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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Fred flinstone stops his car better than i do

OK, so after going on a long drive, the brakes on my 1974 1275 midget needed to be triple pumped inorder to work well. I ordered the eezebleed and got new pads but, i have run into a few problems.
i dont have an extra cap for the brake master cylinder so i cant bleed the brakes. First question- What size is that and where can i get one?
when i was changing the brake pads, i got the drivers side (american) ones done pretty easily but when i got onto the passenger side front, the piston was stuck. the pads on that side were worn much more than the other side because the piston was stuck in (or out, depending on how you look at it. my dad said hit it with wd-40, which i did. the piston on the side by the hose went in, but is still a 16th of an inch out. the opposite side will not budge. Im using 2 pieces of wood and 2 claps (cramps for you brits) to make a sandwich to squeeze them in, it worked fine on the other side but this side is much worse. question 2- How do i get the piston unstuck?
third problem, the flexible brake line on the passenger side is cracked, can someone run through the process of replacing that? ive never done it before and i wasnt sure if there was a way to isolate that section so i dont have to drain the entire system etc etc.

then come the back brakes. I havent even gone there yet. Im thinking just adjusting those because they only do 30%-ish of the braking and the pads on the front were not that bad so im hoping that the shoes are ok. is there any trick to adjusting those?

Thanks in advance, any input would be greatly appreciated.

Seth Brecklin
Seth Brecklin

Seth, I would suggest taking the calipers off, and replacing them. The siezed one will need a rebuild at best, and possibly new pistons. Thing is, a rebuild kit can often be as much as a whole professionally rebuilt caliper.

DOn't mess about doing it yourself. Maybe best to bite the bullet and get some new ones. You can renew the flexi hoses at the same time (braided if you can afford it). It's tempting to do the minimum required to avoid draining the system, but it's false economy. Strip the darn thing and do it right.

As above plus don't ignore the rear brakes.

If the rears are not effective fronts will lock up much too easily. check the cylinders (pull the rubber back and see if they are leaking) If in doubt replace them along with the shoes. (only a few dollars so worthwhile)

Adjusting is easy enough follow the WS manual and slacken off the handbrake cable before you start.

A proper brake spanner will make life easier. You should just hear a slight drag when you spin the the drum.

If rears are not adjusted correctly you will find that you have to pump the pedal a couple of times.
R Fowler


I hate to hear your troubles... the front calipers have mild steel pistons (why on earth I dont know) but when you wash inside of the wheel wells or the engine bay and let it set, the calipers do rust in the piston area... I made this mistake seveeral years ago my self

try ALL the chain parts stores.. the prices can vary big time from oriellys to autozone, they are always a good build with no issues. Try ebay theres always some calipers there, but make sure the seller is straight shooter with a good ebay record, and that the calipers arein great shape...still Id go for the carcraft/advance auto/orielly/autozone approach and be done with it.

Like above, dont rebuild them yourself, these are to important to mis build

just a thought.... sometimes the rubber brake line hose can be really old and look okay on the outside but be completely broken down on the inside and can prevent or hold brake line pressure, thus keeping the calipers from working properly... If you havent subjected the calipers to water making the calipers to rust and yet have driven the car alot, Id certianly consider replacing the old rubber brake lines with the the stainless steel braided lines 1st to see if that cures the problem...theres a good set of goodrich's always listed on ebay at a great price, And work really well (yepp... I got them on my ride)

what are you using for a brake Mster cly. resevoire cap now? Not having a cap shouldnt effect bleeding the brakes... IMHO, but then I do mine completely differant from anyone else that I know of.


Seth - PLEASE will you kindly get that car checked out by someone who knows what they are doing - before you kill yourself!

No-one will mind you doing your own work, but at least you'll know WHAT to do - and how to do it!

"but then I do mine completely differant from anyone else that I know of."

Of course you do!
You're Prop!!

