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Bits and Pieces

4 Sep

The following has just been received from Doug Pelton:

MG TOMPKINS STEERING KIT – Product Safety Alert

The well-known Tompkins Steering Kit was designed to accurately adjust the MG TABC steering box and thus improve the driving experience. However, it has been discovered that this kit (as provided by suppliers) is actually the primary cause of poor steering control on our early T-Series cars. The problem lies with the size of the needle bearing and thrust washers.

Principle: The Tompkins kit provides adjustment of the end float on the top of the sector shaft. This keeps the steering peg engaged properly in the steering cam (eliminates play). The friction of the adjust screw on the sector shaft is effectively eliminated by adding a needle bearing sandwiched by 2 thrust washers.

Problem: The thrust washers fit nicely into the Tompkins cover. But, due to variations in the casting of the steering box itself, the thrust washer has been found to sit on top of the box and not within the box itself and on top of the sector shaft. This means that when you tighten the adjust screw you cannot get full adjustment because the thrust washer is hung up on the top of the steering box body. In the photos you can see the distinct difference in the wall thickness of the Tompkins cover and the steering box itself. You will also note that the thrust washer has ample clearance from the cover wall but when centered on the sector shaft there is no clearance to the box wall.

Solution: The singular solution is to install a set of thrust washers with needle bearing that is a smaller diameter to clear the steering box wall. FTFU has developed a retrofit kit that is now available and corrects the problem. FTFU item #ST229, replaces the adjust screw, thrust washers, and needle bearing.

Testing: The primary question is how do you know if this is the true problem with your steering. If you have a Tompkins kit installed on your car and you have excessive play in your steering wheel while parked, then do the following.

  • Jack up the front end of the car and turn the Tompkins adjust screw down to full tight. Then try to turn the steering wheel.

  • If the wheel will not turn then your Tompkins kit is ok. Simply back off adjust screw slightly and tighten locknut. If you still have steering play, troubleshoot other components such as tie rod ends, kingpins, loose bolts, suspension, etc.

  • If the steering wheel turns with the adjust screw full tight, then you probably have the thrust washer hanging up on the top of the box. Remove and replace the Tompkins internals with FTFU ST229. If needed, email: order@fromtheframeup.com

If you would like more information on how the Tompkins kit works or how to install and adjust, please see our YOU TUBE video: MG TABC Tompkins Kit.

Easy access:

www.FromTheFrameUp.com /Videos

FTFU continues to work hard to help you keep your cars on the road. Doug Pelton

Ed’s note: Just another reminder of the advice from Eric Worpe given at the end of the ‘MG TC1187 Bishop Cam steering gear renovation’ article earlier in this issue about fitting a new modern steel alloy sector shaft.


Lost and Found

4 Sep

TD25840 (YMG 98)

During the course of my work for the MG Octagon Car Club as their DVLA representative I talk to, and/or correspond with, lots of interesting T-Type owners. One such chap is ‘Ron’ for whom I am currently applying to DVLA for an age-related plate for his TF, which has come in from the US.

Ron told me about the TD he used to own in the late 1960s. He bought TD25840 (registration mark YMG 98) for £299 in 1967. Ron used the car as a ‘work horse’ and travelled the country in it as a self-employed carpenter with his tools and accompanied by his mate. By the time he came to sell the TD he had racked up 66,000 mainly trouble-free miles.

The circumstances of the sale are quite fascinating. Ron advertised the car in the London Evening Standard and in no time received a call from a German who had picked up the (left behind in a railway carriage) newspaper and wanted to buy the car. Ron sold it for £3,500, which provided the funds for a self-build house for him and his family. Ron subsequently sold his self-build property for a lot more. Some shrewd investments!

According to the DVLA website YMG 98 is taxed and on the road, none the worse for Ron’s punishing schedule. If the current owner would like to contact me jj(at)ttypes.org {please substitute @ for (at)} I will put him or her in touch with Ron.

TC10223 (KOE 194)

I keep my PB in my daughter’s garage and I’m often to be seen fettling the car (I seem to spend more time doing this than driving it!). Quite a few passers-by stop for a chat and express an interest in the car. One chap who was keen to engage in conversation asked if the car was a TA. It transpired that he used to own a TC (KOE 194) nearly 60 years ago. He recalled having to sell it when he got married (57 years ago) and needed funds to buy a house.

Having looked up the DVLA website, the car is shown as “Untaxed – Tax Due 01 October 1995” so it has obviously been off the road for some time. TC10223 is thought to be in Essex and if the current owner would care to contact me at the e-mail address given in the first ‘Lost & Found’ item I’ll put him or her in touch with this past owner.

TB???? (GKE 762)

To break our journey from Keynsham to Chichester for the recent Totally T-Type 2 Tour of East Hampshire and West Sussex we stopped at Stockbridge, as this was nearly half-way. Having parked the car, a gentleman came up for a chat and said that he used to own ‘one of these’. On further enquiry, he said it was a TB but couldn’t at the time fully recall the registration mark.

I followed this up with David Carden, who obligingly left his telephone number. David has subsequently e-mailed this photo.

Taken in 1961, he sold it that year on posting to Cyprus for the princely sum of £53. Any ‘leads’ to the Editor, please at the jj e-mail address previously given.

Requests to DVLA for details of previous owners

If you are the registered keeper of a vehicle you can apply to DVLA for information on past owners. The form to fill in, accompanied by a cheque for £5 is V888. The website URL is:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/v888-request-by-an-individual-for-information-about-a-vehicle

Although I’ve owned my PB for nearly 20 years, I’ve never thought of doing this. I’ve just applied and will let you know how I got on in the next issue.

Some TA Clutch Tips

3 Sep

Recently, I have had quite a few technical queries about clutch problems on TAs with MPJG engines.

The clutch plate on a TA has 46 corks of roughly 1 inch diameter, which are lubricated by engine oil via the rear of the crankshaft and holes in the 1st motion shaft. These clutch plates last quite a long time (60k to 80k miles or more) but can give problems if the car is left to stand for a long time (i.e. several years). The corks then become stuck to the flywheel and are often difficult to free up. In the past, quite a few owners re-corked the plates themselves using corks from wine bottles (a good excuse to drink more wine!). Nowadays, it is easier and better to have your plate re-corked by a specialist company like Charles Cantrill of Aldridge http://www.charlescantrill.com Some owners have used Kevlar to replace the corks on the clutch plate. I have no experience of this material, so do not feel qualified to make a judgement.

