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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - starter motor problems

Dear all,
Your advise would be appreciated
i am utilising a rubber bumpber mgb shell for a v8 conversion -using crossmenber and rack etc ,i have fitted the engine with tubular exhausts(ones that do not pass through inner wing ) but find the starter( a sd1 wit the solenoid underneath ) fouls on the steering column. Has anypone had this problem?

I understand a shorter starter was fitted to the original mgb gt's,and some sd1's and i am also aware you can obtain a shorter geared starter but they are expensive
Is is a case of shimming the rack to clear ?
any suggestions

Interesting. We don't have that problem over here but it sounds like the shorter starter is the way to go. Years ago, I had my starter rebuilt as a higher torque model and it has worked very well since. We had two different diameter of starter bodies to choose from but the larger one would not fit. A starter/alternator shop should be able to fix you right up. Or tell you if they are not available, in which case the Mean Green starter should work just fine, but like you said, expensive. You are running into one of the difficulties of the CB swap. But carry on, in the end it is worth it.

Jim Blackwood

I'm two weeks away from hitting the same problem.

Is it the top of bottom of the starter - I cant picture it. How much fouling, are talking a few mm?

I thought the RB route was supposed to be devoid of these sorts of issues {{8-O>

it appears only a few mm, it fouls on the rear outside edge of the starter

At the moment i've taken the engine out to correct another problem with the clutch fork, so im looking to trial fit again with some thin spacers under the right hand engine mounting to see if all clears.

I have removed the rack also

I understand this was a standard mod on V8 MGB gt police cars in uk

It's not your rubber engine mounts is it? I have read the standard MGB ones are softer don't take the heat as well as the V8 ones and can break down. Problem is they look the same.

I'm surprised this is a problem on a RB. I'm doing a CB and I know I will run into this problem.

Let us know if shimming solves it.


David - the GTV8 came with two spacers on the starboard engine mount. The mountings themselves were the same size but as has been said were of stiffer rubber. (Thelast time I bought mountings for a V8, I was sold the soft version).This helps with the starter and with the steering column which otherwise will foul an OE starboard exhaust manifold.

The GTV8 also had a different starter and a heat shield - both are available.

If you have a height/bonnet clearance problem, you can use a narrow mounting on the port side - the combined efect will be to lower the height of your engine by a few mm.

HTH Roger


Yow will need a heat-shield to protect the starter, whereabouts in Lancashire are are welcome to inspect mine here in Blackpool.

Our local SD1 expert is in Freckleton,just down the cast from here, he will be able to advise if you have the correct starter or not.

I've shown my e mail address if you want to mail me direct.

Michael barnfather


The Hi torque starters are a lot easier to fit and unfit although a bit expensive.


Serious symtom if your starter motor is infact an SD1 starter. It sounds as though the engine is too far forward, or a bit too high. This could be problem and let you in for a serious amount of additional work later unless corrected now. If this is infact the case then you will likely also run into future problems with radiator and /or bonnet clearance.
This is a whole lot of supposition but;
It is possible that you are using a Rover or T series gear box. I understand that they are a bit longer than the MGB ones. It is possible that you will have aligned the gear lever as close to orrigional as possible (I did initially), which in your case, would place your engine too far forward. Aside from starter motor problems, this is bad 'cause even if the engine is placed as low as possible, further forward means lower bonnet line. This would only be the case if you made your own engine brackets (like me), if so then these can be redrilled easily enough (which I had to do). If you have placed you gear lever exactly in the old spot, also be aware that the MGB gear lever hole is about three quaters of an inch offset to the port (LH) side. If you intend using a larger diameter stronger drive shaft (a very good idea) then you will run into trany tunnel clearance problems (I did). The RV8 had a kink into the gear lever. In fact it might be best not to finalize bolting on your rear gearbox mount until the new tail shaft is in place, so you can fine tune. You may wish to have a little offset, or push the back of the gear box further up. There can also be clearance issues with the hand brake and the heal board brace
Another possiblility is that if you bought factory replica brackets, I believe (not sure about this, hazy memory from seeing some once) that they can be fitted the wrong way around and so place the engine further forward.
A bit of a pain, but far better and easier to correct now rather than later.
If your brackets aren't adjustable then a possiblility is to buy a set of Glenn Toweries engine brackets, which place the engine further back and lower I believe.

Can you let me know how you eventually get around the problem, I'm another one about to hit the same problem. Is the car an early or late rubber bumper? Ive heard they are slightly different but don't know if this true.Anyway hope it goes well.

GLG Lavis

Peter, did your propshaft problems come about because of alignment issues or the diameter of the propshaft? I'm planning on using my SD1 shaft which is a lot thicker than the MGB one and I'm not sure how it will pan out.


I agree with Peter here, if you have the correct mounting plates which are on the right way round you should not have any clearance problems if you use two shims on the right hand mounting. When I installed the engine initially there was enough clearance but once it settled on the mountings the rear flange of the manifold was hitting the column, fitting the two shims brings the engine up much more than the quickness of the shims would suggest. My car is early rubber bumper with SD1 engine and LT77 gearbox and standard SD1 starter motor, all fitted on brackets and mountings supplied by V8 conversions and the gear lever is in the standard position.

Have you done the tunnel mod to give clearance for the LT77? if not you will have a problem getting the engine and box in the correct position.


No difference in early or late rubber bumper cars except that the later cars had the rad mountings in the correct position.

Kevin Jackson
Kevin Jackson

This question has a long answer,
Initially I placed the gear lever (of the short supra gear box) dead centre of the MGB tranny' hole, I got a kind of set on doing it this way which caused a variety of knock on problems.
This brought the engine further back and very close to the bulkhead and because I was retaining the rangerover balancer, the engine was 0.5 inches higher at the front in order to clear the steering rack. Also since the engine was higher at the front, the gearbox was much lower at the back (pivots around the heater duct)which lead to a very tight clearance on the heal board. Infact the gear box was set so low that it had to be centre of the hole to give room for movement.
Also since the back of the box was offset to the portside this brought the larger diameter drive shaft(about the same as an SD1) too close to the tunnel. It actually just cleared the tunnel, and was no real problem as far as functionalality goes. But I was forwarned that the engineer would not go for all these very tight clearances.
I then realized that the SD1 balancer had a longer neck which would clear the steering rack, which ment I could drop the front down half and inch, raise the gear box right up high at the back so the drive shaft cleared the heal board comfortably-which tilted the heads forward and away from the engine bulkhead. The forward angle also brought the plenum more parrallel to the bonnet. God bless the long neck SD1 harmonic balancer!
I did infact still keep a little off set (may be 4 or 5mm) to the port side because the handbrake has a bolt which sticks out quite a way.
The short answer- because of the handbrake bolt.

There are two main sizes of starter for the Rover V8 engine.
To fit the MGB your starter should look like this.
I helped a friend fit a 4.6 into a Datsun 240Z and the starter on that was huge compared.
Be careful when buying because the range rover starters
have the solonoid protruding sideways and not below.

Hope this helps.


Mark would have shown you that as an example. Don't pay 12 pounds plus for a SD1 starter. I had a very nice new(ish), high torque, Range rover starter that came with the motor orrigionaly that as Mark said, had the soliniod on the side. It doesn't fit by only about 3 mm, and there's nothing that you can do about it, I tried!.
I traded it for two good condition SD1 starters and a SD1 balancer, plus other bits. I also got the distinct impression that the dealer though he was getting a way better deal than me, which didn't worry me as I got what I wanted. However the implication is that SD1 starters are a dime a dozen.

This thread was discussed between 06/02/2006 and 15/02/2006

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