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MG MGB Technical - Inspection pit

I am in the process of planning out my new garage and have the opportunity to install a custom made inspection pit. Does anyone anyone already have one in their garage which suits working on an MGB and could let me have the dimensions? I also need confirmation of the inside measurement between the front / rear wheels (not the track width dimension) so I can make an allowance for positioning the car over the hole.
Any other tips based on experience over the years would also be much appreciated!
N Dring

Will try to give you some dimensions later on today.

We have a prefab garage built in the early 50's which has a pit in it. The pit itself isn't the normal depth in as much as when I stand in it the garage floor is at my shoulder height. Initially I thought this was a mjor drawback in as much as I had to crouch down to walk under a car on it's wheels.

However from using it whilst working on midgets and B's then it actually works quite well as I'm not at full stretch whilst using tools etc so have more leverage than when I've stood in other deeper pits.

The downside to pits is that you have to be very careful with the "heavier than air elements" ie petrol fumes, lpg etc. The pit is the natural place for them to accumulate which can lead to a rather nasty environment and one where a naked flame or spark may just cause an issue.

My pit floor is actually the floor of the three quarter height ground floor to the garage (it's built on a gentle slope that goes away from the front of the garage), so I have the added luxury of a door at the rear of the garage that I can walk in (whilst stooping). So I have no concerns about being trapped under the car or that fumes etc are building up as the door is always kept open whilst I'm in the pit working on a car.

If we ever move then I'd want a similar set up.

Will come back later with the measurements.

Andrew McGee

Pit depth is perhaps more convenient if you can sit down on something while working on the car, i.e. a plank that can be slid back and fore on ledges.
PaulH Solihull

Mr. Dring,

I made one when I built my garage 10 years ago. I decided 8 ft (2.5 m) long and I measured distance between 2 B tires less 4" (10 cm) for width. It is adequate. The only drawback is that it is not long enough to work full MGB length. For height, I decided: eyes at floor level. It was the best adddition to my garage as a lift was not suitable.


Jean G.

P.S. I added a 3" (7.5 cm) Angle Iron inside perimeter, and it was a plus to use many aids like rails underneath car to support a jack...
Jean Guy Catford

Due to the hazards that Andrew as mentioned, a grease pit (U.S. term) can not, currently, legally be build over here. You might check with you underwriter before building one.
David Werblow

You have to walk in /out of the pit up/down steps. So a usable pit is far longer than the car you are working on.

If you consider steps of say 250mm tread and 200 riser, then the depth of your pit divided by 200 gives the number of steps (down). Take the number of steps and multiply by 250mm to give the required extra minimum length. At this length you will have to stoop to get under the car. (My MOT pit is probably about 10-12m long!)It is shoulder height/depth, which I find a bit shallow-fine for MOT -not so good to work under-but I'm 6'

However also consider that you need a solid base if you want to use an engine hoist, so either you need to have an arrangement that allows 2x8 planks to be slotted in to a recess or a very long garage.

Michael Beswick

Thanks for all the feedback so far.

Can someone please confirm a suitable working width for an MGB?

Cheers - Nick.
N Dring

FWIW my MOT pit (which is determined by VOSA) is about 6" narrower than the width between the inside faces of the tyres- so 3" "clearance " either side. But I have built in sliding hydraulic cross beams.

How do you propose to lift the car (corners/ ends /complete). If you wish to lift on say the front chassis rails you need a cross beam across the pit or a narrower pit. With a narrow pit you can place a trolley jack on the ground to jack up the corners. A cross beam is difficult as there is not enough clearance to get a bottle type jack in, unless you create a U shape. Or unless you build in a (deep)recess along both long edges in which you can put a cross beam.
Michael Beswick

Have you considered a two or four post hoist? The advantages I see are that you don't have to excavate, you don't have to pump in the event of water ingress, you can set the car height as required, no concerns about heavier than air nasties, you can use the hoist as a second car storage medium etc. Not sure but I imagine the costof each option would be similar.
Peter Malkin

OR Clifton lift which is what I have for MG work at home in a standard height garage.
Michael Beswick

I'm going for the option of a pit as opposed to a permanent lift mainly due to cost reasons + the fact I have an existing cross beam arrangement that will be fitted.

The points about heavy vapours etc hanging around are well noted and some form of fume extraction is being considered.

For the width measurement, can someone let me have the width between the inside faces of the front / rear tyres? (whichever is the smallest)

Cheers - Nick.
N Dring

This thread was discussed between 23/02/2013 and 01/03/2013

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