March 30, 2006 at 3:40 pm #232210
On Sunday, 26 March, I finally started the engine/trans removal on my Chevette based British Coach Works MGTD (Pink MG). Believe it or not, I have to pull the engine and 4 speed trans to access the speedometer drive on the transmission. It appears this car was built as complete rolling chassis and the body was then bonded and bolted on top. Not very conducive for working on the drivetrain.
It’s a long story, but I was installing a new Autometer Electronic Programable speedometer because the exisiing Classic Gauges unit was not operable. I need a working odometer for the NJ Collector Car inspection process.
The trans is so tight to the floor (tunnel) and the welded in transmission “crossmember” is so tight that I can’t even get my fingers in there. So, I drilled a 3″ access hole lined up with the speedometer drive head/cable in the fiberglass tunnel to remove and replace the speedometer drive. The nylon gear on the end of the drive stayed in the trans when I pulled the drive assembly out. The gear was actually larger than the hole it had to come out of! When I tried to get it out, it fell into the trans! AAAAAAH!
I’ve got the engine/trans ready to pull. I will modify the transmission “crossmember” and make it removable before I reinstall the drivetrain.
Hopefully, I’ll be making more progress this weekend as we get Daylight Savings Time back and the weather is getting very nice here at the central New Jersey Shore.
By the way, in my hunt for Chevette data, I found two very interesting sites. The Chevette Forum has a member in Everett, Washington. A that has a warehouse full of Chevettes and parts he sells. The other site is an oval track engine Chevette engine builder in Tennessee. If you need Chevette stuff, check them out.March 31, 2006 at 2:10 pm #236781
Too bad about the speedo gear.
This is the way my Chevette TD was assembled, almost. It was a driving chassis before the body was assembled. Although my transmission crossmember was bolted vs welded. My tranny is an automatic.
What other plans do you have for the motor while having it out of the car?
BillMarch 31, 2006 at 3:44 pm #236782
I had done a little engine “stuff” before this happened. I opened up the air cleaner leaving only the base with no sides and the lid, installed a stand alone crankcase breather, changed the smog carb over to a non-smog (from VW progressive 2 bbl conversion kit), removed the smog pump and plugged the holes in the exhaust manifold, removed the catalytic converter, installed new Bosche Platinum plugs, new rotor, car and wires, and recurved the distributor advance with lighter springs, but the same weights. I have about 34 degrees total now at 2,200 RPM. I also replaced the dried out timing belt, coolant hoses, radiator cap, installed a 180* thermostat and new alternator belt.
I found a camshaft supplier, Lazer Cams. Pacesetter used to make a Chevette header, but discontinued it. I found a guy in KY that fabricates headers for the Chevette oval trackers, but have not hooked up with him yet.
I have been in touch with Fields Performance Engines and found that the early (76-77) Chevette head flows best and he sells them completely set up with a port & polish job and larger valves. He also does bottom ends with domed pistons, “H” beam rods and balanced, knife edged cranks. You can also get 5 lb flywheels!
I think this thing is about 65 hp stock and with all the mods, will make approximately 100 hp with a “stock appearing” progressive 2 bbl carb.
Is it worth it??? Not for my street car. I think if I can get a header and a low restriction muffler, I’d be happy. I have multiple sets of all sizes of carb jets for these carbs, the VW and Weber suppliers sell them. So, with headers and low restriction exhaust, I could dial in the jetting and have a decent little ride.April 1, 2006 at 3:10 pm #236783
You only live once! I say go for it. There is a nice looking ford TD a fellow named Bill from Pa has in the picture section. He has it set up very nicely. Its time for us Chevy guys to shine. And if you go first, I can pick your brain when its time for mine!
Good Luck, BillApril 2, 2006 at 8:52 am #236784
I got into the shifter/transmission end of the engine/trans removal for a few minutes yesterday. I was very busy with “domestic” stuff, but managed a few minutes anyway.
This job is turning out to be a nightmare. There is no clearance room period for the engine or trans period. It looks like I have two options: Removed the bonded/riveted floor tunnel or cut the trans “crossmember” out.
It is so tight that you can only lift the engine 1/2″ before the bell housing hits the firewall/tunnel. The engine mount studs don’t even come out of their holes! Need to have at least 2″ of lifting clearance here.
The transmission shifter “box” is actually sticks through the tunnel about 2″ and the trans is 1/4″ away from the tunnel. So, I can’t raise that enough to get the rubber trans mount off either. I need about 3″ of lifting clearance here as a bare minimum.
I’ll take some pics…when I get my head examined.April 2, 2006 at 8:15 pm #236785Alex CantacuzeneParticipant
Hi Bill. In my mind I am right there with you, on the floor and exhausting the four letter word vocabulary. However, I see myself looking at a crossmember that is in a channel cofiguration. On some of them the channel is open to the top, others are open to the bottom. Recently I have done some iron work on other projects and after all these years I have discovered the old side grinder with a thin metal cutting blade. To cut steel angles and flat bars I used the “Sawzall” with that little blade going back and forth and using some more of those words. Well, the metal cutting blade in the side grinder has taken care of all that. Try it. You might even think to cut the cross member not at the point of attachment but more to the center of the car. After getting the transmission and engine out you might have enough room to clean the sides up and install a proper cross member mechanically. All of this is of course the thought of trying to help and feeling the misery. Whatever you do, please make sure that all fuel is removed and there is no chance to even ignite some fumes.
Hope all this helps, but don’t forget to have fun!April 25, 2006 at 5:21 am #236786
Havent heard much on Pink MG? Hope things are going better. I figured you either shot yourself or quit. Keep us posted.
