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MG TD TF 1500 - Darned little car let me down.

Last weekend I got brave and decided to take it for a longer drive. I just got it on the road not long ago so I thought a 30 mile trip would do it some good. So I made it ALMOST all the way home and then it happened. It almost felt like I dropped a cylinder for a bit. Felt like it was missing, then it died completely.

Got stopped. Key off, key on, fuel pump clicks. Fuel in the clear glass filter I added so it there. But totally dead when turning it over. Pull a plug and to the best of my ability try to check for spark. Seems to be dead. Popped the cap and all looks good. But I forgot my tool kit. Argh.

So called a friend, towed it home. Tried again but no start. So now with tools, pulled the cap. spark to the points. Pulled the plugs turned the motor over by hand and timing is lined up properly. Check the plug wires and coil wire. Put it back together and it popped right off.

So.......what was the problem. I don't know. I seriously doubt that it would vapor lock driving down the road, plus when it does vapor lock, if I pull the choke it will at least sputter a bit and then run. It wouldn't even do that.

I went through each and every connection and cleaned and reseated. I had almost 100 miles on it before this little incident and it worked fine, other than vapor locking. I guess I'll just have to make sure to keep my tools with me and if it happens again (which I'm sure it will) try and figure out if it's fuel or electrical.

I guess it just needs to let me know who's boss.
l rutt

Lots of info in archives on "vapor-lock". For a while (when I was battling "VL") I carried a couple of those instant cold packs you can get at drug store. It won't fix the problem but it will let you know if that "is" the problem. "snap" a couple cold packs and put them on the carbs...if it starts right up then that is your problem. Much cheaper than getting it home on a flat bed and finding it would start right up after it cooled down.

"felt like I dropped a cylinder for a bit. Felt like it was missing, then it died completely" ...this sounds like something else I had a bout with years ago. Take a close look at your tach drive & dizzy. A common problem is the drive shorting against the cap/wires.

Hang in there ...she's testing you! Never go any where without the tool kit! She just wanted to "teach" you that. LOL

Keep this BBS posted the guys on here will get you fixed.
David Sheward

Did you pull only one plug??? Was it wet or dry???? Black or whitish,,, might be a sticking needle valve in one carb,,,

Steve Wincze

Also, if you still have them on your carbs, were the tickler pins up, full fuel delivery, or down, no fuel delivery...
Steve Wincze

I'm with Dave on the tach drive as #1 possibility. This happened to me twice when I first owned mine. And we tend to forget the obvious.
Tom Balutis

Mine did the same thing as I was coasting doing a U turn on hills foot off gas several times. Let it sit a few minutes and it started right up. Never did find the reason. It just stopped doing it!
efh Haskell

as you troubleshoot, remember these engines only need proper fuel mixture, compression, and healthy spark delivered at the proper time. the old saying.."90% of all carburetor problems are electrical" might apply here. the tach drive shorting is a good thought. heat breakdown of capacitors and coils are not unheard of. carbon tracking in the distributor cap, loose lead from the coil...all cylinders quit, not just plugs and the rest of the plug wires would be less suspect. i have never had vapor lock at driving speed in any of my cars. usually after a run and sit for 15 minutes while things under the hood heat up. if you have fuel to the pumps i do not see vapor lock at cruise...the fuel is under pressure from the pump to the carbs. i have read about stuff floating around in fuel tanks. stops fuel, car quits..debris floats away, car starts, runs fine, debris floats back, stops fuel, repeat until owner goes nuts.
sooooo, if you have compression..the engine internals are fine, if the rotor turns and points open and close the mechanicals on the distributor are fine. if the tach drive is not the issue, by reseating the coil wire you may have solved the problem already. i think if you keep in mind ALL cylinders quit you are on the right track. let us know what you find. regards, tom
tom peterson

I don't know if you have the original wiring, as my car did. A badly corroded bullet connector feeding power to the ignition switch would heat up and stop conducting when the car was hot at different times. Very hard to find. Easy to fix afterward. I eventually replaced the harness.

It can't be hot enough for vapor lock in May, can it? And vapor lock happens when you turn the car off and try to restart it, not driving down the road.

L Ayres

Wasn't the dizzy wire, i checked that and made sure when I built it up it was clear. Pulled only one plug and it look ok, not wet, not black.

The thing that really confused me was the feeling of dropping just one cyl or so. Since both carbs sit on a plenum sort of affair, even if one had a problem it would still operate to some extent I'd think.

No tickler pins on my carbies.

I sprung for a 'spark' tester the other day to aid in checking by the side of the road.

Battling a jet ski problem right now. almost sunk one this weekend. Lots of water intrusion. Realy hokey setup for sealing things so I might 'improve' it. Especially when the lakes your in are full of gators. Not the place to be stranded in the water.
l rutt

Try a different rotor. Lots of bad ones out there a while back, friend's TF had intermittent poor running- new rotor fixed. Checking for spark on each cylinder if/when it quits it the thing to do. Also, you can take the top of the float bowl off and see if it is really full of gas. Here in Central Fla, it is gator mating season, so you really need to get that jet ski sorted! Not sure if aggressive males just attack or mistaken identity issue, but they are a problem here this time of year with people and dogs. George PS- how old is the gas? The new stuff goes bad really, really fast.
George Butz

I had a similar problem when I got my present car about 12 years ago. The car would run fine for a couple of miles and would start to break up and then die. Nothing would get it going. I'd push it home and into the garage and start experimenting with wires, points, rotor, plugs, cap, etc and then I went through the carbs, fuel pump, etc. The car would continue to behave in the same manner. If I did nothing and let the car cool down for a couple of hours, it would start and run perfectly and then repeat the same routine! When I finally replaced the coil, against most advice, the problem went away. I have put around 14000 miles on the car over the years and rebuilt the bottom end of the motor, but I have never again changed anything in the ignition system except the plugs.
Steven Tobias

Don't anyone laugh, but I recall 45 years ago in Hot Arizona, we used to put wooden clothspins on the gas line to disapate heat. It sounded like a good cure in theory. I have been running my TD without side panels and have never had any issues with over heating or vapor lock.
I think we learned that trick on installing them on the Titian 2 Missle fuel lines, but thats another story. Bob
R.AF. Robert Finucane

"I think we learned that trick on installing them on the Titian 2 Missle fuel lines, but thats another story. Bob "

Now you have me worried about the state of our nuclear defense. If you tell me you're putting ice packs on the missiles carburetors, I'll know we're in trouble!! :)
Geoff Baker

This thread was discussed on 04/05/2010

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