This category is used to post items of a technical nature and/or technical tips we can all use to maintain our cars. These articles, tips and/or videos come from a good number of places. The information is provided for the purpose of illustrating how something could be carried out and is not intended to be used as a guide for repairs. The information is believed to be accurate, however no liability is assumed for any outcomes resulting from following this advice. If you have a technical article or just a tech tip, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[I know many of us have tunnel vision when it comes to modifying the Morgan. “Originality is a must! Modification is simply heresy . . .“
Ok, I get it, but I will have to say that in my opinion, one of the wonders of the Morgan car is the ability to modify it with relative ease. Sometimes, we find a need to improve something in the interest of safety. Sometimes, it is just a wild hare that gets us going. I have a few Morgan cars and have to say all of them have been modified in some way. Some are performance modifications while some are simply cosmetic.
In the midst of one of my efforts, the topic of Spark Plug heat range came up. As usually, I found a void in my understanding. So after a little searching, I found this article. It seems simple and direct so I thought I would share. Cheers, Mark]
Depending on the engine modifications you’ve made, you’ll need to take a few extra factors into consideration before settling on the right spark plugs.
These factors include spark plug seat design, thread length and diameter, and reach. One of the most important – and most misunderstood – factors in choosing aftermarket spark plugs is the heat range.
What is Heat Range?
Heat range is the speed at which a spark plug can transfer heat from the firing tip to the cylinder head water jacket and into the cooling system. Choosing the right heat range is crucial for high performance engines. If the heat range is too cold, the spark plug will be unable to properly self-clean by burning off carbon deposits.
If it the heat range is too hot, your engine could experience detonation, pre-ignition, or power loss. Most spark plug manufacturers recommend that the tip temperature remain between 500° C and 850° C.
Heat ranges are designated by each spark plug manufacturer with a number. In broad terms, spark plugs are often referred to as “hot plugs” or “cold plugs.” A cold plug has a shorter insulator nose length – the distance from tip to spark plug shell – and transfers heat rapidly from its firing tip to the cylinder head water jacket.
Cold plugs are ideal for high rpm engines, forced induction applications, and other instances where the engine produces high operating temperatures. Conversely, hot plugs are good for applications that operate mainly at low rpms. Because they have a longer insulator nose length, heat is transferred from the firing tip to the cooling system at slower pace. This keeps the spark plug temperature high, which allows the plug to self-clean and prevent fouling.
Unfortunately, heat range numbers are not universal – each brand has its own method for assigning heat ranges. You’ll need to talk with your sales rep or consult with the manufacturer to find the best heat range for your application and spark plug brand. Be prepared to supply some basic vehicle information, including any modifications you’ve made.
[The internet is a great source for a given vendor’s spark plug offerings and some provide the relative heat range information. ]
As a rule of thumb, you can expect to require one heat range colder than the factory-supplied plugs for every 75 – 100 horsepower you’ve add with your modifications, according to Champion Spark Plugs. Here are some more basic guidelines to get you pointed in the right direction:
Basic Heat Range Guidelines
[Don’t be afraid to experiment a little. You can always revert to what you have now! Mark]
Increased compression ratio [Common with Morgans]: Higher compression ratios mean higher cylinder pressure and temperature. Once again, you’ll need a colder heat range to rapidly transfer all that extra heat to the cooling system.
Air/fuel mixture modifications [Common with Morgans]: Lean air/fuel mixtures raise the operating temperature, along with the plug tip temperature, possibly causing knock or pre-ignition. Use a colder heat range for leaner air/fuel mixtures. Rich air/fuel mixtures can cause the plug temperature to dip, allowing carbon deposits to build up on the tip. Use a hotter heat range for rich air/fuel mixtures.
Advanced ignition timing [Common with Morgans]: In general, advanced ignition timing will raise the spark plug temperature. In fact, NGK estimates an increase of 70° to 100° for every 10° advance in ignition timing. For this reason, you may need to go with a colder heat range to prevent knock or pre-ignition.
Prolonged acceleration/high speed driving [Common with Morgans]: Frequent and drawn-out acceleration and high-rpm driving raises combustion temperatures and generally requires a colder heat range.
Supercharging/turbocharging[Turbocharging is not unheard of with Morgans however Supercharging is not common]: Forced induction leads to increased cylinder pressure and temperature, which could lead to detonation. Depending on the exact application, you’ll need to go with a significantly colder heat range (faster heat transfer) over stock.
Nitrous oxide [Not common with Morgans]: The high cylinder temperatures caused by nitrous usually requires a colder heat range over the stock plug.
Methanol [Not common with Morgans]: Since it has a higher octane level than standard gasoline, methanol delivers more complete combustion. As a result, you’ll need a colder plug to transfer more heat from the combustion chamber.
You can argue the pros and cons of automotive paint sealants, compare it to waxes, and staunchly defend your favorite brand. We all have our opinions, however. . .
In my opinion, one of the most compelling reasons to use a paint sealant on a Morgan in MOGSouth is protection. In many of our locations, our cars are subject to extremes. It is frequently hot!! With the sun baring down on our cars, unmercifully. Our cars need as much protection as we can give them.
Another strong motivator for using a sealant is time. Our Morgans are not typically our only cars, nor are they our only commitments. We have other cars that need to be addressed (and other things that take up our discretionary time) so we can continue to work, eat, shop, etc. Spending all day, every day, playing with our Morgans is not always possible. We need products that last.
Another thing I like about paint sealants is they seem to be slicker than waxes. That means the unavoidable ‘dirt and grime’ that seem to be ‘magnetically’ attracted to my Morgan, doesn’t stick. The car stays cleaner, longer. And for me, that is a good thing! Cheers, Mark
In the automotive
world, there is always a middle ground. Whether you’re buying a new car, or looking
for paint protection products, our industry is packed with multiple options to fit
consumers growing needs or limited budgets. When it comes to protecting your car’s
paint, a popular mid-level product is a car paint sealant.
Automotive paint sealants
are mainly manufactured and sold by the same companies that produce car wax and
polishes. They are often designed to provide a thin layer of protection that prohibits
contaminants and UV rays to penetrate to the clear coat.
And like any other
paint protection or car care product, there are some paint sealants that are really
good – and some that are just simply – crap.
With the multiple
products out there, it’s common to find some less than honest marketing lingo that
oversells what they can and can’t do. So, in order to provide some clarity or just
some simple facts, we’ll dive into the truth about car paint sealant.
We’ll define what
car paint sealant is and what it’s made from, explain what it is designed to do,
how they are applied onto a vehicle, some pros and cons about them, and finally,
we’ll answer some of the most common FAQ’s.
So, let’s dive into some car paint sealant facts.
What is Car Paint Sealant?
If you’re familiar
with car wax and polish, then you may have met it’s older, and longer-lasting cousin
– car paint sealant. It’s usually made from synthetic ingredients, polymers, and
car wax to allow it to last longer. It’s designed to protect the paint from exposure
to UV rays and contaminants and usually lasts up to six months.
Why is the Car Paint Sealant Important?
Many car owners choose
car paint sealants as a longer-lasting alternative to car wax and polish. But it also produces results far
superior to these two products. There are a few reasons why this product
is quickly becoming a top seller in the paint protection market.
It provides a deeper depth of paint
Car paint sealant
typically creates a deeper or high gloss finish on when applied to paint in good
condition. So, not only does it protect, but it enhances the natural shine.
It protects paint longer than wax
Car wax (usually the
natural carnauba wax) will last about 6 weeks. Some synthetic car waxes can last
up to 3 months. A car paint sealant which is made from polymer technology and synthetic
ingredients will last from six to 10 months.
Provides stronger protection
Some harsh contaminants
like acid rain, bug splatters, and bird droppings contain strong acidic levels.
These items can penetrate basic car wax and cause damage to the clear coating. Car
paint sealant is stronger, long-lasting and protects the paint from these harmful
Increases the vehicle’s resale value
When a car owner uses car paint sealants it helps to protect the clear coating (?), which preserves the paint quality – and also the resale value when you trade in the vehicle.
Makes it easier to wash and dry a vehicle
Paint sealants have
very good hydrophobic properties. Like a ceramic coating, they resist the collection
of standing water, dirt and debris, which makes it easier to wash and also dry the
How to Apply Car Paint Sealant
Since these products
are similar in their ‘construction’ to liquid car wax and polish, they are usually
applied in a similar fashion. Generally, auto detailing experts agree that there
are two basic ways of applying the best car paint sealant products:
The hand application
method of a paint sealant is virtually identical to car polish. In fact, many consumers
will apply a paint polish first, then apply a car polymer sealant on top. This helps
to improve the luster and shine of car paint. Essentially, applying car synthetic
sealant follows a three-step process:
Prep the vehicle
The prep work for
applying car paint sealant simple. Just wash the car using the two-bucket method
and apply an IPA spray solution to remove any small particles or contaminants.
