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MG TD TF 1500 - In car heaters question

I was always with the assumption that there was no such thing as a MG-T series heater and after market heaters were always used. If that is true, what British heater did they use? Were any heaters installed at the factory during the building process? I have a couple heaters from the 30s and one from the late 40s, but their American heaters. I don't think they would be proper for my TF, do you? PJ
P. Jennings

One winter (circa 1962) I was driving a deuce and a half in Germany on a long drive with no heat. We lit cans of sterno and set them on the floor. Warmed the cab enough so I could feel the steering wheel but for some reason I kept falling asleep.
It's amazing we survived our youth.
Mort 1950 TD1851 Möbius

Hi PJ,
my TF is fitted with a KL (Key Leather Co ?) heater and was in the car when I bought it in 1973. I think it was specific to the TF as the mounting holes line up with the dash to bulkhead stay bar holes. The motor looks like a Smiths.Due to sometimes needing Lights,Wipers and Heater all at the same time, I replaced the motor with a computer cooling fan which according to the ammeter uses no electricity at all!.
Ray TF2884
Ray Lee

My 64 Nova wagon had 3 cans of sterno on the dash for a defroster, and a illuminated bowling trophey on the hood. It died in a parking lot one cold winter night. When we went back the next day (to get the only thing worth saving...a new battery) ...bowling trophey & sterno, battery still there. Pretty sure the thief's "used" the sterno before they stole the trophey! ;-) !!
David Sheward

My 1953 TD MkII came, in 1964, with a Smith's heater, and I have seen the same design in other TD,s. There is a hot water take off, with valve, above the cylinder head (can't remember where the return is!).

For your contemproary amusement please see

and for a better look at what was used see

Hope this helps a little

Ian Bowers

I have a Eureka heater and need to determine if it is 12 volt or 6 volt. I cannot find any marking on the motor or heate that would indicate the voltage. Any suggestions other thanhooking it up to 12 volts and seeing if it smokes?


RG Taylor

I have a (an?) Eureka in the TF. it runs just fine on 12 volts.
D. Sander

PJ, there are basically two British aftermarket heaters that were used and are a good fit:
a) the Arnolt heater (a cube box), which is probably the most appropriate one and is shown in many period ads. Arnolt also built a great coupe on top of the TD chassis, btw. Arnolt heaters are more rare and consequently more expensive than e.g. Smiths heaters.
b) the Smiths heater as shown above. This type was also used in later years (e.g. in Landrovers), so there are more on the market.

Alternatively, there is also the BOSCH heater, which fits into the same period. It looks very similar to the Smiths heater and was probably used in many European Continent cars of that period. Not British, though, as you might guess...

Mike Fritsch

If it helps, a couple of years ago I fitted a 12V Smiths-style circular heater to the TD as I understood they were the aftermarket type, in the UK at least. I'd toyed with the idea of sourcing an original but worried a bit about how reliable the old matrix might be, so I got a new one. It is a Clayton (see: ). I've no connection with that company, BTW

I can't remember who supplied it (it wasn't direct from Clayton, IIRC) and cost around £200.

There's an number of threads on the BBS about where/where not to take the feed and return for heaters.

I followed that advice and I've been v pleased with it.

- Tom.

Tom Bennett - 53TD 24232


I guess a "proper" heater is whether you want a concours/correct car, or one that's warm. I found an underseat "W" heater from a 1953 Pontiac that fits nicely up and under the scuttle. Oldsmobile and Cadillac used the same part, and it does a great job of keeping the TD cockpit warm. It doesn't sit on the transmission tunnel, so there's a bit more room. If I want to start the Canadian prairie British sports car season at the end of February and end it in late November, I need a real heater, and this does it.

And to add to the non-stock nature of the operation, if I've got the hood or hardtop on and the windshield fogs up, I've got a palm-sized 12-volt fan-driven defroster/heater that I hang over the choke knob and point towards the windscreen. That way I've got heat to the screen and heat to my feet - almost like a real car.

I know that none of its concours, but it sure does work.

Dave Jorgensen

...i used a common North American 'Harrison' heater I found for $ ok....keeps my left knee warm...

gblawson(gordon- TD27667)

If you want something close to original ignore this post. It's a Mojave heater from Flex-a-lite. Works great and really tucks out of the way.

