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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Axle or differential?

While accelerating away from a stop sign yesterday, my son heard a loud pop or clunk and his 76 midget stayed in neutral...he cannot put it into any gear, with or without clutch. Shifts freely buts does not engage. Crankshaft turns. Sounds like a broken axle or differential. Once we determine which it is, can we handle ourselves...we are decent do-it-yourselfers...and this would be the biggest task we've undertaken. If we have to take it to our mechanic, what might the bill look like? Need to determine just how much to sink into car. We've been looking to sell because my son needs a more reliable daily driver. If we leave as is, it will be tough to sell it and I don't want to give it away. I paid $3000 for the car 10 years age and was thinking I would be kicky to get that much with it in running condition.
MJJ Jones

Hi... Sounds like a broken half shaft, given the symptoms.

Best of luck!

Gryf Ketcherside


I agree completely with Gryf, it sounds like a half shaft has broken. This is fairly common with these cars, and usually doesn't indicate anything else major.

New ones cost $200 ~ $250, are readily available from the usual Midget suppliers, and it should only take your mechanic an hour or two to replace one (including dealing with the broken off stub that usually requires differential removal to get at).

My suggestion is to use a new half shaft, rather than trying to use a used one, as swapping sides is one reason why they fail (and wear is the other one). If your son has been doing "drop clutch" get aways, that will cause them to break as well.

While your mechanic is in there, you might have him look at the condition of your rear brakes, but as you are eager to sell, maybe just have him check them for you and advise, before spending any more money. Often a simple adjustment is all the rears really need, if their cylinders are not leaking and if the adjusters have not been allowed to rust solid.

Norm Kerr

Hi guys,

Does sound like the dreaded spridget half shaft failure.

Good test is select top gear and let in the clutch, if the speedo registers the drive train is turning and you have final drive failure.

Reasonably simple to fix fortunately.
SR Smith 1

I agree with all of the above. I especially like the "read the speedo" advice, which will determine whether or not the output shaft is turning. If you decide to fix, great! I will help if I can. If you decide to sell a parts car I will help you there too.
M S Powell

reread the whole thread. lift the rear of the car (use jack stands and place them properly!) run the engine, place the tranny in gear. let out (in??) the clutch. What spins?

1.) the driveshaft, between the tranny and the diff.
2.) the left rear wheel.
3.) the right rear wheel.

if either wheel spins, not the driveshaft or (probably) the diff. the other axel is most likely. looking underneath at this point will give you the facts you need. what is, and what isn't, spinning.

And considering what I've spent on transmission parts in the last 2 days, I would hope not to need a parts car, but, realistically, any MG owner needs one. And a trip to VA to get one this time of year would be OK.
M S Powell

This thread was discussed between 06/07/2013 and 08/07/2013

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