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1971 MGB-GT


SOLD 12/27/2021

1800 cc 4-cylinder
4-speed Overdrive Transmission
Pacesetter Monza Exhaust
Twin-Panel Glass Sunroof
Former A/C car

December 27, 2021 - Sold! - I finally threw in the towel on the GT and put it up for sale on my local MG Club newsletter.  It was snapped up right away by someone with extensive British Car experience, and picked up today.  I made no progress on getting the car running properly after pulling the carbs and replacing the spacer blocks and mounting gaskets.  The new owner races MGs and other Brits, and should be able to sort out the mystery.  Very few of the 150+ cars I have owned have succeeded in beating me, but Sunkist joins that short list.  The new owner has promised to tell me what the issue is when he figures it out.
October 31, 2021 - Sigh - No progress on the car so far, though a variety of things have been tried.  The vent hoses are all new and snug, the emission bits are sealed up or removed, the carb jets are set, the distributor has had the weights and springs checked and has new Lucas points, condenser, rotor, and cap.  The car will start, runs rough and surges up with nothing changed, popping through the carburetor, as if it has a horrendous air leak.  Nothing can been seen so far.  Oh, well.
October 24, 2021 - One Step Forward - I have been fighting a no-start condition with the car ever since I replaced the fuel system. It would fire with starting fluid, but no other time. New float needles, floats, jets, filters, gaskets, hoses... wait - let's get back to basics. Firing on starting fluid? I checked the bowls and they were both dry! Turns out the brand new float needles (purchased from a very reputable source) were both stuck closed. I had recently bought some super-cheap rebuild kits being closed out by Rock Auto as spares, and they included new float valves. Once installed, the carbs got fuel and the car now fires on its own - still not running worth a darn. Progress at least. It will hopefully be a nice car once I get all the shortcuts and botched work the quack mechanic who had it for more than a decade inflicted on it. I just have to remain stubborner about getting it going than the car is about staying a paperweight!  Next up - replace the breather balance hose, take the gulp valve out of the system, and replace the cap and rotor.
October 23, 2021 - Trying to beat the Curse - Although it looks like the same picture as the one taken July 4th, I just got the carbs back together and everything hooked up again.  This time the front jet got replaced, as well as one jet linkage arm and a butterfly plate that had been welded shut.  Also a new coil, new high-performance plug wires, new plugs, distributor cap, and rotor.  Chip is coming over tomorrow to see if he can get the timing set using his 1971 as a basis for positions.  Given the hacked nature of everything else the prior 'mechanic' touched, the timing mark could be off.
August 14, 2021 - Cursed? - Working the carbs did nothing to improve the GT's running.  One discovery was gas pouring from the charcoal canister - flooding!  MG Expert (And former owner) Chip pulled the bowl covers again and determined that the original float (left) was missing shims and was allowing the fuel to overflow.  I ordered new style adjustable floats made of ethanol-resistant Nitrophyl which came in this week.  We got the carbs adjusted and installed the new floats. The car cranked but would not pop even with starting fluid.  So we checked and had no fire at the points. We added a booster battery as Sunkist's was starting to get low, and the engine fired and ran terrible.  Then the coil appeared to be wired backwards and we reversed the positive and negative leads.  The car ran just the same, which really confused us.  At this point, I plan to reset TDC, redo the plug wires, install a new coil, and adjust the valves before we try starting the car again. The real kicker here is that the car was running fine before the bad fuel system was replaced: tank, sending unit, pump, lines, and filters.
July 4, 2021 - Back Together and Running - sort of - The new jet arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I got the back carburetor put back together.  Yesterday it went back on the car, and I finished installation today.  I did get it to run good for a short time, but settings are still off.  I think with a good baseline adjustment, the car will be good.
