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MG TD TF 1500 - Brake question

I have a 53 TD and recently noticed that the brake fluid level was at the bottom of the reservoir. I checked it (should have done routinely) because the pedal seemed to go far towards the floor when stopping.

I added fluid and it is better, but still a bit squishy. I notice that if I let up on the pedal and press a second time it only goes half way down and seems to stop quicker.

Does this mean that there is air in the brake lines. Should I bleed the lines?

It does stop OK, but I am concerned about the second push being different from the first push.

Many thanks,
Bill Chandler
Ann Arbor, Michigan
W Chandler

Could mean you need to adjust the brakes.

Jim B.
JA Benjamin


Had the same experience a few years back. Added fluid, bled the system and all OK for several years. This year I replaced all tubing, hoses, wheel cylinders, shoes, and rebuilt the master cylinder. Could find no sign of where the fluid loss went to. A mystery some may want to comment on. Bleeding is a good idea. It will also put you up close and personal with all four wheels. Who knows what you may spot.

Jim Haskins 1953 TD
J. M. Haskins

Once the fluid drops below a certain level in most master cylinders air is allowed into the line so bleeding is essential. Even a small amount of air reduces the efficiency of the system & your symptoms suggest that. Bleeding & then adjusting your brakes will give you better braking & peace of mind. Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

The larger question is why the fluid level dropped? It means you are losing brake fluid somewhere from a system that is supposed to be completely sealed, and you need to know where - often the master cylinder boot is full of fluid from a leaky m/c, or a wheel cylinder is leaking. It's a good opportunity to check the condition of the whole system.

If a car came into my shop with that symptom I would suggest undertaking a complete check of the brake system, and consider rebuilding everything and replacing the pipes, which are no doubt rusty. Brakes are not something to trifle with!

Tom Lange
MGT Repair

t lange


If you are going to rebleed the system, back off each wheel cylinder adjuster to zero before you bleed each individual cylinder.(Remember there are two on each front wheel, so do each one separately.)

Doing so assures that each individual piston can move through its full stroke, cleansing the wheel cylinder of any trapped air. After each cylinder is bled, immediately reset the adjuster for that cylinder.

That ensures that the other cylinders will move through their entire stroke as you get to them during the bleed process.

G Burgess

Today, I overhauled the Vega dual circuit master cylinder on our TD, replaced the fluid, bled the brakes and adjusted the rears on the MGB rear end (discs up front need no adjusting).
Bring your '53 over to Ann Arbor Hydraulics, and we'll get it up on the hoist, flush it out, bleed it, adjust the shoes and get it back out the door in no time.
You can drive it to the Champagne Brunch next week, too.

If you cannot find and front drums locally please send me an email. I have several uncut front drums for a TD for sale. If you are not in a hurry sea mail may be a reasonably economical option.
Cheers, Hugh
H.D. Pite

oops - wrong thread!
H.D. Pite

This thread was discussed between 14/05/2015 and 15/05/2015

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