Chicagoland MG Club:Photos
MGB Resurection Day
August 10, 2003 - Niles, Illinois

The 1966 MGB looked a little depressed, but we were here to brighten its outlook on life.

This one had been in storage and hadn't even run since 1974. That makes it low mileage, but somewhat arthritic. But it was being stubborn and wouldn't run, which we were about to fix. Order of the day was to get it back on the road.

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Residents on the left, visitors on the right. There was a small diversion out front while the help was accumulating. Jim Dade's 1965 MGB was in good form for being all original.

Back to the patient of the day. Bob Brownlow claims the price was right, and not too much was required to fix it up. Rusty body sills were cut out and new panels welded in. A lot of brake work was done, both hydraulic and mechanical. It was sporting new front fenders and an MGC bonnet (say what?). The original interior had cleaned up well too.

We proceeded to spend a few hours under the bonnet, starting with a compresion check. Dry pressure numbers were initially something like 60, 40, 90, 110 psi. Adding a bit of oil to each cylinder brought the pressure numbers up about 20 psi all around, still not great, but at least it should start and run. Switch on the key, and immediately there was fuel dribbling out the overflow pipes. At first it was thought to have a fuel over-pressure problem with the replacement Facet fuel pump, but it turned out to be bad float valves. That was cured by replacing the float chamber tops, floats and all, with some spare used parts on hand.

With some spark and a little fiddling and a lot of choking and cranking it finally started, ran a few seconds and died, apparently fuel starved. More fiddling with the Purolator presssure regulator, and then it would start and continue to run, but on only 3 cylinders. No fire on #3, so we cleaned and swapped a couple of spark plugs, but still no fire on #3. Then we swapped out the distrubutor cap and HT wires assembly for another used spare on hand, and still no fire on #3. Say WHAT? Time to R&R the rocker cover to check that #3 intake and exhaust valves were moving properly with full lift and full closing. What are the odds of two different distributor caps both having a bad #3 wire? Yup, we got it. Swap in another known good distributor cap and wire set from the daily driver GT, and it fired right up and ran fairly well on all four cylinders, even including good throttle response.

By that time we had fogged up the garage a whole bunch with white smoke from the oil we had put in the cylinders, so it was time for a short break for a little ventilation. Then we did another compression check, and low and behold, it was getting 125-140 psi on all four cylinders. Say goodbye to the arthritis.

Next move was to get in and run it through the gears while running to be sure the transmission was in in good working order, and it was, including the overdrive!!! This was getting to look like a better deal all the time. So get on with the brake work, not much left there, just install the rear shoes and drums. And we had to bleed the brake lines. But Barney Gaylord had brought along the Gunson Eezibleed, so that went really well -- almost.

Bob had bought a set of special bleed nipples containing check valves, which were intended to make brake bleeding a one man job. The idea was to open one bleed nipple, and then just pump the brake pedal to flush the lines while the check valve would keep air from sneaking in the back door. Well that wasn't actually necessary as we were using the Eezibleed with pressure on the master cylinder reservoir, so just open a bleed nipple and watch the fluid shoot out until it came clean with no bubbles. Unfortunately, one of the new bleed nipples had a faulty check valve that refused to open. This delayed things just a few minutes for diagnosis and replacement with a standard free flow bleed nipple. Then it was time for the wheels, and kick out the jack stands, and time for a test drive and a victory picture.

Mind you this car had not moved under its own power for 29 years, but now it was raring to go. The drive train, brakes and suspension all worked flawlessly on the first run down the block and back, resulting in grins all around. So Bob decided to go for a little longer run, was gone for about 10 minutes, and luckily missed the local cop by all of 10 seconds on his return. So we have another all round successful tech session. About all the car still needs is the headlights, and registration. Well, okay, maybe it should get a paint job too. It probably won't be out for Abingdon Summer Party on the coming weekend, but will likely make it to the Brithsh Car Festival next month.

Photos and web page courtesy of Barney Gaylord

©2003 Chicagoland MG Club, All rights reserved.