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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - 1500 gearbox front oil seal

Evening ladies and gents,

Does anybody know the difference between the two types of front oil seal on the gearbox. A quick diagram to help...

How do I tell the difference?

Picture attached is how the bell house looks as dismantled, anyone know if this is correct and will hold oil?! To me it just looks like a hole where all the oil will just wee out!

Thanks guys,

Malcolm Le Chevalier


One is a modern lip seal - one is a coarse thread/concentric groove oil seal (not replaceable)

They went from one to the other and then back to the original one again - if you check the Moss Catologue it will tell you from which Chassis/Gearbox numbers the changes were made (you might want to check you have the original gearbox first)

C L Carter

I will check Moss, I doubt the gearbox is original. The engine certainly isn't. Thanks for the lead.

Malcolm Le Chevalier

Malcolm, below is a pic of my bellhousing with a new seal in place - mine had the rubber lip seal type ... gearbox is original one and the car is 1979 vintage...

John Barber

Was hoping you might be about John! Hope the project is going well.

Do you think the lip seal would fit in this hole then? (see close up pic). It looks a bit too rounded, I have bought a lip seal anyway to try it!

Inside the hole where the first motion shaft goes there is a coarse "thread" machined, which I guess is the scroll type seal. Still can't figure out how this would stop oil coming out though. Moss says it needs a corresponding type of input shaft (whatever that might look like!), mine is just plain and (to my untrained eye) looks like it would suit the lip type seal. And it looks just like your pics on photobucket John.

Will see how the lip seal fits (damn bank holidays! It wont arrive til Tuesday!). It might end up a bit of a hybrid belt and braces system!


Malcolm Le Chevalier

Ah, as ever, typing and posting something gets your brain thinking a bit more. Comparing input shafts again and mine is subltly different to yours John so I will assume I just have the scroll type as intended and get things back together.

Spot the difference:

Johns lip seal input shaft¤t=DSCF1749.jpg

My scroll seal type input shaft pic attached.

Thanks all for being a sounding board for my thoughts as I figured this out!


P.S. Anybody want a pair of gearbox seals!? It looks like I won't be needed them!

Malcolm Le Chevalier

"One is a modern lip seal - one is a coarse thread/concentric groove oil seal (not replaceable)"

One is a lip seal, the other is a scroll seal.

"They went from one to the other and then back to the original one again"

NO they didn't! They just didn't! Early single rail boxes had a scroll seal on the input shaft, late boxes had a lip seal. They did NOT revert to the scroll seal.

It's NOTHING to do with the 'box in fact, it's to do with the seal housing in the bellhousing.
Deborah Evans

Steady on Deb's - Deep breaths and think of quiet country lanes on a sunny day in your shiny midget !

You are a valuable resource to us less knowledgeable types - we can't afford for you to blow your head gasket or throw rod through the side or something...

John Barber

Sorry, Deborah - I didn't mean to enrage you in anyway. I was simply reading what I learned on the subject from the Moss catologue (their website summarises the text to gearbox numbers below). If you know more than Moss, please do enlighten us, I'd love to know why it is that "they just didn't"?

Scroll seal: 1500cc (1975-1979) to gearbox 59162 & from 60001 to 65224

Oil seal:1500cc (1975-1979) gearbox 59163 to 60000 & from 65225
C L Carter

Aye, some more info on this topic would be great. Moss just says they were changed, but not what the changes were and searches on the net and the spitfire forums turned up nothing either.

Looking at the differences between John and my input shafts the changes were clearly very subtle. But I think I have figured this out entirely by accident! (If I am correct?).

Thanks for your help all.
Malcolm Le Chevalier

Moss says:

to gearbox 59162 - Scroll seal

gearbox 59163 to 60000 - lip seal

gearbox 60001 to 65224 - scroll seal

from gearbox 65225 - lip seal

So if they are wrong, I'd like to know where and what numbers are wrong - any help on this Debs?

