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Back Cover Photos

16 Mar


Above: Rolf Schmidt, girlfriend Sylvia and TC1558 at Heroes’ Place in Budapest.
Photo taken July 2007 during the ‘MG by the Beautiful Danube’ event.
 
Below: Burt Richmond’s smart TC. I hope to feature the rebuild of TC6943 in the June issue.
 

Bits and Pieces

5 Mar

Transil kits for SU petrol pump

I have supplied over 100 of these kits in the last couple of months. I still have a few left and can post to any destination. Current price is £3.50 UK and £4.00 elsewhere. These prices will hold good until 2nd April when postage rates are going up by at least 20%. If you require a kit please e-mail me at jj(at)octagon.fsbusiness.co.uk – substitute @ for (at) – and I will send you a PayPal invoice.

Polyurethane Shackle Bushes for TC/TD/TF

This has been a most worthwhile project. Over the last three months I have been supplied with 622 of these bushes (311 of the 3⁄4” and 311 of the 5/8”) and have sold 568 at the time of writing, leaving 54 in stock. I’ve just put an order in to top up with another 178 bushes, which makes the total order 800.

Just to re-cap, the 3⁄4” bushes (Part number 0074) fit the rear shackle pins on the TD/TF and YA/YB/YT) – eight (8) required per car. They also fit the front chassis tube on the TC – four (4) required per car. The 5/8” bushes (Part number 073) fit the rear ‘eyes’ of the front and rear leaf springs on the TC. Eight (8) of these are required for the TC.

The bush sets are supplied with sachets of special assembly lubricant and come well packed in a little box. As the bushes are light, postal charges are fairly moderate with typical costs being £2.00 (UK) and less than £3.00 elsewhere. However, postal charges are increasing by at least 20% on 2nd April.

As I own the moulds for these bushes and order in bulk, I get a substantial discount, which I pass on to TTT 2 readers. The cost per bush is £2.35 (which is exactly what they cost me, having amortised the cost of the two moulds over 600 bushes). In addition I ask for a contribution to TTT 2 funds of 50p per bush, which makes the effective asking price of £2.85 per bush. Putting this price into context, the cost per bush from a major supplier is £8.35 and what is on offer is a “uni-fit” bush with the bushes for the front and rear leaf springs on the TC having to be trimmed to fit.

To order, please send an e-mail to John James at jj(at)octagon.fsbusiness.co.uk – substitute @ for (at) – and I will send you a PayPal invoice. Alternatively, UK orders can be paid for by cheque and sent to 85, Bath Road, Keynsham, BRISTOL BS31 1SR.

I remarked at the start of this news item that this has been a worthwhile project; it has been worthwhile to me personally as I have had the satisfaction of supplying a quality product about which I have had positive feedback; it has been worthwhile to the purchasers in terms of quality and cost and it has been worthwhile as a revenue earner for TTT 2 as current donation income from the project is just over £450.

Polyurethane Shackle Bush (Large Bush) for TC

My supplier was asked to make a mould for this large bush several months ago, but it has yet to surface. Now that he has fulfilled the bulk of the order for the smaller shackle bushes (see previous item) I shall be leaning on him to produce the goods. This item, described as “Bush Lower Large” – part number 280-615 in the MOSS Europe catalogue retails commercially at £11.20. I would hope to at least halve this price (and supply special assembly lubricant at no extra cost). Hopefully I should have an update for the next issue.

Leaf Springs for TA/TB/TC/TD/TF

I see that a group of owners in the Y community have joined together to consolidate an order for a small batch of rear leaf springs for the YA/YB/YT. The cost of these BRITISH MADE FROM PROPER MATERIAL springs is £100 plus VAT plus carriage, a useful saving (up to 50%) on commercially available springs.

The arrangement is that the springs are ordered in bulk but that each individual owner is responsible for paying for his/her set of springs.

I wondered if there would be sufficient interest to consolidate an order for TA/B/C front and rears and TD/TF rears? I would be prepared to pass a bulk order on to the supplier.

If you are interested please contact John James at the e-mail address previously given.

Phosphor Bronze Trunnions for TA/TB

Would there be sufficient interest if I were to arrange a batch of these trunnions? They would be supplied with the slot to suit the after-market main leaf thickness (1/4”).

New MG TD & TF, steering racks

The following has been brought to my attention:

“Like so many other owners of classics you may have experienced problems with old or broken steering racks. Over the years the unavailability of new steering racks for the TD and TF has seen prices rise for second hand and reconditioned units. Now there is an alternative, Moss have exclusively remanufactured new steering racks for both LHD & RHD TD and TF models. Retail Price £212.46 (ex VAT) | Retail Price £254.95 (inc VAT)”

And finally… a reminder that I have cylinder head gasket sets for the XPAG (round hole or banana) at £52.50 and bottom end gasket sets at £24 plus postage. Both these sets are offered at cost price, but included in the asking price is a small donation to the TTT 2 ‘hard’ copy fund.


