The President's Message

*A Race to the Finish Line, and Some Bad Advice.

Greetings my friends!

Picking up where I left off last month, once my garage was cleaned and de-cluttered I was able to remove my engine and disassemble it.  I found a broken ring on number 2 piston which produced two scratches down the cylinder wall.  That’s not good, but it’s not that bad either.  The fix is to take the engine block to a machine shop and have them bore the cylinders out a little bigger to clean up the scratches, then buy bigger pistons and rings to fit the bigger holes, and all is well again.  But, I did not want to do that. 

I did not want to put that much $$$ into that engine.  I have an MGB 1800 engine on a furniture dolly sitting over in the corner, and if I am going to have cylinders bored and buy new pistons, it will be for that 1800 engine.  But rebuilding the 1800 wasn’t an option either, as there wasn’t enough time to get it done and shoehorned into the Met.  So there I sat with two engines, and neither one usable.  I needed a quick fix, and I needed it now. 

I envisioned another phone call to Dale in my immediate future, along with more tears on my end and another soggy shoulder on his end.  But before I made that call I headed to the upper garage for a bottle of fermented grape juice, just to ease my sorrow.  I walked into the upper garage and found myself looking at my other Metropolitan, which has an engine in it.  I forgot about that car, which is affectionately known to most as Purple Haze.  Fingers crossed, I ran some tests on that engine and it checked out well.  Yay, I have an engine!  I was happier than a woodpecker in a lumber mill!

Time for a new plan.  Pull the engine out of Purple Haze and put it in my Met for the summer.  Then rebuild the 1800 this summer and swap it in this winter, and put that engine back in Purple Haze.  It was a good plan.  But first I had to clean the upper garage so I had room to work and pull the engine out of Purple Haze.  Can you say déjà vu? 

With Purple Haze’s engine out and down in the other garage, I now had two of everything.  I had two cylinder heads, two distributors, two fuel pumps, two transmissions, two carburetors, two water pumps, two sets of motor mounts and transmission mounts, two valve covers, two air filters, two generators, everything had doubled.  I took the best parts of both engines and assembled one engine, and stuffed that engine in my Met.  The engine runs smooth, but the fuel pump appears to have an issue.  I will pull the fuel pump and get it sorted out post-haste.   

A lot of work went into my Metropolitan over the past two months.  Gas tank dropped and cleaned and new sending unit installed.  Radiator cleaned and flow tested.  Transmission resealed with a new speedometer drive gear installed in the tail shaft.  Dual-chamber brake master cylinder installed.  Brake and clutch systems flushed out and DOT 5 installed in both.  Engine … well, that was an unplanned mess, but turns out I had a spare, so it all worked out. 

All this work was done so I could make a run to Dubuque, Iowa, for the International.  It is 2000 miles to Dubuque and I figure to make five 400 mile days.  The other day I was thinking, and I realized that I don’t even know where Iowa is.  I guess you go east until you hit the Mississippi River, then turn right and follow the river down to Dubuque.  How hard can that be?  I would leave on Friday, June 4, and would mostly follow Hwy 12 as far as I can. 

But before I make the final decision to go, I need to put some serious miles on the Frankenstein engine that I now have in my Met.  I need to put a lot of miles on it in a few days, like 1000 miles in three or four days.  Once I do that I can run some tests and check the numbers, then will make the decision to go or not.  And the day I make that decision will be the finish line. 

Now for the bad advice.  Last month I suggested you clean up your work area to make things easier for yourself.  And while that may still be good advice, I would suggest you not do that in the middle of a project.  This past month was hectic, a lot to get done in a short time, yet I was constantly being pulled away from the garage for this or that.  But the biggest waste of my time, and what was the most frustrating, was all the time I spent looking for things.  I could not find anything after I cleaned my garage.  I needed a cotter pin, couldn’t find them.  I needed my fan belt, couldn’t find it, so grabbed the old one out of the trunk.  Got a call one day from someone looking for a condenser.  I knew I had some but had no idea where all my tune-up parts were.  I could find my tools, but everything else was a mystery.  The moral of this story is do clean up your work area, as it really is nice to have room to move around and work, but do not do it in the middle of a project!  That was d-u-m-b stupid on my part, and I paid dearly for it all month.  


I may be on the road for the June Zoom meeting.  If I leave on Friday the 4th I should still be wandering through Montana on Sunday the 6th, which is meeting day.  I could look for a McDonald’s or a Starbucks and get on their Wi-Fi to join the meeting.  Or, if necessary, I could join using my phone, and even jabber whilst driving down the road.  Or, I could have Scott Maziar run the meeting again, with assist from Nan Guthrie.  I will stress test the Franken-engine this weekend, as everything hinges on that test, then early next week I will know what I am going to do. 

Stay safe and healthy my friends.

Gary Roberts

360-701-1051 (cell)

Posted : June 23rd, 2021