Bits and Pieces

We start with a spare part found in ‘The Vicar’s car’ (TC0750).

Priced at 9/9 (nine shillings and nine pence) – about 50p (or half a GB Pound if you prefer) the RI06 was suitable for a range of cars, including the MG TC and Morris Ten Four – Series M, Opel Kapitan and Rekord, Renault 1000k, Singer SM & Ten, and Wolseley 8, 10 and 4/50.

Interchangeable with B.T.R. 233, DUNLOP D270, FERODO V112, GOODYEAR 15, MINTEX PK391, ROMAC C704, C733.

Those were the days…………………!!!

Modern Batteries for Older Cars

Barrie Jones, MGCC ‘T’ Register Technical Specialist for the TD & TF models, has very kindly sent me the following information. It is in the form of a reply to a TF owner (1350cc engine) who was having problems starting from cold, despite the battery (43AH capacity) being on a conditioner and testing OK with his local garage’s tester.

“In the UK most batteries have a type number (such as 063) which only specifies the physical size, the type of poles, and the configuration (positive pole to the left or to the right).  Sometimes you will find a label on the battery specifying the capacity in Ampere Hours, and if you are lucky it may also give the cold cranking ability in Amps or the number of plates in each cell.

Batteries vary enormously in capacity; the cheapest are often only 40AH, whilst the premium ones can be 70AH or more.  They also vary in cold cranking ability.  Some only have 7 plates, whilst others have 9.  A 9-plate battery will usually give a much better cold cranking figure. Recently, batteries have started to use the more modern ETN numbering system (e.g. 580-063-039).

To read this, ignore the leading 5.  Digits 2 and 3 specify the storage capacity, the next three are the physical size and configuration, and finally the last three give the cold cranking ability (in tens of Amps).

So, in this example the battery specs are: 80AH – type063 – 390A cold cranking ability.

Armed with this information, you should be able to find exactly what you need. By the way, Halfords recently came out as the best buy, second only to Exide and much cheaper”.

Also, courtesy of Barrie, is the following table:

RPM at 70 MPH for different axle ratios and tyre sizes

Tyre size 5.50 x 15155 x 15165 x 15
Axle ratio5.1254,8105,0014,875

Some explanation will be helpful to a study of the above table.

Both the TD and the TF left the Factory shod with 5.50 x 15 cross-ply tyres (tires for the benefit of a significant proportion of our readership!). This size is no longer available, the nearest being 5.60 x 15. However, the ‘Blower’ Manual (on page 447 under the heading “SPECIAL MATERIAL AVAILABLE FOR SERIES TD MIDGET CAR” refers to the availability of a 15 in. x 4.50 wheel, suitable for a 6.00 x 15 tyre size (the standard rim was 4 in.).

Most owners will by now have fitted radial tyres (155 x 15 or 165 x 15), which greatly improves the handling, but some owners may not realise that this also affects the gearing. The reason for this is that radial tyres have a different cross-section to the cross-ply variety. A cross-ply tyre has a profile of 100%, whereas a standard radial has a profile of 82%. This affects the overall diameter of the tyre and consequently affects the gearing. For a useful explanation (well, certainly to a simple mind like mine!) go to and read the paragraphs on rolling radius.

Just two further points: Firstly the values in the table above have been calculated using a figure of 15.3 mph per 1,000 rpm for the standard TF ratio (4.875). ‘Blower’ quotes 15.195, but the difference is negligible. Secondly, Barrie points out that if you fit a 4.55 ratio and use 165 x 15 tyres the RPM at 70 mph are virtually the same as the original standard TF 4.875 ratio/550 x 15 tyre combination.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s TC

Many of you will have seen the Duke on television at the recent wedding of William and Kate (Duke and Duchess of Cambridge). The Duke, who reaches 90 years of age on 10th June, is Britain’s longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch.

Brian Stutchbury in Kenya recalls the Duke’s younger days in a letter to me, which is reproduced below:

I saw an article in The Weekly Telegraph the other day, regarding Prince Phillip, and how, at 90, ‘things were dropping off’!

It reminded me of my early TC days when I lived, with my mother, just off the Hog’s Back near Guildford (before it became a dormitory).

At that time Prince Phillip must have been courting Princess Elizabeth. He had a black TC, same as mine, and used to rush up the A3 from Portsmouth, obviously at every opportunity. I saw him occasionally ‘en route’.

That must have been late ‘40s or early ‘50s.

Am I right? He must be our most exalted M.G. owner.

I replied to Brian with the following information:

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh owned a TC for two years from 1946 to 1948.

A letter dated 6th June, 1996 from Brigadier Miles Hunt Davis, C.B.E. (Private Secretary to the Duke of Edinburgh from 1993 to 2010) to Lieutenant Colonel R.N.C. Mossop (R.N.C. Mossop – Nigel – was for a short period of time, Secretary of the ‘T’ Register of the MG Car Club) gives the following details:

a) Registration number – HXD 99

b) Purchased on 25th September 1946 – new

c) Colour – not sure

d) Chassis number – TC1362, Engine number – XPAG 2024

e) Sent for sale to the Car Mart Limited, Euston Road, LONDON NW1 in November 1948

Sadly, the car may not have survived as there is now no record of it.

