although the car is very presentable there are more blemishes and flaws in the paint then we had noticed in the previous owner’s garage. It still looks great, though. We’ll make a decision on painting the car much later.
Wednesday February 22, 2012
My father-in-law came up to spend the afternoon helping out with the car. He was a mechanic and auto body guy most of his working life and should be a big help to us. One really good thing about his knowledge and experience is that he never worked much with the newer cars with all the added electronics and newer technologies. He is really on top of the older cars without electronic ignition and with simpler engines and carburetors. When he first saw the car he loved it. He was excited about trying to get it running. I had previously installed a new battery as we planned on trying to start the car. We first dismantled and removed the entire bonnet so we could work on both sides of the engine more easily. I gapped and installed new plugs after oiling the plug chambers. We turned the starting crank to check for compression and we found that that #1 cylinder had no compression. Dad thought it might be a stuck valve but was reluctant to remove the valve cover as the valve cover gasket might very well be in poor condition. I decided to try to remove the valve cover anyway. We unscrewed the valve cover thumb nuts and gently tapped the valve cover with a rubber mallet. The cover easily came off with the gasket intact. While inspecting the valves we sprayed penetrating oil on all moving parts and noticed that the #1 cylinder was definitely stuck. We took a long heavy duty flathead screwdriver and used it as a lever to pry the valve upward as we tapped the top of the valve with a tack hammer. It finally did pop up and when we checked again for compression we had plenty. We then tried to start the car but it just wouldn’t fire. It did not seem to be getting any fuel. The good news was that we had all lights working along with the horn.
Friday March 2, 2012
Our mechanic and friend came by the house on Friday to check out the car and to take a quick look at what may be wrong. We tested the fuel pump and found it was not pumping any fuel. I ordered a new one this afternoon from Moss Motors in California and it should be here in a few days.
Wednesday March 7, 2012
I installed the new fuel pump today. After checking all the fuel line connections we turned the key and heard the pump clicking and delivering fuel to the carbs. When we pulled the starter knob the car still would not start. We also noticed fuel spitting out of the top of both float chambers. This is not a good sign at all. Later on we posted a question on the MG forum to find out why this was happening. We found out that the float bowls in the chambers were probably stuck in the down position due to the car sitting for so long. We’re off to the Big East basketball tourney in New York City tomorrow so we’ll have to put this problem off for a few days, at least. The weather is starting to get nice. We’re anxious to get the car running.
Monday March 12, 2012
We need to figure out how to get the float unstuck from the bottom of the float chamber. While in New York we looked through the MG workshop manuals and tried to get an idea as to how to do it. We saw a detailed picture of the float assembly in the workshop manual. We also took a picture of the entire assembly before taking it apart in case we needed it later to reassemble the parts. The disassembly went well. It was actually fairly simple. After taking it apart we could see the float was definitely stuck in the bottom of the chamber. We used a bent paper clip to manually lift the float and to get it to move freely. The old gasoline had gelled which had caused the float to stick. We cleaned all the moving and non-moving parts and reassembled the float chambers with the float now working. We then removed the other float and did the same thing. We reconnected the fuel lines and tried to start the car again. No luck, again. This was a huge disappointment. We thought this would do it.
We found out through the MG forums that the carbs most likely needed cleaning and service. I decided to dismantle the carbs and clean them thoroughly. We looked through the workshop manuals to get an idea of what to do and what the parts looked like. This wasn’t as bad a we thought, either. Both carbs came off easily and we marked and labeled each piece on the workbench while working on them so we didn’t mix any parts. We also took off the air cleaner assembly. We cleaned the carb pistons, needles and seats, throttle plates and linkages with carb and choke cleaner and some fresh gasoline. This took about 4 hours. There were carburetor parts all over the garage. It was a bit scary. With everything back together we tried starting the car again. It sounded better but it still wouldn’t start. We decided to go back the forums, the workshop manual, and my father-in-law.
Monday March 19, 2012
We got back from Minnesota today but on the plane ride home we looked through the workshop manuals to see if there was any information as to why the car wouldn’t start. We didn’t get much information about that. When we got home there were two packages waiting for us from Moss Motors. We ordered new brass screws for the carb housings and new gaskets for the float bowls. When removing the fuel lines from the floats we accidentally found small screens in the fuel lines that act as fuel filters. We cleaned those and put the lines back together. We also freed up the choke assembly that had been stuck since we brought the car home. This sticking was preventing the jet tubes from dropping down from the carbs. My daughter helped to try to start the car while I choked the engine. Still not starting.
