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MG MGA - MGA 1500 non runner

Hi all, it's been a long time since I have been on this sight. Sold my MGA when I bought
My basket case TD. I am now trying to help get an MGA back on the road for the wife of the deceased owner. The car has been off the road a couple of years at least so we have charged the battery, fresh gas, new starter switch, new distributor cap, new plugs and fixed a sticky choke on the rear carb.

The problem is we can't get it to start and run smoothly. When it does run we have a very uneven backfire then it will smooth out and run great for a couple seconds and then start missing again.

This car was a runner prior to the owner getting cancer and other than sitting in the garage covered has not moved or been worked on. Obviously I am missing something basic so any hints would be appreciated. Oh and the coil isn't,t over heating.

Brian Smith (1950 TD3376)

Get some dry gas or isopropyl alcohol. Put it in the gas tank.

Check the float bowls for contamination. Clean out if necessary.

Check the points contacts and see if you have any pitting. Condenser may also be on your list.

Good luck and report back so we know you've done it!

Kinda sounds like mission impossible. Your computer will self destruct in 10 seconds after you've read this communication. Ha ha ha! :-)
Steven Devine

Thanks Steve

Floats are good and the bowls are clean. Checked the float level and it is good as well. I will change up the points and condenser next time I can get over to the car.

It does backfire as well as miss but nobody has messed with the timing since it was running. Possibly a valve sticking???

Looks like the timing pointers have gone from this engine so may set it up with piston at top dead centre (#1) on compression to see what it looks like.

I will keep you informed as I get a chance to work on it.

Brian Smith (1950 TD3376)

Just a reminder that the timing marks are on the underside of the engine if it's a stock 1500.
David Ahrendt

Thanks David, I was looking at the top, obviously a senior moment. Still not sure about it being the timing. I am going to pull the distributor and set it up on the bench, if that doesn't work I will pull carbs and clean and set up on my bench.

The problem with working on someone else's car after they have passed is that I can't ask what was done!

Just set up a MGA Coupe for a friend and it is sweet now.

I will keep everyone in the loop, may take a bit as I am told that the wife is going away for a week.

Brian Smith (1950 TD3376)

Sounds like an intake manifold leak to me!
Art Pearse

Or a stuck valve
Art Pearse

I am with Art. Sounds like a sticky valve.
C.R. Tyrell

Marvel Mystery Oil or a good dose of Sea Foam, product, will probably work miracles....These cars hate to sit around.
Check the gas filter, if there is one at the pump...Some after-market pumps have cleanable filters.
If you replace the rotor, get the red one....Black ones are mostly crap.
E B Wesson

It could be an intake manifold leak or a sticky valve but I like to start with the cheap easy stuff first.

A compression test would help determine condition of the motor.

I still think it may be moisture in the tank as its been sitting for years making it ripe for condensation. Water gets pulled up from the tank first and causes the symptoms that you are showing.

I know when my car has even a hint of water in the tank it will run as you have described here. Dry gas will at least rule the water out!

It will be nice to know what you find and goodluck! :-)
Steven Devine

This thread was discussed between 12/07/2014 and 15/07/2014

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