Here we publish hints which may help you
maintain or enhance the pleasure of driving your Morgan. Its success
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A Lockable Storage Box - Vern Dale-Johnson
Modifications for Touring in a Morgan - Vern Dale-Johnson
Heater Matrix Replacement - Geoff Williams
Shrouded Electric Radiator Fan
- Win Muehling
Shock/Damper Conversion Geoff Williams
Keeping your Plus 8 engine cool!
Fitting a Steering Damper to your Morgan - Geoff Williams
Morgan Identification Numbers
- John Merton (pdf file)
Making Engine & Gearbox Mounts for the Standard Special
- John Merton
Thinking outside the Square (Front Suspension) - Todd Hamilton
Starvation Problems - Peter Canavan
The 4-4 Error or Morgan's Equivalent of the Unicorn - John Merton
Morgan +4 Heat
Shielding & Air Filter Canister - Jack Austin
Plus 8 1973-1978 gearbox -
Murphy’s Law in action - Geoff Williams
Plus 8 1973-1978 gearbox rattles/sloppiness - Peter Canavan
Front Suspension - Easy King
Pin Removal Tool - Peter Wagner
Of Sliding Pillars & Axles -
Morgan Plus 8
Front Suspension Spring Restraint - John Wroe
Suspension Bushes - Anthony Browne
Morgan 4/4 Series 1
- Anthony Browne
The Standard Special Engine - by John Merton
Prattles Series - John Merton
Morgan 4/4: Sierra 5-speed Gearbox Conversion - Tim Hurst
Dash Rocker Switch Fix by Geoff Williams
The Coventry Climax IOE Engine by
On a wing and a
prayer? by Noel Bryen
Balancing HIF SU
Carburettors by Colin
Removing Play from the Burman-Douglas Steering Box by John
Selection by John Merton
High Level Stop Light by
Rear End Collision Risk by John Mott
|Working on a friend's 1995
4/4 Zetec I noticed some drops of liquid on the top of the
transmission cover. Closer examination revealed coolant
under the lower edge of the heater unit. Here are the steps
to removing and replacing a faulty heater matrix. This was a
1995 4/4 Zetec engined car - I don't know which other
Morgans have the same setup.
consequences of a leaking heater matrix are obvious -
coolant in cabin, soggy carpets etc once the leak gets worse
but here's what can happen even with a slight leak. The
original Pioneer radio was dead thanks to coolant penetrating
the electrics and with the help of electrolysis corroding
pretty well everything.
|Once the top of the heater
unit was removed it became clear that the heater matrix
itself was built into the whole heater unit before it was
installed in the car. The choice: either remove the complete
heater unit (huge job - bonnets off, moving lots of parts,
unbolting unit from car) or modifying the unit to enable
convenient removal and replacement of the heater matrix.
consultation with the owner we decided to modify the heater
box by slicing off the panel which holds the heater matrix
in place. Making sure all hoses, wiring etc were well out of
harm's way a air-powered cut-off wheel similar to that
pictured left was used to slice along the line indicated in
|The exposed matrix was then
able to be removed. I tested by immersing in water and
applying air pressure into the unit which showed a very
slight leak under the plastic top just near the lower
panel, once removed was cleaned up and a new lower part was
attached using sealer and rivets. This gave an overlap when
the panel was replaced.)
|Being an aluminium/plastic
unit we established that a repair couldn't be guaranteed and
so elected to buy a new unit.
The factory did have the matrix
in stock but, having established the matrix is identical to a
Lotus Elise S1, we bought one from
in the UK to save time. It arrived in Oz 5 days later and
total cost landed was less than AU$200. This pic shows the
new matrix on the left and the old one on the right. The
identical unit from Lotus in Australia would have been
|The new unit was an exact
fit and once in place the modified side panel was replaced
using black butyl mastic as a sealant.
Before replacing the heater top
panel the hoses were reconnected and the engine run up to
temperature to make sure no leaks were evident.
|Footnote: I have
dismantled the old heater matrix and will have a go at
repairing it. Watch this space.
Geoff Williams June 2013
following article was
written by Win Muehling in
Vancouver and he has kindly
given permission to
reproduce it here. Plus 8
owners in particular will
find it very interesting....
purchased my 1986 Plus 8 a
few years ago it was plagued
with chronic overheating.. I
had the radiator checked and
cleaned and replaced the
unpressurized radiator cap
with the correct pressurized
one. Added water-wetter, but
still only a minor
improvement. I talked to a
Morgan shop and they
recommended an uprated
electric fan with 8 blades
(Plus 8 only came with
electric fans). Again, it
helped a bit, but it didn’t
solve the problem . I did
more research and it seemed
that the only options left
were an oil cooler or a
shrouded fan. Shrouded fans
are much more efficient in
moving air through a
radiator rather than just
stirring up the air. The
problem of course, where do
you find a shrouded fan that
will fit in the confined
space behind the Plus 8
the option of installing a
pusher fan in front of the
rad since it obstructs the
airflow at speed and only
helps at idle. Oil coolers
were readily available, so I
ordered an oil cooler kit
from the UK. The kit arrived
from the UK, but the oil
filter adaptor didn’t fit..
No problem, according to the
dealer, we will send you the
I am waiting for the rest of
my oil cooler parts, I
happen to be in the local
auto supply store, and they
had a sale on shrouded
aftermarket fans for Honda
Civics. It immediately
caught my eye since it was
very thin and appeared to be
about the same size as a
Plus 8 radiator. I took some
measurements, went back home
and sure enough it was the
exact size of the finned
area of the mog rad!. It was
actually cheaper than the
uprated fan I had purchased
the year before from the
Morgan Dealer, and which
hadn’t improved matters. The
only modification needed was
a notch at the bottom of the
shroud to accommodate the
bottom hose spigot.
The fan and
shroud are attached to the
radiator by four nylon zip
ties. . While I had the
radiator out, I also had a
new socket soldered on to
take a standard threaded
Japanese temperature switch
rather than the archaic
friction fit switch the rad
came with. (One less source
of leaks and a choice of
on/off temperatures). I also
used a Bosch relay to make
life easier on the switch. A
little extra work with the
wiring but always a good
I have had
three summers with the
shrouded fan and no more
over heating problems .The
oil cooler is still sitting
on the shelf.
I purchased my 1966 Plus 4
4-seater , it came with an
oil cooler and a large ugly
pusher fan mounted in front
of the radiator. Lots of
oil all over the radiator
from previous oil leaks in
the oil cooler plumbing. The
car wasn’t overheating, but
when it started cooling off
in the fall I couldn't get
the engine to warm up at all
since there was no
thermostatic by-pass on the
oil-cooler and a 160 degree
thermostat. Possibly a great
set-up for a hot summer, but
not for fall or winter
I didn’t like
the looks of the oil-cooler
and fan in front of the
radiator, plus by going to a
more efficient fan, I
figured the oil cooler would
become unnecessary and one
more possible source of oil
leaks could be eliminated.
If it worked on the Plus 8,
why wouldn’t it work on the
Plus 4? The finned area on
the plus 4 rad is the same
as the Plus 8, although the
Plus 8 has a much thicker
there appeared to be plenty
of room, the shrouded fan
was actually a tighter fit
than on the Plus 8. The only
way I could get the fan and
radiator back in was to
lower the radiator and move
it forward by nearly an
inch. (The only way to move
it forward is to also lower
it in order to clear the
cowl. Can’t move it too far
forward as otherwise your
filler extension will be
inaccessible. ( At a later
date I actually extended the
filler extension, in order
to make it more accessible)
. After experimenting with
some home-made radiator
mounting brackets, I settled
on a very simple bracket
extension that utilized the
original radiator mounting
brackets (see photo)
to mention that the
brandname I showed doesn't
be around anymore and now
part of "Flexalite". I just
bought another fan for my
dHC a few days ago and am
attaching a copy of the box.
It is available with
straight or curved blades
and with and without sensor.
Depending on discount.
Much has already been written
about the benefits of replacing rear lever arm shocks/dampers
with tubular shock absorbers so I will not repeat it here other
than to say it is absolutely correct. Out of all the
modifications I have made to my Morgans the biggest single
improvement to handling has come from this modification.
There are many kits available
to allow you to make this modification, including a factory kit.
However if you are handy with a welder, it is relatively
straightforward to fabricate and install your own conversion.
Here is the conversion I designed for my own 75 Plus 8 and
recently installed in another Plus 8.
- Near ideal vertical
positioning of dampers
- Very rigid when bolted in
- Easily fitted
Detailed diagram is available by clicking here.
