The French Blatting Company
On 10th March I collected an MGB roadster from Ian in Chelmsford. Great chap, honest and straight.
Ian has spent years and a lot of money on this car. He has fitted coil over shock suspension, uprated the brakes, and it has an Ivor Searle 2.1 engine. It certainly goes.
I've got a few minor bits to sort out like:
Reduce the hardness of the adjustable shockers, the car bounces down the road they're so hard. Set them all to 12 clicks from hardest, need to try it.
Stop an exhaust rattle. This is caused by the bottom shocker bolt being 1/16" from the exhaust. I'll remove the rear section of the exhaust and hammer a area so it's a bit further away
Move the seat mounting runners back one hole, the seat is too close to the wheel for me. Nightmare! The seat won't go forward enough (due to thickness of seat cushion which is touching the tunnel) to get to the outside bolt. I'm going to remove the seat stop bolt and see if it will stay where I move it back to.
Re-align the wood rimmed steering wheel, it's too far right and the spokes cover the speedo and oil/remp gauges
Bleed brakes, they are a bit long on firts push but this may be disc runout
Fit a RVC pcb to the tacho so the rev counter works with the electronic ignition.
Fix the dash and indicator lights which don't work
fit a later gear lever with the overdrive switch in the lever.
Replace existing od switch with a wiper single wipe spring loaded switch (like the old headlamp flasher switches)
The Ivor Serale engine number is RS1 02905
Oh, and take some pictures.
Ok, if your squemish don't look any further. The problem started because I couldn't get the drivers seat forward enough to get the back bolts out, the seat squab is thicker than standard and the seat is against the tunnel. So, brainbox here thinks "why don't I remove the stop and the seat will go back a bit further. Second problem was that the carpets are so thick I can't get to the nut holding the stop block the the seat rail. Out comes the Dremel and I start cutting through the stop block. All goes well and I chisel the block off when I've cut about 3/4 through. I then use the Dremel to clean up the face of what remains of the stop block. It's at this point my troubles really start. Holding the Dremel in a confined space with arthritic fingers is a recipe for dropping said tool. I drop Dremel as I'm lifting it out of the rear well and, with it still running, it goes right into my forearm. My ever loving rushes me to Barnsley Hospital where it's cleaned, examined by 3 doctors, washed out and stiched up.
Now for the gory picture..... (scroll down)
And after the administrations of Richard at the A&E.
I had to go back to hospital after 7 days for the consultant to inspect. The following day I went down with Coronavirus, probably contracted a week before. I knew nothing until early April. It took until the end of April that I started to "wake up". Lynne gave orders I wasn't to do any work on the cars until June. This was OK as, during the so called "lockdown" I was working on the new South Yorkshire MG Owners Club website (ww.symgoc.uk). But I finished it first week of May so decided I felt fit and well and started by washing the cars...... this is how you wash cars :)
First thing to sort out is why the rear is 2"/6cm higher than it should be. The previous owner has fitted coil over spring conversion all round and parabolic springs to rear. This how the spring to axle is configured. After some debate on the MGOC forum I decided I needed a rear suspension lowering kit. This is now on order, should be here this week (w/b 10/5/20)
A better picture. Note the rear silencer has been taken off and I'm modifying it (ie heating it up and bashing it with a big hammer so it's not hitting the shock absorber)
Next was to adjust the carbs, it was running rich. The bonnet stay was hampering access to the rear carb so this is how we did it many years ago. I've since made a tie back from electrical wire and it's kept in the boot.
The setscrew and nut are replaced with a pin and split pin for quicker removal. As the pin is too long I've fitted a spring between bracket and head of pin.
Exhaust back on and car taken of axle stands I start tackling why the tacho doesn't work. Previous owner had fitted an electronic ignition module and this is why the early tacho stops working. Various advice from the MGOC forum. I take the tacho out and this strange thing appears. Turns out it's the ignition warning light. I refit and now have a visible warning light. However the dash lights still don't work nor do the indicator warning lights. To cut a long story short I thought one of the two white wires should go to the coil. One was 12v and the other was dead. I extended it to the cb side of the coil only to find it's fed 12v from the other wire.... burnt the electronic ignition module out! But, problem solved, I'll put the points and condensor back and the tacho should work.
