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Author Topic: Milwaukee Midget  (Read 1230804 times)
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Milwaukee Midget
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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2009, 09:46:03 PM »

Wow, has it really been over a year?  I'm SO ASHAMED.  No excuses, but there is progress.

What was supposed to be a spruce-up of a decent chassis and the addition of a high-winding 1-litre has become just shy of a frame-up restoration.  I'm working out of a garage, and don't have a lot of spare room, but for a period of time, I was able to turn my 2 1/2 car garage into a 4 car . . .

The black Midget you see here was one I accidentally bought off of eBay.   undecided  It was available for "local pickup only", and I dropped by to inspect it.  Floors were gone, but the hood, trunk lid and front fenders were in much better shape than mine.  As it turns out, the guy was into '60's C-body Chryslers, (as am I - LOVE that Virgil Exner period) had a whole front clip from a '61 Newport and also had a pair of Dodge Poly motors, and enough Hemi parts to convert one of the blocks into a Hemi. We talked for hours - great guy.  The bidding started off at $100.00, and because I promised I'd put in a bid on it, I went home and entered a bid of $500.00. 

Bingo - went right to reserve.

Well, Thursday comes along and I'm thinking, "Jeez, do I really have the time/space/inclination to completely disassemble ANOTHER Midget?  I've got so much to do on this one!"  I consoled myself with the fact that my bid was the minimum, and prayed somebody would outbid me.

So the following Tuesday, I rented a U-haul and dragged yet another steaming pile of British tin back to my garage. rolleyes  The racer is in the background of the picture, sitting on its side.  Kate suggested that if this was going to be my approach, perhaps I should build shelves for my cars.  I guess I'd rather have her laughing at me than yelling at me.

There was a huge upside to this purchase.  The engine was a 1275, NOT the Triumph 1500 that usually comes in a '75 (the owner had converted it), which gives me a spare block, head, and a good spare transmission.  Additionally, the rubber bumpers for the Midget (and the MGB, for that matter) are no longer produced, and along with the tonneau cover, helped me recoup about half the investment.  Sometimes, e-Bay stings, sometimes, it's a balm.

Jeff Foxworthy once said, "You know you're a Redneck if you have more engine parts in your trunk than under your hood".  Here's a picture of my attic - I'll let you draw your own conclusions.



In the end, I saved a lot of scratch over buying individual replacement pieces, and have had to make fewer trips to the hardware store for bolts and fasteners.

Anyway, front and rear suspension, firewall, floor pan, differential, rear hubs, bearings and gaskets, steering rack, gas tank, done.  I'm not as far along as I'd like to be, but as long as I'm moving forward, I'll take it.

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"Problems are almost always a sign of progress."  Harold Bettes
Well, I guess we're making a LOT of progress . . .  rolleyes

We are NOT rebuilding . . . We are reloading.

GOD SAVE MG - The Queen can take care of herself!
Rob
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2009, 02:47:31 AM »

I dunno Chris,

Once you get that black one stripped and up on it's side I reckon you could disassemble another one comfortably...maybe even slip the body out that door.

Any progress is good progress and looks to me like you're moving right along. I hope you don't sleep under that ortion of your roof space!

FWIW I had an 850 Mini, an 850 van, a MkII Cooper S, a Morris Minor 1000 and an 1100K (Mini). Loads of fun in all of them though the women loved the Morris..go figure.

Keep the pics coming.
Rob
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Milwaukee Midget
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2009, 09:28:52 PM »

Hey, Rob -

Funny you should mention a Morris Minor - I'm thinking of tripping down to Chicago to check one out this weekend -

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170417558290&viewitem=&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT

You'd think I'd have learned . . .

Anyway . . .

I want to thank Peter Jack and Cajun Kid for their advice on sealing my firewall earlier this year.  The stock firewall had more holes in it than Mark Sanford's story about his trip to South America, so I cut and bolted some .060 steel to the existing firewall and inner footwell, and took the added precaution of using 3M fire seal around the holes and the edges where it mated up to the stock firewall.  CK recommended .090 aluminum, but I had the steel in the basement, and as per PJ's recommendation, the bolts are stainless.  

