Kenlowe 1,2,3

A red E-type

First order of business

Another Monday, another E-type.  This is the Jaguar that can be seen being unloaded in NYC in our old  Tri-Fold flyer.  A new one is in the works so the old one is now a collector’s item.

Debris from the fuel tank

Not so Nice

A subsequent inspection of the  tank filter revealed a fuel tank in a failing state, and upon consultation with the owner, we ordered-in and installed a new one.  It was a wrestling contest for a while, but Butch won.  As you might expect, we’ve already inspected the brake linings & cylinders, changed out the brake & clutch fluid, and shortly we’ll be running a wrench over the suspension.

TD dashboard

Reilly re-covers a TD dash

Reilly continues to reassemble the MG TD known as ‘Myron’.  It’s right behind him in this picture with a brown body tub and black fenders.

Because the dashboard was kinda’ shabby, Reilly pulled it apart and cleaned up & polished what he could, and based on what we had available it’s now a red vinyl dashboard, although there’s a possibility if might have been a black vinyl dashboard.  the limiting factor being that we didn’t have a big enough piece of black vinyl.  Seats & upholstery are going in today. Next week it might be running and then we can put it thru its paces.

Kenlowe fan installation

Kenlowe fan installed

As previously alluded to on this page, your scribe recently finshed up the installation of a Kenlowe fan kit in another series 1 E-type.  Although advertised as ‘direct fit’, it wasn’t.

In the picture on the right you can see the two mounting straps on the top of the radiator tank that Rodney at B&R’s Garage in Lebanon, N.H. installed for us when he serviced the radiator.  The fan is offset to the left for lower hose clearance as seen in a picture below.

another left side vierw

Where the old fan isn't

The NAPA top hose came with the car, but I took about 5/8′s of an inch off of each end to remove the kink in the middle. But maybe what’s most interesting in this picture is what isn’t there anymore, the bracket for the original fan because the Kenlowe fan wouldn’t slide in past it.

The four round dark spots underneath the header tank are what’s left of the spotwelds that secured the fan bracket.

Kenlowe fan casing & water pipe

Fan casing relieved for water pipe clearance

I left them to provide location should a subsequent owner ever want to reverse the procedure.  Offsetting the  fan to the left was critical.  As it was, I needed to use the die grinder to relieve the fan casing to clear the lower water pipe.  Less obvious here is that I also took an inch off the top of the lower hose.  This provided the 1/8th of an inch of clearance that relieves me, too.  Because I’m always mistrustful of electric fan switches, an override switch is also wired into the car now where the driver can operate it.

red E-type

Routine Maintenance, OR: How To Dress Up Your Service Bay


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Another Broken XPAG

Adjusting an E-type upper timing chain

E-type upper chain adjustment

While the radiator was out of the way, which provides superior access to the front of the engine, I took advantage of the opportunity to check the upper timing chain adjustment, which is set manually.  The owner had asked us to check it as there is auditory evidence of a chain rattle on the overrun.

Gear for eccentric adjuster

Adjustment gear

Because the adjustment was perfectly tight my money is on chain stretch.  The picture on the right is of the gear on the upper chain eccentric.  To adjust the chain you depress the plunger located at about eleven o’clock and turn your tool counter clockwise.

E-type radiator installed

Radiator in place with Kenlowe fan

As mentioned previously the ‘direct fit’ Kenlowe fan kit proved to be anything but.  There really was no provision at all for mounting it to the radiator so Rodney at B&R’s Garage fabricated a pair of mounting straps, and much to my chagrin it would not clear the mounting bracket for the old fan motor, so I took out my spotweld cutter and took the bracket off.  But all’s well that ends well. so wiring it up and replacing a couple of hoses are all that remains.

sign of severe heat on #4 con-rod throw

This doesn't look good, either

Another week, another broken XPAG.  For the second time in two weeks we’re poking around inside an MG TD engine searching for the cause of a failure.  In this event the physical symptom was a severe engine knock.

As seen here, #4 connecting rod throw has the waves of heat discoloration which are consistent with a significant bearing failure.

signs of a previous failure

Washers under #2 con-rod castle nuts

In the picture to the left, a close examination will reveal the presence of a pair of grade 8 SAE washers under the #2 connecting rod castle nuts.  When I pulled the bearing cap off the#4  con-rod, the bearing inserts, a +.050″ undersize,  were well and truly destroyed.

Although this might look like a riddle inside an enigma, the evidence suggests a previous catastrophic bearing failure on #2 rod journal.  In order to make chicken salad out of chicken scratch, the machinist undercut the con-rod enough to be able to machine it round again, but with so much material gone he needed to shim up castle nuts with washers in order to be able to install the cotter pins thru the castle nut slots.

broken # 4 exhaust valve

Last week's failure:#4 exhaust valve, broken thru the keeper groove and saved by an o-ring

The crankshaft must have been an awful mess too, to save it the crank guy cut the rod journals .050″ undersize.  Because of the huge weight differences rod to rod a balance job would have been a good idea, but none was in evidence.  However the fatal mistake was in not reconditioning the other connecting rods at the same time.  As we now know, #4 failed soon after.  What this means is a new crankshaft and probably a pair of connecting rods as well.

