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MG TD TF 1500 - Brake cylinders

Hi everyone, I guess I might as well introduce myself as well as start asking questions...

I have a 1951 MG TD, originally my father's. I brought it down to Arizona where I live in order to restore it (it's not in bad shape, but the engine needs attention, the convertible cover needs rebuilding, it needs some touchup... and it needs brakes, badly.

They barely respond even when filled, bled and heavily pumped; they leak in a lot of places.

So I've started work on the brakes. I bought a brake line set from Moss motors, got the wheels off and am going to replace the lines one by one, cleaning and fixing everything as I go.

On the front wheel, with the first two cylinders, in each case, one of the two nuts holding it to the wheel base sheared right off. So now I've got to get the remainder of the threaded rod out of the cylinder housing, or drill it out.

I know about helicoils etc but have never actually had to use one. Anyone got any good tips on getting the remainder of the rod out without drilling/retapping?

Advice wanted!
G M Baker

Welcome to the BBS,,,, I think that by the time you manage to get the threaded portion out of the cylinder, and rebuild the rest of it, you might be better off just getting new cylinders...

Steve Wincze

I agree with Steve. those cylinders have most likely seen better days and it is almost the same price to have them resleeved as it would be to replace with new. Be certain to replace all three rubber flex lines to the brake cylinders. White Post Restorations does a fantastic job with remaunufaturing your master cylinder and includes a lifetime warranty. Turn around time is 2-3 days.I just had an MGA master that I mailed on a Friday from Florida back on the following Thursday.

You might check with some place like White Post ( and see how much additional charge beyond their normal rebuild fee for drilling out the broken studs. I don't know how much new cylinders are, but based on the quality of the rebuild White Post did for me on my master cylinder, and on the reports I'm hearing about some of the reproduction parts out there, I think I'd go the rebuild route.....

Rob Edwards

OK, I spoke to They were uncertain about getting the threaded post out of the cylinders but mostly probably because I was not explaining myself well.

I guess my question is now: which is better, White Post rebuilds at $80/ea or brand new from Moss motors for $50/ea?

G M Baker

$50 from Moss,,, $162 from AS,,, are we sure that Moss is the whole assembly ????
Steve Wincze

My preference would be toward White Post's rebuilds (esp since I'm spending your money not mine! ;-)

In general Moss do a good job, but they're somewhat at the mercy of their suppliers. Anybody bought from Moss lately and can speak to their cylinders' quality?
Rob Edwards

I just installed 4 new front cylinders from Moss (thru LBCC) and they are the complete assembly, with new studs and nuts.


L Karpman

(Forgive me if you already know all this. I don't mean to sound as though I'm talking down to you, so please excuse me if this is all familiar to you.) A *good* penetrant like Kroil or PB B'laster and time are your best friends when trying to remove stuck fasteners. (And WD-40 is _not_ a good penetrant....)

Hose the fastener down with the Kroil or B'laster, maybe tap it *gently* with a small hammer to encourage the penetrant to work into the threads, and walk away. The next day, if it's still stuck, repeat the process. It may take several days.

Also, don't just try to loosen the fastener -- try to tighten it as well. Try working it both ways firmly but gently, if that makes any sense. When it does start moving, unscrew it a little, hose it down good, then tighten it back up some. Hose it again, and loosen it a little more than you did the previous time. Then hose it & tighten it, hose and loose, ad nauseum. The idea is to work the penetrant down into the dry threads.

Good luck!
Rob Edwards

>>Steve Wincze, Canton, Ct, USA
>>$50 from Moss,,, $162 from AS,,, are we sure that >>Moss is the whole assembly ????

Moss sells the four front brake cylinders as a set for $199. I assume the cylinders come complete including nuts for mounting. As to quality, who knows, they are probably made in China.

My problem with White Post is that they cost $80 ea AND will charge me extra to drill out and retap the threads... maybe what I should do is buy the new set from Moss... and when those then start to wear out, send them it to WP for a rebuild! I doubt if there is much quality difference between Moss's cast cylinder housing and the originals...and WP replaces everything else...
G M Baker


Welcome to the BBS and the brotherhood!

Pardon me if I'm telling you something you already know, but it is really easy to install the front wheel cylinders upside down, resulting in two trailing shoes instead of two leading shoes. You may want to visit my website and look at some of the pictures there.


Dave Braun

Thanks for all the advice, much appreciated!

Rob, it's all good :) Personally, I use biodiesel as a penetrant because I discovered when I built my biodiesel motorcycle (anyone interested can go to for info) I had to replace every hose and take every fitting and machine it to a mirror finish or the biodiesel would seep out. Even the washers on the banjo units I had to use a leather wheel to 'strop' them to a perfect mirror finish. The stuff is an extraordinary penetrant! I normally use a blowtorch to heat the nut repeatedly and use penetrant in between... I am generally pretty successful. In this case, I wasn't on the first wheel, I think by more careful applications of heat & penetrant, the rest will come out OK. But given the overall state of the brake system, new cylinders seem like a smart way to go.

Another question: When removing the round brake plates that hold the cylinders & pads, the round brake plate mounts to the axle using four bolts on each wheel. (They bolt to a square plate with four bolt holes). I need a new bolt - one of the sixteen snapped off also (it's amazing what twenty years of Washington State weather can do to an MG).

Moss motors didn't have one. I could use most any bolt of the same size, but I was hoping to go with OEM or matching parts.

Does anyone know where I might be able to pick up a replacement bolt? Moss motors does not have them (or couldnt find them)...?

PS, I am much impressed by the helpfulness and interest of the members of this board! Thanks, all!

G M Baker

Welcome to the board. On this board we give
and get help to any problems arising when we
are working on our cars. I would say:
There are no problems, only challenges.
Take lots of pictures before and after
dismantling. ref. Dave Braun. Any ideas
and solutions you have are interesting for
all of us. Keep us updated on your progress.

Thoralf. Norway. MGTD 4490
t g sorensen

When I first got the TD in the garage and before i did anything, I sprayed every nut and bolt I could find/see with 'Thrust' (penetrating oil)....did it a couple times...
Of course, I did snap off the very first bolt I tried to undo (and on the brake fitting as well), but the rest came off easily...made the next couple of months much easier...

For some reason I thought that the cylinders were cast/molded around a bolt, with the threaded end being the attaching stud. Whatever, if that is broken off, toss the thing and get some new ones. I have seen a couple of the Moss repros and they looked fine to me. Abindgon used to have some made in Germany with brass pistons and a seal- maybe why they are so expensive? There have been a few issues with silicon fluid leaking past sleeves also. I second White Post for the master rebuild. Pay attention to Dave's comments about front cylinder up/down direction. Someone may have said it already in the thread, but if not, replace all of the copper washers or you will have leaks. George
George Butz

Just for the hell of it, I tried, and was able, to drill out the broken studs on the cylinders and tapped them for 8mm bolts instead. I think I can reuse them and will probably do so just as a test to see how it works. I think there's a 50/50 chance that I'll need new cylinders anyway, but this way I can replace all the lines, go through the master cylinder and see how that is, and then, if the cylinders leak or don't work properly, at that point, I'll order new or rebuilt. At least these are easy to work on and get to, and not much time lost if it turns out I have to buy them anyway.

My total cost so far will be a couple of 8mm bolts, cut down to the proper length.

Maybe I can save $200 ... till I need to replace them anyway in a few more years.

In cleaning out the cylinders everything seems OK; springs, rubbers everything cleaned up well. No terrible signs of wear.

I'll keep you posted how it goes!
G M Baker

This thread was discussed between 23/10/2009 and 24/10/2009

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