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Original MG T-Series by Anders Ditlev Clausager

7 Jul

First published in 1989 by Bay View Books Limited and re-printed five times. Out of print for some years before Herridge & Sons published this edition in June of this year.

The book needs little introduction, but for those who are not familiar with it, the following reviews give a good flavour of what to expect:

“Page after colourful page of various models in minute detail ….. a must for any owner” Motor Sport.

“Goes a long way to assist the purist in his quest for authenticity…..well written and profusely illustrated” Enjoying MG (MG Owners’ Club monthly magazine).

The cover price of the book is £22.50 but it is available to order from the T-Shop at the discounted price of £18.50. Postage rates are £3.15 UK, £6.60 EU and £12.03 Rest of World. The link to purchase is here: Original MG T Series by Clausager

We do not make any charge for packing, nor do we levy any surcharge for payment via PayPal.

Just good old-fashioned service at the lowest price we can possibly give!

Also back in stock is the MG TD/TF Workshop Manual at £19.50 (compare our price with those of the Car Clubs). Postage rates are £3.15 UK, £5.50 EU, £10 Rest of World.

The Resurrection of TA0844 (continued)

13 Apr

Towards the end of Bob Butson’s article in Issue 5 of TTT 2 he recalled how the differential which came with his TA (but was from a TC) was found to be unusable as the near side differential housing was cracked around the inside edge of the threaded portion, making correct crown wheel to pinion mesh impossible. He continues the story…

I was fortunate to find a TA differential and have rebuilt it using new bearings and the serviceable parts from the new and the old. With new wheel bearings, half-shafts and hubs from Roger Furneaux (roger.46tc(at)virgin.net) the rear axle is now complete.

I was also fortunate in finding someone to straighten the front axle beam. Barry Foster, who is at Butleigh, Somerset (not far from Glastonbury) did the work. Barry is probably better known for his work on Triple-M cars. The front springs could now be fitted.

The firewall and kick plate had non-standard holes and very many dents. Malcolm Green’s book, MG T Series Restoration Guide, has a drawing of a standard TA scuttle showing all the original holes. The flange which holds the toolbox to the firewall had been spot welded out of line on the offside.


Feb 2004 – some progress in restoring the firewall

Having obtained two new stub axle pins from Bob Grunau (grunau.garage(at)sympatico.ca) I sent them and the steering knuckles to Roger Furneaux for machining and pressing together.

On stripping down the steering gear, I found that the drop arm link end had been swapped with one of the track rod ends. The ball pins, springs, grease nipples, and castle nuts would have to be replaced. The drag link was so bent it could not be recovered. The worm in the BC box was crumbling around its edges. It looked like the case hardening was breaking off. There was also much wear in all the other parts: so much that the box was unusable.

By April, having received the two steering knuckles with new stub axles fitted, I could fit the king pins and hubs.

It was now time to think about wheels. Three had badly rusted rims and were scrap. I salvaged two centres, which left two wheels with thick spokes and two with thin spokes. They had good rims but with many missing and broken spokes, so I decided to purchase a new set of unpainted 19 in. side laced wheels from Phil Hallewell. To solve the steering box problem I would be using a VW box conversion. This was ordered from Roger Furneaux with a splined shaft to fit the Brooklands wheel which I bought some twenty years ago.

Ed’s Note: P. J. Hallewell Engineering (Phil) is a recommended supplier on the ttypes.org website. Phil used to manufacture both side laced and centre laced 19 in. wheels – indeed, I purchased two sets of wheels from him some time back – but he no longer supplies them as he cannot source the rims. However, he still rebuilds wheels.

Another recommended supplier on the website for rebuilding wire wheels is James Wheildon, who is located near Salisbury in Wiltshire. James doesn’t have a website, but his e-mail address is jameswheildon(at)yahoo.com James put me on to a company called Vintage Rims in New Zealand who supply rims, spokes, wheel centres and splined hubs. Their website is at http://www.vintagerims.com

Apologies to Bob for interrupting his article!…..

With marriage looming there was much to do with the house and garden and progress with the TA was slow.

It was not until September that I completed the braking system. All the brass unions were useable; the wheel cylinders were re-sleeved by a precision engineer friend. The master cylinder had cracks and was beginning to break up. Bob Grunau supplied the replacement. By now, my VW steering box had arrived.

The handbrake lever was very sloppy on its cross tube. I decided that a new piece of tube was required. The nearest OD available was slightly greater than the original. The lever brass bush was reamed to fit and the increased diameter took up some of the wear in the cross tube end pivots. I could get the lever chromed while the assembly was in pieces after drilling to fit a grease nipple. To start it was necessary to saw through the tube in two places to remove the lugs to which the cable securing pins were attached, and to remove the lever stop from the tube.


The VW steering box now fitted to Bob Butson’s TA. Note also the later type TB/TC front engine mounting.

