Welcome to our resource for MG Car Information.



MG parts spares and accessories are available for MG T Series (TA, MG TB, MG TC, MG TD, MG TF), Magnette, MGA, Twin cam, MGB, MGBGT, MGC, MGC GT, MG Midget, Sprite and other MG models from British car spares company LBCarCo.

MG TD TF 1500 - an assortment of questions from a new owner

please bear with me as i run this this list that i made tonight. i have had the car just a week. maybe you can point me in the right direction to locate answers.
1) curious about the body type and body numbers. the type shows as 22381 and the body numbers are 17371/85760.
2)i want to check my sending unit for the coolant. i was going to drain the radiator down a little today but it looks like the coolant will run all over the frame. do you guys have a trick for this to keep that from happening?
3)i am guessing i am going to have to remove the generator when i replace the gear reduction box to get some sort of sleeve or connector out. the generator seems to work fine. so i am thinking i will only remove the back plate. (read that somewhere) any surprises or tricks there i should look for?
also while it is out, i may as well repaint. what color is the best match for original?
4)my steering wheel is off about 10* or so. can i loosen the yoke, pull it out and just turn it that much? the column has grooves but they did not look even to me. a steering wheel off that little bit is one thing that bugs me. Or should i pull the wheel from the column and just align it? hmmm, special tool for pulling that wheel off?
5) what air pressures do you all run in your tires?

Thanks for the help
TLW Wright

First thing that I'd suggest is for you to start using the archive. Answers to all of your questions can be found there.
1. See for information about the Body Number.
2. There should be a piece of brass tubing attached to the radiator drain 'faucet'. Just put a small bucket under it.
3. The tach drive gearbox unscrews from the back of the generator. See for color info.
4. Check the archive.
5. Again, the archive is the best bet. Too many variables.

(BTW, it's sort of polite to use a name.)
Bud Krueger

Welcome to the Bulletin Board!
1) more knowledgeable members will chime in on the numbers
2) You can drain it with the petcock on the side of the block, towards the front, under the intake/exhaust manifolds. You may find nothing comes out, so unscrew it and clean it out & the passage. Actually, I've just used a large pan to catch it and never worried about running on the frame. I did run a stainless tube frame the radiator petcock down, but it was more for looks than true function.
3)gear reduction should unscrew and slip off the back of the generator, unless I misunderstand your question.
4) You very likely have enough thread on your tie rods to adjust your steering wheel. Unscrew one side and thread the other in . While you're at it, you might as well check your toe-in. MG called for 0 degree, but I'd err to the side of toe-in instead of toe-out.
5) Most will inquire to your tire sizes before giving their best guess. The standard 5.60-15 bias called for 18psi in owner's manual, if memory serves me correctly. I usually shoot for 25psi. We ran 30psi to GOF Central (1000+ mile round trip), for better mileage, but ride suffered a bit... potholes rocked our boat. I also noted exaggerated wear right in the center from too much pressure. Then again, running much lower pressure, a pothole squashed the tire and bent a brand new wire wheel rim! I just set pressure at 22psi today for city driving, but will go to 25 this weekend for a long highway trip.

TLW, welcome to the forum!
not sure what you are asking in item #1.
#2) since my factory original coolant drain tube is missing (abingdon spares shows them as an inventoried item...first item in 12 years i was not happy with..VERY poorly made..bad radius..bad part) i just put a short length of rubber hose on the fitting and drain into an appropriate container.
#3)i don't believe you have to pull the gen to remove/replace/fix/reinstall the tach drive unit (i used a satin black enamel on my gen, but i do not know if that is a factory original finish or if it was flat or gloss.
#4)you cannot remove the steering wheel and reindex to the correct orientation. if your steering rack is set up correctly (pinion gear to rack)and the steering rack to steering column (three bolt flange)is correct then you adjust the steering wheel neutral position and front end alignment through the tie rod ends.
#5) are you running bias ply tires as original or radials? pressures re different for each. lots of discussion in the archives.

do you own a factory service manual and parts manual? if not i strongly suggest you do. both are available through various auto literature sellers or EBay.

regards, tom

tom peterson

Welcome to the world of MG T series cars and welcome to the forum. Do you know the chassis number, on the front left chassis dumb iron/frame extension? PJ
Paul sr

wow, I can remove my steering wheel and re-index it one spline on that steering shaft, no problem. And my system appears to be all stock.
L Rutt

Thanks to all. yes I was a bit lazy on this. For some reason I never seem to do well with searching archives. a couple of good tips here though that I will use.
On my tach drive I believe there is some part still in the generator. My gear box was frozen so something had to break for the generator to still turn.
don't have a parts manual yet. I plan to order this week. but even with a manual it seems like you get extra, and better, info on a forum than just seeing a manual.