The front suspension was a long time getting together due to a parts supply problem for the rebuild kit.  I knew I'd be waiting, but it gave me time to prep the A-arms, springs, etc.  The shocks were rebuilt by Apple Hydraulics out east, and they also do vintage American shock rebuilds.  Got great service.

The rack came out of the '75, which required the '75 mounts, but other than that, a bolt in.  I chose to use it because of its slower ratio than the original Morris Minor rack in the '71.  An 80" wheelbase is twitchy enough, and I'm not into roll cage testing.


The engine's still waiting in the basement, no progress there - I'm thinking it's time to throw some roller tires on it and send it off to get the cage built.
  

« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 06:21:55 PM by Milwaukee Midget » Logged

"Problems are almost always a sign of progress."  Harold Bettes
Well, I guess we're making a LOT of progress . . .  rolleyes

We are NOT rebuilding . . . We are reloading.

GOD SAVE MG - The Queen can take care of herself!
Rob
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2009, 11:17:55 PM »

Hey, Rob -

Funny you should mention a Morris Minor - I'm thinking of tripping down to Chicago to check one out this weekend -

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170417558290&viewitem=&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT

You'd think I'd have learned . . .
No, no.. someone's moved the steering wheel Wink  Look for rust around the mount for the front of the leaf springs, the usual rust in the floor, rust around the rear window and front shock bolts can break out of the firewall. 1st and reverse gears are super weak, I drove for 6 months with no 1st and reverse  rolleyes . Other than that they were a lot of fun, loads of parts available here and in the UK. Datsun/Nissan engine/trans are a common swap though I did see one in the US with a 427  shocked ...$US4200 is a long way from my $A300, yikes.

Now back to the Midget(s)..

Cheers,
Rob
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Milwaukee Midget
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« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2009, 11:44:26 PM »

A little more progress - steady by jerks.

The rear springs were rebuilt by Babcock Spring here in Milwaukee.  What a cool shop - it's like a postmodern blacksmith's shop, and the folks are great to work with.  Polyurethane bushings, and rebuilt shocks, again, by Apple Hydraulics.  The center section is out of a '59 Bugeye.  4.22 gears, with 24" tires gets me ~7300 RPM at the 121.779 record. 

No brakes yet, and I left the tank out - GT requires I maintain the stock tank whether or not I use it, but as it's heading out for a roll cage, I thought it best just to leave it in the attic for the time being.

Interesting issue - may have to radius the rear wheel opening, depending on where the tire sits with respect to the front of the wheel well.


A 24" Hoosier drag front leaves me about an 1/8 inch clearance on the opening, although plenty in the well itself.  Probably not an issue if I adjust the wheel backspacing, but without actually having the tire on the rim and on the car, it's tough telling if it will be safe.  I'm thinking I'll trim it a touch.

The Midget's a tough car to find wheels for, as factory wheels were 13" (shown), and there are very, very few aftermarket options with a 4", 4-bolt pattern.  What few there are are 13" or 14", and wider than stock, which is not the direction I want to go.  I'm familiar with Stockton Wheels, but if anybody has another suggestion for a custom wheel manufacturer, don't hesitate to let me know.

Probably all for now, at least until the Holidays are behind me.

 
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"Problems are almost always a sign of progress."  Harold Bettes
Well, I guess we're making a LOT of progress . . .  rolleyes

We are NOT rebuilding . . . We are reloading.

GOD SAVE MG - The Queen can take care of herself!
Rob
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« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2009, 11:59:47 PM »

Chris,

I know you can buy a step up wheel rim locally, I'd assume you can do the same in the US?

These step up outer rims adapt to the next size down center (IE 14" wheel rim to your 13" center, 15" rim to 14" center). If you can already get 14" wheels these may save you some $ assuming you want to go to 15"?

What did you paint your underbody with? POR or??

Cheers,
Rob
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Geo
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« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2009, 12:32:04 AM »

Looking good!  The car that is.  rolleyes

You 4 inch bolt pattern equals 101.6 mm.  The only thing close are 100 mm cars and the only ones with 15 inch wheels are:

Ford ESCORT GT     91-96 15 X 6  4X100

ZX2     97-  15X6  4X100

Toyota PRIUS     01-on  15 x ?  4X100

MX-3 GS     92-96  15 X 6  4X100

RIO 5   2000-on  15 x ? and 16 x ?  4x100

Bigger lugs that will allow a slight change in bolt pattern?