'74 Plus 8 was having overheating problems and diagnosis showed
a number of issues contributed to the problem: Front fan
incorrectly fitted, recovery system not used correctly (air in
system), leaking radiator plugs and insufficient coolant flow
through the triple pass (racing) radiator.
pass radiators need a greater flow than standard radiators. With
the thermostat removed the car ran at correct temperatures but
with the thermostat fitted, it ran hot under load (high
speeds/steep inclines). It is important to keep the thermostat
in a road car so I started looking for solutions and found that
an Australian company,
Tridon, now offer high flow versions of their thermostats
providing 30% greater flow of coolant. In fact these are now the
recommended replacement for the early '70s Range Rovers (Part #
Tridon TT 2000-180). This photo shows the obvious difference
between high flow (left) and standard (right).
fitting the high flow thermostat along with rectifying all the
other issues fixed the cooling problem and the car is now
running at correct temperatures. I plan to fit one of these
thermostats to my road Plus 8.
uncommon trait in Morgans is their tendency to shake, rattle and
roll – to borrow an expression from a ‘50s rock and roll song –
at certain speeds. Additionally, Morgans can sometimes steer in
an unintended direction on bumpy or uneven roads – a most
disconcerting and dangerous habit.
modification is to add a hydraulic steering damper to the
steering mechanism to help reduce these nasty habits. There are
quite a few variations on how this is done so here is another…
want the damper to act at the point where it will work most
effectively. I chose to attach it to the tie rod as this acts
directly on the axle through a pair of ball joints. I have seen
versions which attach to the drag link but this adds another
ball joint between the damper and the axles and thus introduces
some undesireable slack between the damper and the axles as the
ball joint twists under load.
choose your damper carefully. There is approx 150mm of movement
in the tie rod from lock to lock, therefore your damper must
have at least this amount of stroke. I first bought a VW
Beetle damper which turned out to have only 135mm stroke. If I
had used it the car would have had a smaller turning circle
and the damper would come under inappropriate loads at full
lock. Fortunately, I was able to exchange this for a
Mercedes Benz damper made by Bilstein which has a generous
200mm of stroke and is perfect for the job.
All that was
left to do now was to fabricate some brackets to hold the damper
in place. These are shown in the photograph.
final result is most pleasing – the cars thus fitted (Plus 8s
and a 4/4) have all been much nicer to drive with virtual
elimination of the nasty habits mentioned in the opening
paragraph. There is a barely noticeable increase in steering
effort.I made some extra brackets while doing this job and these
are listed in the Morgan Market.
I am happy to make another batch.
My thanks to
my partner in crime, Peter Canavan, who volunteered his Plus 8
for our initial experiments in the shed. We subsequently fitted
dampers to Peter’s 4/4 and my ’75 Plus 8.
is my effort to improve the heavy steering on my plus four
Morgan. Some other Morgan owners including the factory are
now fitting a roller or ball race to the bottom of the main
suspension spring in place of the bronze plate of which
creates a fair amount of friction.
big problem with this is how to lubricate the bearing, keep
the dust and water out and the grease in. So on with the
thinking cap! Why not put the bearing on top of the spring
much further away from the elements as you can see from my
photos? I believe in engineering circles, this is called
thinking outside the square.
the bottom of the main spring I machined a top hat type
section to locate and to sit the spring on in place of the
bronze plate. This does not move so no lubrication required
here. At the top I also machined a cup section to hold the
roller bearing, also centre and locate the spring. Two
grease nipples are in place to supply a small amount of
grease that will be needed.
the original bronze plate and the damper blades completely
discarded I set out on a test run to Wisemans Ferry (our
club run). I noticed a marked improvement in the steering,
however slightly more road shock felt through the steering
wheel. A VW Passat steering damper should take care of
you have five or ten minutes to spare sometime ask me how it
installed on top
As our machines become older it is
evident that fuel related problems increase.In recent times several cars
have had numerous fuel starvation problems leading to replacement pumps
being fitted without solving the basic problem which inevitably stems
from a build up of rubbish in the tank.
This is caused from rusting metal as
well as perishing fuel filler hoses. The Plus 8 is particularly
vulnerable over time because both filler hoses are bent as a result of
misalignment of the filler neck and tank intake. As time goes by the
hose cracks with small pieces of rubber falling inside and eventually
making their way into the fuel filter, if fitted, carburettor(s) or pick
There is an easy solution to the
problem as follows;
Remove pick up tube from
top of tank .It is a tight fit but will unscrew with a
little extra effort.
Using compressed air,
blow through the entire system up to the engine bay, after
disconnecting the hose attached to your carburetor(s) to
ensure there is no blockage.
Working at your garage
bench cut a circular groove into the pipe about 50mm from
the bottom. This is best done with a triangulated file or a
hack saw blade.
Obtain a piece of
stainless steel fly screen wire and wrap it around the
intake and sides of the pipe up past the groove making sure
it is not too wide to fit back in the tank. (Modern day
fuels will dissolve normal fiberglass fly screen mesh).
Tie off the screen with
stainless steel picture wire ensuring that the wire sits in
the cuts to hold the screen in place. (Again fuel could
dissolve thin household wire).
Re insert the pickup
tube into the fuel tank replacing the gasket if necessary.
Replace your old fuel
filter and connect up the system.
Several people, including me, have
tried this method and have not experienced further problems.
© Peter Canavan
One of the most persistent and now
well-entrenched errors in the history of early Morgan
4-wheelers is that the cars which came to be known
retrospectively as Series 1's were 4-4's before World
War II and 4/4's thereafter.
It is almost incomprehensible how this
belief came about, when the weight of available evidence
shows otherwise. The most plausible explanation so far
is that someone of some standing in Morgan circles
decided on it without properly checking the facts, if at
all, and, given his status, others accepted it
unquestioningly. That various Morgan authors have also
fallen into this trap has only served to spread and
perpetuate the error.
So, let's have a better look at things.
Some very early publicity and magazine
write-ups had the cars as "4-4's" but up to the Second
World War they were described in a variety of ways,
"4-4", "4/4", "4.4", 'Four Wheels Four Cylinders", and
so on. By August 1937 "Light Car" was firmly in the
"4/4" camp, while its competitor "Autocar" stuck to
(4-4" both before and well after the War, even
describing the Series II car in its September 1956 Road
Test as a "Four - Four". So even just on the PR spin the
claim we are examining is spurious.
But, it is axiomatic in any historical research, that
the object itself, in its original form, is definitive.
Where what the object reveals contradicts the written
word or entrenched belief, it is the latter which is
wrong and should be changed or discarded.
What do the pre-war cars tell us?
- the vehicle Identification Plate attached to the rear
right hand engine block on most of the Coventry Climax-engined
cars is stamped "4/4" in front of the chassis;
The Identification Plate on a pre-war
Coventry Climax engine
- arguably the most common type of
alloy bell housing used with the Coventry Climax engine
has "4/4" cast into into its outer rim;
"4/4" cast into the rim of a pre-war bell housing
- and the original kit issued with
each new car included an Instruction Book (1937 edition
pictured), authored by Morgan Motor Co. Ltd. Malvern
Link Worcs., which from 1936-on referred to the cars
throughout as "4/4's".
- the Factory build records, which
provide virtually a forensic picture of the DNA of each
car built, identify every car from the first prototype
on as a "4/4";
- in an article in "The Morgan World",
Issue 24, by Dr Jake Alderson on the first prototype
with the Ford 8 hp engine, the driver of the car in a
university procession claimed it was
stamped with the chassis number "4/4/1";
- my early 1950's reprint of the 4/4
Instruction Book has the English four-wheeler club
listed as the Morgan 4/4 Club, not 4-4 as seems to have
various publications more recently.
So there you have it!
The unicorn was often mentioned in
mythology, but never seen. And despite the many
references in Morgan lore, the Morgan Motor Company has
never produced a Morgan 4-4 car. Not a single one!
c. October 2010, Revised December 2011
The subject car was a 1961 Morgan +4 Drophead
Coupe. The engine was a TR3 equipped with both the short
intake manifold and short SU bodies.
Two issues were addressed.
In hot weather the heat radiating from the exhaust manifold
was disrupting the fuel mix by boiling off vapors in the
It was also problematic that the engine was not equipped
with an air filtration system. Allowed to remain this way
the incoming air charge would have brought with it all
manner of dirt and debris that would in turn cause the
engine to wear prematurely.
The "normal" solution to this non-filtered air problem has
been to modify the side of the bonnet with a cut-out and
cover to clear various standard aftermarket filters, but the
owner did not want to make any cosmetic changes. To his
request, I designed and fabricated a filter canister that
would prevent the bad stuff from getting to the engine
innards. The entire part was constructed of sheet aluminum.
