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MG MGA - Faulty Disc Brake Pads

I had a conversation with Cecelia Bruce of Scarborough Faire a couple days ago. She told me she's been getting calls from people having trouble with Moss Motors disc brake pads. She said the pads are about 1/8 inch too short (the "north/south" dimension of the back plate) and the pads don't sit in the caliper correctly. Apparently they make a clunking sound when braking. She said she spoke to Kelvin Dodd at Moss and offered him her pads. He told her the situation is "being evaluated". Apparently these pads are marked "County" and are made in India.

Gerry Foster
G T Foster

So far Moss has received documentation of one complaint from a Mr. Steve Mackay stating that the pads he removed were 4.22" across and the new County brand pads are 4.17" and that he believed the pads would slip out of the caliper.
I pulled the brake caliper off my 1600 MGA and brought it in to check the concern. It had a set of unknown pads that probably date back to the 60s as the car has not been on the road for many, many years.
One side of the MGA brake pad rests in a recess, the other rests on an abutment and is held down by a spring clip. The pad is fully floating and does not rest exactly in the center of the frame. This is evidenced by the non symetrical wear pattern on the original brake pads and the wear spot on the base of one of the ends.
The County brake pads I tested which measured 4.17" fit correctly into the recess and did rest securely on the abutment. There was no way for the brake pad to slip out of position. The pad rests at a slightly lower position than the original sample, but it is still fully sweeping the brake rotor. The brake clip locating ridge is slightly more pronounced on the County pad than the sample from my car. This does allow the clip to retain adequate pressure, even with the pad sitting slightly lower on the abutment.

Some fore and aft movement of the brake pad is inherent in the caliper design, as the pad is fully floating and only held down by a spring clip.

The County brand pad has been sold for a number of years with so far, no untoward history of complaints and no reported safety issues. All of the measurements are being sent to the manufacturer, in the hope that they will make the next batch a bit closer to the original size, but at this time my recomendation to Moss Motors is to continue selling this brand.
I did contact Cecilia and thanked her for the offer of her brake pads, but with the information submitted so far I do not believe there is a problem that warrants returning the current inventory we have to the manufacturer. If anyone has a belief that this decision was in error or has any more light to shed, please contact me directly at

It is very important to be careful about the spread of rumors. The supply of parts for British Sports cars is not a limitless market for customers or suppliers. If there is a real problem, the suppliers and manufacturers need to be made aware of it as soon as possible. Unsupported rumors spread for whatever reason can destroy the hard work put in by many people to keep parts for our cars on the shelves, and our cars safely on the road.

Kelvin Dodd
58 MGA
60 MGA Coupe
KJ Dodd

I assure you that this is not an attempt in any way to harm Moss's reputation. We appreciate all you do to keep these cars in parts and value your efforts. It was simply a "heads up" regarding a potential issue with a very important safety item. This is not a rumor, it is a fact, although the size of the variance was apparently overstated. No one is suggesting the pads would slip out of position, only that they make an unsettling thunk.
Thank you, as always, for your review and response.

Gerry Foster
G T Foster

One final comment, on new, in-the box pads I have the dimension in question measured 4.225.

Gerry Foster
G T Foster

I think that since "Mr. Steve Mackay" is not a party to this forum discussion, his name should not have been brought into it. I know that if I had a problem with a part, and called the vendor to complain, I would not appreciate having my name posted by the vendor to some internet forum where they happened to be talking about the same issue. Granted, you didn't release any of his other personal details, but there was no reason to name the customer specifically.
Del Rawlins

Gentleman, Del thanks for coming to my defense but I have no problem with my name being used. I run a repair & restoration shop north of Boston and buy lots & lots of parts from Moss. When I find a part that I feel is in question I document my findings and send it off the Kelvin. In all cases I have received a speedy reply from Kelvin asking for additional information & or recommendations. I have never found Kelvin to brush off my concerns.

The backing plates on the set of pads I received from Moss (County brand) were smaller than the backing plates on the stock pads. I did not like the fitment... Do I feel they would fall out and be a safety issue? No.. but I felt they would make a clunk when the brakes were applied not to mention how the wear pattern would be.

Kelvin did get back to me with his findings and I feel Moss will take the required actions to resolve the problem.



Kelvin wrote

"All of the measurements are being sent to the manufacturer, in the hope that they will make the next batch a bit closer to the original size"

Interesting comment. Why not make them the correct size instead of just a little bit closer?

Kris Sorensen

MacKay: Thanks for responding, it's appreciated, and thanks again for your input.

Del: Your concern is laudible, but this is a small community and I think it is critical to state facts where they are available. Open communication is the best tool we have to maintain the availability of parts for our cars.

Kris: There are very few reliable original documents for dimensioning parts. In most cases there were also variations during the life of the vehicle which continued as the aftermarket industry took over supply. Examination of early samples is the only way to get some form of consensus for the most likely design, but even then it is not necessarily "correct". There is a lot of reliance on whether the product works "ok", and careful analysis of any complaints.

That's the carefully thought out way of saying. "We don't know exactly what it is supposed to look like, but this version seems to work ok".

Back to seriousness. If anyone has first hand experience of a problem, I'll block the part immediately.

KJ Dodd

Well said Kelvin.In this fun and silly little hobby of ours, let's all be for, not against. Bob Prentice
rsa prentice

This thread was discussed between 22/04/2008 and 25/04/2008

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This thread is from the archive. The Live MG MGA BBS is active now.