View Full Version : My Winter Project, A '71 for 2011

11-09-2010, 08:12 PM
Hello guys,
I'm new to the forum here,
and wanted to show my '71 Midget project.
I ran this car 12 years ago but she has sat
garaged for the last 10 years. I finally
made room at work for her and this is the
winter project now, to get it roadworthy
for spring. I have had a spare rebuilt head waiting in the wings but I want to run
some compression tests and get it running
before I start taking it apart.
I really don't know a lot about these great
cars but I have the books and
the old posts for info and am learning.
Hope I dont bend your ears too much!


Bob Claffie
11-09-2010, 08:40 PM
When you say "take apart" what exactly do you have in mind ? Picture looks like a pretty solid automobile. Many enthusiasts have great ideas and intentions but often cars remain taken apart for years and then abandoned. My personal choice would be to do the minimal amount of work to make it safely roadable and THEN repair/restore one system at a time. But what do I know ? Bob

11-09-2010, 08:49 PM
Welcome. :cheers:

Ask any questions you may have. Folks here were my teachers for my restoration work (the Tunebug is the first car I've ever really worked on). No question to big or small.

I'd second the notion to get it driving and then tackle one system at a time. I spent 3 years with my car apart, and it was very frustrating at times. Best to be able to drive when the weather is nice!

11-09-2010, 08:59 PM
Hello Bob,
I can sure understand about getting in over your head on these type of things. When I got this car from a buddy years ago he said that a valve job was in the near future.
He had a pretty good handle on these cars.
I ran the car for two summers until it " really started to run bad", then parked it to get to it at a latter time.
Work and family concerns plus no garage killed that ambition pretty good.
Around that time I had a valve job done on a spare 1275 head. I still have that head, all wrapped in oil cloth.
I need to check it out real close.
Im not going to restore this car, I just want a good safe driver for the road.
When I say " take apart", I meant swap the head if thats
what it needs, along with all the system repairs that 10 years affected.
Yes, I agree, one system at a time!
Tommorow night I'll do a compression test and then consider the course.


11-09-2010, 09:10 PM
Hi, Great looking car. I agree wholeheartedly with Bob. I have seen a lot of cars that started out as nice driving projects, later sold as boxes of parts. My dad and brother each have at least one right now. So does my son-in-law..........<span style="font-style: italic">and I have two</span>.. :wall:

11-09-2010, 09:48 PM
This car started out with British Racing Green, one
of my favorite colors. A PO before my frieng had it did
the Burgundy. I like the color on this car but the finish
is getting real thin and has quite a bit of chips and
rust bubbles. That project comes after the mechanicals,
time allowing.
The photo is rather complimentary.

11-11-2010, 12:14 AM
Welcome to the asylum. The very first thing you should do is go through this link in detail:


11-11-2010, 06:02 PM
ha, bend our ears and keep the pics comming.

11-12-2010, 01:01 AM
Thank you for the link.Just what I needed.
I did the compression test and am not pleased or
I had to clean all the contacts before I could get
it to crank with the new battery.
I disconnected the fuel supply, checked each cylinder
3 times and got this:

With all plugs:
out in
dry w/oil
#1 130 160 140
#2 120 140 125
#3 45 55 45
#4 135 150 150

Bummer on that #3 cylinder. Im guesing valve and that rebuilt
head I already have seems to be needed.
Rings and bearings are calling, too, but that's really
pushing my skill level. The only motor I rebuilt was
a 300 Ford 6 when I was a teenager. My kids are older
now than I was then.
I really can't see going thru the head work and not
getting a fresh lower out of it, though.
I have a hoist so here's a question.
Pull the motor or do the lower in place, or just swap
heads and get next season out of it. There's a lot of other
work to on the brakes, clutch, lighting, ect,.
From what I've read some fellows seem to prefer to pull.
I do have a LOT of oil sprayed on the underside of
the floor pans. Maybe that rear seal?
Anyone have a guess on the cost on just the rod bearings,
rings and gaskets?
It feels really good though to finally be working on my car.
Also, you can see it sitting in the back of the shop from my
front counter and a lot of customers comment on it.
Tommorow Im going to run a pipe to the outside and see if
I can get it started.


11-12-2010, 08:37 AM

Keep the thought of driving this car in your head.
If you are confident enough to finish the complete ring and valve job before the next driving season, do so. If not, make it a working unit and prepare to do it the following year.

Dave :savewave:

11-12-2010, 09:21 AM
Oil on the undercarriage, that's British Leyland's Automatic Chassis Rust Protection System at work. Hey follow the checklist to get it running again. You'll likely find the engine runs enough to get around the neighborhood, trips to the store etc. Not ready for long trips but get it driving and take it from there.

