12 Aug 20 Releasing the carbs

Having established at the weekend, with Matt’s help, that the carburettors were blocked, and having consulted the ‘MG helpline’, A.K.A. my Dad, I found time this evening, with the help of my friend John, to investigate the problem. The UK was in the middle of a heat wave, one in which the temperature and humidity peaked between 5pm and 6pm arond 30 degrees, which was when we started to look at the MG. So the only right thing to do, while we wheeled the MG out, was to crack open a couple of cold beers and take a leasurely look at the problem. With John on board, this was going to be a logical approach to problem solving. Having already proven fuel would flow up to the carbs, we now knew the challenge was with the carb itself.

Step 1: Use a footpump to attempt to blow air into the carb. Result: No air passing through. Conclusion: Float/Needle valve stuck

Step 2: Remove carbs. Removing the carbs in theory is easy, its just four nuts. In practice, its fiddly, because the nuts won’t come off without waggling them to the end of the studs and then getting the angle just right. Having two people on hand is a definate advantage here, unless you are an octopus. Next challenge was to keep the carbs together with the linkages intact. To do this, we had the idea to use the plate that holds the air filters as a sort of jig. That took a bit of work to get right, but without (much) swearing, the carbs rattled free of their studs and were on the work bench.

Step 3: Remove float chamber lids. These come off easily enough, although the ‘O’ ring on the front carb hopped out of its slot and showed little enthusiasm to pop back in. Using the footpump and with the float valve open we used the foot pump again to add pressure and with a nice ‘pop!’ the needle valve on the rear carb freed itself. Surely the front carb would do the same, but it wasn’t shifting, so John tickled it with a pair of fine tweezers and before long both carbs were wheezing along in harmony at each press of the pump. How satisfying.

Step 4: Reassemble and refit the carbs. Hmm. That float chamber ‘O’ ring did not want to play ball and needs to be replaced, however, we think we teased it back in place and made a seal on both float chamber lids. We then man handled and wiggled the carbs back onto their studs, tightened them up and connected the breather pipe, fuel line, throttle and choke linkages.

Step 5: Test start the engine. ‘Hang on a minute,’ said John ‘didn’t you say that the fuel pump and coil are always on when you connect the battery?’ A discussion ensued in which John advised me against firing the engine when we are not confident of how the wiring was configured. So we disconnected the ignition switch and using a multimeter, identified what the various terminals were and then attempted to connect the correct wires. As we were nearing a conclusion on this, the rain came in heavy so we abandoned the task for the day having made some actual progress, but with some work to go to achieve sustained running.

9 Aug 20 Fuelling around

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

1 Aug 20 a step forwards

I’ve had a problem with oil leaking from the oil filters area for a while and this has prevented me progressing the engine start because cranking the engine resulted in a pool of engine oil under the car. Having had several goes at refitting the oil filter to oil cooler union, today I used my brain and had Helen in the car cranking the engine over and me looking to see where the leak was coming from. Turns out the leak was from the oil filter ONTO the connection so I was looking in the wrong place. So my focus turned to sorting this connection out and following a phone call to Dad I removed and refitted it. No leak on cranking! Problem solved. I couldn’t resist cranking the engine over to fire (which it didn’t) but I did check and I was getting no spark so at least I know one of the problems to sort out.

This lovely engine bay will sound nice too one day
Oil everywhere but where from!

Back to earlier in the day and ongoing (and off going) saga of the doors and their glass. I had previously fitted the quarter lights but on inspection the runners were perished so I recently ordered some new one from Moss and had stripped them down. So while British Grand Prix Practice and Qualifying ran on I sat in the lounge working the new rubbers into place using a blunt ended tea spoon. Apart from where it dug into my palm painfully it wasn’t too bad and I followed the general approach that Andy from Wiltshire Windscreens showed me when he fitted the front and rear screens. So with these done I loosely fitted the back in. I will tighten them when I get the glass as I think you need them loose to get the whole mechanism in and then you tighten it all up.

Also in preparation for the glass (which I need to order) I removed the lower bracket from the rear glass stay. I have ordered new ones of these with nice new felt lining but they don’t come with the bracket. Rather than put the old brackets on as they were. I decided they would be better painted. I used a Hammerite black straight to rust paint, brush applied. It doesn’t need to look good but it should be protected against corrosion hence this approach. I was a bit delayed in fitting the stays as the paint is still drying so I will need to fit those when I next get the MG out.

Waiting for these to dry before fitting

So that’s about it. Keith the TV aerial guy was passing with his mate and said Hi. A couple of other people nodded their appreciation (or sympathy or contempt it’s hard to tell) so it was an encouraging day on the MG. Last thing to say is that to save my back I towed it out the garage this morning with my CRV which worked reasonably well although I did need a willing assistant which was of course the ever patient Helen.

