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DC Townsend
David Townsend
(406 posts)

11/21/2007 12:22PM

Main British Car:
'78 B (almost done) 30-over SBF, dry sump

authors avatar
'79 B with Ford 302 Dry Sump - Part III
Posted by: DC Townsend
Date: May 14, 2013 09:42AM

Here's the link to Part I - [] ... and the link to Part II - []

Well, I'm going on four years now since I began this project but the end is at least in sight. Here's the latest installment.

5/13 - Inching toward the start up. Buttoned up the back end today by installing the limit straps and finishing up the left and right rear brake lines. Here a few shots of the previous and current work. Next up, finishing the clutch slave plumbing and starting the exhaust system.

Axle Limit Straps - The line visible in the limit strap shot is the e-brake cable. Stock Mustang cable that's been shortened, going into a Lokar adjustable mid-block (both lines), then into my homemade union block, and finally to the e-brake compensator. It's surprising how much engineering went into something as simple as a mechanical brake.

Fuel Pump - Fuel pump is mounted at or below the low level of the fuel tank, per Holley's recommendation. Filter is nothing special but has a removable can and element. Because this a carbed car, there was no need to run a high pressure line. I installed a fuel cut-off switch for safety purposes.

Return Oil Line Cooler - This is a dry sump motor so instead of running an oil cooler (although I could do that as well), the simple way to keep things at a good operating temperature is to use a line cooler. In this case it tucks up tight to the chassis. Again, the camera angle makes it look look like it's hanging low but that's not the case. It's at the same level as the jack point.

The clutch slave is going to take some work to get set up as it is not working as it should out-of-the-box - too much throw before the clutch can engage so I'm going to have to either increase the distance block/mounting plate or shorten the push rod, or both. Really wish I had taken care of this while the engine was out of the car as room between the slave and the frame rail is limited. Ah well, the life of a modifier I guess.


That's it for now. I'm trying to fast track the remaining tasks I have so I can get it up and running by the end of June (this year). So watch this space for more news...

5/27- Major progress but, sadly, nothing really worthy of pictures. Seems like many of the more important moments in a build are like that...critical but not very photogenic.

• Finished wiring the fuel pump which included wiring in the inertia switch. Would have been a piece of cake had I not forgotten to include the fuel pump wire in the rear harness the first time I ran it. In my defense, the motor was originally planned to have a mechanical fuel pump. I had to back track and pull the harness to include the wire in the loom. PITA.
• Wired up all of the remaining chassis grounds. keep in mind, that most of the car is fiberglass so none of the lamps can ground to the body without a little help.
• Installed and wired the new front turn signal lamps
• Installed the last bolt in the tow hook. For some reason, I didn't complete the installation the first time so had to go back and finish the job today.
• Aligned, tightened and wired up the driving lamps. While I was at it, I noticed I had installed them with the Lucas logos down. Corrected that.
• Installed the speedometer drive gear (T-5) and the new cable. Another PITA. I'm running a reverse speedo that requires an adapter...said adapter is 90 degrees adding a dimension of complexity to the install that isn't worth whatever cool factor I thought I was going for with the reverse speedo.
• Finished wiring the number side lamps (one of those silly 'period' things I did early in the build)
• Adjusted the new emergency brake. Works great! This may be the first working e-brake I've ever had on a hot rod.
• Fit and installed the bottom radiator hose.

All in all, a great day in the garage. Still quite a bit to go—steering rack, headers/exhaust, and the front sway bar are the big ones but here are ample little things that need attending to to make the 'B'east fully operational. That said, very satisfying progress. I promise to add some pictures soon.

5/30 - More little stuff...but it adds up over time.
• Completed the engine management wiring including the one-wire mini-alternator. Love that it's small because it fits in the space but it looks kind of out of scale compared to everything else. Function of form on this one.
• Finished wiring up the heater and wiper washer. That does it for the under-the-bonnet stuff as far as electrics go.
• Finished off the battery cable ends and straightened out the box which was, surprising, in pretty good shape (read "no rot") though it looks like the PO had hit a few things with it. As tucked up under the car as it is, I have a tough time imagining how one would whack the battery tray...but he did. Quick work to straighten it out with a hammer and dolly then a coat of chassis paint to finish it off.

Except for fitting the headers and completing the P/S plumbing, that's everything to do under the bonnet. I'm off to see the grandchild (and mother expectant with second one) this weekend so no more progress until the weekend after, at which point I plan on tackling the steering rack and getting the cross member fabricated that will hold it. Now there is a photo op!

