Archive | MG TD RSS feed for this section

The Badge on the Rear Bumper of the TD MK II

3 Jan

The Editor has recently been engaged in correspondence on this subject.

The point at issue is how the badge was fixed to the rear bumper of the TD MK II.

However, before proceeding too far, Brian Craft, an early TD MK II owner, pointed out the following to me:

“The Mark two TD, (chassis prefix TDC) did not originally have the additional “Mark II” badges fitted. These were fitted from December 1952 (ch/no 22613) to the bonnet sides and on a plinth in the centre of the rear bumper. It is generally thought that this plinth was a chrome plated casting.

In Malcolm Green’s book, T-Series Restoration Guide, it shows on page 16 a photograph of an EX-U model TC which has a similar plinth fitted to the rear bumper although this one is octagonal whereas the Mark II one is rectangular.

Also, at the time these badges were fitted the radiator slats became chrome plated instead of being matched to the trim colour.”

In a follow up e-mail Brian pointed me in the direction of Cornwall Classic Hire’s website at www.cornwallclassiccarhire.co.uk. If you click on ‘Car Sales’ and then click on ‘View Details’ you can read about the details of TD/C 28381 pictured below:

If you click on ’50 Years with a 1953 TD Mark 2’ you can read about the car’s history. I contacted the owner of 50 years and asked him about the fixing of badge on the rear bumper. His reply was:

“The rear bumper MARK II badge was originally on a shaped metal plinth, welded to the bumper before chroming, through which the badge was bolted. Back in the mists of time I replaced the bumper on DNH 637 and made a wooden plinth painted white. This was reused on the rebuild”.

Thanks to Paul Critchley for the photographs of the rear bumper TD MK II plinth arrangement and badge accompanying this article.



Rear of MK II badge showing maker’s name (J Fray Ltd. Birmingham). This company supplied badges to MG in the pre and post-war period.

MG TD “All Clear”

2 Jan

TD showing weather equipment in place (from a sales brochure)

Twelve months ago, having attended many shows, rallies and tours of Europe and more often than not encountering inclement weather, the hood had to be put in position complete with sidescreens. Now sidescreens are not always the perfect fit and most importantly do restrict your view when driving, tend to mist up and create blind spots with the nearside mirror also obstructed.

So I had the idea of making the sidescreens out of two sheets of poly-carbonate plastic 5mm thick and completely eliminating the metal frames and the canvas which frays and also can get quite discoloured; at the same time I wanted to retain the same sidescreen look with the detail at the base of each screen, including the hinged flap.

In the case of the profiled bottom shape of the sidescreen this was made from 3mm good quality sheet aluminium (and then covered with vinyl). It’s light and easy to cut and, of course, you can bend it to the slight radius profile needed to follow the front doors; this also carries the chrome strip piano hinge which you can purchase from good D.I.Y. shops, which, in turn is attached to the plastic screen by means of 4BA screws and domed nuts, but metric screws of similar size can also be used.

The rear sidescreen base was fitted with 4BA rivet nuts (stronger thread) along its length to secure the plastic and vinyl covering in place, using screws with stainless cup washers. Now the profile of the plastic sidescreens basically follows the profile of the hood under the stitched flap, making sure that you are waterproof when all is in place.

Front “clear view” sidescreen

Rear “clear view” sidescreen

Depending on the type of hood you have i.e. two bow or three bow, the profile of the front sidescreen has to take care of the bow frame, which is not straight, to allow you to open the door with the hood in place. I am willing to supply the basic profile templates for the two bow if any fellow owner is interested. These screens are attached to the door using the same set-up, but you need to make two brackets for each side; first you have to make the rear door round pin, which is longer than the original and head diameter of 0.750” and shank of 0.375” diameter 2” long, using 6mm x 20mm flat bar – this is shaped and welded or brazed to the pin as a base angled 90 degrees. Later two holes are drilled in this flat bar and threaded ¼ whitworth, but only when you are satisfied that the position of the screen is correct and with the front bracket also in place.

