Monday, April 27, 2009

Brakes, and other things that break.

(Kitty Still Here)

2 weeks ago I got busy taking care of some of the basics on our LeMon MGB.

First up was replacement of the 30 year old brake hoses, with an upgrade to braided Stainless Steel brake lines. I have used these lines on several street MGBs now, and am a huge fan of the firmer pedal and positive braking feedback. I also really appreciate the extra safety margin over the original rubber hoses in case we run into debris.

All three lines were replaced, and the lines were flushed with new fluid.

Next up were new brake pads.

I chose factory style MGBGT-V8 pads, which have a 20 percent larger swept area, yet still fit in to the stock calipers. Again, this should improve brake pedal feel and allow even slightly longer periods between pad changes.

The rears will remain stock.

While I had the front end up in the air I heard something make a crunchy sound, and noticed things did not look normal. Upon close inspection I saw the passenger side front coil spring was broken and sitting at an angle. “Ah crap!” I thought. So I pulled the whole thing apart to see what the damage was.

Turns out, the spring had snapped off the last 2 coils. “Interesting” I said to no one in particular. What to do? Why, cut the other side to match of course! Old school lowering 101!

Rubber bumper MGBs suffered from being raised higher than the earlier cars due to federally mandated bumper height laws in the late 70’s. In addition to giving them a farm truck look, it also had a devastating effect on that handling the earlier cars were known for. A popular modification is to lower them back to chrome bumper levels and restore some dignity.

So back in went what was left of the broken coil, while the driver’s side got disassembled then surgically altered with my trusty Dremel tool to level it out. The end result was perfect, and the car finally looked a little less awkward.

Except now its butt was still up in the air.

(Gratuitous shot of Brownie, worlds Greatest crappy RV, skillfully blocking nearly all view of my private backyard Kentucky from the street)

So, not wanting the car to handle strangely, I relented on my self-imposed new parts ban (for other than safety) and picked up a set of lowering blocks for the rear. This set me back a hundred bucks that I will hopefully be able to pick back up by selling something else, keeping me under the 500 dollar limit.

I installed the lowering blocks and checked the static ride height. I was looking for the car to be ¾ inch higher in the rear as measured at the pinch weld under the rocker panel, and within ½ inch side to side with driver in car and the weight of half a tank of gas mimicked. I figured gas to be about 6.2lb per gal, and half a tank is aprox 5 gal, so I stuck 35 lbs of junk in the trunk and measured.

It was nearly perfect which indicates the corner weight loading is at least in the right ballpark. Wow, it almost sounds like I know what I'm doing! Such is not the case however...

And as we run over bumps and rusty parts begin to fall off, we may have to re-think our approach.

Chowderhead expresses concern...

Next: Another guy, Another motor

Previous: Progress on RACE car.

From The Beginning: The Hook... (Part 1)

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