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Morgan +8 Forum

A Morgan's Progress

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SJM1 Jan Morgan
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA   USA
'Finally installed the hinge plates for the scuttle hoop. This was tedious at first (no, tedious for the entire installation), and while the installation process did speed up with familiarity, it didn't get any less tedious. It's still precisely drilling a dozen holes, tapping and chamfering. Anyway, I don't think that I want to spend $100/hr for this, and I am happy that the experience brought me closer to my Morgan.

So, the plates are in, and I now have to pull the dash and slide the bar into place. 'Looks like fun, maybe as much fun as accurately drilling and tapping 12 holes for the door hinges, and finding out that the rest of the door screws were loose and will need to be drilled all the way through as well and backed by nuts. At lease the panel wiring is sorted out, and taking out the panel may allow me to make it even neater.

I am going to have to dolly the doors slightly to eliminate the interference between the hinge edges and the bodywork. Not much, but I was wondering what all that noise was. Between the loose hinges, loose hinge pins, there was a lot of play. Interestingly enough, both doors have precisely the same bit of interference.

Also, the bodywork was missing a few screws (which caused the original problem with the door fit). It never ends... This brings me to my original thought "I hate restored cars", unless, of course, I restored them. Well, this one will be much better in a few weeks, when I finish installing the rest of the parts. That should take me through the entire car and finally, Morgan perfection.

The mechanical is pretty stout now, with reliable starting, a solid charging system, effective cooling, no more blown fuses, and a nice, new wiring harness. While I have not yet changed the trans lubricant, it is shifting quite well. Once I get the headers installed, I can further sort the carburetor with my Lambda meter, factory manual and master jet and needle kit. Or... Maybe just fuel inject the thing with an Atomic or Sniper EFI. In any case, the HP will be increased slightly, as will my fuel mileage.

I can't wait to get the steering bearings installed, and the camber adjusted. Then there is the Panhard rod, and the new tube dampers.

Keeping the fuel tank filled has eliminated the strong fuel smell that I had when I first topped off the fuel. Nothing like softening the hoses to get rid of leaks, along with a quick pass at the clamps with a ratchet.

The more I drive it, the better it works.

Once the rest of the parts are installed, I can put on the Brooklands screens, and get the wings off to the paint shop for a color change, and a sharpening of the coach lines.

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Hendrycks Norm Nah
Brampton, Ontario, Canada, ON, Canada   CAN
I have a 1969 Morgan +8 that I bought from the factory in 1968. I have not done a lot to the car as yet. A total restoration frame up is in the future but cost scares me. The car is in good shape and does not have any rust. The car Vin # is R7077 and the engine is a 10.5 : 1 cr 3.5 L. I have recently obtained a 1985 3.5 L engine to rebuild as a spare unit. The Smiths Tach. RVI 1000 is solid state and is showing signs of fatigue. The 4TR voltage controller is also showing signs of improper operation.
The engine that I plan on rebuilding is presently a fuel injected unit that I plan on converting to a standard carb. system. I have to get information on intake manifold and carbs that will fit under the hinges of the bonnet.
My Morgan is original with the exception of converting the mechanical fuel pump to a Carter P4070 electric removing the vacuum assisted brake booster that failed.
I am interested in hearing from people that have the early 1968, 1969, 1970 Plus 8's.
The twin SUs that the car came with are OK since I only go to car cruises, car shows, and club events.The last car show I went to was on Septmber 16, 2018 for the British Car Day on Toronto where I took home first in class for Morgans. There were 1051 British cars on display that day.
Yes I have to do some work on my Morgan and will be looking for help in the future as I come across issues.

SJM1 Jan Morgan
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA   USA
Your problematic voltage control may just be a bad battery. If the voltage control seems to have an intermittent problem, replace the battery, as an old, shorted battery may start the car, but will cause occasional charging problems, such as an intermittent charge light. My guess is that the battery may be old.
Replace the ground strap at the same time, and make sure that you have good battery connections at the terminals, and the starter.

