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MGC

Published: 28th Aug 2014 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

MGC
MGC
MGC
MGC
MGC
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MOD& MEND
Do you drive this great classic or are thinking of buying one? Here’s how to ensure that you get the best out of your car for years to come

The MGC is much more than an MGB with a six cylinder engine under the bonnet yet it’s as orthodox, robust and straightforward to maintain and modify. With the help of top MGC specialist, here’s our top tips

1 BOTTOM END

MOD
A rebore can take the unit to around 3.3-litres and give added torque which is worthwhile as it’s not a high revving unit. Balancing and lightening the big heavy block helps but worthwhile is a lightened fl ywheel, costing £100. It really improves throttle response and is a good swap even if you only intended to replace the clutch and keep car standard says MG Motorsport.

MEND
The biggest weak spot are fast wearing piston rings. Once this occurs you’re going to have to undertake a bottom-end rebuild which entails an engine out as it’s not possible to drop the sump with the unit in situ although you may be able to lift to gain clearance. It may be worthwhile replacing the rings as preventative maintenance to protect the bores from scoring .

2 SUSPENSION & STEERING

MOD
Cock up at the launch saw wrong tyre pressures compounding understeer; car has better set up than the B care of torsion bars and telescopic dampers. Quality shox is fi rst step along with poly bushing. For the more adventurous look to a stouter anti-roll bar (three sizes) for around £120 and uprated torsion bars. Power steering via MGOC circa £1500. Doug Smith makes a quicker steering rack.

MEND
Doesn’t generally give problems, except for the kingpins wearing. unless they’re greased (well lubed with EP90 gear oil, technically) every 3000 miles. If there’s any movement detectable at all, the kingpins will need replacing at around £150 each plus fi tting. The front wishbone bushes also perish and collapse; tougher V8 ones fi ne for MGB but don’t fi t MGC.

3 ENGINE OUTPUT

MOD
Sleepy old 3-litre can yield up to 180bhp and needs to breathe easy with carb and, in particular, head mods. For those on a budget, better air fi lters is a good fi rst step. MG Motorsport sells Downton style manifolds (£511) and exhaust set ups (£350). All this should eke out a welcome extra 10-15bhp. Triple Weber DCOE is £1800 but these are only called for if the cylinder head is extensively reworked; valve sizes are ample says MG Motorsport but a camshaft change is welcome.

MEND
Although based on the Austin 3-Litre unit, MG engine is not the same; valves, springs and sump are unique to MG and while a Healey unit can be made to fi t there’s no performance benefi ts. It’s generally long-lived; even once it’s started to wear, the powerplant keeps going, but noisier and smokier. Rocker shafts have a habit of wearing so don’t assume a clattery ‘top end’, it’s just a question of the valves needing routine adjustment.

4 BODY & CHASSIS

MOD
Like the MGB, there’s heaps of personalising potential. MGOC sells a special Sebring body styling in fi breglass for the front at £350 with headlamp cowls an additional £70. The ‘Club spoiler’ it also offers for under £40 is said to be based upon Abingdon’s own factory design. Something owners will no doubt warm to is a replacement hood design complete with a heated rear window for £550. Works-style hard tops a penny under £400.

MEND
MGCs rust as badly as the B; sills, inner wings, bulkheads and fl oors are the most suspect but most panels you need are available either new or used and this includes complete shells from BMH and Clacton-based Colne Classics. The alloy bonnet is unique to the MGC remember. MGOC also markets replacement fi breglass front wings for less than £100 each which also has the benefi t of saving weight on this rather nose-heavy car.

5 TRANSMISSION

MOD
Initial non-overdrive versions use same spec as the MGB, but cars with overdrive featured a sturdier close-ratio gearbox, standardised ’68. Diff ratios varied plus a limited slip was an option when new. Best bet is evergreen Sierra Type 9 fi ve-speed ‘box but this as a complete kit leaves little change out of two grand. MG Motorsport sells different gear sets while overdrive can also be uprated.

