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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Chrome Bumper V8 comversion questions

I am starting to install a Buick 215 with Ford T-5 in a '67 MGB, The book suggest two ways 1. get a rubber bumper cross member with rack and steering column. or 2. order a custom rack and column from Clive Wheatley. I would like suggestions on which way to go. Are the Clive Whealey parts available from a US distributor? What is the proceedure to order from the UK? Are there other alternatives? I have the headers and mounts from D&D.

I have just finished off a chrome bumper roadster conversion. I sued a rubber bemouer x-member and steerin. All fitted Ok, reduced height of shell with lower front springs. The Rubber bumper top steering column bracket (behind dash is also required, also bulkhead hole that steering column goes through will need modification as the later column has captive nuts location. The Air vents at the top of the dash may need attention, as the new bracket may obstruct the vents underneath the dash (this is all on A UK Car with later style V8 dash.)


Ian Sanders
Ian Sanders


A book with 'All You Need to Know', really, is Roger Williams's 'How to give your MGB V8 Power' published by Speedpro. ISBN 1 874105 40 6. The second edition of the book includes a supplement for North America.

This is a genuinely good book by someone who's 'been there, done that' and it shows.

I'm using it at the moment to put an old (ex-Costello) Rover 3.5 engine into my 1978 MGBGT.

Good luck.

Peter Hills

Boyce, 20 years ago when I was looking to do my first V-8 I looked at the mess that everyone was doing to the crossmember & I said Y ? With the T-5 you need to back up the motor , trans & when you do this you have enough room were the ft. of the motor will not hit the steering rack. What I do to the rack is take it to machine shop & were the 4, 5/16 bolts that hold the rack to the crossmember cut .200 tho. off the back & taper it to 0 in the ft., this will lower the steering shaft 1.5 in. , were you are around the exhaust header. Then you have to lower the hole for the steering colume & what I do is cut the corner out of a rubber bump. car & weld it in, because you have to back up the sheet metal or the cyl. head hits. You have to cut the other side also. You can buy a video tape that I sell that shows all that I am doing & more, when I make up a V-8.
Glenn Towery

Boyce, it is possible to do this conversion without the rubber bumper parts. I used this technique to drop the steering shaft below the point where it interferes with the left rear exhaust port. Plan on bringing the engine as far back as you can get it (follow the templates in Roger's book)and drop it as low as you can get it to still clear the steering rack. The harmonic balancer will be in front and the front cover will be in back, nearly touching. Drop and section back in the original cone about 2-3/4" lower in the modified firewall. Cut the steering rack mounting brackets from a point about 1/2" below the top surface back to the small hole near the crossmember. With the rack installed bend the pinion shaft down and point it to the newly located steering colunm hole in the firewall then reconnect the steering to check the alignment. Make the 4 small wedge shaped filler pieces the section into the crossmember mounts (they will be about 5/16" at the wide end, taperin down to nothing) Weld these 4 fillers in and you're good to go) I've got some good pictures if you would like to see I can email them. There is a lot of work to the chrome bumper conversion, but they're my idea of cool! chris
Chris Jones

There are several ways to do this swap, and moving the steering rack is optional. Mine is in the stock location.
Jim Blackwood

I have done several conversions starting with both chrome bumper & rubber bumper cars. For the rubber bumper cars, I used the early chrome bumper cross member, as this is the best way to lower the car- not necessarily the easiest, but it gives you full suspension travel, which shortened springs do not.

As per Glenn Towery, I use a rubber bumper steering rack to get a longer shaft & cut it to fit, shortening it a bit over 2". The mounting bases of the steering rack are cut on a taper to lay the shaft down. I weld in the rubber bumper bulk head pieces on a chrome bumper car so the engine can be located farther to the rear. This gives the correct location for the steering column, although I have had to slot the holes & lower the column slightly for 1 conversion. You should use the rubber bumper upper steering column to get a good match, & use the late model small steering U-joint.

After looking at these conversions & doing 4 over a period of 10-12 years, I think this is easier & cheaper than using multiple U-joints & supports. I see no reason to put a raised height cross member in a car, then spend time & money to lower the car to offset the increased ride height. If you start with a rubber bumper car & do not intend to lower the car, you should not have any changes to make, especially if you use RV8 headers.

