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MG T-Type Brake Maintenance

12 Jun

Fault Finding

1. PEDAL TRAVEL EXCESSIVE

(Requires Pumping)

(a)   Brake Shoes require adjusting or re-lining if adjustment is already at a maximum

(b)   Master Cylinder push rod requires adjusting. (Excessive pushrod clearance)

(c)   Master Cylinder requires replenishing

(d)   Leakage past main cup in Master Cylinder

2. PEDAL FEELS SPRINGY

(a) Linings not “bedded-in”

(b) Linings greasy

(c) Linings incorrect type

3. PEDAL FEELS SPONGY

(a) Leakage past main cup in Master Cylinder

(b) Master Cylinder secondary cup worn (Air bubbles rise in supply tank)

(c) Leak at one or more points in system

(d) Brakes not properly bled

4. BRAKES INEFFICIENT

(a) Linings not “bedded-in”

(b) Linings greasy

(c) Linings incorrect type

5. BRAKES DRAG

(a) Shoes over adjusted

(b) Shoe pull-off springs weak or broken

(c) Pedal spring weak or broken

(d) Pedal to push rod adjustment incorrect

(e) Handbrake mechanism seized

(f) Wheel cylinder piston seized

(g) Supply tank overfilled or vent hole in filler cap blocked

(h) Master Cylinder by-pass port blocked

(i) Handbrake cables over adjusted

6. BRAKES REMAIN ON

(a) Shoes over adjusted

(b) Handbrake over adjusted

(c) Pedal to pushrod adjustment incorrect

(d) Master Cylinder and/or wheel cylinder cups swollen, due to contamination with mineral oil
or spurious fluid

7. UNBALANCED BRAKING

(a) Greasy linings

(b) Distorted drums

(c) Front spring broken or loose at anchorage

(d) Tyres unevenly inflated

(e) Brake backplate loose on axle

(f) Worn steering connections

(g) Worn spring shackles

(h) Different grades of linings fitted

Spares and Services News

9 Jun

In the editorial on page 3 I highlighted the importance of an independent approach to recommending traders for goods and services. My website ttypes.org will, over time, build up a comprehensive trade directory of recommended suppliers and guess what? – none of them will have paid to be there!

First off the blocks in this issue are some details of TA/B/C cast iron drums. These are offered at £85 per drum including carriage, a useful saving over those currently being advertised by a trader. For more details please contact me on 0117 986 4224 or e-mail jj@octagon.fsbusiness.co.uk. A couple of pictures of these drums follow:

Ian Linton is offering TA head gaskets as per the picture below. Ian’s advert reads as follows:
“MPJG head gaskets, new, similar to that sold by Moss (290-010), see photo.  Limited number available, £30 each plus P&P.  These are being offered as support to other MG TA owners and therefore are sold privately as is, no guarantee, no return.  Contact Ian Linton, tabc@talktalk.net or call +44 (0)1273 472479.”

I am offering a limited number of XPAG head gasket sets (round hole or banana) at £47.50 each, plus postage. I also have a few bottom end sets at £21.50 each, plus postage. These are being sold as support to XPAG owners and therefore sold privately as is, no guarantee, no return. They are said by the manufacturer to be as near to the original as possible and are being sold on a non-profit making basis. You only need to look up the price being charged by the dealers (one is asking over £80, another is asking over £100) to appreciate what a bargain (pic below of one of the head gasket sets) these sets are. Contact John James jj@octagon.fsbusiness.co.uk or phone 0117 986 42224.

Tim Patchett (happy.people@virgin.net or phone 01484 845038) has one remaining set of his stub axles for TA/B/C at £600 the pair, plus postage. He also has a couple of pairs of his rose jointed steering rods at £160 the pair plus postage.

Coventry Boring and Metalling Co.Ltd. have experience of MPJG engines. The web address is www.coventryboring.co.uk

Finally, I must print a disclaimer, much as I detest having to do so.

Totally T-Type 2 is produced totally on a voluntary basis and is available on the website www.ttypes.org on a totally FREE basis. Its primary purpose is to help T-Type owners through articles of a technical nature and point them in the direction of recommended service and spares suppliers. Articles are published in good faith but I cannot accept responsibility or legal liability and in respect of contents, liability is expressly disclaimed.

