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MG TD TF 1500 - An expensive lesson

Some of you remarked, after having seen my two films of driving around in Oslo with my TD, that I should always put the gear in free when stopping at lights. You were so right.
I had a strange, unpleasant sound when pushing the clutch pedal hard into the floor, to avoid the toothbrushing trying to get the car in reverse. I went to the workshop today, and they suggested I should change the "carbon ring". But they were full up till mid summer, so now I am looking for an MG repair shop across the border in Sweden...
Raymond Wardenaer

Sory to hear about your missfortune,,, I believe you are describing the throw out bearing?? Might as well replace the clutch disk and pressure plate at the same time, as long as it is appart,,


Raymond, you might want to consider replacing the carbon type original throw-out bearing with a modern ball bearing type. I have seen this type offered from time to time using the same metal casting as original. As with many things these days, I cannot remember where I saw them. I am sure other members of our BBS will fill in the blank for me.
Jim Merz

Raymond, is this unpleasant sound only occuring when you push hard into the floor as you mentioned.
If there is no clutch stop, the pedal easily can go too far causing naughty sounds which then as a response make one pushing the pedal further down causing worse sounds. greetings, huib
Huib Bruijstens

Steve, that is exactly what the mechanic said. Good advice, thank you.
Huib, yes the sound is only there when I step very hard on the pedal. No sound when driving and changing gears the normal way.
Raymond Wardenaer

Raymond, as I remember there is also a "viewing port" on top of the bell housing which lets you see this bearing without pulling the tranny. That said, it's probably less disassembly to pull the tranny than get to the viewing port. You can see it in the photo below - the red football shaped thing (U.S. football that is). As you can see getting to it ain't trivial! I think it serves more as a vent but I remember using it when I installed the clutch linkages. Good news is the actual installing of a new bearing and clutch is not hard once you get the tranny out. Even I did it in a few hours. Don't let them overcharge you for that part!

Another thought. Maybe your clutch linkage adjustment is letting you press "too hard" on the pedal and the noise is just letting you know that?

Good luck and send some more videos when you can,

efh Haskell

Raymond - If you clutch is cable operated, there is information in the Workshop Manual on adjusting the maximum clutch pedal travel in section E.1 and Illustration E.2. If your clutch has been converted to rod operation, of if it is a later TD that came from the factory with the rod operated clutch, the pedal stop bolt may be missing or misadjusted. If you will e-mail me at:, I can send you information on making and installing the stop bolt. Cheers - Dave
David DuBois

Raymond, wait! If there is no trouble in shifting the forward gears, I doubt that there is something wrong with the throw-out bearing. Other BBS friends, comment on this please.
In march 2012 we had a thread named "Clutch cable problems" and amongst others I commented with my experience and way out to design an external and easy to make clutch stop. I suffered from the same problem, be it that is was not so much the shift to reverse but the shift to 2nd and 3rd that became noisy as I pushed the pedal too deep down.
So, if it was my car, I would follow the suggestions above to check the clutch adjustment as described in the workshop manual and then to get a feeling for depressing the clutch pedal just enough (you will be surprised how little that is) to free the clutch.
I found it easier when the clutch return spring was temporarily detached, you than can really feel when the clutch spring is touched.
Attached is the picture of the external cluchstop.
My PO had obviously replaced the cable by rods without a cluchtstop in the pedalbox.
good luck, huib

Huib Bruijstens

Huib, thank you for following this up. I really don't need to press that hard on the clutch pedal when driving. As a matter of fact, for some strange reason, when I am parking in my garage and have to back in, it is always very difficult to avoid scraping as I put the gear in reverse. That is when I try to step really hard on the pedal. But I checked, when I press the pedal very hard, the sound is there. But I never have to press hard except when in my garage trying to put it in reverse.
Something mystic in my garage?
Raymond Wardenaer

raymond, what happens in your garage when backing out if you don't press hard? are you saying you have to press hard to get normal clutch travel, or are you saying you have to push the clutch FURTHER to allow the gears to engage? if it is not an issue with clutch travel,do the gears grind if you don't press hard/further? if the gears do not grind, but you cannot engage reverse, what happens if you release the clutch and then reengage it?
in regard to the "view port", i'm not sure what morris had in mind when they drew that up, but i cannot see anything in is in such a tight spot and so small...for me, it is a waste of engineering.

regards, tom
tom peterson

Raymond, when you put the car in either 1st or reverse, try moving the lever into 2nd gear first. This will usually stop the gears from spinning and allow a smooth transition to the non syncro gears.