These cars are a constant engineering and head scratching challenge. That's why they intrigue us. They keep our problem solving skills sharp. Enjoy your new toy!
Go Drive while you can, 70 and sunny in Dayton today, Bugsy's last day out and about this PM before Front End Rebuild commences later today. Promised wife I'll mulch all leaves with lawnmower and then time for Bugsy to go up on jackstands. A long time until Spring. Go Drive!

11-12-2010, 02:13 PM
There's a big difference between swapping out the head and doing a complete lower end overhaul. I would suggest that you not go into the lower end unless there's a clear reason to do so. Your "wet" compression test suggests that you're looking at a valve problem, not a ring problem, so I'd suggest just swapping out the head and going from there. Get the car good and roadworthy rather than ripping the thing apart for perhaps no good reason (unless your sig is bob67gt that is). I've never done one, but a leakdown test should be able to tell you more definitively whether that is true or not if you want more info before making the decision (although by the time I could round up all the stuff to do a leakdown test I could already have swapped the head and run another compression test).

If you are really going to do the lower end you should pull the engine and preferably put it on an engine stand. It will be vastly easier to work on than having to deal with it in the car. You can also inspect things like the clutch.

Bob Claffie
11-12-2010, 10:06 PM
Stop right now ! Change the head, redo the compression check. If #3 comes up to snuff Stop again. Drive car, check oil pressure. If pressure is good Stop. Drive car until next problem shows up. Why go looking for stuff to do that may very well be UNNECESSARY. Bob

11-12-2010, 11:12 PM
Bobs your uncle, oh wait maybe not but he has the correct advise.

11-12-2010, 11:30 PM
Thanks to all of you for your replies. All excellent advice.
I'll swap the head and see what develops. That was my original
intent for a long time, but once I get going I start to think
of too many and too much too soon.
Keep me focused, guys!

Update: IT RUNS!

I was going to start a new thread for this, but I don't
know what the usual procedure is here, so I'm just going to continue.....

Used the fuel pump ( noisy bugger),to drain the tank, then ran a galon of fresh thru it. The old stuff smelled stale but suprisingly not all varnished up. Added another gal of new.
Pulled the vac cups and pistons off the SU's, cleaned them up (had to read the Hayes book to learn a bit about these carbs) didn't do Anything with the floats or jets ( need to learn more, first), did the inverted cup/piston vacumn drop test, and just what do they expect us to plug those piston holes with??

Finally I stumbled across my printer ink refill kit, the one with little rubber plugs to plug the ink cartridge fill holes. Those plugs are carb tools now.
Bought some metal dryer hose for the exhaust and ran it thru the wall.

Filed and gaped the points, cleaned up the plugs, checked for spark, attached a remote started, hand choked the carbs cause the cable is froze, and by the third crank
A little chunk of heaven broke off and hit me right in the grin.
Then breathig became a challenge.

Seems there was a hole in the muffler a large rat coulda nested in, and the doughnut for the exhaust manifold just isn't there, and I was reminded of the youthful summer days that we used to ride our bikes behind the bug sprayer.
( What was THAT all about, and where was the adult oversight?)
After airing out the shopI patched the muffler with a baby tin and a few big strap clamps. Can't do much right now for the downpipe, so I just leave the doors oped and RUN THE MOTOR.
A big deal for me after 10 years.

So... it fires right up, runs a little rough at idle, smooths out a bit at around 2500, a slight repeating stumble, no major oil burning, but I rember it used to puff a bit on pulling away from a stop. Maybe oil thru the worn guides?
I have NOT learned enough yet to balance the carbs, but I did get a UNI-Synk from a fellow in Calif to help with. I also have a Color Tune plug kit that came with a whole lot of other stuf that's another tale.
Im not going to be able to do anything else for about a week, Im putting a roof on my one and only one car garage that was never usable as a garage so I can get another suffering MG out of the impending winter.
I'm planning on threading the progress on that.
Also....sorry, I'm a wordy son of a gun.
But it RUNS.


11-13-2010, 09:09 AM
After this--------the addiction

11-13-2010, 09:28 AM
After this--------the addiction


congrats! It is amazing to me how quickly we can get these things running (usually) even after a long sit. keep us posted.

11-13-2010, 09:30 AM
Woohoo! There's nothing like hearing them run after a long rest. :cheers:

11-13-2010, 11:13 AM
Way ta go!! I think I recall laughing uncontrollably when I started up the BGT after it had sat dormant and partly disassembled in my garage for over 10 years.
:banana: :driving: :banana: :driving: :banana: :driving: :banana: :driving: