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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - CO poisoning. MGF seats. Huh? I kid you not.

Spot the difference in these pics.

The difference is, being poisoned with CO, or not.

And I'm not joking.

Lawrence Slater


But why the problem I have MGF seats..
I Pickering

Another difference - there's no tailpipe showing in the bottom pic.
Paul Walbran

CO isn't technically poisonous...

Still intrigued though!
M Le Chevalier

You need a longer tail pipe.
If you have one exiting slightly ( an inch) behind the most aft part of the body/bumper no fumes will come back in.
Head rests are for sissys ;)
Onno K

From many decades ago in my GCE O level Chemistry, I have always understood that CO (Carbon Monoxide) is poisonous - something to do with watchmen's coke braziers!

CO2[superscript 2!](Carbon Dioxide)is not poisonous but , in excess, will cause death by suffocation - at the bottom of well shafts as it's heavier than air or oxygen or something.

I just scraped O level Chemistry with the lowest possible pass grade so I stand to be corrected by someone who knows better!

The bottom line is: you don't want too much of either of them!

I'll go with sissy if it reduces the chance of whiplash!
Colin Mee

CO combines with Haemoglobin in he blood more readily than Oxygen, so it isn't good for you
Guy Weller

More importantly CO combines permanently with haemoglobin so you have to wait for it to be replaced, which fortunately happens frequently, but it is that permanent combination which makes CO lethal in sufficient dose.
David Billington

Not disagreeing with the fact it will kill you. It was a statement on semantics, something about it being toxic not poisonous and there is supposedly a difference but the internet doesn't seem to know the diffwrence , so maybe I actually dreamt the above...

Soooooo.... Circling back..... Lawrence, still with us?!?

M Le Chevalier

Kind of what I meant, but left out the key word "permanent" !
Guy Weller

as I've put before carbon monoxide ain't a nice way to die for the victim or the person(s) that find the body

IIRC those that survive may still suffer from the effects or have damage from it once 'recovered'

I can only think of the MGF seats being a danger in relation to a misplaced exhaust terminal (or leaking exhaust into the cabin)
Nigel Atkins

as Paul pointed out, no tail pipe in the second picture so maybethat's the problem - your exhaust system's shot/missing/defective, Lawrence?
Jeremy Tickle


As I understand it if it kills you in one hit then you aren't likely to be aware of it and so a painless way to go, non lethal doses can cause issues. A friend of a mate died of it due to a faulty stove in the caravan he was staying in, not the best way for your workmates to find you when they showed up on site in the morning. As I understand it this can be an issue with older stoves which can be turned down too far and the gases cool in the chimney and fall back and find their way out. The other case I know of was a suicide in the days of town gas and the woman stuck her head in the stove, town gas had a significant proportion of CO and was good for the task.
David Billington


Extend your tailpipe before you poison yourself.

Malc Gilliver

Just drive faster, and out run the gas

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

If we happen to be running unleaded fuel without a cat. there are all them other nasties like oxides of nitrogen etc that the cat usually catches ,waiting to get you as well
I'd be reworking the tailpipe out the corner instead of straight out the back
My mate has a v12 E type and it does exactly the same thing
You go for a run in it and come back smelling like an old exhaust pipe, take the headrests off and it's fine, the fumes just suck up the back behind the headrests
William Revit


I dont see an issue ither way...with the top down I cant see how ither carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide is going to effect you, even with the top up, if you notice feeling sleepy or can smell the exhauste, just roll down the window and your fine...its not like these cars are sealed of all air leakes like todays cars

Besides im not aware of breaking news stories of 194 people mg midget people dead in one day from from tail pipe emissions

Id think the risk of dying from heat exhaustion, sun exposure, or head on collesion with a freight hauling truck would be something far more usful to worry about then tail pipe emissions.

But then agian, im always speeding faster then my tial pipe can keep up with.

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Wow. Such much responses.

No exhaust leaks anywhere. It doesn't happen with the roof up. It's definitely coming from the tail pipe.

Willy gets the top prize, for explaining it pretty much as it happens to me, although I don't get to smell of the fumes. In fact I can't even smell them in the drivers seat. I was quite surprised when I isolated the head restraints as the cause of the CO from tail pipe getting up my nose. --- "My mate has a v12 E type and it does exactly the same thing -- You go for a run in it and come back smelling like an old exhaust pipe, take the headrests off and it's fine, the fumes just suck up the back behind the headrests"

What is a poison?
" -- a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed." Ergo, Carbon Monoxide is a poison.

I've been feeling unwell since getting the Midget back on the road. Symptoms I've been getting include:
Headache, nausea, dizziness, upset stomach, confused thinking (ok that's normal for me lol.), limb weakness etc. I was on the brink of going to see the doc about it. I've been feeling that ill.

It never occurred to me that the Midget was the cause, because feeling unwell comes on gradually, not directly during a drive, more a little afterwards. But I noticed that after not driving the bloody thing for a few days -- or driving with the roof up, I then felt better. I should have realised though. I had a BMW that made me feel sick when I drove it. Somehow the exhaust was being sucked in, I can only guess through the boot seal. But I could actually smell the fumes in that. I can't smell them in the Midget at all though, -- unless I go round the back and sniff the exhaust.

But then I went for a drive the other day, and felt sick straight away, -- more sensitive to CO now? So it twigged, and I started wondering what could be dragging the exhaust fumes into my nose, with the roof off. It doesn't happen in my Sprite. What's the difference? MGF seats? Anyway, it was just a wild guess that prompted me to take the h/restraints off and go for an hour or so drive, -- dual carriageway, country lanes, and town at various speeds. Didn't feel unwell later in the evening.

Onno, Malc.
You might be right, I don't know. See this pic. It's a standard exhaust as far as I know. Should it extend more than this? Where does the 1 inch figure come from? My Sprite pipe does extend by about 3/4" behind the bumper, but it doesn't have mgf seats or h/restraints.

