MG Technical

From MGB Driver - The North American MGB Register publication


By Bob Mason

Spring will soon be with us once again (we hope!) but before it arrives, perhaps a little thought should be given to some of the little things that can make our MG driving more enjoyable and trouble free. Although the following applies primarily to the MGB, it may also be applicable to most other MGs. Your owner's handbook or shop manual has a maintenance schedule, but it does leave out a few things that should be considered and quickly passes over some items that are easily overlooked.

1. After greasing your kingpin points (with the front wheels off the ground) check your tie rod end rubber boots to see if they appear to be full of grease. If not a needle fitting on the end of your grease gun will easily pierce the boot to add standard chassis grease. Also when replacing a bad tie rod end, add grease to the boot before installation. If the joint is good and the boot is bad, new boots are available.

2. While the grease gun is handy, give the joint on the sliding spline of the drive shaft three strokes of grease (no more!), the universal joints three strokes (if grease fittings are installed) and the parking brake cable. (Some late model MGBs do not have a cable grease fitting.) Remember, grease will flow through the cable housing much more easily if the handbrake lever is set first.

3. The joint connecting the parking brake cable to the hand lever would like a bit of lubrication, something like WD-40 or CRC. The equalizer lever attached to the differential needs lubrication for free movement. This lever is easy to remove, clean, lube, and reinstall.

4. Carburetor throttle shafts need lubrication for long life, as should the associated linkage and springs. Just a few drops of oil are all that is needed and this should be done each time the chassis lube is undertaken-every 3000 miles. When oiling the throttle shafts, run the engine at idle so as to suck the oil in along the bronze bushes.

5. While your oil can is handy, add a few drops to your distributor shaft (remove the rotor first) and contact breaker pivot post. If your car has a generator, add a few drops of oil to the bush at the rear of the armature.

6. When was the last time you checked for oil in your steering rack? If the rack bellows are cracked or torn, all of the oil (EP-90) has long gone. The rack bellows not only retain and recirculate the oil, but they also keep dirt out of the steering rack. Early Bs had a fitting for adding oil, but this was eliminated around 1966. Assuming the bellows are sound, oil can be added by removing the steering rack top plate and damper (don't lose the shims) and pouring about 1/3rd pint of EP-90, slowly into that opening.

7. A bit more involved (but not difficult) is the oiling of the brake and clutch pedal pivots. Remove the four screws retaining the master cylinder cover to gain access. You can also check for excessive free play between the pedals, cylinder push rods and their clevis pins. There should be no apparent play and new parts are readily available if required. Also, are your pedal return springs installed?

8. Front wheel bearings are very long lived if repacked and adjusted at about 60,000 miles or so, but without attention can fail and sometimes can cause expensive repairs to the hub or the axle. As described in the manual, the bearings are adjusted by shims of varying sizes and the process appears to be quite complicated. However, there is an easier way, although equally time consuming. You will need a socket of the correct size (critical if wire wheels are involved) a dust cap remover (again, wire wheels) a torque wrench, cotter pin, wheel bearing grease and a new hub seal. Maybe a good time for this would be a club tech. session where help and proper tools would be available.

9. Don't forget to oil such items as the door hinges, bonnet safety catch and retaining catch, door latch mechanism and bonnet release cable. The cable can easily be lubricated by spraying the outer housing liberally with anti-seize lubricant while holding a rag underneath the cable to absorb the excess.

10. The MGB is a strong vehicle and will operate without maintenance far longer than most other cars, but without attention, something will eventually give up. So if you don't attend to the small things, don't stand back and blame the vehicle when something does break. Always remember that continuing lack of problems and therefore happy motoring, is directly proportional to the amount of care and attention you direct to the routine (and other) maintenance of your MG. Better do something at home than on the freeway at 11pm (in the rain!)


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