Wednesday March 21, 2012
All the MG forum posts are telling us that the problem is most likely in the ignition system. We ordered a new distributor cap, rotor, ignition wires, points and condenser. Although we have no idea as to how some of these parts are installed we thought we’d give it a try. We couldn’t be worse off than we are now!
Sunday March 25, 2012
Our brother in law came over to day to see if he could help us. He was great. We checked all electrical connections, cleaned the distributor and rotor, checked the coil for spark and each ignition wire for spark. We re-gapped the ignition points, too. Still no start. The new ignition parts are arriving tomorrow. Maybe that will help.
Monday March 26, 2012
Overnight we received 6 different posts on the MG forum about the no start problem. All of them mentioned that the timing sequence needed to be checked and the ignition timing was probably off. The new ignition parts arrived this afternoon and I assembled the new distributor plate with new points, condenser and mounting screws. We also replaced the cap, rotor and wires. We had to build the wires from scratch as the original style wires in the car actually screw in to the cap and not plug in as they do in later cars. It was very time consuming to do this. We worked on getting the wires and distributor plate assembled for most of the day. It’s a good thing we’re retired. There is no way we could have spent this much time on the car if we were working.
Tuesday March 27, 2012
This afternoon I took all the parts assembled from the day before and installed them in the car. They all went in fairly easily but it did take a lot of time. To check the compression to find top dead center for the timing, we removed spark plug #1 and my wife (reluctantly!) held her finger over the plug chamber as I hand-cranked the engine. Once we found top dead center we could now install the ignition wires in the correct 1,3,4,2 firing sequence. Once everything was connected we re-connected the air cleaner assembly. We were sure it was going to start but it didn’t. We then took everything apart again and started all over from the beginning thinking we may have missed something. Our brother-in-law came over again and he helped us check everything to see if all was back in order. We turned the key and pullled the starter knob and the car actually started. It was amazing. I called my father-in-law to let him hear that we finally got it started. I drove it around the block to see if the transmission worked and if we had brakes. We did have both. It started to run a little rough as it drove into the garage. I then set the ignition timing with an old timing light and it ran a little better. We finally made some progress. When my wife came home from painting class we tried to go for a quick ride up our street. We went up and back but almost didn’t make it back to our garage. Over the next few weeks we kept tinkering with timing, plug gaps and fuel. The car starts ok but will not run well for any amount of time.
Wednesday April 11, 2012
My father-in-law father and brother-in-law came over today to help get the car running better. We did make a little more progress. We did have it running well and sounding a lot better for a short time but after a while it would die out and almost stall completely. We checked for bad connections and leaks and bad ignition wires but couldn’t find anything. We tried everything we knew to try so we decided to call our mechanic friend to see what he could do.
Thursday April 12, 2012
We called AAA and they came by to pick up the car and tow it to our friend’s shop in Bridgeport. We knew e was vey busy so he allowed us to store the car in one of the least used bays in his garage. We told him to take his time with the car. It was only April so we were in no real hurry.
Monday April 16, 2012
Our mechanic called today and told us he found a faulty jet in one of the carbs. He’s ordering the parts from Moss Motors. He said he had the car running great for a while. He also said there were a few dried out gaskets that needed to be replaced, as well.
Monday April 23, 2012
He called again and sounded very frustrated. The car will run great for a few minutes and then just fade and lose power. He tried adjusting the carbs and the timing but nothing seems to help. He said he needs to get away from it for a few days, at least! He’s not real happy about this at all.
Tuesday May 1, 2012
We checked in with our mechanic and he still hadn’t solved the problem(s). He did a compression check and that showed good numbers. That’s really good news because it eliminates the possibility of a bad engine. He also said there is a small oil leak from the front main casing of the flywheel but we can take care of that down the road.
Saturday May 12, 2012
We went to visit the car in the shop to see how the car was doing and he told us the coil was bad and needed to be replaced. I changed out the coil and the car ran great but when I revved the engine the muffler just exploded! We think we can get a new one to fit from Midas. He felt he could get the car back to us by the weekend. It seems like this project may end up being a lot more complicated than we had anticipated. We’ll stick with it, though. We did buy the car at a very reasonable cost so we don’t think we can lose any money…yet.