There's no sign of exhaust muck on the tailpipe, or the bumper or rear panel. So somehow the suction is lifting the fumes clear and up, and the restraints as Willy says, are keeping them concentrated near my nose. So for now the h/restraints are off. I don't like them anyway. They get in the way when looking back with your head turned, and I don't think they look that great either. Although because the seats have holes in them, they look better on.

There may be another aspect to this. How about the "type of exhaust"? Mine are both dual stainless systems. But, the Midget is standard and VERY quiet. Whereas my Sprite is 3 branch, and I've banged through the baffles in the 1st box to make it less restrictive. Could the gasses being propelled faster from my Srite make a difference?

Lawrence Slater

My apologies,

I couldn't see your tailpipe and assumed it finished under the boot somewhere, didn't realise it was on the other side of the car.

Malc Gilliver


Couple of things:-
1) Seems strange that the headrests apparently cause CO to be drawn in but not the "smelly" stuff - you'd think that it would be all or nothing?

2) Equally you might imagine think that, assuming your head protrudes into the atmosphere by roughly the same amount (I'm making an assumption here) as the head restraint, that your head, alone, would have a similar effect.

My wife had an Austin 1300 estate (many years ago) which had a cranked tailpipe. This ran down the centre-line of the car, then turned 90 degrees before exiting by the rear wheel. The tail pipe had a rust hole so I hacksawed the offending rusty bit off and added a straight section to exit the centre. The car was undrivable - fumes in the cabin, especially when windows open.

Have you checked your boiler / heating system at home / work?

SA Wood

And why specifically the mgf seats and not regular seats?

M Le Chevalier

Im doulbtful of CO as the cause of your discomfort

Based on the new info you provided, im leaning more towards your ears and air pressure, my guess is the air is flowing and getting hit in the head rest and affecting your ears, air pressure and sensitive/damaged ears can create the type of symptoms your discribing

I have bad ears ... and just summer swimming for an hour will play havoc on my balance for 2 days or more depending how much water gets into my ear drums

Just a you have nose ear and throat issues ?

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

for a very long time now I've thought you've needed to see a doctor of some sort but I'd strongly suggest you see a doctor now and possibly get a blood test

it'll probably be that everything has passed through and you're fine but how can you know for sure without checking, if it was the car instead of you you'd be doing all sorts of checks

>>Headache, nausea, dizziness, upset stomach, confused thinking (ok that's normal for me lol.), limb weakness etc. I was on the brink of going to see the doc about it. I've been feeling that ill.<< DO IT, even now

IIRC it's often flu like symptoms but each of us is an individual chemistry factory so can vary

as Simon has put IF it's not the Midget then you need to check your gas appliances are burning properly, have sufficient air supply for them to burn efficient (permanently open air vents not shut, papered over or blocked off, vents that can be closed are not allowed), also that any flues or chimneys are working properly and not blocked or fumes dropping back down, that appliances are burning the fuel correctly nice solid blue flame not floppy yellow or soot build up

something as simple (or in reality as complicated) as a tree that grows over the years can effect how a flue/chimney operates - same effect as your headrests

it depends on what has caused the one shot, it may not be painless or pleasant during or for those after, in one way your friend's mate was lucky in his death but don't depend on that to be the same next time
Nigel Atkins

compare what Lawrence has put -
>>>>Headache, nausea, dizziness, upset stomach, confused thinking (ok that's normal for me lol.), limb weakness etc.<<

to the info here -

near enough fit to be investigated I think and if it's not CO it could be some other illness L doesn't yet know he has

I can assure 100% this can happen, the sooner you have a medical check the sooner you know you're OK or the sooner treatment can start to make things better
Nigel Atkins

Got the same seats in my midget. No issues with exhaust gasses.
Cheers Tim
T Dafforn

Nigel ... lawerances symptoms do fit for CO but, in a midget I cant see it, unless he is sitting in a midget in his garage with the doors and windows shut. Beyound that I cant say im aware of anyone on the planet that has died of CO in a midget, it would be similar to someone dying from CO in a motorcycle with a full with a full face sealed helmet ... It could, but it just dosnt

What about ebola ? His symptoms are the 1st stages

Frankly lawerance is so filled with day to day sh#t, it had to back up on to him at some point. ..HAHAHA,


Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Would a cheap CO monitor be a wise purchase?

Rob aka MG Moneypit

Used MGF seats, with headrests since around 2004. Never had any problems with them at all as regards drawing in fumes. I very much doubt they are the cause of the problem. But like many things, its a combination of factors that results in a problem. One on its own is no problem. So maybe its a combination, on your car, of the carburation settings, length of tail pipe, use of MGF seats and those rear quarter bumpers that together combine to give you headaches. And maybe you also need to get to drive on less congested roads where fumes from other vehicles don't linger.

If all else fails, convert it to electric powered. Or rubber bands.
Guy Weller

I'd have thought it's more likely that the exhaust is the culprit more than the headrests but as put there can be lots of combinations/permutations/variation with each individual car the lean of the backrest, how high or low the head restraint is set, how far forward or back the seat is set, exhaust, bumpers, etc., etc.

I can tell you for certain you can get CO in a MGB roaster cabin with the roof down, my wife complained of a headache and to cut a long story short it turned out that the expensive alternative exhaust manifold gasket had let go, put the standard inexpensive gasket in and all was fine

when she complained of the headache we were on an empty mountain road in Scotland
Nigel Atkins

Guy et al.
I don't drive in town much if at all. Too much hassle going into TW town centre. Not much parking. So open roads mostly. Carb settings not relevant, since CO is present all our exhaust fumes (no cat'), and I'm not running rich anyway.

You may be right about a check with the doc just to be sure.

But anyway, the source is definitely the Midget. Gas hob and boiler at home in use everyday, and I'm feeling ok now. And since I took the h/restraints off, not feeling ill when I drive it with the roof down. Another 30 miles today, as a test before the rain came down. Feel fine.

Not my imagination either. Read Willy's description again.

I can't explain why I can't smell the exhaust, but CO is oderless anyway, and that's what's been making me feel grotty. Some people are more sensitve than others it seems according to medical blurb.

I agree that the h/restraints might just tip the balance, and make the fumes "hover" around my head instead of dispersing. They're kind of sq section, where my head is round. And they're wider than my head. I've noticed much more air rushing around my ears without the h/restraints. That must be just enough to keep me supplied with "fresher" air.

Why MGF seats and not regular seats? I don't know, but I haven't got h/restraints for the regular seats anyway. Never had them in the Sprite or the Midget before.

Just read Nigel's post about the MGB.

On the next dry day I'll shove a few inches on the tail pipe and put the h/s back again as a test.

Obviously the exhaust is the main cause, but it just goes to show how easily the air flow in the cockpit can be disturbed, if all it takes in mine is h/s or not.

"Would a cheap CO monitor be a wise purchase?"

Would it work in an open environment? How many ppm do they need to trigger?
Lawrence Slater

Carb settings are relevant Lawrence. CO as a combustion by-product is generated when the mixture setting is excessively rich. The greater fuel quantity burns off all of the available oxygen so there is a shortage of oxygen to combine with the carbon to form CO2, and it forms CO instead. A weaker setting leaves free oxygen unburnt in the exhaust and this combines with the carbon to form CO2 rather than CO. Best fuel economy / perfiormance is achieved at a mixture that errs just slightly towards a shortage of oxygen which is why all cars produce some CO, but going richer than this will increase the CO content. Modern cars use a lambda sensor in the exhaust to measure the amount of unburnt oxygen and this is used to manage the fuel mixture strength. Excessive departure of the lambda reading would also constitute an MOT failure on a modern car.

I was joking about my reference to driving on congested roads - just feeding the stereotype of motoring in the SE. I am sure there are occasions when the traffic does pick up speed a bit and the queues do thin out.
Guy Weller

Lawrence. Please don't think I'm taking the p*ss, but have you checked in the mirror when you feel unwell after a drive? Another symptom of CO poisoning is a flushed face.

Bernie Higginson

just make the tailpipe a bit longer. Dad's used to do that too, it needed to poke out the back under the bumper by about 1.5 inches.

dunno what yours is like, but there's so much buffeting in mine with TF seats I'd be surprised if any foomez were hanging about...
Rob Armstrong

Rob I get LESS buffeting with the h/restraints on. I reckon that lets the CO linger enough to affect me.

Yup I'll try 1.5 inches extension on the tail pipe then. But does everyone have that much extension? I never have before and never been ill in my Sprite.

Nope Bernie, you're not taking the piss. Fair question. But it didn't occur to me. I have no doubt about it being CO though.

Guy. Our old technology engines don't fully burn all the fuel. Even when set up correctly and spot on, there is ALWAYS CO present in the exhaust fumes. I thought that in part, was why Cat's were introduced. With our non-cat old engines, even if running lean there would be CO present, just less of it, but enough to make a person ill if they inhaled it. That's why I said the carb settings are irrelevant. And as I said, mine isn't rich anyway. I'd say it's pretty near spot on. Nice healthy plugs and blue gunsons tester plug. But like I said, it's not relevant if I'm sucking in any amount of exhaust fumes for longer than a few mins, then I'm sucking in CO too.

Why do some people find it so hard to accept something they've never experienced themselves?

So much resistance to possibilities. It reminds me of oil sucking engines. It took hundreds of posts to convince some people that's possible too, and still some people don't buy it. Not that I really care any more. And I only cared to the extent that I was stumped, -- and still am -- about the actual base cause, and thought others might help.

Anyway, I will experiment with a longer tail pipe, and also try lowering the tail pipe an inch on the bracket, to see if that lessens the suck back from the car.

But actually I've solved the problem by taking off the head restraints.

I was just letting people know, in case anyone found it as interesting and surprising as I did. :).

Lawrence Slater

Carb settings are relevant in that they have an effect on the QUANTITY of CO produced. And I never said that these cars will run without producing CO at all. I also did not comment on how your specific car is set up as I have no means of checking the accuracy of your statement. And unless you have access to the use of an exhaust gas analyser, then you don't really know either.

However, I guess that we can agree that if you have symptoms of CO poisoning, then this is very likely to be from CO emanating from your car and getting diverted by air movements into the cockpit. And this really needs to be sorted.
Guy Weller

The tail pipe just needs to be past the end of the car, perfably pointing down...mine comes out about 3 inches past the bumper

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Try fitting a wind deflector behind the rear seats, should disturb the air flow sufficently to dissipate any noxious gas (well that produced by the car) and has the added benefit of keeping your curls nice and neat :]
Alternatively have you considered having the end of the exhaust pointing downwards?
Jeremy Tickle

Guy. Since the engine -- without a CAT -- can't be tuned to NOT produce CO in the exhaust, and very small amounts can kill or make a person ill, the carb setting is not relevant. You can't tune the CO out of the exhaust, so it matters little to now't what I do to my carb..

I don't need an analyser to KNOW there is CO present, and that is what's making me feel unwell.
"Even a properly tuned gasoline engine, will produce more than 30,000 parts per million (ppm) of CO in the exhaust stream before the catalytic converter. "

Jeremy. No need. I've taken off the head restraints. Problem solved. But the root cause of the exahust fumes being dragged along with , and sucked back into the car is worth sorting I agree.

So I repeat. I'll experiment with the tail pipe. I'll fit a bit of flexy pipe and see what happens.
Lawrence Slater


Just make sure the tail pipe end is facing downward and is extended just beyound the bumper....but I belive this will solve your issues

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Here is a pic for you lawerance... you can see how the CO flow gets forced downward, and by the time the CO is able to rise the car will have already traveled several feet expelling the murdering gas to the school bus behind you with 75 young children ....population control, oh yeah, saving the planet ...hahaha

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Hey Prop. I was wondering what it might look like bent down. I thought it might look a bit odd -- not that it matters, esp on my midget, lol. But actually it looks ok.

Who sells curved tail pipe extentions? I'll probably have to make one.

As for killing kids on the bus behind with CO. Well as you referenced earlier, I might not need to make the effort. EBOLA is coming to do the job for me. You've got it in Dallas, and now it's killing in Spain.

Remember when you said in the deleted thread how easy it was to control? Still think so? You've got one case, and people were pulling their kids from school.

