Category Archives: Issue 56 (October 2019)

The Editor

Welcome to Issue 56 – October 2019.

We had a marvellous weekend in mid-Wales on the Totally T-Type 2 tour and couldn’t have wished for better weather. Since we’ve now been back for a couple of weeks‘ it is noticeable how autumn has arrived, almost without warning – chilly mornings and evenings and the days seem to be progressively getting shorter.

One regret was that I didn’t get the opportunity (it being the Bank Holiday weekend) to visit the Riversimple company, who are based in Llandrindod Wells where we were staying. This young company https://riversimple.com is using hydrogen fuel cell technology in a car, known as the Rasa, which has been designed with aerodynamics in mind and a lightweight body.

I find nowadays that unless I write things down I completely forget. Having spoken to Colin Fitzgerald, owner of TA0251 following the publication of an article on the two prototype TAs, TA0251 and TA0252 in Issue 54, I promised him that I would clarify in Issue 55 some comments made about his car. Of course, I completely forgot!

The debate was about the differences between TA0251 and TA0252 and in commenting on TA0251’s body style I said that it is not known if this rear body styling was original to the car, but it seems odd that two cars built as prototypes within one month of each other would have such different styling at the rear.

Colin was concerned that my wording could have been interpreted as casting doubt on the originality of the body styling of his car and pointed out that this was how the car was before he bought it and that a number of experts had inspected the car. This was not my intention and I am happy to publish Colin’s remarks to set the record straight.

We have had a number of visitors to 85 Bath Road, Keynsham in the last few weeks.

John and Robin Libbert from Milford, Ohio were visiting the UK, which included, inter alia, a trip to Pre-War Prescott. As one of their overnight stopping places was Bath, just down the road from us, they called in for a ‘natter’.

Last weekend we had a visit from Douglas and Yani Wallace from Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia. They were accompanied by Doug’s pal, Derek Simpson from Norwich and Ian Wilson from Brough, East Yorkshire. Ian is the Chairman of the MGCC MGA Register. They were on their way to west Wales where they were overnighting before catching the ferry to Ireland.

A couple of days before penning this editorial Carl Drolshagen from Sorup, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany called in. Carl had been to the Beaulieu autojumble and was on his way to the Midlands to visit an old friend. Carl has two Triple-M cars and a TC.

I didn’t have room for the above picture in Lost & Found. It is TC0281, formerly an Oxford police car.. Filiep Vandamme is trying to trace the car’s history. filiepvandamme(at)gmail.com [please substitute @ for (at)]

The scammers have been at it again. Oleg Shekhovtsov and James Atwood have both been active. Mr Atwood has been replying to WANTED adverts for virtually every model of the T-Series and he also says that he has an MG (model not given) which he wants to sell for the giveaway price of $3,800 due to his health issues.

The accounts for The MG ‘T’ Society Limited for the year ended 31st October 2018 are included in the website under PUBLICATIONS. Go to www.ttypes.org click on PUBLICATIONS and input your user name and password.


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FAREWELL OLD FRIEND – PLEASE KEEP IN TOUCH!

I bought my MG PB in September 1998, so it’s been a ‘love affair’ for nearly 21 years. 

The picture opposite was taken by my son, Stephen just before setting off from our hotel for Goodwood Revival 4 years ago. 

Following purchase, I was disappointed to learn that there was no documented history of the car for the period between 1936 and 1945, and subsequent enquiries of the DVLA ran into the sand. 

The sales advice which was completed at Abingdon for every finished car, records, on signing out from the Despatch Department, that chassis number PB0722 was delivered on 26th March 1936 to the Main Agent, University Motors.

The sales advice recorded such details as vehicle type, chassis, engine, gearbox, rear axle and body numbers and even dynamo and starter numbers. Also recorded were body, upholstery and wheel colours. 

My car was original in all respects, apart from the rear axle number and I put that down to transposition of numbers – well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Although the car was built on 27th January 1936 (Source: Production Records) and delivered to the Main Agent by the end of March, it was not sold until 23rd May. The selling garage was Chesterfield Motors of London NW 1, who would have been supplied with the car via the Main Agent. 

The first owner was a Mr Cyril Wentworth Hogg of Clarendon Mansions, Brighton. Even if Mr Hogg purchased the car at the tender age of twenty, he would be a centenarian now; possible, but unlikely.

As first owner of the car, Mr Cyril Wentworth Hogg’s name appears on the returned Guarantee card. 

A Guarantee card was sent with each new car to the supplying dealer, who was responsible for handing it to the purchaser. He or she (yes, some ladies bought these cars!) then needed to sign the card and return it to Abingdon for the guarantee to become operative. Not all cards were returned. 

It is not known how long Mr Hogg kept the car, for as mentioned previously, there is no documentation between 1936 and 1945. However, it is possible that he owned the car immediately prior to it passing on to (what might have been) the next owner, Mr L J Cato of Taunton. There is a letter in PB0722’s file to Mr Cato, from Mr Haddock of Abingdon’s Service Department dated 14th August 1945. This letter gave a diagnosis, in response to the symptoms described by Mr Cato, of wear on the shoulder of the nearside front hub, and suggested the fitting of shims between the inner bearing race and the hub. However, it was regretted that Abingdon could not supply the necessary shims!

