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MG MGA - Reproduction RHD racks

Hi everyone,
Does anyone have any feedback on the quality of the repro racks that are now on the market?
Mark Dollimore

I bought one, but it'll be two months before I put it to use. I did take it apart to examine the inners and I didn't see anything alarming; i.e., it seemed sturdy enough. I will provide an update after the road test. If you don't hear back from me by October, then the road test was likely an epic failure....Dennis
Dennis Suski

Thanks Dennis
Did you notice if the rack had the teeth hardened about the straight ahead position as per the originals?
Mark Dollimore


It was made full of grease (yes, not oil) and I didn't notice the hardening. I can re-look if I find the energy. I did see that the pinion was more spiral; it looked more MGBish than MGAish.

Dennis Suski

Out of interest how many turns lock to lock?

Colin Parkinson

I'm glad Colin asked; here's why:

1) When I went to put my steering wheel on the pinion, it was such a tight fit that it started to shred metal off the inside steering hub. I then checked my steering wheel on two other original pinions and the fit was fine. I need to take the repro rack, and original pinion, and steering wheel to a machinist to see why its so tight. (Note: the steering wheel is original)

2) When testing the lock to lock turns, the rack boots do not stay uniform as they do on my other cars. The folds become distorted until the rack is brought back to straight ahead. Low quality boots or the fact that the rack operates using grease vice oil???

3) The number of turns lock to lock on the repro rack is approx. 2.9
I then checked my LHD and RHD cars and they were a little less - approx 2.85

I will pass along the machinist evaluation soonest....Dennis
Dennis Suski

Dennis, why would the steering wheel fit be any is fitting to the column, not the rack?
And secondly, no rack boots stay uniform, as they are designed to stretch from one side to the other. Mystified as to your first two comments?
Gary Lock


You are right on your first point; the car is semi-apart and I got mixed up with all of the pinions I have laying around. Sorry about that.

Regarding the boots, they get distorted crinkling in instead of staying round. If I can find a camera battery in the house, I'll send a picture.
Dennis Suski

Dennis, I have seen this happen on various vehicles and I don't think it is anything to worry about. I would think that the grease in the rack is probably the cause in your case, and I would be inclined to remove it and refill with gear oil.
Lindsay Sampford

I have been trying via a couple of suppliers in the UK to ascertain the specification for these new reproduction racks. In particular whether the rack itself was case hardened around the straight ahead position.
To date I have not received an adequate or positive response from anyone. If suppliers are selling these, not inexpensive items, I would have thought they should know what goes into the build.
Am I being very naive, should I be concerned or does it really matter.
For the goodwill it would provide customers I would have thought it quite reasonable to make such enquiries about specifications of the products they are trying to sell.
Would anyone else have the same sort of concerns?

Mark Dollimore


I was at a talk recently given by an insurance inspector from a well known insurance company.

The talk was about the types of things inspectors need to look at when undertaking statutory inspections usually on lifting equipment.

During the talk various items were avaialble for display including a chain used to lift items as part of a block and tackle. Although the chain was only just 12 months old the links in places were worn through so that they were less than half of their orginal thickness.

The inspector suggested that a lot of items being sold in the UK but orginating from the far East are not adequately hardened leading to premature wear and subsequent failure of components.

Someone suggested that surely if the item has a CE mark it must be OK. The inspectors view was that CE marking does not provide any indication of safety or integrity and as far as he was concerned it means check everything.

Back to your original question, yes I would be concerned

John Bray

Thanks John I'm glad it's not just me. But, judging by the lack of response from others then perhaps it is not such a hot topic.
For the record I have been advised there is but one manufacturer of these racks and that they are made in Argentina - for the British market!!!
I still do not think it unreasonable to request from suppliers what the specification of the parts they are selling.

Mark Dollimore

The reason for not much feedback to the original question is because the part is relatively new. A few people have installed it. Fewer people have driven it, and no one has enough miles on it to know if anything would ever wear out or break. Time will tell. In the meantime, I suppose no news is good news, meaning that no one has found any problem with it.

On the issue of grease or oil inside, I prefer gear oil as specified for the original assembly. When it has the right amount of oil you can hear it gurgle in and out of the boots when turned lock to lock.

Grease is likely not to move around much. If air cannot move through the rack end bushings, then the boots may deform in rather dramatic fashion as air pressure inside changes with the motion. If the boots are tough enough it may last a long time.

If the boot material fails, is there a source for replacement boots? Hopefully original style boots might fit the new rack.
Barney Gaylord

This thread was discussed between 27/07/2011 and 29/08/2011

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