Fix It With Steve...
Following are my suggestions for Waking up your MG after the winter hibernation.
Check the levels & top off as necessary.
Air in the tires. Yes air is a fluid! Expect them to need some. Don’t forget the spare, you never know when you might need it.
Water in the radiator. Investigate if the level has dropped over the winter. It’s gone somewhere……….. An external leak should be visible. The worst case is an internal one. If you suspect this, then pull the spark plugs out and put a ‘dipstick’ (e.g. a screwdriver) down each bore and check for any liquid. The cylinder head will have to come off if you find any. Don’t turn the engine over using the starter motor with the plugs in if you suspect an internal leak.
Continue fluid checking with the oil in the engine, gearbox & differential.
Oil is also needed in the SU / Stromberg dashpot(s). Something a bit lighter than 20W50 engine oil, like 5W30 from your daily driver, would be best but 20W50 will be ok. It’s not necessary to buy SU dashpot oil. The dashpot should be filled just below the top of the piston.
Windshield washer fluid. Your washer system does work, right?!
Brake & clutch hydraulics. Again investigate if the level has dropped. This stuff does not evaporate. If the level has dropped over the winter you have a leak! So go find it and fix it before taking that first drive. If the level has dropped but nothing is visible under the car look inside, around the pedals. A failed master cylinder can leak down the pushrods and into the car.
The dust seals on the masters (as well as the clutch slave & rear wheel cylinder) can hide small leaks. Plus if you have a servo on the brakes it’s possible to fill the servo with brake fluid!
Mechanicals & Lubrication
Check the fan belt tension. While you are doing that feel for play in the water pump & alternator bearings. There shouldn’t be any. The belt should have about 1/2” of play when pushed on its longest free length.
Grease the suspension. Don’t forget for example on a B there are up to three grease points on the prop shaft and one on the hand brake cable as well as the three each side on the front suspension. You may also have a couple on the steering tie rod ends. While you’re doing that take a look at the shock absorbers for leaks.
Your steering rack may also have a grease fitting if it’s original, however note that the original racks were lubricated with 90 weight gear oil injected though a grease fitting. Current replacement racks are “sealed for life” and greased. So long as you gaiters are intact you shouldn’t lose any oil, but the odd shot would be a good idea.
The convertible top should be up from when you put the car away in the fall. Leave it that way until it’s had some time in the sun to warm up & get flexible. Wrecking a top is not a good way to start the season.
Check everything is working or at least that everything that was working before hibernation is still working now. Its pushing it a bit to expect the things that weren’t to have miraculously fixed themselves! Check the terminals are clean and charge the battery.
Start her up & go for a drive.
If the car starts up but is running a bit rough DO NOT start messing with carburettors & ignition timing. Repeat do not start messing with the tuning. Wait until you have driven it for a few miles, preferably something like a tank full of gas. Give it some time. Us aging humans do not just jump out of bed & start running flat our right away anymore. We did that when we were kids. These days it takes us some time to loosen up, work out the kinks and warm our bodies up so we can perform at our best. Your MG is absolutely no different! It’s just been asleep for five months, so take it easy.
Finally treat the car to a wash & wax! Then sit back, have a beer and plan some road trips.
-- Steve Skegg