Welcome to Issue 7! After producing (the now defunct) Totally T-Type (TTT) for six years I am starting my second year with Totally T-Type 2. A four year stint as Editor of the Octagon Car Club Bulletin in the late ‘nineties’ /early ’noughties’ confirms that either I am a glutton for punishment or I have it in my blood, but perhaps the common denominator is the love affair with the cars?
When I started editing the Octagon Bulletin in late 1997 it would have been unthinkable to have produced a primarily web-based magazine and even by January, 2004 when TTT was born “my baby” would not have enjoyed the instant success it did if it had been offered as a primarily web-based publication.
Times change (not always to our liking, but it doesn’t pay to swim against the tide!) and I hear that E-books have overtaken print sales in the US. On the basis that if the US sneezes, we across the ‘pond’ catch a cold, the writing is on the wall for print sales in the UK.
Of course, there will always be a demand for the printed copy and I will continue to offer this option for TTT 2 for as long as the customers ask for it. Indeed, if anybody would like to become a ‘hard’ copy subscriber then you only have to contact me through the Contact Form of this website.
I recently had a productive meeting with my Member of Parliament on the subject of E10 fuel. Naturally, it certainly helped to discover that he is the owner of a 1936 Bentley! He was very well briefed on the subject and considered that the European Union might well start to have doubts as to the wisdom of its pro E10 policy against the background of high food prices and difficulties in satisfying demand for food on a global basis. I’ve received a follow up letter from him and he has promised to write again when he has received a reply from the Minister at the Department of Transport.
As a follow on, I hear that a recent report by a number of high powered agencies, including the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations (UN), urges the end to biofuel subsidies.
Whether or not biofuel remains in favour is in the lap of the gods but at least the case for the subsidies it currently enjoys is beginning to be questioned and without subsidies the proposition is nowhere near as attractive.
Whilst listening to the radio the other day I heard that the State of Nevada is considering bringing forward legislation to allow for driverless cars – I’m sure that it wasn’t a figment of my imagination but I thought I also heard that the only reported accident to date was caused by a driven car hitting a driverless one!
On the subject of accidents and insurance, it has been widely reported that Insurance Companies in the UK lost £2bn last year on car insurance as bodily injury claims soared. Inevitably, increased premiums will soon recover the loss, but I fail to see why classic car insurance needs to be caught up in the mix. I don’t know about you folks in the UK but my classic car premium increased noticeably this year over last.
As UK owners will know, ‘Agreed Value’ policies require an independent valuation, which normally holds good for two or three years. I have been asked to do a couple of valuations recently and have duly obliged. I don’t ask for a fee, but a small donation to the ‘hard’ copy fund of TTT 2 is appreciated.
I was delighted to receive a copy of Doug Pelton’s new catalogue recently. It really is an impressive document and comes highly recommended by me. You can order a copy, or can download it at http://fromtheframeup.com/default.aspx
Here’s what Doug says about it:
Please note: My catalog has been a work in progress for over 4 years. I have finally completed the major components identifying almost every item on the TC down to the last little screw. Although it is referred to as a catalog, it is actually written to serve as a technical manual.
If you are restoring a TC, this is a must have document as it includes assembly orders, parts identification tips, cross references, comparison pricing, Tech Tips, originality information and much much more.
Finally, Dennis Dunstan has asked for assistance in identifying the following part:
Can anybody help, please?
DISCLAIMER BY THE EDITOR
Totally T-Type 2 is produced totally on a voluntary basis and is available on the website www.ttypes.org on a totally FREE basis. Its primary purpose is to help T-Type owners through articles of a technical nature and point them in the direction of recommended service and spares suppliers.
Articles are published in good faith but I cannot accept responsibility or legal liability and in respect of contents, liability is expressly disclaimed.
Through the years, many parts have migrated between models, to include the dash instruments. It was a bitter realization that TC7670 had MGA gauges as part of a classic 60’s restoration. So the hunt was on from the start to find an original set of gauges for my car. Today the same hunt continues for others. But what do you need to look for? And how do you identify a proper TC instrument? The answer lies in the face.
Below is a summary of the face markings for each instrument.
Speedo: BRITISH JAEGER / S. 461 / 1675 / MILES PER HOUR
S.461 is the original part number. 1675 represents the internal gearing or cable turns per mile (TPM). The later TD speedo is often found in the TC because it appears to be correct with the “flat face”. However, it has the markings of S561 and 1600.
The #1600 is very telling and should be a red flag for TC owners. This # highlights that the TPM is calibrated for TD. If used in a TC, your indicated speed will be wrong. Also, for those that have changed the rear axle gear ratio in your TC, the speed may be in error also. To solve this problem, a repair shop can recalibrate the internal gearing to your specific car.
Finally, some export models were calibrated for kilometers per hour (KPH) instead of MPH and the faces reflected this.
Tach: BRITISH JAEGER / K.30
Primary TC identification is made with the K30. Often, this particular instrument gets confused with the very similar TD tach face with K45. The TC/TD clock faces are also the same. However, the TC clock has an extended stem below the dash for reset. The TD clock stem is on the back of the clock.
Amp: Early & Late Faces
a. MADE BY JOSEPH LUCAS Ltd BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND / AMPS / -20 to +20 (early TC) b. AMPS / -20 to +20 (Late TC)
The above early markings were also common to the pre-war TA/TB gauges except that they had AMPERES spelled out. During the post-war period this was shortened to “AMPS”. The transition to the late face occurred at an unknown time, (1946-47?), when the Joseph Lucas markings at the top of the gauge were dropped. The face then took on a “plain” appearance with only AMPS and +/- 20. This same gauge carried over into early TD production. Then there was a final variation changing the range to +/- 30 for the later TD. Today, many restored instruments proudly display the Lucas markings.
Oil Pressure: LBS. PER SQUARE INCH / BRITISH JAEGER / 45854 (X45854)
The oil gauge will generally spark a discussion as there are sightings of 3 different oil gauge faces. (Please reference the oil gauge photo to follow the following points.) TA/TB oil gauges had the # 45854. This numbered face continued well into TC production with a confirmed sighting in early 1948. At some later time an “X” was placed on the number as a prefix yielding “X45854”. Other markings remained the same. Finally, a 3rd oil face followed which added “Made in England” at the top and a new number “OG/54” under the needle. The X45854 remained but was relocated on the bottom of the dial. The telling fact for this face is that OG/54 was the newer British Jaeger “replacement code” for the oil gauge. This 3rd face would be considered an aftermarket item.
Today, if you are looking for instruments, be happy with what you find as they are becoming more difficult to locate. However, if you are trying to restore the instruments as appropriate for your TC then face the facts and consider the above information.
As always, I welcome comment. Doug Pelton, doug ‘at’ fromtheframeup.com
Acknowledgements: A special thanks to John Marks, Vintage Restorations and Fred Kuntz & Craig Seabrook, Whitworth shop for sharing their knowledge about our gauges.
Editor’s Note: Thank you Doug – as always meticulously researched and with wonderful photographs.
Mention of John Marks in the acknowledgments reminds me that it would be useful and complementary to Doug’s article to follow on with a piece written by John about the colour of TC instruments which appeared sometime back in The Sacred Octagon. I have John’s permission to do so. Apologies in advance to those who have read the article before!
There has been great discussion from all quarters for a long time regarding the colour of M.G. dials. As my company has had a considerable hand in the matter, I think it may be helpful to give some of the historical details which have resulted in the colour you have all seen for many years.
As you may know, my business started from a hobby back in the late sixties. At that time Thomas Richfield Ltd traded in Broadstone Place, London, and being part of the Smith Group of companies, quite a lot of repair work was sent from the Smith works in Oxgate Lane, Cricklewood, down to Richfields. Smiths repaired and built new gauges; for example, pressure and temperature for TC, albeit with “half” pointers, whilst Richfield concentrated on Speedometers and Revolution Counters, clock cables and so on. At that time no one company dealt with a ‘set’ of dashboard instruments, switches, lamps etc. This is where we started, and later christened our company ‘The Complete Dashboard Service’.
Historically, Lucas usually obtained the electrical work contract for many British motor car builders; Riley, Singer, Lea Francis and M.G. to name but a few. With this contract, for some reason, they also provided the ammeter, lamps, warning lamps and panels. So, all who search for British Jaeger original ammeters, will not find them! How difficult it must have been for Lucas to spray and print dials to match Smiths; unfortunately I have not been able to discover who did what and where!
One therefore had the choice of Smiths or Richfields for gauge and speedometer work with a number of gaps in between, like the ammeter, which is where we came in.
Now, regarding paint; the original Smiths equipment schedules 1937 to 1939 describe the TA/TB colour as Avon GREEN. The TC is described as Avon GREEN, Polychromatic enamel, all of which was in fact the early days of metallic paints, which as you know are notorious for pigment fading; this still applies today, as you can often tell a modern car has been partly resprayed by the mismatch of depth of colour.
Around 1969/70 Smiths were pad printing replacement dials in green metallic paint, which were produced by an Ault and Wiborg colour matching machine operated by a company nearby to the Oxgate Lane factory, for speedometers and revolution counters and 2” gauge dials…..but….no ammeters! At that time we started stamping out our own ammeter dial blanks, and with the co-operation of Smiths, obtained the same paint code and purchased the same cellulose paint from their supplier. We were very lucky to purchase the last remaining BM ammeter bezels, after which the tooling was broken up. We had about 800 at the time and finished up restoring batches of 25 with new bezels for Gerry Goguen of Abingdon Spares. Oh, to still have some left!
We understand from a colleague who spent many years at both Smiths and Richfields, that the Avon Green paint code was still current in most major manufacturers’ details in the late sixties. Due to rationalisation, and deterioration of old printing plates, some of the gauge codes were a later variant, but in order to obtain a complete set to the same colour it was necessary for us to follow what Smiths had chosen as their interpretation of the original Avon Green – not blue, bluey silver or anything else – but Green!
Gradually Smiths took less and less interest in manufacturing and restoration work, until they finally closed and stripped the factory in early 1984, destroying and sending off for scrap metal huge quantities of material, instruments complete, components and tooling, selling the shelving and machinery in a very sad sale which we attended. The roof was finally removed to comply with requirements to no longer pay council taxes and was very quickly followed by demolition and redevelopment of the site.
The instrument division producing more modern instruments was sold to Lucas, who located at a plant in Wales. About the same time Thomas Richfield Ltd was sold to Speedograph in Nottingham, who still trade as Speedograph Richfield Ltd. Richfield continued to trade in London for a few more years before locating in Nottingham.
So, in the early seventies Green was Green, and we began filling in the gaps and providing the complete service. If you ordered from Smiths, Richfield, Nisonger in New York, Abingdon, Moss, or us, an extra gauge, the chances were it would be a match to the set. This we believe worked extremely well. We saw no reason to do further research and create another colour. As time passed we built more tooling for dial blanks and purchased printing equipment to enable us to create our own sets of dials as it became increasingly difficult to obtain anything from Smiths, as they reduced this side of their work. We received a considerable amount of help, technical advice, drawings, and on the closure of the factory, many equipment schedules, and instruments ‘Standards’ from them, and were also allowed to purchase a printing machine that had been taken to Wales and not used, allowing us to continue the same printing procedures. The instruments ‘Standards’ books enable us to determine which vehicle they were used on, together with build and calibration detail.
In the early days of MG instrument restoration the lead was taken by Smiths and what followed was a continuation of their decisions based on their own experience and factory records. We have to the best of our ability followed these principles. In later years the British Jaeger trademark was not maintained and after thirty plus years of trading and respecting the quality of the marks we have been allowed to resurrect the Trade Mark in our name at the Patent Office. So I feel we have achieved something, even if the subject of the colour rumbles on!