6/9 - Filled up the radiator and burped the system as best I could by squeezing the air out from the bottom hose. It won't completely evacuate the site but at least it will push out some of it, meaning less to bleed out later. Also found I needed to add a spacer on one of my tow hook bolts and was luck enough to happen to have one just the right size on hand. Wired up the fan and the last headlamp plug. Also installed the reducer for the brake vents. They fit much better now. I know it's little stuff but after four years of this, it needs to be right.

I was able to clean, paint, and install the steering arms—reversed in this instance because I'm using a rear steer rack out of an Omni. I originally had fitted up a Mustang power rack and, while I could have made it work, it didn't look like the steering geometry was going to be what I was aiming for. Looks like the Omni rack is not only going to be easier to mount, it should give me a set up that's not as likely to bump steer. Lastly, I installed the speedometer reverser and the cable as well. The cable ports through the inside of the tunnel just above the steering column and curls around then up to the angel drive.

The shots are: 1) the lower radiator hose made from an off the shelf part I rooted around and found at my local parts store that's been cut in two and a 3" aluminum splice added to. I used shrink sleeve to join the two parts, clamps on the ends. 2) left front suspension showing the Ford hub and brake ducting and 3) a totally gratuitous shot of the engine compartment.

[attachment 12417 BV8-lower-hose.jpg]

6/10 - Huge bummer! Looks like I'm going to have to pull the tranny, possibly the bell housing to correct a problem (undiagnosed as yet) with the clutch fork not properly engaging. I'm feel pretty stupid right now. Something didn't seem quite right to me when I fitted these parts with the engine on the stand but a call to the supplier convinced me they'd be fine. Not saying he is/was wrong but I should have paid attention to my instinct and made it right while it was easy to work on.

Lesson here, never, ever get impatient to get things done. Getting to drop the gearbox (thank you Bill Guzman for the removable trans support) is due penance for my sin of omission.

On the good news side, it has to be something simple. The parts for a Ford 302 and T-5 are pretty much the same from '81 to '93 with a few of the bits applying to years as early as '79 and a few going up to '95. Clutch fork may have come off the pivot ball, I may not have adjusted the pivot correctly, T/O bearing in backwards (it's been done before), maybe the wrong fork. Will know more this week as I'm going to drop the drive shaft tonight and the gearbox tomorrow.

6/12 - Tranny removal update. Well, got to it last night on pulling the gearbox out of the car. Yanked the drive shaft out, dropped the line cooler for the oil line, dropped the transmission crossmember, pulled off the shift lever, and was able to easily extract the bottom two bolts holding the gearbox to the bell housing. And that's where it stopped. No combination of sockets, knuckles, and extensions would let me get at the top driver's side bolt.

One of the things I did early on was to rivet in an aluminum scuff plate to the tranny tunnel. It turns out that this may come in very handy as the area under is directly across from the clutch fork and...the upper gearbox bolt. Sometime it's better to be lucky than good. I think the lesson here is to remember to engineer in access to critical components (like bell housing bolts, clutch pieces, etc.) when you're modifying things. In addition to the new clutch fork access hole, I'm going to drill an inch and a half hole in the upper corners of both foot boxes so I can easily get at the bellhousing bolts...necessary if I ever want (or need) to replace any clutch parts without taking the motor out of the car.

I plan on taking some pictures of the results of the above and will post up when I get the chance.

6/14 - Here's the scuff plate as it was originally installed and the new access hole that will be behind it. I need to dress up the edges and add a bit of weather seal but, otherwise, it looks like I'll have the room I need to access everything.

6/17 - And the winner is...the clutch pivot ball.

Courtesy of my handy new access panel, I was easily able to reach in and extract the top left transmission bolt and a long extension and short 3/4" socket made quick work of the right upper bolt. After blocking up the motor and bell housing and removing the transmission mount, I was able to slide the gearbox back far enough to remove the clutch fork and T/O bearing which (other than the modification to the fork so it would accept a Heim joint) turned out to be exactly the same as the replacement parts.

My luck was holding and I was able to reach up and remove the clutch pivot ball, which to my complete surprise, was half as long as it was supposed to be.

Unfortunately, I have a busy couple of days of work at the office before I leave for a week in Washington's upper peninsula to visit my mother on the occasion of her 90th birthday so nothing on the reassembly until I return. At least I will be traveling with the satisfaction of knowing what the problem is and how to fix it.