Clearer picture of the wiring on the tacho.
The coil as it shoukld be., the black wire is cb to distributor, the white wire is 12v to sw and the red to the distributor. I stuck a 12v wire on the cb terminal.
I have bought a later gear lever with overdrive switch from eBay. I also bought a new switch and cover as the old had hardly any printing left. I ended up cussing at the rubbish parts (from Moss). The holes in the new switch are too small for the screws and the switch is too wide so binding on the cover. It also doesn't have a good click action. Old one cleaned and fitted to new cover. Now to make a tool to get the inner nut on the gear lever, refit the switch and join the extended wires to those going to the dash switch. I've got a headlamp flasher switch to go in the vacant hole, wired to the wiper switch.
New lever fitted. I had to cut a slot in the existing plate as the new lever didn't have one
Now for the switch that will operate a single wipe of the wipers. I cannot get to the wiper switch so will have to wire it to the wires going to the motor. I cut back the loom tape but the wires are still difficult to get to. Little light time, why not use a Scotch Lock. This is one I put away on the basis that it might come in handy one day, this is that day. However, the switch does not make the wipers work. I have 12v from the fuse box and the other wireis spliced into the blue/green wire which is the fast speed feed. It should work! I'm going to remove the Scotch Lock and fit a piggyback lucar, after doing some more testing.
I fitted new speakers, very smart. If I can get the radio out of the MG TF I'll fit it in the B and refit the original to the TF.
This is the aerial on the MG TF
This is the hole in the wing which the previous owner suiggested I fill with a grommet.
And this is the "small" aerial I got off eBay.It said small but I didn't think it was this small. It's only fitted to the grommet and the grommet to the wing. I've ordered a larger DAB aerial ready for the DAB radio.
The flick switch, which I wired up using a scotch lock (see above) doesn't work.
So this morning I took the scotch lock off, cut away a small section of the rock hard covering to the wire and touched a live feed to the bare wire. IT WORKED. The problem was the V shaped blade in the scotch lock didn't cut into the rock hard insulation.
Bit of a struggle getting the crimping tool on the, now, cut wire but all is fine. Only the wiper motor to refit and the wiring to clip up.
Monday 11th May 2020.
Refitted the wiper motor and decided to take the tacho out to see if I could see why the indicator warning lamps weren't working. However, first decided top take the rheostat for the dash lamps out and it turned out it was faulty. Holding the two wires together and the dash lamps came on. Two minutes and a link wire was made to bypass the stat. Then pulled the indicator warning light bulbs out and changed them, they now work. Tacho back in and, apart from swaping the radios, fitting the lowering kit (which arrived today), refitting points and condensor and the new centre console for the radio to go in the jobs are finished. If the parts arrive tomorrow from MGB Hive I may be finished by tomorrow night.
Got the rear suspension lowering kit on. In hindsight I should have soaked the U bolts in petrol yesterday to soften the underseal. Really difficult getting the U bolts out when covered in gooey underseal. That took about two and a half hours after which I started on the aerial. I couldn't get all but one of the screws out of the access panel under the N/S/F wing. Ended up cutting the heads off with the angle grinder. left the top screw in and bent the panel upout of the way, couldn't reach the aerial! Gave up at this point and went in. I was getting tired and cold.
This morning I've finished making the wiring loom to the new centre console. I need a permanant 12v for clock, switched 12v for volt meter, cigar lighter and radio. wire for instrument lighting and earth for all and dash light wire for gauges. all done, just waiting for the console to be delivered and the gauges and the cigar lighter. I then pushed the car outside and enlerged the hole in the wing to accept the new aerial. I also cleaned the paint of a hole behind where the centre console will go and fitted a min earth loom. One for each gauge, one for the cigar lighter and one for the radio. I've come in now as it's too cold to be working on the aerial. I'm hoping the parts arrive with points and condensor and the new centre console. That will give me something to do inside where it's warmer.
