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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

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).


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 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 . 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.


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

MG TA Slow-Running Cable

3 Jan

When I first purchased my current MG TA in the mid 1990s it had a disparate array of control cables, knobs and switches on the dashboard. One of the first jobs I did was to tidy up this mis-match on the dashboard, so I ordered a new set of control cables from Mxxx, and purchased a couple of the correct switches from an autojumble. I fitted all three cables and they looked good. The starter-pull and choke worked fine, but the slow-running cable did not work, in that it did not matter how far you screwed the knob out it did not increase the idle speed. I initially thought that it was because of wear in the carb operating arm, so I left it for the time being. A couple of years ago I had the carbs rebuilt by Eddie Biddle of Malvern Wells. He did a superb job and replaced the slow-running operating arm at my request.

I refitted the rebuilt carbs and set them up so that the car was running well again. However the slow-running knob still didn’t work. I wasn’t bothered as it had not worked for the previous 12 years and had caused me no grief, but it was annoying.

A friend down in Sussex, Ian Linton, had been rebuilding his TA for a number of years and had at long last got it running and on the road. Unfortunately Ian’s slow-running cable did not work either, again a new one from Mxxx purchased a number of years earlier. Ian found that the little nipple on the knob end of the cable had broken off; he re-soldered a new one on and it now worked fine. On hearing about this I checked my cable and discovered the same problem. Around the same time I acquired a number of old T-Type cables in very poor condition, including several original slow running cables.

About 8 miles along the Fosse Way from where I live is a farm with a few small industrial units in the yard. One of these units is occupied by a super little one-man band outfit called J.J Cables (no relation to John James!). They specialise in making new cables for the classic and vintage motor-cycle trade, supplying throttle, clutch, brake, magneto and speedo cables for any bike you care to mention. Back in 2001 when I was re-building my PA I needed a new rev-counter/speedo cable for the car. I took the broken cable (inner and outer) down to them and they made me a new inner cable complete with correct Jaeger end for me very quickly and at a very reasonable price.

So a few months ago I took a few of my old T-Type cables along to J.J Cables and asked them if they could please replace the outer and inner cables for me. I gave them the length of both inner and outer cables that I wanted and left it to them to do the business. A few weeks later I got a telephone call saying my cables were ready for collection, so I popped down to collect them. They had made a superb job of re-building them, have a look at the photographs of the before and after condition of the slow-running cable. I had three slow-running cables and a choke cable rebuilt. The choke cable and one slow-running cable are for a friend of mine up in Preston who is rebuilding a TA Tickford. I have fitted another of the slow-running cables to my TA, and now for the first time ever in my ownership it works perfectly!

So if you have a choke, starter or slow-running cable that is defective, rather than buy a new one give J.J Cables a try. Sadly they can only repair defective T-Type cables, they cannot make new ones completely from scratch – they are too busy with motor-cycle cables. I have asked John to add their contact details to the ‘Suppliers’ list on his ‘MG T-Types Hub’ web-site.

Brian Rainbow

MG TA Slow Running Cable

Above and below: photos of the old and the rebuilt cable
MG TA Slow Running Cable

Ed’s note: A good article and a very useful contact for repair of your dashboard cables. I like ‘one man bands!’

As requested by Brian, I have added JJ Cables Limited to the ‘Suppliers List’ on the website. For those who receive a ‘hard’ copy of this magazine (some of whom do not have internet access) the contact details are as follows:

J.J. Cables Limited, Hillfields Farm, Lighthorne, Warwickshire, CV35 0BQ. Telephone 01926 651470.

The Resurrection of TA0844 (Part 4)

2 Jan

Photos 1 & 2 – two views of the Luvax replicas supplied by Available Austins Ltd

We left Bob Butson (owner of TA0844) in the December issue, having sorted out the mess his engine was in and having fixed his gearbox. Bob takes up the story from now on:

The chassis was now complete, except for shock absorbers. I decided to save the telescopic conversion for later consideration and use Luvax replicas. These were made for Austins but very closely resemble the originals, with the same outside appearance and fixing hole spacing. They are supplied by Available Austins Ltd. Tel: 01676 541276. The rear arms and links, one front arm and two chassis pins were missing. These were obtained from Vintage and Classic Shock Absorbers Ltd. Tel: 020 8651 5347. Photos 1 & 2

Someone has queried the engine mounting which I used. This was a later mounting used on the TB/TC. The hole in the chassis engine bracket has to be enlarged to accommodate the sleeved rubber bush. This is illustrated in the drawing from an old NTG catalogue. NTG can supply all parts at (Ed’s note: the drawing is reproduced with permission of NTG at the end of this article).

