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MG MGA - MGA Nappy

Some time ago, perhaps in MGA! magazine or on this forum, a Gent on trip to visit friends was concerned about the little puddle of oil that his 1500 dribbled out each time he stopped. He was concerned about marking his friend's driveway with this tennis-ball-sized puddle of Castrol. He devised an MGA Diaper to catch the drip. Well, I thought that was pretty silly until I finished my daughter's 1500 and she marked the driveway of her employer. Today she asked me about designing an MGA Diaper for her car. So, I bring this problem to this board for some British engineering and American creativity to see what might develop. Without a rear seal, the 1500 is a bit incontinent and dribbles a pretty puddle each time it stops... at least mine does. So, let's kick this about and have some fun.
David Holmes


Is the oil coming out of the giggle pin hole? If so, I guess you could tap the hole and screw in a small drilled out nipple. Attach some piping to take the oil leaks outboard of the engine centre line, say behind a front wheel. The car will still drop the oil on the ground but you can claim it could not be your car. You could also counter claim against the house owner for contaminating your car tyre!

Alternatively, using the same set up of nipple and pipe, fit a small suction pump in-line, leading into a suitable container. The pump could be switched on periodically to clear the bell housing.

Steve Gyles

Now, that's what I'm, talking about! I don't think the puddle is coming from the "giggle pin" hole but rather from the mating surface of motor and bell housing. Gordon must have as clever an idea as Steve's. Maybe even a tool to fix the problem?
David Holmes

One of our club members (now deceased) made a device for his TC that used the vacuum from the inlet maifold to suck up the excess oil dripping from the bell housing into a small jar on the bulkhead. I believe he had fixed a small metal catch plate underneath the *jiggle" pin- (I'm sure its not "giggle" unless you're having a laugh) from where the vacuum pipe was placed. More simply you could just have the catch plate and empty when you get home. cheers Cam
Cam Cunningham

The easiest way is to get a metal fuel can (retangular), cut off the top about 5cm down, and attach this upside down to a couple of the bell housing to block bolts. This acts as a catchment, and to empty, simply unscrew the original more drips to be seen! (at least from this area.)
Gary Lock

The thought occurs to me that oil leaks in this area appear to be between the bell housing and the engine rear plate (as suggested by David). Between just about every other mating surface on the engine and gear box we put gaskets or use gasket cement. Should we be surprised, therefore that oil drips out there rather than out of the bellhouse housing hole that was designed for the purpose.

Steve Gyles

Thanks Gary for the down under idea. Did you do this mod on your car? If we seal the mating surfaces of the rear plate and bell housing then the drip would move to the jiggle pin (unless you are a comic and have a giggle pin)which could be then tapped and routed to a catch can. (or behind the tyre as Steve suggests)
David Holmes

I did this sort of oil catcher for my TF and installed a drain plug on the catcher so it is easy to drain. It catches the majority of the oil but there is still a drip or two from other locations. Have a good day!

John Progess

I like the catch can idea. A well know MGA racer has used an actual paper diaper strapped to the bottom of his race car to keep from oiling the track when he's racing, but that needs fairly frequent changing much like a baby so wouldn't be practical on the street. You might consider some type of foam in the bottom to help prevent any slosh, it would still drain when needed.
Bill Young

A neighbor had a Morris Minor that leaked (imagine that). He fab'ed a cup under the leak that was on a pivot. At speed the cup would be tilted over by the wind, so it was always empty when he parked.
Steve Meline

I would suggest a combination of catch tray and suction system to solve this.
A metal plate under the rear of the engine tilted back to the gearbox with a pipe at the lowest point going into a vacuum jar powered off the inlet manifold.
I thought this one out a while ago but have not yet got round to implementation.

I also like Steves pivoting cup idea. It needs only be a dished plate that changes position when in motion.