Dr. Peter Simpson pictured with his TF1500 in the UK in 1964 and in the US with the same car with his grandson 48 years later. Dr. Simpson took the car with him when he moved to California in the mid 1960s and brought it back to the UK last year when he sold it to Ken Wilbraham, who was looking for an original example. The car is chassis number HDA16/8909 and had only one previous owner to Dr. Simpson.

THE M.G. SURVIVOR CHALLENGE
 
THE NEW ENGLAND MG T REGISTER ANNOUNCES THE SURVIVOR CHALLENGE

Every year the quality of restorations on the NEW ENGLAND MG “T” REGISTER Member cars have gotten better and better. Register Members have achieved a level of perfection with restorations that would be the envy of any car group, anywhere.

Enthusiasts have come to expect very well-restored T-Series & Pre-War MGs at GOFs, and they have not been disappointed. The bar has been set high, and this standard has consistently met or exceeded that benchmark of quality restoration, year after year.

Now, The New England MG “T” Register is pleased to announce “THE SURVIVOR CHALLENGE.” This is a competition to find the most original, untouched, as-it-left-the-factory T-Type. Any replaced parts, alterations, repairs, or bodywork to the car would make that car less of a contender. Ideally, the car will have the original engine, chassis, and body, and as much documentation as possible. Extra consideration will be given for documentation such as warranty cards, dealer paperwork, original owner’s handbooks, tools, tires, etc.

This competition will be kicked off with the Pre- War/TC competition at the Fall 2012 GOF in New Jersey. The TD competition will be at the following Spring 2013 GOF, and the TF competition will be at the Fall 2013 GOF. The final competition for “the best of the best” will conclude at the Spring 2014 GOF which will coincide with the grand 50th Anniversary celebration of the formation of The New England MG “T” Register.

All Register Members are welcome to participate in this competition. Judging will be by popular choice, and all registered GOF participants will be eligible to vote.

We know the cars are out there. We all know somebody who knows somebody who has an all original car; a car that, for whatever reason, was either parked early in its life, or was very well- maintained and still has the original paint, the original interior, the original top, and often, even the original tires.

So, the challenge is on! Please help The Register look for that rare “barn find,” dust off that car, and bring it to the competition. Spread the word–The Register is looking for “The Best Survivor!”

Please see our WEB site at: http://www.nemgtr.org/index.php?option=com_conten t&view=article&id=282:survivor- challenge&catid=55:survivor-challenge

Front Cover – TB0440

5 Mar

HUM 7 was first registered in Leeds on 1st August, 1939; Eleven TB models were completed on 4th July, 1939, six of these being Tickfords. TB0440 would have then been delivered to Salmons at Newport Pagnell as a chassis with all running gear and would have been returned as a gleaming new Tickford with all refinements that come with this model, in time for first registration.

The first owner was a Mr Kitchingman of Leeds and the car subsequently criss-crossed the Pennines, spending time in Cheshire in 1964, Swinton (two owners) in 1967 and 1968, Eccles in 1971 and Macclesfield in 1977.

The car went to John Hunting in Duncraig, Western Australia, who restored the car in the late 1970s before coming into the ownership of Harry and Deidre Pyle.

TB0440 was purchased in Nov 2002 by the present owner and shipped to Mansfield, Ohio where it was restored to concours condition by Safety Fast Restoration, Tom Metcalf, from June ‘03 to June ’05. In 2006 the car won best of class at Amelia Island and other Concours venues. It won the Chairman’s Special Award at the MG International Meet held at Gatlinburg, Tennessee in 2006.

My thanks to Len Star for agreeing to have his car featured.

JOHN JAMES

The XPAG Core Plug: a Temporary Solution

4 Mar

The subject of core plugs is seldom on the T-Type owner’s mind until things go wrong; then the consequences can be nasty if you lose one or suffer a slow leak of anti-freeze from a corroded core plug disc – especially if it happens to be in the worst place possible for replacement in situ and you do not relish the thought of an engine out job.

First we refer to the large 48mm diameter core plug at the rear of the engine block on practically all T-Types. Solutions have been mooted over the years in the past in our journals etc and some with moderate success, but is there a solution which, given a little D.I.Y. time and tools, could result in a temporary remedy and get you going on your journey say within the hour when you are in the middle of nowhere!! and, of course, if you carry extra water?

I remember reading an article in the Octagon Bulletin some years ago on this subject; the idea was to use two core plugs bolted together and as you tightened the centre bolt it expanded the core plug to make a temporary seal. This got me thinking about a similar method and one which could be accessible to fix in situ.