I saw the car advertised in the MG Octagon Car Club ‘Bulletin’ (of which I was then editor) for £18,500. At the time, money from a redundancy settlement was ‘burning a hole in my pocket’ and I simply had to buy the car. I paid the full asking price, which on reflection was a tad too much – but the amount overpaid, amortised over a period of twenty-one years is of little consequence (or so I tell myself!). 

The previous owner had restored the car and had a pile of bills in support. He had bought the car from Geoffrey Jennings (now deceased). There is an entry in Geoffrey’s name, dated 1959 in the continuation log book (the original is missing) and it looks as though he sold the car in 1968. 

Geoffrey’s brother Phil, is the co-author of Oxford to Abingdon, that wonderful tome that catalogues the early days of MG. 

I’m not sure whether Geoffrey managed to completely restore the car – he certainly seems more than a little fed up with it in this action shot!

From the look of the following picture taken around 1956 at either Boreham or Fairlop aerodrome, Essex, the car appears to be in reasonable condition. However, appearances can deceive as I discovered when I removed thebody tub from my J2 which before its body was taken off, looked to be a very nice ‘up together’ car: it literally fell apart, a victim of woodworm.

However, PB0722’s original body was found on close examination to be sound with new timbers having been skilfully let in under the running boards.

Soon after I bought the car, I took it for MoT – it failed! The most serious failure point was kingpins and I had these renewed and also fitted new front springs. 

I decided to have the engine rebuilt in 2006/7. This was a wise (but expensive!) move because, when the engine was stripped down, I was advised that the white metal conrod bearings were starting to break up. 

My engine builder, Brian Taylor of Hopton Heath in Shropshire, was none too keen to use a 70+ year old crankshaft in the rebuild, so I had one specially made with uprated conrods. Shell bearings were used for the conrods and the centre main was adapted to take shell bearings, with the rear main retaining the white metal. 

During the lengthy period of the engine rebuild I became aware of the possibility of fitting an overdrive to the car. I bought an early MGB unit from a retired Laycock engineer in Sheffield and took it with the PB gearbox to Barrie Dean in Nottingham. Barrie weaved his magic and I was pleased with the result. 

The early MGB overdrive mated to the PB gearbox prior to installation in the car.

The overdrive installed in the car. A shortened propshaft was required and it was a relief to find that the unit just cleared the fly-off handbrake (by about an inch).

The fitting of the overdrive (frowned on by some owners of the overhead camshaft MGs) is easily the best modification I have done. It helps to make the car so much more relaxing to drive on a long journey…and we’ve done quite a few over the years, including motoring in France. 

Ed’s note: Overdrive is fitted to some other 4-cylinder MGs, including my J2, and also to some 6-cylinder models.

The last journey in PB0722 was on the annual T-Type weekend that I organise every August. We had a wonderful few days in The Cotswolds in the company of 37 other MGs – mainly T-Types, but also a couple of RV8s. 

The next picture was taken on arrival home from The Cotswolds. Under the black polythene is a large box containing two new TA/TB/TC/Triple-M roof racks.

The last pic comes as I wipe away a tear – you’ve been a wonderful little car, but all good times must come to an end – farewell old friend, please keep in touch!

PB0722 being loaded into Steve Baker’s van for its journey to Lincolnshire and thereafter to Italy.

Postscript: As I conclude this article the car now has FIA papers and it has been exported to Italy, where it is eligible for the Mille Miglia – only two pre-war “standard” – exotica apart – MG models are eligible for this iconic motoring event; the L2 and the PB. Of the T-types, only the TB is eligible.

Ed’s note: Readers maywonder what happened to the T-Type records.

Most of the Triple-M records (in the form of a chassis file for each car) have survived, thanks to the vigilance of Mike Allison, who saved them from destruction. Unfortunately, the T chassis files, numbering over 50,000 (5 times as many as the Triple-M) were unable to be saved, as the time window for saving them was relatively short, and all were destroyed, probably around the late 1960s/early 1970s. 

The ‘Build Books’ which list chassis number, engine number and date of build (in effect, the Production Record) have, fortunately, survived and are held in the offices of the MG Car Club in Kimber House, Abingdon.

Altette Soundings!

Having browsed the Internet and watched various YouTube videos about Altette horn repair, it seemed to me that they are regarded with some trepidation. (YouTube video 1951 Vincent Rapide, Part 38).

This is worth watching as it describes visually what I am trying to say in this Altette guide.

I therefore hope that this description of my efforts may help some other enthusiast to pluck up courage and delve into the Altette horn.

I had the beaten up remains of a late Altette Horn HF1234 12 volt horn that I planned to use on my PB, however I understand that this type was fitted to very late TA/TB/TCs – not sure about this detail, but seems possible, so I thought that ‘Totally T-Type 2’ might be interested in my attempts to get this horn working.

Ed’s note: The HF1234 wascertainly fitted to the TC. The 1937 TA was fitted with HF934/2.

This type of Altette has a cast iron body and is a simplified version of the earlier horns of the same name, shape and style.

After dismantling the horn, I found that the points were not connected correctly i.e. leads broken and the insulated Tufnol terminal plate was cracked, and there was a flat cupped washer with a rubber insert rolling around on the inside of the casting without any apparent use?

The shims were non-existent.

The chrome bezel on my horn was extremely rusty and corroded, so I purchased a new bezel, new fixing bolts, Tufnol terminal plate and a set of shims from ‘Taff The Horn’. After reading through Taff’s website and the paperwork he sent to me with the parts, I realised that what I thought was going to be an easy job might be more difficult.

