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MG TD TF 1500 - cracked block

This is the same engine of BINDING CRANK fame. My engine woes have gone from bad to real bad. The machinist discovered a long crack under the water channel on the block. There were 2 past repairs. 1 of JB Weld and a previous failed attempt at welding. I was given the name of a repair shop in Massachusetts at least 3 hours further away. This engine is becoming more needy than my daughter was when she was in college. I just hope it is repairable. He mentioned cutting out the cracked area and welding in a patch. $$$ So all of the crankshaft problems are on hold for the time being. Details forthcoming. Sandy
smb brainsky

Oh hell no! You don't cut out the cast iron and scab a piece in. I don't weld cast iron but it is done with frequency and with good results. My other passion is 409 Chevrolets which have a nasty habit of cracking along the outside of the block an inch below the head to block surface. This is usually caused by using solid side motor mounts in race applications. When the left side of the engine torques on hard acceleration it tears the wall from the deck surface The repair is to heat the block and I believe using a high nickel rod weld the crack. It may be ground out along the crack line and a filleted weld made, but the repair is solid and will outlast the owner when done correctly. Talk to a certified welder and not a machinist about this. Welder's weld and machinists machine. It just depends how much you want to put into this.

I thought this block had been checked the first go around. I'm beginning to question the machinists abilities. Certainly a previous repair should have been noted and checked prior to any machine work when it was initially cleaned. He certainly should be refunding monies for any work done on this block because of his oversight. If this is an XPAG block maybe it's time to get a seasoned block out of the mud and start over. If it is a #s matching block and that is important to you then see about a repair. Again if done right there will be no issue. But get a guarantee on the repair.

Another option is to have the block ceramic coated with a product such as iIrontite. I would talk to a rep from Irontite and get other opinions from here and elsewhere. These XPAG s with their inner and outer water jackets may be problematic with coating all inner surfaces. Certainly it will be important to insure that the cross jacket holes front and rear are bored clean with a drill afterwards.

Good luck and looking forward to hearing what you come up with.


Bill Chasser
TD 4834
W. A. Chasser Jr

There was a TA on "Car SOS" with a cracked block which was stitched up by Brian from Stitchweld in Burton on Trent in the UK. The larger crack was about a foot long & it seems to be in the same location as yours & the smaller was about a couple of inches & nearer the top of the block. There must be similar businesses in the States who are capable of undergoing a warrantied repair. Best of luck Sandy. Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

Sandy. Call leifert's machine shop in Torrington,CT. 860-482-4533. I'm told he has forgotten more about xpag engines than most folks know and from my discussions with him I believe it. Perhaps he can give you a second opinion. Jonathan
J Cosin

Horror Story---Sandy, can you post a picture of the crack? I suspect caused by freezing without anti freeze at some point in its life.
Is your block an early with oval water passages or later with round holes matching your head?

It seems to me if you can live without number matching, another good replacement block would be preferred if available.

Richard Cameron


Try metal stitching. It is used all the time on industrial engines and other metal fabrications. It may not be practical depending upon the location and cost but it is certainly worth the effort to look into. There should be some stitching companies in your part of the woods. The process is used a lot on ship engines and big diesels in power plants where it is not practical or possible to remove the broken item. A different block might be the way to go in the end and unless you are a real purist, what difference does it really make? It's your car and given the average age of the folks on this site, it'll be somebody else's problem down the road. It'll out last you. Get it together and have fun driving it.

Mark Strang

Here's an example of stitching a crack:

Richard Cameron

My first machine shop that messed me up with the crankshaft applied the JB Weld. He told me all about it at the time and I didn't think it was a big deal because I have used it on my Ford diesel's aluminum block heater housing and it worked like a charm. I don't know why it failed here but I'm glad to find out before I built the engine.
Mark n Peter, I was educated by the welder in MA about stitching. It is less of an option if it was welded on an earlier repair. This block apparently was. Somebody qualified has to make the final determination.
Jon I will definitely call on Lieferts.
Richard I can't send pics cause engine is an hour away. Maybe I can get a few from Accurate.
Bill I will be speaking with some welders about cast iron water jackets. I have been told that water jacket repair differs from block castings of mounting lugs and motor mounts and such.
Naturally I would like to save this engine. But if I have to start over, I will.
smb brainsky

I also would recommend talking to Leo at R & L engines,,, Leo really knows what he is doing,, sure, it's a three hour drive, but well worth it for the knowledge,,,,