A closing thought about gratitude…

30 Jul 20 Putting my back into it

I was motivated to get outside after work today and do something useful on the MG. I have for a long time bemoaned how I routed the rear loom which turned out to foul the internal trim panels due to a temporary cognitive failure on my part. So I decided to reverse this and find a better route. Reversing the install turned out to be much simpler than I thought.

I then had to work out a better route and curiously it is remarkably unclear what this should be. After a bit of trial and error I have found a route which allows the loom to reach all the right places and also looks like a reasonable location to be clipped in place out of the way and logically. At least I hope so.

It was good to make some progress after having had a lot of (admittedly not entirely unpleasant) distractions. The only down side was a twinge in my back as the MG is getting heavier the more parts I bolt on, and my back is getting no stronger. I may revert to towing it up the drive until she’s a runner.

28 Apr 20 Daft cat

Just a quick entry to record this picture of our daft cat. My daughter popped into the garage to access the freezer and as often happens, the cat dived in to poke around the garage in search of a mouse (although she is a useless hunter and there are no mice in the garage, unless you count the 2 x frozen mice we have kept for the in-laws pet snake for when lockdown is over). Anyway, standard procedure is to close the door and leave her in there for ten minutes. She’s usually ready to come out. But tonight she decided to stay in the MG and Lou managed to capture this shot – daft cat. Pity she can’t sort out the timing!

Stay safe folks – God Bless

22 Feb 20 Re-fuse-ing to give up

Spent a couple of hours on the MG this afternoon. It was cold and windy so I confined myself to the garage. First job was to finish off fitting the new rubber oil cooler pipes. I am replacing the nasty braided ones which are very stiff with OE spec rubber which is a bit more pliant. This is an awkward fit and it requires a bit of coordination because the oil gauge pipe has to be fitted AFTER the pipe cooler pipe because otherwise the spanner crushes the oil gauge pipe. Have a guess how I know this? After fitting the pipes I had to fit the hateful grommets to the radiator shroud which is another awkward job. Anyway it’s done now.

It’s all a bit congested here

Next I decided to progress the wiring loom connections. Last week I had to unpick the loom due to poor routing so this week I put some of that back. I connected the alternator which is easy then had to take the coil off to get that connected properly. So far so good. I then checked the fuse box which I wasn’t convinced had been connected properly. Rather than rely on pictures on the internet I actually used the wiring diagram and managed to use up all the available wires so it must be right! (It is right really).

So onto the next thing and I identified a problem. The distributor, which is a new unit from Accuspark needs power which it gets from the coil. Unfortunately one of the cables is not long enough. It mentions this in the instructions which cheerfully say ‘you may have to lengthen the wire’. I might write back to them to say ‘you could just supply the right length wire.’ So I need to grab a pal who can joins a bit of wire for me

This is the probably definitely correctly connected fuse box

Final task today was to fit an earth wire to the inner wing. The original bolt had been painted over and the head rounded off when I tried to release it. Even my freeze spray couldn’t rescue the situation so I did the brutal thing and drilled it out. I managed to then get another bolt to fit and job done. Not a bad afternoon’s work.

8 Feb 20 Modern Ferrari: Just a big plastic Fiat?

Away for the weekend with friends in the new Forest we happened upon a Ferrari dealer in the small town of Lyndhurst. I am a fan of classic cars and I do get a bit weary of all the hype around the unobtainable modern super cars and do ponder on what purpose they serve. But then when I got up close to this stable of thoroughbreds I couldn’t help but be impressed, very impressed with what I saw before me. These are high quality machines and the details are really exquisite. I could have just poured over them for ages!

Mouthwatering collection of F458s
Lewis liked the fact you could see the engine through the glass hatch. I liked all the little aerodynamic details.
The obligatory posed photo with us both being careful not to touch the merchandise!
Just inside the doors was this 2002 F1 car

There were other Ferrari’s in the showroom including an FF and an ‘affordable’ F360 for ‘only’ £90k. I wasn’t feeling brave enough to wander around the showroom, limiting myself to a quick peep in at the F1 car.

My favourite was this F812 Superfast with its deep black paint and cartoon proportions

After a coffee in town, I spotted that there was a classic section across the road. That was more like it! A 250 Pininfarina Coupe for a mere £799k, a pair of Maserati Fruas and a late Testarossa. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a good photo but anyway it was nice to have a bit of Italian magic. Back to the MG next weekend!

What a beauty 🇭🇺

1 Jan 20 blockage cleared

Happy new decade everyone! A mini post today to record me spending just half an hour in the garage during which I discovered that the heater control unit pipe was completely blocked with rusty crud. I found this when I was offering it up to where it is mounted on the engine and was asking myself how any coolant was supposed to flow through it when there was no hole. A quick prod with an old screwdriver proved that the crud could be dislodged fairly easy and this was also the case with the aperture into the engine water jacket.