Are you going to need to go to 5 lugs? 

Geo
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« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2009, 08:17:04 AM »

4x100 15" can also be found on Civics and VW's.   I think a few Civics came with 14" as well. 
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Joel Wolcott
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Milwaukee Midget
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« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2009, 08:24:47 PM »


You 4 inch bolt pattern equals 101.6 mm.  The only thing close are 100 mm cars . . .

Are you going to need to go to 5 lugs? 


I think you're looking at rule 2.H, and the 5 lug rule pertains to 17" or larger wheels, or tires >29". 
The hub is 4 point star shaped, so getting 5 lugs on it is a no-go, and that's a shame, because it would certainly make wheels easier to come by.  The 100 mm idea has been used a number of times by Spridget folks, but the money spent refitting the hubs would be easier spent on custom steel wheels where I can choose my offset.

What did you paint your underbody with? POR or??
Cheers,
Rob

Okay, it's "Let's make Fun of Chris" time.

Yup, no fancy-shmancy DuPont, UPG or Eastwood coatings for this boy.
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"Problems are almost always a sign of progress."  Harold Bettes
Well, I guess we're making a LOT of progress . . .  rolleyes

We are NOT rebuilding . . . We are reloading.

GOD SAVE MG - The Queen can take care of herself!
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« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2009, 09:49:00 PM »

You 4 inch bolt pattern equals 101.6 mm.  The only thing close are 100 mm cars . . .  Geo
Well . . . not quite . .

There are a few 4 inch x 4 inch bolt pattern cars . . . see http://www.teufert.net/wheels/bolt-pat.htm

Chev Vega 71-81 had 4x4 bolt pattern but those were 13 inch wheels and as said before the rims are wider than what you want.  However Jegs has Centerline Auto Drag 05 Series Wheels. They are 15 inchers with a narrow rim specifically offered for running front runners on Vegas . . . . Size: 15" x 3-1/2"  - Bolt Circle: 4 x 4" -  Rear Spacing: 1-5/8"  -  part number 184-055351440

Hope this helps . . . 
.  .
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Milwaukee Midget
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« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2009, 10:31:30 PM »

Thanks, LL.  I've been working on this balancing act for a while, and Centerlines are always a welcome option.  Now that the parts are back in place, I can get some realistic measurements and move forward. 
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"Problems are almost always a sign of progress."  Harold Bettes
Well, I guess we're making a LOT of progress . . .  rolleyes

We are NOT rebuilding . . . We are reloading.

GOD SAVE MG - The Queen can take care of herself!
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« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2009, 10:50:11 PM »

MM - I sent you a PM . . .  Art
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« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2009, 11:53:57 PM »

Chris,

I dunno, it could just be me but... high performance paint and primer sounds like the right stuff  grin

Cheers,
Rob
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Milwaukee Midget
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« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2010, 10:38:18 PM »

I'm a bit peeved with Summit Racing.

Got my seat last week.  Came in fine, it's going to fit nicely, and it verges on comfortable. We're talking three mile trips here, it's not like coach on Northwest Airlines.

BUT . . .

In addition to the price and shipping charges, our good friends in Ohio saw fit to tack on "an additional shipping charge of $19.00 per item due to its large size and/or weight."

Well, I really didn't give it much thought - shipping and handling - I'm not trying to begrudge the guys a profit.  I'm thinking they'll have to box it up in some wacky manner in order to get it to me in one piece.  Weight certainly wasn't the issue.

But if you look carefully at the seat, you'll notice the UPS label.  That's right, they simply stuck a tag on it and threw it into the back of the big brown truck.  The width-length-girth was nowhere close to an oversized item.

I intend to pitch a bitch.

But, hey - check out the head room!

Ultra comfy!
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"Problems are almost always a sign of progress."  Harold Bettes
Well, I guess we're making a LOT of progress . . .  rolleyes

We are NOT rebuilding . . . We are reloading.

GOD SAVE MG - The Queen can take care of herself!
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« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2010, 11:01:19 PM »

MM,

You'd better get that short guy out of the car and try it yourself!  cheers

Geo
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