Your expert guide to MGB & MGBGT problems and how to fix them
by Roger Williams
Veloce Publishing
£19.99 UK US$29.95 USA pp 175

This is the first in a new Auto-Doc TM series of vehicle maintenance books from Veloce Publishing which aims to provide a single publication that covers the majority of faults and problems enthusiasts are likely to encounter with a particular model. This book covers the MGB and MGBGT but not the V8, but of course there is much common to both MGB and V8 so the book should be useful to both groups of enthusiasts. The book aims to provide an expert reference source on all the MGB's common faults and foibles enthusiasts are likely to encounter and on how to fix them. So what does it cover, how do you use it, how good is the fault finding and fixing information, and is it good value?

In terms of coverage, it is first worth noting the approach used in the book is to identify the symptoms by sight, sound, vibration, appearance or smell and then establish what fault that represents and how serious the problem is so it can then be dealt with in the most appropriate way. So the layout of the book is based on key symptoms - low oil pressure, fuel smells, overheating and water loss for example - which are set out in large red text on the top margin of each page. This helps with scanning the book for the sections you need for particular symptoms or faults. In general the structure of the book follows the workshop manual structure which is sensible as most enthusiasts will have their copy to hand. The book is designed to be used to check symptoms by reading through particular sections of the book - it's not a book that many will read cover to cover.

One surprise is the frugal index, not an uncommon feature with many books these days, which is barely more than a page in three column format. However the structure of the book lends itself to being browsed as though it were an index and the contents section at the front is very detailed with useful headings like "hood leaks" or "coolant is being lost" and even "jingling and thumping beneath the car"!

How does the book cover typical problems? Well just looking at a few typical problems. First faced with an SU fuel pump which does not operate, or more likely is becoming erratic, how does the book cover that? The bold heading "fuel pump does not operate" of the fifth chapter take you straight there. It

The three column format and excellent,
clear photos works well. (Photo: Veloce)

is here where you see that the approach of the book is one of focusing on the diagnosis of faults and then it provides very useful information on how to fix them. The various options of repair of the points-controlled unit or replacement with an electronic substitute are covered. There is not so much on the mechanics of removing and refitting the pump though. Paragraph 5-5.1 breezily says "with the fuel pump off the car" so with a pump down in the offside wheel arch you will welcome the help the workshop manual provides in removing the pump. Similarly the refitting is an operation where the useful tip of priming the pump with fuel before starting to put the unit back is well worth noting to avoid the frustration of switching on the pump when it is back in place only to find it is pumping air and sounding like a machine gun - you are then faced with another removal of the pump to prime it.

It's these practical tips the V8 Workshop Notes series has provided for more than 25 years. The section on either replacing the set of points with a new electronic control unit or using a replacement electronic pump is particularly good. Personally the electronic replacement unit seems most sensible - something I did a few months ago. Externally there is no difference between the two units, so the originality purists can stay with their set of points if that is important for them!

Another common problem area with the model is with the original "top-hat" battery terminal connectors and the book very sensibly suggests that "if your "B" still has the obsolete cap-type cable connections they are best discarded in favour of the clamps". It also describes the popular modification of replacing the twin six volts with a single 12 volt battery.

Some photos cover two columns and illustrate the useful fault finding and fixing approach. (Photo: Veloce)

The format of the book is three columns on gloss paper with a clear font which many enthusiasts who glanced through the book received for review felt was getting close to too small but it is certainly acceptable. Older enthusiasts may need to get out their reading glasses but I could read the text without mine! The photographs are exceptional, clear and very useful. At a guess there seem to be between 25% and 50% photos across the pages but because of the three column format, they are 6cm wide with a few 12cm wide across two columns.

Roger Williams is well known for his earlier books in Veloce's Speedpro series on "How to improve an MGB", "How to power tune an MGB", and "How to give an MGB V8 power" and with this new Auto-Doc TM book he has a very useful addition. At £19.99 it's cleverly pitched just below the £20.00 pricing step but most enthusiasts who have looked at the book seem to feel it would be a very welcome buy for an MGB enthusiast, and even for those with V8s. Yes it would be a particularly good present!

Victor Smith

Visit Veloce on the web where you can see some pages to get a feel for the book.