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DC Townsend
David Townsend
(406 posts)

11/21/2007 12:22PM

Main British Car:
'78 B (almost done) 30-over SBF, dry sump

authors avatar
'79 B with Ford 302 Dry Sump- Part II
Posted by: DC Townsend
Date: March 15, 2011 12:29PM

Well, it appears I have exceeded the limits of what I'm allowed for thread length. So, on the Curtis's advice, I'm starting a second installment of the continuing saga..."How the MG Turns". If you're new to this thread, here's the link to Part I - [] and forward to Part III - []

3/14/11 - Just noticed I've started putting the year in post dates. Wow! Hope I don't see these turn to 2012.

Well, the "all that's left is to fab the grill screen" may have been a bit ambitious. After studying the images of the original race grills, I carefully marked the new perimeter on an early grill shell I picked up off e-Bay, then trimmed it to 3/4" all the the 'round. This grill was not in the best of shape and anyone out there who has ever hammered trim pieces back into shape can testify to how tedious and difficult it can be. It took me nearly an entire weekend to bang out the shell into an acceptable shape. Cutting the mesh to size was a snap. Next was to trim the badge plinth and file it to have a clean edge, make the small angled hold downs to keep the mesh in place, bend the attachment bars to connect the top of the grill to the radiator brace, the thigh bone's connected to the knee bone the knee bone's connected to the...two entire weekends later the best I could muster was a trial fit, which was close but still needed some banging and bending to get a good fit. After quite a bit of futzing around, I finally managed to get it all to go together properly and am rather pleased with the result. At first I was going to file down the hammer marks and send it out for re-chroming but, on examination of the originals, wow, were they beat. Mine looks pristine compared to the race grills I saw. So I left it "as is" in the interest of, uh, authenticity. Anyway, here 'tis...


Oh, yeah, I also found a few minutes to fabricate the new splash guards as the stocks don't even come close to filling the space with the new fenders. A bit of T6061, some paper patterns and a few test fits later, they're in.


That's it for this week's installment of "How the MG Turns". Once the new door jamb trim is finished, I'm moving on to the back end (blanking the reverse lights, gas filler opening), installing the new Aston gas cap and splash guard, then it's on to repairing the rockers, building new rear wheel wells, then permanently mounting the body panels. Piece of cake...

4/9 - Finally got around to fabricating and test fitting the door jamb trim. I didn't post pictures of the "how to" but it's pretty basic stuff - I made a paper template of the the area including all of the holes and openings, transferred it to some 3/4" plywood and cut two exact wood bucks. Then I sandwiched a piece of aluminum in between them and beat the edge over on the fender side, drilled the holes, cut the hinge openings and did a little trimming here and there for a good fit. Combined with the new inner splash guard I fabricated in the last round this area of the "B" should be relatively weather tight.


Here's the new front brake set-up, almost complete. I'm waiting on the caliper mounting adapter to come back from the machine shop. For those not following my brake post over in the drive train section of this site - '93 Toyota T-100 four-pot front calipers w/ceramic pads mated to Dodge Intrepid 11" x 1.25" vented rotors riding on '65 Mustang hubs (for drum brakes). The whole set-up (both sides) ran me about $400 including new hubs, new bearings, seals, ceramic pads, stainless lines, brake line adapters (need to go from the Toyota line outlet to -3AN lines), dust caps, machine work (minimal), etc. While this isn't the lightest brake package out there, it's an inexpensive upgrade to stock units and gives me five-lug wheels in the bargain. Should bring the sled to safe stop in short order. If I want to get fancy (less weight, more money), I can get Outlaw or Wilwood calipers to replace the T-100s and go to a simple hat/rotor set up from Speedway. Maybe after I have t his t hing on the road and am looking for something to do.


Last is the new dimmer switch. The end button on my turn stock will be for the horn function (due to the quick release) so I went the traditional route with the floor-mounted (or in this case, kick-panel mounted) dimmer. Simple, effective.


That's it for now. Next, it's on to glassing and filling the front valance plus a surprise piece that I hope to have done soon.

4/24 - Happy Easter everyone! I thought I'd celebrate by finishing up the valance including the 'surprise' I alluded to in my previous post—'authentic' orange paint in the vein of the how the factory finished a number of the race cars. This included painting it on the car so the screws and shoulder washers were painted, again, as per the originals. With the valance completed, you really get a sense of how much wider the car is than the original. Not as wide as Jim Stabe's 'B", but a good deal broader than it started out as. I'm getting really anxious to bolt the suspension back up and get it on the ground. For reference, here's a link to a few shots of one of Abington's last race cars—[]


Next, I'm on to the rocker repairs then mounting the front fenders for the final time (they'll be painted on the car). After that, I'm going to try and finish up the back end (including extending the rear wells and some other tidying up) while the body is at a convenient working height. Then, it will time to bolt up the suspension, install the fuel tank and drop the whole business down on jack stands...a day that will surely be worth celebrating.

'til next time...

5/1 - Okay, so I was supposed to me moving on to the rocker repairs took a little diversion. I always thought that, if the Brits who came up with the original Sebring parts had a better understanding of aerodynamics, they may have taken a different approach. Hence, the development of the splitter. Besides, I like how it looks. My version is made from 1/4" Alumalite, hung from two pivot brackets that attach to the old tow points. The tin work took me a while but came out nicely (I think). Once the front stays were installed, the splitter is strong enough to hold my weight (150 lbs.) so it should hold up to the downforce. The Alumalite is inexpensive and came in a 4 x 8 sheet so, once I had the pattern down, I cut a few extras figuring it's going to get dinged from time to time. The whole things bolts/unbolts in a few minutes. First shot is the tin work before disassembly and painting. The rest are well...the splitter.


And now, I really am moving on to the rocker repairs. See you down road...

5/15 - Finally made it to the rocker repairs. Big fun (not). Was able to get the driver's side done over the weekend but the passenger side will need to wait a couple of weeks (time for for some family this coming weekend). It was more time consuming than I anticipated. The big news here, is the new rear fender well construction, the permanent mounting of the rear valance and driver's side fender. First, there's a lot more here than I'll go into in this post but, suffice to say, there was a ton of prep time involved in fitting and installing the well wheels and fender.

