Holmes Racing - MGB MGC classic car racing
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      Lots of bit mainly MGB but all relevant to the C.
      HOW TO DEVELOP THE MGC . OVERCOME MOST OF THE PROBLEMS AND FURTHUR DEVELOP THE CAR INTO A GREAT GT CAR FOR USE ON OUR ROADS, IN TODAY’S TRAFFIC CONDITIONS.This is a full revision of a set of articles on developing the MGC-GT written many years ago. Quite a lot of further development has been undertaken since the first set of articles.This  maybe final Revision:  18 February 2010.  Many  articles have been written about what is wrong with the ‘C’ by comparing experience  with  the  ‘B’.  Even  today,  over 32 years  later,  motoring  journalists  (a  late ’99 article  in  Classic  Cars, UK)  still  write as  they  did  in 1967,  that  the  problem  with the  ‘C’  is  the  heavy  motor and  that  is  the  problem,  end  of  story.   The  big  Healey had  an  even  heavier  version  and didn’t  get  the  same  comments. One journalistwrites and the rest simply copy.  The  School of  Automotive  Studies  at  Cranfield  (UK)  compared  an  MGB   roadster   with   an   MGC   roadster;  using  their   inertia  test  rig,  supporting the  cars  under  their  exact  centre of gravity  by  an  air  bearing  plus  springs  to  enable measurements  of  roll,  pitch  and yaw.  Their  conclusions  apart   from  the   ‘C’   being nose  heavy  were  that the  C’s C of  G  (Centre of Gravity) was  14%  higher  than  the ‘B’  and  it’s  inertia  in transverse  yaw  was  22%  higher.  So the  ‘C’  is   22%   more reluctant  to  change  direction  than  the  ‘B’.  This helps  to  explain  the  terrible understeer  on  slow  mountain  corners   compared   with   highway  curves.  It  is the  higher  C of  G  plus  the big  increase  in  transverse  yaw  combined  with totally  inadequate  tyre  section  coupled  with a  lack  of  roll  control  and  slight positive  camber  settings  that  makes  the  ‘C’   such  a  “pig  of a  car”  as  a  sports car;  not helped  by  the  unresponsive  LUMP  of  “BEST  BRITISH  CAST  IRON”  (with a  flywheel  suitable  for  a  light truck)   with  a  real  output  in the  car  of  only 120  plus  horsepower. I  thought  this  pre-amble  a  good  way  to  start  an  article  on  my  ‘C-GT’  from  when  I  drove it  from  Dalgety #2  wharf  on  the  6 of  August  1968,  up  totoday  when  we  have  a   3 Litre  sports  car  able  to  keep up  with  modern  traffic  and  indeed what  a  big  engine  ‘B’   should  have  been  like had  Abingdon  had  the time  and  money to  develop  the  production  car;  think  how good the  GTS C’s  were. I  will  describe  the  car as  it  arrived  and  then  what was  done  by  me  with helpful  suggestions from  a  race  experienced  engineer  along the  way.  As  usual  with my  generation   “making it go”  was  priority #1 (it  couldn’t  keep up  with  a  mildly tuned  EH Holden),  we  knew  handling  was more  important,  but  in  68/69  we  didnot  have  the  knowledge  or experience  to  do  anything  about  that problem;  so  the motor  was  first  priority. A  few  years  later a  mechanical  engineer  friend  said  “what that  car  needs  are  some  decent roll  bars front  and  rear”.  Not  understanding this  it  took  until  December 93  to  actually address  what  turned out  to  be  the  real  problem and  it  transformed  the  car  beyond my expectation.  This  was  followed  later  by giving  the  car 1 deg  of  negative camber  and later  again  fitting  185/65R15 tyres, a faster rack and pinion,  with  the  added benefit  of lowering  the  car  by  ½  inch, since raised ½ inch to return to 4.5 inch ground clearance for “speed bumps” and  giving  an  effective  diff  ratio about  one third  way  between  the  early  and  later  cars; effective diff. ratio 3.446:1.  (Speedo  reads  4.5%  high). Ground clearance now back to original setting of 4.5 inches.   
      FIRST  IMPRESSIONS  OF  A  LONG AWAITED  C – GT.  Having   had  4  enjoyable  years  with  a  63  MK1B  it  seemed  that  a  C – GT’   would  be  a  good car  as  I  was  going  to live  in  Hong Kong.  After  settling  in  Ivisited  Dodwell  Motors  to  order  a ‘C – GT’   with  all  useful  options and  was expecting  delivery  in  late  67.  As  we all  found  out  later  this  was  a  period  of total and utter confusion  at   BMC  as  “Triumph”  men  from  Leyland  were about  to try to promote “Triumph” as the corporate sports car and hope MG would fade away. The terrible bloody STAG was close to release. Many  spanners were thrown in  the  works with  the  formation  of  BLMC;  some  thought  “Bloody  Lousy  Motor Corporation”   was  what   BLMC actually  stood  for.   By  the time  the  car  was  due  to ship  I  had  returned  to  Australia  so  the  shipping address  was  changed  to   Brisbane (Personal  Import  Plan  #4,  from memory)  so  this is  how  I  got  my [new from Abingdon with 17 miles on the odometer, on the wharf]  ‘C’   in  Australia.  Two  other used “C’s” were  imported about 2 years later, one to Moe in Victoria  and  the other  one  to  Alice Springs, possibly from SE Asia.  On  the  3 August  the  “SS Auckland Star”  arrived  with  my  ‘C’  onboard.   I  inspected  the  car  on  the  5 and  took  the  dry  charged  batteries  to  Century Batteries  for  filling  and  over night  charging,  which  they  did  free of  charge  and  I still  buy  Century Batteries  as  a  result  of  this excellent  service,  so  next  morning armed  with my  toolbox  and  1  Gallon  of petrol  I  picked  up  my  Batteries and headed  for  the  wharf.  First  step, after  installing  the  batteries  and  adding fuel,  was to  remove  the  plugs  and pump  up  20 PSI  of  oil  pressure, the  motor  was  tight with  only  17 miles  on  the  clock.  Then  refit the  plugs  and  attempt  to  start the monster,  a  few  feeble  splutters  but no  go.  The  plugs  were  very dirty  and  oily  so out  they  came, again,  and  off  to  the  nearest garage (there  were  garages  with  real mechanics  in 1968)  back  I  went  to  try again  this  time  3  cylinders  actually tried  to  run,  ah!   let’s  check  the  SU  pistons,  1  piston moved  easily,  the  other  didn’t move  at all.   So  dismantle  the  struck  SU to  discover  the  jet  was  not centered   and  struck  against  the  needle (Quality  Control  was thought to be some strange  foreign   concept  at BLMC)   after  centering  the  jet  correctly all  was  well  and  the  motor started  and  ran  easily  but  with a  lot  of  choke  required  to keep  it   going,  no  wonder  the plugs were  so  fouled.  So  after finding  all  the  bits (passenger  side  wiper blade  in  with  the  tools  etc.), picking  up  the  spare  keys  and  signing all  the  shipping  forms   I  had  my  car.  So off  to  the Public  Weighbridge  in  the  Valley  then up  to  MRD   to   register  the  car.  PFT-000  (Later  known  as  “Pretty  Fast  Truck”)   was all  ready  to  go,  so  off home  to  fit  the  plates  and registration sticker  and  my  car  was ready  for  the  road.  A condition for warranty cover required the car going to Leyland Australia at Wacol, for inspection  and  pre-delivery. I  arranged  to  take  the  car to  Wacol  and   drove  up  next day.  Arriving at  the  gate  a  surly security  guard  told  me  “only  staff can  drive  on  to  this  site”   and  wouldn’t  let  me  in,  suggesting  I  just  leave the  car  with  them.   I  made an  excuse  about  arranging a  later  time and  drove  away  for a   while, (about  morning  tea-time)  then  changed into  a  pair  of  white  overalls  drove  back  saw  a  different  security  guard,  so thinking  at  “Security  Guard  level”,  drove slowly  up  to  the  gate  waved and  drove  thru;   then  I   had to  find  the workshop.  The  mechanics were  not  aware that  I  was  coming either  and  they  were  busy  with  a  Mini Gearbox  so  we  had a  little  problem  to  solve.  I suggested  that  if  they  told  me what had  to  be  done  I  would be  happy  to  do  it  myself.  This  turned  out  to  be  very simple  as  I  had  already  checked the  car  carefully  before  taking  it  toWacol  and  so  far  everything  worked as  expected.  So  we  put  it on  the  hoist  to inspect  underneath.  All was  OK  except  for  a  couple of   exhaust  brackets  which were  bent  and were  easily  fixed.  So  the  staff gave  me  all  the  solvents,  rags etc.  and   I   set  to  work removing  the  heavy  and  now  very grimy  shipping  wax.  Once that  was  done more  paper  to  sign  and  all was  mine,  just  run  in  for  1,500  miles and  take  the  car to  Howards  Motors  for the  1 Service  and any warranty work required. Two days later I lost the top layer of skin from my hands, strong solvents, and I never considered taking gloves.  I ran  the car  in  over  2000  miles  and found  that  the  car  understeers  badly  on slow tight  corners  but  gets  better  at highway  speeds  and  steered  quite  well on  fast  open  roads.  One  day on  my  way  home,  down  the back  road  from  Mt  Cootha (I  worked  at  Channel  0),   I  forgot  that  I  was  driving  the  ‘C’   and  turned  into  a tight right  hand  bend  like  I  had for  years  in  the ‘B’  and  suddenly discovered chronic  understeer,  the  only cure  was  to  straighten  up  and brake  hard  luckily  not hitting  the  bank, then  proceed  with  less  haste.  All  the  myths  about  increasing power etc.  do  not  work  with  the  ‘C’,  it  just understeers  straight  ahead.  One  early  press  comment  said  the  “The  ‘C’  goes  like  a bullet  and  steers  the  same  way.”   This  was an   accurate description, with  my  car,  after years  in  the   ‘B’,   it  was  a  real  trap  changing  into  a   ‘C’.       
