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Front Cover – TB0440

5 Mar

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

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

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

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

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


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!

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.

Cover Story: 1939 MG TB Roadster MG Master

4 Jul

The title has been taken from an article in ‘New Zealand Classic Car’ magazine, which appeared in the April 2007 edition. I am very grateful to its Editor, Allan Walton for giving me permission to use material and photos from the article.

How did this come about? Well, earlier this year, Brian Rainbow, with whom I share a Stand every year at MG Spares Day in Stoneleigh, had just come back from the New Zealand Pre-56 Rally and was telling me all about it when we were setting up the Stand. “You should have seen this immaculate MG TB there!” he said. Brian went on to describe the car in detail, which whetted my appetite and always being on the look out for articles, I asked him if he would put me in touch with the owner.

Brian contacted the TB’s owner, Frank Langridge, who was most accommodating and readily agreed to help. Frank explained that he would first need to clear lines with New Zealand Classic Car and when he had done this he sent me a CD with the magazine article reproduced, along with the photos used for the article and a whole host of photos of his restoration. Talk about manna from heaven!

Distinguished Provenance

TB0415, fitted with engine no. XPAG 658 came off the Abingdon production line on 28th June, 1939.

Its history is known virtually from day one. Reputedly it was the last private car to be imported to New Zealand before hostilities prevented further imports. Two weeks after the commencement of WW II this TB was still on the water, on its way to New Zealand.

On hearing the news that war had broken out, the captain of the ship bringing the car decided he risked less by carrying on to New Zealand than he did by turning around and returning to England. What became of the boat after that is not known.

Dominion Motors, the MG importer at the time, displayed the car at the Wellington NZ Centenary Exhibition in 1940, and then sold it to its first private owners, the Buchanan sisters.

In 1946 the car changed hands and Bert Wheeler took over the ownership. Bert and the TB regularly appeared at race meetings at Wigram as well as Tahuna Beach and in the Otago/Southland hill climb championships, as well as other venues, winning many trophies. He also added a supercharger to the car and continued to race it after he had started a family – fulfilling the car’s family role by the simple expedient of converting the MG into a four seater!

At this time, the car was tended and tuned by no less than Sybil Lupp, who convinced Bert she could make the car go faster without the supercharger fitted. Sybil and her husband were instrumental in starting the MG Car Club NZ in 1951 – and Bert was one of the first members. Bert continued racing the car until about 1961.

Ed’s Note: Sybil Lupp first started racing in a TA and later raced a supercharged TC. She then raced Jaguars but always had a soft spot for MGs. A legend in NZ Motorsport and a garage proprietor and skilled mechanic, she set the South Island speed record at 102.27 mph in May, 1950 in a flying-start quarter-mile event. Read about her at

Quite a find

Frank Langridge became the TB’s 10th owner, discovering the car’s chassis hanging on a wall in the basement of an Auckland house in 1976. A search under the rest of the house uncovered an engine half buried in earth, along with the rest of the powertrain. Amazingly, all the serial numbers matched the chassis. This was quite a find. Bert Wheeler’s four-seat body was more or less intact, but in very poor condition, and the upholstery was missing.

That was, however, far from the worst news. Given time to inspect the chassis and find a little about its history, Frank learned that it had been rolled at least three times, and had suffered a major T-bone collision. This meant that none of the panels were the correct shape, as the chassis was considerably shortened on one side, and the repair work was not the best either.

The Rebuild

If Frank wasn’t the country’s authority on MG TB originality before he started the project, he certainly is now. He obtained a set of Factory body drawings and build sheets and corresponded around the world with as many acknowledged authorities as he could find, as well as extensively researching other Factory publications and data.

Frank pulled the chassis apart and rebuilt it using new hot rivets. When I say that Frank rebuilt this car himself, I don’t mean he bought bits and put them on – he found early on that many of the pattern parts that are available today are of less-than-best quality. As a result, he manufactured many parts from scratch, using the Factory drawings, and that included remaking the springs from spring steel and having them tempered.

Frank learned many of his skills from a course on car restoration and panel beating at Manukau Polytech. The fact that he was there for eight years doesn’t mean that he was a slow learner, but does mean that he learned a lot.