I hope this will go some way to explaining the reasons why the present colour is as it is.
Ed’s Note: As you may have gathered, John wrote this when Vintage Restorations was ‘in full swing’.
The title has been taken from an article in ‘New Zealand Classic Car’ magazine, which appeared in the April 2007 edition. I am very grateful to its Editor, Allan Walton for giving me permission to use material and photos from the article.
How did this come about? Well, earlier this year, Brian Rainbow, with whom I share a Stand every year at MG Spares Day in Stoneleigh, had just come back from the New Zealand Pre-56 Rally and was telling me all about it when we were setting up the Stand. “You should have seen this immaculate MG TB there!” he said. Brian went on to describe the car in detail, which whetted my appetite and always being on the look out for articles, I asked him if he would put me in touch with the owner.
Brian contacted the TB’s owner, Frank Langridge, who was most accommodating and readily agreed to help. Frank explained that he would first need to clear lines with New Zealand Classic Car and when he had done this he sent me a CD with the magazine article reproduced, along with the photos used for the article and a whole host of photos of his restoration. Talk about manna from heaven!
TB0415, fitted with engine no. XPAG 658 came off the Abingdon production line on 28th June, 1939.
Its history is known virtually from day one. Reputedly it was the last private car to be imported to New Zealand before hostilities prevented further imports. Two weeks after the commencement of WW II this TB was still on the water, on its way to New Zealand.
On hearing the news that war had broken out, the captain of the ship bringing the car decided he risked less by carrying on to New Zealand than he did by turning around and returning to England. What became of the boat after that is not known.
Dominion Motors, the MG importer at the time, displayed the car at the Wellington NZ Centenary Exhibition in 1940, and then sold it to its first private owners, the Buchanan sisters.
In 1946 the car changed hands and Bert Wheeler took over the ownership. Bert and the TB regularly appeared at race meetings at Wigram as well as Tahuna Beach and in the Otago/Southland hill climb championships, as well as other venues, winning many trophies. He also added a supercharger to the car and continued to race it after he had started a family – fulfilling the car’s family role by the simple expedient of converting the MG into a four seater!
At this time, the car was tended and tuned by no less than Sybil Lupp, who convinced Bert she could make the car go faster without the supercharger fitted. Sybil and her husband were instrumental in starting the MG Car Club NZ in 1951 – and Bert was one of the first members. Bert continued racing the car until about 1961.
Ed’s Note: Sybil Lupp first started racing in a TA and later raced a supercharged TC. She then raced Jaguars but always had a soft spot for MGs. A legend in NZ Motorsport and a garage proprietor and skilled mechanic, she set the South Island speed record at 102.27 mph in May, 1950 in a flying-start quarter-mile event. Read about her athttp://www.motorsport.org.nz/sybil-lupp-remembered-at-manfeild
Quite a find
Frank Langridge became the TB’s 10th owner, discovering the car’s chassis hanging on a wall in the basement of an Auckland house in 1976. A search under the rest of the house uncovered an engine half buried in earth, along with the rest of the powertrain. Amazingly, all the serial numbers matched the chassis. This was quite a find. Bert Wheeler’s four-seat body was more or less intact, but in very poor condition, and the upholstery was missing.
That was, however, far from the worst news. Given time to inspect the chassis and find a little about its history, Frank learned that it had been rolled at least three times, and had suffered a major T-bone collision. This meant that none of the panels were the correct shape, as the chassis was considerably shortened on one side, and the repair work was not the best either.
If Frank wasn’t the country’s authority on MG TB originality before he started the project, he certainly is now. He obtained a set of Factory body drawings and build sheets and corresponded around the world with as many acknowledged authorities as he could find, as well as extensively researching other Factory publications and data.
Frank pulled the chassis apart and rebuilt it using new hot rivets. When I say that Frank rebuilt this car himself, I don’t mean he bought bits and put them on – he found early on that many of the pattern parts that are available today are of less-than-best quality. As a result, he manufactured many parts from scratch, using the Factory drawings, and that included remaking the springs from spring steel and having them tempered.
Frank learned many of his skills from a course on car restoration and panel beating at Manukau Polytech. The fact that he was there for eight years doesn’t mean that he was a slow learner, but does mean that he learned a lot.
Frank insisted that the intricate detail should be correct, so he enlisted the help of his friend, Keith Dodge, from the Alvis Club. Trained as an engineer in the RNZAF, Keith made up some beautiful little punch and die sets to arrive at the correct shapes for trim detail. Keith roughed out brass stock on a milling machine to make the windscreen side arms, with Frank hand filing the brass to achieve an authentic final form. Even the windscreen wipers were rebuilt using sheet brass, with the precision-machined components done by Keith.
The late, great Max Mumby – a master in the art of forming panels – handled some of the more difficult compound curves of the MG’s new panels and, in the process, gave Frank the benefit of his vast experience. However, to a large extent the MG’s panels are all Frank-built. The fuel tank and guards were repairable, as were the headlights. In fact, Frank got so good at repairing headlights he started a small business beating old headlights back into shape.
All the other panels were made from stock steel. Frank made the bonnet skins beautifully flat and straight, then found when he put the hinges in the panels were no longer perfectly flat – so he remade them all over again!
Bob Pearson at Otahuhu Chrome Platers must like Frank. Bob does a great job of chroming but he didn’t have to polish the parts that Frank took to him – Frank preferring to handle the polishing himself.
Most of the car’s brackets were remade in Frank’s workshop, as he had become a proficient welder – he also made the hood frames himself and most of the trim panels, finding that parts available from overseas just did not fit. The hood trimming, though, was beyond Frank, but he found someone who could meet his standards – Basil Shailer (of Len Shailer Ltd) in Palmerston North. Frank shipped the body down to Palmerston North and received it back within three weeks – absolutely perfect, every press stud requiring equal pressure to snap it in place, and not a crease or lump to be found, whether the hood was up or down. That’s craftsmanship.
