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MG MGA - Did all 1600's have sway bars?

If not, what year did they start adding them?
Edward Wesson 52TD

The sway bar (anti-roll bar over here) fitted between the front lower wish bones was an optional extra that can be retro-fitted.
Wish I had one!
D Brown

David, and Edward, can be retro fitted, but only if you have the correct later front chassis extension!

Colin Parkinson

Edward, the original style top-mount bars are like hens' teeth to find. Got mine S/H from Geoffrey Rogers
Art Pearse

Or you can fit the MGB antiroll bar on a tailor made frame like we do -

Chris at Octarine Services

The front frame extension was modified to accept the sway bar at beginning of 1600 model production. This was about 500 cars into Twin Cam production, and I am convinced it was done specifically to make the sway bar available for Twin Cams (for serious competition). It was an optional accessory on 1600 cars (wouldn't fit on 1500 cars). It became standard equipment at (c)91240, same time as introduction of the "competition suspension" option, right at end of Twin Cam production. About 9110 of the 1600's got it as standard, and all of the 1600-MK-II cars.
Barney Gaylord

Even if you have the correct front extension, as I now do, it is 1) hard to find an original type sway bar, and 2) very easy to add an aftermarket Adco type bar that bolts to the bottom of the stock extension.

I HIGHLY recommend adding one, however you do it. It makes the car a lot more stable, and fun to drive.

AJ Mail

What did the original bar look like? does anyone have a picture of one.
J Bray

Brown and Gammons offer the original style anti roll-bar, links, bushes and mounting kit for sale
I Prior

Moss also supply the original type bar and fitting kit
Neil McG

How difficult would it be to modify the extension to fit a sway bar?....Is it just basically a hole in the extension?
Edward Wesson 52TD

No - it is a half circular depression in the top part of the extension with 2 holes in the top flange for the bush clamp to fix to.
Chris at Octarine Services

Here's a picture of it - the bar is NOT an MGA bar but a 3/4 MGB one - hence the non standard bush & clamp.

Chris at Octarine Services

This is a top view of a standard diameter bar installed. I wouldn't like to retro fit one of this sort!........................Mike

m.j. moore

Thanks for the input....Even if I could find a used extension, by the time I finished redoing it , I see that it would be big bucks....Way more than I think I could recoup if I ever sell the car....
I even thought of buying another used standard extension (much less expensive), and doing a job with plasma cutter and welder....But that was just a passing thought.
I know I could do it, but It would look cobbled up , and what's the point to that?
Anyway, guess I'll leave well enough alone.
Edward Wesson 52TD

Well, I put the car up on the lift again , to take another look at the frame extensions, and , bingo! I do have the extensions made for the sway bar, after all....
So, looks like another project this Winter...
The photos that were posted showed me my error, in "assuming" that there was a hole in the extensions.
Of course, installing the sway bar with the body in place looks like a real feat.
Edward Wesson 52TD

For a long time I could never understand what that detent in my front extension was. Thought that some previous owner may of had an accident nice to find out what it is for.
S P Rossetto

check out Barneys site andthe advice/help from (Bill Sphone ? i think ) using an MGB bar freely available and easy to do you just need a man to weld the drop links that you have cut to fit , a nice project and very worthwhile doing ! it just makes a good drive better !
c daly

Here's the diagram and procedure for fitting the factory standard anti-roll bar.
(There are two jpegs)

D Brown

... and here's the diagram

D Brown

On the sketch, the housing and bolts are upside down - they fit over the bushes.
Art Pearse

I noticed that, too.
Thanks very much....I just hate having to remove the valence again....soooo many screws, nuts and washers.
Edward Wesson 52TD

My conversion of an MGB bar to mount under the frame extension is here:

Here is an alternative using rod ends in case you don't weld:
Bill Spohn

You can ship your 1500 non sway bar frame extension to Sports Car Craftsmen in Colorado and they can modify it to the later style to accept the sway bar. They also have jigs to straighten it back to factory specs and repair any damage. I shipped the one for my 1500 coupe several years ago to them.
Scott Shirk

For the fitting of the optional sway bar the indent in the frame extension has been fully discussed.
However nobody has mentioned the reinforced lower spring pan.
This item was strengthened in the area where the vertical link attaches.
When the Twin Cam was given the sway bar as standard at chassis #2275 it is clear in the factory Service Parts List that the the new reinforced spring pan was also a standard fit.
It is not clear in the 1600 Service Parts List.
The optional 1600 sway bar parts list shows that the Twin Cam type spring pan should also be ordered.
Does the MGA 1600 have the reinforced spring pan as standard?
If not, it is something else that needs to be done.
Also if anyone modifies a 1500 with the front chassis extension indent they should also reinforce the the spring pan.
This is done by welding a metal strip to the side arm of the pan in the area of the vertical link hole.
This in effect doubles the thickness of the side arm of the pan.

M F Anderson

Not sure about the pan - but if fitting the MGB drop links then the MGB front suspension arm needs to be fitted too - it is reinforced with a block where the link bolt passes through and if I remember correctly the hole is tapered.
Chris at Octarine Services

Thanks for the info. This has prompted me to do some light digging concerning my own car..
According to Clausager (p87), the chassis front extension and spring pan assemblies were modified to permit the addition of the optional anti-roll bar in April 1959, from car number 66574 (Twin Cam 2275).
From the same source, the 1600 was introduced in May 1959 at car number 68851.
So I can fit a standard factory anti-roll bar (if only I had one).
D Brown

It is only the front A-arm that is reinforced, not the pan itself.
It is an easy job with a MIG welder.
Art Pearse

Maybe I am wrong, in that my spring pan was already drilled with the locating hole for the drop link. I just had to drill the arm in the same place and install the reinforcing strip. Maybe earlier pans did not have the hole drilled.
Art Pearse

The early pan was same front & back - the later pan is as the MGB one and has a deeper section at the front with the hole for the link bolt.

No need to fabricate the A arm - they are only a few quid!
Chris at Octarine Services

Yes, the front A arm is very cheap - order a pair for an MGB as well as the bottom spring pan, or modify the pan - my recollection is that early MGA may not have the hole there in the right location, but don't hold me to that until I have a chance to get the parts and compare. All outlets now just sell the same part (pan) for both MGAS and MGB. Even if you need an MGB pan, they are cheap used.
Bill Spohn

In the Moss catalogue the front "A" arms are included with the kit....
Looking at my pans, there is an extra hole in the pan itself, which I "assume" would be used , if the front "A" arm were the correct one.
If anyone has a photo of the "correct" pan, that would be very helpful.
Edward Wesson 52TD

Edward, the extra hole, about 1" or so from the existing bolt hole, is the one for the drop link.
Art Pearse

This thread was discussed between 18/08/2013 and 24/08/2013

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