|No battery? No problem. Start your car with this.|
They sell replacements but they are expensive, and I heard that they weren't quite perfect. So, I scoured the internet and found one for sale about an hour away for a good price. I bought it, drove up to pick it up, and went out to the garage to try it out. Unfortunately, it came up short - literally. Turns out the junk yard that sold it to me thought it was for an MGA, but it was really for some other car and was about 5 inches too short to reach the engine through the bumper. I returned it and managed to get a correct replacement after researching and confirming the proper measurements. Armed with this new one I marched back out to the garage only to find that while long enough, the crank was being blocked by the steering rack tube on its way back to the engine. Curses, foiled again. Because the oil drain pan was also too close to the frame under the car, I concluded that the engine mounts were sagging with age.
The engine needs to mount firmly to the frame of the car for obvious reasons, but it also needs to be able to shake a little without rattling your teeth. As a result, engines are mounted not directly, but with a thick rubber spacer that dampens this shaking when necessary but still makes a solid connection. Replacing the mounts involves lifting the 360 pound engine an inch or two if not out of the car completely. Not only that, but in order to access the parts to replace, you need to pull out the carburetors on the driver side and the generator on the other.
As this was an intimidating project for me, the crank sat, mocking me in the garage for months until I gathered the courage. I ordered the mounts from Moss and steeled myself for the task. They arrived, and I began. The generator is not bad to get out. There are three bolts to remove, and a few electrical connections to undo. After sliding the fan belt off, it lifts right out. The ignition coil is mounted to the generator and even makes a nice handle to pull them both out together. They are a little heavy, but not bad.
|The generator (big) and ignition coil (piggy backing)|
removed and on the bench.
|The carbs out of the car on the bench (with the air cleaners back on).|
|The engine mount is out (center) but the offending bolt is stuck|
on the bottom plate, making it hard to remove.
While I waited for these parts, I worked on a few other little projects that I'll write about later. Once they arrived, the new mounts went in without a hitch and the engine was secure again. I thought of a great little trick to keep the nuts from falling off the bottom while fiddling to get them started. I stuck a strong magnet to the top of the bolt and that holds the nut on even before it gets threaded in. The carbs went back in well, then the generator. With the radiator back in I filled it up with fresh fluid and started it back up. Unfortunately, at this point I found the generator had stopped working while on the bench (or more likely in the process of getting it in and out). More on that later.