The Great 76 MGB Project

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spitfire
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The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Sat May 02, 2009 8:24 pm

So, after a day of cleaning the crap out of the car, and just getting a feel for it. we have decided to go the Overhaulin route. Which means we are going to strip the sucker down for full paint then interior.

We found a previous color in the car and the current paint in super sad earl Schieb style bad paint job. This means the motor is going to get pulled, Which I think will facilitate the better diagnosis of the engine to truly determine what is going on. I will get picks up soon. Actually I will most likely be setting up a blog for the project, and then provide the link here with updates on when things move forward.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Steve Simmons » Sat May 02, 2009 9:06 pm

Be sure you know what you're getting into. Whatever you're budgeting, triple it! Are you sure the paint can't be cut and polished? Paint and body are the most expensive part of any restoration so if you can get away without it then you'll be ahead of the game. Paint is also one of those things you never get your money out of if you sell the car. To pay a professional to do it properly will cost around $5-9K. You can get it done for less of course, but it's one of those areas where you get what you pay for.

I see a LOT of these type of projects snowball out of control, and many years later the owner has spent far more than the car is worth and still has a pile of parts. Honestly I would consider getting the thing running and roadworthy before anything else and then evaluate the individual systems. Tearing a car down to the bare chassis is an enormous undertaking and without a lot of time and money it could mean you will never drive the car before giving up on it. Engine issue aside, I would rebuild the braking system, buy a carpet and seat kit, clean the fuel system, flush the cooling system, change all the fluids (gearbox, rear end, engine oil, coolant, steering), grease the chassis, change all the rubber hoses (fuel, coolant, oil lines if applicable) and see how it goes from there. It may need some minor electrical help (battery, alternator, voltage regulator) but maybe not.

If you want a stronger argument against full restorations, I can take you around to meet several people I know who have been working on the same car for 10, 15, 20 years or longer and many of them have never even driven it beforehand. For all we know, they might not even like the car when they finally do get to drive the thing! My advise is a rolling restoration so you at least get to enjoy the car for the next several years while you work on it.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Sun May 03, 2009 1:15 pm

And I have come back down to earth. Anyway I am slowly putting up pictures on the new blog http://1976mgb.blogspot.com/ which will track the project. As well as a little story to go along with the whole thing. I hope you guys will enjoy it. But you know, here is a picture to whet your appetite.
Image

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Steve Simmons » Sun May 03, 2009 7:57 pm

Hey, that thing doesn't look too bad! Especially for the price! :thumbs:

I see the doctor has his gloves on. :eek:

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Martin Keller » Sun May 03, 2009 8:21 pm

Hey Spitfire,

That MGB looks to be in great shape for the price you got it for. :thumbs:
As others have suggested do the simple things first like cleaning and get it running before you do a major tare down.
Martin Keller
Ventura, Ca.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Mon May 04, 2009 3:58 pm

So, I don't know if I will be able to figure the motor thing out. I can't see anything with the motor in the car that could indicate a crack even with a magnifying glass. Would it be better to pull it and check it that way?

The battery is still good by the way.

Oh and the steering wheel is getting replaced as soon as possible. Check out what was found under the wheel wrap.
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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Steve Simmons » Mon May 04, 2009 4:13 pm

I would make pulling the engine out a last resort. Once you've gone that far, the "might as wells" will get you. Might as well replace the clutch while it's out. Might as well replace the engine seals too. Might as well open the gearbox while it's out. Might as well replace the rear end seals while the drive shaft is off. Might as well paint the engine bay while the engine is out, which means stripping everything else out of it. While that stuff is out, might as well replace the heater core. Might as well replace the radiator too so they're both new. Might as well replace the water pump then. Might as well do this and that, etc etc etc and so it goes.

I'm not trying to discourage you from doing what you want on the car, just trying to make sure you don't fall into the same trap as a lot of people. I want to see you driving and enjoying the car as soon as possible, with a minimal amount of cash spent. A lot of "problems" will disappear by simply driving the car. When they sit, they fall apart and get unreliable. The more you drive it the better it will run.

A compression test would be the first thing I'd do. Better yet, a leak-down test. Can you get the name whatever mechanic said there was a crack somewhere? That would make things a lot easier. There must be a receipt on file somewhere for the work done that day.

Also take a look in the coolant and make sure you don't see oil swirls. Likewise, when you drain the oil check to make sure there isn't any coolant in it, or any sludge. Take the valve cover off and look in there to make sure it's clean as well.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Mon May 04, 2009 4:20 pm

alright, well it looks like the radiator was drained and never re-filled. Guess we will try to drain the oil and see if there is anything in there as well.

There is either a cut, or the hose has been disconnected between the gas pump and the motor. That was fun to find out when checking to see what worked electrically. Nice little drop of fuel onto the garage floor. well the cardboard that was under the car anyway.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Steve Simmons » Wed May 06, 2009 2:14 pm

Replace all the fuel hoses. This is not optional! Old fuel hose can be dangerous if it leaks onto the catalytic converter and ignites. I'd replace all the rubber in the fuel, oil, cooling and braking systems from hoses to gaskets.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Wed May 06, 2009 2:18 pm

Yeah, the plan this week is to get the jack stand an floor jack then start going over all of the hoses. I am guessing the car has been sitting for 7 to 8 years. I am not sure how much fuel is in the tank, would it be good to drop the tank after draining and get it cleaned for possible rust issues?

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Steve Simmons » Wed May 06, 2009 2:28 pm

Gas that old is sure to be bad. I would drain it out and clean the tank and fuel pipes. From memory so check this against the repair manual...

