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T-Series & Prewar Forum

T Series door safety latch

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hurst280 Avatar
hurst280 Gold Member Sean D
Plano, TX, USA   USA
1954 MG TF "The MG"
After I cleaned, lubricated and readjusted the latch and striker, and replaced the latch springs I find that the doors are very secure. The latch has a "closed" and "safety catch" position I can't imagine how they could open as I was going down the road. I see this issue a lot in the forums, but I am not sure why.

There is a slot on the inner plate that is used for a door locking lever/mechanism (unused on the T series) which may solve the unexpected door opening issues while being an elegant and attractive solution.

I found this old link while searching for a picture:

https://www.mgexp.com/phorum/read.php?46,2333394



"the pursuit is the thing, not the reward, not the gain."

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TX, USA   USA
1952 MG TD
1958 MG MGA 1500
How does a "turnbuckle" work. Do you have to buy one? What about loose hinges?

LaVerne Avatar
LaVerne LaVerne Downey
Fruita, CO, USA   USA
1954 MG TF "Green Hornet"
1969 MG MGB
Here is one I just cut in on this 50 TD I'm working on. It can be very useful to achieve good door fit. As far as the safety latches. I had the passenger door fly open on my TF not long after I finished it with the side curtain on at about 50 mph. It wasn't pretty. The problem as I see it is the latch assembly itself. Not withstanding that all of the pieces must be in perfect alignment to work, the assemblies produced today leave just a little to be desired. The The holes in the catch are not quite big enough for the pins. Combine that with the fact that you cannot tell if the pin is fully engaged just by looking at the lever and it's a recipe for disaster. Don't believe me? Take the cover off and close your door. If you are fortunate, the pin will be fully engaged into the catch opening. More often than not however the pin will only be partially engaged into the opening. Move the lever to open the door and observe when the pin begins to move. The lever can look as though the pin is engaged, even though it isn't fully. The safety catch on the latch can easily be over come by a fast opening at speed. I didn't get too fancy with my safety strap. Just a piece of old leather belt , some screws and some period turnbuckle fittings. I would certainly put some form of a safety on any suicide door car. I know one fellow that use some electric selenoid pins designed to be used as a safety on the 34 Fords on his TD. You can run without them and you may never have an issue, but trust me ...if it happens just once on your, you won't be without them again.


The second photo isn't mine but it's where I got the idea when I saw it on a friends TA

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Paul J Avatar
Locust Grove, OK, USA   USA
After installing new latches and striker plates I finally got them in perfect alignment only to find the hole in the striker was a tad smaller than the diameter of the pin, I had to enlarge the hole by .005 for the pin to drop fully in. I believe the chrome on the striker went down into the hole shrinking it's size. I now can lightly flip the doors closed and they fully latch with a thud. I did install safety latches, but now realize I didn't need them, their on there now, so they will stay. I forgot to say it took me three weeks off and on to get the final result, anything else on the car but never want to do another set of doors! PJ

hurst280 Avatar
hurst280 Gold Member Sean D
Plano, TX, USA   USA
1954 MG TF "The MG"
Ah,. After Laverne's explanation I see the issue... Correct me if I am wrong:

1. Latch position is unknown
2a. Repro parts don't fit together reliably and consistently
2b. The latch and safety notch on the repro parts look to have curved edges that allow them to uncouple if the door is stressed.

I'm glad I asked! Makes perfect sense now.



"the pursuit is the thing, not the reward, not the gain."


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Robert H Gold Member Robert Harvey
Wichita, KS, USA   USA
1951 MG TD "Millicent Grace (Millie)"
When I got my car, it would only catch the safety notch as well. I actually drove it around for some time befoe I learned that it was not correct. The whole door latching was pretty messed up, mostly due to poor work by previous owner--the worst of which was that since the screw holes in the wood were stripped on the latch side, he had drilled holes clear through the body and attached the latch with machine screws--heads on the outside of the body, and nuts on the inside. My turnbuckle installation was similar to LaVerne's, except I used cable, and moved one attach point further into the door (closer to the skin) so that it could warp the door easier...Pic attatched:



I post on this at the time (as to body repair where the screws were, and wood repair so that the latches could be mounted properly). The link below is the earlier thread that discusses the door latch.

https://www.mgexp.com/phorum/read.php?46,3027470,3027470#msg-3027470


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Robert H Gold Member Robert Harvey
Wichita, KS, USA   USA
1951 MG TD "Millicent Grace (Millie)"
you should be able to get the latch to line up properly so that the pin will drop into the hole (rather than just catching the safety latch). First trick is the get the front edge of the door to match the curve of the tub fairly well (with the turnbuckles). Then one side or the other (door side or body side) of the latch can be shimmed to get the proper alignment. You may also have to move the latch around just a bit to get the alignment. The two wood screws are final tie down--if you have to move the latch, you may have to plug and redrill the holes for the wood screws one the latch position is finalized.

