So having demonstrated that the MG would start, it was time to connect up the fuel pipe and provide a reliable supply to the carbs to sustain running. I had a reliable assistant in the form of Matt (Ellie’s boyfriend). First we bought some fresh fuel and charged the tank with 5 litres. Next we connected the fuel pump wiring, connected the battery and heard a reassuring tick from the pump (err, surely after you turned on the ignition…). After a short while we were concerned that no fuel was flowing through and sure enough, on checking I found the pump was plumbed the wrong way around. I wonder who did that?
After a bit of replumbing and we were back in business although still there was no fuel feeding through to the filter let alone the carbs. Vaguely remembering something about air locks we released the pipe at the carbs end and with a hiss we started to see fuel travelling through the filter and turn up to the carbs. Progress!
But this wouldn’t be the Relentless Duck blog without some ‘issues’ and without detailing all the challenges, we did have a leak out of the fuel sender unit. Not being sure why this was leaking we set up a fuel can to catch the drips until the level was low enough for it to stop. The following day, on a break from work, a YouTube video showed how this should have been tightened up. Another day, another thing learned.
With fuel to the carbs, surely the MG would now fire up and continue running? Sadly not, the carbs refused to take the fuel and the removal of the lid from the float chamber revealed it to be dry. Oh dear. Further investigation needed, the outcome of which will be covered in a future post
I don’t really approve of ‘shouty’ capitals, but I think this entry justifies their use, albeit in the title only. Today, on my 50th birthday, we achieved the Engine Start Milestone. Let me qualify that a bit. When I say ‘we’ I mean, my Dad, mainly. When I say the engine started, I mean just that – we got it to start, but not run. This was principally because to fuel it, we were not using the main tank, but a borrowed fuel bottle hung from the bonnet catch. But it did fire up, several times and briefly make a loud ‘vroom!’ before ceasing when the fuel we had poured down the throat of the carburettor was consumed. The important point is – it starts!
So today being my 50th birthday, we had invited some close family over within the COVID regulations – so a much smaller group than usual and with the requisite social distancing. My darling wife Helen had, as usual, put on a lovely spread and guests arrived and were dining al fresco in the relaxed garden setting under the Gazebo. After waiting for what seemed to be a polite period of time, Dad said to me ‘what about the MG then’ and we discretely retired to the garage to scratch our respective heads on the non-starting issue.
Dad focussed on getting the electrical side of things sorted and this involved correctly wiring the distributor and setting the timing. This took longer than it should have done, which isn’t very interesting to record here, however after muc removal and refitting of the distributor cap and HT leads we had a spark occuring at the right time but no starting of the engine. We turned out attention to the fuel bottle and suspicious that fuel was not actually getting into the carbs, we poured (I should say, carefully measured a precise quantity of fuel) fuel into the throat of the carbs and turned the engine over. With a vroom and a puff of smoke out the exhaust the engine fired for the first time in over two years. Yes! So I am grateful to Dad (and Matt my Daughter’s boyfriend) for this birthday treat! It was all very exciting. We fired it a couple more times to see see if we could maintain the running before concluding that actually some fresh fuel in the tank and connecting the fuel pump was probably the way to go. Sadly we had run out of time, so this job was deferred for next time.
So this is a great encouragement – I’ve had a lovely birthday, which really started on Wednesday with a visit from my oldest (he not old, but I have been friends with him for the longest time) friend Phil, then a surprise gift and cake from my work colleagues on Thursday, leading to today’s event. Tomorrow we have friends over to continue the celebrations, again reined in by the regulations to a very small group. I heard someone say that birthdays should be a three day event – I’m on four days and going strong!
I am writing up progress over two days today, Saturday and Sunday of this first weekend in which we are living through the most extraordinary changes in our lives due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I’m not going to focus on that, instead I’m going to talk about progress on the MG.
On Saturday I managed to get the MG to crank over – this was a big step forward. I didn’t get it to fire up, but we’ll get to that. The main thing preventing me from starting the engine had been the wiring of the ignition switch. I had been baffled by the switch terminals which I just couldn’t relate to the wiring diagram. Added to that, having got it wrong and frightened myself with the battery terminal sparking, my confidence was low. However, after conversations with my Dad and some on-line help from Nick Dring (thanks guys), I sat in the MG on the driveway on a sunny Saturday and just ran through some wiring scenarios. Using my Dad’s fooproof lamp test to keeps things safe, it took eight attempts to finally get it right. I had the engine cranking over in every ignition switch position including 0, I and II. Position III remained elusive, but it was a great feeling when I finally stumbled on the right combination and it cranked over on position III. Of course I could have avoided all this by taking a photo of the switch before I stripped it down, but its a bit late for that now!
The rest of the day was spent in attempting to get the engine started, ultimately unsuccessfully. I did connect up the choke (not very well), tightened the throttle cable and resolved a couple of areas which were leaking oil due to not being tightened up properly – namely, the rocker cover and the oil filter oil cooler pipe union. For fuel I used a bottle (borrowed from my friend john) connected to the carbs and hung from the bonnet catch. Out of interest, I recorded key parts of the day on my iPhone and made them into a YouTube video, linked below. Be warned, its 14 minutes….
Onto Sunday and I diverted from the engine (for which I need some brainy help) to focus on some items of trim which I have deliberately ignored for a good while now. It made for a change to be focussing on something different. Plan for today was to fit the chrome trims to the rear quarter lights. I had previously fitted these just to get them off the garage shelves but they had to come off for me to fit the trims. This meant that I needed to learn how to use a pop rivet gun which I have never used before. A quick YouTube video later and I was a pop-rivetting hero. As any one will tell you, its really easy. The trims are original and despite a clean up using autosol they are a bit ratty, but from what I remember, buying all new is extremely expensive and in these dire times I can’t justify any frivelous expenditure. I can always buy new trims later down the line. I got the o/s all sorted nicely, but the n/s side wasn’t as easy, the trims being a bit buckled and hence more difficult to fit and the rubber seal had gone missing (it’s somewhere in the garage). Anyway, some useful time wokring outdoors on the MG – I halted during the middle of fixing a trim to the A-post on the n/s due to being asked if I would like to go for a walk with Helen and Lou – priorities being what they are, I pushed the MG into the garage and that was the day’s work done.