The handbrake cable attachments and the lever stop were welded and pinned on opposite sides. The welds were turned off on a lathe; I hammered out the pins and the attachments came off the tube pieces with a little persuasion, I then assembled and re-welded all the components on the new tube. This was set aside until after the engine and gearbox had been fitted.

The front engine mounting arrangement on the chassis was by a selection of bent and rusting washers. This arrangement was converted to the later TB/TC type (as in above picture). To do this meant drilling the engine mounting brackets to receive the larger rubber and steel sleeves. I had to make new retaining bolts.

It was not until August 2005 that I could start on the engine. What a mess! There were odd bolts with odd threads everywhere, most of the timing cover bolt holes stripped, the timing chain with a rusty section, mains and big end bearing surfaces scored, three big ends under size by 70 thou and one at 90 thou. (somewhat thin!) The main bearings were sixty thou undersize and the bores were plus sixty thou. The camshaft was in good condition but its bearings were worn. The tappets were pitted and grooved. Six of the threaded holes for the sump bolts in the lower edge of the block had been drilled 8 mm using UNF nuts and bolts. The holes were anything but vertical, the threads must have been stripped at some time in its history. I milled the six to take a top hat style threaded insert, pressed in from the top of the block flange.

The timing gears were good but the timing cover was missing part of the camshaft pressure spring. The flywheel housing between bell housing and block had cracks around the hole for the starter motor; some extended to the bolt holes. Luckily I had a spare, purchased last year at Beaulieu Autojumble in perfect condition.

Two out of the three springs on the clutch plate retainer were broken and the thrust bearing retaining nut was mangled. The twelve clutch springs were intact. Four of the threaded holes in the front mounting plate were stripped. These would be drilled to receive top hat inserts pressed in from the engine side….. to be continued

Bob Butson

Ed’s further note: Mention was made of stub axle pins obtained from Bob Grunau. Bob also supplies these to me for owners on this side of the ‘pond’ and I currently have a few pairs in stock (also one pair of Triple-M pins). For splined hubs and half shafts (and wheel spinners) you can always go straight to the manufacturer (which is where most of the suppliers source their stock). The manufacturer is Orson Equipment in Dudley, West Midlands http://www.orsonequipment.co.uk

Looking at the photo on the previous page of Bob’s restoration of his firewall reminds me to mention that two suppliers of bodies have recently been added to the ttypes.org website.

Steve Gilbert supplies panelled bodies and all metalwork, including petrol tanks. Steve is a real craftsman; he supplied me with a panelled body, wings, bonnet and front apron for my J2. Steve’s e-mail is sjgilbert(at)hotmail.co.uk

Rique Llinares has been described by one of the subscribers to TTT 2 as “the best body builder in England”. The Ash Frames he makes as standard are: J2, P-Type, TA (early and late), TB, TC, TD; anything else to order. He also makes Burr & Straight grained Walnut Dashboards for PA, PB, TA/B, TC, TD; any other dash and trim to order riquellinares(at)hotmail.com A TA body under construction by Rique and a completed J2 body is shown below.

Replacing Rear Road Spring Front Hanger on TA 1957

11 Mar


The author’s TB

Chassis TA1957 had hung on the wall of my garage for around 30 years and I decided recently to refurbish it with a view to building up a car from the bits and pieces I have accumulated since I bought my TB around 1970.

Generally it is in good condition, fairly straight but with a few splits and cracks and badly butchered rear spring front mount spigots. I decided to replace these as someone appears to have used a drill to remove the metalastic bushes plus they were pitted with deep rust.

I had no previous experience of removing these spigots, but from inspection it was clear to see that they screw into the chassis cross tube under the rear body support brackets which are riveted to the chassis.

On the near (left hand side looking to the front) side a vertical tapered pin sticking out top & bottom was clearly visible. This knocked out easily and the spigot unscrewed without trouble although spanner travel was minimal due to the spigot being enclosed by the body bracket. Simple eh?!

After removal I noticed that the cross tube had 2 small raised areas showing on the outside which had not been visible before. These turned out to be metal plugs which filled 2 holes in the tube at right angles to the pin position – see photo 1, i.e. horizontal, where, clearly, another taper pin had previously been. I assumed from this that the original pins were placed horizontally and that this spigot at least had been replaced during the life of the car.


PHOTO 1 – Near side showing original and later pin positions.

The off side had no visible pin showing despite cleaning up and using a magnifying glass to try to identify any blemish or mark to give me a clue. Was the pin vertical or horizontal? I decided that the only way to determine the location of the pin was to cut off the spigot and drill into the remaining metal to expose the pin inside the tube but leaving the flatted section so that the spanner could be used later to remove the remains. After a bit of sawing, angle grinding and drilling I could see inside the tube.


PHOTO 2 – Offside with pin nearly out – note split outrigger permitting pin removal.

The result of this was that the pin was horizontal, which was to be expected from what I had found on the near side. With careful measurement I marked the pin position on the outside of the tube, made an intelligent guess about which way it tapered (I could see it inside the cross tube using a torch but the taper is not easy to see) and with a hammer and drift knocked it out. It was surprising that this pin was initially invisible from the outside and one must assume that these were ground off flush with the cross tube as part of the manufacturing process.

It does appear that when the cars were manufactured the spigot was pinned in place prior to being fixed in the chassis as it would seem that the pin cannot be inserted with the body outrigger properly fixed – see photo 2. The pin hits the outrigger metal – not a problem on mine as the outrigger was moveable due to vertical splits in the metal adjacent to the rivets.

PHOTO 3 – old spigots removed

Interestingly both threads on the spigots where they go into the cross tube were clean and shiny. I expected water penetration to have rusted these over the years – see photo 3 (right). I have purchased new spigot units from NTG – (“can’t remember the last time we sold any of those”) and taper pins and reamer from BBN Online. The taper pins are 3/16 x 1½ inches imperial taper.

I’ll fit the taper pins vertically as they can be pushed in through the circular hole on the top of the outrigger.

I’m hoping the refit will be easier than the removal. If it’s not I’ll let you know. I had to buy 25 taper pins so if you ever contemplate this job let me know as I can’t imagine I will be changing another 23 spigots in the future!

Finally, as far as I am aware these spigots are the same on the TA, B and C.

Jeff Townsend

Ed’s note: Jeff used to race his TB. If you have a copy of Chris Harvey’s book “MG The Immortal T Series” you will find a colour plate of JPC 901 on page 90. The photo was taken at Silverstone – the car was red in those days.

“Dave’s Doughnuts” (Donuts) (No you can’t eat ‘em!)

7 Mar


If your TA/B/C rear hubs ‘clunk click every trip’ then you could try “Dave’s Doughnuts”. The rubber foam doughnut fills the space between the brake drum and the wheel hub. As the spinner is tightened the foam is squashed between, locating on the half nuts and the spoke nipples, stopping the wheel from turning on the spline. Mine are still working after six months and will probably last for years.

You can cut your own with a sharp knife out of the foam rubber supplied. Two squares for you to cut out are £6 including postage and packing (order from John James via the ttypes.org Contact Form).

FIXING INSTRUCTIONS

• Mark out the rubber with concentric circles.

Outside diameter: 145mm
Inside diameter: 75mm

• Using a sharp narrow blade hobby knife, cut the rubber into a ring. This is fairly difficult, but accuracy is not too important.

• With the rear wheel off the car slide the doughnut onto the hub and up to the brake drum. Replace the wheel. The spinner will probably not pick up without a good push. If you can’t get the spinner to start try trimming the rubber a little.

• Tighten the spinner in the usual way. The rubber will probably not show if the outside diameter is fairly neat.

• The rubber is intended for use with standard brake drum half nuts.

It is advisable to periodically check your spinners for tightness.

David Heath

The Resurrection of TA0844

5 Mar

About 1985, under a pile of old carpet and boxes in the garage of an acquaintance, I found a 1936 MG TA with an MPJG engine. TA0844 was built in September 1936 with engine no. MPJG 1025 and was registered BTG 855. It had an original Registration Book from February 1951 to August 1970. Its state was unchanged from when the owner acquired it, and so I believe (from the registration document) that it was last run in 1967. I eventually bought this car in 1986. The photo above (taken in 1994) shows the car after removal of all chrome parts. Since buying it in 1986 I have been collecting the many missing parts. In 1997 I moved to a house with a bigger garage but as both needed restoration the TA had to wait until 2002. The following is an account of the many problems encountered.

About February 2002 I started with removal of the body. It was obvious that everything except prop shaft tunnel, firewall and scuttle top was scrap. The front valance was missing, the radiator was beyond repair, the dash had very little of the original furniture and the fuel tank was rusted through. The wheels were beyond restoration.

I removed the engine externals including the cylinder head. The engine and gearbox being too heavy to move together had to be separated, but after removal of all bolts nothing would budge. I raised the front and filled the sump with diesel oil, cranking the engine occasionally, hoping the diesel would get to the clutch and thrust bearing. After a week or so, and draining the sump, success! Both engine and gearbox were set aside.


Photo ‘A’

Photo A shows the back end of the chassis; note the telescopic shock absorber conversion and the prop shaft fitted in the wrong place.

The battery supports were very corroded. The hand brake and gear lever were rusty (Photo B). The handbrake lower pivot was very loose and its cross tube was loose at the ends. The chassis was fitted with small aluminium cased shock absorbers, they were seized solid. The front springs were different sizes and the front axle bent (Photo C).