I decided to retain the rusty bezel and after de-rusting and resurfacing the pitted steel, I painted it chrome colour, just in case that it might be useful in the future (more of which later).

I then downloaded Lucas Equipment Workshop Instructions from the Internet www.mg-tabc.org/library/Altette_Horn.pdf  

This has all the technical information that you are likely to need when fixing these horns.

After de-rusting the cast iron body and un-seizing the fixing and adjusting screws on the rear of the body, I was ready to start rebuilding and here begins some of the conundrums. The Lucas Workshop Instructions did not “exactly” identify my particular model, therefore it is important to get to understand the principles of operation and then apply the knowledge to your particular horn.

On this particular Altette there are just 3 screws on the back, 2 small screws are side by side and they secure the points assembly to the base of the cast iron body, and 1 larger screw that “levels” the points (it does not “adjust” the points gap).

Picture 1 showing rear of Altette and the location of the screws referred to in the text.

The first check I carried out was to establish if the coil was any good by checking its resistance.

Connect your ohmmeter across the terminals and take a reading; according to the Lucas Workshop Instructions, our 12 volt version should read between 0.70 and 0.75 ohms. Assuming all is well, turn your attention to the inside of the horn casing.

The large screw on the reverse controls the “level” of the points, not the adjustment of the points gap; by turning the screw in or out you will see the points assembly tilting left or right, the object is to get them level within the body of the horn. At this point I realised what the cupped washer with the rubber insert was for. It fits on top of the adjusting screw and provides a cushion to prevent the screw damaging the electrical connection (I think that’s correct, otherwise I’m stumped!).

Picture 2 showing the cupped washer with the rubber insert.

Next job is to clean the points, these are clamped together with their appropriate flat springs. However, you will notice that there is a triangular Tufnol area with 2 tiny brass rivets attached and when this “ear” is pressed down with your finger, the points will be forced open and it’s possible to insert a strip of emery/wet and dry to clean the points.

Do not force the points open with a lever, just use finger pressure. If you break the points it’s game over and you will need new points – if you can find them!

Now it’s time to think of the shims! I did not have a clue as to “how many” I would need, so I opted for 3 thin ones (Taff supplied various thicknesses). Start with say 2 thin ones on the horn body, then fit the diaphragm. If you dismantled your Altette and shims were fitted, start your rebuild using them as they are a good starting point. Make sure you impregnate shims with Vaseline, don’t use gasket cement of any kind.

Bearing in mind how flimsy the shims are, it’s a good idea to use two 3/16 BSF studs screwed into the horn mounting holes on each side of the horn and fit the shims over them, this helps locate the shims and later the diaphragm.

Pic 3 – 3/16 BSF studs help locate the shims.

Having fitted the shims fit the armature, this has an aperture on two sides and it’s an easy matter to sit it into the larger magnet core face. Fit the diaphragm, making sum that the diaphragm is the correct way around; my opinion is that the convex side faces outwards i.e. the bulge around the rim of the diaphragm faces outwards (see next pic).

Diaphragm fitted – convex side facing outwards

Screw on the large lock nut, ensuring that diaphragm sits on the shallow ledge machined into the armature and fit the fixing bolts around the diaphragm and tighten them and then tighten the large lock nut.

Fit the points pushrod and its locknut into the armature and screw the pushrod in until you feel it “bottom” – do not over tighten. Hopefully you are now ready to make your first attempt to achieve a sound from your Altette.

Make sure that you use a 12v battery for testing and not a battery charger. I used a cheap 12-volt burglar alarm battery, being convenient and lightweight – at my age I find car batteries a bit too heavy for me.

Rig the 12-volt battery with a lead to one of the 2 terminals on your horn. Using the second lead from the battery gently touch the second terminal on the horn, if you do not get a sound do not hold the lead in contact – ‘Taff the Horn’ warns of this, over and over again – as you are likely to melt the points. At this stage they are probably closed i.e. no gap therefore “no sound.”

This is the point at which your patience is demanded, gently turn the screw half a turn and then touch the lead to the horn terminal. If no sound, try another turn and so on, always making sure that you do not touch the terminal for too long.

Assuming the you do not get a sound from the horn, dismantle the whole assembly, then fit an additional shim under the diaphragm and repeat the whole process!

Hopefully, after carrying out this exercise a couple of times i.e. adding shims, suddenly you get a strangled sound from your horn. Perhaps rather weak but nevertheless “a sound”. Now it’s a question of gently screwing the points push rod in or out until a reasonable sound is achieved, not forgetting to adjust the locknut up tight, as the points rod will quickly unscrew when the horn works. This surprised me as the operation of diaphragm is quite violent and unless the locknut is tightened you may lose it.

The points adjuster and locknut have a very fine thread and not easy to reproduce or find.

So, at last “It’s Alive” and now it’s a further exercise in patience. Find your bezel and make sure that it is still “round” and that there is no old paint or rusty bumps on the inside of the rim.

Also, find the orientation that the bezel was fitted; originally the Lucas logo was at the top, however some bezels have lost their surface finish and who knows where the logo was?

I found that my original bezel had been assembled for so long that it had taken its shape from the casting i.e. it fitted beautifully when using the fixing bolts that hold the horn to the bracket, however turning it one sixth and it did not fit!

Once again ‘Taff the Horn’ insists that the fit is close but not binding – remember that the diaphragm should be held firmly and softly by the shims and not clamped by the bezel in any way.