Ed’s note: Kevlar is the registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fibre, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed by Stephanie Kwolek at DuPont in 1965, this high-strength material was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires. (Acknowledgement to Wikipedia).

Now back to Brian……….

The last time I changed the clutch plate, the one I removed must have covered at least 50k miles and still had plenty of life left in it. I only changed it as a ‘belt and braces’ job because I was off on a long trip up to the Scottish Highlands.

Accessing the clutch

Now let us look at getting the clutch apart. You can replace it, either by taking the engine out of the car, or by removing the gearbox from within the car. The big problem which most people hit is in separating the engine form the gearbox – it seems ‘un-separate-able’. The way to separate the two is to remove the clutch operating arm from the shaft on the side of the bell-housing (located with a straight pin and woodruff key), then rotate the shaft anti-clockwise so that the clutch fork can clear the release bearing. The TA clutch is fairly unique in that the clutch fork pulls the clutch release bearing back towards the driver, whist in most cars the fork pushes the release bearing towards the engine. One thing to remember just before separating the gearbox from the engine is to put a tray beneath the bell-housing as about a pint of oil will pour out when you separate them!

Replacing the clutch plate

You do not need to strip the pressure plate assembly down if you are only replacing the clutch plate, just unbolt it from the flywheel (12 bolts). Make sure you remove the large circlip from the three little bosses on the spigot bearing carrier before removing the old clutch plate, and take care of the three little springs behind the plate when you remove it. These little springs and the large circlip are not available from any supplier now, so take care of them!

Before you fit your new clutch plate, please make sure you soak it in new engine oil for at least 24 hours. Also, check the clutch release bearing, if it runs free with no binding leave it alone. However, if you do decide to replace it, make sure that you fit it with the ‘thrust face’ facing forward towards the engine. If you fit it the other way around, the first time you come to use the clutch will result in all the balls being forced out of the race and into the bell-housing and you will have to strip the whole lot down again!

If you have removed the clutch thrust bearing to look at the 12 clutch springs, make sure you clean out the pressure plate cover, especially the 3 gauze oil strainers. New standard clutch springs are no longer available, but SVW Spares in Hull sell 10% uprated ones. However, I have never found the need to change standard springs.

Before mating the gearbox and engine together, there are a couple of important things to check. The clutch operating shaft in the bell-housing is a weak point, the driver’s side operating shaft was badly designed and is prone to breaking (see photo)

New improved shafts (see photo) are available from the MG Octagon Car Club (part number SGC022) which overcome the problem.

Old (broken) and new clutch operating shafts

Also, it is worth considering fitting a small lip seal on the outer end of the bell-housing where this shaft protrudes (please refer to the article in Issue 19, April 2013 of TTT 2).

It is best to scribe (or use Tipp-Ex) a horizontal line on the end of the shaft to show when the clutch fork is horizontal; this helps when assembling the bell-housing to the engine, you can see the position of the clutch fork externally. If you are not sure of the clutch layout, it is helpful to study the diagram on Bill Davis’ TA website www.billdavis.org/MGTA/Cork.html

For ease of reference it has been reproduced here.

Don’t forget to use a new gasket (and sealant) between the bell-housing and flywheel housing or the joint will drip oil!

When you have assembled everything back on the car, don’t forget to adjust the clutch linkage for 1 inch free play at the pedal. Whilst attending to this, check also the condition of the clutch operating linkage. If it is in a poor way (I have seen several that have been broken and been welded back together again) (see pic of old and new linkages) you can now purchase a new one from the MG Octagon Car Club (part number SGC049).

Brian Rainbow

A new TA clutch shaft from the MG Octagon Car Club

http://www.mgoctagoncarclub.com/Parts/parts.html

and an old one.

Ed’s note: Reference was made earlier to Bill Davis’ website. The previous reference was for the clutch layout. To access the whole site (not to be missed if you are a TA owner) please go to:

www.billdavis.org/MGTA

Restoration of TC 1366 – a 1946 MGTC

3 Sep

TC1366 graces this issue’s front cover. It was taken in Whitby, North Yorkshire in front of the iconic whalebones with the Abbey in the background. Readers will recall that some of the history of the car was included in the August edition of TTT 2. New owner, Chris Edwards describes how he came to purchase the TC and how he went about breathing new life into it.

My story starts with the realisation that retirement is becoming close and I have always said that those who retire without a purpose do nothing to prolong their lifespan.

Cars have always been my passion, having previously restored a Mk 2 Sprite from boxes. At this stage of my life it was essential that the car would be an investment as well as a hobby. I started looking for a TF but my son, another petrol head, convinced me that if I was going to do it, do it properly.

My initial thought was to look for a project that would keep me busy for at least five years and so a rebuild from scratch was preferred. The search started and I soon realised that, without inside knowledge, swift action was essential to pin down a reasonable deal.

My wife and son were recruited to search the web on a nightly basis. After missing a few, my wife dropped on a perfect example with a guy who we were to come to know well called Andy King. I expressed interest and as I was the first to enquire, he was good enough to agree to give me first refusal. A trip down to Andy’s proved that this was an ideal project to cut my teeth on.

TC1366 pictured in Andy King’s workshop.

I have since found out that some sterling work had been organised to the chassis members by previous owner, Richard Mascari, which involved straightening the front axle, repairing the rear axle casing and it appears that one complete chassis member was replaced. The kit of parts included a new body tub skinned with aluminium which I have since found out was produced by Naylor Bros.

Richard did an excellent job of collecting the main parts and I presume re-chroming where necessary. The bulkhead and foot ramp were either new or very well restored, but the front and rear wings were in need of extensive restoration. The front wings were off a later TC so Andy advised that the front scallop should be much deeper, which he carried out and replaced the wire edge. The doors needed reskinning which Andy organised in steel after I had trial fitted them and added a brace, he advised that steel was better than aluminium as it gave more weight for closing.

Shot and soda blasting on the parts requiring extensive renovation was carried out by Steve Green of RB Renovations who is based in Skelton, North Yorkshire; Steve also carried out final preparation and paint application to all painted parts, and an excellent job he made of it. The interesting period was examining all the parts that were available to determine suitability and future renovation requirements.