The MG’s engine was Frank-built as well – it should be right; he did it twice.
Having assembled the engine once early in the restoration, Frank decided it had been stationary too long so he took it apart and, with his keen eye for detail, he put it back together again. It now runs as smoothly as a sewing machine.
The final paint colour chosen for the engine caused some head scratching. Frank had asked a Morris Engines worker what colour it would have been, and the Coventry man said, “Whatever was in the spray gun at the time!” Frank has become this country’s authority on MG T-Series originality and found this perplexing, as he had been told it should be black, red or green. Since green was the colour of his TB’s grille and the trim, he finally decided that green it was for the engine.
With everything else perfect, Frank was insistent that the coachwork paintwork had to be just as good. With the guidance of Rodney Holland of Waiuku, Frank spent many months over a period of two years; sometimes spending as much as eight hours a day preparing the body using Würth fillers and materials.
PPG Jet Black was the colour chosen, and it is mirror perfect, even under the bonnet and wheel arches.
Finally, Frank attended to the car’s electrics, wiring it up with an original-pattern fabric-shrouded loom made up by Vic Longden of Octagon Manufacturing in Perth, Western Australia.
It came as no surprise when Frank’s TB won the prestigious Masters’ Class at the 2007 NZCC/Ellerslie Intermarque Concours. However, what might have surprised those who attended the event was the fact that this was no “cheque book restoration”; Frank had done most of the work himself.
All the more surprising when you look at the quality of the work is that Frank is not a trained professional engineer, mechanic or carpenter – he actually trained as a graphic artist and that was in the days before that meant knowing which buttons to press on a computer keyboard. It means that he really was an artist, which explains where his eye for a good line comes from.
Since the car’s appearance at the Concours event Frank has fitted a Marshall Nordec roots supercharger and I have included a ‘shot’ of the installation, along with other photos which I’m sure you will find interesting.
Thank you Frank for facilitating this article and thank you Allan Walton, Editor of New Zealand Classic Car, for permission to use material and photos from the magazine. Thanks also to Brian Rainbow for making it all possible in the first place.
This gearbox was screwed to the dynamo when I purchased TA0844. It had a circular tag under one rivet, engraved with the words: REDUCTEUR R=100/266 COTE REDUIT. It was made from Mazac or something similar. The input and output shafts were Yeager Tube, with the input shaft having a short attachment to convert it to key drive for the dynamo armature end.
As can be seen from Photo 1 the gear casing was distorted and cracked in many places. The two rivets holding the cover were also holding the bits together. When these were removed everything fell apart.
I made a new case from stainless steel. The case dimensions were the same as the original except for the thickness of the input face which I made about three mm. The input spindle housing or tube, was made to be an interference fit in the case with a thin rim or flange to locate it at right-angles when pressed in. The outside edge of the flange (inside the box) was chamfered to allow easy rotation of the gear. Instead of rivets, I used two 4BA screws to hold things together.
The cover with the output spindle was warped and cracked. When screwed to the case it split almost in half. I made a cover of brass with a reduced thickness edge to fit the case and provide a grease seal, and a similar output spindle tube to the input, but with a larger flange, also chamfered. The cover thickness was 2 mm thick and being brass, the tube would not be a mechanically sound fit with the arrangement as for the input tube. I made a ring collar to fit on the outside of the housing to ‘lock’ the spindle in place with an interference fit. Once again these were made from stainless steel, when pressed together the flange and collar sandwiched the brass cover.
The various components are shown in photo 2. Photos 3 and 4 show the completed gearbox with grease nipple fitted, hardly original, but looks good.
This article may not appeal to the MG T-Type purist due to the non standard modification I am about to describe, but hopefully it will be of interest to most T-Typers. It is not a detailed technical article but a log of my experiences and thoughts with what I hope are a few helpful suggestions and some worthwhile contacts at the end.
I’d like one of those one day…..!
10 years ago when I set out to buy a T-Type MG the very first car I looked at was a supercharged TC. It was well outside my budget but it triggered a wish to run a supercharged MG at some point in the future. However, as usual when buying a new car, there are all sorts of things that crop up to divert any available funds and it took about another 8 years before I was in a position to start thinking about it again. Even then, looking around, it became clear that finding a supercharger was not going to be easy and made doubly difficult as the project was to be completed on a fairly limited budget. Over the space of the next 18 months I managed to find three for sale in the small ads and two of those were well outside my budget. Not only that, they had been sold by the time I managed to respond to the advert. So rather than relying on the small ads, I started emailing around and talking to other MG owners, as well as some of the T-Type racers.
Careful research bears fruit…..
Eventually I came across Steve Baker’s web site and dropped him an email asking if he had one for sale. To my surprise he did, although it was not the period unit I had set out to get, but a modern Eaton supercharger adapted to fit a XPAG manifold. This unit was a nearly new unit that had been used on his own car, however in a subsequent chat he offered a brand new unit which came with an inlet manifold specifically designed to fit an XPAG engine. It was a new design which had not been fitted to a car in the UK before. A deal was haggled and a date set for nearly four months ahead when I could collect it. This allowed me some time to check the engine over and carry out one or two maintenance items that needed attending to on the car.
Steve was extremely helpful and he guided me on what I should be looking at on the engine to ensure it could cope with the extra power. I was fortunate in that the engine had been professionally rebuilt a few years before I acquired the car and had not covered too much mileage since. A test of the cylinder compression showed that all were within a couple of pounds pressure of each other, which was the major worry. Had there been considerable variation it would have necessitated an overhaul of the engine which was beyond both the time and cash I had for this project. One job that did need doing was to replace the core plugs as three of these had been weeping for a couple of years and they were getting worse. This was a task that I had been putting off as the one in the worst condition was located at the rear of the engine block next to the firewall. The others that needed attention were directly below the exhaust manifold, so almost as difficult to access.