Photo ‘B’


Photo ‘C’

The brake pedal was seized to its shaft and it was necessary to saw through the shaft to remove it. The front spring trunnion housings were badly worn. One front spring had two more leaves than the other and was half an inch longer. The shock absorber mounting plate was fitted to its underside. The original bottom mounting plate and the two small reinforcing plates were missing. Two rogue plates had been used, one with a spigot was positioned above the spring. I wondered what the steering was like. The rear spring ends were badly worn. A close look revealed that in the past small pieces of spring had been braised in place of the phosphor bronze trunnions. After cleaning off the grease and the brass, the cross tube was found to be undamaged. There were two left-handed rear hubs, one of which fell off the half-shaft on disassembly.

The chassis was found to be geometrically correct (Well, that was a miracle! Ed – however……….)

The offside body support bracket over the rear spring mounting was fractured on both sides adjacent to the chassis and was badly corroded. The forward offside prop shaft tunnel bracket was broken off and was found attached to the prop shaft tunnel. The offside front spring mounting pin was loose because of a loose rivet. The offside wing stay bracket was secured with one bolt and one rivet and was loose.

It was obvious that the radiator mounting tube had been rotating around the one rivet and the three retaining bolts had been wearing their way through the chassis. To repair it was necessary to remove the rivet and bolts from both sides and remove the radiator support tube. Once removed its assembly was revealed: the two cast ends were probably heat shrunk on to the tube and were pinned through.

The body support bracket above the rear spring is held in place by bolts and rivets through the bracket, chassis and the cast tube end, but with the cross tube continuing through the chassis. As I was able to weld the fractures and build up the surrounding corroded metal, I left these brackets in place.

One of the front engine mounting brackets had been welded out of square, resulting in an egg-shaped hole through which the mounting pin fits. I had to break the spot welds to re-fettle. After removing the rear axle it was time to sandblast the chassis.

Sandblasting revealed that one half of the gearbox support bracket was fractured. This might have been missed if the chassis had been cleaned by hand.

I was able to source metal to exactly replicate the battery supports. One coat of epoxy paint followed by one coat of shiny black and the basic chassis was complete by July 2002 (see photo, left).

I fitted phosphor bronze bushes to the front spring eyes. The trunnion boxes were built up where the wear extended to the cover holes and bored slightly oversize. Oversized bronze trunnions were then fitted. I had to make new trunnion box covers.

On fitting the rear offside spring I discovered that the front mounting pin was bent, causing the main leaf to be out of centre with the trunnion slot. It is held in place with a pin through the cross tube, not easy to find. I had to make a replacement.

The rear axle casing had the usual mounting hole fractures. On withdrawing the differential I found the near side differential housing was cracked around the inside edge of the threaded portion, making correct crown wheel to pinion mesh impossible. The crown wheel and pinion are from a TC.

By December I had copied the body side irons and obtained a body frame kit. I dunked the ends of all the pieces in wood preservative for a few days before starting assembly.


The body tub taking shape (photo taken in February 2003).

Ed’s notes: Well, I take my hat off to Bob Butson, (the author of this article) for persevering with this restoration when almost at every turn something was found to be either broken, bent or bodged! There is plenty more to come, as with Bob’s agreement, I’m going to serialise his rebuild.

The removal of the rear spring front mounting pin is a real ‘pig’ of a job. As Bob points out, the tapered pin which locks the mounting pin in place is “not easy to find”; I’d say it is virtually impossible to find, having experienced this difficulty on my TC and J2. However, I’m going to try Bob’s method, which is to clean the tube to bare metal for approx. one inch from the chassis. With a fairly low ambient temperature of around 50 degrees F, Bob breathed heavily on the tube, causing a film of fine condensation. The job was left for a few days and on returning it was noted that a thin ring of rust revealed where the pin was, 0.525” from the end of the tube. It was horizontal, tapered, with the thick end towards the rear and was easily knocked out.

Pin removal now solved, Bob renewed both sides.

Bits and Pieces

16 Nov

Sorry about the title, but this page is full of miscellanea! First out of the traps is the following from Ted Hack:

“A 1953 film called ‘Heights of Danger’ has recently been released on DVD. It’s really a film for the older child and the star of it is, without doubt, the TD (GRX 960 I think). It’s black and white but shows glimpses of some interesting places back in the 50s including Prescott.

The film itself is only 57 minutes long but there are MG publicity films as bonus features after it, which are well worth having.

Safety Fast 1948 9 mins.
Goldie Gardner EX-135 at Bonneville 1951 3 mins.
Stirling Moss EX-181 at Bonneville 1957 3 mins.
MGA Twin Cam Production Model 1958 3 mins.

It was priced in one catalogue at £14.99 plus postage, but I got mine ex-stock at Amazon, free postage, for £9.99!”

