Bits & Pieces

Treating Incontinence

Prevention is of course, better than cure, but if your XPAG or XPEG leaks from the rear main crankshaft seal and you don’t want to spoil your (or someone else’s drive) then help is at hand.

I am asked from time to time where these drip trays/catch tanks can be obtained and I refer the enquirer to Bryan Purves in East Sussex.

Bryan took over the manufacture and distribution of these trays/tanks from the late David Pelham, who developed them (David used to call them “nappy buckets”).

Having spoken recently to Bryan he confirmed that he has plenty in stock and the current  prices are  55 GBP (UK) and 58 GBP (Rest of World) inclusive of postage.

Items made to order by Mick Pay

TA owner, Mick Pay, is still providing a range of items – these are shown pictorially later in this issue. Some of the items are listed below:

Petrol filters – these are in great demand as they are suitable for any pre-war small car or motor bike. Also supplied is a filter with 5/16 compression fittings for attachment to the petrol pump.

Copies of tax discs and labels for spare oil cans.

TA engine restraints – many TA owners will already have these, either supplied directly by Mick, or purchased through the trade.

TA & VA oil filter conversions –best to speak directly to Mick about these.

Slow running cable adjusters – for MPJG enginesMick says that the little slow running cable adjusters are quite useful as it is much easier to adjust just right. He adds that he needs to think how he could adapt them for TCs etc.

Also supplied are brass brake fluid reservoirs and a repair service for T-Type rev counter gearboxes (but see the full page of colour pictures later in this issue for specific details).

Mick can be contacted at mgp188(at)

[please substitute @ for (at)]

XPAG engine rebuilds

Ron Ward is a time served toolmaker (ex-Standard Motor Company) who has spent his working life in the machine tool industry. He is the owner of a much modified TC (90+bhp un-supercharged)   which he bought in 1984 as a ‘basket case’.

Ron builds 4 to 5 XPAG engines per year and currently has the following:

TC engine – Late block linered and bored 72mm, pressure tested, late crank std/std, crack tested, lip sealed front and back on speedi-sleeve, steel ‘spider’ flywheel, diaphragm clutch, all balanced, big sump, 280 fast road camshaft, Vernier timing sprocket set, stage II big-valve unleaded head.

Next build (TD/TF) – Late block bored 1380cc, lightened and balanced, lip-sealed, fast road camshaft, unleaded stage II big valve or Laystall aluminium head.

Have available fully refurbished period Laystall aluminium head.

Feel free to contact Ron for your requirements on 01422 823649, or 07790 458386, or e-mail valerieandron(at) [please substitute @ for (at)].

Mirror re-silvering

Frank Shore has been in touch with the following:

“The silvering had deteriorated on one of the wing mirrors on my TC. I googled and found this business which re-silvers mirrors.

Contact details are: Daniel Frater, Mirrorworks, Alma Yard. Alma Street. Shrewsbury SY3 8QL and email is [email protected]

I sent the mirror glass (wrapped in lots of bubble wrap) off and 10 days later the newly re-silvered mirror arrived back all for a price of £35. Mirror looks good and I’ve attached a photo.  I highly recommend this service, which may be of interest to other members.”

New Book ‘Factory-Original MG T-Series’

The editor has a supply of this new book. The list price is £40, but it is being offered for £27.50 plus £3 UK postage. For an overseas postage quote, please e-mail the editor at jj(at) [please substitute @ for (at) and note that the address begins JJ but in lower case and not ii].

The books will be on sale at Stoneleigh in February.

Fuel Stabiliser Products

I recently noticed a reference to these products on the MGCC Triple-M forum. STA-BIL was mentioned as one of them

The product description on its website reads:

“STA-BIL Fuel Stabiliser is a fuel additive that keeps fuel fresh for quick, easy starts after periods of storing your car, motorcycle or lawnmower. Fuel Stabiliser eliminates the need to drain fuel before storage and protects your engine from gum, rust and corrosion. These problems can afflict engines after petrol left in the tank has broken down and has not been treated with a fuel stabiliser.”

Seems like a good idea to me, especially as I’ve had 7 gallons in the tank for the past few months and the car has not been used for a while!

My confidence in the product has gone up, knowing that a Triple-M owner, who I have known for many years has used it successfully in his cars and reports favourably on its use.

Another product available is Briggs & Stratton 100119 Fuel Stabilizer. It claims to preserve fuel for up to 3 years without going stale. Sold in 16 oz bottles, it has the capability to treat 80 gallons of petrol (the STA-BIL 16 oz bottle is said to treat up to 40 gallons).

Other products on the market are:

Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment Stabilizer Concentrate
PRI Fuel Stabilizer for Gasoline
Royal Purple Max-Clean Fuel Stabilizer System
Yamaha Fuel Stabilizer & Conditioner
Sentry New Technology Fuel Stabilizer
Maxima 89901 Fuel Stabilizer Additive

All these products are reviewed in the following website:

It is well worth having a look at. The article declares that its ‘Top Pick’ is STA-BIL.


