Restoration of 1952 MG TD 2

Author: Bob McCluskey
First posted: 1 Sept 2000
Last amended: Dec 2015
Please email Bob McCluskey
Car No TD/11935
Engine No XPAG/TD2/12333
Body Type 22381
Body No 11301/78948

I was recently asked to be more specific about defining camber, almost fifteen years since I paid to have this job done. The manual says 10.4 cm unloaded, but doesn't say how to measure it - whether from the end of the mainleaf itself, or from the centre of the shackle pin, or from the top of the spring, where it is curled over to make a socket for the shackle pin and associated rubber bush. My memory is that I stood the assembled spring set upside down on the ground and simply measured the clearance to the ground to verify what my specialist had done - that is, measurement a in the diagram below. So what if the camber should have been measured at c in the diagram? The diameter of the curl is about 3 cm; so the measurement I made should have read 13.4 cm, or, alternatively, if my measurement was 10.4, then the actual camber, measured properly, would have been 7.4 cm, and the height of the car would have been 3 cm lower. But the height of the car certainly looks about right, compared to pictures I have seen in the manual and elsewhere, and compared to other cars, so it does give confidence in my measurement.

Well this is pretty circumstantial; what else could I do to give confidence in my measurement? I wasn't about to take the springs out again to remeasure them, so I did my best to measure the camber now the car is almost completely assembled. As close as I could measure, the camber, measured from the centre of the spring to the top of the socket, was now 8.0 cm, or a deflection of 2.4 cm when carrying the weight of the car. The manual says the weight of the car, unladen, is 2072 lb. Now, I don't know how the weight is distributed, and I can't infer it from any of the spring data given: I would suggest most of the weight would be over the front wheels, so say 1200 lb over the front wheels and about 800 lb over the rear, or say 400 lb on each rear spring. So 400 lb led to a deflection of 2.4 cm. My 140 lb placed over one wheel gave an additional deflection of 1.2 cm, so assuming constant spring rate and working backwards, measurement
a should have been 8 + (1.2/140)*400 = 11.4 cm. Pretty close, I think.

So what advice would I give now about setting the springs? Given all the uncertainty in my measurement, especially in the laden measurement, and the uncertainty from the specifications, I would measure from the centre of the curl. At worst, the car would be 1.5 cm too high, or 1.5 cm too low, and it might be just right!

where is the camber measured?
where is the camber measured?
Well, much later, being embarrassed by my cavalier response, I took out the back axle so that I could better measure and report the camber. (Actually, of course, I didn't take it out for that reason, but to investigate and correct a problem with rear wheel bearings caused by lack of axle oil due to a leaking pinion flange oil seal - it was losing about 1 ml per km!) Anyway, while it was out I did measure the camber. As shown in the photo, it was about 100 - 115 mm measured from the centre of the shackle pin to the centre of the front pin - that is, measurement b above.

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