The photographs show the sequence of construction ending
with the desired goal of the item as appearing to be a
"period correct" aluminum casting. The filter element itself
is a modified stock K&N element.
first goal was to deflect heat from the exhaust manifold
that had been causing disruption of the fuel mix, especially
in hot weather
From the photos you can see how the filter
canister developed and how the filter element has been
modified and installed. With the canister completed and
mounted it is difficult to tell its features and finish from
an aluminum casting.
© This article printed with kind permission
of Jack Austin, North Carolina, USA
on from Peter Canavan’s recent article on replacing the bushes on the
gear selector shafts on the Plus 8 Rover 4 speed gearbox (1973 to 1976),
I thought I would share a recent experience which provides a lesson for
those who have this gearbox in their Plus 8.
4 speed gearbox is not particularly strong and does not have a
satisfying feel to the gear change which is why it is important to
rectify any excess play in the selector mechanism. About a year ago I
had replaced the selector shaft bushes and it had certainly made an
January this year I drove the car to my local mechanic for its annual
registration inspection. Everything was going really well – all the
Lucas items were defying tradition and actually working, wheel bearings
fine, handbrake fine etc. Next came the road check of the brakes. Then I
hear this call from the car – “Geoff, is the gearlever normally this
loose? And looked over to see our friendly mechanic holding the
gearlever in mid air!
I said, “It’s not supposed to do that!”
gearboxes have a plastic spherical seat at the bottom of the gearlever
which plays the critical role of keeping the gear lever in contact with
the selector rods as well as keeping it in the gearbox. Need I tell you
what can happen to 1970s British Leyland plastic after 35 years of
enduring the heat under the gearbox tunnel of a Plus 8?
challenge was how to get home from Richmond to Kurrajong Heights. We
found with a bit of levering of a large screwdriver it was possible to
jam the gearbox in one gear. I chose 3rd knowing that even on
a hill I could take off in 3rd in the Plus 8.
home was accomplished without drama but with me secretly hoping a spare
part would be unobtainable and I could finally replace this gearbox with
a nice 5 speed Toyota unit.
a bit of Googling found several sources of the original BL part. It is
Rover part # 571933. I bought mine on eBay but it is available from
British Motor Imports at McGraths Hill and also from Scotts Old Auto
Rubber. Cost approx $60.
news is that the part can be easily replaced in a few minutes, without
having to remove the gearbox tunnel.
have a ’73 to ’76 Plus 8 I would recommend buying this part and fitting
it. Undoubtedly your little plastic spherical seat is just as likely to
fall apart as mine if it is the original.
again… perhaps you could just replace the gearbox with a nice 5 speed
gearbox in Plus 8 models is maligned due to driver’s inability to
successfully locate second gear when required. This operation is often
accompanied by a loud crunch as reverse is found instead
solution has been devised, as passed on to me by John Coneybeare, and
consists of placing nylon bushes inside the webbing through which the
selector shaft travels between the gear stick and gearbox.
sequence of events to affect a fix is as follows;
I Remove Speedo cable at both ends i.e. gearbox and Speedo
This makes for a much easier removal of gearbox cover and will save the
need for a new cable in time. Removal from gearbox needs to be by way of
the inspection plate on the passenger's side
2 Remove all carpets etc and gearbox upholstery as well as
3 Remove 4 bolts holding gearbox cover to floor and
upholstery/carpet location pins
4 Remove screws locating gearbox cover to bulkhead
5 Remove gearbox cover. This is a tricky operation as the
handbrake lever forces the cover upward towards the dashboard. It is
best to obtain assistance as four hands as better than two.
6 Unscrew three bolts holding gear stick and remove.
7 Remove extension section from top of the gearbox.
8 Working at your bench, tap out the location pin through
selector arm and remove from webbing through which it travels
9 Place two nylon bushes into webbing and glue with
Araldite or similar product to stop selector rattle/movement, as per
in reverse order.
needed for this procedure, apart from normal tools, are two early model
Victa lawnmower wheel bushes (solid type) available at mower repair
centres costing about $1 each
also eliminated an annoying rattle in the linkage area, noted mainly
when in top gear.
gearbox cover was removed the opportunity was taken to insulate the
underside. This is achieved by using stick on aluminium reflective paper
with peel off backing It does not take long to cut and attach The
temperature difference is quite noticeable, especially on hot days.
© Peter Canavan
A jack, several bricks,
large pieces of timber, flying springs and fraid tempers. Does this
remind you of something? Maybe the last time you tackled the job of
Morgan king pin replacement?
You can be rid of this joy
for good with the aid of one simple length of threaded rod and a nut.
The following procedure applies to all Morgans other than series 1 4/4
to 1951 -but
a similar method could be adopted by the ingenious ones to suit even
First, obtain a 6 inch
length of 1/2" B.S.F. threaded rod and a nut to suit. A set screw with
the head removed is probably the easiest way of obtaining the rod. Next,
file two flats on one end of the rod to accept a standard open ended
spanner and grind a taper on the other end for about 3/8". With this
piece of fine equipment in hand, the job can now be started.
After removing all the
ancillary gear such as shocks, etc., remove the top king pin retaining
bolt and replace with the threaded rod, taper downwards, to a depth
about the same as the original. Screw the nut down to the surface of the
upper support and lock king pin securely in place. Remove the two screws
fastening the rebound spring retaining plate to the lower support and
then proceed to unwind the nut on the threaded rod while restraining the
rod from turning. The king pin will now drop by virtue of the spring
pressure acting on it and can be removed after the stub axle comes to
rest on the lower support.
The reassembly of the unit
is done by the reverse procedure. The taper will assist in aligning the
threads of the rod and king pin.
To assist in removing and
replacing the suspension assembly, it is recommended that the thin outer
section of the lower casting be removed to form a “U” shape hole. This
section is included to aid machining of the hole, and provides no
structural strength. With this section removed, the suspension unit can
be withdrawn or replaced, already assembled.
Always use H.T. bolts and
flat washers, either side of the joints to secure the lower spring
plate, and tension to manufacturer's specification.
The following photograph was supplied
by John Mott. It shows the above tool (two different lengths) plus
kingpin and bronze bushes. It also shows steering bearings which various
suppliers are now making available.
The Morgan factory also make and fit steering bearings on
the cars now. These can be fitted to older cars but do require shorter
So you thought Morgans had a sliding pillar
suspension? John Merton provides food for thought in this paper.Click
download a copy.
As an adjunct to Vern
Dale-Johnson’s March 2008 EAR article “Long Distance Touring” and the
enclosure “Rebuild Your Own Front Suspension” by Fred Sisson 1997,
referred to as “THE INSTRUCTIONS”, John describes some additional tools
useful to retain the road spring compressed and to guide the King pin
during re-assembly. Click here to
download a copy.
Article on experiences
and testing of Vesconite Hi Lube by Anthony
Browne. Click here to
An interesting and thorough paper
on the Standard Special Engine by John Merton. Click here to
Technical notes for Standard Special
Motor, Burman-Douglas Steering Box, Moss Gearbox, History, Components &
By Anthony Browne, Morgan Owners Club of Australia. Click here to
Dash Rocker Switch Fix
Submitted by Geoff Williams
The indicators on Issy, my '69 Plus 8, had given up the
ghost! Occasionally they could be persuaded to work by switching the
hazard flasher on and off.
You might think this is not a problem for a race car (who
needs indicators on a race track) but she is fully registered and
indicators are checked when you go to get a pink slip!
The wiring diagram shows the power supply to the
indicators runs through the hazard switch.
When the hazard switch is off and the ignition is on, power is
delivered to the indicators. When the hazard switch is on, power no
longer flows through the normal indicator circuit but instead flows to
the hazard flasher circuit.
The beauty of these older (late 60’s and 70’s) switches
is they can be dismantled and internally they are very simple – just a
few bits of copper and plastic. Examination showed overheating through a
poor contact had melted a plastic component and the switch wasn’t
I enquired about a new switch from trusty Melvyn Rutter
and found there was good news and bad news. The good news was they could
supply, the bad news was it would cost £39 plus postage.
Now, as much as I want to keep Issy original, $150 for a switch
was starting to sound a trifle beyond a joke.
What to do? First option was simply to bypass the hazard
switch and ensure the indicators had power supply. This was easy to do
but what if I was asked to demonstrate hazard flashers at the next rego
I decided if the switch is simple, a simple Plus 8 owner
should be able to repair it. This was achieved by remanufacturing a
small plastic rod (I used a plastic welding rod and drilled it). It was
a fiddly operation but in the end it worked.
So, if your dash switches fail don’t throw them away
before first checking what’s happened inside. You may just be able to
fix it and save a fortune!
The Coventry Climax IOE Engine
(WHATMOUGH PATENTS AND
Submitted by John Merton
Climax I.o.E., or rather O.I.S.E. (overhead inlet, side exhaust valve)
engine used in early production Morgan four-wheelers has a number of
Great Britain patents listed on a plate on one rocker cover. These,
ascribed to Whatmough (Wilfred Ambrose Whatmough) are numbers 303592,
319810, 326454, 329340, 332523, 349460, and 373991.