1. Drain the fuel tank.
2. Remove the old fuel hoses.
3. Remove the fuel filler hose (inside the trunk)
4. Remove the fuel tank with the dozen or so bolts accessed from the trunk floor.
5. Have the tank dipped to remove the old varnished fuel and rust scale.
6. If it looks bad inside, have it lined or buy a kit to do it yourself.
7. Check the underside of the trunk floor for rust and address if necessary.
8. Clean fuel pipes with a strong cleaner, brake spray cleaner comes to mind.
9. Clean the carburetor float bowl(s) and needle(s), replace the jet assembly(s).
10. Install all new rubber hoses and fuel filter (place the fuel filter after the fuel pump, not before).

You may also want to have the fuel pump rebuilt but you can always give it a go and see if it holds up. Non-use is the enemy so it could go either way.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Thu May 07, 2009 10:20 am

So I am looking for ways to clean the tank and came across Rusteco. Does anyone have any experience with this product? It seems to be the way to clean the inside of the tank with a nice biodegradable product that can be reused after filtering. I don't think the gel can be reused, but could be good for use on the wheels and inside the boot.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Martin Keller » Thu May 07, 2009 2:07 pm

Hi Spitfire,

Here is a link to a site that has a lot of information for you to help you with your MGB. :thumbs:
http://www.mgexperience.net/
Martin Keller
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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Steve Simmons » Thu May 07, 2009 3:28 pm

I've heard of Rusteco but never used it personally. Bill Hirsch makes some of the best fuel tank restoration products out there. Moss sells it relabeled with their own name. Eastwood also sells really good products for this purpose.

The site Martin links to is busy, but you have to be reeeealy careful what advise you take from it. For technical advise I would highly recommend instead visiting MG Enthusiasts' BBS at http://www.mgcars.org.uk. It's less busy but populated by very knowledgeable people.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Thu May 07, 2009 3:39 pm

Yeah i just found mg experience, to add the car to the registry, looks like it has already occurred, so I am contacting the seller to have him transfer it over. As for rust fighting, I couldn't find anything specific to gas tank restoration. Steve looks like you are only beat by a car that has a cheater score of 12.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Sun May 10, 2009 10:06 am

poring over the service records that were handed to me last night I found a receipt for a small block rebuild, The problem is that there was no date on the thing. I am going to try and call the mechanic on Monday to see if he has any recollection of this rebuild. We also got a lot of nothing done this weekend. I should have an update later tonight. But essentially we got the car lifted and took a bunch of pictures.

I am very pleased with the body, I can't find any structural rust, just some surface that should be resolved with some sanding and POR 15.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Steve Simmons » Sun May 10, 2009 2:35 pm

Sounds very promising. You could simply have a cracked head. A good used one is only a couple hundred dollars and a fully rebuilt one is only a few hundred at most. You can even get a port and polished head from Flowspeed for $850 and it would add a bit of power and zip to the engine.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Sun May 10, 2009 9:51 pm

Alright I have this weeks pictures up and running along with a post to go along with it. Like always keep updated at http://1976mgb.blogspot.com/

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Steve Simmons » Sun May 10, 2009 10:27 pm

Hard to tell from the small photos what that cable is. The damage to the rear valance is easily fixed. Someone probably did that towing it into a steep driveway. You'll probably end up with a new exhaust system eventually anyway.

It sounded like you're placing the jack stands under the bumpers. If so, don't do it again! The bumpers are not meant to hold the weight of the car and could be damaged or allow the car to drop on your head. Car 1, Head 0. The rear stands should be placed under the rear axle as far out as reasonably possible. The front stands work best under the A-Arm pivots. If the suspension needs to hang free, you can place the rears at the leaf spring mounts near the battery cages. The fronts can be placed near the front of the chassis sills. I like to use padding of some sort in these areas, wood or cotton towels, to distribute the load and prevent denting the metalwork.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Mon May 11, 2009 12:11 am

nope the jack stands were placed there after the car was back on the ground. So that they won't fall on our feet when the final bolt is taken out.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Sun May 24, 2009 1:38 pm

Well I got the rubber bumper off the B yesterday. Then I moved on to the compression test.
I really hope I am doing something wrong, although I don't think that I am as I was getting 0 compression on all 4 cylinders. This could be bad, or me just doing it wrong.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Steve Simmons » Sun May 24, 2009 9:53 pm

You never got back to me on the thumb test thing we talked about. The suspense is killing me! I'm hoping for pressure.

You also might be able to save some money on the chrome bumper conversion if you go with the sebring (bumperless) look instead. Or maybe pick up one of those Morespeed bumpers. Of course I'd get the car roadworthy first and make sure you're even going to keep it around before dumping money into that kind of stuff.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Mon May 25, 2009 3:49 pm

The thumb test failed too.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by Steve Simmons » Mon May 25, 2009 6:47 pm

Zero compression on all cylinders. OK, that sounds bad unless there's something simple I'm not thinking of. If you can manage it, connect air air line or even a hand pump to one of the cylinder holes. You may be able to do this with the compression tester pieces. Rotate each cylinder to TDC so that both valves are closed and the blow air into them, one by one. See where the air comes out. If it comes out the valves, the problem is in the head. If it comes out another spark plug hole, it's a head gasket or a cracked block or head. Same if it blows bubbles in the coolant. I know there must be something I'm not thinking of here, too strange. :?

Worst case, we can find you a good running used engine for pretty cheap.

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Re: The Great 76 MGB Project

Post by spitfire » Mon May 25, 2009 7:29 pm

I was thinking of getting a mobile mechanic out to have a look, just in case I am doing something wrong. Because I have a feeling that its me and not the car. At least I hope that its me and not the car. But if it is the engine. Then, yeah, its time to start looking at options.

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