An M.G. Locost Build
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April 13, 2013

The engine is back in the car. This time for good, or at least until it blows itself up and needs to be rebuilt. And actually, as I think we've pointed out before, that wouldn't be all that big a deal because pulling the engine out of an M.G. Locost is a trivial task, so long as you have a way to suspend a 400 lb. hunk of cast iron in mid-air for more than a few seconds.

  Almost ready to drive
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All we had to do to get the engine in the car was remove the nose cone. After that, the actual installation went pretty fast. I'm not sure why we'd scheduled six hours for the job. We might've been thinking there was more to it than just hoisting the engine off it's Harbor Freight moving dolly and sticking it onto the end of the transmission. We had to tighten 15 bolts, which took about 40 minutes, and we had to make sure we ran a grounding strap across one of the mounts, but a little more than an hour into the job we were done.

Still needs a few accessories, though  
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Of course we're not "done" done. We still need to get the engine running, and for that we're going to need a few accessories, like carburetors, a fan belt, and things to keep the engine from overheating. Plus electricity. Before we installed the engine we finished all of our plumbing and most of the wiring, so we just have to hook up a few things here and there, like the starter motor and the spark plugs. Installing the rest of the engine controls, like the choke and throttle cables, shouldn't take too long.

  Grommet stretched within an inch of its life
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The front wiring harness gave us a lot more trouble than the engine. The big trick was squeezing half of the harness through the firewall grommet. That took some serious stretching, and not all of the connectors survived, although some of those weren't in great shape to begin with, and it's just as well we repaired them now. There's still an awful lot of wires, and I'm not sure that we can get them all hooked up correctly on the first try, but I'm pretty sure we can get the important things working, and the rest we can take one component at a time.

Somehow this will all have to connect up  
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The harness in the engine bay is now pretty well sorted out. The harness underneath the dashboard is a huge mess. First of all, it's about an inch thick, with wires sprouting from it all over the place. And secondly, there isn't a lot of room under there. Also, some of the wires are in the wrong place because we've moved a few of the switches and gauges around. The good news is just about everything is labeled, so we should be able to get stuff working, even if we have to do some surgery later on.

  Brake and clutch pedals actually work
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We had much better luck with the hydraulic systems. We did the clutch first, and having just one hydraulic line made it difficult to mess up, even for us, but still very satisfying to see the clutch arm move inside the bell housing all by itself. Of course to get it all working we had to install the pedals, and we were pretty surprised when that didn't turn out to be a major hassle. The pedals fit easily and lined up perfectly with the master cylinder pushrods. Even the return springs went in easily.

We knew the brakes would be more of a challenge. The brake system has eight hydraulic lines, plus three flex lines. Somehow, none of the lines leaked. We did have one leak in the main junction box, through an electrical fitting for the pressure-drop warning switch. It turns out that to protect the electrical fitting, the junction box has a couple of rubber seals inside, which in our case are no longer sealing, most likely due to the fact that we weren't aware of the seals when we cleaned up the junction box last fall with any number of caustic chemicals.

We checked online and found that Moss Motors sells a repair kit for the junction box, but it's $30 and at least a week away, so we implemented our back-up plan which was to remove the fitting and replace it with a sawed-off 3/8" bolt. That fixed the leak, and after a marathon bleeding session, moving from corner to corner around the car about 16 times, we had a firm pedal. Amazing. It's almost as if hydraulic systems were designed from the start not to leak.

One of these days we'll have to get that Moss repair kit, since we think having a pressure-drop warning light on the dash would be pretty cool, and also without the seals we no longer have a split systemówe lose one side of the brakes, we lose them all. But for now we're down to 21 steps and 32 hours on our engine-start countdown. Most of it should be pretty fun, although we have to admit we're a getting a little nervous that it's all going to work.


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posted April 28, 2017 at 04:40:37  
Major thanks for the blog.Thanks Again. Keep writing.
posted November 8, 2017 at 11:39:09  
Very good article. I am dealing with many of these issues as well..