TLW Wright

Call up Moss and get a copy of their free MGT catalog; the exploded drawings are well worth the price!

The BBS tends to get cluttered with questions often asked and repeated, so a quick search of the archives is helpful as an overview. I always search there first - as creatively as possible - and always find something ELSE I am interested in!

Tom Lange
MGT Repair
t lange

Paul, I am not even sure where the chassis dumb iron/frame extension is? I am the only dumb thing to this point.
TLW Wright

The dumb-iron is the chassis extension at the left front, to which the bumper bolts. Inside the wheel well on the vertical outside of the extension is where the s/n is stamped.

Tom Lange
MGT Repair
t lange

Welcome to the Forum TLW,,
This site will lead you to the dumb iron,,


See for a look at the Car No. location.

Go ahead and give the archives a try. What tends to happen is that you'll find yourself with a list of threads telling you about things that you never thought to ask about. Bud
Bud Krueger

I will check out the info tonight. I have also started reading the archives for info. in the past I have just never had much luck finding the info I wanted. (other sites) I get to reading other questions and then just keep going...

I have radial tires on the car by the way.

below is a pic I took last night. the car is basically done. the paint is about 15 years old. a little tired but I kind of like that better. makes it look more original.

I spent this last weekend just getting to know the car better. I have some wires hanging under the dash. I printed out a wiring diagram to check all of those out.

also fiddled with the reduction gear box for a while.

the speedo gauge has a greenish tint to the face and the others all have a white tint? you know just checking things out and of course taking a couple of rides.

Speedo works... above 30... but fun to drive. not sure what speed I can cruise at yet. I think the speed and distance from home can increase as I get more time in the seat. boy is that a tight fit... haha

Since this car is really in pretty good shape, I will probably do less on it for a while than the other one I got in this trade. it is a TR6. I figure I will be driving that one more so I want to get it up to speed first. got to set some priorities here... or win the lotto...

TLW Wright


Very nice looking car. Until you get the speedo working (mine doesn't work at all - may not even be hooked up) you can use a GPS but watch for polarity if you power it from the car.

J K Chapin

Mr. Wright, Location of chassis number, arrow. A lot of information can be obtained from that number.
Nice looking specimen, I might add! Like the color. PJ

Paul sr

Seems like you are ready to go,,,, a nice short trip could be up to the New England MT "T" Registers G.O.F. in Oneonta Ny,,, Sept 11th - 15th


Here is a picture that should help. I had no idea either where it was because it was covered with paint, grime, etc.


Frank Cronin

thanks all. ohh you know I never thought about whether these cars are positive or negative ground... I will check that out.
you know I was going to check the speedo with a GPS but I just like to have gauges work. one of those things for me. I may never get them all working but it will bug me until I do.
any idea on why the gauge faces are different colors? different year or aftermarket? or they just did that?
ahhh, I will check the archives.
Thanks again
TLW Wright

Give us an idea about the 'roll-off-the-line-date' of you car and we can probably tell you what the instruments should look like. We need to know your Car No. Bud
Bud Krueger

Checked my dumb iron number tonight. It is TD18019.
I also did look at the wiring diagram and see it is a positive ground. Good to know... I wonder if that was a standard for most cars in the generator days. My dad's model a (Ford that is) is also a positive ground.
TLW Wright

Here is a question and I did try to search first. What speed do you all cruise in your TD? 45 felt like I was running the engine pretty hard. Of course I have been used to cars a lot newer.
TLW Wright

All TDs (all MGs up into the MGB line) were assembled as positive ground units. Many (of us) have switched them to negative ground for a variety of reasons. The first thing to look at is your battery to see which terminal, Positive (+) or Negative (-) is connected to the tub through a ground strap. Here's you car's birth certificate:

