1. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    So my 1984 Trabant and my 1980 MGB have been having issues with it more or less since I owned it. I attribute some of this to it being a British car. I attribute more to it being a British car that for the past 30 years has had Americans without a clue working on it.

    Anyway, since I've owned the car (4 and a half years) I have had major and minor issues on and off. A lot of them around the electrical system.

    So what I have done, was I sent my well worn out distributor the the premier rebuilders of Lucas distributors and bought a used but excellent condition, late model wiring harness. This past weekend, I stripped the interior and pulled the old harness out. Since then I have rerouted all the new wiring and have had to order a new ignition switch, fan switch and light switch because they all kind of crumbled apart.

    I am still waiting on two of the switched, but the entire lighting system has been completed, the entire trunk and almost all the dash. I am hoping to get it finished by this weekend and continue waiting on my switches to get here. Then I will put the new distributor in, set the carbs and timing and hopefully my gremlins will be gone.

    Anyway, with any luck, the 1984 Trabi and the MG should be good to go by mid-August and then that leave tackling the 1972.....or.....I could get another project.... I have been shopping DeLoreans
  2. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    I just saw that I posted this back in late July and I am just now really getting into this project. Back when I posted this I pulled the seats, dash, all trunk items (jack, spare tire, etc.) and then went through pulling the old frayed, spliced, hacked wiring, also pulled the battery cables.

    What instigated this undertaking was that my lighting system never worked right/properly. Which then lead to other issues and by-passes and cheap shade tree fixes. It was like putting a band-aid on an arm that needed amputation. My turn signals wouldn't work unless I was going at higher RPM, and if I had my head lights, it would work at higher rpm's but i might get half a flash every 15-20 seconds. If I had the windshield wipers on, then that screwed everything and if you added the radio it taxed the entire system. The DPO's (Damn Previous Owners) had done a number to the Lucas electrical system, way beyond signals and wipers. So I decided to gut it and re-do it properly. The MGB is probably the second simplest car to work on (Trabi being first in ease). I found a used wiring harness that was 100% original from a west coast car, same area, year and location my car came from. The guy had all three harnesses (Main, Dash and Trunk/Boot) I had him take a bunch of pictures before I committed to it and it was flawless down to the original blue tape still being nice and shiny. He bought a car that was in the process of a perfect restoration but still too far off for him to find it worth finishing it, so he bought that car for the parts off it he needed (interior, gauges, etc) and loving took everything else out and off.

    Going back to the beginning, when I got the harness I gutted the car, took the old ones out and ran the new ones.

    I stopped for a while after we had enough ran for us to crank the car and see it run. Since that time I have gone in and done a lot more. Mainly in the last week or so.

    I finally got everything fixed within the lighting system although I was having some issues in it due to wires being improperly hooked up. For example, I had a headlamp/parking lamp issue, where my head lamps came on when the switch was engaged to parking lights and the remaining lights would come on once the switch was fully engaged. I studied the wiring diagrams for both the U.S. spec and U.K. spec cars (I bought the new headlight toggle switch with the harness out of the UK) and after going over the diagrams several times, I noticed that though on the U.K. spec vs. U.S. that terminals 2 and 3 were reversed. I switched those connections and that fixed that issue. As of now all lighting works flawlessly in the car. Turn signals, hazards all work like they should. The headlamps are brighter than I have every seen them. It's a good accomplishment. My interior light even comes on now when I open either of the doors, which is something it has never done the entire time I have owned it. Also, my seat belt warning light and the seat belt warning buzzer/door open key left in the ignition buzzer works again. Something that has never worked the entire time I have owned the car.