Now the ferrule that fits in the door shell itself is also made with a 0.750” flange diameter turned down to 0.375” dia but the width of the flange is approx 0.250” thick – you will need to calculate this exact measurement with the screen in place and fastened to the flap base section because the rear screen and the front screen have to follow in profile to each other along their top edges. The ferrule has to be a good fit in the door but is held in place by a tube washer that fits over the shank, which is drilled and threaded at the bottom ¼ dia whit so the whole lot is held in place using socket head allen screw and washer.

Both brackets for the rear and front sidescreen are positioned using the original fixings i.e. the two chrome domed wing nuts; these were modified to have two legs instead of the one, which are more convenient, particularly for the rear frame. The brass castings for these can be supplied if need be and threaded 3/8 dia whit.

Now, one of the most important points; you can now attach to the front nearside sidescreen a round adjustable door mirror (available for around £20) using the metal front door bracket which has already been drilled to hold the plastic screen; check the thread – it is usually metric. This mirror is very handy when driving in Europe.

Finally, I find that with this sidescreen arrangement you can keep them in place all the time; you have a full clear view of traffic, less side wind and less chance of rain hitting you and they are easy clean! Also, when at shows and rallies you have more security if your doors are locked with the hood and sidescreens in position.

The author’s TD with poly-carbonate plastic sidescreens in place

Well, this has worked for me and is a good winter project to undertake at a cost of around £100, depending on how much of the work you can do yourself.

If any reader requires further information then I am quite willing to help with photographs, template drawings etc.

Alan Atkins
alan.atkins903(‘at’)hotmail.co.uk [substitute @ for (‘at’)]

Ed’s Note: Ideally, we should have had a photo of Alan’s car with the sidescreens in position and the hood raised, but the weather has been so appalling that it has not been possible to do this. Hopefully we can include a photo in the April issue.

Alan has sent in a number of tips for TD owners and some of these are published on this page; others will be published in future editions.

First is a thermostat bypass made from gunmetal which he is offering for £25 plus postage.

Alan reminds us that the centre instrument panel on the TD is not easy to get at and remove in the event of instrument or bulb failure, the main obstruction being the small hexagon nuts which hold the panel in place. His suggestion is to replace these nuts with wing nuts – he adds that he had to make longer domed headed screws that went through the complete wooden sections of the dash (size was 2BA). The result is that you can withdraw the centre panel in minutes, not lose any small nuts and can perform this operation without a hand lamp.

A difficult item to replace on the TD in situ is the top radiator hose. Alan suggests using a silicone hose, which is very flexible and can be cut to one’s requirements (that is the slight angle that makes a better fit to the header tank). Silicone hoses are available from Dave Gee of Classic Silicone Hoses or Tel: 01530 230971. Your Editor has confirmed with Mr Gee that the hoses are only available in sets (pre-VAT increase prices £40 per set TB/TC/TD and £36 TF) but he is willing to supply me with a small batch of six top hoses (TB/TC/TD) which I should have available at Stoneleigh and will sell for £20 each on a non-profit making basis.

If using silicone hoses make sure you use a standard antifreeze; those with organic acid anti-corrosives can damage any silicone in your engine, including your hoses. See the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs for further information.

In this day and age it is probably wise to fit amber direction indicators to your car, front and rear, especially if you are travelling abroad. These can be wired into the existing wiring loom or you can use the more modern Lucas small round aluminium 42 watt unit bypassing the large earlier expensive unit, but you may wish to get an auto-electrician to carry out this modification. The front side light conversion is easy with the S-V-C kit: www.s-v-c.co.uk

S-V-C also supply a rear pedestal unit, which is in line with the existing rear lighting and fitted to the rear splash apron.

The S-V-C Front Side Light Conversion Kit

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.

