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MG TD TF 1500 - Best combination of wheels and tyres

As a newcomer to this forum I would firstly like to thank the many regular contributors for the wealth of information shared. It has helped me very much in planning and implementing my rebuild.

I have a 1955 TF1500 which I have owned for some 40 years. It is undergoing a ‘from the frame up’ rebuild. I am not planning on a concours car, but more a soundly built and entertaining car to drive. My philosophy is towards using new components and technology to improve performance and reliability, but that any alterations should be readily reversible.

I have obtained one of Terry Peddicord’s superchargers and also have on order a camshaft to suit from Len Fanelli. After much research I have found a more or less local company in Melbourne called Auscrank who enjoy a very good reputation in this part of the world who are building me a billet steel (EN26) crankshaft. (I will try to attached photo of the early stage of construction of the crank). It is what I believe is sometimes referred to as a dummy five bearing crank which is arguably a better design than the original.

One of the decisions I have not yet made is what wheels and tyres to get. The possibilities by Dayton include the original size of 15 x 4 x 48 spoke, 15 x 4 x 60 spoke, 15 x 4.5 x 60 spoke, 15 x 5 x 60 spoke, 15 x 5 x 72 spoke and 15 x 6 x 72 spoke. I am unsure if the last 6 inch rim would actually fit.

I plan on installing a front anti sway bar using the MGB components as in the Brown & Gammons offerings.

I would be very interested to hear opinions about the best combination of wheel and tyre sizes.

Michael Calvert
M R Calvert

I have reduced the size of the jpeg. I think this may now upload.

Michael C

M R Calvert

My TD, with a Y type anti-roll bar, has 15" x 60 spoke x 4.5J wire wheels, and I currently have 165x15" radials. However, the "skittiness" was less and the cornering ability better when I had 155x15" radials, so I might go back to this size - in addition, the wheels and tyres looked more appropriate with the 155x15" radials. For 1466cc and the original 4 speed gearbox, a 4.1:1 diff would be the best.
Roger Wilson.

PS, I assume the unfinished work on the crank relates to the big-ends, as they may knock a bit on start up.

Michelin tyres, MGB rubber bumper optional 480# front springs and poly bushings everywhere front & rear.
Len Fanelli

I would go with the Dayton wires that match the number of spokes it came from the factory - painted silver of course.
Frank Cronin

Not if you put a lot of miles on it Frank. The 48 just aren't tough enough. Many times I wish I had gone with the 60 spokes.
MG LaVerne

I have 35000 miles on Dayton 48 spoke Chrome Wires with no problems on my TF 1500.

I also use Dunlop 165R15 radials with tubes for a good ride.
Don Harmer

Regarding the wheels I am particularly interested in thoughts on the best rim width. Given the changes in tyre design it seems inevitable that for all but concours use a wider rim is needed, but how wide?

Aesthetics come into it, but putting that to one side, the suspension design could not have anticipated the tyres that were to come, and so at some point going wider will cause undesirable consequences. Heavy steering at parking speeds and the loads this places on components are considerations. What else happens when you go wider? It is the Goldilocks ‘just right’ that I am looking for.

Hello Len, I have already bought the new front coil offering from Moss called a “Suplex” spring. Moss describe them this way:

“Simply put, they are made from pricey material that makes them lighter, smaller and more durable than conventional springs. One of the great advantages of a smaller diameter spring is that it can compress further—in some applications giving you an inch more suspension travel. “

I have not heard of the 480# springs you refer to. It would be interesting to hear more about them.

I plan on using poly bushings everywhere. I am not sure where to source the best interleaf pads for the rear springs. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Michael C
M R Calvert

Roger, thanks for the input based on your experience of two different tyre sizes on the 4.5 inch rims.

Re the crank. Yes, it would be a bit hard on bearings too.

Michael C
M R Calvert

Michael, I ordered mine from John James from England.

Do a search in the archives for "poly". The article will come up and his contact info.

Frank Cronin

I would check on what tyres are readily available, there is nothing worse than having to wait 2-3 days to get a replacement tyre as I did for my TF120 when traveling in the south island.
165x15 probable the most commonly available because it is the size used on the original VW Beetle, will fit 4" rims but really need 4.5".
185x15 I think were used on TR's and Morgans and some Jag's and needs 5.5" rims. If you go bigger you may have problems with heavy steering and rubbing on the rear wheel arches.
72 spoke wheels were fitted to 250bhp Jags so may be overkill, as you are supercharged and buying new wheel I would go for the 60 spoke. I would go for the Stainless Steel ones rather than chrome.

