[Mgs] No Go Mystery

Robert J. Guinness guinness at stclegal.com
Tue May 3 13:09:58 MDT 2016

While on a long drive in the hinterlands of KY in my 1960 MGA with a 
3-main 1800 MGB engine, I nearly ran out of gas after about 170 miles 
that day.  I found a gas station and refueled (the gas had alcohol and I 
usually run non-alcohol gas).  About 30 miles later, the car started to 
lose power and then quit. Figured it was a clogged fuel line, but fuel 
was pumping out of the fuel line at the rear carb and there was gas in 
both float bowls. Cleaned out both float bowls.  Had spark from the coil 
and to all plugs.  Had just replaced spark plugs and gapped them to spec 
two days previously. Regapped points (1 year old 25D distributor). 
Nothing.  Sprayed starting fluid in the carbs.  Nothing. Locals towed me 
back to town. Locals played with wires under the bonnet at the coil as I 
politely batted them away.  As a last ditch effort, I advanced the 
timing and it caught at high revs!  Drove a few miles, but lost power as 
I accelerated and stopped.  Stripped and reattached coil wire to 
harness.  Started, drove a couple of miles, faded, and stopped. Towed it 
home.  At home, it started reluctantly.  It drove for a couple of miles 
and it faded and quit. Gas  in rear carb float bowl but no gas at the 
front carb float bowl. Blew air from fuel pump back to gas tank with 
audible air flow at the gas tank.  Replaced the float bowl needle and 
seat at the front carb.  Fuel pumping nicely at both front and rear 
carbs.  Have spark from the coil and to all plugs. Static timed.  
Nothing, doesn't even try to catch. I do not have a fuel filter other 
than stock sleeve in the fuel pump. No odd sounds. I am stupefied ( 
except for the possibility of clogged jets, but if so why wouldn't it 
start with starter fluid). If it is the coil or condensor, why am I 
getting spark?  Why would advancing the timing get it to go at such high 
revs that one time, but normal timing gives you nothing at all, not even 
a spit? Do I have a cam flat spot problem? How have I angered the 
British engineering gods?  Any hints or diagnostic suggestions?
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Robert Guinness

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