When I acquired TA 0844 it had a totally rusted fuel tank so I purchased a reproduction from Sportscar Metal Works in Iver, Buckinghamshire Only when it was time to fit it did I realise that the filler cap fitting, which was brazed in, was for the later pressed steel top. Since the tank had never contained petrol, the whole fitting was easily removed with heat and a pair of naval cutters, it was destroyed in the process. I made a new one for the correct screw-on cap which incorporated a lock. Photos 3 &4

MG TA Filler Cap

Photos 3 & 4 showing brass plate with shaped cut-out and the locking mechanism in position
MG TA Filler Cap 2

MG TA Petrol Cap 3
Photo 5 – the finished article

Credit for the idea goes to Alasdair Enticknap who wrote an article published in the Octagon Car Club Bulletin. In this article he describes how to fit a lock into the later pressed steel cap fitting which has a hinge pin. He purchased a Halfords Locking filler cap Part No. XS584 for a Fiat Uno or Cinquecento and describes how he made a brass plate with a shaped cut-out to fit into the neck of the filler cap fitting. The fitting that I made incorporates this filler cap and shape. The dimensions of the cut-out shape and its thickness were determined from the cap.

The fitting was turned from a piece of stainless steel bar, the top having the diameter and thread pitch to match the screw-on flip-top filler cap. A hole was cut through the centre after cutting away the correct depth for the lock; then the tank side was cut away leaving the correct thickness for the lock cut-out. The lock cut-out shape could then be filed out. The fitting has a flange which rests on the tank covering the old filler hole and provides an area for silver soldering to the tank. It is necessary to orientate the whole before soldering, to ensure that when the top is screwed on it flips open in the required position.

The water pump I restored as original, hence the article in TTT, July 2010. I understand that there is an alternative to the graphite seal (a seal can be made from lignum vitae, a very dense tropical hardwood which contains its own oils giving it self- lubricating properties – Ed)

The carburettors which came with the car were not good: the bodies were damaged but the pistons and pots were serviceable. Some of the furniture was never used on a TA. I had acquired many parts over the years and was able to rebuild a complete set as original. The search for the correct layout led to writing the article about TA carburettors which appeared in TTT, Nov 2010.

The starter and dynamo were fitted with new bearings and brushes and the starter drive with new springs. Lucas parts numbers as follows:-

Dynamo DA21 228163
Brush set 221879
Bush 238567
Bearing 189308
Pulley 706205
Starter M418A 255309
Brush set 255240
Bush 256112
Bush, drive end 256113
Coil 491612
(The coil came with the car and has no dents. Hopefully it is serviceable)

I have a large list of many manufacturers’ parts numbers for the TA, which is most useful when at autojumble. A copy has been uploaded to the Technical Archive on the TTT 2 website. Additions to this list will be welcomed.

The starter was fixed with socket screws from Roger Furneaux for ease of removal of the motor if it became necessary. For restoration of the dynamo reduction gearbox see TTT 2, Issue 7.

The gearbox speedometer pinion housing modification to prevent oil working up the speedometer cable was illustrated in TTT 2 Issue 1, with a modified exchange housing from Doug Pelton. For those who wish to do this themselves, see photos 6 & 7 below. I did this modification some time ago and I cannot find to whom to attribute it but many thanks. It was obtained via For membership of this group, email fdshade ‘at’ aol ‘dot’ com for details and for access to the extensive technical files at

MG TA Pinion Housing

Photos 6 & 7 – modifying the gearbox speedometer pinion housing
MG TA Pinion Housing 2

The distributor was fairly good. Unusually it was fitted with an oiler and tube for shaft lubrication – Photo 8. The shaft was worn but the bushes were good and a new shaft was a good fit. Advance springs, rotor arm and cap were obtained from

There are many versions of the oil filter conversion. The one I chose was illustrated in TTT 2, Issue 2.

MG TA Distributor

Photo 8 – Distributor showing oiler and tube for shaft lubrication

The body was ready for its skin and I decided to use 1mm steel. The wheel arches had been obtained as a pair some time before but needed some alterations to make a good fit.

