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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - A tnkley noise

Hi all,

Its only when the car is moving.

Not completely in time with wheel revolutions. Like something is loose. Sometimes is less than others. Like as in quieter and not so frequent. Its not a squeak or a grind. Similar to something making a small ringing noise.

I have a stainless steel front pipe but nothing catching it and its on tight. Nothing loose on it either. Bounced on the 4 corners but no suspension noises. Crawled around underneath this morning and can't find anything loose.

It could have been making the noise before I replaced the FWB. The FWB noise was quite loud so it could have been making it for some time. Its not a loud noise just rather gently ringing tinkley.

The sound seems to be from the drivers side but that's the side I sit so who knows.

Any thoughts, suggestions or observations much appreciated as its beginning to wind me up.

Dave Squire

Loose washer on loose nut/bolt/screw/fixing?

Sorry that doesn't narrow it down.

I've used the extension hose of the vacuum cleaner with the crevice attached as a stethoscope, I must admit I didn't find the noise with it but it eliminated a few possibilities.

Sod's Law it will be more or less what you think it might be so do check, I spent two years with a rattle tightening loads of fixings to find in the end it was the bonnet hinge long bolt one of the first things I and others thought of but I kept putting it off, and then forgot about it, as it's so hard to get at.

Last time I had an unidentified tinkling noise it turned out to be flakes of rust off the internal clamping plate of the door mirror. The mirror housing shape and material acting as an amplifier - so you never know.

Make sure it isn't something embarrassing like something on your key ring - or your cuff links tinkling on the steering wheel spokes! :)
Nigel Atkins

I seem to recall (from a very long time ago) that I once had an odd sound and it turned out that the previous owner had replaced the brake pipe that runs through the transmission tunnel. The old pipe had not been removed, just the ends cut and bent out of the way - until one end started tapping on the prop shaft.

Possible alternative noise sources: something dropped down between inner and outer front wing, loose joint on hood frame, cracked wishbone, broken spring on rear brakes, dry/loose joint on handbrake mechanism, or almost anything else!

Good luck in your hunt, I know how infuriating unidentified noises can be.
Jonathan Severn

Tests with the car static might not work, you might need the car moving and/or engine running to get the correct level of vibrations to entice the tinkling to sing its song.

Many know the sound of the first tinkling of spring but you might need the help of a group of twitches to fully track down your tinkling.
Nigel Atkins

Just arrived back from driving about 70 miles.

Car going well now FWB fixed. Tinkly noise still there.

Good call Jonathan. It came to me on my way back before reading this that it was that sort of sound (ringing quietly ish). I will try the engine off downhill test in neutral when I finish today. I recon the sound is prop shaft related as you have said but could not think how. Your explanation sounds about right or something similar. The prop shaft tunnel is something I didn't think of checking before but its sort of the right sound methinks.

I will let you know. Hope it is cos its really winding me up at low speeds with the not knowing. Logic tells me the car is safe! I have checked it over many times this week.

Thanks all. In touch soonest.
Dave Squire

handbrake rods?

Tinkling is a typical sign of the bearings in the prop shaft being on the way out. Extra symptom is a ting when starting off or changing gear.
Dominic Clancy

Check your dash ... if loose hardware is ontop it can skund that way ..then look up under the dash for anything loose or free

How tight is the mirror...could also be a loose or week spring in the horn plunger
1 Paper

Last time it happened to me it drove me nearly demented. Turned out to be a few inches of fence wire hooked over the exhaust.

Tinnitus ?

Thanks all,
I should say 1500 when posting Dave, so wires not rods.
Definitely not dash or inside car Prop.
As for age related wear and tear Guy, my tinnitus is different!
I thought it was something like that Greybeard but unfortunately not so simples.
If it is prop shft bearings Dominic how can I test? How did you locate it? I use mine most days so diagnostics and down time are a factor in my decisions. Any pointers appreciated.
Dave Squire

try this -

"Rear-wheel drive U-joint
Grip the flange tightly with one hand and try to turn the propshaft with the other; look for movement at the spider ends, under the circlips. With a strong screwdriver or steel bar, lever the joint laterally. again looking for movement at the spider ends."

It might be expecting mechanics' forearm strength though(?).

see more details and drawing here -
Nigel Atkins

ETA: and a grippy glove required(?)
Nigel Atkins

Loose baffle in exhaust? Try banging the silencer with your fist while under there twisting the propshaft...
Chris at Octarine Services


I have been driving with cracked disk wheels for more than a week till some body recognized the noise.
Flip Brühl

Does it stop when you press the clutch pedal. Had a similar situation years ago, carbon pad came loose from release bearing carrier.

Had a little tingly noise like that once and it ended up being the dust slinger on the pinion flange had come loose--------might be worth checking
William Revit

I had a loud tingly rattle that distinctly seemed to come from the steering wheel or cowl. Turned out to be the o/side TRE. !

Amazing list.
Seems worse today so it's ready for the axle stands and a crawl under tomorrow.
Thanks all.
Dave Squire

And the winner is Guy for nearest the mark.

It was the hub grease cap which I didn't put on properly last weekend rattling around in the back of the wheel. Must have just put it in place and forgot to tap it fully home last Sunday.

Ringing / tinkled sound? Well I clean stuff before replacing so no grease in it to deaden the noise. Quite fortunate really before water and road grime got in it.

Prop shaft check and all OK.

An embarrassing thanks to all. Keep driving and drive, drive, drive, cos the cars are fun! Cheers, Dave
Dave Squire

Well done Dave!
I thought initially that you had decided that you had acquired a new Tinintus sound! I have had tinnitus for well over 40 years but it still surprises me by intermittently adding new tones to its repertoire! Mine isn't age related - originates from an excess of 1960's rock bands!

When I mentioned my TIRESOME NOISE as originating from a TRE it was because it was amazing how the sound was being transmitted up through the steering column. Even once identified, it was still hard to believe it wasn't something to do with the steering column cowl!

Congrats man,

Somedays its better to be lucky then you got the full afternoon freed up...well done

I was just going to suggest ... breaking up the diagnistics into chunks and do one area of the car at a time to trace down the problek cuz that list was. Growing biger and bigger with longer reaching titicals by the almost became the entire car was suspect to the tingle noise

Glad it worked out for you

1 Paper

This thread was discussed between 21/04/2017 and 23/04/2017

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