About Me

New Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Name: Todd Russo Location: New Hartford, CT, USA

Monday, July 13, 2015

Maiden voyage!!!

With the weather not cooperating last week, I had to wait for the weekend to install the driver’s side striker plate. I found out that the battery charger was hooked up wrong so I took the battery out of the car and tried again.. The battery did fully charge up after all. After it was put back in the car, Old Biddy was driven outside where there was plenty of room to move around.

Since I kind of knew what I was doing this time, this striker plate went on in only an hour, a third of the time! And it works perfectly!

After triple checking to make sure the door closed smoothly, stayed shut, and opened with both the interior and exterior handles, I called my wife outside and said, “I’m going for a ride!” “Are you sure?”, she replied. Then I said, “Here’s the camera…I’m going. Document this!” I did a quick pre-flight test to make sure all the instruments were reading correctly and everything was sounding as it should.

Then I released the handbrake, shifted into 1st gear, and released the clutch pedal as I gently pressed the accelerator. With that, we began the slow taxi up our steep driveway.

I took off up the hill to our nearest neighbor about 850 feet away with a top speed of 28mph and turned around in their driveway. I would have gone further but her tires are cracked and very unsafe.

Then we headed back down the hill towards home.

Everything worked well! I was so excited I had to stop at the top of our driveway to give my wife the thumbs up!!

Then we slowly drove back down the driveway to park and have a post-flight inspection.

Notes: The hydrolastic suspension is amazing! Our road is very bumpy. I am used to riding in my Midget and Fiat 500 and feeling every bump in the road. It felt as if I was riding in a boat, everything was smooth.

Shifting is like it was my brother’s old VW Rabbit or stirring a pot of spaghetti. Eventually you will connect with the gear, be patient!! I only used 1st, 2nd, and reverse.

The brakes worked great, the drivetrain worked great, all the electrics worked great, the suspension worked great. Next, the post-flight fiddling and finishing so she can become an official vehicle again.

There is still a punch list of things that need to be done before she can be taken through the State of Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicle (CT DMV) inspection (or as the folks in Britain say "MOT"). Connecticut is the strictest and most expensive in the US!! I hope to have her registered and insured before she gets put to bed for winter. I ordered new tires and they should be arriving today, so that can be taken care of. The next big thing is to have her color-sanded by Al, who did her bodywork and painting.
Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The passenger side door latches!!

It took courage and about three hours, but the passenger side door now closes on original MG 1100 latches!!

The first step was to locate where the striker latch gap had to be. The door rubber seals were removed so that the door could be shut tight. Modeling clay was then placed onto the plate and the door was closed. The door latch grooved into the clay and made a starting point of where to position the striker latch.

The striker latch was then placed into the clay and the door was opened and closed many times until the door latch slid into the striker latch without moving it.

Once the position was correct, a screwdriver was poked into the clay to approximately mark where the holes were going to be drilled on the flat plate.

To make sure everything lined up before drilling into the flat plate and the car body, double sided Velcro was stuck to the striker latch and the door was closed onto it. It only had to be moved 1mm from where it was stuck on!!

A Sharpie was used to mark the holes on the flat plate. Then it was brought down into the workshop where I drilled the holes and did the countersinking for the other three screws.

I bought the drilled flat plate back upstairs, reattached it and then said a prayer as I drilled into the car body. After drilling each hole, it was tapped out with a ¼ -24 tap, and the screws were screwed in.

I know, I know…it is quite an eyesore and a lot of work for something that could have been done easier. But, it works nicely!! After the car gets rolling, the flat plate will need some cosmetic attention.

But the door closes tight and securely!! I just have to reattach the rubber door seal and do the driver’s side door.

Now that I did the first one, I know what is involved and how long it will take. The other one will be my Thursday project. The battery was hooked up to a charger and I found out that the battery is not taking a charge. It is only three years old!!

Thanks for visiting.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Door alignment and setting

After three months of life getting in the way, my great friend and bandmate, Mik, came to help me get the doors aligned and set. Mik plays drums and I play bass…we are the rhythm section. And boy, did we get into a nice rhythm when we worked on the doors!

The doors were only hung on the car and not lined up or even secured properly.
They needed total adjustment and fitting.

When it comes to working on cars, Mik knows what he is doing. We made a good team. He held the doors while I turned the screwdriver.

We opened and closed the passenger door only three times before both of us were pleased with the gap evenness and how the body line flowed smoothly.

The driver’s door was more of a challenge. We had to shim the bottom hinge 3/16ths of an inch before it was correct.
A little more fiddling and the door went into place just like the other side!

After two hours, we decided to call it quits for the day. The best part of the day…the blue tape is gone!!

But there are some scuffs that need to be addressed along with other minor issues which will be taken care of  after she is drivable.

Now that the doors are finally set, I can work on getting the latches in place. But the doors do not close because of the width of the rubber seal, which will have to be removed and then reinstalled after the latches are set.

This is the last item on the list that needs to be done before I can take her on her maiden voyage!!

School is on summer break so I hope to get more work done next weekend.

Thanks for visiting.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Finally back at it!

Well, it is still unseasonably cool outside but at least now I am able to go out to the shed and not freeze my face off. I am really itching to finish checking off the final items on the punch list. This week I received a box on my front stoop that both warmed my heart and brought me just a bit closer to my goal.

My package arrived from Aaron in Oregon, where it seems there are many more ADO16s than here on the east coast. He sent me a set of correct sun visors, which are a slightly different than the ones I have. I will have to use the Magic Eraser on them and get them all cleaned up. I thought mine were original, but who really knows?

But in the package was something even more exciting to me…ORIGINAL HARDWARE!!! He sent me those three grille fastener bolts and five original bumper bolts!!

Last fall it was suggested to me to screw these screws in to attach and secure the upper grille to the frame. I was never too happy about how it looked. I am looking for original quirky stuff that makes these cars unique which some folks may overlook.

I popped out the screws and screwed in the original bolts. It is the small things in life that make me smile!

And, after ten hours of hard work, John’s SU HS2 carburetors are finally all cleaned up and inspected. The two in the upper part of the picture just need new jets and gaskets. Everything else is in excellent condition. But the lower ones need everything, a complete and total rebuild. Whoever gets them will at least be happy that they are clean now, which is often half the battle.

So many thanks go out to Aaron for helping me with advice and those wonderful importantly insignificant parts. And thanks to all of you readers who have sent me messages of encouragement and advice this past winter!! Now that Mother Nature will finally allow spring to happen, I am excited to get back to work on Old Biddy!

Thanks for visiting.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hello! Remember me?

The reason there have been no posts for two months is because winter hit us really hard and really fast this year. Snowstorm after snowstorm made it impossible to get to the shed to get to Old Biddy. Not to mention the six weeks of relentless bitter cold…

But the other day it finally went above freezing. I dug a path in the four foot snow bank and a strip by the door.

The door was frozen shut so I had to wait a day for melting. I opened it up and greeted Old Biddy for the first time in nearly seven weeks!!

In the last two months, I have been working on getting those final bits and pieces that I mentioned in the last post. Aaron from Oregon, a member of one of the 1100 forum/clubs, heeded my plea for correct grille bolts. He had some and will be sending them to me soon.

He also informed me that the sun visors (which I cleaned up and repaired) are incorrect. He will be sending me a proper set.

For the longest time, I have wanted to rebuild a set of SU carburetors. John had a couple of spare sets hanging around and he gave them to me to have a go at it. After I am done, I will give them back to him to sell. Yeah, I know this has nothing to do with Old Biddy but…

If the snow ever melts, Old Biddy’s doors will get aligned and the correct latches will be installed. Then…her maiden voyage!!!

Thanks for visiting.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hibernation situation.

Winter’s grip is tight this year so not much is getting done on the car. I decided to relegate myself to doing a final parts check list and doing a few little tasks to button the car up so parts do not jiggle off as I take her for her first ride.

Such as, I need the top fasteners for the front grille. They look like little lag bolts without the point and they are only ¾” long. I checked my parts books and they are neither pictured nor listed, so there is no part number that I could find.

They fit here. The bottom three grille fasteners are easy to find.

I also need the screws that hold the dashboard top panel pad sides in place. I think they are part number RTL 812…the picture in the parts book was not exact. When I disassembled the parts car, these fasteners were rusted in place and they sadly had to be cut and therefore destroyed.

In the back recesses of my cellar, I found the wheels that I want to get powder coated (black) and fitted with new tires. The radial three tires on the rims now are an Avon, a Dunlop SP4, and a King GT…quite a mismatched lot! I am taking suggestions as to what tires I should purchase.

On our next snow day off of school, I am finally going to clean the sun visors. They are quite grungy. I have to see if these MG 1100 visors will even fit on to the Austin America body or if some finagling is needed.

If anyone has this hardware, please let me know. I will check around and keep everyone updated. And so…the hunt continues. This winter I will be re-sorting all the 1100 parts in my cellar now that the car is near completion. Cannot wait to see if any treasures pop up!

Thanks for visiting.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Old Biddy’s seasonal slumber.

We had only one good day in the last two and a half weeks when the weather was worthy enough to do any work on the car. Needless to say that winter looks like it is coming early this year. Therefore, the decision was made to put the car to bed.

After cleaning up our yard for hopefully the last time today, I pushed Old Biddy out into the driveway to give her a quick rinse off and thorough rub down.

When done, I started her up and drove her back in to cover her up for the season. I always put sheets or old bedspreads underneath the outer cover for extra protection. Her battery cables were then disconnected and I said “Night night.” to her.

This does not mean I will stop working on the car for the winter. Oh no! There are still many things that need to be attended to such as finding seatbelts, and cleaning up the sun visors, and the never ending quest to find six of those lag bolt looking things that attach the front grille on. I would love to hear from readers on advice to find these parts. Stay tuned.

Thanks for visiting.