Bud Krueger

tlw, in regard to cruising speed..i really enjoy that 45-50 mph on the secondary roads. i fitted the 4.3 gears in my differential a few years ago so my car will run very comfortably at 60mph..the one thing i keep in mind is i am driving a 65 year old wooden framed roadster with a single circuit brake system that has drum brakes all around and a solid steering column...
with those brakes..45-50 is probably a good speed for our factory brake system on the secondary roads. on the interstate system (..i try to avoid them as there are more adventures to be had on the secondary roads..) but if i am on the interstate..the truck drivers are professionals..there is no cross traffic and everyone is going the same i mind my distance behind the 4 wheel anti lock disc brake crowd and do 70 mph if that is the speed limit. all of this is just opinion...regards, tom
tom peterson

Thanks. I realize the brake difference as well. But if you had a normal 4 speed with no over drive and standard gearing... What speed would you expect to cruise at? Our roads here are pretty flat and we do have some nice two lane roads. Just curious as to how hard I am on the engine. Of course no tach yet to check out the rpm. Just going by ear on my driving. Maybe I am being too cautious.
TLW Wright

The engine will cruise all day at 4500 RPM. These are long crank throw engines with even longer connecting rods. The angles are kept to a reasonable minimum and they will tools rate piston speeds of greater than 3500 Feet per minute.

With a 4.3:1 rear end, I routinely cruise at 70 mph.

If you use a GPS to check your speed, you can compare engine RPM by noting that with the 5.125:1 standard rear end and tires that approximate the originals, you are getting 14.4 mph per 1000 RPM. On my car, with slightly smaller radials, I see 16.7 mph per 1000 RPM.

the cars are more peacefull at 55 MPH and the engine has a first order of resonance at about 4400 RPM that I tend to avoid prolonged running at.

For more information on speeds, tires and gears, check out the technical section of my website,

Dave Braun

Tools rate


Tolerate... Darn iPad.
Dave Braun

Ok so with that dumb iron number what can you tell me about the gauges? Got off on the speed somehow.
TLW Wright

Tom, Ted, LW ??????,
The dumb iron number just confirms that all of the other numbers match,,, the color should be a greenish tint,,,


Gauges originally had greenish tint. Somewhere on the net is an article by former restorer John Marks about the history of the exact color. Years ago, Abindgon Spares had a number of rebuilt or used gauges. You could request a greenish, bluish, or grayish face to match what you had. Perhaps your greenish one was rebuilt or replaced? My TD's dials were a faded silver-gray before being restored. How about pictures? Nice looking TD. George
George Butz

I must be one of the greatest chickens to own a T-type, but I find anything over 65 to absolutely scary.
David Werblow

Dave: You will be passing me. I am pretty much a 55 mph guy. Still running a 5/12 and bias ply tires
Chris Couper


Not a bad choice with your rear axle. I'm unfazed by 4200 RPM, which would be about 60 mph with the stock tires and rear end.

55 mph would require 3800 RPM, which delivers both a very nice engine speed and a comfortable road speed.

Note that at 4200 RPM, I'm doing about 70, while 55 would be 3300 RPM on Tommy.

Dave Braun

wow and i thought 50 was pushing it. i got to go out again and give it a run.
i will work on some more pictures as soon as i get a chance.

another question: so there is this boot to put the side curtains in as i hear. is there a trick to getting them all in there. i was afraid i would tear one if i did not get them to slide in just right. figured there must be some trick to it.

so maybe the other gauges just faded to white...

obviously not a stock steering wheel. something i will have to work on when i am good enough to get a nice christmas present...

TLW Wright

back of car

TLW Wright

Pages 25, 26 of the TD TF Workshop manual "Sidescreen Stowage" illustrates how.

It is also in the owners manual.

Frank Cronin

ahhh, so they really dont go down in the boot in the back. they lay in the area right behind the seats. for some reason i thought they went in the storage area with the panel door. Thanks.
not gotten books yet. still picking which ones to order.
TLW Wright


Yes, the side curtains do go in the storage area with the panel door on a TD. Frank's link takes you to a TF, not TD, page. You will really want to get a workshop manual which will answer this and many other questions. Moss and all the other usual suppliers sell them.