The back looks better, but still 2cm too high......
.... the front has now risen. it was 36cm now 38cm (same as rear)
I'm not going to worry about 3/4" at least it's now level.
Thursday 14th May
Had a day off but then got bored so completed the wiring to the centre console. It needs:
3 switched 12v
3 permanant 12v
2 dash light
2 pair speaker wires
I've also wired in a cigar lighter socket to be kept behind the console and the wire running up to the satnav which is on the glove box lid below the tonneau. No wires will be seen in this production. The cigar lighter in the console will be used for charging phones etc.
So this is it.
Looks a bit of a mess but there are a lot of wires in there and I like to leave them long so the console can be pulled out with the wiring still attached.
This is the console as it is. Waiting for a sheet of 3mm perspex in matt black to cut 70mm roundels with 52mm holes for the two gauges. A badge for the top is on order.
Friday 15th May
Too cold to work outside this morning. Put all the tools away and put the Elise and MGTF batteries on charge. About 1200 took the Elise to the car wash, it needed it, covered in bird poo! Had some lunch then I drove the TF and Lynne drove her Mini and they got washed. By this time it had warmed up so I got the car outside and finished fitting the aerial. Nightmare. couldn't find a way into the cabin for the wires. Ended up drilling a hole in the wheel arch which got the 3 wires (DAB aerial's have 3 wires) into the footwell. I gave up at this point - exhausted. I will have to drill new holes for the under wing access plate as the self tappers I cut off will not come out.
BONUS... I notice the front shock absorbers are adjustable for height, only got to find my C spanner and I'll lower the front to the correct height.
I've built a tool kist and it's expanded thanks to the members of the MGOC forum. This is it, It has a roll of gaffer tape, some cable ties and a feeler gauge since the picture was taken. Only waiting for a chubby screwdriver now.
Saturday 16th was a day off.
Started with getting the satnav wiring into the glove box then found my switched feed wasn't! so ran another wire from the fuse box into the centre console area. Satnav now works when ignition switched on. Rolled up the yards of aerial wire and tucked it out of the way. Now think I'll unwrap it and route the cables behind the side panel and along the loom. Monday's first job.
Next came the dreaded inspection panel under the N/S wing. With a bad back and artheritis I really struggled getting the panel back in as I had to drill new holes for the screws. A 10 minute job took over an hour but it was done just before lunch. After lunch I had an hours sleep to recover from the morning then fitted the 6 lift-the-dot plates to the tonneau. Only got one wrong! it really isn't easy when your fingers don't work. I'll sort it in the morning. Then got the two front ones to put in. The dash has holes for the studs on the two hole flanges but I've only got one in stock so I screwed self tappers into the inner holes. The centre will be held by velcro, I'm not risking drilling the panel, even though I've got a small right angle air drill.
The plate nearest the camera will go over, when it gets warm! The one that need repositioning is on the other side.
I need to cut the pvc sheet that's due on Monday into roundels to cover the oblong and round hole in the centre console. I have a 70mm hole cutter and a 50mm cutter but can't find the mandrel for the smaller one. So ordered a set of hole cutters from Amazon. The price was £14.99 and I'm amazed how they can make these for that price. The saw type is on the right. If they perform as good as they look I'll use the 65mm for the outer circle and the 50mm for the inner. Then gently file the 1mm to make it a 52mm hole for the standard size gauge. Will give a 2mm edge all round, so should look OK. If it's too small I'll have to use the 70mm cutter.
Tuesday 18th May
The post girl came at 0800 with 6 packets:
Din plugs for centre console
Aerial lead for MGTF radio to go back in
Condensor and screw for MGB
Steering wheel nut to replace stripped nut
MG badge for centre console... only it's not what goes in thje top cut out.
Plastic sheet for fitting two gauges.
Only item not arrived yet is a voltmeter from the MX5 clug (it was far cheaper than anywhere else).
I moved the incorrectly placed lift-the-dot plate on the tonneau. Then started on making the round filler plates for the clock and voltmeter. Took som etime as first two efforts cracked so had to use the cutting tool very slowly. The end result is good, not level all the way around but it doesn't show when fitted. After lunch I connected the din plugs for the stereo. I've made the wiring quite long so I can connect it all with the console well away from the dash.
