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MG TD TF 1500 - Fuel Pump Filter

Last week, I ran my 54 TF tank dry. I've had the car almost a year and that is the first time I allowed the fuel level to get that low. As it happened, when the engine started to sputter at 50 mph, I managed to cross two lanes of traffic, make a right turn, then a quick left turn into a filling station and pushed the car about 30 feet to the pumps! I measured the tank with my handy yardstick marked for gallons, and the tank was dry. I filled it and started the engine. It ran rough, then died. Did that two or three more times and managed to move the car over to the curb away from the pumps. During all this, my noisy water pump finally failed, leaking coolant on the filling station driveway. What are the odds that my water pump would fail and I would run out of gas all in the same five minutes?

Called my wife to come and tow me the mile and a half to my house. I've had the car in my shop, on the lift, etc. replacing the water pump....and now that task is complete. I'm ready to clear what I think is debris from my fuel tank and fuel pump filter. Does anyone have a better idea than simply removing the tank bottom drain plug and draining about 10 gallons of fuel into a couple of clean buckets? It appears that I will need to remove all the fuel in order to remove the pump filter without pouring fuel all over the floor. Am I likely to find debris in my carb filters, too?
I will appreciate all thoughts.
Frank Bice

The easiest way to empty the fuel tank is to use the fuel pump - remove the line at the rear carb, put the line in a gas can, and turn on the ignition. The pump will merrily chug away, emptying the tank. SUPERVISE!

I once was towing a TD to California, and ran out of gas in the tow-Volvo. I simply did as the above, filled the Volvo tank, and went on my merry, 3AM desert way.

Tom Lange
MGT Repair
t lange

Frank - "Does anyone have a better idea than simply removing the tank bottom drain plug and draining about 10 gallons of fuel into a couple of clean buckets?"
You need to remove the outlet fitting from the tank first so you can clean the outlet screen. After getting all the debris off the filter, you can replace that and them remove the drain plug to get any other debris from the tank. I would check the tank carefully for signs of rusty spots on the bottom of the tank and where ever you can see. If you find any rust spots, you should remove the tank, have it cleaned and sealed against further rust.

Next, you will need to remove the filter plug in the fuel pump and clean any debris off the filter screen. If there is a lot of debris, remove the pump, pour some mineral spirits into the pump body, slosh it around and drain it - repeat until no more debris comes out. Finally check and clean the filter screens in the float bowl lids of each carburetors. Unless the filter screen in the pump has holes in it, there shouldn't be any debris in the carburetor float bowls. There may be some very fine rust particles (almost a powdery type substance), which is not a real problem unless there is a large build up of the stuff. Cheers - Dave
D W DuBois


For about $3.95 you can buy one of those hand squeeze pumps with a plastic line. It is really a siphon with a starter pump. Takes a few minutes but no spills and much better control. Tape the plastic tube to the yard stick you already have and it will get all but a few ounces out of the tank. Then remove the fuel line and clean the screen. Have fun.

Jim Haskins 1953 TD
J. M. Haskins

I very much appreciate all comments. FYI, this tank, installed during an 8 year old restoration, looks like new from the outside. Now that I think about it, I will be surprised if there is any appreciable amount of debris IN the tank....which makes me wonder why the engine acted the way it did. Does anyone have other theories about that?

Frank Bice

When the tank empties in the manner you describe, when you fill it the gas pours in from the pump and reaches the bottom of the tank and that is enough to disturb any sediment that has settled at the bottom of the tank. When we normally fill when the light goes on, their is usually enough gas in the tank to buffer the flow of gas from the pump. Fuel tank maintenance is just another one of those things that the "T"'s require from time to time.

Follow Dave D's advice and you will find you will be up and running once again.
C.R. Tyrell

Thanks, CR. I've always vaguely wondered why emptying the tank should clog the filter, when the gunge is already in there anyway. Your idea that it's the high pressure flow from the pump directly on to the gunge that does it makes a lot of sense.

David Provan

This thread was discussed between 27/04/2015 and 28/04/2015

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