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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - 1500- oil leak front of engine

My 1500 (1978) has been consuming oil for a while, I knew it wasn't burning it. I now think I have found the leak.
It appears to be fron the front of the engine , around the bottom pulley, so is it likely to be the the timing cover oil seal?

It so how much of a pain will it be to change, i.e what need to be taken of, does the whole cover need to come off etc..
Thanks in advance at 2 months in I'm still a midget novice!

Jon Warren

Yep, cover's gotta come off.

Be EXTREMELY careful on the two screws that go into the pot metal sealing block across the front main cap. These will NOT take overtightening, crossthreading, etc. There are also a couple of oil pan screws that thread into this block. It is very common for the holes to be stripped and not rare for the block to be broken as a result.

**Get a book before you tackle this.**

These engines seem to always need a timing chain and tensioner when the cover is off, so plan on doing that and figure out how to time the cam in correctly. Cam timing off is a major killer of performance and fuel mileage; quite common if the mechanic does not understand the timing process completely. I've even found factory assembled engines wrong, by as much as 10 degrees. Well used engines with worn chains will always have retarded cam timing. Timing is set by changing the cam sprocket position. The bolt holes are offset in such a way that moving the sprocket around and/or flipping it over will give absolutely correct timing. I set new chains with the cam 2deg advanced; after a few hundred miles, chain breakin gives dead on timing.

The upside of this folderol is that you almost certainly will have better performance when you are done, in addition to one less leak.

FR Millmore

Better still, use the duplex timing gear from a TR6 - those chains don't stretch.
Deborah Evans

When you do put the timing cover back on start by leaving the fixing screws loose. Add crank the pulley and bolt and then rotate the engine a couple of times by hand to centre the oil seal on the crank. Then tighten the timing cover screws. This will ensure that the oil seal is properly aligned. Missing out this step and the new seal won't last as long as it should!

Guy Weller

This thread was discussed between 11/09/2009 and 12/09/2009

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