Your picture looks like your speedometer may have a flat face and your tachometer has a dished face. Is that right? If so, the tach is correct for your car but the speedo is from an earlier car. The Moss catalog says the change was made at car no. 10779.

J.W. Olson

Nope, they go in the skinny place between the shelf and the back wall of the tube. Definitely need to ge the workshop manual and TD owner's manual reproductions from Moss. I carry both with me all the time and read them to put me to sleep at night.

Moss 210-600 and 210-400. I was a newby in September (still am compared to the guys on this bbs so I go to these manuals and then to the archives and then these guys save my bacon.

J K Chapin

Welcome TLW.

The side screen curtains (windows ) for the
MG TD will fit into the window box cavity near
the back of the storage space behind the seatback.
Near the gas tank.
They will only slide in ONE way.....!

Before you try to insert them, locate the
correct folding directions for the MG TD car.

Only ONE---Correct way.

Damage will result from the Incorrect Way.

Your TD is a beauty and I hope it runs as good
as it looks.....!

Happy Trails.


Before you ask for that Christmas Present, you might want to get a good look and feel for an original wheel... IMHO, they are too big in diameter.. the after market ones are a bit smaller, giving a better feel, and more driver room,,,


Being an originality guy, I really think that wheel looks great on your car. Nice thick rim. The original wheel is tiny in diameter and has hard plastic knots on the back. Really horrible to hold IMHO! I had mine slightly padded and leather covered. Now nice to grip. Above comment correct: that speedo does not match, it should have the same dish, needle, and printing as the tach. Does the needle move smoothly, or jump and click around? George
George Butz

Just a clairification(detail) on my post,,, I am referring to the overall diameter of the wheel,, not the diameter of the rim,,


Ready to order a workshop manual.
You know I will look at the faces again. Nothing stood out that they did not match. But then everything stands out right now.
I plan to go thru some wiring this week so I will check out the faces.
Took a nice ride today. Rant up to about 60 on the speedo. Gps unit says it was more like 52. But cruised right along. Some nice days coming so I will go a little longer each time and see how it goes. She was letting some coolant out the overflow tube when I got back. Don't think she got that hot. Just maybe too much fluid in there. I have not had a chance to work on the temp gauge/sensor yet to check it out.
TLW Wright

my speedo does not register until I get above 35 or so. then it works fine. no noises like a cable binding or the speedo having an issue. and then it works down to slow speeds. it is just like you have to wake it up before it wants to work. I guess once the cable gets turning so fast it grabs.
I did take the car out yesterday and the speedo was showing about 6-8 MPH higher than the GPS.
the cable end on the speedo side looked pretty good. I have not pulled it from the tran yet to check that end. add it to my list...

just ordered a couple of books.
TLW Wright


Very nice car, welcome to the TD world. Your TD is very close to mine (17389), they probably have seen each other in the factory back in summer 52.
For the side curtains, I copied the page with the instructions and laminated it. It just about fits in together with the curtains and is useful to have at hand when you stow them (probably once a year..).

Agree with the others on the gauges, speedo is incorrect, the others look right, though the small ones are difficult to see in the pic. If your speedo runs smoothly, it is probably chronometric which is right before '51.
It may also be a correct magnetic tach with a replaced face-the dished ones are not available new (afaik).

Steering wheel looks much better than the original, and, as the others say, handles much better. I changed to a motolita and never regretted the move.

The car unfortunately needs high rpms due to the diff ratio, mine sounds best at just under 3000 in 4th gear, but that's obviously not at highway speeds. 4500 rpm is usually the motorway speed which should be a tad over 60 mph
I had mine up to 70 (on a wildly oscillating tach;-), but it feels uncomfortable to push the old lady.
For the coolant, you might want to fit an overflow container. Yours may have been too full and adjusts itself to the right level, but when you overheat, the overflow saves refilling.
Conversion to neg ground is easy and helps for accessories that plug right in or electronic meters when you work on the car.
Check for the "Clutch fix" in thd technical info, probably the greatest improvement to driveability that I made on mine.

Happy driving
Mike Fritsch

This thread was discussed between 05/08/2013 and 16/08/2013

MG TD TF 1500 index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG TD TF 1500 BBS is active now.