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by Art Isaacs
The brakes of an MG, particularly the rear, are not terribly mysterious and most any competent mechanical shop can service them. I am a DYI person, so have done the brakes myself on mine several others cars. The rear drums are pretty much the same set-up as an old American car. Getting the shoes and cylinders might take a bit longer than a classic Ford or Chevy, but they are available from sources other than the Moss or Victoria British catalogs.
I have found that even NAPA and PEP Boys carry some of the pieces OTC and have bought others through a local machine shop at about the same price as the catalogs. If all else fails, you can show the shop to order the parts on-line (www.applehydraulics.com, www.mossmotors.com or www.victoriabritish.com). It will take a couple of days to get them (Moss is usually the faster on regular delivery but all can be expedited for overnight). Rear cylinders are outright buys, not usually rebuilt, so no core or return costs are involved.
I would do the full axle, both L&R cylinders and shoes. My concern is that the seals on the rest of the system may be failing due to the use of the wrong fluid. The MGs used a specific fluid (DOT 4 or SAE1703, I believe) and use of anything else would deteriorate the o-rings and seals. Rebuilt parts use newer seal materials that are compatible any fluid, like a modern car. If you drain and refill the system, consider using the new silicon based fluid as it does not deteriorate the seals or collect moisture as all older fluids did. Just something to keep in mind as you use and maintain the car.
If you really want a specialist to do the work, I don't have one in Hoboken, but know of ones in Union and Chester as well as a good general performance car shop in Livingston I use for my daily drivers. Again, if the shop your car is at now has been recommended or you've used them for your other cars, you should feel comfortable with them fixing the brakes.
Some more advice if you end up doing all the brakes:
- Replace the flexible lines to the front calipers (2) and rear axle (1).
- Rebuild the master cylinder.
- Have the master cylinder and front calipers rebuilt by a specialist. Moss and VB offer rebuilts, but they are just as often done by Apple Hydraulics of Long Island for them and you can also deal with Apple directly (www.applehydraulics.com).
- Flush the system and then use the "purple" silicon based brake fluid.