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RE: Trouble Starting MGB 77

To: "Raja" <>, <mgs@Autox.Team.Net>
Subject: RE: Trouble Starting MGB 77
From: "John Steczkowski" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 14:26:24 -0700
I have a '75 MGB, so things are probably pretty similar...
> Well, 3 weeks and 1000 miles later, I find myself on assignment
> in Napa, and what started out as a little delay is taking longer
> and longer. I turn the ignition and I hear a turning sound(sounds
> like the fans to me). The ignition light and seatbelt warning
> comes on fine. There is no sputtering sound. Just a smooth
> turning sound.  After 2 tries (now it is 2) and some pressure on
> the gas pedal,  the engine reluctantly gurgles to life. After

I don't drive my MGB every day (first off I'm on a project in California, so
I'm only at home in Austin to drive my car on weekends, and It's not my
daily driver anyway. But when I do start the car, it takes a couple of
cranks to start, it also starts without pressing the gas when it is "warm".
That's the same as you see.

> driving it for a while, and shutting down, it starts up
> immediately, without any pressure on the accelerator at all. But
> after a few hours, it's back to square 1.  I went to a local
> mechanic to get the battery checked out, but he said that if the
> fans turn, it isn't the battery that is low on charge. Actually,
> he was a whimp and upon seeing the MG, did not want much to do
> with it cos "haven't worked on those for a while".

It's not battery related, I've assumed it's carb/choke related, but it's not
severe enough to worry about yet.

> Another thing that might be related to this is that the engine
> backfires when I first start driving it. So, I slowly take the
> car from 1000 to 3000 rpm in neutral every morning, and this
> stops the backfiring.

I have the same problem, it slightly backfires when cold, but stops after
it's warm. I've assumed that this is related to part of the emmisions system
that is getting marginal, but I haven't worried about it since it's only
happens when I first start out. To keep it from backfiring, I shift at under
3k RPM until the engine is warm (not a bad idea anyway).

> I read Clymer's troubleshooting tips and they say that it could be
> a) stuck starter drive?
> b) No charging taking place - check battery, fan belt tension,
> electrical connections etc

I don't see how these are related to your problem. The car cranks fine, so
battery voltage is not the issue, the car isn't dying at some point, so the
alternator is running, it's not overheating so the water pump is running
(all fanbelt related).
> 1) Does anyone have any advice to offer on what I should be
> checking. I am an absolute novice, so please be specific. Had to
> look up carburettor in the dictionary, but I am getting there!
> 2) Does anyone know any mechanics near/in Napa that I could see
> if I fail to repair it? There is no British Automotive around.

I would start with a carb rebuild and adjustment (have it done at a shop,
since you're a novice and this is pretty esoteric). Check the manual for the
emmissions equipment, make sure you have the factory equipment. There is
probably an "anti-backfire" valve. Try the test procedure for that part.

If you don't have the factory emmisions equipment, it's harder to say what
the problem is...

> Cheers
> PS: If you see someone driving on the Bay Bridge with the top
> down on a cold day and a smile on his face, it's me.

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