I have had good service from this company. They have made me new prop shafts for both my PB and J2. It was necessary to make new ones due to the fitting of an overdrive to each car.

Readers in the South West may wish to note the contact details.


The petrol cap on my TF had lost its sealing ability due to the cork seal having disintegrated.

As can be seen from the picture, there is no seal sandwiched between the two dish shaped metal parts, which are pinned to the base.

To fit a new seal, it was necessary to remove these parts; the only way to do this was to drill through the pin.

Having done this, it was necessary to drill and tap (1/4” BSF) to enable the parts to be re-attached. However, it was not that simple because by now the base was rotating. Therefore, some silver solder was used to stop it going around.

The parts in order of re-assembly. In the absence of Loctite some superglue was squirted down the base which had been drilled and tapped.

To provide the cork seal I had to buy a roll of it measuring 12” x 24” x 0.9” (30.5cm x 70cm x 2.4mm) so if anybody wants some, they are welcome!

Here’s the finished petrol cap, which fits a treat and I no longer smell petrol when I raise the garage door.

Connecting up the coil

The following has been received from Michael Sherrell.

“As usual, Peter and Eric have smashed this one. For what it’s worth, I wrote this before TTT 2 Issue 57 came out.

In my opinion, Steve Priston’s problems or symptoms are coming from somewhere else. Swapping the connections to the coil would not be the cause.

Let’s employ Ockham’s Razor to the problem. It’s not that complicated. Connecting the coil ‘the wrong way around’ simply means the DC current flow through the primary winding is in the opposite direction. There is no difference in the current level (or strength) through the coil.

The only effect a reverse coil could have (as far as I know) would be to cause the electrons to exit the spark plug external electrode – the bit you bend to adjust the gap – and therefore deplete (erode) it, instead of the other way around, where the loss would be negligible. 

(Or is it the other way around? During the time we were trying to absorb Applied Electricity in the 50s, electron flow was magically reversed: first from electrons moving towards ‘holes’ – to holes moving toward electrons. It was early days).

Another place where a loss of metal occurs is from the centre of the dizzy Rotor. I’ve seen plenty of evidence of that, but that is in the HT circuit. It may be a similar problem, but probably has a different cause.”

Ed’s note: “Ockham’s (or Occam’s) Razor, also known as the Principle of Parsimony, is the idea that more straightforward explanations are, in general, better. That is, if you have two possible theories that fit all available evidence, the best theory is the one with fewer moving parts.”

As a follow up to the Peter Cole/Eric Worpe article in Issue 57and noting Michael’s comments above, Eric has provided me with the following:

From a thermionic point of view current, and hence electrons, flows from the cathode to the anode, which is why the cathode was heated up in good old valves to improve its (work function) emissivity. So, heat encourages the spark discharge from the central electrode of the spark plug, hence spark plugs carrying a heat range specification. Hot plugs for oily engines and cold plugs to prevent pre-ignition in high performance engines (I think).
 Peter and I came to the conclusion that providing a negative pulse to the spark plug might only be useful at high engine revs when the reduced time for the current in the coil to build up, results in a reduced EHT. The second most demanding time for firing the spark plug is when starting from cold, as the battery voltage is reduced and the central electrode is cold. This would suggest that a hot central electrode is not that important at low engine revs.

The air gap between the rotor arm and the terminals in the dizzy cap serves a useful purpose if the plugs are fouled up with carbon deposits. The carbon can cause the energy in the EHT wave form to leak away before sufficient EHT has been reached to fire the spark plug. The EHT wave form consists of a sine wave, so the limited slew rate of the leading edge is a disadvantage. However, with an additional spark gap, the EHT rises to a level that eventually jumps the additional spark gap and therefore presents the spark plug with a fast leading edge EHT pulse. This reduces the effect of leakage across the spark plug. Old hands would sometimes clear a fouled plug by holding the EHT lead away from the terminal of the plug by about a 1/4″.

Garage labour charges

Eric Worpe was very taken with an enamelled sign he saw at a recent Kempton Park bike jumble with the heading ‘Car Repairs’. He regrets not having bought it, but the stallholder was busy and it was a cold day to stand around waiting:

“Mechanic’s hourly rate is £100.

£125 if you want to watch

£150 if you’ve worked on it before

£200 if you’re going to tell me how to do it.”

Fitting tapered roller bearings to the front hub

I have a data sheet from Timken bearings which I received back in 1985. It advises that end play should be between 0.050mm (2 thou) and 0.150mm (6 thou). I have read elsewhere that end play should be between 0 and 4 thou.

What is not in dispute is that there should not be any pre-load, but there should be a minimum amount of end play.