It's easy for someone infected, but without Ebola symptoms(yet), or with few very mild misunderstood symptoms, to get on a plane, and go spread havoc. They don't even have to know themselves that they have Ebola. So they shake hands, or peck the cheek of someone else, and bingo, another victim, who eventually infects others.

It's out of control in some parts of West Africa already, and the sick are being turned away, because there is no room for them. What would you do, if you were in that situation, and had enough money to buy a plane ticket? You'd get on a plane and go somewhere you might get help, or hope to avoid being infected. Where might you go? USA? EU? China?

No wonder Obama has said the US might start screening incoming US flights. I'm surprised they haven't already.

CO's got nothing on EBOLA.

Lawrence Slater

Hi Lawrence

I'm not a big fan of the company but Halfrods list one in their bling section:

This has been a really interesting thread. I didn't notice any exhaust problems with my Sprite when it had its tail pipe on the off side (it's now straight through on the near side). My car has a foam covered roll bar that I would assume creates more backdraught than head rests.

You could swap to a straight through single box system exiting on the n/s so the CO only affects your passenger!

Colin Mee

Try a motor accessory shop for curved tailpipe extensions, you'll probably have to have it in chrome though.
Jeremy Tickle

The headrests will change the airflow and the position of the vortex behind the car. There's always a vortes, where & how long depends on a few things including the car's speed, overall shape and what protrusions there are. Wing mirrors screw it up too.

The exhaust exit position, angle and gas speed all affect the position of the exhaust stream. It's quite extensive - watch a car which burns oil to see what I mean. (Lawrence, add a bit of oil to your fuel so you can see a telltale. Or just let it revert to oil sucking mode :-))

If the exhaust stream isn't clear of the vortex it will get sucked back behind the car. It's the particular combination which is the issue.

I have the same problem with the rollover bar on my B. Solved it by angling the exhaust at 45 deg and making the tailpipe exit on the corner. I first had the problem with a Morris Oxford van, which had a roof threatening to diconnect from the body thanks to our old friend Mr R Ust. It nearly put us to sleep and gave terrible headaches. Solved that by having a side discharge exhaust flattened out to a nozzle.

Jaguar encountered it with the XJ6 - the first version had straight pipes, after a relatively short time they cranked the pipes out towards the corner.

The Metros had the pipe exiting at 45 deg.

And so it goes on. It's not uncommon, and many OEM systems have had to address it. If the urge ever arises to put the headrests back a little experimentation with oil in the petrol will tell what exhaust exit configuration gets it clear of the vortex.

CO is insidious. I must say that driving on busy UK motorways is something I can take in small doses only for just that reason, only in this case the CO is from the cars around. (Sissy Kiwi not used to so much traffic). Though the main reason I prefer the minor roads is motorways are boring, the same the world over, wheres minor roads have much more character, better corners and, if you are out of your home country, you get a chance to see the real country you are visiting. Though they do take twice as long - more if you succumb to the attractions of the various local pubs :-)
Paul Walbran

When viewing the Midget I bought, I questioned the exhaust exiting on the off side corner [RC40 across the rear box only with angled outlet] saying 'shouldnt it have a straight exit to the left of centre'. The owner said it was to avoid fumes being sucked back into the cockpit.

D Plumb

Cheers Colin. I check out my local Halfords.

I don't mind a bit of bling Jeremy. :).

So I'm far from alone D Plumb. There are loads of reports of Spridget CO victims out there, even if the MGF seat head restraint component isn't present in all of them. -- Or even 'only' in mine.

Very interesting stuff Paul.

I did a google search, and quite a few people in moderns are reporting problems with fumes in the car. One bloke with a new Audi, says he's been back to the dealership several times and they can't seem to fix the problem. No leaks anywhere, and they can't work out how the fumes get in. All he does is open a window, and gets gassed.

Here's another about a TVR.

Here's another. 2012 Hyundi.

It seems quite a few cars drag the exhaust fumes along behind, and with the right conditions, -- in my case head restraints, -- they end up in your lungs.

What does a Spridget looks like in a wind tunnel? it would be interesting to see how the air behind is dragged along.

But I suppose it's inevitable actually. Wind screen with nothing behind it (roof down), creates low air pressure in the drivers/passenger seats. Air must rush in. How far behind the car can will air be dragged along?

Is this why big trucks often have a vertical exhaust stack? Essentially a large square shaped block going along the road, pulls a lot of air along with it.

Paul I too can testify to feeling ill on Motorways. I used to haul a modern around the M25 for 60 miles in the rush hour. I always felt ill when I got to work. So I started travelling at 6am to avoid the rush and drive in "clean" air. But I couldn't avoid the evening traffic. Glad I don't do that anymore.

Makes you wonder how many accidents on motorways are caused by CO and other exhaust fumes causing loss of concentration.

Lawrence Slater

This is my Maniflow 'across the back outlet' - did think about shortening it - now I think I'll leave well alone !!


richard boobier

have you booked your doctors appointment, don't dismiss it or put it off

I've just measured the end of the tail pipe on my Midget and its 2.5" further out than the edge of the bumper

people have commented before that it seems over long but I once had a car where the tail pipes ended at the bumper insert and it meant that a film of fumes would build up over the paintwork there, luckily no fumes got into the cabin though

at one time for a while I drove a works BL Mini van on the then quiet roads I used to hammer it down the straight before braking hard for the roundabouts at this point the exhaust fumes came in through the rear doors and filled the rear, after a few roundabouts I would have to open a window or feel dissy
Nigel Atkins

Yup cheers Nigel. I've been reading that CO can have lasting effects. So I think I should get an appointment.

Check this out.

Lawrence Slater

I didn't go to the doctor's last year during or after an illness had passed and I now have a possible complication from that error

I also know someone who had CO poisoning and he still has the after effects

you'll probably find that more than likely you are fine and no after effects but worth having it checked and confirmed
Nigel Atkins

What about adding in some ebola into the gas tank then it could become air Bourne

As to the dallas case, I yawned and fell asleep for a few pros, are all saying ebola wont be an issue here... im a bit surprised that air travel isnt monitered more closely from west africa, but now it is

Im glad lawerance you brought up this thread, its become very informitive,

Some one asked how this is effecting the motoring population....