Saturday May 19, 2012
Our mechanic called and said the car was ready and we could come and pick it up. The bill was heavy! I drove it home from Bridgeport and it was so much fun. It ran beautifully and was very smooth. When we got it home we had to clean it up as it had been in the shop for about a month. After putting on the tonneau cover I drove it to my sister’s house and the car died going into her driveway. All day long the car kept dying and fouling plugs. We would change the plugs and it run for a while then quit. We were able to limp the car back home.
Sunday May 20, 2012
After church we worked on the car all day long. The plugs keep fouling indicating the mixture is too rich but the car also is backfiring really loud indicating the mixture is too lean. Very frustrating.
Monday May 21, 2012
I was able to speak to an MG mechanic in California today about the problem. We got his number from tech support at Moss Motors. He did give us some advice. He said the condenser might be bad so we put the old one back in to test it. We also tried to adjust the mixture again. During the day I also took apart both carbs and thoroughly cleaned each part again. After looking at the jet needle numbers through a magnifier we noticed the they were not the ones that were specified for the car so we ordered new ones from Moss. We put in another set of fresh plugs and ran the car around the neighborhood for a while. We’ll check the plugs tomorrow to see if they’re fouled.
Wednesday May 23, 2012
The new jet needles came by UPS today. I opened up the carbs again and removed the old jet needles and installed the new ones. We again changed out the plugs and adjusted the mixture. We fired it up and it sounded really good. After dinner we went out for a ride around some country roads. The car ran very well for about 20 minutes then began to act up as it has in the past. The plugs (3 & 4) were fouled again.
Thursday May 24, 2012
My wife’s friend and her husband came over for dinner tonight. They have an older MGB and he is very good with cars so we worked on the car for a while to see if we could find the problem. He noticed right away that the carb pistons were not working in sync with each other and they needed balancing. We got out the MG workshop manual and followed the instructions to balance the carbs but they kept falling out of sync. He gave me the name of a MG specialist in an outlying area of Syracuse who he thought could help.
Friday May 26, 2012
I went to a place between Cazenovia and Chittenango on East Lake Road to talk to the MG mechanic. After talking with him for a few minutes he thought he could help us and we made arrangements to bring the car to him the following week. Seems like a really nice guy.
Wednesday May 30, 2012
We called AAA again to have the car towed to the new shop. When we got there we saw some really beautiful old classic cars in and around his shop. There were old Porsches, Jaguars, ‘vettes and and old 1951 Buick Roadmaster. This mechanic and his partners there repair and restore classic cars. It looks and sounds like they know what they’re doing there.
Wednesday June 6, 2012
The mechanic called with more bad news today. He said the carbs were bad and needed to be rebuilt or replaced. He knew a guy in New Jersey who could do the job. I could get a set of rebuilt carbs for about $600 if I gave the guy my old ones so we decided to go ahead and do it.
Wednesday June 13, 2012
We went out to Cazenovia to pick up the car this morning. Our guy told us he thought the car was in great shape overall and said we should be fine. He did say the valve seats were worn and would have to be done eventually. The total repair cost for what he just did was steep but well worth it if it does the trick. I drove the car home and my wife followed behind. The car ran beautifully for the entire ride home but just as we came into the neighborhood we felt it skip just a little bit. It was no big deal but after inspecting the plugs again we decided to call the shop. He said he was sorry and would take care of it and asked us to drop it off in the morning. A few hours later he called and asked if he could come and pick it up. It was really bothering him that there still was an issue he missed. Within 20 minutes he was here and drove the car back to his garage.
Thursday June 14, 2012
Our mechanic called and said he almost didn’t make it back to his shop. He’s pretty much convinced it is a fuel delivery issue but is unsure as to what is making the car shut down after 20 minutes of running. He said he’ll take some time to figure it out but is sure he’ll solve the puzzle. He really is a great guy and a good mechanic. We’re glad we found him.
Friday June 15, 2012
He called and said he thinks he figured it out. The voltage regulator was not adjusted correctly which was causing the voltage in the system to spike. This was causing everything to heat up way beyond normal running conditions. We went over to pick up the car and as soon as we turned on the headlights the voltage regulator burned up and stopped working. We all had a good laugh about the lousy luck but it was no big deal. We can get a voltage regulator here in town. We had wanted to take our car the the Euro car show over the weekend but it just wasn’t going to happen. We should be able to get the car early next week.