So here’s a picture of last week’s TD engine failure whereby the #4 exhaust valve broke thru the keeper groove and was saved from a nasty encounter with the on-rushing piston by the foolish o-ring that was the examplar of 1950′s upper cylinder oil control.

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Myron Rising

Reilly assembles an MG TD

Myron gets some new clothes

Back in the spring we made note of the fact that a formerly well known Port Washington area (Long Island) MG TD known as Myron was a going concern again.  Once running, we had to shelve the project while we waited on his fenders and running boards which were being painted a contrasting black, and once arrived, we were too deep in the weeds with other work to do anything about it.  However with the arrival of the summer help in the person of Reilly Clark we’re starting to make time on it.

separated brake lining

The source of a growling sound in the brake assembly

Your scribe was summoned to Dorset, Vermont recently to retrieve a Triumph TR3 which was emitting an awful growl from the rear axle on the right side.  I went out the driveway with the car on my road test and turned around and came right back in because I thought it might have been the rear wheel bearings signaling their demise.  Unlike MG’s & Austin Healeys, Triumph (& Jaguar) rear wheel bearings are not lubricated by the gear oil in the rear axle.

Rodney at B&R's Garage, Lebanon, N.H.

Rodney at B&R's Garage looks over a 'direct fit' E-type fan kit

They are instead packed with grease and protected against the infusion of the diff. lube by an oil seal, and therefore can suffer the consequences of 50 years of neglect.  A brake lining broken away from the shoe was the culprit.

Earlier this week we ordered in a Kenlowe fan kit to replace the two blade windmill in another series 1 E-type.  Despite assurances that it was a “direct fit” kit, it wasn’t.  After looking over the universal mounting system supplied with it I decided that what I really needed was a direct consultation with Rodney at B&R’s Garage, the best radiator man in the Northeast.

Dave's Starter & Alternator Service

After the Deluge

So I loaded up my MG and headed up to Lebanon, N.H. quite unaware that a severe thunderstorm was headed down.  As I crested a hill just south of White River Junction, Vermont I saw a veritable wall of water coming at me.  It is a fact that after 25 years MGB ownership I can put the top up in less than 30 seconds when well motivated.

It is also a fact that several years ago when Rodney first sent me to Dave’s Starter & Alternator Service, also of Lebanon, Dave had a rewound armature for an Austin Healey 3000 generator on the shelf.  All of our rotating electrical has gone there ever since.  Unfortunately for them the same storm that caused me to put my top up also brought their big tree down, so while-you-wait service was unavailable Wednesday afternoon at Dave’s.

1949 MG TC

For Sale: TC8600 Uprated engine with Laystall Head (by Us). Inquire

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June Becomes July

S1 E-type Jaguar

Monday morning 8:00 am

Every 50 years or so the three HD8 carburetors on a series one E-type need some attention.  We have previously paid attention to a somewhat precarious radius arm mounting  with good result, and having adjudged the car good to go, we returned it to the owner for whom the drivability immediately went south.

A green series 2 E-type

A series 2 recovered Saturday night

So back it came, and after a frazzling day of carburetion & ignition Butch has it about dialed back in.  We think.

In a somewhat uneven exchange I trailered out an MGB Saturday afternoon and returned with a series 2 E-type which is alleged to have an electrical draw which flattens the battery, although my armchair hypothesis is not enough use.  I put a new Interstate battery in it Saturday night to get it going and I’ve been monitoring & recording the voltage on a daily basis until we can get properly to work on it…

A TD with an apparent dropped exhaust valve.

This doesn't look good

…The owner of the TD complained of a sudden loss of power so we had Rods Towing & Repair of Putney drag it in.  First I checked the point gap, of which there was very little. and then I popped the carburetor float chamber covers off and the rear float was  nearly submerged, meaning the engine had been running  hopelessly rich.

But it was a compression test which ultimately told the tale:  the first three cylinders had respectable compression but the fourth one had none, as in zero.  This is a very lucky car (and owner) because the #4 exhaust valve broke across the keeper groove and somehow the o-ring used for oil control managed to prevent what was left from crashing thru the piston.  Note the valve spring closest to the battery.  More on this next week with pictures.

A knot of radio wires

Spaghetti Junction

Meanwhile Reilly has been sorting thru a TR6 from Branford, Connecticut.  Replacing the fuel pump has the car running much better now and changing out the non-functioning rear shock absorbers and replacing the differential mounts has really squared away the back of the car, although an improvement of almost equal magnitude was acheived by tightening up the 16 bolts on the half shaft universal joints as well as the rear bolts on the driveshaft.

In the interest of searching for a more pregressive clutch, at my direction Reilly hauled out the transmisison for a look around.  Not much was found, with the possible exception of this colorful rat’s nest of radio wires.  Why anyone needs a sound system in a sports car with that most melodious of engines, the in-line six cylinder, is beyond me.

2 MG TD's

Thursday afternoon at the TD exchange, we swap a red one for a brown one

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