Fxxx Alternator conversion on a T-Type

29 Sep

The alternator is from a Ford Transit – the type with the brake servo pump attachment on the rear. I got my recon units off eBay for about £45 each.

First of all the car must be changed to negative earth. This is not a major problem but if you have an original clock in your rev counter I am not sure if this will change to negative earth, without doing it damage.

1. I used the standard TD pulley without the cooling fan ring. I have not tried the TC pulley with the integral fan ring, so I do not know if the shaft on the Alternator is long enough.

It is necessary to make the hole in the pulley larger to become a nice snug fit over the shaft.

2. It is necessary to remove the 3 long bolts which hold the alternator together and twist the front plate of the alternator to get the adjusting bracket hole in the correct position.

(it must be in the same position as the dynamo you take off)

3. Next, depending on which type of alternator you have, you must make sure that the wiring connections are on the rear face of the alternator. It is sometimes necessary to remove the plastic connection block and modify the connections/insulator. This is to give you enough clearance between the engine and alternator and allow you to use the standard fan belt.

4. The shaft that protrudes out from the rear of the alternator needs to be shortened by about 20mm. I cut mine off with an angle grinder because the shaft is hardened.

5. You need a 50mm long distance piece with an 8mm hole in the centre to make a spacer for the rear mounting point of the alternator.

The next item you must modify is the rev counter gearbox.

1. You need to remove the 2 screws (or sometimes they are rivets which need to be drilled out), to separate the casing where the gears are. Then fit a spacer over the screws inside the gearbox. This is because when you make and fit the bracket to the gearbox you can tighten the screws; then it does not squash the casing on to the gears and seize the gears.

I removed the knurled nut which tightened the gearbox to the dynamo and made a coupling from steel bar, but I think it would be possible to use a piece of rubber or plastic hose. That way it would be easier to make, and it would also allow a little flex if the gearbox was not aligned correctly

2. Fit the bracket to the gearbox using just 1 of the screws. I made the bracket from a piece of 15mm wide by 3mm flat bar.
3. On the rear of the alternator there are 3 threaded 6mm holes which were the mounting positions for the pump on the Transit. I used the top outer hole to screw in a piece of 6mm threaded rod and the other end of the threaded rod goes through the bracket you have made and fixed to the gearbox.

4. Push one end of your coupling over the alternator and the other end over the rev counter gearbox. My coupling is about 30mm long  you then adjust the gearbox until it is running true in the centre of the alternator.

5. I carried out the simple wiring change by visiting the MGA guru web site, where there is a very good explanation on how to convert the wiring.  www.mgaguru.com/mgtech/electric

Moss part number for the TD pulley 433660 Ford alternator part no 5030668 or Lucas exchange part no. LRA 780.

The usual disclaimer applies that I accept no responsibility for anything whatsoever, and that anyone considering or intending to carry out this modification should be confident in their own minds that they are able.

I have carried out this mod on both my TC and TD and it has been very successful. It is a joy to drive with halogen headlights on, wipers going and the heater on if necessary, without having to keep looking at the amp meter worrying if the electric is going to dry up and vanish.

Malcolm Sayers

Cover Story

29 Sep

Malcolm Sayers must surely be in the top ten of owners who use their car – read on…………..

I was reading a classic car magazine one day towards the end of 1997 when from the pages something jumped out at me; a 1951 MG TD was for sale at a garage in a village near High Wycombe. So I went to have a look at it. The car was in need of some very serious restoration but it looked all there. So after some haggling over the next week on the telephone I became the proud new owner of my very first M.G. and I brought it home on a trailer just after Christmas 1997.

I had owned and restored 3 other vehicles before buying the TD so I knew what to expect, and I really looked forward to the task ahead.

The car was exported by the Factory to Trinidad so it was a right hand drive, The previous owner was sent from the U.K. to Trinidad with his work and purchased the car there in 1970; when he retired in 1984 he brought the car back to the U.K.

