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RoddyMac17 Reader
10/13/20 3:04 p.m.

Anything can be made to fit, it depends on how much fabrication you're willing to do.  

Honest answer, it should fit but it will require cutting into the front crossmember, re-making the tunnel pieces, and sorting out a gearbox mount.  Miata engines and gearboxes have been fitted to A's a number of times, so that might be the easier option. I'm using the Zetec mainly because I had a spare and I like the way it performs in my Europa.  

RoddyMac17 Reader
3/7/21 3:44 p.m.

Time for an update, I've just ended my first week of vacation alocated to converting the GT to Zetec power.  The work started last Saturday with changing out the oil pan on the Zetec (ex Focus) for a Contour oil pan.  The Contour is a rear sump,which allows a bit more clearance when putting it in the B engine bay:



The next step was putting the Elan body back on the chassis to move it around the garage a bit easier:

Then a final go over on the B to remind me of what needs to be addressed during the build.  The LH dogleg had a bubble:

The RH dogleg had a hole:


But overall the car appeared to be solid.  This is the final shot of it in one piece:

The weekend ended with fabricating motor mount brackets: 

I've opted to use stock Rubber Bumper mounts as they're a bit easier to work with compared to the Chrome Bumper mounts.

There's more to come in another post....

RoddyMac17 Reader
3/7/21 5:51 p.m.

Monday saw the B-series lump extracted from the car:


Then, things started really happening.  To quote Robbie, "aint no turning back now":

Once the mounts were cut off and the crossmember notched, the Zetec was lowered into place to see if it fits:

It fits, kinda.  The crossmember needed a bit more trimming, the LH side footwell needed a small amount of trimming, and the heater box plenum needed a small notch added for clearance around the clutch fork.  I marked the chassis for the motor mount locations, which were then tacked into place.  I had measured the original mounts angle (60 degrees) so copied this over to the new mounts.

Following this, the Zetec went back in (I might have accidentally dropped it on my hand and actually needed help...), and various items were offered up to check clearances.

The header is just tacked together and will require more work (pie cuts, more mandrel bent tubing etc).  It turns out that I had more room than expected between the header and steering column, so fabricating the collectors will be much easier.

At the end of Wednesday I left the car will most of the important bits trial fitted to the engine bay:

And for fun, I placed the possible new cam cover on the motor.  I'm unsure if I'll complete it or use it, but I wanted to see how it looked:

More to come in the next post...

RoddyMac17 Reader
3/7/21 6:12 p.m.

Thursday started off mildly hungover, so it was decided that no heavy lifting should occur.  Instead it was time to move onto stripping the undercoating from the front wheel arches.  

The removal of the undercoating is a personal preference.  I much prefer clean painted wheel arches, I know it will require close inspection for chips and potential rust issues.  If the next owner decides they want undercoating it should be an easy thing to do.  I also noted that the LH side of the car is pretty much rust free (more on that a bit later).

The bare metal was treated to self etch primer and left for a bit of time.  I still need to remove the front suspension and strip behind the damper, but that will wait until I'm closer to painting the engine bay.

I then turned my attention to the LH dogleg.  The small bubble turned out be a somewhat poorly installed patch with about 1/4" of filler over top:

The patch was cut out to examine what was behind it, an lo and behold there was some rust:

As the rest of the outer sill was rust free it was decided to just cut out the rusted portion and weld in a patch.  I know this isn't the correct way to do things, but I'm sure this car will be living a much better life once it's completed (no daily driving, no snow, as little rain as possible etc).  The plan is also to Waxoyl the s&*$ out of it, provided I can find Waxoyl in Canada.

I have a pair of dogleg panels on order, so the dogleg repairs for both sides are on hold until they arrive.

The undercoating removal was done on the RH side later in the week, but it brought to light some other rust issues:


The bottom of the front wing and bottom of the front portion of the sill had some perforation.  So, again patches were fabricated and welded in:

Attention was then paid to the RH dogleg, again rust:

It too was patched up, but for some reason I didn't take a photo post patching.  

And this pretty much brings things up to date.  I did strip the undercoating from both front wings and have started on filling the side marker holes (going for a pre-1970 look).  This upcoming week will hopefully see the motor mounts completed, crossmember capped, gearbox mounts fabricated, header finished, and maybe remove the windscreen to aid in installing the metal dash.  Ideally I would like to have the car off for paint by mid April in hopes of having it back on the road for the late spring.

Almost forgot, once last pic: 

The shift lever area is very close to the original location.



Beautiful work, Man.

Jesse Ransom (FFS)
Jesse Ransom (FFS) UltimaDork
3/7/21 7:28 p.m.

