Frequently Asked Questions

Updated June, 1997
W. R. Gibbons

HTML by Paul Heuer

Q. Should I install a crane electronic ignition to my Spitfire?

A. No. Cranes, which are used to lift very heavy things (like Austin-Healey engines), have motors that operate at very low RPM's; the advance curve would be wrong.

Q. My LBC won't start and I suspect the fuel pump. Help!

A. This is common on British cars, and will provide you with many happy hours spent with your LBC. American cars do not have this problem, it seems; the rear of Yank cars are raised so high that the fuel tank is above the carburettors, which are then fed by gravity, thus not requiring fuel pumps.

Q. I have an 1970 MGB for sale, red, 61K miles. Anyone interested?

A. Not anymore. The fact that you, like most everyone else, didn't put a location in your message, did not stop us from finding out that you and your car are in Sri Lanka. A lovely island, to be sure, but nobody wants to pay the $15,000 in freight to get the car back here.

Q. Is my car's name pronounced "Jag-wahr" or "Jag-wire"?

A. Well, you are correct in that it's two syllables, but it sounds more like "bring-cash".

Q. What's the best way to keep my LBC from rusting?

A. Having NASA loft the car into a polar orbit should be effective, but you wouldn't be able to drive the car. You could get get most of the benefits, including not being able to drive the car, by building a dehumidified garage and never taking the car out of it.

Q. If I could afford a dehumidified garage, I'd be driving a "Jag-wire", you fool. Now what?

A. Buy a Daimler SP250 and leave it in the driveway. Even if your neighbors drive current-generation Tauruses and Citroens, they'll be offended enough by this eyesore that they will take up a collection to build a garage for you. If another neighbor brings home a Zimmer Golden Spirit, however, then you've been out-bid.

Q. Can you recommend a good, reliable mechanic that services LBC's for reasonable rates?

A. Sorry, wrong List. Send a 'subscribe' message to , they should be able to help you.

Q. I'm looking for a MIG welder at affordable prices. Where should I look?

A. Try the Russian Air Force; current price is two pairs of blue jeans and they'll throw in a Trabant to use as a welding cart. BTW, welders designed for cars work almost as well.

Q. I do not understand the animosity on the List towards Miatas. Should I trade in my LBC on one?

A. Not a good deal from a financial standpoint. All of the money you will have spent so far on engine hoists, sandblasters, MIG welders, bearing presses, etc., would have been wasted. Keep your LBC so that you get a return on your investment in these tools.

Q. Should I keep my older LBC perfectly original, with no modern "enhancements"?

A. Absolutely. Scrounge the junkyards for 30-year-old gas out of the tanks of cars wrecked long ago. Finding vintage air for the tires might be tougher; exhuming the dead to pump air from their lungs is frowned upon. Fill the glove box with antique unpaid parking tickets, most drivers in major cities have plenty of these. Old brake fluid is easy, as most of us on the List have many half-filled cans left over from previous brake jobs, and we'll be glad to sell it to you. BTW, Check out the List from your Univac computer with a baud rate of something like five or six.

Q. What does MOWOG mean?

A. Nothing. The man who made the wood forms for castings liked subtle practical jokes.

Q. Should I use silicon break fluid in my car?

A: Of course. Since silicon is essentially sand, it does not absorb water as readily as standard brake (note spelling for future reference) fluid. It is easy on paint, provided you don't blow it at the paint at high velocity, or stick it on paper and rub it across the paint.

Q. I have read that rubber break seals swell up in DOT 3. Is that right?

A: Yup. Look like gummy bears in a day or so and leak like crazy nuts. In DOT 5, on the other hand, they don't swell up quite enough, and leak like crazy nuts. In DOT 4, however, they swell up just enough. It is called the Goldilocks principle. Interestingly, gummy bears soaked in DOT 3 are perfectly preserved, but they taste terrible. And for future reference, it is brake, not break.

Q. Is it true you should not store batteries on concrete?

A. Nope. It is perfectly ok to store batteries on concrete. It is not considered proper, however, to repair the rust holes in the battery tray of your car with concrete. Take it to a body shop and have it repaired properly with aluminum and rivets.

Q. Has anyone heard of this Moss Motors place?

A. Yes.

Q. What size tires should I put on my MGB?

A. Use 195/70 SR 14 on the driver's side, and 175/70 SR 14 on the passenger's side. This combination compensates nicely for the different settling of the springs on the two sides. Do not get confused and put the two larger tires on the front; the constant struggle to go uphill will substantially reduce performance.

Q. What color British Racing Green should I use to match my original paint?

A. 94 subtly different British Racing Green were used on MGB's. Most people give up and paint their car Porsche red. If you are trying to match the original paint with BRG and have a problem, consider the possibility your car may have originally been yellow or white. It may be tough to get an exact match to either of these with BRG, but it should be close enough for most practical purposes.

Q. On my way to work today I saw 6 Miatas with their tops up. Why is that?

A. It is not well known, but the Miata isn't actually a convertible. It has a fixed head, cunningly covered with cloth to resemble a convertible, like many Lincoln Town Cars. Any you see with the top actually down are custom conversion jobs.

Q. I have a really bad leak from my gas tank. Is it OK if I get some plumber's solder and a propane torch and solder up the hole?

A. It's OK with us. In the interest of preserving your car for future generations to enjoy, remove the tank first and perform the soldering operation some distance from the car. Adios.

Q. My car overheats all the time. My mechanic said the water is moving through the radiator too fast to get cooled off. Is this right?

A. Well, although it makes no physical sense whatever, racers and mechanics everywhere agree completely that one way to improve the cooling of your car is to slow down the flow through the radiator. Many owners swear that this has worked for them. British cars, it seems, are so nearly human that they succumb to the placebo effect. It is probably worth noting that the owners of british cars are nearly human, too.

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