TA Oil Filter Article in the October Issue

Those of you who read the TTT 2 Issues directly on the website (by browsing the contents on the left of the TTT 2 page) will be aware of some follow up correspondence between Brian Rainbow and Bob Butson concerning oil filter and fuel filter housings used on the MPJG engine. Following receipt by Bob of the correct oil filter bracket, kindly sent by Brian, Bob has updated the correspondence as follows:

“Brian Rainbow has sent me an alternative Tecalemit filter bracket. It is identical in external appearance to the one in my article. This one was also removed from an MPJG engine but it has no drilling for a relief valve. I had no idea when I wrote the article that such a bracket existed. As Brian has pointed out, using this version will be much safer……….”

The Essential Buyer’s Guide TD, TF, TF1500

This book, written by Barrie Jones, ‘T’ Register Technical Specialist for the TD and TF models will be available in February, 2011 and will be stocked by us. We will offer the same excellent quality of service and competitive pricing as we have given to Jonathan Goddard’s book on the TD, which, at the time of writing, has resulted in us probably selling more copies than our competitors.

Head and Bottom end gasket sets for the XPAG

I still have some head gasket sets for the early and late XPAG engines and also bottom end sets for both. The cost is £47.50 plus £5.41 (UK) postage for the head gasket sets and £21.50 plus £5.41 postage for the bottom end sets. Both sets can be sent for £5.41 postage. These sets are offered on a non-profit making basis and are therefore considerably lower than dealers’ prices. Payment can be accepted by PayPal, but I would have to ask for a surcharge (otherwise I would be losing money!). Details from John James 0117 986 4224 or email me via the contact form of this website.

Replacing T-Type Brake Pipes

14 Nov

The brake pipes on T-Types were originally made from steel and later replacements from copper. No doubt some cars still have their original brake pipes or copper replacements today. Steel pipes are liable to corrosion, of course, and it is now widely recognised that copper pipes have a tendency to fracture over time as a result of metal fatigue. So if you are rebuilding a car or refurbishing your brakes, it makes sense to use the best material available today, which is Cunifer tubing. Cunifer gets its name from the chemical symbols of the metals of which it is an alloy, namely, copper (CU), nickel (NI) and iron (FER).

Cunifer tubing is widely available on both sides of the Atlantic. A Google search will reveal plenty of sources. It is available in 4.8mm, 6.35mm and 8mm diameters. 6.35mm is correct for the TABC, being the metric equivalent of the ¼ inch tubing used originally and 4.8mm is correct for TDs and TFs. It is typically sold in 25 foot lengths, which is ample for a T Type.

Whilst ordering the tubing, it is probably a good idea, (but not essential), to order a new set of nipples. Alternatively, these can be reclaimed from the original brake pipe set. The correct size for TABC is ¼ inch x 7/16 UNF and 3/16 inch x 3/8 BSF for the later cars. 7/16 inch nipples are available with 7/16 or ½ inch AF (across flats) heads. The latter perhaps allow more purchase when tightening. You need 12 nipples for a TABC and 16 for the TD/TF. Whilst ordering material have a close look at the date code printed on your rubber brake hoses. If your hoses are any more than ten years old you may want to consider replacing them at the same time. There are three hoses on T-Types, two at the front and one at the back, but they are not the same across the range of cars. The least expensive source of these flexible hoses is, in my experience, the Octagon Car Club who will sell you a set for little more than some suppliers charge for one! If you live in North America and Octagon won’t sell to you for fear of litigation I can only apologise on their behalf.

If you have a TABC the final item on your shopping list will be the wire to make the armour coils that slip over the tubing to protect them from potential damage in their vulnerable position under the car. Most commercially available brake pipe sets that I have seen for the TABC use wire that is too thin, the turns are spaced too far apart and the coils are never long enough to replicate the original arrangement. All of the pipes on the TABC, except the longest one that connects the three-way union at the front of the car to the flexible hose at the rear, have armour covering. Most are completely encased, and one is encased for part of its length. Fig 1 shows a section of original pipe encased in its armour coil. This is a picture of John James’ TC0750, ‘The Vicar’s Car’, before restoration began. It shows the section of pipe that crosses the brake pedal shaft on the driver’s side of the chassis.


Fig. 1 An original brake pipe and armour coil on ‘The Vicar’s Car’, (complete with 60+ years of accumulated dirt, oil and no doubt some corrosion too).

It took me a long time to find a suitable source of wire to make these armour coils. Stainless steel is the obvious choice to avoid the tendency of plain or plated steel wire to rust, but it needs to be soft enough so that it can be wound easily into the spring-like coils that slip over the pipes. Wire from most sources in the thickness required, 1.2-1.4 mm, (0.048-0.056 inches) is too hard to allow a tight coil to be made using a realistic tension. Eventually I hit on the idea of using ‘tying wire’, which is used in the construction industry to tie reinforcing bars together before they are encased in concrete. I have found this to be ideal. It is sold in two kilogram reels, and comes in a handy cassette dispenser, designed to be worn on a belt around your waist, so leaving both hands free during the winding process.

