Ser­vice Guide

Re­store your MG’S per­for­mance and preserve its good looks

Practical Classics (UK) - - CONTENTS -

How to keep your MG Magnette in fine fet­tle.

Model vari­a­tions

The hand­some ZA was in­tro­duced in 1953. It was the first MG with uni­tary con­struc­tion, the first car to sport a B-se­ries en­gine and it in­cor­po­rated many mod­ern fea­tures, in­clud­ing in­de­pen­dent front sus­pen­sion, tele­scopic shock ab­sorbers and rack-and­pin­ion steer­ing. The ZB was launched in 1957 with dif­fer­ent chrome trim, a higher fi­nal drive ra­tio and more power thanks to higher com­pres­sion and larger car­bu­ret­tors. Track down a man­ual or hand­book for ex­act spec­i­fi­ca­tions that ap­ply to your model.

Parts and sup­ports

The Magnette Regis­ter of the MG Car Club (magnette.org) pro­vides a wealth of sup­port and in­for­ma­tion. All parts re­quired for ser­vic­ing and main­te­nance are read­ily avail­able from spe­cial­ists, and many are shared with other MG and BMC mod­els. Most Magnette-spe­cific parts, in­clud­ing pan­els, are in good sup­ply at sen­si­ble prices.

What’s it like to work on?

A lon­gi­tu­di­nal en­gine and gear­box plus rear­wheel drive en­sure that most as­pects of look­ing af­ter these MGS are straight­for­ward. The ul­tra-con­ven­tional over­head valve 1489cc B-se­ries en­gine is sim­ple to work on and en­gine bay ac­cess is rea­son­ably good. The dis­trib­u­tor’s mounted awk­wardly low – but ser­vic­ing it isn’t too dif­fi­cult. No special tools are needed for main­te­nance tasks.

Wheels and tyres

The wheels have small holes that align with those in the brake drums for ad­just­ment. Make sure you fit them in the right po­si­tion. Check the tyres reg­u­larly for wear, damage and de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. MG rec­om­mended 24psi front and 26psi rear for the original 5.50 x 15in cross­plies. Add 4psi for ra­di­als.

This also ap­plies to…

The Magnette’s Wolse­ley 4/44 sib­ling was pow­ered by a 1.25-litre MG XPAW en­gine, but many other com­po­nents are the same or very sim­i­lar. Many of the en­gine and trans­mis­sion as­pects of this guide ap­ply to the MGA, plus Austin Cam­bridges and Mor­ris Cow­ley/ox­ford Mod­els of the Fifties.

Thanks to John Co­ple­ston of Phoenix Clas­sics for expert ad­vice (01202 622808, phoenix-clas­sics.co.uk) and Bruce Greaves owner of the lovely ZB in our pho­to­graphs.

Clonk­ing? A clonk­ing from the front on un­even sur­faces is of­ten an in­di­ca­tion of up-and-down move­ment of the hub/ stub-axle assembly on the king­pin. Check as de­tailed in Step Two. Wash­ers and wipers The wind­screen wash­ers are op­er­ated by en­gine vac­uum, though many have been up­graded to elec­tric sys­tems. Make sure the sys­tem is air­tight and func­tion­ing. Check the con­di­tion of the wiper blades, too. Fas­ten­ers En­sure that all nuts and bolts – in­clud­ing the wheel nuts – are tight and in good con­di­tion.

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