Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Work on the Race MGB Begins

The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity with the team, the car and work....

...Not to mention a whole bunch of butt kissing directed at my “Hey-we-have-no-more-parking-spouse”.

When we got the car home I gave it a thorough inspection from top to bottom. And my first impression came from under the hood the next evening. In the fading sun the car almost looked too nice to turn into a LeMons racer. Most everything was in place, and included factory tid-bits not usually seen after so many years. I began to second guess my plans for a moment, and called it quit for the night while I mulled it over.

The next day however in the sunlight my opinion completely changed. The more I looked at the more I saw. The interior was garbage, every last bit. It had more rust than I first thought, and every single part on the car was corroded, broken or scratched. There weren’t many parts in good enough condition to reuse on a restoration or worth selling. They weren’t even driver quality.

That’s going to make it hard to sell extra parts and offset some of the car cost. The rules state you can sell parts to bring the total investment in under 500 bucks, but I have very little I can work with. This is going to be a little harder than I hoped. But I felt better about the LeMons thing. This is the PERFECT car.

I ordered new brake components, including Stainless Steel lines and V8 front pads. The rules state safety items like brakes, tires, fuel cell and roll cage are not included in the limit. In keeping with the spirit of LeMons, I am staying with stock components and/or whatever came on the car whenever possible unless safety dictates something better. Brake hoses are one such item along with new pads and a fluid change.

On Evilbay I scored a set of earlier MGB S.U. side draught 1 ½” carbs for 125 bucks, to replace the Zenith Stromberg “Firepot” on the car now. Anyone who has owned a Rubber Bumper MGB knows this is for ALL our safety. This whole setup was a stop-gap contraption by British Leyland and is prone to catching fire. I'm all for excitement but that's where I draw the line. While the stock earlier SUs are not really performance items per se, they may allow the car to get out of it's own way on the track. I’ll also throw on the rusty header I picked up at the swap-meet for 20 bucks and call it good. Plans call for a cherry-bomb muffler and the exhaust exiting on the drivers side in front of the rear wheel, NASCAR style. Er, NASCAR, if it was made up of a bunch of hillbillys.

I also ordered an Autopower roll cage from I/O Port. This is the beginning of the big ticket items and was a little hard to swallow. Almost 900 bucks for the full cage. But as they say, racing ain’t cheap.

Next I threw a spare battery in the car and hooked it up to see what happened. Nothing. Good news. I turned the key to accessory and waited again. Silence. So far so good. No smoke, no fire. (A rare feat in an MGB!)

I turned the key to the on position. Dash lights came on, and the fuel pump started whirring. Still no fire, and no smoke. I could hear the fuel pump sloshing fuel into the lines, and it began to slow down. Good news.

But it kept going. Normally the pump will slow down and begin to click as it builds pressure. This one sped up and slowed down as air pumped thru the system, but never built any pressure. After a moment or two I turned off the key and looked under the hood.

Ah. A gas leak. HOLY MOLLY, Make that gas leaks. Whoo boy. That Zenith carb has some serious flooding issues. No wonder it had high hydrocarbons on the last smog check, lol! Gas came out of every POSSIBLE orifice. And several more areas I did not think was possible.

I stepped back and let the car dry out, while making a mental note on where the fire extinguisher was.

But then came the call, it was time for dinner. Pizza? ALRIGHT! Screw this thing.

Next: It lives... No, not really.

Previous: The Race Car

From the Beginning: The Hook... (Part 1)

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