7/7 - Transmission is back in with the correct clutch pivot ball installed. For those with a T-5/302 combination ('93 or earlier) the correct preset on the T/O is 1/4" from the clutch fingers (according to two different Ford sources). That equates to 3 1/8" from the pivot ball mount on the bell housing to the tip of the ball. This, of course, is a moot point if you use the factory Ford part.

In any event, I'm a happy guy. Transmission went back in easier than expected, so much so, that I slid out from under the car to take a peek through my newly created access hole to make sure everything was still together. Now, I need to re-install the drive shaft and get after the exhaust system.

7/21 - Drive shaft is back in, clutch slave pushrod has been shortened and reinstalled, shifter is back together (repaired one of the missing captive nuts while I was at it, clutch slave flex line and mounting tab have been installed, footwell finish has been repaired where I bunged it up while cutting the access panel, and the new clutch slave access panel has been installed.

Not much to take pictures of but getting the whole clutch T/O bearing problem resolved and everything back together liberates me to get after the remaining work and get this thing...on the road!

7/28 - Good news...bad news - The good news. The sway bar went right in with a minimum amount of fuss. I need to make a couple of 3/16" spacers to give it enough room to clear the pulley for the oil pump but, other than that, it was a piece of cake. The bad news? The sway bar uprights interfere with my front brake cooling ducts so I'm going to get to fabricate something custom as none of the off-the-shelf configurations are going to work. Thankfully, I saved the original backing plates and they will serve handily as a starting point for the new ducts.

[attachment 12848 front-sway-bar.jpg]

More good news. The Dodge Omni steering rack practically fit like it was original. And the rear steer configuration is going to mean I won't need an intermediate steering shaft...just two knuckles and a short piece of d-shaft should do nicely. I mocked up the new cross member that it mounts to in wood before cutting the steel parts. Plan is to bolt it right through the frame rails. THe bad news? Going to have to purchase and shorten a pair of inner tie rods as the current rack is just wee bit too wide and I can;t trim enough off of the ends to make it work. At least the new Omni ball joints fit.


More bad news? My plan to adapt a set of tri-y headers is in the dumper as no amount of cutting and re-welding is going to get them to fit. On the good news side, it means that Pete Mantell will finally get to sell me a set of his through-the fender headers. Should have gone that way to start with and saved some time and money. Ah well. That's why they call it learning.

8/4 - Omni Steering Rack - Using the wooden mock up I created for the new steering cross member, I cut pieces of 2 " x 3", 16 gauge box beam to the appropriate lengths and angles as well as two end plates from some 1/8" x 3" stock I had on hand. The x-member is slightly off-set to the right to provide enough clearance for the steering shaft knuckle to clear the frame rail. My pal Jeremy came over and did the welding honors for me. Here are a couple of picks of the finished x-member.


The Omni rack body is almost identical to the MGB in length but there is a considerable difference in overall width which I corrected by buying a new set of inner tie rods, cutting them to the correct length and then rethreading them. I used a new set of aftermarket inner rods for this as they don't have the adjusting knurls as do the OEMs and provided plenty of material to thread. An important note here, if you decide to do this, you'll need to make sure you find an Omni rack with screw on inner rods instead of press on. Otherwise you'll need a trip to the machine shop to replace them.

When everything was done, here's what I ended up with. The overall rack width from the center of the ball joints on the outer tie-rod ends was 44" for both racks. The critical length of the pivot for the inners is off by about 1/4" in total width (an 1/8' per side) at 9.75" for the Omni rack—so not likely enough to effect any bump steer other than that inherent to the original rack. The horizontal and vertical planes of the Omni rack are identical to the MG rack—the vertical distance from the center line of the wheels is the same on both racks and the horizontal distance from the center line is also the same.. The only obvious difference is the Omni rack is rear steer (behind the center line of the wheels) and the B rack is front steer.


The last thing to be addressed was to trim the outer tie rod ends down to allow them to screw on far enough to get the right track width—about an inch for each one (not enough to compromise the end), about the same as the stock tie rod ends.

Later today or tomorrow, I'll be installing the new rack assembly and will take some additional shots and post them up.

New Spindle Mounted Brake Ducts
The brake ducts are another story. I started out with a set of Allstar Performance spindle mounted ducts and though all was well until I installed the sway bar only to find it interfered with duct work and wasn't going to permit the wheels to turn fully. For no known reason, I kept the original brake backing plates and I'm glad I did because they came in very handy in fabricating a second set of ducts. A little judicious trimming, some 3" aluminum tube and, voila, new spindle ducts. Fit perfect, no interference, happiness al around.


