Elroy Christenson

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1978 MGB T-Top

mgb profile

"My '78 MGB", 2011 Elroy Christenson

I finally got this car running again after sitting in the garage for 9 years. After commuting in it for many years I broke a piston ring.  I had the engine rebuilt and reworked the electrical.  I've rebuilt the front end and brakes, refurbished the over-drive, cleaned up the exterior and redid most of the interior including doing a little sculpture by making a solid walnut paneled dash board and rub rails and handles.  The T-top window seals have now been replaced for wetter Seattle.   I love to be able to pop them out at a stop light.  I discovered a bit of a rumble in the car on a recent trip which turned out to be an over-heated and worn arm on one of  the universal joints.  Both have been replaced and the valves are adjusted to make it sound like the fine machine I want.  I'm still in the process of cleaning the engine compartment. I have to disassemble many electrical components. 

mgb dash

I have to say that the my new Pirelli  P4 tires work great in the snow and I'm loving the way it drives.  I did have to take the time to re-align the front wheels.  According to the MGB Club members I've met so far, this may be the only T-top in Washington State. 

Elroy and Cheryl w/ 78MGB
Cheryl and Elroy with the '78 MGB by Lake Washington 2012 Elroy Christenson

Now  a member of the MG Car Club NW Centre.   MGB.club.jpg

MG club with Olympics
The MG Car Club NW on the Whidbey Island Art Tour at Fort Casey, March, 2012, a beautiful but frosty day.

trunk interior

My latest cleanup with Cheryl's stitchery genius. Repainted before new carpets all around along with a new tool bags.
 Both the T-top panels now have protective fuzzy envelopes and the tire is covered nicely.  The neighbors think I can't remember what kind of car it is.  I had to straighten the lid internal supports and re-bend the hinges until they matched.  The lid itself was also twisted a bit by the single original trunk prop so I had to carefully re-curve and re-align the fit.  It may not be perfect but it is a lot better.  The new struts lift automatically after opening about 5". [2012]

MG.luggage rack

My most recent addition has been the new removable luggage rack.  I couldn't leave it alone and had to add some wood supports that flattened it out and matched the color of the T-Top.  I like this Surco stainless steel rack for its ease of attachment and its strength.  I still am looking for some nice straps.   I expect it to drop my gas mileage loaded but it will be worth the extra space.  I already fabricated a funky bike rack but may have to see it I can figure out how to add that to this rack. 

I'm still learning about the Stromberg carburetor.  I had to take it apart to put in a new O-ring.  Getting it readjusted has been a real learning experience.  Finally running well enough to make it over the North Cascade Highway to Winthrop but it putted across at high elevations. 
MGB topless
'78 MGB topless

I had to take the top off in the middle of the rainy season because I had my windshield replaced at Safelite at 12813 Aurora N.  They did a great job. Terry replaced all the bolts and screws with stainless steel. Some of the screws had been put back in the wrong locations from a previous replacement. He had to re-tap some of the holes and installed all the new seals that I bought.  It did change the alignment since many of the seals had not been replaced for years. Some of the bolts were missing or disconnected.  Terry was very careful and attentive to detail.  Don't expect this to be a quick job.  It still was done in about three days.  I really don't think they made a dime on it but seemed to do it for the love of working on the car.  This was a job that I had nightmares over so I'm glad it's done. Since the top was off I replaced the front seal on the top as well.

After the windshield replacement I had to rebuild my wing windows.  I found out that both had broken seams at the corner but I only bought one good used one.  Once I had it pulled apart the door panel to get out the drivers side I figured I was committed to the other side as well.  Unscrewing it and twisting it out carefully without scratching the window was a trick. Refurbishing the hinges was necessary since they were pretty much frozen and the seals were all rotted out.  Once I knew the removal technique the other side had to be done.  I  had a quick stainless steel weld done and I had to finish the surface.  New seals put in all around, aligned so that its not as twisted and it looks great.

The LED lights as a Christmas present from Cheryl, my wife, was a great addition.  The original lights weren't as bright as I thought they should be but these LED light boards and the accompanying flasher really brightened things up.  At the same time I went through and replaced all the rubber gaskets around all the other exterior lamps. 
 mgb.tail.stand.72.jpg    LED lights
Guess which is a standard brake light                     and an LED brake light.

  I bought the kit from British Automobile company -  BMCAuto.com
It wasn't cheap but I like the results.  I'm sure it is a lot brighter than a simple LED replacement bulb. It's important to change the flasher unit because the LED draws so little current.  (Dec. 2012)

My latest project, (May 2013) was to get ready for spring with a bike rack designed for the new luggage rack.  I previously had made one that "worked OK" but I wanted one that would look good with the the present configuration.  Much of this was put together with salvaged lightweight tubing from the previous rack.  I cleaned it up and chopped it down.   I had to create a new attachment system to hook onto the luggage rack so that it wouldn't scar it.  A simple wrap-around clamping system with 5/8" hose lining works well. It rides well on the bumper but I still have to put a metal tie-down strap on the bottom to keep it from popping off..  It is only a problem on rough roads and easily supports two bikes. 

bike rack
                    1      bike
                    rack 2

October 2013- I pulled the engine and tranny.. It was not an up-grade initially but to make it run with a '77 tranny and overdrive.  The original over-drive pump went out to cause the project.  While at it, I put in a bearing based throw-out bearing on the clutch and an oversized clutch.  While at it, I changed out of the Zenith Stromberg carbs to dual SU4's and new exhaust system.  The biggest headache was the replumbing of the emissions system and water lines since they were diameters.  The new exhaust system gave it a different sound and more power.  The tranny odometer is different so the speed indicator and mileage is not accurate.  Don't know what I'm going to do about it.

pulling engine       mgb engine 2013 installed
 orig. SU4    SU4 installed
The rebuilt carbs had to be cleaned up on the exterior, the result are seen here.  I think they look a lot better and certainly give me better power at all speeds although I found it to be more cold sensitive and takes a longer choke time for good running. Replumbing is seen above. I still have to solve the crankcase vent smell issues which mostly now vent to the air, I'm thinking of plumbing it into the exhaust line. I also took care of some wiring issues and put a relay on the heater fan motor.  I should have done that a long time ago. I added another heavy ground cable to the engine/tranny as a precaution.

All works copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any media without the artist's permission. copyright 1975 - 2014 Elroy Christenson.
email contact to: elroy@next1000.com

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updated by Elroy Christenson 1/21/14