Bits & Pieces

Steel gaskets (and nitrile bonded cork gaskets) for the tappet chest side plate.

The following was received some time ago from Steve Priston (with apologies to Steve for the late publication):

“I just wanted to let you know that having now fitted and driven the TC a bit since fitting the new steel gasket plate, that it has very noticeably reduced the amount of oil being pushed through the rear main seal, into my catch tray,

This had previously become quite bad, as it would often manage to throw a small amount onto the exhaust, after a bit of cornering.  When we were out last, I noticed that this too had reduced significantly.”

I think we have probably now satisfied the demand for this ‘mod’ which was introduced by Paul Ireland back in December 2020. I have only 4 kits left, so if you need a set, please be quick. I have studiously wrapped and sent out dozens and dozens and I could do with a rest…what’s rest?

The cost for the thin steel gasket and two nitrile bonded cork gaskets is £12.50, plus £3.35 postage. If you would like a set, please send an email to jj(at) [Please substitute @ for (at)] and I will let you have payment options.

The profit on these kits has helped in a small way to bolster Paul Ireland’s funds from the royalties of his book Classic Engines. Modern Fuel which he has used on his project to help with children’s education in a couple of schools in Tanzania.

Paul’s latest email to me by way of an update said that “we were able to give pens, pencils and exercise books to over 1800 children in 4 schools.”

TC Gearbox end plates

Paul Busby has been in touch to say that he has just finished another batch of these. The ali plate is a known weakness, which was not foreseen by the “bean counters” when they switched from a steel end plate.

Paul says that “Other people have remanufactured the gearbox end cover or offer steel splint plates but I have re-visited the issue. Clearly failure occurs through the engine/gearbox combination moving forward through normal traction and braking loads, accident, soft and perished mounting rubbers, flexure in the engine mount plate and chassis mount brackets which do not offer much resistance to longitudinal movement.

Hence the need for additional ribbing around the cantilever section of the end cover.  In addition to increasing the stiffening rib arrangement around the common failure line, I have enlarged the output shaft spigot to accept a modern lip seal. The seal runs on the original, reverse scroll section of the drive flange which is covered by a SKF ‘super sleeve/shaft repair sleeve’. A 36mm repair sleeve is a perfect fit. – see photo. If needed, the end cover can be left bored as original to run the reverse scroll.”

Paul’s contact details are: pyb.7(at)  [Please substitute @ for (at)]. Also, on offer from him, is this new ‘FUEL’ warning light. [Please see later paragraph which gives more details]. Paul’s contact details for these are as above.

Video worth watching

Ted Hack emailed me about this video, which Ted’s friend in Tasmania told him about. The first part of the video will be of interest as it features several MGs in the ownership of Lee Jacobsen. The link is:

Lee’s TA Tickford [TA2969 (EFY 50)] can be seen in the video. It was among the Tickford’s featured on the inside back cover of Issue 15 (December 2012). The picture showed a Tickford re-union at GOF MK XXX1V, Chicago 2012.

Still in the US, Bob Lyell drew my attention to the news that Carroll Shelby’s TC is coming over for the Goodwood Revival in September. The car fetched a hammer price of $495,000 when it was last auctioned.

Happy birthday TD24680

Ian Ailes emailed me at the beginning of February to say that it was his TD’s 70th birthday.

The first picture was taken on the occasion of the car’s 50th birthday.

That was exactly 20 years ago when the first nut and bolt was put on the car.

Ian’s TD graced the front cover of February’s TTT 2, but sackcloth and ashes, I failed to provide a caption, for which I apologise.

TC maintenance 2023 style!

We are used to witnessing our modern ‘euroboxes’ being plugged in to find faults; this isn’t quite the same. David Lewis sent me this picture with the message….  “The detailed steps on the laptop, which you may be able to decipher, were composed by me beforehand! I have just removed the rad and am about to tackle the water leak????.”

Fuel warning light

Further details from Paul regarding the fuel warning light previously featured are as follows:

“I have made 70 in total, after the MG TC boys have had chance to buy one, I will offer to the Mk1 Land Rover crowd as understand they had the same light.   They have turned out really well and a first class copy of original item except that the bulb holder is not included as normally still on the loom, if not present, the classic car electrical boys stock a suitable spring loaded holder that fits a 3/4″ barrel. The lamp comprises new chrome bezel, Green ‘Fuel’ lens, zinc plated barrel, spring and retainer ring. I have made a few lenses in amber with ‘PET’ for early TCs but have never seen an original so may not be a perfect match.. If anybody has a photo of an original amber PET lens that would be a bonus.”

Cam followers

The following has been received from Robert Henry:

“Having thoroughly enjoy the bi-monthly articles, I thought I should contribute, so here goes in Word so you can cut out anything if too wordy!

I have a MG TD 1951, bought back in about 1990, rebuilt completely and fairly well used over the years. Perhaps more mods to make it safer in modern traffic than many purists would like, but I am still alive!

Bare chassis upwards with much woodwork, a few panels, lots of re-chroming and retrimming.

The article is mostly a continuation of Cam Follower’s articles but from my experience.

Originally, I built the engine with a Crane cam which made a very smooth engine. Unfortunately they did not provide new followers so I bought a set from the ‘usual suppliers’.

18000 miles and the cam was wrecked, so another cam was put in with some ‘modified’ followers with grooves to allow more oil to fall on the lobe; good idea in theory but it does not overcome the fact that I have found that ‘new’ ones are simply not up to the job.