The restoration took me 6 months from start to finish doing nothing else but the MG, (I could put all this time in because I had just retired).

I have made many changes to the car since the restoration. I chose to make the car as adaptable as I could, because doing long distance touring was going to be my main object. However the modifications have always been carried out so they can be put back to standard again if a future owner so desires.

I remember doing the first test run after finishing the restoration and being utterly disappointed with the low gearing of the car. So it was back in the garage with the car to carry out the first major modification.

By the summer of 1998 we were taking part in MG runs in the UK to get used to the car. The spring of 1999 saw us out and about doing lots of day runs; the Kimber Run, Daffodil Run, Octagon Wings Run, to name but a few.

We were trying to build our confidence up as well as our confidence in the car. The TD was now starting to feel right so we thought how nice it would be to take the car on the Continent.

In 1999 I was reading through the Safety Fast magazine and saw an advert for The Prix Des Alpes rally, which sounded very interesting. This particular year it started in Annecy and finished in St Morritz. After a lot of discussion and nervous trepidation we decided to give it a go. We did the rally and thoroughly enjoyed it. This particular rally took us up and over The Gavia and Stelvio passes with many hairpin bends and steep climbs. At that time I was running a 3.9 diff but the TD got over them with no problems. At this time the engine was bored to 1350 with a crane fast road cam fitted. We participated in this particular rally many times since then until its demise, enjoying going over some of the very best routes in the Alpes. That was the start of our exploration of Europe in the TD.

The rest of 1999 was spent doing various day rallies/ road runs organized by the MG clubs in the U.K. Whilst we enjoy these very much we had been ‘bitten by the bug’ for the continental rallies and have visited many places in Western Europe, meeting many people and making lots of friends. We have found that the MG people are a “friendly bunch” always willing to help you or knowing someone who can help in your moment of need.

During the year 2000 we did the usual MG rallies in the UK plus the Prix Des Alpes rally, which started in Chantilly near Paris and ended in Aix Les Bains – again we had another fabulous time. Then after the rally, we visited our daughter, who was in her 3rd year at university and working for Daimler Chrysler in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance for 9 months. So we toured around the Bodensee for about 10 days with our daughter sat crossways in the back of the TD. It is a very nice area of Southern Germany.

In 2001 the European Event of the Year was in Gabbice Mare on the Italian Adriatic. It was a long way from England and we wondered if the TD was up to the task, but over the years we had gained confidence in the car. I remember that the Mont Blanc tunnel was still closed after the horrific fire, and we went into Italy through the Frejus tunnel. Then on to Gabbice Mare where we found a wonderful friendly organised rally. This was our first encounter with the renowned Italian hospitality. After the rally Linda and I took the TD to Venice for another week. We booked a week in a Eurocamp tent near to Venice so we could park the TD near our tent for security. It was only a 30 minute walk to the ferry from the camp site which took us over to Venice. We returned back to the UK via Lake Como and the Gotthard tunnel and the Bugatti museum in Mulhouse.

Later in that year we also did The Prix Des Alpes rally which started in Besancon and finishing in Monte Carlo, taking in a lot of the high cols. After the rally we spent another week in the Ardeche near Vallon-Pont-d’Arc. We then returned to the UK via Calais.

In 2002 we applied and were accepted for a rally in Sicily, organised by a member of the MG Car Club in Italy. We drove to Genoa on the Italian Mediterranean to catch the ferry to Palermo. I remembered that the Mont Blanc Tunnel was now open so that made the drive down to Genoa a lot easier, but finding the ferry terminal in Genoa was a complete nightmare, you could see it, but you just couldn’t get to it. The ferry had engine problems which meant that we arrived in Palermo at about midnight. We thought it would be quiet at that time of the night but oh no! The place was buzzing with people and cars, copious amounts of horn blowing as we all tried to follow my leader out of Palermo to our hotel, where Linda and I had actually spent a holiday 30 years before.

