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MG TD TF 1500 - Brake drum problem

I have a wire wheel TF and my brake system uses DOT 4 fluid. Last month I bought new front brake shoes and new front brake drums.
I went from moderately worn shoes with VERY worn 60 year old drums using the O'Conner adjuster masks, to new shoes, new drums (front only) and new standard adjuster masks.

Now, here is the issue. I just cannot get my brakes to work properly. What could possibly happen to the geometry of the brakes to leave them squishy and inefficient in this scenario? Is it some irregularity with the master cylinder plunger rod? Might it need adjustment? How does one adjust the plunger to accommodate new parts?

Frustrated TF owner.

T Norby

When I pulled the drums on our TD for the first time I was surprised to see that only one third of the lining was making contact with the drum. Got that sorted and now stopping much better.

M Magilton

One thought: are the cylinders fitted properly? I once had a professional set my TF up with two trailing shoes on the front after a brake rebuild, and it really didn't stop much.

Matthews point is also a good one. I have new shoes ground to match the individual drum diameter, which seems to make them work better from the start.

Good luck, and please let us know how it works out.


Adjusting the master cylinder plunger rod is a horrible job that takes ages to move it just a little, its screw threaded. Your problem doesn't sound like it is that anyway, unless your brake lights are also sticking on after you have released the pedal. It takes a while for new brake shoes to give their best as they conform to the drum as others have said.
Dave H
Dave Hill

With E.P.A. watching our air purity we no longer have brake shops using TRU-ARC brake shoe re-arcing machines.
I have used a brake drum and glued 80 grit sandpaper inside and re-arced my own shoes.It's tediouse but does the job.
Sandy Saunders

O'Conner adjuster masks, can I have some more information please?

I have got good adjustments, but I used quite a few clicks to obtain that with new shoes and turned drums.


P G Gilvarry

See the "brake adjustment" thread down below.
O'Connor Classic Cars was an MG garage in Calif, now closed. They supplied brake adjuster masks with extra steel welded on to make up for wear in the system. I found my set on ebay a few years ago. Others fabricate them now.
Allows you to make up for worn drums. I could post a photo of one if needed.

'54 TF
T Norby

The O'Connor masks with the steel welded on were for the rear brakes. The rear brake shows are the same as the fronts, but the rear shoes are leading and trailing, adjusted by a single adjuster. The single adjuster has to move twice as far to adjust both leading and trailing shoes, resulting in running out of range for the two shoes. The front brakes have an adjuster for each shoe, so the adjusters only travel half as far to keep each shoe adjusted properly - the shoes should run out of lining before the adjuster runs out of range. Cheers - Dave
DW DuBois

This thread was discussed between 09/09/2016 and 11/09/2016

MG TD TF 1500 index

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