Before doing anything that could affect the safety of your car seek professional advice.

Cover Story

8 Jun

The TC featured on the front cover belongs to Gabriel Öhman in Sweden. Here is a photo of Gabriel which was taken just after he bought the car and was trying it out on a run to Finland.

Gabriel has penned the following, which I have left largely unedited. He says that his “Swinglish” is not very good but I have to disagree!

“Everything started with TC3178. Newly married it was our first car and I remember that I fell for the beautiful lines of the wings. Wife was not too keen as at that time the in thing was high Farah Diba coiffures. So after a few years the TC was sold and I bought a new MGB GT. I got a few needed points from wife there.

If you ever owned a TC and sold it you will always miss it, I did anyhow for 35 years or so.

When suddenly, 3179 – the nearest thing to 3178 – came up for sale in 2006, I bought it. Just like that, spontaneous, no thinking at all!

She was clapped out and the look of the car and still is what you call “shabby shick”. The last owner had called the car “the bomb” as there was not much of an exhaust system. Changed that and the very tired Shorrock for a new one “old stock” laying around.

As I have a rolling renovation of the car things do not go very quick. In wintertime I try to rebuild a J2 so TC 3179 will have to make do with the few spare hours in the summer between outings.

The front axle turned around 180 degrees, new front springs and bushes. King pins, changed the shockers all around from Hartfords to the original things; I am not sure which is best but she looks right. I have a feeling she was quicker at roundabouts on the Hartfords. New sealed wheel bearings all around. The Bishop was OK which is unusual.

Brake system changed, wheel cylinders new; Master cylinder changed. Swapped 2 brake drums. Got the hand brake system working, had not been working for twenty years when I looked in old MoT papers. New Blockleys, what a revelation!

New clutch, fixed the gearbox 2nd and 3rd jumped out. Bought another gearbox; I’ve had it renovated by a pro but the J2 has not allowed any time to change it yet.

Had tank sealant in the tank, did put in an extra fuel line and a second SU as they say in the “Shorrock papers” is a good idea. Changed the crown wheel to suit the Shorrock better. Changed the half shafts on both sides and fitted new sealed bearings, of course. Sealed the splines at the hubs inside with Plastic padding.

New rear lights, new wing lamps T-Type style, one of the headlamps changed, new old Altette, new tonneau, new black hood with single window, new door locks.

Well this seems to be a tiresome list and in a way it is; I should not have been so sentimental. Throw her away! Wife says. But I have great fun with the car and it keeps me on my toes and she still looks as I have not done a thing to her and I have done a lot. Remarkable, Shabby shick!”

Editor’s Note: Well, I said previously that I disagreed about the “Swinglish” (Gabriel refers to his English, written by a Swede, as “Swinglish”) and I have to disagree about the condition of TC3179; it looks pretty good to me! His car is used a lot and does not sit in the garage gathering dust. He has also carried out a lot of sensible improvements to his TC.

Like me, Gabriel is rebuilding a J2 but he is a lot further on than me. I know this because we have been ‘pen friends’ (well, I suppose the modern term is ‘e-mail friends’) for years and new J2 parts have been sent to and from Sweden.

Finally, a note about TC3178 (pictured left when it was in Gabriel’s ownership) and TC3179. Both of these cars were part of a batch of eight (TC3174 to TC3181 inclusive) which the Factory built on 10th July, 1947. Both TC3178 and TC3179 were exported to Sweden and the balance of probability is that the whole batch was exported to Sweden.

Solving the Gearbox Speedo Pinion Housing Oil Leak

6 Jun

During the course of the 4 year restoration of TC7670, there was great care taken to eliminate any of the problematic oil leaks common to the TC. So, it was devastating to find oil on the garage floor shortly after the “rebirth” of the car. Now, where was the oil coming from? Rear axles, differential, engine, brakes, where….? What, the speedo cable! How can this be?

Although this particular leak does not get the same widespread attention as the other common oil leaks, it remains one of the most persistent. And it is not just isolated to the TB/TC. It is also common to the TD & TF gearboxes as well. This is because of the common design between each of these gear boxes. But, why does it leak?

The problem lies within the speedo housing. The housing was machined to a close tolerance to accept the speedo pinion shaft and retard any leakage. In order to preclude any further leakage, the housing was also machined with a reverse scroll inside to draw the oil back into the gearbox as the shaft turned. The speedo pinion housing was also made of brass. Because of this, it is softer than the steel pinion shaft and has a tendency to wear quicker. The “reverse scroll” was a common engineering method for our cars and was used in other applications for the same purpose. Examples include the rear axle shaft oil return bushings or the reverse scrolls in the differential pinion cap. As we have now discovered, after 60 years, all of these housings / bushings have worn and the result is continuous “weepage”. So can the speedo pinion housing be replaced?

You may get lucky, but the housing is not a readily available replacement item. You might be able to salvage a better used housing from another model car as the housing itself is the same for all models. However, the pinion gears are different. The TC/TB pinion gear is distinguishable by having 9 teeth and is stamped “AA” on the end. The TD/TF pinion gear can be identified by having 13 teeth and are normally stamped “T” on the end of the gears. So check to make sure the gearing is correct for your car. But if the replacement housing still leaks what is left? After months of different attempts to solving this problem, a permanent solution has been found, which is to modify an original pinion housing core to accept a modern O-ring, deep inside the housing core. These modified housings are now available from FTFU on an exchange basis to help those that are experiencing this habitual problem. This converted housing will work for the TB/TC/TD&TF. Installation is simply to remove the cable end cap and then the 2 retainer screws and reverse install the new housing with a little sealant around the flange. So there is finally a solution and the days of the dripping speedo cable should now be over.

As always, comments are welcome.
Doug@FromTheFrameUp.com

A New Book on the TD

3 Jun

Practical MG TD Maintenance Update and InnovationAvailable around mid-September is a book entitled Practical M.G.TD Maintenance Update and Innovation. Written by Jonathan Goddard, the book is, in some ways, in the “Barrie’s Notes” mould. Those of you who have read Barrie’s books on the TF and the MGB will surely agree that they are very useful ‘handy size’ books to refer to.

However, Jonathan has written his book from a slightly different perspective; let me explain.

When he bought his car, TD0589 EXR RHD, it had just been imported back to the UK from California. A British car garage based there had shut up shop and the business assets, which included a number of “British” cars, including some other T-Types, were bought up as a job lot and shipped back to the UK. Jonathan’s car, which had lived in California since early 1950 came back as a stripped chassis and a collection of cardboard boxes containing most of the parts; but some were missing, and some were from different T-Types! He therefore had some components from cars built later in the TD production run, which gave rise to some interesting challenges in putting things back together. He remarks that although he did not realise it at the time he was to face some interesting questions on interchangeability, but this gave him the opportunity to take advantage of using later components where advantage could be gained and where originality was not visibly abused. Every TD owner will find something in this book to enhance their enjoyment of owning and driving a T-Type.

As Jonathan’s TD was built in 1950, the first full year of TD production, he has been conscious of some of the original “shortcomings” and has therefore taken a keen interest in introducing Factory and non-intrusive changes to improve safety, reliability and enjoyment whilst giving due consideration to the need to adapt to modern driving conditions.

Traffic has grown exponentially in the UK since the 1950s. When the TD was in production there were just 2.4 million cars on the road. Today there are 30 million cars on our crowded roads and both the pace of driving and driving standards have altered beyond belief. It is therefore not surprising that T-Type owners have wanted to update some aspects of their vehicles in order to improve safety and driving enjoyment. Jonathan has done just this but always with an overriding consideration not to spoil the classic looks of his car.

Details of how you can purchase a copy of Practical M.G.TD Maintenance Update and Innovation will appear on this website when available as well as in the next edition (October 2010) of Totally T-Type 2.

Jonathan has kindly given me permission to reproduce “Door fit and close” from his book.

Door Fit and Close

The passage of time takes its toll, and on TD0589, the need to address worn out ash, particularly around the doors was a priority. Replacing some of the ash woodwork was necessary and the job is made easier if the ash timber sections are purchased ready made, from a specialist supplier. Hutson Motor Co Ltd. and NTG Services Ipswich supplied the necessary wood for my car and this was found to be an excellent fit. All the ash timber was treated to coat of clear timber preservative and I used brass or stainless steel fixing screws where necessary.

