This section contains some common questions that I have received over
the years about the MGTD/TF that may not have been covered elsewhere in this site.
As I receive questions that I think are generally appropriate I will post them
here and/or enhance the content of a related page.
Please also refer to a very complete FAQ on MGTDs at
MG T Series FAQ's.
- I want to buy a TD/TF or sell my car. What do I do?
- First of all I don't post ads or announcements for cars for sale at
this site nor do I keep lists of people who are looking for cars. This is done
I would start with T-Series car clubs in your area, or the area you wish to
sell or buy your car from. Start with the clubs mentioned in the
section for ideas. If you live in a very large city you can consider using the
want ads of the local paper, or even publish in a widely distributed national
paper. You should also consider advertising in the newsletters of local
clubs. Another good source for reaching a larger audience for your car is
to use a publication such as Hemmings Motor News. If you
live in a major metropolitan area you will find that car
auction companies will pass
through your location from time to time. You can pre announce your car in
flyers they send out to increase your possible audience. To protect your
investment you should consider putting a reserve price on your vehicle. You can
also consider advertising in publications put out by parts distributors such as
Moss Motors. Another source is to contact a local repair dealer in your area.
If you intend to buy a car from America and have it shipped to you, a
site that offers this service may
be useful. Lastly, but I don't recommend it, is to put your car on an
electronic auction such as eBay or
Hemmings. Rember when a car is only seen remotely by pictures, its never what it appears to be no matter how good the pictures are. Some times the car is better in person but most of the time its far from the quality you thought you saw.
- I want to sell my car. How much is it worth?
- That's an impossible question to answer without a buyer standing by.
It depends on the condition of the car, it's appeal, the scarcity of those type
of cars in the buyers area, the market, and which way the wind is blowing at
that time. In US dollars a MGTD or MGTF could be sold for as little as $5,000 for a
basket case car to as much as $30,000 - $50,000 for a Concours quality original car.
Anything that you can claim that makes the car more appealing such as original
owner, tools, accessories, brochures, etc. will make the car more valuable to a
collector. Remember who your audience is and market accordingly. Don't try to
sell a "driver" car to a collector, nor undervalue a special car to sell to a
person who just wants to have a car for weekend cruises.
- How can I tell what color my car was originally?
- Starting with the MGTF in 1953, MG's were coded with the color of the
body on the ID plate. Prior to that there was no code on the cars. Also
starting at the MGTF model the factory records are available for the history of
the cars production and colors. This is not true for the MGTD. Therefore the
only way you have a chance to tell what color your car was is to take it apart.
Hopefully if it has never had a complete restoration that included stripping
all of the paint off, you may be able to find traces of the original color.
Best places to look are on the fenders where they mount to the body or frame,
the interior of the firewall, the firewall where it rests against the 'A'
frames, and sometimes under the hinges. Be careful you don't confuse the black
paint that was painted on all non finished surfaces as your color. This is why
it is especially difficult to determine if your car was black or not.
- Was white an original color?
- White was never offered as an original color on the MGTD. The closest
original color to white is Ivory.
- In what year was Cream and Cracker offered as a color?
- Cream and Cracker (cream body with brown
fenders) was never offered as an original factory color. There may have
been factory sponsored race cars
painted in this color scheme but is was not offered as a standard production
color. According to Chris Harvey's book, Great Marques MG, "Car manufacturers were not supposed to enter teams - so that private competitors had a fair chance - but the events were so prestigious that M.G. backed three top drivers to the hilt in 1934, providing them with PA Midgets painted in the works colours of brown & cream. They soon became known as the cream crackers as a result and scored many successes in a highly competitive field."
- I like light blue as a color but I have a 1953 MG. Is it OK to paint
it that color?
- While Clipper Blue was
offered as a standard color it was not available in the 1952 and 1953
production years. In these years the color was replaced by
Silver Streak Grey, a metallic
- Why are the two bolts on the side of the tappet cover painted
- These bolts were only used on the earliest MGTD's to sercure the oil cap chain. Their main purpose was for other cars. This cover was also used at
the same time on the MGYB. That model had an air cleaner that attached to these
bolts and was painted black.
- Should I paint my car in enamel or lacquer?