      A trip  to  Mt.  Buller (Victoriansnowfields)  followed  the  running  in  period and  showed  what  an  enigma the  ‘C’  was  compared  with  it’s smaller  brother.  The  car  was  very smooth  and quiet (except  for  the  extremely  noisy fan),  flexible  in  traffic  and  able to  purr  away  in  4  at 1000 RPM  without  fuss,  but  no  low  end  torque  or  high  end power.  Able to  cruise  effortlessly  at 4000 in O/D (108MPH);  good  high  speed  stability  and cornering  but  terrible  understeer, at  slower  speeds,  where  any  lock was  required.  Maximum  speed  of  120 in  both  4  and  O/D,  economy  on trip  of  22.5  MPG   and  around town  17.3  MPG.  The  first  standing  ¼  mile  time [Lakeside]  was  17.9 seconds not as good as my “B” [17.58 @ Lowood] ;   not  good  considering  the  extra  1100  CC’s. and  stated [dreamed up by the marketing people] 145 BHP C.F. 94 BHP for the “B”. With  a  car  the  same shape  as  a  ‘B-GT’   this  said that  the  motor  was  not  as efficient  as  the  ‘B’  engine,  the  little  extra power  being  used  to  overcome  the greatly increased  mass  of  the  ‘C’.  The  other  strange  thing about  the  car  was  that when  O/D was  engaged  the  car  leapt  forward but  when  O/D  was  disengaged  the car physically  slowed  down  then  slowly  built  up  revs  again. In one of my books on the “C” is a wonderful comment, “The engine must have been designed by an Ex-Naval Diesel Engineer who was transferred to a Tractor Factory, against his wishes  The  maintain your interest  here  are  some  technical  details of  the   C  series  engines  compared with  the  B  series  as  fitted  to  the  MGC  and  MGB. 
      Both  engines  used  the same  cam  profiles  and  shared  the same  cam  lift  and  rocker ratio,  giving equal  valve  lift;  there  are  small variations  depending  on  which Workshop  or  Tuning  manual  you  read.   Nothing is all that accurate with  BLMC  publications. (Bloody  Lousy  Motor  Corporation?).  The  combustion  chambers  were by Harry  Weslake  and  very  similar  for  all   BMC/BLMC   engines of  the  era.  Cylinder  capacity  of  the ‘C’  is  485CC’s  and  the ‘B’  450 CC’s,  same  stroke different  bore.  The  ‘C’   has  valve  head  diameters about  15%   bigger  than  the  ‘B’  but  the  cylinder  capacity is  only  8%  bigger.  The  ‘C’   is  fed  by  two 1.75  inch  SU’s  and  the  ‘B’  by  two  1.5  inch units.  From  the  above  it  would be  reasonable  to  expect  the  ‘C’   to  perform  similarly  with  the  ‘B’  and  with  the  bigger valves  to  breathe  better  and  be more  effective  than   the  ‘B’.   On a  ratio  of  capacity  between  the  engines  the  ‘C’  should  have  produced  152 BHP  and  178 Lbs/Ft   not  the  claimed  145 & 174  figures  the  sales and factory  data said.  In   fact the  ‘C’  actually  produced a lot less  than  124 BHP (when installed  in  the  car, with the normal exhaust system fitted)  and  at lower  revs  5250 “V” 5400  and peak  torque  was  300  to  400 RPM  higher (depends on  which  manual  you  read) all  indicate  that  manifolding  was  hopeless and poorly designed, if it was actually designed at all, with the   ‘C’   and  together  with  the massive  truck  flywheel  and  a  fan that  used  12  BHP  at 5000 RPM  made  the  ‘C’  feel so  different  to  the  ‘B’.   As  will  be described  a correctly  designed  inlet  and  exhaust  system along  with  a  25%  reduction  of flywheel  mass  plus  replacing  the  fan  with  a thermo/clutch  unit transformed   the   ‘C’   into  the  big   ‘B’   that  it  could  have been   from  the  start. It sounds and feels totally different as well and it actually goes very well now.     The  introduction  described  taking  delivery of  a  new  and  largely unknown  car and  finding  out  how  different  it  was  to  the   MK1’B  in characteristics, (not  a  pleasant  experience) .  Now  I  will outline  work  done  on the  “huge lump  of el-cheapo  cast  iron”,   which  BLMC  considered a newengine. [Circa 1930.s  based on a 1926 Chevrolet 6 say some historians?] Morris Engines Branch had a very bad habit and reputation of making very poor performance 6 cylinder engines, from the very early days of the company, except for those modified & tuned by Abingdon and Downton.  On  one  of  our  interstate  trips (MG Qld. Club  members)  we  went  to  Silverdale Hillclimb, as  spectators,  while  there  I  asked  Paul  England (a well known dynamic balancing engineer from Victoria) to  take  the  ‘C’   for  a drive and  see  what  was  wrong   with it.  Paul  came  back  and  said  the  engine won’t  rev  because  the  flywheel  is  excessively heavy.  This  explained  the  strange overdrive  action, discussed  last  time.     
      On  return  to  Brisbane  a decision  was  made to  remove  the  engine (16,000 miles)  pull  it  down  and have  a  critical  look  within.  We were still waiting for the workshopmanual.  The  first thing  we  noticed  was  how  clean  pistons 1 & 6  looked  compared  to  the others;  it seemed  little  mixture  got   to  1 & 6.  from  later  experience they  certainly  did  not  do 33.3%  of  the  work.  The  flywheel  was  indeed  very heavy, OK for a heavy slow revving Light Truck.   With  the redesign  of  the  old  4  bearing  C   series engine  it  seems  Morris  Engines  lost the  plot. Stuck in the 1920’s/1940’s mind set, after all it was “Good Enough for Grand-Pa”.  
      The  reason  for making the new engine  wasto  power  the  coming  AUSTIN 3  LITRE,  an  ugly, giant version of the  AUSTIN  1800  with a  north-south  engine driving  the  rear  wheels.  This  required a smooth engine for the new saloon  car. Abingdon got stuck with this exceedingly dud and totally undeveloped and I suggest untested engine. NOTE: The  MGB  MGC  share cam  timing,  cam  lift,  rocker  ratio and therefore  valve  lift.  The  ‘C’   has  9:1  C.R.,  the  ‘B’   8.8:1,  which  would  indicate both engines  should  feel  similar  but  not  so;   the  ‘C’    feels and sounds  entirely  different  from the   ‘B’.   It  was  considered  that  about  25%  of  the flywheel  mass  could  be  safely  removed (cast iron, not  steel).  The  engine  balance  was rather  poor, [Normal for BMC engines of the time].   maybe  this  was  the reason  for  the   truck flywheel.  The  press  people  commented  on  how smooth  the  new  C  series  engine  was  compared to  the  5  bearing  series  engine and  the  superceded  series  engine  as  fitted  to  the  Healey  3000 (4 Bearing and very Rough).  So  25%  of  the  flywheel mass  was  removed  and  the  motor fully  balanced.  We discovered  that  the  piston crowns  were  .020  inch  below  the block  face  and  as  the head  was being  worked  on  by  me  we  thought  it  worth  while  to lower  the  block  face .018  inch  to try  and  improve  combustion.  The “warranty supplied”, correct  valve  guides  were  fitted  and  the  motor  reassembled. I cleaned up the head to be similar to the head on my ‘B’.  NOTE: The  originally  fitted  valve  guides had  the  groove  to  retain  the seals  in  the  wrong  place  so that  the  seals  came  off  and indeed  acted  like  oil  pumps  for the  inlet  valves.  No  wonder  the press  cars  all  had  plug  fouling. These  seals  still come  off.  Later  I will  detail  a  good  fix  that cures this  oily  plug problem.  A noticeable  improvement  in  driveability  resulted, the  engine  pulled  better  and changed  revs  more  like  a  ‘B’;  and  the  overdrive  now operated  as  it  should  have from  the start.  Economy  improved  and  the  flexibility remained  unchanged,  all  up  a  big improvement  but  well  below  what  one expects  from  a  3  Litre  car. Now you can buy an Aliminum flywheel for a “C” from tuning specialists in the UK.  [ Tuned “C’s” in the UK now put out 238 BHP]. About  this  time   I   read  an  article  about  Downton  Engineering  Works  who  had a  long  history  of  working  with  BMC  and  particularly   MG;   in  fact all  the  heads from Special  Tuning  were  done  by  Downton .   This  company  were  also  involved  with the  development  of  the   MGC  competition  engines  as  fitted to  the   Le  Mans   and Sebring   cars   (MGC-GTS). 
