Thursday, August 8, 2013

Don't Blow Your Top

WARNING: readers with weak hearts may want to have medical assistance standing by when reading the later parts of this blog post. Somewhere along the line, I decided I needed to buy a hard top for the car. While I know I can get the soft top more weatherproofed, the hard top would be my first choice for a day I expect serious rain, or all day rain. The hard top is also quieter, and I've already noted that driving with the soft top up is a loud proposition. In the long winter months I'm likely to leave the hard top on until warmer weather appears.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sagging With Age

After getting the car, an early sign of the crazy behavior Shelly would come to know too well was my obsession with obtaining an engine crank. Before the 1912 Cadillac introduced the electric starter, all cars were started by hand with a crank to spin the engine manually. Apparently, this older method of starting hung around as a backup option for decades. The MGA was the last in the line of MGs with a hand start capability. Unfortunately, the metal bar needed to try this out was missing from my car when I bought it. It also helps a lot when setting engine timing and other tasks, so I decided I needed this as a matter of urgency.

No battery? No problem. Start your car with this.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Locked Out of the Car With No Lock

As I was hurrying to get my side screens (the removeable door windows) out of the boot (trunk) while preparing to drive home in the heavy rain, I had a little trouble opening the boot. The release latch felt weird, wasn't doing its job, and after working it a few times actually seemed to pull a little further than normal. The boot did open at that point, and as I took the side screens out, I noticed a metal bar along the boot lid opening had come unattached. I was in a hurry, so I closed the boot up and got on my way. Just as it clicked, even amidst all the rush to beat the worst of the storm, a horrifying realization came over me. It was not an evolving series of thoughts, but the entire reality of my next major car problem suddenly appeared in my brain with all the clarity that had been lacking over the last 30 seconds of scrambling.
Transporting a body? Shelly recruited into car repair?
You be the judge.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wetting My Pants

I have known that the fit of the top and sidescreens probably makes my car less than weather proof. I have been opting to drive the backup car on rainy days but there have actually not been very many true rainy days.  Of course, it frequently storms in the spring and summer, but since my normal commute is short and I have a garage on both ends, I have learned to check the hour-by-hour weather report in the morning and make a decision based on that. As long as it is not supposed to rain during the drive in or drive home, I take the MGA. Still, I have been wondering just how bad would the car be in the rain just as it is? The few times I've been in light rain with the top down I haven't gotten very wet. I decided to start looking for an opportunity on a rainy weekend to experiment before risking arriving to work sopping wet. An opportunity presented itself before I was ready for it.

The weather app predicts a wet drive home.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Commuter, or There And Back Again

Veni, Vidi, Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered. Alert readers will remember that I've claimed to be commuting in the MGA for 9 months now. However, in the poor, misguided mentality of the Washington, DC commuting culture I have what would be considered a cream puff commute.  Normally it's 10 minutes on suburban back roads then 5 minutes on the highway at full speed, and I'm there with no traffic unless something really bad has happened. I have found myself defensively explaining my commute when talking to people about the car. Today, however I had an opportunity to do a "real" commute.
Action shot of a light traffic moment.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Stuck For Over an Hour, Technically Not A Stranding

It's time to finally tell the story of the day I got the flat tire, mentioned in the previous post about my new wheels and tires. It was January 4th, and I was in a good driving streak, driving every day after finishing a big project up right before Christmas. Cue ominous harbinger of doom.

The Fuel Pump, directly behind the passenger's seat,
next to the battery. What woe will this fickle harpie work?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What Do You Eat A Tire With, or New Wheels and Tires

Back in November, I mentioned the teeth rattling shake I was having at speed (read "Shake Rattle and Roll"). Then I reported that after taking it in to a local shop, they found a convenient workaround - swap the spare tire in (read "Safety Fast") until I could learn to replace and adjust the spokes to
"true" the bad wheels. That worked great for a few months as I researched the planned procedure. Then, while crawling under the car to change the oil, I noticed a broken spoke on the front wheel. Looking a little closer, I found three more on the same wheel. There are only 48 spokes on the whole wheel, so having that many missing can't be safe. I was forced to swap the lumpy tire back in and stick to a slower speed. This carried me for a few weeks until the lumpy tire developed a flat. I really shouldn't have driven it at all and am lucky it didn't fail suddenly on a highway.
30 inch tire spoon from Northern Tool