Id say hugely, now I question people that nodd off and take a nap while driving, it could well be the effects of CO, and not just a sleepless night

I dont know that a trip to the doc could tell anything, unless you drove to the doc replicating the CO environment so the doc could see the effects 1st hand as there playing out.

Kind of like I HAD a low air tire so I added.some air to it, so what do you think mr tire/wheel man,

Plus even if it was CO you were suffering from... then what? Here is a lollipop candy stick, nothing else I can do, that will be $600 please pay the bookie on the way out?

Im not sure what a trip to the doc can really provide other then some hand holding , and a warning of what the effects of CO can mention youve been to west africa the day before , just to get a laugh at the look on his face as you leave his office

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

I don't dispute that all cars produce CO - that is exactly what I said in the first place. I don't dispute that it only takes small amounts to have a detrimental effect on your health. But the quantity produced by the engine (therefore carb settings) is relevant as the exhaust at the tailpipe is diluted by the air around. A small amount of CO will be so diluted as to have no effect at all. Whilst a heavy output of CO is far less likely to be sufficiently diluted and there will be enough drawn back by the airflow at certain speeds to the cockpit, where it can have its wicked way with your health. The greater the volume of CO at the tailpipe, the less the chance of the dilution in the immediate atmosphere being sufficient to mitigate any effects.
Guy Weller

a visit to the doctor's will tell Lawrence if he has any after effects, the doctor will be interested in curing Lawrence not his car so doesn't need to have the incidents replicated

dealing with matters retrospectively can help, an expert or even just someone else, might pick up on something you've missed

your mr tYre/wheel man might point out to you the reason you had to put air into the the tyre is because you have a puncture than needs repairing, or that the side walls don't seal too well to rusty wheels, or that you've put a bulge in your tyre by hitting a kerb or pothole so you need to replace your tyre

in this country we are very lucky as we have the NHS so we can visit our doctors without direct charge, if required the doctor can carry out tests, perhaps a blood test, all at no direct charge

this is all to see if there are any effects or after effects so the visit is well worth while even if nothing is found it will reassure

people die unnecessarily by not visiting their doctors when they should, now I know we all die but this might be at a much earlier time than would have been and at an inconvenient time and some people prefer to die of one thing rather than another
Nigel Atkins

I too had a Mini Van and the fumes used to come in through the back doors. I fitted a bent down extension to the tail pipe and it solved the problem.
Bernie Higginson

My mother had bad CO poisining from a leaky exhaust in the family A70, became really sensitised, the effects stayed with her for the rest of her life.

Though perhaps that's why I'm a petrolhead.
Paul Walbran

Did you have this problem with the original Spridget seats? Do the MGF ones make you sit a little higher? Only ask as the original seats with original head rests and exhaust system or an RC40 doesn't produce the problem you're having - or maybe I'm so far gone I don't notice it anymore...
Jeremy Tickle

My F seats definitely sit the occupants higher in the car than the original Mk3 Sprite seats, (SWMBO can now see over the scuttle. LOL), but when she's in the car I use a wind deflector. I will do some runs without the deflector, but with headrests in place and see if I feel ill.
This is an interesting thread, because I sometimes have felt a little odd after a drive, but put it down to age and too much tresh air. We'll see.

Bernie Higginson

To add to your feeling unwell on the motorway
I had a guy with a taxi come in complaining his heater wasn't working---
On examining the car I found that no air was coming out the vents even with the fan on. Suspecting a linkage problem with the heater controls I checked them out, all ok. This model car had an air filter option for the heater but cabs didn't usually have them. I pulled the cover off to check, and to my surprise the course nylon screen that is fitted to the cars without a filter was completely clogged up with black soot/tar about 5mm thick. The filter is about 200mm square. Cleaned the screen (had to use degreaser) and all was well
This car had only travelled 150,000klm and all highway work between our town and the next one about 50klm away
So yeah there is plenty of rubish out there and we are supposed to have the cleanest air on the planet here
cheers willy
William Revit

Guy. Just in case you missed this, I'll post it again.
"Even a properly tuned gasoline engine, will produce more than 30,000 parts per million (ppm) of CO in the exhaust stream before the catalytic converter.

Here's a list of CO exposure limits.
9 ppm CO Max prolonged exposure (ASHRAE standard)
35 ppm CO Max exposure for 8 hour work day (OSHA)
800 ppm CO Death within 2 to 3 hours
12,800 ppm CO Death within 1 to 3 minutes

It's clear that our old engines can't be tuned to burn fuel as efficiently as a modern engine, and thus the 30,000 parts per million quoted above, is likely to be the minimum present in my tail pipe. Add to this that 'my' engine is NOT running rich. Hence the CO in my tail pipe is going to be in excess of the 30,000 parts per million quoted above, irrespective of what I do to my carb settings. Obviously by the time the exhaust fumes reach me, they are diluted to an extent. But equally obviously, there is enough CO remaining to make me feel unwell, else I wouldn't feel unwell. And as can be seen from the list, the safe maximum for a working day is only 35ppm of CO ( which presumably doesn't make a person feel unwell). I must be exceeding that CO of 35ppm in less then 2 hours. Because it takes less time than that, for me to come home after a drive (with the h/restraints fitted) and feel ill. Again, my engine is not running rich. And clearly I'm not going to run it weak, or excessively weak, in an attempt to reduce the CO content of my tail pipe. Hence "MY" carb settings are not relevant.
Lawrence Slater

Nigel. I have a check up app't with my doc today. I'll let you know if I've been advised not to buy any more LP's. lol.

You mentioned that your mother became sensitised to CO. I hope that's not the case with me now, if even a whiff of exhaust fumes starts to make me feel dizzy and sick.