      I don’t know but possibly Downton developed  their mods. for  the proposed Healey 3,000 MK 4, as they had all the performance data long before the car was ready for production and had developed the exhaust system and inlet manifolds. The Healey would have needed something to separate it from the “C” apart from a Grill change. It all became history when Donald Healey refused to sign off on the new Healey, but the tuning kits were sold directly by Downton.   Towards the end of production  from University Motors.  Downton   had  developed  two  tuning kits  for  the  production ‘C’ long before University Motors came into the picture. Kit  43 which  retained  the  existing  inlet  manifold  (reworked)  an  exchange head  and  completely  new  extractor  dual exhaust  system &  Kit  45  the  same  except  that  the  “Metters  Gas  Stove”  type  inlet  manifold  is  scrapped and  replaced  with  3  fabricated  tabular steel  manifolds  plus  the  very  necessary 3  SU;  the  additional  front  SU having  a  short  neck  to  clear the  bonnet.  This  I  decided  was the  only  way  to  go,  as the  Downton  head  produced  174.6  nett  BHP  @ 5500  RPM. at the flywheel, (The  dual  exhaust  system  contributes at least  20  BHP  as  part  of Kit  45. in a letter  from Downton).  Being   my   only   car,  it   was   impossible   to  send   the   head   to   the   UK  on   exchange,   I   asked   Downton   if   they   would   supply  Kit   45   without   the  head.  Understandably   they   were   not   all   that   interested;  but   also   appreciated  my   difficulty  and   agreed   to  ship,  but not  guarantee  the  results.  The  eagerly awaited  kit  duly  arrived  and  instant activity  followed,  during  the  next  weekend. The  difference  was  quite  surprising   (even  with  my  enthusiastic but  amateur  headwork)  now  the  engine pulled  when  cold  and  had  a  lot  more  low  end  torque, it  revved  easily  and developed  high  end  power  running  to  6000  without  fuss.  Downton  advised  that  they  regularly ran  these  engines  to  6000  RPM.  (to  add  confusion  the  Workshop manual  lists  valve  crash  as  5500 RPM,  maybe  this  is  why  they quote  max,  power  at  5250  even though  the  tacho  red  line  starts  at  5600  RPM.   NOTE:  Apparently  early  factory  engines  were fitted  with  weak  valve  springs.   NOTHING   WOULD   SURPRISE   ANYBODY   ABOUT   BLMC   IN  67/68. 
      This info. Was supplied by Downton. I  was so  surprised  with  this  change,  all the  well  noted  problems  had  disappeared,  so   I  asked  Downton  if  they  could  supply  a head.  They  agreed  to  get  an   Austin  head   and   re-machine  it.  (MG & AUSTIN heads are identical except for the colour, Greenish for the “C” and black for the AUSTIN).  At the next sprint meeting at Lakeside the “C” did a  16.5 seconds  standing ¼ mile, on well worn Olympic GT tyres which were awful, lots of wheelspin, C.F. 17.9 previously.  (I never got the opportunity to time the car with the Downton head fitted, it would have been quicker).  This  head was  fitted  as  soon  as  it arrived  and   I  immediately  noticed  a big  lift  in low  end  torque,  particularly over  the  rev  range  where  this engine  runs  as  a  day  to day car,  my  head  was  similar  in  the  higher  ranges  but  sadly lacking  down  low  by  comparison.  The most  noticeable  difference  was  fuel  economy 28  MPG  on  a  fast trip  25 MPG  overall  town  and  country  use; a  lot  better  than  the  original 22.5  and 17.3  figures  with  the  original car.  On  our  Wednesday  runs  we often  average  better  than   30  MPG,  With SHELL OPTIMAX /VALVEMASTER and Michelin ENERGY MXV3A tyres up to 32 MPG has been achieved.     
      The  propellor, sorry  fan,  was  the  next  item for  attention.  All  the  press  had commented on  the  very  noisy  fan,  and  they  were dead right.    A  change  back  from  4  to  2  in  traffic  produced  a  roaring noise  that  drowned  out  all  other engine noise,  again  an  article  in  a UK  magazine  suggested  a  Kenlowe    thermostatic  fan could  reduce  the noise  and  let  the  wasted  power drive  the  wheels.  Kenlowe  advised  that  the  fan  used  12  BHP  @  5000  RPM,   it   certainly seemed to  be  correct  with  the very  short   fan  belt and alternator bearing life  I  was  experiencing.  A lot  of engine  power  went  for  no  useful purpose.  I   fitted  a   Kenlowedesigned  for the   ‘C’  in  the UK,  great  no  noise,  good  until a  heavy  traffic,  heat  soak  situation then  the  fan  could  not cope  with  the  Aussie  summer,  the other  problem  is  the tiny little  alternator  of 34  amps  capacity  (less 10% in our climate) but only  with  the  car  running  at 3000 RPM  (which  is  81 MPH  in  O/D), the alternator had the wrong size pulley, surprise, surprise,  so  at  legal  speeds an  electric  fan  would  only work  with an  appropriate  size  and  speed  alternator;   scrap  the  electric fan  and ponder  for  a  few  more years. The  solution  for  the  power wasting  fan  is  simple,  fit  a  thermoclutch unit  as  used  by  BMW’s for  years.  This  requires  very  little  machining  and  fits perfectly  in  the  normal  fan shroud  and  unless  pointed  out  most observers  don’t even  notice  the  change.  The advantages  are  many,  dead  quiet,  plenty of  air  in traffic  and  low  speed use,  stable  idle  and  no  power wasted  at  cruising  speeds.  (This  change will  be  detailed later).  Since this information has been dispersed far and wide Ian Hobbs from the Adelaide “C” Register has checked around for a cheaper clutch fan and discovered that the hub from a “VL” Commodore with a Nissan fan fits very well with minimum modification to the “C” water pump hub. Ian got the parts from the wreckers for about $50. . 
      Data  from  Downton  said  that  the  factory  figures  for  the   ‘C’   engine  gave  123.7 BHP  at the  flywheel  with  all  engine  ancillaries fitted  but  with  a much less  restricted workshop  exhaust  system.   Downton ‘s  own  figures  were  obtained  with  all ancillaries  fitted,  and  their  exhaust system.   Motor  Noters  who  tested  a   ‘C’  with Kit  43  fitted  pondered  how  a   ‘C’ with  149  nett  BHP @  5500  RPM  could accelerate  and  pull so  well  when  the  factory  car supposedly  produced  145  nett BHP  @  5250  RPM. Their conclusion was that the Factory figures were probably optimistic, [obviously extremely optimistic], which explains the 17.9 second ¼ mile.  We   now   realize  why   the  ‘C’ was  such  a   LEMON,   it  managed less than 124 BHP in  reality,  no  wonder  the   “press”   could  not  explain  why  the  Big  Healey  felt  so much  stronger;  all sorts  of  silly  reasons  were  offered  including  additional  friction of  7  bearings  ‘V’  4  and  excessive  windage from  the  new  crank.   No  doubt the new  engine  had  greater  losses  than the  early  unit  but  not  20 BHP,   I   believe   the  Morris  Engines   people  just completely  stuffed  up  the  manifolding, probably never understood it anyway, still living in the 20’s. Several books have mentioned that most of the problems with the “C” are manifolding and the flywheel mass. The standard ‘C’ inlet manifold has 2 capillary drain tubes fitted. Just in front of each SU with a dimple in the manifold to collect the pooled fuel.Bloody great design that is, I have never seen drain tubes on a manifold before or since. Kit 43  gave  a  torque  figure  of  170.5 Lbs  Ft  @  3000,  less  than the  factory  sales figures  but  more  than the  actual  torque  of  the  production car.  
      A  comparasion  of data  from  the  ‘B’ & ‘C’  is  interesting,  the  MK 1 B  has a  BMEP  (Brake  Mean Effective  Pressure)  of  152  @  3,100 RPM.  The  Kit  43  C  has 145  @  3000;   one can  only  guess what  the  standard  car  figure  was, probably much less  than  140  @ 3400/3500  RPM.   No  wonder  the  ‘B’  is such  a  good  car.  A  MK 1 B  gave  52.84 BHP/Litre  (from  MGB  special  tuning  manual);   the  standard  C  42.5  BHP/Litre;  Kit  43  gave  51 BHP/Litre  and   Kit  45  gave  60 BHP/Litre  and  a  BMEP   of  161@ 3000  RPM,  Power  as  said  of 174.6  BHP  @  5500  RPM  and torque  of  190  Lbs Ft @ 3000 RPM.  Kit  45  gives  an  increase of  41%  over  the  standard  car; this  really improves  the  response, economy  and  efficiency of  the  engine.  The  MGC – GTS  alloy  headed  engines  with  3  dual  throat  Webbers,  big valves and  cam  produced  200/210  BHP  @ 6000  RPM  so  the  engine  was certainly  capable of  very  impressive  performance  with long  life  and  reliability  in  long distance  races. MG Motorsport (Doug Smith) are now supplying “C” engines with triple Webers with 238 BHP.  Downton   provided  either  9.5:1   or   9.3:1 C.R.  heads,  I  ordered  mine  at the  lower ratio  and  with  my   block work  ended  up  with   9.46:1.  Pump fuel  of  course  could not  cope  with this  compression,  (it  was  not  even  OK  at  8.8:1  MGB  C.R.).  BP Nundah  had  a BP100  pump  so  all  was  well for  many  years;  when  this  closed down the  car  ran  on 100/130  avgas (equivalent to 104 RON when used in a car)  which  was  much  better,  except that  the  car was  restricted  to  a maximum  of  150  miles  from  home (300  miles  per  tank)  plus the  problems of  44  Gallon  drums. 
