MGB experiences

13

Comments

  • blaneblane Member Posts: 2,017
    Shifty:

    Re your post #98...just a point of information. I sold my '64 MGB and purchased my '66 (both new at the time) for two reasons. First, they improved the transmission by adding a synchro into first gear, and second, they changed from a four to a five main bearing engine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    RE my post #98--it's always been my understanding that the 1st gear synchro came into the US around October 1967, but yes, you're right, the five main bearing engine was much earlier, coming out in late 1964. So really, your 1966 should have had the five bearing engine but not the full synchro......of course, there may be a difference between UK and USA cars that I don't know about, that could account for this difference in our data.
  • blaneblane Member Posts: 2,017
    Shifty:

    I picked up my non-synchro in London in March 1964 and I shipped it home to NYC from LeHavre after several weeks. My full-synchro was delivered to my dealer in Queens, NY in late 1966. Both were US specification vehicles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I guess it must be the "late 1966" business that guides all my MG books to say that the synchro was introduced in 1967....also back then cars were often registered in their wrong year.

    But personal evidence is not to be denied, so I will pencil in "1966" in my books, thank you!
  • epr4evrepr4evr Member Posts: 12
    "had a '62 MGA 1600 mk. 2 from 1973 until last summer. Loved that car.. restored it the first winter.,it was a one owner local car with 30k and the guts were very healthy. No need to do a frame-off, so I did a full cosmetic with full mechanical go-thru. I've read most of the previous posts and agree with most all with the exception of the Lucas complaints. In 27 yrs. only walked once.. out of gas at night. I did have two transmission failures tho. but not from abuse. First time was right after the restore,.. spun a bearing in the trans. while driving about 40 in 4th. Really enjoyed totally dismantling my "new" car and pulling the engine. Luckily, I was able to find a complete trans. (case and all) from a 1500 for... get ready.. $30. Sent both trans.' to the MG dealer for mix and match, incl. Magnaflux everything, and dye check the non-ferrous. Also, it gave me a chance to replace the clutch disc and drop the oil pan, clean and paint the engine and compartment and really sharpen it up. It ran flawlessly and with minimum tune-ups until one June Sunday in '96 when at a stop light, the shift lever jammed mid-throw. Engaginging the clutch immediately broke gear teeth in first and reverse. Here's what happened: The safety wire on a shift fork locking screw broke allowing the lock screw to back out. The shift fork was now free to slide, and thereby doing, brought gears together out of sequence. CRUNCH. The trans. was repaired, but it took most of an Ohio summer. No Lucas problems at all, a fuse here and there, but in fairness, it was virtually never driven in the rain.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Metallurgy on MGs can be a bit suspect, it's true.

    You could always vastly improve the reliability of an MG by a) replacing all the fuses and cleaning the fuse box, and b) replacing the battery cables. Do those two things and BINGO your Lucas problems are cut 90%. Installing an alternator would correct just about everything.
  • ssportssport Member Posts: 1
    Here's how to make the MGB into the perfect sports car. First, own 5 of them like I did, and learn the quirks inside and out. Then, when you've gained experience, start spending lots of money on the MGB of your choice, like I did. A few suggestions are (I did all of these): Upgrade and lower the springs and convert the dampers to telescopic/tube-type, convert the front A arms to negative camber, install 5.5 or 6 x 14" alloy wheels (if you don't have wire wheels) and fit them with 195/60-14 dry performance tires, upgrade the front anti roll bar to a larger diameter, upgrade all your suspension bushings to Nylatron or polyurethane, upgrade the brake pads and linings, replace the exhaust system with Peco headers and a flow-through exhaust (I recommend a Supertrapp muffler at the back), convert the SU crabs to an adjustable Weber DOE side draft crab, replace the antique SU fuel pump with a modern solid-state pump (Facet makes a good one for less than $50), install electric cooling fans with a thermostat control and an override switch, install a Lumenition optical ignition system to replace the rotor and points, install a higher voltage coil, improve the cylinder head by port polishing and if you have an early I, installing larger intake valves, install a roller rocker arm or at least solid pacers, and get rid of the whole heating system including the core, the blower and the dusting--you'll save weight and you'll never miss it. Bodywork enhancements such as the Searing-style front and rear fairings are up to you, as are fog lamps and Hella QI replacement headlamps. One last thing: it's a good idea to strengthen the engine's bottom end, and so avoid throwing a rod like I did after all that work! :-(
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well,that's a great list!

