The MGA With An Attitude
MGA Guru Is GOING MOBILE - (July 16, 2015 - July 31, 2015)
Thursday July 16, 2015
pick up these parts at the club meeting night before. At least this gave us a good reason to visit Lawrie in his personal digs. He was tuning up an MGB to get it through the California air test, rather busy, so we hit and run after a brief chat.
Grant Line Road and White Rock Road between Galt and Cameron Park is becoming too familiar, but there we go again. Today we have an appointment with Lawrie Alexander in Shingle Springs, CA. This is a brief stop to pick up a set of brake shoes dropped off there by Tom Pope a couple days earlier. We were originally supposed to
Continuing northwest we took CA-65, CA-70, CA-99 with moderate traffic ending up a few hours later in Red Bluff on I-5. Hot sun today, and the engine coolant seemed to be running a bit higher than expected, so we decided to sit there a couple hours and then drive when the sun is lower, maybe a bit after dark. WiFi here, but no electrical outlet for the chargers so we bled the batteries about half down.
Early evening when the sun was lower we rolled up I-5 half an hour to Redding, CA. Considering spending the night here, we found three different WiFi spots with no electrical outlet for the chargers. So after a couple more hours when batteries were low, we plugged the computers into the DC-to-AC inverter in the car and drove on. We headed west 45 miles on Eureka Way/CA-273 and CA-299, into the mountains, up and down through the 2nd gear hills and 25 MPH switchbacks in the dark (jolly good fun, if not a little unnerving), over 5000 feet altitude at one point, arriving Weaverville at 1 am.
On slowing down for town I notice the engine didn't want to idle unless it was given some choke, and this was more than just high altitude blues. Pulling into a fuel stop with lights but closed store, I opened the bonnet to check, and found two unrelated problems. First the front carburetor mounting bolts were about four turns loose with the carburetor flopping around an eight inch (which large air leak would certainly explain the bad idle issue).
While tightening the carburetor mounting nuts I noticed there were two blades missing from the "new" 7-blade plastic fan, and I found the blades lying on the frame near the engine. That could explain why the coolant was running warmer than expected earlier in the day. Since the plastic blades are rather light weight it didn't have any noticeable vibration (nothing like losing one blade from a steel fan). So I took a couple of pictures and we drove on (running much better). We found a nice nesting spot in a national forest a few miles north up CA-3.
The plastic fan was in service May 6 to July 16, 295,038 to 305,696 = 10,658 miles on the plastic fan, but it may have failed a day earlier. I do not know the cause of failure. There were some abrasion marks on the broken blade tips, but not known if that happened before or after the break.
Friday July 17, 2015
Today we were in for a special treat, cruising north up CA-3 through the national forests. Much of it was 3rd gear hills up and down, some of it 2nd gear up and through tight switchbacks. Photos tell a better story. As we were approaching Etna (75 miles on) this bald eagle picked a squirrel off the road, but then dropped it in the road as we arrived on the scene. When we stopped to take the picture the eagle was sitting by waiting for us to leave so he could retrieve his meal.
We were in Etna to visit Michael and Patrica Mitchell. The 4WD Toyota is the daily driver car, while the ZB Magnette is the luxury limo. It was a bit of a squeeze getting out of the garage, but we we were soon off to lunch. The ZB engine was running rough at idle, so after lunch it got a fuel mixture adjustment, now purring like a kitten.
There followed some diagnostic work on dash switches, as the Lighting switch was one-position, and the Panel switch was two position, and the Fog lamp switch was two-position. Everything works if you learn an odd pattern for operating the switches. Turned out some of the switches were in the wrong location on the dash, begging for relocation and rewiring.
Then we had some extended chat about cars and clubs and mountain roads and other things of general interst to MG enthusiasts. Just before dark we headed north from Etna, a dozen miles through the valley and 16 miles up and down a twisty pass through the mountains, and half hour later we stopped at Yreka. CA on I-5, just shy of the state line between California and Oregon. (Hint, hint). After a couple hours researching car cub events, we found an event on short notice and headed a couple hours north out of California, resting overnight at Roseburg, Oregon.