Did anyone go to spring Carlisle in Pa? There was a very nice original TD for sale there. Only $27000.00
BillApril 26, 2006 at 5:13 pm #236787
Hey Bill, I got side tracked with domestic stuff and the upcomng Raceway Park (Englishtown) Spring Swap Meet. Needless to say, I’ve got tons of stuff to bring.
I’ll post a pic of what I had to do to get the engine/trans out. I yanked the rest of the carpet glued the tunnel, drilled out the rivets, sliced the bonding and it came out. Then the engine/trans came out. I’ll be removing that transmission “crossmember” plate and welding ears on it. Then I’ll drill the ears and the part left on the frame for holes to bolt the thing in.
The speedo drive gear (worm) gear on the trans tail shaft was “floating” on the shaft. The little clip that holds it had disintegrated. So, even if I had gotten the speedo cable head in with the gear on the end, there was nothing to drive it.
I just bought an NOS GM remanufactured 70mm four speed from a guy in California for $135 (includes S&H). It was on eBay and no one bid on it, so I contacted him and did a private sale.
The Chevette guy in Everett, WA, RD Automotive, is sending me a bunch of stuff I need to get the old trans back together and few other goodies I need. Much of it is NOS too.
You can see in the picture why the tunnel had to come out. I’ll be reassembling it “user friendly” for sure.
FrankieD38834.3284027778April 30, 2006 at 9:44 pm #236788BrianParticipant
Hi Pink MG,
You might be interested to know that the company that made
the BCW gauges is still in business. They can repair, reglaze,
restore gauges if you are interested.
BrianMay 3, 2006 at 2:54 pm #236789
Hi Brian…the company was Classic Gauges if I remember correctly. The have an extensive website.
Not being one for strict convention, I replaced and am replacing all the gauges with Autometer Ultra-lite. I used an electronic-programmable speedo and matching sized Tach with mechanical oil pressure and water temperature gauges (2.0625″), also a voltmeter and gas gauge of the same diameter. I had only to drill 2 new holes for guages and relocate the Chevette headlight switch. I lost the cigar lighter, but who cares!
I know it sounds weird, but the stupid speedo is how this job got started in the first place.
Luckily I found a Chevette and Chevette parts collector in Everett, WA on the Chevette Forum. He is supplying me with all the parts I need to get this sucker rolling!
My grille shell, bumpers, bumper over riders and “radiator” cap are all at the plater being re-chromed.May 7, 2006 at 6:41 pm #236790BrianParticipant
If you have any BCW components leftover after your rebuild
that you are going to get rid of, like the gauges, please let me
know. I am collecting BCW stuff whenever I can find it.
BrianMay 26, 2006 at 11:53 am #236791Gene JenkinsParticipant
I just bought my wife a BCW TD as her Mother’s Day present.
She’s wanted one since she was a teenager and she’s 63 now. She is thrilled with it, but wants it to be cherry. The making it cherry is my responsibility. I wouldn’t mind some performance mods as well. I’m sure that she would enjoy autocross because she has a lead foot. For that the engine and suspension will need help. I already know I’m going to have to replace the radiator soon.
I have been getting copies of Chevette shop manuals, but haven’t been able to score an assembly manual (or copy therof) from BCW. Would you guys have one you’d like to sell or loan me to make a copy of?
Thanks,June 2, 2006 at 12:38 pm #236792
The gauges I removed were from Classic Gauges and are still available new. I am re-engineering a few of BCW’s bad ideas (like the welded in transmission “crossmember”, but I’ll be reusing all the BCW stuff that is apart.
As far as suspension performance goes, there are several places that can be of interest. The Chevette and Pontiac T-1000 share front suspension with all but the 1988 Fiero. There is an aftermarket Fiero supplier that makes all types of trick stuff like tubular “A” arms and such: http://www.heldmotorsports.com
For engine performance, old Chevettes are raced on asphalt and dirt oval race tracks throughout the Tennesee, Kentucky, Southern Ohio area. There is a shop that deals specifically with Chevette 1.8L engines called Fields Performance. http://www.fieldsperformanceengines.com
In particular, there is a cam grinder that has several different grinds for the 1.6L Chevette too. http://www.lazercams.com
For used and N.O.S. Chevette parts, there is a fellow in Everett, Washington, Rick Drake, in my opinion a world class Chevette Guru. He can be reached at 800-247-2954. Don’t hesitate to call him. He’ll have ANYTHING Chevette that you’ll need.
Did you know that the Chevette drivetrain (gasoline) is from an Opel Kadett? The Chevette was the first ALL metric car produced in the US.
Early Chevettes were 1.4L and had 1 bbl Rochester carbs. The earlier heads (76-77?) flow better. The 1.6L had the Holley/Weber progessive 2 bbl carb. I used one of these from an air-cooled VW progressive 2 bbl conversion kit on my Chevette motor…there is absolutely no smog provisions on this carb and it’s easier to work with than the “smog” versions. Also, there are many jet and other type kits available for these carbs.
There were two different 3 speed automatics, 2 different 4 speed manual and a 5 speed trans (based on a Borg Warner T5) offered in Chevettes over the car’s production run. They also had two different rear end ratios, 3.73 and 4.10 I believe.
GM had toyed with the idea of equiping the Chevette/t-1000 with the 5 speed stick and 2.8L V6 that came in the S-10 and Camaro. It was a teeny “pushrod” OHV 60 degree V6. They made one prototype, but the car was killed due it’s poor sales and long reputation as a slug.
I’ve had a month long break on my MGTD project. I should be getting started again soon.
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