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Extract from July's Octagon Car Club Bulletin


Bjarne Bergengren comments (No309) that some of the colours attributed to the early TC scuttles and engines were British Standard #638 and 381c . We do not have standard colours here in Canada, but I would very much appreciate it if someone on your side would send me actual colour chips. I have been aware of the many guesses that have been made on early colours - the underside of my scuttle is a horrible metallic mid-blue. The front for the scuttle is black as is the car, and my engine is MG red to match the grille and upholstery. The black and red bits are acceptable, but I'd like to see what they may have been originally. (No321)

Paul Montgomery mentions BS381C shade 638 in his question. BS381C is a (fairly old) colour standard and shade 638 is actually Dark Sea Grey. In Paul's language it would be FED STANDARD 595B Colour 16099, so maybe Harry's idea that surplus RN paint was used is correct.

If anyone needs help on paints I have access to all the reference books - but usually deal with ships or oil rigs!
Len Townsend, London
(Paul would still appreciate sight of coloured paint chips if anyone can help. I will forward them. MT)

I own a 1953 YB, engine number SC2/17932. The cylinder block has round holes for water circulation but the head has oval or pear shaped holes. I am advised by my supplier that I should use short reach spark plugs although I have always used long reach ones before. Could any informed person advise as to the use of long and short reach plugs and the effect of same. (No 323)

My engine is in the same engine group (SC/17463 to SC2/17994).

Mike Allison wrote an article for Safety Fast in the late 60s discussing the various modifications made to XPAG engines. He stated:-

Group III XPAG SC/17463. Block, head and gaskets: Revised water passages in the head and block necessitated a different type of gasket. None of these parts are interchangeable with earlier parts. The modified head also necessitated the use of longer reach spark plugs

From this it would seem that we should be using 3/4 reach spark plugs.

But, in a MGCC T Register Bulletin (No 35, 1974) Roger Wilson quotes a change to a modified cylinder head with round water passages introduced at SC2/17994 (TD2/22735). This requires 3/4 reach plugs. He goes on to state that any head can be used with any block but if a round hole head with a round hole block then a new gasket with round holes should be used. Any other combination must use an oval hole gasket.

John Lawson in his book on the Y-type gives SC2/17463 as the first group 3 engine with longer reach spark plugs and SC2/17994 as change of gasket and further change of spark plugs type.

NTG Services catalogue shows SC2/17463 (TD2/17969) as introducing round cooling holes in cylinder block and SC2/17994 (TD2 22735) having a change to round cooling holes in head and 3/4 spark plugs. In their catalogue two different gaskets are identified. The earlier gaskets used with engines to SC2/17462 and the later with round holes from SC2/17463. The gasket illustrations show very considerable differences.

An article on spark plugs in an Octagon Bulletin gives short reach L7 or L10 for Y types to SC2/17993 and long reach N8 or N8B from SC2/17994.

It would seem from all the above that at SC2/17463 a new block with round holes was introduced. The head was not changed and continued to have oval and pear shaped holes with short reach spark plugs. The gasket was however changed to round holes. The modified cylinder head with round holes was then introduced later at SC2/17994 to match the block. Did they have a quantity of old type heads to use up?

My car has short reach plugs (Champion L90) and starts and runs very well. I assume my engine is just like Miles Harris engine with a round hole block and oval/pear shaped holes in the head. I have not removed the head so I don't know for certain but the block and head are original at 90,000 miles from new. I would therefore advise the use of short reach plug unless one wishes to trust an acknowledged expert like Mike Allison.

My original YB workshop manual refers to later engines as having the round hole cylinder head. Spark plugs are Champion L10s (Champion NA8 on later models)

The Autopress Workshop Manual for T types gives 3/4 reach NA8 plugs for engines after TD2/22735 (SC2/17994) and has a warning Do not fit the NA8 type with the longer reach to earlier engines

I hope that this research is of some use.
Mike Smye, Ipswich

A number of suppliers are offering T series high ratio rear axle conversions which enable high speed cruising more in line with today's higher speeds (?) with less engine stress.

