I have owned my TC for 23 years and the car has never really had any
brakes. I think a stick dragging on the pavement would have been more
effective than my old TC's binders. So I set out to fix things this fall,
and below I will go through the problems that made my TC brakes so pitiful.
TC brake shoe has an offset in the metal part of the shoe. The reason being
is that the shoes overlap on a post at the bottom of the backing plate. You
must notice this and make sure your brake shoes are assembled properly.
Don't ask how I know this! Also, TC drums are pressed steel. Not cast iron
like a real car. The thickness is about 3/16" or so. Mine had been turned
twice so the metal was probably 1/8" thick or thereabouts. I could feel the
drums "bell" if I applied the brakes hard, which I had to do with regularity
when I drove the MG. Also the rear shoes were oil-soaked and the fronts were
silicone-soaked. So driving my TC had become like ice racing, just going to
the 7-11. Downhill runs were to be avoided!
The new shoes from Moss looked great. The metal part of the shoes needs
to be just under .120" thick at the point where they slip over the
aforementioned post. Any more and the retaining horseshoe clip will either
not fit into the groove of the post or if you do force it on, the shoes may
bind. Moss's otherwise excellent new shoes were .137" thick and had to be
milled down to fit. I contacted Moss and they went out of their way to
quickly investigate the issue, take steps to remove defective stock, and
contact their supplier in the UK. I was pleased with their actions to
correct the problem.
brake drums were dangerously useless. They are original to the car, which I
believe has much less than 50,000 original miles. The last set of shoes I
put on were relined and had brass wire in the material, which I'm thinking
must have been some type of truck lining that contributed to the
ineffectiveness overall. I took advantage of Moss' recent 18%-off sale and
purchased their very nice ALFIN drums. The new Moss shoes matched the arc of
the new drums, as the new drums and shoes were to original specification.
"TCs Forever" by Mike Sherrell, you will see his drawings on pages 106-107.
The drawings portray one of the reasons the TC rear axle can weep oil at the
hub bearing carrier. When bolted up, the wire wheel hub extension surface
should just contact the outer race of the axle bearing, keeping everything
solidly in position. Some w/w hub
extensions have clearance here that can
allow the bearing carrier (and seal) to flex at the bearing, leading to oil
leakage to the brakes and possibly axle breakage — especially under hard
cornering loads. "TCs Forever" covers this extensively, and all TC owners
should refer to this book for the repair technique.
the way, sealed bearings are fine here, but they seal to keep dirt out, not
oil in. The wire wheel hub to bearing fit was good on my car, so the big fix
for my TC hopefully will be the new hub seal nuts offered by Bob Granau in
Ontario. Bob is a machinist who makes special parts for T-series and MMM
cars. His seal nuts replace the stock large castellated hub nut with a fully
machined 2" nut with an integrated modern seal. When installed, the axle is
slid through the nut as normal, but the final position where the seal will
contact the axle is made smooth by installing and accurately positioning a
The sleeve slides right down the axle and may need a little bearing
Lock-tite on the cleaned axle in order to keep it from shifting. By using
grease on the sleeve and inserting and removing the axle, you can see the
sleeve's position in the seal. See the photographs for clarification.
Last, at least for the purpose of this article, was the full flushing of
the silicone brake fluid and an overhaul of the wheel cylinders and master
cylinder. Some of you will remember that silicone brake fluid was all the
rage back in the late 70's. I switched back to Castrol LMA years ago, and
it's all I'll use. Check with your NAPA store as they may carry Castrol
brake fluid. They also should have assorted wheel cylinder cups that,
although universal, look just like the Lockheed parts and are much less
dear. NAPA #3023 for 7/8" and #1499 for 1".
In addition, I had Bob Granau install new machined stub axles into my
original front steering knuckles. This I'll cover next time. If you google "MG TC Hub Nuts," you will find a
way to modify your original castellated
nuts if you are so inclined. Also, see:
www.mg-tabc.org/t-list-gall-class.htm for Bob's parts and services list.