|The weather app predicts a wet drive home.|
It was a day like many others, with clear skies predicted in the morning and early evening, but some storms predicted around 6 or 7 PM. I drove the MGA in and planned to get on the road by 5:30 to beat the storm. Unfortunately, by that time the rain had already started, and the radar showed there was no point waiting. A friend helped me put the top up and the side screens in. I buttoned things up as best as possible, and headed out into the sopping wet rush hour.
Immediately, the rain began dripping in along my left shoulder. I was able to rearrange the top flap to cut the dripping down, and I scooted over just enough that the remaining drips hit the carpet instead of me. The windshield wipers, in their first test since I tore the wiper motor and drive cable apart and reassembled (pt. 1, and pt. 2), were anemic but were improving visibility. I had just finished thinking this was not too bad when I noticed a bead of water forming in the middle of the windshield where the top doesn't fit tightly enough. Instead of dripping in the middle, surface tension held the water to the windshield frame as it headed to my side of the car. As it turns out, the point at which gravity overcomes surface tension in leaking top situations like this is directly above the drivers legs. So a steady drip began wetting my pants right on top of the knees, alternating between left and right.
|The water damage once I got back home - |
this is wet enough to wring out.
Clearly this would never be OK on the way to work, but with only a few miles to home I'd arrive with a soggy knee and none the worse for wear. Just as I was thinking this, the windshield wipers decided to quit working. The rain was coming down pretty hard, making it hard but not impossible to see. Traffic was heavy but moving well and the brake lights in front of me made it easier to see. I could make it the two miles on side streets to home, so I kept moving. Had it been any longer and had Shelly been home to pick me up I would have been looking for a place to pull over and wait, but I made it home safely and got into some dry clothes.
I decided a few things as a result of this experience. First, with my eldest son's drivers license approaching like a freight train I'm going to need a new backup car to replace the Civic for heavy rain and snow. It'll need to be cheap but presentable. Second, I need to get the car a little more weatherproof. Despite the failure in this case, I now know I'm close. The leak between the top I think can be fixed by installing a clip that was included on later MGA models. In the winter I used a small wood clamp to prevent cold air blowing in my face. I bought a clip a few months ago, and just need to figure out the install. The leaking on the sides will be harder to fix. I believe my top was installed with a front wooden bow that is too wide, or the top fabric is too narrow, and it causes the sides to fit poorly against the side screens. The side screens also could be changed out for a pair that has rubber seals along the top and front, but I've decided to wait until I have the problem with the top resolved to determine if the seals are really necessary.