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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Crossflow radiator. Easy removal modification.

Whilst discussing draining the radiator in the recent "Crossflow radiator draining" thread, Guy mentioned that he only uses the top two bolts to hold his radiator in the cowl. He's also modified the way the cowl is held on the stanchions, again only using two bolts. This makes it easier to remove and replace the radiator.

As I too find the way the radiator is fitted to the car a pain in the ar*e, and given that, unlike the vertical rad the crossflow rad can be unbolted from it's cowl, I thought I'd make it really simple and quick to remove the crossflow rad from the car.

1. Enlarge the 2 radiator fixing holes at the bottom of the cowl, and insert rubber bushes.

2. Insert threaded studs into the bottom of the radiator. The holes don't seem to have been tapped fully though, I guess to prevent the bolts going in too far, and the rad being punctured. So just screw them in tight.

3. Drill out the spot welds in the top plate of the cowl, and remove same from the cowl.
4. Weld on plates to reinforce the top plate edges.
5. Weld on plates to reinforce the cowl edges.
6. Clamp the top plate and cowl back together and drill 2 holes either side.
7. Weld 4 captive nuts onto the underside of the reinforced cowl edges.
8. Fit the cowl back onto the stanchions. I used all 4 bolts for this, as they won't need to come off again anytime soon.

To fit the radiator.
1. Bolt the top plate to the radiator with the 2 bolts in the usual way.
2. Slot the radiator into the cowl, locating the 2 studs, into the rubber bushed lower holes.
3. Insert and tighten the 4 bolts, to hold the top plate, and hence radiator onto the cowl.
4. Fit the top and bottom hoses.

To remove the radiator.
1. Open the bonnet.
2. Remove the top and bottom hoses.
3. Undo the 4 easily accessible bolts, -- 2 at each side of the of the top of the radiator cowl.
4. Lift out the radiator, complete with the cowl top plate attached.

Here's some pics.

Lawrence Slater

Here's the radiator with the top plate of the cowl attached.

Lawrence Slater

Here's the radiator back in the cowl, with the 4 top plate bolts screwed loosely into the captive nuts in the cowl.

Lawrence Slater

Very nice Lawrence. A distinct advantage over my earlier modification. I might update mine to match (quick before he patents it!)

One problem with my version was that even getting the nuts onto just the top two stanchion bolts from the engine bay side is difficult because of restricted access. On my car the expansion tank gets in the way on one side, and something else (can't remember what!) obstructs the other side. Your version is far easier as the 4 bolts are just laid out there in front of you at the top! I like that, very much!
Guy W

Ta very much Guy. Feel free to improve and patent it as your own. lol.

I wish the vertical flow rad could be modified in the same way. But the bloody cowl is too integral a part of the rad unfortunately.
Lawrence Slater

Neither of us could patent it Lawrence. Its already in the public domain. And anyway, I would have no claim to your method; its very distinctly different to mine.

And like gearbox extensions, its unlikely that either method hasn't been developed in a parallel evolution before.
Guy W

"its unlikely that either method hasn't been developed in a parallel evolution before. " Yup, amen to that.

The crossflow rad is new to me, in the sense that I haven't had a Spridget with one, before buying the midget. But as soon as I started to remove it, and realised that the crossflow rad detaches from the cowling, I started looking for an easy way to take it out. So as soon as you mentioned your mod, the idea crystalised. I'd be very very surprised if someone else hasn't done this before me.

In fact the evidence is there in my bent top plate, as Dave O'Neill explained. Someone has removed this rad before, by undoing the bottom cowling bolts, bending the cowling, and lifting the rad out. So I'd be really surprised if someone before me didn't join the dots and take the top plate off, rather than bend it.