My Morgan is a '69 as well (R7133), and I have had the same problems. My tach was tired, but you can easily have it fixed by Morris Mintz at West Valley Instruments. Morris is the preeminent restorer of vintage gauges and Smiths instruments. Link:

I purchased a new Smiths tach for my car (through a Smiths dealer in the UK, as if saved around $50 including shipping, and it arrived in a week), as it was a quick fix for the problem, and I can swap the face if necessary. Also, Carebont Instruments can make you a replica face Smiths tach for around $250 USD. Order directly from the UK. 'Takes about a week. Same for a replacement standard Smiths tach. The new tach will work with a Pertronics trigger if you have replaced your points with a magnetic switch, or wish to. The look is correct for the car, but there is no redline on the over the counter Smiths tach.

As for the full restoration... If this has been your car, and you have taken good care of it, full disassembly is probably not necessary. If there is no frame damage, and no rust, you can just clean everything thoroughly (steam cleaning, pressure washer or just elbow grease and Simple Green Aircraft Degreaser (doesn't cause rust or corrosion) will do the job.

Then, you can inspect wood, floors and the electrical. If the car was well cared for, it is likely that everything will be in good shape and all you have to do is refinish and re upholster as necessary.

If the frame is not damaged or rusted (light surface rust is OK), you don't have to take the entire car apart. These cars are only original once, and if in good shape, demand the highest prices. With the value of early +8s climbing, you may consider trying to maintain as much of the original car as possible.

Full strip repainting is certainly a good idea, as the bodywork does disassemble easily, and there is plenty of frame exposed for a chassis repaint without having to remove the bodywork.

I have installed a couple of improvements to my car (that had undergone a "restoration"winking smiley that include the cross head stays (inexpensive, and very effective in generating confidence in the braking and stability of the chassis), and the scuttle hoop, installed over the weekend. This hoop gives the door posts a steel support, allows the door hinges to be screwed into steel and attached to a frame mounted roll hoop inside the scuttle. While this appears to be a BIG job, it is not that hard, but a bit tedious, with a few holes to drill (well, a LOT of holes to drill and tap). You don't have to remove the windshield wipers, pulling the steering wheel and dropping the dash (4 screws) is not hard to do. However, if your electrical harness is a bit brittle, you may have some problems with connections behind the panel. If the harness is in good shape, and not heavily modified, you may not have any problems at all. I didn't. You will have to re mount a couple of flashers and a voltage control, but this is very easy to do, especially if you drill the necessary holes in the roll cage and tap them (or use self tapping screws). Anyway, give yourself a couple of days to do the installation. You will feel very accomplished when you are done. And... The car will feel a bit more connected, with less frame flex and a better feel in the steering and a better working front suspension.

If you feel that you need to rewire the car, this would be a good time to do it.

I still have a camber kit to install (from +2º to -1.5º) that includes a new tie rod that is 2" longer to correct for the re positioned trunions. There is also a tube rear damper kit as well, matched to a new set of front double adjustable dampers. This should improve the ride somewhat, and the handling as well. The damper conversion in the rear has a bridge as well, reinforcing the rear chassis section and perhaps extending its life.

As near as I can tell, my car never had a vacuum brake booster, but the single master cylinder was replaced with a tandem master during the reconditioning.

Good, one owner Morgan +8s are rare, and if you happen to have one that has had good care over the decades, you should preserve what you have rather than a full, frame off (and probably replacement) restoration that might not be warranted, or desirable.

My car was done that way, and while I have some issues with the way some of the work was done, the body, wood and chassis were in fine shape. I was happy to get the car in the condition it was in and happy with the results so far.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-10-15 07:33 PM by SJM1.

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SJM1 Jan Morgan
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA   USA
Finally, I was able to install the scuttle hoop.

While the instructions for the installation (from New Elms) described necessary removal of the steering wheel (obvious), the instrument panel (ditto), it was not at all necessary to remove the windshield wiper system nor the windshield.

