RUN BY Alastair Clements
OWNED SINCE January 2010
PREVIOUS REPORT March
‘It’s reassuring to hear that the compression check went well, though number-four cylinder was a little low’
There have been some major milestones reached in the weeks since my previous update. The new clutch is in, as are the gearbox and propshaft. More exciting still, the engine is running again at last. It had been dormant for two years, so the apprentices at the Heritage Skills Academy pulled the plugs and checked the bores with a camera, then the inside of the fuel tank was also inspected. After turning over the engine twice on the handle to make sure it was all free, the team checked the wiring and ignition system to verify that the fuses were all intact and to prevent any potential electrical fires.
They also did a compression check, and it was reassuring to hear that the results were good – though number-four cylinder was a little lower than the others in both the wet and dry tests. Nevertheless, the conclusion is that the bores are not badly worn and the piston rings are sealing correctly. Less good news was the discovery that the cork rocker-cover gasket is compressed, and the RTV sealant that was used last time it was removed had fallen into the top of the engine; this has all now been cleaned up, and a new gasket was ordered from Z-type Magnette specialist Peter Martin.
After a final once-over for the leads and dizzy cap, there was a test firing – which revealed that the throttle linkage was incorrectly installed. With that sorted, the engine came to life with a bit of choke, and soon settled to a slightly fast idle – traced to the choke linkage. The car was also running very rich, so the intake manifold was removed to make adjusting the mixture and idle speed easier.
With the going sorted, the final piece of the jigsaw is the stopping. Billy Strutt and Oliver Taylor-Lane stripped the brakes to find problems with most of the wheel cylinders. I had spares for the fronts and one rear, and ordered a genuine Lockheed item from Peter for the other side, along with some new rear shoes. The latter were needed because the drums were soaked with fluid – not particularly impressive considering that the cylinders were recent (pattern) replacements. Strutt also stripped and painted the backplates and drums.
Next up is an electrical inspection (hopefully to include sorting the sticky trafficator) and a service. The fact that I’m getting emails talking about the ‘final road test’ is a thrilling reminder that I might actually get to drive my car again soon, and I can’t wait. All I need to do is get my other classic fixed and back together to make room in the garage for the MG’s return…
Heritage Skills Academy: heritageskillsacademy.co.uk
Borg & Beck: borgandbeck.com
Peter Martin: 01580 763056; mgspecs.co.uk
Neil Brown checks over the distributor prior to the Magnette’s first start-up in two years. Below: rear wheel cylinders have been leaking for some time Basking in the spring sunshine outside the Heritage Skills Academy, the MG is now almost ready for its road test.
Taylor-Lane and Strutt strip the drums. Rear shoes were soaked with brake fluid. Billy Strutt cuts out a gasket for the ’box. OE-spec clutch sourced via Borg & Beck.