Very cool!

Not that I have any personal experience, but how on Earth do you have a paint connection where "sending it off mid April" and "on the road late Spring" doesn't involve the phrase "of the following year"?

AxeHealey Dork
3/8/21 8:19 a.m.

Awesome! Huge progress. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/8/21 10:04 a.m.


you really crushed through that. Are you having any clearance issues with the steering rack? That's my biggest issue right now. 

Great work. 

RoddyMac17 Reader
3/8/21 10:24 a.m.


I'm going to be using a paint shop that my old employer used back when they were doing actual restorations.  It was typically a month turn around, but that included some metal work.  I'll hopefully be handing off the car in an almost paint ready state, so fingers crossed it wont take a full month to paint.  When I had the Europa painted by another shop, it was only 6 weeks between drop off and pick-up, though that shop was a one guy and a helper type shop.



I have some clearance at the steering rack.  I have dear old dads 65 B in the garage/driveway and have been using it as a reference for engine position.  I may have to raise the motor slightly if I ever have the need to change the serpentine belt, but as I don't see changing it regularly (probably not even yearly), I don't see any problem with the length of time it would take to change out the belt.  Today's plan is to get the engine side of the mounts completed, currently they're just wedges holding things in place.  Once they're done I'll snap a photo and post it to show the clearance.  



Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
3/11/21 9:15 p.m.

The shift lever area is very close to the original location.



I was just posting to Robbie's build thread and realized this may help you too:

The shifter isn't centered on the stock MGB gearbox and the hole in the tunnel isn't either--it's offset roughly 1/2-1" to the driver side.  So when you position the shifter, don't center it in the hole or your engine/gearbox won't be installed straight.  This will give you mis-matched U-joint angles in the plan view and likely cause a driveshaft vibration.  When I install an engine for a swap, I run a string down the centerline of the car and then use a plumb bob on the center of the crank pulley and the center of the rear output of the gearbox to make sure the engine/gearbox is straight and centered.

RoddyMac17 Reader
3/12/21 3:11 p.m.

In reply to Carl Heideman :

I figured that out on Tuesday, the driveshaft shop sent me home with a slip yoke to measure up for length and just as you pointed out the gearbox had to be shifted to the RH side about an inch.   The shifter is now nearly perfectly centered in the car. 

RoddyMac17 Reader
3/14/21 3:53 p.m.

My 2 week vacation has come to an end and I haven't quite hit my initial target.  I had hoped to have been a bit farther along in the build, but as usual I was a bit too optimistic.  Anyways, onto some pictures...

After reparing the rust spots I moved onto removing the windscreen and dashboard:

The dash was removed becuase I wanted to convert the car to an earlier metal dash.  That meant I had to weld in a portion of the dash top from an earlier car.  Luckily I had one on hand, so things went relatively smoothly:

The dash was missing the glovebox door so a very used one was found.  Someone had put an MG radio blanking badge on it which was promptly removed, and a Twin Cam badge was fitted, this is merely in place to bug MGA owners.

Next up was figuring out the exhaust.  I had wated to make a 4-2-1 manifold and got as far as making collectors, but realized that due to the starter position on the RX8 adapter plate, I don't have quite enough room, so the collectors will get cut up and turned into a 4-1 set up:

Following that, the motor came out for hopefully the last time:

The front crossmember was plated in and the motor mounts finish welded:

That allowed this to happen on Saturday:

It's definitely not the best paint job, but it is certainly shiny and is much better than what was there before.

Other than that, a driveshaft was obtained:

The front slip yoke for the RX8 'box is the same as the Turbo 2, while the rear is a stock MGB flange with a different tube yoke as I couldn't find a part number for a yoke that fits a 2" tube.  

And, I had my machinist friend modify some wire wheel rear hubs to make my Nissan steelies look like MGA Twin Cam Dunlop wheels:

I still need to figure out how to do the fronts to match, but that can wait until the car is closer to being completed.


Also, this pic is for Robbie in regards to the pulley clearance:

I think I should be able to slip the serpentine belt between the pulley and rack without having to lift the motor.



Jesse Ransom (FFS)
Jesse Ransom (FFS) UltimaDork
3/14/21 5:27 p.m.

Awesome progress! Never as much time as one hopes, but that's sooo much forward motion...

I'm stoked to see the dash conversion; I like the fairly conventional one in my '73 better than the '71, but the early dashes are way, way nicer than any later options.

JamesMcD SuperDork
3/14/21 5:30 p.m.

In reply to RoddyMac17 :

Would it be easier to un-bolt the rack so it can scoot forward, rather than lifting the engine?

