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Starting My 1974 MGB

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sarah-h Sarah H
Burlington, Iowa, USA   USA
1974 MG MGB
I recently obtained my first mgb, which is also my first car to work on, the only problem it does not run (and has not for about 7 years from what the last owner told me). I rewired the entire car, put in new points and a condenser, changed the coil, new batteries, checked the fuel pump and still nothing. The engine will turn over but just will not start. I hooked a spark plug to the main coil, and I am getting a strong spark, just not a consistent one. I do not know where to turn in this point of the trouble shooting and hoping one of you will have an idea. smiling smiley

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ohlord Avatar
ohlord Gold Member Rob C
North of Seattle, N.W., USA   USA
1957 Land Rover Series I "EYEYIYI"
1971 MG MGB
1971 MG MGB "Bedouin 2"
Check fuel to the carbs, check points gap .015in.
Check plugs .025inch ngk BP6ES
CLEAN OUT FUEL TANK
clean out carb hif4's fuel bowls
Test spark from the distributor plug wires to each plug

Do a compression test report the numbers

Talk to the previous owner, any issues etc.
Join the Iowa British car club
Locate a member near you or using the map function on this site find a helper local.

GooD luck
Welcome to the world of MGsmileys with beer



"I'm a long way gone down this wild road I'm on
It's gonna take me where I'm bound
It's a long way around"



"These are the days that must happen to you"

RD2 Radar/ Electronic Warfare Technician
Vietnam 1969-1972

Fogliner Avatar
Fogliner Mark Vanherd
Port Clements, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
1974 MG MGB
Pull the choke out fully.
My 74 with HS's won't start without it.
Regards
Mark

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barrybarnes Avatar
barrybarnes Silver Member Barry Barnes
Reno, Nevada, USA   USA
1978 MG MGB "ZoooomB"
There's some very good advice above.

Disconnect gas line at carbs to make sure you're getting gas to them when you turn it on.

Make sure you hear a clicking sound each time you turn it on, otherwise your fuel pump may not be working at all.

Most long setting cars have varnish and or water in the gas tank. You may have to remove it to flush the sludge out with solvent or replace it altogether. It's a fairly inexpensive item compared to a lot of the other stuff to bring one back to life but if it's contaminated, it will continue reintroducing sludge and varnish into your gas lines and carbs.

Iotf you've got good clean gas flow, then check the carburetors themselves for sludge and particulate matter. Sitting around that long, you may have decayed parts.

None of these are Panic points, but you got a learning curve ahead of you.

Just keep posting questions here and you'll have more help than you can use.

Before attempting to drive, make absolutely sure that your brakes and clutch master and slave cylinders are in good shape.

Good luck!



CARS: Restored highly-modified 78 MGB, 70 MGB, three 50 Fords, and 68 Mustang; just starting a 73 MGB. COLLECTOR: Antique carpentry tools, auto & woodworking tools, automobilia, license plates, birdhouses; books; pictures (barns, cars, planes); miniature carved animals, small lamps; Indian items; 1890s-1960s cameras, 1930s-50s radios, 50’s & 60’s memorabilia, more. SCALE MODELS: Cars, pickups, trucks, buildings, airplanes, ships, trains. CRAFTSMAN: Creative fabricator, woodworking. DO-IT-YOURSELFER: Current major home remodel; doubled size of another; added rooms to several houses; built home; 4 large irrigation systems, 3 huge landscaping projects. ENERGY: Built off-grid solar & wind system for small farm; currently have on-grid photovoltaic system (100% of electrical needs); built energy-efficient pool system; installed solar pool heating system. READING: Historical fiction, mysteries. WRITING: Essays, blogs, social networking. LEARNING: Alternative energy, anthropology, archeology, autos, behavioral typology, climatology, comparative religion, economics, history, human migrations, geology, linguistics, politics, psychology, sociology, systemics, values analysis, world-view thinking. KNOWLEDGE: Respect facts, logic, thinking; research, devalue opinions. GROWTH: Value self-monitoring, setting limits, self-discipline, accountability, philosophical thinking.

rggavmge Avatar
rggavmge roy gavilan
Williamsburg, Virginia, USA   USA
1965 MG MGB "Cecilia"
1974 MG MGB MkIII "Ruby"
Check the coil and make sure the center lead is not corroded. When you check spark it should be blue spark. I had corrosion all over the coil leads....cleaned with baking soda and it started right up.

Chas69 Avatar
Chas69 Karl Mynyk
Orefield, PA., USA   USA
1972 MG MGB
I just got over ab issue like yours. had it towed to the garage. My mechanic replaced my plug from NGK back to Champion with .25 gap and the car fired right up to the point it could be fine timed and the Weber adjusted. The car is running best it has in 17 years!

ohlord Avatar
ohlord Gold Member Rob C
North of Seattle, N.W., USA   USA
1957 Land Rover Series I "EYEYIYI"
1971 MG MGB
1971 MG MGB "Bedouin 2"
It wasent the plug change
Unless someone had wired them in the wrong order.