I first clipped a few tie wraps that secured the larger sections of the wiring so that the dash could be pulled back and over the steering shaft. Then, I removed the dash screws and dropped the dash out of the way. The bar, with the door limit straps facing into the cockpit, fit beneath the scuttle and dropped into place without removing any major parts. I did have to remove the voltage conditioner and the flashers from their positions under the dash. These were attached to the scuttle hoop after it was bolted in place.

Bolting the hoop in place was not difficult. There are 8 long bolts in the kit for this purpose. 4 are slightly longer (.25" additional length) to go through the hoop into the hinge plates. It is easy to get these mixed up with the slighter shorter long bolts that go down through the body into the frame. The shorter bolts attach the hoop to the frame directly. The longer bolts have smaller washers. They are easy to spot.

This is not a difficult installation, but does require time and patience. Very tedious. Careful marking and drilling require a good drill, and maybe a right angle drill to get the holes drilled downwards through the body into the frame. Access to the bolts from outside the car is easy, and a lift is not needed.

When finished, everything electrical worked.

The end results are favorable. The chassis is stiffened a bit, and the car does ride with a bit more "authority". Steering is sharpened a little, and you can actually feel the front suspension working. This is encouraging as I intend to improve the dampers. 'Should work out well.

SJM1 Jan Morgan
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA   USA
Finally! A new Battery! I picked one from Walmart. $56. Figuring that the battery would spend most of its time on the Battery Tender, I thought that this would be a good place to save some money.

Also, the car was perfectly balanced with me in it and this same weight battery (Group size 26). And, it was less expensive.

So I installed it, tightened down the battery box, shortened the new J bolts and started it up. I think that it will now go 50 mph on just the starter motor.

I have a plastic battery box that I might install as well. It would only take a couple of holes, and the battery would be completely protected.

So back to the reason that I replaced the battery. While the battery would still start the car, it didn't have much cranking time available, and I had been having a problem with erratic charging circuit operation. The ammeter would pin occasionally at over 50 amps, then drop and the red charge light would come on, even when cruising. Rev the engine, and the light would go off. Most of the time, the system worked normally, but occasionally... Having the red lignt come on at 75 mph 100 miles from home was a bit worrisome.

Since the problem was erratic, I suspected the old battery, as I had experienced this problem before, with a number of collector cars that had been in long term storage, or just had old batteries. This included my E Type, and my 23 year old Mercedes.

Old batteries may start the car just fine, but they also have other problems in their voltage output, and may have intermittent shorts in the cells that can cause all sorts of problems, especially when combined with an electronic fuel injection system. I have been qualified on these specific problems, so, out with the old battery, in with the new.

The end result was a stable charging system. No more red lights, though the ammeter would pin itself after start up...

It's always something...

In this case, something new to learn.

So, SJ MORGN and I took off for a test drive, and found that the tach had quit after a couple of minutes. I then returned home, and decided to check the voltage from the alternator after I made dinner for my wife and daughter.

The thing tested at 18 V after start up... Sounds a bit high. But, the tach was working again. OK... Time to do some research.

Next morning: Off to the books for the test procedure covering the Lucas alternator and the controller. It appears that 8 minutes of running is required prior to the test.

I hooked up the volt meter, started the engine and got the unusual 16~18V for about 3 minutes. Then, the ammeter centered, and the voltage dropped to 14.3 and stayed there. The voltage held with the cooling fan on, and the side lights, and the headlights and the driving lights. Not bad. I guess the problem is corrected. The voltage when driving is stable at between 13.2 and 14.6, and the low volt light is staying off.

The Lucas documentation says that if the voltage is high, or low, during the test, the voltage control may be defective.

However, the Lucas engineers also wrote that if the voltage was within the correct range that there still may be a problem with resistance in the system that should be corrected. OK, let me get this straight. High voltage, bad. Low voltage, bad. Correct voltage, also bad. Right. I got it. The system runs on irony.