That's it for now. Will be installing the new rack and x-member tomorrow. Pics to follow...

8/17 - Big Progress in the Garage! – Big day in the garage today. After taking a ten day break to recover from an unsuccessful run in between my left index finger and a cutting wheel (9 stitches) I was able to make some real progress. I feel finally feel like I may just get this thing done this year.

In a previous thread, I detailed how I mocked up and fabricated a new steering cross member mounting the Omni rack behind the wheel axis, in the same vertical and horizontal planes as the original MGB rack. Distances from the inner tie rod pivot to the outer tie rod ends are within a 1/4" (per side) of the original. Using the steering geometry diagram referred in the original post, it should give me close to zero bump steer. New x-member, which sits about 1/2" lower than the suspension x-member, simply bolts through the frame rails making it easy to remove of I need to at some point.


Steering shaft is short - only 9" but works like a champ. I used Unisteer knuckles to connect to my Speedway Motors steering shaft and the Omni rack. The shaft angle is pretty pretty steep and will be well out of the way of Pete Mantell's through-the-well headers that I hope to be installing next weekend.


Finished up my spindle mounted brake ducts so now they don't interfere with the sway bar or the wheels. Took me several attempts to get things right but it was easy stuff once I figured it out.

Also took the occasion to reinstall the front splitter, removing the adjusters and re-installing them with backer plates under the splitter, then replacing the upper screws/nuts with split pins. The new pins will mean I only need to remove the two pivot bolts on the brackets to take the splitter off for trailering, etc.


When I finished everything on my "to do" list for the day, I bolted up the front wheels, and dropped it down on the ground again. First time the tires have been on the pavement in at least 3 months. Sure was nice to see.


Left to do are: install the headers, fabricate and install the exhaust, complete the P/S and oil system plumbing, finish up the front brakes, and check out the electrical system. If I can keep at it, I may actually be driving this year! That's it for now. Time for a beer!

9/2 - Lots of Little (but important) Things - Getting down to the little—but very important—stuff on the build now. Next big thing to tackle will be the headers (coming in this week) and the exhaust system. After that, it’ll be fill it with fluids, prime the oil system, pray to the engine gods, and fire it up. In the meantime, there were things to be done

Heidt’s Valve
For no reason that’s rationally explainable, I decided I wanted power steering. Makes absolutely no sense on an 1800 pound car, but I decided early on to include it and really wished I hadn’t. It’s really complicated the accessory location and plumbing but it’s on so there you have it. But, as long as I have it, at least the boost will be adjustable. Plumbing the Hedit’s valve was one of those things that became more complicated than it need to be because of the remote P/S reservoir. It took a call to my friends at Jones Racing to get it figured out but one can;t have any pride in these things. Stuff needs to work. Picture shows the low pressure lines, High pressure lines will go in this weekend.


Starter Relay
Seems to be a bit of a difference of opinion on the efficacy of these—some folks think you need them, others think they’re a waste of time—but, given the way the car is wired, having the extra direct battery hook up was very handy. Like the Heidt’s valve, this was something that should have been simple but was complicated by the through-the-well headers that will be installed. Fender and firewall space is at a premium. I also need to make sure it didn’t interfere with the oil lines, wiring, and other plumbing bits.


Brake Junction
“Location, location, location” seems to be mantra lately. There’s a lot of stuff to fit in and room is at a premium, especially because I want/need things to be relatively easy to service, should the occasion arise. To make this work, I need to clear the steering shaft, the brake booster, and keep it out of the way of the header space. It’s a tight fit but it works, although i did need to loop the right front line fairly tightly. Passenger side line goes up, along, and down the heater box per the original. Driver’s side line runs straight down the fender well.


PS Pump Plumbing
To get this to work required some creative routing to get the lines to work with the oil pump location. Ultimately the only way to plumb the low pressure line was to exit between the oil pump mounting and adjustment bolts. While a bit out of the ordinary, it works and still lets me adjust the drive belt tension. The high pressure lines aren’t a problem as there are no interference points to contend with. As mentioned earlier, I wished I hadn’t bothered with power steering. Given the amount of money and time it consumed, I can’t imagine it will be worth it.