May 23, 2021 - Cleaned Up Better - With no luck getting the car to fire at all expect for on starting fluid, I decided to pull the float bowls and pots to thoroughly clean the carburetors out.  After sucking out all the old fuel, I ran carb cleaner through the jets and used Q-tips to get all the last bits of rust and sediment out of the bowls.  I also took the opportunity to clean up the pot covers.  After blowing out everything with compressed air, I put the carbs back together, and the car actually started without choke or starter fluid - on two cylinders.  Looks like the back jet assembly is twisted and clogged - no fuel at all coming out of the back carb.  Happily, I have two spare sets of HS4s, so I have 4 spare jet assemblies to choose from.  The car fires right up now, so the timing is pretty close as well.  Should be running properly soon. UPDATE (May 24, 2021) - 'Spare' carbs in this case meant 'old' carbs, and the jets hoses were petrified.  I have a new jet assembly coming, and also got a box of lock washers so I can replace all the ones missing on my carbs.
May 20, 2021 - Cleaned Up - I haven't had any luck sorting Sunkist's starting issue.  Pulling the distributor showed a nicely rebuilt unit with new points and condenser with everything set up properly.  It was getting power to the ignition, and would fire on starting fluid.  Back to the carbs.  So I pulled the pistons and sprayed Seafoam cleaner down the jets and also cleaned up the needles and pistons before reinstalling.  They move much more freely now - old varnish may have caused issues.  However, when I went to start the car, I found that the last time I worked on the car I'd left the ignition in the ON position and I'd killed the battery. On charge for another try tomorrow.

FOLLOW-UP (May 21) - The battery charged up fine, and the car did better on starting fluid with the pistons moving freely.  However, the jets must be clogged - still won't run.  I'll pull the pistons and floats out and see if I can flush them out with the bodies still on the manifold.

February 28, 2021 - Needles - An unexpected warm and rain-free day got me out working on the GT.  Partial success in that the new bowl gaskets, screws, and float needles are installed.  And the car started on its own.  Still running rough, though once you take it off choke.  I may need to rebuild a set of carbs for the car. 
February 6, 2021 - Tanked - Any fears that I might be wasting money vanished once I got my old tank pulled. The sending unit was locked solid with rust and corrosion, and the bottom of the tank was coated with rust and gunk. It looks like the tank had been replaced, probably when it went into a shop fifteen years ago. However, it sat those 15 years and got ruined before the car ever moved. I got a complete new setup (tank, sending unit, seals, packing, and hardware) from Moss (two days!) and got it installed today. First turn of the key brought a rush of fuel that filled the filter for the first time since I have owned the car. The pickup must have been badly clogged. Actually getting gas to the carbs makes a big difference. And the gas gauge now works.
January 30, 2021 - Or Not - It took a bit to get the car started, but she quickly smoothed out and revved great  Feeling confident, I decided to take the car over to Chip's for its first real drive in more than 20 years.  Two important notes to remember - check your fuel level before going anywhere, and always be suspicious of old fuel tanks. I had put gas in the car earlier, but had also idled a long time, plus run several fuel pump tests, so when I started up the local overpass the GT bucked and stumbled.  I just barely made it off the main road and into a parking lot before the car died.  Only then did I remember the fuel gauge was broken, and dropped a cord into the tank.  It clanked against the bottom and came up bone dry - not even a drop on the end.  My trusty neighbor John came to rescue with some gas - except the car still didn't want to run.  I suspected the rear float needle again, and checked - sure enough, the back bowl was empty.  This time it was Chip who came to the rescue, sort of.  He had brought another needle valve, but in the process of replacing it, we discovered the fuel pump was not pumping.  Further checks determined that the pump was trying to work, but the suction line from the tank was blocked. The symptoms all matched up the earlier woes.  Everything in the fuel system has been replaced - except the fifty-year-old fuel tank which sat for two decades.  We are guessing that running the car out of gas sucked up trash from the tank.  After blowing back through the line, we got the car running well enough to make the one-mile trip back home with a combination of driving and pushing.  A new tank and sending unit package is on the way - it's actually cheaper to get the whole setup new than it is to get the old tank cleaned and treated.
January 23, 2021 - Solved - I was close to correct - turns out the new needle valve for the back carb float was stuck closed.  Best Bud Chip came over, and while I removed four tires from some wire wheel rims for him, he diagnosed the issue and tweaked the carbs so the car starts right up and revs great.  NOTE: I went back out tonight at 9 PM in 38 degree weather and the car fired right up again.