All wired up and then.... very dissapointed, the console will not go fully back because the radio is hitting the dash panel. I've left it loose for now and will figure out how to hold it in tomorrow.
This is the console with vacant hole for voltmeter. I also had to make a plate for the badge to go on. I've no idea what is supposed to go there. I'm thinking of securing the top side screws and then drill two holes in the flat piece that is sitting on the carpet and use two screws to hold the console in as far as it will go. I also have a fault on the O/S speakers, not sure if it's the wiring at the radio end or in the door. Shouldn't take long to sort it out.
The overdrive is swithing backwards, in when out, out when in.... I'll swap the wires around behind the dash at a later date. I think I may wire a warning light in somewhere, to show the O/D is engaged.
Wednesday 20th May
Last night I adjusted the headlamp beams and refitted the N/S rim but the O/S would not go on. As I was tired |I left it for this morning. After a bit of a struggle it went on.
We then went out. Over Woodhead Pass, shortcut into Glossop and then left back over Snake Inn pass. back along Mortimer Road then through Low Bradfiled and down to Oughtibridge straight on toe teh A61 and home.
When we got home a parcel had been left, It was the Voltmeter. So this afternoon I've wired and fitted it. I've also removed the plugs which shows the carbs are running rich. It's baking hot out there so I'll adjust them in the morning.
Whilst I was fitting the voltmeter, the centre armrest and lid arrived. But....
I was given good reports abou MGB Hive. I've not experienced any good service. I ordered the centre console but there was no mention that I also needed an interior lamp or that it's designed to go with the centre armrest. So yesterday I ordered the centre armrest console and the lid that goes on it. A minute or so later I remembered the interior lamp (which goes in the oblong at the top above the radio) so went back on and ordered the interior lamp with a note to include it with the centre armrest stuff. Box arrived today but no lamp. It gets worse. The lid for the center armrest has no clip or hinge. It also needs an ashtray to fill the cut out for it. Surely it should be included or at least their website should note what other parts are need if fitting for the first time. So, I cannot fit the centre armrest and the centre radio console until I get the hinge as it has screws and nuts which are accessed from under. I've found the ashtray and clip but cannot find the hinge on the website.
My advice is not to use their website but phone the order in and ask if their are other parts required. Apart from holding the job up it's costing a fortune in carriage charges.
Compare the ride height with this picture of a standard B. Looks OK to me.
Centre console finished, just need the other bits from MGB Hive to fit the console to the car, it's loose at the moment.
20th August 2020
Long story short, the MGB engine blew up. Head gasket blew between 2 & 3 and it was burning oil at a horrendous rate. Going to Cheltenham and got as far as Birmingham. Came back on a low loader. Pictures tell it all.
The chamfered top of the valve guid which is supposed to stop oil running down the stem.
Well, that lasted 10 months and about 1000 miles. Last Tuesday 15th June 2021, the car started missfiring on the way home from lunch at the pub. The temperature gauge went to H then dropped down and then wemt up and down for the 3 mile drive home. The coolant was being presssurised! I rang Peter Burgess in Alfreton who had had the car on his rolling road the week before and he confirmed that the Ivor Searle 2.1 litre engine are prone to cracks in the head and/or the block. I took the head off, cleaned it and took it to him. We inspected it carefully but couldn't see any cracks. He also thought, and I agreed, that Ivor Searle had done a crap job on this performance conversion. The inlet ports were polished to a mirror finish, the thinking now is that the ports and head should have some "ripples" left to aid swirl of the gas. The bigger problem was the combustion chamber had not had any reshaping work done at all. No wonder they had to fit a race cam to get a measly 22 BHP increase!
I came away with a set of ARP head studs, a Cometic head gasket, a new filter and a few gaskets. Over £300!