Apply the sealant
Applying the actual
paint sealant is also easy. Using a microfiber applicator sponge, apply a dime-sized
drop of the product and rub it on the paint surface in a forward or vertical pattern.
Don’t use a circular motion so you can avoid paint swirls. While the video above
shows the guy doing the entire hood, for optimal results, stick to applying in a
2 x 2-foot section.
Once you’ve applied
the product, and it’s dried, test the product by rubbing your thumb over it. It
should ‘haze’ and wipe clean. Just buff the paint surface with a microfiber towel.
The machine application
is another method of applying automotive paint sealants. It’s essentially the same
process as described above but increases the potential of swirl marks. The key to
reducing swirl marks is making sure the paint surface is 100% clear and free of
If you’re going to
use the machine method, you should probably complete extra prep work, such as using
a clay bar treatment before the IPA spray solution.
Are Paint Sealants Worth It?
a paint sealer is ‘worth it’ really breaks down to your personal comfort level,
desire to keep your vehicle protected, and your pocketbook.
That being said, here
are a few of the Pros and Cons of using a paint sealant to protect the paint surface
of your ride.
Paint Sealant Pros
As we described above, applying paint sealants
are incredibly simple. You don’t need a detailer to apply it. It’s not a one-step
product like some people think. But, it’s really easy. Just prep the paint, rub
it on, let it dry, and wipe it off.
with polishes and waxes
You also don’t need to remove waxing or
polish jobs before applying a paint sealant product. In fact, many people use them
all in conjunction. And many makers of these products combine a car sealant and
polishes into an all-in-one solution.
a shiny appearance
When you apply a synthetic polymer sealant
to a properly prepped and clean paint surface, it will produce a very shiny or glass-like
appearance. It also helps to reduce road grime from sticking.
lasting than car wax alone
Most good paint sealant products will hold
up for up to six months. There are a few pro-grade car paint sealants that can produce
lasting protection for almost a year, but it comes at a premium cost.
Sealant Cons – While
there are some positive attributes of paint sealant products, they are not perfect.
Here are a few items to consider before you fork over your hard-earned money.
Very similar to a ceramic coating, a paint
sealant will highlight any paint imperfections on the clear coating. If you have
swirl marks, the paint sealant will make them look larger and more detailed. To
combat this, most car owners have paint correction completed by detailers prior
to using this type of product.
more prep work than car wax and polish alone
The Paint surface needs to be very clean
to allow paint sealants to adhere to the surface well. While you don’t need to strip
wax or use a polisher, it’s important to clay bar treat the surface at the minimum
for optimal results.
If you’re wanting to remove a car paint
sealant, you’ll have to look for and purchase a specialty automotive soap. These
products are developed to strip paint sealants and car wax products, so it will
completely remove everything in most instances. It can also take a few attempts
to fully remove.
paint protection solution
We talked about the range of product options
in the automotive world in the intro. Well, paint sealants are that middle ground.
Are they easier to apply than a ceramic coating? Yes, they are. However, they last
about 1/8th the expected longevity of a ceramic coating.
When Should You Use Car Paint Sealant?
By no means do I believe
that car paint sealants are not good. In fact, there are times when I’d suggest
using a car paint sealant above a ceramic coating as a paint protectant.
Some of the best situations
where a car paint sealant is your best option to protect your paint finish include:
for daily drivers on a budget
If you’ve recently
purchased a newer car, and you’ll be spending a lot of time commuting highways,
a car paint sealant is a good, entry-level product. While I’d personally use a ceramic
coating, some people just don’t want to put the time and effort to prep or pay a
professional to do it for them. In this case, a good paint protection option is
a good car paint sealant.
for winter or extremely hot weather areas
If you live in Florida,
Georgia, or Mississippi, or Alabama, and again, don’t want to put the effort or
make the financial investment for a ceramic coating, a paint sealant to protect
auto paint from exposure is a good alternative.
the car paint is in good condition
We indicated above
that paint sealants will highlight visible paint damage. So, if the paint is in
good condition, and you don’t need to complete paint correction, a paint sealant
is a good option.
Car Paint Sealant FAQs
To wrap things up,
we ‘ll address some of the most popular car paint sealant FAQs, so we can clarify
some common questions.
Which is Better – Car Wax or a Paint Sealant?
A – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
So, when it comes to determining whether car wax is better than paint sealants,
it really breaks down to what’s important for you. A car paint sealant is going
to last longer and protect the vehicle about 5-times longer than even the best car
wax. However, car wax is not going to highlight paint damage as much as paint sealants,
so it might actually make your older car look better.
How Long Does Car Paint Sealants Last?
A – We touched on this above, but most
paint sealants will last anywhere from four to six months. There are some professional-grade
paint sealants that can extend life expectancy to almost a year. However, these
products typically require professional application and will cost a lot more than
How Expensive is a Car Paint Sealant?
A – You can find most car paint sealants
at local auto parts stores for $25 to $40. You can also purchase them online on
amazon.com and from manufacturer websites.
What’s the Difference Between Car Wax and Sealant?
A – A car wax provides a hard shell of
protection that actually gets stronger with added temperature. This is due to the
natural carnauba wax ingredients derived from a palm tree in Brazil. A paint sealant
is a fully synthetic product that is comprised of polymers that chemically bond
onto the paint surface. When they ‘flash’ it provides a stronger layer of protection
than car wax – and thus lasts longer than car wax.
Can you Wax over a Paint Sealant?
A – Yes, you can use both products in conjunction.
In fact, applying a car wax over sealant may provide an extra layer of protection
by filling in smaller imperfections.
[As most of you know, I have both show cars and drivers in my gaggle of Morgans. I’ve recently gotten a few blank stares (maybe it was just the individual’s natural state?) when I talked about clay so I found this article and thought it might be helpful. Cheers, Mark]
What is a clay bar? What are clay bars made of?
Quite a misnomer,
clay bars aren’t actually made of clay. They are made of an elastic, malleable
resin compound which is often formed into a block for distribution. You rub
this block across your paint with the aid of a lubricant to help pull
contaminants out and off of your paint.
How do clay bars work?
Clay bars are very
lightly abrasive. Think of them like a 5000 grit piece of wet sanding paper.
You lubricate the surface of your paint and rub the clay across it which
abrades away and pulls out contaminants such as dirt, iron deposits, and tree
The material clay
bars are made out of is also malleable allowing it to form to the surfaces of
your vehicle and withstand grating against the dirt and contaminants you’re
removing which are very hard.
It’s important to
remove these deposits with a clay bar. Many of these deposits such as rail
dust, carbon, and industrial fallout contain metallic substances which when
left embedded in your paint will oxidize and spread under the clear coat
leading to pitting and clear coat failure.
Plus, clay barred
paint is incredibly smooth. This makes the application of wax or sealant much
easier and increases the bond waxes and sealants have with your paint so they
last longer. Win win.
Are detailing clay bars safe?
clay baring is very safe. As long as you keep the surface you are claying
lubricated you shouldn’t install any scratches or marring. If you rub your clay
on a non-lubricated area of paint you can scuff the paint lightly. There are
also some more abrasive grades of clay than can leave behind micro marring but
this marring is quickly removed by a light polish.
Since clay bars are so lightly abrasive they do not remove a meaningful amount of paint. Properly lubricated, you will never clay through your paint. You will also never remove scratches or swirls with a clay bar, that’s a job for compounds and polishes.
Can I use a clay bar on other materials such as glass or
hard surface with stuck on contaminants can benefit from claying. Use a clay
bar on your windows the next time you detail your car. You’ll be amazed how
smooth and water shedding the glass will be afterward.
Some grades of
clay, however, should not be used on clear plastics unless you intend to polish
them afterward. They can leave light hazing on soft plastic.
I typically use
clay before polishing any surface be it paint, plastic, or glass that way my
polishing pad has less work to do and subsequently lasts longer.
When should I clay bar my car?
Any time you feel
your paint after properly washing and drying it and it feels gritty you should
A neat trick to
truly tell if your paint is gritty and contaminated is to put your hand inside
a plastic bag (shopping or sandwich, doesn’t matter) like it’s a glove and rub
your paint. This will amplify any imperfections. Paint that felt somewhat
smooth to your bare hand will feel like sand through the bag.
Once you clay your
paint you can use the bag trick to test if your paint is truly smooth and will
not benefit from any more clay baring.
Does a new car need to be clay barred?
your car was transported from the manufacturer to the dealer it did so by rail,
highway, and even sea. Most dealers don’t do a great job at cleaning the cars
once they receive them. This means your car has rail dust, iron particles, road
film, salt, and other contaminants already imbedded in it.