I was able to locate steel angle for the body support irons in imperial dimensions. The original ironwork was scrap except for the body side support behind the seats.

Soon after purchasing TA0844 I was offered a pair of unused original rear wings with just surface rust from storage. These required slight alteration, hence the heat marks. Of course the bonnet was out of square with the body and radiator and needed a small increase in length on the nearside.

MG TA Body

Photo 9 – showing most of the metalwork finished

The front wings were restorable, as was the scuttle top, firewall and kick board. The doors, running boards, fuel tank and rear wings were scrap, but useful for patterns. Sportscar Metalworks made the tops of the running boards, which were supplied without their ends and brackets attached, fully shaped and wire-edged, but about 1/4 inch longer at each end. This was to ensure a good fit between the wings by enabling the removal of metal from either end.

Extensive surgery was required to the front wings. Rust had attacked at the mounting points, the running board ends and the sidelamp mounting holes. They were not matched. The nearside was a poor fit to the chassis rail. It was necessary to split the spot welding and realign.

The first body part to be made and fitted to the wood frame was the sidescreen compartment. The body frame could then be fitted to the chassis, where all mounting holes lined up without a problem. All the panels could now be fitted.

I fitted the door frames using the original hinges with new balls and pins, and reinforced the doors with steel corners as per the TD. Photo 10 shows this, but the lower front bracket has yet to be screwed in.

MG TA Doors

Photo 10 – doors reinforced with steel corners

The door aperture was covered also as that of the TD. Photo 11.

MG TA Door Modification
Photo 11 strengthening bar for door aperture

Am I stirring the OP? After the next article they will be steaming.

Bob Butson November 2011

MG TA/TB/TC Engine Mountings

Drawing of TA and TB/TC engine mountings referred to on page 4 and reproduced with kind permission of NTG Services.

Editor’s Note: Address for Rique Llinares

Rique, who makes Ash body frames and burr and straight grained walnut dashboards has contacted me on a couple of occasions regarding his correct address. It seems that some prospective customers are trying to contact him at his previous address which was at Town End Farm Cottage, High Casterton. Rique moved from this address five years ago! – his correct address is now:

E.Llinares, 1 Meadowcroft, Ireby Road, Burton in Lonsdale, CARNFORTH, Lancashire LA6 3LT. Tel: 01524262588 Mob: 07787393926 email: riquellinares(at) (substitute @ for (at) ).

TA/B/C Kingpin thrust washer

5 Nov

Torrington needle thrust bearing with hardened steel washers on the left which replaced the standard thrust washer on the right.

Recently I took my TA in for its annual MoT test, using a local garage that is sympathetic to classic and vintage cars. I was fairly confident it would pass OK, having greased all the suspension, adjusted the brakes and checked all the usual things prior to taking it to the garage. The mechanic, who knows my car well, gave it his usual thorough check over. He had the front axle up on a beam jack and checked all the front suspension for wear and seemed quite happy. He then asked me how much vertical clearance should there be on the kingpins; 4 to 6 thou came my swift reply. You better have a look at this then he said, and using a long lever under the front tyre he raised the wheel. To my amazement there was what looked like a tenth of an inch movement between the stub axle and the front axle eye. I won’t fail it on that, but make sure it’s not the same next year when you bring it here was his response!

The MoT test took place only a week before we were due to go away in the TA to attend the “T Register Autumn Weekend” up in the Yorkshire Dales. I anticipated covering about 600 miles that weekend, so I thought I ought to correct the thrust clearance before departing on that journey.

The next morning I was out in the garage early, and had the front end of the TA up on axle stands and set about stripping down the offside front suspension. To remove the kingpin thrust washer requires the kingpin to be drifted out of the stub axle. The easiest way to do this is to remove the front wheel, remove the front hub complete, then remove the 4 bolts that hold the brake back plate to the stub axle and steering arm. Once you have removed the 4 bolts, tie the brake back plate out of the way with a large tie-wrap, making sure there is no strain on the rubber flexible brake pipe. Once you have done this it is possible with a set of feeler gauges to measure the clearance gap between the thrust washer and the front axle eye. In my case it was not as much as I thought, it was 39 thou, but was still way outside the 4 to 6 thou that is acceptable, so I made a note of the clearance. Now I could undo the cotter pin that locates the kingpin and carefully drift it out. I removed the small nut that holds the kingpin top hat and felt washer in place and removed them. I could now drift the kingpin downwards until I could remove the stub axle and old thrust washer from the front axle. It was now time to wash the stub axle, kingpin and thrust washer with Jizer ready for re-assembly. The old thrust washer thickness was measured using a pair of callipers and was found to be 120 thou thick, so the thrust gap was 159 thou (120 + 39). I had a new spare kingpin set, so I was able to measure the thickness of a brand new thrust washer, it was 124 thou. It was obvious that I needed a much thicker thrust washer, but where do you get those from without making your own?