When I bought it, I drove the Midget back from London, for 35 miles with the roof down. It still had the original 1973 seats in it, and the drivers side had pretty much collapsed. I was almost sitting on the floor, so I was definitely sitting much lower than I do in the MGF seats. I don't recall feeling unwell at all, even though it was running pretty rich and had a very lumpy tickover. The MGF seats, even without me altering the height, are sitting higher than I sit in my Sprite, with Spridget seats in that. But as to that being the cause, I don't know, I don't think so. And I'm only 5'8". Not exactly tall. But anyway taking off the h/restraints stops the problem. So the solution, if I want to refit the h/restraints, has to be altering the amount of fumes being dragged in.

It would be really interesting to see just how much the exhaust fumes hover around the cabin when the roof is off. Like I said at the beginning, I was really surprised that taking off the h/r "fixed" the problem. If the fumes are dragged back in so as to be that close to the passenger's and drivers head's, it can't take much to tip the balance.

Pissing down today. So no chance to get the roof off and fit an altered tail pipe yet.
Lawrence Slater

Hey Willy. Maybe I should get filters for my nose then. lol.
Lawrence Slater

"Breathing low levels of carbon monoxide over a long period can cause severe heart problems and brain damage. "

- And you may not even be aware of the low level.

Nice huh?

Hence the drive to introduce the Ultra Low Polution Zones I guess.

Now where can I get an electric motor and battery for the Sprite and Midget?

Time to re-active that thread by the chap in the US, whose done just that.
Lawrence Slater

Well done Lawrence, - with getting an appointment with your GP. That is quite an achievement - how did you manage that!
Guy Weller

Lawrence, I think your boiler may not be venting properly. Time to get the gasman round
Christian Carter

"Well done Lawrence, - with getting an appointment with your GP. "

Yes, in these parts you would have to wait 2 weeks!
Dave O'Neill 2

>>Nigel. I have a check up app't with my doc today. I'll let you know if I've been advised not to buy any more LP's. lol.<<

good news you're seeing the doctor, I think it's worth your while to buy LPs but not perhaps a season ticket to anything :)

perhaps the mention of CO poisoning got Lawrence a quicker appointment(?)
Nigel Atkins


I see that on a popular street for shopping called missouri blvd in my town, its loaded with traffic, for restaurant, and gas stations, and car dealers and strip malls... the black tar you speak of takes about 3 years to collect on buildings.

nasty stuff and dosnt wash off, im always reminded how bad polusion is when I look at one of these building to repaint, and think how much of this stuff is in peoples lungs

Good luck lawerwnce... hope she (the doc) is good looking.

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Christian. The gasman doesn't work on car exhausts.

Booked the app't yesterday for Friday at 10am. But was told to ring at 8am today, to see there were any slots today. Rang at 8am, and got a slot today at 5:30pm.

All vitals good enough, so I bought an LP :). The prognosis is that if I have suffered any long term damage, there's now't to be done anyway. Just keep getting plenty of fresh air, and keep away from the source of the CO.

I never have any trouble getting an appt within a week (5 days). Maybe it's the area, or just a decent practice?

Mind you, chest pains get you an immediate app't when your 60 plus. lol.

Here's a close up of my Midget exhaust, bumper, and paint, before I bought it. No sign of soot. Of course that area of the car could have been washed, but I doubt it given the state of the rest of it when I saw it.

So the exhaust must be clearing the car, and being dragged up and back to the cabin.

Lawrence Slater

You could just cut that pipe off , bend it, then reweld back on, .... but its your money to waste, ...hahaha

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

In my mother's case she became a bit like a canary down the mine. Her sensitivity ended up extending to any sort of volatile hydrocarbon based solvent and made for spots of misery in an otherwise active life.

We had wondered for a while whether it was psycological, but we found that she got the effects at times when she didn't know she'd been exposed the previous day, such as when she'd been visiting us after I'd been using solvents in the garage and low, not noticeable, levels had drifted into the house via the directly connecting door. She was in her ealy 40s when it first happened so she had to put up with this for over half her life.

I mention all this to underline that it's well worth configuring the tail pipe to get the exhaust stream clear of the vortex behind the car - particularly with older cars in which the seals around the boot are not as good as they could be - and the boot isn't usually sealed off from the cockpit in most cars.
Paul Walbran

You know Paul, when I started this thread it was from kind of a half joke, and interest angle. I didn't know how interesting and serious it actually has the potential to be. I knew what CO was, and knew to avoid it. But I wasn't so aware of just how much of it there is around, and just what it can do.

Cerebral hypoxia describes the brain not getting enough oxygen.
Without enough oxygen, brain cells die.
Red blood cells get oxygen from the lungs. But as pointed out earlier, red blood cells will more readily take on CO than oxygen.
So if you breath in enough CO, you get Cerebral hypoxia, and your brain starts to die.

My mother died at the age of 63. But long before she died (liver cancer, not CO), she used to talk of how her "brain isn't working properly today". She used to be extremely good at mental arithmetic, but from the age of about 45, she found she couldn't do it very well anymore, and began to forget a lot of other things too. My mother spent a lot of time in the kitchen. When we were young back in the late 50's and early 60's, we didn't have any heat in the kitchen. So in the winter, she used the gas oven as a heater. Gas was very cheap back then. I can remember her shutting the kitchen door to keep the heat in.

So I accept your underlining of the tail pipe importance without question. But I also think it's worth doing some more checks if possible, to see just how much exhaust is being sucked into the driver/passenger area when the roof is down, without me/us being aware of it.

By coincidence, when I saw my doctor last night, she told me that a couple of months ago her son came to visit her, and remarked that he thought she smelled of car exhaust fumes. So he checked her car, and told her it stunk of exhaust fumes inside. She couldn't smell it at all. She took the car to the garage, and they found a leak. She had no idea she'd been breathing in exhaust fumes, and hence CO, because she had no noticeable symptoms. She figured she just got used to any smell, and didn't notice it. And she's a doctor, who you might think would be more aware of such risks, since she know's about the risks of CO.

How many other people are breathing in a level of exhaust fumes, and aren't aware of it, because they are so used to the smell of their car, and don't have any noticeable symptoms?

Now I'm thinking about bernie's comment earlier about a wind deflector. I wonder just how effective they are. It's another windscreen, only placed behind you. So does it create a drag(low pressure area) of it's own, and assist or resist the pull of exhaust fumes from the rear of the car?