The new ash door pieces are now carefully checked against the old wood, and the door opening in the body, to make sure it will fit and that the twist in the frame is correct. Adjustments can be made at this stage before fitting the pieces into the door. Dismantle the frame and now re-assemble them within the door itself, making sure that the tapped sidescreen socket is in place. The front piece of wood goes in first, followed by the bottom and the piece by the hinges. With these three in place lock the hinge end of the top piece into the frame and force the front of it into the top. If you do not have a good fit it then it is best to remove the wood and trim to fit. Replacing the four major door frame components is not difficult providing care is taken so that the steel door is not overstressed or damaged. Removal of hinges, door stop, side screen locator and latches is necessary followed by the panel pins allowing the door edge to be folded back releasing the old timber. I understand that the timber was not glued (during manufacture) so once the fittings have been removed the timber can be gently prised away from the steel. Malcolm Green’s book on restoration provides good advice on refitting new wood into the door steel skins and I therefore followed his advice. Before replacing the door timbers I also replaced the under door rail, rear door pillar and rear wheel arch elbow assembly to ensure a sound frame for the door to close onto. The steel body panels need to be gently prised away from the wood to allow removal of old timber and refitting of new.

I also purchased new door frame brace sections (hinge reinforcement) that fit on the rear back section timber, but I found these to be rather less rigid than I had hoped. These were therefore returned to the supplier and I had a local garage make replacements out of a thicker gauge steel that was welded at each corner and therefore considerably stronger. The standard door cross brace was refitted after the door was hung but its effectiveness is less evident (and less necessary) due to the stronger rear brace. If the wood in your car is sound but the door fit and closure is not satisfactory I would recommend replacing the standard rear door frame brace with a stronger heavier example. This is a straightforward replacement and can improve the rigidity of the door with relatively little effort.

The net result of this work is doors that close with a re-assuring clunk, door latches that work every time and a solid door frame with no flexing that has a pleasing body fit.

During the door re-work stage I had purchased two non standard additional swivel catches (Gravelly Fasteners) that I thought I would need to guarantee door locking integrity. My experience with a TC door swinging open on corners had dented my confidence! However the re-work and strengthening had done its job and even now 17 years later the doors still shut with a reassuring clunk and I have not had to fit the Gravelly Fasteners.

© JONATHAN GODDARD August 2010

Front Leaf Springs on the TC

2 Jun

The title of this article is specific to the TC but the application is generic to front leaf springs on the beam axle cars.

The original front springs on the TC were made by Brockhouse Berry of Manchester. Fortunately, TC0750 (‘The Vicar’s Car’) still has the original front (and rear) springs, so it has been possible to examine them really well.

The first observation is “they don’t make ‘em these days like they used to!” Take a look at the rear of the spring which takes the bush and shackle pin:

Notice how the ‘eye’ is formed in the original spring (‘eye’ on right) compared with the modern manufactured spring. The ‘eye’ of the original spring is perfectly round; modern replacements can be out of round.

Now take a look at the front ‘eyes’. Admittedly this is not the best of ‘shots’ but I can assure you that the ‘eye’ on the right (which happens to be a re-manufactured J2 spring) is distorted, whilst the ‘eye’ of the spring on the left (from TC0750) is round:

The other obvious difference is in the finish to the ends of the leafs. Modern re-manufactured spring leafs are cut square at each end so that there is a tendency for the leafs to “dig in” to each other as they slide. The leafs on the original springs are very nicely rounded and chamfered to avoid this happening.

So where does this leave the beam axle owner who wants some good quality springs?

Well, you can ask some questions of your spring supplier. You can ask what material has been used for their manufacture. EN45, a silicon-manganese-carbon alloy steel, is a recommended steel for suspension springs. You can also ask where they have been made. If the ‘eyes’ on your springs are out of round, particularly the front ‘eye’ so that the front pin is not a good fit in the ‘eye’, you have every right to send them back and get a refund.