My solution was to use a Torrington bearing as the thrust washer. This is a small flat roller bearing that is 78 thou thick. You need to put an hardened washer either side of the Torrington bearing, and these are available in 3 sizes, being 32, 63 and 95 thousands of an inch thick. I used the Torrington bearing with two of the 32 thou washers, this measured 142 thou thick. I was still 17 thou under size, so I used a 10 thou shim from an MGB wheel bearing shim kit. This gave me a clearance of 6 thou once everything was greased and assembled back together. I put the 10 thou shim at the bottom between the lower Torrington shim and the stub axle. One thing to make sure of is when you replace the 4 bolts that hold the brake back plate, stub axle and steering arm together, clean the threads and use Loctite on assembly. Repack the grease in the front wheel bearings and reassemble using a new split pin in the castellated hub lock nut. Pump the kingpins full of grease before using the car. I had hoped that the Torrington bearings would make the steering a bit lighter, they may have done but I am damned if I can notice it. The TA has the highest steering ratio of all the T types, and is heavy!

The photograph shows the Torrington bearing plus two hardened washers along with the old bronze thrust washer, plus a selection of MGB wheel bearing shims. I have listed the part numbers of the Torrington bearings and washers below, along with the prices I paid for them at my local bearing supplier in September 2011 to give you a guide to the cost.

Torrington needle thrust bearing for ¾ inch shaft, NTA1220, £2-80 each inc vat
Torrington thrust washer 32 thou thick, TRA1220, £1-94 each inc vat
Torrington thrust washer 63 thou thick, TRB1220, £2-76 each inc vat
Torrington thrust washer 95 thou thick, TRC1220, £2-82 each inc vat.

You can purchase a mixed pack of MGB front wheel bearing shims from Moss, part number ATB4242K (7 pieces) for £2-55. The shims come in 3, 5, 10 and 30 thou thickness.

Finally, if like me you also own an MGB in your stable, the MG Owners Club have for several years been supplying exchange MGB stub axles using Torrington thrust bearings in place of the old thrust washer/shims. They supply them ready pre-set and set-up, and you have the choice of needle roller thrust bearings or conventional shims.

Brian Rainbow

Back to school in order to calculate the combination of thrust washers and shims to use with the Torrington needle thrust bearing to take up the clearance gap.

Re-assembly complete with an acceptable clearance to satisfy the MoT tester…
even with his crowbar!

The Resurrection of TA0844 (Part 3)

2 Nov

We left Bob Butson (owner of TA0844) in the June issue, contemplating the mess that his MPJG engine was in. Clearly, with crankpin journals undersize by as much as 90 thou another crankshaft would have to be sourced. Bob takes up the story from now on:

Continuing with the engine, I had to obtain another crankshaft. After much searching, Andy King offered one with a 40 thou. undersized grind which had been crack tested. Now to clean up the block and oilways, remove the core plugs and check all moving parts.

The front engine mounting plate had some holes with a dished area around them. The front plate was slightly bent, and one engine mount had a cracked weld. Some threads in the block had been mangled. They needed to be helicoiled. The bores needed to be sleeved.

The spacer between the crankshaft timing gear and the pulley is a running surface for the front oil seal and has a scroll to screw oil back into the engine. There was a groove where the rope seal located and the scroll was damaged, (Photo 1)

Photo 1 – showing damaged scroll

I made a replica. The rope seal is not very efficient so I opted for a modern lip seal. The seal I chose was quite substantial but very slightly bigger than the original rope seal and did not quite fit the original cover. I made a new cover turned from solid which very closely resembled the original. The seal and an appropriate cover can be obtained from Brian Rainbow, brian ‘at’

The timing gears were in good condition but a new timing chain was needed. The clutch plate was in good condition but needed recorking, I was recommended to send it to Charles Cantrill, Tel. 01215673140 cancork ‘at’ The flywheel had to be refaced.