The problem, as many owners will be aware, is that there is very little room in which to work on all the core plugs, least the rear large one. As luck would have it, Peter Harrington, a very good friend of mine and M.G. owner of three T-Types had an engine waiting for overhaul in his workshop. I was therefore able to bench test a device in principle which would solve the problem and be an easy to fix as a kit.

This was done by first making a special core plug 48 mm diameter (1 7/8”) which was domed but with a flat outer rim 5/32” width with a centre hole 3/8” diameter (photos 1 and 2).


Photos 1 & 2: on the left, the domed side of the special (brass) core plug; on the right, the dished side.

Next a steel bar was designed which has a central set screw welded and reduced head thickness which can be domed, the bar radius at the ends so that the bar would then fit inside the water jacket of the block.


Photo 3 – steel bar with welded central set screw

Finally a special aluminium disc was made with a threaded centre hole 3/8” diameter Whitworth or B.S.F. and also domed to suit the profile of the special core plug; its width was 1 1/16ths inch and on its outer diameter was drilled four tommy bar holes 3/16ths inch diameter (photos 4 & 5).


Photos 4 & 5 – showing both sides of the special aluminium disc


Photo 6 – the complete assembly. Not previously mentioned in the text is a cork gasket (located between the special brass core plug and the steel bar – later referred to in the text as the metal anchor plate) and a rubber grommet which is located between the cork gasket and the steel bar.

The outer diameter of the aluminium is only about five to ten thousands of an inch smaller than the core plug diameter, so to fit the kit in place, first we have a good quality sealant which is used on the gasket to core plug and engine block aperture, the steel bar, a rubber grommet 3/8ths bore to fit over the centre set screw, cork or paper gasket with a centre hole 3/8ths and outside diameter the same size as the core plug, then fit the special core plug in its rightful place in the engine block. In most cases the metal anchor plate will only fit correctly in one position for example the rear 48 mm core plug the anchor plate will only fit at five to five (as on a clock face), so you line up the slot cut in the threaded pin to this position and spin on the threaded aluminium disc and moderately tighten to give a leak proof joint.

A small lock nut can be used as security if required but generally if you apply plumber’s PTFE Tape to the threads things should be O.K. Also I did apply sealant to each side of the rubber grommet which would help to seal the threaded centre screw and grommet to gasket centre. Now in an extreme case you may be able to use the standard 48mm core plug with a good gasket, preferably cork or steam gasket also a different profile threaded Aluminium disc is required which is more simpler to make for which a drawing has been produced, and if needed the same set up can be used on the smaller diameter core plugs but in both cases a centre hole 3/8ths inch diameter has to drilled accurately finally using a good quality sealant.

Ed’s note: At this point, I think a few photos will help to explain the set up and how it is fixed.


Photo 7 – the complete assembly as descibed in the text. Note the rubber grommet on the steel bar and the special spanner which locates in the 3/16” tommy bar holes on the face of the aluminium disc (shown in photo 5)


Photo 8 – steel bar with welded central set screw ready to be inserted in back of block


Photo 9 – steel bar with welded central set screw now inserted in back of block


Photo 10 – cork gasket fitted


Photo 11 – special brass core plug fitted


Photo 12 – aluminium disc being tightened using a tommy bar engaged in 3/16” holes

Coming on to the M.G.TF which is the most awkward car to work on in this respect some American owners have cut the bonnet side to the same profile as the outer wing and made the bonnet sides removable with the aid of M.G.A. large washers, in all about six bolts in order to make work on them a little easier. For the smaller core plugs of 1.3/8ths inch diameter a similar system can be employed, but replacing the core plug, which is the rear one in the water channel (which also has a small drain hole which must be clear) which you should check when replacing the core plug, is difficult because it is in direct line with the steering column.

So to aid the installation of this core plug the Aluminium threaded centre disc has four peg holes 3/16ths diameter drilled on its surface so that a special “C” Spanner or circlip spanner can be used (see photo 7) and it’s a system which can be used for the core plugs on the side of the engine block after you have removed the old core plug and cleaned its aperture before fitting this temporary kit. When fitting standard core plugs it is always best to make sure that they are a tight fit in the engine block aperture before you use force to seal them, and to do this place the core plug on a flat steel surface gently tap the radius surface around halfway towards the centre of the plug until you get a good fit, finally fitting using force to seal, avoid flattening the centre of the plug to much because in extreme cases you can actually reduce the diameter of the core plug.

A set of drawings is available for members wishing to make this core plug kit if so desired. Finally I would like thank Peter Harrington for his patience, practical knowledge and advice in fitting this temporary core plug to the XPAG and XPAW engine blocks.

I hope this article is of interest to our members which may create sufficient need that manufacture of a limited number of these kits should be possible.