They date from around January 1929 to May 1930.
in the above patents grew out of a statement in a book that the cylinder
head was manufactured to a patented design by Whatmough.
With little previous interest in or knowledge of the origins of
the I.o.E design, I (and friends I spoke to on the matter) assumed that
Whatmough had invented the I.o.E configuration, as it was the essential
feature of the cylinder head design.
Subsequently, an Australian historical automotive journal of good
standing carried an article on Hudsons intimating that Hudson had
invented the “F”-head design.
This claim had been included in a 1928 advertisement for Hudson
triggered an examination solely to see, initially, which of the two had
the stronger claims to having invented the I.o.E design.
follows. It has led into
fields much wider than just patents, and challenges and refutes
entrenched Morgan lore in a number of areas.
much of the information on the Triumph connection (or more properly lack
thereof as regards the particular engine used in Morgans)
my thanks to Antony (Tony) Cook, founder and past secretary of
the Pre-1940 Triumph owners’ Club of the UK, and currently secretary of
the Skoda and Tatra register in Australia.
BACKGROUND - the Hudson and Whatmough patents.
neither Whatmough nor Hudson invented or patented the I.o.E.
engines date almost to the dawn of motoring.
The earliest tended to have “atmospheric” or “automatic” inlet
valve operation, based on the principle that gravity would assist the
valve opening process. Royce and Rolls-Royce cars before the “Silver Ghost” (except
the V8 “Legalimit”) had I.o.E. engines, and they were well-established
motor cycle practice by around 1910.
is their appearance in Hudson’s light car, the “Essex”, named after an
English county, which had a four cylinder I.o.E. engine from around 1919
on, and was apparently quite a well-known sight on English roads in the
1920’s. These cars were
assembled for a time at a
plant on the Great West Road, Chiswick. Another make to use I.o.E
engines in the 1920’s was Humber.
January 1928, Hudson was granted a patent (US1656051, inventor Stephen I
Fekete) for refinements to the I.o.E design.
The essence of this patent, which covered the arrangement of
valves, head, cylinder and spark plug, was an inlet valve overlapping
both piston and exhaust valve , so that cooler inlet gases could help
cool the heads of the exhaust valves while still efficiently entering
the combustion chamber. The
arrangement aimed at greater volumetric efficiency, higher compression
without pre-ignition, higher rpm and more power, while still providing
effective exhaust valve cooling.
The Patent also provided
for spark plug location adjacent to the exhaust valve on the side
furthest away from the piston, to spread the flame progressively from
the hottest to the coolest part of the chamber, helping prevent
itself used a six-cylinder I.o.E. engine to this design for about three
years in the late 1920’s, but later abandoned this in favour of side
valve designs. It was the
smooth running of these later engines which made such a big impression
on Rolls-Royce engineers in the 1930’s.
Whatmough patents cover, with a single exception, combustion chamber
design, aimed at gas- flow, turbulence, and volumetric efficiency
considerations. While their
listing on the valve cover might imply they are only cylinder head
related, they also embrace gas-flow considerations affecting the
cylinder block on engines with side exhaust valves.
Whatmough played around with curvilinear shapes (including
relieving the bore) moving later to squaring off some faces in the
interests of manufacturing convenience, the clear implication being that
some of his theories didn’t amount to much if anything in actual
engine valve covers also carry a plate stating “Whatmough
Cylinder Head”, leading to speculation that he may himself have
manufactured these heads and supplied them to Coventry Climax.
The patent changes taken in the light of manufacturing experience
tend to give some credibility to this speculation.
these patents (except for the one) mostly relate to the first, involving
modifications or improvements to it.
A common thread is location of the spark plug over or adjacent
to the exhaust valve on the side away from the piston, for the
reasons stated in Hudson’s earlier patent!
It is almost certain that Whatmough knew of the Hudson and other
work in this field at the time.
“Motor Sport’s” William Boddy, and others have indicated quite a
lively correspondence at the time in automotive engineering journals
between Whatmough and Weslake (perhaps also Ricardo - these touted as
the “big three’’ of cylinder head design, at least in the UK),
concerning their particular theories.
patents are catholic in relation to valve configuration, the principles
seen as applicable to side, T-head, and I.o.E., with one patent also
In other words,
the patents listed on the valve cover of the Coventry Climax I.o.E.
engine are not specifically directed at an I.o.E. cylinder head
“exception” patent, number 332523, was for cooling passages, the idea
being that if adequate cooling was provided for the “hot” part of the
engine, i.e. the exhaust side, the inlet side would be overcooled, and
approach, basically, was to provide for larger water passages on the
exhaust side and smaller ones on the inlet side.
again, this patent covers both cylinder head and block.
Coventry Climax Connection
to a short published company history by Coventry Climax, and a separate
published chronology of British Leyland, H. Pelham Lee, Coventry
Climax’s founder, established a car engine manufacturing facility in
1904 called Lee Stroyer.
This evolved into Coventry Simplex Engines Ltd. in around 1907,
leading in turn to the foundation of Coventry Climax Engines Ltd.
of our interest, the Coventry Climax I.o.E. engine, appears to have been
first used in the AJS light car, from around August 1930. This, and the
dates of the patents (up to May 1930), as well as Whatmough’s possible
“crib” of that aspect of the Hudson patent relating to sparking plug
placement, do make it tempting to speculate that the adoption of this
engine configuration owed
something to the Essex example.
company’s Morgan connection in the 1930’s came about through the supply
of an 1122cc four cylinder version of the I.o.E. engine for the
production Morgan 4-4, which hit the market from 1936.
Early engines were claimed to produce 34 BHP at 4,500 rpm.
Some time in 1936, modifications were made to the design.
Reportedly, the earlier arrangement of distributor combined with
a chain-driven dynamo was changed to a separate distributor
driven by skew gears, the dynamo was given belt drive, the cup and ball
joint on the inlet pushrod and rocker was inverted, with the cup going
to the top of the pushrod, the positioning of the oil filler was changed
and the lower radiator connection was moved and enlarged.
Larger inlet valves and a slight modification to combustion chamber shape
boosted claimed horsepower to 36.
The sideplate on the engines supplied to
Morgan clearly indicates their origin. It states “Specially made for Morgan Motor Co. Ltd. by
Coventry Climax Engines Ltd.”
first used the 4-cylinder Climax I.o.E. engine , in 1018cc
configuration, from 1931 in its 9hp car. Subsequently Triumph adopted
the design in both 4 and 6 cylinder guises for a range of its cars.
two theories on the actual manufacture of these.
The first is that that Triumph machined and assembled them from
rough castings supplied by Coventry Climax, the second that they
manufactured them completely themselves given that they had suitable
foundry and machine shop facilities spread over three factories, one in
Priory Street, Coventry, another in Stoke Street, and the third the
original “Gloria” works in Clay Lane, Coventry. Almost certainly the
second was the case and this appears to be the consensus view. The sideplate on the
Triumph engines indicates they were made under a special arrangement
with Coventry Climax, thus is quite different to the plate on the Morgan
used three small 4-cylinder versions of the Climax I.o.E. engine.
The smallest, of 1018cc, was used in the “9” and also, in
slightly tuned form, in the early Triumph “Southern Cross” sports cars.
The other two small Triumph engines, specified G10 and G12, were of 1087
and 1221cc capacity respectively.
The G10 engine developed a claimed 40BHP at 4,000 rpm, while the
G12’s claimed figures were 42BHP at 4,500 rpm.
From 1934 on, both the G10
and G12 engines were fitted with water pumps.
Research by Tony Cook revealed no
evidence that Triumph ever used the 1122cc version of this engine, even
though several written works on Triumph make this claim.
For example, the late
Michael Sedgewick, writing in “Vintage and Veteran” magazine, opined
that this was the one motor probably not made by Triumph themselves but
supplied direct by Climax.
Tony Cook believes however, that in this and other references the motor
has been confused with the 1018cc unit actually used by Triumph.
(A parallel in the Morgan world is that at least three Morgan
books, and several articles possibly using the books as reference
sources, claim wrongly that the post-war Standard Special engine was
fitted with a water pump).
model, the “Gloria Vitesse”, used tuned versions of the G10 and G12
engines. The smaller-engined 4-cylinder models had twin SU carburettors,
consisting of one small bore side draft and one larger bore downdraft on
a delayed linkage. It is
believed some early Morgan
owners may have privately fitted this, or a similar set-up, to their
company ceased its involvement with Coventry Climax engines in 1937 when
it completed the move to its own new in-house overhead valve designs.
and Other Connections
used the Climax 1122cc engine in its 10hp cars from 1932 on.