Having considered many varied opinions about engine modification, and as the flywheel and head were as standard, I did not modify these, except for re-facing and an unleaded conversion for the head.

All engine components were ready for boring, metaling and balancing. The cam followers will be refaced and hardened, as will the rockers. The work will be done by Cox & Turner Engineering 01935 826816 ian ‘at’

Other problems were the following:

• The breather pipe exit from the rocker cover had been sawn off and replaced with a smaller diameter pipe. This was easily rectified using a piece of the correct diameter tube. I also made a breather downpipe to fit. The photo (right) shows this and also the oil filter conversion used (see TTT2 Issue 2).

• The camshaft tensioning spring was missing: it was broken off just beyond the rivets. A kind soul on the Yahoo website group mg-tabc sent a drawing (see photo below).

I obtained a strip of annealed spring steel from model engineers Folkstone Engineering Supplies Tel. 01303 894611. After shaping and drilling they hardened and tempered it.

The head studs needed to be replaced as did the big end nuts. These were supplied by Roger Furneaux roger46tc ‘at’ The horseshoe shaped circlip which holds the three springs to the clutch plate was in two pieces. I was fortunate to obtain the last of a small batch which had been made privately.

When I assembled the engine I used bolts of original specification, i.e. metric threads with BSF heads. I have compiled a list of original bolts for the MPJG engine, this can be found on the website under the ‘Publications’ section of the site. Some of these bolts are stocked by Roger Furneaux and some by 251 Products, Tel 08707 664252, email sales ‘at’ For the latter, if bolts are required, they should be specified as only setscrews my be available.

Ed’s Note: My understanding is that some of the MPJG engine bolts and XPAG engine bolts are the same. As Roger specialises in XPAG items, these are the ones you can buy from him. Those specific to the MPJG engine (well, most of them), as well as those which are used on the XPAG, can be obtained from 251 Products.

I managed to find three suitable springs which serve to move the clutch plate away from the flywheel, and to restore the thrust bearing retaining nut. I replaced the clutch cross shaft bushes. These were supplied by They appear to be able to supply any type of bearing . They also supplied the cogged V fan belt No. BX44 which I used. A new timing chain, rocker shaft and bearings were obtained from the MG Octagon Car Club.

I had re-faced the oil pump cover and made a new shaft. A static shaft and gears were obtained from the MGOCC. The gears were for a TD but had to be reduced to the correct length.

All the engine components were ready for assembly by Christmas (2006).

On rebuilding the engine I found that the pistons which I had fitted protruded above the top of the block, they were Morris Ten pistons which I mistakenly obtained about twenty years ago. Cox and Turner were able to find the correct set.

The head assembly was quite straightforward but I was advised not to fit the rocker lifting springs. All went well after that. I used ‘Wellseal’ jointing compound for all joints from

When fitting the exhaust manifold to the head I found that the centre limb was out of line with the outside limbs, giving about 1.5mm gap at its join with the cylinder head. I thought that tightening this to the head would strain the manifold too much for old cast iron and so I had the mating surfaces ground in line, hoping that too much metal had not been removed.

Good progress being made with the MPJG engine

It was time to sort out the gearbox. The first motion shaft had a worn spigot, a missing spring ring for the bearing and a groove worn where the oil seal had run. A limb had been cracked off the rear cover at a bolt hole and the mounting plate was bent. The selector shafts were in good condition but the forks were worn.

The first motion shaft from my spare gearbox was a bit rusty, as were the selector shafts and the top of the casing. On stripping the spare box I found all gears and both lay shaft and reverse shafts to be in very good condition and so I replaced these in my original box. I replaced the first motion shaft bearing and mainshaft bearing with new. The layshaft cage bearings looked OK, as did the cage bearing in the first motion shaft. I took a chance and did not replace these. After cleaning the original synchro hub it appeared fairly sound. I had no way of ascertaining the wear on the synchromesh cone. (See follow on article on replacing synchro-hub balls).

I repaired the groove caused by the oil seal in the bell housing in the first motion shaft using a Speedy sleeve. This was supplied by The number to fit was 50SRK118, I took the shaft for their sizing.