Two steps forward, but one back (later)…..
Like many T-Typers I try and attempt as many tasks on the car myself but, as I am not very mechanically minded, I am not shy about calling for help when my knowledge runs out. Having talked to quite a few people and looked at all the advice in the various journals on replacing the rear core plug, I decided I didn’t want to cut a hole in the fire wall, so the only other solution to make sure the work was done well, was to lift the engine out of the car. A friend with an engine crane kindly offered to help and one sunny late January day with air temperatures hovering around zero we pulled the car on to the driveway and set to the task. I had done as much of the preparatory work myself as I could beforehand, so all we had to focus on was lifting the engine and gearbox out. All went surprisingly smoothly except for one tiny snag. Neither of us remembered to take off the aluminium cover and gear lever from the gear box and it snagged on the firewall as we attempted to lift the block. There was no apparent damage, or so we thought at the time, and once the cover was removed the engine came out cleanly.
Doing the job properly…..
Over the next few weeks the engine was degreased, cleaned of paint, all of the old core plugs removed, the cooling system flushed through before new ones were installed. These were coated with 2 heavy coats of Hammerite paint before being installed. Various gaskets were replaced prior to repainting the engine and gear box in the proper MG engine maroon colour. I also took the opportunity to clean and touch up the engine bay and many of the other peripheral items at the same time.
It was planned that the supercharger would be fed air/fuel via a single 1¾ inch SU carburettor and one of Steve’s recommendations was to improve the delivery of fuel to the supercharger by adding a Facet pump to replace the low pressure unit used on the TD. As I wanted to keep the look of the car as original as possible (the Eaton SC looks very similar to the period Shorrocks unit) I decided to fit a second Lucas pump in tandem with the original to provide the period look of a TDC. Pumps are plentiful but the mounting brackets are not and no one had them in stock or had any idea when they might be available, so in the end I had to have one made.
The really useful Ad Hoc Engineering
A small local engineering firm called Ad Hoc Engineering fabricated one out of stainless steel for me after I provided a drawn design to match as closely as possible the original fitting. Rubber mounts for the bracket, copper fuel line and the fuel tank to pipe connector piece were purchased from Moss. The last item which fits in the fuel tank drain plug was slightly over sized and needed to be machined down, again done by Ad Hoc Engineering. Fitting these items went very smoothly. A hot air paint stripper was used to anneal the copper pipe to ensure it bent easily without fracturing and a honey jar provided a former to obtain nice smooth curves in the pipe. The second line was attached to the chassis rail adjacent to the standard one, using the correct clips. Pleasingly this part of the project went without a hitch.
Remember two steps forward but one back?
One March afternoon my friend came round again we put the engine and gear box back in the car. As he had done this a number of times before he suggested we make sure everything moved freely, by engaging a gear and moving the car back and forth, before putting all the peripherals back on the car. This must have been foresight because however hard we tried we could not engage 1st or 2nd gear. With day light hours still short we still managed to remove both engine and gearbox quite quickly before it got dark. Lifting the lid on the top of the box it quickly became evident that one of the selector rods had been bent when the gear lever snagged on the fire wall.
Mark Sellick to the rescue…..
Obviously this generated another job before the car could run again. Brian Rainbow recommended Mark Sellick as a good person to speak to about gearbox repairs. Luck was with me and he managed to turn around the repair in less than a week and at a reasonable price using a mixture of new and second hand components. It was a good thing I passed this task across because Mark encountered a couple of seized bolts on the top of the selector rods that sheared as he tried to get them out requiring some additional repairs.
Putting the engine back in the car for the second time in the space of a couple of weeks we knew what to expect and this time the unit went in fairly easily. To our joy (and surprise) the car fired up on the first pull of the starter. After all the other components were put back on the car it was run for about 400 miles as I wanted to be sure all was okay before I attempted anything else. All went smoothly so it was onto the next stage of the project.
Following further discussions with Steve he felt that it would be best if we fitted the supercharger together at his work shop, as this would give me confidence on the whole installation process and allow him to see how the new inlet manifold fitted and worked. The 50 mile run up to his house was pleasant in the July sunshine and we decided to do the work on his drive way rather than being inside. Having recently taken the car apart to remove the engine, all the items that needed to be removed to fit the unit came off easily. This included the bonnet, carbs, manifold, horn, radiator, fan and starter switch.
A relatively trouble free fitting session…..
The supercharger came as a kit complete with instructions. It included the blower unit, inlet manifold, double pulley wheel to take the drive belt plus the existing fan belt, clamp bracket for the supercharger’s long nose and a few other peripheral parts like the long V shaped drive belt. The kit was manufactured in the USA and made of duralinium and stainless steel and produced to a very high quality with a superb finish. On the advice of the suppliers of the kit, a 1½ inch SU carburettor was fitted because, as the engine is un-tuned, the fuel demand is not great enough to justify the 1¾ inch carb Steve and I had planned to fit. During the installation a number of small problems were encountered but nothing that couldn’t be overcome fairly easily. Working together at a fairly leisurely pace it took us nearly 8 hours from start to finish to fit the supercharger and get the car running again so I could drive it home.
The TD was booked into Peter Burgess’ workshop in Alfreton, Derbyshire, the following day, to be set up on his rolling road. Steve recommended that I didn’t exceed 3000 rpm until the car had been correctly tuned. So it was quite a frustrating slow drive home that evening and the trip up to Derbyshire the next morning to Peter’s workshop was even worse, having to negotiate the heavy rush hour traffic.
A rolling road experience and 6,500 rpm….!