The 480# spring is shorter and stiffer, I used them on both my TD and TF as I had the bodies done in Aluminium and was thus lighter, so it was the easies way to get the front lower wishbone parallel with the road. You need MGB front wishbone and spring pan, along with MGB bar, but you need the short drop arms for it to fit properly.

Hope this helps and I would be very interested in what Auscrank is charging for the new crank shaft.
B W Wood

I like the sound of the Moss Suplex springs, which I have now read about. The thinner wire is a good idea, as the TD/TF front suspension is far too stiff - these cars are a bit skitty when either front wheel meets a bump or pothole (although not as bad as a TC). Softer springs will allow the front wheels to rise and fall with reduced shock to the main chassis/body, as with modern cars - and an anti-roll bar will reduce the roll on cornering. I'm not sure how there will be more travel, as the bump stops will prevent this - perhaps it means the bump stops are more likely to be reached. I wonder if the softer Suplex springs are slightly longer, so that when compressed the car ride height is unchanged**.
Roger Wilson.
** This may be more of a concern for TFs, where the rear springs hold the back of the car rather high. For my TD, I had a local company adjust a pair of new rear springs so that the "arc" was half way between the TD and TF shape - I now think the car "sits" correctly.
PS, I realise I have drifted from the original topic of wheels and tyres.

Forgot to mention, I realise that the shock-absorbers also play a vital role - I wonder if it is possible to get the lever arms set up with different characteristics (I'm not sure that adding telescopics looks corect).

Running Dayton 15" x 60 spoke x 4.5 on Izzy.
I run P205/55 Radials and have had no steering problems.
I know ...purest will say "way to big" ...but the difference in handling is night & day over the stock 48's with bias ply's.
Been running these for 12 years (2nd set of tyres) and won't go back.
I love the look of 19" skinny tyres on a TC ...but I also like the way my fat tyres look on the TF.
To each his own. Izzy is a driver!

Just make sure your suspension is up to the task!

David Sheward

Increasing unsprung weight and rotating mass are both issues as wheel and tyre sizes increase.

I have done some research on the weights of different wheels that might be of interest to those reading this thread. The source of the data is the website of SC Parts Co in the UK. I have not yet discovered who is the manufacturer of their wheels.

Rim size: 4.0J x 15", number of spokes: 48, rim inset: 19.00 mm, wheel weight: 6.90 kg, maximum wheel load: 318 kg
MGA (1955-62), MG-TD and MG-TF (1950-55)

Rim size: 4.5J x 15", number of spokes: 60, rim inset: 19.00 mm, wheel weight: 7.20 kg, maximum wheel load: 310 kg
MGA, MG-TD and MG-TF (1950-55)

Rim size: 5.0J x 15", number of spokes: 72, rim inset: 6.40 mm, wheel weight: 9.20 kg, maximum wheel load: 450 kg
MGC, MG Magnette ZA, MG Magnette ZB, MGA, MG TD, MG TF

Rim size: 5.5J x 15", number of spokes: 72, rim inset: 13.00 mm, wheel weight: 9.70 kg, maximum wheel load: 450 kg

Minator alloy wheel:
Rim size: 5.5J x 15", 42 mm centre lock type, number of spokes: 8, silver painted, rim inset: 24.00 mm, wheel weight: 10.20 kg, maximum wheel load: 400 kg

I thought it interesting that the 5.5J alloy wheel was heavier than the equivalent 72 spoke wire.

Michael C
M R Calvert

I have the 60 spoke daytons which at the time I bought them only came at 4.5" wide (.5 inch wider than original). Like LaVerne, I felt the 48s were not strong enough and being laced directly in a line i felt they weren't much good for lateral loads. The 60s are laced such that there is cross bracing to the rim which I felt was worth it.

The delightful benefit of the extra .5 inch is that now the tires/rims line up PERFECTLY with the edge of my rear fenders and in my opinion REALLY improves the appearance of the car. I don't have a photo handy here but can provide one if anyone would like to see it.

As for the tires, I didn't sweat it. I just bought what discount tire was selling. So far, I have nothing to complain about and the price was certainly much better than a set of Verdi's or vintage dunlops.

Alex Waugh

The Moss 480# springs I used are no longer on their web site, contact Moss & ask about part number 264-385.
The rear leaf spring poly mounting pads at the axle are the ones used on later midgets & sprites, if I remember correctly. Contact Moss or Google poly bushings scroll down to Prothane. Ask Moss about the rear leaf spring poly bushings, at the shackles, I think at the time I purchased mine the were only listed under TC not TD /TF.
They made a big difference when all were installed, including the MGB front anti sway bar.
A little stiff ride, not too much, but great turn in / steering response & no under steer / then over steer when at the limit.

Len Fanelli

This thread was discussed between 15/05/2014 and 24/05/2014

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