As you can see in these first two shots, I built the well in two pieces to make it easier to handle the sheet metal and to install it. The yellow-green stuff is zinc chromate material that will retard rust. You don't see it in these images, but I shot the entire liner once it was completed (inside and out). Also shot the inside of the new rockers while I was at it. The well edge was fitted with straight bulb seal to give it a tight fit to the fender and all of the seams were sealed with 3M Seam Sealer (great but nasty stuff).

I ground off the metal bead between the fender and the tub, then hit the entire area where the new fender would glue (that's right) to the remaining metal. Once everything was sanded with 80 grit, the entire area was prepped with wax and grease remover prior to glue-up.


Here's a shot of the rear end before and after the repairs and additions. Not seen is where I cut the sheet metal away under the valance (just in case I end up installing a diffuser at some point). The gray stuff is metal filler. Don't believe the press. The stuff is great but it sands like steel. After the valance was glued and riveted to the rear panel, the seam was sealed with fiberglass. Because this started out as a rubber bumper car, I had to fabricate some 'repair' panels to fill in under the tail lamp housings. Once that was done, I ran my glue bead and installed the fender. After the adhesive set up, I ran a couple of layers of glass to create a smooth transition between the fender, the steel rear panel, and the valance section. With some careful fill work, it should look seamless.


Here's a shot of the new fender installed.


That's it for this installment. I'm bushed. There won't be much going on with the build this week, heading down to Delaware for my son's graduation. It will be good to get away from it for a few days. Once I return, I'll complete the passenger side rocker and rear fender then it's on to fitting the deck lid. 'Till next time...

5/30 - I decided to go ahead and blend in the bodywork on the driver's side and rear valance before moving on to the preparing the passenger side for the fender installation. Not too much detail to go into here. It's body work - fill, sand, sand some more, spray some Featherfill, hit it with guide coat, sand again, etc.

To get the full effect of how far it's come, I'm including a shot of the passenger side about 90% ready for its new fender (still need to fabricate the wheel well and a bit of tin work for the trunk floor to fill the gap to the new fender (boy, is thing thing wide). Prep goes something like this (after the old fender has been cut away): grind off the old fender bead where the wing meets the body, trim the remaining fender away from the trunk floor, trim away the old wheel well (right at the crown), take the remaining body down to the metal (better adhesion), fab the little insert at the bottom of the tail lamp housing (remember, this is actually a '78).

Anyway, here you go.


Once the wing is mounted and the adhesive cures, I'll lay a couple of layers of glass across the top seam and where the new wing meets the valance. Then it's fill, sand, etc. but that's another story.

6/12 - Work continues to inch forward. Last week I spent my time bending the new tin for the passenger side fender and gluing the new wing on as well as glassing in the seams where it mates up the steel on top and in the back where it's spliced into the old Sebring rear valance.

The big work this weekend was the trunk. After scraping 50 years of muck out of the bottom, sanding, and priming, I shot it with Eastwood's speckle trunk paint (love the stuff), then covered it with two coats of urethane clear to improve its durability. Bent the mount for the dry sump tank and gave it a test fit to make sure it would fit as planned (it does). Then it was on to a bunch of small stuff - running the rear harness, replacing the rubber body plugs, painting and installing the evap canister and the spare tire hold down; cleaning, painting, and installing the deck hinges.


I also took time to mock up the license plate backer and lamp as well as test fit one of my early model tail lamp assemblies. Everything fit as planned (major Yippee!). For the curious about the license frame and lamp set up, it's the same as the factory B "lightweights" (mostly aluminum cars) of the mid-to-late 60s. I never cared for the original set up and didn't think a recessed style would really fit the style of the car. In any case, I'm pleased with the result.


I put the first coat of filler on the fender seams tonight (after I took the pictures) so I'm hoping to finish the body work on the passenger side during the week - sand one day and recoat, sand again and recoat. I figure over 3-4 days I should be able to get it into primer. After that it's off with the front fenders for the final time to undercoat them and spray color on all the hard to get to places, then install them for the final time. It's getting very, very close to putting the car down on jack stands for the first time in two years. It will be a magic moment. Target date is the second week of July pending finding 4 people to help me lift the body off the buck and lower it down.

That's it for now. There's a surprise in the works for next weekend, so stay tuned.

6/19 - Well, the "surprise" hit a bit of delay as I made a push to finish the back end body work. So it will need to wait for net week.

The back end is done. Well, sort of. The fenders are on, the deck lid is there, and it's all roughed in. There's still plenty of sanding, filling, and sanding ahead, but the shape is there and it's beginning to resemble a car. I had a minor set back on the deck lid. I measured twice (really, three times) for the locations of the deck hinge mounting plates and was off on the passenger side by a good 3/4 inch, Driver's side fit perfectly. The moral...don't work late at night on stuff that needs critical measurements. Ah well, I'll break the hinge loose sometime this week and reset it. All will be well.


Also mounted and started the plumbing on the dry sump oil tank. Like any good plumbing project, it's just not right if you don't make at least three trips to the store for the right parts. And so it is here. Thought I had all the correct AN adapters but discovered that my 90º for the input line was just an angle fitting and not a hose fitting... off to the "plumbing" store. then found out the 90º fitting for the breather line wouldn't clear the body work (adapter to 90º AN) and need a purpose built adapter. Back to the "plumbing" store. See, not much difference between plumbing the house...or the car.


Got to tell you, anyone who says that bodywork isn't work is full of it. 5 hours of 'putting my back into it' and I'm beat...but really, really happy. Only a couple weeks away from jack stands! I think the first thing I may do is hang the doors on it once it's down to ground level...just to see what the finished ride is going to look like. It's been so long since it's been together, I've almost forgotten what it looks like. I threw the passenger side tail lamp in there, just to get the full effect.

That's it for this episode. Talk to every one in a week...

