77 MGB - Car turns over but won't start. Acts like it is not getting any fuel. What steps do I take to find out what the problem may be?


Asked by Nov 19, 2011 at 01:17 PM about the 1977 MG MGB

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I run the tank empty, filled with 2.5 gallons but now won't start.

8 Answers


I am assuming the car run fine until you ran it out of fuel, so this is the short version. I would remove the gas line from the carb. Use a clear container like a glass jar or a plastic container to see if you have condensation [water in the line], and crank over to see what comes out. If nothing comes out, is there a fuel filter between the fuel pump and the carb? If so, replace. Also the fuel pressure coming from the fuel pump should be around 4 + psi, if low the the pump does not want to push the fuel up to carb. Relace fuel pump.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Thanks I will try that and see what happens. Very odd.


I would also put more fuel in it as 2.5 gal. only covers the bottom of the tank. Fuel pumps do not like "air", they are designed to pump liguid.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Thanks. Will get more fuel.


I checked the line and it appears to be getting fuel. The engine turns over, but it just does not kick over. Not being a mech what do I check next? Thanks

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

did you use a jar to look at the fuel? If so, did it look all the same in color or did it look like there was bubbles laying towards the bottom [water]? I will now assume you are getting fuel and at what amount? How much tools do you have? Like a guage that you could check the fuel pressure? There are4 things that are required for ANY engine to run. Air, fuel, timing, compustion. You know you have fuel, & air. So lets look at electrical. Are you getting a spark from the coil to the distributor? {remove the dist. wire and barely leave it over the hole to see if you have any spark trying to jump back into the hole? [easy now there is about 35,000 volts present, so make sure you only hold the rubber. It is best to have a freind work with you and he can turn the key to spin the engine. I still think if it ran before you ran out of fuel, this is where the problem lies. The gas should be squirting out of the line if completely loose.


I appear to be getting spark from the coil to the distributor. The fuel appears to flow to the carb and appears to have good pressure.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

So far, all sounds good. Now you get to be a mechanic. I want you to remove the plug [#1] as it is time to find TDC better known as "TOP DEAD CENTER". iF YOU ARE WORKING ALONE, YOU WILL HAVE TO REMOVE ALL THE PLUGS. As the engine needs to be on TDC to varify that the timing is correct. This is done by rotating the engine with you fingure over the spark plug hole and bring the piston up on the compression stroke. You should see some timing marks on the harmonic balancer indicating TDC. If you have help, then only remove the front plug #1. Cyl. That person can "BUMP" the key switch lightly to make the engine spin slowly. You will have to communicate with that person when you feel pressure [compression]. Bring the mark on harmonic balancer to 5 degrees before TDC. Now take your wrench and loosen the dist. to the point you can move it by hand. DO NOT MOVE THE ENGINE AT THIS POINT [ROTATE] Now, put the spark plug in the #1. plug wire, and "Rotate the dist until you see a spark at that point. You have now set your time when you see the spark. Tighten the dist back down, insert the plugs, make sure all wires are on and in the proper holes. [Oops dinner is waiting, if you understand what I am saying you can email me at wb6epp@hughes.net and let me know.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

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