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MG TD TF 1500 - Stiff TF Choke

The choke on my TF needs considerable force to pull it out. When the cable is disconnected from the carbs it slides easily. I can't find anything in the linkage to cause snagging when the interconnecting rod is disconnected from the jet adjusting levers. Both levers move smoothly individually, but when the system is fully assembled the snagging and stiffness returns. Could this be caused by the combined restistance of the two return springs, and is this a common fault in the system>
John James

John - Were the cork jet seals in your carbs replaced with 'O' rings? If so the material in the 'O' rings has probably swelled, causing the stiffness in the pull of the cable. The other things to look at is the lubrication of the inner cable for the choke and if sombody has replaced the inner cable with a solid wire instead of a flexable cable. The lubrication is easy to cure, pull the inner cable out and grease it. If the inner cable was replaced with solid wire, get a bicycle hand brake cable, remove the inner cable and solder it in place of the solid wire on your knob assembly.
Good luck - Dave
David DuBois

Thanks Dave
I've only had the car for one week. It's service record shows the carbs were rebuilt in April 1987, so I presume cork seals are fitted. The inner cable moves freely and after a bit of excercising this morning, the choke knob is much freerer. The car has spent most of it's life immobile, (16500 miles since new) so I am expecting more niggling little problems. I spent all of yesterday (successfully) fixing the dead wipers, but in the process I disturbed the (grommetless) speedo cable, which now clicks away merrily above15mph. There's plenty of spare length as it slides freely in and out of the bulkhead hole. Presumably it is a matter of trial and error getting it positioned under the dash without making a noise.
John James

I have the same problem, I have fitted new carbs to negate the 'o' ring problem and have fitted a new choke cable from Moss. All work perfectly when not linked up. I never had this problem when the original cable was fitted. I suspect that the inner cable is not sufficiently flexible and binds at the point where the cable passes into the outer sleeve and a more flexible inner will solve the problem. Has anyone else had problems with that type of Moss cable? The Moss cable does not have the ratchet at the top as was provided with the original type cable, to turn the knob and lock the choke out but is only a simple pull cable. Are there any other suppliers of more original cables?

Peter Falconer


The combined return springs can be quite stiff for the choke cable to pull against. Many of us depress and hold the accelerator pedal while pulling on the choke. This greatly reduces the resistance you must pull against.

My standard starting procedure is to place the transmission in neutral, NOT depress the clutch (to minimize drag on the engine), then pull the starter until I see a reading on the oil pressure gauge. This confirms operation of the oil pump and provides some internal lubrication of the engine. Next, I depress and hold the accelerator pedal, set the choke, release the accelerator pedal, turn the key to energize the ignition system and fuel pump, then pull the starter for a second time. Most often the engine fires right up and the oil pressure rises instantly. This may sound complicated, but it is far simpler to do than to describe!

Welcome to the group!

Larry Shoer


Reference your clicking speedo cable, this could be the same problem that came up a few weeks ago. There is a small circlip which holds the inner cable in place in the outer. This can wear away and allow the inner to jump around and disengage from the speedo. This can produce a clicking. Is your speedo indicator needle behaving erratically? The condition of the circlip can be easily checked by unscrewing the cabble from the speedo. Carefull though that you don't drop the circlip as you disengage the cable.

Bill McGee

Thank's everybody.

I will add: "Press The Accelerator When Pulling Out The Choke" to my before-start check list.

I have cured the noisy speedo cable by lubricating and rerouting it under the scuttle. During a short test drive it remained silent. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
John James

Prior to setting up the carbs, I disconnected the choke cable, jet levers and removed the dashpots to check the position of the jet in the orifice Disconnected, the choke cable and rear lever moved freely, but the front lever was very stiff. A few drops of 3 in1 oil down the jet has cured the stiffness. Is this indicative of cork seals? I don't want to dismantle the carbs unless I have to.
John James

A word of warning. If your spedo cable passes through the firewall near the starter switch, and is of the original steel outer covering be certain to not let it touch the battery side of the starter contactor. Mine did. The result was battery current passed through the cable to the spedo and eventually went to ground through the tach melting the return hair spring in the tach and resulting in a $100+ rebuild for the tach. If your contactor has the original rubber covers on the connections you are probably safe.

Safety Fast

53 TD
J. M. Haskins

This thread was discussed between 23/09/2003 and 23/10/2003

MG TD TF 1500 index

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