Starter Bump Out
Like everything else mentioned in this post, this was one of those simple, but complicate things that needed to get done. Seems to have been the theme this weekend. The bump out was necessitated by having moved the engine back so the oil pump drive could clear both the radiator and the sway bar. The bonus was it put the gear lever almost exactly in the factory position. The down side was i meant having to cut yet another hole in the tub. The hole itself was a piece of cake—just fire up the cut-off wheel and get after it. Fabricating the cover panel with it’s compound bends…not so much. Even after making a template out of scrap 22 gauge I had around, it still took me two tries to get the panel made correctly. Here are the before, panel, and after shots.


I also managed to get the new steering crossmember shimmed, the heat insulation installed under the driver’s and passenger floorboards, and a number of other niggling things that had gone unattended. It’s getting down to the end on this project. Once the headers and exhaust are in, it will be time to fill it with fluids, prime the oil pump and try to fire it up.

9/17 - Exhausting Work... After trying a few different header ideas–a set from Sunbeam Tiger (left side worked, right side wouldn’t make it past the starter), a set from an early HiPo Mustang (neither side would clear the firewall), a set of reversed 302 shorties (wouldn’t clear either the oil pump or the alternator, and a set of tri-ys (left side would work with some cutting, right side wouldn’t fit no matter how much I rearranged)—I finally broke down and bought a set of through-the-well headers from Pete Mantell. I groaned about the cost $650) but truly, I could have bought the set and had money left over after all of my experiments.


The first order of business was to locate where to cut the fender well. Pete sent along a few photos that helped get me in the general location but I decided to measure for myself to see if I could minimize the size of the opening. I started by locating where the outer edge would go by measuring from the header flange to the collector, making note of whether or not the opening would be centered relative to the flange (the left and right headers are slightly different from one another). Once I had the rough measurements, next was to transfer them to the well.


My rough starting dimensions were about 4″ x 5″. I marked them out using a silver Sharpie, drilled each corner (3/4″ diameter), then cut between the holes. The first two things I discovered when trying to fit the header were that it wouldn’t clear the valve cover and that the my hole was way too small (Pete said this would be so). It took me about 3 more times, enlarging the area a little more with each attempt, before I had an opening that was large enough for the header to pass through. I also massaged the lower edge a bit to help with clearance. Withe the header finally in place, I fashioned a trim plate out of 16 gauge steel (painted black to match the wells) to clean up the opening.


Next was to begin building the collector exit pipe which was made more complicated than most 302 installations by my rear steer and tube shock set-ups. I used a combination of 90 and 45 degree bends to give enough room to clear the rack boot and shock tower. I’m not going to run any kind of cross-over so the exhaust will be going straight back under the floor boards with the mufflers (Spintech Cruisers) located just behind the rear cross member and exiting in front of the rear tire. To help dissipate heat, the floors have been lined with DEI reflective mat insulation. Unlike most sound and heat barrier material, the DEI product mounts under the car with a super aggressive adhesive. This is the second time I’ve applied it and can say, without equivocation, that it absolutely works as advertised.


I was able to complete the final mock up on the header extension as well as fabricate the mid-pipe and the clearance joint that will help keep the pipe tight to the rear crossmember. The SpinTech muffler is only 16″ long and 9″ wide. Even as small as it is, it will just fit in front of the forward leaf spring mount. Exiting to in front of the rear wheel should not present any problems (famous last words).


One of the pieces of fallout from the new headers was that my straight plug wires would no longer work (even with protective boots) so I had to change them out for a set a more standard 45 degree bends, Taylor’s in this case. I’m not a big fan of the yellow but the reports on Taylor wires is that they’re first rate wires so yellow it is.


Another change was to go from the heat riser style coke on my Autolite 4100 carb to a manual choke so I didn’t have to drill a hole in the new headers for the heat tube. The early HiPos used a manual choke but the originals are very scarce and expensive when you can find them. Thankfully, there’s a fairly robust aftermarket for these parts and I was able to source a conversion kit for $65. The lack of instructions made it take longer to install than it should have but the result is simple and clean. Choke cable is located on the forward bulkhead to the left of the steering wheel, under the dash.


Tomorrow night I’m going to mark and cut out the right side wheel well opening and test fit the right header then cut up and assemble the pipes need for the header extension.

9/22 - Right Side Exhaust No pics on this but the right side header, header extension and mid-pipe are in. What took me an entire weekend on the left side to accomplish, took me 3 hours to get done on the right side. Now that's some kind of learning curve! Just waiting on my SpinTechs to arrive so I can complete fitting up the back half of the system, remove everything for the welds, re-paint the headers, and reinstall the whole thing. Hopefully, for the last time.

