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MG TD TF 1500 - Steering MGT verses MGB

Why is the MGB steering more relaxed than the T series. The TF is so sensitive it's pure work to drive it, as I can not relax for a second. Both rack and pinion steering, but are the teeth in the B rack smaller, making it less sensitive? I loved driving the B, but I'm beginning to hate driving this TF. If it can't be corrected, not sure what I'll do with the car. PJ

When I read you description I thought you could surely not be describing a good TF? I find mine a pleasure to drive. Have you had a chance to drive another TF for comparison? I would be checking tyre pressures, amount of toe-in and steering play to start with.

M Magilton

I agree with Matthew - the TD/TF steering is precise in the very best way. Drive someone else's car and compare - I can hold mine at 65-70 with one hand, comfortably.

You clearly have an issue, because they are sweet cars to drive and steer.

Tom Lange
MGT Repair
t lange

I have both a TD and a BGT. But driving the B is hard work for me, especially at low speed, parking, etc. Whereas the TD is really a joy to drive. So I agree with Matthew and Tom...something could be wrong.

JL Nederhoed

Matthew, there is zero play in the steering, 1/8th toe in and new tires, 165R15s. The steering is a little stiff though. There's oil in the rack, which I cleaned thoroughly before adding the new oil. It's a bitch to steer at speed and you can't relax for a second. It doesn't wander, it's just super sensitive. I have to do something with it, it's a killer the way it is. PJ

Paul, Compared to my TD, my MGA is a truck. The TD is light, responsive, etc. Nowhere near as you describe. This sounds like your front tires are in a tug-of-war for control.

I'd give one tie rod end a single turn, test, then the other.... The steering wheel will tell you when you've gotten to the sweet spot.

What tyre pressure are you using?
I find between 26 and 28 depending on which tyres I use.
It certainly should not be that sensitive,I have been driving T types for over 40 years(mine and others) and have enjoyed every minute.
Ray TF 2884
Ray Lee raybar2(at) tiscalidotcodotuk

Something is amiss with your TF Paul. The only fault I found with a stock TD or TF handling was the lack of an anti roll bar and the addition of one on the TF is the single best modification I have done to the car. I might suspect the tires you have on the car. Just a thought. I changed out the Michelins on my MGB a few years back because of age to some BF Goodrich the tire shop had available. Same size , but the handing at high speed became a lot less stable. If you have some one near you with some 15" wires you might see if they would let you try them out for just a few miles and see if it makes any difference. I know for me I feel very comfortable with one hand steering in the TF running 80 mph all day long on the interstate. If you want to try something scary..try a TC. It was definatley a two hand butt pucker at 50 mph. It clearly needed some more fine tunning.
L E D LaVerne

Like Tom said try someone else's car,,thats the easiest comparison,,, Second idea is to try someone elses tires and wheels,,
It seems like you have done/checked every thing else.. Have you jacked up the front off the ground and turned the wheels,, they should turn from side to side with no effort.

Steve Wincze

Ray, I'm running 28 lbs pressure. I'll play with the toe in adjustments and see how it goes.

I suspect your steering rack is binding. Perhaps you have a bound up tie rod end. Something is wrong. I prefer the handling of the TD, TF and MGA to the MGB.
Be well,
D. Sander

David, all the tie rod ends are new. When jacked up, the steering seems fairly normal but a tad stiff. Even I don't think so, I'm going to check the damper pad again to see if any binding is at that point. When jacked up, I can grab a wheel and easily turn them with little effort. It's possible the toe in is wrong. PJ

I think its also a matter of what you are used to driving day to day. If that is tractors and big soft saloons with mushy suspension and indirect steering, then a TF will seem very sensitive. Some people find the same thing when they first drive a BMW.
Dave H
Dave Hill

Dave, Funny you say that as you hit the nail right n the head. 4 farm tractors and my Chevy pickup is what I'm running most of the time. We have a Jeep Liberty which is also very quick on the steering, but it's not as sensitive as the TF. The more I think about it, adjusting the toe in could solve the problem. We'll see. PJ


You don't say what tires you have but I would say that 28 is a tad too high. I run 24 - 26 in my TD with Vredesteins and it is a joy to drive.

Good Luck,
James Neel

You didn't mention it, but is this situation something new, or has it always been this way since you put it on the road?

Steve Wincze

Paul, try a lower tire pressure and zero toe-in. Let us know if that feels different.

Bobby Galvez

Steve, it has always been very sensitive since I put it on the road.
Bobby, I'm going to lower the tire pressure and bring the toe in to zero. Be a few days as I don't have the time to work on it right now, but will let you know how it feels afterwards. PJ


I thought initially your description of steering difficulties must have been referring to a TC !!!

My experiences of driving both restored TDs and TFs have always been have most pleasurable. The rack and pinion steering of course is the same set up in each car. The steering should be precise without
any worries about keeping the car on the road.

I gather your original TFs rack and pinion has been totally rebuilt/restored ? New bronze bushes,,rubbers seals,rubber bushes etc. Like others,I feel perhaps the tyre pressure may be too high,or the toe in is suspect.

