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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Contortionist wanted

We are at the end of the assembly and apart from needing to bleed the hydraulics, the only job left to do is start the engine. To do this I need to static time it and then put the timing light on it when it's running.

But there's always a snag on the Midget! The timing marks are almost inaccessible, even worse than on an MGA!

The timing marks are at the bottom of timing chain cover, and can only be seen lying under the car looking forward. there's also no room to get a spanner on the crank nut to turn the engine and line up the marks, so I suspect this is only going to be possible by jacking up one back wheel and turning the engine by rotating a back wheel.

Have I missed a trick? - once we have the TDC lined up underneath we can put a mark up top to use with the rest of the process, but I am really kicking myself for not doing this on Saturday when the engine was still on the bench.

But the good news is that we have oil pressure on the starter and so far no leaks - the engine has not run for 20 years but we replaced all the seals, no big rebuild as it only has 85k kms on the clock.
dominic clancy

It's very easy.

Take off the distributor cap.

Take the plugs out to lose the compression.

Stick it in 4th gear.

Laying under the car with a torch, you can see the timing mark on the crank pully.

Push the car back or forth to align pully mark with static mark.

Then use a 12 volt bulb on the distributor, to gauge when the points just open as you rotate the pre-loosened distributor.

Lawrence Slater

Is there enough ground clearance to lie under the car and do that?
dominic clancy

Yup there's enough room. You lay on your left/right side and use your chosen arm.

See this twist vid. It's not a midget, and he has a ramp. But it's the same thing.
Lawrence Slater

If you have a radio then forget about the 12 volt bulb. Turn the radio volume up, tune it off station so that it hisses, and listen for the interference click on the radio as the points just make contact. Its more accurate!

Sometime once the timing is set, you may while away a happy half hour or so fabricating a second set of timing marks to attach to the top of the timing chest where you can see them, and re-mark the crank pulley accordingly.
Guy Weller

Dom. Larry's procedure is mostly correct. But, remember that, on a four stroke engine, the timing mark will point to the notch on the pulley twice during the four stroke cycle and you want, for initial timing purposes, to have it pointing to the pulley notch on the compression/firing stroke, not on the exhaust/intake stroke. I recommend that you remove the valve cover and watch the valves move. When the second valve from the front (intake valve) begins to close, you align the timing marks and can set the static timing.

Les Bengtson

Assuming that the dissy drive is fitted the correct way and the distributor is vaguely in the right position, it doesn't matter whether no 1 or no 4 is on the compression stroke when setting the static timing.
Dave O'Neill 2

This dosnt apply to me as ive got timming marks on top

But would an angled large mirror work for seeing the marks below think you could even aim the gun at the mirror and hit the marks that way

Interesting ??? Juzt not sure if its just thinking out loud

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Never thought to do that Guy. Very cool. Where did you learn that trick? Does it still work if you have a radio suppressor on the coil? Might be even better with my old NHS hearing aid too. That thing will pick up anything and everything that I don't want to hear. lol.

x2 Dave. But at any rate, to have it on No.1 compression stroke. you still don't need to take the rocker cover off. Just look at the rotor arm, to see if it's pointing vaguely at No1, when the timing mark is close/on static.
Lawrence Slater

....and for further ease, do not push the car or rock it to align the pulley - grab hold of the front wheel and turn. Much easier...
Mark O

I always just grab the front bumper and pull it

Does anyone ever bump the starter... ive tried, but I always over shoot my target

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

A few pictures of the almost finished car

dominic clancy

The engine bay, we have since corrected the air filters so the bonnet can close

dominic clancy

And one for the bling

dominic clancy

Prop: the problem with using a mirror is "advanced" is "retarded" and 10deg btc is 10deg AFTER tdc. Also the engine runs the other way round. Possibly!
Graeme W

That is really an out of the box solution...I cant believe how smart and simple that is.

I would never have thought of it till you mentioned it.

I might go out and do it right now just for kicks!
Steven Devine

We drove the car today for the first time in 20 years. We still have some air in the brakes, but the clutch is good, and the engine runs really sweetly.

Just have to address two issues.. The rev counter is not working and the fuel gauge swings to full when the brake lights go on.

Otherwise everything seems to be working as MG intended.
dominic clancy

This thread was discussed between 10/07/2014 and 12/07/2014

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