The MGB presumably had Lucas electrics, right? There's a reason Mr. Lucas was affectionately known as the Prince of Darkness.
On carburetor icing: pilots of small planes are trained to be on the lookout for this, but I'd never heard of it happening in ground-based vehicles. In the air, it's most likely to happen in humid (and not exceptionally cold) conditions during part-throttle operation. Planes have a Carb Heat knob on the dash that selects preheated intake air from the exhaust manifold. If you don't wait too long before pulling it you can avoid an engine failure. You're taught to turn on Carb Heat when you reduce power for deceleration to a landing.
Ahhh, the good old days when you could actually work on your car, and do it on the side of the road (but before cell phones so you HAD to fix it there, or walk). For my first 15 years or so of driving, all my cars (and I went thru a few) were old junkers. Usually when faced with problems (many of them over the years) my focus on the side of the road was to just fix it well enough to get me to my destination where I could safely fix it right.
My two consumable materials that I always had on hand were duct tape (actaully capable of sealing spewing radiator hoses without turning off the car) and wire (or coat hangers, for exhaust and other issues). Apart from the standard small set of tools, my indespensible tool was a pair of vise grips.
The only thing you can do with a modern car is call AAA.
I have used WD-40 for so many things I've lost count. The WD in the name does refer to water displacement, but the number of times it is used for that application are probably a very small fraction of the overall uses!
Good story, Bob. If you fleshed it out a bit, we could use it as a Sherlock Ohms posting. You would just need to add a couple examples of your sleuthing to find out what was wrong and an explanation of how you finally figured it out.
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Had a Volvo that would run in all circumstances and temperatures except during very heavy show storms. The car would run fine until it just seemed to lose spark and die. It was so consistent I bought an extra coil and distributor cap "just in case". It turned out that the SU carburators (same as the ones on the MGB) would ice-up just behind the throttle plates. Stopping the engine allowed the heat conducted from the engine to melt the ice and the car would run for another 5 to 15 minutes depending on how hard it was snowing, the longer you shut it off, the more of the ice melted and thus the longer it ran before quitting again. This short paragraph in no way covers the tens of times I tried to troubleshoot this problem, of course always in near blizzard condtions. The fix was to make a shroud that covered the air cleaners with a snorkel that took air from the exhaust header. After making this, I found that it was available as a stock part for an earlier model year. It cut down on performance but the car soldiered-on for 375K miles through 13 winters. My 1920 Model-T has the same problem when driving in very thick fog.
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