In the meantime, I'm going to busy myself with finishing up the high pressure side of the power steering plumbing and a laundry list of other odds and ends including my pre-start check list—valve adjustment, all fluids filled, static distributor timing, initial carb setting, etc.

9/27 - Exhaust System Fabrication Finished welding up the headers, mid-pipes, and exits. The only thing I need now is my SpinTechs to complete fitting up the exhaust. I was loathe to cut into Pete's headers but had no choice as my rear steer set-up created some challenges routing the header exit to under the car. The left and right header exits are slightly different which surprised me as I thought the motor was centered in the bay but everything fits as it should...and that's what counts.

To install the mufflers, I'll simply cut an 18 1/2" section from the mid-pipes about 6" in front of the clearance tubes and clamp them in. Hoping they arrive next week.

10/14 - Finishing the Exhaust After several experiments with different headers (chronicled elsewhere here), then ordering the incorrect mufflers, I finally managed to complete both sides of the exhaust system. For the most part, the final assembly was straightforward with the expected amount of cajoling to get everything to line up the way it should. Everything went together as planned (one of the few times in the five years of this build I can say that) and the system lined up and looked just as it should.

Here are a few details:

• Pipe is 2 1/2" (I went with the aluminized stuff—there just isn’t enough pipe to justify stainless),
• mufflers are SpinTech Cruiser Series (offset inlet, center out),
• tips are Heddman stainless w/resonators,
• clearance tubes were from Dr. Gas,
• and the hangers are from Pypes (for Mustang).

Not much to it from a fabrication point-of-view. Hardest part was modifying the headers to get them to clear my Omni rear steer.

11/6 - Bundle O'Snakes and Steering Rack Member Version 2.0 - Finally finished up the dry sump plumbing. Most of the lines came together in the right front wheel well using bulkhead connectors to pass through the fender well (pump is a top right mount). Working with short AN lines is more challenging than one might think as they really just don't have much give in them and you need to be precise with your cuts or you're going to get to them over.


I also welded up a second version of my Omni rack member as the original version turned out to be a bit problematic - too low, interference with my oil return line cooler (Dry sump). New version fits inside the frame rails (old one was outside) and has clearance for the starter, letting the whole thing sit just about flush with the front x-member. Here's a shot of the old x-member and one of the new version.


That's it for now. Going to bolt up the new x-member tomorrow, then a few electrics to clean up, add some fuel and give a try for the first start on Monday.

1/3/14 - Lack of Progress Report
Wherein I own up to not getting the 'B'east started as I hoped and the nature of the continuing delays in doing so.

Well, things didn't go exactly as planned (could be a description of this project from Day 1). When the weather started to turn colder and the garage heater couldn't keep up with the temperatures, I decided to forego bolting up the new cross-member in favor of concentrating on getting the car started. I filled the transmission, the radiator, power steering pump and oil reservoir with the proper fluids then spun up the oil pump to prime the system and checked everything for leaks. Other than a P/S fitting at the rack that I plain forgot to tighten, everything was tight and the oil pump showed 60 lbs. of pressure. I was feeling pretty good.

Turned the key, hit the starter button and...nothing. Started to back track the wiring and found I had wired the mini starter incorrectly for my application. An easy fix, accomplished in about 15 minutes. Turned the key, hit the starter button and... it cranked but there was no joy. Turned the key on and listened for the fuel pump. Ah ha! Nothing. So I started to trace out the fuel pump wiring and found I had wired the inertia switch incorrectly. This was an easy, but not fast, fix as the pump is on the inside of the right rear wheel. AN hour later, all was right.

Turned the key, listened for the tell tale click of the pump and...nothing. By now I'm getting pretty frustrated so I stepped away from the car for a few days. Bad idea. The weather really turned to crap and made it impossible to go out and work in the garage so I busied myself by going back through my wiring diagrams and, in doing so, learned a basic truth of these kind of builds - always (and I mean always) finish things you start. The notes I had so carefully written three years ago when I ran all of the wires and that seemed so clear at the time, were now just so much gibberish. I resolved to go back out and start running down every circuit, one at a time, and confirm that all were correctly wired.

