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MG TD TF 1500 - 2 years down, 7 1/2 to go thanks to this BB

It's quiet, the rest of the family has gone to bed so I have had a little time to reflect. Just 2 years ago last Monday, I started this jouney of restoring TD 12947. She was trailored home as a total basket case after over 30 years of sitting dormant in a garage. The day I brought her home I had no idea what I was getting into but it seemed like a good idea at the time. The goal was set to complete the restoration in 9 1/2 years so that I could drive her on my 60th birthday.

Shortly before picking up the TD I had found this BB. Without this site, there is no way that I would have been able to make the meager advances that I have been able to make in the restoration process. I am always pleasantly surprized at the wealth of knowledge that is freely given by the enthusiasts on this site. I would like to thank all of you for allowing me to continue pursuing this little fantisy of someday driving a little red MG TD.

As I am sure most of you can tell by my rudamentary questions and basic lack of understanding in the restoration arena, I have never worked much on cars more less attempted to restore one. But I do find taking things apart, seeing how they work, and putting them back together to be fascinating. (So far I have only attempted to work on small parts like generators, wind screen wiper motors, amp meters and parts like that.) I'm not sure how I am going to tackle the larger more complicated parts like the tub or engine, but that is still years down the road.

But whatever problem I run into, some on this BB always seems to be able give valuable advice. I only hope that someday I will be able to contribute just a little to someone else. Thank you again and I'll keep the questions coming.

D P Earles

Like you, I saw the TD sitting in a driveway, rusted, mildewed and discoloured. As well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. When we were ready to off load the car at a barn I 'borrowed', I was told to 'get in and steer'... As I grasped the rough, broken steering wheel (or what was left of it) I got this paniced thought "What the hell have I done...I don't know anything about cars"????
Then, like you again, I started taking things apart (the first thing I tried with a wrench...a brake line...I broke...arrghhh), soon I found that just about everything, once apart, could be cleaned or repaired and put together 'in the reverse order' and suddenly I had a working 'wiper motor', 'generator', 'starter', etc. After a few little successes, I pulled a waterpump and changed it, whew...even worked! Then a broken push rod was replaced and I learned how to set the valves..then clean and set the points...then...well, it just went on. Each time I learned something I thought of the guy who first assembled it in Abingdon, and all the hands over the years doing what I was...(and how much money I had saved by doing it myself). The big stuff I get help with (engine stuff mainly).. but the TD is really just a whole lot of little things that by themselves are easily worked on...
The really amazing thing will be turning on the key and hearing that little engine fire up... whether you have done it all, or some, or a little...doesn't matter...
The combined knowlege here is amazing...and the sharing of it is so appreciated!
gblawson - TD#27667

I have had a lifelong hobby of tinkering, and little British cars are perfect fodder for a guy like me. Puttering around, making something out of what others might call junk, really gives you a sense of pride in what you can do. And this internet thing sure does share information. I remember looking in the JC Whitney catalog for TR3 parts, not finding many, and being a bit discouraged at my choice of autos to try to restore. But the world is opened up now, there are actually lots of guys just like me out there that have never thrown away a part that had a potential use. And they would like to share them!

May even be world peace some day when we all realize that we have at least similar lives and dreams.


I also have found this group to be an absolute lifesaver. I purchased my lifetime dream, a 1952 MGTD, last October. I am also slowly restoring my car in small bits so that I can enjoy driving it every weekend. Since I have absolutely no experience working on cars I have used the BBS archives to help me solve problems along the way. When I could not find the answer in the archives, I posted the questions on the BBS. I have always been amazed at the enthusiastic responses I have received.

I happen to run a large telecom business and I have R&D organizations throughout the world. I tell my wife and friends that for my best hobby, my MG, I also have a global R&D center. Whenever I need an answer to my questions, I post the question on the BBS, and then I can go to sleep confident that all of you experts --- in Australia, the UK, Netherlands, and the US --- are working the solution. The best part is that this BBS is a lot less expensive than my other organization (don't ask). I hope I will reach the stage that I can give back to this orgnaization even a small portion of what I have received from you.

Mike Iandolo

My first attempt at being an old car mechanic was 1962, I was a 10th grader... we were renting an OLD house in Hallsville, Missouri, and the former renters had left (2) 1949 Buick Roadmasters in the drive. I was hooked! I tore those poor Buicks apart from head to tailpipe. Inside the old abondoned Buicks were a stack of Popular Mechanic magazines and old Tom McCahill wrote of current and past automotive philosophy. Well, that was forty five years ago and I've always had a restoration project (usually more than one.) However, the MG TD is not like anything else. I spent 34 years as a jet mechanic before starting my new career as a high school teacher eight years ago. ...and I still rely on you guys to help with my MG TD. It's like nothing else. THANK YOU!!
Sid Orr


I also have an interesting story, very much likes yours, and Gordon's, and all of the other guys who went before us in restoring a TD, except my situation was not really a restoration-- in my case, it was a vintage TD racer!

