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The Patootie Saga

June 20, 2024 2:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Not quite AAA, but somewhat effective.

In June, three members of the Houston MG Car Club travelled to Dickenson, Texas to help out  club member, Ms. Katie Embesi, who owns a red 1976 MG Midget named “Patootie”.  Katie had concerns around a lack-luster response in acceleration, and a car that was running a bit rough. 

Rich Colwell, Ken Evesson and Bill Sysman arrived somewhat unprepared, being MGA owners, with  tools to adjust SU carbs, and lots of tools that were not needed at all.  However, as has been said: “fools venture where angels fear to tread.”  They had no experience with Zenith-Stromberg carburetors, but ventured ahead anyway.

The car needed a little attention, but started right up.  Under the bonnet was a host of air pollution equipment that none of them were familiar with.  The air cleaner was not clipped into place, but zip-tied.    

The Team began by checking for vacuum leaks (using aerosol carb cleaner) around the head and intake manifold, carburetor mounts, smog canisters, tubing, and fittings, and found none.

They looked at the choke assembly, and noted that it seemed to be sticky.  They exercised it and sprayed it liberally with carb cleaner, removing dirt/soot. 

Next, they removed the air cleaner (not sooted up).  Upon lifting the carburetor piston a tiny bit with a screwdriver, the idle rose and came back to an equilibrium idle.  This was a happy finding, as none of them had any experience with Zenith-Stromberg carburetors, and it appeared that the mixture was correct. The cable was also adjusted. 

Ken noted that the piston’s dashpot was empty.  They scrounged for 30 weight oil, added it and got resistance in the chamber. Now the car was running more steadily, and acceleration was responsive.

Next was a very noisy exhaust rattle.  A short-term solution: adding washers to the mounting system, tightening up supports, and creating a little clearance between the muffler and the body.   They saw the back-up lights not plugged in and attended to that.

 It became apparent that Katie is clearly one of us.  She dug into the Midget and learned her way around its electrical system.  In  short order she will develop expertise in Zenith-Stromberg carburetors, and then can teach us a few things. 

It was gratifying for the Team to hear the Midget running better, and for them to learn a little bit about another classic MG model.  Best of all, it was great to see a smile on the face of our motivated and capable Club member Katie Embesi.   Patootie’s future is well-assured. 

Contact Us:

Houston MG Car Club

10119 Hibernia Dr.

Houston, TX  77088

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