The Resurrection of TA0844 (continued)

Towards the end of Bob Butson’s article in Issue 5 of TTT 2 he recalled how the differential which came with his TA (but was from a TC) was found to be unusable as the near side differential housing was cracked around the inside edge of the threaded portion, making correct crown wheel to pinion mesh impossible. He continues the story…

I was fortunate to find a TA differential and have rebuilt it using new bearings and the serviceable parts from the new and the old. With new wheel bearings, half-shafts and hubs from Roger Furneaux (roger.46tc(at) the rear axle is now complete.

I was also fortunate in finding someone to straighten the front axle beam. Barry Foster, who is at Butleigh, Somerset (not far from Glastonbury) did the work. Barry is probably better known for his work on Triple-M cars. The front springs could now be fitted.

The firewall and kick plate had non-standard holes and very many dents. Malcolm Green’s book, MG T Series Restoration Guide, has a drawing of a standard TA scuttle showing all the original holes. The flange which holds the toolbox to the firewall had been spot welded out of line on the offside.

Feb 2004 – some progress in restoring the firewall

Having obtained two new stub axle pins from Bob Grunau (grunau.garage(at) I sent them and the steering knuckles to Roger Furneaux for machining and pressing together.

On stripping down the steering gear, I found that the drop arm link end had been swapped with one of the track rod ends. The ball pins, springs, grease nipples, and castle nuts would have to be replaced. The drag link was so bent it could not be recovered. The worm in the BC box was crumbling around its edges. It looked like the case hardening was breaking off. There was also much wear in all the other parts: so much that the box was unusable.

By April, having received the two steering knuckles with new stub axles fitted, I could fit the king pins and hubs.

It was now time to think about wheels. Three had badly rusted rims and were scrap. I salvaged two centres, which left two wheels with thick spokes and two with thin spokes. They had good rims but with many missing and broken spokes, so I decided to purchase a new set of unpainted 19 in. side laced wheels from Phil Hallewell. To solve the steering box problem I would be using a VW box conversion. This was ordered from Roger Furneaux with a splined shaft to fit the Brooklands wheel which I bought some twenty years ago.

Ed’s Note: P. J. Hallewell Engineering (Phil) is a recommended supplier on the website. Phil used to manufacture both side laced and centre laced 19 in. wheels – indeed, I purchased two sets of wheels from him some time back – but he no longer supplies them as he cannot source the rims. However, he still rebuilds wheels.

Another recommended supplier on the website for rebuilding wire wheels is James Wheildon, who is located near Salisbury in Wiltshire. James doesn’t have a website, but his e-mail address is jameswheildon(at) James put me on to a company called Vintage Rims in New Zealand who supply rims, spokes, wheel centres and splined hubs. Their website is at

Apologies to Bob for interrupting his article!…..

With marriage looming there was much to do with the house and garden and progress with the TA was slow.

It was not until September that I completed the braking system. All the brass unions were useable; the wheel cylinders were re-sleeved by a precision engineer friend. The master cylinder had cracks and was beginning to break up. Bob Grunau supplied the replacement. By now, my VW steering box had arrived.

The handbrake lever was very sloppy on its cross tube. I decided that a new piece of tube was required. The nearest OD available was slightly greater than the original. The lever brass bush was reamed to fit and the increased diameter took up some of the wear in the cross tube end pivots. I could get the lever chromed while the assembly was in pieces after drilling to fit a grease nipple. To start it was necessary to saw through the tube in two places to remove the lugs to which the cable securing pins were attached, and to remove the lever stop from the tube.

The VW steering box now fitted to Bob Butson’s TA. Note also the later type TB/TC front engine mounting.

The handbrake cable attachments and the lever stop were welded and pinned on opposite sides. The welds were turned off on a lathe; I hammered out the pins and the attachments came off the tube pieces with a little persuasion, I then assembled and re-welded all the components on the new tube. This was set aside until after the engine and gearbox had been fitted.

The front engine mounting arrangement on the chassis was by a selection of bent and rusting washers. This arrangement was converted to the later TB/TC type (as in above picture). To do this meant drilling the engine mounting brackets to receive the larger rubber and steel sleeves. I had to make new retaining bolts.

It was not until August 2005 that I could start on the engine. What a mess! There were odd bolts with odd threads everywhere, most of the timing cover bolt holes stripped, the timing chain with a rusty section, mains and big end bearing surfaces scored, three big ends under size by 70 thou and one at 90 thou. (somewhat thin!) The main bearings were sixty thou undersize and the bores were plus sixty thou. The camshaft was in good condition but its bearings were worn. The tappets were pitted and grooved. Six of the threaded holes for the sump bolts in the lower edge of the block had been drilled 8 mm using UNF nuts and bolts. The holes were anything but vertical, the threads must have been stripped at some time in its history. I milled the six to take a top hat style threaded insert, pressed in from the top of the block flange.

The timing gears were good but the timing cover was missing part of the camshaft pressure spring. The flywheel housing between bell housing and block had cracks around the hole for the starter motor; some extended to the bolt holes. Luckily I had a spare, purchased last year at Beaulieu Autojumble in perfect condition.

Two out of the three springs on the clutch plate retainer were broken and the thrust bearing retaining nut was mangled. The twelve clutch springs were intact. Four of the threaded holes in the front mounting plate were stripped. These would be drilled to receive top hat inserts pressed in from the engine side….. to be continued

Bob Butson

Ed’s further note: Mention was made of stub axle pins obtained from Bob Grunau. Bob also supplies these to me for owners on this side of the ‘pond’ and I currently have a few pairs in stock (also one pair of Triple-M pins). For splined hubs and half shafts (and wheel spinners) you can always go straight to the manufacturer (which is where most of the suppliers source their stock). The manufacturer is Orson Equipment in Dudley, West Midlands

Looking at the photo on the previous page of Bob’s restoration of his firewall reminds me to mention that two suppliers of bodies have recently been added to the website.

Steve Gilbert supplies panelled bodies and all metalwork, including petrol tanks. Steve is a real craftsman; he supplied me with a panelled body, wings, bonnet and front apron for my J2. Steve’s e-mail is sjgilbert(at)

Rique Llinares has been described by one of the subscribers to TTT 2 as “the best body builder in England”. The Ash Frames he makes as standard are: J2, P-Type, TA (early and late), TB, TC, TD; anything else to order. He also makes Burr & Straight grained Walnut Dashboards for PA, PB, TA/B, TC, TD; any other dash and trim to order riquellinares(at) A TA body under construction by Rique and a completed J2 body is shown below.

2 thoughts on “The Resurrection of TA0844 (continued)

  1. Fred Weber says:

    A fellow club member recently bought a connecting rod for a TA. On it is a forged swastika. Could you explain the reason for this forging?
    MG Car Club Central Jersey Centre-USA

  2. Rob Reilly says:

    Prior to the German Nazi use of the swastika or hakenkreuz, it was a common artistic decoration in multiple contexts, including among others the 1916-17 Lafayette Escadrille and the Krit Motor Company of Detroit 1909-16.

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