Until this point I had no idea what to expect when the car was put on the rolling road, having never experienced this before. On Peter’s instructions I drove the car on to the rolling road so the back wheels dropped on to the pair of rollers. He then strapped the back axle down to U bolts set in the workshop floor. The bonnet was removed to give easy access to the engine and he placed a very large electric fan right in front of the radiator to assist with cooling. An electronic metering system was then connected to the engine and a CO2 monitor to the exhaust, so between them the computer could analyse the benefits of any fine tuning Peter would be carrying out. The next bit was seriously scary for me, as he ran the engine up to 6,500rpm, i.e. right off the scale on the rev counter. His comment was that he needed to prove that the engine wouldn’t break half way through the testing. The noise of the car in the confined space of the workshop was unbelievable and was only just louder than my thudding heart!
Over the next couple of hours Peter ran the car like that 12 times, each time up to about 6,000rpm. In between each run he adjusted the carburettor, plugs and timing in order to get the best performance from the engine. With each tweak the performance improved and towards the last test I filmed the dashboard as he revved the car up, to show 6,000 rpm on the rev counter and 100mph on the speedo. If you want to see the film it is on You Tube. Type in “MG TD supercharged”. Please bear in mind that my speedo is probably not too accurate and as there is no wind resistance to encounter in the workshop the car will never achieve this speed on the road.
Afterwards the car was a completely different machine, running ever so sweetly and with noticeably better acceleration and torque. The computer readouts showed that the bhp had increased to 76 at the flywheel, which is excellent as the engine is completely stock and only had 54 bhp when new.
The drive home was completed with a huge smile on my face and a rather heavy right foot!
There were still a few tasks that needed to be completed before the project was finished to my satisfaction. The main one was to source and fit an air filter. I wanted the best I could find and KN was what everyone recommended. After a lot of careful measuring I managed to determine that the narrowest centre mounted version of the pancake type filter would fit but it would require the repositioning of the starter switch further back up the fire wall to create sufficient space and even then it would be a tight fit. It was a fiddly job but it worked and looks good.
So what have been the downsides of supercharging the car?
In fact there have been very few, the main ones being:
• The positioning of the supercharger in the engine bay means that at the moment the car only has one horn. I have yet to find a suitable place to position the second one. It is a small inconvenience to have just one and is more of an aesthetic issue than a practical one.
• To fit the second fuel pump and relocate the starter switch I had to drill four holes in the firewall, two for each unit. These were the only modifications I had to make to the body work. Everything else done to the car is reversible.
• The fuel consumption has increased slightly. More on that later.
So what are the upsides and what is the car like to drive?
Since installing the supercharger last summer I managed to put about 800 miles on the car and these are some of my experiences:
• Power: Wow, the car is transformed! The acceleration is better (the car still has the standard back axle ratios) and the car manages to keep up with the modern traffic more easily. But it is the torque that is really noticeable. Hills that used to require 3rd gear are accelerated up with no trouble in 4th, even with a passenger and full luggage rack as we found out when Alison and I went down to the Goodwood Revival last September for a few days away.
• Engine temperature: this hardly ever rises above 85 degrees even when being driven hard on warm days and is usually steady around 82.
• Starting: The car requires only minimal choke except on cold days when full choke is necessary and then only on the start. If it is left out for more than a few seconds the engine floods and falters.
• Fuel consumption: Unfortunately this has dropped to around 23 to 25 mpg (previously 28 to 30) but I think this is as much about a lack of control over my right foot as I enjoy exploiting the extra power. Now that the novelty is starting to wear off I am beginning to drive more normally again so I expect the mpg figure to improve.
• Noise: Virtually none extra from the engine bay but the exhaust note sounds slightly louder than before.
• Braking: A number of people have asked me what I was planning to do to improve the braking now that the car has the extra power? Interestingly, with the brakes well set up on the TD I have not found the need to make any alterations. Again, from talking to some who use their T-Types for racing and sprinting, many rely on the twin leading shoe of the TD/TF as being the best brakes T-Types ever had. Certainly they cope well with what I ask of the car.
• Maintenance: None, as the supercharger is engineered to a very high standard and being a sealed unit requires no additional oil supply or regular maintenance work.
• Look: I set out to try and get the period look as far as possible and by and large I think that is what I have managed to achieve, although others may disagree.
• Reversibility: I am aware that the changes I have made to the TD are my choice and for my pleasure. The next owner of the car may prefer to return the car to standard format and the work done is all reversible except the four extra holes in the firewall which could be plugged with grommets or filled if necessary.
• Reassurance: Having someone else demonstrate that the engine can rev to 6,000 rpm and a little beyond, without breaking, is actually very reassuring and shows the durability of the XPAG. Whilst I don’t run the car to those levels it is comforting to know that the engine is easily capable of running beyond the occasional burst to 5,000rpm that I sometimes take it to.
So what were the learning experiences I can share?
• When taking so much of the car apart, make sure you have made room to store all the components, they take up considerably more space than you might imagine.
• Before starting the work to remove the engine, using the workshop manual make a tick box list of every item that needs to be done, and in the correct order. The same list can be used in reverse for the refitting. This is far easier than having to constantly refer to the book to discover “what next” and saves the manual getting covered in grub.
• Invest in a few packets of sealable sandwich bags and yellow sticky labels, so that everything removed from the car, including nuts and bolts that may be removed from a fitting, are bagged and labelled for easy identification when it comes to replacement.
• Get in a load of boxes to store all the bagged bits you remove. Label and use them logically to make easier the refitting of the components removed.
• Allow at least twice as much time as you think you might need and then add more. Nearly everything takes longer than expected. (Maybe I am too optimistic!)
• When taking the car apart one job inevitably leads to finding another one you had not planned for or costed, so make sure you have some contingency in both the cash budget and timetable for the unforeseen.
• When replacing the cork gasket located under the square steel cover on the waterway at the back of the engine block, do not re-use the 4 cheese head screws but replace them with hex head bolts. With the engine back in place the screws are virtually impossible to access if the gasket hasn’t sealed correctly and weeps. Using bolts allows easy removal of this cover at any time, even with the engine in the car.
