View Full Version : It's Alive !!! (Thanks to all !!)

George Zeck
08-09-2004, 12:09 PM
After ~ 18 mths -- my 1964 Sprite runs! The brakes actually lock up (when I want them to) and the engine runs / sounds pretty solid. Must have had 10 people yell what a nice car it was just "doing laps" around the block. Thanks for all who have helped me along the way.

Had difficulites once the car warmed up: My guess is after 3 to 4 miles -- I pulled over to check the oil and the level was OK (although had a drop or two just from the brief 2 min stop) -- I noticed "smoke" coming from where I fill the oil into the engine. This was definately smoke vs. steam.

I also noticed that the oil pressure gauge went from 60 lbs to 20 lbs during my drive (once seeing the smoke -- I eased it back home). also -- the water temp went up to 230 degrees (as I was pulling into the garage). I did have to add coolant (I wrongly thought I checked -- I was so giddy to actually take a drive).

Are these ranges (Oil Pressure & Water Temp) normal ?? I pulled the oil cap to let the smoke out / engine to cool once back in my garage and smoke came out for 5+ minutes. I'm sure oil will burn a bit -- but this sure seemed excessive.

I did check Oil again and level was OK. Let car cool. Added coolant (50/50) and took for another drive -- same reults. I just didn't drive as long and water temp appeared to level out at 190 ish.

I did change oil (10W30) but NOT the filter -- will do that next and check the "oil overflow tube" for blockage (tube on RH side of engine going north/south similar to coolant overflow tube). Probably replace thermostat / hoses for safety as well. Not sure if that will help the smoke issue -- but will make me feel better.

Is this normal ??? Any recommendations I shold look at. The car sat unused for 18 yrs so I expect to run into "issues" -- just wasn't expecting this. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/patriot.gif

08-09-2004, 02:19 PM
Sounds good and sounds like you're having fun! That's what it's all about!

The smoke coming from the valve cover cap is "blow-by". You should not have too much of this once things are broken in, but you might have a bit of this for the first 100 miles or so. High coolant temps can make blow-by worse.

You engine temps (230 F) sound like a stuck thermostat or collapsing lower radiator hose. Do not run your car with a thermostat that is malfunctioning: you'd be better off to run the car with no themostat than one that is not working (I do not use a thermostat in my racer and our street car has a 160 F thermostat). High coolant temps can cause oil pressure to be reduced.

You can often tell if the lower hose is worn out by having someone rev the engine while you observe the hose. A soft, worn-out hose will collapse when the engine is revved up (because of the suction-effect on the lower hose).

Be sure your fan belt is tight and the radiator is not plugged up. Also, be sure that you don't have too much anti-freeze in your coolant ratio (50 / 50 is good). For example, if you run 75% antifreeze and 25% water, your car may overheat.

The 10W-30 oil is OK for break-in or cold weather use, but I'd run 10W-40 or even 20W-50 in that car in the Summer. A new filter is a must! The "oil overflow tube" you mention is (if I understand you correctly) is the "blow-by" crankcase breather. This should be clear and unplugged...it allows the the engine internals to "breathe", but again, smoke should not be pouring out of it once the car is fully broken in (a few hundred miles).

If you're car is running 20 psi oil pressure at idle, you're OK. If your running at 50 MPH and only getting 20 psi, that's a problem (you should have at least 40 psi or better at highway speeds.....mine runs about 60 psi).

08-24-2004, 04:29 PM
sounds good. i finally have the time to try to get my 73 midget on the road. How should I start?

George Zeck
08-24-2004, 05:35 PM
What a long, strange road it will be my friend.

First: How long has the car sat unused ?? (I assume a decade or so puts them all in the 'same grouping')

A) Take out plugs and pour "Marvel's Mystery Oil" in a bit at a time ( daily for a week or if you skip a day, add a day to the end). This will help recondition the seals -- prey they do or your looking at a rebuild.

Does fuel flow to where it should ?

Examine (& probably replace) fuel tank for "crud". Fuel probably turned to jello and rust also got it's share inside. It'll never run right. You could take to a radiator shop and have it "cooked" (boiled). Never confident that'll do a good job until after it messes up your carb rebuild. Buy a new one (reproduction via Moss) -- inexpensive and hard to mess up in my opinion.

Fuel Line: Disconnect from carbs & tank. Use air compressor to see if line is clear from tank to carbs (back of car to front). If not, replace (I got lucky).

Go to engine compartment; test / remove fuel pump. Not sure what you have. I replaced mine with a $40 universal one (be aware if your car is positive or negative ground before ordering). Cheaper and more reliable than original. Also -- add clear fuel filter so that you can always see fuel going to the carbs and condition of fuel filter.