I just had the same problem at the front and lashed out for new calipers. Actually they were not too expensive and went on as easy as pie. Don't be a cheapskate and buy one side. Do both and then you have peace of mind.
Rear wheel cylinders, drums and shoes are a whole voyage of discovery where you will learn how to do far more jobs than you thought possible including removing your half shafts, replacing O rings and gaskets and in the process gains some engineering skills by finding a different route to securing the cylinders than the famed circlips. A little expansion to your Anglo Saxon vocabulary may also be experienced when, as if by magic, a bit of Abingdon vernacular last heard when Sid on the production line hit his hand with his big hammer mutates itself from the essence of old axle oil in your diff to emerge from your vocal chords.
Matt1275 Bucks

as mentioned above (exept by rach) it's just brakes not rocket sience.

by the sound of it you need a little brake overhaul
now don't be scarred it is not that expensive and make the midget a lot safer.


get new one's they are not that expensive and will transform the feel.

flex lines
they should be fitted to a hardline either through the inner wheelarch or below the top suspention mount.
be careful when you undo these (leave them to soak in penetrating oil for a while) you do not want to ruin the hard line.
Change the for braided hoses as they are not that much more expensive than normal ones.

you allready got but you may want to upgrade to Greenstuff or mintex 1144


Sorry but you may want to change those to
since you are removing the calipers and have to bleed the system it is better to do a complete bleed and flush (brake fluid degrades over time)
But somehow thos rear cilinders always seem to leak after you have flushed the system.
So to prevent break downs do them again not terribly expensive.

If the are thick enough they are fine
adjust them up until you just can not rotate the wheel (in driving direction) anny more.
Then go 1 "click"back

there is just one at the rear and since braided hoses usualy come in sets you might as well change it to.

Now here is the most important part about brakes.
- Always do every thing symetrical (pads, calipers disks)
- Double and tripple check everything
- Test at low speed on a quiet road
Onno Könemann

LOL - yes, but, Onno - I remember all the other problems he's had .......... ;)

In that case we are lucky that Prop's engine does not run
Onno Könemann

>>>>>>>>In that case we are lucky that Prop's engine does not run <<<<<<<<

LOL...Dont hold your breath to long.. Im off work til next tuesday... just workking on an est. and making a paint color recommendation and eating lunch then its off to the shop and as rach says..."Get the DAM thing going"

Im driving monday... I may have to round up a bunch of N.hood dogs and tie them to the front bumper...But I am driving on monday.


Hmmmm - I thought that it was a given - BUT - isn't Seth the young lad with the car that's replacing the Pope on the UK visit coz it's more holy?

Don't think I said "DAM" Prop - I'm a good girl remember ;)!

Rach - certainly THOUGHT wayyyy worse though, but, since some of the people on here MIGHT see my dad in a couple of weeks - I've got to pretend :)

are you now discriminating Seth because he is young?
remember i'm only 26 (now let's see how long i can play that card)
Onno Könemann

LMAO - when's your birthday? Then you won't be able to anymore :)

23th of august that is comming so fast that some are allready teasing me as being "almost 30"
Onno Könemann

That's AGES away - you should just be thankful you'll be allowed the Pimms ...!

For the record - turning 30 is THE PITS!!!!! Something for you to look forward to :)

Rach. You should try turning 60. If it is, truly, "all downhill after 30" the slope gets much steeper after 60.

Seth. The others have provided good, sound advise and you should pay attention to it. The locked pistons in the caliper are not going to get any better, only worse. And, WD-40 is neither a lubricant nor a good penetrating oil. Use it only for its intended purpose of displacing moisture.

A number of years ago, some bad MGB caliper pistons were being sold. The proper piston is triple plated--a layer of copper, a layer of nickel on top of that, and a layer of chrome on top of the nickel. Very rust proof system when done properly. However, some pistons were on the market which seemed to be made out of blackened carbon steel (blued steel). Moss would never answer what they were made out of and I sent all of mine back to be replaced with the proper, plated pistons. If Prop, or anyone else, is getting piston rust after simply washing out the engine bay they need to replace their pistons. They will continue to rust and present a real possibility of tearing of the rubber seals (rust expands the surface thickness of the steel which is why it tends to lock parts together) which could result in the catastrophic loss of part of the braking system. If anyone is so poor that they cannot afford to use good quality parts on brake repairs, they would be better off parking the car and using public transportation until they can afford quality parts.