Rob Grantham
Rob Grantham

I once had a TD that steered the same way and felt a bit tight when jacked up. After a lot of experimenting I found that a 10 thou (or so) shim under on end of the rack mounting point made a world of difference. It should not have needed a shim but it worked. I figured the rack (or the car) had a slight hit at some point - couldn't find any evidence of that but it made sense. I figured if the tight spot was just off the center point you would never be in the self-centering zone. I fixed it with the rack on the car but everything disconnected except the steering column. I moved the steering back and forth until I found the bind and then tried shims until it was free when bolted tight. But that was back when I was a kid and had no money - only time; now I would be inclined to fix the problem not jury-rig it. .
Godspeed in Safety Fast
John Crawley

I'm dropping the tire pressure from 28 lbs to 24 lbs and taking out the toe in, which I believe is too much. I'll let you guys know what the result is. Problem right now is I have a lot of pasture to mow and some other farm chores to tend to before I can get back on the car. Summer here brings many other things that have to be tended to. Oh well, that's life. PJ

OK, I dropped the tire pressure to 24 lbs and took the toe in back to 0. The change in sensitivity was quite a bit for the better. The car handles so much better I was quite impressed.
Found out with a lot of checking, the slight stiffness in the steering wheel is due to an ever so slight bend in the steering shaft, which was probably caused when the car was wrecked many years ago. It causes a bit of binding of the new bushings in the outer casing. I have to pull the shaft to true it up, not a job I'm happy to do, but necessary. Thanks for all the tips on getting this car to steer properly without being so sensitive! PJ

Good news, Paul!


Bobby Galvez

I think I understand what Paul is saying. My TD has much more precise steering than my 67 BGT. The littlest change in the steering wheel of the TD moves the car in that direction. And the steering is much lighter, that is, takes less force than the B.

I run a 15" steering wheel on the B, so that may be a bit of the difference, but i have to be careful switching between the B and the TD. Just a little tweak of the TD wheel and I am starting to change lanes.
Bruce TD4139 Cunha

More good news! While removing the bolts where the steering shaft bolts to the rack, I found that I had tightened one bolt tighter than the other two causing a side load on the shaft. After loosening all three bolts where no pressure was on any of the rubbers, I tried the steering wheel and found out the stiffness was gone. Evidently the extra tightness on one bolt put a side load on the shaft and causes a slight binding on the new bushings. I tightened the three bolts with equal pressure and all the drag went away. These cars never cease to amaze me. I now have a speedometer question, but will put that in another post. Again, thanks for all your help.
Oh yeah, I didn't want to remove the generator to get to the steering shaft bolts, so I crawled under the car and lo and behold they are easily accessible from underneath. Thumbs up! PJ

Paul - I seem to recall that those bolts should be shouldered and the nuts for each would be tightened until they snug up against the shoulders - are you using shouldered bolts on the flange?

DLD, The old original bolts are shouldered but in pretty bad shape, so I'm ordering a new set with locking nuts from Moss. PJ

I am curious to know how you "took the toe in back to 0". What equipment or tool do you have at home to do this? Maybe this is easier than I think.

'54 TF
T Norby

Tom, I have two pieces of 1 inch angle where 6 inches protrudes in front and rear of the wheel. One on each side held tight with bungee cords. Measure in front of the wheels and do the same on the rearward side at the same distance from the wheel and the measurements equal, you have 0 degree toe in. I have an aluminum adjustable tube with a dial mic on one end and place it between the angles for an accurate measurement. A helper makes the job easer, one reading the dial one turning the tie rod. Nothing fancy, but it works. PJ

You do want some toe in, due to the castor angle, the footprints of the tires are not parallel unless there is a marginal toe in. The spec is "nil" what is this, you ask? I generally shoot for 1/8", but up to 1/4 is ok. For some reason, TCs tend to toe out, and I always set them to 1/4" toe in. I set TD/TF at between 1/8 and 1/4 toe in.
Zero toe in will result in steering that darts, grabs and follows road irregularities, and will not self center correctly after a turn.
Be well,
D. Sander

Shortly after buying my '53 td I had my steering lock up due to a loss of two of the three bolts on the steering shaft joint. I was luckily almost stopped at the time!
These are shoulder bolts which should be tightened firmly against the lower piece. In my case the threads were stripped on this piece so nuts and lock washers were used. The nuts just fell off. It is hard to get the nuts tight because of very little clearance the flats jam as you draw up on the bolt. I ground down one side of the nut to get a good fit and tightened
the bolt into the nut then inserted cotter keys as insurance. I believe there is a thread on this subject and it may be worth reading it!

cj schmit

Like many on this Forum Paul, I have a TF and an MGB, and can't agree more with the comments of others.

If you are not the first owner of your TF, its possible that a PO put chassis lube in the steering rack, rather than the recommended 90 wt hypoid oil. Over time, the lube can contribute to stiff steering.

Maybe its time to remove the R&P and give it a good cleaning (dirty job).

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.

Gord Clark

I agree that you need just a little toe-in if using radial tyres.
Dave H
Dave Hill

Put the toe in back to 1/8th. When rebuilding the chassis, I pulled the steering rack and cleaned it out, it had old oil in it, no grease. The stiffness in the steering is due to a bent steering shaft. The car was wrecked many years ago and I believe that's when the shaft got bent. Easy fix. PJ

Took the car on a 100 mile trip to a show, total 200 miles today and it was a joy to drive, stiffness gone, no wandering and a quite relaxing trip running 65 mph. 97 degrees coming home and no fuel or carb issues. I do use non ethanol gas though. PJ

This thread was discussed between 12/06/2016 and 26/06/2016

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