Thursday, 15 July 2021

Fat Rack

The later 1275 MG Midgets were fitted with a Triumph steering 'thin' racks as part of rationalisation of parts across British Leyland's products. The consensus of Eleven owners is that the earlier Midget 'fat' is better suited to the car as it has a faster ratio giving sharper response.  Changing between the two requires the rack, mounts, track rod ends and steering arms as well as adjustments to account for the narrower Eleven chassis.

I was checking over the car and noticed that the front tyres were slightly worn on the inside edges and a check with my alignment kit confirmed that the tracking was 20' toe-out.  An attempt to adjust confirmed that all the adjustment range had been used so I had two options (1) remove the track rod ends and cut them and the steering rack arms down (2) fit the 'fat' rack - I opted for the latter.

To gain access I removed the bonnet, the cooling radiator top mount, jacked/axle stand the front of the car and removed the front wheels. I unbolted each of the steering arms (2 x bolts) and steering rack mounts (3 x bolts) and slide out the steering rack complete with track rod ends and steering arms.  Fitting was roughly the reverse but I assembled the components on the car having cut 10-12mm off each of the track rod ends and rack arms.  I also needed to trim the track rod/steering arm bolts to ensure they cleared the alloy wheels as I'd needed to do with the originals.

While I had the wheels off I fitted the Mintex M1144 brake pads having given up on the ECB 'green' when I experienced significant fade around Exmoor/Porlock/Lynton.  The final step was to reset the front wheel alignment which I set to 10' toe-in, as most of the driving is done with 2 up I didn't bother ballasting the car with the driver's weight.

I went out for a drive and quickly confirmed that the 'fat' rack is much better suited to the light weight Eleven and M1144 are excellent pads; I'm now looking forward to the weather improving over the next week so I can get some more miles on the car.

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