- Generally I find that lacquer will give a superior looking finish,
especially for the novice painter. You can paint lacquer in a less than perfect
environment, and the paint drys quickly so there is less chance for runs, sags,
bugs, dust and other undesirables. The lacquer finish, if done properly, will
look better than any other. The downside is that it takes a lot of time and
hard work to do it, and that the paint is much more brittle than enamels. I
would say that if you plan on driving your car a lot go with an acrylic enamel,
especially if it is going to be painted professionally. If you want to do the
painting yourself, or you want the best possible finish and have the time, go
with a lacquer. I have painted a number of cars where the exterior surfaces
were painted in lacquer but the under/inside surfaces were painted in enamel.
- What color primer should I use before painting my car?
- It is generally recommended that you use a primer color as close to
the final body color as you can. For example red cars should use red oxide,
black cars dark grey or black, ivory and Clipper Blue cars should use light
- I was told I must remove all the paint from my car before I refinish
it. Is that true?
- That depends. In most cases if the car has had a number of paint jobs
on it or you are putting on dissimilar paint types, it is recommended that you
strip the car first. Be prepared to refill any synthetic fillers that were used
as these are generally removed with the paint as well.
- If I use a synthetic body filler such as 'Bondo' to make repairs on
my car will I be disqualified in a car show?
- The answer should be no. First of all you should try to use as little
of any filler as is possible by straightening the body work first. Filler
should only be used to finish any areas that could not be fixed by body work.
With this small amount of filler used it would be about impossible for anyone
to tell that you had used filler anyway. Technically, since synthetic fillers
were not available during the production of the MGTD, lead would be the
preferred filler material.
- What should I do with the empty holes on the firewall? Should I have
- You should not fill empty holes unless you know that they were not
original. It is best to check old pictures, manuals, other cars, etc. before
filling an empty hole in the car. Many of the parts on the MGTD were used on
other cars or in a different steering configuration. This resulted in extra
holes in various places. As a rule if you find an empty hole look for a
corresponding hole on the other side of the car. If there is one that is being
used, then don't fill the other one. Also holes that have jagged or rough
openings are also a candidate for filling as all the factory holes were punched
and not drilled.
- Did all cars have a TD or TF stenciled on the rear end?
- While some cars did have TD or TF stenciled on the rear end it was not universal. There is enough evidence though that it was fairly common. There is still speculation why some cars had this feature and some did not.
Some speculation focuses on the fact that Nuffield, and later BMC, was making multiple cars on the assembly line at the same time that used similar rear axles and it was necessary to mark these to insure they were applied to the correct car. Others point out that the manufacture (Ruby Owen?) was making similar axles for different brands and models and that they marked one or more at the factory to ensure that the correct rear ends went to the customer. There is not documentation to indicate either of these theories is accurate. At least one car also had the ratio of the rear end stenciled on it, which to me makes more sense. During the production of the TD there were three rear axle ratios available with two being standard for the regular TD and the TD Mk II or TDC.
- How can I found out when my car was
- The MG Car Club Ltd, Kimber House, POBox 251, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 1FF
may have information on your TD's production date. They can provide a copy of
the page from the factory log book which states the chassis number,
the engine number and the date the car left the factory. In the letter, they
recommend contacting John Dutton, Milestones, Row Dow, Otford, Kent TN14 5RY
"who is the Registrar for the TD's." They also recommend the book entitled
MG T-Series, The Complete Story by
Graham Robson. They sell the book. Michael, Seattle,
email@example.com from the MGTD-TF
BBS. There is an online tool available from the T Register T Type Factory Production Records.
- How can I locate the original or prior owner of my car?
- That is a good question. I certainly don't have the list of all TD/TF
cars and their owners. The New England MG T
Register attempts to catalog as many cars as people send them information
on. You might also want to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles, or a
similar agency, where your car was registered. Sometimes they will keep records
of vehicles and their owners over a period of time. In California you can find
the DMV here.
- I remember white and black tops and tonneau covers when the TD's and TF's were
new. Aren't they original?
- No. The only type of material offered by the factory was the standard
tan canvas. Almost every dealer would sell you different options for the
tonneau covers and the hood. Also the hoods did not last long in many climates
and were quickly replaced.
- Why does my car not have a heater?
- Heaters in sports cars of this time were quite rare. In fact one of
the design elements for the MGTD/MGTF was to offer a
heater as an option. Due to the
fact that most cars were not sold with one attests to the hardiness of the
original MGTD/MGTF owners.
- Why does my car have so many more tonneau snaps and studs than other
MGTD's or MGTF's?