Monday June 18, 2012
We picked up the car today and it ran great. It ran the best it ever has. We took the car out for a night time drive and stopped at a friend’s house to show them the car. They own 2 Corvettes and had asked us to stop by when we were out with the car. When we were about ready to leave their driveway a headlight blew out!! But, the car was still running well. We had a really nice drive.
Thursday July 5, 2012
After cleaning the plugs again today we made plans to go to a classic car show on Sylvan Beach. Just before we were ready to go we got a call from a friend and we changed our plans. They wanted us to go with them to a restaurant on Tuscarora Lake. At about 6:00 pm we headed out on back roads through Kirkville, Chittenango, and Perryville. We took some long hilly winding roads to get to the old Nelson Inn on Route 20 and met our friends in their MGB and followed them on Erieville Road to the restaurant. On the way there the car did skip and misfire some but after we got to the restaurant it stopped. We remembered that our mechanic lived on Tuscarora Lake so we called him to join us for a while. He did end up meeting us and had dinner with us, too. We had a great time. On the way home at about 10:30 we drove west on Route 20 through Cazenovia, Manlius into Fayetteville and down Green Lakes Road to home. It was a little chilly but another great ride. The car ran fine.
Saturday July 7, 2012
After posting another message on the MG forum about the skipping/misfire/loss of power issue someone made a suggestion to check for a leak from the manifold to the front exhaust pipe. Back in May, we had purchased a gasket to go between the manifold and the exhaust pipe because we knew there was a leak there. We decided to replace that today so see if that would help our problem. The old gasket was really bad and hard to remove. It took about 5 hours. The whole exhaust system had to be lowered in order to get the front pipe disconnected from the manifold. I had to jack up the car and put it up high on jack stands to get at the clamps holding the exhaust pipes together. Also, we had to take the overflow tubes off from the float bowls to make room to turn the wrench on the studs coming from the manifold. I lost a fiber washer that goes on the float chamber when taking off the overflow tubes. We ordered new ones from Moss and they should be here by Tuesday.
Wednesday July 11, 2012
The new washers for the float bowls arrived today. I installed them easily. We took the car out for a ride tonight and it was still skipping and misfiring. The car starts right up every time we get in it and this misfire issue happens after we’ve been driving for about 20-30 minutes at about 50 mph.
Saturday July 14, 2012
After visiting our daughter we drove out to Liverpool tonight for dinner and music. The car ran great until we got on the Parkway. On the way home the misfire got really bad and we felt we may not make it home. We did get home without getting stuck. It’s time to call our guy again!
Monday July 23, 2012
We drove the car out to the shop today. Before leaving the house I put a fresh set of spark plugs in the car just in case. The car ran as good as it ever had all the way through Chittenango. It was really strong. As soon as we got to Route 173 just outside of town the car began to misfire again. We got there ok but we were worried it wasn’t going to make it up the hill to the repair shop. We told him we were going to away for a few days and we would be in touch with him later in the week.
Thursday July 26, 2012
We had checked in on Wednesday and he said he was close but hadn’t quite nailed down the problem. He said he would call today and let us know. After returning from a few errands I saw our mechanic driving the TD down the road to drop off the car to our house! It was really quite a coincidence. He said he thought he solved the problem by re-aligning the distributor and adjusting the mixture to the rear carb. He didn’t charge us much at all. We had to force a check on him! We think he may feel sorry for us!
Friday July 27, 2012
During the afternoon I drove the car to check how the car was running. It seemed fine. At night we drove out to Borio’s on Oneida Lake again for dinner. The car was super. It seemed a lot stronger and very smooth. It was a really good ride out there and back. We hope this is the start of trouble free driving.
Tuesday July 31, 2012
We decided to go out on an adventure today and take the car on a longer drive to my wife’s parents in Morrisville. At a little before noon we drove out of the neighborhood toward Fayetteville then east on Salt Springs Road to North Eagle Village Road through Manlius. From there we went east on Route 92 to Route 20 through Cazenovia to Morrisville. Today was a very warm day that got near 90 degrees. The temperature gauge on the car got as high as it ever has when we were going uphill but leveled out on the flat highway and going downhill. For the very first time we got the car over 60 mph. It took us about 45 minutes to get there and the car performed beautifully. We stayed out there for a few hours. Before we left I took my father-in-law for a ride. He really loved it. We had a great ride home. We did notice the car was idling a little high but that’s an easy fix.