Saturday July 18, 2015
Up early to hit the road. Some more miles up I-5, then we turned off at CA-99 to take Territorial Highway, a twisty road in the hills through the mountains another 32 miles north (Mapquest said it was the quickest route). The destination was Richardson County Park in Junction City, Oregon (west of Eugene, OR). Here we met with British Motor Club of Oregon for a picnic, along with at least four additional British car clubs.
We arrived at the appointed time of 10:30 am to find only one other LBC present, an MG Midget. Apparently other folks had been told 11 am, and at least one group was meeting at 11 am to caravan together, going to arrive somewhat later. But that was okay, giving us plenty of time to chat before the bulk of the crowd would arrive. And arrive they did. Next to arrive was a nice MG TD with MGA engine (with MGB carburetors) and gearbox transplant said to run expressways nicely up to 80-mph.
And then they came cruising in by the fist full. I didn't count, but I suppose more then 30 British cars plus a few non-descript family cruisers.
And of course the picnic, lots of food, lots of friends, lots of fun, all too soon finished. We will have to make appointments to visit the clubs and people and cars individually. For now we had to find a WiFi spot with A/C to post these photos and notes, and to research more clubs and events.
After the picnic we moved 20 miles east to Eureka, Oregon in I-5 for fuel and WiFi and A/C, and we stayed there for the night.
Sunday July 19, 2015
Stationary day, time to contact a bunch of car clubs and a few friends in Oregon, and posting some new web pages on vintage advertising for MGA.
Monday July 20, 2015
Morning WiFi session, then a quick trip to meet Bob Macherone who owns Sports Car Shop in Eugene, Oregon. Although he likes British cars, this shop services everything from pre-war to modern cars, British, Italian, German. Restoration and paint work is done at a different location. Bob also has a few vintage motorcycles on display.
This stack of tires caught my eye, as is contains real Minilite magnesium wheels with spline drive center adapters for mounting on wire wheel splined hubs. I drool every time I see real magnesium wheels.
Bob finally wandered outside to check out our MGA, and the discussion turned to long mileage and maintenance
like broken piston, failed brake light pressure switches, and broken plastic fan blades). Before I left Bob gave me a New Old Stock brake pressure switch which he claims will likely solve my switch failure problems. He has had similar problems with modern replacement switches, and has to face warranty and liability problems if he sends a customer car out with possibly failed brake lights. He ultimately found and procured a stash of NOS switches which appear to be good for long term use. Anyone heard of Park Remax switches? Made in England, decades back. Search eBay.
Then we rolled on north for another hour up I-5 to Keizer, Oregon where we have an appointment for tomorrow. I recon they grow a lot of Wheat in Oregon, so you can have toast and Wheaties for breakfast, and the remaining straw is baled. Late afternoon and evening was consumed with more WiFi and posting these photos and notes.
Tuesday July 21, 2015
Pretty busy with tech questions today, but we got to out next appointment on time. Willamette MG Club meeting at McNary Golf Course Restaurant in Keizer, Oregon two dozen people were a smaller than expected turn out. We had met some of these people at the Saturday picnic. Aside from normal club discussion there was a bit of song and dance by MGA Guru, and a report from attendees of NAMGBR MG2015 in Niagra Falls.
Then we got to kick a few tires it the car park. As most of the folks toddled off to Sonic for ice cream, we did a quick hit on WiFi, then headed due north in a rush.
An hour later we arrived in Portland Oregon to visit Jae Munson (Keith Farley's cousin). This 1979 MGB is another “Grandpa's MGB”, sister car to the one in Columbus, Georgia from back in December. It will similarly need a lot of help (tomorrow).
Wednesday July 22, 2015
Took a short walk for late breakfast and found a few interesting cars along the way. First was a ZAP Car (Zero Air Pollution) Xebra PK truck, small and electric powered, built from 2006 to 2009. And there was a 1963 Dodge Dart station wagon (although I can't imagine why anyone would want to keep one around).