These cassettes can be bought from the manufacturer Reelfix from their Ebay store: see this link.


Fig. 2 The Reelfix Wire Cassette

I wound coils for my TC using a lathe and a mandrel consisting of a piece of ¼ inch piano wire, about a metre long. If you don’t have a lathe I’m sure your local machine shop will wind the coils for you.

Start by making a means of fixing the wire to the mandrel. This can be as simple as several turns of masking or gaffer tape, or a more elaborate fixture as shown in Fig 3. Fit the mandrel into the lathe chuck, with about 150mm protruding from the chuck, the remainder of the mandrel being inside the headstock as shown in Fig 3.


Fig. 3 Winding the Armour Coils

Now fix the free end of the wire to the mandrel, engage backgear, reverse and the slowest speed. Using a pair of tough leather gloves grip the wire tightly, and turn on the lathe. As the wire is pulled from the cassette keep it under tension and guide it from right to left to form a spring-like coil with adjacent turns touching. When the coil has progressed to within about 10-20mm of the chuck, stop the lathe. Release the chuck, and pull out the next 150mm of the mandrel. If any more than about 150mm of the mandrel is exposed at a time there is a danger that the mandrel will bend due to the tension required to form the coils. Repeat the winding process until you have produced a coil of sufficient length as described in the table on the next page. Beware when cutting the coil from the remainder of the wire in the cassette as the spring will uncoil somewhat as the tension is released. Hold the end of the wire as it is cut and let it unwind slowly to minimise this effect. This slight unwinding is essential to allow the coil to be removed easily from the mandrel and allow it to be fitted over the brake pipe. Fig 4 below shows a length of armour coil taken straight off the mandrel before trimming to length.


Fig. 4 A Length of Armour Coil Ready To Be Trimmed To Length

With a little practice you will be able to produce perfect coils in no time at all. Once you have gained confidence you can increase the lathe speed to quicken up the process. It is a wise precaution to wear safety glasses during this operation, as it is when using any machinery. Make the coils a little longer than specified so that the start and finish can be trimmed off. Keep adjacent turns touching so that the coils can be teased out later as they are fitted to the car. The coils cannot cover the whole length of the pipe with adjacent turns touching because a gap is required at one end of the pipe for the flaring tool to grip it whilst the second flare is formed. This gap is covered by stretching the coil after the second flare is formed and is unnoticeable in practice, except possibly on the shortest pipe on the TABC, which connects the rear three-way union to the driver’s side rear brake cylinder.

Now that you have perfected the production of armour coils it is time to try your hand a pipe flaring. T-Type pipes use double flares, so called because the flare is formed in two separate operations. An example of a double flare is shown in Fig 5 below.


Fig. 5 A Double Flare formed on a piece of ¼ inch tube.

Again it is a good idea to practice on a short length of tube to gain confidence, before making the actual pipes that you will fit to your car. It is not difficult; it is just a matter of gaining confidence, which comes after a couple of attempts.

There are many flaring tools on the market which range in cost from about £25 for a basic tool, up to around £100 for a ‘professional’ version. I have used a model sold by Automec, whose list was included along with Brian Rainbow’s article in August’s TTT 2 (Page 19). The tool is shown in Fig 6 below:


Fig. 6 The Automec Flaring Tool suitable for both 4.8 and 6.35mm tube.

Again, the internet comes in handy here, this time in the form of YouTube:

Above you can watch a video demonstration of one of the many types of double flaring tools. It gives you an idea of how easy it is to make a perfect flare.

Now for some tips – I learnt the hard way:

• When making brake pipes it is a good idea to start with the longest one first. That way, if you make a mess of it, you can cut off the flares and use the remaining tube to make the next longest pipe. If you start with the shortest pipe and make a mess of that, it is scrap.

• Another useful tip is to make absolutely sure you have the armour coil and both pipe nipples (the correct way around) on the tube before you form the final flare. It is not easy to fit either the armour or the second nipple once the second flair has been formed! If you do forget (and I have to admit to doing so myself) again you can cut off one of the flares and use the remaining tube to make the next shortest pipe.

• Note that as a result of forming the flares at each end of a pipe the tube ‘shrinks’ in length by a few millimetres each time. When making your practice flare, measure the length of the tube before and after forming the flare(s) and note how much it has shrunk. Add this amount to each pipe to obtain an accurate finished length.

• Finally, it is important to remove all the burrs from the cut end of the tube; otherwise you won’t get a good flare (see next para for advice on how to do this).