A strange day. I took the car outside to change the glass of the rev counter. Lying on the ground I suddenly noticed that the clutch pedal can move freely for two inches, I mean, with absolutely no resistance at all. When driving, there are sometimes a bit difficult to move between the gears. However, when I got back home to my infamous garage, I could get the car in reverse with no problems at all.
I don't understand anything.
Raymond Wardenaer

Sounding like you just need a clutch adjustment.
I hope that is the case...ready for another trip around Norway!
LaVerne beet me to the "2nd gear first" that works on mine.

Good luck!
David Sheward

Raymond, while you are on it, do the clutch fix that is described in various tech discussions, which moves the hole for the clutch rod to change the lever length. Works soo much smoother when engaging the clutch. Most useful mod I did to my car so far

Rgds Mike
Mike Fritsch

Raymond, your wrote:"But I never have to press hard except when in my garage trying to put it in reverse.
Something mystic in my garage?".

My guess is that there is no mystery in your garage but maybe if your turn your head and upperbody to look backwarts to see where you are going in reverse, there is a natural tendency to press your foot down to do this and looking back over your right shoulder would make you press your left foot down for compensation.

My second guess is that there is nothing really wrong with your carbon ring.

My third guess is that if you re-adjust the clutch as described in the workshop manual, things will be much better.
Adding (if missing ) a clutchstop and doing the clutch improvement as described so often on this BBS (the O Conner change).

If you do not want to do it yourself, maybe your workshop can find a timeslot to simply adjust your clutch ( a simple and pretty quick task for them) and let you drive and make these wonderful videos again.
Good luck, huib
Huib Bruijstens

well, but I try to put the car in reverse without turning my head. I use my mirrors when I back.
The no 1 mg specialist in Norway said that hearing that sound when pressing too hard on the pedal, is a clear sign that I should replace the carbon ring. But I shall try and adjust the whole thing before taking the engine out.
I am still driving the car around, but I am waiting for the trees to become green before I am starting up the video filming again.
Raymond Wardenaer

Mike Fritsch,
do you of a good MG workshop in Hamburg? Nobody seems to be able to help me here in Oslo, and I am supposed to go by ferry to Kiel, and then drive from there to Enkirch.
Raymond Wardenaer

You do not need to pull the motor to get at the gearbox and clutch. Much less work to go at it from the interior. Also, if your mechanic made the diagnosis from a description, I would not assume 100% that it is the carbon bearing. A bad carbon throw out bearing makes a very distinctive sound and any old time mechanic actually listening to it should be able to tell you if that's the problem. Does not haveto be an MG specialist.
Best of luck...driving season is approaching!
John Deikis

Huib - Would you mind if I use the picture of your clutch rod stop as an alternative to the clutch stop bolt in my article on the clutch stop? It is perhaps an easier way to prevent over travel of the throwout bearing than manufacturing and installing a stop bolt. Cheers - Dave
David DuBois

David, of course, feel free to use that picture.
Raymond, if you can install a camera the way you did, I am confident that you can follow the instructions for clutch adjustment as described in the workshop manual.
You already layed under the car watching the clutch equimpment.
Go down there again, watch carefully the movements and ponder about what happens if you make one of these rods somewhat longer/shorter by adjusting. Try and feel. Especially if you (temporary) unhook the clutch return spring, you really get a feel.
Wonder about the actually little stroke that makes the difference between clutch engaged and clutch disengaged. That is the erea where you want your foot to operate: just disengage, that's enough to be free to shift no matter forwards or return.
And afterwards, you will feel sooooo proud.
greetings, huib
Huib Bruijstens

Raymond, don't know about Hamburg, but could try to ask in the MG Car club. Travelling for the week though.

Mike Fritsch


I might have been the one who commented on your driving video about putting the car in neutral at stop lights. This is important with stock T series car with a carbon thrust release bearing. But then I later learned that your car has a newer five speed gearbox (Ford Sierra?) So if this is so I am not sure it that conversion includes updating the release bearing to a roller type. If so then the importance of my suggestion is reduced. I find with clutches on a T series car, Morris Minor, etc it is best to set the pedal adjustment to maximum free play consistent with a clean shift into 1st or reverse with the pedal fully down. This means you are not causing the clutch cover to over travel which puts additional strain on it and the release bearing. With a stock TD, as an earlier poster said it is always a good practice to pull the lever toward 2nd before engaging 1st as this uses the 2nd gear synchro to stop residual rotation in the gearbox before engaging the non synchro 1st gear.
John Quilter (TD8986)

This thread was discussed between 20/04/2012 and 23/04/2012

MG TD TF 1500 index

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