Once you have sorted your bezel it’s time to fit shims i.e. remove all of the perimeter fixing screws and place your chosen number of shims on top of the diaphragm (I ended with 3), fit the bezel and perimeter screws and tighten them carefully.

Go back to your battery rig and touch power to the terminal as before, do not be surprised if you get no response! Revert to the points adjuster and carefully go through the adjusting sequence again, you should soon get your sound back, it might sound puny and weak; it’s up to you to adjust until you get the sound that you think adequate.

Do not expect the mellow tone of the Twin Windtone with its High and Low horns, the sound from the Altette is harsh but insistent.

Assuming that all is well, fit the Tone Disc and the large dome cover nut, making sure that points locking nut is “locked”. Then try the horn again, it may sound fine — but then again it may not, so remove the Tone Disc and play with the adjuster until you can achieve a sound that suits you.

You can see from all of the above that every time that you tighten or fit components the points adjuster is affected i.e. the points have been opened or closed. The correct air gap between the Armature and the Magnet core face is 18 to 20 thou on our 12 volt Altette, but because it’s under the diaphragm it cannot be seen.

The Lucas Workshop instructions explains, how to measure the gap using a dial gauge. I did not want to spend even more time setting up a “rig” with a dial gauge to establish the gap and then find that I had to alter it to get a sound.

‘Taff the Horn’ suggests using an old bezel to avoid damaging your new chromed bezel whilst carrying out adjustments. Bearing in mind the number of times that the perimeter screws are fitted and then removed to fit shims etc that’s not a bad idea. By now, you should have a horn that works!!

I hope that this long explanation of my experiences with the Altette will help someone else to attempt to repair their rusty horn.

Please note that I am not an auto electrician or an expert in any way and also, I have no connection with ‘Taff the Horn’ other than being a satisfied client of his and appreciating his efforts to educate me in the operation of Altettes.

Russell Dade

More on Worn Front Axle Eyes

Since publication of Eric Worpe’s article in the previous issue of TTT 2 there have been a couple of comments as follows:

Peter Bick had a similar problem with a Jaguar with oval eyes and was told that braking causes the kingpin to rock forwards and backwards, inflicting more wear in the axle eye. When the cars were in production, Jaguar listed a .008” oversize kingpin, but now of course, these are generally unavailable.

However, he managed to find a NOS (new old stock) pair of kingpins, which he had hard chromed and then ground 0.10 inches oversize to fit the reamed axle eyes to suit.

While hard chroming the kingpin he also had a hole drilled and tapped at the top of it to take a 5/8 inch blot. A swaged wire strop was attached with an adjustable turnbuckle back to a bracket on the chassis so that now every time the brakes are applied this strop should stop the kingpin from moving forward.

From recent experience, Jeff Townsend confirms all of Eric Worpe’s findings relating to the sale of undersized kingpins in the UK. He says that while Eric was fitting new spindles to the stub axles of TA1957 he asked him if he could fit new kingpins and bushes at the same time. Having purchased a set from one of the trade suppliers, Eric found that the pins were up to 0.5 thou undersized. Further investigation indicated that pins from other suppliers might be the same.

It was indeed fortunate that Eric got to hear that Gerry Brown was having some 2 thou oversize pins made. Whilst the TA axle had been straightened and steering geometry reset as far as possible, the eyes were found to be slightly oversized. The oversized pins are now a good fit in the eyes.

Eric also fitted some original ‘wrapped’ (bi-metal) bushes, so the car is well engineered around the front hub area. In fairness to the undersized pins supplier, a no quibble full refund was offered and accepted.

Ed’s note: Eric is expecting delivery of the wrapped (bi-metal) bushes by the end of September. Price will be very competitive.

Front cover – TC4431 (MPA 894)

Chris Tinker, long time TC owner, uses his car far more than most. The front cover shows his car in front of the Café de Paris, Monte Carlo. Here’s a short account of the car’s history…

I’m back from a wonderful expedition this summer through France and on to the Piedmont area of North West Italy. To drive up to the world-famous Café de Paris, Monte Carlo has been a long-held ambition and MPA 894 was welcomed despite notices barring entry to this idyllic spot. The TC has driven admirably, with only a flat tyre and a snapped fan belt to hold me up. I sent John a photo or two and he kindly agreed to publish them, and asked for a short article on the car and my ownership. Thus a few words….

I bought it as my first car in 1972 for £450, in a driveable condition. It needed to be, being my sole means of transport. The first bill, from J J Silencer of Canterbury, was for an MOT in October that year, at a cost of £1.70 ……… I also have records in the front cover of my handbook of refuelling, and petrol averaged about 35 pence per gallon.

In early ownership I looked after everything despite not being an engineer, as so many current owners seem to be! According to my mother’s diary of those years, I spent literally hours under my car keeping her roadworthy.  The first matter was a slipping clutch! I had to remove the gearbox, and the handbook came in useful at that stage as did my Publican who had a gantry so that I could lift it out. I’d never even seen a clutch plate before. This was learning on the hoof!!

Further work on my own included keeping the bodywork in reasonable condition – I had a marvellous little Humbrol spray for patching up the lovely primrose yellow colour. This colour led, by the way, to the car’s name, the Noddy Car, as it is known to the family.