Off on another test drive and everything worked perfectly, as far as my ammeter, charge light and volt meter indicate. I am happy. And the Morgan is happy, too.

On another subject... Intake manifolds.

I am looking for one of the rare IHRA/NHRA 1358983 Buick Sport 215 intakes. This one looks just like the standard Buick intake that I am using now, but is designed for a better midrange to top end performance, rather than the Edelbrock or Offenhauser's stronger midrange bias. When I get one I will let you know how it works. Since the Morgan is light, and short geared, I don't expect any problems with the loss of some bottom end torque. I don't really expect much of an improvement, but factory competition intakes are usually pretty good, especially when combined with a set of prepared cylinder heads.

As far as "parts" to support this intake, only the intake casting is special. The water neck and heater adapters and other fittings that I am currently using on my Buick 1349520, or an Edelbrock, are the same. Everything available from any NAPA store.
The only thing I wonder about is the manifold's height, but the pictures I have seen don't indicate any obvious problems, and all of the other ports are in the identical positions. It should be an easy fit. I may have to get a dropped floor air cleaner housing, though.

With the new battery, the fuel pump does cause a twitch in the tach needle when the key is switched on. I will install a fuel pump relay to correct this.

And, I still need to confirm that the cluster's temp gauge works and get rid of the mechanical accessory screwed in under the panel.

And, I need to finally align the doors now that I have them screwed into steel plates attached to the scuttle hoop... And then there are the dead emergency flashers. Not difficult, but.. It's always something.

With the scuttle hoop in, and a new battery, the "To Do" list is getting shorter. Hopefully, this month will see the installation of the front suspension camber plates and steering bearings. Then, the only thing left in the parts pile on the garage floor is the tube damper conversion and the Panhard rod.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-11-26 03:54 PM by SJM1.

SJM1 Jan Morgan
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA   USA
I remember being told by someone here that my radiator had a bung for the fan or temperature gauge temperature thermistor, and that I might just not be looking in the right place.

This is a little silly, really. I did look everywhere, not finding a bung (other than the one for the drain cock), but i did find a part number. Turns out that it's a Mulfab narrow body +8 racing radiator.

Those only came with a single bung, either for the drain cock, or for a thermistor... Mine was set up for the drain cock. Built to order.

So, for all of you who were waiting for me to find the missing bung... The mystery is solved. There was not one (installed in my radiator), other than the one it was ordered with.

I do have some choices here. I can replace the top hose with a pipe section for a thermistor, replace the lower hose with a pipe section for a drain cock, and put the thermistor in the lower radiator. However the upper hose would give me a more accurate reading.

OR, I can just leave the fin probe in place along with the variable resistor adjustable fan control that is currently attached to the radiator (and not the car's frame).

Now if I could only find that steering wheel on the right hand side of the cockpit...

Here, my daughter Giulia searches for me. "I can find it, Papai"

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-12-01 12:22 AM by SJM1.

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SJM1 Jan Morgan
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA   USA
Not much going on as far as work on the Morgan. A Renault R5Turbo showed up on my driveway for a restoration, and that has been taking up some time.

But, I have not stopped ordering parts.

I have heard lots of old wive's tales about oil coolers on my Morgan. I have been told that the cooler will "cause a disaster", and maybe cause problems with my One Shot, or because of the One Shot. This was accompanied by a diagram of the One Shot, which didn't clarify the problem (it was a schematic of the One Shot). Whatever the problem would have been, nothing specific was actually mentioned. I was told, by the same person, that I didn't need an oil cooler, and if I installed a cooler ahead of the radiator, the cooler would put out "superheated" air that would cause my engine to overheat even (though the general statement was that the oil doesn't get hot enough to require cooling)... Confusing? I guess, maybe... But I do have a wealth of experience with heat exchangers (oil, water, transmission lubricants, pressurized induction air, in various combinations, on road and race cars and racing aircraft engines. I have not been distracted from the original problem; too much heat in the Morgan's oil.

Why so hot?