Mort 1950 TD1851 Möbius

I have the Arnolt heater in my car. Well it will be some day! lol... It was with the car in the early 60's. Here is the link to the restore job I did on it.. I did black, probably not original but it turned out good in my opinion.

RK Rich

I don'tknow of it is of any interest here but I noticed a friend of mine installed a heater in his model A Ford 4 door . He was very satisfied with the performance even in the Canadian cold winters.
he bought it at Snyders Antique Auto Parts in Ohio 3 months a go for the price $149,95 ( 12 volt ) dimensions 7" square
Gerard Hengeveld

...I also switched to a newer 12V motor.....

gblawson(gordon- TD27667)


Smith's heater for sale on ebay.

Item # 160735687936

James Neel TD28423

Gordon.."keeps your LEFT?? knee warm.

I have an Arnolt in the keeps my right knee warm

I have the Mojave in the TD and it keeps the whole car warm. Should have swapped them With the Mojave I can't pull the dipstick out of the tranny. With the 5 speed in the TF there isn't any dipstick or top fill to mess with.

Thanks for all the suggestions. Very much appreciated. I am unable to work on the car at present, due to the building of our new house on the farm. All the housewares are stored in my shop and leaves me no room to work on the cars. Haven't touched them since July of last year. Hopefully two more months and we'll move in. Meantime, I stock up on needed parts I run across, which, fortunately, I don't need many. This matching number TF will not be concourse, but pretty close. Even though I'm building it as a driver, I would like to keep it as close to original as possible. Thanks again for your help. PJ

Car before restoration. Looks good in photo, but a lot of hidden issues that needs correcting. PJ

P. Jennings

James, I checked the ebay heater out. I would like one in a little better shape. Thanks anyway. I have a late 40s heater on the shelf and it would fit, it's just not British. PJ
P. Jennings

Well, it looks like I bought this. I went with the ebay heater. Needs restoring, but it's a Smiths heater, which I believe is period correct for the TF. If not, it's close enough and British made. I would think it would be exceptable. PJ

P. Jennings

Mort, do you happen to have any pictures of the back side of the flex a lite heater you have? I am talking about the engine side showing the connectors. Or maybe you fastened it to the bottom of the tool box as well.
Thanks, Jim
Jim Merz

I found out that this type was used in a TR 3, but the core seems thicker. Not able to verify it was used in a MG T series though. Here's one mounted in a TR-3. Appears to be facing down? PJ

P. Jennings

You can't really see it all that well Jim but the unit has a flanged top. Yes it's held to the tool box only. I went with this on the TD because the firewall already had the two exit holes as seen. Only thing I don't like is I have to take the screws out and push it over to check the transmission oil as the there isn't enough room to get the dipstick out.



The TR heater is mounted correctly, you open the doors to allow more air to circulate through the core. That is exactly the way my heater is installed.

James Neel TD28423

Thanks for the picture LaVerne. I guess I'll pass on pursuing that one. With a RHD and having to move the heater to check the trans oil, it's more than I would accept.
PJ, your installation picture looks to be the optimum. The heater is mounted up out of sight and out of the way for all considetations. I'd like to know more about the mounting and plumbing if you have it. It would seem like you would get the best circulation of the warm air too.
Jim Merz

I just saw your post. LaVerne's set up is just like mine. I have a 5 speed conversion so I don't have to move the heater. Mine is mounted the same way as LaVerne's.

Mort 1950 TD1851 Mobius

When I can get the car back out in the daylight, probably another month, I'm going to see if it will mount like the TR heater. The TR seems to have heaver brackets for the under dash cover than the MG, so if it will fit, I might have to fabricate brackets that will disappear above the original TF brackets and mount with original bolt locations. I won't modify an original part or drill holes where they weren't originally located. PJ
P. Jennings

Lavern, Who made your shut off valve? Who sells it? PJ
P. Jennings

PJ, the heater in my 54 TF is exactly as yours,even the color. Looks to be the same original color as the frame for the top.(pinkish beige)
There is an "L" plate so the heater faces toward the back of the car, not down. Interesting note, the bracket was painted the same color as the original green dash color.

Dan H.
Dan Hanson

Thanks Dan for your input. Do you happen to have a photo of your heater installed? Would love to see it. I found out that these Smith heaters were put in many British cars, just slightly modified for an individual model. PJ
P. Jennings

Picked up the valve at NAPA PJ. Have one in the TF as well. Seem to remember it was made for a Toyota. Relatively cheap..under $15.00 I think. If you want I can dig out a part number for you.


