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MG TD TF 1500 - rebuild, waited 25 years


This is my first time so please be gentle. I have a 1952 TD #10443. This was my fathers car that he loved until he died. I was going to restore it when I was 16 but he never had the time to help. To much time at work and just to tired I suppose. The car is mine now and it has sat in his garage and now mine for 25 years.It is is a lot of pieces but they are all there. For what ever reason, I can't keep that car out of my mind. It's now or never so boy do I have a lot of questions to ask over the next couple of years. the one I am most curious about at this time is about the engine. My father had it rebuilt and he had said that it only had about 2000 miles on it. Not having to rebuild the engine will save me a lot of money but I ubderstand if it has to be done. I know I will have to replace some gaskets and such. I am most worried about the rings and cylinders. Should I be? I always dreamed of driving this car one day, I know it would have meant a lot for my dad to know this beautiful car was on the road with the top down again. I plan on doing a top notch rebuild so give it to me strait gentlemen. Thanks in advance for all your help. This is going to be FUN!

Rob Welborne

Rob -- Congratulations on undertaking this task. We will be here for all your questions!

As to the engine,first does it turn over (with a crank)?
If so you could use it as is(at least for a while). You said you wanted to do a "top notch" rebuild, in that case you probably want to replace the rings and possibly the bearings. The valves should have survived but the valve springs should be checked for thier pressure.

Be sure you have a few books with information on these little beauties. The most valuable will probably be the Workshop Manual. If your Dad didn't have one there are reproductions available which are quite good. The pictures came out very good.

Keep us up to date!
R. K. (Bob) Jeffers

To Rob Welborne - Like you Rob, I am very new to this "thread" caper - but I am amazed at the scope of knowledge and experience willingly made available to us newbies. I did a nut and bolt job on a '52 TD in Melbourne about 12 years ago, and I would just say to you - do not cut corners. Do each aspect of the restoration/renovation methodically, because it is so hard to go back and undo when, later, you wish you had been more thorough. Prime example - I did not pay due attention to the secure mounting of the door hinges; now, I face the prospect of taking out interior trim, hoodframe mountings,etc. to try to rectify. I have been putting it off for 10 years! Good luck. John Hall.
John Hall

Rob... welcome... what an adventure your starting out on...
Before turning over the engine...pull the plugs and shoot some penetrating oil into the cylinders...wait a few days and do it again... then some normal oil. Then use the hand crank...The odds are really good that you won't have to change rings or bearings or springs. If it has 2000 miles on it since rebuild it should be fine.
Change all fluids and check the crankcase could pull the pan and check for 'chunks' but again...2000 miles since rebuild is a bonus.
Mine sat for 26 years and I changed oil, primed the oil pump, freed a stuck valve and it has been running for 11,000 miles.
You will probably have to rebuild the master cylinder and wheel might want to put new brake lines replace the rubber brake hoses (3) as they can look great from the outside, but be rotted inside. Clean out the gas might take it off and have it sealed at a rad shop... blow out fuel line...rebuild/clean gunk out of carbs.... check that your fuel pump is not full of gunk...(new ones are pretty cheap)... buy a battery...check electricals, etd.
If you have a place to post photos that would help us respond to some of your questions.
Check the archives for some of the FAQ, it is years of answers....
Have fun....
(Enter your car numbers at: )
gblawson - TD#27667

Hi Rob,

When restoring these cars,take copious photograghs before you take anything off the car to restore.It is amazing how the memory of detail can be lost by anyone in 3 months!
Secndly,seek out a local MG Club that has members with your model and in interest in restoration.Joining a Club will inevitably save you time,money,and wasted effort.Like minded members give tremendous encouragement to each other in reaching high restoration standards.


Rob. Grantham
Rob Grantham


Welcome, you are about to embark on a very enjoyable undertaking and you have come to the right place for assistance. Great advice given above and the pictures advice is really good. Once into the project you will wonder why you didn't take more pics of the small details or take measurements from various points. Always a good idea!

Another invaluable resource is the TD restoration guide by Horst Schach as it has many pictures and excellent commentary.

Once you have started you may wish to view what others have done and many of us have put together pictures on the web.

Gord Lawson has a very informative site at

I have a small site at

and Bud Krueger has a site at

There are many more available and I am sure that they will add their respective sites as this post continues. Most areas of concern will have coverage on a web site so just jump in and don't be afriad to ask a lot of questions.

Brian Smith

Welcome to our little hobby/sickness! You have come to the right place...sooo much help here from those that have been there, done that. I for one could have never done it without the guidance of those on this BBS!
If you have joined as a "member" you will have access to the archive files. (i am showwing as non-member as I am on a loaner computer).
Best advise...likr Rob said:
Join the locall MG club
Get the manuals
Check the archives from this BBS
Buy a digi camera
If you have not seen it check out this site & bookmark it:
Order parts catlogs from Moss & Abingdon Spares (lots of good exploded views that will help you identify parts if you have boxes of them that were taken off the car years ago!
Study study study and if you need help THIS IS the right place to find it!
Cheers & welcome aboard have found a place full of people from around the world that will be nearly as excited as you to have another "T" on the road again!
David 55 TF1500 #7427

David Sheward

Welcome Rob!

