Sunday, August 19, 2018

First Start!

Well, I did it.  Gidget runs!

I finished installing the cooling system and filled her up with fluids.  I installed the driveshaft.  I wired up the fuel pump and the electronic ignition (it's a Crane Cams XR700).  I pulled the plugs and cranked her over until I had oil pressure, so the engine wouldn't start dry.  Then, I put gas in the tank, installed the plugs, turned the key, and... nothing.

She turned over fine, but no start.  Not even a sputter.  Just a couple of backfires.

I figured she needed a bit of help, so I added some starter fluid.  Nope.

Thoroughly depressed, I went to bed.  I posted for some help on the MG Experience, and got some suggestions, like "did you check the timing?".  I figured, yeah, I checked.  But I'll check in the AM.

The next morning, I went out and looked at the old motor (that runs) to see where the distributor drive was.  Hmmm.  It looked different from what I had set.  So I pulled the valve cover, turned her to TDC, and...  I had installed the distributor drive 180 degrees out of phase.

Huzzah!  That's an easy fix, I thought.  So I pulled the distributor, reinstalled the drive to match the old motor, and put everything back together.  I turned the key, and... still nothing.

I figured, WTF?  So I shot some starter fluid into the carbs, and she fired up!  Then she died.  I tried again, and this time she stayed running, badly.  She would almost stall, then race.  Fuel was leaking from the front float bowl, so I shut her down.

I pulled the carbs and reseated the intake manifold, because it looked a little fishy.  I reinstalled the carbs, and this time when I fired her up she stayed running.  I had to richen the mixture quite a bit, but now she holds a nice idle.  I ran her up to temp and I have about 50psi at idle, with a steady 180 temp.

Perfect.  And, no weird sounds or other leaks.  The generator charges, too.

It turns out I have a bad gasket, so I cobbled something together for the moment.  It didn't help much, so I'll order new needles, seats and gaskets.

So, here's the big moment!  She's already running, so it's not as dramatic as I wanted, but... finally!

She sounds good and revs nicely.  There's some power in there.

I did roll her back and forth a bit to test the clutch and transmission.  The clutch works but is very low to the floor.  Maybe a good bleeding will help, but I suspect I need a new slave cylinder rod or a smaller diameter slave cylinder.  But she does move under her own power!

Next time, I'll get the timing set properly and balance the carbs.  I'll fix that fuel leak.  I'll install the exhaust system (it's just hooked up and hanging loose for now).  I'll cobble a seat together and go for a drive around the block.

I have a running car.  I can't believe it.  I'm so stoked.

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