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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Clutch bleed 73 RWA


Pround new owner os a 73 mk3 RWA. However, gears
(Sierra type 9, 5 speed conversion) are very difficult to engage. First thoughts are a clutch bleed. Removed the bung on driver's side footwell, and lo - the bleed nipple on slave cyliner. I presume a basic bleed, a pump of the pedal, new fluid etc should sort the problem?

If not, anyone any other ideas?

Many thanks

M Ogden

But I would ask the question first - why does it need bleeding? As systems don't just suddenly need bleeding without a cause. So either the PO never got it sorted last time they had it apart, or there is a leak somewhere. So, was the reservoir level low? Is there any fluid apparent under the slave cylinder dust cap? Is there evidence of escaped fluid from the master cylinder? (often manifest as fluid drips on the footwell floor beneath the pedals) Is the flexible hose section in good condition?
If all these checks are OK, then go ahead and bleed in the normal way.

Some people do have trouble bleeding these systems and there is loads of advice available so if you do have difficulties just ask. Good luck, and congratulations on the new car!
Guy W

Guy - Thanks for the advice. I strongly suspect the PO. Nice chap , but by his own admission, not mechanically minded. Cannot see any leaks, nothing on the floor, master cylinder a bit er.. tired, but seems functional and seems to have enough fluid. Flexihose is where exactly? - hard piped between master and slave...
M Ogden


Very many thanks - all very useful info! I bought the car in Wigan and had a drive of some 300 odd miles back to Aberdeen with no issues. It also has a slightly hotter cam and larger SUs fitted. Feels preety pokey. Underside and bodywork all seem fine which is always important I feel, but mechanicals need fettling - carbs balancing, mixture adjust, oil/filter/plugs change etc etc, as you say a 36 000 mile service - then I will be a little happier. All do-able!

Best regards


M Ogden

all good stuff sounds very promising easy to start the regular driving too then

order of tuning as part of full servicing - tappets, CB points (if still fitted), plugs, timing then mixture

at the risk of flooding with my info/opinions -

those larger carbs might prove to be be interesting

engine and tuning are all very well but don't forget the important systems, brakes, tyres, steering, suspension, lighting, windows

tyres are often overlooked because they have loads of tread but are old and hardly used so hard and of little use

John Twist 200+ videos are always interesting and often very use -

watch out for new parts quaility especially rubbish rubber

end of today's surmon, cheers
Nigel Atkins


No problem - all info welcome! Yes all other stuff will be attended to. Tyres look pretty new, and it is fitted with Lumenition I think - but I will replace the dizzy cap,leads,plugs as a matter of course.
Big list of things to do.....

Who for parts do you recommend? Clearly, plenty of folk around, but who do you trust?

Best regards

M Ogden

>>but I will replace the dizzy cap,leads,plugs as a matter of course<<

yeah that's what I include in the 36k-mile

also I include change(check):
. brake fluid (and clutch)
. brake pads, shoes, flexi-hoses
. clean, flush and refill cooling and heating system
. fan belt
. 'rad' pressure cap
. engine oil flush
. g/box oil
. r/axle oil
. suspension bushes
Nigel Atkins


With a car new to you I would certainly support Nigel's recommendation for a full service. You then at least have a known starting point if you ever do have any problems. And especially if the PO wasn't very "mechanically minded" by his own admission.

Nigel will be surprised that I for once agree with him, but I just usually disagree when he suggest a 36,000 mile service as a cure-all solution in response to a question about a very specific problem with identified symptoms which he then ignores! ;-) It always feel its like if you were to ask someone the time and they gave you directions to Greenwich. It may get you an answer, but it isn't exactly what you were needing to know!

So, your other question. From your location I imagine like me you will need to rely on mail order supplies. My preferences are Sussex Classic Cars and MGBHive. Both having good clear websites for identifying and ordering the bits you need. But don't rule out your local Motor Factors - whoever they are. It is surprising what they can supply over the counter for these cars, and taking postage into account they may well be cheaper for many of the more standard stuff that you may need.

As to the flexi hose for the clutch. Later 1275 cars have a flexible pipe between the slave cylinder and a bracket attached to the chassis rail just next to the starter motor. It allows for engine movement and vibration. I think earlier cars had a coiled section in the rigid pipe instead so perhaps that is what yours has.

Guy W

This thread was discussed on 26/07/2012

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