In the mid-seventies I see I used Octagon Sports Cars (London E17) for parts – as one example, a front spring cost me about £5.25 in 1974. So far as professional work was concerned, Toulmin were called in for some work as listed on an invoice I have – lots of work around the engine including water pump and carbs, and even a new brake master cylinder. The bill was a massive £122.97 so I must have been feeling rich!!

Looking through my log of the 80s, I managed to fit new big end shells and a new rear spring, performed a de-coke, rebuilt the carbs over one winter (much enjoyed that!) and so it goes on.  A decade later I remember fitting a new wiring loom.

The engine was reconditioned in 1979 by Baileys of Canterbury at a cost of £289 including parts, and has been twice since by Richard Coles of Coltec – I had a high lift cam for a while but it failed, and I decided to go back to standard. George Edney did his unleaded head conversion back in the ‘90s, and it has served me well ever since. Since my earlier efforts to maintain the paintwork, it has been professionally sprayed, 1980 and 1987. And then in 2010 I had a major rebuild by Tom Pizzey which included a further respray with the modern two-pack paint which continues to hold up very well.  For spares these days I am lucky to have NTG just down the road – they are friendly and efficient and I am a regular customer!

I have enjoyed many Continental holidays in the TC, visiting such places as Geneva, Lugano, Florence, Siena, Rome, our Honeymoon in Brittany/Paris – including parking right under the Eiffel Tower – and Christine and I have also driven through the Rioja valley and on to Salamanca and Madrid. Alpine passes conquered include the Simplon, the San Gotthardo, the Grimsel and the massive Stelvio.

Above:  At the Barolo vineyards above Alba (Italy) Below: by the coast at Antibes (France).

Of course, driving a TC is not always going to be without incident. Back in the earlier days I remember smoke rising from below me – this was not the usual smoke from some leaking oil, but white smoke!  I looked under, rather perturbed, to find that the blowing silencer had almost set the wooden floor just above it on fire! This was quickly extinguished, and I then applied some silver foil to the wood to prevent further potential fires until I returned home and fixed the exhaust.

On another occasion, a core plug fell out, leaving me without water. This was behind the carbs, so off they came by the roadside with emergency services rolling up to see what was the matter… I knocked in a new core plug, my co-driver acquired water from a nearby house, and we were off again within the hour. I do carry plenty of spares!! Lucky to have the core plugs though.

Other problems have included a piston blown at the top due to running with too weak a mixture, a blown head gasket (just last year in France!!), a snapped fan belt and rather more flat tyres than I would like.

I also had a leaking joint on the oil pump to filter pipe quite recently near Orleans, and made up my own washer with some old inner tube I always carry. It is still fine, so I’m leaving it alone! The only really alarming failure was the steering box drop arm – fortunately at a very slow speed in a Devonshire village

This summer I topped 150,000 miles, and as I spent three years out of the country, this comes out at about 3,500 a year.  I never completely lay the car up as I like to take advantage of those dry sunny winter days (often February) to go out for a run and let the cool dry air blow through the vehicle just in case any condensation has been encroaching. And I usually have a Christmas day drive.

Chris out in Provence within the last 6 weeks.

I intend to plan further expeditions and would love to join another Autumn Tour (TTT 2 or T Register) though dates are difficult for me. However, I actually hosted one once (based near Ipswich) and my wife and I joined a Yorkshire one a few years back based at my birthplace Skipton. So, onwards and forwards – (not upwards yet I hope!) –  I love driving my first car and will continue to make much use, sometimes daily again maybe, of this treasure.

Ed’s note: I think this is a perfect example of man and car in harmony.

When Chris’ mother was alive and living in Bude, Cornwall, Chris used to call in on us for lunch and a chat, having set out from Ipswich in the TC that morning. Suitably fed and watered he then set off for Bude.

Ipswich to Bristol is just over 200 miles; Bristol to Bude is around 130 miles.

You can do it in a TC!

SU Fuel Pump Types

Having recently changed the SU pump on my TF1500, (the previous owner had asked a garage to fit a new pump and a late MGB pump had been fitted, which was not to my liking) I did some research on the Internet and found the following:

L (low pressure pumps) – These are found on the T-Series (TA, TB, TC, TD and early TF) and earlier MGs.

They develop up to 1.5 psi and have a flow rate of 1.3 pints per minute (9.6 gallons per hour).

HP (high pressure pumps) – These are found on late TF, MGA, Z Magnette and early MGBs.

They are the same outline and size as the low pressure pumps or sometimes come with a longer coil housing (referred to as a High Pressure/Long Body pump).

They develop up to 2.7 psi and have a flow rate of 1.1 pints per minute (8.4 gallons per hour).

LCS pumps – These were used on the MGA Twin Cam and on the Austin Healey.

They use the long coil body of the High Pressure/Long Body pump and have a large, rectangular pump body on them.

They develop up to 3.8psi and have a flow rate of 2 pints per minute (15 gallons per hour).

AUF 300 series pumps – (now AZX 1300 series) – These are found on all of the later MGBs plus many British cars of the 1960s and later.

They have what is called a “plain air bottle” on the inlet side and a flow-smoothing device on the delivery side.

They develop up to 2.7psi (AZX 1307) or 3.8 psi (AZX 1308) and a flow rate of 2.4 pints per minute (18 gallons per hour) for both types.

My car was fitted with an AZX 1307.