The rally again was very well organized and the people very friendly. Naturally, the weather was excellent for a circular tour of the Island, visiting a lot of the hilltop towns and sites of historic interest. We returned back to the UK via the Aosta valley which is a really beautiful valley; then, through the Mont Blanc Tunnel overnight, stopping at Chamonix and Chaumont before catching the ferry from Calais.

Later that year we attended the European event in Belgium and we stayed on for a few days after with a group of T-Types from the UK visiting Ghent and Brugge. There was no Prix Des Alpes for us this year because it clashed with our daughter’s graduation from university, so we spent the rest of the summer in the UK doing the MG runs.

It was about this time, the end of 2002, that the TD gearbox was starting to get very noisy again (I had rebuilt it in 1997), so I decided to fit a Hi-gear 5 speed conversion, and change the rear axle ratio to 4.5-1 which was carried out in the winter of 02/03. What a difference this mod makes, it totally transforms the car!

2003 saw us back in Gabbice Mare in May for another excellent rally. The Prix Des Alpes rally this year started in Reims and finished in Aix en Provence, then after the rally we drove up through Germany to attend the European Event of the Year in Viborg, Denmark. Stopping off at Belsen, the infamous concentration camp on the way. We then drove back around to Calais for the boat after the event.

August saw us in Zug Switzerland for another excellent rally; it was extremely hot I remember. The car has only let me down once terminally in all that time. (I say “me” because I was with a group of friends going to Angouleme for a ‘boys’ weekend to the Circuit des Remparts racing.) The crank broke about 30 miles from Angouleme, so we were towed into Angouleme by a B GT on a length of rope.

To this day, Linda is adamant that the crank would not have broken if she was there! So she has always accompanied me since then to Angouleme.

In 2004 The Prix des Alpes started in Beaune and finished in Annecy. We also went to the Isle of Man with a group of T-Types and afterwards took in trip to Ireland, covering both North and South. There was also a very enjoyable trip to Sardinia where the weather was hot. The crystal blue waters off the Island of Maddalena are still deep in my memory, and also Piero, the rally organiser, placing giant bottles of white wine in the sea to try and keep them cool for our BBQ.

2005 we went to the Peloponnese in Greece (see photo below) visiting the Corinth canal, Athens, Olympia and the Southern Cape of Europe, catching the ferry from Ancona to Patra.

2006 This is the summer we never seemed to be in the UK. In May we went to the MG event in Gabbice Mare, then back to the UK. At the end of June we attended the European event in Clermont France and on to Umbria in Italy (pic below) for another event via the Millau Bridge, returning to the UK mid July. The middle of August saw us departing the UK for Berlin for another MG event and driving down to Colditz to look over the castle, before returning to France to take part in the Prix des Alpes rally starting in Beaune and finishing in Monaco. Then driving to Angouleme for the Circuit des Remparts racing weekend before returning to the UK at the end of September via Calais.

I can remember this is the summer when the TD never missed a beat and it was being driven quite hard most of the time and covering a lot of miles. It seemed every time we returned to the UK I had to give the car an oil change. The engine by this time had done a good mileage and I felt it was time to get another engine ready to put in over the winter, so I set about getting another engine prepared. I started to ask questions to various people whether it was possible to bore an XPAG/XPAW to make it 1466cc.The general opinion was that if you are lucky you might get a XPAW block to bore out to 1466cc, but it’s more than likely to break through the cylinder wall.

So I decided to go and get the XPAW block bored right out and then fit liners, but then the problem is you loose the rigidity in the block. So what I did then was to use a block filler in the base of the block around the liners. Since 2007 I have used the car with the 1466cc engine without problems. I have done a good 35,000 miles now. It does seem a lot of work for the extra cc, but the extra torque of the engine is noticeable.