MGF head restraints, are effectively mini wind breakers/deflectors. I 'was' aware that with them fitted, there is less buffeting around my head. Taking mine off, has stopped me feeling ill from the exhaust fumes, that I wasn't even aware I was breathing in, until I started to get noticeable symptoms when I was actually in the car. The buffeting is back again, but it's reasonable to assume that I'm getting less CO by not having the restraints fitted, because my symptom have pretty much gone altogether.

So solid or mesh wind deflector? They both reduce/remove buffeting. But if you can't smell it, how can you be sure you aren't causing exhaust fumes to be carried towards your nose by fitting one?

Before anyone jumps on me.


But, I am posing questions, since CO is such a bastard.

Lawrence Slater

Not sure this hasn't been suggested before, but having got to this stage in your investigations, it might be interesting at least, to try using one of the (fairly cheap) CO sensors that are available.

This one gives a digital read out in ppm, and should appeal to your sense of frugality!
Guy Weller

I wonder whether streamlining the rear of head restraints as per D Type Jaguar or track racing cycle helmets would reduce the buffeting. I think it should also reduce the suction that's drawing the exhaust fumes forward. It would probably look rather odd though.
Colin Mee

Brilliant Collin! Take the headrests off and wear a track racing cycle helmet instead!!

Now, how does photoshop work?
Guy Weller

if you think that it might be that the exhaust sticks out too far rather than too little then perhaps if you cut the existing exhaust tail pipe to make it shorter and then use a long over sleeve bling chrome tail pipe end to bring it back to it's original length you can then lengthen and shorten the overall tail pipe length by sliding the chrome tail pipe end

you can also experiment with the chrome tail pipe if it has an end turning by having the turning pointing up/down/sides or in between
Nigel Atkins

ETA: of my little experience of wind deflectors I'd say the mesh type are generally much better - subject to shape and vehicle fitted and all the usual variations/permutations, etc.
Nigel Atkins

mmm i think i might tighten up my loose exhaust/manifold joint.. it blows but i like the noise...
Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

Fascinating. I used to smell of exhaust fumes after hood down driving in the Midget. Again, rarely noticed the smell when actually driving. As it is sooooo looong ago now, I can't remember if it happened before headrests were fitted to the standard seats. I always ran with a roll over bar, twin tube MGOC "aero bar" for a long time then Aleybars competition item with diagonal.

Clive Berry

Sorry Lawrence, couldn't resist it. Blame Guy for planting the idea!

Colin Mee

I must be CO exempt, a few months back I invited a friend for a drive, we barly got out of the drive when she started complaining about the exhaust and gas smell and we had to turn back, but I just figured it was her scence of perfection.

But I know my car leaks like a sieve on its exhaust and it hasnt bothered me, just turn up the radio a little loader, to counter act the smell.

So im glad this topic has come along to have a better understanding.


Prop and the Blackhole Midget

You look quite attractive in that streamlined helmet Lawrence! Younger than I'd imagined.

Bernie Higginson

Lawrence also looks pretty 'armless to me.
Guy Weller

I didn't want him to look too exhausted!
Colin Mee

lol. Great work with the photoshop.

The trouble with buying a cheap CO detector, is that if it doesn't show anything, you won't know if it's actually working properly anyway. So in this case I'd rather buy a trusted item.

This one looks better. It has a test sniffer mode, and can detect levels down to 10ppm. About 20 quid.
Lawrence Slater

The point wasn't really about buying the cheapest, it was really about trying a CO tester to see if you could get any consistent readings in the swirling air within the cockpit. Worth a try, although l am not sure that you will. I do know that my exhaust analyser is very fickle and takes several minutes in still air to stabilise sufficiently to get a base level reading before it can then be used up the tail pipe.
Guy Weller

how would you know, or anyone else, if your brain has been further effected by CO or anything else?

I still can't believe you're only 50 I think something might have affected your mind to cause it to lose a number of years from your actual age
Nigel Atkins

I agree guy. I said the same thing many posts ago.
"Would it work in an open environment? How many ppm do they need to trigger?"

You also need to know the sampling rate. All the monitors I've seen advertised are supposed to be wall mounted and stationary. If the sampling rate was too low, you could get a stream of false negatives.

Are you only 50 Prop? Lucky you. Or maybe not. I'll get a state pension soon. £140/week to spend on Spridget motoring. lol.
Lawrence Slater

a very serious subject, I hope you are feeling better Lawrence. Your poor Mom never new better with that gas heater, its amazing how much knowledge has been gained and yet we make the same mistakes over and over. I guess that's why they call it the human condition.
Steven Devine

Lucky you Lawrence - thanks to HMG I have to wait an extra year for my Pension but that's nothingin comparison with my wfe, she has to wait SIX years extra! I just hope one of the political types turns up on my doorstep asking if I'll vote for their party!
Midget content - strictly it is still my wife's car (her name on the V5) even if she's kindly given it to me to play with...
Enjoy your pension!
Jeremy Tickle

it's not really the Government, it's our generation and our parents and even grandparents generations' fault - they're living too long or very many being kept alive in a not far-off vegetable state for the last and often most costly 12 weeks of their lives often by selfish relatives that might not have seen them much in their later years but insist on others paying to keep them 'alive', through the welfare state

on day-release I studied the statistics in the very late 70s so this has been know about for around 40 years at least and has got a lot worse since then

many in our generation will never fully retire and the same for the next generation, at some stage some form of euthanasia will have to be brought in, if your grandchildren are sensible they'll be working on it now
Nigel Atkins

I didn't know you were a eugenicists.
Steven Devine

once again my cowboy friend you have it all ar*e-about-face

most of the elderly and their relatives I referred to would have already added to the population and wanted to get some kind of immortality by extending their bred line (as your country has the one and only true white American god for getting into heaven)

let's say, a man and woman get together when young, say they have two children then later in life they split apart to a partner that often already has two children or more - obviously the four children are not from their coupling so they have to have a couple of children more to cement (or not) the relationship

we now have one couple responsible between them for 6 children, this couple ages and some of their 6 children will follow the same pattern, so now the original couple are probably grandparents many times over and soon great grandparents many, many times over

eugenics would have dealt with the couple when they where young not towards the end of their lives - you really are letting down your education system

I don't believe in eugenics, as I've put the opposite


I believe in the highly educated, highly resourced, US of A many of your Christian groups do, and you don't have to go too far back in your history to see it in action

and yes I do know this country, much to its shame, isn't blameless either

if I send you 38 cents will you save a bullet for yourself - as you know my bullet is already sponsored
Nigel Atkins

Dave O'Neill 2

here’s an old joke I’ve updated for ya :-

The world’s wealthiest Russian oligarch is told by his top doctor that he has the very start of dementia, so the oligarch orders him to buy the most expensive brain in the world and to transplant it to him.