My +8 has a 4 speed gearbox with a 1:1 output, with a short (high numerical) final drive, which when combined with a hot day, and an open road, causes hot running. See, I like to cruise at 80 mph, and that's about 4000 RPM with my Morgan. This speed is both confirmed by the speedo, the tacho, and my axle ratio/road speed wiz wheel, especially designed to compute axle rations and speeds in gears.

So, this is not much of a problem at 60 mph, but once over 3.500 RPM (75 mph), the oil begins to heat up. This is not a problem unless the OAT gets to about, say... 80F or higher. You know, Southern California Tuesday. And then, there is Willow Springs big track, where I like to lap. There it is almost always over 80, and the engine runs at full throttle for 70% of each lap. The oil cooler is not just a recommendation, it is a necessity. Yes, even with synthetic lubricants.
The installation will increase the capacity of the lubrication system by about a quart, which should give me 15º of temperature relief, plus the heat removal of the cooler. I expect to see about 20ºF coolant reduction. That should just about do it.

Note that the Morgan runs 250 RPM more at 80 than my Westfield 11 with the 4.22 final drive and the Datsun 5 speed. And, the W11 is on 13" wheels... It will be much better once I get the 15" wheels installed. Yes, the BMC A of the Westy has an oil cooler.

I don't like to dally. I like to go. The Morgan is actually quite nice to cruise along at 80 mph, and I see no reason to have to compete for lane space with trucks at 65 just to keep the temps under control.

So, when I was ordering bits and pieces for the lubrication system of the Renault (relocating its oil filter to someplace where it could be changed without having to remove the Renault from the filter), I ordered a sandwich plate for the Morgan. This is an oil system bypass that carries oil to the cooler after it is filtered, then back into the engine. It simply screws onto the filter mount, and the filter (a Fram PH 25, I think) attaches to the sandwich plate. These plates have been used on a lot of racers over the years, including two of my own, without problems of any type.

The lines will be Aeroquip "AQP" socketless hose in -10, using push on fittings (no clamps). This greatly simplifies fabrication and installation, while eliminating clamps and puncture wounds from handling stainless steel braid. With a pressure limit of 150 PSI, I don't worry about lines bursting.

I also have some special spiral wrap used by manufacturers to protect the lines against abrasion.

I don't have the cooler yet. I have my eye on one from Earls that will fit between the chassis rails, behind the radiator. I showed a link to one a while ago, and it is one of the units on my list. I have also been looking at Earl's, where a similar cooler is about half the price. The location and the shape may change, depending on how I feel about the under cowl scoop available from Morgan Spares, or if I want to fabricate something myself.

Another think that I am working on is the choke cable for the Edelbrock. When I installed the scuttle hoop, the tube blocked the firewall mounted choke pull, so I had to remove the choke cable as there was not sufficient length to relocate it anywhere, and the pull body threads were stripped anyway. Replacement was mandatory.

I ordered one from Summit, but it was seized solid, so that one goes back. Next, I will probably order from Moss, and get one long enough to go from the right side of the carburetor across the firewall, then back into the passenger compartment, and eventually, through the instrument panel (that big red light is not being used, as there is no float cap for the replacement tandem master fluid level warning), or maybe through the dash to the left of the steering wheel.

Fortunately, the Edelbrock is still very rich, so starting is not much of a problem.

I also picked up some black matching vinyl to cover the dash and return the interior to original. My car doesn't have a cubby. (I think that it got a new panel at some point in its life, or... just didn't have the cubby. Instead, it has a pair of rally clocks that Dennis chipped in.

Then, there is the failed hand brake cable. Have to deal with that, too. Something else for the parts order.

And, I have to shim the doors as they now foul the body along the hinge line a little since the scuttle tube was installed. I have been told that this is "normal" at least until it is corrected. Just another little thing to take care of.

That only leaves the silly single outlet exhaust. The more I drive it, the more I want to skip some of this other stuff and just hang the new exhaust system on the car.

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