How often should I clay bar my car?
If you’re properly
caring for your car this should only be once or twice a year. By properly caring
I mean you’ve already clay barred and polished it once, have kept it protected
with a good wax or sealant, and have cleaned it routinely to make sure
contaminants haven’t’ sat on the paint for a long time.
What are the differences between clay bars?
difference in clay bars is the aggressiveness/grade. There are typically three
different grades of clay bar, medium, fine and heavy.
Heavy clay bars are
meant to remove deeply imbedded and adhered particles. These will leave hazing
and should be followed up with polish.
Medium grade clay
bars are meant to remove more stubborn contaminants but may leave behind light
micro marring or hazing that will require a follow up with a light polish.
Fine grade clay
bars are means to remove light amounts of contaminants and will not harm the
finish. These can be used as often as you like and are the kind typically found
on store shelves by the likes of Meguiars and Mothers, both of
which are my recommendation for most people in search of an affordable, quality
What can I use as clay bar lubricant?
Most clay bar kits
use a quick detailer as a lubricant. This is also known as a spray wax. You can
also use concentrated soapy water or a rinseless car wash solution.
Never use a clay
bar without a lubricant. You’ll make a mess and mar your paint.
What alternatives are there to clay bars?
Clay bars have been
around for years so it’s the first product people think of when they think
about decontaminating their paint. Fortunately, in that time, some new products
have come out that can entirely replace clay bars.
There are now wash
mitts, pads, and towels that are made of a rubber like substance that can be
used just like a clay bar and are washable/reusable.
There is a definite
cost/benefit analysis to be done when considering these alternatives. On one
hand they are faster to use and reusable, even if dropped, because they can be
washed. On the other, they are comparatively expensive. They can cost two to four
times as much as a clay bar. If you think you’ll use them often this can make
them a great deal. If you’re only intending to use it once or twice, it might
not make sense to spend the extra money. That is for you to decide.
How to Use a Clay Bar
Note: I recommend splitting your clay bar up into two to four pieces. This will prevent you having to throw the whole bar away should you drop your clay. Once a piece of clay hits the ground throw it away. It will pick up contaminants and it will scratch your paint otherwise.
[ have dropped my clay a couple of times. You will be tempted to try to pick off any contaminants that you see and try to reuse it (because it isn’t cheap), but you can’t see them all and the ones you didn’t find will definitely scratch your paint – Don’t do it! Mark]
Wash and dry your
Flatten your clay
out to fit flat in your hand.
Spray a small area
of a single panel, around 2 square feet, with your lubricant of choice.
Lightly rub the
clay back and forth on the lubricated paint.
Rub the clay back
and forth until you no longer feel any resistance or hear friction. This means
the paint is clean.
Wipe off the area
you just worked with a quality microfiber towel.
Feel the surface
with your fingertips. It should feel smooth. If not, repeat the claying process
Move on to the next
When the surface of
the clay stars to look dirty, fold it in to reveal a clean surface to proceed
finished it is a good idea to re-wash the vehicle to remove any residue left
behind by the clay and lubricant.
Tips for Using a Claybar
Wash panel before
clay baring to prevent marring paint.
If you drop the
clay, game over, throw it away.
Cut your bar into
smaller pieces so you don’t ruin the whole bar if you drop it.
Work in the shade
so the sun doesn’t dry your lubricant too fast.
Work in smaller
areas at a time so your lubricant doesn’t dry up.
Use light pressure.
Heavy pressure will displace the lubricant and you’ll scuff your paint.
Make sure to
frequently fold in the clay to expose a clean surface to clay with.
Spray your clay
with lubricant and place it into a sealed baggy for long term storage.
What is the Best Clay Bar?
Honestly, most clay
bars within the same grade are pretty equal. Some are a little more malleable
and shapeable than others but the performance is roughly the same. This is one
area where the whole “you get what you pay for” thing doesn’t really hold true.
I have used many
brands of clay bar over the last 15 years and I still come back to the Meguiars
and Mothers bars you can pick up off the shelf at most big box stores
for under $20. I’ve used both and generally grab whichever is cheapest at the
time. You’ll get 160g worth of clay, a decent microfiber towel, and clay
lubricant (quick detailer) for the same cost as just a bar of clay from other
You really can’t go
wrong with the above mentioned bars unless your car is in such bad shape that
you need a medium or heavy bar. In that case take a look at Heavy or Medium
[I was surfing the web and found this. It caught my eye as I am trailering one of my Morgans, this coming weekend, to Pensacola for their all British Car Show. Lately I find I am driving less and trailering more. Especially with the older cars or for car events farther afield. Maybe it’s the creature comforts offered by the tow vehicle, or I may just be getting old. (I don’t like the second option so I’ll go with the first!) I have a car trailer and have some experience however I don’t want to become over confident or complacent with something this critical. So, give it quick read and perhaps you will learn something new, as I did. The last thing we need it an accident or worse yet, an injury. Be safe but have fun! Mark.]
According to statistics compiled by the DangerousTrailers.org web sitee, an average of 68,358 American motorists are involved in towing-related accidents each year, each resulting in average damages exceeding $43,000. While towing a trailer seems simple enough, proper equipment, safety practices and loading techniques are all essential components in ensuring that trailering drivers get from point A to point B with vehicles, passengers and equipment intact.
The first step to towing any kind of
trailer is ensuring that both trailer and tow vehicle are properly rated for
the load to be carried. Should the proposed tow vehicle be rated by the
manufacturer to safely tow up to 5,000 pounds, pulling a double-axle car
trailer, loaded with a 1961 Chevrolet Impala, across Colorado’s Independence
Pass certainly isn’t recommended. The best advice here is “buy enough truck,”
understanding that new towing requirements may require the purchase of a
different tow vehicle with a higher weight rating.
A proper hitch and receiver are the
next essential components, and for towing a vehicle the absolute minimum
recommended would be a Class III hitch and receiver, rated at a maximum trailer
weight of 6,000 pounds (when used with a weight carrying hitch) or 10,000
pounds (when used with a weight distributing hitch). A Class IV hitch and
receiver gets a higher rating (up to 14,000 pounds, when used with a weight
distributing hitch setup), but may not be applicable for tow vehicles aside
from full-size pickups and SUVs. Beyond this lies Class V hitches (rated up to
17,000 pounds with weight-distributing hitches) and fifth-wheel hitches, which
are primarily the domain of heavy-duty pickups.
Once satisfied with tow vehicle and
hitch setup, the next challenge becomes finding a suitable trailer to handle
your perceived vehicle hauling needs. If your towing is limited to hauling a
Formula Vee racer to regional vintage events, a double-axle enclosed trailer
will likely be overkill in terms of both size and weight. On the other hand,
when towing a Mercedes-Benz Unimog cross-country, a two-wheel car dolly may be
suboptimal for your needs. When purchasing a trailer, try to consider both
current and future needs; if your passion is for restoring Corvairs, then
sizing a trailer may be fairly simple. Should your passion extend to all GM
products, including pickups, sizing a trailer may be more of a challenge.
For hauling vehicles, trailers should
be equipped with a weight distributing hitch and trailer brakes (which may or
may not be required by the state in which you reside). An anti-sway system may
be a wise investment as well, particularly for those new to towing. Sway likely
represents the biggest danger to towing trailers, and it can be caused by
factors as diverse as excessive speed, strong crosswinds, passing trucks or
improper trailer loading.
To minimize the risk of sway, loads should
ideally be centered over the trailer’s axles, evenly balanced from side to
side. This isn’t always possible, so most recommend carrying slightly more
weight to the front of trailer (assuming that the rig’s tongue weight isn’t
exceeded in doing so). Under all circumstances, avoid placing the heaviest part
of the load to the rear of the trailer’s axle, as doing so will increase the
likelihood of trailer sway.
If a trailer begins to sway, the best
corrective action is to gently let off the accelerator, slowing (without
applying the tow vehicle brakes) until the trailer is again under control.
Should you have an electronic trailer brake controller, applying the trailer
brakes manually will bring a swaying trailer under control, which is further
justification for an electronic trailer brake and controller setup.
Accelerating further or braking the tow vehicle heavily are likely to
exacerbate the problem, so both should be avoided. Be aware that certain
situations (crossing bridges or being passed by tractor-trailers, for example)
are likely to create cross winds; be aware that this make increase the chances
of trailer sway, and be prepared to act accordingly.
Ensuring that trailer and tow vehicle
are level will also help to minimize the risk of sway, and different trailers
may require the use of different height receivers. If you frequently tow more
than one trailer, investing in a multi-position receiver may be easier and less
expensive than buying separate receivers for all trailers. Also, ensure that
the receiver ball size matches the hitch of the trailer; attempting to tow a
2-5/16-inch hitch with a two-inch receiver ball is a recipe for disaster.