Steve Wincze

Hate to say it, but any shop that would consider machining anything or have a customer spend 50 cents on a block with a JB weld patch is a failure. If likely from freezing, there could very well be other internal cracks you can't see. While numbers matching is good, I don't think it changes T-series value very much. If you are going to keep the car long term, I would just get another known good block. George
George Butz

George makes a very good point,, but how do you know if a block isn't cracked ??
>>there could very well be other internal cracks you can't see<<

I see that Leo has added a YouTube on his site

Steve Wincze

A friend of mine in Florida restored a Auburn boat tail speedster, very high dollar car. When he bought it he found out it had a cracked block, on the outside. Because those engines are not available, he sent it to a place in California to have it welded. It was quite a procedure where the whole block had to be brought up to a specific and constant temperature before welding, almost a cherry red. It took him a year before he got it back, at a very high cost. After welding it had to be cooled at a slow rate by dropping the temp in the oven slowly. They then sand blasted the block where welded and it looked like a new block with no indication of the weld, it's in the car today. The cost was around $3,000 for the weld, not including freight charges. PJ

Yikes, cracked block AND binding crank. Definitely bad luck. But totally repairable, as people have pointed out, cast iron can be welded. You just need to find someone who knows how to do it. Check the machine shops and specialty services in your area. I found a guy who specialized in large engine cylinder head work who had a guy on staff with experience. (That was for welding a manifold, not a block, but it's the same principle). As PJ says, welding cast iron requires heating the entire piece evenly first, before welding, and then cooling slowly. It's not rocket science, to heat it they use an oven, to cool it evenly generally they will just put it in a large bucket filled with hot sand and then let it cool... but it definitely needs some experience to do it right.
Geoffrey M Baker

I had the same water jacket crack in the block that you speak of. My local engine shop suggested that I have it cold stitched. Especially since the block is rare and does not have a pressurized cooling system. A couple of years ago the charge was $25/ inch. By drilling and tapping, and installing plugs... the repair is seamless, and the crack is drill stopped at the ends. By the time it was done and plugs ground, block painted, I can't find the repair. The crack was 7" long....So a $175.00 repair. And it works.
C.R. Tyrell

Have a look at this information about repairing cracked blocks. I like the soldering method and will be trying it in the future on one of my MG "T" blocks with a crack on the water jacket. In my case the crack is in an area where the metal is too thin to hold the stitch pins. .
Hugh Pite
H.D. Pite

I've had two XPAG engines weld repaired. One had the starter motor area broken off, the other had a crack on the other side of the bellhousing. Both were welded by a backwoods welder here in Mississippi who had he experience welding in the shipyard. As noted above the area where the welds were to be made was heated, welded and then the block placed in an oven to allow the temperature to gradually (about a day) to come to ambient. It's not rocket science but it does take knowledge.
Gene Gillam

Make sure you read the document on the ship engine repair, the workmanship is brilliant, glad they did not hand me the bill.

I have carried out cast iron welding repairs, never on an engine block. Preheating and the use of a cross pane hammer to stretch the weld as each small section was applied were the method taught to me by an old tradesman.

Sandy I believe you have received good advice within the statement that you cannot identify if there is additional internal cracking. Frozen coolant is the worst scenario for any internal combustion engine, I think it far worse than overheating.
G Evans

Having taken the time to read all of the contributions on the link Hugh posted I'm now convinced ANY block is salvageable, even if has been previously welded incorrectly. One block shown had a large heat affected area cut out & replaced with new metal which was then stitched into place. The extent of the repair on the last post on that thread is just simply mind boggling! Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

Update: Today I drove my broken engine block 100 miles to be assessed by Frank Casey. His shop is a cramped little space packed with engines and equipment from 60 years of experience. He is a wizard. His work borders on fine art. From race engines to vintage. A Ford T type from 1917 on his bench is now brought back to life. There may be nothing in cast repair he can not fix. He is going to pressure test to decide whether to stitch or patch. Looking at his repairs, I have no hesitation. If it turns out NG, my costs will be minimal. A success will be less than a replacement block. Although I do owe him a lunch. He burned his spaghetti on the wood stove while showing me around. Craftsmen like Frank are fewer and fewer. I am fortunate he is still active at his age. If all goes well, the next step will be back to Accurate Auto Machine for the rear scroll oil seal re-sizing. Sandy
smb brainsky

Sounds like he's the guy to fix it! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you...
Geoffrey M Baker

Congrats on finding a welding artist. Too bag he can't finish the rest of the work for you!
Gene Gillam

Thank you gentlemen.
smb brainsky

This thread was discussed between 16/01/2016 and 28/01/2016

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