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MG TD TF 1500 - Brakes issues

Sorry to bring up this same ole, same ole but I'm stumped. I've checked the archives and read the thread currently running on pulling to one side but my issue doesn't quite match.

To refresh, a widow in the neighborhood asked me to revive her car after 25 years of storage. This has been my first crack at TDism although generaly familiar with other MGs. Anyway, with a totaly new braking system I'm getting severe pull to the right. Granted, I have yet to get a front end alignment so there may be cause there. From a full hard 50mph braking, I thought the car might flip. I released the brakes and regained control of the car just prior to tranforming the TD into a corn combine! The new sytem consists of some new pipes, new hoses, new MC, new wheel cyinders, new shoes. I cleaned and scraped the drum internals as I was concerned that the drums may have already been turned to their max diameter. What does anyone know about max diameter. This question appears in the archives but its never been answered to my knowledge. Are new drums available from any common source?

I adjusted the shoes on each wheel so that they locked fully, then backed each one off until there is just the slightest bit of drag on each. Is that correct? The workshop manual states to tighen fully and then back off one click. I'm unclear as to the "fully" part. Fully as in it stops rotating or fully as in all possible turning the adjustment screw clockwise? Just till it locks up, correct?

Exception is the front left which at max adjustment will lock up tight. One click back and it will spin freely. Do I have a maxed out drum? I guess I could relax the right front brake a bit but then the brake peddle will require pumping to fully engage brakes. When I told the owner of our issues, she said, "Oh we always had to pump the brakes" So perhaps this was the compromise her deceased husband had come up with.

Any thoughts and ideas are greatly appreciated. BTW, car is running great. Needs a new water pump and there are a few more minor issues to work through but by and large the 51 joined the ranks of "back on the road" this week.

Cheers all and thanks for taking the time.


Paul Hanley

When i adjust mine i turn the adjuster one click and try and spin the wheel... if it does i turn one more click... On mine one click will lock the wheel... then i turn back one click.. it then spins with just a bit of brake shoe sound.
With all new items you shouldn't have to pump at all...even with the shoe not in the right adjustment place.
Pumping would suggest air in the lines somewhere....(if the pedal comes up after pumping).
gordon.b.lawson '53TD

Hi Paul, your drums are not maxed out. If they were the adjuster would go all the way to full adjustment, over the top and then keep going around again.

To have such extreme pulling to one side would indicate to me that one of the front brakes are not operating. Obviously the opposite one to the way it pulls.

Pull the drum off and get someone to CAREFULLY push the pedal slowly. See that the brake linings are opening and closing. Not too far or you will pop the cup out and have fluid everywhere.

Make sure that both linings are moving.

The leading shoes also have to be correctly fitted. If I remember correctly the workshop manual shows this incorrectly just to keep us more confused. Basically the end of the shoe that has about an inch or so of lining missing from the end is the leading end of the shoe. This end needs to be at the brake cylinders for both shoes on the front brakes. This provides the leverage necessary to make the brakes work properly.

The back wheel brakes are different.

Finally the brakes will need to be bled as there has got to be air in there somewhere.

Good luck,

Paul van Gool


One more thing to check is that the front wheel cylinders are the correct way up. The rule on thumb is that both front (left wheel and right wheel) cylinders are pushing DOWNWARDS. If not you have one wheel with twin leading shoes and the other with twin trailing.

John Scragg

This thread was discussed on 18/10/2004

MG TD TF 1500 index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG TD TF 1500 BBS is active now.