I am a person who likes to attempt to solve problems myself rather than passing on to an expert. I also like to get the best deal by searching various avenues rather than buying from a single supplier. That said, I found that one of the best sources for parts was the Octagon Club. There have been numerous complaints about quality from some of the larger suppliers but Pete at the Octagon Club supplies a good range of parts with a good quality and at a reasonable price.

This is where the lists and searching starts; what became an obsession was searching eBay every night for anything T-Type related and then the inevitable bidding war, sometimes winning a bargain, often being bid up to what the part is worth from suppliers and then the wait with trepidation to see if the part was worth it. Several successes were achieved, a working regulator, an SU fuel pump, a good quality badge bar, bags of BSF nuts and bolts, LED lights for instruments and rear lights and one of the greatest triumphs, a shock absorber in reasonable condition. So, then the real work started, the brakes needed piping up so a coil of copper pipe, a selection of screwed connectors and Tee’s, stainless protection coils and an end flaring kit.

Good information can be gleaned from various sources regarding routing and clip positions, one of the best was Doug Pelton’s’ From the Frame Up site and the other essential reference recommended by Andy King was the book TCs Forever! the TC renovators bible, expensive but worth it.

The sticking point on the braking system was the Y piece at the back of the master cylinder which I didn’t have and which wasn’t available from anyone so a review of components from Automec meant that a T piece and coupler could be utilised. I also decided to utilise silicon brake fluid at this stage.

Making progress!

Attention turned to the engine which I had no idea as to its condition. However, I was pleased to discover that it was in very good condition, virtually no wear ridge on the top of the bores with bearing shells still in as new condition. I decided that there was little point in replacing components that were serviceable so the valves were ground in and gaskets replaced and the motor was boxed up again. Even the clutch plate was in good condition so, it was fairly obvious that the engine had been renovated in its recent past.

The gearbox was examined without stripping beyond taking the top plate off and all appeared to be well with all gears being selectable, I have found in the past it is difficult to assess the serviceability of gearbox components such as synchro cones visually; in actual fact it turned out that when it was run it jumped out of third, so some attention is going to be required. Looks like a winter job. New engine mountings were utilised and the engine and gearbox remounted into the chassis.

Around this time thoughts turned to seats and interior trim, Mike Sherrell in TCs Forever! talked about Mike Collingburn being the best in the game so a search of the internet turned up that Mike was based in Richmond, North Yorkshire, not too far from me. A few e-mails and phone calls found me visiting his premises where I learnt that his son James was now running the business, Mike suffering from ill health. James took on my commission for a complete set of seats and interior trim in biscuit, the colour he convinced me was nearest to the original MG Colour. James warned me that it would not be quick, being up to a year’s wait which I accepted as I thought the rest of the renovation would fall in line with this timescale. The seats arrived about on schedule but the interior trim is still awaited.

A recent conversation with James revealed that he was not doing any more T-Types but was concentrating on MMMs. However, he promised that he had enough material to complete my order. This may mean that I will probably be the last T- Type to have a Collingburn interior – I will have to put a plaque on the dashboard!

A new wiring harness from Octagon was the next challenge, From the Frame Up gave a routing and the TC instruction manual gave a wiring diagram. The dashboard was the greatest challenge, trying to get several meaty wires into a small screwed terminal. I found that a touch of solder stiffened up the wires and gave a much more positive connection, I also decided to convert to negative earth at this stage.

There are very few jobs that I will not attempt, a challenging one was renovating the shock absorbers. A search of the web gave instructions and a source of the correct sized lip seals and welch plugs. A friend machined up a rubber bush insertion kit and after a few false starts an acceptable quality was achieved. The bushes, links and screwed posts were obtained from Andy King’s ‘tame’ shocker man, Raj Patel.

Ed’s note: Raj Patel of ‘Recon & Return’ is at 39a Avenue Road Extension, LEICESTER LE2 3EP. Telephone 0116 244 8103. In the words of one of our subscribers “Raj is a good guy”.

The tub, wings doors etc were returned from paint and assembly started at a pace. A good fit of the doors was achieved by packing the tub mounting points but before final mounting the floor templates were produced by slipping thin ply, which had previously been cut to fit around the gearbox and transmission tunnel, under the tub and drawing round the tub, much easier than trying to produce floor boards after the tub has been fitted.

Almost there!

A good job was made of the windscreen by Autoglass Special Projects who used the correct grade and thickness of laminated glass and mounted it in the screen surround. They even etched a BS number in the corner.

The car started looking good and the engine ran well with oil pressure above 60psi cold and holding 40 psi when running at operating temperature.

Virtually there – just awaiting interior trim.

All the instruments came with the car, the speedo and rev counter having labels showing that they were renovated in 1992 by Vintage Restorations and never used. I jokingly rang John Marks and asked if they were still under guarantee, he said unfortunately not but that it would be advisable to have them cleaned and re oiled, which I did. I even have a working clock, which I understand is quite unusual.

One of the last jobs I tackled was the renovation of the Altette horn, the coil was in a poor state so I again searched the web for advice, bought the correct grade of varnished copper wire and wound a coil, I set this in the body and filled it with Cataloy. A few adjustments and trial and error with gaskets and I managed to get a working horn. Don’t know if it has the right noise but I like it.

The car is now settling down with about 700 miles under its belt. The engine is going well but the gearbox jumps out of third. There is a fair amount of play in the steering even with a Tomkins top on the box but I want to make sure that I am not losing movement in the sprung steering rod ends before doing anything with the box.

I have bought a nice full tonneau from Don Hoods and intend to eventually buy a hood from them.

All in all, a very enjoyable restoration.

Chris Edwards August 2017

Yes, I wanted to be in the picture – after all I do stand guard over the cars!”

The Beck’s Brewery TD

2 Sep

The Editor is regularly contacted by T-Type owners from around the world. Such is the wonder of e-mail and the Internet that it seems that correspondents are almost in the next room!

A recent contact was Emery DeWitt from Lancaster, PA in the US. Emery bought a copy of ‘Barrie’s Notes’, ‘Maintaining a 1955 MG TF in the 21st Century’ and ‘Practical M.G. TD, Maintenance, Update & Innovation’ by Jonathan Goddard. He told me about the TD he had just acquired. The story of his purchase can be found in his blog at:

http://emz3cp.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-beck-brewery-mg-td-part-1.html

As can be seen in the picture below, no ordinary TD this!