A. Atkins

Ed’s further note: Whilst we are on the subject of core plugs (sometimes referred to as “freeze plugs”) the correct sizes for the XPAG are 6 x 35mm (1 3/8” will fit), 2 x 48mm (1 7/8” is too small), 1 x 45mm (for the cam). I am indebted to Bob Grunau for this information.

Regarding corrosion, it helps to paint the inside of steel core plugs with red lead (if the ‘Elf’ and Safety brigade haven’t banned this) or a similar rust inhibitor.

A supplier of brass core plugs is TTT 2 member Tom Lange. Tom’s contact details are as follows – Website: www.mgtrepair.net E-mail: tlange’at’acadia.net

When fitting core plugs to the MPJG block, Brian Rainbow cautions to exercise extreme care as these blocks are notoriously weak and you may well end up cracking the block if you are not careful.

The Resurrection of TA0844 (Part 4)

3 Mar

Bob Butson continues with the account of his rebuild. In this instalment he describes some of the ‘extras’ that he fitted along the way.

Modified pedal shaft

I had to saw through the pedal shaft to remove the seized brake and clutch pedals, so I made a replacement from stainless steel with drillings for greasing (see photo 1)


Photo 1 – the replacement pedal shaft

To retain the shaft at the chassis end I used a pin through the shaft protruding from both sides. Photo 2 shows the small cutaway on the existing chassis hole for the retaining pin. What cannot be seen is a washer which is on the inside of the chassis. There is an arrangement of stainless steel spacers on the shaft to ensure that the respective pedals are in line with master cylinder and clutch lever. The oilite bushes for the pedals were obtained from bearingboys.com.


Photo 2 (above) – shows the small cutaway as described in the text. Photo 3 (below) – view from inside the chassis rail looking forward

The VW steering box conversion

The box which came with the car was a Bishops Cam type. On disassembly I found that the case hardening on the worm was crumbling away as well as other wear. At the time a replacement worm was unobtainable. I understand that the MGOCC are seeking a supplier, so this situation may change. As I mentioned in an earlier article, Roger Furneaux supplied my VW conversion. This was ordered with a splined steering wheel shaft as for the TC. The car had arrived with a very rusty but original steering wheel and soon after, I purchased a Brooklands steering wheel with a splined boss from John Kimble in Dartmouth, Devon. This was easily fitted and gave the extra in-out adjustment.

The cooling fan

I fitted a plastic fan from an MGB for better cooling and a cogged belt no. BX44. This helps to reduce the load on the water pump front bearing. It was necessary to reduce the thickness of the spacer which forms the cover over the waterpump spindle retaining nut, in order to effect sufficient clearance between fan and radiator. Originally the fan was yellow, which blends better when painted satin black. Photo 4 shows the fan belt and the close-fitting fan. The fan fixing holes match the original but are slightly bigger. The boss has a slightly larger moulded depression than the diameter of the original fan spacer. These two facts make it possible for the fan to be fixed slightly off centre. I used a narrow strip of brass shim to increase the fan spacer diameter, to give a push fit.


Photo 4 – showing toothed fanbelt and MGB seven bladed plastic fan

Water temp gauge

Sometime in the past at autojumble I bought a complete but not working water temperature gauge with a rusty white face. This was converted to a working instrument with the correct green face by Chris Clark. Tel: 01773 550485.

The gauge was to be fitted after the dashboard was fitted to the sub-dash, as this would be easier on the capillary tube. The LED assembly was secured with a clip on the back of the gauge and the gauge was clamped at the back of the sub-dash (see photo 8).

Dashboard

I decided to be different and veneered the dashboard in Santos Rosewood without the bookmatch. The photo of the back (photo 5) shows the additional cut-out for the water temperature gauge, with cut-away parts for gauge lamps. The sub-dash was similarly cut. The dashboard cut-away was to a depth which left it about 1/8 inch thickness. The veneer and glue film was from Vale Veneers.


Photo 5 – extra cut out for water temp gauge

Connectors for the dashboard

Photo 6 shows the connectors between the dashboard and the main loom. Two eight-way connectors, a six-way and a four-way were sufficient. The eight- way connectors are male and female to avoid wrong connection to the loom. Wire and connectors were from Vehicle Wiring Products Ltd. Tel, 01159440101. The main loom with wires for stop-lamps and indicators was provided by vehiclewiringproducts.co.uk. The two bottom connectors are a six-way for an indicator switch and a four-way for a low oil pressure indicator. There will be more about these in a later article.


Photo 6 – showing the connectors between the dashboard and the main loom

LED Panel lamps

I have converted TA0844 to negative earth to accommodate LED lamps all round. The exceptions are the headlamps and the flashing indicators lamps.

There are six panel lamps illuminating the TA dashboard, originally12 volt 2.4 watts each. The current taken for six totals about 1.25 amps; if LEDs are used this would be about 0.15 amps maximum. I wanted LED replacements without altering the wiring. As I had a number of broken MES lamps and a few which were blackened, a conversion to LED was easy.