105egary New Reader
3/22/21 12:33 a.m.

Hi Rod

             Great project and nice work, just a couple of questions.

What motor mounts did you use, and any more pictures of the valve cover you were making. 

Is it possible to use the zetec alternator or is that ecu controlled.

Thanks Gary

RoddyMac17 Reader
3/22/21 9:00 a.m.


Unbolting the steering rack might be a better solution, as all the fasteners are easily accessed.  But, I think I should have just enough room to slip the belt through.


I'm using the later MGB motor mounts (from '75 to '80) which are basically pucks with a stud on one side and a flat flange on the other.  I currently have the standard ones in place, but I might end up using the heavy duty ones.  As for the valve cover, I haven't really taken any pictures of it, I'll eventually try to get back to finishing it, the goal was to have something that looks like the MGA Twin Cam just to bug the purists.

As far the alternator goes, I was just copying what I had done on the Europa and run a Toyota alternator.  I never did look at using the stock Zetec one, so can't really comment on if it's ecu controlled or not. 



RoddyMac17 Reader
3/22/21 9:35 a.m.

A bit more progress was made this weekend, though it was mostly cleaning and painting bits.  The crossmember was treated to some shiny black paint:

Ideally I would have wanted to remove the crossmember and spray it, but as this isn't a show car it was treated to some brush on paint.  Next up the steering rack was cleaned and given a fresh coat of paint, along with new rack boots and tie-rod ends:

The front suspension was stripped from the car, and was too given a fresh lick of paint, though I decided not to do the kingpins.  Looking at the photo's now I wish I had:

The lower wishbones were swapped out for stock ones, the car came with a set of negative camber wishbones, which made it handle nicely, but it just looked odd with the amount of negative camber.  All the bushings were replaced with poly, though if I wanted to going back to rubber bushings is only a few hours worth of work.

Following that, I stripped the pedal box and heater box, both were painted, but no pics.  I also cleaned up the rad mount panel, and cut a monster sized hole on the RH side for a 4" cold air duct:

Hopefully it will look okay once painted and installed.  I'm trying to make it look like the factory competition cars, albeit with the carbs on the opposite side.


autocomman New Reader
3/22/21 11:43 p.m.

Im diggin all the GT projects here right now.  And as far as the doglegs, cutting out the rusted section and puttin in a patch is a perfectly fine way to repair it.  Very common practice.  Im doing that to the one im doing right now, Just did the RH side last week, gonna do the LH side in a few weeks.  I on the other hand will be stripping the undercoat and redoing it. in a Linex or something similar.  Did you use the heat gun scraper method to remove the factory undercoat?

RoddyMac17 Reader
3/23/21 8:36 a.m.


I used a knotted wire wheel on the angry grinder, works a treat.  For the hard to reach spots I used a propane torch and a scraper, as I couldn't find the heat gun.  As long as you don't catch the undercoating on fire, the torch works well.  Then cleaned the little bit of residue with laquer thinner.

autocomman New Reader
3/23/21 9:32 p.m.

Man the wire wheel would be great, but holy crap what a mess!  Gonna be tackling this on the whole bottom side of the car and in the fenders in a few weeks once i have it well of the ground.  Goal it to have it sealed then linex or bedliner.

3/24/21 8:10 a.m.

In reply to autocomman :

Heat gun and scraper for the bulk of it if you are removing underseal. Then wire wheel to clean up. Wire wheel on thick undercoat is a messy proposition.

You can also use laquer thinner to wipe of the last bit of undercoat if you prefer the smell of solvents over the noise of a grinder

nlevine (Forum Supporter)
nlevine (Forum Supporter) New Reader
3/24/21 8:35 a.m.

Gotta say, those MGA-look wheels are really cool...

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/24/21 9:21 a.m.

so much progress! I'm jealous. Also, I agree it looks like you have just enough steering rack clearance!

105egary New Reader
3/28/21 3:27 p.m.

Hi Rod,  your making excellent progress and it looking good. 

You mentioned you are going to run carbs whats the plan for the ignition system.

Thanks Gary

RoddyMac17 Reader
3/29/21 12:33 p.m.


The current plan for the ignition to use a Speeduino, though only the ignition side of things.  I picked up a UA4C board, and have hooked it up to the motor, but for some reason I don't currently have an ignition output.  I know the Speeduino is seeing a crank signal and will send injector outputs, but nothing on the spark side.  If I get too frustrated, I'll order another Megajolt and try to find an EDIS module (or I could "borrow" the set up off the Europa), but I'd much prefer to stick with the Speedy.



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