The MGA With An Attitude
Engine OIL COOLER Installation, Original Style - OF-105A

At 10:19 AM 12/31/04 -0700, Bill Greenwood wrote:
>"I have fitted the 1800cc engine in my MGA and I have bought an Oil Cooler Kit. Any advice on installation, i.e. what is the best place to mount the cooler?"
oil cooler and piping parts
Factory installation for the MGA put the oil cooler on top of the air pan ahead of the radiator where it would receive first air entering through the grille. Holes were punched in the air pan to allow connection of the lines from the bottom. Formed steel lines were routed from the bottom of the cooler, running up behind the radiator on the right to be retained with P-clips on the inner fender. The steel lines are not currently available new, but a crafty tubing bender could make these lines, given the proper end fittings. There were also short flexible hoses from the back ends of the steel lines to the engine. Note that the common original type oil cooler is 10 row, bottom ported, and has mounting ears on the bottom only. For hole locations on air pan and inner fender see MGA Special Tuning Manual AKD819 (3.1-MB pdf), pages 24-25, or Oil Cooler Installation Drawings (0.4-MB pdf).
oil cooler installation drawings
I am guessing that the new oil cooler kit you bought will not be original style, but more likely aftermarket type. For that installation, see the next page.

NOTICE:When drilling new holes in the front frame extension to relocate the horns (as instructed above), you may end up with the horns positioned very close to touching the round cross tube of the frame. See photos and recommendations in article ET-109D in the electrical section.

Original type oil cooler
Ten row oil cooler, original factory style. No mounting ears on top.

This is the original style oil cooler,
Original type oil cooler tag
ARH 113 - 203 - 5971
10-rows of oil channels, bottom flange mount, and bottom ported (click for larger picture). This one is stripped bare aluminum, but I believe they were originally painted silver-gray. There was originally a "Morris Motors Ltd. Radiators Branch, Oxford" stick-on label on top showing Drawing number, Issue number, and Serial number, as shown here.

Original type oil cooler steel and rubber pipes Addendum, December 2009: Tom Aczel in Australia reports special ordering and receiving original style oil cooler pipes and hoses (shown here). These were supplied direct from Think Automotive in the UK -, current manufacturers of Mocal products (for 160-BPS including postage to Australia). Hose ends are not exactly as original; see photo at bottom of page.

Original type oil cooler pipes at side Original type oil cooler bottom pipes Original type oil cooler bottom pipes
Photos above and center show the original factory type oil pipes below the air pan. Notice in center photo at bottom of picture the notch in the front frame extension where the OEM style top mounted anti-sway bar would mount. This shows why the oil cooler is installed so far forward from the radiator, as the steel pipes must pass in front of and then below the sway bar. Photo above right shows the pipes passing around the right side of the radiator lower tank.

Original type oil cooler hose to engine connections
Original type oil cooler pipe to hose connections
Photos to right show where the pipes rise up behind the radiator and travel back along the inner fender with hoses connecting to the engine. There should be two or three P-clips to attach the steel pipes to the inner fender (not yet installed in these pictures). For MGA 1500 cars the ignition coil was mounted on top of the generator. For the 1600 and 1600-MK-II models the coil was mounted on a bracket attached to the engine mount. For the "Deluxe" cars the coil was back on top of generator, because the right side engine mount was different design for the Twin Cam (and "Deluxe") chassis. For all Twin Cam cars the coil is mounted on the left side inner fender (near the Twin Cam distributor). Many people not concerned with concours originality might mount the coil on the inner fender for easier servicing, but be careful not to have the coil interfering with position of the oil cooler pipes and hoses.
Original type oil cooler hoses
Addendum, November 2010:
Picture at right shows original oil cooler hoses, connecting the steel pipes to engine. The end fittings incorporate O-ring swivel joints so they can swivel freely when the coupling nut is tight. These parts are from a 1962 MGA 1600-MK-II.

Oil cooler with extra hose fitting Oil cooler with extra hose fitting

Addendum, January 2013:
Photos at left show the oil cooler on Richard Gough's MGA Twin Cam YM1-1560, having an extra fitting on top with a closure cap. This is original factory equipment. Purpose of the extra fitting is unknown, but may have been for a temperature probe. So far this is the only report of an oil cooler with more than two hose connectors. Notice the base fitting is attached to the top of the oil cooler with small screws and a gasket. This is most likely a special adaptation, one of a kind, as a production part would have been welded here.

For oil cooler pipes on the MGA Twin Cam engine (much different) see Twin Cam article TC-322.

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