MGA Oil Pan
By Geoff Wheatley

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Geoff Wheatley and the MGA Oil Pan

MGA 1958

A Look at the MGA Oil Pan

Last spring I managed to hit a rock on a South Carolina dirt road in my MGA. (We have more than our fair share of both rocks and dirt roads!) No serious damage was done apart from a dent in the oil pan almost dead center and some paint off the front swing arms. As I was driving at about thirty miles per hour I guessed that the impact was modest and I could easily live with the dent especially when it was out of sight under the car.

Over the next few weeks I noticed that the oil pressure took a little more time to register on the gauge and I thought the gauge, for some strange reason, was on the blink and needed attention. I looked at the connections, nothing there so out with the gauge and in with a replacement obtained from a local supplier who caters for foreign spares. No improvement after that investment but so what, the oil pressure did register given a little time say fifteen seconds more or less! I use Castrol 20/50 in all my MGs could that be the problem? If so why did the oil gauge on the TD and TF work instantly while the MGA, for reasons unknown suddenly developed some sort of slow reaction to the oil pressure?

By Geoff Wheatley, 2012 ©

MGA 1958

I drove the car throughout the summer putting on about 2,400 miles with the same oil reaction, no illustrated oil pressure until I hit top gear or close! . Around early December with nothing much to do until March when the toys come out of hibernation, I decided to take a look at the MGA engine and see if I could beat out the dent in the oil pan. Off came the pan with ease almost sprung off once the bolts had been removed. ( Now for the good part of the story.) The first thing I noticed was that the oil strainer was crushed or rather the mesh was, and the suction tube that is situated very close to the bottom of the pan was also bent to the extent that it was almost half closed due to the impact of the dent in the pan. The clearance between the bottom of the oil pan and the strainer is very small, I guess to suck up oil as if and when it might get extremely low. Yes this can happen for a variety of reasons as some of us have found out over the years! I inspected the crankshaft etc., and was relieved to see that no wear seemed to have taken place due to the oil restriction.

A little snip here and a tuck there solved the problem of the oil tube while a large copper hammer and a wooden bench removed the dent in a matter of minutes. Would you believe, on starting the engine the oil gauge hit 50 pounds in a split second and all was now right with the world. So my friends if you hit anything and get a dent in a similar location take off the pan the next day just to make sure. Thank goodness the T Types have a stronger oil pan but if you hit that there ain't no hammer big enough to take out any dents and I doubt if I could make such an inexpensive repair... Twice... Need I say more?
© 2012 Geoff Wheatley Contributing Editor