MG TC Brake Improvement

For some time now I have been pondering how I can improve the poor braking of my MG TC.

Of course, it is possible to convert the existing set-up to a twin-leading shoe arrangement, but that would entail surgery to the backplates and I was reluctant to undertake this if another solution could be found.

After an inspection of the front brakes, I observed that the two eccentric adjusters of the brake shoes just began to engage at 3/4 from the beginning, although the brake linings were still quite new (5 mm thick)!

So, the brake cylinders had quite a long way to go before braking……

From a piece of steel (2 mm thick) I made 2 little U-turns and bolted them to the front brake shoes, where the brake-cylinders push them to the drums. (see pictures). Did this only on the front drums, because the brake power is about 2/3 at the front, and 1/3 at the rear.

For the stops of the adjusters I made a narrow ring (from a mounting piece of IKEA cupboard I still had in my possession…..) – see previous picture.

After searching on the Internet I found a firm in Alkmaar called “Leeuwenkamp Van Langen Techniek bv” (, who sell special brake linings for ‘oldtimers’. Normally, the friction-coefficient of our brake linings is about 0.20, but they have a Ferodo DS 3920 brake lining with about 0.42 friction-coefficient. Thickness 5 mm. Often used in karting and F1.

The material is bonded to the brake shoe, and then adjusted to the drum.

When mounting the brake shoes I put some chalk on them. After turning the wheels sometime, took them off again, and then the places are clearly visible where to sandpaper. Do this again, till there are no visible spots at last. Also brake sometimes in between to settle the shoes. Of course: don’t forget to put on the drum first!

Well, the braking result is sensational! With reasonable power on the brake pedals the car stops immediately. Even just braking using the handbrake is sufficient to stop at once!
Of course in the future there should be more wear on the brake linings, but with the 1500 miles driving per year I don’t have to worry much. It is also nice feeling the break-pedal in a higher position.

Hope you will all benefit from this!

Frans Sitton
My e-mail: mgtf1954(at) {Please substitute (@) for (at)}.

Ed’s note: I checked a few details with Frans as follows:

I wanted to know how the narrow ring (courtesy of IKEA) was fitted to the stops on the brake shoe. Frans explained that:

“The narrow (IKEA) ring fitted just very tight. Had to mount it between my vice. The inside hole is drilled with 8 mm. Outside measures 11 mm, and the depth is 6 mm.”

I also wanted to check that the Ferodo linings were also fitted to the rear drums (this seemed self-evident from the increased efficiency of the handbrake), but I thought I had better check. Frans confirmed this.

Lastly, I made some enquiries about the availability of Ferodo DS 3920 in the UK and conclude that it should be readily available.

Friction Services (a couple of miles from my house) stock this brake lining material

and will bond it to the shoes. It is done in various thicknesses but 5mm is stocked. As the original lining thickness is 3/16 inch (4.7625 mm.) a fair amount of sanding down would be required.

One thought on “MG TC Brake Improvement

  1. Richard Gibbons says:

    I acquired my TC last year and have not been happy with the brakes even though I am told the linings, are in good order and the master cylinder has been refurbished.
    I simply drive the car and have little or no mechanical knowledge, the remedy mentioned does appear extreme, would the surgery to the backplates be extensive/expensive in order to convert to twin leading?
    Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Richard Gibbons

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