2007 We went to Speyer in Germany for the European event in May, where I remember I had to fit a water pump on our arrival. After the event we returned to the UK. Early July we were on the boat again heading for Salzburg to start another rally which was going to take us to Budapest and around Lake Balaton and back into Austria. This was another excellent trip.

2008 In May we did two rallies in Ireland one in the South and one in the North – always good fun! The North was around the Glens of Antrim and the South was around Dublin. Afterwards we stayed on and did our own tour.

In August we were in Zug Switzerland for another rally. We took a birthday cake that Linda had cooked in the shape of a rocker cover for a friend who was 70.

In September we attended a rally in Umbria Italy and returned via Angouleme for the racing.

In 2009 In May we returned to Sicily sailing from Civitavecchia to Palermo which was a longer drive down through Italy but it gave us the opportunity to visit Pisa on the way. This time we visited the North East area of the island, including a visit by boat to the island of Stromboli to watch the volcano do its bit after dark. The only problem was that the wind blew up and the ride back to port, which was about 3 hours, was very bumpy indeed and a lot of people were looking and feeling the worse for wear.

In June we went to Norway for the European event. We caught a freight boat from Immingham to Brevik it took 32 hours and there were only 8 passengers on board. After the event we stayed on for another week touring around. Norway is a nice place with scenery similar to the South Island of New Zealand. We happened to talk to an English ‘white van man’ who had just been fined the equivalent of £600 for speeding, he was not best pleased!

In September we visited the Dolomites, with a Swiss group. Each day the owner of the hotel that we stayed at would lead us on his motor bike around various places of interest, stopping for lunch and coffee en route.

This year has been a quiet year for our MG travels because we were expecting our first grandchild, and Linda did not want to travel too far around its birth date, which was mid July. In May we were in Scotland for the Caledonian 3 day rally. Then to Gabicce Mare at the end of May for the European event.


GABBICE MARE IN 2006

I can now report that we have had our first grandson born on July 17th – a healthy chap called “Arthur” I am trying to get him interested in MGs but his feet won’t reach the pedals yet.

Over the years my memory has faded a little, perhaps a lot, to the places and exact dates where we have visited, but I can say in this time we have always found the MG fraternity kind and helpful.

I now have a TC which is helping the TD with the mileage we cover each year.

Over the last 10 years we have covered between 10-12000 miles per year, with 15000 miles the record for any one year.

Malcolm Sayers

Editor’s Note: Malcolm mentioned his TC (pictured above). The car was finished in mid January 2009, and he left for a holiday in New Zealand. While Malcolm was away his son arranged for the car to be MoT tested and on his return at the end of March he drove it locally to put about 3,000 miles on the clock to make sure it was OK. Then in early May he and Linda set off to Sicily for a rally with Piero Fusaroli from the MG Car Club of Italy. The car drove perfectly with no problems covering at least another 3,000 miles.

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.
Doug@FromTheFrameUp.com

A New Book on the TD

3 Jun

Practical MG TD Maintenance Update and InnovationAvailable around mid-September is a book entitled Practical M.G.TD Maintenance Update and Innovation. Written by Jonathan Goddard, the book is, in some ways, in the “Barrie’s Notes” mould. Those of you who have read Barrie’s books on the TF and the MGB will surely agree that they are very useful ‘handy size’ books to refer to.

However, Jonathan has written his book from a slightly different perspective; let me explain.

When he bought his car, TD0589 EXR RHD, it had just been imported back to the UK from California. A British car garage based there had shut up shop and the business assets, which included a number of “British” cars, including some other T-Types, were bought up as a job lot and shipped back to the UK. Jonathan’s car, which had lived in California since early 1950 came back as a stripped chassis and a collection of cardboard boxes containing most of the parts; but some were missing, and some were from different T-Types! He therefore had some components from cars built later in the TD production run, which gave rise to some interesting challenges in putting things back together. He remarks that although he did not realise it at the time he was to face some interesting questions on interchangeability, but this gave him the opportunity to take advantage of using later components where advantage could be gained and where originality was not visibly abused. Every TD owner will find something in this book to enhance their enjoyment of owning and driving a T-Type.

