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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Oil filters. In the spirit of ARRRRGH!

Well since peeps are having a minor rant on technical, I'll raise this old chestnut again for another minor rant.

Screw on canister or bolt on bowl and paper. Which do you prefer? Give me the bowl and paper filter any day over the screw on.

I Had the screw on filter off my '73 midget yesterday. As is sometimes the case with this type, it was a bit stuck, and it took me a while to get it loose. Fortunately I didn't have to stick a screwdriver through it, and make a worse mess. But nevertherless, because the bloody thing is brim full with used oil, no matter how careful I was, as soon as the filter to holder seal was broken, sufficient dirty oil leaked down the sides and covered the chassis rail, and my hands.

Contrast this with the screw on bowl and paper element on my Sprite. I Apply a spanner to the bolt, and loosen it. VERY quick and easy. I Hold the bolt in place with a finger and keep bowl upright whilst unscrewing the assembly, and being careful I never spill a drop of oil, either as I loosen it, or remove it from the car. Of course you have to clean the bowl out as well as dispose of the old filter. But given that my hands would already have had oil on them from the screw on type, if I had that type on the Sprite, that's irrelevant. At least with the bowl/paper type, I don't have to clean dirty oil off the chassis.

So that leaves cost and performance. Cost is comparable. So how about performance? My Sprite engines have always managed well over 100K miles on the paper filters, and I frequently 'don't' change the oil filter at every oil change, but rather ever other change. So even of the "modern" screw on canister has better performance, I doubt I'd notice it to any degree that matters.

I'll stick to the paper oil filter. I won't be converting the Sprite, as seems to be the preference of some people. :).

Lawrence Slater

Have you tried these?
Steven Devine

A bit heavy duty where you need any degree of feel.
Dave O'Neill2


Dont you care about rusty chassis rails.


I think you need a better oil filter wrench

I got one that fits on a ratchet w/ extension and access the bottom of the filter using 3 dog legs.

Its easy fast and clean... I keep the oil bucket close by and drop it in immediately upon removeal

Another option I want to do in the future is a remote oil filter one that the housing can be bolted on to the inner wing so the filter can be essily accessed

Then theres always .... dare I say it ... "jiffy lube"...its 10 minutes of complete and udder terror of wondering (wtf) there doing to your car...but it is kind of cool watching minume wage 6 boys and a man pour over your car like it was a F1/ nascrap pit crew team....sure maybe they cross thread the sump plug, or use transmission fluid in place of engine oil, or leave the radiator cap off

But heck ... the coffee is free and they always do a great job washing the windows looks like you need a new air.filter we got a special on them today

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Here you go lawerance

This is exactly what I use for an oil wrench ...its a 3 dog leg...and works perfectly

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Yup that looks like a good tool Prop. But it still won't stop the oil spilling down the sides of the brim full screw on canister and making a mess on my chassis rail.

Nice gloves, but personally I prefer bareback :).
Lawrence Slater

I dont understand how your getting huge copious amounts of oil running out the filter....when you remove the filter

I might get a few drops, but those mainly land on my face....not the chassis rail hahaha

The hardest part I have is craweling under the car and finding my oil wrench piled away in the tool drawer

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

I've got a filter wrench similar to Prop's but I still used to end with oil right down my forearm and often end up with the filter slipping out of my hand as the oil oil comes out of the top and the lot ends up all over the chassis and the floor. kitty litter is my friend!
I now follow a tip I think I picked up here which was as soon as the filter's slightly loose, wrap a plastic bag round the lot and effectively drop the filter into it. Seemed to work last time but not my favourite job.

but personally I prefer bareback :).

Ba ha ha ha ha!

So you are a pass me that old T shirt so I can wipe my arms off oil changer!
Steven Devine

"So you are a pass me that old T shirt so I can wipe my arms off oil changer." LOL.

Nope, I'm a paper bolt on bowl and paper filter oil changer. :). If I had a spare bowl type, and was going to keep the Midget long term, I'd convert it, and dump/sell the screw on filter holder. I'd even throw in the old screw on filter as a bonus. lol

Prop, as Matt says, as soon as the fliter is loose enough, oil runs out. It does this until it levels off ar the top of the filter. Not copious, but enough to make a mess.

Cheers Matt, I'll use the plastic bag trick if I keep it long enough to do another filter change.
Lawrence Slater

I am personally happy with the spin on. Its better than the original frogeye version which is angled back and dropped oil anyway. I also ended up with oil up my arm or in my face and had the faff of making sure the bowl was seated ok to stop oil leaks.Now I just loosen the filter (I have a ratchet type strap filter wrench made by Facom which is really good) catch any drops on a piece of rag, unscrew it and lift it upwards between the dynamo and inner wing. Yes there may be a bit of oil on the chassis rail but its soon wiped off and offers a bit of extra protection.

