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MG TD TF 1500 - XPAG TD2 15613 Engine Start

Wow... Engine on bare chassis started on first try!

Thanks to the members of the Minnesota MG T Register who came over, enjoyed pancakes, and kept the process safe and efficient.

I had never static timed the car before, I just drove it over the years without really worrying, and for an engine which had very low compression in the first cylinder, it ran OK. Bob Figenskau showed me the ins and outs and I repeated the process to make sure I understood the feel. We had a small leak at the float bowl for the rear carb, more about that later. I used a battery with a cut off switch to power the starter, and a battery charger set at 12 VDC and 2 amps to run the fuel pump and the coil. Mindful of the comments about the tach reducer swinging and hitting the breaker point connection on the side of the distributer, I had rotated the distributer 90 degrees away from where I had previously installed it.

We broke at this point for pancakes, and some of us enjoyed a bit of Baileys in our coffee. Back out to the garage for a quick oil pressure confirmation. The weather was just above freezing, but the wood stove in the garage, and the trouble light under the oil sump all night had warmed the straight 30w up nicely. Cranking with the plugs out for about 10 seconds, and the oil gauge jumped straight to 50 psi. With Laura snapping pictures, Fig working the carbs, Diane manning the battery cut off, Bill working the ignition and fuel pump switch, Lew holding a fire extinguisher, Jim observing the oil pressure and leaks, and Mike there with his big old Minolta and his advice on getting the garage door at the right opening to fit the exhaust hose we were ready.

The engine started up and ran perfectly for about 15 seconds before we shut it down. I almost cried. I'm not sure why I didn't but later I was told that I had stood there with a stunned look on my face. I honestly had no clue it would start on the first crank. I purposely gave myself no job except to watch, and while I have memory of the wonderful experience, I'm still digesting the feelings.

The leak on the fuel bowl turned out not to be the MGA style neoprene gaskets. I did work those surfaces again on 320 grit wet and dry and a flat plate, but on observing the fuel going into the bowls, the leak was the plug in the side of the bowl arm where the hole was drilled to go from the bowl to the fuel intake. Removing the float bowl, and driving the plug tight with a small drift cured the leak.

I'm so grateful to my friends who came over to assist, and to the members of the BBS who offered advice and comments based on their experience. From Fig suggesting we back the crank out of the pulley, to those who warned me to have a fire extinguisher and in the process woke me up to the safety issues, to Dave DuBois for sending me the pointer for my water temp gauge after my stupid MG trick... it was a perfect day because of all of you.

Dave Braun

We're excited for you! You did everything the way it should have been done, and made it even more special by including your friends to share in the moment. You'll long remember the experience, and if you're thrilled now, just think what its going to be like when you take her out of the driveway for the first time! Congratulations!
Gene Burgess

Dave.... you took me back a year and a half... how exciting... well done.
gordon lawson

Huston - We do NOT have a problem, thank you.
David DuBois

Some people say that cars are inanimate objects. I guess they are until they fire up. It's alive! Your emotional attachment is carved in stone now.

Dave, congrats on the motor start. would have been there but had a funeral to attend. Sounds like a good crew was there to get this thing going.

To Dave Braun --- Congrats on sucessfully starting up for the first time. Hopefully only the first of many thousands.

R. K. (Bob) Jeffers

Dave ,
Congrats! That's the way to do it! You will have a great memory to share with all that were there. I, on the other hand, have only the memory of just how freaking lucky I was that I didn't burn to the ground, my car, "Abingdon Hootersville North" (my rented garage), and can only laugh (now) when I remember my start-up!
(A fond memory, yes...but not very safe!)
Hope others will find this thread and follow your example
David Sheward

Congrats, Dave B., I remember that feeling. One more thing that you want to keep in mind -- the proper run-in procedure in case you replaced the camshaft. There's a thread on the subject in the archives.
Bud Krueger

Congrats, Dave, it's something you will never forget. I still remember that day, summer '66 after 3yrs work when I hand cranked my '32-J2 to life. It didn't run when I got it (basket case) so I didn't know what to expect. It's a great thrill especially when done with friends around. Greg & Grimm
G.J. Cenzer

Congratulations Dave!

I remember the same feelings. I was also surprised how quickly my car started and ran. What a great feeling!
Evan Ford - TD 27621

Wow! Way to go!!! What a great feeling. Same feeling with a TF1500 a few years ago-it hadn't run since the 60's, and it started instantly, running with a temp set-up similar to yours. Time to get going with the rest of the car- spring is near! George
George Butz

Thank you all for your kind wishes. I looked at my photosite and read some of my comments regarding what I was planning, the level of repair and restoration to make my 'two year old driver'. I looked at the horrible pictures prior to the rebuild of the engine, I thought I could almost see the flaws and faults as if I possessed an xray vision through the two dimensional photographs. There is just something about knowing the engine is really up to snuff, that the original cam and tappets were just fine, that the bearings are new and everything is torqued correctly, that the problems with the first cylinder and the bearings meant my engine was close to failure, and yet now it is strong and ready for me to complete the restoration.

Somewhere along the line I shifted my focus to something closer to original, with fewer compromises. Something simplier and cleaner. I thought of updating my early photosite comments to reflect the changes in attitude, but I think that would spoil my recollection of the thought process which has taken me to where I am now. So if you visit the photosite, and read my early comments, please understand that although they were written by me, they were also written by someone else.


Dave Braun

Congratulations Dave.

I just picked up my engine over at Strictly British in Hudson. So hopefully, I will have that experiencein a few weeks.
Bruce Cunha


If you are close enough to have Strictly British do your engine, are you close enough to join up with this merry band of T-typers of the Minnesota MG T Register?

I'm only just across the river from Hudson and run a TD, J2, and PB Airline.

Lew Palmer
Lew Palmer


If you aren't too far from the Twin Cities, and I'm in town, I might like a field trip to watch your engine start, if you are willing to have visitors.

Dave Braun

Thanks all.

I live in Marshfield, which is right in the center of Wisconsin. No British clubs in our area (I have membership in Fox Vally over by appleton, but that is about 3 hours from my home), so I may wish to travel your way just for some good car conversation.

It is about a 2.5 hour trip. That may be a bit of a trip my way Dave.

Bruce Cunha

Bruce, I have read your comments in this section many times. PLease if you get a chance join us in the Cities sometime. We have a weekly lunch at the Richfield American Legion on Tuesdays and we travel all over the area including Wisconsin. The club makes lots of trips over the year and maybe we will schedule one out your way one of these days. Let me know if you are comming this way and maybe we can get some members together for a wee nip or two.


I've made that drive once or twice... let me know. I'll bring a T-Typer or two with me if I can.

Dave Braun

Thanks All

I will take you up on a visit over once the weather is a bit better.

Dave Resin occasionally posts on this site. Dave lives between me and the Twin City. He has taken a really rough TD and brought it back to a fantastic restoration.

I will touch base with him and perhaps we can plan a get together that would be a good drive for all.
Bruce Cunha

This thread was discussed between 29/01/2006 and 31/01/2006

MG TD TF 1500 index

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