Les Bengtson

Wow, i was hoping that i wouldnt have to do that seeing as i have 700 dollars in the bank and i have prom to pay for and college coming up but i will look around for a deal. good thing is that i will have a job this summer so i know that i am making 950 dollars this summer. boyscout camps pay peanuts but atleast i dont have to pay room and board all summer.

if anyone knows any good deals on calipers, im all ears.

the passenger side was doing the vast majority of the braking so im kinda thinking that it MIGHT be ok to not replace it. more hoping but, there is always hope.
the flexible brake lines are a must, they are in bad shape. I had to wrap the passenger side one in electrical tape so when i was changing the pads it wouldn't crack anymore than it already has. so those must go.

I was just doing what my dads friend suggested with the wd-40 so i guess that i will pick up some penetrating oil so i can do it right and not damage stuff with wd-40 (ive heard its really corrosive).

thanks for all of the help.
any suggestions on calipers (on the cheap side) would be greatly appreciated (my pockets are pretty shallow).

Seth Brecklin

also, what do you guys think about the rotors. the guy that looked at it was used to american cars so once he looked at the rotors he got really angry that i was driving because they are so skinny, but i explained that since they aren't vented, they are fine.
but, im kinda concerned about the amount of rust on them (and the whole car in general, but, the rest of that isn't as important, its mainly surface stuff or just in an area that was painted like sh*t by the brilliant previous owner.
and yes, those bushings are looking a tad squished but i think that they can wait.

also, does anyone know what size the cap is on the brake master cylinder? ill post a pic of that too if it helps.
also, the gasket on that is gone and my dad offered some neoprene that he has at work to make a new one but we are both not sure if it can stand up to the brake fluid.



Seth Brecklin

yes, i am low on washer fluid. but seeing as the jets dont work, that is a non-issue at the moment.

a boyscout leader recommended that i sand down the bumps inside of the air filter container (not sure if intake is the right word for that). he said that the turbulence in there can make the airflow decreased and result in lower engine efficiency. im not sure how much of a difference that would really make. but ill do anything that helps.
any opinions on that?

the green out of place wire is my hot wire for the brakes. they werent working and i used the old switch that david gave me to try to fix it but the positive lead was shorted so they werent working, this is a nice temp fix for that ( i should really fuse that if im not gonna fix it soon... another thing on the list...)

thanks again.

Seth Brecklin

The sweep area on your discs doesn't look good, are they warped?
Brad (Sprite IV 1380)

That will be the U/S caliper causing the huge rust build up. It may clean up once new calipers are fitted. If not new discs.

I would be inclined to fit new everthing (discs, pads, hoses)for peace of mind. Have you checked the brake pipes?
R Fowler

P.S, Forget power increases just now fix the brakes and get everything working as it should. Or you may turn into Prop.
R Fowler


I dont know buddy, Your my kind of guy, I admire your creativity out of nessacity.

I hate to say this seth, but this car may not be the right car for you at this point in your life esp, for a daily driver, I wonder if you shouldnt be driving something a little more reliable from the land of JAP...Im just afraid you cant afford this car for what its going to cost in parts

I just think you may need a better paying Job, $950 for 3 months work isnt even minume wage, plus you will loose at least a 1/3 in taxes so thats like $200 per month...$50 a week... $10 dollars a day...a little over a dollar an hour. face it the boy scout gig is really a hobby more then a summer job, its hard to call $1 an hour a summer job

I mean thats tough, I really think your looking at a choice of midget life or boy scout camp conselor...maybe do the boy scout camp thing for a month then after thats over get 2-3 summer jobs after that just to have a few more extra dollars before collage starts. granted you have $700 in savings which sounds like a lot but I can assure you once your there at collage that money will disappear faster then a fart in the wind

At the vary least seth ... fire up the lawn mower and do a lawn a day... at the prices kids make mowing grass lately that would be $300 aweek just mowing grass for 2 hours a day... If you got a power washer heck theres alot of vynal siding and deckes that needs power washing every 2 years



Where are you in IL? I have an extra set of front calipers, one redone and I can do something with the other one a day or so. I'll make you a trade for your old ones. It does look like you do need new rotors and I would probably replace the hoses too. I can't remember what the hoses on mine look like but I can check them out today.
Tim Michnay

The front disks are scrap! chuck em away. Those things are consumables, not something to keep on reusing. Prop would probably try and skim those to get some more life out of them. Bin them!

