Monday, May 11, 2020

Bringing Up The Rear - Part-2

PROJECT 51: Bringing up the rear: Part-2. Apparently, Brutus had replaced the wheel bearings when he had the rear axle apart, but he seems to have used a chisel to get them off the axle shafts, beating a furrow between the axle flange and the bearing spacer. I will replace the bearings (and fix the spacers), yet again, but I was able to use my much-more-civilized yard-sale bearing puller to get them off this time.
After getting the spring-packs off the axle, I noticed that the u-bolts had worn a groove into the axle tube. This is apparently so common that they sell a steel half-sleeve to fix it. After cleaning, the grooves were filled with high-compressive-strength epoxy filler, and the sleeves were clamped in place while it cured.
Unlike most other rear-wheel-drive cars from which the differential carrier-bearing unit can be removed while the axle is still in the car, the TD's axle must be fully removed, and broken in two to get at the internals. (Apparently, the "better idea" team that designed the front end didn't associate with the group who engineered the rear end.)
It required two chains, a length of 2x4, and a hydraulic jack to break the bond of the twenty square inches of gasket surface and the sealant that Brutus had used.
When I removed the pinion shaft from the carrier housing it was the very last part of the entire MG that could be taken apart. Something of a milestone! I can only put things back together from here.
The pinion oil seal was not leaking, but I would naturally replace it, anyway. It became obvious that Brutus had replaced it, as well, because there were gouges in the seal's press-fit bore where he had used a screwdriver and hammer to dig out the old one. Fortunately, they could be filed smooth.
I had previously disassembled the spring packs and wire-brushed the rust off of them, and now they were hung on a rack and painted with urethane rust-stop paint, as were both halves of the axle.
There are still a few more parts that need to be cleaned and painted, but for the most part, it's all assembly now!
Brutus method of bearing removal.

Grooves worn in axle tube.

Groove fix.

Breaking the seal of the axle-housing halves.

The last part that could be removed from the car!

Brutus method of seal removal.

Rear spring pack.

Rubber bushings from spring pack.

Rack-o-springs to be painted.

Painted spring leaves.

Painted axle tube halves.

Bringing Up The Rear - Part-1

PROJECT 51: Bringing up the rear: Part-1. The last major component that I needed to take apart on the car was the rear axle assembly. The first order of business was to remove the 1 1/4-inch nuts on the ends of the two axle halves so the brake drums could be removed.
(Let me mention here that when I finished off the engine I believed that I would begin to see less and less of Brutus' handiwork. I assumed (hoped!) that he had just rebuilt the engine and maybe done some maintenance here and there. Nope! His unmistakable fingerprints are embedded everywhere!)
My first "Brutus was here!" clue was that there were two different nuts on the ends of the axles, and one had the cotter pin while the other did not.
I think both Brutus and Washington state need to share the blame for how hard the nuts were to remove, but it became a team effort. First I tried a 1/2-inch-drive socket and 14-inch breaker bar. When that failed, I added a two-foot extension to the breaker. Eventually I had a FIVE-foot extension on the breaker, but at that point, the entire axle lifted off the floor and still the nuts would not budge. Enter new son-in-law Noah.
While Noah stood on the axle to hold it down, I leaned on the extension with virtually all of my weight. In the photo you can see him shielding his face against the very real possibility of the socket exploding. The bar was bending, but the nut refused to move. Next, I heated the nut with my propane torch, but still nothing. Finally, I hauled out the big guns and blasted the nut with my acetylene torch until it was almost glowing. That did the trick, but it still took a fair amount of effort on the five-foot bar to break the nut free.
With a wire brush and a triangular file I was able to clean up the axle threads, and I bought two new (matching!) nuts.
Rear axle assembly ready for disassembly.

Left nut.

Right nut.

Not enough torque with a breaker bar.

Still not enough torque with a five-foot extension.

The "big gun" acetylene torch.

Old and new nuts.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Reassembly is Nigh!

PROJECT 51: Reassembly is nigh! Last week I got the frame, the wheels, and assorted other parts back from media-blasting and powder-coat. Yesterday, I got all the body parts back from paint, and they look awesome!
Maaco is one of very few suppliers I've dealt with on this project that has delivered when they said they would. Brandon told me it would be "about three weeks," and he called me to come get the parts three weeks and one day later. The bodywork that they did is beautiful, and the color is exactly what I wanted. After the car is assembled, I'm going to bring it back to them and they are going to color-sand and buff the body as a whole.
Because I'm not quite ready to start putting body panels on the frame, I had to store all the parts somewhere where they wouldn't get damaged. Did you know that you can fit all the parts for an MG TD body in your living room? (That was actually my wife, Diane's, idea, not mine, bless her heart!)

Newly powder-coated frame  waiting
for parts to be attached.
Powder-coated wheels.

A TD in the living room.