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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Correct width of a narrowed Ford axle

I am continuing with my v8 conversion and have arrived at the spot where I need to have my Ford 8.8 rear axle narrowed. Does anyone know what the exact width is? I measured my old MG axle and it is 48" from axle flange to axle flange. Why do all the books say the width is 52" or am I measuring the wrong thing.
Any help will be appreciated.
Richard W

The width is measured from mounting surface to mounting surface (brake drum face). I used 51" on mine in order to run wider tires.

Mark Marchbanks

I have just had a Ford axle shortened and will give you the specs that I used. It will vary from car to car though.

The TRACK of the MGB with standard wire wheels was 1264mm. I wanted to move each wheel 7mm towards the centre of the car to allow me to put bigger tyres on (205/55/15). This means that I needed a TRACK of 1250mm.

I then got the offset of the wheels going on the car which was 12 positive (more wheel under the car than sticking out) and added it to the desired track to give me the required total axle width from bolt on face to bolt on face. This worked out to be 1274mm which strangely enough was the exact width of the wire wheel axle. The bonus was getting LSD and disc brakes and a big choice of ratios.

Hope this helps and is not too confusing.



To save you working it out, 1274mm is 50.16 inches.


I have done 3 conversions & in all, I have used the wire wheel axle width. In one case, I have used spacers because of the unusual wheels, but you can generally run 195/65/15 or 205/60/14 wheels & tires in the stock fenders.

Did you flare the guards to fit the 205/55/15 tyres?
I have always read and been told 195 is the absolute max. which can be fitted without panelwork mods.
Thanks and good luck with the project. Sounds great.
Pete, Sydney, Australia
Peter Thomas

I would also love to fit 50 series 205's x 15's to my MGB V8 conversion but some people have told me that to do so I need to go to a 7 inch wide wheel. I currently have the Mini Lite 15 X 5.5 inch. Is this true?
Michael S. Domanowski


As I chose the width for the axle to allow for the wheels (Superlite 15x7), I haven't had to put flares on. The total useable space within the guard was 238mm at least (on the LH side)and I made sure that I had 20mm on the inside of the wheel to allow for body roll. On the outside the outer lip is folded up as well. The car is not on the road yet, but added to this I have new rear springs with anti tramp rods which all helps. I guess when you think about it, the difference between 195s and 205s is only 5mm per side, so just by using the correct axle width you can get away with it pretty easy.

I did have a few problems with the rear brakes though....the Ford calipers were too big and with an axle width the same as the wirewheel car, the calipers hit the springs. I had to convert it to drum brakes which is not a hassle because I'll be less likely to lock up the rear now compared to the disc brakes which may well have needed a brake bias valve.

The tyres will probably fit ok on the 5.5 inch rim but the beauty of a 7 inch rim is that the tyre will roll a lot less on cornering and even less likely to hit the guards.


David Staines

Hi Stainzy,
Thanks for the quick reply and all the details. What you have explained makes sense and helps a lot. Good luck with completing the project. Cheers, Pete.
Peter Thomas

Thanks for the info. By the way I used Ford Explorer rear brake calipers on my Currie/Ford 9 inch, they were supplied by Currie. They did however hit the inside of my wheels (15 inch) and had to modify them slightly (ground about 1/4 inch off front and rear outside corners).
Michael S. Domanowski

Michael: How are the rear discs working? Did you need a proportioning valve? I am trying to decide on my conversions' rear brakes and have been in touch with Currie. The BBS seems to indicate the stock drums are better?

Stan Arendts

No I did not need a proportioning valve because I got a new dual disk master cylinder and 7 inch Power booster unit from "Master Power Brakes", it cost $550.00 and hooked up to the MGB lines with some adaptors. I had to run new lines for the rear. The Currie set up has a great emergency brake and was about $2500.00 complete (Ford/Currie 9 inch w/3.0:1 gears w/LSD 31 spline axels).
The rear is quiet and the rear disk brakes are 3 times better than the stock comparison!
Michael S. Domanowski

Has anyone had a Ford rearend built for wire wheel hubs ? I want to retain my centerlock wheels on my 65 3800 Series II V6 Roadster.
Don Zeigler

Has any one comments about ford axles supplied by
Curries,and has anyone had one imported to the u.k.?
Dave Lowe

This thread was discussed between 14/11/2001 and 08/12/2001

MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical index

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