Prior to loading the trailer, it’s a good idea to give it a full inspection, particularly if it hasn’t been used in a while. Check tire pressuree as well as tire tread depth; tires may show ample tread, but those with signs of dry rot should be replaced. Attempting to wiggle the wheels and tires from side-to-side may show if wheel bearings are worn, and it’s a good idea to pack (non-sealed) bearings with grease annually. Check electrical connections for corrosion, and use dielectric grease on the connector pins to minimize the chance of future corrosion. Inspect wood deck planking for any signs of rot, and replace as necessary. Finally, hitch the trailer to the tow vehicle to double check that all lights (and electric trailer brakes, if equipped) are functioning.
The specific procedure for loading
and strapping down a vehicle on a trailer will vary by trailer and the type of ratcheting
strap used, but some general guidelines still apply. First, be sure the
vehicle’s weight is centered over, or slightly forward of, the trailer’s
wheels. As much as you can, ensure that the side-to-side weight of the trailer
is balanced by offsetting tool boxes with things like fuel jugs. When using
ratcheting straps that cradle a vehicle’s tires, be sure that all attachment
points are secure and close enough to the tire to ensure proper operation (per
the strap manufacturer’s instruction). When using over-the-axle type ratcheting
straps, be sure the strap is wrapped around a structural member, but not
rubbing against coolant hoses, fuel lines or brake lines. When using ratcheting
straps that attach to the vehicle, ensure (again) that straps are attached to
strong enough part of the frame to carry the load. As a general rule of thumb,
one strap in each corner should be the absolute minimum number used, and
placing four wheel chocks (in front of the front wheels and behind the rear
wheels) gives additional piece of mind. As a further reminder, the trailered
vehicle should be in Park (or in first gear), with the handbrake set.
Once the trailer is hitched to the
tow vehicle, it’s a good idea to go through one more safety checklist. Is the
load level, or does the tongue weight of the trailer (or the drop of the
receiver) need to be adjusted? Are all the electrical connections tight, and do
all signals, lights and brakes work as intended? Are the safety chains crossed
in an X-pattern beneath the trailer hitch, forming a cradle in the event of a
hitch failure? Is the tether for the electric trailer brakes set? Is the nose
wheel up and locked, and is hitch securely locked into position? Have the lug
bolts on the trailer (and any other fasteners potentially prone to loosening)
been tensioned to the proper torque?
As with most tasks, prior proper
preparation is the key to safe and successful trailering, and the best way to
avoid becoming one of the 68,000 plus motorists involved in trailering
accidents each year.
A tip of the hat to Brad Babson for
his help in compiling this piece.
The Little Aluminum V-8 That Saved Britain’s Bacon
LIKE THE KID WHO FLUNKED FIFTH grade and then grew up to become a decent stockbroker, the troubled youth of GM’s 215-cubic-inch (3.5 liter) aluminum V-8 didn’t hinder its fruitful life. Born in 1961, this resilient engine introduced turbocharging to production cars but failed to earn a sufficient U.S. audience, whereupon it was sent to England to live out its life in everything from Range Rovers to TVRs. Along the way, this mill, commonly known as the “Buick aluminum V-8” for reasons that will soon be explained, inspired countless designs and enabled a cottage sports-car industry. It was the only American engine design ever to win a Formula 1 title. One could argue that GM’s aluminum V-8 was every bit as ingenious as the Chevy small-block.
General Motors began studying aluminum V-8s in 1950 to power
its LeSabre and XP-300 dream cars. Although
cast aluminum had been used early in the 20th century for crankcases, constructing
entire blocks and cylinder heads out of this material was a major breakthrough in
In Europe, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lancia, Porsche, Rolls-Royce,
and Volkswagen perfected aluminum construction after World War II. The success of VW Beetle imports convinced U.S.
automakers they would need downsized cars powered by smaller and lighter engines
to compete. In 1960, the Chevrolet Corvair
began the move to aluminum engines, followed by Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth,
and Rambler in ’61.
Aluminum’s appeal is a density, or weight per volume, that is
60 percent lower than that of cast iron or “gray iron,” until then the
traditional engine-block material. Per pound,
aluminum yields two to three times the bending stiffness and strength of cast iron
and three times the tensile strength.
Aluminum’s downside is cost. Iron ore is simply mined, melted, and mixed with
a few ingredients before casting, but refining aluminum is a complex, energy-intensive
process. First, bauxite ore, a claylike material,
is mined. After melting and settling, alumina
(aluminum oxide) in the molten ore is purified with an electric current, a process
called electrolysis. Because of aluminum
smelters’ high electricity consumption, they are typically located near hydroelectric
dams, where the electricity is plentiful and cheaper. As a result, aluminum typically costs five times
more per pound than gray iron. In the mid-1950s,
GM engineer Joseph Turlay, who designed Buick’s first production V-8 for the 1953
model year, topped an experimental cast-aluminum block with hemi heads, a supercharger,
and dual carburetors to produce 335 horsepower from 3.5 liters. That V-8’s 550-pound weight was a major breakthrough
compared with the typical 700-pound iron-age engine.
GM engineers soon began work on a production aluminum V-8 to
power the Buick Special, Oldsmobile F-85, and Pontiac Tempest slated for 1961. Buick won the development and manufacturing assignments,
with Turlay overseeing and Cliff Studaker assisting the engineering effort.
GM’s game plan was to use a stretched Corvair unibody to underpin
its new compacts. More refined ride and handling
would, hopefully, justify higher prices for the upmarket models. In addition, the aluminum V-8 would foster weight
savings throughout the chassis, thereby improving performance.
Toward that end, the 3.5-liter V-8 was a showcase of light design.
The block, heads, intake manifold, timing
chain cover, water pump, and water outlet were all made of GM’s 4097M aluminum alloy
containing II-to-13-percent silicon. This
added material lowered the aluminum’s melting temperature, helped it flow more readily
into molds, and reduced shrinkage during solidification. A touch of copper was added to improve corrosion
resistance. The pistons, rocker arms, and
carburetor were also aluminum. The final
324-pound dry weight was 200 pounds lighter than Chevy’s small-block and roughly
half the weight of Buick’s 6.6-liter V-8.
Turlay’s engineering team applied creative solutions to myriad
design issues. Because aluminum bores weren’t
durable enough to withstand piston scuffing, cast-in-place iron sleeves with grooved
outer surfaces engaging the surrounding aluminum were used. This provided a tough bore surface without sealing
concerns. Shrink-fit iron valve seats and
guides were incorporated into the aluminum heads, also for durability. A deep-skirt block with five cast-iron main-bearing
caps provided a stiff bottom end. The cast-aluminum
pistons were linked to the cast-Armasteel crank through forged-steel connecting
rods. (Armasteel was GM’s name for a special cast iron manufactured by its foundries.)
Combining an 8.8:1 compression ratio with dished piston crowns
and shallow combustion chambers achieved detonation-free operation on regular gas.
The spark plugs were located within half
an inch of the bore center to minimize flame travel. The 3.50 inch bore and short 2.80-inch stroke minimized
piston speed and engine height.
Because aluminum expands significantly more than iron when heated,
the engineers worried that steel bolts screwed directly into aluminum threads might
loosen in service. Testing proved the bolts would maintain the desired torque if
they were well lubricated during assembly.
Aluminum-block manufacturing was the one area where Buick
ventured into the unknown. The technique
adopted was called semi-permanent mold casting, because it mixed conventional
sand cores with permanent steel dies. Sand
cores defined the internal coolant passages and the crankcase portion of the
block. The reusable steel molds used for
the outer flanks, deck surfaces, and valley area saved manufacturing minutes and
provided a smoother finish than was possible with sand cores.
Following dyno development and a million miles of durability
testing, Buick’s engine was tuned to deliver 155 (gross) horsepower at 4800 rpm
and 220 pound-feet of torque at 2400 rpm, with a relatively flat torque curve. Upping the compression ratio to 10.25:1 and
adding a four-barrel carburetor hiked output to 230 pound-feet and 185 horsepower,
or 0.86 horsepower per cubic inch. Chevy’s 283-cubic-inch V-8 delivered 230
horsepower (0.81 horsepower per cubic inch) with a four-barrel carburetor.
Oldsmobile entered the 1961 model year with a version of
this V-8 called the Rockette to evoke a family tie to the Rocket 88. To make efficient use of manufacturing
facilities, Buick cast all the blocks and crankshafts, and Olds manufactured
its own heads, pistons, valvetrain, and intake manifolds. One significant difference in the blocks was
Buick’s use of five head bolts per cylinder whereas Olds preferred six (stay
tuned for the reason why). Pontiac
equipped most of its Tempests with what it called an Indy Four—basically, a V-8
chopped in half—with the Buick 3.5-liter V-8 available as an extra-cost
The racing community was impressed by America’s new small
V-8, too. Mickey Thompson concluded that
this ultra-light engine was the ideal means of rattling the Offenhauser crowd
at Indy. In 1962, Dan Gurney qualified
eighth in Thompson’s Harvey Aluminum Special powered by a 4.2-liter Buick V-8,
but he dropped out half-way through the race with a broken gearbox.
