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Reliability Upgrades

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CK70Midget Avatar
CK70Midget Caleb Kualii
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA   USA
1970 MG Midget "Brexit"
Hey all,

I would like to drive my midget around town more often but I really want to have the best chance of avoiding a breakdown that strands me. What upgrades would one want to consider to provide better mechanical reliability? I am curious to hear your opinions and common problems that could occur but are fixable/improvable. The car in question is a 1970.

Interested to hear your input

Caleb

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PeterC Avatar
PeterC Platinum Member Peter Caldwell
Madison Wisconsin, USA   USA
Just do normal maintenance with the best quality parts you can. The original car is very reliable for 50-60,000 miles.


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CtMGDude John R
New Fairfield, Ct, USA   USA
#1, get a modern, industrial grade, fuel pump. The originals are not reliable, as is anything based on solenoids like pinball machines, clicking a diaphragm, burning themselves up and leaving you stuck. This is the most common cause of getting stuck in these cars,, poor fuel delivery, for me anyways. After I got rid of the stock pump, the mysterious break downs, with the car all of a sudden starting an hour after you stopped/got stuck.

#2The next thing would be an electronic ignition system, if you don't like checking your points every 1000 miles or so. Be careful with that because you should keep on top of the valve adjustments, and I checked my valves and readjusted my points every 1500 miles or so. Part of the routine.

#3You might want to add a top end lubricant to your gas as the cylinder head was not designed to run on unleaded gas.

#4 Get dielectric great, and put it on all the connectors, Polish clean or replace any connector that has turned green (patina0, and make sure the copper wires is not corroded either.

I am sure more could be added, oh, the Heater core Fan Motor wire is not thick enough, get a heavier gauge, and the fan motor will spin faster. A lot of energy is lost to heat from the thing improper gauge wire. smiling smiley

CK70Midget Avatar
CK70Midget Caleb Kualii
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA   USA
1970 MG Midget "Brexit"
John,

Thanks for the suggestions. As far as wiring goes, I am planning to do a rewire so I can have fresh wires and connectors for easy maintenance. As for the fuel pump. what kind of pump was equipped on the stock cars? I have heard of mechanical and electrical pumps. What is the difference?

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oleanderjoe Avatar
oleanderjoe Silver Member Joseph Baba
Fresno, Ca, USA   USA
WELL I used to drive a 1974 MG Midget. Bought it used in 1975 with 2800 (Not Thousand) miles on her. Sold it in 2008 with just under 90,000 miles. REPAIRS = One Clutch, One set SU Fuel Pump Points, Throttle cable broke while on vacation, repaired it in a parking lot with "Picture Hanging Wire" Never did replace that wire. Still had the ORIGINAL factory soft top, and you could still almost see thru the back window. All original paint, all original upholstery. Loved that little car. Autocrossed it for like two years. Earned my first Trophy with her. BUT< BUT< BUT, I took good care of her. Oil changes, tune,up-s flush hydraulics every 3000 miles like the book says. She has been in Mexico, Mt Lassen (Northern Ca) Death valley, over Tioga pass into Rent and Las Vegas. Girlfriend and I got married in Carson City on a weekend trip. Other than having to Lean Out the Carbs TWO flats every Thousand feet going over Tioga pass, a [person could not ask for a more reliable car. Just remember, how many times do you see Brand New cars, with dealer plates on the back of a tow truck ?????

Monsantiqu Avatar
Monsantiqu Silver Member Anthony S
Sunshine City, Florida, USA   USA
I'm with Peter.
Do the required maintenance, be alert to your car's normal behavior, and just enjoy driving.
Your original SU fuel pump is an EXCELLENT pump that is still produced in England. Totally rebuildable with ORIGINAL parts from the OEM manufacturer.
Stick with a regular POINTS distributor and, once again, maintained will run perfectly. Stay away from touchy electronic contraptions.
With regular, repeat, regular maintenance, your car should run for 100,000 miles before any major issues.

In reply to # 3551921 by PeterC Just do normal maintenance with the best quality parts you can. The original car is very reliable for 50-60,000 miles.

pixelsmithusa Avatar
Since you're rewiring, add relays for the headlights, especially if you be adding Halogens and any other high current devices. Not a bad idea to have one on the horns too. The original switches are prone to failure from arcing or too much heat; that's especially true the headlight switch.

In reply to # 3551938 by CK70Midget John,

Thanks for the suggestions. As far as wiring goes, I am planning to do a rewire so I can have fresh wires and connectors for easy maintenance. As for the fuel pump. what kind of pump was equipped on the stock cars? I have heard of mechanical and electrical pumps. What is the difference?



Gerard

http://gerardsgarage.com/


Midgies Dad Avatar
Midgies Dad Ben M
York, Maine, USA   USA
The major issue with our cars being "unreliable" is that they're not new, most are well used. Some are about used up when we buy them, but we expect them to perform like a new car -- that's not the car's fault, but our overly optimistic expectations. We bought our Midgie for $250 in 1994, installed a used transmission, serviced the wiring harness (pull joints apart, clean them, put dielectric grease on them and put them back together) and have driven her for 23 years, and we've come home on a flatbed once. We have points in the distributor, I did install a cheap electric fuel pump, I've never synchronized the carbs, and we've put thousands of miles on the old girl. In recent years we had body work done and a new paint job, but she's still the used car we bought many years ago. You could say for utmost reliability, replace everything on the car with new parts, but in some cases the new parts aren't as good as the original ones. But listen to the car, fix it before it breaks, maintain it, and it'll be reliable. And if it breaks down, that's what AAA is for. Replace the non-functional part and you'll have a good reliable fun car again.