Carbs: Probably gunked up. I rebuilt mine -- parts via Vic Brit and used the "second" one as a guide and lots of shots form a digital camera.

That's it (I hope) for the fuel system.

Replaced battery / hoses / fan belt / thermostat / new anti-freeze. Flush Radiator & Block

Start Car !! (Don't drive yet).

Examine the braking system: I took all apart and lubed or replaced leaky items. Don't overlook condition (& leakage ?) of master cylinder. Expensive; used apple hydraulics.com. Works quite well.

With a quick "run through" of the:

Fuel System (tank, line, pump & carbs)

Braking System: see above

Starting System (my was OK after all this, but will upgrade car from positive ground to negative ground and add petronix ignition for reliability this winter).

Cooling System: still fighting with that. From advice from the good guys here on the site -- sounds like I'm in for a replacement of water pump / radiator (recore, not cheapy Moss).

Add Seat belts for safety (if don't have).

Get a good haynes book and get a friend or two. My car started in FLA and worked on it during visits to in-laws. Forgot books, etc ... Got on-line and the great guys helped me out in very quickly with pictures via e-mail, etc ...

I could not have done this without BCF !!

Feel free to e-mail me with specific questions at gzeck@email.com

The above summary has taken my ~ 18 mths to complete first 15 where on / off whiile in FLA. Had car shipped to OH and working hard for last 2 - 3 mths. Can drive now, just can go 2 - 3 miles at a time. Will have cooling system working in less than 1 week.

George Zeck
04-17-2005, 08:23 PM
I am very happy to rekindle this post from 10/03. My car actually drove the car this weekend. Only ~ 60 miles. Doing lots of small quick trips during the break in period for the engine.

I've still got a million small things to do before it's done (which in all actuallity will be a "rolling list" I'm sure with a 41 year old car). Many items have or will be attended to.

Thanks to all for the help to get me to this point of "driveability" when I've gotten into a jam.

Off to a fun summer. She rides great and catches a lot of eyes.



Trevor Jessie
04-17-2005, 09:01 PM
Hey, if she can do a long drive by june 4th then you can come to the Marques on the Green in Louisville KY. (I'm trying to get a larger goup of spridgets to the show)

George Zeck
04-18-2005, 10:56 PM
Thanks for the offer -- Louisville is ~ 6 hrs for me. More than I'm willing to push it this year. Need to work & fine tune. Will keep in mind for next year.



Trevor Jessie
04-19-2005, 11:19 AM
The Dayton show is always nice as well. I think it is in August? Maybe I'll see you there.

04-19-2005, 11:55 AM

Congratulations. At least is a million small things to do. What a thrill it must have been to make that first short trio this weekend and to know that all your hard work had paid off.

Salute. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cheers.gif

George Zeck
04-20-2005, 01:28 PM
How could I find out @ Dayton? That's a possibility.



Trevor Jessie
04-20-2005, 07:37 PM
August 6, 2005 Dayton, OH. - British Car Day 2005
More Classes and New Club Participation Award highlight British Car Day 2005 Saturday, August 6, 2005 9 am to 4 pm Eastwood MetroPark, Harshman Rd. Dayton, Ohio The 21st edition of British Car Day in Dayton , Ohio will feature eight new classes, and a new Club Participation Award. The record turnout of over 325 British cars in 2004 has led to some changes for 2005 to add even more value and classes for the participants. British car enthusiasts will still be enjoying the tree-lined grass show field, nearly 100 door prizes, a huge vendor area, on site concession stand with fresh grilled food and a free t-shirt with advance registration. Entry fees also remain at $10 per car and dash plaques are guaranteed for the first 325 cars. New classes will separate MGB’s into three classes, split Midgets and Sprites, split old and new Mini’s, and add motorcycles and Morgans. In addition to the Longest Drive, Ranger’s Choice and Royal Air Force Award, we are adding a Club Participation Award. The British Museum of Transpiration in Dayton will continue to present the Best of Show Award. Awards are on participant balloting on the 30 classes of cars shown. The event is presented by the Southwestern Ohio Centre of the MG Car Club and the Miami Valley Triumphs in cooperation with Five Rivers MetroParks. Advance registration is $10, and includes a free BCD 2005 t-shirt if received before July 25, 2005. Day of show registration is $10. Spectators are admitted free. For further information, contact: Skip Peterson 937-293-2819 MGBSkip@aol.com Eastwood MetroPark is located on Harshman Rd., just off of Ohio Route 4 near the US Air Force Museum. The Southwestern Ohio Centre of the MG Car Club is a chapter of the NAMGBR and NAMGAR. Contact: Skip Peterson. Phone: 937-293-2819. Email: mgbskip@aol.com