7/2 - Well, the big day came at about 8AM this morning when, with the help of my friend Bill Meub (and two very hefty engine hoists), the "B" came down of the build buck after 2+ years. To make things even more special, Bill drove his very sweet MGTF over and I've included a couple of pics for your viewing pleasure.


Here's the "B" catching some air (in my garage)

One thing for sure, this baby is low and wide. The pictures don't give you the full effect but it feels like you could probably just step over it. "Ride height" (it's sitting on jack stands) is right about 4" - which ought to be just about right for the street. I threw the tires and wheels up under it so I could get and idea of what it might look like when finished (that, and so when I sit in it and make vroom, vroom sounds, I can get the full effect).



Lastly, the folks at Honeybourne in the UK came through with the deck lid spoiler and I just couldn't resist putting it on. I'm jazzed to get this thing done.


Have a great Fourth...and enjoy the slide show. Headin' up in the loft to retrieve the doors...

7/4 - This one is for Bill M. who really wanted to know what the B would like with the door on. And for all of those (except Healey Rick who was in kind of in on this) the surprise is...a true speedster. No side windows, no vent windows, just a nice clean line from the windshield back. Ironic given one of the reasons I got rid of the Cobra was because it lacked roll-up windows.


I'm also including another shot of the deck lid with the fuel filler coming through (same as the early B factory lightweights). I still need to fashion a seal between the filler and the boot lid as well as install the step reducer to go from the 2" pipe coming off the cap to the 2 1/4" fill pipe (not to worry, it's on the way). I'll also need to fabricate a brace to firmly locate the filler neck.


Hope everyone is having (or had) a great Fourth.

8/7 - And now for something completely different. Seems like all I've been posting for the last year has covered the bodywork. And, while I still have the doors to do, I took some time out to work on the front suspension and my power steering (gasp!) set up. The next two pics show the rack temporarily installed with offset bushings. In this position, the rack center line is in the same position as the stock rack. In combination with a set of spacers I'm having made this week, the offsets bushes will allow me to lower the rack if need be to achieve the best position to minimize bump steer.


Attachment is made using 1/2 x 5" through bolts, accessing the nuts through the holes in the bottom of the x-member. Machine shop is making 3 sets of spacers in 1/8" increments, from a 2" hexagonal aluminum rod, which should help disperse the load a bit. The spacers will help me fine tune the rack position. The driver's side frame rail is going to be notched slightly to allow the Mustang steering box to clear. I will also need to swap out the tie rods for a slightly shorter set. Other than that, this is a pretty straightforward modification. The offset bushes come from Breeze Automotive, a supplier to the FF5 Cobra market. Mark makes some very nifty parts. I also have a set of center bushes so I can change things if I need to.

Okay, it just wouldn't be a post unless there was some bodywork. So here's the obligatory shots. First one is the fitted deck lid with the through-the-lid filler (and period MG octagon) as found on the early works cars. Second shot shows how I fabricated the new filler neck and adjustable brace. The deck lid was a real pain to get to line up and open correctly. That's what I get for taking a total race part and making it into something for it wasn't intended to do.


That's it for now. Next time I hope to be showing you the installed front suspension included the long awaited DIY big brakes. See you down the road.

8/21 - Well, things took another turn (back to body work) as I try to make my date (late September) with the painter. The suspension is going to have to wait until I can finish fitting all of the bodywork. If need be, I'll put the whole thing back on the body buck so it can be loaded on a flat bed to go to the paint shop.

Well folks, here it first speedster door. For those not up on the whole "speedster" thing, it means no door glass, no wind wings.

While, technically, this wasn't a difficult modification, fixing the rust through areas in the bottom of the door and getting the curve correct on the top of the door were time consuming as was cleaning and refurbishing all of the hardware (latches, jambs, catches, hinges, etc.). I think the best part of the whole thing was getting Paula (spouse) to lay down on the garage floor with an 11/16 deep well socket and 2' of extension to help me align and tighten the door bolts (I held the door in place, she manned, er... womaned, the wrench).


Here are the basic steps (I'm going to take step-by-step pictures when I do the passenger door). I started by grinding down the the lip that runs near the top of the door on the inside. It was there to stiffen the inside of the door panel and give the door seal something to hang on to. Next was to bend a piece of 3" x 32" , 20ga. steel at 90º length wise, then carefully (by hand) bend the 2" side to the curve of the door. It took a few test fits before it fit properly but it needed to be tight to the existing bodywork or it would just make for a ton of body work later on. Once the cap fit the way I wanted it to, I ground the paint off down to the metal and applied beads of body adhesive to the outside and inside of the door, then installed the cap and clamped it in place overnight. After that, it was some careful filing and a bit of body work.

The result, I think, is quite streamlined and certainly changes the line of the car (in a good way).

That's it for the next couple of weeks as I'm off to Sequim, Washington this week to see my mother. Be back o the air when I return.

8/28 - Well, I hadn't expected to be back in time to work on the car but I came in on Saturday to beat Hurricane Irene. I spent a few hours in the garage today, starting the second speedster door, so here's Part I of the "how to" I promised in my last post.

Caveat: this is not an easily reversible modification. So, if you think it's something you'd like to do, think twice before you embark on it. It's not a difficult change, but it's pretty permanent.

Start with a completely stripped door. I find that my shopmate makes a great tool to help support the door while I work on it and easily adapts to a variety of positions so I can have the work in the most ideal place for the task at hand. Once you have the all of the hardware removed, use a grinder with a 60 grit flap wheel to remove all of the paint (and, in this case, some previous and poorly done bodywork) from both the inside of and outside of the top of the door. You'll need to remove about 4-5" on the outside and about 2-3" on the inside. Why not just blast the whole door you ask? Because, in my case this isn't going to be a show car and will likely see quite a bit of track time so it doesn't make any sense to go nuts with the finish quality. After you've cut back the cap area, go ahead and sand off the rest of the door. I used a simple palm sander (orbital type) with 80 grit paper and feathered the remaining paint/primer into the repair area.

Here's what the prepped door looks like, including the dreaded "crack of doom" and really crummy repair made by some previous owner.


