Motor Sport readers' survey continued

MG-A 1500 and 1600

Is service satisfactory ?  61.4% of the MG-A owners who replied reported favourably on their service facilities, although one or two mentioned having to wait up to three weeks for certain replacement parts. A little disappointment was voiced by some American and Canadian reaers as to the BMC facilities in those countries. The remarks of the 21.1% who suffered from poor service varied from straight “No” to “No, poor spares service”, and “completely impersonal and lacking interest.” 8.8% elected to do their own sevicing and in most cases found little difficulty in obtaining the requisite parts. Mediocre servicing facilities were claimed by 7.0%. 

If car is modified give brief details. Most readers seemed to find the performance of the standard MG-A up to their requirements, the most common modification being raised compression of which 12.3% had had the original cylinder head skimmed and/or high compression pistons fitted. Special or gas-flowed cylinder heads had been fitted by 9.7%. Special stages of tune were very rare, only 1.7% being brought up to Stage I, while Stage III modifications had been performed by 0.9%. General cleaning up of the inlet/exhaust ports had been undertaken by 12.3%, whist 2.6% fitted special manifolds and a similar number fitted larger carburettors. Suspension modifications were carried out, consisting of front roll-bars, of which 4.4% had been so fitted.

Engine. On the whole both 1500 and 1600 cc units had proved fairly reliable with only expected maintenance being necessary in most cases. Of those who encountered trouble 7.9% required replacement engines, within a maximum distance of 28,000 miles, whilst  main bearings, big-ends or crankshafts required replacing by 13.2%. Exhausts were critised by a few for being too near the ground and 7.0% required replacement within 48,000 miles. Those who had not encountered any engine failures whatsoever totalle 59.7%.

Clutch. 72.0% reported no trouble, whilst 14.9% reqiured replacement. The longest distance before the unit failed appeared to be 118,250 miles. The only other complaints concerned the clutch-plate which needed replacing by 3.5%, and varying degrees of slip by 7.9%. 

Gearbox. The most common fault appeared to be with the synchromesh, of which 10.5% of readers had experienced either complete loss or loss on one or two gears. A certain difficulty in engaging first gear was reported, although in most cases this wore off after 20,000 Miles, and only 7.0% reported the stiffness persisting after this distance.Oil seal failures were modest at 7%. No trouble had been experinced by 61.4%, while 5.3% required a new gearbox, one reader keeping the same unit for 118,000 miles!

Brakes. In all 47.4% of the survey cars had yet to receive attention. Most readers had their linings replaced, which broken down into linings and disc pads came to the following percentages: Relined all round 28.9%; replaced disc pads 21.1%; and new discs 5.3%. On the whole disc pads wore out twice as quickly as the drum linings, the average pad life being in the region of 15-20,000 miles. Only a few people complained of inadequate brakes, scored droms, fade or snatch.

Steering. This proved almost trouble-free with no less than 95.6% finding no cause for complaint.Those who required attention were confined to 0.9% of felt washers at 42,000 miles, and 1.7% instances of wheel bearing failure at around 45,000 miles, whilst 8.8% of readers reported slight play at about 25,000 miles.

Suspension. Shock absorbers were the main complaint, with 27.2% either being replaced or suffering from oil leaks of varying degrees. 59.6 reported no trouble whatsoever, although a number complained of a harsh ride. 

Instruments. These seemed to be on a par with most other makes, the main fault being the speedometer, which failed completely on 9.7%, while either the speedometer or revolution counter failed on 10.5%. A tendancy to waver or to be inaccurate to arying extents was mentioned by some of the 69% who have yet to encounter an actual failure.

Most of the other instruments seemed fairly trouble-free with only 5.3% requiring new water temperature gauges (although considerable criticism as to the accuracy of this instrument was voiced). Many readers criticised the lack of an ammeter.

Electrical. 51.6% had no elecrical trouble at all. The main cause of trouble is the fuel pump which failed on 14%, and in some cases failed for a second time. The flasher units caused trouble in 14%, 7% required a replacement coil and 4% reported various wiring faults. The battery came in for criticism, many claiming that the twin batteries were placed too near the ground and were too exposed.

Rear Axle. This appeared to be almost as reliable as the steering with 90.4% reporting no trouble, although a number complained of a certain amount of noise and whine. Those who suffered failures were confined to universal joints and oil seal trouble, of which 7.9% reported failure.

Bodywork. 49.1% had no faults to find with the bodywork of their cars. Paintwork seemed to be the most common complaint with 15.7% requiring attention. A poor standard of chromium plating was voiced by 10.5%, and 5.3% reported rust patches forming within a short period. Water leaks from several sources, including the hood, doors and boot, the latter usually entering via the motif, was encountered by 23.6%, while 7% complained of ill-fitting doors. Only GT versions are fitted with door-locks, and of these only 2.6% reported any failures. 

Tyres. Most models are retailed with Dunlo Gold Seal tyres as standard. 55.6% have Dunlop tyres, either in Gold Seal or Road Speed versions. 37.1% have fitted Michelin “X”, while the Avon “Turbospeed” is used by 2.7%. Both Pirelli and Goodyear are used by 2.7%. Firestone hve been fitted by 0.9%. A noticable practice was to use Dunlop on the front and Michelin “X” on the rear. 

Other serious defects. These were vey few and seemed to be confined to individual occurances such as broken seat backs, split petrol tanks and the inadequacy of the jacking system. 83.3% reported no other serious defects. 

Would you buy this car again? Yes 74.5%. No 25.5%.