Tech Tips: Summer 1992

MGB Windshield Installation Tip
Joe Coffman
Cranbury, TX

I would like to pass on a tip that might save some time and effort for others, as it has me.

When replacing the windshield frame to the body on MGBs, the holes have to be in almost perfect alignment to install the four bolts that hold it in place. This is difficult (especially when the dash is in place) since it has to be done by feel. I have found this is made much easier by substituting the regular bolts with tapered bolts. The holes need only be aligned enough to start the bolt, which will then pull the frame into alignment as it is tightened. Suitable bolts are General Motors part number 3986997 or 14011722. These are easily found in wrecking yards holding the hood hinges to the fender of many GM cars of the 1970s.

Barbecued Ring Gear
David B. Williams
Newbury Park, CA

To replace a worn ring gear in your British sports car. fire up your backyard barbecue and invite a friend over.

Ingredients:

1 Fly wheel with old ring gear attached
1 New ring gear
1 Five pound sledge hammer
1 Steel chisel
1 Pair of vice grips
2 Wooden or steel blocks about 2 inches square and 1 inch thick
2 Cold beer

Before you start, take a close look at the old ring gear still attached to the fly wheel. Notice it is not the exactly the same on both sides. Now look at the new ring gear. Be sure you know which end goes against the fly wheel. You must put the new one on exactly the same as the old one. If you get it on backwards, your starter will chew it to pieces.

Place the fly wheel on a cement floor, ring gear side down. Place the two blocks under the fly wheel so they do not touch the ring gear. Now the ring gear is off the floor. Have your friend hold the chisel using the vice grips. (Saves fingers if you miss.) Next hit the chisel hard…the ring gear will move just a little away from the fly wheel. Keep moving around the fly wheel and soon the ring gear will fall off.

Now for the fun part. Put the new ring gear into the barbecue on the hot coals and wait live minutes. Use your vice grips to retrieve it. Now be sure you have the correct side up. Rip over the fly wheel and drop on the barbecued ring gear and presto…it should fall on the fly wheel. If not, pop it back into the barbecue for more heat.

The last step is most important, open the beers and enjoy the fact you have just saved yourself $40.00 by doing the job yourself.

This process was shown to me by Glen Hudson, a real old car master who is some eighty years young and drives a Model A daily in and around Thousand Oaks, California. We replaced the worn ring gear on my 1955 BN1 Healey.

This will work better if you drill two holes side by side, then use a chisel. When installing ring gear, put the flywheel in the freezer (iron contracts) and the heated ring gear will fall on! Also, an oven will heat a ring gear just as well at 450°.

Triumph Steering Rack Mount Conversion
David Eichelbaum
Moss Product Development

For years I’ve been intrigued with why Triumph used rubber steering rack mounts on the TR4-6. When I bought my TR250 to use as an every day car, I replaced these mounts, hoping to take out some of the slop in the steering. And, being a purist, I was adamant that if Triumph did it this way in the beginning, then it was good enough for me.

For months now, I’ve been driving along, wondering why when I turn the wheel, both front wheels seem to want to go in different directions. And, of course it doesn’t occur to me that it’s the steering mounts because “If Triumph did it that way…” You get the picture, right?

Anyway, this past Friday afternoon I happened to be walking through the area of the warehouse where all of the Moss kits are assembled, and noticed our solid mount steering conversion kits. I thought, OK, I’ll give it a try.

Nothing could be simpler than this kit: two alloy blocks with U-bolts mount the rack solidly to the frame to eliminate the “floating” design of the old system. It took me, maybe, fifteen minutes to remove the old brackets and mounts, and to install the replacement kit.

I jumped in the car for a quick drive around the block, and Eureka! A Triumph that goes where you steer it, when you steer it—every time! I was flabbergasted by what a difference this could make, so much so that I had to write something about it. If you’re tired of vague and wandering steering, then this is the answer.

This kit is available under our #667-288.

The Look of Chrome Where You Least Expect It
Ben Travato
Santa Barbara. CA

Want to add some flash to your engine compartment? Recently, while building a high performance MGB motor, I thought “what can I do to improve the appearance of my Killer Motor”?

Since I had already incorporated a Moss stainless steel header assembly in my modifications. I took it to a local metal refinisher and had the whole assembly professionally polished to a high shine. I now have the look of a chrome finish, but at a fraction of the cost of chrome plating, and since it is made of stainless steel, it will hold its shine and never rust!

