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Coder
Coder GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/7/22 3:48 p.m.

Severe ADHD and a need to make myself feel better (2022 has been a E36 M3ty year), has resulted in yet another addition to my growing fleet of project vehicles.  This time, it's a 1966 Austin-Healey Sprite MK-III.  A 2-hour-each-way road trip and $1,500 was all it took to bring her home.  It was a good trip.  My brother and his wife were down for the weekend, so he and my dad came along for the ride. 

My dad and brother with the car while we were picking it up

Yours truly, smiling like a fool on the way home

My 93 F-250, affectionally named "Big Red" (also very much a project), got us there and mostly back without issue.  3/4 of the way home we noticed a lifter tap and discovered she was 2 1/2 quarts low.  Whoops.  A quick stop at a gas station for oil and we were back on our way.

It was a close fit on my uncle's split-deck car hauler

Now that she was home, it was time to assess what I really had.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 UltraDork
9/7/22 6:58 p.m.

Nice! Congratulations. I need to get some notes from you guys who have multiple projects running at the same time. My latest idea is to have a clipboard for each one hanging in the garage. 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
9/7/22 7:28 p.m.

That looks like a good deal if the structure is as good as the pictures. These are dead easy cars to work on other than a few engineering design foibles that will make you mutter about Brit engineers.

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/7/22 7:38 p.m.

Yes! I would have jumped on that.  A '66 was the car I learned to drive a stick in.

Of course, since I'm crazy, I'd be parking that body on top of a tube chassis something.  LOL

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 UberDork
9/7/22 8:40 p.m.

Sprites are fun. Every single drive will be fun.

Coder
Coder GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/7/22 11:56 p.m.

The ad mentioned that the car had been started on a bottle of fuel and that the state of the transmission was unknown.  The starter was currently inoperable because the bendix was messed up.  Oh, and the brakes don't work and much of the hardware for doors, trunk, and hood are missing.  At some point someone pop riveted some new floor pans over the old rusty ones.  It came with a new top, but none of the hardware for it other than the windshield header.  

The plan for now is to get it running and driving.  I'm not going to restore it back to original condition.  It's too far gone for that.  I'm going to build or modify things to suit my needs.

My brother needed to go pick up my niece from my sister's place, so he volunteered to pick up a battery (mine were too big) and a new starter.  While he did that, I started sorting out the mess of wiring that made up the ignition.  Someone had replaced the coil and starter relay with universal types and "wired" them up with little scraps of random wires and Wal-Mart spade connectors.  I doubt this car has ran recently.  But I was able to make sense of the mess and replace the wiring with slightly nicer wire scraps and AutoZone crimp connectors.  Upgrades.

The original wiring mess

When my brother got back, we hooked up the battery and replaced the starter.  The bendix had not just failed, but failed catastrophically.  I was fishing springs and washers out of the starter enclosure.  But the new starter was in and the wiring was serviceable, so we gave it a go.  My brother manned the "fuel pump" while I operated the "starter wire".  It took a little bit, but she actually sputtered to life.  She didn't run good, but she ran!  We didn't run it long, just a few seconds.  

The fuel system with "manual fuel pump"

With the engine now known to run, we turned our attention to the transmission.

 

Coder
Coder GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/8/22 12:01 a.m.
Teh E36 M3 said:

Nice! Congratulations. I need to get some notes from you guys who have multiple projects running at the same time. My latest idea is to have a clipboard for each one hanging in the garage. 

I'm the last person you'll want to take notes from.  I have the organizational skills of a toddler and an attention span to match.  Parts are bought, "put away", and then later hunted for until I inevitably buy them again.  I overestimate my ability to remember what needs to be done.  If there is a list, it's on a notepad that then also gets "put away" never to be seen again.  My two car garage can rarely fit more than a single vehicle and is capable of making things disappear more easily than David Copperfield himself.

Coder
Coder GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/8/22 12:19 a.m.

Since the transmission wasn't going into any gear (the shifter would only move side to side like it was in neutral) and the engine in obvious need of TLC, we decided to pull the pair.  

The engine is almost comically small.  We could have probably dead lifted it out.

The engine came out with a little fuss here and there.  The transmission, on the other hand, fought.  Or more should I say, the driveshaft fought.  Everything online said "it just pulls out over the rear axle".  Uh huh.  Mine did not pull out over the axle.  In fact, like Elon Musk, it refused to pull out at all.  I ended up just dragging it out along with the transmission, still attached.

More remnants of the detonated starter bendix.

Socks and sandals.  Yes, I'm a man of fashion.

These transmissions have an interesting throw out bearing.  I'm not really sure it technically is a "bearing".  Maybe more of a bushing?  Instead of a rotating bearing like on traditional manual transmissions, there's a graphite puck that a rotor-like surface on the back of the pressure plate rides on.  This graphite puck wears over time.  There's a "real" bearing you can get as an upgrade, but it's a bit expensive.  I might do it though.  I plan to keep this car for a long time.

The puck on mine is about 3/4 worn through.

Now that it's out, it's time to take a peek inside the transmission and see if we can fix it.

 

 

Coder
Coder GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/8/22 12:48 a.m.

And survey says...

Oh... Oh my.  There's been some water contamination.  I was able to get it into one of the gears.  It sounds as bad as it looks.