To start, crunch the bulb to remove the glass and with small pliers remove the remaining outside glass and filament connections. Screw the MES base into a suitable holder and drill into its centre. This removes the remains of the glass and some of the holding cement. I used a gas soldering iron to remove the solder at the base centre.

The longest lead on the LED is connected to a positive voltage. This connects to the base centre terminal via a limiting resistor for negative earth. The other lead connects to the outside of the base.

I used an L9294vr41c-cts-c1, 5mm LED, White, Low Current, Product code 56-0418, from www.rapidonline.com . This LED has a 130 degree illuminating angle and when used with a 560 ohm resistor gives about the same light intensity as the original bulb. The resistors were 0.125 watt and came from my spares bin. All electronic components stockists will have these.

Bend and shorten the longest lead on the LED as shown. Shorten one of the resistor leads and solder these two together. Insert the assembly into the bulb base, adjust the position of the LED and solder the outside connections. Use a small soldering iron for the resistor connection to the LED. A larger iron is needed for the outside connection. Heat the base close to the point of connection to reduce the time in which the LED lead is subjected to heat.

A dab of Araldite will hold the LED in the centre of the MES base.


Photo 7 – shows panel LED lamp construction

For the additional gauge two more LEDs are required. I made the assembly shown in photo 8 The limit resistors are in the leads. The araldite blob covers the connection between the two LEDs.


Photo 8 – showing LED assembly made for the water temperature gauge lighting

In photo 7 from left to right: the LED with positive lead to the right, leads are shaped, an attached 560ohm resistor ready to insert into the base, the assembly in position for soldering and the working Panel light.

A Speedometer cable conversion

I had a spare speedometer cable. Although long enough to fit the TA the instrument end-drive was of square section. I made a converter for this to fit the earlier Yeager tube fitting on the instrument. A drawing and photo will be included with the next article.

Bob Butson


Photo 9 – shows Bob’s dashboard which he veneered in Santos Rosewood.


 

Expansion Tank for MG T-Types

2 Mar

West Reynolds, owner of ‘Kermit’ featured on the front cover of the last issue, sent me the following article which he wrote some time ago for the MG Car Club of Western Australia. As well as his TC, West also owns a MGC and this is where he got the idea to fit the expansion tank. I’m not sure about fitment to a TF due to space constraints.

“With the MG TC you unscrew the radiator cap, fill up with nice clean water, go for a run, stop and a puddle of water from the overflow pipe appears. Hence, before the next run you do the same thing all over again.

With an expansion tank, as on the MGC, I use distilled water, a good inhibitor and perhaps once a week check; now I do the same for the TC. The other plus is that it stops corrosion (the water pump in the MGC is 10 years old) with a six monthly flush out.

Look around car accessory places for a smallish plastic bottle, having a normal ‘snap top’ cap and the spout on the side. I couldn’t find one but made do with a connection hole at the bottom.

The big problem is finding a suitable space and without boring more holes in the engine bay. I used a soft bendable metal bracket and with numerous fittings came up with one which bolted on to the ‘stay’ bar at the back. I am a great advocate of a tube of rubber lubricant for all rubbers, so with the tubing onto the overflow pipe you can get it a fair way on and no clamp is required. Run it along past the steering box and onto the bottom of the bottle, again a good snug fit and no clamp.

With the engine cold, having flushed the radiator out, rubber lubricant to the hoses, fill the radiator, screw the cap firmly on, checking that the rubber ‘O’ ring is good; add about one third of the water to the bottle and mark the level.

Now, all you have to do is to go on a run until the engine is hot, check for leaks and again mark the water level on the bottle.

Of course, all that remains to be done is to check (when cold) that the water has been drawn back up and the ‘cold mark’ is the same as when you filled it up”.

Ed’s note: West also sent me the following ditty:

The MG TC and the Son
Why did you buy a TC Dad?
Why was the Commodore sold?
Why is it open and cold Dad?
Why is it just so old?

Why is the roof made of rag Dad?
Why won’t it keep out the rain?
Why so many draughts Dad?
We’re not stopping for petrol again?

Why is there no seat in the back Dad?
Why are my feet in the air?
Why can’t I sit in the front Dad?
It’s really just not very fair!

What is that noise underneath Dad?
Why does the engine vibrate?
Why does the exhaust blow smoke Dad?
Mum says the car’s out of date

Why can’t we go any faster Dad?
Why can’t we keep up the pace?
Why is that Subaru smiling Dad?
Please don’t give it a race!

Why were the wheels made of wire Dad?
Why is there rust in the sill?
Why do all the girls look at you Dad?
?????!!!!!?????!!!!!
Wow! Please leave me the TC in your will!


Two views of the overflow bottle

TA1423 – All’s Well that Ends Well!