Bob Beaumont

Ive got the screw on upgrade kit on the MGAs. Its impossible not to spill and drip oil on to the engine blocks.

I like Matts idea putting a bag under the filter and changing it out. The midget has a modern screw on type
I havent changed the oil yet conventionally yet asits only been unsiezed a short time.

So you like the old style cannister filters better than the modern screw on type.

I think that the cannister typefilter elements are probably of better quality then the cheap fram screw on types.

Ive heard bad things about poor quality filtration elements and manufacturing practises that cause issues. Heres a comparison site!

Steven Devine

If using a plastic carrier bag then smaller is sometimes better.
Also a thicker material plastic carrier can be better. all that is needed is a receptacle for the oil and filter. Larger thinner bags are harder to control and can catch on things. Do ensure the bag does not have anti child suffocation holes at it base.
Some might find it easier if the Frogeye spacer is used, between filter head ( be it spin on or original type )and engine block, as it angles the oil filter housing away from the engine, giving more clearance over the chassis rail and aims at the chassis filter removal cutout. From comments above it may not suit all.
With a spin on filter for anyone not wishing to crawl under the car consider using the plastic carrier bag method and withdrawing the filter through the triangulated hole in the front wheel arch once having removed the road wheel.
Alan Anstead

I must be dojng something seriously wrong...

I have never spilt at worse more then a tea spoon of oil by removing the filter

I just spin it off from under the car hold it level work it around the chassis leg and straight into the oil change tub which I keep next to the front right tire

I also drain the oil from the sump 1st thing

Is this similar to what you guys do ???

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Draining the sump doesn't make any difference to the oil level in the filter Prop.

I should have taken a picture of the amount of oil that emerged down the sides of my screw on filter as soon as it was loose enough to break the seal.

I knew when I posted this is, it would be another repeat of tea or coffee sir? ;).

How about from an environmental perspective. Which is better?

I think the old type is marginally better. You drain the filter bowl, and dispose of the oil and filter seperately. With the "modern" canister, the oil can't easily/quickly be drained out, and usually the filter including the oil ends up in the landfill. So you landfill metal, oil and whatever the filter is made of. Whereas with the paper only type, only a bit of oil and oil soaked paper are landfilled. Marginal, but surely better.

Am I an environmentalist? You decide. LOL.
Lawrence Slater

Well you do drive a sprite....Soooo, im going with no on the enviromentalist question....hahaha

Im wondering if our differances is in oil filter design

On my filters they are recessed at the top and have a rubber ring at the top... so the top is about 3/8 inch taller then the floor that has the screw hole

Once in a blue moon ill get oil running down the sides of the filter because its so tight....but even then its less then a tea spoon a paper towel can easily wipe up with more paper to spare

We are talking about the spin on housing that bolts to the side of the block and holds the filter in a vertical angles

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Maybe its how we are jacking the car up.

Normally I jack mine up at the front and I put it fairly high....

I drain the sump 1st then pull the filter ... maybe the angle and the time it takes to drain the sump, the filter natrally drains the oil off the top of the filter

But the filter only has oil up to with in an inch of the top top the screw hole....on yours it sounds like the oil goes to the top of the filter....

I wonder if this is part of why your evec system keeps flooing with oil, and mine dosnt...hahaha

Prop and the Blackhole Midget thats interesting

I just looked up moss and they show 2 completely differant spin on oil filter is no longer available

Now it makes me wonder if we dont share the same oil filter head... AND...

I know I was joking about your evac sucking oil but if there are 2 differant oil filter heads, it makes me go... might be something to it if one filter head flows oil differantly or at adifferant rate

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Check out part # 125 vs # 130

It will be a day before I can get to my car to see what filter head I have.

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Another thought

What is the shape of the top of your oil filter

Convex, flat, or concave....I use perculator filters and they are concave so everything drains into the filter

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

I'd say it's slightly Convex Prop, and almost flush with the rim containing the rubber seal. So any oil at the screw thread level, -- and it was brim full -- runs out over the seal. Aren't they all like that?
Lawrence Slater

Very odd oil level is lower in the filter ... a good half inch

Which of the 2 filter heads do you have from the moss site

You have convex filter... ill get my filter number for you in the next day or 2... my filters are concave

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

I don't know Prop, but it's got pirolator stamped on it. I assume it's the original on the car, but since the engine isn't (it's a recon I think) then who knows?
Lawrence Slater

This thread was discussed between 08/01/2014 and 11/01/2014

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