Unfortunately, the buying public didn’t swarm to the
General’s new premium compact cars. Only
Pontiac topped 100,000 sales in 1961; combined Special/F-85/Tempest sales
exceeded the Corvair’s volume by only 10 percent. The issue was price. The cheapest Olds F-85 cost $118 more than a
Chevy Bel Air. Instead of merely hoping
sales would rise, Buick and Oldsmobile swiftly rejiggered their game plans. In 1962, Buick moved down-market, and
Oldsmobile grabbed the next rung up the price ladder.
Buick’s 1962 companion to the aluminum V-8 was a V-6 made by
whacking one cylinder per bank. To spare
the higher cost of aluminum, the block and the heads were converted to cast iron.
Keeping the V-8’s 90-degree V-angle was
hardly ideal from a vibration standpoint, but it did allow machining the new
V-6 with existing tools. What began as a
crude expedient eventually ended up as GM’s rock-star 3800 V-6, a story for
Oldsmobile promoted its Rockette aluminum V-8 to Jetfire
Turbo Rocket status by adding a Garrett AiResearch turbocharger fed by a
single-barrel side-draft Rochester carburetor. Beating Chevy’s Corvair Monza Turbo to market
by a few weeks gave Olds bragging rights for the world’s first turbocharged production
model. Peak power surged to 215 horsepower
at 4800 rpm—clearing the one horse-per-cubic-inch hurdle. The torque curve peaked at a potent 300
pound-feet at 3200 rpm. Without major
changes to the host engine or any loss of smoothness or drivability, midrange
torque rose by 40 percent.
Turbo pinwheels spinning at 90,000 rpm were supported by aluminum
sleeve bearings lubed by engine oil. Exhaust gas accelerated the alloy-steel
turbine wheel from 40,000 rpm during cruising to 80,000 rpm in less than a
second after the throttle was floored. An exhaust waste gate built into the turbocharger
limited boost pressure to 5 psi.
Instead of lowering the naturally aspirated V-8’s 10.25:1
compression ratio, which would penalize efficiency, Oldsmobile devised a system
that metered Turbo Rocket fluid during boost conditions in a 1:10 ratio with
the gasoline consumed. This 50/50 elixir
of distilled water and methyl alcohol (antifreeze) with a splash of corrosion
inhibitor cooled the gas and air mixture sufficiently to forestall detonation. To their surprise, Olds engineers found that
the alcohol content added six horsepower to peak output.
The tank that stored this juice was pressurized by a tap off
the turbo’s compressor to force delivery to the carburetor’s float chamber. Safeguards were provided to inhibit boost when
the essential fluid was depleted. Testing
predicted the 5 quart supply would last nearly 1000 miles.
BEATING CHEVY’S CORVAlR MONZA TURBO TO MARKET BY A FEW WEEKS (AND BMW AND PORSCHE BY A DECADE) GAVE OLDS BRAGGING RIGHTS FOR THE WORLD’S FIRST TURBOCHARGED PRODUCTION MODEL.
Osmobile’s 1962 JetRocket V-8 topped
by a Garrett AiResearch turbocharger fed a single-barrel Rochester downdraft carburetor.
Five psi of boost raised output to 215 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 300
pound-feet of 3200.
Those extra head bolts? Oldsmobile designed them into its version of
the 215 to help avoid warpage and blown head gaskets on the turbo variant. The pistons, the bearings, and the valves were
Proud of their achievement, Oldsmobile engineers Gil
Burrell, Frank Ball, and James Lewis concluded their Turbo Rocket tech paper by
saying, “This engine is a development that will be appreciated by all
engineers, performance enthusiasts, and other people interested in advanced
mechanical powerplants.” Car and
Driver technical guru Roger Huntington dubbed the engine “the most radical
design from an American factory in many years.” He rated the ’62 Olds Cutlass F-85 Jetfire
“an elegant and comfortable high-performance car of medium size”.
Unfortunately, GM’s hot small engine was caught out by
radical changes sweeping through the industry. For the 1964 model year—the dawn of the
muscle-car era-—GM’s premium compacts grew into intermediate A-bodies powered
exclusively by iron engines. Buick and
Olds kept the V-6 and added larger V-8 options. Pontiac used a Chevy inline-six for base power
and offered V-8s ranging from 326 to a wild 421 cubic inches.
The aluminum 215 V-8 lasted only three model years, in part
because it was a costly indulgence. The
casting process suffered from porosity issues—seepage through the cylinder-block
walls—and the high scrap rates gave top management the willies. If the porosity wasn’t discovered upfront,
coolant contamination of the oil triggered an expensive warranty claim. Customers who used the wrong antifreeze
suffered radiators clogged with aluminum deposits. Mechanics hurriedly changing spark plugs occasionally
stripped threads in the aluminum heads.
Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire owners often ignored the dash light
urging them to replenish their Turbo Rocket fluid. The most pressing issue was fewer than 10,000
turbo cars sold, resulting in its cancellation after only two model years. Some dealers even stooped to removing the
booster for disgruntled customers. The
Corvair Monza Spyder also failed to top 10,000 sales in 1962, suggesting that
turbochargers were too mysterious for most small-car buyers.
On the opposite side of the earth, Oldsmobile’s light,
compact V-8 was held in higher regard. Australian racing driver Jack Brabham
commissioned auto-parts supplier Repco to base a Formula 1 V-8 on the Olds block
endowed with SOHC heads and a flat plane crankshaft to produce more than 300 horsepower
from 3.0 liters. That shrewd move earned
Brabham the 1966 drivers’ and constructors’ titles. This was the first and last time an engine
with American production-car roots prevailed in Formula 1.
Britain’s Rover also took advantage of GM’s aluminum V-8. By
the early 1960s, the 3.0-liter F-head inline-six that powered its flagship sedan
was overdue for replacement. On a visit
to the States, Rover’s managing director, William Martin-Hurst, stumbled across
a Buick V-8 that Mercury Marine intended to install in a boat. The engine was instead shipped to England,
where Rover engineers concluded it would suit their needs.
In 1965, Rover inked a deal with GM that included all rights
to the aluminum V-8, tech data, blueprints, and a few used engines. Designer Turlay, about to retire from Buick, moved
to England to assist the production restart. Apparently, it didn’t occur to anyone at GM
that Rover would be competing against GM’s own European brands, Opel and
Vauxhall, with the exiled engine.
Rover switched block manufacturing to conventional sand
casting with pressed-in cylinder liners to solve the porosity problem for good.
Starting with the P5 sedan in 1967,
Rover’s 184-hp V-8 graduated to the P6 a year later and to the Range Rover
luxury SUV when it debuted in 1970. The
enduring success of the Land Rover brand in our market is the direct result of
its arrival with a smooth, potent engine.
Growing in steps to 5.0 liters, the aluminum V-8 thrived in
MGS, Morgans, Triumphs, and TV Rs and stayed in production until 2004. The remanufacturing firm MCT then took the
baton to continue the supply of engines to Britain’s low-volume specialty
brands until 2010. Without this V-8, the
Japanese would have annihilated British sports cars as quickly as they had laid
the U.K.’s motorcycle industry to rest.
GM’s courageous aluminum and turbocharging initiatives yielded several worthy permutations of the original Buick 215 V-8, notable racing success, and millions of satisfied customers.
As you all know, I have several Morgan cars. Each of these cars is different and each of these cars needs to be maintained in a different manner.
For each car, I have identified a number of maintenance tasks that need to be accomplished at specific times and/or mileage intervals. I also have a tracking mechanism (computer program) that keeps me from forgetting to change the oil or check the lights on a given car.
These maintenance tasks have been identified over time through personal experience, found in published books, MMC handbooks, or recommended by others with similar cars. These lists have evolved over time, and continue to evolve.
These service lists may seem excessive or not accurately match your specific list, but I thought I would provide them, not as gospel, but as merely a suggestion, starting point, or food for thought.
In each of these service lists there are also likely to be duplicate tasks, misspellings or other editing problems. My apologies, these errors get fixed as I find them, as this really is a work in progress.
These service lists are provided as Microsoft Excel files (*.xlsx) which should be readable and/or editable by just about everyone. If, however, you cannot read and/or edit these file, and want to, just let me know. I will find another format that works for you.
