The MG Sports Sedan - Mechanicals

Clutch
Engine & Carburetors
Chassis & Suspension
Performance
Hydrolastic Tools
Credits

Clutch

The only tool I found you really need on the 1100 would be the clutch/flywheel removal tool and it is not very expensive. Buy a new one instead of getting one that is used and might have been abused by some dimwit. You can make some of these tools but that's a job and you can buy them for a couple of bucks. I would recommend buying the clutch tool new since many used ones were abused or stretched by flywheels that "climbed up" the tapered tail of the crankshaft. Occasionally you get a stubborn clutch/flywheel assembly that has climbed up the taper on the tail of the crankshaft and they can be frustrating to get off. You should resist the temptation to use heat from a small "bernz-o-matic" torch to heat the hub as this is only done as a last resort. Usually a few blows from a mallet will do the job by tapping on the hub if the tool doesn't cause the whole thing to jump off the crank. Be very careful when removing the clutch/flywheel assembly as your feet must be clear since the whole thing is an interference fit and it can leap off and land on your feet and it hurts as it's heavy! Usually it springs off with a bang as it releases. Sometimes it doesn't. It depends on how tight it was on the tail-shaft of the crank. I don't mean to make a big deal over this but I could never figure out how to do it until I actually got the tool. I tried and tried but without the tool, you won't be able to remove it. You should also purchase the big socket needed to remove the flywheel nut. I forget the size but I think it's 1 and 1/2 inches. Again a phone call to Doug will help here. A good breaker bar and torque wrench you cannot do without. Otherwise all the tools are domestic SAE and nothing is metric which is nice. So save all your box and open end wrenches and sockets just in case you thought you had to get metric tools.

BTW, you can change the clutch on the 1100 without taking out the engine! It's not difficult. The first time you do it is always a little bit slower but it's probably not much more than a 3 or 4 hour job providing you have all the parts at hand, and jacks and tools, and you proceed logically and don't rush and the weather co-operates unless you're working indoors.

Clutch adjustment must be followed according to the book after a new clutch is installed. You should also always adjust the clutch or check the adjustment. Read the book by Stone.

With your MG 1100 there are some other things to consider that can go bad but once you R & R (remove and repair) they are good to go. The clutch slave cylinder sometimes can leak. Just put in a rebuild kit. Also the clutch master can do the same. With this you have the choice to overhaul or replace. You can also replace the slave clutch cylinder but I've rebuilt them.

 

Engine & Carburetors

If you buy an 1100 and the hydrolastic is in good shape and it is drivable, I would do the following right away. Order a complete set of new motor mounts to have for spares and one day change them all. Also get what is referred to as a new "sandwich" mount. This goes between the remote gear-change housing and the differential. It has rubber bonded to it and sometimes can fail and when it does you need that part on hand rather than have to wait for it. Other than that you should keep oil and air filter handy as well as points and condenser sets and a new set of spark plugs.

For sure you want to change the gas filter and all filters when you get this car as well as the anti-freeze and you might even want to drain the gas tank and put in fresh gas.

If you have never had SU carburetors you must top them off with clean lightweight engine oil. Try 10-W30. I know an SU carburetor specialist near me, and he recommends ATF (automatic transmission fluid). You won't see that in the book but he says I should run my mini that way. Stick with the oil for now. I haven't tested the ATF yet.

I hope this car you are looking at is in good shape and won't need too much work. Remember to change all the old fluids before you have the temptation to rev her up and down the street. And do a tune up including valve lash adjustment and timing even if it's only quick and dirty timing as set forth in the Stone book. The 1100 is so easy to work on you don't really need a timing lamp. You can loosen the distributor pinch bolt clamp then twist the distributor and get it almost spot-on while it's running.  The engine will tell you which running is best. Then follow up with the fine adjustment vernier control. Once you get it right, you can wind the piss out of it.

If you ever put a 1275 in it you have a few more ponies under the hood.

You can get large 1 and 1/2 inch SU carburetors and a special manifold for this car but you would have to support it with a cam change and while you were at it you might as well do some head work and polish and port the head at least. A competition head gasket and mechanical advance distributor would then be in order and you would have to add an extractor exhaust with a 3 into 2 into one collector arrangement which is less back pressure and more HP! But if you do that you should pull the engine and install a competition oil pickup so when you make hard turns and the oil flows away from the standard pickup your engine doesn't suffer from oil starvation. And while you're at it and have the engine out, perhaps check everything else.