It's not necessary to go crazy fixing old bodywork but the surfaces where the door and cap meet should fit tight and free of old filler (down the metal) so I used my slide hammer, a spoon dolly and a some careful tapping with a body hammer to bring the old repair back to a more respectable state. For the truly detail crazy, you could carefully weld the crack together then grind it down but it's not really necessary.

Next thing to do is to remove the lip on the inside of the door so the cap can fit snug to the door. I did this using a saber saw (metal blade) to remove the bulk of the lip and a 60 grit flap wheel to dress the edge.


Next, it's on to forming the speedster cap. I use simple, 22 gauge mild steel for this. Once it's formed into the cap with the sharp crease, it's more than strong enough for this application and is easy to work into a smooth contour. You'll need a piece 3" x 32" for each cap, marked 1" down the long side so you know where to make the first bend. I don't have any fancy forming tools so this was done using: a couple pieces of 2" angle iron, a couple of "c" clamps, my bench vise, a body hammer, and a tow dolly. Careful clamp the metal strip between the two pieces of angle iron making sure to keep your 1" line just visible at the top edge of the irons. Clamp on both ends and drop the whole business in the bench vise. I start the forming by hand, then finish it with a flat body hammer to get a nice crisp edge. Take some extra time once you've made the initial bend to tap out any waves at the edges.

The angle of the cap needs to be more than 90º. I accomplished that by simply placing the 1" side on a flat surface and use my hands to create the acute angle (I took the piece back to my bench vise and used the vise tail to hammer the edges flat again). Once I'm happy that the initial angle is correct, it's back to the bench vise to form the curve. To do this, I clamped a toe dolly into my vise and bent the 2" side of the steel to its contour (which just happened to be almost exactly what I needed). Take your time and so you don't create more work for yourself later.


Once I had the rough shape, I test it fit a few times to fine tune the contour then marked the ends for trimming. The fit is important as this will be attached using automotive body adhesive so the mating surfaces need to be as free of voids as you can make them. I'll put a small patch behind the remaining holes where the mirror went so the filler has something to grab on to. I also left a slight indentation for the same purpose.


That's it for now. Next time I'll glue the cap on, feather it in with metal filler, finish it with plastic filler, then prime the work. The finish work will all be done on the car so after priming the outside, I'll go ahead and clean up the inside of the door, spray it with Eastwood's anti-corrosive, add sound deadening, and hang the door.

9/5 - Rather post all of this a second time, I'm just going to post the link to the latest work - [] - which is over in the "MG" section of the site. There's a little bit of repeated material but if you scroll toward the bottom of the "Part I" post, you can see the most recent work. This afternoon I'm going to prime the door then temporarily hang it so it's out of the way. I'm also hoping to hang my nifty new 8' garage lights that were generously donated to the cause by a neighbor. Four of them babies ought to light up the garage like an operating room.

9/11 - Once again, I'm posting a link to another post rather than repeat the material - []. To follow up on the 8' garage lights, they're in. Wow! It's like daylight in there now. You can actually see the effect when looking at the pictures in How To: Speedster Doors Part II. Those shots were taken w/o flash using available light from the new lights. Just awesome. The only down side is I can now see how filthy my car is from sitting around w/o the cover on while I worked around it. Shame, shame. Going to have to clean it up before I can show any more images.

9/18 - Oooooh, so close. Finally have both doors on and aligned. Wish you could hear the sound of them closing. So sweet. Kerthunk! Here's how it sits as of today. By next weekend, I should have the hood prepped and primed as well as the fenders and that will be it for the rough body work. Then it's on to the suspension and then to paint (could it be!?). I also completed the last installment on the Speedster Doors "How To".


9/25 - Visible progress...and some no so visible progress. Filled a couple of low spots on the hood, cleaned up the edges, primed top and inside, and 3 coats of color and 3 coats of clear on the underside. Installed the hood blanket and reinstalled everything with new hardware. What a difference. Here's the outside...


...and the inside.


That's it for the obvious stuff. On the unseen end of things I ran the third oil line (return) from the tank (in the the trunk) along the passenger sill through the footwell, installed the Heidt's valve for the power steering, finished up some details on the door hardware (screws, shims, and plates came in from Moss), installed the ducts for the front brake cooling, and got myself organized to begin disassembling things to do the fenders this coming week. I'm sooooo....close to seeing this thing in one color, even if it's only primer.

I'm beginning to feel that having the mighty B on the road next summer is truly going to happen.

See you down the road...

10/17 - No pics this time around, just an update on what's going on and where things are at. Well, the great dis-assembly has begun in preparation of final assembly, meaning the front fenders came off so I could finish the body work and tidy up my rust repairs on the rockers. I also took the occasion to strip, repaint, and re-build the headlight buckets. Now that I'm done with them, it occurs to me that I could have probably bought a new pair for less than the time and materials I have in my refurbs. Ah well. Same situation on the parking lamps. Basically, with the fenders off I took care of a bunch of details that would have been more difficult with them on.

Also removed the dash and it's out on the bench getting wired (stop snickering all you 70s children). The used dash harness I lucked into has been a real blessing in making sense of how things were originally wired up. Fair to say I'm not duplicating the Brits' efforts but it's helpful to see how they ran things. The best help has been a complete set of Bentley wiring diagrams I found on the web at the American Autowire site. Nice, color, 11" x 17" PDFs of every year and both US and UK models. Simply fantastic. I have all the switches and gauges wired and the wires routed. Everything that doesn't terminate at a switch or gauge is going to run out to the passenger side and terminate in quick disconnects to make it easy to service should it become necessary.

The Ford rear end is off getting itself narrowed after I trimmed all of the bracketry off, measured everything (several times), and removed the carrier assembly. Good news is that the Trac-loc looks to been in great shape. Everything else is being replaced - new bearings, axles, seals, etc. Have my new rear springs on order so I'm hoping to go to work on the rear suspension in the next 2-3 weeks.

That's it for now. I know, it's not as much fun as with pictures.