    I agree with just about everything on it (you've obviously done some homework) EXCEPT for getting rid of the SU carbs. The Weber is a great unit, but really if you examine the data it hardly does didley for the MGB engine...a few meagre HP...MAYBE....way up on the power band...and for this piddling improvement you have a fairly large expense installing the Weber and manifold, you'll definitely eat more gas, and you have a very complex carb to deal with. The SUs are incredibly simple and reliable, and do a great job overall. I don't think a Weber is worth it at all.

    Also, I'm not so sure about any kind of electronic ignition....you know, with an MGB, you don't want to be in the middle of nowhere and have that type of ignition conk out on you. One of the beatiful things abuot an MGB is that you can fix it with junk you find lying on the side of the road. Ignition points are very easy to deal with. I used to have an extra distributor, rebuilt and ready to go with wires, cap, everything....I could bolt it in, throw in four plugs and static time the engine in about 1/2 hour, and the car was on the road again.
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    I understand the mental illness of being a Brit car nut. You'll all enjy this link


    http://www.team.net/sol/humour/

  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    I beg to differ about SU Carburetters. When properly tuned and set up with the right needles and the correct viscosity oil in the dashpots they offer great performance.

    The main problems with SU's are worn jets and worn throttle shaft bushings. if the bushings are tight (no air leaks) and the jet is not egg shaped and is properly centered they are not nearly as finicky as Webers.

    They are not rocket science, there's only 3 moving parts. Synching them is no harder than any other multi carb setup. and the mixture adjustment is a breeze.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I agree 100% on SUs...I used to set them up properly and forget them. Webers can be a real pain if you don't know what you are doing, and they don't always serve all the rev ranges very well. And they can turn an MGB into a real gas-sucker.
  • harry0harry0 Member Posts: 42
    I would also add a cross-flow head....a cold-air intake(MGBs suck their air from the hot engine compartment)....Last months issue of "Grassroots Motorsports" had a great feature with a MGB on a "Dyno". They gained nearly 10 more horsepower at the wheels for about $300. (ignitor,MSD ignition,optimized timing(25 degrees),and K&N filters.(April 2001)...They have a web page...

    http://grassrootsmotorsports.com

    Harry
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    Why not just buy a Miazda?
    Doesn't have the same cache`?
    Will such an upgraded MGB have any cache`?

    How about a Miazda engine swap into an MGB?

    Or if you want both a modern engine AND an authentic old car, how about an Alfa?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I hear what you're saying--why try to force more hp out of an obsolete engine design--but I don't think it has to do with cache.

    For one thing, the B engine in stock form is a great blend of good torque and revability. Yeah, it only revs to 5000 (or 5500?, I forget) but it does it smoothly and with little fuss. If you can get a few more hp but keep that broad torque curve, the car is more enjoyable than a peaky twin-cam 4-valve screamer.

    The other great thing is that you get to keep that mellow exhaust note. To me that's pure sports car. That's subjective of course, and undoubtedly based on my memories of '50s and '60s sports cars. To me, the Miata's exhaust note is more of a blat, but obviously it's music to an owner's ears.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Plus there are 87 gazillion Miatas on the road and 25 gazillion of them in exactly the same color as yours will be. It's no fun looking at yourself ALL day!

    Here's the run down:

    Comfort--Mazda
    Interior room---MGB
    Reliability --you have to ask?
    Exhaust note/groovy noises--MGB
    Heater/Defroster --Miata of course
    Gearbox--well, a matter of preference, both are fun
    Handling--MGB is primitive, but forgiving, Miata sticks to the road but is choppy
    Fit and finish--Miata
    Ease of putting top up--Miata all day long
    Looks--matter of preference...mostly a tie except if you include the ugly 1975 on up MGBs
    Resale---MGB going up, Miata going down.
    Parts and Aftermarket---both are excellent
    Most fun--either car will do it for you
    Ease of repair---MGB because of Fred Flinstone technology
    Gender Specific? MGB a man's car, Miata either but kind of a girl's car.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Yes, the B has a decent ride compared to the Miata. Probably not the first thing the enthusiast should be looking for, but it does make getting there more enjoyable especially if you can still drift it.

