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New Member, 73 MGB Need help getting it running!

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Fairtax4me Scott Mahanes
The Big City, VA, USA   USA
Hello All! New member here and I've sort of inherited a project that I need a bit of help with. Haven't inherited the car, rather the task of fixing it!

This car has been sitting for near 10 years at this point. The owner of the car is the owner of the company I work for. Long story short, the previous mechanic that worked here "restored" the car about 12 years ago. Basically pulled it out of the woods, patched a couple rust spots, new interior and flap top, and sprayed it with a 10 foot paint job. It ran and was driven a few times, then was parked in the garage, carbs and spark plugs were removed, and has been that way ever since.

The owner has expressed some interest in having it back in driving condition. I'm a mechanic by nature, and I enjoy a challenge/project of this sort, but I don't enjoy trying to piece back together an engine that I've never seen before, and didn't take apart in the first place. Mostly what was missing was the carbs and linkages. They were in a box in the floor. I think I've managed to get them back into proper order on the engine (pic attached) and it would be awesome if any of you guys who knows these like the back of your hand could have a look at that and say "Yeah it looks right", or "no this piece goes here, there"... etc.

The carbs will need to be rebuilt before it will run. The float cover seals are cut, and the damper chambers don't have any kind of seals at all, are they supposed to have a seal of some kind where the chamber meets the carb body? Also need to figure out damper fluid. I have read ATF can be used, and I have plenty of that here, so might start with that and try some other fluid if I get it running well enough. Also need Carb to manifold gaskets and air cleaner to carb gaskets. Any recommendations on where the get rebuild kits?
OR...should I... other pic attached is what appears to be a new (probably ten years ago) possibly performance carb setup also in a box in the car. No info/paperwork in the car that I can find so I have no idea who made it. Doesn't appear to have ever been installed. Does anybody know anything about this setup? Better than the stock carbs? Worth my time to try and get that hooked up rather than bothering with cleaning/rebuilding the stock carbs? Looks like I would need manifold gaskets and some different type of air cleaner setup to make that work.

Other questions...
It has no spark plugs, and no mention of the plug type on the emissions/adjustment sticker under the hood. Which plugs should I put in this thing?
Batteries, it has TWO 26R batteries in it. They're both toast. Does it really need two batteries? That seems like overkill for such a simple small car. And is that the correct battery type or should it have some other number?
There's a few hoses on the manifold that are plugged off. Any ideas what those were for?
Recommendations for a service manual?

I'll probably come up with some other questions along the way. This isn't a rush job, I'm working on it as time allows, but I'd like to make sure it will run first and get familiar with it. I will try to research some of this on my own, but my Google-fu is not strong. Really appreciate any help that anyone can give! Gonna try to get this running and see what other issues it has from sitting for so long. Hopefully I can have it on the road by spring. Thanks for reading, and appreciate any input!

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Ex-Calif Avatar
Ex-Calif Gold Member Dan D
Cincinnati, OH, USA   USA
1968 MG MGB GT "Bart - Yellow And Naughty"
1977 MG MGB "Red Betty"
2012 Jeep Liberty "Tank"
2014 Hyundai Accent "Skate"
The carbs on the car are HIF and the carbs on the bench are HS4. Both are decent carb sets.

I see the choke linkage for the HIF laying on the fenderwell. There is a tech library article on tuning the SU carbs.

I would go the library here and download the file "waking a sleeping MGB" and peruse through it. You are about to get a lot of scattered advice and most of it won't be complete. I'd say you don't have to do everything in the tech file but most of it is smart.

For plugs I think most here prefer NGK BPR6ES - Champion RN9YC - Both are copper plugs. Stay away from Iridium, platinum and all that mumbo jumbo. Not needed for a B.

Dashpot oil is Castrol GTX 20/50, as is transmission, oil pan and steering rack. I use a Haynes manual. Someone will post the on-line Bently manual soon, I am sure and that will get you going.

The car looks to be late 60's to early 70's - Please let the forum know as it will matter in giving advice going forward.

The goal - Reliable summer driver interspersed with mechanical tinkering...
Motto - "Driving fifty in the twisties..."
On Mods - It's your damn car - Do what you want. Haters gonna hate...
On SUVs - Drive your B like a soccer mom is texting her friends about how she wants to kill you...
Red Betty -
Bart -

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 doesn't need resistor plugs
It Doesn't need 2 batteries a single 26r fitter to the right side box
Get wire schematic under model year
Carb parts and diagrams

Join or the closest to you

Check engine compression before anything if it spins freely

Turn signals are on backwardseye popping smiley

"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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dickmoritz Avatar
dickmoritz Platinum Member Dick Moritz
Philly 'burbs, PA, USA   USA
Scott, please check for a friendly Private Message...