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Kerr Avatar
Kerr Platinum Member Norm Kerr
Ann Arbor, MI, USA   USA
Another vote for an SU fuel pump, not because it is better or worse than any other "universal, cube" pump from NAPA, but just because it is what it came with and looks good under there. A modern SU (with solid state internal, vs. the original mechanical points which did cause various reliability issues until solid state came along). A modern SU pump ought to work as long, and as trouble free, as any other kind of electric fuel pump.

In answer to your original question about mechanical vs. electric pumps: your 1275 always used an electric fuel pump (located back near the fuel tank). The early engines, 980 and 1100, and the late 1500 engine used a mechanical pump, which is mounted on the side of the engine block.


Regarding rewiring your car: I did that, and was very pleased to see a number of small, annoying issues go away. Issues that I had "fixed" a few times, but seemed to keep coming back. British Wiring sells the whole shebang, along with new fuse block and tools for crimping on bullet connectors and terminals. The finished thing looks as good as new, uses the original factory wire color and size, and was super easy to install.


Gerard raises a VERY good point when re-wiring: add relays to protect the switches from any high current draw (low beam, high beam, horns, starter, brake lights and any additional driving lights if added). What I did was put all of those relays behind the dash (since the dash was already out for the re-wire, and since all of those things are controlled by dash switches it was easy to add them there). Work done the car looks totally stock, and the switches should now last almost forever.

By the way, original, used, old switches will often last longer, and work better than new ones. Simply because they tended to have been made of better materials. So, it is a good idea to save your old ones.


N

Perambulator David D
Phoenix, Arizona, USA   USA
The irony here is that the main thing you can do to make your car more dependable as a Daily Driver is to drive it more!

This applies to any classic car: By the time a new owner gets his hands on a car, the car will have gone through a period where the previous owner grew bored and financially weary of doing the routing maintenance and repairs. This typically last two to three years until for some reason they stop driving the car altogether. Then you bought it.

I an not an advocate for tearing out original wiring harnesses. These replacement harnesses are made to be as cheap as possible and will leave you without a wiring diagram to trouble-shoot with. If you cant sort original wiring, chances are you will also struggle to do a decent job of replacing it with a hot-rod harness. If you must, then I recommend the Advance autowire harness since it adheres to the british color scheme and provides a wiring diagram.

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S1 Elan Kurt. Appley
Akron, Ia., USA   USA
Good points. Just wanted to mention that the original SU fuel pump doesn't fail suddenly. Usually when it begins to give trouble a good whack will get it working. A friend carried a short piece of 2X4 around for years to "urge" his SU pump back into action. Also, if you change pumps avoid the NAPA "hammering cube" pump. They are very noisy unless you go to a lot of trouble to isolate them. Facet makes their "gold" pump that is cylindrical like the SU and will run forever.

As to reliability, I'm trying to fit in a drive through the Rockies to the Pacific and back this year in a Spridget. It will be a matter of being able to get away rather than a worry about reliability.

Kurt.

KFlan11 Silver Member Kevin Flanagan
Carrollton, Georgia, USA   USA
1970 MG Midget MkIII "Redemption"
Here's a link to a color wiring diagram (shown is the one for mine, 1969-1970 version, but seller seems to have all others):

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MG-Midget-1969-1970-US-Spec-COLOR-Wiring-Diagram-11x17/320343914525?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-07-15 09:02 AM by KFlan11.

Kerr Avatar
Kerr Platinum Member Norm Kerr
Ann Arbor, MI, USA   USA
Good point, David, on the condition of cars for sale and the emotional parabolic arc they have mostly gone through until they are finally put up for sale!

x2 on choosing a new harness that is designed and built to be the same as stock (wire colors and gauge). Once someone has put some aftermarket "hot rod" harness in all bets are off as to what wire does what, for the next guy!

Autosparks UK makes them (and that's what Moss, VB and others sell), so you can go to the Autosparks website to shop. They don't ship to the US though, you'll go through a third party (like Moss or VB). I chose to go through British Wiring to get mine from Autosparks because they gave me very personalized service when I needed "one more thing" during my resto, and could provide clear advice when stuck. They also can make custom modifications to your new harness for you (convert to alternator, delete or add lights, and so on), so the result will look totally stock. This is why I prefer to go through a specialist for things like that, rather than a generalist, like Moss or VB.


Norm "I love wiring" Kerr

CK70Midget Avatar
CK70Midget Caleb Kualii
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA   USA
1970 MG Midget "Brexit"
I have been browsing Moss and would probably buy the harness from them. I have no plans for additional modifications to the electrical system other than maybe an alternator conversion. My main problem area on the car is the wiring in the boot (tail lights, reverse lights ect). The previous owner just put random colored wires coming off of the main harness so its hard to see what is what. I notice Moss sells a "Rear Harness", so I might get that just to sort out all the wire colors in the boot.

66jalopy Avatar
66jalopy Silver Member Phillip Jolliffe
Lake City, FL, USA   USA
I have the original SU and points in the distributor, my wiring is Frankenstein, PO's fault. I have driven all over for the past 5 years, only time it quit was when I ran out of gas one day.

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