       Knowing  that fuel  quality  would  only  get  worse (98  then  97  then  96  RON)  I   reduced  the  C.R.  to  8.6:1 to  run  on  current pump  fuel.  Shell OPTIMAX is rated at 98 RON and is ideal with 8.6 or 8.8 CR. No pre-ignition at all with correctly set timing, at high temperatures. [If I had of known about retiming the distributor for modern fuels, as we have it today, I could have left the compression unchanged.]   In  1986, it  was  time  for  a  full pull-down  and  look  see.  Maximum  bore wear  ¾ inch  down  the  bores  was less  than  .001  inch  not  bad for  53,500  miles  fairly  hard use;  the bearings  were  fine  and  the  little end  bushes  well  within  factory  spec.,  so this  is  a  real  long  life engine  (now  111,838  miles on 5 JULY 2008)  The  pistons  were  not  well due to  carbon  build  up  behind  the rings,  which  had  caused  the ring  lands to  wear,  caused by  the  bad  design of  valve  guide  seals  and  the earlier  problem  of  incorrectly machined  valve  guides  (it  was  really hard to  retain  one’s  sanity  with  a  BLMC  67/68  car, no wonder they don’t make cars now).  NOTE:  The  ‘C’ engine  has  dry  fit  cylinder liners  despite  what  the  “experts” (drips  under  pressure)  said,  this explains  the  very  low  bore  wear.  Knowing  how marginal  a   ‘B’  was (8.8:1)  on  pump  fuel,  we  decided to  reduce  the  C.R.  to 8.6:1  this was  achieved  by  machining  the  new standard  piston  tops  down  .060 inch  over a  diameter  equal  to  the  active combustion  area,  then  balancing  prior  to re-assembly.  The  bores  were  very lightly  flex-honed  with  a  280  grit hone,  to allow  good  bedding  in  for the  new  rings;  oil  consumption  is  about  1.5  Litre/2000 miles  at  present.  What  I would  have  liked  to  do  with the  pistons  was  to  dish  the tops the  same  as  standard  MGB  pistons, I  believe  this  design  may give  the  ‘B’ its  good  low speed  torque.[Motor Cycles with concave pistons had better torque at low revs than those with flat top pistons].  I  was surprised  how  much  happier  the  car was  in  normal  traffic  use  and day  to day  driving,  and  while  acceleration was  down  slightly  the  car  was now  used everywhere  not  restricted  to  out  of  town  use.   
      The  lesson here  is  that  most  cars spend  75% or  more  of  their  use  mixed in  with  general  traffic  and  it is  here where  opinion  is  formed  about what  a  car  is  like  to live  with  ‘day  to  day’  and  dowe  keep it  or  sell  it.   As  the   ‘C’  arrived  we  all  knew that  it  should  be  much better  and probably  could  be  made  into  a good   GT  &  Sports  Car,  but  many times   I   wondered if  the  pain  would  be  rewarded with  effort,  time  and  money;  today  I   am  pleased  that  I  did not  sell  it  and now  it’s  a  retirement  toy, Fully insulated and air conditioned with tinted screen and windows, a great GT car. I  now run the car on “V Power” as the head has hardened exhaust valve seats. Valve clearances have only changed 1 or 2 Thou. Over the last  40,000  odd miles when the major pull-down took place. When I  removed the head, in 2007, the exhaust  seats were done to run ULP, and the distributor was retimed to correct the timing and be correct for modern fuels, what a difference to the low and mid-range torque with the distributor correctly timed. All 60’s cars need their distributors retimed for current fuels, greater mid range torque and better economy.  
      Finally   a  question  for  our technical  readers.  Why  didn’t  you change  the  cam?   Answer :   The  cam  is  the same  as  the  standard   ‘B’,  which  as outlined  in  the last  paragraph  is  very  suitable  for everyday  use,  of  greater importance  is  the  gearing  of  the   ‘C’  which  runs  at  2350 RPM  in  O/D  4  @  100 KPH.  The  car would  fly  with  a  wild  cam but  it  would  always  run  below the cam,  idle  like  a   tractor  and be  an  absolute  pain  in  traffic and  day  to  day  use, exactly  the opposite  to  what  we  have  achieved.  Now we look at why  the  ‘C’  handled  so  differently  to the  ‘B’.   When  the  car  was  released  to  the “press”  lots  of  clever  comments appeared  in  the  UK  magazines,  one  of  the  most remembered  being  “The  problem  with   the   C’   is  to  get it  to  go  around anything”.  The  press  cars  were  supplied with  low  and  equal  tyre  pressures  for  the  roadster 24PSI,  this  certainly  exaggerated   the  handling  problems.  The  ‘C’  needs  3  or  4 PSI  increase  in  the  front  tyres;  preferably  36  PSI  front  32  in  the rear  for  the  GT. With our car on 185/65 XM1’s Michelins and our suspension settings 36 front and 32 rear gives slight oversteer 36/33 slight understeer and 36/32.5 neutral. I think we might be getting somewhere with the handling and driveability. What a pity the factory were not allowed to develop the car properly  before it was put on sale, or even prepare it properly for the Road Tests. They really were absolutely hopeless in 1967/68. Even in 1969 when they revised the car they gave the press the original cars, surprise, surprise, the press found no difference. Maybe a “Triumph” plot.  Like  the engine  the  handling  was  also  an  ‘enigma’   excellent  ride,  very  stable and  comfortable  with  good  roadholding;  but a  strange  combination  of  heavy understeer  at low  speeds  with  acceptable  handling  at high  speeds,  this  is  for  the GT  with much  better  weight   distribution  than  the roadster. 
      To  compensate for  an  extra  220  Kilo’s (roadster  ‘V’ roadster)  tyres  were  uprated to  165/80  series with  15  inch  wheels  &  5  inch  rims.  The  ‘B’  equivalent  was 155/80  tyres  on  14 inch  wheels  and  4.5  inch  rims. Both  cars  were  under tyred even  in  the late  60’s. 10 mm  extra  tyre  width  to carry  a  heavy  and  nose  heavy car  just  defies  logical  thought.   The  ‘C’  should  have  had  185 tyres  on  5.5  inch  rims,  preferably  195  mm  tyres on 6 inch rims.  To  put  this  in  perspective  a  1990  BMW  318Is  (same  weight, 1165Kg,  as  my  C-GT)  came with  195/65  HR14  tyres  on  5.5 inch  rims  and  it handled  extremely well;   this  car  came  with gas  shocks  and  roll  bars  front and  rear and was a superb drivers car straight out of the dealership. 
      This was the only car that I never needed  to modify as it was correct to start with  and a pleasure to driveanywhere, anytime, pure good fun.   Weight  distribution  for  the   ‘B’  or  ‘C’   models   in  % follows:-             ‘B’   roadster,  front  52.5   rear  47.5;  ‘BGT & V8’,  front 50      rear   50;             ‘C’  roadster,   front  55.7   rear  44.3;   ‘C – GT’ ,       front  54.1   rear   45.9.So the  ‘C – GT’  is  a  little  better than  the  roadster  but  a  long  way  behind  the  ‘BGT’   which  is  evenly  balanced  with  both  engines. I was recently reading a Road and Track article on three German sports sedans and two of them had similar front to rear weight ratios to the “C GT” and all handled extremely well; so weight distribution is not the problem it was stated to be in the late 60,s, but Roll Bars were not well understood then and low aspect tyres were still in the future. [GM wanted to charge USD100 per car to fit roll bars as they had the patent, this stopped other manufacturers from using them as a matter of course, until GM relented]. 
      The  “press”  decided  in  their  infinite wisdom  that  the  real  problem  was  the weight  of  the  ‘C’  engine  ‘V’s  the ‘B’  and that  the  only  solution  was  to move  the engine  back  into  the  heater area  and  rework  the  bulkhead.  Abingdon realized  this only  too  well  when  they found  out  that  the  new  engine was  a  lot  heavier  than planned [at least70lbs].  So  the  weight  distribution  and  handling  was  compromised and  this  coupled  with  a  1930’s engine  design  really  stopped  the   ‘C’  being  the  successful big  brother  to  the  still very  popular   B  &  BGT.   The  Rover  engine should have gone into the “C” as the chassis, suspension & brakes are much better than the “B”for a high speed touring car.  I re-read, recently, the weightdistribution of the MK-2  3.8 Litre Jaguar which people still regard as one of the best sporting sedans of the 60’s, Front  58% Rear 42%. Themotoring  press were not then concerned about weight distribution, or were more used to heavy engines and were not comparing  4’s with 6’s in the same basic package.
