1 Jan 21 Don’t go braking my heart

I hope that I finish the brakes before I run out of song / TV titles I can use for a play on words. Following a seven mile walk this morning with the lovely Mrs T, this afternoon was dedicated to completing the brake job started a couple of days ago. My set up was a little different as I was keen to keep the garage door firmly shut against the very cold weather. Not that it was much warmer in the garage when I first entered the space, although wearing my overalls and with my hands around a warming cup of coffee, things were bearable. A couple of pieces of dark chocolate may have also helped…

So today’s job was to fit the new calipers, pads, clips and split pins. A relatively simple job you would have thought, but it did take a while. The calipers are of course incredibly heavy and holding these up while you slide the two bolts through is hard work for a pen-pusher like me. However, the pads, clips and split pins went in very nicely and the disc rotated well with no binding. The hardest part of the job today, was getting the flexible hose free from where it mates to the copper cable. For some reason, my Christmas-addled brain just couldn’t work out how to dissemble the simple connecting piece. I did eventually work it out, and came up with a technique (involving winding the caliper) to tighten up the flexible connection without twisting it. All a bit awkward, but I was pleased with how it all came together in the end. Sometimes you just have to think hard – coffee always helps. With the car in the garage, there wasn’t the usual rush to get the wheel back on and the car pushed back inside. So instead I did a job I’ve been pestered by my Dad about since I’ve had the car. I gave the wheel a quick rub down and then brush painted it in Hammerite satin black. I’ve no idea how this is going to turn out, but this is very much a quick smarten up pending selection of final wheels for the car, which is someway off. If I get a reasonable result, I’ll do the other wheels as I do the brakes so that I’ll have them all smartened up over time.

I enjoyed listening to Radio 4 as always, especially Gardeners Question Time, which is a favourite, although I have absolutely no interest in Gardening. Happy New Year to you all. Here’s to a better 2021.

29 Dec 20 Braking Bad

Having received a large and heavy parcel from MGB hive containing new brake discs and callipers I decided today to see if I could have a go at fitting them. First I needed to have the MG in the right place, so I fired it up and moved it halfway out of the garage. Having started it I thought I may as well check the condition of the spark plugs because the engine is not running quite right at the moment and I thought it might give me an indication as to the whether the mixutre is too rich or something. The spark plugs looked a bit black and although this could be due to a lot of the running of the engine being on choke, it pointed towards the mixture being too rich. As I have a spare set of plugs, I changed them anyway, fired up the engine and wound the mixture back to lean it off a bit. The tuning guide suggests that you enrichen the mixture until the revs pick up, then back half a turn and I could feel this point on both carbs, but I’m not convinced. As my Dad is 30 miles away and sheltering in Tier 3, I have ordered a Gunson colortune kit which is supposed to give a definative indication of mixture. Further updates on this when the kit arrives. I also noticed some steam rising up from around the bottom hose joint, so I think the jubilee clip needs to be tightened (when it cools!).

This plug looks dirty to me

Moving back to to the brakes, with the MG halfway out of the garage, I had a good working space on the garage carpet (an old rug). I jacked up the car on the cross member and stuck an axle stand under the front suspension. I removed the o/s wheel and put it to one side. I then removed the split pins and clips which keep the brake pads in place, and rattled them free. The pads turned out to be brand new items, so that was a rare bonus on this project. Next job to tackle was removal of the caliper. The caliper on this side is ‘new’ although that makes it around 8 years old by my reckoning, so for safety I had bought new calipers. I am a brake novice, so this was all new ground for me. I undid some likely looking bolts, which were very tight, but came off with a bit of penetrating fluid and leverage. This was a job for the big boy’s socket set with all the nut sizes at the larger end of the scale. The caliper came off easily enough, and I laid all the components out on a clean sheet of cardboard. The flexible pipe hose was a bit of a faff – I ended up removing the caliper and winding it round to unthread the hose – that can’t be right. Things were now getting serious as I now had to remove the wheel hub, something I have not done before – I took my time and removed one piece at a time, photographing the order and orientation of them with my iPhone as I went. Fortunately, the wheel bearings seemed in good shape rather than greasy shrapnel, so that was a positive. The assembly came apart relatively smoothly and I was able to ease the disc and hub off as a single unit. Lifting this heavy bit of kit off the spline then left me the job of undoing the four bolts that mate them together and this proved to be a bit fiddly, but do-able. As time was getting on, I simply bolted the new disc onto the hub, reassembled the bearing, popped the wheel back on and lowered the MG to the ground. At the next opportunity, I’ll fit the new caliper, and the old/new pads and that will be one side complete!

So more work to do here – I really need to remove the new disc and give the area behind a good clean. If I can find the motivation and time, I’ll do that. In the meantime, hope you are all okay and staying safe.