A recent project which I have been involved in with Eric Worpe has been arranging for the manufacture of new front main leafs for the TC. Eric has been very much the driving force behind this project and has done most of the work.

We figured that if ‘out of round’ is an issue with modern replacement springs, then wouldn’t it be a good idea to get the front ‘eyes’ made oversize 5/8” instead of ½” internal diameter so that a bronze bush could be pressed in and reamed to the standard ½” standard size?

We ordered some SAE 660 bronze to make the bushes and five pairs of TC front main leafs. The chosen spring maker (Brost Forge, Unit 7, 149 Roman Way, LONDON N7 8XH – Telephone 020 7607 2311) has been in the business for a good number of years and has a working proprietor.

We also ordered a pair of complete front springs and these have been used as demonstration springs for this article.

At this juncture it is worth pointing out that the fitting of replacement main leafs is not worth it and certainly not recommended if the rest of your leafs are badly worn or sagging.

You will have noted my use of the plural “leafs”. Yes, I know that the plural of “leaf” is “leaves”, but this does not ring true to me in the context of leaf springs. Yes, I can sweep up leaves from the trees in the Autumn (the Fall) but I cannot lay out “leaves” of a leaf spring to photograph them.

One more piece of information before I forget; Brost Forge has a good size drawing of a TC front spring and also one of the original front springs from TC0750 to act as a reference.

Many new springs come bound up with paint, which has seeped in between the leafs and dried up solid. This alters the dynamic characteristics of the spring, resulting in an even harder ride and increased stress on the suspension. This should be rectified as follows:

We start by dismantling the spring; you’ll need to carry out this task whether or not you buy a new spring with oversize front ‘eye’ from Brost Forge. That is to say, if you buy a new spring, it needs to come apart – or if you are using your old spring it also needs to come apart to fit the replacement main leaf. The photo below shows the spring in the vice and the clips being bent back:

The next task is to run a 16mm HSS Co. milling cutter through the eye of the oversize scroll of the main leaf, truing it up to accept the press fit of the bush. Care must be taken to avoid opening out the spring eye by choosing the cutter direction to be the same as the ‘eye’s’ scroll:

It is now time to make the bronze bush and the top two ‘shots’ (overleaf) show it being made using the lathe. The bush is made to have an interference fit in the ‘eye’s’ scroll of about 0.4mm, so an outside diameter of 16.4mm (+0.1mm. -0.0mm) should be aimed for.

Then the bush needs to be pressed into the ‘eye’ of the oversize leaf, where it should deform to the shape of the scroll and then reamed to suit the fit of the front pin (1/2”):

Work can start on the leafs. The first operation is to round off the square ends and form a small bevel on the upper contact surface of each leaf:

When the work with the angle grinder has been completed and all the square ends have been nicely rounded they can be painted with Galvafroid (a zinc based paint) as in the photo below. This is a messy job, but well worth the time spent as the leafs will now be protected from rust:

The edges of the leafs and the flat areas of the leafs (where they do not overlap) can be painted with some black paint (see photo below):

It is nearly time to put the spring back together, However, before so doing it’s necessary to carry out one more task. If you thought that painting the leafs with Galvafroid was messy, this is a pig of a job! You need to coat between the leafs with a mixture of graphite and silicon grease or waxoil; reassemble the spring leafs and bend over the clamps, making sure that the dimples are in alignment. The graphite lubricates the springs, whilst the silicon grease/waxoil prevents water washing away the graphite mixture.

After assembly of the springs, force some of the mixture of graphite and silicon/waxoil into any gaps between the spring leafs. Some plastic gloves should be worn as graphite is truly messy stuff.

The photo at the top of the next column shows the task almost complete with the spring clips being bent back over. I found that it was a lot harder to bend the spring clips back over than it was to bend them back in the first place.

Note in the photo above the use of tie wraps to “clamp” the springs whilst the clips are being bent back over – whatever did we do before tie wraps came on the scene?

The final two photographs show a close up of the bushed ‘eye’ and the completed pair of springs.

At the time of writing there is one pair of bushed main leafs remaining at £65 the pair plus carriage (approx. £8 including insurance). If demand is there we could probably look to supplying another five (5) pairs. Enquiries please to John James (0117 986 4224).