You've come to the right place. This site and a couple of other references will have you well on the way to putting your TD back on the road.

I would start with the TD/TF workshop manual, Horst Schach's book above, and the TSO cdrom. With those publications and this site, you'll have huge wealth of information.

On your engine, if it is free and was stored well, it should be ok. You will want to check it out to make sure. 2000 miles means the engine is broken in. When it is out of the car, you can check the condition of the cam, timing chain, tappets, valves, rocker shaft, and oil pump for peace of mind.

Enjoy the next few years! Don't get in a hurry and take a break now and then. Time away from the project is good once in a while.

Best of luck!
Evan Ford - TD 27621

Oh ...and most important ...send your picture in to Gordon L. "Photos" link soon or he will sneak down over the border and cover you car with maple syrpe making it a sticky mess ...ehhh.
David Sheward

Hi Rob

A really great project.

The TD is actually a ratehr easy car to work on. Others may not quite agree, but there are no real special tools needed for most of the work. Almost everything can be takenapart in smaller units and worked on.

If the car is already apart, take pictures of everything, prior to dissassembling.

A digital camera works well, I make folders on my computer for each part.

As for the engine

With that low milage, there should not be any big issues with the internal systems.

Only issue would be that oil tends to develop acids with use (one of the primary reasons to do oil changes). Over time, these can have effect on the bearings but I would not expect any significant issues.

As mentioned, add a little oil to the cylinders, oil the valve train and see if it turns by hand. If it does, should be ok for running.

Carbs have cork gaskets that are probably dry. They will probably drip when first filled but may reseal by themselves. I would pull the tops of the floats off and check for gunk in the bowls.

Fuel line should be cleaned out, I would also rinse the fuel tank if it had any fuel setting in it.

If it was dry, I would recommend an inspection and then a coating with some of the tank sealers that are sold for this purpose.

Have fun, take your time and ask questions.

Bruce Cunha

Rob - There were numerous suggestions to get a workshop manual and Horst Schach's book on restoration of the TD and I will second those suggestions. The shop manual can be purchased from Moss Motors or Abingdon Spares and BritBooks for Horst Schach's book. In my opinion, these books are mandatory, not optional for doing anything on the TD. You re also going to need an education of the fasteners used on the T series MG and the tools necessary to deal with them. You will hear that the T series cars use Whitworth fasteners and you will need Whitworth wrenches to work on the car. The first is not relly true (British Standard Fine fasteners are used on the frame and chassis and metric and British Standard Pipe fasteners are used in the engine and the second is true (all of he original fasteners have Whitworth heads on them). If you will e-mail me at the address above, I'll send you information on the Whitworth system of fasteners and wrenches, plus a number of charts that will help you through the maze of different fasteners used on the cars (if your car is a late 52, it will even have some standard American fasteners used on the rear axle and for the lug nuts on the wheels).

There are numerous other things that will come up as you work throught he restoration that you,nor those of us on this BBS haven't thought of at this point. Don't be shy about asking about anything you don't understand. Nobody on this board will ridicule you for being confused by things British about the car or things that you don't know - all of us started out the same way except for the few Brits who frequent the board, they at least understood the terms used in the shop manual). Cheers - Dave
David DuBois


Welcome aboard. Great advice above, you might find my site helpful.

I'm right at the 'get the tub and install it on the car' stage. As such, I'm striping chrome and prepping pieces for re-chroming or paint. I have my custom made wiring loom on order, and while I was considering moving my car to my company shop, I've decided instead to finish it at home.

Dave Braun

Rob - From one 'southerner' to another, welcome. FWIW, I have found this to be a great site with excellent input and always correct advice and most times very good opinions. I too am a novice, but I would tell you to trust what is said here. I can't offer much in technical, but would like to put you on to this fellow MMMGTCARS@yahoo. com , his name is Mick. He has helped me and several others of this group with NOS and original parts that just can't hardly be found anywhere. He is also not the most expensive nor the cheapest either. I think many in this group have used him so check it out, he has always had what we needed. sara
sara d


Your story is at the same time touching and exactly my own. My Dad had a 1950 MG TD which he also loved until he died. My brother and I almost sold the car, but our wives convinced us otherwise, and we did a ground-up restoration (of course, BEFORE we found out about this BBS and the great people who frequeht it!). Last Sunday, the car won Best in Class at a British Car Day Show we have attended for 7 years, but never won before because we could never "beat" the shiny black MG TD MkII with lots of chrome that always showed up too! The difference this time was that my youngest son, just turned 21, not only took the car out by himself--a maiden voyage of sorts--but detailed it to perfection! Better than even my brother or I have ever done.

The moral of the story: restore your Dad's car. I guarantee you he is going to be there with you all the way!

By the way: please send me your mailing address offline. I am going to send you an extra copy I came across recently of the official shop manual which you can have gratis. It is to be your inspiration, and to honor all these great guys on this BBS!

Jeff Brown

This thread was discussed between 24/09/2006 and 26/09/2006

MG TD TF 1500 index

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