1/6/2012 - Can it be?! Nearly 4 months w/o any entries? Why yes it can. Life gets in the way from time to time but there's been progress, but not much to take pictures about.
• The rear springs (lowered 2") are in w/new poly bushes all around.
• The dash is still out of the car but all of the wiring is done and the chrome strip has been mounted to the glove box door a la the early cars. Looks great!
• I also have a new water pump (short) timing cover, and balancer for the dry-sump motor that will help "shorten up" the motor by 1 3/4" - a big help with the accessory drive for the oil [pump and power steering hangin' off the front.
• Also ordered my new axles from Moser and will soon be ordering the rear brake kit from North Race Cars (Richard Oben)
• Have the new shock kit for the front as well (GAZ, same as the rears) and hope to get it bolted up in the 3-4 weeks.

So, it's not been very picturesque, but I've been plugging along. Almost forgot to add that I have my engine mount parts from Bill Guzman on hand so I'm going to be stuffiing the motor and tranny in this thing darn soon. It will be a magical (and long awaited) day. I promise many pictures of the happy event.

Well, cheers for now. Keep checking back.

2/19/12 - Thanks to my post-surgery gift to myself of a cordless impact driver I was finally able to get back in the garage and do some work on the "Beast" in anticipation of installing the engine and transmission in about 2 weeks. Sorry no pics on any of this yet but I promise to take a ton when it comes time to stuff the lump in the body.

Removed the front dress - This was not only in preparation for engine/transmission installation but also because I need to swap out the timing cover and water pump for a shorter variety. So off came the alternator, PS pump, dry sump oil pump, and all of the attendant brackets. Sure was sweet using the new impact driver! Zip, zip, zip and everything was off. If only I had been so quick with the caps for the oil ports on the pan before it dumped a good bit of its contents on the garage floor. Doh!

I'm going to have some modifying to do to get everything back on so it all lines up - shorten the accessory drive mandrel, shorten all of the spacers for the PS pump and oil pump drive brackets to align with the new water pump, install an inline fuel pressure gauge for the new electric pump as well (as well an emergency shut off for the pump), and a bunch of other detail stuff. Ah well, hot-rodding is a lot like amateur's just not a real job unless you get to do it at least twice..

New timing cover and water pump - When I decided to go with power steering, I had to change over to reverse rotation water pump because the low location of the oil pump wouldn't permit a simple loop belt routing that would give me enough contact on the water pump pulley to feel comfortable. The clearance between the pump drive mandrel and the radiator was already really close and was going to necessitate a "sidewinder" style fan (motor off to one side), a $380 + adventure. I figured that installing a 351 style water pump and Explorer timing cover would shorten the front end of the motor by 1 3/4" and allow me to use a much less expensive fan set, sell off the existing timing cover, water pump, and fuel pump (alas, I must go electric now) and end up with a net expense for just the fan. Yahoo!

While it was a bit chilly working in the garage despite the somewhat mild temps, it sure felt good to get back into it. Right now, I'm shooting for the weekend of March 3rd for the drive train installation. It will be a watershed moment to be sure.

Cheers to all. It's getting closer...

3/4 - The clearance between the drive for the oil pump and radiator was going to be real close so I thought it would be a good idea to see what I could to "shorten" the motor a bit.

I started with a water pump from a 351 (the infamous "short" nosed pump) and added an Explorer timing chain cover. This saved me 1 3/4" but I had to sacrifice my beloved mechanical fuel pump (I know most won't be saddened by the loss) as the cover has no provision for it. That was the easy part. Getting the P/S pump and alternator brackets to fit with the new configuration was a bit tougher.

To make sure I gained as much distance as possible out of the change over, I also installed an early style balancer...which meant that all of the accessory mounts had to be refigured so everything would line up properly. For the P/S/ pump (bracket at top right under the coil) this meant shortening the standoffs. Other than having to redrill and tap the mounting points, this was fairly straightforward. The alternator bracket was a bit more challenging.

The new water pump pulley interfered with the original mounting points (I'm going to be replacing it with an underdrive unit this week) so I had to be a bit creative with how to relocate it in a way that would let me keep my top right alternator position while moving it rearward enough to get the pulleys to line up properly.

It took me most of the day to get the deed done but it all works. I'll need to fabricate a new bracket for the alternator adjustment rod as well as source a longer rod but everything lines up quite nicely. The new crank pulley (from Jones Racing) will slide on the existing drive mandrel rather than bolting to the balancer as it had previously.

All of this means that, if i can find some time this week to install the heat/sound barrier in the transmission tunnel, I can finally install the "heart" in the beast next weekend.


That's it for tonight. Hopefully more to come this coming weekend.

3/11 – Steady, if unspectacular, progress towards finally installing the motor. Swapped out the bell housing, went to the earlier style (1/2" shorter) which means I won’t have to tear my T-5 apart (again) to install a new input shaft. Later input shafts are longer to accommodate the longer bell housing. I was also able to re-drill the old water pump pulley which will give me better belt clearance for the serpentine set up. The folks at Jones Racing kindly helped me calculate the correct sized crank pulley to give me a 15% under drive.

The oil drive mandrel has been re-installed and, because I'm now running an electric fuel pump, I added a fuel pressure gauge. It's probably overkill but I had it among my spares so figured I'd go ahead and install it.


Lastly, I decided to err on the side of caution and go ahead and section the front cross member. I've measured the clearances numerous times and the dry sump motor should fit without a problem but I really don't want to find out that there's a problem wile I have the motor on hoist about to go in. No pic, but I'll post it up after I weld in the new top plate.

Now, off to church to light a candle for the engine install next weekend...

3/19 - It engine is in. With 1/2" to spare between the frame rails. Thankfully the motor mounts are solid so there's no 'rock' to deal with. For the most part, everything went as planned—didn't damage anything on the way in (a few nicks and scratches here and there) and Bill Guzman's transmission and motor mounts fit like factory. Plenty of clearance (more than 3") at the front so there's room for a fan even with my oil drive mandrel hanging off the end of the motor. The hydraulic clutch slave even fit (just barely).

