Disassembling MG Midget Engine to Find Failure

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Today I take apart the 1966 MG Midget engine to find out what failed. Watch as I tear down this engine from removing the head to checking the bearings.

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This Week With Cars – Episode 0195
#ClassicCars #MGMidget #MG

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Responses (50)

  1. If it is the origonal engine block it would be nice to keep it if possible, otherwise it matters little. The earlier models had castellated nuts and a split pin if I recall correctly, otherwise should be nyloc or similar.

  2. Loving these videos! This one is rather cathartic. The little plastic tube is in fact the end of the dipstick sleeve. Apparently it's quite common for them to break, thanks to the heat cycles, and the lower half to disappear into the pan. Replace (for three dollars or so), rinse, repeat. haha

  3. Picky, I know and I'm open to criticism but if you're dealing with a British engine you should be using British terms like 'rocker cover' and 'sump' although I appreciate that embedded American terminological habits are hard to break!
    Personally, I'd rebuild this engine apart from that one crankpin and possible problems with the con-rod the rest of it looks to be in very good shape. Better the Devil you know than the one you don't! It would also be nice to keep the car as it came off the line, otherwise it becomes just like George Wshington's axe!

  4. Great video Steve. Which ever way you chose to deal with this, either by rebuilding this engine or building another from what you have sitting around, I look forward to seeing what comes next. If tge crankshaft is shot then its an open and shut case.

  5. What have you done with the engine or maybe it's not your engine. All that gunk and dirt in the sump. No oil change for a 100 years! The engine must have made a lot of noise for a long time. I don't know what has happened before this video. Maybe I have to look at some earlier videos, to understand this disaster.?

  6. I've driven a fair number of old, kind of worn out, high mileage cars in my life, but the only time I've ever actually broken anything in the engine (as opposed to the engine simply getting loose and suffering blow by) was when I was young, aggressive, careless, and really over revved an engine, but even then I scored the cams but I did not break a connecting rod, crank, or main bearing. Was I just lucky, or is there something in particular you have to do to break an engine in this particular manner? I've always been good about maintenance, is it simply clean oil that prevents these problems?

  7. It has a nice coat of paint ! A few years back I bought a used Spitfire 1500 that was out of the car it looked good and had a fresh coat of black paint. The gaskets were not painted which is a good sign meaning it had at least been apart when painted. Fortunately the price was decent so I took a chance. Back at my shop I pulled the pan and it still looked clean. Upon pulling the rod caps it had a spun bearing almost as bad as this. The scum bag had blown the engine…pulled it apart…cleaned it up and painted it then resold it. Buyer beware. He never represented as rebuilt however…just said it was a good engine.

  8. Try and find a Datsun B210 engine plus gearbox and fit that…
    you'll never worry about bearings again (it's 5 main bearing crank)
    and will spin to 8,000rpm without breaking a sweat…or itself.

  9. When I was a much younger man, I had a 1964 MG Midget. When I got it, the previous owner said it had just been rebuilt by a reputable shop (He gave me the receipt). It was never a speed demon, having a 948cc engine. But the girls sure loved it.

  10. Given the condition of this bearing I can't believe the driver of this car did not get substantial early warning of imminent failure. Oil pressure must have dropped significantly not to mention serious abnormal noises from the engine. Early shut down and investigation might have resulted in far less damage. It is amazing what some insensitive drivers will ignore until catastrophic failure. I will not own a car without an oil pressure and temperature gauge and monitor them continually. Sprigets all had them.

  11. You know, Steve…you are my low-cost therapist. Crappy day at work, issues with the kids…whatever. 10 minutes with Steve taking the head off an old MG Midget engine and I'm good. Thank you!

  12. That was almost a lucky escape, a bit more time, and it would probably have thrown the rod and piston out, through the crankcase and then there would be no speculation about a possible repair. At that point it would be 'caps off all gone'.

  13. Why can't modern engines be designed like this so that you can easily get parts reground or rebored at reasonable cost and take them out of the car in less than an hour.

  14. You were lucky as the big end cap stayed in place, it could have been far worse than a scored crankshaft. Lets hope it can be reground. Looking forward to the rebuild.

  15. Generally BMC made great engines, it would be a shame to have to discard this one. I vote for saving it, if this is at all economically feasible to rebuild.

  16. I appreciate Steve's style of talking to the camera, I realy can't stand the expression 'hey whats up?' and other meaningless phrases. musac used by some Youtubers.

  17. the matching divot marks in the head on cyl 1 point at a hard metal object bouncing and getting caught by the piston multiple times before finally making it past the exhaust port? a small ball bearing.
    after any catastrophic engine failure, i'm told to inspect or replace intakes and exhaust. this was not your root cause is understood.
    Thank you.

  18. I bought a ‘77 TR-7 with a blown engine for $500 in ‘84. When I tore it down, I saw the connecting rod had gone through the side of the block. I would guess the previous owner had a similar failure with the nuts coming off the rod bearing cap. I bought an ‘80 engine and dropped it in. That was a fun car and had many interesting repairs and driving it from Chicago to Los Angeles and back three times.
    It was a fun little car.

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