2 Mar


“What am I letting myself in for?” (taken 2009)

TA1423 with engine number MPJG 1688 was completed by Abingdon on 1st June, 1937.

The car was acquired by its present owner, Adrian Sheppard in 1972. Adrian bought it from a friend of his (Bill Ellison) in Cambridge who purchased it from Colin Garrett of Berkhampsted, who owned the car from 1965 to 1969. The owner before Colin was a Mr Brockman.

The TA came into Adrian’s ownership in rather unusual circumstances, which are described below in an extract of a letter written by Adrian to Mr Brockman in August 2001. The latter had traced his old car to Adrian and wondered what had become of it.

In detailing the history of the car, Adrian recalled that his friend, Bill Ellison had used it for a year or so before going to the USA for a couple of years. To celebrate Bill’s return to ‘Blighty’, Adrian and a couple of friends thought it would be a good idea to ‘fire up’ the TA and get it running. Bill was none too keen about this but eventually relented.

Adrian recalled what happened next in the following extract from the letter he wrote to Mr Brockman:

“After a bit of battery charging, checking the oil level, watering the radiator, cleaning the petrol pump contacts & etc plus a good deal of cranking it started up. It didn’t sound too bad so we left it ticking over. We thought it a bit odd that there was no oil pressure but decided that the pressure gauge must be stuck. Anyway, after a few minutes of ticking over there were a few clanking noises and it stopped. After that it was very stiff to turn over on the starting handle. I tried to explain that it was not my fault that no-one in their right mind would design a car without a self-priming oil pump in the sump (MG had though) but this didn’t seem to make Bill feel much better. Anyway, the long and the short of it was that he had wanted to sell it, I had always loved old MGs and was looking for a car to buy so I borrowed the money (£200) and bought it at the price it would have been worth with a working engine. However, but for this I would probably have bought the Lotus 21 Le Mans which another friend was selling, also for £200, in which case I would now be rich, or possibly dead”.

With the car now in Adrian’s possession he set about rebuilding the engine and getting the car back on the road. After eighteen months the TA was up and running again and became his everyday car for several years. However, it was not very reliable and when Adrian met his fiancé who “had a car that worked” the MG got demoted to a shelter in the back of the garden. Marriage, children and several house moves (some of you will be familiar with this!) meant that the TA had a long sleep until restoration to her former glory.


“First trial re-assembly !”


“Owners old and new, June 2011” Centre, Colin Garrett, 1965 to 1969; On his right, Bill Ellison, 1969 to 1972 ; On his left, Adrian Sheppard, 1972 to present


“First serious outing – taking daughter to her wedding, August 2011”

Trial by Trunnion

2 Mar

Ah, that life were simple! I am helping son, Erik, in getting his TA chassis ready for building up a vintage racing special. We understand that the TA is a superior racer because the overall handling is improved by the use of bronze trunnions at one end of the each of the four road springs. These trunnions are used instead of the normal shackle arrangement. The advantage is that although the effective length of the spring can change as its camber alters when the wheel passes over bumps (the main leaf slides in the trunnion bearing when this happens) the spring is located much more positively in a lateral direction, and the resistance to twist is also greater. The result is much improved road-holding.

Alas, when we examined the rear spring trunnion tube, we found that it was a cobbled, ancient repair where someone had used a piece of tubing with a slot cut into it and secured by a hose clamp to the cross member (Picture 1)


Picture 1 – someone’s idea of a rear trunnion tube repair!

Yep, we really wondered just what we had gotten involved with at that point. But all was not lost. An Internet search led us to the UK’s Brown & Gammon’s web site. Sure enough, they showed a trunnion tube repair item for the TA. When it arrived, we were impressed with the obvious quality of the pair but equally depressed when there were no directions for installation.

I contacted B & G as well as several experts on the TA and found that no one could provide any help. Oh, there were some suggestions such as “measure twice and cut once,” but that was of little comfort. I couldn’t even get anyone to tell me if the cross member extended through the chassis rails or if the thing was, in fact, hollow. I know, I know . . . it should have been clear to me that it was hollow. I was still intimidated, but finally Erik said to drill a small hole. Wow! Was I pleased to find that the cross member was, indeed, hollow. Now it was just a matter of making a mark and cutting off the faulty bit that still stuck out.

Once the cut was made, I found that the new piece did not just slide in because there was so much crud on the inside of the tube. A bit of work with an electric drill and a hone soon smoothed things up so the new piece would slide right in. At this point, I refitted the old spring (yes, yes new ones will be used in the final fitting), made sure that it was parallel to the chassis side and then had the exact distance to weld in the new tube. The deed is done. I am sure that a professional restorer would not have been daunted, but this rank amateur was in a deep quandary but things do seem to work out in the end.

