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A Cheap XPAG Leak Fix

‘Does your XPAG drip on the floor overnight, does your XPAG suffer incontinence and drip all night?’: to be sung to ‘Does your chewing gum lose its flavour on the bedpost overnight…’ Well, does your XPAG drip oil from the split pin in the hole a the bottom of the bell-housing? Most probably do after a few thousand miles after a rebuild and the reasons are many (see various oil leaks articles in the Technical Information Section – XPAG Files).


But do you want to spend a fortune on having a modern neoprene seal fitted to that rear bearing? Or are you up for a bit of ‘Blue Peter’ ( a British childrens television programme! ) action with a few bits of scrap metal and an old Tuna tin? The cost of this simple drip-can can be £nil if you can find the bits required in your old nuts ‘n bolts box the the garage. It takes about 30 minutes to make, and five minutes to fit AND it will fool many other XPAG owners that your engine is leak free. This can also have benefits on the posh brick driveways of your friends when you visit in the MG; no big black oil stain when you leave.


My beautiful picture My beautiful picture
My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

You will need something from the kitchen first, to be pinched when others are not looking. Somewhere in a cupboard will be a tin of Tuna Steak, or Tuna Bits; or if you are posh, Salmon Steaks. The tin often come in a pack of four, the photo shows the type and size required. Open the tin, throw away the lid in the recycled rubbish, give the contents to the cat (who will love you for ages after), wash out the now empty can and retire to the garage.


Hunt out a 40mm long, 10mm threaded bolt and nut. If you loose nuts and bolts box is like mine, there will be a 10mm wing-nut in there somewhere as well. (For those of an Imperial bent, you might use a 1.5” long, 3/8” UNF bolt with suitable nut and wing-nut; or equivalent BSF items.) You will also require four washers to suit the bolt size. Put the tin in the vice, just nipping the open edge so as not to flatted its shape. Now CAREFULLY drill a 10mm (or 3/8”) hole using a hand brace. Why you ask? Because that tin is only about 15 thou thick and a powered drill will rip it to bits. You have much more control with a hand brace.


Now cut a small plate of steel (from a bit of Dexion in my case) so you have a bit like that in the photo. The slot is 40mm long ( 1.5”). If you cannot find any Dexion, cut a bit from something about 14swg and drill two 10mm (3/8”) holes 1.25” apart. File off all the burrs and remove the lowest bolt on the engine’s bell-housing, where the gearbox bolts to it. Put the slotted metal plate there, refit and tighten up the bolt. Put you nice new bolt and nut, with a washer each side, into the vacant bottom hole/slot of the plate so its threaded end faces to the rear of the car. Tighten this nut and bolt firmly. Now check that there is a split-pin in the drain hole; this is IMPORTANT as the legs guide the oil drips into the drain tin you are about to fit. If there is no split-pin, the oil will just blow along the bottom outer edge of the bell housing and onto the floor (see later advice). Bend the legs of the split-pin so they dangle down a bit more, but not too much. Now, with the hole in your new drain tin to the rear of the car, waggle it onto the threaded bit of the bolt, remembering to put a washer on first. You should find the tin will now sit neatly under that drain hole. Put on the other washer and then wing-nut and tighten it finger-tight. (I did use a spring washer here as vibration may undo that wing-nut later.)

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture
My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

Hey-presto, you have a little tin under the engine to catch those oil drips. Empty it after every long run and you will soon gauge how long to leave it before emptying. You do need to be fit enough to get down to reach under the engine, I used an old bit of carpet in the garage to lay on.


(Later advice; if you have no split-pin in the drain hole, tap a thread in it and screw in a very short bit of pipe to acts as a guide.)


Result, much impressed friends who will have oil free driveways, happy wife/partner because your drive will also be oil free and you will be a lot fitter leaping up and down to empty the tin (hopefully into a can you then recycle).


The photos should make things a bit more obvious.


Neil Cairns.


(Post script; even though I have now rebuilt my engine at vast cost, I still have the drip tin fitted!! Just in case.)