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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Steering column question

New to this amazing forum, I am about to embark on converting my '74 GT (chrome) to a V8. Question: in all of the CB conversions I have seen, the forward end of the steering column is lowered by very roughly an inch, necessitating modification of the firewall steering cone. As a corollary, the steering wheel is a few degrees less vertical. But much more importantly to people like me with big feet, this lowers the bottom of the steering column a little too close to the floor of the car -- one's toe catches the underside while driving.


1. Is there any way to effect the conversion while leaving the CB steering column in the stock location (modifying it is fine -- e.g. I expect I'll have to cut it shorter at the bottom in order to use a RB rack -- I'm just talking about position)? I will be plopping in a Rover V8 of some sort with an SD1 box, and not doing anything fancy.

2. Could this be done via the use of the somewhat controversial "intermediate shaft" in the steering column, as I believe all of the Costello cars had? If so, is there a picture of this setup anywhere online? ... I have heard it discussed but have never seen one.

3. Do rubber-bumper cars have the steering column lowered like this already? I find that kind of hard to believe -- a lot of drivers would be hitting their toes in the same way -- so I'm just wondering. If they do not, why does the column need to be lowered on CB cars?
Ben Shields

Ben,I don't think RB column is any lower. I put a RB fire wall in my CB car (except for the column recess,which I saved in case I need it later).The only difference I seen was the RB steering column is shorter,And the shaft on the rack longer so that the joint is recessed into the firewall to get it out of the way for clearance.


There is some current discussion going on about this subject under the Bonnet bulge/ hood scoop thread.?? Some times we (I) get a little side tracked on the BBS!!!!

bill jacobson

Here's one for you experts: This has troubled me for awhile now. Is the angle of tilt toward the outside of the car different on CB racks from that of RB steering racks? I thinking that if I put a RB steering rack in my CB conversion in order to put the u-joint a bit closer to the firewall, that as the end of the shaft gets closer to the firewall it also moves further from the centerline of the car. This puzzles me because I just can't see why MG would have moved the whole column over by what appears to be about an half inch. Maybe I'm just missing something here. Has this been a problem for others?
Chris Jones

If you look at the late rb rack and pinion it is not mounted square with the car. The steering shaft comes out of the rack at an angle. The longer steering rack at the same angle comes out in the wrong place. The factory rather than change the alloy casting on the rack instead used a shade tree adjustment and moved the rack forward on the side opposite the steering wheel! Result: the geometry for steering is slightly different going right than left. The rb cross members have the asymetric mounts. (cb is symetric) Putting the late rack on the early cb cross member requires extending the rack further forward and the cockeyed mounting. I used 5/8" square box tubing on top of the cb mounts to locate the late model steering rack in lowering my 79 to cb standards.
Barry Parkinson

thanks, Barry! now I can sleep at night! cj
Chris Jones

My '71 GT is still under construction, but I have the utmost confidence that this will work, unless it dosn't. I've welded in the firewall cone from a r/b car and kept some of the 'shelf' on which the brake and clutch masters sit on the new piece to help with verticle alignment of the part and keep the r/b throttle pedal mount undernieth.
The c/b steering column was shortened to r/b length and sits at a slightly steeper downward angle as evidenced by the need for exra column shims under the front mounts at the steering wheel end. My size 12 shoes still move frome throttle to brake without difficulty, though by eyeball, the cone mount may be about an inch at most lower than before (probably not that far). I chose to cut the c/b x-member rack mounts off and replaced them with fabricated ones that move the rack foreward and skew it slightly less than on the r/b car. The rack is at the orriginal c/b height and still fits behind either a Buick or Rover crank pulley despite Glen's A/C type engine mount brackets. The pinion shaft of a r/b rack was shortened about two inces as I recall. This compromise allows use of block-huggers or RV8 headers, my choice of pulleys, keeps the engine fairly low and looks orriginal. You might find that RV8 headers will fit wihout doing anything but cutting the holes and using a smaller steering UJ.
I don't know about pictures, but some V8 specialists supply a kit using the intermediat shaft ready to bolt on.

Your tie rods need to be paralell to the lower A frame. Centered, the joint at the end of the rack, just a shade inside the lower A frame axle nut. If you don't have it lined up so, you will get the dreaded bump steer. Good luck
Barry Parkinson

This thread was discussed between 15/11/2000 and 26/11/2000

MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical index

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