      The Porsche 911 has a front to rear weight distribution about the opposite of the Jaguars and they seem to satisfy the critics.   Road  & Track (USA)  printed  a  superb  definition  of  handling: - ‘When  you  are enjoying  yourself  and  your passenger  is  nervous;   that  is  oversteer.  When  you  are nervous  and  your  passenger is  relaxed;   that  is  understeer’, VERY WELLDESCRIBED.  Now  back  to  the  story,  the  solution  was  relatively simple  once we  knew  what  to  do, 30  years  ago  this  knowledge  belonged  to  serious  motorsport not  to our  young  MG  car club  members.  Back  in  the  60’s we  used  to  go  to  Club sprint meetings  at  Lowood  and  later  Lakeside  for  Standing  ¼ mile;  Standing  lap and  Flying  lap  events. These  were  good  fun  days  with  lots  of  enthusiasm  but  not   much  skill,  we  learned more  what  ‘not  to  do’  rather than  ‘what  to  do’  with our driving  techniques. Kerry Horgan once said to me at Lowood, “That’s 4 out of 4 wrong, let’s not make it 5 out of 5”.    The   ‘B’ was  a  lot  of  fun  particularly  at   Lowood,   if  you  went  off you disappeared  into  tall  grass  with  no cement  blocks  or  armco  to  damage your  car;  just  roars  of  laughter from  the  mob.  When  I  took  the  ‘C’  to  Lowood, what  a surprise,  it  certainly  was  no  MGB   just a  strange  handling  machine  unlike  any  MG  that  I  had  previously  driven.   Very  pronounced  understeer,  lots  of body  roll,  lifting  rear  inside  wheels etc..  In  78  miles  the  right front  tyre  lost   ½  the   tread depth  over  the  outside  ½  of the  tyre;  so  it  was  obvious that  we  had  a  big  handling problem  but  what  to  do  about it  was  beyond  us  at  this time. After  the  straight  was  an acute  left  hand  turn  followed  by a  big  flat  paved  area,(Lowood was an old WW2 airstrip)  we   tried to  apply  power  thru  this  area while  turning  with  the  front  ploughing, while  at  the  rear  the  inside wheel  lifted   after  finding  the  travel limit  of  the rebound  strap and then hit the bump stop on the other side  with  a  wild  rear slide  that  did  not  respond  to correction  but produced  an  equally  wild  slide in  the  opposite  direction,  meanwhile  the front  just  ploughed  on  (I  was glad  that  I  was  inside  and  not  outside looking  on,  it  would have  been  terrifying.) some of  our  instructors  tried  to sort  it  out  but  to  no  avail. The  only  way  to  correct this situation  was  to  straighten  up  and brake,  then  try again.  We  now  know what  the  problem  was;   the  rear rolled  until  the  axle reached  the  rebound strap  on  one  side,  then  bottomed the  bump  stop  on  the other side and  so  the  wild  slides,  back  and  forth  etc.. Tim Harlock explained why, many, many, years later. People still do not understand the operation of roll bars, Tim does.  I   reluctantly accepted  the  journalists  explanation  and  just learned  to  live  with  the Pretty  Fast  Truck.  
      At   Lakeside   a   good   ‘MK I B’  could lap  in  about  1  min  18 sec; the  best  I  could  manage  in the  ‘C’  was  1  min  26 sec;  some  3  Litre  sports  car.  
      The   Carousel   was  an  experience  to avoid  and  I  had  to  back  off  for  the  Dog  Leg.  Now  the  car manages (an  old  very  hard  175/80  Michelin ZX’s which are 2% bigger in diameter and raise the gearing to 27.49 MPH/1000 )  1 min  22 secs,  4 seconds better  than  when  I  was  much more  enthusiastic  i.e.  younger;   a  more competent  driver  turned  in  1  min 17.6 secs  on  the  same  tyres.  John Fraser suggested that with a set of new tyres it would probably  lap up to 3 seconds quicker; with Lakeside a distant memory I can only guess at how it would perform now. Many  years  passed  and  a mechanical  engineer  friend  said  “what  that car  needs  is some  roll  stiffness,  not by  heavy  springs  but  by  correct roll  bars  front  the  rear”.   About this  time  I  had  read  all about  the  Light  Alloy  bodied  competition  ‘C’s  with  7  inch  rims  flared  guards  etc., all the  drivers  commented  how  neutral  the handling was  and  how  good  they  were to  drive;  tucked  away  in  the  article  was  a mention of a  Mini  Cooper  rear  roll  bar  plus telescopic  shocks all  round,  so  my  interest  was  awakened. In practice the rear roll bar was not fitted to the factoryGTS cars.  Various  people in  the  UK  commented  that  the  ‘C’  was  much  better  on  the heavier  “police”  springs  plus  Koni  shocks all  round;  the  police  vehicles  had  heavier springs  to  compensate  for  the [then]  heavy  radio  equipment  carried in the rear of the  car.  I
        discussed  this with  my  friendly  engineer  and  he  commented;  “Heavy  springs increase  roll  stiffness  at  the  expense of  ride  and  roadholding.  On  our  roads,  the standard  springs are  OK  but  roll  stiffness  needs  attention., Most people, including some so called experts [in the UK], do not understand this. They should study the 1930’s BMW 328 roadster chassis and suspension. By  this time  I  had  fitted  a  full set  of  Koni  shocks  and  found a  great improvement  with  the  car,  particularly the  rear (I  will  cover  this  in article  4  as  it applies  equally  to  all  ‘B’s).  I  enquired  about roll  bars  locally;  one  “expert”   said rear  bars  don’t  work with  the  ‘C’,  what  worked  was a  1  inch  front  bar  but  ittore  out  the  mountings  so required  special  heavy  mountings.  I  thanked him  for  his  advise  and  decided  to  look  elsewhere. I have recently modified my front Roll Bar chassis mountings by adding .080” mild steel plates; pop riveted to the chassis and tapping out the existing 5/16 nuts to 3/8 UNF to distribute the load properly to the chassis rails. The chassis mountings were flexing and after 10 years with the 7/8” roll bar had developed cracks between the mounting nuts in the chassis. I  should  mention  what  made  fixing  the  ‘C’s   handing  so  necessary.  In  mid  1990  I  bought  a  318Is  BMW  which  came  with German  M-Technik  suspension,  and  it handled better  than  any  car  I  had ever  driven.  To  a  driver  brought  up  on   MG’s   this  was  a  “Whole New  World”  and  really  said  that something  had  to  be  done  to  my   ‘C’.  Both  cars  weighted 1165  Kilograms;  why  was  one  superb and  the  other  absolutely  ‘bloody   terrible and frightening on occasion’.  
      In  ‘Classic & Thoroughbred  Cars’   I  noticed  a  ‘C’  handling  kit  from  Ron  Hopkinson   MG   Spares   in  the  UK.   Faxes confirmed  that  they  had  a  7/8 inch front  roll  bar  plus  a  full set  of   Bilstein  Rally  shocks  and this  gave  a  great improvement  in  handling. I  faxed  back  to  ask  if they  had  a  rear  roll  bar  for  the ‘C’.   The  reply  was  that they  did  not,  but  that  they had  a  5/8  inch  rear  bar  for the  ‘B-GTV8’.   I  could  not  see why  a  rear  bar  would  work well  on  a   ‘BV8’  but not  on the  ‘C-GT’ as from the centre point they are exactly the same, so  I  ordered  both  roll  bars, ‘suck  it  and  see’.  Back came  the reply  that  they  would  supply the  rear bar  but  did not  recommend  fitting it to  the ‘C’.  NOTE:  The  ‘C-GT’  with  222  extra  Kilo’s and  a  weight  bias  of   5% (C‘V’ B)  to  the  front  has  a front  roll  bar  just  1/8  inch thicker  than  the  standard  (optional, originally)  ‘B’  roll  bar.   It is  now  obvious  why  the  ‘C’,   particularly  the  GT   with  more   up top  weight,  had  so  much  body roll.  The  MGB  roll  bar  is 9/16 inch;   the  MGC  roll  bar  is 11/16  inch  and  the  Special  Tuning roll  bar  for  the  MGB  Roadster  is 5/8  inch.  Just  before X-Mas  93  a  card  in  the post  said  my  parcel  was  here; so  off  to  the Post  Office  and back  with  my  roll  bar  kits. On  X-Mas  day  I  removed  the standard  bar  and  went  for  a  slow  drive  around  my  suburb, what  a  surprise  the  car  was absolutely  hopeless,  swinging  the  wheel  between 20 to 4 and 10 to 3 produced  a  lot  of  noise and  great  amount  of  body  roll but  almost  no  change of direction;   “Oh,  What  a  Feeling”   but not  as  in  the  Toyota  ad.. Back  to  my  workshop  to fit  the  new  7/8  inch  bar and  then  repeat  the  drive.  Now it  was  “as  the  Pom’s  like to  say”   completely  different,  the  car swung  from side  to  side  with  little tyre  noise  but  rather  heavy  steering. After  lunch  I  drove over  to  Toowong to  let  my  mechanical  engineer  friend have  a  drive (he  knows  a lot  about suspension  systems  but  says very little)  a  slow 25  to  40  KPH  drive  around the suburb  produced  this  comment;  “That’s  better now  fit  the  rear  bar  and that should  further  improve  the  turn  in and  lighten  the  steering  as  well”. Bright  and  early on  Boxing day  I  opened  the  fitting instructions  for  the   ‘B-GTV8’        roll bars and  the  opening  sentence   read;   Quote :  “Remove  the  existing  anti-roll  bar.”  Note:  “Before  commencing  to  fit the  handling  kit  check  that  the  car  is  already fitted  with  a  front  anti-roll  bar,   if not  a  fitting  kit  will  be  required”. Good old BLMC again, a “B-GTV8” without roll bars must have been fun in the rain, to say the least. So  on  to the  rear bar  section  of  the  instructions.  The bar  mounts  in  front  of  the fuel tank  under  the  boot  floor,  with the  ends  going  forward  over  the axle  then  by push/pull  rods  down  to the  bottom  spring  plates.  This  is very  neat  and  almost impossible  to  see. Because  the  ‘B’  has narrower  brakes  than  the  ‘C’  the ends  of  the  bar  just  touch the heads  of  the  bolts  for  the brake  backing  plates.  This  causes  no  fouling  or noise  in  practice;  the only  modification  required  was  to  slot the  bolt  holes  in  the supplied  mounting plates  slightly  to  allow  for  the 1/8”  width  difference  at  each  end of  the  bar  to  be  accommodated.  A   test  drive  showed  we  now  had  a very different  car,  turn  in  is good,  not  a  modern 3  Series  to be  sure  but  a  huge  improvement on  how  the  car  was  when it  left Abingdon,  in  1968.  The  steering was  now  pleasantly  light  and  much  more  direct even  allowing  for  3.5 (actually 3.45) turns  L  to  L  and 34  Ft  turning  circle  (the  ‘B’ has  2.93  turns  and  32  Ft for  comparison)  so  off  to  Toowong for  comment.  “That’s  much better,  probably  would be  even  better  with  1/16  inch smaller  diameter  bar  on  the rear  or a  little  thicker  on  the  front as  now  it  oversteers  slightly.”   Imagine  a ‘C’   that  oversteers;  having  grown  up  with  a  ‘TF’ oversteer  was normal and not  what   I considered a   problem,  what  terrifies  me  is  a  car  that  will not  respond  to  the  “Helm”  and   heads  for  the scrub.  