As Jonathan’s TD was built in 1950, the first full year of TD production, he has been conscious of some of the original “shortcomings” and has therefore taken a keen interest in introducing Factory and non-intrusive changes to improve safety, reliability and enjoyment whilst giving due consideration to the need to adapt to modern driving conditions.

Traffic has grown exponentially in the UK since the 1950s. When the TD was in production there were just 2.4 million cars on the road. Today there are 30 million cars on our crowded roads and both the pace of driving and driving standards have altered beyond belief. It is therefore not surprising that T-Type owners have wanted to update some aspects of their vehicles in order to improve safety and driving enjoyment. Jonathan has done just this but always with an overriding consideration not to spoil the classic looks of his car.

Details of how you can purchase a copy of Practical M.G.TD Maintenance Update and Innovation will appear on this website when available as well as in the next edition (October 2010) of Totally T-Type 2.

Jonathan has kindly given me permission to reproduce “Door fit and close” from his book.

Door Fit and Close

The passage of time takes its toll, and on TD0589, the need to address worn out ash, particularly around the doors was a priority. Replacing some of the ash woodwork was necessary and the job is made easier if the ash timber sections are purchased ready made, from a specialist supplier. Hutson Motor Co Ltd. and NTG Services Ipswich supplied the necessary wood for my car and this was found to be an excellent fit. All the ash timber was treated to coat of clear timber preservative and I used brass or stainless steel fixing screws where necessary.

The new ash door pieces are now carefully checked against the old wood, and the door opening in the body, to make sure it will fit and that the twist in the frame is correct. Adjustments can be made at this stage before fitting the pieces into the door. Dismantle the frame and now re-assemble them within the door itself, making sure that the tapped sidescreen socket is in place. The front piece of wood goes in first, followed by the bottom and the piece by the hinges. With these three in place lock the hinge end of the top piece into the frame and force the front of it into the top. If you do not have a good fit it then it is best to remove the wood and trim to fit. Replacing the four major door frame components is not difficult providing care is taken so that the steel door is not overstressed or damaged. Removal of hinges, door stop, side screen locator and latches is necessary followed by the panel pins allowing the door edge to be folded back releasing the old timber. I understand that the timber was not glued (during manufacture) so once the fittings have been removed the timber can be gently prised away from the steel. Malcolm Green’s book on restoration provides good advice on refitting new wood into the door steel skins and I therefore followed his advice. Before replacing the door timbers I also replaced the under door rail, rear door pillar and rear wheel arch elbow assembly to ensure a sound frame for the door to close onto. The steel body panels need to be gently prised away from the wood to allow removal of old timber and refitting of new.

I also purchased new door frame brace sections (hinge reinforcement) that fit on the rear back section timber, but I found these to be rather less rigid than I had hoped. These were therefore returned to the supplier and I had a local garage make replacements out of a thicker gauge steel that was welded at each corner and therefore considerably stronger. The standard door cross brace was refitted after the door was hung but its effectiveness is less evident (and less necessary) due to the stronger rear brace. If the wood in your car is sound but the door fit and closure is not satisfactory I would recommend replacing the standard rear door frame brace with a stronger heavier example. This is a straightforward replacement and can improve the rigidity of the door with relatively little effort.

The net result of this work is doors that close with a re-assuring clunk, door latches that work every time and a solid door frame with no flexing that has a pleasing body fit.

During the door re-work stage I had purchased two non standard additional swivel catches (Gravelly Fasteners) that I thought I would need to guarantee door locking integrity. My experience with a TC door swinging open on corners had dented my confidence! However the re-work and strengthening had done its job and even now 17 years later the doors still shut with a reassuring clunk and I have not had to fit the Gravelly Fasteners.

© JONATHAN GODDARD August 2010