So, here's the "bad" news:
• remote oil filter is going to have to be moved, not enough room for the alternator
• the headers are going to be a chore to build but are doable
• oil pump will need a custom mount, there's only one place it can go and the mount plate I have won't work (another excuse to spend money with Jones Racing)
• will need to change the thermostat outlet to an early style (hood clearance)
• coil is going to have to moved

Other than that, it went more or less as planned. As you can see from the pics, the entry angle was pretty extreme but I went a little bit at a time—push it back, lower it down, tilt it some more—until I could get a floor jack under the tail shaft. Line up for the shifter was dead on. Here are a couple of pre-installation shots.


A couple of shots of the installation.


And a few of the motor where it finally belongs.


...and a parting shot.


Now, at least, when I sit in it and make motor sounds, there'll be something in front of me.

4/7 - Well, when I last left you, the motor and tranny were in (sort of) and the challenge of getting all of the accessories - PS pump, oil pump, alternator - to fit began.

First, it was clear that no matter where it ended up on, the 100 amp alternator I had was not going to fit. Off to e-Bay with it and in with a new 65 amp mini alternator. Next up was the oil pump for the dry sump which really was going to dictate where everything else went. When it was all said and done, the only place where it could go without a whole lot of modifyin' was going to be up high on the passenger side. Not the ideal location (they all leak), but it has some advantages in terms of plumbing and adjusting the pressure.

So, here's how it ended up - alternator to driver side, oil pump to passenger side up high, P/S pump to passenger side down low. I wouldn't call the fit "tight" but I wouldn't say there's a lot of room to spare either. In the end, I fabricated the new alternator mount from some plate steel I had on hand and tried to make it look more or less like one from an original 60's-70's Ford V8. The top mount is a stock Mustang adjuster. It took me the better part of half a day to get it right but, in the end, it fit just perfectly and looks like it belongs there.


Next up was the combination P/S and O/P mounting plate. I wanted to make this bracket out of steel but, alas, my metal skills weren't up to the challenge so I made a template out of cardboard first, then roughed the bracket out of 1/4" T6061 plate. Same deal as the alternator bracket - the better part of a half a day was consumed cutting, drilling, finishing, and fitting. I still need to order a couple of spacers for the oil pump, but it fits well and leaves me room to adjust without interfering with the P/S lines or fender well. Whew! Here's the bracket with the P/S backing plate mounted.


And with the oil pump trail fit in place...


Lastly, I swapped out my early Hi-Po air cleaner (sad to see it go) for an 1 1/2" dropped variety so I can clear the hood. I still need to measure and source a serpentine belt for the main drive and a new Gilmer belt for the oil pump but that's something for next week. There's still a lot to do but progress feels good.


'Till next time.

5/28 - I know this post will disappoint some who have been following this build but, with the amount of traffic my two threads have been receiving, I feel obligated to explain my relative absence.

Without offense to Curtis (I think this is a great site) I really wanted to have the ability to have people post comments to my build thread (alas, that's not a function that's enabled here) as well as consolidate a ton of car material I've accumulated over the years. Like others who hang out here, I have the capability of putting up and maintaining my own web sites and, while I don't have any aspirations whatsoever about launching a competitive site, I wanted to have greater control over my content. It was also getting a bit much to try and keep up with this site, MGE and a couple of others I frequent. Creating my own site, simplifies the whole process for me and, while I acknowledge that it might narrow access to my build thread, I guess that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

I'll continue to post here from time to time but if you'd like regular updates on the 'B'east, please feel free to visit []. Leave a comment if you like and, I promise, I'll try to keep things up over here as my time allows. Thanks to all who have kept up with my progress and I sincerely hope you continue to do so.



6/26 - Over the past few months I've had a number of folks inquire about my "speedster" doors and the "early" late model dash I concocted from my original '78 unit. Both of these ideas appeared sort of randomly in this post and the previous project on work on these cars is rarely a straight line. To make things a little easier to understand, I've assembled the original pictures and text on the new site, which should make it easier for those interested to follow the process. You can see the speedster doors here: [] and the dash here: []

As always, you are welcome to comment or pose a question (you will need to register to the site to be able to do so) and I will do my best to respond.

Other than that, work continues on the 'B'east. Right now I'm finishing up the modifications to the bonnet (clearance for the air cleaner, removing the bubble from the original "C" bonnet) and just finished installing the brandy new aluminum radiator (fancy, fancy!) which left me with several world class lacerations on my hands resulting from 'inappropriate contact' with various pieces of sheet metal. Typically I wear gloves around this kind of thing but kept taking them off to fiddle with the fasteners, getting bit each time I did so. Sigh... Pics and story will post to the new site sometime over the next few days.


6/26 - Finished up the "How To" on the front valance and splitter assembly []
Feel free to stop by and visit.

7/5 -
It's fair to say that the hood (bonnet) project took me quite a bit more time than I imagined. Been a long time coming but I finally "got 'er done". The whole thing was easy in concept but the execution proved to be more challenging that a simple "cut and glass". You can read all about it under at Tempus Fugit Garage/The Shop, [].

The radiator project went more smoothly in part, at least, because I've had the old cooler in an out multiple times (you reading this Healey Rick?) so I'm a self-professed expert at removal and replacement.

I hadn't intended to replace the existing copper and brass unit but the aluminum version practically fell into my lap so I figured, "Why not?" Plus, it's a three-row instead of a two-row so I'm hoping it adds some cooling power. Otherwise, it was a direct replacement for the one I removed. While I had it out, I changed the fan mount to provide a teensy bit more clearance between the fan motor and the drive mandrel hanging off the front of the crank. Wasn't a ton more, but I gained about another 1/2"...just for some insurance.

I still need to fabricate the lower hose assembly but that's going to have to wait until the final installation of the steering rack. No sense figuring out the hose routing only to possibly get to undo it later.

Now that the bonnet is done and back on the car, I'm going to finish up the passenger side fender. That will complete the basic body work. Everything else, including final panel alignment and any body work fine-tuning, will be done during the paint cycle.