The engine supplied to Morgan seems to have had the same basic
internals as this engine but with slight differences in the block
casting and flywheel/clutch, and with induction and sump arrangements
more like those on the Triumphs.
that Crossley ceased car manufacture in 1937, concentrating thereafter
on commercial vehicles. It
was another company which, through a series of takeovers, finally
disappeared down the British Leyland “black hole”.
engines were also used in a small number of Vale Specials in the 1930’s.
/Disadvantages of the I.o.E. Design
advantages of the I.o.E. design were that it allowed larger valves than
either side or OHV designs (the latter constricted by the narrow bore
long stroke situation brought about by the RAC rating system), also
better cooling around the exhaust valve because of more room for water
jacketing. Location of the
spark plug near the exhaust valve enabled the flame to move from the
hottest to the coolest part of the combustion chamber, helping avoid
detonation, and the system was claimed to permit higher compression
ratios, hence more power, than the norm for the period.
Hudson’s 6-cylinder engines, for example, ran at 6-1, about 20%
higher than the norm for the mid-1920’s.
The engine supplied to Morgan in the late 1930’s had a claimed
compression ratio of 6.85
to 1, also high for the period.
disadvantage was the heat range with which the spark plug had to cope -
it had to contend with cool conditions under light load but also with
very high temperatures under heavy load. Spark plug selection was a
bugbear for motorists in the early 1930’s using the smaller Climax
I.o.E. engines. Hudson
overcame this to some degree in its six cylinder engines by using the
overlapping inlet valve, and also by fitting a water pump.
The Triumph G10 and G12 engines were also water pump-equipped
from 1934 on, a feature lacking in the Morgan engines.
for Morgan Folklore
There are several claims enshrined in
Morgan writ which are either incorrect or misleading.
What follows addresses
some of these.
That Morgan used the same engine as in Triumph’s “Southern Cross”
Triumph did not use the 1122cc version of this engine.
Both its G10 and G12 engines were fitted with water pumps (from
1934) and there were some other differences in specification as well.
That Triumph supplied engines to Morgan under a licensing
arrangement with Coventry Climax.
I raised this issue with Tony Cook he was most adamant and insistent
that Triumph had never supplied Morgan with any engines, they would have
all come from Climax .
-the Morgan sideplates clearly state the engines are
made by Coventry Climax - the Triumph engines have a quite different
-Morgan used the engines from 1936 to the outbreak of the
War, while Triumph stopped using Climax engines from 1937
engines are to a different size and specification (no water pumps)
highly unlikely that Triumph would disrupt its own production lines
(particularly after 1937 when they were geared to OHV engines) to
produce an engine to a different specification to any it had used, for a
separate company, to supply to a rival car maker.
Remember also that Triumph were operating at a loss for much of
That Triumph owned Coventry Climax before World War 11
I have been unable to find one tittle of evidence to support this
claim. Both the
booklet and the British Leyland chronology make no mention of it.
In fact, the latter indicates clearly that Coventry Climax
remained a separate entity until taken over by Jaguar Cars Ltd. many
ask how Triumph, with its history of loss-making through the 1930’s
could have afforded to buy Climax.
Or who, when Triumph went into bankrupcy in 1939 it sold Climax,
by then a highly profitable operation, to? Another question also is why
Triumph would walk away from an engine arrangement with Climax in 1937
contributing to a situation of some stress for Climax (see later) if
Climax was in fact a subsidiary?
That Triumph (or somebody) must have made the engines for Morgan
as Coventry Climax was too small.
Coventry Climax had
been manufacturing and supplying the passenger car and commercial
vehicle industry with engines for many years.
In fact in 1937 it found the vagaries of car engine production
left it with underutilised production capacity and moved to large-scale
production of water pump trailers (complete with Climax engines). We are
considering an operation which had the capacity to produce some 40,000
water pump trailers up to the end of World War 11. The engine sideplate
also gives the lie to this claim.
That the I.o.E. cylinder head used on these engines is the result
of research by Whatmough and Weslake.
Weslake is not
mentioned in any of the listed Patents.
Some did have co-authors, however.
These were, variously, Findlater, Hewitt and White.
That the cylinder head was manufactured to a patented design by
characteristic of this engine is its I.o.E. configuration.
The claim is misleading if taken at face value, ie Whatmough
patented and invented this design.
Whatmough’s listed patents , some in collaboration with others,
cover gas-flow/combustion chamber shape, except for one which covers
cooling,. They are not
exclusive to the cylinder head, nor are they exclusive to the I.o.E.
shorthand, the engine embodies aspects of several of the listed patents,
covering gas-flow/combustion chamber design and cooling.
Climax Stop Car Engine Production?
Climax’s car engine operation was under stress.
Triumph had been a major client throughout the 1930’s, and the
ending of this arrangement would have caused financial concerns for
Climax. The direction of
Crossley’s car making efforts was increasingly wobbly, and Morgan and
other clients were small fry.
published Climax version is that by the late 1930’s Leonard P Lee, then
running the company, found that the natural evolution of the motor
industry faced him with the need to look elsewhere for an outlet for the
special types of engines which his father had produced for so many
years. In 1937 an
opportunity occurred to consider a Government requirement for trailer
fire pumps which would utilize two engines already available.
Two types of fire pumps were developed and large Government
orders obtained. (The two
engines involved were both side valve designs - the smaller of the two
is claimed to have been that developed for the Swift, a make which
disappeared in 1930).
publication claims that Climax stopped making car engines in 1937 (it
doesn’t indicate precisely when that year) to concentrate on the fire
But how does
this accord with the continued supply of engines to Morgan into the
first half of 1938?
“Morgan: First and Last of the Real Sports Cars”, touches on the
contract situation. He quotes from November 1937 factory minutes to the
effect that given a delivery of a further 250 engines was in train, at a
price rise from 29 pounds to 36 pounds, the company should look to seek
an amendment as soon as the suitability of the Standard (
Special OHV) engine had been determined. However, according to Laban
this engine had first been offered in 1937.
As, by design, it draws on parts from several of its contemporary
Standard side-valve engines, it would appear to have been a relatively
simply matter to ring it to production quickly, assuming Morgan had been
able to take this route.
given that they had to see out the contract and were unable, apparently,
to renegotiate the price suggests that Coventry Climax may have had them
over a barrel. The contract
appears to have been lock-tight and the price escalation may well have
been inserted by Climax at a time it was facing some uncertainties
(perhaps before the fire pump contract?) and needed the cash flow .
But if they
stopped making car engines in 1937, how did Morgan still get them?
As we have seen, certainly not from Triumph.
suggest a simple answer.
Common industry practice at the time was for the industry to “weather”
engine blocks for anything up to eighteen months in the belief that this
helped engines to “stabilize” by relieving stresses and thus made them
more durable.. It is almost certain that Climax followed this practice.
The Morgan engines would have been assembled from castings
already made. The Climax
claim therefore, is not strictly speaking incorrect but it is
Morgan Move to the Standard Special Engine?
cost has been suggested as a factor (and the Standard engine was much
cheaper), the real reason was that Morgan had no option but to look for
an alternative engine. At that time also Morgan’s main competitors - MG,
Singer and Triumph - were
all using full OHV designs, with Singer wedded to overhead camshaft
Climax had opted out of the uncertainties of car engine production to
concentrate on their fire pump trailers, and the option of a further
contract no longer existed
for Morgan. Had such an option existed, Morgan may well still have
switched engines, but the
Climax engine had simply departed from the equation.
c.2003. (NOTE: This is a slightly revised version of an article which
appeared in “The Morgan Ear”, May 2002)
Autocar”, 2 October 1936
Four Wheeler Workshop Manual”
John Dowdeswell, circa late 1950’s.
the Morgan 4/4” Bulletin based on Motor Trade data (addendum to Dowdeswell
First and Last of the Real Sports Cars”
Brian Laban, Virgin Publishing Ltd., 2000.
History of the Fire Pump Engine that Won Motor Races” released by
Coventry Climax, circa late 1960’s.
Produced by Cogent Elliott Ltd., printed by WW Curtis Ltd.
Pot of Britain’s Motor Industry”
Tom Northey, in “On Four Wheels”, volume 1 part 13, Orbis
New Limits of Performance”, advertisement for Hudson cars, page 35 “The
Literary Digest” for September 1, 1928.
Submitted by Noel Bryen
Having rebuilt more Mogs than I care to remember, I
thought there wasn’t much more I could learn about cowled radiator front
wings, but alas, I was wrong again.
This most recent educational experience began about
12 months before the Morgan Muster (remember that?). Well, Michael Watts
decided to do a quick rebuild on his 1971 4/4 so that it would look
pristine for the display at Bathurst. The intent was good, the timing
less than perfect.