Errabundi Saepe, Semper Certi
(Often wrong, but always certain)

hrragen Avatar
hrragen Dave Bush
Fraser, MI, USA   USA
1974 MG MGB "The MG"
The second set of carbs look like hs6. Too much carb for a stock engine. Work with the first set which are hif4. Read up on setting them up. Any hoses coming off the intake manifold are for egr and can be blocked off for now. The smallest line coming off the intake manifold is for the vacume advance on the distributor. Not absolutly necessary to get the engine running. You can buy a single 12 volt battery that will fit in one battery box. Learn how to check and set initial timing , set points gap if not an aftermarket electronic ignition. Any copper plug recomended for a stock mgb will do. Most use Champion or NGK. Make sure the fuel pump works and gets gas to the carbs. The pump is underneath in front of the gas tank. Turn the key and see what happens. Simple engine. Needes fuel, spark and air.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-08-08 06:22 PM by hrragen.

Fairtax4me Scott Mahanes
The Big City, VA, USA   USA
Thanks everyone for the replies so far. Thanks for the links above. I've got some reading to do on those for sure.
I've ordered rebuild kits for the carbs, and have plugs on the way. Got a jump pack hooked up to it today and the fuel pump doesn't appear to be working. Have other stuff to do this afternoon so I'll dig more into that later this week.
I did shoot some oil into the cylinders and turn it over by hand a few times yesterday. Cranked it with the starter today for a couple turns to see how it sounds and didn't hear any odd noises. Gonna drain the engine oil and get some fresh oil in it and a new filter. Should have the carb kits by Friday so it may start (might need to be bottle fed) by the end of the week.

Quote: Turn signals are on backwards
Didn't notice that, but not a surprise at all. Too much to go into, I'll just say I've had to fix a LOT of shoddy work done by the previous mechanic on other vehicles.

Again, thanks a bunch for the help so far!

gooser Avatar
gooser Drake Myers
Danville Va, USA   USA
no gasket between the carb body and suction chamber.

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RAY 67 TOURER Avatar
RAY 67 TOURER Ray Marloff
Fort Bragg, CA, USA   USA
1967 MG MGB "My Girl"
The fuel pump is mounted under the car just aft of the right rear wheel. It has points that tend to film over if the car has been sitting for awhile. Usually, a sharp blow with a broom handle, will bring one back to life. RAY

jrobinso936 Avatar
jrobinso936 john robinson
athens, GA, USA   USA
1973 MG MGB MkIII "Lilly SOLD"
Purchase a Manuel and one of them there books

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Fairtax4me Scott Mahanes
The Big City, VA, USA   USA
Gotta give big props to Moss Motors! Ordered yesterday afternoon and UPS delivered the parts today. This ol' girl might run tomorrow.

Found the fuel pump, but no time today to tinker with it. It was replaced (probably during the restoration) with an SU pump. I'll check to see if power is getting to it, and pop the cover off of it tomorrow and see how those points look.

Fairtax4me Scott Mahanes
The Big City, VA, USA   USA
Fuel pump seems to be clogged. It's getting 12v with the key on, and I can feel the solenoid try to pull the plunger inside but it just cant pull far enough. I'll have to get it removed next week some time and see how it looks inside.

But for now:

I'm happier than a pig in...


grinning smiley Now to enjoy a beer or three!

Fairtax4me Scott Mahanes
The Big City, VA, USA   USA
Some carb pics!
The enormous O-rings that were on the float chamber covers deformed the covers. No way those would seal with the new proper o-rings.
Had to do some massage work with a hammer but got them back "good nuff". No leaks so far.

Also, the needle in one of the carbs. That's not dirt, corrosion was eating it away!

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Fairtax4me Scott Mahanes
The Big City, VA, USA   USA
See if you can spot the problem here!

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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
Brass does not corrode. The metering needles are brass.

You might consider reaching out to the local club for information and advice.

riley1489 Avatar
riley1489 Gold Member Bruce H
Great White North, QC, Canada   CAN
1953 Jaguar XK120
1959 Riley 1.5 "King George"
1973 MG MGB
Warning !
The 'O' ring for the float chamber cover you show is incorrect and the cause of the deformed cover. The correct seal for this is a square rubber seal that fits the slot in the cover.


Check your ego Amigo!

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