Then we got busy working on Jae's MGB. We connected jumper cables to a modern car for electrical power in attempt to revive the dead battery, but to no avail; finally gave in a bought a new battery and connected a battery charger to top it off and provide power to debug the wiring.
Engine would crank over but no spark. Found a disconnected white wire near the ignition switch, reconnected it, and promptly smoked a brown wire connected to the alternator. Disconnected the alternator cables and tried again, then smoked the Pertronics ignition module. This was not going to be an easy patient. Disconnected the distributor wires and tried again. This time no smoke, but the ignition light was on when the ignition switch was off. Spent most of the rest of the day connecting wires to make work front and rear parking lamps, side lamps, license plate lamps, and some dash lights. Most of the wiring on this car was still not connected since the restoration was (almost) done.
Thursday July 23, 2015
With intention of getting the engine running we decided to pick up points and condenser, not wanting to risk another electronic ignition module until we cold figure out and fix some of the key wring problems. So we took a short trip to British Auto Works in North Plains, Oregon to pick up some service parts. This turned out to be a bit of a treat in itself.
Then back in the garage to work on the MGB some more. What we found was a rat's nest of wiring under the dash with many misconnected wires, and lots of patch wires that didn't belong there.
The most significant find was two brown/white wires connected to a brown wire, meaning that battery power was passing directly to the alternator indicator lamp connector, which explained the smoked wire on the alternator and the ignition light on the dash being constantly on. With those things corrected, we spend the rest of the day into late night unwinding the rats nest and sorting out the knotted wires, bad grounds, loose connectors, and it's not finished yet. Sheesh, what a mess this was.
Friday July 24, 2015
Mostly a rather frustrating day, digging through the rats nest of wiring behind the dash, finding many mismatched wires of different colors connected together when they must not be so. We were often physically tracing one wire at a time through the harness to see where it went and to what it was connected, then cutting it loose from an incorrect connection and connecting it again in the correct place. We removed several patch wires that did not belong in the car,
disconnected some wires that looped back on themselves, unwrapped several wire connections that were twisted and taped, found a dead flasher unit and a non-functional turn signal switch. And when we flipped on the left turn signal the engine cranked (just typical of the way this car was commonly going). In mid afternoon Jae's father dropped in for a visit, took a personal interest in the project, and sat in on the tech session for a hour or two. By late night we had all of the parking lights and turn signals working (except the bad T/S switch and one bypassed flasher unit).
Then, having another appointment elsewhere in the morning, we blew out of town intending to return tomorrow. We were heading south and west from Portland to Florence, and decided to take the expressways to save 40 minutes and maybe get a bit more sleep. That didn't work out. I-5 South was closed for construction after 10-pm, so we were re-routed two exits north then west across the river, and south down I-405 to get back onto I-5 South. That wasn't so bad, but then there was a sign saying, "Left two lanes closed 13 miles". About five miles more and traffic came to a halt three lanes wide and crawled along stop and go at walking speed for about 90 minutes. Having taken an hour and 3/4 to go the first 20 miles, things got back to normal. The proposed 3 hour trip took 4-1/2 hours, so we arrived in Florence at 4-am, then reduced to 4-1/2 hours sleep before being rousted for the morning meeting.
Saturday July 25, 2015
Today we had a 9-am breakfast appointment at the Kozy Kitchen in Florence with Central Oregon Coast British Car Club,
followed by a 10-am business meeting. We also finally found some typical Oregon summer weather with rain (which we hadn't seen for a few months past). There were about a dozen hardy folks in attendance, significantly less than normal, and only one other British car, a modern Jaguar. Curses to the rain I suppose. An interesting prize in the 50/50 raffle was a bottle of "Old Engine Oil" from Scotland. We collected one additional appointment for some time later in Corvallis, Oregon.
