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MG TD TF 1500 - Timing Chain Tic ?

A little bavkground before the question. This car was restored and the engin rebuilt over 10 years ago. All the PO could tell me was that he ran Castrol 20-W50 oil. The engin starts and runs well. I have retimed it and rebuilt the lower end of the carbs to stop gas drips. She shows a very small amount of blue (oil) smoke for the in the first few minutes after start-up. Believe it or not no oil drips front or rear but a little seepage below the front seal. Never enough to make a spot on the floor. Compression unknown, runs and pulls smoothly under all conditions once warm. Now the question. At start-up I get 60 plus lbs. of oil pressure within about one to two seconds. Valves are immediately quiet. Then after about 15 seconds of running a pronounced tic begins and lasts for about 15 to 20 seconds then fades away. The tic does not happen on a hot or warm start. Am I correct in thinking it is the timing chain tightener? Is there damage being caused by this? How big a job is it to correct?

Looking forward to some helpful opinions and information

Safety Fast!

1953 MG TD
J. M. Haskins

Hi Jimbo, this tick might be as simple as the cam followers waiting for the oil to get down that far.

On startup there would be some remaining oil from the previous running, which would drain away and then the ticking would commence until the new oil arrives. It does have a way to go.


Paul van Gool

Thanks for the response. You may be correct but after listening many times with the bonnet open the sound seems to come from the bottom front of the engine. Also it is a very clear sharp tap, tap, tap, while the valves are more of a clicking sound.
Wish I could load the TD in one of those steel shipping containers and come to the land down under for a long tour. It would make a great way to spend our winter.

Safety Fast!

1953 MG TD
J. M. Haskins


Firstly the puff of smoke you get on starting up is probably oil that has run down the valve guides while the car has been standing.If the noise you have is the timing chain it is unlikely that you will do any damage, "A" Series engines as fitted to MG midgets, Morris Minors etc.are notorious for wearing their timing chains and rattle happily for hundrdeds of miles without doing damage. It is not a difficult job to remove the timing cover to gain access to the tensioner,but if you decide to replace the timing chain
you will have to remove the sump. Should you decide to do this it is advisable to clean the gauze oil filter at the same time.The least number of times you remove the sump on XPAG engines the better as the threads are easily stripped.

H.E.W. Walker

This thread was discussed between 23/01/2004 and 27/01/2004

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