    The Miata's shifter gets lots of praise but I think the B's is the best I've ever used.

    I wonder if the Miata's demographics have changed over the years. I didn't notice any marked preference by women when it first came out, but lately almost all the Miata drivers I see are women. There are women enthusiasts of course, but it makes me think the Miata is being bought at least partly as a sportier VW Cabriolet.

    That should add fuel to the fire ;-).
  • MarkinAtlantaMarkinAtlanta Member Posts: 194
    Just read the whole thread. I can't add much, except to say that my '69 MGB was like a first love. That is a hard feeling to recapture. harryo, thanks for the pics in #97, thoroughly enjoyed those! BTW, we own a Miata, it is 95% of an MGB. But as they say, making up the last few percent are always the hardest. OTOH, I can't even imagine jumping into an MGB for a stress free weekend roadtrip. Last point, I bet I haven't see 3 MGBs on the road in the last year!?! Thanks.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    We bought a used Miata a couple of years ago and I ended up selling it a year later.

    It was nice, but for some reason I just felt out of place driving it...can't explain.

    The two MG'S I've owned were different. Persnickty, but more "real" sports cars.

    Does this make sense?

    And I totally agree with Shifty's run down as well as his opinion of SU carbs. I've never been able to understand why people convert these.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    They were misinformed I think, either by people who didn't understand them or people whonever really owned a good MGB. So many of these cars ended up with people who couldn't afford to take care of them, further besmirching their reputation. SUs are brilliant, really, absolutely brilliant. I am constantly amazed at their simplicity and functionality.
  • epr4evrepr4evr Member Posts: 12
    I just spent an hour writing a pretty good post here, only to have it deleted in the spell check process. I could not override it's desire to kick out my spellings. What am I doing wrong?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Damn! I don't know, this never happened to me. Tell you what, go over to the News and Views board, and ask this question in the T'alk to the Hosts topic. Some of the hosts have probably come up against this problem. If I were you, I'd stay away from this spellcheck until we get a better version up shortly, okay? I'm really sorry you lost the post, I haven't heard of this happening before.

    best,

    Mr. Shiftright
    Host
  • blaneblane Member Posts: 2,017
    epr4evr:

    You can avoid the spellcheck problem and loss of documents by composing your longer posts in your wordprocessor. Then copy and paste it to this page. That way you still have it on your hard disk.
  • harry0harry0 Member Posts: 42
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Nice-looking unit, but you'd better also build up that MGB engine or you're going to scatter it all over the freeway entrance ramp.
  • FlyercvgFlyercvg Member Posts: 4
    I bought this car after graduating from college used in 1983. My friends were buy everything brand new and had the payments to prove it. I drove it for 5 years and had a blast. I moved to Hawaii and was able to modify the engine... ie, I removed the catalytic converter that sat underneath the aluminum bodied SU crabs. This cut down on the jet replacements. Every once in a while the electrics would go out on the left side of the car, a car wash later and they were back on. You are very correct in the ease of repair of the car. Wether in the garage at home or on the side of the freeway it was only a few moments to be underway again. The car had a very tank like feel and an incredible rack and pinion steering. I really had some great times in it. I do like the chrome bumper B's better and I would like to buy a frame and rebuild one from the ground up with my kids. The 1975 and newer cars I would avoid due to the antipollution gear on board. It was installed without much thought by the MG engineers. I'm in search of a midlife toy in the midwest to drive all year. I'm looking for a convertable that will coexist with the winter salted roadways.Any suggestions from the forum?
    Thanks ahead,
    Flyercvg in Cincinnati, OH
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, if you don't want to endure the less than sterling winter-weather qualities of the MGB, but you still want something less common than a Miata, you might try an Alfa Spider, 1982 on up only. These are equipped with All-Bosch electrics and injection, have very good heaters and defrosters, and are pretty weather-tight. Not a good snow car, of course, but cheap to buy and parts are readily available anywhere through catalogs or the Internet for very reasonable prices.
    You could also try a BMW 325 convertible, but the early ones have very bad top mechanisms (early 90s cars) so try the top 20 times before you buy one.
  • harry0harry0 Member Posts: 42
    I just got this digital camera and took some pictures of my car. I downloaded them to this place called Webshots. Here is the link if you would like to take a look.