• It takes a minimum of two cans of aerosol paint to coat the engine and gear box, preferably three, to get a really good finish.
• When removing the twin carburettors, make a timber former to receive them. Using a short length of wood (c.35cm long x 10cm wide), drill 4 holes located to mirror where the carburettor mounting bolts hold them to the inlet manifold. The holes can receive the actual bolts (alternatively, add four protruding dowels to take the place of the bolts to hold the carbs) and use this set up to hold the entire unit securely. This means you can store the carburettors safely without them suffering any alteration to their set up, allowing you to put them back on the car without the need for any fine tuning.
• Take the time to have the car properly set up on a rolling road as it does make a big difference to performance and smooth running of the car.
What next? Back axle ratio change, electronic ignition, five speed gearbox? Perhaps the last item some years down the line when we want to take part in long distance continental touring but until then no changes are planned, as the car is just as I want it. Which begs the $64,000 question “was it all worth it and would you do it again? Absolutely, I love the car set up this way.
I can’t finish this note without saying thanks to those people who helped out this project. Andy Bye for his assistance in removing and replacing the engine and the loan of his engine hoist, Mark Sellick for doing such a good job on the gear box and most of all, Steve Baker for his patience with my endless questions and worries, all of which he was able to answer. Lastly, Alison, my good lady for keeping Andy and I supplied with endless cups of tea, homemade cake and a patient ear when things weren’t going too smoothly.
Colin Hooper, June 2011
Useful contact details:
Steve Baker: www.stevebakermg.co.uk 01865 600251
Mark Sellick: email: louise_and_mark ‘at’ talktalk.net 07733 536966
Ad Hoc Engineering (John Watts): email: john ‘at’ adhoc-engineering.co.uk 01789 731119
Peter Burgess Engineering: www.peter-burgess.com 01773 520021
Ed’s Note: The following table gives the comparative performance figures for unsupercharged and supercharged (Shorrocks blown) TD and is taken from a 1950s article by W. J. Blower.
First published in 1989 by Bay View Books Limited and re-printed five times. Out of print for some years before Herridge & Sons published this edition in June of this year.
The book needs little introduction, but for those who are not familiar with it, the following reviews give a good flavour of what to expect:
“Page after colourful page of various models in minute detail ….. a must for any owner”Motor Sport.
“Goes a long way to assist the purist in his quest for authenticity…..well written and profusely illustrated”Enjoying MG (MG Owners’ Club monthly magazine).
The cover price of the book is £22.50 but it is available to order from the T-Shop at the discounted price of £18.50. Postage rates are £3.15 UK, £6.60 EU and £12.03 Rest of World. The link to purchase is here: Original MG T Series by Clausager
We do not make any charge for packing, nor do we levy any surcharge for payment via PayPal.
Just good old-fashioned service at the lowest price we can possibly give!
Also back in stock is the MG TD/TF Workshop Manual at £19.50 (compare our price with those of the Car Clubs). Postage rates are £3.15 UK, £5.50 EU, £10 Rest of World.
When dismantling the pump take care not to damage the coil connections that emerge from the coil housing. These are fragile, especially if the pump is an older brass-based version. The method described below should cause the minimum disturbance of these leads. If the leads are broken it may necessitate removing the coil from the housing which complicates the refurbishment significantly.
Any screws that are seized should be loosened with the use of a release fluid rather than risk snapping off a head leaving the screw seized in situ. The most effective release fluid is a 50-50 mix of automatic transmission fluid and acetone. I always use new 2BA screws to rebuild a pump, which are readily available from Namrick.
1.1 Remove the terminal knob, the 2BA nut that retains the cap and any tape sealing the cap to the body. Retain the knob and the 2BA nut for re-use. Loosen the 5BA screw holding the contact blade. Remove and discard the old contact blade. Loosen and pull out the rocker hinge pin that fixes the rocker mechanism onto the pedestal. Use release fluid if the pin is seized.
1.2 Remove the five 2BA screws and the earth terminal post (or six screws on later pumps) that hold the coil housing onto the pump body. Separate the pump body from the coil housing. Separate the diaphragm from the coil housing using a knife blade if necessary. On later alloy based pumps separate the two halves of the pump body. Collect the eleven brass rollers that centralise the diaphragm in the coil housing and retain for re-use. Unscrew the diaphragm from the rocker mechanism and discard the old diaphragm and the volute spring. Take care handling and disposing of old gaskets, which may contain asbestos.
1.3 Loosen the two 2BA screws that fix the pedestal to the coil housing. Remove the screw connected by a braided wire to the rocker. Raise the pedestal carefully and slide out old rocker mechanism. Replace and tighten the two 2BA screws temporarily to protect the pedestal and the coil connections whilst cleaning the coil housing.
1.4 Remove the inlet and outlet connectors from the pump base together with the filter retainer. Use the correct spanner to avoid damaging the soft brass parts. A 3/8 BSW ring spanner is a perfect fit. If the filter is a wire mesh type and is undamaged retain it for re-use as the replacement plastic filter supplied by Burlen is slightly larger and a difficult fit. Pull out the outlet valve cage from beneath the outlet connector and discard it all, except the spring clip that retains the top valve plate. Finally, remove the valve disc and the washer from beneath the valve cage.
2.1 The next step is to clean the retained parts for reuse. The base and brass connectors parts can be cleaned either by bead blasting or by scrubbing in diluted hydrochloric acid which is sold in DIY stores as ‘brick cleaner’ for removing cement stains from brickwork. I prefer the latter method as bead blasting alters the appearance of the soft metal parts, leaving them pitted. The object is to remove the dirt, not the surface layer of metal. Take all sensible precautions when using any aggressive chemicals. As a minimum wear disposable plastic gloves and eye protection. Avoid breathing any fumes. Don’t be tempted to polish brass parts on a buffing wheel if you have one. They never shone like the buttons on a guardsman’s tunic. If you have the later steel connectors they can be cleaned with a wire brush but they will rust if the plating is removed.
