The Saga of TC4332 (Chapter 4)

We last reviewed progress with TC4332 in Issue 15 (December 2012). Since then, much water has flowed under the bridge (and many GB Pounds have disappeared from the wallet!) but real progress has been made and Leslie Hancock reports as follows:

The priority now is to achieve a rolling chassis. This will allow me to move the chassis out of the garage and bring the engine into the garage behind the chassis adjacent the work bench. To this end, new brake lines were purchased from Doug Pelton at FROM THE FRAME UP (FTFU) along with a clip set. This was really valuable as the clip set came with photographic and written details on “what goes where”. The brake lines were fixed to the chassis, master and wheel cylinders with absolutely no problems.

Next, the hand brake assembly was fitted and the handbrake cables connected, all worked well up to a point. Again, the replacement parts were shoddy Far East copies of the original hand brake cables. They are virtually identical except the outer sheathing is a modern plastic not the coiled steel of the originals. After fitting to the car and attempting to grease the cables through their grease points, the grease poured out of the junctions between the plastic sheathing and the metal grease and fixing point. Again, careful what you buy.

Ed’s Note: I don’t think that replacement handbrake cables with the coiled steel outer sheathing are available any more. I say this because two (Made in England) Triple-M brake cables I ordered recently did not have the coiled steel outer sheathing.

T-Type handbrake cables (made in England) are available from Richard Hardy at Vintage MG Parts

I find the best way to lubricate the cables before offering them up to the chassis is to suspend them vertically and “fill” them with some thin oil. A tedious job as the oil takes its time to travel through the entire length of the cable, but it’s a job well worth doing.

Now it’s back to Les………….

Photo 1 showing dial gauge bolted to timber member, this in turn clamped across the chassis rails and positioned against the inside of the rim.

Sometimes I think the more we read about our T- Types the more work and cost it creates. To obtain the rolling chassis it was necessary to fit the wheels with new tyres, tubes and rim bands. Reading an article on TC wheels, I noted that it was recommended that old used splines should NOT be fitted to new hubs and that lateral tolerances on the wheels when rotated should not exceed +/-1/32nd of an inch. Having purchased new half shafts and integral hubs, I decided to purchase two new wheels for the rears. To check the tolerances of the wheels, all of which had some minor dents, I set up a dial gauge to run on the inside of the rim as recommended in the article. The wheels were numbered and fitted to one of the new rear splines and the dial gauge placed (see photograph).

To say the least, the results were concerning; none of the wheels were in tolerance, two of them running out in excess of +/-5mm. More £ signs started to flash. Having read the recommendation by John James in TTT2, I contacted James Wheildon specialist wheel builder who quoted £85.00/ wheel to rebuild them; this compared very favourably with previous best quote by a company in Slough of £157.00/wheel excl. of VAT. I asked James to obtain two new wheels and took the remaining five wheels down to his workshop near Salisbury. After careful examination James pronounced one hub and one rim scrap and recommended he build four good wheels from the five. This was agreed and the wheels left with him.

Contact details: James Wheildon, Old Brickwood Farm, West Grimstead, SALISBURY, Wilts. SP5 3RN. Tel: 01722 712967 E-mail: jameswheildon(at) {please substitute @ for (at)}

During the preceding months I had many parts re-chromed, including the windscreen surrounds, door and bonnet handles and headlight shells and rims. As noted in Chapter 1, the headlights on the TC were off some commercial vehicle or other. I searched the Internet and especially eBay and found two MB 140 headlights in the TC section and two in the Auto Electrical section, part of which is solely for Lucas parts. I managed to assemble two good complete lamps from the four. If anyone requires Lucas electrical bits, this part of eBay is very useful.

Ed’s note: Also useful for locating parts on eBaY is the MG Auction Watch website

I took the reflectors to a company in the jewellery quarter of Birmingham who charged £7.00/inch measured across the diameter to re-silver them, the lowest quote above that was £12.00/inch. This figure at £7.00 gives £49.00 per reflector; this is as cheap as chroming. The company being Genius of the Lamp at 15, Northampton Street Birmingham B16 6DU, Tel: 0121 212 0155 were excellent and well worth remembering as they will do full refurbishments of any lamp.

I assembled the base pedestal to the shell using a fastener set again provided by FTFU. The lenses on two of the lamps were the original type for the TC having the Lucas logo vertical in the catseye and virtually perfect, I now have two good lamps for the car. Again through the internet, I obtained an original Lucas SFT27 fog light, not cheap, a Lucas Altette horn and an original wiper motor, the one on the car on arrival from Germany being a Bosch type lookalike.

I sent the instruments to Speedoheads in Surrey and was interested to get a call from them asking if I would prefer original Bakelite backs to be fitted in lieu of the existing cast machined Aluminium backs on the Odometer and the Tachometer. Speedoheads thought that the car was most certainly in the United States at some time in its life as the Aluminium backs were of such high quality castings as to be most likely made in the US.

I had to make a decision on the body tub and the upholstery. A new beige set of upholstery was purchased. The body tub was taken to Hutson Motor Co. in Bradford for inspection. After much sucking of teeth Hutson advised it could supply all timbers for a restoration by myself or provide a new body tub completely skinned and primed ready for finishing. I bit the bullet and chose the latter option, not having any confidence in my coach building skills, the costs mount!

Back to the chassis – James Wheildon was revisited and the refurbished wheels collected. The new wheels had been stove enamelled in Silver Ash RAL 9006. The refurbished wheels could be stove enamelled at much greater cost than powder coating, After lengthy discussion with the powder coaters I decided to take the risk on shade and go for powder coating again in Silver Ash RAL 9006 with a lacquer spray protective finish. The results were fine there being no discernible colour difference.

Tyres were purchased from Longstone Tyres along with tubes and rim bands all being fitted and balanced locally. It was interesting to note that the two new wheels required little or no balance correction whilst the refurbished original wheels required significant weighting. The wheels were fitted and we have a rolling chassis (see photograph). It should be easier from here up, I wish!

Photo 2 showing rolling chassis, note the 1980 BMC 1500 Midget in the garage.

We are now up to date. As long as I am not boring anybody I plan to write further chapters on the rebuild. Finally I would like to thank sincerely the following, John James your Editor, Eric Worpe, Tom Wilson in the US and last but by no means least Doug Pelton at From the Frame Up. All these people have been patient and helpful especially in the face of some silly questions. Lestc4332(at) {please substitute @ for (at)}