Saturday, May 5, 2012



I started the car for the first time since I toasted the transmission in November.

My friend Tom and I got the engine and gearbox in last weekend. Tonight, I finally had a chance to fire it up. Ran the starter a bit to prime the carbs, and then it started on the first turn of the key!

I want to drive it a bit and get it warmed up before trying to dial in the mixture and idle - but it already sounds better with the new throttle shafts.

I put a new Moss plastic radiator fan in - WOW - that thing MOVES air!

But, there is a curious thing. My car is now, and was before, making a curious low-frequency Br-D-D-D-D-P noise at around 1500 to 2000 RPM's upon deceleration. I used to think this was the fan vibrating in preparation for imminent blade departure.

Operating the throttle from inside the engine bay, it sounds like it's coming from the front of the engine bay - I made sure to put the jam nuts on the backs of the MGA ovals so they don't vibrate. It might even be the inner front grill vibrating against the shell, but I just can't tell. The bonnet is up, so it's not that. I'll have a helper come out with me soon so that I can hunt around better while having the helper step on the gas.

It's probably innocuous, but it's going to drive me nuts until I figure it out.  UPDATE - I am pretty sure it was the hood latch opening rod that is vibrating. 

The gearbox has oil in it now, and shifts through all the gears and reverse well - very smooth but with NO slop at all - like I imagine a new or nearly new gearbox would feel, perhaps. I hope it doesn't explode when I try it out!


 I actually did manage to drive the MGA today! Funny story.

Last night I was happy that when I finished assembling the car, it started right up - good feeling. Then I remembered that I had not set the timing - just dumb luck that it happened to be almost perfect when I checked it (static at 7.5d BTDC). Just before I went to bed it stopped suddenly on its own, but I thought "OK - out of gas, time for bed"

Today I filled up the 6 gallon gas can and filled up the tank. I then got in and tried to start it again - great cranking but no spark, apparently! Trying to recheck the timing, the test lamp would not go out no matter how far I turned the dizzy. Weird. I pulled the distributor cap off and could not see the point gap at all - hmmm...closed up. I pulled the dizzy out, and no amount of adjusting could get the points to open up. I found a set of NOS points that I had collected and they went in, got adjusted and the dizzy put back in. Started right up!

The old aftermarket points failed suddenly - not sure why...?! It's like the rubbing block got rubbed off or moved over a bit. Where it hits the cam it seems to be at a bit of an angle rather than parallel to the cam - touching more at the bottom than the top. I did notice last year that they were already near the end of their adjustment range when new - it's like the geometry of the base plate was incorrect. If I can find the box and tell you the brand, I will do that, but not sure I kept it.

Anyway, went for a short drive around the 'hood to check out the tranny - seems great! Fuel gauge is still binary, and the speedo doesn't work. Not sure if the problem is in the speedo or in the way I put it back together in the transmission! Will have to investigate, though the speedo was not calibrated and I have not been depending on it anyway, and in fact was planning to send it out as soon as I get one to fill the hole in the interim.

When I got back home into the garage the car smelled "hot" - but the temp was only about 190*F. I think it's the smell of whatever oil I spilled burning off and possibly the new engine paint or the new header wrap tape "burning in". Will keep and eye - and a nose - out for that. It doesn't smell like insulation burning, thankfully - more like an oily smell.

I am going for one more short drive tonight - eventually will be confident enough to go further afield. I am happy for now that all the gears work so well!


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