Michael’s Mog had been through a bit of a tough life
prior to his ownership, and when he bought it from Ken McGuinness in the
early 90’s neither of the doors were fitting correctly, there was no
trim installed and the front end of the car always looked a bit
lop-sided. We knew the car had been accident damaged early on and that
it had been rebuilt, but that was all we knew. Despite this, the car was
sound, the price was right and it drove very well.
As is usual with these things once the car was
dismantled, one thing led to another, resulting in the need for some
chassis and crucifix straightening, lots of new wood in the frame, some
new panels and before you knew it, 2003 was here. Michael was doing the
majority of this work at home, and had finished the woodwork and
re-skinned the body, which was finished and bolted back in place on the
chassis, with doors repaired and refitted. The rolling chassis then made
an appearance at my place for some paint work.
From previous experience I knew that having replaced
lots of timber in the frame, repaired the inner guards and realigned
some crinkles in the chassis, the last items that were going to fit
would be the bonnets, so a dummy build was necessary to make sure
everything was going to fit prior to finishing and painting.
By this time the wings had been stripped back to bare
metal and primed, so previous accident damage and wear and tear was
plain to see. Overall, both wings were in good condition so we
approached the assembly with high expectation. The fact that the
bulkhead showed signs of severe panel beating around the steering column
area confirmed that the car had been accident damaged on the right hand
side/front, but we didn’t link this damage with the apparent good
condition of the right hand front wing. In other words, it had been
The left wing went on without too many problems and
seemed to fit quite well. The right also went on OK, but the balance of
the car just didn’t look right, no matter how much pushing and shoving
we did. Heights from ground level were correct, but still there was
something just not right. The photos attached probably don’t
allow a good comparison, but the right hand wing (the one without the
headlight pod) is ¾ inch higher between the top of the wing (where the
sidelight mounts) and the level of the inner guard behind the headlight
pod. The height between the top of the wing and the inner guard on a
"low" wing is about 1 ¾ inches and for a "high" wing it is about 2 ½
inches. The car had been like this since Mike owned it, but no-one had
ever noticed – the car didn’t look right but that was all we could say
about it. From the drivers seat the front left wing always looked lower
than the front right, (which it was) so we assumed the chassis or
crucifix was bent (they both were). On a "normal" Mog, (is there such a
thing?), it is possible to see the left hand front side light from the
driver’s seat – not so on Michael’s.
So, the puzzle now was, what model Morgan did this
"high" wing belong to? My immediate thought was that it belonged to a
high-line Plus 4, but now I am not convinced. On checking Alby, his
wings were low, even though he is a high-line Plus 4, but this was not
conclusive since his front wings were new in 1994 and the factory could
have made (and probably did) whatever they felt like on the day. John
Hurst provided a clue, as his Plus 4 has original wings from 1960, and
lo and behold if his wings aren’t high, so I thought the mystery was
solved. I have since measured Ian Southwell’s ’63 Plus 4, also a high
line model, and his wings are also high, but to add further confusion,
Ken Ward has a ’63 Plus 4 4 seater which has low front wings.
However, the position of the headlight pod provides
another clue as to the model of the wing. All (pre ‘68) Plus 4’s have
the headlight pod between the wheel arch and the inner guard, as do
Series V 4/4’s, whereas post Series V 4/4s and all Plus 8s have the
headlight pod embedded into the wheel arch. This occurred as a result of
road regulations in various countries where a minimum distance between
headlights forced the factory to move them further apart. And by the
way, there are at least two versions of headlight pod position with
regard to how far they are embedded into the wheel arch. From the early
‘70’s they appeared to reach their maximum distance into the wheel arch,
but for a few years in between some of the pods were further inboard by
about ¾ of an inch. Well within factory tolerances I hear you say? No, I
believe it was deliberate. As the car grew in width in the 80’s and
beyond, particularly the Plus 8, the distance between the headlights
also grew further apart, but this was achieved by increasing the
distance between the wheel arch and the inner guard, rather than moving
the headlight pod itself.
What to do about the problem? We couldn’t carry on
with the rebuild like this, as we needed a matching pair. Naturally, Ken
Ward was my first port of call, as I knew he had a few wings kicking
around in his rafters. This only added further confusion to the problem.
Ken had four brand new, (or should I say, unused) wings which had been
bought at various times over the past 30 years or so and have never been
fitted to a car. When I laid them out on the ground, there were two
matching pairs, one high pair and one low pair, but both had their
headlight pods embedded into the wheel arch by the minimum amount rather
than the maximum amount that we needed. In other words, we would have to
buy a pair from Ken, increasing both the cost and the fitting time, as
fitting a brand new wing is not a simple task. The confusing part is
that all of these wings have been purchased at different times, and all
had been ordered as 4/4 wings, so it would appear that there are some
model 4/4’s that have high wings with headlight pods only partially
embedded into the wheel arch. To compound the problem, Ken also has two
pair of Plus 8 wings, one set from a ’68 (Moss box) model and the other
from a ’74 (Rover box) model and both are high, and both have their pods
embedded into their wings by the minimum amount, so this could be one of
the answers. I have since measured 4 Moss box model Plus 8’s and a few
post Moss Box models and they are all low, so I am now thoroughly
confused. There doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason, but neither
should there be, otherwise we would probably start thinking that the
Morgan is a "normal" car and buy a Holden instead.
I don’t think the factory really has it under control
either, because in 1991 when John Hurst first bent his 4/4, he ordered a
wing from the factor quoting year model and chassis number and the one
we received was the right height, but the headlight pod was too far
inboard. To solve the problem we swapped the new one with a second hand
one from Ken’s rafters. After the second prang in ’93, we went through
the same process with the opposite side, but this time John drew several
sketches showing the correct position. When the wing arrived, we were
not surprised to still find the headlight pod in the wrong position, but
this time it was too far forward. That was a permutation we hadn’t
considered, and was when I taught myself to un-braze the pod and
re-braze it in the correct position.
The other interesting point here is that Melvyn
Rutter, who is renowned for being able to supply virtually any part for
any model Morgan, doesn’t list the high wing as a variant in his cattle
dog, nor does he list the variant in the horizontal position of the pod,
so as far as he is concerned these two wings don’t exist. Melvyn lists
+4 ’54 low pod
This would be the interim model when the pods were
very low and is easy to distinguish.
+4 54-56 – standard pod
+4 and 4/4 56-63
+4 and 4/4 63-68
I am not sure of the difference in these wings other
than the increase in width of the car over the years. I know the 60 +4
model is about 2 inches wider than the early 56 model, but I am not sure
of any differences between a ’62 model 4/4 or +4 and a 64 model. The low
line variant of the +4 came in at this time, but this had no affect on
the front wings that I am aware of. Obviously, Melvyn Rutter knows more
about these things than I give him credit for!!
This covers the period where the pods were inset into
the wings, but does not include the variant at the beginning (69/70)
where they were inboard by at least 3/4 an inch further than the later
This is too modern for me! The next time I see Todd
Hamilton’s Plus 4, I will be taking notes.
Again, I think overall width is the major difference
in these wings, but I don’t claim to be an expert on +8s. The late 70’s
models don’t seem to roll over at the front as much as the earlier
models, making the wheel arch appear to be less round, but I haven’t
investigated these very much. As mentioned above, I know of a ‘68 model
and a ‘74 model that both have high wings. The other difference in the
earlier versions of the +8 was the need to inset the right hand wing to
allow the alternator to fit. I checked a couple of late model Plus 8s
(post ’95) at Christmas in July this year and discovered that this is no
longer done, as they are now wide enough to fit the engine in easily
without having to modify the right hand wing, so there’s another one
that Melvyn doesn’t list.
So, how many different cowled radiator front wings
are there? I used to think there were nine. Now, I start losing count at
So, there you go. I just thought I would share this
bit of technical trivia with you, and if ever you need a front wing for
your cowled model Morgan, remember, it isn’t as simple as you might
By Colin Jones
Not having a go at your
technician but I trained many of them when I was at BL who did not
really understand the tweaks. The HIF Horizontal Integral Float)
is a very sensitive carb with a bi-metalic strip which trims the AFR
(Air Fuel Ratio), There are no shortcuts, there are also many things
that can cause EXACTLY the problem you have, here are the modifications
and adjustments we used to teach, its was 30 years ago though ;-) .
1. Take off the carbs
and turn them upside down, mark the lower float bowl plate to carb
body position with a felt pen (its possible to mess up the reposition)
and remove the 4 screws and washers, remove the lower plate, let the O
ring seal dry in air as it may expand.
2. Inspect the
bi-metallic strip that holds the jet in position if at room
temperature its not perfectly flat discard and replace it, note its used
as part of the mixture adjustment and the 'notch' must locate in
the mixture screw pin, these can become dislodged.
