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benhutcherson Avatar
benhutcherson Gold Member Ben Hutcherson
Louisville/Frankfort, KY, USA   USA
1970 MG MGB
Hi Everyone,

I'm coming over from the MGB side of things, but for a while have toyed with adding a Minor to my garage.

I looked at and drove one yesterday. This was my first real hands-on experience, and I think I probably need to pass on this particular one, but wanted to ask if some things were "normal."

First of all, this one had a 1275 out of a Midget(the Midget it came from is included in the deal smiling smiley ). It seemed fairly peppy, but there again I have no basis for comparison. That leads me to a few other questions.

I couldn't quite make heads or tails out of what the owner was telling me about the clutch he'd put in it, but the pedal had about an inch of travel and was fairly heavy. I had a tough time starting the car without either stalling or spinning. I know I've been spoiled by how "soft" the clutch is on my B, but does this sound normal for a Minor?

Also, the brakes concerned me. It had front disks, and he said that they were "all off a Midget" but I didn't think to ask if he did the conversion himself or not(although he'd just put a new set of pads on). In any case, the pedal was very soft and I honestly felt like even with it on the floor it just wasn't stopping that well even when pumped a few times. It stopped when I wanted it to, but the pedal feel didn't inspire a lot of confidence. There again, I'm going back to my B where the pedal is firm and if I'd managed to bury the pedal that much the car wouldn't move. Still, though, it scared me in driving it. Is this something I'd just need to get use to? I'm wondering if perhaps it's on a master cylinder meant for drums(without really researching Minor disk conversions, I know that in general drum masters don't push as much fluid since the calipers have a lot more surface area to move than cylinders). I'm guessing that drums probably work fine in general-do conversions hack the cars up to the point where it's difficult to revert to drums? FWIW, there's also a parts 948 in the deal that I'm guessing I could rob at least the major parts off of if needed(and of course do new shoes, cylinders, or whatever else was necessary).

Finally, the transmission had to be held in 3rd and 4th. I've done MG transmission swaps and they're straight forward. Is this a common problem and something I might have to worry about if I dropped in the transmission from the parts car?

I'm mixed on this car. Even though it seems to have some mechanical issues, it is SOLID with brand new floor pans and not a spec of rust(and a bunch of new steel) on the underside. The interior is original and worn, but serviceable. I know you all can only determine so much from my description and not seeing the car, but should I hunt for greener pastures or does this sound like a starter car that I might be able to handle?

As I said, I'm an MG guy and have been pretty deep into my car. I have zero experience with A series engines but a fair bit with B series engines.

Thanks.

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John in Eugene Avatar
John in Eugene Platinum Member John Quilter
Eugene, OR, USA   USA
I'll throw in a just a few comments. If the car has an MG Midget 1275cc it may also have the MG gearbox and as such it may have a home engineered hydraulic clutch with parts from the Midget. All factory stock Minors had a very simple mechanical clutch linkage which might likely have a very different feel from the Midget set up.

I would be most concerned with the fact that you had to hold the gear lever to keep the car in 3rd or 4th. That to me indicates serious internal problems with the gearbox. Worn synchos or such.

The A series engine is quite similar to the B series. Think of it as a B series in 3/4 scale. You will not have difficulty figuring it out.

MG Midget disc brake conversions were common for Minors. I run one on my convertible. There are some things that have to be done to the master cylinder when the conversion is done. Others can elaborate.

I have been driving Minors for upwards of 60 years and now have two, one family owned since 1960. Both are stock and retain their original engines and gearboxes with 191,000 miles on each one. I'll be flamed by other forum members but here are my rules for longevity of a stock Morris. These are on a laminated card in the glove box for the benefit of any future owner.


NOTES TO ANYONE WHO DRIVES THIS CAR

Be advised this is a fragile and antiquated car. As such it needs special driving skills. First, and foremost, if you are in a hurry this is not the car to use. These are slow, low powered cars that require patience in operation. The gearbox should be used with great care. The 1st gear is non synchronized. Therefore, never engage first gear unless the car is fully motionless. When engaging 1st gear, from a stop, momentarily move the gear lever toward 2nd gear to stop all internal rotating motion, BEFORE, attempting to engage 1st. When changing gear when driving, move the lever slowly and deliberately, do NOT rush the shifts. When sitting waiting for traffic to move, as at a stop light, shift to neutral and remove your foot from the clutch. Only depress the clutch and engage 1st when ready to move forward. When driving keep your foot completely off the clutch pedal. This car should not be driven at speeds greater than 3500 RPM continuously. This is about 53 MPH. If you need to go faster than this, take a different car on your journey. These tips are conservative, proven driving practices, that will preserve this vintage car for a long continued life and reliable service.

John F. Quilter
Eugene, Oregon USA

benhutcherson Avatar
benhutcherson Gold Member Ben Hutcherson
Louisville/Frankfort, KY, USA   USA
1970 MG MGB
Thanks John.

It is a Minor transmission, unsynchonized 1st and all. When we were driving, he commented several times on the clutch linkage and how he'd thought about trying to engineer the Midget hydraulics into it. So, indeed it is-now-the original mechanical linkage.