Dick Knudson


Picture 2 – the starting out point for the trunnion tube replacement

Picture 3 – lining up the trunnion tube repair item in order to gauge where the cut should be made

Picture 4 – the deed is done, there’s no going back now!

Picture 5 – measuring to check the location of the trunnion repair is correct so that the spring is parallel with the chassis side rail throughout its length

Picture 6 – showing full length of spring; the measurement at the front of the spring where it pivots on the pin should be the same as the measurement taken in picture 5

Picture 7 – shows the repair section now welded in position

Picture 8 (which really should be picture 7!)

Picture 9 – the end result with both repair sections now welded in position

Drawing of the rear suspension arrangement

Restoration of the hand brake cross shaft on the TC

1 Mar

Complete restoration was not the intention until…………..!

The original plan was to remove the hand lever from the cross shaft to have the chrome plating renewed. This would require removing one cable lever by grinding off two welds and removing two taper pins on the driver side end of the shaft. After the hand lever was removed the wear on the shaft where the hand lever is positioned was quite evident. The two brass bearing sleeves in the end supports were also heavily worn and the decision to rebuild the hand brake cross shaft was made.

Making the two brass bearing sleeves for the end supports and the brass bushing for the hand lever would be straight forward since I have a lathe in my shop. What to do with the shaft needed to be decided.

Options for dealing with wear on the shaft

I felt there were two options:

One option would be to weld up the worn area on the shaft and turn it back to size. This would require that the centre hand brake lever be removed from the shaft by machining off the welds and removing two more taper pins since the worn area is adjacent to this lever. I felt it would be difficult to keep the shaft straight due to the welding on a small diameter tube.

Another option would be to replace the shaft but the challenge here was how to locate the three levers back in their correct positions and relationship to each other. Closer examination revealed that the two cable levers and their taper pins that pull the hand brake cables at each end are in alignment with each other. The centre lever that the hand lever attaches to via the threaded rod with the clevis end would require that it be properly positioned so the cable levers would work correctly.

Preparation for making a new shaft

I made a drilling jig that would hold and locate the shaft when drilling the holes for the three levers. The jig consists of two V blocks and clamps for holding the shaft, an end stop to position the shaft axially and a block with a hole and pin that would lock the position of the shaft when drilling the cable levers on each end. I used the old shaft and before I removed the other two levers I needed to locate the pin hole in the pin block. With the shaft in the V blocks and a steel rod in the taper pin holes at the end of the shaft to help measure that the taper pin holes were vertical, I marked the position of the hole in the pin block and drilled the hole. Now that the jig was made it was time to remove the last two levers and make the new shaft.


Picture 1 shows the drilling jig along with all the parts that make up the assembly)

Picture 2 shows the drilling jig after marking and drilling the hole in the pin block to align with the centre hand brake lever

Making the shaft

I bought a piece of tubing that was 1 1/4” OD and 7/8” ID by 24” long so there was enough length to chuck on in the lathe. My first attempt at turning the shaft on my lathe was unsuccessful as I could not hold the OD size consistent over the whole length of the shaft. On the second attempt I left .010” of stock on the OD and took the shaft to work and asked the fellow that runs the cylindrical OD grinder to finish grind the shaft. He had the same problem of holding size over the length of the shaft. At this point I asked myself why I was trying to hold size the entire length of the shaft. It only needed to be on size on each end plus the area under the centre hand brake levers and stop collar. Again I made a shaft leaving grind stock on the critical areas and undercut the other areas by .005/.010”. This time it was successful.

Using the jig was as simple as putting the old shaft without the centre lever in the jig and positioning the jig on the drill press so that the centre lever hole was aligned with the drill and clamping the jig to the drill press table. Removing the old shaft and putting the new shaft in the jig, the hole was drilled thru both sides of the shaft. The old shaft with the centre lever assembled was put back into the jig with the centre lever temporarily pinned in place and the jig was then positioned so that the holes for one of the cable levers aligned with the drill. Take out the old shaft, assemble the centre lever onto the new shaft, pin it in place and drill thru the shaft again. Repeat the process for the other cable lever on the opposite end. The drilled and tapped hole for the stop collar had no relationship to any other holes but needed to be positioned so that the hand lever and the ratchet plate were a nice fit between the centre lever and the stop collar. I assembled these items so the hole could be marked thru the hole in the stop collar.

While everything was apart I had all the hardware zinc plated and the hand lever chrome plated. The only parts replaced were the ratchet and the pawl.

One modification I made to the bushing in the hand lever was to drill a hole that aligned with the thru hole in the hand lever. This allows the knob to be removed at the top of the hand lever and a few drops of oil can be added so that it can drip down to the shaft and provide a bit of lubrication.

