Successful morning on the MG, principally because reliability engineer Mark kindly came along with his expertise and tools and removed the temperature gauge bolt which has been foxing me since I started the strip down. Mark first hit the rounded off bolt with a centre punch to shock load it as he explained that this is sometimes effective at releasing any bond in the threads caused by corrosion or any other reaction between the bolt and whatever it is threaded into. He then used a vintage ‘stilson’ wrench to grip the rounded head and he gave it a steady hard pull. Mark explained that the ‘stilson’ grips harder the more you push it. Anyway, to my amazement it started to turn although Mark was concerned that it might shear at any point. After a couple of very tight rotations, he switched to a smaller ‘stilson’ wrench so as not to exert excess force and continued until the bolt came undone. Mark commented that the person who had originally built the car had made sure it would not fall out!
Having unearthed the engine (from under its dust covers), it was logical to have a bit of a poke around, and I decided to remove the clutch which was a simple operation with only six bolts to remove, first marking the case and flywheel for re-assembly. First time I have removed a clutch and inspected one. To my eyes it looked to be well worn down, so a new clutch makes sense when it comes to the re-build.
I also took the opportunity to put a drop of oil down the bores through the spark plug holes and in removing the clutch, the engine effectively had a couple of turns and all seems to be moving relatively freely, so that it good. I removed the rocker cover just to have a look and could see the valves moving with as I turned the flywheel. All very exciting.
Another ones of those jobs that needed doing before the respray was the removal of the triangular trims which fill in the gap between rear lights and the rear bumper (see photos below). I used the drill to remove where these were rivetted, but of course two of the fixings bizarrely were screwed in, but they came out easily enough. In recent thinking around the bumper-less look, I had concluded that I would not fit the fibreglass rear valance which smooths off the rear as I think it actually looks better a bit ‘gappy’. When I have seen it done it looks a bit too like a jelly-mould. At present, you can see how the rear valance has been repaired and I quite like that as its authentic. Anyway, once resprayed I can look at the rear and re-consider.
After such a successful morning I reckoned I had earned a coffee!