The Resurrection of TA0844 (Part 4)

2 Jan


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

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

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

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

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

MG TA Filler Cap

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

MG TA Petrol Cap 3
Photo 5 – the finished article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MG TA Pinion Housing

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

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

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

MG TA Distributor

Photo 8 – Distributor showing oiler and tube for shaft lubrication

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

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

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

MG TA Body

Photo 9 – showing most of the metalwork finished

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

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

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

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

MG TA Doors

Photo 10 – doors reinforced with steel corners

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

MG TA Door Modification
Photo 11 strengthening bar for door aperture

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

Bob Butson November 2011

MG TA/TB/TC Engine Mountings

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

Editor’s Note: Address for Rique Llinares

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

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


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