Due to the amount of work involved we will not be supplying complete springs.

The Editor

1 Jun

Welcome to the first edition of Totally T-Type 2!

As many of you will know, the original magazine Totally T-Type was ‘my baby’ and was one of the few magazines in the world totally devoted to T-Types. I launched the magazine in January 2004 and produced 37 issues up to and including the January 2010 issue.

Totally T-Type (TTT) is the bi-monthly magazine of the T Register of the MG Car Club; it is therefore quite clearly a publication of the MG Car Club.

Due to a number of reasons, which are probably best not revisited here, I became disillusioned with the MG Car Club and whilst my enthusiasm for TTT was undiminished I could not reconcile continuing to produce it when I had doubts about retaining my membership of the MG Car Club. I therefore served notice that I would carry on producing TTT up to and including the November 2010 issue.

As I had (at the time) only just completed the subscription renewal cycle (apart from producing the magazine from scratch I also distributed it worldwide and did all the accounting for subscriptions and advertising revenue) I felt obliged to work out my notice until the start of the next renewal cycle (November 2010). After all, subscribers had just paid for another six issues of the magazine and were entitled to expect that I would be producing them. I did not want subscribers to think that they had been sold a false prospectus.

Unfortunately, events (which, again, are probably best not revisited here) came to a head and I decided not to renew my membership of the MG Car Club when it fell for renewal on 1st February 2010. As a consequence, I was told that as a non-member of the MGCC I could not continue producing a MGCC publication and therefore the January 2010 magazine was my last issue.

I shall always regard myself as having been ‘sacked’ from the position of Editor of TTT!

Following my ‘sacking’, I received an unbelievable number of phone calls, letters and e-mails from all around the world. Some wanted me to start a T-Type club!

Well, a T-Type club would be very nice but it would take an enormous amount of work to get it going, Alas, time is not on my side as I have to keep a PB on the road and rebuild a J2 as well as getting ‘The Vicar’s Car’  back on the road. So, having given it some careful thought I decided that the next best thing would be to have an independent T-Type website, part of which would contain a free bi-monthly edition of TTT 2.

You’ll have noted the use of the word “independent”. Editorial freedom means a lot to me and I do not like others looking over my shoulder, dissecting every word I write. Independence is also important in recommending traders for goods and services; any traders who are included in the relevant section of the website are there, not because they have paid to be there, but because they have been recommended for inclusion and their services are advertised completely free of charge.

You’ll also have noted that the format of TTT 2 is different to that of TTT; TTT 2 is produced in A4 format. The main reason for this is that there will be only a limited number of ‘hard’ copies of TTT 2 produced and those who want to run off ‘hard’ copies (or just an article) from the website will find it easier to print 20 copies of A4 than to print 40 copies of A5. I am not ruling out a wholesale ‘hard’ copy distribution of TTT 2 but one needs to learn to walk before one can run.

Another advantage of A4 format is that it allows more scope to feature good sized diagrams and photographs. Nothing is more annoying than finding a postage stamp diagram or picture in a page of text.

An important feature of this website ttypes.org will be the list of recommended suppliers. By going direct to some of these suppliers you can save yourself money rather than going through a “middle man”.

I shall also be offering a limited number of spares, initially on a non-profit making basis, but this may need to change in April 2011. Even then, the mark up will be very small.

Another service I have arranged is the manufacture of cast iron brake drums for the TA/B/C; these are obtainable direct from the manufacturer and at a useful saving over those being advertised by a trader. This service will also encompass the VW steering box conversion – again at a very useful saving.

This issue is largely taken up with Brian Rainbow’s presentation on T-Type brakes which he delivered to the ‘T’ Register ‘Rebuild’ seminar earlier this year. I am very grateful to Brian for providing an “anchor article” for this first edition of TTT 2. Other articles are as follows:

● Front leaf springs on the TC

● News of a forthcoming book on the TD together with an article from the book on “door fit and close”

● An article from Doug Pelton on “Solving the Gearbox Speedo Pinion Housing Oil Leak”

● The story of the TC on the front cover

● Some spares news and offers