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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - A+ series water cooled oil filter head.

I think it was the MG Metro and the VP Metro that had a water cooled oil filter head.

Anyone used this on a midget?

I'm thinking of trying one but am curiouse about thier effectiveness and whether there is enough space for the oil filter seing as they add about 2" extra depth. Is there enough room between this filter head and the chassis? Do you need to use a shorter filter?

Rob aka MG Moneypit

I haven't tried one, but I have a couple in the garage.

You may be able to use the early 1275 adapter which raises the filter head slightly.

You might also find that you need to use the A+ filter head too, as it is slightly longer - it sticks out further from the block.
Dave O'Neill 2

Something is blocking my view of seeing this...i cant make out the blockage, it appears to be mental

Got any more photos or links you can post

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Prop, this what I'm enquiring about.


Rob aka MG Moneypit

Yes, MG and Vanden Plonk Metros had the water cooled oil cooler. The Turbo had a conventional type oil cooler.

I could never understand how hot water was supposed to cool the oil! I could imagine that to start with it will assist in warming up the oil which isn't a bad thing and then when the oil got above 90 degrees or so it will offer a small cooling effect.
john payne

Thinking about it again I wonder if the cooler was piped in after the heated inlet manifold thus getting much cooler water to it? I'll have a look at the Haynes later and see if there is a pic or diagram.
john payne

Thanks rob

Now I get it, ive seen those ln ebay every now and would be a tight fit...what about as a remote

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

John, oil temp of around 100deg is ideal as it prevents acid condensation in the engine but is not in the temp range where oil starts to break down. Heat transfer to water is much more effective than to air - for example my 170 BHP boat motor has a water cooled heat exchanger which has an element about the size of one of our MG oil coolers, yet still cools enough even the when cooling water path is half blocked with gravel when your sons dip the stern leg into a stony beach ...

Thanks to these better heat transfer characteristics, the "hot" water, which is 15 deg or so below the optimum oil temperature, provides an effective medium to cool the oil should it rise into the undesireable temperature range. And as you note it reduces the warm-up time for the oil.

The one oil cooler set-up I really couldn't fathom was my XJ12. The oil cooler was in the bypass circuit from the pressure relief valve. It worked fine so long as there was surplus oil pressure bleeding oil back through the bypass. But if the oil got really hot and the lower viscosity reduced system pressure to below the relief valve trigger, then no oil flowed through the cooler. Right when it was needed!
Paul Walbran


We have the MG Metro water cooled oil cooler on our 1380 in a Minor - it is plumbed into the heater (always on) return hose.

The standard MG filter head shown in the picture pushes the filter canister too far out and it would foul the chassis rail. The standard spin-off head doesn't push it out far enough to give clearance for the cooler body to the block, so I made a spacer, about 10mm thick that gives clearance for both - just!

It means using the standard filter head, BUT you need one that looks like the MG version, just shorter, as they are very much stronger than the standard 1275 one. The standard one cracks after a year or so, with the cooler being tightened more than a filter and the extra weight as well.

With an 88C thermostat the oil runs around 90C with normal running, 100/100C on motorways in the summer and up to 120C on track days. All well within Castrol Edge fully synthetic 10W/60 oil normal operating range.

Richard Wale

When I still had a ribcase 4 speed box, I often used to wonder if there was a way to pump the g/box oil through an oil cooler. I always found my g/boxes so much smoother in the cold weather. Atleast until they were so knackered that the viscosity of the oil made no difference at all.

Lawrence Slater

Now here's a question I've been meaning to ask so while we are on the subject, what is the maximum temp recommended for a decent oil?

I use Valvoline VR1 and don't have an oil cooler as I normally struggle to get the temp high enough on a Hillclimb. Usually after much revving on the way to the start line I get it up to 60 or 70 degrees and after a run it might be 100 or so.

But earlier this year I got baulked at Anglesey so had to do an immediate re-run, at the end of the second run the oil temp was 120 degrees. Is that ok or should I avoid letting that happen again?
john payne

John you should find this of interest:

The concensus seems to be that 120 C should be OK for almost all oils, much above 130 they start to break down. By 135 VR1 had dropped off a lot!
David Smith

Thanks for that link David, should be ok then. I'd have to look at fitting a cooler if I did a track day though.

When I first built my engine I stupidly ran it on cheap supermarket 20/50 and while driving to events it sat at 120 or so degrees for hours on end. The cam lobe surfaces broke up after only 4 events!

Using decent oil and keeping the temp down has meant the replacement cam is still going strong after about 50 events!

My car runs very low water temp of about 75 degrees so maybe one of the Metro filter head coolers might work well for me. Might also aid warming of the oil before runs. I'll have to look into it.
john payne

This thread was discussed between 31/10/2014 and 01/11/2014

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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