Thursday August 2, 2012
We have been a little concerned about the generator not charging the battery enough as the ammeter dips way to the left end of the gauge when the lights are on. I tried to pull the generator belt a little tighter today but noticed there was a bolt mission from the lower housing assembly of the generator. We didn’t have the right bolt to fit in there so I ordered one from Moss Motors. The car has been running fine so we guess it isn’t that big of a deal.
Friday August 3, 2012
I got under the hood to do a few routine inspections like checking the oil, plug wires, generator belt tension, etc. I went to Phil’s garage to have him show us how to adjust the voltage regulator. Phil took care of everything for us and again was helpful. The ran really well out and back. After dinner we headed downtown to Francesca’s to hear a band and have a beer or two. We weren’t really comfortable driving through the stop and go traffic in the city but we did manage to get there. We had to park the car on a busy corner near a sidewalk but it all worked out. We stayed for more than an hour there and left driving south through the city and then east. We had another great night time drive. We will have to increase the idle speed, though. We found that the generator light was flickering when we stopped at lights and stop signs at low rpms. That will be easy to do.
Saturday August 4, 2012
I worked on the car for quite a while today. We wanted to make sure the charging system was working as it should so getting that missing lower generator bolt in place was important. We took off the threaded upper bolt on the adjusting arm for the generator and loosened the tension on the drive belt to try to line up the hole on the lower part of the housing so we could fit in the new bolt. There wasn’t a lot of room to turn a wrench so we knew this was going to take a while. There is a grounded connection on the back side of the generator housing that was almost broken off. I replaced the metal connector so it would fit tighter before installing the new bolt and lock washers. Once we finished the generator bolts and adjusting the belt tension I increased the idle speed to about 1100 rpms. This looks like it keeps the generator light from flickering when idling. We put the battery charger on to see what percentage the battery was operating. We’ll then charge the battery to full capacity and then run the car with the lights on. After that we’ll look at the percentage again and see if it has dropped. If it dips too far there is still something wrong with the charging system. If that happens we’ll have to increase the voltage again or possibly replace the generator.
Sunday August 5, 2012
We went for a drive for ice cream tonight so we ran the car with the lights on all the way there and back. The ammeter held steady in the middle of the gauge and the car ran well. We’ll check the battery charge tomorrow.
Monday August 6, 2012
I looked at the ammeter information in the original owners manual for the car and found that it is not unusual for the ammeter to show a level 0 reading if the battery is fully charged. Normally, that is where it stays without the lights on. It is also normal for the ammeter warning light to glow a little when idling. So….it is possible there is not a problem with the charging system at all. The car starts right up and runs great. The ammeter only dips to the negative side of 0 when the lights are on but it has not impacted the battery yet. We are assuming we do not have to keep checking the battery charge and we’ll wait to see how this non-issue plays out over the next few weeks. We decided to go for broke today and take the car on a long excursion. My wife called it an adventure. Our in-laws invited us out to their camp on Hatch Lake for lunch. It was a cooler day than it had been and we were anxious to see if the cooler weather had any kind of an impact (either good or bad) on the running of the car. At about noon we left and headed through Fayetteville and out toward North and South Eagle Village Roads toward Oran. Then we rode east on Route 92 into Cazenovia and into Morrisville. From there, we traveled south and east through West Eaton and Eatonbrook to Hatch Lake. The whole trip there was about 40 miles or so. It took us about an hour. The car performed extremely well and we had a great time getting there. We stayed there from about 1:00 t0 4:30. For the ride home we thought it would be great to travel on some unfamiliar roads. From Hatch Lake we drove with the top down and the wind in our faces south on Route 26 and into the small village of Georgetown, NY. From there we took Route 80 north and west through Sheds, DeRuyter, and New Woodstock. The road was hilly with lots of nice curves that made the drive a lot of fun. The landscapes were gorgeous and on the tops of some of the hills you could see for miles. It was a very rural drive with lots of nice scenery all around us. We even saw some deer in a field far off in the west on Route 80. From Route 80 we picked up Route 13 north toward Cazenovia. Instead of going west on Route 92 we traveled along East Lake Road in Cazenovia. Along this road we saw some magnificent homes along the eastern shore of Cazenovia Lake. It was beautiful. From East Lake Road we went west on Route 173 into the hills of Manlius and then into Fayetteville and headed home on Green Lakes Road. Near the end of the drive we talked about how this was exactly the kind of drive we always dreamed of.
