Slow Car Fast
July 18, 2010 - Progress!
Although it doesn't look like it. I pulled the engine and transmission out one more time. This will let me finish the sheetmetal work in the engine bay and elsewhere in the transmission tunnel. I'll also finish some welding on the frame and then paint everything.
Meanwhile, the transmission has to come off so I can change the lines to the slave cylinder. The sealed one-piece setup from the Camaro isn't going to work, so I'm going to do something similar to the setup used by Flyin' Miata. The MG master is the right size (lucky!) and so I just need to find the right banjo bolts.
Once the chassis is prepped and ready, I'll stuff the engine back inside for what will hopefully be the final time!
entry 355 - tags: assembly, clutch
August 29, 2010 - It's almost time to put the engine in.
But first, I need to get at the slave cylinder. See, the Camaro uses a sealed hydraulic system and I need to mate it to the MG (or a different) master cylinder. It's also hard to bleed the system with the transmission mounted in a small car, or at least that's the fear. So I used the same setup that Flyin' Miata uses in their V8 Miatas. It's a new braided line with a banjo fitting on the end and a second long hose with a cap on it, used for bleeding. Easy enough - but I had to split the engine and transmission to do it.
The T56 transmission is a heavy beast, about 140 lbs. So I used a pair of jacks to hold it level as I pulled it free from the engine. And here's the first surprise - a Spec clutch. Normally, the smart thing to do when you've got your engine and transmission cracked apart is to put in a new clutch, but this one felt pretty good in the Camaro. So it's going to stay.
I thought there had been a change in slave cylinder designs, so I had a new one of the latest design ready to pop in. Well, turns out this car had the same design. It may have dated from the installation of the Spec clutch (remember, this engine was rebuilt about 30,000 miles ago) but whatever the reason, I may not have needed that new slave. Oh well, in it goes.
With the two-jack technique, the transmission slipped right on to the engine smooth as silk. It's never that easy. Which means something must have gone wrong.
entry 372 - tags: transmission, clutch, slave, hydraulics
August 29, 2010 - Of course there was a problem.
After I had the transmission all tightened down, I picked up the old slave cylinder and turned it over - and discovered this spacer hiding underneath. It's laser-cut steel, definitely not stock. It was probably installed with the clutch. Since the Camaro worked, it's also probably required as the old and new slaves are the same part number. So I had to pull the transmission out again. At least I was just working with an engine sitting on the floor!
Naturally, I ran into other problems. I pulled the slave off, installed the spacer and went to bolt it up again. And stripped out a thread on the aluminum transmission casing. With the spacer in place, there was less thread engagement. I ran a tap down the hole and dug through my collection of fasteners until I found a bolt that was long enough to make up the difference of the spacer. That worked fine, so then it was just a matter of reassembly. Sheesh.
Let's hope this all works!
entry 373 - tags: transmission, hydraulics, clutch
September 7, 2010 - The new brake master cylinder is here.
I did some calculations a while back on brake master sizes, and the ideal (to match the Miata) ended up being 15/16". My plan to use the Miata booster fell through due to a critical lack of space. Well, I have the choice of the old 7/8" setup from the MG or a 1" Wilwood caliper. Since almost everyone prefers a hard pedal with a bit more effort to a softer one, I've decided to go with the Wilwood setup. This also means I don't have to mess around with British flares! I'm not going to bother with the brake plumbing yet, but since the master arrived I just had to bolt it in.
I also bled the clutch hydraulics, so I should theoretically have a functioning clutch. I don't have any way to tell for sure yet - I'll wait until Janel is around, then see if I can spin the driveshaft by hand when the clutch is depressed. Oh boy, I sure hope so. It feels good anyhow.
The power steering lines are also fully hooked up now. By this point, all the fluids in the car (other than the brakes) should be contained. So it's back to wiring...
entry 392 - tags: clutch, brakes, steering
September 13, 2010 - I was at a track day this past weekend, exercising the Targa Miata.
So no work done on the MG. And I'm going to Oklahoma for a track day this upcoming weekend, so no work will be done this week either. But I did take 5 minutes to do a quick check of the MG's clutch. Janel was involved in the driver's seat while I crawled under the car to slide the driveshaft into the end of the transmission. Then I crawled back out, jacked up the rear axle a bit for more clearance, and crawled back under to slide the driveshaft in place.
Poor Janel had to follow instructions like "put it in gear. Okay, now put it in neutral. Now put it in gear and press the clutch down". Meanwhile, I was trying to turn the driveshaft. Good news - with the car in gear and the clutch engaged, I could not spin the shaft. But with the clutch pedal down, it would spin freely. This means the clutch is disengaging fully. Janel did not seem as excited as I was.
entry 394 - tags: clutch