- The original tonneau only covered the boot area. This is the space
behind the seats. Because of this the only 'lift the dot' snaps that are
original to the MGTD are the two behind the seat and the three in back above
the gas tank. Since most cars now (and then) were fitted with a full tonneau
cover, the placements of the snaps forward of the seat were at the discretion
of the installer. Each obviously had their own thoughts on how many were used
and where they should be placed.
- My car is missing a water temperature gauge. What was provided
- If your car is a 1952 or 1953 model then you should have a water
temperature and oil pressure combination gauge. The earlier models were not
provided with a water temperature gauge as standard equipment. Your options at
the time were to install a Motometer, which was a type of thermometer in the
radiator cap, or to install a separate water temperature gauge somewhere on the
dash in a new hole. The factory did provide a separate water temperature gauge
as an optional accessory at the time.
- What type of seat belts were offered with the MGTD/MGTF?
- None. Seat belts were not an option offered by the factory. This
would have been a period accessory.
- How many different types of engines were offered on the MGTD?
- At any time during the production of the MGTD there were at most two
different types of engines offered, but they came as part of a complete car.
Engine choices were not offered seperately. These were the standard MGTD and
the sport modified MGTD Mk II. The first cars offered did not have the sport
package and their engines were labled XPAG/TD/. Later general production cars
changed from a 7¼ inch clutch to an 8 inch clutch and these engines were
designated by the title XPAG/TD2/. Later Mk II MGTD's engines were designated
as XPAG/TD3/. Do not confuse the TD2 engine type with the Mk II car type. Mk II
cars were labeled TDC.
- How many different types of engines were offered on the MGTF?
- The 1954 MGTF had a 1250cc engine. In 1955 the engine was updated to a more powerful 1500cc's.
- Whats the purpose of the two "L" shaped brackets behind the dash on the MGTD
- The purpose of the two "L" shaped brackets behind the dash on either side of the
glovebox was for supporting an optional radio, both factory and aftermarket.
See a set of installation pictures here.
- What does MG stand for?
- A common misconception is that the name "M.G." stands for "Morris
Garages". This however is not the case. M.G. stands for itself and is not an
abbreviation. It is a name. The letters were chosen as a tribute to William
Morris and his company, Morris Garages. Cecil Kimber, after working for Mr.
Morris, started his own company called The M.G. Car Company. The 'M' was chosen
as a tribute to Mr. Morris himself and the 'G' in honor of the company Morris
Garages. You can read more about this
- What does NOS mean?
- NOS means New Old Stock. It is a term for a part that was built as a
spare during the original production period but has never been used before.
This would generally serve as an original part. There are exceptions though. At
times parts may have been changed even during the production period so a NOS
part may not be original to your particular car.
- What is a GoF?
- GoF stands for Gathering of the
Faithful. An event held by MG enthusiasts. These events are generally limited
to pre 1956 models. First started in 1965 by Dick Knudson, GoF's are now put on
on both coasts of America each year as well as other locations worldwide. In
the East Coast there are two major GoF's yearly while in the West Coast there
is one. There are also many 'Mini GoF's' put on by individual clubs during the
- What is a "Gold Seal Replacement Engine"?
Seal Replacement Engines were primarily offered during the production of
the MGTC but there were some offered during the early days of the TD and many
of these may have made there way to MGTD's in later years. During the early
days of imports there were shortages of trained workers and parts to perform
major repairs or rebuilds to the XPAG engines that MG used. Because of this the
factory created a set of spare engines that could be swapped out for the
original, instead of repairing it. The factory would exchange your worn out
engine with these replacement engines. These engines were painted gold in color
instead of dark red and came with a special ID tag designating them as such.
The tags were made of brass and were affixed to the block stating that it was
an original factory replacement engine. Sometimes these tags were affixed to
the same location as the engine ID tag. In later years of TD production the
same sort of process was carried out by dealers and engine rebuilding
facilities who would have a set of spare engines on hand. In this manner they
could swap your tired engine for a rebuilt one and in a matter of hours, or a
few days, get you back on the road. Your engine would then be rebuilt at their
leisure and wind up on some other MGTD later on. In fact if anybody has my
engine, ID 19988, I would appreciate an email.