Then we were off and running again, heading north 90 miles on US-101 along the Atlantic coast of Oregon. More damp than California, and maybe more rocky, this provides a pleasant view (occasionally), passing through Searose Beach, Yachata, San Marine, Wakanda Beach, Waldport, Seal Rock, Forfar, South Beach, Newport, Agate Beach, Depoe Bay, Lincoln Beach, Gleneden Beach, Kernville, Lincoln City. Since we are not really tourists I can say this is a moderately heavy traffic road with tourist traps at every opportunity. Lots of small hotels, cabins, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, antique and boutique shops, boat and surf shops, and anything else that might attract some money. Not my area of interest at the moment.
Then we turned inland on CA-18 East, 99W (North), and finally I-5 and I-84 to shoot through to the north side of Portland, back to Jae Munson's place (where we started about 15 hours earlier). I recon that was a 350 mile round trip for breakfast.
After a brief break we got back to work on Jae's MGB electrical problems. While we were gone Jae managed to reassemble the somewhat sloppy turn signal switch putting some springs back in place, and it worked well (forget ordering a replacement part). In the rear we removed a substantial part of what looked like a towing harness, reconnecting lower tail lamps to upper tail lamps, and verifying wiring for back up lamps. After some time under the car we had back up lights working, except the B/U switch is dead and needs to be replaced. We also verified that the overdrive wiring underneath is good for the 4th gear interlock switch, and the OD solenoid will click when powered up, so I guess the overdrive unit will work (eventually). But first we will have to figure out how to open the switch on the gearshift knob to rewire it internally (job for later). Having gone past midnight it was time to knock off and get some sleep (or in my case, go get some web work done).
Sunday July 26, 2015
No rest for the weary. Jae is a fireman and has to go to work for 24 hours, so this looks like the opportunity for me to catch up on this trip log and pictures, email questions, BBS, and having to make a monthly trip report for the back home newsletter in the Chicagoland MG Club. That seems to be a couple days late, but I have fingers crossed that it will make publication.
Monday July 27, 2015
An all around interesting day, started a bit slow but gained momentum with time. Jae found a fuel level sending unit in stock locally, printed circuit type that appears to be functionally good. Sorry now that I didn't take more pictures of it. Original sender unit is mostly metal, has one signal wire and grounds on the fuel tank. This one is mostly plastic with three wire terminals including one ground wire. Internally it has two different sliding resistor tracks with separate wiper contacts and separate external terminals. This appears to be functional for two different resistance ranges for different applications. I do not know the second application, and didn't measure the second resistance range. Moss Motors part number 360-656 (for 1977-1980 MGB with integral pickup pipe). The fuel pickup screen was a bit too low and hit bottom of tank before the mounting flange was seated, so we had to bend the pickup pipe upward slightly for installation. Otherwise it has smooth continuous contact and resistance change through full mechanical travel, and makes the fuel gauge read correctly (near as can tell before actual road use). Photos below: sender unit installed, voltage stabilizer connected, and fuel gauge in place (almost).
Then we needed a parts run (also good time for lunch). First stop was British Motor Care in northern Portland (coincidentally only two miles from Jae's house). Say hello to the owner Chad Cansler. Apparently not a large volume parts stocking distributor, but they can order anything you may need. We were here to pick up a used back up light switch (which we did). In the shop were several cars in process.
The big surprise came when we walked through the second door to the rear shop room and bumped into a 1967 MG 1300
Sport Sedan (which I had never seen or heard of before). I owned a 1968 Austin America which I bought new. This MG 1300 apparently hit the scene a half year earlier in mid 1967 with dual carburetors and stick shift only. The Austin America had styling changes to tail lights and grille, optional automatic transmission (with single carburetor) and (I think) larger heater. I can tell you first hand these cars were a delight to drive with hydro-elastic suspension, front disc brakes and rack and pinion steering (in spite of 12-inch wheels and tires). They did have some quality problems and a significantly high recall record.