The Way We Were – our TD love story

(Mike & Fran Johnson) MGCC-Cape Town Centre

From childhood Dinky toy days, it was my desire to own an MG. Although there were many other makes, the name MG seemed to be the car synonymous with the term ‘sports car’. In December 1963 at the end of my first year as a poorly paid apprentice, I managed to have saved some money and assisted by my mother with a reluctant loan, I bought my red TD for R320 (then about PDS160). A joyous moment and that first drive home from in a howling south east gale is today clearly embedded in my memory.

The price of the car soon faded but the loan share had to be repaid and in the coming months there were times when I could not afford petrol, which was as I recall, about R3.60 (PDS1.8) to fill the tank. Nevertheless, I was driving my dream and enjoying every moment behind the wheel or under the bonnet. It was particularly sporty driving with the windscreen down and too poor for the luxury of aero-screens which perhaps explains my hairless crown today.

Lunch time on Cape Town’s own Daytona Beach – 1964

Bloubergstrand Cape Town – 1974

At the time of buying the MG, a sweet 12 year old girl named Frances, lived across the road from me. Some 5 years later she started taking a rather keen interest in both the MG and its owner. Thus, began the ‘romantic period’ and the TD, now sprayed racing green became known as ‘Cosy’ for obvious reasons! On 6th February 1971, 50% ownership of my TD was unwittingly relinquished to the ‘girl across the road’ at our wedding ceremony. Later that evening our ‘Cosy’ took us for a short honeymoon to Stellenbosch.

As time moved on, the TD saw only occasional use due to my marine career, purchase of our home and a growing family naturally took precedence. Dear old ‘Cosy’ showed her displeasure at this neglect and eventually refused to budge from the garage due to major defects. Sadly, this is where she then reclined for the next 33 years, but thankfully was not sold, as so often happens.

Eventually restoration began in earnest in 2007/8. After so many idle years and living near the salty air seaside the car was indeed in a sorry state. Those who have tackled a complete restoration know the frustration and disappointment experienced during the course of the project. However, perseverance pays and the end result is an incredible sense of job satisfaction, achievement and pride.

Having owned our now Clipper blue TD for 55 years and after so many years off the road we are once again, at every opportunity, enjoying the soothing exhaust burble taking us back to our younger years.

Who says a ‘love triangle’ will not stand the test of time?

Above: The way we were – the 3 newly weds 1971. Below: The way we are now – still the 3 newly weds 2019.

Fuel supply modifications to a TC

Having grown tired of attempts to get his SU petrol pump working reliably, Steve Priston decided to fit a Facet pump. Here’s what was involved….

Having had the standard AUA 25, SU fuel pump fail on my TC, I tried to cure its reluctance to keep going by fitting some new contacts; but the best that I could get from it was something that must have sounded like a WW2 airborne dog fight, in the distance. Unfortunately for me, despite hours of persevering with the diaphragm positions, the guns kept stopping briefly, as the SU tried to save its ammo!

The pump had caused problems before, by the tell-tale chewed-up screw heads, so it was time for a replacement; but rather than blindly fitting the same thing, it was time for some research to see what other people had been doing to their cars.

A Riley man, a friend of a friend, had fitted a modern, American made Facet fuel pump, by his tank, with a return fuel line, back from the engine bay, connected to the tank’s filler neck. This worked for him, despite not having a regulator or even a flow restrictor on its return line.

A very good friend, a V8 Morgan owner, had fitted his Facet pump, also close to the fuel tank, but this time a pressure regulator, made by Malpassi was used. This was able to regulate the supply pressure, having a range of between 1.5 & 5 psi, easily adjusted, via a top mounted screw, with a lock nut. He had seen the fuel boiling, in the glass filter bowl on his regulator, whilst positioned under the bonnet, so had moved it to the rear of his car, near the pump!

This second version seemed to be the way to go, not having to worry about a return line to the tank, but just requiring a means of mounting the two major components close to the TC’s tank; however not too close, in the case of the regulator, which was not going to have a filter.

I don’t like drilling extra holes in anything, if it can be avoided, so after much head scratching, with the new pump being offered about, I decided that I would use the nearside rear axle bump stop fixing holes. I then cobbled-up an alloy bracket, from a piece of off cut angle, mounting it under the top of the chassis rail to be held in place by the nuts of the bump stop bracket.

In this picture you can see the alloy bracket (shown in the previous picture) secured in position by the nuts of the bump stop bracket. Once secured, it acts as the mounting bracket for the pump.

An overhead view of the arrangement.

Apparently there is a preferred way to mount this type of pump, to avoid any issues with cavitation, which is for the flow to be upwards and for the pump to be at a 45 degree angle. So that was my target, proving to be ideal for connecting to the existing copper line, from the tank, which travels along the outside of the nearside chassis rail.

The pump in question is listed as negative earth, as I believe are all of their pumps, but this could be overcome by using rubber mounting blocks, along with plain, non-conductive rubber tubing. In fact, this model has a plastic outer casing and when I put a meter across the inlet filter/outlet hose tails, there was no continuity.

The regulator comes with its own bracket, which requires bending so that it remains horizontal when screwed to the plywood as shown; the use of a 90 degree hose tail, making for a good alignment, with the copper fuel line, which needs about 18 inches cutting out under the axle, with a little bending to suit.

The pressure regulator screwed to the ply behind the lower part of the seat back backrest.

Of course, it will need wiring and a 5-amp fuse, which to me is not my bag but had to be done whilst laying on my back, when an ice cream would have struggled to melt quicker than I was!