Fuel pumps usually work fine unless the car has been sitting for a long time. If it won't run and you don't hear the fuel pump tick, use a small or moderate sized wooden handled screwdriver or soft mallet to tap it lightly and that jars the points to life. Before you do this pull the power lead off the pump and put it to a small test lamp or a voltmeter and then the other side to ground. Don't short the lead or you'll blow the fuse. Hopefully it will blow and not anything else. I don't like to spark anything back near the gas tank. If you don't have 12 volts turn off the ignition and check the fuse. If the fuse has 12 volts continuity then take some mild abrasive like low grit sand paper and clean those stupid little contacts where the fuse sits and polish the brass on the old Lucas fuses as well. A car that has sat for years will have this brass or copper contact covered with dirt and electro-chemical deposits that cause enough resistance to stop the flow of electrons. Careful on the little contacts in the fuse box. You might have to bend them in a bit to make good contact with the fuse after you polish them clean.

For an interesting discussion of some carburetor and fuel system issues, click here to go to some articles on Mini Mania.

For some great information on SUs, click here for the Hitachi-SU Tech Pages. Although the focus is on the Hitachi-SUs, the information is still extremely relevant.

 

Chassis and Suspension

Follow the maintenance procedure in the Stone book and get a grease gun if you don't have one. For sure you must lube the moving parts for the handbrake cables and pivot points or tracks for the cables.

Your speedometer cable can sometimes give up the ghost if it gets very cold. If you have a split cable, you break it open by unscrewing it and put only the recommended lube down there. I think it's some light oil but check the book.

On your C.V. joints (constant velocity) make sure the boots have no holes or tears or rips and that they are fastened securely with either wire or plastic clips. Joints are expensive. If a boot is torn or damaged, remove the driveshaft and clean the joint out in a parts washer carefully. Try not to dislodge the retaining balls that hold the joint together. Get a new boot which comes with a grease pack and new retainers and fill the new boot with grease after installing it and you lock it up with the clips provided. You may be able to save the joint as the grease not only provides lube, it keeps the grit out provided there is still grease left to do so. The longer you drive with a damaged boot the greater the chance of the joint being ruined.

If you hear a rat a tat tat or tap tap tap while applying the steering to full lock and a moderate amount of throttle this indicates either one of two things: a joint that is worn, a joint that is without lube or both. The chances of you saving this joint are questionable because I really don't remember if it is worthwhile or not to attempt to repack this joint. You could ask Doug at MINI CITY.

The hydrolastic suspension on these cars was usually trouble free but they are so many years older now. It's hard to say how much longer they can survive. I saw my first 1100 in 1969 and was so impressed with the ride and road holding. The only disadvantage as I recall was the non-synchronized first gear. A minor disadvantage but that was remedied with the Austin America with its all synchronized gearbox.

BTW, you can splice these lines with compression fittings and I did and added some heavy duty flexible lines which run from just in front of the rear sub-frame all the way back to the schraeder valves which mean you can drop the rear suspension without de-pressurizing.

I acquired the pump from a fellow locally who loaned it to me. The locking slide is f#&ked up on the pump side so eventually I may devise something to repair that. The vacuum side doesn't work at all. Even if you don't have a pump you could improvise one or get enough fluid in there to get it to someone who does air conditioning work on autos and have them evacuate the system and pump up your system. You should be able to do that if you explain to them what you are trying to do in advance so they understand.

 

Performance

In 1972 I met a guy who had beefed up his America and blown it up. He did everything to the engine but balance the engine. So if you're going to go whole hog you can but do it right and have a machine shop that has a solid professional reputation do it up. The last thing you want to do is blow up the engine - especially after spending all that money on extra ponies!

If you want originality you can keep the old filter setup but I would buy the spin-off filter adapter and discard the canister setup. It's so much easier and not messy like the old canister trying to get the tiny gasket lined up in the groove and seated.

Hydrolastic Tools

This courtesy of MG1100 list member Todd Miller:
Click here to see a picture w/ labels, of the fitting that the local British shop uses to pump up hydro cars.  This fitting fits the end of the hose on a grease gun, has a bleeder and fits the valve on our suspensions.  It is available at "NAPA" or anywhere tire valve equipment is sold.  The fitting is originally designed to fill farm tractor tires w/ water. The end of the fitting that normally attaches to a garden hose has to be modified by brazing a fitting that will screw onto the hose of a grease gun.  The fitting sells at NAPA for about $18.  

Todd has used it, and says it works great.

Credits

I want to thank Rich Ehrlich for most of this information. He is a great guy and a very big help.

I would also like to thank Todd Miller for his information on the hydrolastic fitting.