       Since I wrote this series Tom Pugsley from Canada has brought in a 2.875:1 Quick Rack; rack and pinion for my “C” from MGMotorsport in the U.K. approx AUD400 if you bring it in yourself. Tom has fitted this kit to his “C” roadster and assures me that it is well worth doing. With my Moto-Lita 15.375 inch Wheel instead of the 16.625 inch original this will give a rim movement almost the same as my MK1 “B”. I have had the Quick Rack  fitted for years now and it is a big improvement, the steering has some feel to it and you can feel it load up unlike the 3.45:1 standard rack. This was a strong criticism of my mechanical engineer friend who commented that as you could not feel the steering you would not get advance warning when the steering started to lighten as in slippery road conditions. The Quick Rack is 2.875:1. The MK1 “B” 2.93:1 both with the ginormous 16.5 inch wheels (the “C” with leather cover) With the 15.375” Mota-Lita wheel the steering is about the same muscle wise as the car on original skinny tyres. I find that most sporting sedans with power steering have a steering ratio of 2.9 to 3.0 so the MGB was always about right. More than 3.5 belongs in the family shopping trolley class.  I now have MINATOR 15/5.5 inch center lock alloys fitted with 185/65 tyres and have minimum clearance from the widest  part of the sidewall to the turn in on the rear wheel arches of 11 mm on the right and 12 mm on the left. This is fine in practice and nothing rubs anywhere. 195 section tyres are 12 mm wider overall i.e. 6 mm less clearance or only 5 mm right and 6 mm left which even if a panhard rod were fitted would require turning up the wheel arch edges to provide a safe running clearance. There is no problem at all with 185/65R15 tyres.  
       The  ‘C’  and   the  BMW   handled  in  a  similar manner  and  interestingly  both use  a   3 PSI   pressure  difference but  the  opposite  way  around, i.e.  BMW  F30  R33  and  ‘C’  F36  R32.5.  The  ‘C’  now  goes  around   Lakeside  with  ¼  turn  of lock  rather  than  handfulls  of   lock  when  new, (standard rack).  The  final  tweek’  was to  remove  all  the shims  from  the top  “A”  arms  to  see  what the  camber  was (as  it  arrived  the right front  had  ¼  deg  negative  and the  left  front  ¼  deg  positive camber)  we  ended  up with  –1.125 deg  Left and  -0.75  deg   Right, with the lower wishbones horizontal i.e. parallel to the ground. Toe in (currently) set at 5 mm.  Like  the  problems  with  the early   MGA  Twin  Cam  once  again Abingdon  were forced  to  rush  out  a new  model  without  sufficient  testing  or  development  in  the field and  once  again  a  potentially  good car  was  hounded  off  the  roads  by  the reported  problems and very bad press reports. Without  spending  money on  the  engine  just  a  few Pounds Sterling  would  have  given  the  car good  shocks  and  both  roll  bars (which  are necessary on a standard car with factory torsion bars and rear springs, after fitting a 7/8 front bar the rear bar really improves the car.)  and  transformed  peoples  impression  of  the  ‘C’ which  might  have survived  long  enough  to get  the  Rover  engin
      e, which was almost available when the “C” was under development. My  car can  now  keep  up  with  other  MG’s  on  Wednesday  runs without  heading for  an  instant  “Off RoadExperience”  which  as  it  arrived  would have  been mandatory.  I  fed  back  my experience  with  the  roll  bars  both on  ordinary  road work  and  on  circuit training  to  Ron  Hopkinson’s   people  so  that  other   ‘C’   owners might  benefit  from  our experience.  So  after nearly 40  years  of,  bit  by  bit, development  I  now  have  the  3  Litre  sports  and  GT  car  that  I  thought I  was  ordering  way  back  in 1967.  Basically the “C” is a very good car, if it is developed as outlined in these articles, to make it how it should have been in the first place.  
      The  C-GT  is  the  better  car for  lots  of  reasons,  it  is stronger, with a much stiffer chassis,  has  better balance  and as  a  high  speed  cruiser (no longer possible with the new draconian legislation in Australia) is  hard  to  beat; and it is quiet, particularly when air-conditioned and fully insulated, thermally and acoustically.     This is  the  final part  of  this  saga, it  is  of  interest  to  ‘C’  owners  who  do  their own  mechanical work.  Included  are  items  that will  be  of  interest  to  ‘B’  owners     particularly  the  rear  shock absorbers.    Any  MG  Club  who  has  MGC  owners  may  run  this SAGA, if  considered  of  interest  to  their  members, or make photocopies etc..   (1) : THE BIG  LUMP .   I  mentioned  the  valve  guide seals;  these are  neoprene  rubber  cups  which fit  over  the  valve  stems  and  plug  onto  the  valve guides,  they  have a   raised  bead  inside  the  cup which  is  supposed   to  fit   into  a groove  in  the  guide  and  stay   in   position.  The caps come  off   the   guides  and   work  like  oil   pumps   for  the  inlet  valves. This  set  up  is  totally different  to  all  other  MG  engines. Early  cars  had  the  valve guide  groove machined  in  the  wrong  place  (what’s new  at  BLMC)  replacement guides  were  (or should  have  been)  fitted  under  warranty;  unfortunately  the  caps still  come  off.   If you have  oily  plugs  remove  the  rocker cover  and  have  a  look,  you can  see  thru  the  springs  if the  caps  are  in   position  or not.  The  only  good cure  is  to  fit  US after market Teflon/Steel  Valve  Stem  Seals 11/32” Valve  Stem & Valve  Guide OD of  .530”.  These  seals   fit   directly  onto the  existing  guides,  a  fitting   tool and  instructions  come  with  the  seals. These  seals  are  available  from  Yank  V8   Specialist   parts  suppliers.   If  you are  about  to  remove  the  head for  any  reason  it  would  be worth  changing  the  valve  guides  to bronze  (Hidural 5).  My  head  has  bronze guides  machined  the  same  as  the standard  iron  guides  (tight   press   fit). The inlet guide for the “C” is the same as the exhaust guide for the “B”. I got 6 new inlet guides locally, they were bought in for competition “B’s”. The exhaust guides are not the same as other MG motors as far as I know. You would have to get them made up.   In  1983 @  53,000  Miles  I  did  a full  pull-down  and  after  removing  the main  water  gallery  cover  and  the water  pump  felt  thru  the  gallery to  pump  opening  (out  of  sight) and  felt  a  sharp  edge;  investigation with  a  torch  showed  a  casting web  that  was  only  about  2/3  open. This was not noticed during the original pull-down @16,000 miles The  patterns  used to  cast  the  block  did  not meet   up  properly  inside  the  gallery leaving  a  thin  1/16”  web  blocking the  gallery  behind  the  pump;  a   “Gorilla”  in  the  foundry  had punched  a   hole  thru  this  web but  not  removed  it.  This gallery feeds the exhaust ports etc thru the head, no wonder the rear cylinders run hot under power. I have since found that this block restriction is QUITE COMMON  and well known by re-builders and tuners now.  