• This is the method I use. Firstly cut the tube to the length specified in the table*, plus a shrinkage allowance determined by the tool you are using (see note above about calculating the shrinkage). Use a fine-toothed junior hacksaw, keeping the cut square to the tube end. Then with the tube horizontal, file the cut end with a fine file to remove the saw marks and the burrs from the cut. Then de-burr the internal wall of the tube with a drill bit.

• Finally suck out any debris left inside the pipe with a vacuum cleaner. This should be done from the end of the tube being worked on, to avoid drawing the debris along the full length of the tube where some of it could remain.

* Table follows.

Table 1: Brake Pipe Lengths for TABC

From – To Finished Length Armour Coil
Front 3-way union to rear hose 1890 mm None
Master cylinder to LH hose 1020 mm Full length
Front 3-way union to RH hose 765 mm Full length
Rear 3-way union to RH rear wheel cylinder union 740 mm 340 mm*
Master cylinder to front 3-way union 740 mm Full length
Rear 3-way union to LH rear wheel cylinder union 395 mm Full length

NB: LH & RH as viewed from the front of the car.

* Only the RH portion of this pipe from the wheel cylinder union to the fixing clip is fitted with an armour coil. The section looping over the differential is unprotected.

Before fitting the armour coils and forming the second flare it can be helpful to form the bends in the end of each pipe that is to be bent around the tightest radius. This is generally the ends of the pipes that connect to the three-way unions or the rear wheel cylinder unions. For really tight bend radii use an external bending spring to stop the pipe collapsing as it is bent. The larger radii can be formed easily by hand after the pipe is complete. This applies particularly to the TABC, which uses the larger diameter tube. The smaller tube used on the TD/TF is much easier to bend as they are fitted. Don’t bend any of the pipes closer than about 100mm to the end before the final nipple is fitted because the nipple will not fit onto a curved pipe. Fig 7 shows an example of a finished pipe with nipples and armour fitted.


Fig. 7 A finished pipe complete with armour and nipples.

Making your own brake pipes is a satisfying job and can be less expensive than buying commercial brake pipe sets, especially if you can borrow or hire a flaring tool. You will know the tube is indeed Cunifer, there is no debris left in the pipe to damage the delicate brake cylinder seals and the coils look just like they did when your car came off the end of the line in Abingdon all those years ago.

Please note: Brake pipes are a safety critical part of the braking system of your car. Do not attempt any work on your braking system unless you are competent to do so. Check for leaks after bleeding the brakes before you use your car on the road. If you are unsure always seek professional advice.

Eric Lembrick
ericlembrick ‘at’ gmail ‘dot’ com

Ed’s Note: Thanks Eric for a really useful article and the links you have given are particularly helpful.

Whilst we are on the subject of brakes there has been some off-line correspondence arising from Brian Rainbow’s article in the August issue (Issue 1). This has centred around the mixing of Glycol (DOT 3, 4, 5.1) and Silicone (DOT 5) brake fluids, and the use of methylated spirits for cleaning the system.

Who better I thought to seek advice than from Barrie Jones, TD/TF Technical Specialist for the ‘T’ Register!

Barrie commented as follows:

“There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that old rubber cups impregnated with DOT3 or DOT4 can swell up if they come into contact with DOT5.  Therefore, it is important to replace them when converting to DOT5.  Even then (according to my friends at Nelson Brovex*), you run the risk of slight swelling.

Five years ago I converted my TF from DOT3 to DOT5 as follows:

1) Flush out the entire system with denatured alcohol (methylated spirits) in order to remove all trace of old brake fluid.

2) Blow out the denatured alcohol with compressed air, leaving the system open to the air for several hours so that any residue can evaporate

3) Strip the entire system down, replacing every rubber component
-Master cylinder cups
-Slave cylinder cups
-Flexible brake hoses

4) Fit a slightly thinner main cup inside the master cylinder

My TF tends to hibernate over the winter, and every spring I had the ritual of `freeing off’ the brakes. Since converting to DOT5 I have never had any problems with corroded pistons. 

It really was `fit and forget’.”

*Brovex Nelson is a supplier of automotive components (including brake hoses and brake cylinder repair kits) based in Camelford, Cornwall.

Ed’s Further Note: If you’ve renewed the brake pipes on your car you will probably have renewed or overhauled the wheel cylinders and master cylinder.

A couple of years back when I was plagued with leaking wheel cylinders on TC0750 and a wheel cylinder repair kit did not do the job, I decided to buy some new bronze ones from C & C parts in The Netherlands. You can also buy them from the MG Octagon Car Club.

The original wheel cylinders were left on the shelf in the garage (never throw anything away!) and it occurred to me that this was really a wasted resource, since if I was to get them refurbished, it might help somebody else. So I boxed them up and sent them to Past Parts in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk – Telephone: +44 (0) 1284 750729. They arrived back in ‘as new’ condition. Within a matter of weeks an ‘e-mail pen friend’ of mine in Poland needed some for his TC so I was pleased to be able to help.