After lunch break another stop to pick up an SP8016 fuel pump. This one has the Spectra Premium brand name (made in China),
but is functionally identical to the Airtex E8016. We did have one problem with it, as it did not run as first installed. Further investigation revealed the power and ground wire colors were reversed (a manufacturing fault). Once we switched the wire connections it worked okay. Put two gallons of gas in the tank, and the fuel gauge moved a bit off of the "E" mark (encouraging). We also installed the back-up light switch.
Then we went after the failed Pertronics ignition module (which was smoked a couple days earlier by a wiring fault). The 1979 model car originally had electronic ignition (not originally Pertronics), but this time we installed points and condenser as a cheap retrofit (to avoid risk of damaging another expensive electronic unit until we proved the wiring to be properly fixed). When it fired up and ran on the first crank there was an immediate big grin and thumbs up.
Quick test of clutch and brakes, and it was time for a test drive. Reaching for the hand brake (which was already released), a short pull on the lever caused the starter to run. Say WHAT? This is getting to be irritating. We managed to take it for a little run around the block (about 10 minutes). There is a problem with no crankcase ventilation, so we left the oil filler cap off during the test run. The clutch pedal sometimes catches half way up on return (maybe a clevis pin issue). Killed the engine entering the garage, and the ignition switch would not crank the engine, so I pulled the hand brake to get it started to drive back into the garage. Then the ignition switch did not switch off (should be an easy wiring fix maybe), 4-way flashers don't work yet, and we haven't tried plugging in the alternator yet (job for tomorrow).
Tuesday July 28, 2015
Between Jae shagging parts and me catching up email, we didn't get started on the car again until noonish. Then we spent hours chasing wires trying to figure out why the ignition wound not shut off, and why the car would no longer crank to start. In late afternoon this boiled down to a broken starter switch where the flat tang that rotates the electrical switch had broken off so the key lock motion did nothing. Sheesh. Time to knock off and go to a local club doing.
This time only a few miles from Jae's place we met with Columbia Gorge MG Club (formerly Columbia Gorge MGA Club) for pub night at Ecliptic Brewing Co in Portland. Parking was tight, but I managed to find a spot right in front of the building, while Jay had to hunt for a spot around the block. I found a MG Midget at the curb and a TR6 in the lot, but there must have been more British cars around somewhere. About two dozen club folks present, and I believe we got Jae signed up as a new member in the club. But no luck finding a referral for a new MGB starter switch.
After the club gig, back to Jae's to continue the MGB saga. The broken metal drive tang literally fell out of the starter electrical switch. We could then use a screwdriver to operate the switch and continue the electrical work. After a few more wire connections and repair of an in-line fuse holder, we finally had the 4-way flashers working, and stopped for an ale while we were pleased just to watch them flash for ten minutes. We used a razor blade to slice open a glued joint to remove the switch cover from the gearshift knob, installed new longer wires to the overdrive switch (along with a 2-pin rubber connector), and got that back together again.
As we were about to put the baby to bed for the night, about to switch off, we discovered an intermittent connection in the starter switch wiring. This we finally traced to a bad crimp connection for a wire terminal pin in a modular connector. Extract the pin, solder the connection, and reassemble the connector. Then shut it off and put it bed for the night. I wish I could put me to bed for the night but here I am sitting past 4-am posting photos and notes. Please enjoy.
Wednesday July 29, 2015
Priorities please, time to check the alternator. Plug it in, and the small lead wire gets hot immediately. Not that we weren't expecting it by this time, just irritating. Remove alternator and take it to a local parts store for testing. Very dead, reporting failed regulator
(and who knows what else my be fried inside). Order a replacement for pick up next day. While there pick up a PCV valve (which we hope will work properly in this non-standard application) and a couple lengths of connector hose. At some point we will have to drill and tap the Weber intake manifold for the mating hose barb.
Then on to British Motor Care to pick up a used retaining plate and nylon bushing for the gear shift lever, along with the proper original style shoulder bolts and Thackeray spring washers (all that good anti-rattle stuff).