Having altered the float chamber tops some time earlier (see later text), it raised concerns over the possibility of rupturing part of the fuel supply system after the pump, especially above that damned exhaust, should the car be involved in a frontal impact, so I have fitted a second-hand inertia switch, from a Rover. I think that the same model is used on many cars but I doubt they are fitted just up the back of the dash, on the passenger’s side.

I remember hearing about the position used by Ford, in their early Mondeo estate cars, not enjoyed by a friend, with a fully loaded boot, when he stalled it so violently, that the switch was activated, in heavy traffic, on a motorway!

I would say that this is all straight forward work, best undertaken when the weather is a little cooler so the sweat doesn’t fill the lenses of your glasses! 

Sourcing the parts

Once again ‘good old’ eBay again came into its own to find what I needed cheaply and to get it quickly. Surprisingly, the cost of all this lot is similar to or cheaper than, that of an original type SU pump but the Facet was only £32 including postage, rated at 6,000 hours.

A Facet PRO243-K pump.

A Malpassi FSEFPR008B regulator, with 8mm hose tails.

A pair of Syntec FPA rubber mounts, although longer ones would be an advantage.

A pair of Syntec NPT Fine, 90 degree, 8mm hose tails.

Some 8mm / 5/16″ bore non-overbraided fuel hose and clips.

Prior to this pump replacement, I had already decided to see what I could do to improve matters with hot fuel under the bonnet. The fuel hoses to the twin carburettors were re-routed by swapping the float chamber tops over. This enabled me to run the feed to the front float chamber around the back of the air cleaner, so that being nearer the bonnet louvres, it was away from being directly above the exhaust manifold.

Re-routing of the fuel hoses to keep the carb to carb hose as far away as possible from the exhaust manifold.

I also wondered why the hoses from the SU pump and between the float chambers, were such a large bore size, when later cars employing a similar SU set-up, had either 1/4″ or 3/16″ bore tubing. So, I made some new hoses in 6mm bore, reducing the hose stored fuel volume, by around 40% per inch, but now with a further reduction as a result of removing the contents inside the SU pump as well.

Ed’s note: The old fuel hoses which were replaced using new hoses of a 6mm bore had a bore size of 8mm. Steve now has a 35 inch length of fuel hose under the bonnet, instead of a 29 inch length.

The above, to my mind could only but help with the problem of vapour lock, caused by so much fuel being heated under the bonnet, as its volume has been reduced. The smaller bore hoses also increase the fuel velocity from the pump so it is not exposed to the heat for so long either; at least that is my view!

To finish off, I saw the original mounting position for the SU pump, to be where logically, the coil should now be mounted, no longer tucked partially behind the rocker cover and in a position that nicely disguises the missing pump from the bulk head, and also nearer to the louvres.

The coil now re-positioned to where the SU pump was originally located.

Since this work, I have adjusted the fuel regulator a couple of times, now being just two turns up, from being fully home, having only five turns of adjustment.

The engine idles beautifully, especially when hot and I have now adopted a way of starting the car, after it has been parked for as long as it takes to eat a nice cake and ‘down’ a decent coffee. This is to simply to pull the starter, then let it idle for a few moments, whilst the oil pressure goes up, before driving away, hopefully now without any drama or embarrassment.

Connecting up the coil

Steve Priston alerted me to the following details about connections to the coil.

Firstly, his experience of the running of his TC before and after the coil connections were swapped and secondly, John Saunders’ technical explanation.

Over to Steve………

“My 1948 TC did not like climbing the last part of a local, long but gradual incline, something that I had attributed to the much talked about modern fuel related problems.

It would easily maintain just over 3000 rpm, for two thirds, to three quarters of the climb, then really protest, causing me to rapidly lift off the accelerator, then after a short pause, gradually re-apply it, in doing so, losing a lot of momentum but all seemed well again.

I experienced this in a more dramatic way, when climbing another long hill but this time, requiring the use of third gear, holding 3500rpm, for the duration of the climb, knowing that the under-bonnet temperature would be high, again thinking fuel was the cause.

Then, as we have been experiencing higher ambient temperatures, my previously smooth engine, had developed a noticeable but slight harshness, felt through the accelerator pedal, when cruising on the flat, at 50mph, which earlier in the year, had certainly not been the case.

Having previously been assisted by John Saunders, drawing on his experience gained from living with a TC, I contacted him for his thoughts on my problems. I was quite taken aback by his response and the speed with which it was given and I immediately went to the car, still with him on the phone, with a torch and mirror in the other hand, to see how my coil was wired.

The phone was left on the battery box lid, for a moment, whilst I checked and sure enough, based on John’s own findings, my coil was wired incorrectly!

A couple of days later, having come off shift, I swapped the wires to the coil and out I went, heading for that damn hill again. No problems this time or traces of harshness from the engine – what a relief and thanks to John Saunders for the correct diagnosis.

I then delved through the paperwork, that had come with the car, to see when the coil was last replaced and who was responsible. It turned out to be the same company, that I discovered had claimed to have also replaced the condenser, which was definitely still the one fitted at the factory or by Lucas, by the superb standard of soldering!

The receipt was from 14 years ago, the car having covered 4000 miles like it, so I decided to treat it to a new Bosch coil, from Euro Car Parts, costing £20, just for peace of mind.”

Ed’s note: John Saunders‘ technical explanation and a diagram follows:

When the MG TC was new, if an ignition coil was to be retired for any reason, the replacement coil would be marked SW (for switch) on the low tension terminal receiving current, at 12 volts, from the battery negative terminal, through the ignition switch.