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Paul J Avatar
Locust Grove, OK, USA   USA
In reply to # 3717641 by hurst280 Ah,. After Laverne's explanation I see the issue... Correct me if I am wrong:

1. Latch position is unknown
2a. Repro parts don't fit together reliably and consistently
2b. The latch and safety notch on the repro parts look to have curved edges that allow them to uncouple if the door is stressed.

I'm glad I asked! Makes perfect sense now.

I disagree, as I explained in my previous post. If those latches are perfectly aligned, (it takes a lot of patience), and the hole in the striker is not undersized, the latch will set fully in the striker and work perfectly! Everything, the door, the pillars, the cowling and good wood, along with no bent hinges is the key to getting everything aligned properly. Some repo parts are crap, but I find these new latches are just as good as the originals, they were cheaply made also! It's easy to blame the part, blame the guy who designed the whole damn car! thumbs down JMHO! PJ

LaVerne Avatar
LaVerne LaVerne Downey
Fruita, CO, USA   USA
1954 MG TF "Green Hornet"
1969 MG MGB
There are a lot of if's.... yes if everything is perfectly aligned and yes if you bore out the opening on the replacement catches, then everything should be good....but.... since the inside handle position does not reflect the position of the locking pin, it's always a crap shoot as to whether it is fully engaged or not. It would have been a better design if the handle was directly linked to show the position of the locking pin in my book.

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Paul J Avatar
Locust Grove, OK, USA   USA
In reply to # 3717801 by LaVerne There are a lot of if's.... yes if everything is perfectly aligned and yes if you bore out the opening on the replacement catches, then everything should be good....but.... since the inside handle position does not reflect the position of the locking pin, it's always a crap shoot as to whether it is fully engaged or not. It would have been a better design if the handle was directly linked to show the position of the locking pin in my book.

I agree LaVerne about the handle should have been directly connected to the latch pin. Poor design, but back then I guess it was state of the art grinning smiley

MGTF1500 Ardeche France Thierry SUCHIER
TOURNON SUR RHONE, Rhône-Alpes Auvergne, France   FRA
The alignment of the lock bolt with the keeper must be in the forward and backward direction and in the up and down direction.
We must also add in the lateral direction. Indeed, the hood of the lock itself is triangular and fits perfectly in the strike which is itself triangular.
So you have to adjust both the lock support and the waste holder while taking into account all three factors.
It must be admitted that it is very difficult and that one must be very careful.
Sincerely Thierry de l'Ardèche.

hurst280 Avatar
hurst280 Gold Member Sean D
Plano, TX, USA   USA
1954 MG TF "The MG"
Well,. I can see the how the actual latch position is an unknown which can lead to unexpected opening, which leads to having a really bad day, but as for the rest of the construction, is it really that bad?

I didn't get it right away, but has I worked on the car and tried to improve things here and there, I have come to understand that despite the "simple appearance" there is a mountain of engineering and lessons learned hidden in even the most "trivial" and simplistic components.

It is hard to imagine that so many cars made out of wood, bakelite, cast iron, leather, steel and canvas can exist let alone be driven after 60+ years!

I did purchase a set of replacement door hardware, and I realized that behind the chrome the mechanism was slightly different, almost imperceptible, but had a noticeable reduction in performance (and safety). I sent them back and reinstalled my original latches. Not as pretty, but seem to be much more tollerant to different latching conditions.



"the pursuit is the thing, not the reward, not the gain."

richfields Rich Fields
San Jose, CA, USA   USA
Sorry to break it to you guys, but that latch thing is disturbed. Get some help. One pic shows brand new upholstery on the door, but just cannot get the original fittings to work? Very troubling. Good info for an emergency road repair, I guess.

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