It has a Volvo B18 engine, which Emery intends to leave in situ, but he’s going to “return it to the street” over the coming months, having bought it as a stalled restoration.

From the Beck’s logos all over the car it looks as though the car may have been sponsored by Beck’s Brewery (Beck’s is brewed in the city of Bremen in northern Germany).

The TD was in a part dismantled state when purchased and had to be put back together enough for its trailer journey from Virginia.

Thanks for sharing this with us, Emery!

MG TA – My Supercharged MPJG

2 Sep

I bought my TA in the mid-sixties for £45 under Brixton Railway Arches. It was a bit of a wreck, but running. Most weekends I worked on it in my parents’ drive so it would be ready to go by Monday morning. My holiday job often involved travelling throughout England and Wales to work on various airfields, so reliable transport was required. The UK MOT test only came out the following year so I got away with many running fixes during the first year.

Photo 1 – The “boy racer” as restored.

The car as bought had lots of evidence of being a “boy racer” – BRG, 16” rear wheels, chequered radiator, air horns (now illegal), larger fog lamp and Triumph Herald seats. Being an impecunious student at the time I loved it, although it was pretty worn out in all areas. So, it was stored away for 30+ years in various locations until I started the restoration around 2000. I rather liked the “boy racer” element so decided to use that as my theme for restoration (above photo), rather than the “as left the factory” approach favoured by many others. So, it is still BRG with a chequered grill, 16” wheels & tyres, aero-screens added, etc. but in nearly all other respects still remains faithful to 1939 Abingdon Factory output.

I have been very pleased with the result but always felt it was a bit of a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

A very long time ago I fitted a Shorrock blower to a little frog-eye Austin Healey Sprite and was delighted at the increase in performance; but not so pleased at the alarming increase in petrol consumption and high rate of wear of the big ends! So, a couple of years ago I started looking at adding a blower to my MG TA, against all conventional wisdom for an MPJG of course, frail engine, non-counterbalanced crank, etc. Nevertheless, I decided a “soft” (low-pressure) system was the way to go.

Arnott made a 1600 model about the same time as the car was made. Of course, I did not know for sure that such a unit could be squeezed into a TA but was encouraged by a period photo (photo 2) which showed that it had been done at least once. That car still exists but now has an XPAG power unit.

Photo 2 – period ‘shot’ of an Arnott blower installation in a TA.

After a search, I was pointed to an Arnott unit that had been on a TD, with a complete kit of parts. However, as readers will know, an MPJG is very different in detail from an XPAG, especially around the intake and exhaust manifold areas. So, none of the kit parts fitted. Lots of trial and error and I eventually worked out a way to fit the supercharger using the existing mounting studs for the original twin carb set-up. The final set-up is shown in the photo below.

Of course, the inlet manifold had to be highly modified (photo 4) and this was done partly by a local welder and the upper bits by myself using standard end-feed copper fittings (35-22mm diameter), plus a Shorrock-style blow-off valve set at 5psi.

Photo 4 – highly modified inlet manifold

Oil feed to the blower is from a bulkhead mounted oil tank (photo 5), pressurised from near the blower exhaust port, and metered through a needle valve. The flexible pipes are pvc lined and Arnott instructions were most insistent they not be changed so this area is somewhat tight.

Photo 5 – bulkhead mounted tank, which provides oil feed to the blower.

A new crankshaft pulley was required (photo 6)

Photo 6 – showing belt arrangement and new crankshaft pulley.

so, I stuck to the same belt geometry as for the dynamo belt which worked out well as:

  • only one size up of belt was required, although I used the cogged variety for added flexibility

  • using only one belt leaves space in front of the crank pulley to change either dynamo or blower belt

  • creates more clearance for the MGB fan which I have been using successfully since the restoration. I did have to space the fan further forward slightly with nuts and longer bolting, but so far so good.

As to the cylinder head, I was reluctant to risk possible damage to my original (now lead-free) MPJG head, so converted a Morris MPJM to late MPJG spec (triple valve springs, lead-free, etc). This is virtually identical except 0.080” thicker, so the combustion ratio is already reduced to suit a blower application and enabled me to use a single MPJG head gasket.

I had expected that the thermostat bypass line would get in the way and had all sorts of plans to remove or divert it, but in the end, there is just room. As a precaution, I have added a rubber sleeve around the bypass pipe as the blower idler pulley shaft pushes against it (although it does not rotate at this point).

The only original MG parts “harmed” were one intake manifold (luckily, I had three) and part of the web supporting the radiator header tank, being cut back to give room for the driven pulley and belt removal (by also removing the driven pulley).

Difficulties encountered included:

  • having no example installation to follow

  • relative dimensions therefore mostly guesswork

  • making brackets to suit, usually involving three attempts each to get it right

  • ensuring adequate clearances everywhere, but particularly at bonnet side and top, and up front between drive belts & fan, etc.

  • the float bowl was the most difficult after the blower mounting because it and the carb had to stay level but be tucked right in to avoid the bonnet side. This required delicate adjustments to the blower intake, the mating surfaces of the bowl to the carb body, etc. The end result is that the carb top is tucked close under the blower shaft extension, with barely 1/8” clearance of the bowl from the bonnet side.

Then tuning. It has taken quite a lot of trial and error to get the engine running satisfactorily. The 1 3/8” SU that came with it had odd metal blistering to the piston and had to be carefully filed and finished so it was clear running. The internal piston damper was very slightly bent but was easily straightened once the problem was identified. And of course, the float had some fuel inside it so had to be replaced. The lid and details were replaced entirely. Lots of problems with petrol leaking from the main jet but eventually solved with O-rings in place of cork. The choke arrangement had to be reworked as it is now 90 degrees from the original and would have fouled the bonnet side. Even so I had to cut the support bracket and brass lever back by ½” to clear the side, and now use the slow-running control to operate it.

Using advice from Arnott literature I wired up the distributor weights to fix them, and will find a better (reversible) method to do this in time, but not now. The distributor seems to be in about the right place, again by trial and error, and the micrometer is at zero so I can experiment each way.