So I'm in the market for a "ribcase" transmission.  Damn.  I was hoping for something rebuildable, at least.

On that news, my chances of getting to drive the car this year plummeted.  To cheer myself up, I pushed the old girl out into the sun for some better pictures and a bath.

Pretty solid for a Missouri car

Scrub-a-dub-dub.  The tires have overspray from when the OP painted the wheels :(

Uh oh.  Exhaust leak

That brings us to today.  My only accomplishments were returning my uncle's trailer, running to the hardware store for longer bolts, and getting the engine on the stand.

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
9/8/22 9:18 a.m.

   That is awesome, I bet you could find a replacement transmission easy enough.  I keep thinking of getting one of these, nobody needs one of these, but life is more fun with stuff you don't need.

    I should really make more progress on some stuff before getting another project, so I will enjoy watching your fun.

      The great thing about these, lots of parts available and good tech support, and they are fairly simple things to work on. 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
9/8/22 10:51 a.m.

The gearboxes tend to have bad first gears due to no synchro in first and inexperienced drivers. Repair requires a new laygear so might as well see if what you have cleans up. They are DIY rebuildable.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 UltraDork
9/8/22 11:57 a.m.
Coder said:
Teh E36 M3 said:

Nice! Congratulations. I need to get some notes from you guys who have multiple projects running at the same time. My latest idea is to have a clipboard for each one hanging in the garage. 

I'm the last person you'll want to take notes from.  I have the organizational skills of a toddler and an attention span to match.  Parts are bought, "put away", and then later hunted for until I inevitably buy them again.  I overestimate my ability to remember what needs to be done.  If there is a list, it's on a notepad that then also gets "put away" never to be seen again.  My two car garage can rarely fit more than a single vehicle and is capable of making things disappear more easily than David Copperfield himself.

Hahaha. I won't take a picture of my garage but that sounds about exactly how I operate. Now I have two projects not including my old Norton, old Airstream, and old(ish) house. 

Loweguy5
Loweguy5 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/8/22 8:48 p.m.
"but life is more fun with stuff you don't need."
please put that on a tee shirt because it's my entire life captured in one phrase.
MiniDave
MiniDave Reader
9/8/22 10:10 p.m.

I have a friend with a freshly rebuilt ribcase, it's the backup for his race Sprite, but I think he would sell it. Let me know if you want his info.....no idea what he wants for it. He's here in KC.

On the clutch - you never start these with your foot on the clutch, and always throw it into neutral at a light, don't ever ride the clutch. if you do that the release bearings last a very long time.

Coder
Coder GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/12/22 6:12 p.m.

I bought some "parts" laugh

Coder
Coder GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/12/22 6:18 p.m.

Also, Wisconsin, your roads suck.  My kidneys will never be the same.

Mrfurzzy
Mrfurzzy New Reader
9/12/22 6:35 p.m.

In reply to Coder :

They unfortunately go alone with the harsh winters. Whereabouts in Wisconsin did you pickup the "parts"?

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
9/12/22 6:50 p.m.

So I have the ribcase in my car, a spare ribcase, and a Datsun 5speed on the shelf awaiting a rivergate kit...

 

If you want my spare ribcase we can talk, only problem is that I am in Maryland, so most of the talk might be logistics.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 UltraDork
9/12/22 6:57 p.m.

It's already multiplying?!

MyMiatas
MyMiatas Reader
9/12/22 8:47 p.m.
Coder said:

I bought some "parts" laugh

So you drove from Missouri to Wisconsin for a "parts" car?? That is a long way to go for just parts. Is this parts car going to be the real car and the first one the parts doner car? 

 

Mrfurzzy
Mrfurzzy New Reader
9/12/22 9:36 p.m.

In reply to MyMiatas :

St Louis isn't really "that" far from southern Wisconsin. It's under 5 hours depending on where in Wisconsin.

Coder
Coder GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/13/22 9:00 p.m.

3.5 hours to my brothers place to pick up my trailer and spend the night.  4.5 hours from his place to Fon du lac, Wisconsin, then 4.5 hours back to his place to sleep and spend time with my niece and nephew.

Roger and I spent today getting the engine running and attempting to make brakes a thing.  We were unsuccessful, so I only drove the car long enough to back out of his driveway and pull it back on to the trailer.  But I guess 1st and reverse are confirmed at least!  I did engage the other gears in the driveway and each was able to move the car a little, so confidence is high.

I have about an hour left of my 3.5 hour drive home.  My back is killing me.  Though I did learn the power lumbar support on my 93 F250 toy puller works, so there's that.

orthoxstice
orthoxstice Reader
9/13/22 11:12 p.m.

Nothing to add other than this thread only intensifies my Spridget curiosity. 

Mrfurzzy
Mrfurzzy New Reader
9/13/22 11:21 p.m.

In reply to Coder :

Any chance you picked up the car in this general area? I used to work next door to a guy that had a bunch of these in his shop.

Coder
Coder GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/14/22 12:39 a.m.

It was a farm in Fond du lac.  He had a 63 Sprite and a 69 midget that were restored as well as a nice Hudson pickup and a track built Porsche 944.  Him and his family were great. 

I'm finally home and the car is in the garage.  I'll try to post more pictures and details tomorrow.  My bed beckons.

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