Also pick up a good used original type valve cover that has the rear tube connector for the fuel vapor recover canister hose (so we might also get the anti-run-on valve working). With one question, to my surprise, they also had a replacement plastic radiator fan for my MGA. Woo-hoo, discount and no shipping or waiting.
Back at the MGB, installing the nylon bushing and retaining plate, found the holes don't quite line up. Spent some time with a Dremel tool trying to elongate the holes but slow going, and the smallest grind stone gave up the ghost, so leave that for another day (really need a rat tail file). Used the thin abrasive wheel in the Dremel to cut slots in the ignition switch security screws so we could unscrew those with a big screw driver to replace the broken key switch (already on order). Jae the fireman has to work again, so we call it off for the evening, and will see if there is something else productive we can do.
With a short stint on WiFi we have another appointment, running a bit west to visit Adam Ansteth in Beaverton, OR. He has a neat Austin Healey Sprite (a clean machine). With some email messages in the past week he has sorted out and fixed the failed Pertronix ignition module, so it runs again. The radio console he so laboriously built is too W-I-D-E for comfort and will have to go.
He is now in the process of fixing a rear hub oil leak with a new seal and a Speedy-Sleeve, and the heater blower didn't run. This was traced to a faulty blower switch. Since these switches are now made of Unobtainium, we took a shot at fixing the old one. We opened up four bent indents in the rear case to extract the internal parts cleaned contacts, reduced working clearance in one place, and reassembled it. It worked in the bench test, but when reinstalled it was intermittent. Got late, so leave that for another day. Long day, time to crash for the night.
Thursday July 30, 2015
This was destined to be a busy day, and not all successful. First stop was at Northwest Import Parts (MG only) in Portland. Being a residential address, and no answer to a phone call, we moved on (might return another day). We understand this is primarily a mail order parts business. So we took an hour and a half dash down to Corvallis to take a shot at Jeff Taylor. He wasn't answering his phone, but the spot was close to out planned route, so we stopped to ring his door bell (to no avail). Schedule was tight, but we were moving fast. One phone call to verify next appointment (which would have been substantially out of our way if it was to fall through).
Three quarters hour south and an hour west over the mountains, and we stop briefly to visit ACR Automotive Import Specialists in Florence, OR. This is a long standing family business with Joel and Tammy Renfro and son Russ, all with wonderfully dirty hands that I love to shake.
They do good work on British cars here, old and new, as well as a lot of other eclectic stuff.
There was a Toyota truck sporting a Chevy 3.4L V6 (well over 200 HP).
I just caught the VW bus leaving with the wonderful sound of a Subaru 6-cylinder engine (also well over 200 HP). And there was this BIG Audi V8 (over 400 HP I think) with 6-speed gearbox going onto the little Porsche. Uh, can we say "rocket"? I hope they upgrade the brakes.
Then we were briskly back up the river, over the mountains and through the woods for an hour and a quarter, heading east to Sports Car Shop in Eugene, Oregon (yes, we were here last week).
This time we have a meeting with British Motor Club Of Oregon, about three dozen hearty souls braving heat wave temperatures over 100dF, standing room only. We were 15 minutes late for the 6-pm meeting, and I suppose others had arrived early, because we missed the pizza, but there were plenty of deserts and beverages.
I had to find a space to post Bib, the Michelin Man. This vintage tire inflater caught my eye on the prior visit, just has to make you smile.
After the formal meeting, resume the tire kicking tech session in the car park. A few of these cars were seen at the multi-club picnic 10 days earlier. Pick your favorite model, and talk yourself silly. With all these people on hand we must have another appointment pending somewhere.
When it finally broke up we toddled on over to the local WiFi and AC spot for the daily record work while waiting for the heat to subside. After dark there was a nasty "CRUNCH" followed by engine revving and tire squealing, and the remains of a new Mini that had been shortened about a foot. Best recollection from bystanders was a red pickup truck had done the hit and run, and the cops were still looking for the offender at 11-pm. Meanwhile we met the nice fellow with the "bitsa" vintage Harley who used to drive an MG until he couldn't fit in it any more.