About at circuit 10 out 15 or so, I found that I didn't have any power to anything on the switched side of the fuse block, hence why the fuel pump wouldn't fire. And that's where we stand at the moment. Since my last post, there's been a Christmas holiday and we're currently "enjoying' temperatures that are at or below zero along with a couple feet of new snow. I've become a dedicated viewer of AccuWeather, constantly scanning for warmer temperatures in hope of scheduling some time in the garage to finish things up.

The worst case scenario is that I won't be up and running until spring. At that point, I will still need to shake out the suspension and the other bits but at least I should be on the road. Pray for me...I think I'm may need help of the otherworldly kind.

1/16 - Still no joy... ...But am making progress of a sort.

So, the electrical problems turned out to be more involved than I thought. TO make it easier to get at the ignition switch and verify the connections, I decided to drop the dash. Other than the center vents, which are real pain to get out, it's pretty easy to do - drop the column, remove the screws from the stays under the dash, and remove the nuts from the top studs. Done.

Once down, I found more than I bargained for - several plugs had been terminated but had not been plugged in to anything, hence no turn indicators, no headlamps, no pretty much anything on the switched side of the power. Sheesh! I have no reasonable explanation for why I would have put the damn dash in without completing the circuits other than the possibility I was working on the car late at night when my mind wasn't as clear as it needed to be. In any event, I have the turn signal socket correctly wired and checked, all of the instruments done, the wiper, washer, and heater switches complete. All that's left is to verify the ignition switch wiring, complete the headlight switch socket, and verify the ignition box/tach light wiring.

I'm working on this stuff when the weather (cold) permits and I can line the opportunity up with my availability (work).

On another front, I've been playing with the idea of building up a set of 16" faux Dunlop steelies and have been on the hunt for suitable donor rims. After going through a variety of Honda, Saab, and other steel wheels, I happen to be passing by a Crown Vic police cruise the other day and noticed the steel wheels - they looked very usable, so I ordered one up ($45 delivered). Lo and behold, almost the perfect offset and back space.

I'll need to space the fronts by 1/4" to duplicate my current track width but the backs will be fine as they are. The holes in these aren't quite round so I'll need to run a step bit through each one to get the right effect. I already have a spinner kit on the shelf. Plan is to work on a finished sample then order up the other 4 rims.

Of would help if the damn car was actually running...


3-31—Has it really been three months since I posted? Well, yes it has. And no wonder. Unless you've been out of the country and completely disconnected from any of the news, you know that the Northeast (and, it seems, particularly Vermont where I live) has turned into the land of perpetual winter. Over the past couple of days, it started to look like spring may finally arrive here...that was followed by more snow this morning. I still have 1 foot and a half in my yard from the last dump for crying out loud!

Ah well, bottom line is it's just been too darn cold to be out in the garage. Even with my garage heater going full bore, the best I could muster on the colder days was just above freezing. Way too cold for these bones to be laying about on the under or even in the car.

There's a vicious rumor going around that warmer temperatures are coming. I hope who ever started that cruel joke got it right so I can go back to finishing up the 'B'east. Otherwise I'm in danger of having Jim Stabe finish his car first. Well, I suppose that would be okay. He did have a 7 year head start on me...


4-20—The steering Rack Is Back In, My Oil Leak is Solved I thought I was being so clever changing my steering x-member from outside the frame to inside the frame mounting. Better clearance for my oil lines. Not. Easier to get at the mounting bolts. Not. In fact, neither of the two reasons I changed it was altered, in any positive way, by the work. In fact, now I get to change out one of the line ends to get the line to fit again and reinstalling the rack was only accomplished with a good deal of swearing.

The oil leak, on the other hand, turned out to be a simple, if embarrassing, fix. I snugged up the drain plug which I had complete forgotten to tighten. Leak fixed. Thank goodness I had the fore sight to cut a an access hole in the boot pan.

All in all, a pretty good day in the garage. I'll take it.

5-21—The Oil System is Complete (again) and the Ride Height is Fixed Well, as you knew it had to go, correcting that last oil line problem wasn't as simple as just changing out the fitting for one with a better angle. No, that would have been much too easy. Instead, it involved creating some clearance on the motor mount (Bill Guzman's) so I could get the hose end to line up square with the fitting on the pan. It actually wasn't a big deal just aggravating because the dry sump system was fully charged and changing the fitting meant a good deal of fresh oil all over the place. Ah well, it's all back together now, I need to re-prime the system, but it's done.

