Tech Tips: Fall 1999

I bought my 1980 MGB a year ago from a very honest guy who was open to showing me all the problems as well as the good points of the car. He informed me that all of the light bulbs had been tested and replaced, but the turn signals still didn’t work!

After buying the car, tinkering with a lots of things, and installing odds and ends, I noticed that the bulb on the hazard switch wasn’t working. Having worked with lot of these switches in the past, I decided to order a bulb for it.

After installing it, the turn signals started working again, even though the hazard flasher had worked without the bulb!

—Jeff Lulz (via e-mail)

When putting a new transmission and clutch in a Spridget for what seemed like the millionth time, I discovered a little trick which may help other owners.

Use of one of the eared inner fulcrum suspension washers (Moss #325-395) as a locking device for the flywheel. Put it on a bolt with the car facing away from the engine backplate, use a few washers as spacers and a convenient bolt hole on the rear engine plate, and you have a nice positive lock of the flywheel. Just flip it around to lock while lightening.

—Jeff Lemon (via e-mail)

(To make the installation of the engine and transmission even easier, try our Oberg tilt lift (Moss 386-730). This handy device allows easy adjustment of the angle of the engine/transmission through a full 90° arc and has a positive lock to prevent dipping. The mounting cleats are adjustable to any engine and its all-steel construction and small size make it perfect for tight work areas.—Ed.)

I drive my 1974 Triumph TR6 every day. Every two years or so, it’s a good idea to disassemble, inspect, and repack the front wheel bearings. The one aspect of this task with which I’ve always had trouble is the grease caps. To extract the caps requires the use of pliers or a hammer and punch, which deforms the caps way too much for my liking. I offer the following method as a way to make the grease caps much easier to extract from the car:

1. Take the grease caps off the wheel hubs. This is the last time you will be required to use the pliers or hammer/punch crude extraction method!

2. Drill out the center hole in each grease cap to 11/64″.

3. Secure an 8/32 nut to the inside of each grease cap by welding or using a compound such as JB Weld—and yes, there is still room for the grease cap to fit properly on the car after you have done this! Do, however, use care to ensure that the nut is attached securely. The last thing you want is for it to come loose and grind down between the cap and the stub axle while you’re motoring down the road!

4. Use a short piece of 11/2″ plastic plumbing pipe or a large socket (e.g., 1/2″ drive 32 mm socket) and tap the grease cap back onto the hub.

In the future, when it’s time to inspect and repack the front wheel bearings, it will be much easier to extract the caps. Simply use an 8/32 screw (I use an 8/32 one-inch-long Allen head screw) to thread through the grease cap hole into the nut. Keep turning the screw and it will act like a puller as it contacts the stub axle and your grease cap will be extracted in perfect condition.

—Dave Wood, Gainesville, Florida

I was lucky enough to find a very low-mileage replacement axle for my 1977 MGB. It seems that someone put the car on blocks and it stood for 15 years! After driving about 5,000 miles on the replacement axle, I checked the rear brake shoes and found well-greased brake linings! So, if your car has been sitting idle for many years, or you find oil residue when you inspect the rear brakes, you should change the oil seals, an operation which is simple and straightforward.

Lift one rear wheel until it is at least six inches higher then the opposite wheel. This keeps the oil from running out when the seal is removed. Do be sure to secure the car on jack stands! Remove the road wheel, brake drum, cotter pin, and castellated nut on axle shaft. Gently tap the end of axle shaft and pull the hub with the axle shaft collar off the axle shaft. Do not scratch the oil seal collar with tools used to remove the oil seal!

Use a fairly large screwdriver with a blunt point to tap on the old oil seal at a single point. Tap as close to halfway between the housing and the axle seal collar as possible. Continue tapping lightly until this side goes in about a 1/4″ and the opposite side pops out. Use a small screwdriver to case the seal out all the way around. With a lint-free rag, wipe clean the oil seal collar and the inside of the axle housing where the new oil seal will be installed. Also clean the backing plate with a wipe wetted with alcohol to avoid damaging the rubber parts on the wheel cylinder.

Lubricate the sealing surface of the new seal and the outside of the oil seal collar with light oil. Tape the axle shaft splines with masking tape to protect the oil seal, then slide the oil seal collar back onto the axle shaft and the axle shaft collar and start it into the housing. Use a piece of VC dowel at least six inches long to carefully tap the seal into place until it is flush with the housing. Remove the masking tape from the axle shaft and reassemble in reverse order to removal. While you are under the car, check the breather on the right side top of the rear axle housing by lifting the cover and making sure the vent holes aren’t blocked.

—Roger N. Tanner, Lompoc, CA

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