Preparing & Packing for a Long Trip in an MGA

Photo for Preparing & Packing for a Long Trip in an MGA

Bruce (and Roberta Rauch) provide some very useful hints on how to prepare your car and it’s crew for a long road trip.

Car Preparation

First do the normal maintenance things like adjust valves, set timing, oil change & lube, replace plugs, points, condenser and rotor. Top up the shocks, transmission, rear and pack the front wheel bearings. Check and balance the tires. Then replace all the rubber fluid transmission items like brake & clutch flex lines, and water hoses. Check the exhaust system and hangers. Do this several weeks in advance so that the car can be fully tested. Also, I rigged my car to accommodate a small (Facet) electric fuel pump which I carry as an emergency spare to replace the larger, heavier stock pump. Then choose the spare parts you want to take along. I select the things that will get me to a repair shop and ones that I can't get at a local parts store. 

Cooling System:

  • Fan Belt
  • Heater hose with clamps (approx. three feet)
  • Heater Control Valve Gasket
  • Radiator Hose (one upper and/or lower)
  • Radiator stop leak
  • Water Pump and Gasket

Electrical System:

  • Brush set for Generator
  • Brush set for Starter
  • Distributor cap, Points, Condenser & Rotor
  • Electrical Tape
  • Electrical wire (six feet, 14 or 16 gauge)
  • Electrical wire with alligator clips (about three feet long)
  • Feeler gauge
  • Ignition Coil
  • Spark plugs (two, pre-gapped to 25thou)
  • Spark plug wires with terminals (two lengths equal to the longest plug wire)
  • Solder-less connectors and crimping pliers
  • Static timing light (does not work with electronic ignition)
  • Voltage regulator


  • Brake Master cylinder repair kit
  • Brake Wheel cylinder repair kit
  • Clutch Master cylinder repair kit
  • Clutch Slave cylinder repair kit

Fuel System:

  • Accelerator Cable
  • Accelerator return spring
  • Carburetor float
  • Carburetor float bowl needle & seat
  • Fuel Line with clamps
  • Fuel Pump

Mechanical & Engine:

  • Engine Core Plug (1-5/8")
  • Gasket Cement (High-Tack)
  • Gasket Material
  • Head Gasket
  • Intake/Exhaust gasket
  • Valve Cover gasket
  • Wheel Bearing, front (one set)
  • Wire Wheel hub puller
  • U-Joint
  • Tire Inner Tube


  • Air in the Spare (approx 30psi)
  • Duct Tape
  • Emergency Flares/light/Reflector
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Large Trash Bag
  • Paper Towels
  • Poncho
  • Moss Catalog
  • Repair Manual
  • Small Tool Kit (and a spark plug socket)
  • Small Tube of Grease
  • Small tube of RTV sealant
  • Swiss Army Knife/Leatherman
  • Tie Rod End
  • Tow Rope
  • Waterless Hand Cleaner
  • Wire Ties
  • Baling Wire

Packing Suggestions for a Long Trip in an MGA (with a Very Small Boot)

To be successful in packing up the boot of this car, you need to think about making the various items “squishable” so that they can be manipulated to fit into the nooks and crannies in the boot. Therefore, here are some ideas to accomplish your goals:

  • Acquire duffle-bag type of baggage – about 20 inches long and 15 inches high;
  • Acquire a LARGE Toiletries bag to pack separately from your clothing;
  • Pack about 5 – 6 days’ worth of underwear, 4- 6 shirts, a few shorts;
  • Be sure to include some long pants – protects legs;
  • Be sure to include some collared shirts which protect the back of your neck;
  • Silk jackets are lightweight, wind-breaking and pack up compactly;
  • A long-sleeved shirt (chambray) is a great layering item;
  • Pack shoes separately in plastic baggies (newspaper sleeves are great);
  • Take one “good outfit” and make it crushable; then stow it in the bottom of your duffle in a plastic sleeve;
  • Plan to do wash every 4 – 5 days; add a bag of detergent if you’re choosy;
  • Keep the dirty laundry separate in an old pillowcase.

MGA Survival Kit (Assemble a kit for your boot)

  • Deluxe First-aid Kit
  • J-B Weld
  • Paper Coveralls
  • Cable / Wire Ties
  • Ponchos
  • Electrical Tape
  • Roll of Paper Towels
  • Duct Tape
  • Waterless Hand Soap
  • Wire Nuts
  • Hand Scrubbers
  • Solder-less Connectors
  • Siphon Pump
  • Flashlight
  • Utility Knife
  • Lubricant (Vaseline)
  • Tire Patching Kit
  • Playing Cards
  • Tow Cable
  • Emergency Fuel (gin)
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Gourmet Grub (Slim Jims, etc.)

Don’t forget your cell phone(s), maps, and a GPS. A large brim hat is also important.

Medical Prep for a Long Trip

You can do this yourself. You can use a large, zip-lock refrigerator bag. Store it in the boot or behind the seat.

  • A list of prescription medications
  • A list of health conditions - what meds you take, allergies, etc. (in case you are not able to answer)
  • Antibacterial ointment (Neosporin is good)
  • Antiseptic soap (Dial)
  • Adhesive tape
  • Adhesive bandages & band-aids in assorted sizes
  • Gauze pads (get 4x4’s – you can always cut them down)
  • Cotton swabs (q-tips)
  • Moleskin (nothing better for blisters)
  • Pain reliever (Tylenol, Advil, whatever works for you)
  • Cold medications (decongestants, cough drops)
  • Anti-diarrhea pills (Immodium A-D)
  • Acid indigestion/heartburn reliever and preventive
  • Thermometer (just in case someone asks if you have a fever)
  • Insect repellant (Cutter’s) & itch reliever (like Gold Bond)
  • Sunscreen with SPF15 or higher

Also consider a Swiss Army knife. It gives you scissors to cut the gauze pads & moleskin; tweezers to pluck out foreign objects; a knife blade to cut tape and a corkscrew so you can sip a little courage.

Happy Motoring! Safety Fast!

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Reader Comments (2)

Picture of robert a. pilat jr.
robert a. pilat jr. (whitehall pa.)
on March 26, 2012 3:00pm
excellent list,,,,, i cant wait to go on the trip , can you lower the price of gas for me???
Picture of Paul Morrissette
Paul Morrissette (Annandale, NJ)
on March 31, 2012 6:50pm
Is your boot bigger than the typical MGA's? Seems like a ton of stuff!

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Last updated on March 22, 2012.