Can't remember if I had posted up about the ride height or not but, the bottom line is/was that I had been a tad too aggressive about lowering the car and discovered that I could no longer get my low profile floor jack under it, except in back and then only from the center of the rear. After measuring the front and back ride heights (wight he car on level floor) I discovered I'd set the back 1/2" lower than the front. Who knows how or why I did it, but I did. Thankfully, I have lowering blocks on hand from 3" to 1" in 1/2" increments so it was a simply thing to swap the ones I had installed for ones 1/2" shorter.

Lastly, my brake calipers finally made it in from Wilwood. And I don't even mind that they took more than 6 months to arrive. Couldn't have done anything with them anyway over the winter. That said, I'm hoping to get out to the garage this weekend and fashion some mounting plates. In this case, the calipers will mount to the front of the spindle as I don't have the clearance in their typical location due to my rear steer Omni rack. The only draw back is that the location will necessitate the rerouting of the brake cooling hose (or its removal altogether). Other than that, I have a chunk of 3/16" aluminum plate all set aside for the occasion.

I think that's it for now. I still have a little bit of work to do on the rear brake line junction, I'm just not happy with the way it's currently set up as the top of the line has a ver good chance of hitting the boot pan upon compression. May or may not be a big deal but fixing it to make sure it's okay only means reworking the right hard line and maybe an adapter for my "t" fitting. Should have done it this way to begin with and I would;t be doing it over.

After I finish up with the brakes and re-prime my oil system, I'll finish up the chasing down a few wiring faults and, hopefully, be ready to fire it up in the next couple of weeks.

5-26 - Cleaning Up the Last of the Small Stuff There were a few things that really needed to be taken care of. Nothing picture worthy but still need to be taken care of.

• Oil pump - The belt was on really tight and would have created some serious wear on the shaft because, somehow in all of the assembly, I lost the ability to adjust the tension. A little clearancing of the mounting bracket restored things and the belt now has the correct tension.

• Front brake caliper - The rear steer (behind the steering axis) rack solved my header and steering shaft problems but made it impossible to mount the caliper at the rear of the wheel. To solve the problem I'm going to move the caliper to the front of the wheel. Today I made the bracket template and this week I'll fabricate the brackets and mount the calipers.

• Rear brake junction - I've never been happy with the rear brake junction because of the potential for the line to rub on the chassis and the possibility for it to fail as a result. Changing it was a simple—replace the existing junction with one that didn't bring the center line in from the top. One of those "I don't why I didn't think of this the first time" moments.

• Starter cable - This was always too close to the exhaust headers for my comfort. And, even though it's covered in heat shield, I was never happy about the routing. Fixing it wasn't difficult, just tedious but it's now definitely out of the way

And that leaves...
• A little bit of wiring to make sure everything is connected correctly and I have power to the fuel pump, then bolt the dash back in
• Reconnect the steering shaft (undone when I was going through the new steering x-member fiasco)
• Fabricate and install the front calipers/mounts,
• Bleed the brakes and clutch
• Re-prime the oil system,
• Check the timing and distributor advance...and give it a go.

The plan is to knock of one of the list items each day this week and, if nothing else goes of the rails, to fire it up this coming weekend. I know, I've heard this tale before.

February 23, 2015 - I'm still here...</b?

Contrary to rumours swirling about, I have not died or given up on the project. I'm simply a victim of some poor timing and a new business venture that's been consuming most of (if not all) of my time.

Last May, a year ago, I had every intention of following my "to-do" list and wrapping things up on the "B"east and that's when the wheels came off the bus. I was just in the early stages of launching my illustration business and severely underestimated the time commitment. Come November, I was still hard at it but beginning to have glimpses of relief and was anxious to go back to work on the car but the cold weather cam early (November) up here and made getting out to the garage not only challenging but pretty darn unappealing as well. That any hop of finishing things up before the next spring.

In February, I decided to move my art studio into 800' of vacant space in my house and have been pretty much at it hammer and tong since then. The good news is that the illustration gig is going well enough that I can realistically see myself back to work on the MGB this spring. The bad news is the Farmer's Almanac is calling for snow through mid-April so "spring" is going to be somewhat relative.

Believe me, I can't wait to get it running and out on the road if no other reason than to quash the comments of some of friends who have decided that my garage is now really a "museum" given that very few things in it actually run.


Edited 39 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2015 11:50AM by DC Townsend.

Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4578 posts)

10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

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Re: '79 B with Ford 302 Dry Sump - Part III
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Date: April 21, 2015 02:20AM


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