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I think I'm ready to blow up the B

Subject: I think I'm ready to blow up the B
From: rexcats <>
Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2002 17:07:16 -0700

Those of you who've been here on the list for awhile will be familiar with
this saga.
For anyone who is a newbie, here's the short(?) and sweet(?) story.

Last year we bought a '79 MGB for our son Justin's first car (pretty insane
don't  you agree).
Our first mistake was to not insist on the smog certificate from the seller
(we're in lovely
California with the WONDERFUL smog law). In the process of getting this car
to pass
smog check (btw. the seller insisted it passed smog every time), the B threw
a rod. As
a result of pulling the engine and examining the remains, it turns out that
the catalyst was
nothing more than a big fat pipe, i.e. no internal guts to it at all! I
previously had found
that the absorption canisters were empty with the exception of a bit of oil
sludge in the
bottom of one. Suffice to say, the catalyst (or lack thereof) was probably
the reason
the B wouldn't pass the smog check. One would guess that the last smog check
facility was less than above board, but who knows?

Well it has been about 6 or 8 months now and I've rebuilt the engine with a
reconditioned, align bored block. I've replaced the crank with a good,
and balanced one. Replaced the cam, and the engine and parts were balanced
the machine shop. New pistons, replaced broken conrod, head surfaced,
exhaust seats... what else? Too much to recall from my feeble brain, but
most all
the engine is either reconditioned or replaced. Now the current state of

With a few adjustments to slight errors of installation, I began the process
of tuning
and timing. When all was set correctly for first try, she started right up.
I proceeded
with the tuning and had her timing set to factory spec. According to my
shop manual, this is at 10 degrees BTDC. I proceeded to tighten the
clamp bolt and close her up. That's when the troubles reared their ugly
heads again.
She wouldn't start. I've loosened up the distrib clamp bolt and rotated the
until she starts again, but now she only runs a few seconds and dies. For
those of
you familiar with my sorry tale, this is the same symptom I experienced from
beginning. I've checked the ignition to see that I'm getting spark. I've
used my timing
light and it shows current to all four plugs. I even tried the old,  remove
the plugs,
attached a plug wire and ground the plug to the body (the car's, not mine).
I see
spark to all four plugs. I have to believe that the ignition is working
although timing
may be off again. So I'm left with the conclusion that the problem must be
in the
carburetor. As some may know, this is one of our favorite ZS carbs, however
this one is unique to this B in that it is probably originally from a
Triumph. Per
reference from my shop manual, as well as the Moss and BV catalogues, this
not the original carb. This has the temperature compensators that the
used, not the air bypass that is common to the B. Since the car originally
ran when
we got it, I must assume it will work, but I'm stumped at how to get all

Well that's my dilemma. I think I've done everything right. I've checked and
I've adjusted, readjusted till I'm blue in the face. I can't get this
fOREIGNking car to
run. So I'm hoping for suggestions from the list. I've already thought of
the first option
which my subject line tells. Unfortunately I can't do that and being a
diehard LBC
fanatic (or is that loony),  I can't rest until this one is on the road
again. While I may
be forced in the end to take it to a pro (preference is J.R. at O'Connors),
to do
this will probably require putting her on a flatbed if I can't get her to
run right. This
would be costly along with the cost of the service. Hopefully I can get some
from the list. Since I've been working on the B most all day, I'm calling it
quits for
now and will try some more tomorrow. I'm thinking to let the B (and me) cool
a bit before attempting anything further.

For your reference, after the rebuild, I'm reading about 125-130 lbs. on all
cylinders. With a new oil line to the gauge, I was seeing 75-80 lbs. oil
at initial startup and idle. I took care of a couple water leaks and I think
this car
should be good to go. For those of you outside of California who might
I replace the ZS carb with something else (e.g. Weber), it is my
and expectation that it won't pass smog if I do this. I'm also told that I
mess with the autochoke. If anyone in Cal has experience smogging a late
with any modifications, I'd like to know your experiences. Some other states
have smog laws too, but I must deal with the California laws, so what may
in other states probably won't here.

Thanks for taking the time to read my longwinded, sorry tale. Thanks in
to all your replies. Happy motoring and Safety Fast.


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