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  #1  
Unread 06-17-2008, 08:58 PM
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SO when we drove the car back it basically wasn't holding ANY coolant pressure and it was pinging like crazy. Yeah, obvious head gasket failure and the coolant system had just been worn down over time. Luckily this little guy is just a simple pushrod engine that has a very minimal amount of accessories attached to it. My only problem is that I have a hard time not tearing the whole engine apart and doing a complete restoration. But seeing as how we need this car back on the road I'll just be doing the following:
  • Pulling the head for a complete valve job and resurfacing
  • All new gaskets and most hoses
  • Contemplating a set of ARP studs
  • Using lifetime silicone breather gaskets
  • Degreasing the whole engine
  • Replacing all the crappy clamps with quality ones
  • Properly routing all the wiring with new connectors/terminals
  • Sand blasting and coating the manifolds black
  • Threadlocking crucial screws in and around the carb
  • Replacing various nuts and bolts with proper grade bits
  • Safety wiring vacuum lines
  • Resurfacing all adjoining surfaces and using proper sealers
  • I also wouldn't mind converting it to a digital electronic ignition!! But that's more time and money... maybe later. :lol:
Here is what I had to start out with.


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Unread 06-17-2008, 09:16 PM
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Breaking down the engine really was a quick process. Being an older car care had to be taken to preserve everything. Hoses were cracking before I began removing them. Just replacing the cracked hoses along will make the engine operate much smoother. There are a minimal amount of nuts and bolts to keep track of so assembly will go smoothly. As long as the garage is clean anyone should easily be able to do a rebuild on their own as long as you don't kick things around on the ground. Besides taking pictures with a digital camera the smartest thing a person could do is to put different nuts bolts, and washers in zip lock bags while keeping them labeled with a permanent marker.

The carb comes off very easily with just some random 13mm nuts and the removal of some hoses.



To get the exhaust manifold off is a different story. The three nuts on the flanges are very painful to remove and will require a skinny wrench and some tricky finger work to remove. The manifold to block nuts and washers are a snap to spin off with a wrench.



Those breather gaskets are long gone. You can just smell and see the oil weeping down the side of the engine from those two plates. I'll be degreasing the block tomorrow. More on that festival of fun later on.
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Unread 06-17-2008, 09:29 PM
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A couple of nuts and minutes later and her we can see the valve train. There should be MUCH more oil hanging around this area. It's super shiny clean and it's been washed clean simply from coolant getting around this area. Ah well the head is really heavy iron and very tough. I'm not anticipating much damage.



And once the cams and pushrods have been removed we are ready to lift off the cylinder head. It takes quite a lot of force to lift up and pull away the head. Unless you have a solid copper gasket you are going to need to use a decent size prybar to jerk the head free. Mine took a LOT of force to lift off. Make sure you have a friend ready to help you lift it off. It's not as easy as it looks in my pictures. Make sure to mark the pushrods and put them back in the same holes when ready to reassemble.




And below I don't see anything surprising here. I do see a really shitty head gasket though. No stress, that's why we're here. The arrangement of studs really is a weakness in the first place but what can you do... it's a classic car not a high HP free revving race engine. It's going to be more than a few minutes of work to surface the block. I'm not looking forward to cleaning up around those studs and cylinders. Nothing scary here but just some good ol' fashioned elbow grease is required indeed.