The carb needle has been the biggest single tuning issue. The needle that came in the carb turned out to be almost the same in performance as the ones in my twin carbs and proved to be hopeless, back-firing, blowing the relief valve, struggling to get past 2000 revs, and so on. The richest needles I had in my parts bin improved things slightly, so I borrowed the richest needle I could find and Bingo! Full rev range available, no more popping and banging, starts easily, etc. The colour of the spark plugs looks about right, at 1.5 turns of the mixture adjusting nut down, as Arnott recommended.

So how does it go? All I can say is WOW! Plenty of acceleration due to the extra torque but of course, no increase in overall speed. However, the latter was not my target. Apart from aesthetics I wanted to keep up with modern traffic a bit better but most importantly to climb long steep hills without impeding traffic.

My local “test” hill is about a mile long and gets steeper. With twin carbs and driver only, the car would struggle to maintain 40 mph, this on a 70mph dual carriageway, and thus created high differential speeds. First test with the blower installed and it sailed up easily at 55mph, far better. I would have been very happy at 50mph but this really exceeded my expectations.

Longer term testing continues but I don’t plan to alter much at all for a while yet, as the car is just so much more fun now.

If any reader has a blower installation on an MPJG engine or currently uses an Arnott supercharger please email me at tabc “at” talktalk.net (substituting @ for “at” and no spaces) as I would like to start a register (probably very short!) for sharing knowledge.

Lastly, my thanks to the following MG TA stalwarts who have continued to encourage me in my efforts to achieve the (almost) unachievable, despite the onset of serious illness:

Stewart Penfound, Bill Davis, Brian Rainbow and Tim Parrott.

Now the wolf is back in wolf’s clothing.

Ian Linton 19 August 2017

All that Glitters is not Gold: A Day on a Rolling Road

2 Sep

Part 1

My 1955 TF1500 is a lovely largely original car (see TTT2 issue 31 front cover) and has won many awards during my 4 years of ownership but, as Shakespeare nearly said, “all that glitters is not gold”. Poor starting and a rough tick-over plagued the XPEG engine, despite a fully rebuilt set of SU carburettors, a simple electronic ignition (Hall effect type), and coil. It was time for a serious investigation. The impetus came from a series of articles written by Paul Ireland, initially in Totally T-Type 2 on-line magazine (issues 40-42) and subsequently re-printed elsewhere. These articles addressed, inter alia, the subject of timing and the impact of modern ethanol petrol on XPAG engines.

I also took note of the comments of John Saunders on Paul’s article in Issue 40.

An opportunity presented itself to address the problems in more detail; namely a day on a rolling road, no, not ‘Drive It Day’ but the rolling road at A B Garage, Hawarden, North Wales. The local MG Owners Club organised a day for 14 cars (mostly MGBs) on the rolling road; the idea was to obtain a basic assessment of brake horse-power at the road wheels and engine torque throughout the normal range of engine revs, from which some possible improvements in performance could be deduced. Some members came away afterwards with that smug air of contentment and some of us were, perhaps secretly, disappointed with our cars’ performance. I was in the second group.

My car returned peak bhp at the wheels of 24.5 at 3,450 rpm [originally 63 bhp at the flywheel or perhaps 54 bhp at the wheels] and peak torque of 170 lb ft at 2,100 rpm after which it dropped to 94 lb ft at 4,000 rpm [my rev limit on this test as I did not know the true condition of the engine]. Adrian of A B Garage suggested the ignition needed another 2 degrees advance but, more importantly, bigger filters than the fancy after-market chrome things on the car fitted by the previous owner.

Back home I advanced the tick-over ignition by 20 to 90 BTDC

and fitted a pair of original type Vokes filters for my SU H4 1.5” carburettors. Feeling a lot more upbeat, I returned the car to Adrian for a full assessment. This is what he found:

  1. The connecting spindle between butterfly valves was slightly loose, causing the front SU to run at a lower input than that called for by the accelerator – i.e. loose!

  1. The front carburettor was running much richer than the rear, as measured by the position of the jet at the shoulder. Surprising, as all 4 plugs looked the same – honey coloured central ceramic and black round the edges.

After making these corrections, a further emissions test was carried out and Adrian concluded that the jet needle profile was incorrect. It was ok at tick-over and full throttle, but too weak in the mid-range, which was where most driving occurs. New needles with the correct profile were fitted and the subsequent test was to Adrian’s satisfaction.

At this point the car was tested on the rolling road and, oh, what a difference! Power at the wheels was 36 bhp at 3,600 rpm in 3rd gear, with a steady increase from tick-over at 13 bhp, but a sharp drop from 36 to 22 bhp at 4,000 rpm. Similarly, the torque rose rapidly to 179 lb ft at 2,000 rpm and remained nearly level to 173 lb ft at 3,600 rpm, but also dropped rapidly to only 91 lb ft at 4,000 rpm. Adrian’s conclusion was that at 4,000 rpm [my normal limit equating to about 70 mph with my 5-speed box] there was valve bounce suggesting valve springs needed replacing [see graphs of 2 test runs at the end of these articles]. Driving home, the car ran a lot more smoothly, tick-over was less lumpy, and it seemed to be much more responsive. Time to address the diagnosis.

Part 2

Following the valve bounce diagnosis, I re-read the Paul Ireland articles and came to the view that not only did the valve springs need replacing but that I should pay more attention to the advance curve – did it address the modern ethanol fuelling problem? My distributor is an original A2D4 type and there did seem to be a bit of sloppiness, mainly noticed when trying to set the tick-over advance – this wobbled about somewhat. I also noticed the rotor was skimming one or two cap terminals, leaving fine brass everywhere.

Turning to local MG Octagon Car Club gurus on T- Types, Dave & Ray, it was decided to replace the valve springs by pressurising the cylinders in turn, but during this process a leaking head gasket was suspected as well. Off came the head and sure enough it was leaking, although caught before any damage was done. Whilst the innards were exposed, we noted that the car had been re-bored only once (+20 thou and no liners), suggesting a very low mileage engine, and the bores, pistons, bearings and rings were near perfect.