      ANY  ‘C’  OWNER  WHO  HAS  OVERHEATING  PROBLEMS  SHOULD  REMOVE THE  WATER  PUMP  AND  CHECK  THIS OUT.     I ground  out  this obstruction  and  no  more  water  loss, water  temp  165  deg  F  normal running;  full power  mountain  work  (which  I happen  to  enjoy)  runs  the  motor up  to a maximum  190 deg  F.  in   Summer. Since I wrote this article two “C” owners have checked their engines and both had about a 30% obstruction and tended to run hot.  Research by Ian Hobbs (S.A. Club) found a thermostat with an extension that closes off the hole below the thermostat which feeds the bypass hose to the water pump; about 20% of the total flow thru the pump. This thermostat required modification to the thermostat to close off the bypass also it operates at 180*F which is too hot for our climate. The factory unit is 165*F for hot countries the same as the “MGB”. Enthused by this information I did a bit of checking of thermostat catalogues and found a DAYCO   DT13C-BP 160*F (used in an Nissan “URVAN” diesel) which on a quick measure looked like a chance. On measuring with the calipers it was better than a chance; it is directly interchangeable with the normal unit. With the thermostat shut the inverted saucer washer is 5/16 inch above the outlet hole, in the fully open position the washer sits on the flat casting with the spring compressed 1/16 inch totally closing off the bypass hose. My manual controlled heater valve that I had fitted in the bypass hose is now scrapped. The car runs at 160/165*F under all conditions with a maximum of 175/180*F under full power or up mountains even with an ambient temperature of 34/35*C.   Before  assembly  I  had  the Block  face  and  Head  surface  ground to  flat, at U of Q Dept. of Mechanical Engineering,  both  were  uneven.  I  usually  change  my coolant  every  3  years  and  do not  need  to  add  water  during this  time.  To  lighten the  flywheel  we  removed  material  from the  front  face  (engine side)  tapering  at  45deg  from  the  crank  boss to  about  ½  inch  deep  then out  about  2 ½  inches  and  tapered back  to  the  clutch  housing  bolt holes,  the  details  have  been  lost,  this   removed   approx.   25%  off   the   flywheel   mass. Another method of lightening is to mill out the material between the clutch mounting bolt holes; I was advised that this can cause cracking in the flywheel, with use, unless the correct method of milling is carried out, so if you go this way check the machinist out very carefully as stress fractures may develop due to the machining method used. (I believe it depends on the type of cutter used, to mill the holes). noticed  while  looking  thru  a    MOSS  Catalogue   that  they have  a  sort  of  copy    of the  Downton  Dual  exhaust  system,  also  inlet  manifolds  for  WEBER   dual  throat   carbs;  this would  go  a  long  way  to  making   the  ‘C’  into  the   big  ‘B’  that  it  is  supposed  to  be, the  only  way  to  get  this engine  to  perform  properly  without  resorting to  a  wild  cam  and   high compression  is  to  address   the   manifold   problem. Check “ www. mgmotorsport.com”  as they have the proper copy of the full Downton exhaust headers and system also the inlet manifolds for triple Webers; (bloody expensive unless you live in the U.K.). The  fan  not  only  makes a  bloody  great  roar  but  wastes a  lot  of  power  doing  it (Later cars were fitted with a modified fan to overcome the constant complaints about excessive fan noise)  and  the standard engine needs every little horsepower it can get.  A   BMW  fan  hub  adapter  part # 11521259805  fits  on  to  the water  pump  flange  and  pulley  with a  little  machining  of  the  adapter, flange  and   pulley  then  an  early  “3”  Series   Clutch  thermal  hub  bolts to  the  adapter  and  a  “5” Series  fan  (with  the  blades   cut down  25  mm)  bolts  to  the clutch  hub  and  is  a  perfect, if  a  bit  costly  solution  to  the  fan  problem.(AUD300 @ the time) As mentioned earlier on a Commadore VL fan hub and Nissan fan can be fitted with very little machining. The VL used a beaut Nissan motor. [This will cost approx. $50 with parts from the wreckers]. In   front  of   the   air   cleaner   intake,  in   the   panel   between   the   radiator   and  the   left   wing   is   a   nicely   formed   hole   a   little   bigger   than   the   air   cleaner  intake,  but covered with a plate [tack welded on]. This was probably to overcome the complaints that in cold countries the engine is excessively difficult to warm up, with lots of choke and related plug fouling. This   tacked   on   cover   plate  should   be   removed,  in our climate,   to   get   some   cooler   air   to   the   carb’s  and   manifolds.   
      My   car   from  day  one   had   a   “Made  in  Hell”   type   AUF  305  SU   Fuel   pump  which   over   the   years   gave   more   trouble   than   you   could  ever   imagine even  from  an   SU. It failed twice in the 12 month warranty period.  I   never   had   any   trouble   with   SU’s   on   the   ‘TF’  or   the   ‘B’   just  routine   servicing.   Finally   I   decided   that   I   had   had   more   than   enough   pain   and   looked   for   a   modern   pump   that   would    replace   the   SU   and   mount   in  the   same   place.   The   answer   is   a   Federal - Mogul   Carter   in   line   motor  pump   Part #  Carter   P60504    available   from   ‘Progas Qld.’.   This   pump   spec   is   2.8PSI  30  US   Gallons  per  hour,   C.F.  2.7   PSI   and   may   be (on a very, very good day)  12  Gallons  per  hour.   The   Carter   draws  1 Amp  and   runs   from   7   Volts  up.   Mounting   is   dead   easy   and   the   pump   comes   complete   with   inlet   filter, hoses   and   mounting/wiring   kit.   The   good   news   is   that   it   is  maintenance   free  (over 5000  hours  life)  and   costs   less   than   a   diaphragm  and   set   of   points  for   an   SU.   
      This   pump   would   work   well  in   all   MG’s    with   rear   mounted  high  pressure   pumps.  The   transmission  is  good.  There is   1   possible   area   to  look  at :-   If   you   experience   gear   lever   rattle/vibration   under   power   in  3  it is   caused   by   resonance   in   the   shift   lever.   Most modern,  and  expensive,  cars   have  solved   this   by   rubber  isolation   within   the  gear   lever   or   by   rubber   damping  around   the   lever.   For   the   ‘C’   &   ‘Mk  2  B’   the   easy   answer   is   to   remove  the   gear   knob,   nut   and   boot   and   slide   a   75  mm   long   ½”   I.D.   piece   of  thick   heavy   hose  over   the   lever  (hidden   by   the   boot)    the   best   hose   for  this  is  Trailer   Brake  Vacuum  Hose.   If   you   are   handy   with   tools   another   good  thing   to   do   is   get   rid   of   the   sharp   nut   under   the   gear   knob;   to   do   this  remove   the   lever,   take   off   the   nut   then   cut   ¾”   off   the   threaded   end   (mild steel)   and   round   off   with   a   file,  measure   inside   the   knob  for  depth   then  carefully   drill   out   the   knob   moving   down   bit   by   bit,   until   the   knob   screws   over   the   chrome   section   for   a   nice   non   pressure   fit;   when   you   are  happy   use   plumbers   Thread   Seal   (PTFE)   tape   around   the   thread   and   position   the   knob.   Result   the  gear knob is 0.875” lower, the   sharp   nut   has   gone  and   it  looks   and  feels  much   better. 
      The  shorter  shaft  does  not  rattle (higher resonant frequency).   (2) :  FRONT  SUSPENSION .The   front   suspension   can   be   a   source  of   rattles,   at   low   speeds   on    any  road   surface,   the   cause  of   which  evades   everybody   and   all   attempts   to   locate   the   rattle   fail.    Our   car   had   this   problem   with   the   left   front   from  new,  surprise,  surprise,  one   of   the   first   parts   to   run   out   after   production  ceased   was,   swivel   pin  &  bush   kits.   When   I   finally   replaced   the   swivel   pin  &  bushes   I   found   the   real  problem.  Factory   clearance   for   the   bush   to   pin   is   .0025”   to  .003”.   The   special   tool for  reaming  the  bushes  is   probably set   to  give  this  clearance.  The   normal  clearance   for   a   1”  shaft   running   in   bronze   bushes   is   .001”.   The   factory  spec.   is   designed   to   make   a   loose   assembly; (possibly for grease access)  don’t   use   the   special  tool,  have   an   experienced   machinist   ream  the  bushes to  a  minimum  fit  consistent   with   minimum  friction  &  set   the   end   play   to   minimum    without   being   tight  and   all  the   rattle   problems  magically   go   away,  use MOLYCOTE or similar  Grease.   (3) : STEERING .In   the   steering   column   are   2   items   for  probable   attention. 1:   The   universal   yoke   and   bearings/cups   are   probably   dry   and  rusty.             2:   The   steering   column   locates   thru   the   rubber   damper   into   the  universal  yoke.  The end  spigot  on  the  shaft  should  be   free  to   rotate  (a  few degrees)   in   the   bush   in   the   universal.   Not   in   our   car   from  17  Miles  apparently.   I   had   to  drive   the   shaft   out   of   the   bush   to   release   it,   all   nice  and   rusty   and   little   sign   of   ever   being   lubricated   prior   to   assembly.   The   simple   answer   again   is   to   replace   the  universal   yoke   bearing   &  cups   which   are   readily   available   from   bearing  suppliers.  Remove   the   shaft   from   the   yoke, this   will   require   some   effort, Emery   off   the   rust, ease   out   the   bush   to   clear   rust   for   a   free   rotating   fit   then   use   Molycote   or   similar   grease   to   lubricate   and  water  seal the   bearing.   Now   the   steering   will   be   less   inclined   to   rattle, and   the   steering   will   feel   much   better. (The rubber shock absorber can now operate as it is supposed to, as it was it was a locked shaft.)              
      (4):  REAR  SHOCK  ABSORBERS  &  LINK  ARMS.N.B. THIS  ALSO APPLIES TO MGB’s.   The  lever  arm  dampers are  OK when   new   but   don’t   stay   that   way   for   long,   about   35,000  Miles   on   the  ‘C’.   When   we   replace   these   wonderful   1930’s   devices (which should only belong in the Science Museum)  we  don’t   carefully   check   the   condition   of   the   two   important   rubber  bushes   on   the   connecting   link   between   the   spring   plate   and   the   lever    There   is   over   ½”   free  play   in   each   direction   by   light   hand   pushing.   So   on   the   car   there   is   at  least   1”   of   suspension   travel   with   NO   damping   at   all.    Does   your   car   jump   about   on   ridges,   ripples   and   little   bumps?   The   best   answer   is   to   join  the   modern   age   and   fit   Telescopic   Shocks,   in   the   parts   list   at   the   end,   you  will  find   details   of   KONI   part   numbers.   The   rear   shocks   and   mounting  brackets   are   available,   same   on   ‘C’  &  ‘B’   the   front   shocks   for   the   ‘C’   are  not   stocked   locally   but   are   probably   available   in   the   UK.   Bilstein and Spax   also  make   shocks   for   the   ‘C’   available   in   the   UK. Since I revised this saga in 2008 I have discarded the “Cart Springs” and in August/November 2009 fitted the “Hoyle Engineering” IRS kit to improve the ride and comfort of the car as earlier in the year I acquired a pair of 2002 Mazda MX5 leather seats from a repairable write off. This was a smart and safe move as we now have protection from “Whiplash” as well as supportive and very comfortable seats. My wife is very happy as her back does not hurt now when on an all day club run.   
