Friday, June 1, 2018

[Sticky] Beck TD: Welcome to Classic Motorsports readers!

If you have found your way to this blog via the article in Classic Motorsports magazine about the Beck's Brewery MG TD, welcome to the Grant Street Garage! I was thrilled to have a full-page article printed in the November, 2017 issue of Classic Motorsports about my MG project. If you would like to read the whole story so far, start at this link, which will lead you through multiple blog posts:


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Beck TD, Part 16: Three Bushings (Better Brakes, Part 2)

This is the second of several posts about rebuilding Beck's brake system. In my last post (link) I noted that the Internet called replacing the pedal shaft bushings in the frame, "the worst job you will ever do on your T car".  I'm happy to say that I've now done it!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Beck TD, Part 15: Better Brakes, Part 1 of Several

When I blogged about my first drive of the Beck TD on this link, I wrote this: "The brakes right now are truly abysmal. I understand why former owner (and racer) Steve Fox told me that he sold the car because the brakes were so bad." Further investigation led me to understand that the wheel cylinder on the left front was seized, and the one on the right was leaking. After I freed the seized one, it started leaking too. Time to replace a bunch of stuff.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Moving the Furniture

Today's work: finishing up a multi-day project to clean up and rearrange, to make space for a big 1940's vintage Logan lathe that I'm buying from Phil Oles. Here's the new space, exactly the right size! There's even room for an additional cabinet or tool near the door.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Making a Round Thing Square

Well, actually, making a round thing rectangular. I had an idea for a way to mount hood straps on the Beck TD, but after making the first piece I decided to go a different direction. But the process of making one was instructive, and I thought someone might stumble upon this post and learn from my fumbling around. Here's the final result:

Friday, December 22, 2017

Beck TD, Part 14: A Slightly Less Suicidal Door

I've spent about 10 hours over the last three days correcting three separate problems with Beck's driver-side door, and have learned a ton about how it all works. I also learned why every web article I had read about adjusting those doors said it was a real pain! But I persevered, and had a lot of success. Here's the door after all the work:


I know it just looks like a door, but it's a lot better! Compare it with this, clipped from an older photo. You can see that the door didn't fit well at all, with an increasing gap from top to bottom.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Beck TD, Part 13: The Remote Shifter

Since Mark Harnitchek, the prior owner of the Beck TD, is an upright guy, he disclosed in our initial conversations that the shifter had a problem. It was difficult to find gears, and very balky. In addition, it was the "tractor style" shifter from the PV544 - hard to deal with.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Beck TD, Part 12: First Drive!

After several months of work, Beck TD has taken its first drive under my ownership! Cool!


There's even a brief video:

Friday, November 17, 2017

Beck TD, Part 11a: UPDATE on A Recalcitrant Brake

-In Part 11, I described a week's worth of work trying to discern why the reassembled brake drum was dragging on the driver's side. I included that post in a message to the Volvo-Engined MGs Group. I was surprised this morning by a 7:00 AM call from Cor Engelen, one of the group members who helped me get the car back home from Virginia. He had seen the post, and noticed this picture:


He said, "Those nuts should be on the back side! Those are special low profile bolts, and if you turn them around the hub will clear just fine."  Good to know!

I don't even feel bad about this, because I wasn't the one who made that mistake - the prior owner had already assembled the backing plates before the project stalled. In fact, I'm kind of glad it happened, because the Grant Street Garage gained a new press as part of the proceedings, and I learned a ton about using it, and about drum brakes in general.

So... both sides come back apart to fix that, and then we're really back on track!

Continue on to Part 12....

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Beck TD, Part 11: A Recalcitrant Brake

Way back at the beginning of this saga in Part 1, I told how we cobbled together the front suspension just enough to push the Beck TD onto a trailer for its trip home from Virginia. Ever since, that loosely assembled suspension, with no brake shoes in the drums and nuts just finger tight, has waited for its turn. And it finally came!

