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MG MGB Technical - Drift?

I have a question - I'm not a mechanic, and I am an American, so I don't always understand what is being said in some of what I read.

Drift is used two ways in my mgb manuals, and on this site. Sometimes, its "drift out the....", and sometimes its "use a drift to...."

I think it must be something that I place on something to knock something else out, but some explanation might help so I understand what I'm reading.

Thank you!

J.D. English

Since no one British has stepped in...

You might know it as a punch, although drift is actually used in America to distinguish a pointy tool (punch) from a flat-ended one (drift).

It's that metal rod you put against a pin and then hammer on the other end to drive the pin out.

"A drift" is the tool, "to drift" is what you do with the tool.

Come on back when you get to "fags" and the difference between "pants" and "trousers."

Matt Kulka

Thank you! I thought I understood, but "drift" sounds so gentle that I thought that maybe there was a technique I was missing. I understand a hammer and punch!

My son spent 6 months in Ireland and Wales as a missionary - when he got back, he wanted to know where his "jumper" was. I told him I didn't even know he had a bullfrog in the house.
J.D. English


I am pleased that the word drift makes you think gentle.

When drifting you should use the minimum force needed to achieve the required result.

A drift is often made of brass. It should be a softer metal than the thing being drifted so as not to mark it.

So gentle is a good thought if you are drifting with your drift. If you catch my drift.


PS the weather in Georgia must be good if you don't need a jumper, especially if your B is a roadster.
David Witham

Drift was also an old fashioned term for what happened to a rear wheel drive car when you cornered a bit over enthusiastically.

Err, Wales and wooly jumpers leaves a lot to the imagination!

R. Algie

"When drifting you should use the minimum force needed to achieve the required result."

I would offer an alternative definition:

Drift (verb): When refitting a new part, usually a bearing, the act of gentle and careful tapping which converts over time into beating seven bells out of it with the Large Hammer and a lump of whatever comes to hand.




What I've learned from this is that I'm suppose to START with the small hammer, instead of jumping directly to the 5 pound sledge. :-)

Thank you!!

J.D. English

I prefer this version of !!!
As Ron alluded too.
Mark Hester

Drifting isn't old fashioned when it comes to the tyre smoke version. It seems to be gaining popularity with what most people would call the boy racers. I believe there is an organised series over in the US now even?

Speaking of odd, mechanically minded words one New Zealanders have to be careful of when going to the states is a local phrase that goes something like "Last night I went out and got hammered". To us it means going out and getting drunk.

As one of the girls from our office here found out it can mean something totally different in the states!
Simon Jansen

We also use the word "hammered" for over drinking, along with plastered, smashed, wasted, polluted, etc., "getting banged", however, brings up a whole new meaning.

Doesn't "get pissed" have alternate meanings for the two sides of the Atlantic? If I'm not mistaken, on the east side, drunk; on the west, angry. I suppose if you were a mean drunk, you could get pissed after having gotten pissed.
Matt Kulka

John. Actually, you want to start with a larger hammer rather than a smaller one. A heavy hammer, used gently, is much safer than using a lighter hammer and striking hard with it. There is, of course, a limit on this. But, using the largest hammer you can (influenced by how strong you are and the relationship between the size of the piece being struck and the size of the hammer face) is the better way to go. Les
Les Bengtson

Thank you, Les! More good information. What amazes me is how far we can get off topic, and then back on topic.

Have a great day!

John English

John. And you too. This is something I learned while studing for a vocational/technical degree many years ago. We had a fellow who had been a machinist for 20 years in our class and he had a great deal of such hard learned lessons to teach the rest of us. We learned more in machine shop classes from him than from the less qualifed "instructor". Les
Les Bengtson

This thread was discussed between 15/06/2005 and 16/06/2005

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