2.2 The plastic cap, the pedestal and the terminal nut can all be cleaned with mildly abrasive car polish such as ‘T Cut’.
3.1 The only part to be painted is the coil housing. Remove any rust and dirt with a stiff wire brush and then apply a coat of black paint. I use a coat of mild etch primer. Take care not to let paint block the vent hole positioned between two of the 2BA fixing screw holes. After the paint has dried remove any paint from the bottom face of the coil housing by rubbing on a sheet of abrasive paper.
4. Rebuilding the Pump
4.1 The first step in rebuilding the pump is to obtain the correct repair kit from Burlen Fuel Systems. For pre-1985 Low Pressure pumps you need EPK 700. For later pumps you need EPK 705. For the long bodied High Pressure AUA54 pump fitted to most TFs you need EPK 601, which has an extended diaphragm spindle. For all other high pressure pumps Burlen specify EPK 600 for negative earth cars and EPK 605 for positive earth cars but either will suit if you plan to fit a Transil (see para 4.12). The contents of an EPK 700 kit are shown below. The group of parts on the right is not required.
4.2 First, fit the recovered and cleaned filter to the filter retainer. Fit the retainer and filter to the pump body using one of the buff coloured washers provided in the kit to seal it in place. If you are using the plastic filter provided in the Burlen kit you will find it is too big to fit easily into the retainer. If you manage to fit it to the retainer drive it fully home by tapping it smartly on the work surface. To assist fitting the plastic filter into the pump body remove any moulding marks from the top edge and lubricate it with grease. If the top of the filter is unable to rotate in the pump body as the retainer is tightened it will twist and be destroyed.
4.3 Insert one of the new valve discs into the outlet valve cage. Fit the recovered retainer spring clip, making sure its two spring ‘ears’ are uppermost, away from the disc. N.B. some valve discs have a plain surface on one side and a patterned surface on the other. Always fit the discs with the plain surface to the valve seat.
4.4 Inspect the inlet valve seat inside the pump body. Make sure it is free from scores and corrosion that will prevent the valve sealing correctly. If necessary polish the seat with a small piece of fine wet and dry paper stuck onto the end of a pencil or wooden dowel.
4.5 Drop the second valve disc onto the polished inlet valve seat. Fit the ‘thin’ fibre washer into the valve chamber and then drop in the outlet valve cage assembly. Insert a buff washer on top of the cage and finally fit the outlet connector. Fit the inlet connector to the pump body using the red fibre washer. Tighten the connectors and the filter retainer using the correct spanner.
4.6 Fit the new rocker mechanism to the pedestal and fix it in position with the hinge pin provided. Before fitting the mechanism it may be necessary to ‘square up’ the parts so that it is a good fit around the legs of the pedestal. Fit the contact blade to enable the rocker clearances to be set. Carefully tighten the 2BA pedestal fixing screws. Don’t over tighten them or the pedestal will crack. They should be sufficiently tight to fully compress the spring coil washer but no tighter.
4.7 Using a set of feeler gauges first set the height by which the rocker lifts the contact blade off the pedestal. This should be set to 0.9mm (0.035 inches) by bending the top stop tab on the rocker as it is pushed upwards. Then set the gap between the bottom foot of the rocker and the coil housing, again with the rocker pushed upwards. This should be 2.3mm (0.09 inches) and is adjusted by bending the foot to suit. After making these adjustments remove the contact blade again to enable the diaphragm to be set correctly.
4.8 Fit the volute spring to the diaphragm and fit them to the coil housing with the narrow end of the spring to the diaphragm. As the diaphragm spindle is inserted into the coil housing the threaded top must be engaged with the threaded crossbar of the rocker. This is a tricky operation only because it is difficult to see what is going on but becomes easier with practise!
4.9 To adjust the diaphragm continue to screw the spindle into the rocker cross bar whilst pressing and releasing the diaphragm to ‘throw over’ the rocker. Eventually as the diaphragm is screwed home the diaphragm will stop throwing over. In reaching this point make sure the diaphragm is centralised in the coil housing and not jammed off centre. When the diaphragm no longer throws over unscrew it until it just throws over as the diaphragm is pushed and released, then a little further, if necessary, until the holes in the coil housing and the holes in the diaphragm align. Note this position and unscrew the diaphragm a further two-thirds of a turn, or 4 screw holes. Don’t let the diaphragm rotate again from this final position.
4.10 Fit the rollers recovered from your old pump to centralise the diaphragm in the coil housing. You will find that the replacement ‘figure of eight’ spacers supplied by Burlen are too large to fit. They lock the diaphragm solid. I’ve told Burlen, but they aren’t at all receptive.
4.11 Now screw the coil housing and diaphragm onto the refurbished base. Note the correct rotational relationship. The drain hole in the coil housing should be adjacent to the filter retainer. If you have a brass based pump there is no need to use a gasket. If you have a two-piece alloy base just use the gasket between the two halves of the base. Leave the screws loose, as the diaphragm must be stretched before the screws are tightened. Do this either by lifting the inner part of the rocker with a screwdriver or by applying 12 volts to the coil leads. Screw up the six 2BA screws whilst the diaphragm is under tension.
4.12 Finally refit the contact blade and a Transil* to protect the points. Ensure the blade contacts align with those on the rocker. Tighten the 5BA screw holding the blade in place. Fit the cap. Check all the connectors for tightness. Fit tape or a label to seal the cap to the body to exclude dust and moisture.
The best way of testing the refurbished pump is described in the TD/TF workshop manual. Without the test equipment described therein the application of 12V between the top terminal and the body will confirm that all is well. Check for leaks when first using the refurbished pump and retighten the 2BA screws or connectors if necessary.
* Transil kits are available from Peter Cole pcoleuk ‘at’ gmail.com whose assistance with this article is acknowledged.
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