Agreed, you need new calipers AND disks ASAP. The one in the pic is trashed. As for keeping the "good" caliper, I'd say no. You want equal braking force on both sides of the car, and mixing equipment from side to side is a Bad Idea. That's why rear brake shoes always come as a set of four.

I'd also suggest replacing the brake hoses as mentioned earlier. You don't necessarily need the fancy braided stainless ones, as new rubber hoses will work okay for a fraction of the price. I say that because I realize you're on a tight budget. The last thing you want to do is to throw money at the car willy-nilly. In my own case, I've kept expenses reasonable by tackling issues as they occur, and repairing or improving things as I can afford them. Unfortunately, this time you're looking at some expense to get your brakes back up to scratch, but brakes are one place you don't want to pinch pennies. The few bucks you save by patching up the old stuff won't mean much next to the major bucks - or worse - you'd be looking at when you tail-end a family in their SUV.

Gryf Ketcherside

Sorry Seth, I hate being so negative, coz usually there's something - anything - that could be said in favour of this at the moment.

YES - it's easy to redo your brakes :) However, don't scrimp on the parts - and, if they are too expensive for you at the moment, perhaps you could park her up for the summer and leave it for a few months while you're at camp and working?

It's not that I'm discriminating against you 'coz you're young, I would just hate for anyone to end up in an accident due to a Midget. You've not said if you've sorted out the welding and everything yet - how is this going?

If you can make up a list of what you need, and can source it cheaper in the UK, then, you're welcome to use a couple of square metres of my container coming over next year to Alberta, we can then get them down to you somehow, then spend next year making this car totally safe to drive.

There's nothing better than a run in a Midget - but, there's nothing worse than a heap of rubbish.


LOL. Are you spying on me?, Its true I did have my front rotors resurfaced when I 1st got my car...and No its not a good idea ... there just isnt enough master cly to make the brakes wor properly... on modern american cars its not an issue, but spridgets it is.

Seth.. Id certianly take Tim up on his offer.

why not do this...make a list of all the parts you need to make your car safe and post it, Im fairly certian we all have a spares box that perhaps we can help you out with.

granted you will be in debt to us for life, but we only require a small amount of blood per year, well that and your 1st born...LOL


Seth get a better paying side job
When i was in colleg i was making 150 euro's a day and anny one can be a sound/light tech.
The amount you are making now sounds a bit more like paid slavery.

If you get a full set (disks calipers and hoses) you might be able to get some money off.
i still get discounts fore being "poor" and helping out at my local MG garage
so get to know the local classics garage and become their friends.
Get older "rich" mg fans to sponsor you, a student friend of mine never paid for a set off disks for his GT (track time eats brakes)
Rejuvenation of the MG owners is important for them if they ever want to sell their prized posesions for anny money at all.

And remember these are (on this side of the pond) the cheapest convertable classics to run.
so no need to sell it to save money
Onno Könemann

well we sorta agree ONno,

I too suggested above he needs a better job, But hes looking at a good $400 to $500 to replace the front brake calipers, hubs, and hoses... and thats doing the work himself, and hopefully he wont need wheel bearings, tie rod ends, and rubber bushings ect ect. after all taking a front end apart even a little bit always turns into a nest of repair/rebuild wasps that needs atten. then and there

with spridet parts being so expensive this side of the pond and harder to come by ... I wonder if a honda accord or toyota camery wouldnt be a better ride till he has completed collage

with looking at $450 for parts plus selling his car (it is spring time) he could buy a decent older honda/toyota that tends to run forever on just gas and oil to get him thur collage

just thinking out loud


Prop, that sounds quite high to put the brakes "right"
Trevor Jessie

$250 for a pair of rebuilt calipers ($125 each)

$100 for a pair of rotors

$50 for hoses

$30 pads and brake fluid

$50 taxes and shipping cost

Am i leaving anything out


$26 Brake pads
$18 Caliper rebuild kits
$45 Rotors
$16 Hoses
$15 shipping
$5 Brake fluid

Total $125
Trevor Jessie

Ouch !! i didnt miss by much on the "total" price.

have a look.


OK, rebuilding calipers might not be the best job for an amateur, but rebuilt units here cost $75 for per side.