Ed’s note: Although the TC’s colour could not be confirmed in the Brigadier’s letter, Brian remembers that it was black. As the production date of the car was 11th September 1946 this would have been around the time of, or just before, the introduction of red and green exterior colours.

Bishop Cam Steering Box – Attachment to Chassis on TA/B/C – A Safety Warning

As I was just in the process of finishing this issue of the magazine, I received the following from Paul Ireland. Thank you Paul for bringing this to the attention of TA/B/C owners.

“At a recent event, a fellow TC owner asked me to look at his steering column as it was cracked where it entered the steering box. I opened the offside bonnet and watched the box as I “wiggled” the steering wheel. I would like to share the horror of what I saw. The Bishop Cam steering box is fastened by a single horizontal bolt through a bracket that is bolted onto the chassis. This arrangement allows the steering wheel to be raised and lowered. When steering the car, this joint experiences a vertical rotational force as the drop arm is offset by some distance from the joint. On this car, there was probably wear on the bracket, steering box or locating bolt that was allowing the steering box to twist by around +/- 1/16″ where the steering column joined the box and it was this repeated movement had cracked the steering column. Given this is something that is very easy to check, I suggest owners do so as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I cannot offer any advice on how to resolve such a problem.”

E10 Fuel

TTT 2 ‘Hard copy’ subscriber, Steve Ashworth has written to The Rt. Honourable Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Transport as per the letter on page 21.

Steve says “the idea is for people to use it as a template, changing words and sentences to suit themselves. I think that it is far better if people personalise it rather than just sending it as a standard letter. Politicians take more notice of lots of different individual letters on a single topic than they do of a vast number of standard letters”.

Steve also mentions that it would be a good idea to copy the letter to one’s local Member of Parliament and I know that he has already been along to see his MP.

I have an appointment to meet my Member of Parliament, The Honourable Jacob Rees-Mogg on 14th May. When I meet him I shall take along with me a concise brief about the harmful effects of Ethanol and ask him to forward it to Philip Hammond and also to the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group. I regard the latter as particularly influential if only, (being a little facetious!), because they will be concerned for the preservation of their own vehicles!

I also think it important to stress that the harmful effects of ethanol will also impact on a large number of cars not regarded as vintage/classic.

“Dear Mr Hammond,

I am writing to express my grave concern regarding the proposed introduction of 10% Ethanol to petrol. As the owner of a vintage/classic car this will do serious damage to the vehicle and is likely to render it unusable without a readily available source of normal petrol.

Whilst modern cars are designed with a degree of protection which may allow them to be run on fuel incorporating 10% Ethanol, older vehicle engines were designed without such protection and significant damage to engines of vintage and classic vehicles will undoubtedly result if they are obliged to run on petrol containing 10% ethanol. Ethanol reacts with brass and copper, materials traditionally used for fuel pipes in many vintage and classic vehicles. It also attacks aluminium, causing major problems for vintage and classic vehicles which are virtually all fitted with aluminium carburettors. Additionally, ethanol attacks cork and natural rubber, causing seals to fail and fuel to leak.

Because ethanol is hygroscopic, i.e. attracting and absorbing water, it will result in corrosion to steel fuel tanks particularly in classic vehicles which are laid up for long periods during the winter.

The advice received from one large petroleum refiner to combat this problem is to install a water separation filter and to replace the fuel tank, fuel lines, gaskets and O-rings with new ethanol-resistant materials. In practice, this is not a viable option as such items are unlikely to be available for vintage and classic vehicles.

Further advice from the company regarding the laying up vehicles during the winter, assuming the addition of 10% ethanol to fuel, is to fill the fuel tank almost to the top to minimise the absorption of moisture. However, the advice goes on to state that it is inadvisable to store fuel in vehicles for long periods of time i.e. over the winter period, as gum, gel or lacquer-like residues can form causing damage to fuel delivery systems such as fuel lines, fuel pumps and carburettors. If such is the case, then owners of classic vehicles may be looking to dispose of large amounts of unusable fuel at the start of the summer season. Quite apart from the costs involved, just how is one to safely dispose of say, 15 gallons of unusable petrol from a domestic setting?

It would appear that there will be over 8 million vehicles put at risk by the introduction of 10% ethanol to petrol, not to mention the number of lawnmowers, hedge-trimmers, chainsaws and outboard engines used by the public. When unleaded petrol was introduced it was possible for engines to be modified to accept the new fuel or for an additive to be used to offset the harmful effects. For very many vehicles there is unfortunately no simple solution to the problems which will be caused by the inclusion of ethanol at 10%. The introduction of unleaded fuel was accompanied by the continued availability of leaded fuel for around twenty years. In France, Germany and Sweden, petrol companies are being required to offer E5 fuel (containing only 5% ethanol) on an indefinite basis in parallel to E10 fuel.

