The Story of an MGB Rebuild


Moving onto the Brakes and Plumbing

Once the suspension had been fitted, it was time to move onto the brakes. As I'd already fitted the brake bits at the wheels, this task was mainly concerned with the master cylinders and piping. I'd be interested to know if anyone still installs steel pipes but, having had a pipe fail through rust (on a single pipe system!), it's copper for me every time. I did buy a brake pipe bending tool but I only really used it for straightening out the pipes from the box. Don't throw your old pipes away - they make a good model for bending the new pipes.

Some comments about the heater which went in at the same time. This takes some ingenuity to fit. The old one was distorted from being extracted - it was also rusted in places - therefore I bought a replacement. I had to make several 'tweaks' before it went in and I shall be surprised if it ever comes out in one piece again. All of the mounting slots need filing as none of them lined up. If you look in the bottom photo at the backing washer at the top heater fixing bracket, you can see that I've had to use a repair washer as the hole was extended but that I've had to cut a 'flat' across the bottom so that it would fit.

There is a sealing washer that's supposed to go in the well between the body and the heater. The Haynes Restoration manual says this isn't available and they made up on using foam sealant. MGOC now supply the sealing rubber but there was no way that I could get that to fit. To me, it's too thick or insufficiently compressible and the heater refuses to go in. I had to leave it out - the heater still seems to work. I also think that I had to file away some of the opening on the body to get it to go in. Fitting the heater was one of the worst jobs.

Once the heater was finally in, a test of the heater motor gave a loud squealing sound. This was solved by opening up some of the holes in the mounting plate. I also fitted a second mounting plate - to give more thickness - which stopped another area of rubbing. In spite of this abuse, the heater works well.

Before fitting the heater, make sure that you fit the drain tube (which has a delightful nickname) to the heater plenum chamber in the bodyshell. You can't buy the drain tube at the moment. You need to make sure all of the rust is removed from inside the old one.

Here's the pedal box fitted. It didn't fit first time. I needed to file out the mounting slots so that they aligned with the holes. By the way, a UNF tap and die set was invaluable as I had to clean out every hole on the body - make sure you get a 3/16" one. The pedal box was grit blasted as it's a difficult shape to wire brush. I took it to my local motorcycle restorer who stove enamelled it at the same time. I had to fight the horizontal arms at the back of the pedal box to get them to fit. The steering column bracket was also fitted as the brake pipes clip to this. The brake and clutch pipes were bent using the old ones as templates. You can see that the inner wing has had a healthy coating of Waxoyl.

Master cylinders were wire brushed, painted and overhauled. Here the master cylinders have been fitted. You can see that it's not easy as I've managed to dislodge a lot of the Waxoyl. It's much easier like this - later on, the clutch cylinder had to be replaced with a new one and its not very easy with everything in place. In the photo, most of the plumbing is in place. As the brake and clutch pipes were so close, I fitted a rubber tube sleeve and then tie wrapped them together.

This is taken standing back a bit. The pipe that runs from the rear axle to the brake light switch had more pipe than I needed so I had to create a loop. Apart from this one, the pipes were all about right.

Sorry about the focus. Here the back axle now has the plumbing fitted and the handbrake cable is in place. The handbrake cable goes through the transmission tunnel and you need to adjust the cable clamps to make sure that it doesn't rub against the propshaft. I probably need to tie down the pipe to the axle as well - just to the left of the diff. I used pieces of rubber hose with the same internal diameter as the outside diameter of the brake pipe. Slit them along the length and tie down with tie wraps.

This shows the heater now in place - see above. It all looks so straightforward doesn't it? I reckon a week of sheer frustration.

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