[Changing your vehicle’s engine oil is not difficult but unfortunately we sometimes fail to perform this recurring task. This can happen for any number of reasons; lack of time, lack of space, lack of tools, etc. However, changing the oil is one of the most important things you can do to keep your Morgan on the road. If you can’t do it at home take the car to a oil changing service in town. They are everywhere. Just don’t forget to get it done. It is best to change your oil as suggested by your Morgan handbook, but in general every 3,000 – 5,000 miles or three months or so. Changing the engine oil too often won’t hurt the car! In addition to mileage you may need to change the engine’s oil for other reasons. In many of the places we live the temperature and humidity changes wreak havoc on our engine’s oil. Water from condensation will contaminate the engine’ oil and dilute it’s ability to lubricate your motor. You may also want to change the engine’s oil when your prepare you car for a long period of disuse, e.g. the winter. (Oil can turn acidic over time and that’s not good.) Mark]
Things you’ll need from your garage :
Oil catch/recycle container
New oil filter
Oil drain plug gasket (Using a new one is recommended)
4-5 qt. new oil*
Oil filter wrench set**
Mechanics work gloves
*Check your owner’s handbook for your vehicle’s oil capacity.
**If you plan to change your oil regularly,
consider investing in a small tool set, an oil filter wrench set, a quality
floor jack and jack stands.
Step 1 – Park your car on a level surface and apply parking brake.
Run your engine for 5 minutes before draining
oil, as warm oil drains faster than cold. Do NOT drain oil that is at full
operating temperature as it will be too hot to safely handle. It is recommended that you remove the key for
the ignition to preclude any accidental engine starts.
Step 2 – Jack your car up and place it on jack stands.
A jack alone will not safely support the full
weight of your car. Consult your manual for the proper jacking points. The
placement of a jack stand is just as important as the jack placement. The wrong
placement can damage your car’s suspension or body parts.
Step 3 – Locate the oil drain plug and place the drain pan below.
The oil drain plug is usually near the front
center of the engine, but some vehicles have more than one plug. Check your
manual for the exact location. Loosen the plug with a socket or wrench. Make
sure that the drain pan is large enough to hold 4-5 quarts of oil or more.
Step 4 – Unscrew the plug by hand.
Remove the plug by hand. While unscrewing the plug, push it back towards the vehicle. This keeps oil from rushing out until you are ready to remove the plug from the hole. Note: For engines with oil drains on the side, the oil is likely to drain at an angle, e.g. squirt out a foot or so. Position the drain pan to catch it and be sure to adjust the pan’s location as it drains.
[I have had lots of oil squirt onto the floor, outside to the pan, by not paying attention. Mark]
Step 5 – Drain all oil.
To speed up the draining process, remove the
filler cap located on the top of the engine and allow air to enter from the
Step 6 – Replace oil plug.
Tighten the oil plug by hand and ensure it is
not cross-threaded. Once the plug is snug, finish tightening it with a wrench
or by hand. Always use a new drain plug gasket if you have one and never
over-tighten the drain plug.
Step 7 – Remove existing oil filter.
Place the oil pan underneath the old filter to
catch any remaining oil while unscrewing it. Remove the old filter using an oil
filter wrench if you have one. [Sometimes
a strap wrench can be used, or if necessary, stick a screw driver into the body
of the filter to give you something to turn. Use a rag to clean the mounting
surface. Make sure that the sealing O-ring from the old filter is not stuck to
the mounting surface on the engine.
Step 8 – Lubricate new filter and screw into place by hand.
Lightly coat the rubber seal of the new filter
with fresh oil. It’s usually not necessary to tighten the oil filter with the
wrench. Refer to the filter’s instructions. Once the filter is installed, lower
Step 9 – Clean the oil filter neck and pour in the new oil using a funnel.
Typically, you will use 4 to 5 quarts of oil,
but check your manual for your vehicle’s oil capacity. Fill to three-quarters
of the engine’s capacity to avoid overfilling, as there is always oil that does
not drain. Then replace the cap.
Step 10 – Run the engine for a few minutes to make sure there are no leaks.
Check the area around the oil drain plug and
the filter for any leaks. If you notice a leak, shut the engine off immediately
and remedy any leaks. Check the dipstick afterward and add more oil if
Step 11 – Dispose of the used oil properly.
Bring your used oil to a recycling center to
recycle the oil for you (or many auto parts stores or oil change service business
will take it but check with them first). These are the only acceptable methods for oil
Make sure your car is securely supported.
Record the date and mileage after you change the oil so you will know when your car is due for another oil change.
Handle hot motor oil with extreme caution.
Use mechanic’s gloves to keep your hands protected and clean.
Only dispose of used motor oil and filters at authorized locations.
Learn about the different types of drill bits so you can choose the right ones for your project and for the material you’re drilling.
Types of Drill Bits: Materials and Finishes
The materials from which bits are manufactured and the finishes applied to them play a significant role in the life and performance of the bit. Common materials and finishes:
High-Speed Steel (HSS) drill bits can drill wood, fiberglass, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and soft metals such as aluminum.
Cobalt drill bits are extremely hard and dissipate heat quickly. They’re mostly used for boring in aluminum and tough metals such as stainless steel.
Black oxide-coated HSS drill bits have a finish designed to help resist corrosion and increase durability. They last longer than basic HSS bits and work well on a variety of materials, including metal, hardwood, softwood, PVC and fiberglass.
Titanium-coated HSS drill bits produce less friction. They’re tougher than basic HSS bits and stay sharp longer. They work for drilling wood, metal, fiberglass and PVC.
Carbide-tipped drill bitsstay sharp much longer than steel, HSS or titanium bits. They’re effective for drilling tile and masonry.
Drill Bit Construction
For a typical drill bit, the angle of the point helps determine what type of material the bit can drill. Flatter points — such as those with 135-degree angles — are suited for drilling into harder material. They may require a pilot hole to keep the bit from wandering. Bits with steeper points — such as those with 118-degree angles — are suited for softer material. They stay on center better and produce cleaner entry and exit holes. Bits with split-point tips improve drilling accuracy by keeping the bit from wandering when you begin to drill.
Bit size reflects the diameter of the body. Some projects call for specific drill bit sizes, but a bit set that includes sizes from 1/16-inch to 1/4-inch will handle many jobs around the home and workshop. You can add larger bits – 5/16-inch, 3/8-inch, 7/16-inch and 1/2-inch bits if you need them.
The chuck on a hand drill or drill press secures a drill bit to the tool along the bit’s shank. A smaller drill for work around the house typically has a 3/8-inch chuck. More powerful drills for heavier applications have a larger, 1/2-inch chuck. Drill presses also have larger chucks — 1/2-inch or 5/8-inch, for example. The bit shank size must not exceed the chuck size of the drill. A larger bit may have a reduced shank — a shank with a smaller diameter than the body of the bit — allowing you to use it with smaller chucks.
A round shank allows you accurately center a bit in the chuck.
A hex shank has flat surfaces, allowing the tool to grip the bit more securely for greater torque. Hex shanks such as the one in the image above work with quick-change chucks — common on cordless drills — allowing you to insert and remove them without tightening and loosening the chuck.
An SDS (slotted drive system) shank is designed for use on a hammer drill; it fits a spring-loaded chuck that doesn’t require tightening. The bit can move forward and backward with the hammering motion of the drill while flattened areas and slots on the shank allow the chuck to hold the bit.
Twist Drill Bit – A twist bit is the most common type of drill bit for home use. It works for general-purpose drilling in wood, plastic and light metal.
Brad-Point Drill Bit – A brad-point bit is designed for boring into wood. The brad at the center of the bit tip helps position the bit precisely for accurate drilling and produces a clean exit point in the work piece. The flutes — grooves that wrap around the bit and channel away chips and dust — are extra-wide to remove more material.Auger Drill Bit – An auger bit, another type of wood-boring bit, has a screw tip that starts the hole and pulls the bit through the work piece. These bits can be as long as 18 inches. As with the brad-point bit, large flutes help remove chips and dust. An auger bit with a hollow center provides even more chip removal, one with a solid center is stronger and more rigid.Self-Feed Drill Bit – A self-feed bit bores through wood. Like the auger bit, a screw at the tip helps position the bit and draws it through the work piece. However, this bit is more compact. It doesn’t have the standard flutes of a twist bit, so you need to pull the bit back periodically to clear away chips and dust.
Installer Drill Bit – An installer bit is a specialized twist bit designed for installing wiring. The bit can be up to 18 inches long and drills through wood, plaster and some masonry.
Once you drill through the wall, floor or other surface, you insert a wire into the small hole in the bit and use the bit to draw it back through the hole you bored.
Spade Bit – A spade bit, also known as a paddle bit,bores large-diameter holes — up to 1-1/2 inches in diameter — in wood. It has a flattened blade with a sharp point that helps position and steady the bit. Some spade bits have points at the two edges that help create a neater hole and exit point.