Here’s Mud in Your Dust Valve
Bill Bussler
Muncy, PA

Have you ever heard the old joke about getting mud in your dust valve? Well, it can happen on any MGB!

If your floor mysteriously gets wet after a rain, or after a trip through the car wash and you can’t seem to locate the leak, it is probably due to the fact that the drain tube/dust valve (Moss #363-171, page 67 of the MGB catalog) is plugged.

The reason that this drain tube gets plugged is that the air intake grille at the base of the windshield has holes in it large enough to let in small critters, bugs of all sizes, leaves, dust or anything else that can get airborne. Mix these things with a little water and it quickly seals off the very small opening at the end of the tube. When this happens, the well at the base of the air intake will fill with water and overflow through the fresh air opening behind the center console, onto the transmission tunnel and down to the floors. All without you ever seeing it!

To clean out the obstructions you must remove the drain tube and clean it out. The clamp for this tube is loosened through an access hole just alt to the heater opening in the right-hand side footwell. You must also clean out the metal drain at the bottom of the air intake. There is no easy way to do this but the least painful method is to remove the defroster tubes from the base of the heater and run a wire up through the metal tube until it is cleaned out. You will have to remove the defroster tubes to replace the clamp on the drain tube anyway so don’t feel to bad about this: it beats removing the heater!

Note: If your car has never been restored or if you have had this leaking problem for some time, you should remove the heater and inspect the area beneath it for rust.

After you have cleaned everything and replaced all of the tubes you can then stop any more infiltration of unwanted matter by attaching a piece of door screen to the underside of the air intake grille. Paint it black before you put it in and it will look like it belongs there. If you use the original style blind speed nuts (Moss #326-665) reinstallation, even with the screen is a snap.

You may also want to remove the bulb at the end of the drain tube so that what goes in can get out. The opening from the factory is only a 1/16″ slit!

This may help save a few more MGBs from rotting away.

Sill Replacement
Jason Pinnow
Bonita Springs, FL

The fact of the matter is that almost 90% of the Sprites, Midgets, MGs, MGBs, and so on. are in desperate need of floor and sill replacement. Anyone with the desire can take a few classes at a local vocational school and learn to weld in a short time. With the rising costs at restoration and body shops, you can do the work yourself with a little practice and save money to use on another restoration! For about $200 – $250, a simple welding outfit can be purchased. However, most clubs use funds to buy equipment like this, so before you go out and buy your own, check out your local club and see what resources they already have.

At this stage, most of our cars have holes or rust developing in the floors and rocker panels. It’s very important with a unitized chassis that the bottom of the car is completely sound, because of the lack of support from lack of a roof. Over time, as the floor and sills deteriorate, you will notice the door gaps have changed and don’t close as easily as they did while new. This is evidence of a weak door and sills that need to be retired.

Moss supplied me with the high quality reproduction parts I needed. For most of us this is a hard part, so take your time and be sure to buy all the correct parts to replace anything that shows any sign of deterioration. Also, don’t overlook replacement of the door hinges and footwell panels. The most effective plan of action is to work on one side of the car at a time, removing and carefully replacing the required panels using the untouched side as a source of reference.

Continue by removing the old rocker panels and the cross-member. After cleaning up the rusty edges all around the base of the car. then and only then, can you install the new floor-pan. Oiler up the new floor into place and temporarily support it with live or six jack stands. Start by lining up the door edge against the rear bulk head: the front can be trimmed later. Tack weld the rear edge to t he bulkhead in front of the rear axle under the car. Before welding the front of the door-pan and footwell sides, the door gaps must be checked again and again. It is impossible to stress how important this step is.

Lightly tack weld or rivet replacement panels in place until everything is together make adjustments to align doors, etc. (you will make adjustments) and then scam weld together for strength. The best way to do this is to lay all the parts on a level surface and test lit them together. Start by tack welding the inner rocker panels to the outer panels. Measure carefully and line up the Jacking holes properly, then weld the cross-member to the floor, along with the footwell panels (if you plan on replacing them, too). After assembling the floor parts together, use a good rust preventative (We sell the best! A  2 1/2 liter kit of Finnigan’s Waxoyl is sold under #225-360 —Ed.) Inside the cross-member and rocker panels.

The process of removing old panels is, in some regards, even more important than their replacement. Take careful note of how it all fits together and duplicate that as accurately as possible. Be careful not to destroy pieces you will need to reweld. Patience here goes a very long way.

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