A labour of love

Engine removal and more stripdown

Engine removal and more stripdown

Another weekend of lockdown rolls around, so what else is one to do but work on the car again! I planned to finally finish welding up that back wing, but annoyingly I ran out of both welding wire and gas simultaneously, so that is on hold again until I get more supplies.

It was a beautiful sunny day here in the UK though, so in a complete change of direction I wheeled the car outside and decided to remove the engine and finish a bit more of the stripdown. This also gave me a good opportunity to clean up the garage a bit, and properly sweep up 4 months of grinding dust.

One final look at the engine bay in its 4-cylinder configuration before everything changes. I still have very fond memories of fitting this lump – feels very recent when I think about it, but I’m horrified to realise it was actually 16 years ago!

Another thing I remember is the very long and frustrating job of removing and refitting the gearbox to its mountings on the crossmember beneath the car, but this time round things all went very smoothly, I barely needed to swear at all, surprisingly. I had the gearbox unbolted, the radiator, manifolds and propshaft out, and the engine freed from its mountings all within half a day, so it was straight on with lifting the engine and gearbox out.

And there she goes, no fuss at all. Incidentally, I’m using an Oberg Tilt Lift here to help remove the engine, which came recommended in various forums when I was looking for a new load-leveller. They’re available from Moss in the UK, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best tool purchases I’ve made. I obviously couldn’t enlist much help due to the current situation, but the Tilt Lift made it unnecessary, adjusting the angle of the engine as it went out was a doddle. Probably would have been even easier still if I had remembered to remove the gear lever before I started, but at least I wasn’t worried about scratching any paintwork!

With the engine and gearbox out of the way, I carried on stripping the engine bay. The heater box and remaining electrical bits were quickly out and boxed up to await future refurbishment. Just the brake and clutch hydraulics left and then I’m down to just the rolling shell.

Whilst I had the space I also whipped the nearside front wing off to see how things look underneath. My previous restoration work has held up nicely here too, there’s no new rust, but I will be replacing the outer sill and rear wing on this side as well to fix the same panel fit issues I had on the offside. The front inner wings and chassis rails on both sides do need some work, there are a few areas of old unrepaired corrosion to tidy up, some more dodgy repair patches I’d like to improve, and I will of course be cutting great big holes in each side to route the new RV8 style exhaust through eventually – lots more sheet metal work to look forward to then!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for an MGB engine and gearbox in usable condition with quite a few new ancillaries included, you can find this lot on eBay 🙂

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