Forstner Drill Bit – A Forstner bit bores smooth, clean holes in wood. You can use it to create flat-bottomed holes — such as for receiving dowels. The design also allows you to overlap holes. A point helps you to position the bit precisely on the workpiece. Pull the bit out regularly to clear away chips and dust as you work. A hand-held drill may not always give you the force or control you need to use a Forstner bit, so a drill press is a better option for some applications.
Hole Saw – A hole saw drills large holes — such as for installing door hardware or creating a pass-through for wiring. A hole saw creates a plug of waste material; a cut-out in the side of the saw cylinder allows you to push it out. Typically, a hole saw attaches to an arbor or mandrel which includes a shank. The arbor also holds a pilot bit for centering and steadying the cutting blade. Some smaller hole saws have a built-in shank and don’t use a pilot bit.
A bi-metal hole saw cuts through wood and metal. A hole saw with a carbide edge works on heavier materials such as ceramic tile and masonry. A hole saw with a diamond edge also works on tile and masonry, but cuts faster than carbide models.
Countersink Drill Bit – A countersink bit — also called a screw pilot bit — is a specialty bit for drilling in wood. In a single action, the bit can drill pilot, counter sink and counter bore holes, allowing you to countersink a fastener and install a plug over the fastener head.
Plug Cutter – A plug cutter bores holes in wood, creating wood plugs for use in concealing recessed fasteners.
Step Drill Bit – A step bit is designed primarily for drilling in thin — up to 1/4 inch — metal, but will work with wood. The stepped design allows you to use a single bit to drill holes with different diameters. Often the diameter of each step is etched into the bit. You can also use this type of bit to deburr holes, clearing away waste material.
Tile Drill Bit – A tile bit uses a carbide tip to drill into some types of tile while reducing the chance of chips and cracks. Check the packaging to determine the tile it can drill.
Masonry Drill Bit – A masonry bit drills into tough materials such as concrete, brick and other masonry. Some work with a standard corded or cordless rotary drill, but those designed for use with a rotary hammer or hammer drill can bore into masonry more effectively. The hammering action of the tool drives the carbide tip into the material while the rotating action channels away debris along the flutes.
Other Bit Options – In addition to more common drill bits, there are other options and accessories:
Drill saw bits cut irregular holes and contours in wood and metal.
Pocket hole bits are included with pocket hole jigs. They allow you drill angled holes that accept screws for making wood joints.
Scaling chisels work in rotary hammers or hammer drills for chiseling, scaling and chipping masonry.
Depth stops prevent drilling beyond a predetermined depth.
Driver bits and bit holders work on a drill / driver to install or remove fasteners.
Drill bit extensions give your drill a longer reach.
Screw or bolt extractors work with a reversible drill / driver to back out damaged fasteners.
Right-angle attachments let you drill and drive in areas where a drill won’t fit.
Drill / driver bit sets collect various sizes and styles of bits in a convenient case.
It’s hot in Florida and most Morgan outings are top down. But when it rains, and it does that daily, you have to put the top up. Being in a Morgan with the top up, in Florida, is hot, very hot and humid. But, I have air conditioning in the Roadster. Yeah, right!
Well, the Roadster air conditioner is the subject of many jokes, and none of them are good. If Morgan didn’t provide air conditioning, we would have suffered on, as we had before, but since the car supposedly came with ‘Air Conditioning’ we thought we were saved. Not so. It doesn’t work and if it does, it doesn’t work very well.
Turning On the 2005 Roadster Air Conditioning
The actual air conditioner lines are high pressure lines and are metal.
They go into an air condition assembly box on the car’s firewall. This assembly box also houses the car’s heater core (sort of looks like a small radiator) and the heater / air conditioning fan. The assembly box is covered with some sort of temperature insulating material that is silver-ish.
There is a knob about the size of a nickel near the upper right corner of the air condition assembly box (labeled as Condenser Knob, above, and shown as a red dot.) This knob is supposed to be fully rotated clockwise. This insures the air conditioning ‘compressor’ is not turned OFF. It is rumored that some cars simply had this knob set somewhat counter-clockwise and the air conditioning didn’t work.
Also, inside the car, there is large rotating knob under the dash on the passenger side (LHD) that goes from Hot (Marked in RED) to Cold (Marked in BLUE). There is also a switch under the dash on the drivers’ side (LHD) labeled with a snow flake (for air conditioning). One side of the switch shows a vertical bar ‘|’ for ON and the other an ‘O’ for OFF.
Rotate the ‘compressor’ knob (the small knob on the outside of the air conditioner assembly box.) fully clockwise.
Rotate the large knob (inside the car, under the dash) to the BLUE side
Turn the air conditioning switch (inside the car, under the dash) to the ON position (e.g. with the vertical bar ‘|’ for ON).
Turn on the fan switch, which is inside the car, on the dash, to low or high. (It is a two position switch.)
When I do all this, I get semi-cool air blowing into the cockpit. Certainly, insufficient for the Florida heat and humidity. It is not new car cold air, more like really old car cool air (someone said tepid).
So What Now?
I tried starting the air conditioning a few times, hoping for a different outcome each time. Nope the same each time, nadda, still tepid air.
I studied the schematics and stared at the car. I found a few things I thought I could do. There are two coolant hoses taking hot coolant from the engine, running it through the heater core (little radiator) to provide the heat for the heater. (They are shown in purple in the schematic above.)
The fan (switch to turn the fan on and off is located on the dash) blows air through this hot heater core into the car’s cockpit. The air blown by the fan comes from the hot engine air leaving the forward bonnet louvers and then goes back into the engine bay via the rearward (near the windshield) louvers on the bonnet. This air then goes into the top of the air conditioning assembly box.
This is the air that is used by the heater / air conditioning systems. Hot air is fine for the heater but isn’t too good for the air conditioner.
Also, having these hot coolant lines and this hot heater core in the air condition assembly box cannot be good for getting cold air into the cockpit either.
Fixing the air flow looks to be somewhat arduous, at least in my simple mind, however eliminating the hot coolant hoses feeding the heater core looks doable. So that is what I did.
All this is really just to loosen and tighten hose clamps. Your car may have different hose clamps and require different tools. Well, the pry bar gave me some leverage with sticky hoses.
1/4 inch drive ratchet
6 inch extension for 1/4 inch drive ratchet
7mm Socket (1/4 inch drive)
8mm Socket (1/4 inch drive)
Slotted Screw Driver
Philips Head Screw Driver
90 degree ¾ inch (outside diameter) brass hose coupling (~$3 at Lowes)
The hardest part of this task is getting access to the heater core supply and return coolant hoses where they connect into the air conditioner assembly box. Once you have access it is simply the matter of removing the two hose clamps that hold the hoses on the air conditioning assembly box and then joining the two hoses together with a 3/4 inch coupling.
Remove the two small overflow tank hoses. Remove the hose clamps using slotted screwdriver. See picture of overflow tank with hoses removed, below.
Relocate electrical relays attached via an attached Velcro patch. Simply pull Velcro away. See picture of velcro on electrical relays and on air conditioner assembly box, below.
Remove the large Air Flow hose. Again, remove the hose clamps and pull. The hose is fairly pliable. See picture of the void left when the the large air flow hose is removed, below.
Now you can access the two hoses going into the air conditioning assembly box that carry the hot coolant water. Note: When you pull these away, you will have some spillage of coolant as the heater core is most likely full. It isn’t very much however.
Simply connect the two hoses together using the metal coupling (I tried it with a straight coupling and it was too difficult to get the hoses in the correct position, so I opted for a 90° angled coupler. This was much easier.) I found the coupling at the local home improvement store. I suspect they are everywhere. This removes the flow of hot coolant from the heater core and of course, disables the heater. Now just put everything back.
Put the large Air Flow hose back on. Again, use the hose clamps on each end and push and pull to get it set on each end. Then tighten the hose clamps.
Put the electrical relays back onto their Velcro patch.
Finally, reconnect the two overflow tank hoses.
Re inspect to make sure everything is reconnected and tightened up.
Take the car for a test drive.
I think this simple modification greatly improved the performance of my air conditioning. It is still not extremely cold, but it is quite a bit cooler than before. Now, I suspect everyone’s car is different (these are Morgans, of course) so your results may vary. I also think that reworking the air flow, as discussed above, will improve the air conditioning some more.
I believe a more elegant solution that addresses not only the hot coolant hoses, but also the hot air flow issues and a solution that doesn’t disable the heater, is in the works. I will probably opt for that solution when it is here and tested, however until then, this is about ‘as good as it gets’.
