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Going to Glenmoor - Slime in the Cylinder

While it's a wonderful gesture that our classic car insurance company encourages us to feel free to drive our British roadster for hobby purposes, we'd like to complete the journey to Canton, Ohio without calling upon Chubb's roadside assistance service.  It's comforting to know that help is a phone call away if needed, but our preference would be to have our 1960 MGA handle the thousand mile journey without any problems.

Now that we've found a way to accommodate our gargantuan co-driver, our focus has turned toward routine maintenance.  The car had its engine and transmission oil changed in recent weeks, but a nagging small leak in the master cylinder was requiring regular topping off, and also was causing damage to the paint under the hood.  The MGA uses a combined master cylinder for both brakes and clutch- two systems which are pretty critical to a lengthy road trip.

We decided to clean up the master cylinder and replace its various bits in hopes of stopping the leakage.  The first step, of course, was to drain the existing fluid:

What we found was pretty eye-opening.  You can see by the consistency of the fluid in the container that there is an interesting mix of gooey substances in the car.   When we bled the system dry, we also found an unusual sight inside the master cylinder.

In addition to typical gunk built up on the exterior of the cylinder, we were surprised to see that the inside of the reservoir had been painted.  Our bleeding container exposed various ages of brake fluid as well as small paint chips.  In addition, the gaskets, springs, washers, and other internal parts needed a good cleaning and/or replacement.


We were able to blast the master cylinder to be nearly clear of all paint, and used a wire brush to clean up the exterior.  After applying a coat of black paint on the outside of the newly-cleaned cylinder, we replaced the gaskets and washers that would become cozy with the pistons.  Once reinstalled, we refilled the car with fresh fluid and bled the air from the entire system.

While the brakes and clutch now respond a little better, we unfortunately did not resolve the leak that initially motivated the project.  We now believe the source of the problem to be a worn out banjo bolt on the back of the cylinder.  The new parts arrived today, and we'll be installing the new bolt before we head out to the Glenmoor Gathering.  If this doesn't solve the problem, we'll be adding brake fluid to our packing list for the big drive.

Is there anything else you think we need to consider before our road trip?  Please let us know if the comment area below.  You can read more about the Glenmoor Gathering here, and we also welcome your feedback on our driving plans on the Chubb Collector Car Insurance Facebook page. 

Paul Morrissette

About Paul Morrissette

Paul has been working with classic car owners and their insurance agents throughout his 27 year career with Chubb Insurance. A lover of all collector cars, he is particularly fond of British roadsters. The Chubb team jokes that they don't need directions to Paul's house, they just follow the leaks.



You can always bump-start the

You can always bump-start the car and shift by matching revs. As far as brakes go, their necessity is vastly overrated, especially on long trips. Time to hit the road!

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