    http://community.webshots.com/album/14869927clHFPWbynX
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Looks great! I see you added quite a few custom features and changed the body slightly. I did quite a bit of aftermarket stuff to mine, too. A Nardi wheel, electric cooling fan, Mallory dual ingition, alternator. I kept the stock wheels, though, as I liked them very much.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    Good looking car! I wish I had taken more pictures of my '69 C! I got to looking for some the other day and all I had was a few black and white shots from a photography class in college. Only about 3 or 4 of my '59 A, too! I haven't let that happen again. Got several pics of '72 Mustang, the '91 Mustang, as well as the boy's cars (Fiat Spider & Jensen Healey). Ah, for the simplicity of the MGB engine compartment! Not much more crowded than the JH, but the Fiat....! You can't see the garage floor from anywhere in there!

    Enjoy!

    Hal
  • harry0harry0 Member Posts: 42
    Thanks..I have never seen a MGC in real life.I just can't seem to find one.(very rare in my part of the woods.)I hear they are pretty quick.
    I just took a peek at your webpage. (very nice)
    Must be tough to have to choose between the Sebring,Jensen Healey,or the Fiat Spider.
    Harry
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    Probably not. Odds are no more than one of them is running at any given moment. :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Oh, be nice. They are like dogs from the pound. With love, they make the very best and healthiest pets.

    No, the MGC is not quick, no faster than a well-tuned B, really, from 0-60. The car was built for high end cruising, not for acceleration, and the weight of the 6 cylinder engine works against it, as well as the factor of the high end gearing.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    Hopefully, that was understood as good-natured ribbing. I know it's tough to convey that through the keyboard.
    I actually like the looks of all three of those cars. The Jensen Healey is one of my favorites though I have never driven one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The JH is the best performer of the trio by far, but, to me at least, the least attractive of the three. Maybe we need to convince him to weld parts of all three together, so we get the Italian looks, Lotus performance, and MG ruggedness.
  • mgbtdmgbtd Member Posts: 1
    I have a 74 mgb roadster that I rebuild engine and drive train in late 2000. My question for all is O/D should engage in 3rd and 4th but mine only engages in 4th. Not a big deal just wondering why only in 4th???????
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Arghh! It's been so long since I've had one apart (a tough job I thought, very tricky). But I will dig out the OD book and study it and maybe something will come back to me. If you are in the Calif. area, I may have someone you can call.
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    In my TR3 it varied from year to year. There were isolator switches on either 2, 3 & 4 OR ONLY 3 & 4. Some had no isolator switches, it was a dealer installed option.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The reason there's no OD in all gears is that if you were in OD and accidentally went into reverse you would tear it up pretty badly.

    I know that the OD trans we built for my friend's '69 model had 3 & 4 OD, but I just can't recall if we purposely did that....I think we did. I'm still diggin'
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    Enough with you guys! "Like dogs from the pound"! Puh-leeeese! I'll have you know that I drove each of them one day each this week, with no help from tow truck, passing motorist or AAA! You just gotta know how to speak "Lucas Lectrics" and curse in Italian!

    Just put a 1979 speedo in the '82 Fiat--it now registers 140. Stretched it out on the way to work this morning when the air was cool--100 came up pretty quick!

    Of the 3, naturally the Sebring is the most comfortable, but it's the Fiat I'm finding I prefer. It "feels" like the hottest performer (custom engine work done by The Sports Car Authority, Matthews, NC), the top goes up and down easily (takes 2 people 10 minutes with a water break to get the JH top up OR down), and it's a classy color combination. The JH with it's typical British drag-your-butt seating doesn't seem to be as easy to get in and out of as my HIGH PERFORMANCE and CLASSY MGC did 15 years ago (I wonder why)!

    BTW, my CLASSY and HIGH PERFORMANCE MGC had over drive in 3rd and 4th--I thought they were all that way!

    You know how you can tell where a "cultured" red neck lives? They have MGs on block in the front yard! Keep your tacky comments to yourselves or I'll come visit and leak oil all over your driveway!

    Enjoy the weekend!

    Hal
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I'm too far away from you, you cant' make it...neener, neener....

    Anytime you want to go mano y mano in the desert heat with my Alfa and your MGC, you're on!
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    we can keep this discussion on an adult level!

