The MGA With An Attitude
A quick note on proper DIPSTICK MARKINGS.

At 11:47 AM 12/4/2000 -0500, Larry Cogan wrote:
MGA 1600 type bent dipstick Dipstick with incorrect markings >"I have a 59 MGA with the original 1500 engine. .... In looking at the Vicky Britt and Moss catalogs I see two different dipstick versions. A straight stick for earlier cars and a stick with two 45 degree bends for later cars. .... I also note that the catalogs show the straight stick without any "stop lug" to set the depth of the stick into the sump. Not so concerned about originality as much as having a properly calibrated dipstick".

Photo on left shows the MGA 1600 type dipstick with the double bends where the 1500 type is straight. Photo on right shows WRONG markings on dipstick where the MAX and MIN lines are too far apart. The MIN mark is 1-11/16 inches from the bottom end of the stick. The MAX mark is 2-1/16 inches from the bottom of the stick. Nothing else matters, except for the position and the top seal.

Refer to CSM MG/213. At engine number 28979 in September 1957: Oil dipstick MIN mark raised from 3/4 to 3/8 below the MAX mark, to prevent loss of oil pressure during braking or cornering. The early and late parts are interchangeable, and there is no mention of a factory recall for exchange. However, you could be well advised to replace this part or at least file a new MIN line at the later higher position. (Apparently it took five months for the factory to get around to issuing this CSM in February 1958).

Dipstick markings
Top stick is correct. Bottom stick has both marks too low, not for any MGA.

The double bend dipstick happened in October 1959, five months into production of the 1600 model and two thirds of the way through all MG production. Except for the double bend, the two dipsticks are functionally identical, and neither one has a collar stop. There is a small indentation (about one inch across) in the bottom corner of the oil pan directly under the dipstick. The dipstick bottoms out in the oil pan with a nice metallic clunk to fix correct height of the dipstick.

>Does it make any difference or should I be obsessing about more important things (like that strange noise between 2400 and 3100 rpm)?

Incorrect oil level makes a HUGE difference. I personally have butchered the rod bearings on a nearly new engine by autocrossing it when one quart low on oil, as the oil pressure disappeared in a hard turn. I know someone who did a couple of extra engine overhauls because of excessive oil consumption and a terrific amount of smoking and blowing of oil out the tailpipe and out the tappet cover draft tube before discovering the wrong dipstick had the oil level at least a quart too high. I'm still thinking the last two overhauls were unnecessary and a waste of money, caused only by ignorance of the wrong dipstick.

>I realize that I could simply drain the oil, put in the specified amount and "recalibrate" the wad of tape to that level, but that seems quite inelegant.

Or just file new marks on the dipstick in the appropriate locations, as noted above.

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