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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Rear shoe springs and front bearings

Hi all.

I've been trying to get the rear brakes back together on my car - rather cleverly, I didn't take enough notice of the orientation of the springs and handbrake levers on the rear shoes. Haynes manual isn't particularly helpful, and a search has thrown up a few options.
So I figured I'd post a few photos - they show the *inside* of the left-hand brake shoes. I know I've got the shoes the correct orientation, but which way should the handbrake lever go (there's a subtle difference), and similarly the upper spring?
(Photos to follow in subsequent posts).

Second problem I've got today was when pulling the front hub assembly off again to fit the brake backplate and caliper, the inner race of the inner bearing has opted to stay put on the stub axle. How on earth do I remove it to put the bearing back togther?

Thanks in advance of your collective experience...



Rear shoe/lever/spring option 1...


Rear shoe/lever/spring option 2...


Rear shoe/lever/spring option 3...


Rear shoe/lever/spring option 4...


i had the same thing with the stub axle. i bought a bearing puller made by laser and used that to pull the bearing off the stub axle. i think it cost in the region of 30 and it does the job well. i also used the same tool to pull the pinion bearing off when i did some work on the diff. its one of those tools you dont use very often but in cases like this its invaluable.

Knew i'd seen this somewhere. I bookmarked this page :),file=109618,filename=brake_shoes.pdf

From the mg experience pages. I couldn't remember how to put the brakes back together either!

And here's the bearing puller:


That bearing puller looks useful. Did you need to use longer bolts for the pinion bearing? You certainly would for the first motion shaft.
Dave O'Neill 2

here is the answer to your question

and, no, you are not crazy, the Bentley, and the Haynes both SUCK when it comes to the rear brakes (they are both real good in most other respects - other than the proper lube for the steering rack from 1/'72 on)

Both manuals, unfortunately, give horribly inadequate information about how to do the rear brakes. The Haynes even goes so far as to show the RH side in one photo and the LH side in the next, with no mention of which side is being shown in either, and leaves the impression that they are both of the same side.

A few of us have seen fit to do better, and the very best version of this information is currently residing at this website, scroll down for the images that make all of it quite clear:

Norm Kerr

Interestingly, the link to the MG Experience website given by Tony has a different drawing to the one on the 'Spridgetguru' website. One has the 'ear' underneath the lever, whereas the other has it behind the lever.

I have only ever seen the former arrangement on a Spridget.
Dave O'Neill 2

Hi Dave,

Yes, i did have to use longer bolts for the pinion bearing. I 'made' some bolts out of some threaded bar that I had and it worked a treat.

Maybe it depends on which version of the Haynes manual you have.

Mine is 1977.

Page 152, black and white photo, 5.2, shows the RH (drivers side) rear brake shoe assembley.

They don't lable it as such, but clearly it is, as you can see the rear shock absorber arm to the right of the back plate at about 1-2oclock in the photo. You can see the shoes clearly, and which way they should be fitted.

If I've misinterpreted this photo, then I've been lucky to have guessed it right all these years lol. Wouldn't surprise me at all :).

It also helps to know something about leading and trailing shoes. Haynes mentions that the fronts are twin leading and the rears are single leading. But they don't tell you what this means. Probably because in 1977, many people were more familiar with brake shoes than they are today.

I knew from my British motor bike days. Norton Commando for example, had a really great twin leading shoe setup on the front.

Here's a link with a very good explanation of drum brakes and the leading/trailing shoe concept.

I have no reaon to defend Haynes (I don't have any shares in Haynes publishing), and agree the descriptions do leave you to work it out for yourself in quite a few instances. However, whilst I doubt it was the intention, the lack of decent descriptions actually made me think more, and thus learn and remember more.
Lawrence Slater

Oops, forgot to attach the picture :)


blimey Lawrence thanks for that braking link, confirmed what I've sort of spent decades working out!
Also a great item on brake fluid in his blog too....
David Smith

Thanks everyone for the help, particularly TonyJH for the links.
Have put the brakes together, and will hope for the best once all re-connected. Ordered the bearing puller, always a good excuse to buy a new tool!


Hi Dave,

No problem! Glad it's on the way to being sorted.



This thread was discussed between 13/08/2011 and 14/08/2011

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