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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Towing with a Rover 5-sp gearbox?

It is my vague understanding that due to the way the gearbox oil is pumped in a Rover 5-speed -- I guess the pump doesn't function unless the car's motor is running -- you need to either disconnect the drive shaft or have the car idling when towing it. Could someone please confirm? ... I don't want to wreck the gearbox. I don't particularly want to leave the car idling for hours either ... I'm hoping, inter alia, to still have an intact camshaft when I reach my destination.

Also, not exclusive to V8s, but: has anyone figured out an easy way to hook the MGB to one's towing hitch? The MG in question does have a normal front bumper and so forth. Does anyone sell a yoke or something, or would I have to get one made up?
Bill Withum

I had a chrome bumper tow bar bracket, a few years ago. It was fabricated using two chrome bumper brackets with some plate welded between them and 4 ears pointing forward, two on each side of the tow bar ears. The actual tow bar was made of aluminum I think, with a standard drop-over-trailer-ball hitch setup. The car towed fine from New York to Utah, I did disconnect the driveshaft at the differential, and made sure to unlock the steering column. Should be easy enough to fabricate if you have any welding experience, the aluminum isn't a necessary material. I can try and get a picture if you want.

A tow-bar I used was an even simpler design. As it came from the store it had the four ďearsĒ or tabs (that serve as half a vertical pivot) on the back of the tow-bar. Pins held the tabs to two flat bars that slid through the slots for the bumper and bolted to the frame where the bumper had been attached. The spacing of the tabs didnít match the width of the bumper mounts so the adaptor bars had extensions welded to line them up.

Iím sure the mounts for the rubber bumpers would also serve to hold adaptors to attach a tow-bar.
George Champion

Is there any place that could rig one of these up for me? I need it fairly quickly ... but since I can't weld and it's none too convenient to find a place that'd make one up, I'd happily order it from wherever if that was possible. I like the idea of using the front bumper mounts ... that would give a good solid connection.
Bill Withum

I bought a nice new tow bar from the local U-Haul store, and am going to make some brackets as described above, bolting where the bumper brackets would normally be. Hopefully, the valence can stay on. I doubt that anyone makes anything already made up for a B, but if you took your car into a local welding or towing shop, along with your tow bar, they could make something up fairly inexpensively. Get local recommendations about a good shop, then it shouldn't take long. Joe
Joe Ullman

The thing about mine was that the bracket sat right underneth the chrome bumper so it was on all the time and wouldve provided a shield for the valence if it had to.

Bill, you have to un bolt the drive shaft!!! OR in 100 miles the 5sp. is trash! You can let it idel & it is O.K. I had a frend take one of my cars to Va. (4 hr. trip) & it was fine. I make up a bar that uses the 2 steel arms that the chrome bumper bolts to. I switch the bars were thay point in & I pick up the 4 holes to the tow bar. I have pulled thousands of miles & have never had one come undone. If you see a 74.5 G.T behind a motor home with Del plates, say high to my Dad. Dad had a drive shaft made up that with a pull cable he can un hook the drive shaft.
Glenn Towery

Glenn has given you the finial word on the driveshaft and you have received a few options on a tow-bar. If you canít do the welding yourself and canít get the car to a shop you could buy a generic tow-bar, remove the bumper and take both to a welding shop. Take a repair manual or parts catalog as well to show the welder how it fits. You havenít mentioned the year of your car, but a solution is available in either case. Perhaps I should build one for myself before I need it.
George Champion

Although I bow to greater judgement, and even lower to experience, I fail to see how towing can "trash" the gearbox. Has anybody ever damaged a gearbox this way? OK, the gearbox has an oil pump; but surely the pump is still running if the gearbox is operating in the correct direction- as it would be if the car was being towed with the driveshaft connected. Or is the gearbox pump operated off the engine somehow, as Glenn seems to imply by stating that it is OK to tow with the engine idling? Or do I just not understand what is happening here?
ian thomson

This was news to me also, but having thought about it there is some logic so what is being said. When towed with the gearbox in neutral, the output shaft (and associated components) will rotate, but the input shaft will not. If the gearbox oil pump is driven via the input shaft, you're in trouble. However, having the engine idle will rotate the input enough to power the oil pump.
Pete Green

I have been towed on two occasions with no damage to the box.

In fairness they were only a few miles each time, and at low speeds.

Michael barnfather

" Dad had a drive shaft made up that with the pull of a cable he can un hook the drive shaft"
Now there's a clever contraption I'd like to see the details on.
Dana Wilson


If this is a one-time situation, why not get the two wheel auto towing rig from U-Haul and put the rear wheels into the tire receptacles. Otherwise, rent a flatbed full size rig. Either way, you don't have to make up a hitch and you get pros hooking up your tow vehicle side.

Edd Weninger
Edd Weninger

The fellow I work with towed a TR-7, with the 5-speed trans, without disconecting the driveshaft. After about 150 miles, the box (and hence the rear wheels) locked solid, almost putting the tow car in a ditch. The trans bearing were trashed. Only takes 15 minutes to disconnect the driveshaft...DO IT! He then rented a two wheel dolly and towed the TR backwards. The TR's top was down and he watched in the rear view mirror as the windshield, which had popped out from the air pressure, sail across three lanes of traffic and explode in the high speed lane.....another lesson there!
Kurt Schley

Well, at least it was only a TR7...

This thread was discussed between 19/03/2003 and 20/03/2003

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