January 22, 2021 - Carb Issues - I pulled Sunkist's air cleaners and tried a shot of starter fluid - instant fire and run, but only from the fluid.  There is plenty of fuel pressure at the carb inlet, and the front bowl was up to the level with gas, so maybe the jets are clogged?  I was able to adjust the follow-on screws so the throttle is opening with the choke.  It doesn't appear to be getting fuel through the carbs.  However, for the short runs on starter fluid, the new exhaust sounds good.
January 22, 2021 - Exhausted - There was nothing functionally wrong with the GT's exhaust system - it had a stock setup that was probably 30 years old, but had only surface rust.  Still, one thing I love is the exhaust note of the Pacesetter Monza system I have on Rodney, and the twin chrome tips look neat.  So I ordered a system off eBay and it arrived after only a few days.  It was sunny and reasonably warm this afternoon, so as soon as i was done with work I attacked.  I learned from Buddy Chip's recent efforts and just cut the old system off.  A clean cut behind the header pipe, then a diagonal cut to get the outer shell peeled away.  The new system went on easy enough, but the mounting setup is different, so I had to make a quick trip to O'Reilly's.  Still, the whole job took less than two hours and I am very pleased with the look.  Still have to sort out choke issues, so I won't know about the sound for a few more days (tomorrow is supposed to be freezing all day!)
January 19, 2021 - Pumped - I picked up the 5/16" hose and new clamps, and used the rescued banjo end to fabricate a pump to main line fuel hose with a filter so I can see if fuel is being delivered.  The new washers took care of the leaks, and the pump is delivering to the front carb.  I next have to pull the air cleaners and make some adjustments, and also see if starting fluid will get the car to kick off.  Once it is starting properly, I plan to install anew Pacesetter performance exhaust system that arrived today - better sound and twin chrome tips for a snazzier look.
January 18, 2021 - Fuelish Woes - New washers and seals arrived, and I blew out the fuel line while I had everything apart today. The clear fuel filter I installed up front always looks empty, and I suspected blockage.  Instead of using one of the steel-braided hoses, I saved the old banjo end and will make my own with a filter between the pump and the main line. I need to pick up some 5/16" fuel hose, but after that I can get the system back together.  Also, a Pacesetter exhaust system arrived for the car today, which was a surprise since it is a Federal holiday! I left the back end on jack stands so I can get back out to finish the fuel lines and also install the exhaust.  But it got cold and windy, so I decided to put off finishing up for a warmer day.
January 10, 2021 - More glitz - The car did not want to start even with the battery charged, and the fuel filter looked empty.  And the new fuel pump is leaking at the fittings - I tried to reuse some seals and should have gotten new.  Now on the way from Moss.  I plan to remove the new hose, blow out the fuel line from the front, and then install a new hose with a filter in case trash from the tank is blocking the line. Anxious to do something constructive, I installed the new Springalex wood steering wheel.  It is at least 2 inches smaller in diameter and has a nice thick rim.  It also looks very snazzy.
January 9, 2021 - Shiny! - I had time and sunny, if cool, weather to tinker today.  First job was quick and easy - I  replaced the worn headlight rims with new ones from Little British Cars.  Next was the fuel pump and feed hose - both of which appeared to be OK, but I am glad to have the potential hard start problems checked off.  Of course, the battery was nearly dead so I could see if changing them out made a difference.  maybe tomorrow.
December 26, 2020 - Small Jobs - Temperatures changed rapidly - after the mid-seventies two days ago, I woke up to 25 degrees this morning.  Still it warmed up to the low 40s and I was able to get more work done on the car.  First off, I got more hardware and installed the back license plate.  Then I replaced the crazed and faded parking light lenses with excellent Lucas lenses provided by friend Richard, who also provided a replacement for Sunkist's missing battery cover.  Finally, I got the shifter boot, cover, and trim ring installed.  The battery was too low to get her to start, but I charged it up and will try it again tomorrow.  A high-torque starter may be in the works.