From the MGCC: A large
number of cars with XPAG engines have had BMC replacement engines (Gold Seal)
fitted. These usually had no XPAG on the octagonal plate, but instead a letter
prefix (A to E have been seen) probably denoting the over-bore sizes, followed
by a larger than usual number (E99794 has been seen). With replacement engines,
the original number of that engine can sometimes be deciphered just above the
octagonal plate, stamped on the block. Be prepared to find, however, that your
engine might have started life on a Y-type!
- What does the term CKD mean?
- CKD - "completely knocked down". A term used to describe cars that
were exported in kit form to be assembled "in country". This was sometimes used
to claim that the cars were manufactured locally to get by import tax
situations. Cars were finished in primer only. To get an idea how CKD cars were
utilized check out this web site about the
BMC in Sydney, Australia.
- Why are people changing the rear end to one from an MGA
- MG TD's standard differential ratio was 5.125 to 1. That's pretty low
but gives good performance starting and running through the gears. Great for
racing and windy roads. Also offered during the 50's were gear ratios of 4.875 (standard on the MGTF and TD Mk II)
and 4.555 to 1. These ratios were intended for cars with more power (i.e. the
Mark II and using blowers). In the past few years some folks have found it a
good trade-off of performance for long distance freeway driving.
will tell you that you are defeating the correct ratio of the power train and
are losing performance and causing undue stress on the system by using these
higher gears in standard powered TD's. The biggest driver for these ratios is to be able to drive the cars at a higher top end speed with less impact on the engine.
MGA's had these higher gear
ratios as standard, and more power. There is a book put out by the
Vintage MG Club of Southern California
and available from Moss Motors
(212-350) on how to change the TD ring and pinion gear in the original rear end
with MGA parts. In this manner you will still have an mostly original appearing rear
end but it will perform as a MGA ratio would. The MGA pinion is slightly different. Ideally it would be great to get
a set of TD ring and pinions but these are hard to find.
There is a great article from Dick Lunney titled Virgin Rear End Conversion that is perhaps easier to follow and execute.
Moss Motors sells a 4.55:1 ring and
pinion for the MGTD that does not permanently modify the rear end. The part
number is 267-185.
Other reasons people swap to an MGA rear end is
that they like the construction better or they want to put on wire wheels.
Changing the complete rear end out to a MGA will devalue the car though.
- How will a concours judge know what is original on my MGTD/MGTF?
- This is a very good question and there is no simple or correct
answer. Basically it comes down to what is accepted in the particular
show you are entered in. One source would be literature such as Original
MG T Series, A Restorers Guide to MG
TA, TB, TC, TD and TF; Anders Ditlev Clausager, Published by MBI Publishing
Company, 1989. Other sources would be period articles, brochures,
factory photos, magazines, etc. Also important, but rather subjective, is the
judges personal experiences and exposure to other MGTD's. I would like to think
that more judges would refer to these web pages in the future for standards of
- Can I talk to a concours judge while restoring my car?
- In most cases the answer is absolutely. There may some issues with
talking to a judge that will be reviewing your car in a few weeks. Concours are
very political. I have been to shows where the judges had financial ties to the
entrants. Not very fair but then this is a subjective event. Keep in mind that
not all judges use the same criteria. This is why it is important to document
as much as we know about the cars and get that information out to the world.
- How can I be assured that I am using valid information to restore my
- In that past this has been done via publications such as
books and newsletters. Books seemed to be most
reliable because the author had to go to great lengths to get the material
published. Also there was generally a fair amount of collaboration between the
author and other authorities sited in the references. Newsletters from
MG clubs also provide good information but
do not have any where near the level of review that a book would have. In the
future it will be done more electronically like this site. There is a problem
for the reader to determine if the information is valid, do to the fact that
anyone with a computer and a little time can create a web page. Look for
evidence from the author as to their level of
knowledge, and who they site as collaborators or references. Also look
for documentation or some sort of proof for their claims. This is one of the
values of the web type of media. I can point you to various sources of proof
via hypertext links that a hard copy source cannot do.
- When you work on your engine do you remove the hood?
- I generally don't take the hood off my car to work on the engine. I
think the MGTD has a great deal of room with the folding hood open, and in fact
is one of the greatest features of the car. I prop mine in the open position by
using the tool box lid as a brace. Just put a shop rag at the top to keep it
from scratching anything and rest it just under the bottom lip of the hood.
Some folks open the hood vertically and brace it by putting the hood
just behind the radiator stays. Protect all touch points with rags. See the
tips and techniques pages for more information.