By 2000 on Thursday the head was back on and I started it up. It chucked all the coolant out! On the Friday afternoon I refilled it and took it for a 3 mile drive. The rad and expansion tank were empty. I rang Peter and he said he had one of his stage two engines ready built and I could have and, if I brought the studs and HG back he'd knock off £300. Deal done.
The engines out, I'm taking Peter the distributor on Monday for him to fit new weights and I'll pick up the new engine on Thursday.
So here are some pictures.
This is a mark in number 4 bore, but it's a stain as it polished out.
Some of the anciliries.
The engine mounts, filter adaptor, clutch and the botls that hold all the bits on.
The block, less head and studs.
Engine mounting brackets and alternator bracket, drying on the line.
Water pump painted black.
and the fan pulley, actually looks beter in the flesh that the picture.
A nice clean bell housing.
And a nice clean engine bay, for now!
In the morning (22/05/2021) Ian, my friend with the TA and Dave, the chap with the Midget that wouldn't rev are coming over to help me take the gearbox out. I need to remove a fibre washer from the overdrive inhibitor switch as it's not working on 3rd but is on 4th. We should be finished by 11 and then I'm going to Peter's place in Alfreton to change the front plate on my new engine. Peter can't do it until Wednesday. I can't work on the car on Friday or Saturday and we're having a day away in Felixstowe on Monday so I want to run the engine in, therefore I'd like to get it here by tonight so I have Wednesday and Thursday to get it finished.
We got the gearbox out without too much hassle. The inhibitor switch was loose but after tightening it didn't work at all so I fitted the new one. It now works (on the ohmmeter). Then I changed the two mountings, drained and refilled the oil, The real fun then started. Three old duffers stuggling to lift the very heavy gearbox (it's the overdrive that's the heavy bit). With a lot of huffing and puffing we finally got it in and Ian just put one bolt each side of the cross member. Ian and Dave left and I put some tools in the car with the ali rocker cover. Before I left for Peter's place I checked my emails and there was one from Peter. He's changed the front plate last night so all I had to do was collect it. Got back about 1500 and refitted the propshaft, wires, speedo cable as well as putting the spacers in the cross member and fitting all four bolts. Then got the engine out of the boot of the Mini and into the inner garage. Started refitting the ancilleries. I had to remove the thermostat and manifold studs from the old head and refit them to the new. I got my stud extractor and pulled the old haed out into the open, sat down on the floor and took all the studs out. Three thermostat studs but only 5 manifolds studs. A comprehensive search ensued. I had not got up, passed go, or gone to jail but I could not find the sixth stud. I packed up at 1900 with only the two engine mounting to fit. In the morning I was in the workshop by 0630. Fitted the ali rocker cover and filled the engine with Peters running in oil. Then lifted the engine into the bay. I had a brass manifold nut on the bench which I'd picked up from the floor so I put it back into the box with the others.... guess what I found? Yes, you've guessed it, the missing stud. It had come out when I undid the brass nuts 3 days ago. Now, it could be an old man and his memory or that I'm just a plonker. You decide.
Usual problem, can't get the engine all the way in. I'll have to wait for Lynne to get up, she can turn the crank while I push. In the meantime I've refitted the starter, heater tap, alternator wires, temperature gauge sender unit and the exhaust manifold. I won't put the carbs on until I get the engine mountings on.
The port work on Peter Burgess's head. I know he's reshaped and polished the combustion chamber but I haven't seen it.
The ports on the Ivor Searle engine. Not in the same league.
The bores on the Ivor Searle engine. somewhere in the head or block is a crack. With everything opened to the max and the metal between bore and water jacket and head ports and water jacket wafer thin it's not surprising they crack.
An engine nearly in. Just needs the crank turning and pushing back.
One side nearly finished, just waiting for Amazon to deliver me a Mann oil filter. The oil pipes will go on after the front rad panel.
The post girl has just delivered the oil filters. So all the jigsaw pieces are in place.
24th June 2021
I had to pack up last night at 1900, I'd been working on the car for 13 hours and was totally knackered. Had som supper and went to watch the football. I remember someone talking and the next thing they were reading the 10 oclock news. Slept throgh the lot. Watched Heartbeat (recorded) and then fell asleep again. Lynne woke me at midnight so I could go to bed and sleep!
