Thursday, May 24, 2018

MGB leaking leaking leaking

While solving the missing emission control issues (See eMission Control We Have a Problem), I took a few test drives to shake out each change. Today's quick post covers 2 things I discovered on that first test drive.

Leaking Fuel
The MGB had been stuck in the garage behind the donorZed all winter. I didn't have much cash to do a lot of work, so in some ways the winter was kind of lost to the donorZed. Still, with it finally gone, I was able to restart the MGB efforts. So, for my first test drive, after getting it unburied from being stuck behind the donorZed, was to get some gas. The drive there was similar to my last drive last Fall: loud with squishy brakes. Lovely. Still, I was almost completely out of petrol, so I stayed the course. This time, though, all of the signals worked, the brake lights functioned, the temp gauge worked, and the fan came on when I flipped the switch, so things were looking up.... until I started filling the tank.

Here in Oregon, we're not allowed to fill our own gas (but diesel is okay), so while the attendant started gassing, I washed the windscreen. Within a minute, the gas attendant started freaking out about gas dumping out under the car. Neat. I looked under and could see that the fuel level float was leaking. Not one to test drive without a trunk full of tools, I grabbed a slotted screwdriver and pushed it the rest of the way, stopping the leak. The gas man was too freaked out, so we called it "full enough" and I drove home. It didn't leak again, and a quick shot with carb cleaner got the gas off the underside of the tank.

The fuel level gauge wasn't working 100% reliably, and I concluded that the sender was not getting a good enough ground. So, I ran a short wire from the side of the float to one of the bolts holding the tank in-place. Whether that was a factor or not, the level looks much better now, showing over 1/2 a tank.

Leaking Coolant
When I got home, I saw that the thermostat housing was leaking again. Grr... so much for a fun drive about. Instead, I removed the housing, applied more gasket sealer and actually followed the directions: apply liberally, hand tighten and let sit for an hour, torque down to spec and then, most importantly, no liquids or back-into-service for 24 hours. I'm pretty sure I did the first 2 steps and then forgot about the torquing the last time. Duh. The following day, I topped of the cooling system and took a test drive. No leaking at the thermostat. Sweetness.

Unfortunately, a few days later, after another test drive, I noticed leaking coming from the block drain. Apparently, this drain is the source of one of two common troubles: either it is completely clogged with cooling system gunk (rust particles, and general sludge) or it is a leak source. I'm in the second camp, but my leak is special. Usually, the leak is from the spigot not sealing because of a design flaw. No, mine is leaking from around the edge. So, rather than get a replacement drain, I'm just going to remove it, wrap the threads in plumbers tape slobber on some blue gasket-maker and thread it back in. Of course this time, I'll follow the gasket-maker instructions right the first time.

Leaking Voltage
It turned out that the battery that came with the car was 7 years old. After many cycles of short drives, I found that I needed to put the battery on the trickle charger more and more often until finally it just stopped accepting a charge. I went out and got a "gold" battery and new ground cable at Advance Auto Parts. We get most of our batteries from Les Schwab, but their hours are just not well suited to people who have day jobs, so Advance got the business.

Now, the little car fires right up, the gauges all work, the lights and fans come right on... its almost like a "real" car.  The brakes are still spongy, and it is still really loud. I got after those next and I'll post about what I did.... next time. Thanks, as always for following along.

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