You can read all about the 'B'east project and more at:[]

7/30 - Started narrowing the Ford 8.8 differential to correct width for my set up. First, let me say the folks at Moser were super helpful and very tolerant of my rookie questions. When complete, the new diff will have a pair of Moser 7700 axle housing ends that will eliminate the c-clips and use 9" style bearings, seals, and retainers. A short phone call to Moser cleared up my uncertainty about how to measure correctly. To be fair, I really over-thought the whole thing and it turns out to pretty straight forward when all said and done.

So far, I've removed all of the stock brackets and spring perches and ground everything smooth with a flap wheel on my angel grinder. Tonight I'm measuring and cutting the axle housings prior to ordering the new axles from Moser. My welder friend is coming by this weekend to weld on the new end housings. I'll post up some pics when things are back together.

8/11 - Narrowed the rear end (and who doesn't want a narrower rear end?). One of those things I'd never done before. Installed a few but never narrowed one myself. Actually, other than the constant second guessing on the math it wasn't bad at all. Rather than re-post the whole story here, you can catch the complete blow-by-blow at my Tempus Fugit Garage site (personal playground): []

The gist is, I needed to get a rear end up under my conversion project and was able to land a nice 8.8 with a Trac-Loc on my doorstep for $250. After looking into the cost of having it done or buying one, I decided to give narrowing it myself a go. While I don't think there's all that much savings to be had after I add the brake package and the axles from Moser, I'm still glad I did it. Wouldn't call it fun, but something I've wanted to do.

Just for comparison sake, I was able to source a narrowed 8.8 for about $1500 complete with rear discs, not including freight. By the time I include the spring perches ($50), the differential itself ($250), the axle/bearing package ($500), the disc brake package ($400), the axle housing ends ($100), the paint, wheel seals, welding rod, and other sundry items, I have around $1300 in the project. Not a ton of savings especially if you want to include the time but enough to keep me in beer for a little while.

8/26 - Getting ready for paint and...the 'B'east is sitting on it's own wheels for the first time in some 3 and half years. Happy to report the differential fitted right in and that the track width is perfect. I'm a happy, happy man. Car is sitting higher in the suspension than I would like but it might 'settle' a bit and, in if not, I have all winter to get it in the right attitude.

These are pics of the car after block sanding it. I'll shoot one more light coat of primer and give it a light sand again to spot anything I may have missed. Friday (8/31) the flat bed comes to haul it off to the paint shop. With the help of a couple of friends (their shop) will lay down a coat of high solids primer, a sealer, and three coats of color. Should be back in my garage on Tuesday.


10/30 - While I haven't posted in a while, it doesn't mean I haven't been busy. Since the car returned from the paint shop there's been a lot to do - cut and buff, the seemingly endless number of details to attend to and the, to be expected, last minute changes in direction, often necessitating a new part. Still left to complete are the rear brakes, oil system plumbing, steering rack, and exhaust system. It's not show in the following shots but the dash is back in the car.


And for grins, here's a pic of the before and after. Seems like such a long time ago. Oh was.


Since these shots were taken, I've managed to install all of the top/tonneau hardware, restore the tonneau bows, finish up the boot area (tail lamp wiring, inertia switch, etc.), install the number roundelles, and a bunch of other small stuff. I'll post up newer pics when I get the chance. Later...

11/2 - As promised, here are few shots of the car a little further along. The roundelles are on and turned out to be harder to install than I imagined. I'm no stranger to applying vinyl but going around the compound curves on the hood and across the seam of the deck lid proved challenging.

34 view.jpg
deck lid.jpg

Here's where things are at with the motor. Still need to complete hooking up the dry sump plumbing, complete the engine management wiring, and install the headers but it's in and all of the peripherals are installed so I'm a happy camper.


Lastly, here are a a few shots of the rear cockpit detail with the newly restored tonneau bars in place, cockpit surround installed (I decided to go with the plain look a la AH Sprites rather than cover it), a shot of the cockpit looking forward (sans dash), and a couple of beauty shots of the valance and hood.

rear detail.jpg
close up.jpg

Given how things have progressed, I'm feeling like I have a good chance of being on the road by my birthday (4/8) next year. That gives me the winter to finish the exhaust, complete the steering assembly, install the rear brake package, complete the wiring odds and ends, and finish plumbing the fuel and brake systems.

11/5 I'm taking the easy way out on this post so I don't have to duplicate a bunch of material. Buddy Hammond posted in the "Drivetrain" section about building a dry sump system and it occurred to me, I didn't really bother to spend much time documenting mine. So, in response to Buddy's request for more information, I posted a number of photos as well as explanations in the vent that some else may be interested but not always frequent other areas of this board. []

11/13 - Once again, I'm taking the easy way out by posting a link to already published material rather than having to regurgitate here. This time, it's the construction and installation of my 'early' style, late model dash including details about the switchgear, steering column, and turn switch assembly. Link is here: []

Here's what it looks like installed.


If you'd like to find how I got from your stock, run-of-the-mill '78 padded dash, you'll need to visit the link.

12/2 - I was asked by a few folks to do a write up on my dry sump oiling system. I still need to finish the parts list but the wrote up can be found here: []

I'll be adding additional pictures and commentary from time to time as I complete the plumbing so, stay tuned...

1/2/13 - Happy New Year! My first post of the new year which means...I'm still not finished.

Here's a quick update on the dry sump.

Upper oil lines are in. The two with the filters (Petersen) are from the pan, the last one is from the tank. All of the lines pass through the fender well using bulkhead fittings. It makes for a bit of extra work but reduces the length of the line runs and, in the case of the lines from the tank, keeps them away from the exhaust. All of these lines have been reinforced with an inner coil to prevent them from collapsing.

I also plumbed the filter bypass (no pic) so all that's left is to run the two lines from the pan and the line from the tank to the fittings in the fender well (they're made, I just ran out of steam tonight). and finish plumbing the remote oil filter.

1/13/13 - The gift of a January thaw hit up here and with it I took the opportunity to get out in the garage for the day and make some progress on the 'B'. Today's assignments were to finish up the oil system plumbing (dry sump), install the rear brakes, and spare wheel hold down (not what you're thinking).

The oil line work was over almost when I started upon discovering I was short on both the right fittings and hose although I did manage to relocate the oil filter so it was out of the way of everything. I was also able to assemble and install a couple more lines but that was it. So I switched to the rear brakes. Better.