Woke at 0400 this morning but didn't get up until 0600, had some breakfast and started on the car at 0630, was all done and dusted by 0830. I haven't started it yet. having a cuppa and doing this, will then start it and see if we have any oil leaks.
Almost ready.... keen eyed viewers will notice the pipe from rad overflow to expnasion tank isn't on. It is now!
Nice new 8.5mm silicone plug leads. I've even cleaned the fan blades.
The gear lever with new loom to switch and shortened wiring runs. The yellow wire is from gear lever switch to inhibitor switch, the red wire is ignition feed to lever switch and the purple wire is from the inhibitor switch solenoid wire to the warning lamp on dash.
Started the engine and had a massive oil leak. After a lot of faffing about it turned out to be the oil cooler pipe union and the oil gauge union. The first had paint on the block stopping it sealing and the second had a damaged thread which stopped the pipe being fully tightened. Once sorted I got it warm and adjusted the carbs.
28th June 2021
Oh well, that didn't work for long. It wouldn't go in gear! I'd had a struggle to get the engine in and assumed I'd either bent the centre plate or damaged the spigot bush. On the basis of being more likely to be a burred spigot bush I got the rear wheels off the ground, started it in gear and then pressed the clutch and applied the handbrake. The clutch freed off, or at least the engine didn't stall. I did this for a few minutes and it would go int gear, albeit a bit notchy. However, when I switched off, restarted and tried to engage gear it wouldn't go in. I relunctantly decided the engine had to come out.... so out it came. I tried my dummy spigot in the clutch and to my surprise is slid in and out easily. I expected it to bind on whatever I'd bent. So clutch off. Pressure plate off but centre plate stuck to flywheel. The centre plate had a gooey substance on both sides! It was dry and burnt from my efforts of "driving" it. Anyway, I took it back to Peter who just gave me another. New clutch fitted and engine back in and all is now well.
I took the car out to fill with petrol and get it washed (it had oily finger marks all over it). I then went to the pub for a well earned pint or two.
Peter says I can drive it normally, it doesn't need the revs keeping down, but being old fashioned I kept the revs to below 3500. The car just leaps forward, the power delivery is smooth and constant. I'm looking forward to getting ir run in, the oil and filter changed and then give it some welly.
30th June 2021
Just got back having put 507 miles on the clock. Peter had it on the Rolling Road yesterday morning, made 114 bhp.
It's a 1950cc, the max overbore Peter will do. the power is there from tick over rpm to 5500 rpm. So 150 cc less than the Searle (may not seem a lot but it's half the increase!). And power from tick over and more of it. I'll put the read outs up soon.
On the road the acceleration from rest to 60 mph is so quick it feels like the clutch is slipping. Max speed was indicated at 95 mph at 4000 rpm. I didn't want to take a new engine over that!
Only problem we had was we went to see someone in deepest Norfolk from the Octagon Club. The car wouldn't start when we left, battery wouldn't turn it over. It's a cheapo from Halfords, it was the only one they had that was small enough to fit. I'm about to order a "bigger" (amp hour), from Tayna.
The overdrive is much smoother in and out after changing the gear oil. The warning light is good, especially as I have no feeling in my left thumb (sliced it open on a table saw- yes the guard was down!)
The rear is still bouncing over every rut and pothole but it's difficult to tell if it's because it's too soft or too hard. I've put the rears up one click and will try it.
We had two other problems. Having Lunch in a pub about 10 miles West of Kings Lynne and we found out that kick off (England v Germany) was at 5! So, to hell with gentleness and taking the scenic route from Cromer down the coast, we just went bat out of hell to get to the hotel as quickly as possible. Missed the first half hour. The other problem was IT RAINED-BOTH DAYS. so instead of a nice drive with the top down, we had to have the top up. I had to get Peter and Simon to help me get the thing closed so a new hood frame will be ordered tomorrow.
Rolling Road Data
The data for the Ivor Searle engine
The data for Peter Burgess's engine.
The two overlaid. Red is IS engine, Black is PB engine.