Something that takes a new owner today by surprise, is the amount of servicing an old car like the M.G. Y Type requires. I am going to quote the mileage intervals between each servicing where that item requires greasing. This car was built ages before the modern ‘sealed for life’ component. True, modern greases are better but they get washed out and squashed out just as fast as olde ones. Failure to carry out regular servicing of these bits of you car will soon show up as MoT failures for wear as well as heavy steering. Service intervals of old cars are very short indeed, you can forget your 12,000 miles between them for a modern car; more like 1000, 3000 and 6000.
When greasing you can use two types of grease gun. Filling a grease gun expertly is in itself and art. You need to wear old clothes/overalls and use barrier cream on your hands. The first and older type of grease gun is operated by just pushing it onto the nipple and then ‘pumping’ it. The only pressure gained is from your hand. Grease nipples that take this type of gun have a flat on the top with tapered sides. The other type of grease gun is the high-pressure type, by far the most popular and easier to use. It has a pumping handle and the end of the tube fits over the fully rounded type of nipple. The gun actually locks onto its nipple as you pump, meaning less mess. YA and YT may still have the older nipples fitted, YB the more modern rounded head type. You can buy these modern ones in packets at any car show/autojumble.
Because the Y Type has no sealed joints or trunions, when you pump in the grease you need to pump until clean grease comes out. Then you need to wipe away the horrible black muck that came out. By doing this you force out any road water that has forced its way into the item. Do not be surprised if rusty water comes out of a joint that has not been greased for ages. Not a good sign. Where as modern joints and trunions on modern cars are sealed with neoprene cover, your MG only has simple dust covers. Grease is just an oil mixed with a ‘soap’ so it sticks.
The grease to use on your car is Castrol LM, or its equivalent. It is suitable for chassis and wheel bearing lubrication. If you are rich you might use the Moly version. Moly is a graphite substance that makes the grease dark grey, and is an excellent lubricant.
The YA/YT greasing differs to that of the YB. They have different front stub axles, wheel bearings, brakes and rear axle. I will comment on that in the pictures.
Grease 1 picture.
This is a picture of the little rubber cap underneath the rear seat, so you need to remove the seat squab. You will also need to just jack a rear wheel up so it can be spun. Fit an axle stand for your safety and chock the other wheel. Spin that wheel until you can see the rear universal joints grease nipple. Pump in grease until it oozes out of the bearings. I actually go underneath the car to do this as it saves pulling out the rear seat! This needs doing, according to the handbook, every 1000 miles. ( You might find that the universal joints have been replaced with ‘blind’ modern ones, these you cannot grease as they are ‘sealed for life’. Alas that life is not very long.)
Grease 2 picture.
The front end of the propeller shaft from under the car. Now as you have to get underneath the car to do this universal joint (U/J), it is just as quick whilst you are there to do the rear one in picture 1. Saves taking out that seat. There are two grease nipples this end, and you will need to be able to spin that same rear wheel to get to them ( I use my foot). One nipple is for the sliding splined joint and the other the U/J. Grease every 1000 miles.
Whist doing the above, also grease the clutch cable alongside the offside of the engine sump. Get someone to operate the pedal as you grease it as there is no actual nipple.
No Grease picture for the following…
Grease 3 picture.
The kingpin, or swivelpin. This gets a lots of abuse and works very hard. Clean off the road muck from the nipples. It is best to jack the wheels just off the ground to grease these. This lets the grease in all around the internal threads of the top and bottom trunion. Fit an axle stand for safety. Turn each wheel outwards to give you better access to the nipples, it is easy to do by hand with the wheels off the deck. Pump in grease till it comes out clean. Really fill up the top trunion as this is the one that seizes up if left too long, and its bolt chews through the damper arms, the bolt eventually shears and you crash!! If you are switched on you will already have adjusted these four nipples to face forwards so you can get to them all easily and quickly. The handbook says do this every 500 miles, but with modern grease you can extend this to every 1000 miles unless you drive a lot in river fords.
Grease 4 picture.
Right, stop right there. DO NOT PUT GREASE HERE. This is the steering rack and require OIL. Use Hypoy gear oil of at least EP80 (which is about equivalent to SAE 30). It is the same oil the gearbox and rear axle requires. Oil every 3000 miles with about four ‘pumps’.
Grease 5 picture.
As you are greasing the kingpins, do the steering joints as well, they are all within a few inches of each other. Grease every 1000 miles.
Grease 6 picture.
On the YA/YT there are grease nipples on all four wheel bearings, behind the hub cap. There are no grease nipples on the YB. On the YA/YT every 6000 miles give each nipple only about two/three ‘pumps’ of grease. On the YB remove the bearing hub cap and put a finger-full of grease into the bearings and ONLY half fill the cap. An air gap is needed for expansion, or grease is forced past the inner seal and onto the brake linings. The YB’s rear wheel bearing are lubricated by the rear axle’s oil automatically.
(The YA/YT use an ancient Morris ‘spiral-bevel’ banjo rear axle. The YB uses the Nuffield hypoid rear axle.)
Grease 7 picture.
Give the water pump two pumps of grease every 1000 miles. DO NOT OVER LUBRICATE. The old grease will drip out of the drain hole on its underside. If water comes out here your carbon seal has had it, buy a new pump.
Put a little grease on to the distributor’s cam every 3000 miles.
On a YA/YT there are 16 nipples requiring attention. On a YB there are 12.