    So now that everything in the lighting system works, I am onto the next system, which is going to be the windshield wipers (I have to wait for the new switch to get here first). I also decided to add a separate fuse box for the stereo (constant and amp) and the heated seats. I chose to do this because since I went through the trouble of re-wiring the entire car and cleaning all grounding point because of the DPO's hacking of the electrical system and wires shorting out and frying themselves, I wanted to leave the now back to stock system, totally alone. So as I wait for my new wiper switch to arrive, I have been work on properly hiding and running those wires and get all that tidied up and so I can then work on getting the carpet back in. I moved the amp into the boot (it was behind the drivers seat, but with an MGB that location hindered seat adjustments and didn't allow the amp to "breathe" properly). I also completed running the constant off the new fuse box too. The original system for a stereo consisted of an accessory wire only, given that the stereo was dial in, it didn't need a constant at the time. I also went ahead and hooked the wires for the heated seats back in so now I need to run carpet and put the seats back in for those to function.

    After I finish all that fun stuff, I am going to get under the car and re-secure the harness points (Yes, British Leyland ran the harness on the underside of the car as opposed to inside it) I will be sheathing the harness as I go to give it extra protection. Once all that's done and I'm happy then I just need to adjust the valves, timing and carbs and I should be off once again to happy, top down motoring. :)
  3. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    I just realized I forgot to update this. So carpet is back in and the wiring is completed and working perfectly. I need to still put the passenger seat in but other than that it is good to go.

    Now I am having a pesky running issue that could be a number of things causing it. So I am trying to figure out why it sounds great, idles great and when I get the throttle wide open, it starts to hesitate.
  4. Keri

    Keri Leader

    You didn't make your own wiring harnesses?
    Cheater! :p
    <--Genuine MGA and Porsche Harness Fabicator

    Hesitations at WOT can be:

    1-Inadequate fuel flow due to:
    a-weak pump,
    b-restricted fuel filter,
    c-fuel lines or
    d-tank vent.
    2-SU carburetor- restriction of jet tube, float level. Don't forget the 10W damper oil.

    Weak spark at plugs due to:
    1-Worn plugs
    2-Bad wires
    3-Bad cap or rotor
    4-bad coil
    5-bad condenser
    6-pitted or mis-adjusted points.
    7-poor ground inside of distributor as breaker plate is moved by the vacuum advance.
    8-poor indexing of cap and rotor caused by distributor damage or mis-assembly might cause rotor to be in wrong position as spark occurs.

    1-Worn cam lobes not allowing full opening of one or more valves mostly affects full throttle.
    2-Low compression due to:
    Worn rings, pistons or cylinders
    mis-adjusted, burnt or bent valves.

    The British should not be allowed to play with electricity. They'll just hurt themselves!

  5. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    Keri, I re-wired the prince of darkness and all electronics work perfectly. I bought used, yet perfect condition harnesses from Washington state and that fixed the wiring gremlins. I am now dealing with a bad head gasket (fingers crossed that I didn't warp the head).
  6. Keri

    Keri Leader

    Don't cross your fingers....

    Use a straightedge!

    Get a machinists straightedge and some feeler gauges. If you can't rent, buy or borrow one, any shop that repairs motors should have somebody that possesses one.
    They would probably measure an off-the-car head for the asking or maybe for a small fee.

    Place the straightedge across the machined surfaces of the head and block, or "deck".
    Check lengthwise, crosswise and diagonally. Diagonal measurement will probably be the most useful.

    For most cars, you want less than .002" warpage on either the head or the deck. That is to say, a .002" feeler gauge should not fit between the straightedge and head.
    The head will usually warp before the deck will.

    Most often the warpage will be noticeable when measuring diagonally, in the center of the head.

    Some cars have a higher tolerance for warpage, some less, but .0015"-.002" is generally safe.
    A severely warped head that will cause trouble is anything much over .010". I've seen them at .020", .040" and more!
    Anything much over .020" and the head is probably scrap unless it can be straightened.

    Your MGB is probably a pushrod motor, so it's easier to deal with than a warped overhead cam head.
  7. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    It is a push rod motor and fortunately very easy to remove. I will hopefully be getting into that tonight, we shall see. I have a feeler gauge (For when I have to set the valves or points) and I have a triangular straight edge, I may give it a go tonight and see what I come up with. Fortunately also, checking for cracks is very easy since if they do crack they always seem to in the same place.

    I will hopefully get the head pulled tonight and if I do I will keep you posted.

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