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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Considering buying but a few things need fixing

I'm considering purchasing a '75 midget. My husband has spoken with the owner already and has learned a few things are needing to be repaired. Since my husband is out of town on business it falls to me to decide whether to go ahead or not.

The things that need repair are as follows:

Rear main seal
Key cover
Grommet/gasket/o-ring for the master cylinder brake reservoir
Exhaust from the manifold back including muffler

Are any of these difficult or expensive repairs?

What else should I look out for?

If everything else checks out (no rust or cosmetic damage) then these will be the only things that will need to be addressed when purchased.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'll be taking the car for a drive tomorrow morning so I'd like to be prepared.


J. Sanders

Hi Jen

It all depends on how much of the work you will do yourself.
Rear main seal for example is an engine out job.
Not difficult (most jobs on these cars are not that hard) but time consuming so expensive to have done.

The key part on these cars is rust!!
Even if the seller says it is rust free look for it every where.

An other important factor is buying the right car.
From your description I think you are looking at a 1500 rubber bumper.
Not the most wanted model but usualy cheaper.
But if you realy like chrome etc and eventualy want to "bling" up the car then an earlier chrome bumper model will be cheaper in the long run.
Onno K

I am always suspicious if a seller lists things that are simple to fix. Mainly because if they are simple, then why doesn't the seller fix them before advertising and sell a better or near-perfect car?
Like a car that is offered for sale and the seller has not washed and tidied it up for the photos. Makes me think that either there are paintwork faults that they hope to conceal, or at the very least (or maybe worst) it is indicative of an owner who doesn't care about looking after the car.

So, if offered a list of faults, then assume the worst case. "Grommet/gasket/o-ring for the master cylinder brake reservoir" -so assume it needs a new master cylinder and will at the least then need a full drain and renewal of the hydraulic fluid which may then throw up problems with the other seals in the rear brake pistons and front callipers. So don't be timid, and question him about this.

Exhaust is probably just a straightforward renewal needed.

Rear main seal is an engine out job. But be aware that most of these cars leak to some extent from there. Depending on how badly it is leaking it may be something you just have to get used to!

As much as anything, it depends on an judgement of what you think of the seller, how enthusiastic they are about the car and if they are genuinely struggling to envisage life without it!

Thank you both for your replies. Everything I've read here and in other threads has been so helpful.

The gentleman selling it has graduated med school and is moving halfway across the country and says he just can't take it with him. Whether that's true or not is neither here nor there other than to say he's somewhat eager to sell. Believe me, I'll be checking the car over as carefully as I can. I'd rather walk away than purchase something that will have us in over our heads.

J. Sanders

DON'T buy it. Not this one anyway.

If you REALLY want a Spridget, then buy a pre-rubber model, pay a little bit more, and get one that needs very little doing to it.

I only say this, as you don't sound as if you are either able and or keen, to immerse yourselves in a financial and time consuming "project".

It sounds more to me, as if you would simply like to own one for the pleasure of driving it.

But beware, they are old cars, and although easy to fix, they will from time to time need some work, even on the most recently restored. So unless you are able to do basic stuff yourself, and unless you are able to find a decent and reasonably cheap garage for your servicing/repair needs, then you may find yourselves exploited by "classic" car garages, who charge you a premium just because they can.

Lawrence Slater

Rear seal may be leaking due to wrong / bad sump evac system, e.g. PCV valve, if there, malfunctioning.

What is a key cover?

Might be hard to find a non r-bumper in the USofA
Alex G Matla

This thread was discussed on 09/02/2012

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