"I'm a long way gone down this wild road I'm on
It's gonna take me where I'm bound
It's a long way around"



"These are the days that must happen to you"

RD2 Radar/ Electronic Warfare Technician
Vietnam 1969-1972

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rggavmge Avatar
rggavmge roy gavilan
Williamsburg, Virginia, USA   USA
1965 MG MGB "Cecilia"
1974 MG MGB MkIII "Ruby"
In reply to # 3592139 by ohlord It wasent the plug change
Unless someone had wired them in the wrong order.

Looking at the dizzy with the vacuum advance aon top always wire plugs from top to bottom as follows....1 and 2 on the right and 3 and 4 on the left. The rotor inside the dizzy rotates counter clockwise so the firing order is 1, 3, 4, 2.

Discocontented Avatar
Discocontented Erik Walter
MN, Crystal, USA   USA
1978 MG MGB "Vivian"
Step aside fellas - let me handle this.

I'm from Burlington originally and I'm here to help!

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Michael74MGB Avatar
Michael74MGB Michael Austin
Odessa, TX, USA   USA
1974 MG MGB MkIII "Maggy"
Compression? Valves adjusted right? No bent pushrods?



74 MGB: APT VP11 cam, lifters, valve springs; 9:1; ported head; TT exhaust; vernier timing gear; wizard aluminum radiator; dizzy by Jeff S.; stock HIF4's; it goes on and on.....

BillzB Avatar
BillzB William M
Northern, Illinois, USA   USA
1974 MG MGB
Sarah,

When you say the car will turn over but not start, is the engine sputtering at all? Or does the starter motor just keep cranking and cranking?

When a car has not been running for years, even though you may have changed a lot of parts, you have to take the assumption everything could be bad. As previously mentioned, the gas tank can be a big problem. The gas may have turned to varnish and the tank itself may be full of rust. But since you'd probably like to see if the engine will start (rathre than spend time cleaning the tank) you can provide an alternate gas source. I have started an MG with an old lawn mower gas tank (that I knew was good). I placed it on the firewall, with 1/4th inch fuel line connecting to the carbs. This will get fresh fuel to the carbs. If the tank is higher than the carbs, you don't need a fuel pump (it will gravity feed). If there are other carburetor problems (such as adjustments or float levels) it may not run well, but you will probably get it sputtering and maybe even run it for a short while (which will be rewarding).

If it still will not start, you may need to treat it almost like bringing up a rebuilt engine (making sure things like the distributor is pointing at #1 spark plug when the engine is truly at TDC for the #1 cylinder). As also mentioned earlier, if the plug wires are mixed up, that will cause a problem too. You're on the right track (spark & gas) so good luck! And don't be afraid to ask someone local for help, even if they are not familiar with an MG. This is a simple 4 cylinder engine, and most mechanics would love to work on something simple that isn't computer controlled.

Bill

Nicecar Avatar
Nicecar Gary (ex "Harv") G
Victoria, BC, Canada   CAN
1980 MG MGB "Red On Red On Red"
Fresh gas is really important, but as it's so flammable one needs to be careful.

You might buy a litre saline bag for a few dollars from a local medical supply store, as it's designed to hold liquid and hang from top. If you slit one side near top, you can fill it with gas and hang. Cut off the bottom portion where you'd normally insert needle, and get a hose with good fit from bag to carb.

Just an idea.

barry s Avatar
barry s Silver Member Barry Stoll
Alexandria, VA, USA   USA
1972 MG MGB GT
1974 MG MGB
1976 Triumph TR6
1980 MG MGB
I you are certain that you are getting spark to the plugs, an alternate fuel source is a good idea. First disconnect the fuel pump hot wire. It can be done under the hood but probably simplest at the pump. You can 1st just squirt some staring fluid into the carbs to see if you get a 'cough'. You only need a couple of ounces of gas to start it. Hang a length of fuel line from the open bonnet and attached to the front carb. Place a funnel into the line and add to fill the line. Try to get it to start.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-09-16 09:52 AM by barry s.

sarah-h Sarah H
Burlington, Iowa, USA   USA
1974 MG MGB
I got around to a compression test today. Here are the numbers #1 --> 105 #2 --> 90 #3 --> 90 #4 --> 100. Are these in an okay range? Here are a couple things I also forgot to mention, I took the gas out to the tank long ago and hooked it to an external gas source with fresh gas. I do not have original carbs in my car, I believe I have the Weber DGV carb. It also looks like it has an electric choke, which I am just putting to a live wire. I have fuel to the carb. The spark plugs are gapped according to the Haynes manual spec. The motor just keeps cranking and cranking, I swear it started once and misfired but still don't know if I was just imagining it. Thanks guys for all the help!

Wachtmans Avatar
Wachtmans Wouter Strodijk
OVERVEEN, Noord Holland, Netherlands   NLD
1974 MG MGB "The Bee"
1974 MG MGB "The Bee"
1974 MG MGB MkIII "The Bee"
Plug wires/caps mounted in the correct order? Distributor rotor is rotating anti clock wise, sequence cylinders 1-3-4-2. Starting with cylinder 1 at 1 Ó Clock of the rotor.

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