The universal joint flange for the mainshaft had a damaged oil scroll and was worn due to poor location with the end cover. I replaced the universal joint flange and the end cover with those from the spare box. The oil scroll seemed insufficient to prevent oil leakage from the gearbox, but that is how it was manufactured. Time will tell.

The gearbox remote was next. It appeared to be in good order, with minor wear on the selector lever and in the holes bored for the operating shaft in the casting. There was rust on the gearshift lever and some play between the ball, at its end, and the socket. I re-sleeved the socket. The domed shift lever anti-rattle spring cover was rusty but not pitted. The anti-rattle spring was broken in half. The spring cover had a round section retaining circlip and, due to the flange on the cover not being quite wide enough, it moved under the circlip when changing gear. This would give an annoying clack. I used a flat circlip no. D1300-058-Pack2/ 1CB41 from Simply Bearings Limited which solved the problem.

Ed’s note: Thanks for another instalment Bob and thanks for some useful supplier contacts. Your follow on article on replacing synchro-hub balls comes next.

A method of inserting balls into a TA synchro hub

A delicate operation, but it works!

When rebuilding the gearbox on my TA it was necessary to strip and clean the synchro hub. I devised this method of reassembly as no special tools were available.

Tools required: two similar G cramps, a 1 1/2 inch wide strip of aluminium, two 2BA bolts about one inch long, eight 2BA nuts, a piece of flat bar ½ to 1inch wide, a bench vise and two small screwdrivers.

A clamp similar to a piston ring clamp was made from the aluminium strip to fit around the outer hub edge flange with about 3/8 in. spacing, fixed by the two 2BA bolts and two 2BA nuts. Clamp two G cramps in a vise and rest the outer hub on the fixed limbs. Insert the springs in the inner hub, then place in position, partly into the outer hub, then fit the clamp. Place a flat bar about ½ to 1inch wide just long enough to straddle the top of the clamp and tighten the G cramps lightly to the bar.

(This ensures that the aluminium clamp sits squarely on the hub and does not rise up when fitting balls and nuts).

Adjust the clamp screws so that the balls may be placed at the ends of the springs. The balls should locate at the entrance to their housings. Two small screw drivers and some dexterity may now be needed. Allow the aluminium clamp to rise about 3/16inch to clear the outer hub flange, adjusting the 2BA bolts as necessary. Push a nut between the clamp and the ball for each ball. Some more adjustment of the clamp bolts will be required. Dribble a small amount of oil over each ball and tighten the clamp screws, making sure all nuts remain in position. The balls are pushed into the hub just the right amount and at just the right centring by the nuts. The inner hub can now be pushed down leaving the nuts to fall free. Check that all balls were located. If any escape, try again. At least they will be retained within the aluminium clamp.

Bob Butson

TA1521 – Quite a Rescue!

12 Aug

Unlike TA1980 featured earlier, TA1521 has had a very hard life.

The car was brought home from England at the end of WW II by a Polish Serviceman and was reputedly raced in the early fifties in Upper Silesia (Katowice area).

The father of the current owner, Maciek Peda, bought the car in uncompleted condition around 1975. At that time Poland was behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ and there was little or no opportunity to acquire literature and spares. As a result, the TA remained untouched in the state you see it in the photo above.
With the collapse of communism in 1990 the time was now right to rebuild this car. Spares were sourced in England and in Germany and the restoration was completed by 1996. Then disaster struck – to quote Maciek, “sadly after five years, first MPJG ‘passed away’ – in past he had broken at least two conrods. Block was repaired, but had not the right stiffness. After five years of use came inside of block cracks and water was going to oil”.

Knowing that another MPJG block would be extremely difficult to find, Maciek seriously considered replacing the expired unit with an XPAG or VA engine. Surprisingly, around 2005, an incomplete MPJG engine with block, conrods and crank in premium condition was found…………in Poland of all places!

Nice ‘shot’ of the completed TA1521 with Maciek at the wheel.

Maciek is quite an M.G. fan and also owns this magnificent WA (chassis number 0406)

Clearly a man of many interests, Maciek supplies spare parts for Lanz tractors via his website at and apart from collecting cars, he also collects the remains of crashed or ‘belly landed’ American aircraft. Maciek says he collects them “as a tribute to those young airmen – they flew and fought with those aircraft.”

Recently a large military event was held in Maciek’s area of Poland; he decided to exhibit a small display of some of the surviving parts from the remains of the five Boeing B-17 Bombers which he has collected.