As in all things relating to V8 conversions, there is no 1 correct answer to fit everyone's circumstances, & if the solution works for you, It must be right, even if it is not the way someone else did it.
Jim Stuart

Hi Chris,
I tried your email above ( and it doesn't appear to work. Can you generally expand on your description and any fphoto's would be great. My offsite email is
Here are a couple of questions:
Chris: Cut the steering rack mounting brackets from a point about 1/2" below the top surface back to the small hole near the crossmember.
Tony: Can you expand on this? I assume you mean the brackets on the crossmember, not the "feet" of the rack?

Chris: Make the 4 small wedge shaped filler pieces the section into the crossmember mounts (they will be about 5/16" at the wide end, taperin down to nothing) Weld these 4 fillers in and you're good to go)
Tony: Not sure I understand at all?

Tony Bates

Any chance these Chrome bumper conversion photos can be shared with all of us?

Tony and others: I elected not to modify the rack itself because of the experience of a friend and I also thought that I might want to change the rack at some time in the future. The modification is to the crossmember mounts themselves and could best be described as changing there andgle in relationship to the crossmember. The cut described is opened up by bending the rack down to clear the exhaust port and the "wedges" are filler pieces of the same guage as the rack mounts. I filed these to fit precisely and TIG welded them in place. I've updated my email address (sorry) and i'll send you the photos. Anyone else too. just provide you e-address. best...cj
Chris Jones

If the engine is mounted on the chassis rails, the rubber pads that fit between the crossmember & the chassis rails come into play. If they're worn or thin, it will reduce steering shaft clearance. On the other hand ,if you pad them out a little, it will increase the steering shaft clearence . Barrie E
Barrie Egerton

Sorry I do not have any pictures to post. Nothing much to see, really, all you do is slice the bottom of the rack mounts at an angle. If the bulkhead welding is done half way well, it looks just like a rubber bumper car.

I am in the Washington, DC area, & anyone close is more than welcome on a weekend to look & drive my car, crawl under the Buick 300 project- it is a few months from being a driver.
Jim Stuart

OK Chris, I understand the "wedges" etc in the mounting on the crossmember and I understand dropping the "cone" 2 3/4 inches. What do you need to do with the steering column to adjust it for the lower cone and presumably a "shorter" pinion shaft doue to the lower angl?
Tony Bates

Chris Jones, After buying rubber bumper parts:(. I now understand your approach. Seems simple and works. Did you have to lengthen the steering column? It doesn't look like I will have to. I am assuming a slightly different angle at the steering wheel. Small holes were hard to find as they were covered by rust, grease and dirt amd my sight isn't as good as it once was. What and did you use for motor mounts,rubber bumper MBG v8 mounts,Buick or roll your own? I have rubber bumper V8 mounts but don't like them as you have to drop the rack to get to the nut on the backside and I have very large fingers. I also like my rust bucket chrome bumper car, with wire wheels hardtop and all.
Boyce Reeves

I have a picture of a modded steering cone (done by Glenn) if that's at all of interest.

I also put together a brief website (really just because I wanted to learn how to use MS FrontPage) about my chrome bumper car w/a 4.2 V8 plopped in. It is at

(As far as Boyce's question re the steering wheel, yes it does move up slightly and tilts away more from the vertical (obviously ... b/c you're lowering the point at which the column passes thru the firewall): this is truly the greatest thing since sliced bread, since it gives you more legroom!)

Boyce, I fabricated at set of mounts that are similiar in appearance to stock v8 frame mounts but sized to move them as far forward as possible to clear a set of homemade four-into-one equal length headers (1-3/8" primaries x 38" length that dump into a 2-1/4" collector and 2" dual exhaust AND that hug the block)I also made a set of engine side mounts that move the rubber doughnut far enough forward to get four pipes down and alongside the block. The net effect here is that the rack pinion shaft clears the mount better that the stock version. I wont need to change the steering column as it comes close enough to the original position. I'm using a Flaming River u-joint and I've ended up with plenty of clearance even though my engine sets very low and well back. Check your email box as I've sent some photos of the modifications to my '67.....chris
Chris Jones

I used my stock rubber bumper crossmember, my srock '79 steering & a set of modified stub axles from MG Ltd....they are modified to raise where the wheel sits thus lowering the steering mods, no suspension beam mods other than cutting off the ends so my Hawke coilovers would afect on original geometry of front suspension...&, Dick at MG Ltd can make 'em pretty quickly (the modified stub axles)!
anthony barnhill

Boy am I glad I stumbled onto this site. I recently purchased a '62 Buick 215 and want to put it in my '66 B roadster. I'm studying all the problems and possibilities before I start. My B has a Gold Seal hi-compression 48G motor that runs fine.
Patrick Kaye

This thread was discussed between 07/11/2002 and 22/11/2002

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