I wondered to myself if this was possibly the reason the car overheated when I first fired it up shortly after buying it, and why the fan was set to be on the whole time. What a bodge by the previous owner, but satisfying to find this problem and be a step towards sorting it out.

The heater control with crud opened up
This is where it attaches to the engine block. I have removed the crud but it really needs a bit more work. Don’t know how I missed this when I had the engine out!

And finally, this is me, my better half and my in laws at a New Year’s Eve party last night

Rocking the night away!

28 Oct 19 Windscreen and headlights

Andy from Wiltshire Windscreens came over to fit the Windscreen following some issues over the last fortnight around the weather and a rubber seal from a supplier which did not fit. This time however, the weather was good and all the kit fitted (with a bit of grunting, and a minor modification) and the windscreen is now in and looking fantastic. I have to hand it to Andy, he did a fine job, was great company and charged a very reasonable fee.

Paul had also come up to help me for the day. I wanted him to look at the o/s headlamp since I could not fit the bevel and it was causing me annoyance. We played around with the other unit (the one not fitted) and sort of worked out how it went on. We concluded that the unit was too tight to the seal to allow the bevel to hook up to the securing lip, so reluctantly removed it for a refit. I had used very short bolts because I didnt want the bolts protruding into the wheel arch, but on relfection I had gone too short and now the assembly didn’t work. While inspecting the lamps, Paul was recalling his days working on his Triumph 2500 that he had in his youth. Helpfully, he could still remember how the lamps went together and he did a good job dismantling and cleaning the unit which then looked much more presentable. After a quick visit to Halfords to buy some bolts, we assembled the lamp units in situ and to my delight, the bevels fitted. We weren’t completely sure that the lamps are as securely fitted as they need to be, but this was a step forward and like a lot of things on the car, once something is on, it can be endlessly fettled, and probably will be.

Next job was to refit the grille which had to be removed to maximise the reach of the crane for the engine install. Refitting the grille was relatively easy, although its a tight fit and it was better to do this now, than leave it in the kitchen to annoy Helen.

On a roll from our success, I asked Paul to work with me on sorting the bonnet release which wasn’t operating. I wasn’t happy with the cable routing, so we altered it by hanging a clip off the last wing bolt which held the cable more securely. Having Paul’s input, as well as extra pair of hands to hold the cable while I tightened the securing nut was invaluable and on testing, the bonnet release worked as it should.

So a really successful day and some more milestones achieved. To quote the Beatles, I get by with a little help from my friends.

1 Sep 19 Clean machine

Wait a minute, thats not the MG. Correct. It’s back to School week for Helen, teachers all around the country are wondering where the last six weeks holiday have gone and it only feels like five minutes since they broke up. Helen wanted her car cleaned for the new term, and as the local sweat shop was closed, it fell to me to do the job. I started by clearing the interior of all the accumulated rubbish and then gave it a thorough hoovering, includng the mats which of course I removed. I then dusted all the crevises with a soft brush and wiped over all the surfaces with a matt interior cleaner. I don’t use loads of it, just enought to actually clean as well as dust. Moving to the exterior, I gave it a thorough soaking with a hose, then a gentle soapy brush wash with car shampoo, followed by rinsing again with the hose. For the wheels I didn’t use any special product, just one of those large glove microfibre thingies made of what looks like green Wotsits. The brake dust came off okay with a good soaking and a gentle rub of the glove. I did an initial dry of the car with a large mircofibre cloth, then went around again to completely dry the paint, excepting those annoying drips that appear when you are not looking. Moving to the exterior glass, I treated it all with a Bluecol product that is supposed to negate the need for wipers, a bit like Rain-X. I had forgotten I had this until someone at a BBQ recently mentioned it so I thought I would dig it out and reapply it. The Jazz has a huge windscreen and a panoramic roof, so there is lots of glass to treat, but also to benefit from the beading up that is supposed to occur. Will also reduce wear on the wipers too. I then gave the paint a quick spruce up using a hydroscopic detailer (Brand = Chrome) which I was bought recently by a friend who works at a truck stop. Apparently the Truckers all rave about it and it seems to go on and buff off easily enough. Sadly, although the car is only five years old its amazing how many little chips and scrapes its aquired. None which really need doing, unless we were being really picky, but just one of those things. By now I was getting hot in the early Autumn sunshine and Helen appeared to critique the job. She spotted a few smears here and there which I rubbed off and gave me a pack of Simoniz interior glass wipes claimed to be smear free. These worked okay, but I am not a fan of throwaway wipe types things usually. Anyway, on finishing the Jazz, I was pleased with the result. Didn’t progress the MG one jott, but the pearlescent organy-brown Honda looked suitably glossy outside, so I consider that enough of an effort to warrant recording here. Hope you’ve all had a good summer. Happy Car washing and restoring.