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MG TD TF 1500 - Oil leak from steering

I just replaced the two rubber seals at the ends of the steering rack housing. I added oil through the smaller end of each seal with my oil can. I now have oil leaking out where the steering column enters the steering rack housing. There are no oil leaks from the rubber seals. I am assuming that I added too much oil and when the level drops to a normal level, the leaking will stop. Am I Ok leaving it like it is or should I do something? The oil leaking is not a problem right now, but I don't want to leave it and have a larger problem occur. Help please. Ron
Ron Coates

Ron,I think I did almost the same thing. I added heavy oil to my steering rack but it leaked from the same place you describe. I assumed I overfilled it and eventually it stopped dripping. I think I pressurised the leaks by turning the wheels and squeezing the accordian type rubber seals. The only fixes are to wait as I did or replace the worn out felt seals on the steering pinion shaft with new felt seals or more desirable rubber "O" rings.
Jim Merz

Hi Ron - I've commented on this 'phenomenon' in recent threads. There is supposed to be a felt washer inside the housing to stop such leaks but in my 30 odd years experience it seldom works. The bellows slightly pressurise the oil in normal use and it escapes past this 'joke' seal making it difficult to keep the recommended amount in. If I were you I'd let it find it's own level and the leak ceases - there will still be plenty of oil to lubricate the rack and pinion. To replace the seal is difficult with no guarantee of success - a job best left until other work is being done viz. engine/rack removal. Just squirt some oil in 1 or 2 times a year !

Do others agree ?

Cheers John.
J.C Mitchell

This seal/leakage is also still on my list of unsatisfied issues. I replaced the feltring by an O-ring but the drips kept coming whenever I turned the wheel. (the car is still in restoration stage in my workshop). I let the remaining oil out and it was about 200 cc whereas the manual says 375 cc. So, I gave up all the goodies of the pumping-oil-sound and replaced it with todays special rack and pinion grease. Given the low position of the seal, I cannot understand how this could NOT leak.
Regards, Huib Bruijstens
Huib Bruijstens

Huib - I am going to do the same if it continues to drip. It is not a simple job to replace the seal and grease is a simple alternative. What is the name of the special grease and how much did you put in? I wouldn't think you would want to add enough to even partially fill the rubber dust seals. Ron
Ron Coates

Strangely, I am experiencing almost the same thing. In the morning, my rack & pinion is extremely tight and I have trouble turning the steering wheel. After a few minutes, it is much better, but the bottom line is that it needs lubricating.

According to the WSM, the procedure is to "give up to 10 strokes of the grease gun filled with oil". and according to the lubricant chart, that oil (not grease) should be 90 weight (see P.2, sched B) and this seems awfully heavy.

If I recall, somewhere on this BB, a much lighter oil was reccommended, and that seems to make sense. Ergo ~ the lighter the oil, the more likely it is to completely lubricate the rack & pinion but will probably leak from the boots (seals) sooner than later.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qu.
Gordon A. Clark

hi Ron,
it is "Penrite Steering box lubricant". The stuff looks like an oily grease, it is very soft. So, I trust this will also kind of float whilst steering movement but it certainly will not pass that seal as easy as the oil does.
I am not yet the road,sothe real proof is still to come. Greetings, Huib
Huib Bruijstens

Thanks, Huib,

Sounds like a plan, but I don't know of any distribution of Penrite products in Canada.

Oh well, what's one more research project?

Gord Clark
Gordon A. Clark

Classic Auto Lubes
12803 CR 1222
Tyler, Tx 75709
Ph: 903-561-4858
Fax: 903-561-7177


gordon lawson - TD 27667

Thanks Huib
I checked the link for Penrite classic lubes provided by Gordon Lawson and the only gearbox lube I could see - Steering Box Lube - is recommended for classic steering boxes, but not recommended for rack and pinion steering. Was this the grease you were referring to? You mentioned in your original note that it was 'todays special rack and pinion grease'. It sounds like this website for classic lubricants is not the one. Ron
Ron Coates

ron, i recommend contacting classic auto lubes. the guy is a great guy. excellent service and he would be able to advise about the penrite product line. he is an authorized penrite dealer. (he sent my stuff before i even had a chance to send him $$. a great guy. regards, tom
tm peterson

hi Ron and Gord,
Some time ago when I went for parts to my supplier 'Anglo Parts" ( a Belgium company with sites in Netherlands, France Italy ) they referred this Penrite stuff. First I insisted on using the MG manual recommanded Hypoid oil but that gave me the leaking experience as described before. The Anglo Parts guy ( the also maintain and restore classic MG cars) told me they always used this Penrite stuff. I did not check with Penrite myself since I was happy with the name: steering box lubricant.
Regards, Huib
Huib Bruijstens

This thread was discussed between 10/07/2006 and 23/07/2006

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