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MG TD TF 1500 - Engine Startup Problem

I have nearly completed my restoration and tried starting my engine today. I've rebuilt the carbs using Lawrie Alexanders SU DVD. The fuel pumps are providing ample pressure (I had to correct a heavy leak at one of the banjos). The engine did not start. I made several attempts. When I removed a spark plug to check for flooding, I noted that there was no wet gasoline on the plug, nor was there any odor of gasoline. I assume there is no fuel getting to the cylinder. Any suggestions as to how to proceed?
Corey Pedersen 1951 TD #7169


You didn't say how long your attempts were when you tried to start the car but it's seldom instantaneous the first time you try. You did have the choke pulled and the throttle pressed (or the idle adjustment opened way up, right?).

If so, then remove the tops of the carbs and pull the pistons/needles out. Look at the jets and see if you can see any gas. If you can, then reassemble your carbs...gas is getting to that point. Make sure that your butterfly's are opening when you're pressing on the throttle - that's what pulls the gas into the engine.

If all that is correct then double check your timing...make sure your distributor is adjusted correctly with #1 being on the compression stroke.


Gene Gillam

I believe all of the electrical settings are correct.

I did have the choke pulled out. I did not have the throttle open. The operating manual does not specify doing so. I'll follow your suggestions and try again tomorrow. I didn't remove the air cleaner and manifold. If necessary, I'll do that and squirt some fuel into the venturi.
Corey Pedersen 1951 TD #7169

Corey if the tickler pins on the float chambers are still working, turn the ignition key on then depress the pins, after you hear the fuel pump click about 10 times try to start the engine.
Len Fanelli

Double check for spark, of course. I sometimes hookup a spare sparkplug on the engine and look for a zap. Alternately, I'll attach a timing light just to verify juice, then shoot it at the crankpulley to confirm timing.
Then, to make sure the plug wires aren't 180 degrees off, I pop the cap and stick my finger on the sparkplug hole and roll it over with the fan to make sure the rotor coincides with compression stroke. Removing the valve cover can also reveal compression versus exhaust stroke with respect to the rotor.

Just for the heck of it, you might crank the butterflies open a touch more to make sure they aren't completely shut.

Keep us in the loop!

If your engine is a new rebuild make sure it is idled up to at least 1500rpm when it does start. Not a bad idea to put an extra turn on the throttle linkage . to keep the revs up a little.
C.R. Tyrell

The leak at the banjo indicates that you have fuel to the bowls,, good,,, As Gene asked,,, How long did you crank the engine ? It's not going to start right up like a modern car the first time,,
You said that the choke was pulled out,, did you varify that the choke was operating properly at the carbs??


May not be relevant but I had the identical problem with my MGA and it turned out to be stale fuel. New fuel in each of the carby bowls overcame the problem!
Barry Bahnisch

Thx gents. Answers - the fuel is fresh, my carbs don't have tickler pins, I cranked ten times for approx 10 sec each, I didn't check for spark (but I'll do so), the engine is not a new rebuild (just re-sealed), the choke is operating at the carbs.

I'll up the idle screws a bit, and follow the various suggestions above and retry.
Corey Pedersen 1951 TD #7169

you did use the choke, or enrichener, right?
L Rutt

Do a quick check by shooting. Starter fluid or some gas down carbs and see if she fires up for a second, then you know electrical and compression is out.

Also check the bowls for fuel, could be stuck needles.

It is likely in the rebuild carbs, but some simple tests can eliminate other issues.
Dean E

Success!!! I found and rectified two problems...I checked the vaccuum pistons for free movement and found that both of them were stuck. This was odd because they worked well after my rebuild. They have been sitting for about six months, and I suspect that they developed some minor corrosion in that time. I freed them and confirmed free movement. I also noted that I had not set the idle speed screws, so I was attempting to start with fully closed throttle plates. After correcting these items the engine started on the first crank and idled smoothly.
Thx to all for the assistance and moral support!
Corey Pedersen 1951 TD #7169

CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

make sure that the neddles are centered properly,,,If not, that might hinder the pistons from moving freely,,,,,


Steve, I carefully recentered the pistons when I rebuilt the carbs. One of them required recentering during my efforts today. Always pays to check and re-check.
Corey Pedersen 1951 TD #7169

Congrats Corey...

It's almost always the easy things...

Gene Gillam

This thread was discussed between 16/10/2013 and 18/10/2013

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