A quick de-coke (wire brush in an electric drill) and the engine was re-assembled. Everything was fine, cylinder pressures were good at 168-178 lb/in2, but still the car was lumpy at any speed, starting was difficult, and on over-run the exhaust popped and banged. I was not a happy bunny and nor was the car! I then did what I had thought about doing for a long time; fitted a fully electronic programmable CSI distributor – expensive, but was it worth it? The old dizzy will be properly rebuilt next winter as a spare and for any future owner to return the engine to original.

So, back to A B Garage again to tweak the carburettors, timing, and anything else needed, and then test on the rolling road. First, the distributor advance curve was set at 100 on tick-over, 260 at 2,000 rpm and 380 at 4,000 rpm or higher (curve 7 on CSI). Back on the rolling road we observed a steady high torque at 178 lb ft, declining to 168 lb ft at 4,500 rpm, and a steadily increasing bhp that was still rising beyond 45 bhp at 4,500 rpm. A good result for 3rd gear at the wheels, which equates to about 53 bhp at the flywheel. However, tick-over was still not smooth, even though engine performance at all higher speeds was excellent on every measure, including coil, plugs, and HT leads’ performances. Also popping and banging on over-run had been eliminated. RESULT! Was it worth the expense? YES!

As I understand it, Paul Ireland’s research tells us that XPAG and similar older engines are not designed to run on ethanol dosed fuels (bio-fuel), because combustion space design does not allow sufficient turbulence for petrol to vaporise fully during the “suck and bang” cycle, such that several cycles in succession will be faced with varying fuel mixtures. This leads to a condition known as “cyclic variability”, whereby the timing of each cycle’s combustion is slightly different, leading to bouts of smooth & lumpy tick-overs. Exhaust gas analysis during the 3rd rolling road test also showed high hydrocarbon emissions, strongly suggesting incomplete combustion, but only at tick-over. This causes the slightly lumpy tick-over experienced on my car but does not affect engine performance above tick-over speed. Similar cars will also vary from each other depending on other physical characteristics such as engine condition. Early on-road testing up to 4,500 rpm (75 mph) demonstrated a smooth responsive outcome so I’m quite pleased! I next plan to experiment with the advance curves, I have 16 to choose from, to see if that improves tick-over without compromising overall performance; I’ll report in part 3.

The graphs follow (click to enlarge). Neil Wallace

Where Engineering Meets Coachbuilding

1 Sep

In a few days’ time, I hope to have completed the restoration of my TC, apart from a few out of sight jobs which will be cleared over the winter, so I was pleased to accept the Editor’s invitation to record my thoughts on what was involved in a frame up restoration. But rather than provide a detailed chronology of the work involved, which others have already done far better than I could, I wanted to delve into the more philosophical aspects of this job.

This was my 4th restoration but first MG, so I had a good idea of what was involved; the others were cars of the 60s, Lotus and Brabham, but this time I wanted something older both for its aesthetic appeal and to experience a previous era of car design and manufacture. I probably get as much enjoyment from a restoration as driving the finished article, so in August 2014 I purchased TC2628 in need of….. well everything!

For me, engineering is where components are designed and then produced to detail drawings, where tight tolerances ensure each part is identical allowing for ease of assembly and interchangeability. That is basically true for the whole of the rolling chassis with only the gearbox layshaft and differential requiring selective assembly to accommodate tolerance stack. So, the rolling chassis can follow a normal restoration approach of strip, clean, inspect, repair and refinish the surface or replace before the fun part of reassembly can begin. A big Meccano set where the principal tools required are spanners and sockets.

If most who take on such projects are engineers at heart then this part should be pretty straightforward and is generally achieved. I placed particular importance on, and effort into, chassis and axle alignment, balanced spring rates, geometry and poly bushes; I wanted the car to drive well. By contrast the remainder of the car is coach built, a very different approach where components were of course still designed but cut to patterns to be adjusted at the assembly stage to enable them to fit to each other.

The result is elegant, functional, more or less symmetrical but unique. Here nothing quite fits at the start but a good coachbuilder brings them together in the end to achieve the required shape, fit or clearance. Perhaps this is why some restorations stall at this point, I think it is important to realise what you can achieve yourself and what will need to be sub-contracted to those of greater skill.

This is why I ordered a new assembled ash frame from Enrique Llinares, 14 months later it would be in the last batch he made before retirement. I panelled it myself in Aluminium except for the scuttle, fortunately this very difficult to produce panel was easily salvageable. The front wings were replaced with new but the original rear ones were worth repairing, their profile was correct and they were a matching pair.

Trim and paint, like the ash frame, were left to the experts, but with the plywood panels provided to me before they were trimmed so I could adjust them to fit the tub and doors. Not as simple as it sounds, they need to be cut under size to allow for leather being wrapped around the edges and to control by how much the piping along the top edge protrudes, for me not a lot.

I think the prize for the worst job must go to floorboards; mine made from scratch must have been in and out 30 times for initial fit, gearbox clearance, machining underneath with a router to clear parts of the body irons and body mounting bolts, to fit the heat shield, trim the outer edges again to clear the now installed side trim, pedal clearance, master cylinder hole. I eventually worked out that the outer edge sits on the body iron, the inner edge with the addition of the mysterious narrow strip, shown on Michael Sherrell’s drawing, on the prop shaft tunnel flange whilst the centre has clearance above the top of the chassis.

The TC is a very elegant car; the styling department (probably smaller than those of today’s car industry) did a great job where every panel plays its part, particularly the running boards. Mine were beyond saving, but it was worth the hours spent reducing the width of an original pair of TA ones to preserve their gently curving line from the front wings.

Likewise, the battered front splash apron. I repaired mine by cutting out the damaged areas and making and inserting repair sections for the rivet bumps and rolled front edge.

Front splash apron repair section.

My main sources of information were Michael Sherrell’s TCs Forever! Doug Pelton’s From The Frame Up technical tips and TTT 2 articles. However, one important job which I could find little information about was tub position on the chassis. I settled on central side to side which is easily measured and for the fore/aft position, I supported the chassis on stands so the rear axle was sitting on the droop stops, its forward most position. Then I slid the tub forwards until there was just enough clearance at the front of the tyre to be able to remove a rear wheel (see pic). That way you can get the wheels off (important!) and when the car is at its normal ride height the rear wheel sits correctly in the arch.