The service provided by Past Parts was very good and the price for refurbishing four wheel cylinders was £185 which included the postage for getting the cylinders back to me. The postage for sending the cylinders for reconditioning was around £9.

So that’s most things sorted with the notable exception of brake drums. Cast iron brake drums for TA/B/C machined from a modern drum still in production (a Nissan Vanette) can be bought from Brian Thomas of Engineering Solutions in Bexley, Kent. These are the same drums as advertised in Issue 1 (August 2010). Brian’s website can be found at engineeringsolutionsuk.com. Each drum costs £85, which includes an amount for postage. Brian also does VW steering box conversion kits, so he’s a handy chap to know.

Up to now, brake drums for the TD/TF (disc wheels) have been unobtainable. A while back I made some enquiries about getting some produced but there weren’t any manufacturers ‘busting a gut’ to take the job on. I hear that the MG Octagon Car Club are looking to get both TA/B/C and TD/TF drums produced. Those of you who are Octagon members will already know this; those who aren’t will learn of developments through TTT 2.

In the February issue of TTT2 there will be an article about skimming TD/TF brake drums and fitting oversize brake linings.

The Lech Zakrzewski Oil Filter Converter for an MG TA

29 Sep

In 2001 Lech Zakrzewski published a drawing of an oil filter converter for an MPJG engine which has a Tecalemit bracket between the block and the filter housing.

Much has been written about oil filter converters using custom made parts and parts from much later engines. The advantage of Lech’s conversion is that no extra pipe work or additional metalwork is necessary. I decided to make this from aluminium as a bar of suitable diameter was available. This needed a threaded steel sleeve for the screw-on filter for wear reasons. The complete original working drawing is shown opposite.

The oil flow for the original felt type filter was from the centre of the filter to its outside. This converter causes the oil to flow from the outside of the filter to its centre as is usual for modern filters.

There are two types of oil filter bracket for the MPJG engine. For early blocks the bracket is mounted below the oil gallery and two oil pipes are used, one from the oil pump to the bracket and one from the bracket to the block oil gallery. This bracket was changed for later blocks to the type which is bolted to the block at the oil gallery.

The later bracket has a bypass valve which should be blocked similarly to that shown. In the photographs, both sides of the converter are shown with the later Tecalemit filter to block bracket. This type of bracket is used on MPJG Engine no.1025 which came with my TA no.0844. As it was in very good condition this converter was ideal.

The upper photo of the two above shows the top of the converter and the Tecalemit bracket as fitted to the block. The lower photo shows the filter screw on the side of the converter and the bracket by-pass hole filled with a grub screw. There should be an annealed copper washer under the screw which holds the converter to the bracket. A suitable washer is a top bearing washer from an SU ‘H’ type carburettor, part number AUC 2122. This will need a slight increase in its internal diameter.

At the final assembly (photo, right) the converter is positioned between the oil pump and the breather pipe with the thread on the converter fixing screw secured with Locktite 243 Threadlock. Between the converter and the Tecalemit bracket I used a flat rubber ring, this was from my spares box, its origin is unknown. Its dimensions are 50mm inside diameter 59mm outside and about 1.5mm thick. As an alternative I think that a thick paper gasket and suitable gasket cement can be used.

Suitable filters are: Fram PH966, Unipart GFE 443, Champion C 103, Motoquip VFL 101, Crossland CRO 642, Cooper Z25, Wix WL7098, Hof 203, Delphi FX0004.

Many thanks to Lech Zakrzewski for the drawing (above) and details.

Bob Butson
September 2010

TA, TB, TC, two seater PA/B and NA Luggage racks

29 Sep

The original style luggage rack that sits above the spare wheel / petrol tank has a number of disadvantages. When loaded, it completely obscures any view to the rear, placing a heavy load high above the roll centre and makes the car less stable, it makes it virtually impossible to fill the fuel tank when loaded and finally, it is difficult to fit, damaging the tank straps.

Unable to find a suitable alternative, I have resorted to designing a luggage rack that addresses these problems. It consists of two arms fitted to the existing “spare” holes in the rear of the chassis (TA, TB and TC, they will need to be drilled for the earlier MMM cars) supporting a flat rack positioned behind the spare wheel. Not only is this very easy to fit, it folds up when not in use. On my recent trip to the Le Mans Classic, mine proved very effective, carrying not only my luggage but all the camping paraphernalia.

In response to the positive comments from people when they saw my prototype, I have arranged to have a small number of racks manufactured (shown in the pictures – the last pic shows the ‘standard’ arrangement on David Moir’s TC). They are made from highly polished stainless steel and cost £235.00 (plus P&P) including all fittings.

I still have a couple left so if you are interested, please could you email your details to octagon ‘at’ ireland-family dot org or ring me on (+44) 1206 298736.

Paul Ireland