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MG TD TF 1500 - Getting Lily Christine IV running again

You may remember me, I spent a lot of time on this forum, rebuilding my dad's MG. Rebuilt brakes, redid wheels, new tires, major electrical work, body work, windshield work, lots of things, finally got her running pretty well; took her to a St Paddys Day parade and she overheated. Turned out 60 years of gunk in the waterways had totally occluded the water passages (despite my doing everything recommended to clean it out) and it overheated, melted the cam bearings and died.
Rebuilt the engine over the next year, got her running again, but not moving, when I ended up in hospital for major surgery.
I kind of lost steam after that.

Well, after a spell of two years, I finally got my 1951 TD running again. This week, I installed a new battery, a new fuel pump, and was wondering why I couldn't get the prime on the pump It turned out to be a decayed washer on the 1955 Chevy (not-original-obviously) glass bowl fuel filter which was letting air in as fast as the pump would suck.
After replacing the fuel filter and putting in a new washer, it would occasionally fire but that was it. Totally going through the carbs inch by inch solved the problem; stuck jets, bowls gunked up, you name it, it needed fixing.
Took the carbs off the car, built a thingummy to hold the carbs in the vise at the correct angle together, started cleaning everything.
The needles were jammed and careful disassembly cleaning and reassembly got them working again, but still problems.
Finished cleaning out and resetting the bowls and the floats, one was completely dry and both were stuck.

Put it all back together, put it into the car, and she started right up and idled nicely!

In the next few days I need to adjust the carbs and syncronize them, I have a couple of electrical problems to solve (running lights come on all the time, turn signals not working) and then hopefully, I should be able to drive her around again!

She's moved so little in the past four years I'll probably have to replace the tires, which do not last in the AZ heat, even when kept out of the sun...

But I'm back in the game. My intent is to get her running very nicely, get everything working as it should, and then probably sell her in the next couple of years. It's a lovely car but my g/f is retiring and we want to spend the next few years travelling, and it's probably a good time to reduce the clutter in our lives....

Geoffrey M Baker

Yay dude! Enjoy.
efh Haskell

Geoffrey -

Is your glass bowl filter a Durex 986640 filter? If the cork gasket between the bowl and top dries out, then it will wrinkle and never seal. I have a pattern to cut a new gasket.

LM Cook

Great to see you getting on the road again !
Mike Fritsch

Lonnie, no, it is a rubber filter. The entire filter is a standard Chevy fuel filter 55-57 (I get them from Someone put it on the car four decades ago, and I kind of like the look, plus I believe in filtration.... if you search the threads you will eventually find the thread where I describe what I had to do to remove a "miracle seal" treatment that my dad under advice from a pretty dimwitted friend of his, used to stop the leak in the gas tank. It created a thick silvery coating which within a couple of years started to break up in big strips and float down and jam up the tank. When I got the car I tried to clean it out by a variety of methods, none of which worked; so I ended up having a local radiator shop cut open every panel in the tank, sandblast the entire interior, treat with standard rust protection, and reseal it. The glass bowl would clog up pretty quick as you can imagine, but it kept the fuel pump and carbs from being destroyed. So I've kept it in place ever since. The filters themselves, which come with a new gasket, are pretty cheap.

Geoffrey M Baker

So today I ran the car several times. I'm going to have to take the carbs off again and start from scratch, it idles fairly well at low revs but starts to have trouble when I give it more gas; occasional backfires and intermittent revving. I think I need to go back to basics, reset the jets, recheck the floats, and tune and sync the carbs again. But the good thing, is she starts right up, and so long as I don't try to give it gas, will run quite nicely....
Geoffrey M Baker

The stuff stuck in the carbs sounds like ethanol fuel dissolved a gas tank coating and then evaporated. Been there, done that. Quite a mess. Suggest diagnosing the specific problem before taking carbs off again. The new December issue of Totally T-Type has a great Dave Braun article on SU carb tuning, check that out. Make sure you have dashpot oil as that will cause your symptoms if empty. George
George Butz III

Geoffrey, Your car is not by any chance TD8989 from Cottonwood Arizona per the Merson list? If so, would be only 3 numbers later than mine.
John Quilter (TD8986)

John Quilter, no afraid not. Mine is 10042, came from Boulder CO originally via Washington State.

Georbe Butz, yes, this is my fault; but I don't think it is dissolved gas tank coating. I drained the gas, but I notice when replacing the gasket on the fuel sender (just a chore I finally got around to doing) that the dry surfaces had a very fine dust on them that came off with my finger. Probably just a very fine oxidation layer, but its now in the gas system, of course, and has to be filtered out. I have a good filter (57 Chevy glass bowl/paper filter) that should catch all that and I will replace it several times during the process of getting the car back up and running. There is also residue in the carbs, just gumminess left from evaporated gas I think, which I have 99 percent cleaned out. Will check the dashpot oil.

Rod Murray came over and helped me yesterday and today I did some more tuning/adjusting. Reset needles and pistons, readjusted the forks in the bowls, cleaned. Put back on the car. Running better.

The engine handles acceleration much better. Idle is a bit more up and down. I've got it at 6 flats currently.

Tomorrow I'm going to check the dashpot oil, and sync the carbs.

After that, it will be time to look at the electrics and the timing.
Geoffrey M Baker

This thread was discussed between 23/11/2019 and 28/11/2019

MG TD TF 1500 index

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