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The MG TA through all the on going T-Types, up to and including the MGA, used an upper column bush made of felt.
On my TD’s recent Garage “vehicle safety check” it was noted that the steering column had play in the upper felt bush that fits between the steering tube and the column shaft. The worn bush exhibits a certain amount of movement at the top end of the column, most easily detected by griping the steering wheel and applying up and down pressure on the column axis.
With movement in this bearing a new felt bush is required.
To remove the steering wheel on the TD release the central MG boss assembly, after withdrawing one small securing screw to one side of the boss, and pulling the boss away from the wheel. If you have a Brooklands steering wheel the boss (centre piece three screws) will need to be removed to give access to the central column.
With the top of the central column now exposed a large 11⁄8′′socket is required to remove the holding nut with large washer below. With the wheel now “free” pull firmly on the wheel rim noting that a metal key (steering shaft to wheel) holds the wheel in alignment with the shaft. (Part No. 6 in the Steering assembly diagram).
Behind the steering wheel, on the column itself is the large spring cover (No.7), a spacer (No.8) and chrome cap (No. 9) and its chrome clamp (No.10) Removing these items exposes the steering column (tube end) with the steering shaft running inside.
Photo 1 – At the top of the exposed upper end of the column is the bush (Felt) that wraps around the shaft inside the column itself.
It is necessary to “pick” out this old felt from the end of the column. This is best done with a piece of wire (paperclip?) or a small thin screwdriver. Be sure to withdraw all the felt as it can be dry and liable to disintegrate depending on age.
Photo 2 – The New and Old felt bushes show why replacement was necessary!
The upper felt bush is identified as No.14 (it is worth noting that item No.35 is the bottom felt bush).
Coating the felt bush in grease is relatively straightforward provided you can acquire the required graphite grease itself!
My local motorists centre was unable to help and even the very good “traditional” hardware store did not have this special type of grease.
My alternative was to purchase graphite powder and add this to the small amount of standard motorists (bearing) type grease.
Photo 3 – The Workshop Manuals say that the inner face of the felt should be coated in Graphite Grease to provide the necessary lubrication between column and shaft.
Mix the required small quantity of grease (two level teaspoons full should suffice) with a liberal quantity of graphite powder and stir well to create a heavy Graphite grease constituency. Do not add so much powder so that the resulting constituency is dry.
Spread this graphite grease liberally over the new felt. Position the ”wrap” of felt, grease innermost, around the steering shaft immediately above the outer column. I found it difficult to encourage the felt to fit in this tight gap but with patience and perseverance it can be persuaded.
By the time the felt has been forced into its allotted space there is very little room for any further grease so make sure you start with plenty. The job of fitting the felt into the tube is difficult because the stated objective is to end up with virtually no movement, laterally between the two!
Re-fit steering wheel in the reverse order to that employed when dismantling.
If you noticed movement before starting this task you certainly should not on completion. A very satisfactory “feel” of a tight but fluid steering wheel movement is the reward for a few hours work.
Mention was made in Issue 14 of the file of correspondence between Bill Thomson and Björn-Eric Lindh which Björn-Eric kindly sent me. It makes fascinating reading so I thought I’d publish a few extracts:
February 18th 1964 (Bill says) “I’ve just bought a 1250 TF and doing a bit to it, and also bought a very dodgy M-type with a genuine back and a 4- speed ‘box with alloy front housing. It’s not all there (perhaps I am not also for buying it!)…..
December 18th 1965 (Bill says) “Price for reconditioned parts as follows:
Pressure plate £3.14.0, Clutch plate £2.16.0 Clutch thrust 18/8……………… Starters and dynamos cost about £7 exchange each.”
March 9th 1967 (Bill says) “”Sorry I do not write often but I never seem to catch up with the terrific amount of writing that I have to do. Do you know that in three days I dealt with 68 letters in England and eleven for abroad, this in addition to all the other work? So you can guess that I am beginning to dislike my typewriter.”
Throughout the correspondence Bill “shines through the pages” as a real gentleman. Not always in the best of health he struggled on and provided a much needed service. I never met him, more’s the pity!