MG TA Slow-Running Cable

When I first purchased my current MG TA in the mid 1990s it had a disparate array of control cables, knobs and switches on the dashboard. One of the first jobs I did was to tidy up this mis-match on the dashboard, so I ordered a new set of control cables from Mxxx, and purchased a couple of the correct switches from an autojumble. I fitted all three cables and they looked good. The starter-pull and choke worked fine, but the slow-running cable did not work, in that it did not matter how far you screwed the knob out it did not increase the idle speed. I initially thought that it was because of wear in the carb operating arm, so I left it for the time being. A couple of years ago I had the carbs rebuilt by Eddie Biddle of Malvern Wells. He did a superb job and replaced the slow-running operating arm at my request.

I refitted the rebuilt carbs and set them up so that the car was running well again. However the slow-running knob still didn’t work. I wasn’t bothered as it had not worked for the previous 12 years and had caused me no grief, but it was annoying.

A friend down in Sussex, Ian Linton, had been rebuilding his TA for a number of years and had at long last got it running and on the road. Unfortunately Ian’s slow-running cable did not work either, again a new one from Mxxx purchased a number of years earlier. Ian found that the little nipple on the knob end of the cable had broken off; he re-soldered a new one on and it now worked fine. On hearing about this I checked my cable and discovered the same problem. Around the same time I acquired a number of old T-Type cables in very poor condition, including several original slow running cables.

About 8 miles along the Fosse Way from where I live is a farm with a few small industrial units in the yard. One of these units is occupied by a super little one-man band outfit called J.J Cables (no relation to John James!). They specialise in making new cables for the classic and vintage motor-cycle trade, supplying throttle, clutch, brake, magneto and speedo cables for any bike you care to mention. Back in 2001 when I was re-building my PA I needed a new rev-counter/speedo cable for the car. I took the broken cable (inner and outer) down to them and they made me a new inner cable complete with correct Jaeger end for me very quickly and at a very reasonable price.

So a few months ago I took a few of my old T-Type cables along to J.J Cables and asked them if they could please replace the outer and inner cables for me. I gave them the length of both inner and outer cables that I wanted and left it to them to do the business. A few weeks later I got a telephone call saying my cables were ready for collection, so I popped down to collect them. They had made a superb job of re-building them, have a look at the photographs of the before and after condition of the slow-running cable. I had three slow-running cables and a choke cable rebuilt. The choke cable and one slow-running cable are for a friend of mine up in Preston who is rebuilding a TA Tickford. I have fitted another of the slow-running cables to my TA, and now for the first time ever in my ownership it works perfectly!

So if you have a choke, starter or slow-running cable that is defective, rather than buy a new one give J.J Cables a try. Sadly they can only repair defective T-Type cables, they cannot make new ones completely from scratch – they are too busy with motor-cycle cables. I have asked John to add their contact details to the ‘Suppliers’ list on his ‘MG T-Types Hub’ web-site.

Brian Rainbow

MG TA Slow Running Cable

Above and below: photos of the old and the rebuilt cable
MG TA Slow Running Cable

Ed’s note: A good article and a very useful contact for repair of your dashboard cables. I like ‘one man bands!’

As requested by Brian, I have added JJ Cables Limited to the ‘Suppliers List’ on the website. For those who receive a ‘hard’ copy of this magazine (some of whom do not have internet access) the contact details are as follows:

J.J. Cables Limited, Hillfields Farm, Lighthorne, Warwickshire, CV35 0BQ. Telephone 01926 651470.