If any member has taken advantage of these modifications I would be interested to hear of their experiences and if they have felt acceleration suffered to any great extent (No324)

With the assistance of some skilled members of the South Eastern MGT register here in the States, I made this conversion to my TD in 1993. The gear set employed was a 4.3 from an MGA. I drive my 51 TD about 10,000 miles a year and after 30 years of long distance driving, can flatly state that this is the most signification modification that I have made on the car. Jonathan Goddard is correct in that with a standard bore 1250 XPAG, starting acceleration and additional down shifting on grades may be the sacrifice. In my case, TD 8888 is bored 60 over, with stage II head, 1.5 carbs and 165/15 radial tires. These additional modifications more than compensate for the gear change. I would think under any conditions, the 3.9 gear set would be too tall for the XPAG engine. I'll add that on a recent 1100 mile trip that was covered mostly on interstate highways, at 4200rpm, TD 8888 was running at 72mph in traffic... wish I had made this conversion twenty years ago!
Hank Rippert, Charlotte NC, USA (Hank is Chairman New England T Register)

I have run my TD with a 3.9 diff. For 3 years. It came from an early B axle found under a bush in a friend's garden. When the mud was removed it was found to be stamped 11:43. The conversion was carried out using Carl Cederstrand's booklet (available in the UK from Moss).

All advice was against using the 3.9 ratio, the basic power being insufficient to pull it. This may be true, my engine has several mods. Including TF valves, higher compression head and 1.5 carbs. The improvement in drivability has to be experienced to be believed. It is like a different car and well worth the trouble and expense of fitting. It may be that some acceleration loss would be experienced and you would find yourself using first gear for pulling away from rest rather than solely for climbing sides of houses but once on the move I doubt whether you would find much problem, especially if you chose the 4.3 ratio. I would certainly recommend the conversion.
Malcolm Poore, Sheringham, Norfolk.

I need advice on replacing the front and rear quarter panels underneath the doors on the M.G. TD & TF. The existing panels are corroded along the bottom edges and most of the supporting wood frame is missing. Is the repair within the scope of DIY? Is there a good book on the subject? (No324)

The best book to date for the home restorer has been written by a home restorer, Horst Schah. The Complete MG TD Restoration Manual will really satisfy the needs of any T-series owner. This book is available from the Octagon Car Club and, in the States from its Publisher, The New England MG T Register Ltd., Drawer 220, Oneonta, NY 13820, USA. David Oldfield will find that the book will answer all of his restoration questions in an easy to read format with more than 250 detailed photos.
Hank Rippert, Charlotte, USA.

It would seem possible to remove and replace damaged quarter panels and main lower timbers on TD and TFs. However, these repairs are not only extremely difficult but nigh on impossible unless the body unit is completely removed from the chassis.

Firstly, the body is capped over the timber frame and covers all relevant screwed joints with the rear quarter panel being welded as a unit to the inner wheel arch which is riveted to the cross panel between the A post hinge timbers.

Secondly, the lower joints to the main timber are screwed from the inside of the car and are covered with body iron making access impossible.

So, the only satisfactory way is to remove the body from the car which will also allow you to fully assess the extent of the rot.
John Beavan, Bartestree, Hereford.
(John has provided David with a somewhat fuller explanation plus diagrams which I will copy and pass on if anyone requires more detail. MT)

In 1993 Carl Cederstrand advised the used of 1/2 carpet padding under the T-series carpet or elsewhere to keep his feet cool. I would like to keep my feet cool during long summer drives in my TF and am considering using Carl's method or the use of Cool-It mat, a more modern, expensive product sold by Demon-Tweeks. Has any member tried either method? (No324)

The cockpit overheating in the TD can be quite overwhelming Carl's comment was in response to my enquiry and I could find nothing on the UK market similar to his suggestion. Maybe the Cool It mat would work but I am somewhat doubtful as the heat is all-enveloping. My answer has been in two parts. Firstly, it was considered that the cast iron manifold was a huge heat sink so this discarded in favour of a 4- branch fabricated manifold. Secondly, this was wrapped with insulating bandage from a company called Agriemach Ltd (see Safety Fast Jan. 97). To date, the bandage has not been adequately tested but the manifold itself has shown a definite improvement. Another idea, which I have not tried, is to fit opening flaps in the bodywork to the rear of the bonnet sides. They were fitted, amongst other cars, I believe to pre-war Riley's and are available, chromed, from my local vintage motor factors.
Malcolm Poore, Sheringham, Norfolk.

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