It's been a few months since I tickled the keys of my computer and I can't think of a better way to get the kinks out of my knuckles then to tell the first BCCCB story of 2013. Don't let this picture of the comfortable surroundings of Alfred and Donna's lovely home fool you, this was a hands on tech session in their garage. We'll get back to this lovely setting a little later on in our story but first lets get into what we are here for, some repairs and perhaps learn a little something about these great little British Cars.
Ben Eion is the place to be today folks, not on the ski hill but inside Alfred's nice and large, warm garage. To make sure members would find the Dinaut residence in this beautiful part of Cape Breton, Donnie Peters and I set up our British Flag at the foot of their driveway on the number 4 highway. In an email, I mentioned turn off at the British Flag along the number 4 and Joe Renzi said he would have never found the place if it wasn't for the flag. I love when a plan works out. Alfred even had his British flag on the side of the garage. So... Just follow the flags to yet another great BCCCB Event.
Time to get set up. Above we had Brian McKeigan and Donnie Peters. Brian, the BCCCB electrical engineer, and yes a very busy member of this club, is seen carrying a brand new steering rack for display purposes. Next Donnie with a large and effective heater, man that thing can throw the heat. Anyway, we have a little task for Brian today, today he is going to show us how to install a great safety feature... Day Time Running lights.
OK, we have the steering rack and a transmission. Why a transmission you ask? Well, there is a annoying rattle in the gear shift of Donna's great looking B, so I thought rather the having everyone's head stuck inside a B trying to see what's going on beyond the shift handle, I though a spare tranny set up on a stand would give everyone a better view. Next, the nasty rear-end that we took out of Donna's B, stripped to show the simplicity and yet complicated workings and what can go wrong if one doesn't watch the gear oil of a rear-end. The damage to this rear-end was done before Alfred and Donna bought this car but it was only last summer when I drove the car that the the noise was detected.
Alright! The stage is set. What a nice large tidy and well lit garage. A perfect spot for a tech session. Doesn't the B look comfy in it's winters nest. What's this off to the side? Could it be a snack table?... IT IS! ... IT IS! Calm yourself big guy.. remember your on a diet. I did grab a blueberry muffin and a coffee when no one was looking.
What a lovely country setting here. The Dinaut's long stately driveway was lined with SNOW! Higher then Joe's Beetle snow. Who's the lady in red walking towards the house? IT'S DONNA! Donna was out enjoying this beautiful day on the ski slopes just across the street. What great area to live.
Back in the garage. Brian does a quick inspection and minor adjustment to the Bs fuse box in preparation on the Day Time Running lights install. Meanwhile Donnie took the shifter out of it's resting place. A very simple extraction that anyone can do if they think that their shifter is a little loose, for an inspection.
Time for me to take the reigns and show how the shift mechanism works and the simple components of the shifter. Much easier to see on a stand then in the car.
Above is the components that make the shifter feel tight in the gearbox remote. First the fibre bushing on the end of the shifter. Again this is a 30 + year old part and can very easily be destroyed.. This very bushing was missing on my car but here on Donna's... It looks fine. Next the springs on the bolts of the retaining plate. These are thin metal and are prone to rust and I was surprised to see them in fine shape. Alfred had purchased new bolts and springs so we will be swapping them out. Next the anti-rattle spring and sleeve. This could be the culprit. Alfred had a new one on hand so we swapped that out as well.
There is a small hole hidden in the side of the shifter seat where the anti-rattle spring goes. The second pic is that of the new anti-rattle spring seated in place.
My oversized fingers played havoc on trying to get the new bolts set into place in the retaining plate so I called on Don for help. Don got the stubborn bolts in and was tightening them up when he said "how tight" SNAP! The new bolts were of a very soft quality and under the slightest tension, they snapped. I ran a drill bit through the busted bolt and it turned right out of the hole. A quick tap and the old harder bolts with the new springs were set into place.
Next we discussed the steering rack. We talked about the boots, the lubrication and the tie-rod ends. Once again these are 30 year old parts and when driving an antique, the maintenance and your safety is your responsibility. Just for the record... On both my Bs, the tie-rods are replaced. I am not sure if I'll get thirty years out of the replacements but I'll keep an eye on them.
Quickly getting back to the inner workings of the rear-end. Bearings bearings and more bearings is all I see and these, believe it or not, are the weak link (after the seals) to this and all rear-ends. It doesn't take much heat to destroy them and in this rear-end, they are all worn out. Now it's easy to replace the bearings, anyone can do it but setting the pinion requires a bit of knowledge. The crush washer in the third photo is not reusable so for every attempt to set the pinion this will have to be replaced. Me... I would consider purchasing another rear-end. These units are pretty much bullet proof, so chances are your purchase will be a good one.
Day Time Running Lights............... You can turn on your lights every time you go for a drive and maybe you can forget to turn them off every time you park your car. That's something I would do. Or, you can buy a very inexpensive module and wire it in. You may need a wire connector and some shrink tube but that's about it, as it's just that simple.
Brian explained each of the 6 wires. One was for the emergency brake cut-off. We didn't use that one. Anyway, moments after Ferrari Joe make the final connection, the ignition was turned on and 30 seconds later the tights were on. I'll take two modules please. Thanks Brian.
I mentioned earlier in this story about the B looking comfortable in it's winters nest. Well look on the wall beside the car... That's right "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" and this particular poster is in British Racing Green.... Same color as Donna's car.. coincidence? .. I think not. Anyway the Tech Session is over and we kept calm and we carried on into Alfred and Donna's beautiful home. To tell the truth... The lovely Bonnie waved lemon loaf under our noses and we followed her as if she was the BCCCB Pied Piper.
OK... what's this? While we were toiling in the garage Donna was toiling in the kitchen. I know Donnie brought some snacks but this was totally unexpected. Turkey, pasta salad french bread, choice of soup, one of which was french onion soup. The aroma itself was to die for. Donna, thank you so much. OH! There was, as mentioned, the lemon loaf, muffins and coffee as well. What a great treat and what great hospitality.
Just look around, does this look like a happy lot or what.
I always said, "It's the best people who own British Cars." And once again, that statement stands true. Looks to me like a good time was had by all, heck I even had my cards read. That might not be for everyone but I like that stuff. Alfred and Donna certainly made us feel at home in their beautiful home and I, as well as all who attended this tech session certainly appreciated your warm hospitality. Well... you know how it goes. If your weren't there you missed it. Come along next time.
A big BCCCB thank you going out to Alfred and Donna