Frank insisted that the intricate detail should be correct, so he enlisted the help of his friend, Keith Dodge, from the Alvis Club. Trained as an engineer in the RNZAF, Keith made up some beautiful little punch and die sets to arrive at the correct shapes for trim detail. Keith roughed out brass stock on a milling machine to make the windscreen side arms, with Frank hand filing the brass to achieve an authentic final form. Even the windscreen wipers were rebuilt using sheet brass, with the precision-machined components done by Keith.

Specialist Work

The late, great Max Mumby – a master in the art of forming panels – handled some of the more difficult compound curves of the MG’s new panels and, in the process, gave Frank the benefit of his vast experience. However, to a large extent the MG’s panels are all Frank-built. The fuel tank and guards were repairable, as were the headlights. In fact, Frank got so good at repairing headlights he started a small business beating old headlights back into shape.

All the other panels were made from stock steel. Frank made the bonnet skins beautifully flat and straight, then found when he put the hinges in the panels were no longer perfectly flat – so he remade them all over again!

Bob Pearson at Otahuhu Chrome Platers must like Frank. Bob does a great job of chroming but he didn’t have to polish the parts that Frank took to him – Frank preferring to handle the polishing himself.

Most of the car’s brackets were remade in Frank’s workshop, as he had become a proficient welder – he also made the hood frames himself and most of the trim panels, finding that parts available from overseas just did not fit. The hood trimming, though, was beyond Frank, but he found someone who could meet his standards – Basil Shailer (of Len Shailer Ltd) in Palmerston North. Frank shipped the body down to Palmerston North and received it back within three weeks – absolutely perfect, every press stud requiring equal pressure to snap it in place, and not a crease or lump to be found, whether the hood was up or down. That’s craftsmanship.

Front and rear views of progress with the rebuild
Above: Gleaming propshaft!
Below: Neat pipework to take oil to the rear spring trunnion.
Above: Hydraulics in place and connected up.
Below: Lots still to do but looking good!

Green with envy

The MG’s engine was Frank-built as well – it should be right; he did it twice.

Having assembled the engine once early in the restoration, Frank decided it had been stationary too long so he took it apart and, with his keen eye for detail, he put it back together again. It now runs as smoothly as a sewing machine.

The final paint colour chosen for the engine caused some head scratching. Frank had asked a Morris Engines worker what colour it would have been, and the Coventry man said, “Whatever was in the spray gun at the time!” Frank has become this country’s authority on MG T-Series originality and found this perplexing, as he had been told it should be black, red or green. Since green was the colour of his TB’s grille and the trim, he finally decided that green it was for the engine.

Paint it black

With everything else perfect, Frank was insistent that the coachwork paintwork had to be just as good. With the guidance of Rodney Holland of Waiuku, Frank spent many months over a period of two years; sometimes spending as much as eight hours a day preparing the body using Würth fillers and materials.

PPG Jet Black was the colour chosen, and it is mirror perfect, even under the bonnet and wheel arches.

Finally, Frank attended to the car’s electrics, wiring it up with an original-pattern fabric-shrouded loom made up by Vic Longden of Octagon Manufacturing in Perth, Western Australia.

It came as no surprise when Frank’s TB won the prestigious Masters’ Class at the 2007 NZCC/Ellerslie Intermarque Concours. However, what might have surprised those who attended the event was the fact that this was no “cheque book restoration”; Frank had done most of the work himself.

All the more surprising when you look at the quality of the work is that Frank is not a trained professional engineer, mechanic or carpenter – he actually trained as a graphic artist and that was in the days before that meant knowing which buttons to press on a computer keyboard. It means that he really was an artist, which explains where his eye for a good line comes from.

Since the car’s appearance at the Concours event Frank has fitted a Marshall Nordec roots supercharger and I have included a ‘shot’ of the installation, along with other photos which I’m sure you will find interesting.

Thank you Frank for facilitating this article and thank you Allan Walton, Editor of New Zealand Classic Car, for permission to use material and photos from the magazine. Thanks also to Brian Rainbow for making it all possible in the first place.


Above and Below: The two moulded insert trays for the toolbox.
Above: The supercharger installation
Above: nicely restored panel with instruments by John Marks. Below: view of interior and dashboard.

Frank Langridge with TB0415 in the background.

“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 Contact Form).


• 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

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 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.

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

Solving the Gearbox Speedo Pinion Housing Oil Leak

6 Jun

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

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

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

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

As always, comments are welcome.