Tuesday August 7, 2012
We had been talking to each other during the summer about attending a meeting of the MG Club of Central New York. We signed up to be members on June 17th of this year at the Euro Car Show in Cazenovia but have not yet participated in any meetings or events. The club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at Barbagallo’s Restaurant so we thought we’d check it out tonight and see what it was all about. We got there a little bit late but found the banquet room where the meeting was being held. There were about 40-50 people there and we were greeted right away by the club president. She was very nice and made us feel very welcome and introduced us to a few other members. We sat with an airline pilot and his wife and two other owners of a Mercedes 450 and a couple of early 70’s MGBs. They all wanted to know what kind of car we had and were very excited to know we had a ’51 TD. The said they do not have many of these in the club. We had dinner and stayed through the very informal meeting. It was nice to learn that the club makes contributions to the Food Bank, Wanderer’s Rest and The Make-A-Wish Foundation. They reviewed upcoming events, went over some old business, had a 50-50 raffle and ended with a cake celebrating a couple’s 40th anniversary. We had a nice time and all the people were very friendly. When we left there many people were already in the parking lot hovering over our car. Everyone commented on how nice it was and congratulated(!) us on being the owners of such a rare car. They wanted to know the story behind how we got it and what we had to do to get it in such good condition. We were kept there for about a half hour answering questions. A really nice 1960 MGA had parked right next to us. Also in the parking lot were a few MGBs, a TR-6, a few MG Midgets, a Porsche, BMW and several other European cars. We drove home with the top down but it was quite chilly. We talked about how much we were going to miss these night time drives when late fall and then winter arrive.
Wednesday August 15, 2012
Today is our 31st wedding anniversary. We drove the car to a restaurant for dinner. We found it so ironic that on our very first date in September of 1980 we drove my 1976 MGB to the same restaurant. We had a great dinner and a great time and a great ride. What a great way to celebrate.
Thursday August 16, 2012
I got under the hood again today and was trying to adjust the voltage regulator again. The ammeter is still dipping way into the negative side when the lights are on so we thought we could increase the voltage just a little. I tried to adjust it. It didn’t turn out well. The voltage is still dropping with the lights on and now the ammeter stays slightly in the negative side during idling and without lights. We need to do a little more research to figure this one out.
Friday August 17, 2012
A few people on the MG forum suggested checking the generator. A low performing generator that’s not making enough electricity could be causing the drop in voltage. We asked around and it was suggested to us to remove the generator, open it up and change the brushes. We called Midtown Auto here in Syracuse and they did have the brushes. We’ll pick them up and then figure out how to take it apart and change the brushes.
Tuesday August 21, 2012
After thinking about the voltage thing again and reading some of the Lucas manuals on the topic we thought it might be worth our while to try to adjust the voltage regulator again. During the afternoon we loosened the lock nut on the regulator and turned down the adjusting screw to increase the voltage. We knew we were going to drive out to Borio’s on the lake again tonight so we could test to see if the adjustment worked. We had a nice but cool drive out to the lake and the ammeter held on the positive side while running at 2000 + rpm but dipped into the negative side when idling. We’re starting to think that may be normal.
Sunday August 26, 2012
I was planning to change out the brushes on the generator. After church today we headed east toward Perryville through Chittenango and then past Fenner on the way to Peterboro where our friends live. My friend and I were going to work on it together. Beautiful, clear warm day and lots of uncrowded back country open rads to drive on. We took some great pictures of the the giant windmills in Fenner as we flew past them with the top down. When going up hills the water temperature rose to about 85 degrees Celsius but on level road or going downhill it went down to about 70-75. The car is really performing well. When we got there I used a set of calipers and measured the wear on the brushes as we found there was no wear at all so we decided it would be a waste of time to change them. We then made one more slight adjustment on the voltage regulator and checked the ammeter. Everything seems fine. The ride home was a nice as the ride out there. Close to perfect, actually!