In 2000, I buoght a TD vintage racer from my best friend. My wife just could not fathom that I would be able to not only race it, but keep it maintained. The first time something broke, I lost all of that nights' sleep, thinking, "What in the h*ll did I get myself into now?" However, with the help of the fine gentlemen on this BBS, and equally giving fellow racers, I have been able to learn enough to re-build everything on the car, save the engine (and THAT lesson is coming up this winter!).

Besides all of the books that are available, asking questions of this BBS, plus taking advantage of seminars like those offered by John Twist, in Grand Rapids, Michigan every February, you too will be amazed at what you are able to learn to do on these little cars!

Hang in there, read the books and manuals, take the rebuild seminars, do not lose faith, and most of all ask us questions, and you will find out what a joy it is to do the work yourself!

Jeff Brown

Hi Patrick,

Congrats on your 'attack' with your TD. I would say so many of us would not have ventured into the TD/TF world if we knew what really lay ahead in the effort required to finally sit behind the steering wheel of a reliable running car ! However,as I have indicated on this Thread before,everyone is willing to contribute to others in a bid to see another TD/TF take its place on the road again.

Keep up meeting the challenges,believe me it's worth every minute spent. All the frustrations are quickly forgotten when you turn that key and rocket down the road.

Cheers for now.

PS. Speaking of valuable contributors,I have not seen comment from Davy Sheward for a while-trust all is well.

You will learn quite a bit about yourself and the meaning of life through the process of restoring a TD. I too knew nothing about restoring cars, but my father gave me his old '50 TD in very rough condition. I couldn't say "no" to his offer of a "free TD", and thus started a six year process of taking the car down to the frame and then putting it all back together. I will NEVER do another one, but wouldn't trade the experience for anything!

In 1994 I traded a 52 TD with a volvo engine and MGA brakes and seats for a British born RHD all original 54 TF with a siezed engine and lots of bondo. After 13 years of rebuilding and or purchasing new parts, and a lot of procrastination, I am finally putting it back together. I have all the right books all the right tools and enough skills to do the job. However, without this board I would be lost. Reading this board is without question the best education anyone can get when it comes to MGs. Everyone here has been a huge help to me personally. I appreciate the wealth of knowledge, the compassion, and the support.
Hopfully I will be turning the key very soon.
Thanks to everyone.

Dan H.
Dan Hanson

It sure is nice to see I was not alone in the long journey (six years!) of disassembling then re-assembling a TD! Having held every nut and bolt of the car in my filthy, scratched up hands certainly creates a unique and special relationship with the car...a love-hate relationship at best! They say the birth of child is a special moment...wait 'til you back that car out of the driveway for the first time!

Robert, I brought Lazarus home in October, 1988. First drive was in late Summer 1995. Some of the story is at Bud
Bud Krueger

To All,
Distilling all the above comments it seems to me that part of what's happening is that people are becoming aware of the joy of working with their hands, setting things right and looking forward to the day when they can turn the key make it run.
I started a little different, I bought a TF1500 when it was only 3 YO, about 50K miles,paid $850. Drove it home. Had some maintainance work done and kept it 21 years. Then like a damn fool sold it. Had a real identity crisis, I was no longer one of the cognisenti, just a avg. Joe. Quite a few years went by, then I got an MGB used it for a few years but it wasn't the same. Finally saw an ad for a TD and wound up buying it. Spent quite a few years getting it back in shape mechanically and finally sent it off to a restoration shop for the rest of the body work and painting. I drive that car now and do all my modifications on it. Looks stock but is anything but under the hood(bonnet).
To me it is enjoyable to share the things I have learned with the folks on this BBS. As an engineer I learned long ago to keep a written record of what I do and believe me it really helps when questions come up on this BBS.(the old memory isn't what it was 75 years ago).The electrical stuff is easy for me so ask away on or off the BBS. Ask Bud Krueger or Dave DuBois.
R. K. (Bob) Jeffers

I owned my TD for 20 years or so, and never took it apart... just drove it and fixed the things that would stop it from stopping, or going. I knew the wood was rotting when I bought it, and I knew the engine had lousy compression in number one. The day I decided to take it apart, I found this website. Gradually, under your influence, I changed my intention of building a driver to restoring the car to period style and new condition.

I've always been handy, but the things I've learned here from the really knowledgeable owners have saved me from many mistakes, eased some of my repairs, and occasionally kept me awake at night when I considered their learned advice subsequent to something I thought I had "covered". I owe this forum and its participants much more than I can ever repay. I feel secure that if I offer substandard advice, someone will correct my error, which allows me to freely post my ideas and concepts. Quite a safety net in many ways, when you think about. It is a wonderful way to have friends all over the world.

Dave Braun

You know, the car itself is such a joy to work on... I just changed a tailight bezel (turned into a 3 hour job) and getting down to the bulb socket and finding little tiny springs holding the wires in place...ones that you could slip your fingernail under and release the wire (after removing the little blob of solder) I find just amazing. To take things apart and find really solid, well manufactured parts that have no molded plastic covering eveything... and all can be repaired one way or another...
I, with no mechanical abilities from my youth, can't imagine being able to deal with anything containing computers and injectors and the like... Seems I just have the exact right car for my abilities.....
gblawson - TD#27667

This thread was discussed between 27/07/2007 and 01/08/2007

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