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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Rear end troubles and rebuild

Lots of issues with my rear axle/brakes....
Been putting up with it/ trying to do the easy fixes but decided to attack the job and do it properly....

Posting here will give me encouragement to get it done ......

1. Leaking from pinion seal

2. Damaged teeth in CWP from PO broken halfshaft, makes noise at above 60mph.

3. One very worn half shaft and one brand new one, worried that the worn one could go anytime.

4. Oil on brakes passenger side, coming through the rear seal, tried replacing it but still leaks.

5. Brakes are not original, uses the original drums, but different backplate and "gubbins".. No way for the shoes to adjust either manually or automatically, originally there was, but the PO welded up the ratchet mechanism and ive not been able to find the source for the brakes to find a new one..
This means i put new shoes on (and have to drill holes and make slots to get them to fit) to get a working rear brake and handbrake which works for about 1000 miles before the shoes need adjusting and i have to either weld something into the slot, or put new shoes on again...(by this time their full of oil anyway).

6. Enormous heavy steel wheel spacers installed by PO which are 2in wide and weigh 5kg, havent just taken these off as they also convert from the midget studs and PCD to the 100mm PCD on my wheels.

7. PO cut off the original brake back plate mounting flange off the axle and welded their own plate instead to match with the new brakes they installed...

So, ive decided to upgrade the whole thing and replace everything with known parts etc.

First to go are the brakes, i found some nice mistubishi lancer 8in drum brakes in the scrapyard, they are about the right width, and come with a nice automatic adjusting ratchet.. see picture.
I drew up an adaptor plate to make them fit to the flange on the axle, need to get this plate welded in position then i can bolt the back plate in position and take more measurements for the next step.

Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

end of axle showing PO installed flange....

Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

new adaptor flange , needs welding to the mitsubishi brakes

Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

Pity your not in the UK as I would be tempted to put rear discs on it.

Are there any old Fords out there. Ford Pop and Anglia have narrow axles (though I think still bigger than Frog) which might be easier to fit.
Rob aka MG Moneypit

adapter plates welded to new brakes,, spigot on adaptor is a nice fit to the back plate and central hole is a close fit to the axle shaft, to make sure everything gets bolted up centrally.
Just need to drill through the holes, then wire brush and paint.

Hi Rob Moneypit, Where about's in Cheshire are you ? i'm originally from Marple. just near Stockport

Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

New pinion seal fitted into new 3.7 diff bought from this forum.
It is now illegal to import second hand car parts to Thailand (or difficult anyway) so had to get my brother to bring it in his suitcase when he came for holiday...

Thanks to Norm for his tech guide on the MGEXP forum....
Thanks to Dave to the pumpkin- seems to be in very nice condition...

Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

Hi Andy, home base is Wilmslow, 10 mins from the airport using airport transfers tonbridge. Nearly bought a house in Marple 30 odd years ago. Doesn't time fly.

You seem to be getting on ok. Neat welding. Despite years of trying I'm still at the pidgeon poo standard.

Rob aka MG Moneypit

Hi Andy,
in the 'burbs towards Samut Prakarn near Mu-ban Tippawan there used to be an Austin A30 or A35 traveller parked about where the classic (Toyota? Datsun?) blue car is now. The car looked to be in a terrible undrivable condition but was probably used anyway. If it has escaped the scrapper it might be a good source of parts. Or it might still be in use! I used to take the bus past that spot regularly and sometimes I'd walk just to see what was parked there; mostly classic Japanese cars though I saw a Triumph 2000 a few streets north of there once. I think the owner of the car must have had a few classics over the years or had friends who visited with their classics. Anyway, if you're ever down that way it's worth asking if anyone knows the owner. If the van is still around/for sale etc..

oh, grid ref is on bottom of photo.

Nick Nakorn

I've just realised the grid ref is tiny, tiny, tiny when reproduced here.

So: Google Earth Street View

13 degrees 38 minutes and 03.38 seconds North
100 36 08.26 East
Nick Nakorn

Hi Andy,
I am glad the article helped!

Norm Kerr

Hi Rob, Got my friend to do the welding... i'm also at pigeon poo standard, though i'm not to bad at stick welding given thicker material....

Nick.... 555... spare parts spotting from space, i like it.
if i could get hold of an A35 it would be in my garage getting worked on...
If i was in UK i would have just gone to Andy Jennings or the like and got a new axle assembly, but like hens teeth out here.
Having said that i enjoy playing with my car and the challenge of getting other things to fit, car was way past ever being a concours winner when i got it so i'm set on making it a fast little sportcar to enjoy..

BTW my friend Paul, who helped me and tought me a lot about my car has just found a 1970 midget... so lots more projects on the way....
Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

Project on hold due to military coup.....road blocks to check people traveling between towns so decide to stay near where I work for this weekend . Could be worse

Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

Keep safe. From reports getting to the UK the Military seem genuine about the interests of Thailand and it's people. But as they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Hope it doesn't come to that. Thailand is on my bucket list.

Rob aka MG Moneypit

You're making me uneasy Andy. Seeing that pic gives me itchy feet.

I feel the need to travel again. Which beach is that?
Lawrence Slater

Rayong, about 60km along the coast from pattaya , eating BBQ fish and prawns and drinking a beer whilst typing this on my phone :)
Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

The curfew is a pain; I was in BKK for few months in 2010 and really missed my weekly visit to the Blues Jam at Nomads on Silom 3. But, on the other hand, I got more writing done and spent more time at my Dad's!
Nick Nakorn

Curfew now relaxed a little, now from midnight to 4AM..
Went home at the weekend but didnt make it in time and stopped at a roadblock at 12:15.... they let me off seeing as i'm foreign and also just driven 4 hours and just 5km from home at the time. Other people being searched and cars opened and inspected...

