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MG TD TF 1500 - burning a little oil

So my 1951 TD is running after some of your help and some work at the shop.

One comment the shop person made was that the engine was "burning a little oil."

He told me to keep an eye on the oil, but things should be generally OK.

What type of issues would cause this?

And, what type of symptoms should I be aware of?

I thought I'd ask this group for some good advice again.

Thanks, Joe.
J Holman

Joe, The list is veeeeery long. It is not unusual for English cars to burn a bit of oil, even the majestic RR did and still does. The causes are varied and many, and if it is not excessive, I would live with it. My '54 TF does and all I do is check the oil level every time I go out and top up if necessary. However, if you leave a smoke trail like a vapour trail form an aircraft, then you do need to do some work. Don't forget, you are dealing with 50+ year old engines and a lot older technology, so don't expect 2009 stuff, anyhow it is part of the joy of owning and driving an old MG. Worn rings, broken oil ring, valve stem seals are just the begining. If you plan to start, start with a compression test and get the head worked over, but in doing that you can often cause more problems below.
As I said, if it is not a real problem, live with and enjoy it. You can try a heavier grade of oil, that sometimes helps, you did say a little oil.
Hope this is of some help
Reagards Ian
I Denton

A touch of smoke at idle, or especially when taking off after idling for a while is nothing to worry about. Like Ian says, if you are laying down a steady smoke stream that is not good. You are likely leaking more than buring anyway! George
George Butz

A few hundred miles on the road at speed frequently does wonders. I bought a Rover 2000TC that had been horribly maintained and sheepishly driven; When I first drove it, it used 3 qts in 300 miles, then 1 qt getting home. I changed oil and filter and drove it 6000 miles crosscountry on 1 qt, after that it never used any oil ever between changes for the next 100,000 miles. Also had a VW pickup that we used in town for parts chasing, had to use it for a 200 mile one way trip to Watkins Glen over the mountains. Started out using a qt/100, got back using a qt/1000, gas mileage went from 22 to 33, and I was up a whole gear on the long hills. Drive it!

FR Millmore

If the car has been sitting for a while, unused, sometimes the rings get stuck and results in excessive oil consumption. I had an MGB which burned a quart every 500 miles, At the next oil change I added a can of Alemite CD2 and stopped burning oil. The stuff is amazing and really works.

Had a Citroen ZX 1.9TD Volcane (1992) which did 250K miles in 5 years and never, ever used oil - never had the head off either - and I sold it as a good runner. About 80% of that running was on motorways at 70mph+ (100+ through the night in the pre-camera days) on regular, sustained, often non-stop runs of 270 miles (London - Newcastle), and return, twice weekly. Boy, it could shift.

More recently, I bought a Ford Fiesta Ghia (2001 model) with only 25K on the clock, as a "runaround", and it really was from "one careful lady owner", a fiend (sic) of my other three-quarters. I thought it was a complete dog until I gave it a couple of blasts up the M1 and then started to drive it a bit harder around the doors.

What a difference in acceleration and MPG. Feels like a completely different car.
Tom Bennett

Way back in 1960 I purchased a 59 MK9 Jag.. In the handbook it stated that using 1 quart per 600 miles was normal. It did it too.

I believe a healthy smoke trail doesn't hurt a thing as long as there is no moisture and limited condensation.... just draws attention to the ol' gal.

They will usually leak more than they burn... just enjoy it if it's not bothering you.
Sid Orr

My TF burns a little oil and smokes some on idle. Compression and vacumn show cyliders to be ok. Engine has 44k miles. TF's tend to pump a lot of oil into the valve train and the oil smoke comes from oil leaking down the guides. I did put modern seals on the head last year and it has made some improvement in consumption.
colin stafford

This thread was discussed between 18/10/2009 and 20/10/2009

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