The Road Kit (or, "I only carry what I can install")
I'm getting ready for another lengthy road trip and, once again, I'm facing the decision as to what to carry along in my "road kit". Of course, I will perform the regular pre-trip maintenance, and give everything a thorough once-over to spot potential failures. It's much easier (and a lot less expensive) to perform the "might as wells" in my own garage.
I've read all the pundits' suggestions on what to carry; everything from fan belts to major components. Over many years of MG ownership I've managed to acquire a pretty extensive collection of spares, both new and used/rebuilt. Just looking at the space they occupy in my storage area, it's plain to see that they won't all fit in the MGB boot. So, what to do?
My road kit in past years has consisted of a water pump (new, in box with gaskets and thermostat), fuel pump, fan belts, full set of radiator/heater hoses, distributor points, etc. (just in case the Pertronix craps out), and the basic tools needed to install these parts.
The spare parts that I now carry become fewer and fewer as I replace older worn components with new. There's really no need to carry a spare fuel pump if I've just installed a new one. Ditto for the water pump. And new belts and hoses before a trip sure take that worry away.
I've always gone with the idea that I'll carry along only those items most likely to fail; those that I can install during a "roadside tech session" with tools at hand. Anything else is going to require the AAA card, the cell phone and American Express! At the very worst, you get towed to the nearest garage, find a motel, and phone in a rush order to Moss for the necessary part(s) with overnight delivery. But MGs are a sturdy lot, and a properly maintained car is remarkably reliable.
I always include a Moss catalog and my shop manual. And of course, duct tape! I used to carry a gallon of anti-freeze, but one leaking bottle cured me of that. I now put several bottled waters in the car, tucked into all the open nooks and crannies. Now both the MG and I have refreshment when needed.
I guess the worst part of "windshield time" is that there's just too much time to think. The hardest part of any long trip is convincing yourself that nothing will go wrong, and to quit imagining worst-case scenarios as you motor through the countryside. Now what was that noise...?