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brown coolant, blown fuse, push starts

Subject: brown coolant, blown fuse, push starts
From: Michael Jose <>
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 02:00:22 -0700
It's good we are discussing coolant recovery, because i lost some from
my 79 B today
Several items to discuss:
most importantly, my car blew a fuse today, and the replacement did not
change things.
I lost my tachometer (rev counter), my temp gauge (which i had just
fixed), and my fuel gauge.  I also lost my two electric fans, at least
when i turn the ignition switch.
I had been driving today, which was getting up in the 90's, and the car
kept dying, so i had to keep the RPMs high when stopped.  then all the
gauges went out.  the car had been at 3/4 on the temp gauge, so i was a
little worried.  Pulled in to get some gas, and a huge puddle of RUSTY
BROWN coolant forms!!!!!!!!
I removed the cap from the overflow, and a huge cascade of more of the
stuff follows, with steam and bubbling as well.    I added more 50/50
coolant/water, and then discovered the fuse blown and the fans not
working. spent my last 80 cents on some cheap replacement fuses, and no
so i start it up after letting it cool off for a bit (and most of a tank
of gas), and then drive home with as few lights as possible to keep it
from idling at standstill, to keep air moving over it. I got back to the
dorm in one piece, and there actually wasn't a big pool of coolant this
I didn't chance it, got a ride to work, and when I got back, couldn't
start it.  Had friends push while i started it, and this worked, until i
had to stop, and the car died.  Used my friend's car to give me a bump
(see, rubber bumpers are great on MGBs!!), and got it back to my legal
parking spot.
This relates to a problem i have been having:  when the engine is just
started, it usually runs okay, but then will die, and i have to crank
and gas for about five minutes before it finally gets up enough go to
I thought it was because I had no thermostat, but i replaced it, and
still have had the problem.
The carb is brand new rebuilt, but I havent' made the final adjustments
because I think my timing is severely troubled.  Can a car run with the
distributor 180 degrees off?  when i tried to time my car, the light
said i was over 70 degrees BTDC, which ain't right.
Could these problems be related?
Does brown coolant mean I have a blown head gasket?
it wasnt' thick and frothy, but was reddish brown.
any ideas on the fuse?
thanks for the help...
don't want to have to quit the job because of my car...
Mike Jose

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