Neil Purves

I attached a diaper tray and use blue shop-type paper towels. Fold up about 5 or 6 sheets and replace about once very week or so, depending on how many engine start-stop cycles I go through.
I like the flexible plate idea, I assume it would tip the front end down at speed and then snug back up to the bottom of the bell housing to catch the next dribble. Where/how would it attach?
Someone needs to do this and share some pics - please.
Steven B

Here's my oil tray. It works really well. The back holes are slotted so the two lower tranny bolts can be loosened and the tray slipped in place. The tray faces forward to catch the leak between the mating surfaces of the engine and tranny. I don't have any leaks from the "giggle pin" though the next design will have a trough extending back to it. I put a piece of wire mesh in the bottom with some very coarse steel wool on top to keep any oil sloshing around though I don't think it would be a problem as long as it's drained regularly. It tray measures 1 1/4"H x 1 3/4"D x 7 1/4"W. Hope this is helpful.

CM Harter

Here's a inside look.

CM Harter

I really like CM's design. The "tipping cup" concept leaves one big problem that I see and that is the oil being sprayed all over the under carriage when it gets tipped out of the cup. If I could only weld!
Steven B

I like it CM! That's the idea. I'm on it! Thanks.
David Holmes

Steven, If CM will post a drawing showing the dimensions and the hole placement along with the proposed addition to catch under the giggle pin I'll weld one up for you when I get back from Spridget 50 this weekend. I don't have the wire mesh for the interior though, you'll have to come up with that yourself. Sounds like a project I'd like to build and try out my sheet metal and welding skills.
Bill Young

Would it not be possible to use a catch pan with the vacuum system and a pipe that would redirect the oil back into the engine rather than....a jar....spilling on the road etc. Let's say ...install the catch the vacuum line to the the oil back into the engine(say at the dipstick tube) rather than a jar.

Who knows....just a thought. Gordon
Gordon Harrison

Hey Bill, sounds like the start of a cottage industry. I'd be interested as I am sure other 1500 owners would too. CM's design looks doable. I don't weld either but have friends who do.
David Holmes

Bill -
I think if CM's device is mounted at the front of the engine backing plate and facing to the rear, it would catch drips from the back of the engine and the giggle pin hole. I have CM's photos and will come up with a drawing for you. I will be out on vacation for about a week but will work on it.

Gordon -
Hmmm - how to draw the oil back into the engine? Ideal solution but where does one get enough suction to do that without affecting the whole carburation equation? Also, I am not sure about the effects of sucking raw oil back into the cylinders but that is something for our engineers to answer. Too bad Barney is up to his elbows in reassembling his car!
Steven B

Even if returning the oil to the engine COULD be accomplished, I'm not sure it is such a good idea. Under the car there is a lot of road dirt that could easily find its way into drip pan. I wouldn't want to see any of that put into my lubrication system. CM, do you have any pictures of it installed?

C Schaefer

Hi David,
Sorry for the delay in responding, I've been away. I have a local machine shop that's working up an estimate to reproduce these. Obviously the larger the quantity the better the price. He's going to work on prices of 10, 20, and 30.
On my car after one driving season I drained about 2-3 tablespoons out. How much oil do the rest of you think your leaking? Also I have never had any oil come out of the "dribble hole". I can add to the design to catch that area also, but at an additional cost. Is it nesessary? This device works very well and helps keep the underneath clean, atleast from this leak! I will let you know as soon as I hear back from the shop, but in the mean time any input would be helpful.

CM Harter

Would an improvement on CMs design be to include a tray section at the front as well - a central hanger with tray sections fore and aft? This may eliminate drips running down the hanger and missing the tray - may also pick up leaks from elsewhere on the engine that are blown towards the front face of the engine backing plate?
(I am enjoying my stay in NY - visited Gullwing Motors in Astoria - only 2 MGAs in stock - real rust buckets - plenty of Healey project cars in stock - does anyone know this business?)
Mike Ellsmore (1)

Hi Mike,
Welcome to the states!
The design does catch everything coming down the rear engine plate. With the addition of a rear catch of the hanger, it will contain all leaks in that area.

CM Harter

Chris, What is the estimated ground clearance?
Robert Peate

Hi Robert,
I designed the tray to be no lower than the chassis cross member tube which is just behind the tray. For anyone who is interested in the tray, please contact me @ e-mail above.

CM Harter

This thread was discussed between 15/06/2008 and 02/07/2008

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