3. Check the float
arm type, early ones were cross (+) section and should be
discarded as they distort, use the later (H) section which are much
more rigid. Check the float height, this is critical. Look at
the float from the side and you will see a U section moulded in the
float, the LOWEST part of that U must be level with the aluminium body
of the carb when it is held square and upside down and the float is
under its own weight. Use a straight edge or a drill shank to
check this, a slight difference (+/- 0.025) will mess up all other
settings, adjust by bending the float needle brass strip a little at a
4. Rebuild the lower
portion of the carb and turn to the correct way round.
5. Mark the
position of the top vacuum chamber with the felt pen, you cant put these
on wrong but it saves messing about later. Remove the 3 screws and
carefully lift off the dashpot.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF HIF
CARBS, THOSE WITH & THOSE WITHOUT ROLLER BEARINGS.
6. In the HIF
dashpots that include a twin track ball roller bearing arrangement, this
is to stop the piston sticking and should never give a problem, might be
worth checking but its maintenance free.
7. If the carbs have
been overhauled your just doing belt and braces here but just look for
wear marks in the dashpot (should not be any with the bearing system)
but give it a clean out anyway. The main reason is I want you to
rebuild everything with ENGINE OIL, I know other cringe but thats what
SU Butec and BL used in production, playing with oil viscosity is for
later, lets just get it running!
topping the oil centralise the bearing, to do this you rebuild the
vacuum chamber and leave the dashpot damper out, put a finger in
the venturi and lift the piston to the max lift and drop it, it should
clunk with a metallic sound, this indicates a centralised bearing.
9. Now fill with oil,
to the bottom of the threaded area. You should have retaining
clips on the dashpot damper, lift the piston again (not so high as
to burp the oil out) and push the clips on the damper back into
place. VERY careful use of a small screwdriver, do not scratch the
piston. Screw on the damper.
You can now base set the
carb, turn in the mixture screw (on HIF's the screw is IN to richen, OUT
to weaken) and then back it off two and a half turns.
WITH THE IGNITION
TIMING SET, start the car and allow to warm, turn in the mixture
screw a quarter of a turn (its + section so thats easy) until the engine
revs fall, now back out a quarter of a turn at a time until the revs
increase, stabilise and then fall again, from this position go IN
one full turn. The mixture is now at the factory set.
For emissions you leave it
just above the rpm drop off on the weak side, for performance its just
above the rpm drop off on the rich side.
THIS is now critical,
when carrying out any adjustments to mixture you have 2 minutes,
if you can’t achieve what you want in that time (its takes practice) you
have to increase the rpm to 3000 for 30 seconds. This is because
the fuel in the float chamber becomes warm and the bi-metalic strip
weakens off the mixture. You set it to compensate and when the cooler
fuel arrives the mixture is wrong. This is the main mistake
mechanics make until they are taught otherwise! So its a case of
tweak, rev and hold, tweak, rev and hold, etc.
A syncrocheck on the
balance between carb air volumes, a recheck of mixtures and a look
at the exhaust (it should be like a puppies nose, wet and
dripping) and many happy hours lie ahead.
Sorry if that’s an egg
sucking session for your mechanic but I have seen many well qualified
people struggle. Set up correctly they give years of trouble free
Please let me know what you
find and what resulted from the above.
Aside from a very
few early 4-wheeler cars which had a reduction gear mounted halfway down
the steering column, all Morgan Series 1 cars were fitted with a Burman-Douglas
worm and nut steering box. Variations of this box were fitted to quite a
number of contemporary British vehicles.
The system involves a
thread, usually six start on Series1's, but sometimes five start (mainly
left-hand drive), machined on the end of the inner column, carrying a
bronze nut. Right hand
drive cars have a left-hand thread and vice-versa.
There is a hardened steel bush screwed into the top of the nut
using a special process. A
peg at the end of the “L” shaft at the top of the rocker shaft engages
in this bush. As the inner column turns, this peg transmits the up and
down motion from the bronze nut via the rocker arm, to the steering drop
arm attached to the bottom of the rocker arm shaft.
The drop arm is attached to the rocker arm shaft via a splined
shaft and a pinch bolt. (NOTE: some cars may have been subsequently
modified). The shaft of the
rocker arm rides in two bronze bushes, the top one of which has a
diagonal cut for about three-quarters of its length to provide clearance
for the bronze nut.
provision for adjustment is for end float, and is via two large thin
nuts at the top of the column under the steering wheel which bear on a
ball race. The bottom of
the inner column is free-floating, location being provided by the bronze
nut, which is a sliding fit inside the box casing. The system on the
Series 1 cars, with the common six start worm, gives one and
three-quarter turns lock to lock.
This steering box
continued in use, with some minor differences, on the Plus 4 cars, from
1950 up until around the 1954 season. It was then replaced with a Cam
Gears Ltd steering box, which continued in use on all Morgans up to the
advent of the Gemmer and rack and pinion systems. The Cam Gears box,
while externally somewhat similar in appearance to the Burman-Douglas,
is quite different internally. A cam and peg design, it is nothing other
than the familiar old Bishop cam device, actually an earlier and cruder
invention than the Burman-Douglas which it replaced!
box can only be tested for wear properly on the car, ie under load, all
connected up, with the wheels on the ground.
First, make sure there is no end float, and that the box is
securely located and fastened.
Next (making sure there is a container to catch the oil) take off
the end and top covers on the box and have a helper juggle the steering
wheel while you (the “foreman”) check for play between the worm and the
nut (ie for wear in the thread) and and between the nut and the side of
the box. Check also for wear in the bushes (ie movement in the rocker
arm shaft). It is extremely
unlikely that there will be any wear between the peg and the hardened
steel bush in the top of the bronze nut.
If you are desperately unlucky, the bush may be loose in the nut,
in which case I suggest
that you look for another nut, as I am still struggling for a way to
make these stay permanently tight again.
The drop arm must also be tight on the bottom of the rocker, of
course. Note that there is
an oil seal above this, usually of rope or felt, held in place by a
washer, with box housing peened over to secure it. This seal can be replaced with a modern neoprene one.
watch for is that some replacement nuts are undercut on their topsides
where the steel bush goes.
If you strike one of these, the peg can jump out of mesh when the wheel
is turned, and you will have either to add an adjuster screw to the top
cover to hold it down and/or pack out the bottom of the rocker arm for
the same effect.
Address wear in
the thread as follows.
Clean the nut thoroughly (Prepsol or similar)then tin the inside of the
nut lightly with solder.
Grease the thread on the shaft with a good axle grease (don't use WD 40
or similar as they may well flash) and screw the nut on, about halfway
along. Melt babbit metal,
heat up the nut, and pour the molten babbit metal down the bush hole,
rotating the shaft until metal appears at the end of the nut.
Keep rotating the shaft as it cools down to prevent binding.
This will get rid
of the play in the thread, but note that the effectiveness of the repair
may be limited if the thread on the shaft has much “hourglass” wear on
Play between the
nut and the side of the box is addressed similarly ie by building up the
sides of the nut with babbit metal and machining to be a tight sliding
fit in the box. Addressing
other areas of wear, eg in the drop arm shaft bushes, should be
“work” the bits together using
moly compound and clean up thoroughly – remove all metal “dags”,
filings etc. Best to assemble and disassemble several times to ensure
everything is scrupulously clean.
I have found the
above effective in reducing play from around eight inches at the
steering wheel circumference to around three quarters of an inch.
A note of warning
– cultivate smooth driving habits and don't “yank” at the wheel. Never,
on any car, try to operate the steering with the vehicle stationary.
By John Merton
(based on an article first prepared for “The Morgan Ear” in 1990).
© John Merton
Internals of the Burman-Douglas
box. This shows the worm machined on the end of the inner
steering column, the bronze nut which screws onto the worm,
the rocker arm and peg which engages with the hardened steel
bush in the bronze nut and the steering drop arm which
attaches to the bottom of the rocker shaft
Top covers. Some
replacement bronze nuts (they were available from several
different manufacturers) had an undercut hardened steel
bush. The cover on the left shows the later addition of a
screw in bolt to stop the peg on the rocker arm jumping out
of mesh with the bronze nut as the steering wheel is turned.
Dodgy practices. The
first photograph shows that someone has added bits of shim
sheet to try to take up wear between the bronze nut and the
steering box casing. The second photograph, likewise aimed
at reducing play caused by such wear, has involved welding
spots around the inner column and filing them down to make
the column a tight fit in the outer column.
By John Merton
shorthand, is the practice of making a vehicle body by applying metal
(or other) panelling to a wooden frame.
Morgans have nearly always had a coachbuilt body, and it has
been both the delight and despair of generations of owners.