The first order of business was to take everything apart. That was just straightforward mechanic work, but the brake drums were a trial. It turns out that MG designed the hub that holds the wheel bearing as an integral part of the drum. The internet was full of stories about how hard it is to get apart. Back in the day, MG dealers had a special tool, but those are long gone. I wound up creating a wooden extension that bolts to the brake drum and allows a modern two-jaw puller to be used:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Beck TD, Part 10: Coupling the Steering

When I installed the steering rack using custom hardware in Part 8, I didn't mention that it wasn't quite done. There's a part called the "pinion shaft flange" that isn't included on the new rack, and in fact, is not available for purchase due to the difficulty of manufacturing it. The flange looks like this - it's the one I removed from the old rack:

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Beck TD, Part 9: It runs!

Well, when you have important news, start at the end: it runs! It runs! It runs!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Beck TD, Part 8: Getting Close!

In the last post, I described some custom nuts and washers for mounting the new steering rack and the front body pan. After posting, I did a bit of cleaning and painting, and started putting things back together. I quickly realized that I needed one more bit of lathe work to get the steering rack reinstalled - some heavy steel washers to use with the Grade 8 socket head cap screws I had chosen:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Beck TD, Part 7: Custom Stuff

Some days, you just don't feel like getting dirty. And some days, you just want to play with your home shop machinist stuff - the milling machine and lathe. I know you all have felt that from time to time.

Today was that day, and I had something specific in mind. In Part 6, I was grumbling about inaccessible nuts and bolts while digging my way down to the steering rack. I decided to do something about it.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Beck TD, Part 6: Digging Deeper

After getting the radiator modified in Part 5, you would think that I would have put it in right away and finally started the engine. However, I realized that if I did that, I would have to take it all apart again in order to install the brand new steering rack that prior owner Mark gave me. Far better to dig deeper and replace that before putting the cooling system back together.

To do that, you first must detach the rack from the frame, and that was the first trial. Those nuts and bolts were seriously inaccessible. In this photo, I drew a circle around the back bolt head. No room to move a wrench to get it from below, although I did need to keep a wrench on it to keep it from turning. I guess the British hadn't invented captured nuts in 1952.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Beck TD, Part 5: Rectifying the Radiator

In Part 2 of this saga, I left things in a bit of a mess, and then teased you with two subsequent posts that didn't even mention the problem. To remind you, after assembling the engine side of the cooling system and installing the radiator, I was left with a significant mismatch in the outlets, and a clearance problem between cooling fan and the lower radiator outlet. Here's that photo again:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Beck TD, Part 4: Fun With RPM Numbers

Cor Engelen and I have been having a conversation off-list about rear gear ratios. I know the stock TD ratio of 5.125 to 1 is too low (numerically high) for our powerful Volvo engines. Charlie Baldwin and Joe Lazenby solved the problem with overdrive transmissions, but Cor went with a 3.9 to 1 ratio out of an MGA. He reported that it works well.

I found a nicely priced used rear end on eBay today, and after showing the auction to Cor and conferring with the seller that the rear was complete, I bought it. Just one more project in a mountain of projects, but that's why I bought this car, after all.



Sunday, September 3, 2017

Beck TD, Part 3: History!

I have been doing some research on the Beck's Brewery TD, trying to figure out its history. While on vacation, I spent a lot of time on the web after returning to the hotel each night, trying to find something. I found no mention in the Internet record, but I did find an interesting link. I remembered that the car is wearing a sticker for the South Jersey region of the Sports Car Club of America, region 84.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Beck TD, Part 2: Taking Stock and Getting Started

I sure was excited after getting the Beck's Brewing MG TD (hereinafter called "Beck TD") into the Grant St. Garage in Part 1. The only small problem is that we left it pointing the wrong way! A couple of days later, John Zimmerman and Mark Forsha and I were having lunch, and I imposed on those guys to help me push the car back and forth to turn it around. Once done, I got it into the air:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Finger Treadle, Part 4

At the end of Part 3, I stated that I wanted to finish the Finger Treadle in time for a library demo on July 22nd. That's today, and I had it finished with time to spare! No more need to show you a photo from a magazine - here's mine, and I'm quite pleased at how it turned out:


I even made a brief video showing the treadle in action: