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Thread: well this is off to a great start....

Discuss the Austin Healey Sprite and the MG Midget. Two different but similar cars sometimes referred to collectively as the Spridget.

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    Member jmayzer's Avatar
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    well this is off to a great start....

    GOOD NEWS GENTS: i finally found one! its a 1965 mg midget mk ii, two tone red and black. found it from a member of the mg experience forum and got a great deal on it.


    BAD NEWS GENTS: the car has a lot more problems than i was expecting. going to get it, i was told that the car made "a funny noise in 3rd gear" but otherwise ran like a charm. and it certainly did! for the first test drive.


    i brought it home, whipped it around for about 30 minutes and it was great (i'd just skip 3rd when shifting). next morning i rode it around for almost an hour when i started to notice the exact noise in 3rd gear start to spread to 2nd and 4th very very quietly at first until it got gradually louder. then it got bad.


    first off it doesn't idle very well to begin with (gotta keep giving it gas or it stalls), and i came into the driveway, shut it off, went inside for less than 10 munutes and then came out to find it dead (left the headlights on, my fault). so i got it jumped, and at this point our 3rd gear noise has spread to the idle in neutral. i get it in 1st gear and go to take off; i make it all of 6 inches until the gearbox locks up completely. took out of gear, tried it again, and the same thing happens. this morning i can't even get it running due to both of the issues getting worse.






    he 3rd gear noise is very hard to describe other than a very loud, violent knocking or rattling coming from the gearbox (i feel it in the shifter and in between the seats). but as i said, it has now spread to all the gears and even neutral idle.






    help.....

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    Yoda
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    No choice but going into the gear box. Sorry!

    Kurt.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Yoda TOC's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    If I was to fathom a WAG, my first thought was that the transmission was completely dry.
    Most likely proven wrong once I checked the level, but first thought nonetheless.

    Just stop driving it.
    You get a tooth wedged between gears, it's like a 60-ton press...it'll spread the case and make it fully compliant with local scrap metal regulations.

    Take the trans apart and see what's up...check the clutch while you're at it.

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    Member jmayzer's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    for someone who only has experience changing oil and doing brake jobs, is taking apart the tranny something i could tackle myself?

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    Jedi Knight
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    Probably not something you'd feel confident in trying. One thing you can do, get a pan and pull the drain plug. If nothing comes out or it's got lots of brass and steel colored flecks, then it needs to come out and have someone determine if it can be rebuilt or is so damaged it would be better replacing it. Since it locks up, good chance you have damaged gears or the cluster.

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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    Good news is replacement transmissions are reasonably plentiful and, depending on your budget you might want to go to a five speed. Oh, and this thread would be much better with pictures.
    John-Peter Smit
    1976 MG Midget
    1969 Vauxhall Viva GT
    1958 Fiat Multipla (Barn art)

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    Great Pumpkin aeronca65t's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    As JP says, the transmission should be pretty easy to find.

    E-bay, craigslist or car-part.com

    A gearbox from about '64 all the way up to earlier '74 will fit. We usually refer to these transmissions as the "ribcase" or "ribcage" trans.

    The bad news is that the engine must be removed to install a replacement trans. This is not terribly difficult if you have reasonable mechanical knowledge but there are a lot of steps to the job and you would need to rent or buy a small engine hoist.

    Suggestion: Join your local MG club and start attending their meetings. You will likely get some good suggestions (or even help) for the job.

    They are pretty close to you:

    https://www.mgsofbaltimore.org/

    Nial's #909 Spridget
    My Race Events
    Spridget~MGB~Miata~Austin A35~Midget~Aeronca65T~Super 7~Accord~Chevy TowVan
    Jersey Music!

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    Obi Wan
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    Congrats on the purchase Jake! Welcome to the world of Spridgets! Does this car still have the original 1098, or is there a 1275 lurking under the hood?

    Go ahead and change the tranny fluid first. IIRC, about two and half quarts should come out. I use the same 20W-50 that is used in the engine crankcase.

    With the rough idle, basically, you have to start troubleshooting and ruling out each possibility until you find the culprit. I'd start with the carbs, and then head over to the plugs, wires, cap...does this car have distributor points, or was it converted to a Pentronix? It could also be fuel filter or a clogged fuel line. As you troubleshoot each system, whether it's the culprit or not, you're going to start learning the car.

    You can absolutely do this. We're literally on the eve of the one year anniversary of when I took the plunge and bought my Sprite. I had about the same level of car repair knowledge as you do. I can safely say that I now know my car inside out and there are very few things on the Sprite that I would shy away from trying (although rebuilding a transmission would be one of them). There is no better car to learn how to work on cars than a Spridget. You don't need fancy tools (although having them is a lot of fun and can make life easier) and with a few exceptions, almost everything on the car is put together in a very intuitive manner.

    Check out Amazon.com and pick up a tech manual. I used the British Leyland shop manual, and a couple of other sources to cross reference, such as the Victoria British catalog.

    Feel free to drop me a line if you want to bounce some stuff off me before you dive into it.

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    Jedi Knight bugedd's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    Anything on these cars can be done by a person who can change motor oil. These are very fun, simple cars, so dig into it while asking questions here and you will be able to do everything yourself. Pulling the motor/transmission is simple...my first time took 4 hours. Pull it apart, have fun with it, that's what they are about.
    1960 Bugeye AN5L43788, 1275, Datsun 5 speed, bunches of fun goodies.

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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    thanks for the great help everyone!

    jpsmit: my budget is definitely keeping me at a four speed. i'll get photos posted as soon as i can.

    aeronca65t: i'm already in the process of joining them!

    saxman: good to hear from you dave! i almost called you over the weekend to tell you about it. the engines still the 1098 and does still have distributor points. and the guy i bought it from threw in a haynes and a bentley shop manual!


    otherwise gents, i have a guy from the mg experience who is outside of philly and has worked on these cars for about 40 years. he's very graciously offered to do a full multi point inspection, run a compression test, etc. and let me know what kind of car i'm getting myself into. because i'll have to trailer it up there, that won't be until this weekend. my brother has a shop down at our barn with a plethora of tools and even an engine hoist. i'm hoping with our combined knowledge and the use of the haynes and bentley manuals, we'll be able to start to take the engine out next week. cheers

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    Member jmayzer's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    update: take a look at the shards of whats left of my gearbox everythings out/taken apart. gonna lift out the engine and gearbox tomorrow. more photos to follow! cheers!
    IMG_3691.jpg

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    Yoda Boink's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    Maybe there's jewelry potential. It does sparkle. My sympathies.
    Will be curious to see the open case photos.
    - Mark

    Former 1956 Austin Healey 100-4 (BN2)
    Former 1962 Mk1 Austin Mini (850)
    Former 1973 Austin Mini (really a 1980s Cooperized Mini)
    Present 1959 Austin Healey "Bugeye" Sprite (with 1275, 5 speed, discs, etc)

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    Yoda HealeyRick's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    Looks like you're on the way to a thousand ounces there:

    Rick

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    Yoda
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    Sycro's are brass! Brass that's all polished up shines but BMC was to cheap to put any gold in there!

    Nothing to loose so open that puppy up!

    Kurt.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Jedi Knight AN5Sprite's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    jmayzer,

    There's a shop in N. Virginia call Motorhead. If you find yourself needing pro-help, I have dealt with them and think very highly of them.
    Steve C & the Tunebug

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    Obi Wan
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    Ouch. Looks like someone mistook your tranny for a slot machine: Pull the lever and have stuff come out the bottom. I guess in this case, not hitting the jackpot was a good thing.

    Sorry that your initial plunge into Spridget-world was a rather rude one. It does get better.

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    Luke Skywalker LarryK's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    Trannys are doable, need good manual and hopefully read bearing no.s for replacements. Gears are not cheap, but you can do it and feel an accomplishment if you follow manual and measure all spacing as in manual. Do not mix any additives with oiling solution on re-assembly. Did one time and could not fit everything back together, made fit too tight.
    Last edited by LarryK; 08-25-2014 at 11:23 PM. Reason: spelling
    Larry K
    58 Jag 3.4 MK 1 auto under restoration, 57 Jag 3.4 MK1 manual ,
    03 Cooper S, 2011 Cooper S Countryman, 2011 Land Rover LR4 HSE LUX, 1964 Valiant V200
    Also had , 68 Cortina 1600E, 64 Spit 4 & 80 1500, 73 GT6 3, 71 XJ6, 79 XJ6, 86 XJS V-12, 53 XK120 OTS.

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    Member jmayzer's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    here's whats left of my tranny! honestly i was expecting much worse!! (sorry in advance for any neck pains that the sideways photos might cause)
    IMG_1344.jpgIMG_5977.jpg


    also while the engine and gearbox is sitting down in my barn, i wanted to take a minute to just emphasize the unmitigated and almost overwhelming amount of pride i'm feeling right now. as a 21 year old college student with practically no mechanical experience whatsoever, the fact that i was able to take an entire engine and transmission out of a car strictly with the help of a shop manual and over-the-phone advice is something i never thought i would do so young with so little experience. this is a great day and i can't wait to go to the next step. cheers gentlemen.

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    Obi Wan
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    Well, you still have parts that are identifiable as transmission parts, so that's a good start.

    And, yes, these cars are the perfect platform for someone who has never turned wrenches before on a car. Remember, I'm just one year ahead of you, and I have developed a considerable amount of confidence in virtually any task needed on the car. Brakes still scare me a little bit, because there's no "well, it's 90% there" with them, but I'll probably take the plunge during my winter maintenance to do some work on them.

    While turning wrenches is fun, the real pleasure is when it all goes back together and you drive it, and you know that YOU did it.

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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Re: well this is off to a great start....

    Well done on the removal! While I would strongly suggest swapping in a replacement, if you are inclined to rebuild, I have 2/3 of the instructions on how to rebuild an a series transmission (i know - but it is better than nothing - this from Practical Classics magazine) PM me your email if you are interested and I will send it next week. Oh, and, noting that you are 21, thanks for lowering the age of this place some.

    cheers!
    John-Peter Smit
    1976 MG Midget
    1969 Vauxhall Viva GT
    1958 Fiat Multipla (Barn art)

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