MEND
Box is C’s weakest spot, as it’s not up to the job. The fi rst thing to go is usually the layshaft bearings, resulting in the shaft dropping and putting pressure on the cogs. If things have started to go awry, it’ll be obvious from the whining but usually soldiers on. In contrast, the automatic is sturdy and suits the car’s lazy trait well; use a 3.3:1 diff, highest is the 3.07 from non overdrive-equipped models.

6 BRAKES

MOD
Assuming system is good, uprated pads suffi ces for most needs before you look to drilled or slotted discs (try EBC) at around £150 or four pot callipers (Frontline) at over £800. For the vast majority using the car on the road there’s no need for rear discs. Modern, wider radials (185-205 section) are a must but steering effort will be higher so don’t go for a small steering wheel.

MEND
A lack of servo assistance usually means that the seals have failed, a rebuild is rarely cost effective. If the original master cylinder is fi tted it’ll need overhauling or replacing before too long – check its condition and look at the brake pedal to see if there’s fl uid leaking down it. Keep the drum brake and handbrake adjusters well lubricated to prevent seizure.

7 REAR END

MOD
Telescopics can substitute the old lever arm type (of which uprated types are still available) for around £200 although worsen ride as do uprated parabolic leaf springs but the latter are highly desirable if you want the car to handle better. The ultimate, if you can justify the expense, is a sophisticated fi ve link conversion from Frontline Developments (01235 832632) but it’s well over £1500. Panhard Rod or Anti-tramp bars are cheaper option.

MEND
A feeling of rear wheel steering is common but simply because the U-bolts and rubber bushes which locate the axle have come loose or corroded – a cheap fi x. Lever arm dampers are notorious for leaking. Make sure all the rear tyre is visible with the car sitting on level ground – if it disappears under the wheelarch, springs ideally need replacing at around £40 per side; a good moment to opt for parabolic type says Colne Classics.

8 TRIM

MOD
If originality isn’t important there’s shed loads you can do to make the MG more civilised, such as modern sports seats from the MGOC at £1100 (pair), leather panel seats £900, burr walnut dashboards and door caps (both from £190), or you can sport a more modern carbon fi bre appearance for an extra £50. There’s also a heater upgrade costing £64.25 for the matrix and £65.75 for a two speed blower kit.

MEND
Dials are particular to the MGC but the rest is virtual MGB and so easy-peasy to renovate either with brand new materials or secondhand. The MGC sells vinyl hoods from £205, carpets from £150, trim panels £200 seat covers £215 (pvc) and £530 (leather) per pair. Similarly exterior trim is all readily available, with the exception of new windscreen surrounds. But reconditioned units are made, on an exchange basis costing £260.

9 DETAILS

MOD
If you need to replace components then it’s worth prating as go, such as a higher torque starter motor or £200, higher output alternator, power window kit 220, headlamp relay kit £18, halogen headlamp onversion (£60) electric washer kit £15 and even an ntermittent wiper conversion kit at £32, from clubs.

MEND
It’s a simple system so no real problems apart from the usual age deterioration; might be an idea to replace the wiring loom if it’s original to prevent future trouble. Poor starting is usually due to volt drop thanks to their rearmounted location; keep them clean. Uprated alternators and a higher torque starter motor will aid poor start ups.

The most contentious issue has always been the MGC’s chronic understeer trait which was compounded by the offi cial tyre pressures set at unbelievably low 22psi! Today most specialists, such as Surrey-based Robin Lackford Engineering advises 26/28 if running period tyres (he recommends Michelin ZX’s) and 28psi all round on a contemporary alternative and perhaps 30/28 for high speed and track work – don’t go over 30psi at the rear he advises. Poly-bushing the front along with a Doug Smith close ratio steering rack transforms the car says Robin but you’ll probably need a power steering conversion to make it manageable.



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