LaVerne I think it is very helpful to have that P/N number from NAPA At least for me it is . Thanks in advance,
Gerard Hengeveld

pj, moss sells heater valves originally used in the TR's. i used Tr fitting to pass through the firewall. regards, tom
tom peterson

TF 6688 came from the German dealer with a Bosch heater with 3 speed fan, doors and defroster duct outlets.
Works really well even on 30 deg. days

Colin Stafford TF6688

From an email dated 9/11/2003:
I found the box top. The NAPA Part # is 660-1140. Bud
(Jim Merz put me onto that NAPA Toyota valve.)

Bud Krueger

Bud , Thanks for the NAPA number,

Gerard Hengeveld

One other heater to look at if you don't need original is the rear heater from an early Toyota Land Cruiser.

Some on e-bay for $40.
Bruce Cunha

PJ. You asked for a picture of a Smiths heater installed. I have one in my 1952. Here is a photo. I can post one of the bracket if you want.

ACD Davis

PJ Here is a closer photo of the Smiths heater I found.

ACD Davis

Thanks Bud. I knew somebody here gave it to me years ago.

Thanks guys for the various heater images and part number for the Toyota valve. I saved them all! Where did you put the valve control knob, in or under the dash?

Allyn, Did you hook up the demister/defroster ducts to hoses to divert some hot air to the foot wells? I thought that might be a good idea if there's enough room and it doesn't look tacky. PJ
P. Jennings

Just found a couple UK sites where a new matrix/core can possibly be bought for the old round Smith heaters. Company name for one is, Clayton classic cars in the UK. Email I'll check it out later. PJ
P. Jennings

For the TD I Made a little mount under the dash out of some scrap aluminium. Lighter, choke cable for the valve and the 3 speed switch for the motor. Unlike the Arnolt heater in the TF the 3 speeds really make a difference.


Holden vintage supplies complete Clayton heaters.

They are good looking, size seems okay, and they probably work better and remain leakfree better than 60 year old heaters.

I am currently considering whether my financial situation allows for a purchase of one of these.


Jan Kristoffersen

Well, at around $357.67 US, plus shipping, that's a little overboard for me. It is a nice period looking heater though and New at that. PJ

P. Jennings

My Arnolt heater installed in the TD in 1955 has a variable speed fan.
D. Sander

i initially installed a variable speed rheostat on my Smiths heater but found i either wanted it on or off so i replaced the rheostat with a simple vintage on/off switch. for my heater mount i made up mounting board from 3/8 plywood, painted it flat black and hung the heater with adel clamps from the scuttle reinforcing tube. you cannot see the hoses/wiring/switch unless you kneel next to the car to service it. the location does not interfere with the tranny dip stick. i mounted the on off switch on an "L" bracket behind the panel, i pull down for on, push it back up for off..not visible and you cannot knock your knees on it. regards, tom
tom peterson

As did tom, I realized that I never varied the fan speed, always either on or off. I replaced the rheostat with an illuminated on/off switch. The switch and knob for the heater valve control are on a small panel next to the turn signal switch. I also wired thye heater through a separate fuse and relay controlled by the key. Bud

Bud Krueger

A Landrover parts dealer, Jake Wright Limited, main street Burley in Wharfedale, UK offers those round vintage style Clayton heaters for L 209 VAT included, which would be less than L200 w/o the VAT. See
I haven't checked this out... just mulling it over. Better price than Holden or SVC on this -- though SVC competitive on many items. Has anyone on this board dealt with Jake Wright?
Peter Pope

Peter, FYI to print £ hold down the Alt key and press 156 Bud
Bud Krueger

In the early 50s and up to sometime in the 60s, Tudor made a couple car heaters. Here's one and interestingly enough, the Clayton of today is almost identical! Hmmm

P. Jennings

I have a Hupp heater model 356 that was in my TD. I posted last march to ask if anyone had ever heard of it but had no response. It looks basicaly like the Arnolt, same size and configuration, just painted white and silver. I do remember that as a kid it really heated up the inside of the TD.

Rob Welborne

This thread was discussed between 15/02/2012 and 26/02/2012

MG TD TF 1500 index

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