Actually, I struggled to get the tub far enough forward and whilst not quite at the end of the travel in the body slots, I had to extend the slots in the ramp plate support brackets where they bolt to the chassis.

From day one originality was an important consideration, but with two exceptions; drivability and colour. I was restoring this car to be driven and enjoyed a lot (I hope) so I was happy to fit a VW steering box, substantial drop arm, high ratio final drive and indicators.

And, as I did not like any of the standard colours, a unique dark green paint for which I have the mixing formula, poppy red leather throughout because there is no matching vinyl, and birds eye maple veneer for the dashboard courtesy of Enrique Llinares.

Birds Eye Maple, very Art Deco, lovely.

Trimming the rear quarters in leather was a challenge, at the third attempt I stayed with the FTFU video but undercut the hood tacking strips to accommodate the thicker folds of the leather. The interior was completed with dark green wool carpets bound in Poppy hide.

Wood undercut to accommodate leather folds, new Triumph Bonneville indicators

Dark Green wool carpets and Poppy hide

The painter made such a good job of the inner rear wheel arches; he thought they were visible, that for the moment I have decided to leave them that way.

Body coloured inner arches, hidem nails still accessible just in case.

Would I do it again? Not sure, repetition is boring but I have now accumulated a lot of knowledge that would make it so much easier and quicker next time. I think the answer is perhaps if it was a TB, but it might end up as a lightweight race replica being used on the road, same colour, white race number roundels and cycle wings. Bob Lyell

MG TC 1187 Bishop Cam Steering Gear Renovation

1 Sep

Introduction

In 1998, I was sent to South Africa to oversee installation and commissioning of an ozone generation system at the Wiggins Water Treatment Works for Umgeni Water in Durban. A colleague of mine, Nick Purcell, who worked for Umgeni Water, knew I was interested in classic MGs and found TC1187 advertised in the small adds section of a local Durban newspaper.

I imported the car from South Africa in late 1999.

Since then it has sat patiently in my garage waiting for me to start the restoration. Little did I know that it would be 17 years before I would start the work.

The steering was an issue from the start with a pair of grips in place of a steering wheel and the only way to move the car around was by disconnecting the drag link and manually moving the wheels.

Having finished the restoration of my MGB GT and started work on my MGB V8, I needed more space in the garage. Rather than relegate the TC to an outside spot with a cover, I decided to get the steering working so I could move it out of the way when working on the V8 and back inside when I was not.

The problem with this approach was as soon as I started working on the TC steering the bug bit and the restoration of the V8 is now on the back burner.

The job split down into the following stages of work and I describe each in turn with plenty of photos to help:

  • Removal of steering gear from the car

  • Dismantling

  • Listing parts required

  • Pre-assembly

  • Machining

  • Final Assembly

Remove the steering gear from the car

The steering box assembly was removed from the car by undoing the steering column clamp, disconnecting the drop arm and undoing the steering box mounting bolts. The assembly was then removed by sliding the steering column forward and out of the car under the splash apron.

Dismantling

Once on the bench the bottom and side covers were removed and ball bearings rained out as the cage bearings were very badly damaged (see pictures). On inspection, it was obvious that the problem was not due to wear and tear, but due to incorrect assembly and missing components like the bottom bearing cup had been left out.

The box was filled with grease rather than oil, and no gaskets were installed.

The steering column spline was badly worn and holes had been drilled through column to fix the steering wheel as the splines on the steering wheel had been damaged.

Steering column had also been damaged where it is inserted in to the Bishops cam as can be seen in the picture above.

Listing Parts Required

It was obvious that the steering box required a total rebuild and that the steering column required replacing.

I was able to purchase a new spline fitting steering column and most all other parts needed for the rebuild of the Bishops cam steering box except for the cage bearings which proved to be elusive. I placed then on back order with several well-known suppliers and waited. In fact, it took nearly a year before they became available and four turned up within a couple of days from different suppliers.

Since I bought the car I have been building up a stock of spare parts for the renovation, including various bits for the steering and a Tompkins kit which I bought in 2002.
Parts purchased for the steering rebuild include the following:-

Pre-Assembly

Once all the parts became available I degreased and cleaned the box and fitted all the components in a dummy run to check that everything would fit prior to final assembly.

The Tompkins kit components were checked as it was purchased back in 2002 and some were found to be rather rusty which needed attention. The sector shaft and the Tompkins kit thrust bearing and spacers were checked for compatibility and from the installation instructions it was seen that the sector shaft required machining to provide a perfectly flat surface for the thrust bearing (next two photos).

It was my intention to press out the sector shaft peg, turn it 90o and press it back in so it presented a fresh unworn surface to the cam gear however as a new peg was around £15.00 I decided to replace it.

Play was also detected on the sector shaft when installed in the steering box which required a new bush to be installed and reamed. Prior to reaming, the sector shaft needed surfacing to remove scratches and damage caused by incorrect installation of the cage bearings. The bush was not currently available and it require a machine shop to manufacture install and ream as required (pic below).

On close inspection, it was seen that the steering box upper bearing retainer required machining to repair damage caused by incorrect installation of the upper bearing cup where it had been forced in to the casing on the skew, probably when force was applied to the column in an attempt to turn the wheel. The bearing face needed to be machined flat and the rim de-burred to allow the new bearing cup to be installed (pics below).

Machining

Machining needed to be done to prepare the box for re assembly which included the following:

-Machine sector shaft top to present a flat surface to the Tomkins needle roller bearing

-Resurface the sector shaft

-Install a new peg in the sector shaft

-Install and ream a new bush for the sector shaft

-Machine the bush to allow for cam gear installation

-De-burr the upper bearing cup retainer and thrust surface.

The estimated cost was between £100.00 to £110.00 however during the work it was found that the housing at the top of the sector bush bore was distorted which required a special bush to be made this increased the cost to £126.00.

Before taking the steering box to be machined a first coat of enamel was applied to protect the stripped de-rusted and de-greased surfaces.

While preparing the steering box I found a sleeve inside the column; it is about 200 mm long and a tight fit, there is a hole through the wall of on side at one end of the tube. As I could not find it in any exploded views I believe it may have been a part of previous attempt to repair the steering and I decided to leave it out.

Final Assembly

One final check on all the parts before re- assembly. This confirmed that I have all parts needed. But I noticed that the circlip groove was missing from the new steering column. My lathe is not big enough to add this so back to the machine shop.