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emjay Jim English
Marietta, PA, USA   USA
If the workmanship of the panel replacement is good and a model you prefer at an acceptable price, the issues you mention can be dealt with fairly easily and would not be much of a money pit. The Midget disc brake conversion was the thing to do in the Eighties and Nineties, but now there are a few options that give much better results. There are also factory drum options that are probably better than those discs. Most of the disc conversion are operating with a stock Minor master cylinder with good results. Installing residual pressure valves in the line yields the best results. There are other that have installed dual master cylinders for a split system but typically not in the stock locations and of course are a bit more involved. As for performance, the 1275 is the easiest install to get a good improvement but does require a bit more active driver compared to a B. Again, there are more involved alternatives. As for the gearbox, you need to confirm is it a Minor smooth case box or a later rib case. The symptoms you mention indicate something isn't right. If it's still a smooth case, it would be worth a swap and an addition option is a Datsun 5 speed. Finally, it comes down to what you want to use the car for. For example, an around town errand car would be fine in original specification. If you want a cruiser, changing the differential ratio would be in order. If you want to show off, you'll need to do some tweaks.

emjay Jim English
Marietta, PA, USA   USA
Another thing about the clutch is whether he used the correct clutch arm and front plate of the gear box. After that some simple linkage changes can be done to improve the feel. Minors are a bit difficult for a novice manual shift person. There is very little "feel" to the clutch and the activation range is very short, almost an on/off switch.

benhutcherson Avatar
benhutcherson Gold Member Ben Hutcherson
Louisville/Frankfort, KY, USA   USA
1970 MG MGB
Thanks again.

On-off switch is definitely how the clutch felt, so I guess that's normal. I've driven a fair few manuals and have a lot of miles behind the wheel on both my B and various other ones-just never one with this little clutch travel. I suppose I'd get use to it.

I THINK he mentioned a 3.53 rear end-whatever it was, it wasn't stock and the car was a really nice, quiet cruiser. I'm not sure how fast we were going-the speedo was reading 60 but I know we weren't anywhere near that fast. I doubt I had it above 40. I could see it being a good tool-around-town car or "Sunday afternoon drive" car for the times when I actually want to feel like I'm driving a car and not just guiding it like I feel with my Lincoln and most other new cars. I LOVE my B and drive it both for "spirited driving" and running around town, but it's definitely a nice day only car and also is a bit noisy and comfortable for cruising. I love winding it up on a twisty road, but that's also not something I'm in the mood to do every day.

pixelsmithusa Avatar
Sounds to me like a lot of inexperienced "shadetree" work done on this car. A-series engines are quite robust and swapping drivetrain components from Spridgets is quite straightforward, but often times parts from different years are used in concert because they bolt together in the same way but are totally inappropriate in combination. Regarding the gearbox, you can get an idea what I mean by checking my Tech web page on the subject (linked below). Same goes for the disc brake conversions: there are correct ways to go about it, most people get it totally wrong. This is another area I have a lot of experience and it completely possible to get the equivalent of modern braking, even better than the B in a Morris. I also came up with my own design hydraulic clutch that I've installed more than a dozen times that people love. The ones I have seen on most Morris' do not work that well. It's mostly used in concert with my 5-speed conversion (yes, that's possible too with the Morris too) but can also be used with the stock gearbox.

http://gerardsgarage.com/Garage/Tech/TO_Bearings/tobearings.htm

http://gerardsgarage.com/Garage/Tech/5speedKit.htm

Kinda far away for you, but I have a great all original Minor for sale locally in my area. Runs and drives great and is very sound mechanically and structurally.



Gerard

http://gerardsgarage.com/



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-05-11 11:48 PM by pixelsmithusa.

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0123 Mike D
Biddulph, Staffs, UK   GBR
Mechanics are cheaper and easier to sort than bodywork.

Big question is the price.

benhutcherson Avatar
benhutcherson Gold Member Ben Hutcherson
Louisville/Frankfort, KY, USA   USA
1970 MG MGB
Since folks have asked about the price:

$4500

That includes the running/driveable Minor coupe, a running but non-driveable and rotten Minor saloon, and a Midget that's pretty rough but has a beautiful original interior and really nice wires. The complete original engine out of the '67 Minor is also included. It was pulled running and looks like a time capsule-it has Lucas green copper core plug wires attached to a side entry cap. There's also a few other A engines in various states of disassembly, two Midget gearboxes with known issues, and a bunch of other parts stuffed in the back and boot of both the saloon and the Midget.

As I said, the body of the running/driveable car is rock solid with a fair bit of fresh steel. It's currently in gray primer, so I know I have some money ahead to make it presentable, but that also gives me a blank slate to make it whatever color I want(and at least I'm starting with a straight body).

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0123 Mike D
Biddulph, Staffs, UK   GBR
Sounds like you have put together a very convincing argument to buy it Ben.

benhutcherson Avatar
benhutcherson Gold Member Ben Hutcherson
Louisville/Frankfort, KY, USA   USA
1970 MG MGB
Here's the listing. Any further thoughts?

I'm still up in the air on buying it...although I'm also going to try and negotiate buying the wire wheels, hubs, and rear axles from a B he has.

https://louisville.craigslist.org/cto/d/67-morris-minor-67-mg-midget/6569444458.html



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-05-13 07:26 PM by benhutcherson.

0123 Mike D
Biddulph, Staffs, UK   GBR
Toss a coin.

You'll decide before it hits the ground.

kelly.combes Avatar
kelly.combes Kelly Combes
Englewood, FL, USA   USA
1980 MG MGB MkIV "Blu"
If the body is good. Buy it. Those are the bits you want for the Morris. They may need to be refined a bit but it sounds like you have the right stuff to start with. The B parts are a good negotiating tactic. smiling smiley

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