However, the question is ‘how do you measure end play in this situation?’

TD5685 back from sandblasting

This is Matt Sanders’ TD5685, which has just returned from the sandblasters. Matt wrote the article entitled British Racing Green – so what is the correct shade? in the last issue. He tells me that he has obtained a 5 litre can of the Connaught racing car British Racing Green, colour matched from an old Valspar colour no longer available.

The TD should look really nice in that colour.

TD25045 now in Germany

This is Marek Rossmann’s TD with one of his sons at the wheel. Marek had just purchased the car from Junction 59 Classics in the UK and was having trouble registering it for classic status in Germany. I was able to help out with a suitable letter to the German Registration Authorities on Octagon Car Club headed paper. Sorted!

Dave’s Doughnuts

I have plenty in stock!

To order, please send an e-mail to:

jj(at) the email begins JJ but in lower case; [please substitute @ for (at)].

Parts for sale and wanted on the website

This section of the website is a useful facility for those wishing to advertise their parts for sale or wanted. Parts are advertised and bought and sold worldwide. I try hard to keep it up to date, but I am not always told when sales or ‘wants’ have been met.

One subscriber who did tell me was Marv Proctor in the US; Marv had advertised a steering arm for a TF, which went to Tasmania, helping to keep another TF on the road.

There is also a ‘Cars for Sale’ section on the website.

Tracing the current owner of a once owned MG

It seems that my paragraph in the last issue may have been based on a misunderstanding. There was an article in the November issue of Enjoying MG, the monthly magazine of the MG Owners Club. The article described the efforts of a grandson who was successful in tracing the owner of his grandfather’s TC. However, it may have been written, based on previous experience of the time when DVLA used to provide this service, but sadly no longer do.

At the time of writing I am seeking clarification.

Bah, humbug! – worth a chuckle or two!

This was sent to me by Mel Howe. Unfortunately, it was not received in time to make the December issue.

It rather reminds me of the time when I painted my TC’s back axle casing on the dining room table. I have the photo somewhere – I must dig it out!

The current state of the UK market for our cars

The market is pretty ‘dead’ at the moment – some may say dire.

I have never seen so many cars on the MG Octagon Car Club website. If you take a close look at the models, it is noticeable that TDs and TF1250s are ‘sticking’ badly.

The Triple-M website also has quite a record number of cars for sale, with, in my view, some silly prices being asked by some.

There is probably no single reason for this state of affairs, but Brexit and political uncertainty have surely been contributory factors. Perhaps it is also down to some of us all getting old together and deciding to call it a day. Perish the thought!

All Ian Ailes wanted for Christmas!

Well, I’m not sure if Ian got what he wanted. Just a hood and side-screens are needed to finish the car.

Derbyshire Police TCs

I have been in touch with Jonathan Shepherd, who owns ex-Derbyshire police TC (JRA 250), pictured below.

Jonathan wondered what had become of JRA 253 as he has some period correspondence about Derbyshire police TCs which mentions this car.

This led me to research if there were any survivors seen in the picture of the six Derbyshire police cars being collected from the factory in January 1946 (see picture). It looks as though three are known to have survived, with possibly one more as a chassis only. Happily, JRA 253 has survived.

The details are as follows:

Chassis no.    Registration mark     Survivor?

TC0341                       JRA 250          Yes

TC0342                       JRA 251          Not Known

TC0343                       JRA 252          Chassis only?

TC0344                       JRA 253          Yes

TC0345                       JRA 254          Not Known

TC0346                       JRA 255          Yes

The picture shows the six TCs being collected from the Factory in January 1946 (the cars were built on 18th December 1945). The man wearing the trilby hat is Inspector George Holmes, who was in charge of the Derbyshire Constabulary Motor Patrol Section. The two gentlemen with him are M.G. men, possibly the shop foreman and the General Manager. Those standing by the cars are Police Officers who would have driven the cars back to Derbyshire.

In a letter to the owner previous to Jonathan Shepherd we get an interesting insight into the use of the cars from ex-serving officer D. Burgoyne. He was allocated JRA 253 and when stationed at Buxton, was virtually the sole driver of the car from 1946 to 1948.

As a young constable, Mr Burgoyne said that he “thoroughly enjoyed working on MG cars, but on reflection, they were a most unsuitable car for our purpose, particularly in the Peak District in winter time.”

He added that with Buxton and North Derbyshire getting its fair share of bad weather in winter “a car with MG type side windows let all the cold air in.”

To close the ‘Bits & Pieces’ feature of this issue I offer a tip from Gerrit Gartner TD and TC owner in Austria.

Gerrit is not very tall and suffers from cramp in his right leg from driving his TD. He says “I simply put a piece of wood, 1.5“ thick, maybe 10“ long, under the carpet, in front of all pedals. With the heel now raised, no problems any more.“