A Dozen Steps for Preparing Your MG for Spring
(as appeared in the Spring, 2015 TSR)
By Charlie Adams
- Start with the brakes by checking your brake fluid level. If
the fluid in the master cylinder is down at all from full, look
carefully for leaks at the wheel cylinders. If you notice dampness at
the master cylinder or a wheel cylinder, rebuild or replace it. Every
few years, the brake system should be bled to replace the brake fluid.
Brake fluid, except for silicone fluid, accumulates water, which over
time will rust steel brake lines and brake cylinders. If one cannot
remember when the brakes were last bled, do it again.
- Take a moment to check the steering system for looseness. On
TDs and TFs, take a look at the steering rack universal joint, which
consists of the three bolts, nuts and six rubber pads. If the steering
is obviously loose, investigate and consider if parts need replaced
before putting the car in service.
- Take a moment to quickly look at the fan belt and cooling system
hoses. If you see signs of deterioration or seepage, consider whether to
replace them soon or before the next long distance drive.
- How long has it been since the anti-freeze was changed? If 5 years
or more, drain and flush the cooling system.
- If your engine oil is dirty, plan on changing the oil and filter
after the engine warmed up.
- Next, if your car has been sitting for a few months over the winter,
remove the spark plugs and spin the engine briefly until oil pressure
registers on the gauge. This will assure good lubrication on initial
start-up. Also, a quick looking at the plugs will provide insight into
how efficiently each cylinder has been operating. Once oil pressure
shows on the gauge replace the plugs.
- Now start the engine. I often now use a short shot of starting fluid
on engines that have not been run for months.
- Perhaps you will want to adjust the carburetors if the spark plugs
show signs of running lean or rich. Keep in mind our engines run a bit
cooler if the mixture is slightly rich. Also, once an engine is running
well, it is usually unnecessary to change the SU settings for lengthy
periods of time.
- As the engine idles and after shutting it off, look carefully around
the carburetors for fuel leaks and assure the float bowls do not
overflow. Look under the carbs as well to inspect the where the jets
enter the carburetors. I’m tolerant of a slightly damp jet but drips
should form there.
- Check and add air to the tires as necessary. Are the tires
aging…sidewall cracks are dangerous and indicate it’s time to replace
- Lubricate the door hinges and locks, making sure the doors are fully
closing to the second step of the striker. Also, it’s a good idea to
check the lights, especially the brake lights.
- Finally, take off on a short test drive. Make sure the brakes and
steering feel excellent. Perhaps you will want to adjust the valves if
they are noisy.