This is a kit from The Right Stuff and was designed to replace rear drums on a Ford 8.8 rear end. The drilled and grooved rotors were a surprise as I didn't order them that way. For anyone considering disc brakes on an 8.8, I'd be happy to recommend this set up. The kit was complete with brackets, rotors, loaded calipers, and all of the hardware. The instructions were clear and to the point. The brackets bolted right up and, other than needing to shim one of the calipers a bit to center it on the disc, everything bolted right up. Cost was about $350. Pretty sweet.


The spare tire hold down idea I owe to Tony Brown who posted an image of a vintage racer on the "It Was Done Back Then" thread which I think now resides over on the "Original" area. I couldn't duplicate the exact same placement because I have a dry sump tank to contend with but, other than shifting the position, the set up is pretty faithful to the picture I was working from. The leather strap came from a local shoe repair place and the hardware all came from Tandy leather (on-line).


All in all, a good day in the garage. Now, have to get back to finishing that oil system so I can start the thing up.

1/20/13 - I took advantage of another break in the weather to get out in the garage and take care of some final tuning on the narrowed rear end as well as install the Panhard bar. I need to get in all the time I can as the the temperatures are headed to the single digits (highs) next week and for an extended period so, real time work on the ‘B’east is going to be limited to finishing up the wiring diagram and similar, warmer pursuits.

I don’t have the car high enough in the air to take a shot of the complete length of the bar but there’s not much to see except the two attachment points anyway. I picked this bar up from a fellow MG V8r who just happened to have a bar to fit the 8.8 differential. The brackets that go through the body from inside the boot needed a small amount of trimming to fit properly but, other than that, the bar was a bolt-on affair.

Driver’s side attachment - On the driver’s side, the brackets bolt through the body and into the pick-up point for what used to be the attachment point for the limiting strap. I know that some will feel that the mounting lacks the true strength need for the bar, but the previous owner offered that it worked just fine for him and I’ve seen similar fixing points used on bars offered in the aftermarket community. In any case, it’s in and we’ll just have to see about how it works. You can see in the photo that there are several attaching points for the bar end that will allow for some tuning.


Passenger side fixing block - On the passenger side, the bar fixes to the axle using a very robust machined aluminum block. Not much to it really, it just clamps to the axle tube using two really long bolts so there’s ample thread to help provide adequate clamping pressure.


While I was under the car, I took advantage of my time to re-set the pinion angle, center the rear end from left to right, as well as get it set fore-to-aft the same on both sides of the car. I also shimmed the left caliper out just a tad as I noticed it was dragging more than it should have, measured for my brake lines, and measured for the drive shaft that I’ll order this week from Denny’s in Kenmore, NY. The story on Denny’s is that it’s on Military road in Kenmore, which just happens to be on one of my running loops when we go to visit relatives who live there. That and I bought my last custom drive shaft from them and was very happy with both the price and the part. It should be here in about a week so, if the weather permits, I’m hoping to get it installed. Stay tuned on that one…

As always, you can read more about my build at: []

3/18/13 - There hasn't been much progress to post about as the weather here since mid-January, with the exception of one weekend in March, has been horrible. It snowed everyday for one five day stretch and the temperatures have only climbed into the 30s on occasion. Even with my nifty kerosene garage heater, that's too cold for this old guy to be laying about on the concrete floor. This just in...more snow. 10-12" tonight through Thursday. Temperatures in the low 30s again. Come on spring!

Still, there's been some progress as I was able to measure, order, receive, and install the driveshaft. I was also able to finish up the rear brake lines and complete buttoning up the back half of the car. Now, if I can only get some warm weather to visit, I can get after the exhaust system and finish the steering rack installation.


That's it for now. Pretty meager pickings but it's all I have. Until next time...

4/30/13 - It's been a long winter up here in the northland...nor real work on the car since about mid-January. Between the cold temps in the garage and lack of opportunity, I really didn't make any meaningful progress this winter. That's changed with the change in weather...that and I took yesterday off from work to play a little catch up. No pics this time around. plenty has been done, just not much that image worthy.

• Finally completed the rear center brake line hook up which included trimming and flaring the center line from the proportioning valve, running the line through the rear lower bulkhead, and connecting up to the previously fabricated center line on the differential. Lots of small steps involved for a seemingly simple task. Remove the seat to remove the line, drill out the through hole, install the grommet, install the line clip for the center flex line, etc.

• Completed the installation of the return oil line cooler including getting all of the hose clips installed.

• Reversed the mounting plate for the fuel filter to raise it above the lowest point in the chassis (didn't want to potentially bang it on anything) included reversing the top plate, reversing the bolts (they need to go in from the mounting plate side), changing the straight hose fitting for a 90 degree version, cutting and installing a new hose connecter from the filter to the hard line.

• Fabricated the handbrake fulcrum arm to connect my Lokar rear cables to the handbrake trunnion. Still have the adapter block to finish but that should happen this weekend.

• Finished installing the drive shaft which included trimming back the driveshaft safety plate back by about 3" to clearance the 3" diameter shaft when the rear end was at full droop. Also needed to install a 3/16" transmission mount spacer for the same reason. Lastly I need to adjust the whole rear assembly about 1/4" or so toward the passenger side to center up the shaft in the tunnel. With the fatter shaft it's a tight fit but enough clearance to prevent disaster. Thank goodness for the Panhard bar!

• Changed out the rear axle housing bolts fro longer ones that let me install the lock washers. While I was in there, I fabbed a couple of distance plates to help the housing retainer plates work correctly. Sure was nice to bolt up the rear wheels for the first time in 4 months.

• Finished cleaning and undercoating the back half of the chassis. Messy work but needed to be done.

There's still quite a bit left to do before I can start it up, but it sure feels good to make some real progress. Every step is one step closer to getting on the road!

Edited 49 time(s). Last edit at 06/13/2013 01:09PM by DC Townsend.

Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4578 posts)

10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: '79 B with Ford 302 Dry Sump- Part II
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 21, 2015 02:20AM


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