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MG MGA - Where's my oil gone?

Good run out today and then crisis! The flexible to the oil cooler pulled clean out of the swaged fitting and emptied the oil on to the road. I subconsciouly check the oil gauge all the time when I drive and a light pinking noise happened at the same time as I saw 0psi!
Recovered home after a 5 1/2 hr wait (well done RAC!!!) and will need to assess the damage when I can get a new hose.
Any thoughts about potential for damage?
Graeme Williams

The chances are that there will be no damage Graeme, probably the worst scenario is that you may have taken a few months life from the bearings.

I would fix the hose, refill with oil and listen carefully to the bottom end when you fire it up. (Turn the engine over without the plugs in first to prime the system)
If you get your usual oil pressure and there are no rumbing noises from the bearings, then you should just forget it ever happened.

Let us know how you get on.
Colyn Firth

Thanks Colyn. I am treating it as "one of those things". At least it wasn't down to something I had done or Bill who rebuilt the car before I bought it. Could have been a faulty hose fitting but it has done 10K.
Graeme Williams

My Teflon lined fuel and oil pressure hoses have done nearly 30 years and 332,000 miles with no problem. If yours blew at 10K, I'd say it's a faulty part, contact the vendor. End connectors should never fail.
Barney Gaylord

That's really bad luck. I do hope your speed in reacting will have saved things.

Good luck

Graham V

The problem is knowing who supplied the part, Barney. Probably Moss but I know the po very well and I am due to meet him in a couple of weeks so I'll have a chat with him. I am assuming of course that he replaced it when the major rebuild was done. It may be "original" -at least, from before the car came over here.
Graeme Williams

Good Lord... I know we loose a little oil... but, Daaaaaamn.


I did the total loss bit on the M6 on my first long outing after the rebuild in 1998. I spotted it as the the oil pressure dropped to zero. Fortunately an exit was just approaching and I coasted up it to stop. It was a blown oil canister seal. I did not get to the 'pinking' stage and the engine went on for another faultless 2 years before I went for the 1800 mod. The 'pinking' must be worrying. I guess you can only 'suck it and see' after you have fitted new pipes. Best of luck!


PS. Get rid of the oil cooler! You probably don't need it for normal road use in the UK. My temp still won't get above 175 even in the recent 24 to 26 degrees. Original rad and asymmetric fan - all is well with cooling.
Steve Gyles

THe irony is that at Sissinghurst I had a long conversation with a fellow MGA owner and his wife and we were discussing, as you do, lack of luggage space (Colyn: don't read this). Mrs MGA owner said, "As long as there's room for a can of oil"
"OH no" I said, "I never use any."
And than two miles further on.........

Had a close look at the failed pipe and can see the other end is pulling out of the swaging. But it doesn't appear to have been tight.
Graeme Williams

Im surprised at you, are you telling me that, in spite of my urging you to carry such critical spares with you at all times, you didnt have a spare flexy oil pipe with you?
You only needed to carry the longest one of the two as it would also fit the shorter run if necessary.

If it had happened on my car, I would simply have opened my boot lid and searched carefully in amongst my spares stash! No problem!

Then I would have picked up my mobile, explained the problem in detail to the listener and then-
Sat down to wait for the RAC recovery man as I dont carry a spare hose either! :-)

The odds against a hose failing are pretty astronomical ( or at least they were til now Graeme:-) and so I still think I will continue to risk not carrying a spare oil hose.

Believe it or not, I have improved over the years Graeme, the first time I drove an MGA over to Switzerland in 1975 I took a spare water pump and a spare clutch with me in the boot!


Colyn Firth

We are now re-assessing how to cope with a breakdown and
a 5 1/2 hr wait.
Portaloo; coffee; sandwiches; change of clothes; several books (War and Peace may be long enough); alarm clock; more spares; more spares; even more spares.
(and not to say when asked in a car park "I don't need to carry oil")
Graeme Williams

Bugger bugger bugger.

WRT damage there's 2 options. The first is to just refill the car with oil and see how it goes. If the engine has been badly damaged you'll soon find out.

Personally I'd drop the sump and inspect the bearings for damage and look for evidence of overheating on the caps (the metal colours up as if it's been heated with an oxy torch). I'd probably pull the oil pump apart and look at the impeller to see if there's any evidence of damage from shrapnel there too.

The piston skirts below the rings are splash lubricated from the bottom of the bores. Get each piston up to TDC and carefully inspect the bores for any evidence of damage there. If the pistons have overheated they can "grab" and streaks of silvery aluminium may be evident on the bores, or there may be scoring.

Unfortunately you can't visualise the skirts without pulling the head and taking the piston out. If you're going to do this then you may as well strip the whole engine.

If there was no colouring and everything else looked fine on inspection I'd wash the sump out, change the oil filter and see how it goes. If you have oil pressure and it doesn't make funny noises you may well have got away with it.
A Bowie

After a great struggle I managed to replace both oil cooler hoses. Flexible? I'll sue under the trade descriptions act. I must have put in and removed each one a dozen times before I could get the path, and the angled ends aligned correctly AND both ends in close proximity to the connections. I decided that having got cooler I would continue to use it if I could.

Added oil and printed the engine. It seemed to take forever. Started and warmed up. Oil pressure 60psi on a fast tickover (no change there) and I can't hear any nasty noises but I will seek a second opinion tomorrow from someone who has more experience of these things.

Fingers crossed!
Graeme Williams

So far so good eh? Good luck.
Graham V

Second, more experienced opinion has given it a clean bill of health. Can never be quite sure (see, pessimistic!) but it's all good news. Must have been lucky (or very "in touch"). Probably lucky.
Graeme Williams

Good reason for those of us that drive on the right side of the road to swap the fuel gauge and water temp/oil pressure gauge locations so that the water temp/oil pressure gauge is right where you can see it and not obscured by a hanging key fob or hanging keys.
Don Carlberg

Very pleased, excellent outcome.
A Bowie

Don: didn't realise that ws the case with lhd cars. That must be really annoying because I know how hard it is to see the fuel gauge because of the key fob.
Graeme Williams

Glad it has turned out ok Graeme,
I must admit that because you stopped the engine so quickly when you noticed your oil pressure had gone, I thought you would probably have gotten away with it.

I think you would have had to run the engine until you could hear obviously scary noises before you had caused any real damage.
Colyn Firth

Thanks Colyn. Now got diff issues!
Graeme Williams

This thread was discussed between 15/05/2016 and 01/06/2016

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