The doctor goes off and looks on the ‘Dark Net’ and finds the brains of top scientists, mathematicians and Nobel Prizes winners all at extortionate prices but just one brain is a multiple price of all others so following orders the doctor buys this brain.

When the top doctor present the Russian oligarch with the bill the oligarch asks why this brain costs so much more than the others.

“Well sir,” says the top doctor, “this brain belonged to Steven Devine and in almost all areas it is in mint, pristine condition because those areas were never, ever used!”
Nigel Atkins

It is true that you can't smell CO. But you can smell the fumes that accompany the CO. In my case I could clearly smell something was wrong. Here in Holland there are speed humps (the lying policemen) that do crack the exhaust manifold or the joint between exhaust and manifold. I bought a Maniflow and it is all over now.

Flip Brühl

So it looks like Ebola has come to save the world from over populating itself?

Actually. I agree. At what point will there be ANOTHER open discussion about controlling population numbers?

I say "another" because for example, China's one child policy was just that. A discussion about controlling population. They concentrated on the supply end. Probably this century, the world will have to confront the demand end in the upper age range.

But not only that. The more widespread and successful medical intervention becomes, the more demand it creates, and the more it will cost. That's why the NHS, can NEVER be funded sufficiently to cope with demand it creates by saving lives. When we eventually control cancer, heart disease, and all other killers, we'll be left with a population dependant on continuing medical intervention to keep it alive. A population still producing as many sprogs as it wants, and a population not dying much before 100 years of age.

The future is bright. The future is GREEN.


Simply put. The world is not enough. We need to Star Treck.

Back to CO. Yup, my mum had no idea, and to be honest, that only occured to me in this thread. I've never thought about it before. It was cold in that kitchen in the winter. I can remember eating toast in the mornings standing in front of the open oven door to stay warm. It sounds like a joke. But it's true. She'd get up and make brekky. The rest of the house was still cold, and the warmest place to be was the kitchen. It's a wonder looking back that, that she or one of us didn't fall asleep in there and snuff it. I can only guess the leaky old sash window frames saved out lives, because the wind used to howl through them. And it's even more a wonder, that I still don't think I was har done by or poor. Sounds like a Monty Pythons sketch. Maybe that's why those sketches are so funny. because they are based on facts. Livng in shoe box on't side of motorway. lol.

I spoke with a CO sensor maker, and I'm awaiting a response from their tech department to see which product they make has a near constant sniffing rate.
Lawrence Slater

the speed hump (and driving to fast )

Flip Brühl

Flip. You CAN smell exhaust fumes, but it doesn't mean that you WILL.

I can't smell the fumes that contain the CO that was making me ill. Neither did my doctor smell the exhaust fumes in her car. Sense of smell? Just so used to the low level that you don't notice it?

Either way, I've had it confirmed that 200ppm CO in the air you breathe is enough to give you a noticable headache in less than 5 minutes. A non-cat tail pipe contains at least 30000ppm CO. Doesn't take much exhaust in the car to give you a dose of CO.

How easy is it to add a catalytic converter to a Spridget exhaust system I wonder?
Lawrence Slater


"I can remember eating toast in the mornings standing in front of the open oven door to stay warm."

Your words transported me back c60 years to situations I haven't thought of since then. I can only say it's a good job those old house were very drafty with ill fitting doors and windows.

Ray Rowsell

Yeah. And they're still fond memories for me Ray. :).
Lawrence Slater

not many will get the Soylent Green reference
Nigel Atkins

Some of us remember the film, wasn't Charlton Heston the main character.
David Billington

Two of you remember it then. Yup Charlton Heston indeed.

"The 20th century's industrialization has left the world permanently overcrowded, polluted and stagnant by the turn of the 21st century. In 2022, with 40 million people in New York City alone, housing is dilapidated and overcrowded; homeless people fill the streets; about half are unemployed, the few "lucky" ones with jobs are only barely scraping by themselves, and food and working technology is scarce. Most of the population survives on rations produced by the Soylent Corporation, whose newest product is Soylent Green, a green wafer advertised to contain "high-energy plankton" from the world's oceans, more nutritious and palatable than its predecessors "Red" and "Yellow," but in short supply."

The green stuff is people. Canibals were right all along. It's the ultimate solution to a crowded planet. But the film was a little premature.
Lawrence Slater

it was also about the greenhouse effect and also starred Edward G Robinson, my mate was on about the film only the other week forgetting it was me that put him on to the film years ago
Nigel Atkins

The arrangement shown in the photo gasses me to no end, but as I drive the Midget infrequently I don't think I'm too terribly poisoned by it like Lawrence. I really should re-arrange the output pipe though. LHD 1500 with MX5/Miata seats.


Richard Reeves

Soylent green. It's a good film don't you think? Even if it's a bit premature, and looks like an outdated view of what the future will look like. Funny how, when you look into the past about the future, it was always a bit premature in some ways, and yet in other ways we've surpassed the prophecies.

I wonder if it's the general shape of the rear end, the "shortness" of the tail pipe(s?), or the inbuilt head restraints, that causes you to be gassed.
Lawrence Slater

Soylent green is a sci-fi classic, together with Logans run.. watched them many times.....
Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

This thread was discussed between 05/10/2014 and 14/10/2014

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