Thursday September 6, 2012
With not very many good summer days left, we thought it might be fun to stretch the car out on a long run today and go to a beach somewhere on Lake Ontario. We looked at a map and found that Fair Haven State Park was about 65 miles away and fairly easy to get to without having to drive on major highways. This would be our farthest adventure yet. We put a few chairs in the boot along with a blanket and a cooler and took off. We mapped out a route that took us out going north on Northern Blvd to pick up Route 31 west in Cicero. We drove along 31 past the Great Northern Mall all the way past Radisson and into Baldwinsville. Coming into Cicero we saw some dark storm clouds but we got into clear skies the further west we went. From B’ville we picked up Route 48 north into Fulton and from there linked up with Route 3 that took us through Hannibal and then to Route 104A to Sterling and down into Fair Haven State Park. The drive took about an hour and 15 minutes. The car ran really well. The oil pressure stayed up where it should be and the water temperature hovered between 70 and 80 degrees Celsius. Going up hills and in traffic the temp. would spike to 80-82 but once moving along on the road the temp. dropped back to 70-75. The ammeter stayed steady, too. The beach was beautiful. We laid in the sun, read, took a nice walk along the beach, ate and talked. It was a great day. At around 5:00 we packed up the car and headed home trying to retrace the route we used to get there. We got detoured and got stuck in traffic in Fulton but it wasn’t bad at all. We stopped at a roadside store just west of Baldwinsville for some ice cream and some gas. Coming down the homestretch on Northern Blvd. we saw some bolts of lightning in the distance in the direction we were heading but we never hit any weather at all and made it home at about 7:00. Great day. Great drive.
Monday September 10, 2012
We’ve been seeing the end of summer getting closer and closer. The days are a little cooler and the nights are MUCH cooler. We decided when we do get fair weather we’d better take the car out as there won’t be that many more opportunities. Today was a decent day and we had planned on taking dinner out to my in-laws in Morrisville. We decided to take the MG so we cleared out the boot behind the seats and packed the food we had made for dinner. It was a chilly ride out there. Although the temperature was in the upper 60s it felt a lot colder. We stayed there until early evening and because the temperature had dropped even more we put the top up for the first time all summer. We didn’t use any of the side curtains so the car was still fairly open. We both had jackets on but it was still pretty cold. We came home by way of East Lake Road in Cazenovia again. This route is becoming one of our favorites.
Saturday September 15, 2012
We thought it would be a good idea to get in, around and underneath the car today and do some routine maintenance. I pulled out the shop manuals, restoration manual, owner’s handbook and car diagrams and laid them out in the garage. The first task was to check the rear axle and differential. We removed the wooden cover from behind the seats and it exposed the rear axle and differential. The filler cap was in plain view and came off easily and we were able to top off with 90 weight gear oil. Although the car shifts smoothly and quietly, all the manuals suggest checking the fluid in the gearbox every 1000 miles or so. Forward of the shift lever there is a square path of carpet attached to the floor with velcro. Under that patch of carpet is a removable plate that exposes the filler reservoir for the gearbox and also a small dipstick to measure the amount of fluid. The dipstick showed that the fluid was quite low so we filled it to the proper level and replaced the carpet cover. Next we had to check the brake fluid. This was a nightmare. In order to get to the filler cap on the master cylinder, the carpet on the driver’s side floor needs to be pulled back. The only way to do this is to remove the driver’s seat. When removing the seat we found the bolts were rusted and they were very hard to remove. The master cylinder is located under the driver’s floor just behind the throttle pedal. Once we found that we removed the filler cap with a spark plug wrench and found the fluid was low. We topped it off, re-laid the carpet and re-installed the seat. Before putting the seat back I went to the hardware store and bought new nuts, bolts and washers for the seat. We sprayed some white silicone grease on them for easy removal the next time we need to do this. We also wanted to grease all the fittings underneath the car so we put the car up on ramps and jacked up the rear end to get underneath. I greased all the fittings using the original 1951 grease gun we had bought from Moss Motors. While under the car I found a steel ring that looked like a gasket. We have no idea where that came from! The car has always leaked a little oil leak so we decided to tighten all the bolts on the oil pan, gear box and motor to see if it would help. When turning a bolt on the gear box one of them sheared off. Trouble!!!! Half the bolt was still in the gear box. When we looked up the part we found out it was a “lock bolt for the cluster shaft”. We have no idea what that is and we have no idea if we can still drive the car, how to get the bolt out and what the function of that bolt is. I posted those questions on the MG forum and then ordered the bolt from Moss. When doing that research I found that the steel ring we found on the garage floor looked like a gasket found on the master cylinder. In order to find out for sure we had to remove the driver’s seat again, peel back the floor carpet, and remove the filler cap for the master cylinder. Luckily, we were right. The gasket was missing so we put it back on and put everything back together. This was an all day job today but it was worth it. Learned a lot!! We just hope that sheared bolt isn’t going to be a big issue.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Good news from the forum today. The bolt we sheared off should not be a problem. Since the bolt is still in the gearbox holding the cluster shaft in place, we should be ok. We’ll have a problem if we ever have to rebuild the gearbox but we can drive the car without worry now.