Knowing location of our next appointment, we took the opportunity to drive an hour north before midnight. Traveling top down on OR-99W on the east side of the mountain range, enjoying a full moon and nice scenery in the warm night, we encountered what appeared to be a fresh accident (more appropriately called "crash"). About all we saw was the front half of a pick up truck badly twisted, likely rolled multiple times, not a bit of glass left in the cab, and I can't imagine the driver could have survived. Apparently no other vehicle involved, and there were a couple of utility trucks "guarding" the scene, so we moved on. In the next ten minutes we pulled over for no less than four police cars and one fire department ambulance hauling ass southbound (from Corvallis I presume). An odd finish to another long day.
Friday July 31, 2015
Today we finally catch up with Jeff Taylor in Corvallis, Oregon (company name Right Hand Motors). He has two nice 1965 MGB (one registered as 1966). The blue one is very original, needing nothing. The red one hasn't run for a few weeks, needing a little electrical attention. It has a 18V883 engine, apparently from a 1977 model MGB, matching 4-synchronizer gearbox with large flywheel and pre-engaging starter. This replaces the original 18GB engine with 3-synchro gearbox, small flywheel and inertia starter. To fit the late model engine the front plate had to be replaced with earlier model to have the correct engine mounts.
The current problem is no start. Turn the key to start, and it clicks but no cranking. It used to work, some time ago. Then it went to a pro shop for something unrelated (like a tune up), and it came back with a push button installed in the speaker console. Then needing to switch on ignition, followed by push the button to crank start, which did work (for a while), but now not. The story evolves from the need to adapt the inertia starter electrical system to make the pre-engaging starter work. There are two simple ways to do this, neither of which was done on this car (although it may have been correct in the past).
Originally the ignition switch "Start" position wire went to a solenoid (on the inner fender) which connected the battery power cable to the inertia starter cable for cranking current. The pre-engaging starter (with large solenoid on the side) wants the battery cable to be directly connected on the starter (normally), and the trigger wire also connected to the starter. The easy way to adapt this is to leave the original fat cables connected as original, and install a short jumper wire on the starter from battery cable to trigger terminal. That works, but involves two high current solenoids when only one is needed. The more eloquent (still simple) solution is to move the starter cable connection on the inner wing solenoid onto the same terminal post with the battery cable, so the battery is direct connected to the starter (which is the current configuration here). This then needs a wire extension to connect the original trigger wire (on the inner wing solenoid) to the solenoid on the pre-engaging starter (which was not done here).
The "weird" feature here is a push button that was added in the console with two additional wires and a fuse. This takes power from the battery cable terminal on the original inner wing solenoid passing power through the in-line fuse to the push button, and then on to the trigger terminal on the starter. In theory it works if you switch on and then press the button. Today, in practice, the push-button switch was dead, either a failed switch contact or a disconnected wire. We didn't take it apart to see. The easy fix was to remove the extraneous wires and abandon the push button, and install a jumper wire from the inner wing solenoid trigger terminal to the pre-engaging starter trigger terminal. Now just turn the key to start (as original). The original solenoid is now just a terminal block for connection of battery cables and trigger wires. It will click when starting (like the original sound?) but does not connect or carry starting current. The inner wing solenoid could be removed if the battery power cable and trigger wire were extended to reach the late model starter.
First time Jeff turned the key and it started, he instantly had a big grin, but it was running rough. So we put some oil in the carburetor dampers, fired it up, adjusted fuel mixture and idle speed on the carburetors, and it was purring like a kitten. After an extended test drive, the grin was larger and possibly permanent. Score one for the good guys.
Then an interesting by-line for the month. While we were later sitting on WiFi in A/C, a young lady with a big smile asked about our MGA, commenting on what a beautiful car it is. In the end we were invited to spend the night with her and her significant other and another couple (not exactly what it sounds like) at their local digs, so they could chat more about the MG. Nice folks, noting that you don't necessarily have to own one to appreciate the heritage.