C L Carter

always cross reference any information you get from any source with information from other sources especially suppliers catalogues

you may weight the sources for accurancy but the acuurancy can vary from part to part or subject to subject

inaccurancies can be copied from one source to another too so you need to spread your reasearch as wide as you can

sometimes you can't convince a source that the information they have is slightly or completely wrong - and you can belive me when I say I have plenty of experience of misinformation and sources not correcting errors - web sites are very rarely updated comprehensively and suppliers web site contain tens of thousands of bits of information and some it it is repeated and dispersed over various areas of their web site so one piece of information can contradict another piece in a different location

sometimes individuals genuinely believe their misinformation is correct - and I'm refering to Deb's here on this subject before anyone thinks that as i don't know if she's correct but you could decide to give more weight to her probably being correct

sometimes you just can't find a correct or 'correct' answer so you have to make an informed judgement hoping the information can lead you more towards being correct than wrong

an excellent example with be with my posting on another thread of today's experience of front road springs!!!
Nigel Atkins

b*ll*cks done it again - I missed the word not out, again (I'm not having a good day but that's not the not I missed out)

this should be
>>and I'm NOT refering to Deb's here on this subject before anyone thinks that as i don't know if she's correct but you could decide to give more weight to her probably being correct<<

many aplogiges I don't do it on purpose or to be sacastic it's just a bad thing I seen to have picked up and keep missing when reading back what I've put
Nigel Atkins

Whilst thats all very well Nigel, its not very useful or informative.

For that matter neither is Deb's point "they just didn't"...

Moss clearly have a reason for saying it changed back and forth... if the reason is false - explain why, and give the correct information... don't just say "it just is"

C L Carter

Perhaps to help clarify for any future unfortunate who isn't sure which is which - having thought about it - the bellhousing will have a seal in place when you pull it apart - either that or there would be oil everywhere in the bellhousing .. But the two pic's show clearly that one has a machined recess for the seal and one appears to have a cast surface which won't take a seal pressed into it..

John Barber

yes it was very useful and informative to you - to put it plainer

you need to check and cross reference from other sources, always - and don't rely on suppliers' catalogues or web sites

you also need to realise sometimes you can't get just one 'correct' answer and that people like Deborah Evans and David Smith don't like to, or wont justify their answers - and they don't have to if they don't want to they're under no obligation to do so

both seem very experienced and would normally give correct answers and I'd guess always what they believe to be correct answers even if they are wrong

people who are involved with sports tend to be competive so don't like to be questioned too much or corrected too often especially by people they consider, or actually do, know a lot less about the subject

not everyone is as polite, even-handed and ready to give as much information as possible or as ready and open to admit when they are wrong - as me :)
Nigel Atkins

John the scroll seal doesn't totally leak oil everywhere - I think they work very well actually.

Nigel, another 'helpful' comment!

Deborah, I just want to know how you know they didn't switch around. The gearbox number's provided by Moss are very specific so I can't see how they'd get that info wrong? Have you come across different info - if so where from?

C L Carter

Guys I don't have my notes to hand just now, but I will get back to you as to when the changeover on the bellhousing seal housing / input shaft seal changed.

I have no idea why Moss published that information, nor from where they got it, Certainly it was not in previous catalogues. Furthermore my Triumph resources, along with those provided by BMH are at variance with Moss (and I've been working with Triumph stuff for 30 years).

I am EXTREMELY wary of Moss when it comes to Triumph (or Triumph derived) information because an awful lot comes from the discredited 'TriumpTune' (which was bought by Moss) and which appears in the Midget (and Spitfire) catalogue as a DIRECT lift from the old TriumpTune catalogue.
Deborah Evans

yes, again, it was another helpful comment

I'm sorry you don't find them so, it could mean I've not explaned myself very well

on the other hand (being even handed to myself) it could be that I've not explained it that well and you've perhaps have not fully understood or accepted what I've put

the other alternative I know you wouldn't find 'helpful' at all

I'll only reply in this thread if addressed now

ETA: your patience and persistance paid off
Nigel Atkins

I love you too Nigel =)
C L Carter

I think love might be going a bit far
Nigel Atkins

This thread was discussed between 03/04/2012 and 06/04/2012

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