Classic & Sports Cars Essex

Readers will know from an earlier issue that the TF1500 I bought at the start of the year let me down on the Octagon Car Club’s ‘Founders Weekend’ in May. I should perhaps have paid more attention to some early warning signs regarding condition and reliability i.e. a bad oil leak from the rear main and the car failing its MOT due to the front off-side brake cylinders having been fitted upside down, which gave me twin trailing shoe (as opposed to twin leading shoe) braking on this side of the car. It was all too reminiscent of the experience from 20 years ago when having bought my PB and taken it for MOT, it failed on kingpins. It had a previous MOT certificate but how it passed then was a mystery, because the axle eyes were found to be worn and this could not have happened overnight. Similarly, with the TF; if it had been presented at the previous Test Station with the front off-side brake set up as found at my Test Station, it should not have passed the test. Why?….because the reading on the brake testing machine indicated a failure as follows:
  • Front brake recording little or no effort Offside [3.7.B.5a]
  • Brakes imbalanced across an axle Front (O/S BRAKE) [3.7.B.5b]
  • Brakes imbalanced across an axle Front (Axle 1) [3.7.B.5b]
The references are from the Tester’s Manual. They say that “one learns from experience”, but I’m getting a bit too old for that! Undeterred, I decided to get work done on the car by an outfit I knew I could trust. One of my printed copy subscribers (Chris Postle) told me that he was very pleased with a gearbox rebuild carried out by Classic & Sports Cars Essex to his TF and a recommendation from Chris, who is a real perfectionist (his TF 1250 was featured in Issue 42 – and is pictured below) was certainly good enough for me. I had managed to fix the braking problem with the help of my MOT tester, but I needed the oil leak to be fixed, the carbs checked over, a new uprated distributor, a sports coil, and whilst the engine was out it made sense to fit a Sierra Type 9 5-speed gearbox. Classic & Sports Cars Essex have at the time of writing 14 MGs in the workshop – most of them T-Types, but including 2 MGBs and an MGA. Jason Waller, who has kept me regularly updated with the progress of my job, sent me a few pictures of his operation which might be of interest to readers. To return to my job, it was an engine out operation to fix the rear main leak. The first picture (below)shows the bottom half of the aluminium fixing casing installed in order to measure and machine the rear main cap and then prepare to machine the back of the flywheel as there isn’t enough clearance once that’s fitted to the block. The second picture shows the crankshaft all re-installed with the new modern lip seal in place and tightly fitted around the end of the crank and the top half of the aluminium casing holding it securely. One of the most important aspects of the fitting the rear main seal is making sure you install the speedy sleeve to ensure that the seal runs on a highly polished and smooth surface. Whilst the engine was out, the opportunity was taken to fit new shells and bearings, to remove a damaged starter ring gear and fit new and to fit a spin on oil conversion – supplied by the Octagon Car Club When the car went in for repair some of the core plugs were leaking, there was a leak from the cover plate at the rear of the head and the water pump was leaking. All the core plugs were replaced, the rear cover plate gasket was renewed and a replacement water pump (sourced by me from Racemettle was fitted. All the hoses were renewed with silicone hoses (sourced by me from Classic Silicone Hoses I was not happy with the state of the carburettors and asked for them to be looked at. On examination it was found that they had been re-bushed before with non-standard size bushes and were described as “a bit if a mess”, so they were completely rebuilt and a new choke cable (from Octagon Car Club) fitted. I was particularly keen to have an uprated distributor, so a Lucas 45D was fitted and the coil was changed to a DLB 105 sports coil. New silicone leads were also fitted. When the work was finished, the car had an initial road test around the perimeter of the premises. Following this, I received a phone call from Jason with the message “did you know your rear axle is alive?”. At first, I didn’t know what he meant, but he went on to explain that the axle had not been correctly located on the rear springs and was not rigid. He subsequently sent me a video, which was quite unnerving! It did however explain the mystery knock which was heard on our journey to Bakewell to join the Octagon Car Club ‘Founders Weekend’. At the time of writing, I have not received the car back, but I expect to have it delivered on a trailer in about a weeks’ time and I will certainly have it by the time this magazine is published. The car was taken for a 15 mile road test today, following which I received another phone call to say that it is running perfectly, but that the nearside front shock absorber needs to be replaced. Ah well!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JOHN JAMES