Anyway, got time to remove old diff and install new one,, they get very heavy when your on your back with your arms above your head..... Also bought some new bearings at the flea market,, just 2 pounds each for NSK 6207-DDU (double oil seal type).
Measured up and made some drawings for my double bearing hubs which i plan to get machined during the week.

Got my new brake shoes and trial fitted them to the back plates. Need to do some fettling to get a better fit on the backplates, will take them back to work and put them on the lathe.

Received my new competition halfshafts sent from UK (expensive , got charged 40% import duty...) and trial fitted them to the diff to find that they needed some work with the needle file to get a nice fit....

relatively productive weekend...
Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

I heard the curfew was almost lifted on the BBC; glad to hear you weren't searched or fined. Because so many tourist areas are almost open 24-hours it must have had a dire effect of the economy.

Talking of machining, I was really pleased to see so many small engineering shops in the suburbs. It reminded me of when I had my small business in the 1980s in S. London; there were several small machine shops within walking distance and now there are only a handful in the whole city. I was living on Sukhumvit71 and there was a machine shop almost opposite and I saw several more on my walks around the area, getting lost in all the side streets.

40% is steep but better than a few years ago. My cousin shoe-horned a big Mercedes V8 from a 500 into his little 180-style bodyshell (I don't know the exact model). I drove it to Supaburi and back one afternoon and it went like stink. Anyway, he had to import a few bits and pieces from Europe and was charged 200%! that was about 20 years ago. But he got around it for big ticket items by having them sent to Singapore first and importing from there. I have no idea if that's still an option.
N.C. Nakorn

"It reminded me of when I had my small business in the 1980s in S. London; there were several small machine shops within walking distance and now there are only a handful in the whole city. I was living on Sukhumvit71 and there was a machine shop almost opposite and I saw several more on my walks around the area, getting lost in all the side streets."

Almost ditto.
I didn't have a machine shop, but I lived in S london (streatham) for almost 40 years. So many places to buy decent hardware, and so many local engineering businesses where you could get anything made or fixed. Suddenly it seems, bang, almost over night, all gone. Then in 2004 I went to Bagio in the Philippines. Streets full of small workshops where you could get anything fixed/made. Same all over the Phil's. But even in Manila now, the small places are being driven out. Even there it's cheaper to buy new from China, than pay a bloke to fix it. But I love the way you can get a tyre repaired all over SE Asia, at the "vulcanising shops". :).
Lawrence Slater

My business wasn't a machine shop either - just a very small car restoration and repair business near Crystal Palace.
N.C. Nakorn

Managed to get home for the weekend, made some progress, backplates and brake assemblies now fitted.

Note to self.. when the shoes are worn out, sell the car or scrap it and buy a new one. If you cant afford a new one then sell the wife and kids....
drum brakes are a pain in the a&se...
(only joking :) )
Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

Hi Andy,
I play golf at Marple!
M J Chapman

My old local was the crown at the top of the hill just near the golf club. Small world .....
Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

Pic of new 8" dia mitsubishi brakes fitted. notice the linings dont go to the end of the shoe at the top end.....

Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

Pic of the catalogue page i used to identify the brakes after buying them from the scrapyard....
Now saved for posterity should i lose the picture..!

Notice how the linings go to the end....

Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

Hi Nick

Where in Crystal Palace were you?
Bob Beaumont

Behold the new shiny drum-spacers...

Those old rusty drums found in a puddle in the scrapyard came up a treat with a skim to get rid of the scoring and 20 mins with the wire brush .
Sprayed them silver to try and look like aluminium with high temp paint.

I bought the wheel spacers a few weeks ago, they are for 100mm PCD which matches with my hubs etc i am working on and my wheels.
i got 25mm wide, but originally only wanted 20mm, but when i measured everything up it worked out that the inside of the drum needed to fit exactly on the face of the hub (as per normal).
The drums were too big in the middle so i would have had to make an adapter anyway so i machined a 5mm step on the back of the spacer and tapped 8 x M8 holes to match with the holes i put in the drum, so now i have drum-spacers.... similar to minifins....

So if you look at my new arrangement it goes, hub, halfshaft, spacer with drum attached then wheel.
Whereas standard arrangement is hub, halfshaft, drum, spacer then wheel.

Dont know if this has been done before but i cant see any problem.... (famous last words ! :) )

Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

Hi Bob, I lived on Alexandra Drive near Gipsy Hill Station. I had a workshop just off Central Hill and a mobile workshop inside a Bedford J Type lorry.
Looking great Andy!
Nick Nakorn

Bedford J type. Don't see many of those these days, if at all. Stll less the Morris thrupenny bit. Remember those?

Lawrence Slater

Hi Nick

I still live in CP just off Beulah Hill. Small old world!
Bob Beaumont

collected the new double bearing hubs from machineshop last night.
Pressed in the outside normal bearing and a wheel stud and offered the assy up to check clearance..
Back of the stud hits the auto adjustment lever, bugger.. thought i'd taken all that into account...
Bit more fettling required then... but quite happy with the hubs.
You can see my drawing underneath, high technology drawn with a pencil with a rubber on the end and a childrens geometry set,,,,

Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

Finally got time to finish this project off...
Brakes fully fitted and plumbed in, wheels back on and off for a test drive.

Brakes now much much better , mainly probably due to not being covered in oil...

Hand brake still needs a bit of adjustment.

3.7 diff hasnt effected acceleration noticably other than i can keep it in gear a bit longer and find i dont need to use 5th gear except when just cruising along the dual carriageway...

ok .. on to the next project... either gearbox rebuild or make a roof...
Andy Phillips (frankenfrog)

This thread was discussed between 17/05/2014 and 14/07/2014

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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