During pre assembly I noticed that the sector shaft bush was not protruding as it should to allow the seal to seat correctly. To correct this I machined a spacer from the old bush to install on the sector shaft to effectively make the bush 3 mm longer which will allow the seal to seat on to the bush. (See Ed’s note at end of article).

Next stage was to install the top bearing cup in the casing.

The top cage bearing, the Bishops cam, the bottom cage bearing and the bearing cup came next. As new bearing cups and cages had been installed the existing thickness of the shims was not relevant. I installed the end plate and gently tightened until no lateral play was detected on the steering shaft and importantly that it was not pre- loaded.

The gap was measured using feeler gauges and shims of that thickness were installed between the casting and the bottom plate.

Installing the Tompkins kit came next. The needle bearing and washers fouled the casing and a small amount of grinding of the casing was required to ensure that the adjuster could move freely. To do this I had to remove the bearings, sector shaft and cam and after grinding away the offending metal carefully wash away any residue from the casing.

After modifying the casing the Tompkins kit fitted without any problems and the adjuster was loosely tightened to hold everything in place. The column anti rattle bush, needle roller bearing and shim that came with the Tompkins kit were installed. I fitted the drop arm loosely to hold the oil seal in position.

I added a small amount of Penrite Trans 140 through the “grease” nipple to ensure that everything within the box was covered with a protecting layer of oil. It will be filled to the correct level after it is installed in the car. The steering system is now ready for installation in the car once the body has been restored.

Paul Rutherford

Ed’s note: Thank you for this article, Paul.

Regarding the fitting of the oil seal it is more usual to counterbore the housing to fit it. The following picture from Eric Worpe’s article in Issue 26 of TTT 2 illustrates this:

With regard to the Tompkins kit, I feel it is important to reproduce Eric’s comments from the same article mentioned above, as follows:

Some modified top-plates are available that set the peg’s mesh by use of a thrust bearing that’s positioned using a threaded adjuster in line with the sector shaft. This produces a bending moment on the sector arm which has resulted in fractured arms.

If you have such a modified top-plate and find that the box has started to need frequent adjustment to reduce play, DO NOT delay replacing the sector shaft with a modern steel alloy replacement. Even if there are no signs of a fracture and you chose to continue using a modified top-plate, then at least consider replacing the old sector shaft before any signs of a fracture or of twisted splines occurs.

The Editor

1 Sep

Hello and welcome to Issue 44!

Firstly, an apology to those of you who subscribe to the printed copy. I had unbelievable problems with Lavenham Press concerning the printing of the last issue and they will not be getting any more of my business. I understand that The MG Octagon Car Club experienced similar problems with this company. I have now changed Printers and look forward to a new relationship.

We’ve not long come back from the annual TTT 2 tour. This year it was based at the Chichester Park hotel from where we toured West Sussex and East Hampshire. Ably organised by Peter and Vanessa Cole, it was good to see several new faces this year. We were pleased to welcome Dave and Laurel Godwin from Australia and (for their second TTT 2 tour) Patrick Michel and Christiane Kondoszek from France. With support from a handful of ‘day tourists’ we reached the magic number of 50 cars. If anyone has photos to share, please send them to me at jj(at)ttypes.org {substitute @ for (at)}.

Next year’s tour is based at The Wyck Hill House Hotel and Spa http://www.wyckhillhousehotel.co.uk The hotel is situated just outside the small market town of Stow-on-the-Wold in the heart of The Cotswolds. The tour is being held over the weekend of 17th to 19th August 2018. The cost of a room with breakfast and dinner is £190 for each of the Friday and Saturday nights and £170 for the Sunday night. The booking reference is 63999. A £100 deposit per room is required to confirm your booking. The cancellation policy for bookings is two weeks prior to arrival. Before this point, the full deposit can be refunded. After this point, the full deposit will be non-refundable.

We have only been able to reserve 40 twin/double rooms; regret, no single rooms in the hotel. At the time of penning this editorial 19 rooms have been booked. If you are intending to book, please do so as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. I’d appreciate an e-mail to the address given above so that I can keep track of bookings.

Some sad news was received on 2nd September regarding the passing of Dick Knudson. Dick was the driving force behind the New England MG T Register, which he co-founded in 1964 with Frank Churchill. Dick was member no.1 and Frank no.2. Dick was also an Anglican Minister, a college professor (spending time in Oxford with visits to Abingdon) and was not only the author of many MG marque books (and other marques), but he also wrote books about espionage. I felt privileged to know and correspond with Dick.

In the last issue, I managed to get wrong both the logo and the telephone number of Classic & Sports Cars Essex. Here’s the correct information.

Looking ahead to some other events in 2018, the MG Octagon Car Club ‘Founders Weekend’ is being held over the weekend of the 11th to 13th May in the Peak District of Derbyshire. There will be scenic tours of around 75 miles on the Saturday and Sunday starting from the Rutland Arms Hotel in Bakewell. The dinner bed & breakfast rate for the 3 nights is £248 per person for a twin/double room, slightly more for a single room. The telephone number of the hotel is 01629 338051 and the booking reference is BK32706. A £50 deposit is required to secure the booking. When you have booked, Brian Rainbow would appreciate an email to brian(at)brianjrainbow.free-online.co.uk {please substitute @ for (at)}

Norman Verona is planning a Coast-to-Coast run on Saturday 18th August 2018 from Morecombe to Scarborough using a scenic route through the Yorkshire Dales and The North Yorkshire Moors.

For those who wish to arrive in Morecombe on Friday night, Norman has negotiated preferential rates with a couple of hotels and he has made the same arrangement at Scarborough for those wishing to stay the night at the end of the run.

The run has its own website, which is: http://www.lotus7news.co.uk/c2c.htm Please contact Norman at norman(at)frenchblat.com {substitute @ for (at)} to register an interest. Expressions of interest by the end of Nov. please.

Last but not least, Ron Ward has sold the rebuilt engine he was advertising in Issue 42, but he has started another build for a TD/TF (1350cc). Call Ron on 01422 823649. However, if you experience any difficulty in contacting him, please phone the editor on 0117 986 4224 or e-mail him via the website contact form.)

JOHN JAMES


DISCLAIMER BY THE EDITOR

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.