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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - rear axle rebuild

I am in the process of a ground-up restoration of my 60 sprite. it sat for 30 years waiting for the right time to start, which is now. I am currently rebuilding the rear axle assembly. I had the rear housing powder-coated, and in trying to refit the differential, I find it will not fit in the case opening. the diff appears to be high on one side; that is, one side fits flush in the housing, but the other side only goes down about halfway. is there something I should try? any advice out there. the two units are the original pieces that came with the car.
m neff

Silly question, but is it the right way up?
Dave O'Neill 2

I had a problem like that many years ago. I just enlarged the holes by small amount, maybe 1/32 inch and it fit right in.
You probably are past this step, but I have made up some plugs that fit into the end of the axle to support the screw of the puller that makes removing the bearing easier. If anyone is interested, I can send one for postage and a small donation going to our local food bank, Last years donation total was over $1300.
J Bubela

Could be warped,

To do powdwr coat they need to hear thw part up to a very high temp so the powdwr paint melts and flows...

If the had thw axle on jaxk stands it could have saggad

It thats rhe case... its not hard to fix ...take to a pro rear end builder and they can straighten them easily

You may have another issue if it was powdered over the area that uses the paper bag gasket as the the powder coat will be to thick and need to be sanded / removed off to clean metal

1 Paper

1. yes, it is the right way up - it only fits one way. my brother asked the same question.
2. it appears that the small "ears" on the carrier cap bearing mounts are rubbing against the inside of the case. my machinist is looking at that now.
m neff

So how come it fitted OK before you took it apart? Something sounds wrong...
David Smith

Have the bearing caps been swapped over since the diff was removed?

I'd ignore Props comment as he's talking crap as usual, powder coating doesn't require a "very high temp" to fuse the coating, only about 200C tops and that shouldn't cause any issues with distortion of the casing as it would be evenly heated in the bake oven. IIRC the final drive housing is a tight fit and maybe the powder coaters got some extra in the axle entrance enough to make the fit tight. If it came out of that axle it should go back in, maybe checking for marking on the final drive housing will give an idea of the points that are clashing.
David Billington

"it only fits one way."

Yes, it does. But yours doesn't fit, which is why I asked ;o)
Dave O'Neill 2


You may want to watch a couple of videos, or parts of them, on rear axle rebuild by midget Mania.

The second link may be the one you need, the first more for axle strip down. The axle used is from a 66 Sprite so different brakes to a 60, but the rest should be handy.

M Wood

dave - I did not mean to sound flip. yours was a possible problem, one I had already tried.
the final fix - the local sports car rebuilder brought one of his pumpkins over, and it would not fit either. so he recommended, and the shop did grind a little off the inside lip on either side of the diff housing. it all fits together nicely now. thanks for the suggestions from everyone.

m neff

Hello David

Sorry for the butt hurtin, ive actually got some experiance with having parts commercially powder coated

The pro shop i use takes about 4 to 6 hour for the total process once they lite the fires dependant on the size and mass of the parts being coated

According to reliant oven company that make the commercial ovens the temps do hit at around 300 c or just under 600 degrees F.

If i misunderstood that this was some rinky dink harbor freight set up for $200 with the cheapo powder paint then obviously im in the wrong.

Considering this is an entire axle housing im guessing this probably was done in a commerical set up with a minume temp of at least 200C. Around 400 F for maybe 6 to 8 hours (lower the temp the longer the time to preheat, cook and anniahel) the paint

So no MG expert, but im going to take a wild guess that temp range of 200C to 300c of 4 to 8 hours is going to put some warpage risk into play

Oh... and warpage of axle housings from powder coating is not over common, it is a real thing. Does happen a number of website have there stories

But agian, its not a big deal to get a full assembly restraightend from a pro axle housing shop

1 Paper

This thread was discussed between 02/05/2017 and 06/05/2017

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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