Prop, why pay for Mo$$ stuff when your local autoparts store can order the stuff and have it the next day (cheaper).
Trevor Jessie

Trevor is right prop
avoid moss at anny cost
on this side of the pond we
complete calliper 40
disk 15
hose 8
63 pounds total per side
that makes 126 total

only problem is shipping to the other side of the pond
Onno Könemann

I was using moss as an example... they are higher but not by much.

$75 is a great price, I got mine 4 years ago thur autozone and they where $110 a pop..."unloaded"

But you make the same point I made above... Call ALL the chain parts stores... cause there is a huge range in price from auto zone to oriellys, to advance

btw.. you can buy calipers loaded or unloaded, that means with (brake pads, pins,clips, bleaders, and shilds)

and WITHOUT (brake pads, pins, clips, beaders, and shields)

Prop...loaded and unloaded, Im thinking spuds with chillie and chesse

<Those things are consumables, not something to keep on reusing. Prop would probably try and skim those to get some more life out of them. Bin them! >

Right on. I've measured the thicknees of new brembo rotors and they only give you .3mm to minimum thickness. I was thinking of trying to reuse some scrap race rotors on my street car. They would be too thin.
Tim Michnay

LOL - I DID offer to put whatever spares in the container .......

For several years you could get rebuilt calipers for $35-$45, but they only had a $3 core. Maybe that's why they are now expensive with a higher core charge. Someone manipulated the supply/demand balance.
Trevor Jessie

This summer job is more to satisfy my parents.
the car is in no way a daily driver- that is what my bicycle is for! and the CTA (public transit) and i can borrow my dads car most of the time so this is just a for fun type of thing. living in the city means that i can get pretty much anywhere in the city limits without a car in under an hour (unless its rush hour, then it takes 3! lol)
Im basically putting in just enough work to get it to drive relatively safely around the neighborhood and city until after college (and the insane debt incurred by said education)is all done with. THEN i will start the real work. thats in a good 8 years so i have some time. Im a junior so i have another year in highschool before i go off to college. and yes, i have other side jobs. as many as i can find. i do actually work as an AV guy at the local irish heritage center.

Tim, that sounds like an amazing deal to me! im in chicago and im going up to Wisconsin the second or third week of august for camping and family visit so i could make the trade with you then. sidenote- i was up in Appleton over winter break to visit my grandma and was with my cousin over at one of his friends (his name was mike i think) and he called his dad to tell him that i had a MG because his dad is a big MG guy, was that you by any chance? just a slight hunch/ major guess. my email is so if you would like, shoot me an email and we can figure out that swap.

i already bought new pads and pins and the shields can be fixed up with a little rust converter and a can of spray paint so no problems there. the springs that hold the disks in can be reused anyway.

flexible hoses are a must
im gonna see with the rotors, is there anyway to shim the pads to get a little less space inbetween or is that just suicide?

I love my local carquest! the guys there a great, they help me out a lot and sometimes dont charge me shipping and i got 10$ off the brake pads because the guy didnt order them when i was in there so i had to go back twice. they are really great.
if any of you are in the chicago land area and need car parts on the northside, lawrence and pulaski; great place, great people.

again, the summer job is something that i need to do (im an eagle scout) so it isnt really negotiable. my dad is willing to help me out with some costs (the car is in his name for insurance purposes and that sort of thing) so that helps a little. but recently ive been fronting all the cash so...

but anyways, that you all for the advice, ill look around for some deals on hoses and rotors, i dont think that ill be doing anything with hubs if i can help it. as i said, just enough to keep it running safe-ish until i have an education and a steady job.

thanks again

Seth Brecklin

I have a set of rotors that were in the boot of a parts car that I scrapped. They look like new, and I'm almost 100% positive that they are for a wire wheel midget. You can have them for the cost of shipping. They have light surface rust but look perfect otherwise. Let me know.
Trevor Jessie

If Tim is throwing in the rebuilt calipers, and Treavor is providing the rotors, Then Ill cover a set of new rubber brake hoses!

Whos doing the new pads?