The despair comes principally from the nature and type of framing
properties for a framing timber are strength, resiliance/recovery,
toughness, flexibility, and impact resistance. The timber traditionally
used, indeed since Roman times, in Eurpean coachbuilding is the European
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior), although reportedly some expensive bodies have
been framed in mahogany. In the USA, claimed framing timbers have included American
white ash (Fraxinus americanus), closely related in characteristics and
performance to European ash, spruce, hickory, and white oak, although
coachbuilding went into considerable decline after the late 1920's as
manufacturers moved to all steel body construction pioneered by Budd.
before World War 11 there was a significant coachbuilding trade the
length and breadth of the country, mainly using locally-sourced
indigenous hardwoods. Most
cars were locally bodied on imported chassis.
somewhat extravagant claims sometimes made for European ash, its
performance is by no means outstanding, while its ability to resist
racking (the tendency for the timber to compress under repeated
movement, leading, for example to loose joints) is poor and its
susceptibility to rot is legendary. A UK restoration specialist once
said to me in an unguarded moment “It's a lovely timber to work, but
it's the most rottingest timber known to man”. The British Handbook of
Hardwoods (HMSO 1980)states, in relation to use of this timber in road
vehicles, that it should be used with care on account of its lack of
The problem was
recognised in the hey-day of British coachbuilding, one practice being
to use oak instead of ash for the sillboards (those on the chassis
rails) because of its
superior durability, despite its propensity to split. Since the
mid-1980's the Morgan Company has been soaking its body frames in a
copper naphthalene solution to improve durability. However, be warned such treatment only has a finite life.
The real reason
European ash is used as a framing timber is because the trees are widely
dispersed across Europe, the timber is in good supply, and it has good
However, in fairness, it must be said that in terms of flexibility,
impact resistance and so on, there are few if any available indigenous
substitutes in Europe.
When I first
developed an interest in coachbuilding in the early 1960's, there were
still a few old-style coachbuilders around, and local libraries still
had some technical training manuals on the subject.
The advice from both areas was that Australian timbers
constituted the half dozen best coachbuilding timbers in the world at
the very least. The
preferred timber was spotted gum, closely followed by blue gum then some
other Eucalypt species and coachwood (Ceropetalum apetalum).
anecdotal evidence, from both the vehicle and boatbuilding industries,
supports this. I have been told that the framework on the small numbers
of completely built up expensive vehicles imported before the War
generally failed to match, in either performance or durability, their
Australian-bodied counterparts. Also, boat restorers on the Murray River have told me that
imported wooden hulled vessels for the river trade in the 19th
and early 20th centuries often lasted as little as 3 to 5
years whereas some Australian timbered hulls are still basically sound
The contention is
backed further by performance data.
|Sydney Blue Gum
*Marketing name for a range of species, including mountain and
alpine ash, etc.
from coachwood, the other Australian species are all Eucalypt
but a small selection of the species available, but is
Australian timbers are classed into 4 durability grades, Class 1 being
heavier timbers suitable for use, untreated, in the ground or under
water, class 2 and 3 timbers being suitable for outdoor use, while class
4 timbers are classified “non-durable”.
Class 4 is a catch-all.
Most of the above Australian timbers are in classes 2 or 3.
Tasmanian oak is cclassified class 3 or 4 depending on the least durable
timber in the particular mix, while coachwood is classified class 4.
My experience of European ash is that it is far less durable than
either of these timbers, and would only enter class 4 due to the
“catch-all” nature of this category.
Australian hardwoods are hard and more difficult to work and
shape than European ash.
However, coachwood is a lovely timber to work with. Although they glue
well with appropriate modern adhesives, some older types of adhesives
may be less successful. Joins should be pre-drilled and screwed, using
stainless steel or phosphor bronze screws – it is too easy to turn the
heads off brass screws, and plain or even zinc or cadmium plated screws
should not be used because the natural oils in some of the timbers may
break down the coatings.
Preferably, treat the completed frame with an anti-fungal preparation,
eg a copper naphthalene based product or one of the two pack products
used in the yachting industry. Also I recommend painting the frame after
the preservative soaks in and dries.
Suitable timbers are available, seasoned, from specialist timber
suppliers. Some are used
widely in the specialist furniture trade.
Based on an article which appeared in “The Morgan Ear”, April 2002)
(Special thanks to Boral Timbers for assistance with performance data)
Those of you who have
attended the ‘Best of British’ weekends in Canberra may remember a
yellow 4/4 that was shunted up the back by a tin top while out on one of
the runs around our countryside. I believe the tin tops excuse was that
he didn’t see the brake light of the Morgan. I decided then that when I
restored my ’67 +4, I would fit a third stop light where it could be
seen. In the event although I incorporated the wire for the new
stoplight in the loom, I never got around to actually fitting one.
Neil's high level stop
light looks completely in keeping with the Morgan
Detail view of the mount
I had been mulling
around the problem of how to fit the light such that it could be seen
over the top of the suitcase when we used the luggage rack and yet
didn’t appear to be sticking up above the spare tyre like a trifid at
other times. Then the penny dropped – lash it to the tyre with a leather
strap normally and then add a further length of strap to attach the
fitting to the suitcase as needed. Out came the tin snips and the result
is as you see.
Materials you will need
A stop light
(mine came from Supercheap Auto $2.50 on special).
A piece of
1.5mm thick aluminium; 26 cm long x 9cm. wide (slightly more
than the diameter of your chosen light).
A piece of
thin rubber to pad the finished base from the tyre.
Half a dozen
grommet of a size to take your wire
belt about 3cm wide to attach the fitting to the tyre (Mine
came from the throw-out table at Target $8)
leather strap of compatible width to go around the suitcase.
primer and top coat.
Scribe up the surface of
your piece of aluminium as per the attached diagram. Cut out the curve
of your stop light at one end; drill this for the stop light attaching
screws, the hole for the grommet and the rivets. Bend up this end to
about 60 degrees and then remove it from the stock. Cut a piece from the
centre of the tongue the width of your leather belt and slightly longer
than the tongue to allow the belt to fit snugly beneath the piece
carrying the stop light.
Take the balance of your
piece of aluminium and, placing it over your spare tyre, form it to
shape as the base with your two hands. Mine is about 50/50 sidewall to
tread. Place the piece which will carry the stop light in a suitable
position on the base, adjust the angle, confirm the leather strap will
fit between them without binding and mark out the positions of the
rivets. Drill, Pop rivet and Araldite the two pieces together. Feed the
leather strap through the assembly and around the tyre; mark out the
strap and assembly for riveting, and cut the strap to length. Drill the
assembly and the strap as marked. Prime and top coat the assembly but
not the underside. When completely dry attach the strap and the stop
light to the assembly remembering to use the grommet to protect the
electrical wire. Cut the piece of thin rubber to the size of the base
and glue with contact adhesive; this will protect the tyre from the
Wire to the loom with a
suitable weatherproof plug in parallel with the existing stop lights,
strap it on, test and have yourself a beer.
you ever considered what would happen in an accident if another vehicle
collided with the back of your Morgan?
anything other than a minor bump there is a good chance that the petrol
tank would be punctured with a consequential high risk of fire quickly
engulfing the car due to the escaping petrol igniting. This event
is likely to happen due to the close proximity of the tank to the
bracket that carries the hand brake mechanism on the differential and
the mounting of the tank onto wooden boards with only a few securing
following pictures show two occurrences where the tank has shifted
forward in a collision and been punctured on the hand brake bracket.
One was a partially oblique sideways impact and the fuel fortunately did
not ignite, The other ignited instantly and the entire car was engulfed
in flames within two seconds with the occupants only just luckily
managing to escape and avoid incineration despite jammed doors.
preventative for this scenario would probably be to fit a fuel cell in
the tank as used in racing cars. This is a costly solution and
presents problems with the fuel gauge sender. However, there is a
simple modification that can be made which may help to minimise the risk
of the fuel tank puncturing on the hand brake bracket and this is to fit
a reinforcing plate on the tank to spread the impact.
tank on my 4/4 is just under 8 inches in height and I found a piece of 3
mm steel plate and cut a piece 11 inches by 6 inches which when bent
into a U shape gave a return of one and a half inches top and bottom.
I rounded the corners to prevent them from puncturing the tank.
1/8 or ¼ inch plate would probably offer more protection, but 3mm was
all I had on hand and it was easy to bend. After painting the
plate I cleaned the tank and attached the plate with some silica
sealant. So far it has stopped in place and hopefully will provide
some deterrent to the fuel tank being punctured should the unthinkable
modification now gives me some peace of mind when I see in the rear
vision mirror a monstrous four wheel drive tailgating me with the
apparent intention of climbing into the rear seat.