The other parts that needed to be made were the bearing sleeves for the end supports. This was just a matter of turning up the sleeves then mounting them on a mandrel to turn the outside shape. The shape is pretty much three flat lengths connected by a generous radius on each side, not really a true spherical shape. The end supports had to have the rivets drilled out, brass sleeves replaced and then assembled with new rivets although a small nut and bolt could have been used.

The assembly is pretty straight forward with putting on the items on the shaft in the correct order. I made new taper pins for the three levers and welded the levers as originally done. The bottom of the hand lever was previously painted so all the needed to be done was a bit of masking and finish painting the shaft. After the paint was dry, the balance of the items were assembled to the shaft.

This was a fun and challenging project. While not everyone has a lathe at home (I really don’t know how I could manage without one) the shaft could be made by a competent machine shop and the remaining work done at home in a modestly equipped shop.

John Libbert Ohio USA

Ed’s note: The following series of photos show the various steps taken to complete the job.

For readers in the UK and Europe, complete handbrake cross-shaft restoration for Triple-M and TA/B/C cars is undertaken by Digby Elliot. He can be contacted on 07836 754034. His address is ‘Beam Ends’. (at Newton crossroads), Southampton Road, Whiteparish, SALISBURY, Wiltshire SP5 2QL, UK.

Digby has just commissioned some hemispherical bushes and end plates for the TA/TB/TC brake cross-shaft and when I spoke to him during the first week in February he said that he hoped to have these ready for inspection at the Stoneleigh MG Spares Day.

He sells the bushes in two sizes (standard and undersize). The reason for this is that he has found from experience that if the old shaft is being re-used it is usually worn on the ends thereby necessitating the use of undersize bushes.


Picture 3 shows the detail of the pin in the pin block and centre hand brake lever

Picture 4 shows using the old shaft to set the drill jig for drilling the first hole for the centre hand brake lever

Picture 5 shows using the old shaft with the centre hand brake lever pinned in place to set the alignment for drilling the first hole for the cable lever

Picture 6 (right) shows the centre hand brake lever on the new shaft in the drill jig just after drilling the hole for the cable lever

Picture 7 shows the new shaft after all holes drilled and two levers pinned and welded in place

Picture 8 shows the final shape of the bearing sleeve for the end supports

Picture 9 shows the mandrel used to turn the outside shape of the bearing sleeves

Picture 10 shows one view of the finished article

Picture 11 shows another view of the finished article

Obituary – David Clewley

1 Mar

David Clewley
A great win at Silverstone in earlier days

This obituary, written by Erik Benson, was received just as the February issue of TTT 2 was going to press.

The funeral of the great MG stalwart and racing driver David Clewley took place on Thursday December 15 at his local Church in Leysters, Worcestershire.

In attendance were over 250 mourners representing the many different parts of his varied life; the majority were MG T racers from all over the country.

He and Rachel, his wife, had had the time to prepare for the occasion and wanted everyone to celebrate that we all had shared a fun filled life together.

In the mid 1960s a group of young men from the Midlands decided that racing old MGs was their way into motorsport, and so the MG Car Club ‘T’ Register went racing. There was so much enthusiasm that soon it built up to a hotly contested Championship, with circuit races, hill climbs and sprints all over Britain being visited.

Dave steadily became recognised as – ‘the King’, when pseudonyms were adopted by us all.

He was one of that lost breed…..builder/driver…… unlike today’s ways. As season followed season, so did the tales of ‘derring-do’ and thence into Europe, as part of the ‘Team Rosbif’ adventures.

David had always hankered after something in the single seater world, and eventually became the proud owner of the ex-Stirling Moss Cooper Alta, which he soon made a more formidable tool than when in the hands of Sir Stirling. Joining the ‘Historic Grand Prix Car Association’ with this car, he soon made an impact throughout Europe, making more friends as he went along.

He was a man with several great passions, such as a love for the English countryside and its wildlife, fly-fishing, lovely old houses, and on to fox hunting with large horses, and the inevitable spills to go with the thrills. He and Rachel delighted in all those country pursuits.

Earlier though, it was his love of mountain climbing and ski-ing, that showed the steely nerve which came through on the tracks.

He also had a successful career with breweries in the Midlands as a very skilled property surveyor, where his early retirement was much rued.

David Clewley's MG racer
An old friend at the Churchyard gate

Throughout all these years, he emerged as a thoroughly nice guy who just revelled in life and all it has to offer. When he met and married Rachel, it was like this was just the perfect completion for them both. Their house was always filled with great stories and laughter to go with the good food and wine. Rachel’s two children became David’s children whom he loved dearly, and they him.

It is often said, but never truer in this case, this man was a complete one-off, and loved by everyone whose life came into touch with his.

That afternoon in the aged Worcester churchyard he was united with his own family, and all his dearest friends from the MG T racers, the Huntsmen, and neighbours for one last time.

But, he will never be forgotten.

Erik Benson