December 24, 2020 - More Goodies - With a 74-degree day and no rain due to late afternoon, I got more done on the GT.  First off was resetting the timing at the suggestion of Best Bud Chip - the car has been really hard to start, which I had suspected was an issue with the throttle choke follow-on not being set right. While the follow-on may still need adjustment, the timing was retarded about 8 degrees, and setting it to factory brought the idle up to a smooth 800.  I'll have to wait for another day to see if the cold start issue is fixed.  Then I replaced the passenger door card - this time I took a 'before' picture - quite a difference!    As a last tweak, I polished the corroded interior light, which came out great.  Based on weather reports, I may not get back to teh car for a few days, but good progress so far.
December 23, 2020 - Goodies! - My first day of a long Holiday break turned out to be great for Sunkist.  First and most importantly, the car is now titled and registered in my name! I lucked out and found an appointment with DMV just two weeks after I got the  Then lots of parts came in yesterday and today.  Biggest job was putting in the driver's side door panel, which has chrome strips instead of the plain black.  I also installed a new, correct driver's mirror.  Interesting to note that Moss Motors, the main MG parts distributor, had the mirror backordered and not currently available, but Little British Cars (LBC) not only had it in stock, but cheaper than Moss. Surprisingly, even with the the Holiday crunch, it arrived just three days after being ordered! Also added today were new lug nuts all around and new MG center caps for the wheels, plus a new chrome air vent grille. Along with those parts, I also received a new wood steering wheel, the passenger fender mirror, and some other small bits.  Busy times ahead!
December 19, 2020 - Little Jobs - Waiting on some parts to get bigger jobs done, but I did take care of a few items.  Sunkist had A/C from the dealer which got removed by a prior owner.  Souvenirs of that system were holes put in the firewall which I was able to close up using 2" faucet hole covers from Ace Hardware and some sealant. Next up was a new light switch from Moss which turned out to be bad.  I cleaned up the old one and got it reinstalled - the side marker lights come on with the headlights, so something is off there - probably some of the connectors in the wrong spot. I also replaced the fuse box and fuses.  As a side job, I removed the antenna and plugged the hole for now so that a new fitted car cover could be used.  And the new gear shift cover, seal, and trim plate is ready to go in, possibly tomorrow. 
December 13, 2020 - Moving on Her Own - Sunkist came home Friday on a flatbed, as I had never heard the car run and even Chip had not gotten the car off the jack stands she'd slept on for the past three years.  It was a good choice, as I was unable to get the car to start and run properly until MG Master Chip came over and laid hands on it.  She fired up and smoothed out after some tweaks, and I was able to take her around the block moving for the first time under her own power in more than a decade.  I removed the emission system leftover air rail from the cylinder head and plugged the holes with 7/16x20x1/2 hex plugs from Ace Hardware.  This cleaned up the engine bay nicely.  I also replaced some leaking fuel hoses and clamps.  Then I attacked the chrome.  It had a lot of white corrosion starting to build up, and I had expected pitting on the bumpers.  However, using a combination of Nevr-Dull and 0000 steel wool the bumpers and guards cleaned up like new, and most of the deterioration on other pieces came out well.  I pulled the clunky sound system, and spent some time getting most of the lights working. Many parts have been ordered from Moss Motors and eBay, and I scored an early appointment with the DMV.
December 8, 2020 - Staying in the 'Family' -  This 1971 MGB-GT has been off the road since the end of the 1990s through no real fault of its own.  Owned back then by good friends in my local car club, it was sent off to a local MG Specialist's shop for some minor repairs and an engine detailing.  Unfortunately, the specialist was not very responsible, and the car sat in a corner for ten years until the shop went out of business.  My friends sold the car to a former neighbor of a mutual car club friend.  This fellow bought tires, soundproofing, and other parts, but never got the car running while it sat at the mutual friend's house.  Best Bud Chip got busy overhauling the fuel and hydraulic systems and got the car running well, with minor and very occasional assistance from me. However, he was overextended with too many projects, and decided he wanted to focus on the ones he already had.  So now Sunkist is mine. The good that I know so far is that the car is rust-free and has overdrive, and the mechanic, while flaky, did a nice job of detailing the engine bay.  The interior needs attention, at least door cards and possibly a headliner, plus installing carpet and trim items.  I plan to flatbed the car home so I can check everything out before trying to drive it. That may change once I check the car out more thoroughly this weekend.  It hasn't moved under its own power in well over a  decade, but everything is supposed to be up and ready.  We'll see!

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