      (5) : DIFFERENTIAL .The   diff.   is  not  a source  of   concern   except   for   ‘B  V8’s’.   The   thing   to   look  at  is  the  roll  pin  in  the Pinion  pin,  it   holds   the   pinion   pin   into   the   diff   cage.  I   was   advised   years   ago   that  ‘B  V8’s’   and   Tuned  ‘C’s’   can   end   up  with   crown  wheel  &  pinion  damage   because   the   roll   pin  (very   hard   spring  steel)  can   come   out   or   split   and   if   this   gets   in   the   works   goodbye   quiet  diff. The  answer  is   simple,   remove   the  cover   plate   and   fit   a   split   pin   thru  the   hollow   roll   pin;   this   stops   it   coming   out.   It   is   cheap   insurance   for   all  MK   2  ‘B’s,   and   C’s.  
      6) : FRONT  BRAKES .Check   your   front   hub   disk   mounting   flanges   for   run-out,   you   may   be  surprised.  If   your   disks   run   out   by   more   than   .003”   check   the   hubs   before  replacing   the   disk.   The   left   front   hub   on   our   car   ran   out   .0025”   causing  the   disk   to   run   out   over    .005”.   This   was   only   discovered   when   I   replaced  the   disks   with   Brembo’s,   run   out   on   the   left,   good   on   the   right;   swap  over   the   disks  &   still   run   out   on   the   left.  NOTE Healey  3000  MK 3    disks are  identical  to  the  ‘C’   disks.  The   Brembo,  spares for  HEALEY  3000  MK  3,   disks   are   a   much   better   material,   they   don’t  rust   and   pock   mark as badly  under   the  pads   when   not   used   daily.  The   downside   is   that   they   tend   to   scream/squeal.  Many   ‘C’s   have   a   tradition   of  noisy   brakes.  The   answer  to   brake   squeal   is   to   fit   Turner   Enterprises   (USA)   Part #  SH  301-9  Brake  Shim  Kit, available  from  brake   specialists,   these   are   self   adhesive   shims   that   are   cut   and   fitted   to  the   pad   backing   plates.  They   work   by   reducing   the   resonance   caused    by   the   disk   pads   and   the   hollow   pistons   in   the   caliper.   Keep   the   Stainless  Steel   shims   which   were   fitted   as   new   and   have   nice   quiet   corrosion   free  brakes.   The   brake   pistons   are   hard   chrome   plated   mild   steel   and   though   not   leaking   or   causing    problems    will   by   now   be   very    rusty.   Easy   answer,  have   them   copied   in  Stainless  Steel  (not   Expensive).  If   you   do   this   you   will  need   the   Turner   Shim   Kit.   Stainless  pistons   are   more   resonant   than   mild   steel  originals.    
      (7) : HANDLING  &  CONTROL .From   article   3   a   lot   can   be   done   for   not   too   many   $’s   to   change   the  driveability   of   the   ‘C’.   With   roll   bars   for   the   GT  7/8”   front   and   5/8”   for  the  rear,  (maybe  9/16”  rear).   For   the   roadster   the   7/8”  front   with   possibly  ½”   rear;   too   strong   on   the   rear   may   cause   oversteer   problems. I have NO experience with the roadster so cannot offer any real advice.  KONI  or similar  shock  absorbers  should  be  fitted as  a  first  step.  In  the  Workshop   Manual   reference   is   made   to   fit   shims  (from  memory  1/8”)   to   the  top   ‘A’   arms   of   the   front   suspension   to   allow   for   the   bushes   to  settle.   The   bushes   don’t   settle   so   the   cars   came   with   positive   camber.   In   our   car  as   described   we   took   out   all   the   shims   to   end   up   with   -1.125  deg.   on   the  left  and  -0.75  deg.  on   the   right, fortunately this works out perfectly for our normal road camber and the car tracks perfectly (hands off steering, the car runs perfectly straight on a flat road)   This   not   only   vastly   improves   turn   in   but   lightens  the   steering   and   gives   plenty   of   clearance   for   185/65   tyres. Without removing the shims 175/80R15’s just foul the turn up in the front wings, so may foul with 185/65R15’s on 5.5 inch rims. If in doubt CHECK CAREFULLY.  The IRS with Ford disc brakes and Granada 3.64:1 has completed the car, handling is still to be determined on a circuit but so far is as good as it was and with a set of new tyres will probably be better. No rear roll bar seems to be required with the IRS for road use. The rear roll centre and spring rate seem to go well with the factory torsion bars and 7/8 front bar. The car is much more compliant with a reduction of 55Kg in unsprung weight at the rear, my wife weighs 60Kg to put this in perspective.  The 3.64 diff. with 185/65 R15 tyres gives a ratio of about 3.79:1 similar to the 1969 cars. Acceleration and applied torque have improved about 10% on the 68 car.   (8) : TUNING . This   engine   is   critical   of   being   over-advanced,   (pre-ignition   around   3000/3500  RPM   under   load,  i.e.  Max BMEP.),   the  original  advance  springs  in   the  distributor   give way   too   much   mid   range   advance.   In   “SAFETY  FAST”   magazine   way   back   in   1968   was   an   article   on   this   problem   complete   with  the   correct   spring   set   part   number.(Lucas part # 54419869)   Try   as   I   might   I   could   not   find   any  in    OZ.   The  best I  could   do   was   have   the   existing   springs   adjusted  (on   a  LUCAS   distributor  service  machine)  to   as   near  as   possible   to   the   Workshop  Manual   figures.   I   feel   that   we   are   still   not   correct   at   midrange.  This over-advance   at    max   BMEP   causes   pre-ignition   which   can   lift   the   head  enough   to   cause   water   loss  (sound   familiar)   so   it   is   better   to   be   slightly   retarded   at   max   RPM   to   protect   the   engine  at   Mid   Range   RPM.   Downton  advised   that   with   the   WESLAKE   combustion   chamber   design,  i.e.   all   BMC  60’s   engines,  0.5  deg   too   much   advance   is   detrimental   to   performance   and  the   engine;   but   you   can   be   up   to  4  deg   from   optimum   advance   without   adversely   affecting   performance.     I strongly recommend that all “C” owners get their distributors retimed to firstly correct the wrong factory settings and secondly to set the distributor to run on the modern fuels, which require much less advance, most important at mid-range i.e. 2,000 to 3,500 RPM.  I sent my distributor to: Performance Ignition Services, PO Box 464, Nunawading, Victoria, 3131. Ph. [03] 9872 3644. The owner is “Dick”  who has run the business for 25 years. To rebuild and retime the distributor and fit electronic ignition is approx $240 + Express Post, both ways. They will also provide Inductive HT lead sets, for the “C” $70, these are reliable interference free HT leads unlike carbon leads which always lead to problems. The original “C” distributor is over 10 degrees too advanced around 2,500 to 3,500 RPM. This is why they always were fuel critical and pinged at midrange.  
      [10]:   AIR CONDITING AND INSULATING THE CABIN.  In 2006 I fully insulated the firewall, both sides, the tunnel except at the top [1972/3 console fitted] top and inside the tunnel at the top where the console covers, the floor and both foot-wells then installed a full [all new components] air-con system as we suffered de-hydration on a long interstate trip in 38*C temperatures and very low humidity. With a 25% tinted and banded windscreen and 3M 35% metallic film on the other glass [maximum legal tint levels] we got a lovely quiet and cool car. This is most unlike an MGC in our climate. We can drive it anywhere and always be cool and comfortable, all year round. There is a separate article covering the air-con system, it is too long to be included here. (11) :  PART  NUMBERS   for  reference .  KONI     front   shocks       80-2053. KONI     rear    shocks        80-1244   (Check   MGB   part   number). KONI     rear    mounting    kit   6-320A.   Same   as   MGB. Fuel        Pump   FEDERAL - MOGUL  CARTER  P60504.   Supplied   by   PROGASQld.. Top        Radiator   Hose   REPCO   RCH   613   (Falcon    XM-XP 1964/66).Head   to   Heater   Hose   REPCO   RCH   1656  (Holden   Barina   ML  1986/88). Early cars only, later cars have the heater tap on the head and can use normal ½ inch hose.   THERMOSTATS.   DAYCO DT13C-BP 160*F (Nissan Urvan Diesel) REPCO $23 inc GST. Brake   Shim   Kit   Turner   Enterprises  (USA)  Part  # SH 301-9.Brakes   “Green  Stuff”   EBC   Kevlar  type   front   EBC   2291   (late  TR6) file out the pin holes to ¼ inch. Rear EBC  S5135 (These are NOT the same as the Capri 3000 V6, this was incorrect information given to me by another self proclaimed expert, many years ago).                                                                             (12) : GOOD  REFERENCE  BOOK   on   the  ‘C’ .MGC   Abingdon’s  Grand  Tourer,  Graham  Robson  1996.  ISBN # 0951942336.  Limited Edition 1,000  copies.- it  covers  History,  Restoration,  Mechanical  Restoration  etc. at  about  $ 60  it’s  probably  the most  complete  book  ever  on  the  ‘C’.            Bruce Ibbotson.     18 February 2010.
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