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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Clutch has no resistance - likely problem?

Good afternoon. It is a while since I posted as the Sprite (1961 Mark 2, pretty much original) has been in hibernation for a while. I started the car up today and found that I had no resistance in the clutch and couldn't engage any gears. master cylinder fluid level was a bit low so topped up but still no resistance. Can someone please give me a steer on what might be my problem and how to go about fixing it? Many thanks Tim
TJ Prime

Assuming it was working when laid up, start by pumping the pedal whilst someone looks underneath. Then bleed it. If it was low, is there a leak? Fluid on the floor under the slave, or in the footwell?
Lawrence Slater

Clutch flees...

Sounds like air, which means a leak somewhere...the fluid just dosnt evoperate in a sealed system unless its got clutch flees

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Less prevalent on cars using silicon fluid?
Alan Anstead

very long shot, twisted/broken/dislocated release arm

slave cylinder or rod
Nigel Atkins

It sounds hydraulic. Master or slave cyl or a hose. You'll need a glamorous assistant to check what happens when you press the pedal.
I've got some free time, get in touch if you need a hand (mates rates apply;)).

Best of...
M McAndrew

Sounds like your master piston is moving easily through the fluid without shifting any. Though this would be more likely if you'd just overhauled it, and didn't seat the rubber cup properly.

After your layup, maybe the cup has gone into a slump. But as Lawrence says, the first thing is to look for leaks.
Nick and Cherry Scoop

Thanks all for comments and advice. I'll check all these things out as soon as I can get some time over the next day or so. Mike - thanks for your kind offer. I may take you up on it if it transpires that I need a glamorous assistant! Somehow I doubt that my wife would be keen to assist in such matters! From reading through the archives it does sound as if the slave cylinder can be a bit of a dog to access if it needs replacement. I'm at Meggetland.
TJ Prime

Hi, Had the time to look at the problem today and it is the rubber cup on the slave cylinder that has completely gone. Took off old slave cylinder without too much difficulty (although top bolt was trickier) and had a new one ready to install. I am really struggling to get the top bolt on. I must have spent a couple of hours trying all sorts of ways but it is so awkward to get at. Any top tips out there on how to do it? The hole in the footwell is of some help but too small to really get at the bolt head properly.
TJ Prime

It's really tricky to do from inside the car. When I have done it I have had to take the seat out (on a Frog the bottom seat squab lifts out and I think yours can too) so I can lay flat with my head in the footwell. Even then you need small hands and lots of patience.
Lately I have found it easier to go from underneath but it depends on how saggy your engine and gearbox mountings are. If they are saggy you have less space to work with. You can put the car on stands and lift the engine with a jack to give you more space.

One of the many PITA tasks on midget

Rob aka MG Moneypit

One method is to modify the slave cylinder by cutting a slot in the casting so that the top hole is open to one side. It is then easier to fit the mounting bolt, screw it part way in and then hook the slave cylinder on to it.

A less drastic modification that helps a lot is to shorten the two mounting bolts - they are longer than they need be. This means fewer turns to get them tightened up. Also, it is well worth grinding a conical point on the bolt end which greatly helps starting the thread of the upper bolt in that difficult position.

The easiest access to that top bolt, which isn't immediately obvious as it looks awkward, is to lie under the car parallel to the transmision tunnel, and put your forearm up above the chassis rail from about level with the rear of the gearbox, then slide your arm forwards along the top of the chassis rail until the spanner (yes, the one you picked up first before starting this!) will reach the bolt head. Assuming you have already tightened the bolt as far as possible with your fingers, then it should only need a few spanner applications to nip it tight.
Guy W

I like the idea of the slot in the slave cylinder as I can see that making the top bolt much easier. I'll give that a try for sure. Once I can get the bolt started I know I'll be fine - getting it started has been the problem and my trashed hands are testament to the issue!
TJ Prime

Grind a cone-taper end to the bolt. It will then self-align as you turn it with your fingers. That is always the tricky bit when you cannot see properly to line up the bolt with its threaded hole
Guy W

Thanks for all your help. I followed the tips and managed to get the slave cylinder back on okay and bled the clutch using the Ezibleed which was really straightforward. What a difference now to the clutch - really different from before which makes me think that it had been losing fluid for a wee while. Thanks again. I'm now ready for the spring! Tim
TJ Prime

This thread was discussed between 18/02/2015 and 04/03/2015

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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