Maciek standing with TA1521 in his display tent at the military event.

TA1521 in use as a ‘duty’ car at the military event with Maciek and a friend dressed in military uniforms.

Front Cover – TA1980

8 Aug

TA1980 came off the Abingdon assembly line on 30th November, 1937, the last of twenty TAs (TA1961 – TA1980) assembled on that day. It was fitted with engine number MPJG 2241 and left the Factory bound for Australia in red livery with red trim.

The first owner was Jim Ship of Wollongong who paid 409 pounds and took delivery of the car when registering it as new on 16th June, 1938. The TA has been fully registered on each 16th June ever since.

Jim sold it to Sid Rutty, also of Wollongong, on 9th March, 1945.

The car again changed hands on 13th August, 1948 for 500 pounds and has been owned ever since by Claude Harris of Albion Park.

The MG TA body plate reads “Body type B270 Body no. 811/7054”. Its original registration number plate was DZ-815 but was changed to WR-005 in 1946 as the brother of the owner’s name was William Rutty Snr.

The car has won and been placed in many Pre – War concourses, some being against much rarer and more valuable cars such as Frank Betts’ magnificent MG K3.

Through the years Claude’s Passion for MGs has forged many life long friendships with the likes of Ted Ackroyd and Bill Rutty, who at various times have wished they still had their original new MG TCs they purchased in 1948.

The TA has never had a serious accident or been raced or taken part in any motor sports events but used in club runs and outings with the South Coast Vintage Car Club in Wollongong and the MG Car Club. It has never had a loose spoke in any of the wheels. The carburettors have never been dismantled, only the suction chambers and guides cleaned and oiled and the float levels checked. The needles and jets have never been removed from the carbs or the seals replaced. The clutch corks have been replaced and the seats are showing some signs of wear.

Starting in 1949, Claude with a group of like minded MG enthusiasts with up to 20 cars would load up with camping gear and attend the Annual Bathurst Easter Motor Bike and Car Races until their demise in 1988 and Claude still has all the programmes and photos to prove it.

This photo was taken of Claude (22 years young) driving TA1980 at the top of Mt Panorama, Bathurst on 16 April, 1949. The odometer now shows 12,000 miles; it has been round the clock once, making the total distance travelled 112,000 miles since 1938.

A very important event in Claude’s MG days was on 18-5-1957, travelling at 50 MPH on the Princes Highway in the TA and slipping a diamond ring on a young lady’s finger.

What is remarkable about the car – apart from its length of ownership (63 years) – is that it is still in its original condition, as the photos at the end of this article testify. Claude still has the original manual, the Transfer Rego and the Motor Spirit Consumer’s Licence with petrol ration tickets which expired in January, 1950 when petrol rationing ended in Australia.

Another remarkable fact is that the car has been in the same Region/Town (Wollongong/Albion Park) from the day it was imported. Claude has known the car and its previous owners since it was new, and is still in regular contact with the first owner’s son, Noel Shipp (who wouldn’t mind the car back!) Noel can recall riding in the car when it was brand spanking new.

Claude remembers vividly as a boy how he and everybody in his father’s Garage/Mechanical workshop and the Blacksmith’s shop next door would down tools and run out on to the footpath to watch TA1980 drive through town. This was back before WWII when cars, let alone bright red sports cars were a rare sight. Little did he know that some ten years later he would become the proud owner!

I am most grateful to Claude and his son, Ross for helping to put the article together and for arranging to have the photographs taken. Acknowledgment is also due to the photographer, Des Stubbs.

Above and below: view of each side of engine

Above and below: view of each tool tray

Above: chassis no. on front of n/side chassis rail

Above: view of dashboard

Above: View of interior – quite amazing when you consider that the car is nearly 74 years old and has covered 112,000 miles!

Above: Three-quarter view

Above: And to close… a ‘shot’ of Claude’s grandson, Lawson in his Replica 1938 Cream Cracker (BBL 78) Billy Cart which has been raced with some success at several downhill race meets (but that’s another story)

Back Cover

10 Jul

Two recently completed TAs. Above: Ian Linton’s car pictured in May 2010 just after its first MoT for 42 years! Below: Stewart Penfound’s blown XPAG engined TA, which took to the road again on 19th May after resting for a mere 43 years!