The other low tension terminal would be marked CB (contact breaker) and would be connected to the distributor low tension terminal, and thus grounded intermittently through the CB to the positive vehicle earth (see the diagram which follows).All this is well known and is not disputed or controversial.

Now step forward to modern times when all new vehicles are negative earth, and you will find, unless you buy a special coil marked SW and CB, that the coil low tension terminals are marked + and -. You will normally not receive with your purchase an illustration showing the coil internal electrical circuit arrangement as in the diagram which follows.

You will probably and understandingly connect the negative low tension coil terminal to the 12 volt negative supply terminal and the positive coil terminal to the positive distributor terminal. This is perfectly logical, but for any positive earth vehicle (e.g. MG TA, TB and TC) is exactly WRONG!

The reason is that when the coil terminal marked

“–“ is fed directly from the battery, via the ignition switch, the coil primary winding carries the full battery output to earth, through the contact breaker, with a higher current load the faster the car is run. This quickly leads to significant overheating of the coil and missing ignition pulses, and ultimately to an internal short circuit in the high tension coil and complete coil failure. This has happened to me twice, necessitating a tow home by a friendly neighbor each time.

So, what’s to do? Very simple; ignore the polarity markings on the new coil and install it with its “+” side toward the battery/ignition switch supply side and the “–“ terminal connecting with the distributor (CB). When the LT terminals are connected in this fashion, the current is fed to both the low tension LT coil and to the high tension HT coil, by the internal design in approximately equal proportions, thus halving the LT heating effect.

It will pay to check the resistance between the low tension terminals. For a TC in normal use, i.e. no competition, using about 5,200 RPM as a maximum, the resistance should be around 3.3 to 3.6 ohm. If it is about 2.6 ohm, as my new coil, use a ballast resistor; I have 0.8 ohm ballast fitted. An LT resistance of about 3.6 ohm should be fine for a normally used TC.

You can check coil temperature with your hand; warm to very warm is fine, too hot to touch is trouble.

Supercharging an MG TD – a follow up

It is about 9 years since I installed a supercharger on my 1953 TD and once fitted I wrote an article for TT Type 2 (August 2011} and the Octagon Bulletin (October and November 2011}. Nothing technical but just a record of my experiences and thoughts.

The supercharger and fittings were supplied by Steve Baker and we fitted it together. I say “we” but in reality, he did 80% of the work and I acted as apprentice mechanic and second pair of hands.

Subsequently I met Steve and his son Luke at the Stoneleigh MG event about 4 years ago when my car was on the MG Octagon Car Club stand. We had a good chat, during which time I promised to write a follow up article. This is it, albeit a bit later than intended! Rather than repeat what was written previously I thought that answers to the questions I get asked most frequently might be of more interest.

Why did you fit one?

As a kid I read all of Ian Flemings’ James Bond novels and the books mentioned the whine of the supercharger on Bond’s old Bentley. It sounded very exotic to me and that sparked the wish to one day own a car with one fitted.

What preparation was necessary?

The engine had not done too many miles since a rebuild so the compression was checked. As all cylinders were pretty much the same the only additional work was to replace the core plugs after thoroughly flushing the engine and radiator. I added a second fuel pump to mirror the TD MarkII layout, but in hindsight this was not necessary as a single pump would have coped. The gear box was rebuilt at the same time as this had been playing up.

Did you upgrade the brakes?

No, the twin leading shoe system on the car has been quite adequate for road use.

What maintenance does it require?

The unit fitted is an Eaton 45 and does not require any particular maintenance. As a precaution I do check the drive belt and all the pulleys and fittings regularly.

Why did you choose this supercharger?

I set out to get a period Shorrocks but couldn’t find one. This was available and as a complete kit, which is well engineered. Also, it looks very similar to a Shorrocks and coupled with the fact the maintenance regime is negligible, made the choice a simple one.

Has it impacted fuel consumption?

The simple answer is yes. Driving sensibly the car will return a little over 30 mpg. However, that doesn’t happen very often as it is far too much fun not to drive enthusiastically.

What is it like driving the car with a supercharger?

Not surprisingly, the acceleration is much improved and so is the torque, making the driving easier, perhaps requiring fewer gear changes. The normal engine running temperature has dropped from around 85 degrees to 78-80. It rarely gets above 85 even on a hot day or after a fast run. Starting in winter requires full choke but only for a very short while and in the summer very little, if any. Otherwise the TD gives the same pleasurable drive as always. The supercharger does whine, but quietly and only at higher revs.

Have you fitted a 5-speed gearbox or altered the differential to reduce the rev’s at higher speeds?

Not yet. I have been contemplating fitting a 5-speed gearbox for a while but haven’t found the time (nor the cash) to carry out the work. That job may have to wait until retirement.

Would you ever revert to the standard carburettor set up?

Not if can help it!

Colin Hooper August 2019

Colin’s TD pictured at a show soon after the supercharger was fitted.

Steve Baker’s website is: https://stevebakermg.co.uk

Details of the Eaton supercharger are as follows:

Eaton M45 XPAG Supercharger Kit. £3,650.00 inclusive of VAT. The kit is supplied with fitting instructions and includes all necessary parts for installation, including a 1.5 rebuilt SU carburetor. The kit is set up for 6lbs boost suitable for fast road use.

Steve asks that you contact him in the first instance before ordering online.