Tech Tips: Summer 1998

Here’s a time-saving and cheap idea that is sure to help out any British car owner when working in his/her garage. Simply save an egg carton and use it as a separator/part holder to hold small parts and keep them organized. There is no cheaper container with as many compartments! Also I use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean wax from the chrome strips and emblems on my car. Using a towel never got into all the grooves, but I’ve found an old toothbrush does the job just fine.

—Amanda Kurkowski, Plain Reld, Indiana. 

Can I offer a tip which might be useful to your readers relating to the task of removing and replacing the starter motor on a 1967 MGB?

After removing the oil filter, distributor, and loosening the engine mount on the right-hand side, I was confronted with the task of taking off the starter. The bottom securing bolt was okay, but the top bolt was a real problem.

It is located so close to the starter body that the use of a socket or ring spanner is impossible, leaving the use of an open-ended spanner as the only alternative. Unfortunately I discovered the previous owner of the car had a similar problem, and had burred over the bolt head with (apparently) the use of a sloppy-sized open-ended spanner. This made removal of the bolt a lengthy and frustrating job, to say the least!

When I replaced the starter I managed to obtain a replacement bolt which had a round head, but which had an Allen key recess in its head. Make sure you select a bolt that takes a robust key, and future problems in this area will be avoided.

—Barry Elsenhauer, Mermaid Beach, Australia.

A fairly recent technical tip published in Moss Motoring outlined a procedure for the front spring replacement on an MG. This was a good idea, but it doesn’t work for a Triumph because of the differences in parts. I’d like to suggest a modified version that works well for a TR, specifically for a TR4A, but I’m sure it applies to other TRs as well.

1. Lift front end of car and place on jackstands.

2. Remove both road wheels. (Springs should always be replaced in pairs.)

3. Loosen the two inner spring pan nuts on their studs until the bottom of the nuts are even with the bottom of their respective studs.

4. Place jack under spring pan so as to barely support the load, paying attention to its positioning, so that the other spring pan bolts can be removed.

5. Remove the bolt from the bottom trunnion assembly and swing vertical link out of the way.

6. Remove the four remaining outside nuts and bolts from the spring pan.

7. Lower jack.

8. Pry out spring and remove rubber washers.

9. Replace with new spring, and new spring rubber washers, top and bottom.

10. For reassembly, reverse procedure 6 through 1.

11. Repeat on opposite side.

I have found this method safe and requiring no special tools. I have recently replaced springs and shocks, front and rear, and can’t believe the difference. It feels like a new car!

—J. Clark Jones, MD, Everett, Washington. 

I always enjoy reading the technical tips in Moss Motoring as I undertake most of my own repairs on my 1952 TD and 1977 MGB. I read in your winter issue the tip on using Easy Off oven cleaner to clean aluminum brightwork, and I thought I would pass on another tip that might be of some interest to your readers.

Since we have all experienced problems with those wonderful Lucas electrical connectors in our cars, I think I have found a way to solve some problems. Purchase from your hardware store a product available to clean calcium lime and rust from your showers or sinks. Usually this is sold under the brand name CLR (Calcium Lime & Rust Cleaner). Place a small amount of CLR in a small cup, then carefully disconnect each electrical connector and soak it in the CLR for a few minutes, followed by a rinse in clean water and then wiped until dry. The connectors will come out looking new, with all traces of grease, add corrosion, and buildup gone, improving the connection. Coat the contact with a contact lubricant when the operation is completed to protect the connections. The above process can be done one connection at a time to eliminate possible rewiring problems since it cleans very fast. Handle the CLR with care, making sure none gets on painted surfaces or other components.

Another suggestion that has eliminated electrical problems for me is, after the cleaning process described above, to drill a small hole in the spade connectors of both the male and female ends if needed, especially those on the starter, and insert a small cotter pin through the connector. Some spade connectors come with a small hole already drilled in them. The cotter pin tips are then cut off to make certain they do not short across to other connections or grounding surfaces. It’s also a good idea to install a new insulation cup over each connector when this task has been carried out.

Once completed, you can rest assured that no mutter what road conditions you drive on, the connectors are tight and secure. I learned this trick by making numerous attempts to tighten the connectors by clamping them down with pliers, only to have them come loose again from movement of the wires on rough roads or by airflow over the wires. Thanks Moss for keeping our cars on the road, and keep those tech tips coming!

—Denny Eliman, Mahomet, Illinois.

(I seem to recall seeing MG and Austin-Healey works cars having their connectors secured in a similar manner, especially on the long Continental rallies.—Ed.)

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