Problem almost solved.


propaper (at) Mchsi (dot) com

email me with your shipping address


incase i missed it somewhere in there, get another standard brake m/cylinder cap and drill the required tight fitting hole to swap the eezibleed adapter onto.

eezibleed's are unreliable and the caps tend to break due to sheer masculine power whilst trying to maintain a seal around the m/cyl. :P

Ours now consists of the two original pipes, a set of modified OE caps to accept the eezibleed adapter through the centre of the cap and a large lucozade bottle (due to the fact they are a PITA to open, therefore logic dictates they should seal well.

No air leaks, no mess, just throw it on the cylinders, attach to tyre valve and only worry about the mess at the 4 corners - not down your paintwork.


i was planning on getting the new cap and filling the breather hole up with a little epoxy, would that be ok and/or is it really necessary.

thank you Trevor, that would be amazing!
my email is so we can arrange the shipping.
prop, you are very kind for offering that! same deal, my email is above, thanks again!

what size is that cap or should i just for for an actual one instead of just that size cap?

thanks again you guys (and gals!)
you are all incredibly helpful.

Seth Brecklin

Contact for that cap. It is an oddball size, but they stock it for the EZ-bleed.
Trevor Jessie


DO NOT put off the brake work. No, you cannot shim the brake pads. It won't help the performance, and the pads can actually wear down to the metal backing plateif you let them go long enough. It sounds as if you habe at least one stuck piston in the calipers. If you can get to Blackhawk Farms during Father's day weekend, I'll be over there and can get the calipers to you. Otherwise, if you can make your way to the Lake Geneva area, I can get them to you.
Tim Michnay

Thanks for the cite.
I have a quick question- when im changing gears like 2nd to 3rd or 1st to 2nd the car makes a "tweak" sound when i re-engage the engine. is this normal?
Seth Brecklin

can you discribe the tweek sound in more detail? does it sound like a squeeky car door?

try this...

1. Is there black gunk in the clutch Master cly reseivore, if so you will need a new clutch master cly your seals or going bad

2. The clevis pin is wearing out... in the clutch peddle assembly at the master the clevis pin is going bad/wearing out of round, this will also make shifting harder to get in and out of gear and some grinding noise as the slave isnt getting enough fluid pressure to actuate the pivoting clutch fork... I cant remeber how the clevis goes inand out but you can get new clevis pins and cut to length at any good hardware store...lowes has them in specialty hardware isle

3. Bad thrust will need an assistant, with the car in nutral, not running. slowly depress and release the clutch while having the other person look at the crankshaft pully for movement back and forth as the clutch is being pushed in and out... if the pulley is moving you will need new trust washers in the engine

the tweak is from the back of the car, the rear axle area i think. i have no clue where it is coming from.
it sounds just like it is written (an onomatopoeia) it made that sound when i was dropping the clutch to get it running.
any ideas?

no worries on the brakes. im not driving it until i have it running to my satisfaction (and yours of course).

i seriously question whether or not the car would make it to wisconsin so maybe ill try to make sure that the weekend is open and borrow my dads car and come up. wait, nevermind. ill already be up at camp in michigan that weekend, so i guess it will have to be another time.

thanks again

Seth Brecklin

Without actually hearing it, it is really hard to be able to give a proper idea of what it might be - this is, of course, the problem of the internet - unless you could get it to make the "tweak" on a video and upload it to youtube?

It would be worth checking the springs and also, don't forget simple things like the spare wheel moving in the boot! It's amazing how easy it is to seek difficult problems when it's something really simple - especially, when you're doing such a huge project anyway.

If you could get it on youtube, then, I'm sure that people could be alot more helpful.

BTW Seth,

I forgot to say a big congrats on being an eagle scout! It's quite an accomplishment and certainle takes a lot of hard work and effort. It should take you far in life (and workng on your Midget)!
Tim Michnay

Thanks Tim.

Ill try to find a camera and get that on you tube.... as soon as i can drive the thing...
Seth Brecklin

"Tweak" sound could be a dry UJ on the propshaft. Pumping some grease into the grease nipple may be sufficient to cure it.

Or, I think you have wire wheels don't you? - maybe be loose spokes?

Guy Weller

I've seen several ads for caliper paint which looks nice through wire wheels but-----is there a problem with it acting a a thermal insulator and keeping the caliper hotter than it needs to be? Any thoughts? Bob C in Kansas
chamberlain Bob


Norm Kerr

This thread was discussed between 27/05/2010 and 17/06/2010

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