    Hmmm, Alfa vs. MGC, desert heat.........don't call me, I'll call you!

    Later,

    Hal
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Hah! I thought you'd waffle on that one!

    But on the other hand, you dont' have a rubber spoiler, so that's one point for you!
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    The JH finally started acting like a British car! After 4 years of ownership, I finally had to buy some oil dry to soak up the 2 or 3 teaspoons of oil it's dropped in the garage floor. Had the oil changed later in the week and the leaking stopped!

    BTW, on the way home from Gatlinburg last weekend, I spotted two, count 'em, TWO, Alfa Spiders sitting on the side of the road! Nary a Fiat, JH or MGC in sight! When we saw the first one, both my sons said, "Wow, who'd leave one of those unattended on the side of the road?" A hundred miles later, they said, "What is this deja vu all over again?" Weird, 2 of the same kind on the same interstate. Of course, there was a Volvo too, a couple of older trucks and various rice burners scattered along the way too. I suspect the oppressive heat got to most of them!

    Have a great weekend!

    Hal
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Alfas have very good cooling systems, so overheating is never one of their little demons...of course, it all depends on the owner, as you know, since you are one of the few people I know who can keep a JH running.

    Actually Alfas and most budget British sportscars have the same problem....due to their low cost as used cars, they fall into the hands of owners who don't spend a penny on them---so by the time they are 10-20 years old, they are pretty much ruined.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    My son is home for a couple of weeks and we met for lunch the other day--he was driving the JH, which he had just washed and waxed and I was driving the Fiat. Just as we walk into Subway this guy pulls up in a Jeep, right behind the JH and starts waving at us. My son recognized him, I didn't immediately, as the previous owner of the JH. He owned the car from '76 to '96 and was responsible for accumulating all the spare parts we have. He was pleased to see the car looking so good (we repainted from booger green to viper red) and that we were taking such good care of it. Says his wife still fondly refers to it as "the best car we ever owned". He had spotted it on the street and chased my son about 6-8 blocks before he pulled in at Subway. I assured him that his care and fanatical maintence was the only reason the car was such a pleasure to drive today. Both of us thanked him for 20 years of TLC on a car that, as you say, most find downright tormenting to keep runing. I told him we keep his TWA pilot's parking sticker on the back of the mirror for sentimental reasons--and a reminder that he indeed took very good care of the car! It was a good visit for us and for him!

    Later,

    Hal
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I've always had good luck with so-called "problem" cars because of the very reason you mention...I bought them from reasonably conscientious owners.

    I'd say that with diligence a person can keep just about any car running reliably...well, maybe not a Maserati Bi-turbo or SM, but MOST any car---lol! There's even a townhaller on this board who claims to keep a TR7 as a daily driver, which to me anyway, is a miracle so staggering that the sick should be brought to the car to be healed! Just goes to show you what human ingenuity can do.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    ...and a regular workout with a torque wrench.
  • zzoom1zzoom1 Member Posts: 31
    I'm looking at a 71 bgt, 4 cylinder in what appears to be good to very good condition. Everything is there, even British Leyland badges on front quarter panels. Car is off-white with black interior. appears original save for aftermarket radio. Asking price is $3995, I'm considering an offer of $3000. Anyone have any thoughts?
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    You didn't mention rust. This is the cancer that kills so many cars from the 60's and 70's. Is the body straight and clean of rust? Check rockers, floor pans and rear wheel arches. Still, $4000 seems a bit high for an MGB GT. Then again, I haven't priced many British cars lately. Go look up a Hemmings Motor News and see what they're going for in there. That'll give you some idea of the market.

    Maybe there are some resident MG experts lurking that'll chime in on this one....

    Good Luck!

    Hal
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    A nice clean MGB GT should be worth that. They are far less popular and valuable than the roadsters, even though they are nicer to drive in many ways. For one thing, the GT has a decently tall windshield, while the roadsters windshield height can make you a bit crazy.

    The roadsters are faster and seem to handle better, but they are, of course, noisier and draftier.

    A nice modification on a GT is to install a sunroof. Since the car won't be collectible for another gazillion years anyway, I don't see the harm in doing this.

    Last good thing about GTs is that many of them came with overdrive. An overdrive is pretty much mandatory in any MGB in my opinion, as it allows for bearable noise levels at highway cruising speeds.
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