Another note... a couple of the studs were NOT even close to being at the correct torque when I was removing the nuts. I'm sure this is due to fatigue from both age and some slight overheating. ARP makes a kit that will surely provide some good piece of mind when putting the pedal to the metal. It will be a good investment as this car will surely be making some trips to Monterey CA and Santa Barbera as well. I would also like to see the addition of a modern aftermarket alloy cylinder head. The original head was designed with materials which were suitable for 1980 fuel and oil. Since the fuels of today lack the lubricating agents of yesterday an additive is needed to prolong the life of the valves and guides. Companies today now offer MG cylinder heads with properly designed valves and made from modern metals with modern casting techniques.
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Unread 06-17-2008, 09:48 PM
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And here we have it! The whole cylinder head removal process from start to finish took me about 3 hours. I really took some time documenting things and checking out things like screws, clamps and hoses so that I can get an idea of the parts I'll be ordering for the assembly. It's highly recommended that you spend a little extra time making damn sure that you don't drop, scrape or damage anything on an older or foreign car like an MG. Breaking just one simple hose nipple or bolt can add on an easy hour or two to your afternoon of work... not to mention the $$ to replace it. It's not a good idea to be in a hurry when working on something like this for the first time. Once I'm all done with this first rebuild then I'll know that all the bolts have been properly torqued and lubricated. If I replace a head on this car in the future it won't even take me half the time.



The head was already dropped off at my buddies shop. He has experience tricking out just about every engine out there including Porsches, race prepped MG's, my Lexus V8, some super super H/O big and small block drag motors, ethanol and alcohol drag engines etc etc. He's insanely good. Since I get priority he said to expect my head back by the end of this week all ready to go. That reminds me that I need to get the valve seals to him tomorrow morning...
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Unread 06-23-2008, 11:18 PM
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Just as a quick update I wanted to post this picture of where I am at as of tonight. The head was completely cleaned and the valves were resurfaced and lapped in properly. My machinist said that the valve seats had been updated for the modern fuel we now have at the pumps. The head was resurfaced, cleaned up like new and inspected for in perfections... everything is just fine. It didn't take long to check the valves either. I loosened up the clearance just a bit per someone's advice. This engine is going to run great!



When I have a chance I'll be updating and talking about such things as the dreaded engine mount replacement, the powdercoating, the breather covers and gaskets, gasket dressings used, the new ARP head studs and hardware added, manifold paint, other hardware and the headwork done +more details. Not bad for a couple days of engine work. I plan on starting it up and taking it out for a spin tomorrow. :lol:
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Unread 06-24-2008, 10:45 PM
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Another day passed by. Here is what went down. I assembled every single thing I had left to do. There was a MASSIVE amount of tweaking, adjusting, gasket surface prepping, hose cutting, thread locking, cleaning, torquing, clamping and sealing that was done. Everything was just done half-assed in the past so in order to do it right I had to take my time.

So basically it's all back together and I left off the drain plugs tonight so that things could drain completely. Tomorrow all I need to do it replace the intake thing, fill the oil, start it up and flush the coolant. IT'S DONE.



This little engine is tight now. It should run forever. B)
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Unread 06-27-2008, 06:02 PM
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The MGB is running PERFECT after a whole bunch of fine tuning. It's never really been tuned correctly but I spent the time to make it right and it is FAST now. I'm talking 80mph cruising on the freeway. The 4spd with push button overdrive is a MUST HAVE. It works nicely.

I visited an old friend who KNOWS classic motors. He threw me a few bones on some ways to make sure that the car runs as clean and as smooth as possible for the smog tomorrow morning. He's the type of mechanic that has seen it all and KNOWS the difference between the fuel of yesterday compared to today. Hell, he drives a fuel truck for a local energy distribution company in this area! Hence the nice private fuel refilling station here on his property. :lol:



Here we are cruisin the country road... I need to pack some suntan lotion next time!! It looks like I've been at the lake all week with my new tan from just breakin in this car.



I'll be posting much much more info on tuning and such here in the near future. I've learned so much by reading, listening to people with experience with them, and by actually doing all the work myself of course. I'm not anticipating any problem with the smog process but I've learned lots of tips to helping a car run cleaner for the process. This includes adjusting the timing temporarily, running a low octane temporarily and making sure to empty most of the fuel tank for the time it goes in for the test. More on all this stuff later. I also was told a rumor that they will be upping the minimum vehicle year that will be required to pass smog. I'll surely be asking the smog shop about this tomorrow morning as well.
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