I bet when I sell it though, some purist will convert it back to standard again. And it wouldn't surprise me if by doing this, I've reduced the sale value too.
Lawrence Slater

But your itemised list of the modification, with photos and an accurate descriptive title is ideal Archive material. Nicely done!
Guy W

I had a moment of brain clarity Guy. I can assure everyone these are rare, and unlikely to be repeated for some time. lol.
Lawrence Slater

Neat solution Lawrence. At the moment my shroud is held in by the two top bolts as the bottom two just would not align. It's been like that for two years, doesn't appear to have moved and is likely to stay that way unless something major happens (I sense another clutch thrust release bearing issue not far away...), at which time your solution will be copied - thanks for posting it.

BTW are the two bottom brackets (painted in red lead and visible in your first and just visible in your second photos), a standard fitting? The Heritage shell doesn't have them and I can't remember if the original shell had them.
Jeremy 3

Do you mean these Jeremy? These are the ends of the chassis legs. The valence is bolted to the top 2 holes on each leg, as well as the horns. The bumper irons are bolted to the side 2 holes.
Lawrence Slater

Whoops. Forgot the picture.

Do you mean these Jeremy? These are the ends of the chassis legs. The valence is bolted to the top 2 holes on each leg, as well as the horns. The bumper irons are bolted to the side 2 holes.

Lawrence Slater

Thanks Lawrenece, not exactly, the ones I mean are at the rear and would be close to the metal pipe (or tube, lower, in Moss parts speak) which runs more or less underneath the rad. I think they may well be underneath your revised radiator's bottom mountings - in your first picture they're just above the arrows.
Jeremy 3

Not quite sure I know what you mean Jeremy. Do you mean how the steering rack mounts, as in this picture?

Lawrence Slater

Thanks Lawrence, they could well be just that - I need to have a gander at mine for reference.
Nice copper pipework btw; take it the front pipe is for draining - like it.
Jeremy 3

Yup, draining. See my other current thread, "Crossflow radiator draining". I'm going to finish installing that tomorrow and update the thread, -- for anyone interested other than me lol.
Lawrence Slater

It's back, due to popular request.

I described it as quick release, and it is compared to the unmodified way. :).

Lawrence Slater

And 2 mods Lawrence mods. for the price of one
A bargain!
Guy Weller

Oh yeah. Forgot the drain. I should have anticipated that in the title Guy. But at least I gave reference to my drain thread. Not that many people find searching the archives that productive. lol.
Lawrence Slater

No, and I am one. I just can never ever get the search engine to focus on what I am looking for! I think we just speak a different language !!

Your rad drain photo in the quick release thread pretty well says it all.

My quick release rad system was a bit more basic, not requiring the top cowl panel to be un-welded but rather less elegant a solution to yours.

Mine also has the studs into rubber grommets at the bottom of the rad (common principle to rad mounting on many "moderns") and then I welded two captive bolts to the rad / stanchion end of the inner wing stiffening brackets. Mine then lifts out complete with cowling, by just undoing the two top stanchion nuts.
Guy Weller

We could go into business Guy, on a joint patent. LOL.

This time next year, we could be miwlonares. :).
Lawrence Slater

Ever the optimist, Lawrence!

Talking of quick release, at one time I got so fed up with unbolting seats to get the carpet out for drying out, that I made quick release catches for the seats. Slight exaggeration as it didn't involve a great deal of modification, just drilling out the old stud fittings and using longer bolts with those bike wheel spindle quick release over-centre cam things. Worked quite well, but I then fitted my MGF seats instead and didn't bother with them again. Nowadays, when the carpets get wet, they stay wet until they dry out naturally. I expect the floors are rotting away at this very minute!
Guy Weller

Well you have to be I reckon. :).

Good idea about the quick release for the seats. Potentially rusty floors is why I gave my Sprite and now the Midget too, several coats of Bonda primer before the carpet and seats went down. Esp around the mounting holes/captive nuts.

But one other definite advantage with the MGF seats, is how much quicker it is to fit and remove them, because the runners are integral and fixed inline. Whereas on the originals, they have to be lined up, which can be a little more fiddly.
Lawrence Slater

This thread was discussed between 30/10/2013 and 10/08/2014

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