Surely the British government must do the same as part of their duty of care to the public?

I do hope that you will take note of the above issues and ensure that there will continue to be suitable fuels available to allow the use of Britain’s historic vehicles, which are a delight to both the owner and the public at large. The alternative is that they all become no more than museum pieces.

Less Frequent MoT Testing

Having trawled through various websites, the main one being that of VOSA, I have been unable to ascertain the latest position on this issue. It seemed likely that there would be a consultation exercise but presumably this needs to take its place in the list of the Agency’s priorities.

Removal of Rear Spring Front Mounting Pin

Encouraged by Bob Butson’s success with the removal of these spring pins and also by Jeff Townsend’s success, I thought I would have a go at removing one on my TC. Well, I finally managed to remove the one on the nearside, but it was a devil of a job to unscrew it. As Jeff noted, the pins were inserted horizontally; however, you should be able to see from the photographs of my severely butchered pin that the pins were not inserted in a straight line horizontal position. What probably made matters worse is that I chose to drill out the taper pin, which turned out not to be a very good idea as lots of swarf got into the threads and made unscrewing very difficult. I shall now have a go at the off-side pin but will not drill it out this time. The photo shows part of the taper pin still located.

I intend to have a small batch of these pins made (and it will be a small batch, bearing in mind NTG’s comment that they couldn’t remember the last time they sold any). If you are interested please contact me via the Contact Form on

TA/B/C Front Spring Mounting Pins

As I type this paragraph on 1st May I am expecting delivery of a new batch of front spring mounting pins on Wednesday 3rd May. As predicted in April’s TTT 2, I will have received these before the poly bushes which I ordered before Christmas. Clearly, a visit to the supplier in Wells (just 20 miles from me) is going to be necessary. At this rate I’ll be lucky to have them by next Christmas!).

Australian Natmeet in Newcastle, NSW

The following was received from Matthew Magilton.

“Thought you may like to see these pics from the National Meeting in Newcastle. There were five TFs competing. Jason Edwards’ lovely LHD car won the TF class for the concours. I enjoyed the hillclimb and the motorkhana. The TFs of Hough, Noble and Bennett were all very well presented and Bob Lyons dropped by too in his recently restored ivory car”.

Michael Hough with TF6740.
Cyril Bennett from Queensland.
Jason Edwards’ TF – winner of the TF class for the concours.
Bob Lyons’ TF9709.
Matthew Magilton’s TF9097 at work (above) and at rest (below).

The 2012 Natmeet will be held in Hobart, Tasmania.

3 thoughts on “Bits and Pieces

  1. Bob Dougherty says:

    Concerning the letters about E10…I certainly wish you luck with your efforts as there is nothing good about E10…however, if your main argument is that our T-Types can’t run on E10, then you are starting from a false position. Here in the States we have almost universal E10 in our fuel (keeps the damn farmers happy, which gets their votes!)…gas mileage is decreased by about 5%…and you do have to take measures to deal with the water in the tank (many products are now on the market to deal with this) however…the T-Types do run. I would suggest you make your argument that E10 is bad as it decreases gas mileage and adds to pollution, which can be verified. To state that our cars will not run on E10 is false and therefore negates your whole argument.

  2. kenneth knights says:

    that steering box was a easy fix i just gave it to andy king he gave it a new column and a service. while i went shopping Back in the car the same day Fantastic. All at a Good Price.Ken

    • John James says:

      Bob Grunau has commented as follows on the steering column tube fix:

      “The repair is to replace the 1-1/4″ outside diameter steering column steel tube with a new one. Simply remove the steering box, strip apart and remove the tube from the steering box. Frequently the tube is bent or possibly cracked at the box entry. The 1-1/4″ tube MUST be a tight fit into the steering box. It may be necessary to braze the joint to achieve a tight fit. Although usually replacing the tube is all that is needed as the tube seems to wear more than the cast iron steering box. . Also ensure that the steering box mounting bolt to the bracket is a snug fit in the box and bracket and fully tightened. This will help stop the box from rotating. I shim the gap between the box and bracket so the box is snug in the bracket before the 3/8″ single mounting bolt is tightened fully. Install the mounting bolt from the block side, otherwise when the steering box in installed in the car you can’t remove the bolt because the right front fender/wing is in the way. Use a high quality 3/8″ bolt and self locking nut to ensure the box is held tightly.

      While on the subject of the steering box, it is worth mentionning that the drop arm bolt securing the drop arm to the sector shaft must be of high quality and securely torqued to specification and TIGHT . Please don’t use a hardware bolt intended for a wheel barrow. I like to use a self locking nut. This is probably the most important bolt and nut on the TA, TB, TC.”

Comments are closed.