- Is the hood (bonnet) half supposed to lay over and fold flat on the
- No. It is supposed to be suspended above the other hood and not
contact it. If yours lays flat you need to make sure that you have both an
inner and outer hinge cap at each end and that they are secured to either the
radiator or wood frame appropriately. Many times loose hinge supports or the
missing inner hinge cap will cause the hood to lay flat when open. This will
damage the hood.
- Cutting the Cowel Rubber
- On original TD's and TF's was the rubber moulding that goes across and down the
fireall to protect the bonnet edge cut trimmed as it flexes around the corners
near the widscreen posts or was the original rubber moulded to shape unlike the
current replacement item?
The replacement is just like the original. No cutting is required.
See the tip on installing here.
- What attaches to the bracket on the tappet side cover?
- Many parts of the MGTD/TF are used on other cars too. The bracket is used to secure the oil gauge line on the Y series, the tube is attached to the bracket and is
looped to dampen out vibrations as it travels up the fire wall and through to the gauge.
- What is the most authentic mounting location for the accessory
mirrors mounted on the wings?
- Since there are no holes in your fenders there is not an official
placement for the mirrors. Some like them outboard of the parking lights while
others like them behind. One thing to consider is how they may be knocked about
if they stick out beyond the fender. Mine are constantly being torqued by folks
who get to close. They could even damage the fender if hit hard enough. You
need to make the call on where to place them.
- Determining the TD Camshaft Type
- Two different camshafts were supplied as original equipment for the
XPAG and XPEG engines. The earliest type, part number AAA5776 (earlier numbers
MG862/171 or X24084), was used in all TB and TC engines, and in TD engines up
to engine number XPAG/TD2/24l15. This early cam requires a valve clearance of
0.019 in. The later type, part number AAA3096 (earlier number 168553) was used
in all later TD and TF engines and requires a valve clearance of 0.012 in.
Unfortunately, now that even the newest TF is almost 40 years old, the engine
numbers quoted above are not necessarily a valid guide for purpose of camshaft
identification. Engines originally equipped with AAA5776 may have been fitted
with AAA3096 in the course of an overhaul. With the engine cold, remove the
rocker cover and turn the engine over with the crank until #1 intake valve (2nd
valve from front of engine) is wide open. At this point, #4 intake valve (7th
from front) will be fully closed and on the exact center of the heel of the cam
Set #4 intake to 0.021 in. clearance. This is the correct
checking clearance for both cams, regardless of whether you use the degree
wheel and dial indicator method or the simplified method which follows. Now,
wipe all the accumulated gook off the crankshaft pulley, and get out your
measuring tape and a piece of chalk. Measuring around the rim of the pulley.
make one chalk mark between 1/32 in. and 3/64 in. to the right (as seen from
the front) of the top dead centre mark on the pulley. This corresponds to
5° BTDC, which is when the intake opens on the later cam (AAA3096). Make a
second chalk mark 23/64 in. to the right of the TDC mark. This corresponds to
11° BTDC, which is when the intake opens on the earlier cam (AAA5776).
Next, turn the engine over with the crank (it's easier with the spark
plugs out) until the pushrod for #4 intake valve just barely locks up enough so
that you can't spin it between your fingers. At this point, the timing pointer
on the timing chain cover should be more or less aligned with one or the other
of the chalk marks. If the pointer aligns with the 11° mark, then you have
the early cam (AAA5776) and you should set the valve clearance to 0.019 in.
with the engine hot. If the pointer aligns with the 5° mark then you have
the later cam (AAA3096) and you should set the valve clearance to 0.012 in.
hot. If the pointer does not align with either mark, go back through the entire
procedure again to make sure you did it right. What effect does the wrong valve
clearance setting have on the engine? This is a bit difficult for the novice to
pinpoint unless he can compare performance to a properly set up car. In
general, however, an engine equipped with AAA5776, but with the valve clearance
set at 0.012 in. will be very low on power. An engine equipped with AAA3096,
but with the clearance met at 0.019 in. will be slightly down on power and will
produce a really awful amount of valve clatter. You should also bear in mind
the fact that while clearance which is too large is noisy, it doesn't
necessarily produce any mechanical damage. On the other hand, burnt exhaust
valves will almost surely result from unduly small valve clearance, as in the
case of an AAA5776 cam set at 0.012 in.David DuBois
- Is there a site like the Original MGTD Midget dedicated to the
- The companion pages for the MGTF can be found
here. Also you can check these
links for more specific TF information.
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