Friday September 21, 2012
We took the car out to Green Lakes today to shoot a video of us driving the car through the winding wooded roads through the park. My wife sat in the passenger seat and held the IPad camera to the windshield as we drove. The two videos we shot we great and we ended up posting them on the internet on YouTube.
Sunday September 23, 2012
It’s my wife’s birthday today and we took the car out to breakfast. We met our daughter at IHOP and had a nice time. Afterward we did a little shopping, got some gas and just drove around for a while. It was a little cool outside but we, as always, enjoyed the ride.
Saturday September 29, 2012
Despite being a little cold today we decided to take the car to the Regional Market this morning. Although we didn’t think the market would be very crowded it was very busy there and we had trouble finding a place to park. We got a lot of stares and thumbs up as we drove through the crowds on both the way in and when we left. We stayed about an hour and drove east on Court Street and into GM and Carrier Circle to get home. It was somewhat cold but not too bad. The car actually seems to like the cooler weather. It’s running very very well.
Thursday October 25, 2012
The last two days have been absolutely gorgeous. Temperatures have been in the mid 70s with lots of sun and very little breeze. We took the car out yesterday for a while just to run a few errands but didn’t didn’t have the time to really ride around for too long. Today we headed out going east on Kirkville Road toward Kirkville on our way to Poolsbrook to look for some Halloween pumpkins. We ended up at a roadside stand adjacent to a large farm. We dodged a few trucks, some mud and a few cows and loaded up the back of the car with some good sized pumpkins. On the way back we drove east on Route 290 and went into Green Lakes Park. Although a lot of the foliage is past the peak time there was still a lot of color in the trees everywhere we went. It really was a beautiful fall day. Later in the evening we went out for dinner after dark. It was still fairly warm and clear. We really enjoyed today’s rides. We’re really going to miss these rides when we have to put the car up for the winter.
Tuesday October 30, 2012
We’re helping out one of the elderly ladies on our Meals on Wheels route with closing down her condo in Erie Village. When we visited her today she took us through her home and showed us what she wanted done when she leaves for the winter. After we take her to the airport next week we’re going to go back to her house and close it down for her. Since she has a beautiful two car garage that is half empty we asked if she would lease us some space to store the MG for the winter. She said it would be no problem. We’ll look for any good days to drive the car again and take it over there sometime before the snow flies.
Tuesday November 6, 2012
We did a few things to the car today to get it ready for winter storage. We changed the oil and filter, re-greased all the zerk fittings on the chassis, wheels, driveshaft and universal joint. We also topped off the fluids in the gearbox, rear axle, master cylinder and radiator. Before we store it we also need to put some stabilizer in the gas tank along with a full tank of gas and disconnect the battery. We also are going to put some dryer sheets in the car and under the hood to keep any mice away! If we get to it, we may even put some leather conditioner on the seats.
Sunday November 11, 2012
We’ve sort of been putting off getting the car into storage. For some reason we had some hope that we might get just one more chance to drive it around even though it is well into November. Fortunately, the temperature today was going to get close to 70 degrees so we made plans to take her out for a while this afternoon. After going to church in the morning we came home and ran a few errands around town, went to lunch and took the long way home just to spend some time in the car for a while. We also filled the tank with gas. Even though the car had been sitting around awhile it really did run well. It was still warm enough at night to drive to the store again to pick up a few things. We noticed that the mileage written on the registration from this past March was 7485. We have no idea how many actual miles are on this car but this odometer reading of 7485 was where we started last Spring. The odometer now reads 9319 which means we put on 1834 miles over the Spring and Summer and Fall months. We’re going to drop the car off for storage early tomorrow. I think we’re really going to miss this.