Fix It With Steve...
Dec 30, 2014 edition
The month of February started with progress on the A/C installation in the MGB-GT. The Carburetors are now on; heater hoses above the rocker cover installed. I finally fixed the heater into position. No problem! Then I moved inside the car. The connection for the air flap looked like one of those jobs best done by a surgeon practiced in ‘keyhole surgery’. The inner & outer cables both need to be fixed in position while working through the passenger footwell air vent. The job is complicated by the access, lying on one’s side squeezed into the footwell holding a light with one hand while trying to manipulate the cable with the other and then tighten it with? Three hands and 18” wide shoulders would help. Surprisingly it went a lot easier than I first thought. Phew! Lucky, it’s nice when that happens.
Now I am ready to replace the vent connections to the bottom of the windshield, aka defrosters. Then the evaporator box can be installed after the final two holes have been drilled through the firewall.
I have decided to move the water pump & reservoir for the windscreen/shield washers. The LH front of the engine bay is now way too crowded and there’s acres of space on the RH side. The proper way to do it is to move the pump rather than just extend the suction hose. Of course the screws that hold it onto the inner LF fender are rusted tight. The fix will be to remove the LH wheel & drill them out from that side. There’s not enough room to do this from the engine bay side now the AC compressor and all the hoses are installed.
Finally another MGB project arrived on a Sunday afternoon. This is a Russet Brown 1980 MGB, the last model year. It hasn't been running for about 5 years but is rust free and only has about 30,000 miles on it from new. It looks in basically great shape with no major dings or scratches. The paint is still shiny despite it having been sitting inside for so long. The plan is to get it going & put it up for sale. It should make a nice little British sports car for somebody.
Mid-February saw so more progress on the MGB GT A/C project. The evaporator is now installed and all the refrigerant hoses connected. I have pretty much finished under the bonnet apart from moving the windscreen/shield washer pump.
The latest ‘glitch’ is trying to install the radio cassette player. I haven’t graduated to an MP3 player yet! Seems the only way to do this is the ditch the defroster pipes -- which explains why they were missing when I
dismantled the center console in the first place. I think on the GT though I need to keep the defroster in working condition. So I’ll have to do some thinking on how to get round this problem. Basically the player needs to occupy a 4 ¾” space but is 6” deep. Where’s the Tardis when you need it?!
A couple of guys dropped by on Saturday for a chat which was great. We had a good time discussing everything from bathroom remodeling to rebuilding 3 main bearing MGB engines. Sunday I got the air ducts for the A/C run behind the dash and got the wiring routed on the GT. Project is getting there but still going a lot slower than I would like.
I finally figured out how to install a radio cassette and keep the defroster vents working. I’m please to tell you that the figuring worked out fine, it’s just that I haven’t done the work yet! It seems the center console that the radio fits into can move backward the required distance and still look correct in its relationship to the dashboard. However that exposes some bare metal on the sides of the console that will look pretty ugly. A quick search on the internet revealed a sheet of black ABS, 12” x 12” x 1/8” thick, could be had from Amazon for under $12 including shipping. That will make up a couple of covers for the side panels and make everything look just right; so just a few more hours should see the A/C and overdrive project finished. Phew!
The MGB GT is running. It took a bit of time as I had had the distributor out and fitted electronic ignition at the same time. It’s rather difficult to set the static timing when you don’t have any points! The fix is to get number 1 cylinder to TDC on its firing stroke. Because it’s easy to be 180 degrees out, you have to check that both the rockers on #1 cylinder are rocking! I.e. they will have clearance under them so they move, whereas the rockers on #4 cylinder will both be tight against their respective valve stems. Then you can turn the distributor so the rotor arm is just coming up on the terminal going to #1 cylinder spark plug. A bit of imagination is required because you are turning the distributor with the cap off so you have to imagine where the terminal to #1 cylinder will be when the cap is on, Anyway she started and then a timing light can be used to finish the job off. I need to do a bit more tuning and carb set-up to get a smooth idle but she is running well enough to get to the body shop to have a spot of the dreaded tin worm taken care off. I hoping that will be later this week.
(Continued on page 7)