[It happens to me all the time. The wrench won’t fit, it’s too small, so I get the next larger one and it won’t fit either, it’s too large. Nothing in between? What now, darn, it’s probably ‘Whitworth’. If you play with old British cars, you have most likely run into this situation. An interesting read with the morning coffee. Unless you abhor auto parts?? Mark]
Most of us think of car parts in terms of carburetors, engines, transmissions, brakes, and so on. The most common part in any car isn’t really noticed at all until you take one apart. Even then you don’t think much about it until it comes time to put the car back together again and, suddenly, you discover that you don’t have quite as many as you should. I’m talking about the nuts and bolts that hold a car together.
To make matters more interesting, a good many of the cars we deal with don’t use nuts and bolts that can be purchased from the corner hardware store. Much maligned and misunderstood, the Whitworth hardware used on older British cars has an interesting history.
Threaded fasteners go back a long way. In 1568, the first practical screw cutting machine was invented by a French mathematician named Jacques Besson. After that, things took off…after a fashion. By 1611 the idea had caught on in England well enough for it to be mentioned in a book, the significant point being that the companion piece to any screw—the nut—was mentioned as well. While the concept was basically sound, in practice there were a few bugs to be worked out. In general, a screw is a threaded fastener that is turned into a threaded hole; a bolt passes through the hole and is secured with a nut on the other side. In the 1600’s putting something together was a real chore. Once you found a bolt you liked, you had to find a nut, and that was a matter of chance[Still is, in my garage . . . . Mark]since nobody had any idea of making the treads the same. Once you found a nut that fit, (well, sort of) the nut and bolt were tied together with string. Since the threads on any one fastener were unique, taking something apart and putting it back together again could be a lifetime occupation. Just be thankful that the car had not yet been invented.
This happy chaos continued until well into the industrial revolution, when Henry Maudslay perfected a lathe that made it possible to adjust the thread pitch of a screw. This made it possible to make large numbers of identical screws. The idea of making the bolts for one machine all the same seems to have caught on. at least with the folks who had to put them together.
Making threaded fasteners on a lathe is time consuming, and therefore expensive. In 1850 a man from New York named William Ward perfected a system for forming the threads on a bolt by heating it to 1600 degrees Fahrenheit, and then rolling it between two grooved dies. The grooves on the flat dies were forced into the bolt, and the threads were formed as the bolt rolled between the fixed and the moving die.
This same basic system is used today, the only difference being that the bolts are not heated before being rolled. “Cold” forming produces much more uniform threads, allowing closer tolerances, and because the bolts are not heated, they are stronger.
Even today, the development of this technology would not really matter if there were no national or international standards for threads on screws and bolts. We would still be buying nuts and bolts as matched pairs. The man responsible for the development of the first standards for the production of threaded fasteners Is none other than Joseph Whitworth. [Who knew?? Mark]In 1841, his paper, “A Uniform System of Screw Threads”, set forth a concept that was to revolutionize manufacturing.
His idea was simple:
Each diameter of bolt or screw will have its own number of threads per inch (TPI)
The angle between the side of one thread and the adjacent thread should be 55°.
Both the crest and root of each thread should be rounded.
The relationship of the pitch to the radius of the rounded portion of the thread is defined by a ratio of l/6th; in other words, the radius r = (1/6) x (pitch).
Finally, there was a system. If adopted, that would allow the fasteners used on one type of machine to be replaced with another “standard” fastener. The logic was hard to beat, and England adopted the system to the extent that by 1881 it was the effectively the British standard.
The Whitworth System was used as proposed for bolts and screws from 1/8″ to 4 1/4″ in shank diameter up to 1908, when an additional thread form was proposed—British Standard Fine (BSF). Presented by the British Engineering Standards Association, BSF was identical to the original Whitworth form except that the pitch was finer—meaning more threads per inch. Now a bolt with a diameter of 1/4 inch could have either 20 threads per inch (BSW) or 26 (BSF). The advantage of the finer thread pitch is two fold. A fine thread bolt is about 10% stronger than a coarse thread bolt of the same size and material. [I knew this but I didn’t know why I knew this. Mark] Fine threaded fasteners also have greater resistance to vibration. Those of you who have worked on cars with Whitworth hardware will have noticed that almost all the hardware is BSF for these reasons. Why use any coarse threaded bolts at all? Coarse thread fasteners are well suited for use in tapped holes in material softer than the bolt (such as studs in aluminum cylinder heads), and they are easier to assemble. It’s almost impossible to cross thread a coarse threaded fastener by hand.
For sizes smaller than 1/8″, the British adopted a Swiss Standard thread form for small screws and called it British Association Thread (BA). This thread form was adopted in 1903. Like the Whitworth form, it has rounded crests and roots, but the angle between adjacent faces of the screw’s threads Is 47 1/2°. Instead of being sized by fractions of an inch, they are numbered OBA, 1BA, 2BA and so on up to 22BA. For some reason, the larger the number, the smaller the screw. Other than that, the system is analogous to our “machine screw” system where numbers are used (e.g. #6, #8, #10).
A question often asked (well, once in a while anyway) is why didn’t the US adopt the Whitworth System? As it turns out, we did. By 1860, most of Europe and the US were using the system. In 1864, however, the move to establish a “National” thread system was under way. William Sellers was instrumental in persuading the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to set up a committee whose prime goal would be to set up national (meaning American) standards. Sellers, who made machine tools, was dissatisfied with the Whitworth System on several points: The 55° angle was hard to gauge and the rounded threads caused an uncertain fit between the nut and bolt. He also argued that the rounded threads were weaker than a system he proposed where the angle between the opposing faces was 60° (not Whitworth’s 55°), and the crests and roots were flattened. The Franklin Institute adopted Seller’s system, and by 1900 it was in use throughout the US and much of Europe. The American system had both line and coarse threads called, logically enough, American National Fine (ANF) and American National Coarse (ANC).
The Whitworth system is further complicated by its tool size designations. American tools (and European for that matter) are sized by the head of the bolt or the size of the nut. A 1/2″ wrench fits a bolt with a head 1/2″ across. A Whitworth wrench is sized according to the diameter of the shank of the bolt, not the head. A 1/4 W (Whitworth) wrench is actually a bit larger than a 1/2″ American wrench—0.525″ to 0.500″. As if that wasn’t enough, in 1924 it was decided that the heads of the Whitworth bolts were too large, so they were down-sized.
The “new” bolts and nuts were made so that the old tools could still be used, but on different bolts. The old 3/8W wrench now fit the 7/16″ bolt. To enable the tools to be used easily, they are marked with both sizes. The old size, which stands for the diameter of the bolt’s shank, is marked with a “W”. The new size is marked with a “BS”, which stands for the bolt size and consequently the new wrench size. For example, the old 3/8W wrench also fits the “new” 7/16″ bolt and is therefore also marked “7/16 BS”. The head of the bolt it fits is 0.600″ across the flats, larger than 19/32″ but smaller than 5/8″. [I am so glad there isn’t a test at the end! Mark]
Because the wrenches are unique, there are no American counterparts. Use of the closest American wrench will often result in the rounding of corners and the springing of the wrench jaws.
The Whitworth System, with its associated BS thread system, was in use by British automobile manufactures until 1948, when Canada, the US, and the United Kingdom adopted a “Unified Thread System” that incorporated features of Seller’s and Whitworth’s systems. Actually, the push to standardize an international thread system was initiated during the First World War. The necessity for a system that both American and English manufactures could use was a direct result of the war effort. The fact that the allies shared much of the same machinery and equipment made interchangeable parts essential. The issue was the subject of various international conferences from 1918 to 1948, with the 2nd World War playing the role of catalyst for the adoption of the Unified system. The Unified System was adopted by the British automobile industry on a large scale in 1956, when most of the common fasteners on the cars built that year were of the Unified Thread System. The fact that the major market for these cars was in the US was no doubt a major factor in the decision. The Unified System is basically the same as the American system in use—the two thread systems were American National Coarse (ANC) and American National Fine (ANF). They became the Unified coarse and fine. A few related industries, notably SU, did not make the switch, and used Whitworth and BS hardware until they ceased production.
The Unified System was not destined to last. Having seen that everyone could change over from one system to another, the International Standards Organization launched a campaign to replace the Unified system with a version of the metric system that originated in Europe. It has been slow going. Since 1966 there has only been a partial changeover to the ISO metric system in the American and British automotive industries.
The Whitworth system should not be viewed as a stumbling block invented by the English to keep us from putting their cars back together again once we’ve managed to take them apart. I don’t believe it has anything to do with our minor disagreement back in 1776 either. The Whitworth system made it possible to manufacture complex machinery on a large scale, and it made it possible to work on that machinery without having a full-time clerk keeping track of the different nuts and bolts. Each system takes some special wrenches and sockets, and you might have to think for a minute or two about which wrench to use, but heck, if it were easy, anybody could work on these cars.