It was a nice summer evening, and I was just starting the engine at a green streetlight, when suddenly, with a loud bang, the left backside sagged downwards and stopped.
Obviously my surprised face at this situation amused the already watching passer-bys, but fortunately some people, who couldn’t watch this agony helped to lift the car in the back to push it to the side of the street.
First everyone skillfully examined the car, and soon it was obvious that the axle was ripped off and that I would not be able to continue my journey.
After a break in a close ice-cream Café the service car arrived and took us home, luckily only a few miles.
But what happened?
The perforated connecting element had ripped off between the leaf spring bracket and the axle tube (see red lines in picture). Because of this the car sagged down so far that the back wheel rested on the upper side of the rear wing. The wheel was blocked and the car could not roll anymore.
So I demounted the rear axle and welded new and more solid panels on both side of it to be sure. While I was working on this problem I noticed that it must have been an old fracture, which had developed continuously. You could see corrosion on the surface of the fracture.
Also the original weld seamed had been executed very sparingly – maybe they had to save money on this part of the production back in 1946? Only in the book “TCs Forever” I could find a similar accident, seems like they had the same issue.
The new plates are a bit longer, just to be sure that there is a better support on the leaf spring packet. In the process of reassembling everything I asked myself why the catch bracket caught neither the axle nor hindered the blocking of the back wheel- since this is what it is supposed to do.
Actually the catch bracket is 4 cm too long- so it is not able to catch the rear axle before the back wheel blocks in the rear wing! Which guy measured this? If the axle fracture had happened at 80 km/h it would have been a really dangerous situation!
With this thought in my mind I did not want to drive anymore- hence I shortened both catch brackets, so that in normal condition a gap of approximately 7,5 cm is still maintained, this is about the space which the wheel still has in the wheel arch.
Maybe I should have shortened the brackets by another 1 cm, however they should now fulfill their task in a case of emergency and catch the axle. Then it would still be possible to hobble home, though considerately lowered and without suspension…and maybe this would prevent an accident with serious consequences as well.
Manfred Brausem MG TC 976
Ed’s note: I am not sure if the catch brackets would be up to the task in the event of a catastrophic failure as experienced by Manfred – they are relatively flimsy. I think their function is one of ‘bump stops’ assuming that the axle is attached to the springs, not when it has broken away.
Another weak point to be wary of is that of the holes for the spring fixing bolts being too near the edge of the spring hanger bracket. The way to overcome this (and probably to strengthen the whole assembly so as to minimise the possibility of bracket failure) is to weld a 1 inch wide strip of 1/8 inch mild steel to the base of the bracket as is shown in the following photos: