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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Long progress report

Just a quick update on the progress of my V8 project. I'm now into the seventh year on my 68 BGT, 247 ci. Buick-Olds, T5 conversion. That's really bad, but everything takes me so dang long, and I'm not even a super perfectionist. In that time, I've finished repair of the rust damage, although the floor panel replacement will have to wait until the engine is 'permanently' mounted. The stock B rearend was rebuilt with a 3.3 C cwp setup, and Quaif lsd. New springs, everything rubber except for poly mounting pads. Just about every part in the front end is new, with the exception of the spindles and one swing arm. Used poly and V8 bushes. Btakes are uprated stock with the usual drilled rotors and V8 pads. I installed a Koni tele shock kit front and rear, although after reading on this BB, I wish that I'd known more before getting rid of the stock lever arms, but I'll just have to set them softest and see how that works. Those orange Konis do look nice up front; I guess I'm just a hot-rodder at heart.
All the inner fender, bulkhead, tunnel and radiator shelf work was finished long ago. The unibody has been checked for straight and square, and it's darn close. The steering has been sorted using two Borgeson joints with vibration damper, collapsible intermediate shaft, and custom steering shaft, made up from a 70's B. The bottom left rear header bolt is an inch away from the top u-joint, leaving room to fabricate a heat shield. Can anyone recommend a good source of an aftermarket steering wheel? The tranny support was just finished. Twenty hours or so of work, and I'm pretty proud of it. Next on to the motor mounts. I'm bolting plate to the rear of the crossmember, welding on thick stuff upto round stock into Buick mounts. The front pulley sits an inch aft of the sway bar, with the engine 1-1/2 degrees down in back, phased to the rearend. After the engine is finally bolted up, I can look to starter and steering heat shields, then the floor panels. The header fabrication scares me a little; I refuse to go thru the inner fenders. Doing my own Headers by Ed is the plan, unless I can find a local pipe bender who'll do it in a tenth of the time it'll take me. I'm gonna throw a party on the day I can see that shifter sticking up thru there, and can screw that shift ball on. Yeah!! I have a burl of bird's eye maple that I'm going to carve one out of, and also look into having the burl sliced thin so that I can inlay the instrument panel area of my 'Abbingdon pillow' with wood. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself, back to reality and the world of fabricating motor mounts. Then, exhaust, wiring, brake lines, clutch hookup, interior (lots of heat shielding under the carpets), etc, etc...there'll always be something, eh?
Harry, does your Quaif lsd still run hot? Did you find that to be normal operation?
When I was drooling over MGBs and Ejags in Car and Driver back in high school, I never dreamed that I'd be into a project like this when I was fifty years old.

Regards, Joe
Joe Ullman

Joe, it absolutely takes forever. I bought my car mostly done, and even doing a few little things took ages. It's just part of the game -- it often takes five times longer to do something right than to simply do it. I don't even know whether it's all that important to do stuff absolutely perfectly in every single case, but my attitude is, that way you can box it up and basically forget about it. Plus it's nice to try for a setup that looks like it could have been built that way at the factory.

As far as the headers, a set of block-huggers isn't very expensive and it will just save you -- I would guess -- a ton of work. Something has always rubbed me the wrong way about the RV8-style headers too, but in all fairness they are supposed to help cooling quite a bit. At least get the block-huggers ceramic-coated.

The LSD does get a little balmy after driving hard, but it seems to work fine so who knows if it will last. (Actually I was recently corrected -- a Quaife is a torque-biasing diff, not a limited slip. Similar but not exactly the same as the much-vaunted Torsen design used on the RX7s. IOW if one wheel has zero traction, the other won't -- it takes just a bit of traction for it to work. So eg it will not help if you drive like a maniac with your rear inside tire off the ground!) You'll be glad to have one though!

As far as the steering wheel, a 14" moto-lita or a LE wheel should work great, although there are cheaper ones out there.

Thanks for your response, Harry. Yeah, you can beat your head against the wall trying for perfection; I just do the best I can, and if that's not good enough, do it over. The Quaif is different in that it doesn't have 'clutch plates', I guess among other things.
I would be tempted to go with the block huggers, but the problem that I anticipate is due to the fact that I'm using Buick 300 heads, this would make these headers even more restrictive. Since the exhaust ports are somewhat larger than on the 215 head, the block hugger inlets will be too small, or is a block hugger available from a larger Rover engine that would fit these exhaust ports? No one makes a block hugger for a 300, as far as I could discover. Yes, whatever it turns out to be, will definitely get the ceramic coating.
For cooling benefits, I've opened up the area around the rear of the engine to allow better airflow out. I read an article where guys building a custom sports car with a tight engine bay found that the most help that they could achieve for cooling came from the amount of escape route for hot air out the back around the bellhousing. I'm also toying with the idea of a scoop opening towards the rear in my aluminum hood, but that's a ways down the road. Thanks for your comments.
I'm hoping to find a banjo style steering wheel that's not too dear. Ha, ha.

Joe Ullman

Joe -

I noticed you mentioned that you're using Koni telescopic shocks, which is of interest to me. I've got a BGT V8 racer with a telescoping shock adapter kit, but the shocks specified are stock shocks off of a Chevy Astrovan (If I remember correctly). I've always wondered if Koni made an adjustable damper with the correct valving for the weight of the MGB. Could you tell me what part # the shocks you use are and any measurements you might have on them? If you remember who made your conversion kit for the dampers, that would be useful information also. Thanks for the help.

Doug DeLong

Hi Doug
I got the front and rear Koni kit from Brown and Gammons in the U.K. They were sold as specifically for the MGB, so hopefully, they have the proper valving. I'll need to dig out the paperwork to give you the part number, so it may be a few days before I can do that, the way things are stacking up for this busy weekend. Be patient and I'll get it to ya soon.

Joe Ullman

I went thru both my 'file boxes' and unfortunately couldn't come up with a part number for the Konis. Thinking back, it seems that the B&G parts number for the kit obscured the original Koni number on the box, and couldn't be removed. That must be why I wrote down the number for Koni Intl, in Hebron, KY(??). It's 606-586-4100. My thoughts must have been when I needed new shocks for the B, I'd call them. Hope this helps.

Joe Ullman

Thanks for the info Joe, I'll give Koni a call and see what they can come up with. I guess I should have done that a long time ago. Good luck with your project, once it's finally done you're going to have a blast.
Doug DeLong

This thread was discussed between 31/08/2001 and 01/09/2001

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