Removed after 3000 miles for inspection and guess what? Again, some were breaking up, I mean, not only wearing, but lumps actually falling out.  No one really seemed to have any good answers, saying you could not run steel on steel. So, I went through various ideas to try and solve the problem, including thinking of adding an oil feed so it is sprayed on start up, and then cut the bottom off existing ones and insert a hardened top hat section.

Having spoken to various ‘experts’ I was no further forward until I spoke to David Newman of Newman Cams who gave me a very interesting explanation of the problem.

Most chilled cast cam followers in the UK were made by Clancys in Birmingham. It is a black art and daily depends on experience, knowing how the temperature and humidity will affect the mix. Basically, it seems you throw cast iron into a mould and the bottom is a big plate; it hits the plate and chills, creating the hard surface (hence chilled cast iron) – the skill is in getting it hard but not brittle.

When ‘Elf ‘n Safety’** dictated a newer factory with proper extraction, the scrap rate went up in the corner of each batch; it turns out the fans were disturbing the process.

** For the benefit of our readers for which English is not their first language ‘Elf ‘n Safety’ is slang for Health and Safety legislation. I am not sure if ‘slang’ is the correct term to use –  ‘colloquialism’?

This explains why it is virtually impossible to buy good ones from ‘abroad’ but the upshot of this was Newmans made some bespoke steel ones that were nitrided for belt and braces, also insisting my new cam be checked and yes at 3,000 miles it needed a light regrind.  They have now done 15,000 miles without any apparent wear.

Other mods over the years.

5-speed box, servo, rear LEDs over the top of the number plate so we have higher brake lights and amber indicators to give the younger drivers a better chance of missing the rear end.

Oil cooler, as when cruising at 75 the oil temperature on a warm day rises exponentially. Back in the day there was nowhere to be at high speed for very long in the UK without having to slow down.  Electric fan. Electronic points (with the original in the car just in case).

Bespoke hood with larger zip out window.

Ordinary alternator with dummy shaft to drive tacho. Various relays to reduce the load on the switches.”

Ed’s note: Robert’s article reminded me that a couple of years’ ago, Paul Ireland sent me the following picture of a cam follower which, had only done 15,000 miles on a new camshaft.

XPAG Little End        (Paul Busby)

There has been a fair amount of comment and views expressed on the little end clamp bolt – its strength and correct torque – in recent times, but little on the gudgeon pin (wrist pin) itself.

I recently dug out of my long ago acquired stock of parts a set of +30 pistons for a engine I am in the throes of rebuilding. The gudgeon pins reminded myself of a piston failure I had in the 70’s chasing my TC up the A1 one night eager to get somewhere. The gudgeon pins in this NOS (new old stock) set are as the manufacturers used to make them with a small local groove ONLY to locate them centrally about the clamp bolt. It appears all modern replacement pistons are made with the gudgeon pin  groove machined all the way around which seriously reduces the strength of the pin. Now, even if the clamp / pinch bolt was torqued up correctly, the replacement gudgeon pins with a full groove reduce the effective bearing width  of the little end  eye to fully hold the pin, allowing it to flex.   Obviously if the clamp bolt is loose, this further aggravates the problem – See idealised sketch below.

The photo is of a new ‘old stock’ XPAG gudgeon pin (local groove) and a longer XPEG modern  equivalent.  Taking the assumption that the steel of grade used is the same, the difference in strength will be proportional to their relevant section properties that’s Area for shear and Second Moment of Area (Inertia) for bending. The shear area (in single shear) of the old stock pin is 195mm2 whereas the shear area of the modern replacement is 134mm2. The Bending Inertia of the old stock pin is 0.49 cm4 whereas the modern replacement is 0.29 cm4.  In simple round figures; assuming the same grade of steel, the current replacement pins are only 60% the strength of the originals??

The photo (below the gudgeon pins) of the piston that failed on me (fully grooved gudgeon pin) back in the 70s clearly shows the breakage across the reduced area of the full groove.

Anybody using original rods with clamp bolts is in my view recommended to seek a piston manufacturer that will provide pins with a local groove only and not use ones with a full groove. This is all outside of ensuring your rods are crack free, threads have been cleaned with a thread chaser and new high tensile clamp bolts (12.9 Allen cap bolts) and not set screws are used, and of course correctly torque up.

Note regarding gudgeon pin measurements….

All pins are 18mm dia in the piston. New pins have a waist at the all round groove of 15.7dia with a central through hole of 8.7mm. Old original design pins are 18mm dia throughout with a groove 1.10mm deep in the side perpendicular to the plane of bending. Core hole in original design pins is 8.2mm.

A couple of updates (TA and TF1250)

TA0745 (ABL 406)

This TA was shown in Issue 70 (February 2022) as ‘Not taxed for on road use’. It has ‘emerged from the shadows’ and is now shown by DVLA as ‘Taxed’ and what’s more, has an MOT.

TF4933 (405 BMG)

This TF1250 was shown in Issue 76 (February 2023) as ‘Untaxed’. The owner has been in touch to say that the car has been with him in France for about 7 years. On retirement to the Hautes-Pyrénées, the car went with him. He just couldn’t bear to leave the car behind in the UK as he has owned it since 1965.

TB85 – AN EVENT FOR ALL MG TB OWNERS Following the success of TB80, based at Witney in Oxfordshire in 2019, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of all TB’s, we have been asked by owners who took part to look at the possibility of holding a similar event in 2024 when our cars will be 85. In order to get some early planning underway we have drawn up a short questionnaire to determine enthusiasm for such an event plus give owners a chance to comment on location, timing etc. The questionnaire can be obtained from: Mike Inglehearn mingle54(at) or Jeff Townsend jeff.townsend(at)