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MG MGA - Start up advice needed

Please don't flame me here guys, I know I screwed up. I changed oil and filter in my 1500 MGA the year before last and hardly drove it. Last year, I started it and drove it just a couple of very short trips.Didn't change the oil. Now it has sat in the garage all winter and I want to get it ready to drive. Hopefully this year I can put some miles on it. My question is....How do you advise that I start it? Should I just start it, warm it up, and change the oil? Or should I drain the oil cold, put in fresh, then start it. Maybe pull the plugs and squirt some oil into the cylinders? I would appreciate any advice. I'd just like to prevent doing any damage if I can. The engine has been rebuilt and has app. 3,000 miles on it.
Thanks folks,
Jerry Murphy
Jerry Murphy

Always start it up and run until the oil is hot, that way the oil will drain out quickly and easily. It will also help to lift any settled particles into suspension.
If you still have the standard contact breaker and the engine hasn't been run for ages, it can help if you pass a nail file or similar through the contacts to knock off any corrosion to hopefully give an instant start-up.
It can help if you turn the engine over a few times with the plugs out with the starting handle or with the starter, when you should eventually see some oil pressure. It all helps.
P N Tipping


Here is my routine after a relatively long storage.
I pull the plugs and using a light penetrating oil (WD40) I spray the cyclinder walls as best I can.
I use the hand crank to rotate the engine so I'm spraying each cylinder whem the piston is at the bottom of the stroke. Once thats done, with the plugs still out, I crank the engine over with the starter to help the oil lube the bearings. Gas age could be a factor in how well she starts, hopefully the carbs are not gummed up with bad gas.

Good luck
L Caya

I wouldn't say you screwed up at all. Oil doesn't go bad from sitting around, unlike gasoline. With your limited mileage it's certain to be fine. Because most US gas now contains 10% ethanol it undergoes "phase separation" (alcohol and gas separte) after about 3 months. If you didn't put stabilizer in the gas that may be a bigger problem. Regarding lubrication, leave the ignition off and crank the motor till you see oil pressure on the gage. This will ensure good lubrication when you first start it. Unlike my friend Ken suggests, I would not spray WD40 into the cylinders. WD is a solvent, not a lubricant, and quite flammable as well so it might act as stater fluid. Marvel Mystery Oil or regular engine oil would be a better choice, but you really need nothing at all. If you feel the need to change the oil, do warm the engine first as suggested. Also, do be sure to check coolant and brake fluid as well.
G T Foster

Thank you Pete, Ken, and GT. Really appreciate your help. Have been off this board for about a year and a half, but nothing has changed. This is still a great place to come for many reasons.

Jerry Murphy

I agree with GT. Don't use WD40 use Marvel Mystery Oil. Uou can get it at Autozone or Advanced Auto for a few bucks.
MWH Huffman

I spray starting fluid on the air cleaners. Every little bit helps getting the engine to fire. I find it very effective and it saves on cranking the bejesus out of the battery.

In case you havn't started it yet,you can also pull the valve cover and oil up the valve train
gary starr

Starting fluid makes higher combustion pressure and can damage the crank.
L E Marchand

I've heard that starting fluid can damage rubber bits in the carburetors, not sure if this is true though.
G Goeppner

This thread was discussed between 29/03/2011 and 08/04/2011

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