Ownership Guide

Farina cars are very easy to maintain for an average DIY motorist, particularly with the benefit of modern tools and accessories.

The following is an example of some common service items on a typical 4 cylinder Farina - such as the Morris Oxford or Austin Cambridge -


Drain the engine oil every 3,000 miles, replace the sump plug with a new washer and refill with a good-quality 20W/50 oil.

An additive may prove beneficial, as long as the engine is run-in.

Change the paper cartridge oil filter every 6,000 miles.

A spin-on filter can be used after fitting a conversion kit or by sourcing parts from a Marina 1800 or Sherpa 1800D B-series engine.

The gearbox oil should be checked every 3,000 miles using the dipstick.

Drain the box every 12,000 miles when hot, replace the drain plug and refill with 20W/50 engine oil.

An additive may quieten a worn unit.

Check an automatic's transmission oil level weekly with the engine running and hot, the car parked on level ground, and the selector in 'Park'.

Drain the oil every 18,000 miles, or sooner if it looks discoloured; replace the plug with a new washer and refill with fresh ATF.

Repeat the process a few times, running the car in between, to change oil in the torque converter.

Check the back axle oil level every 3,000 miles or sooner if it's leaking.

Drain it when hot every 12,000 miles; replace the drain plug and refill with

EP90 gear oil until it reaches the filler thread.

An additive will reduce noise in a worn unit.


Regularly inspect the fuel line for damage/corrosion. Fit two in-line fuel filters suitable for unleaded fuel, one between the tank and the pump and one before the float chamber(s); renew every 12,000 miles.

A light tap will often restart a stalled fuel pump, or the contact breaker points may need cleaning.

A solid state pump avoids the problem but can't be repaired if it fails.

Austin s, Morris's and Wolseley's are fitted with a single HS2 SU carburettor, whereas MG's and Riley's have two HD4's.

Inspect for fuel leaks, wear in the throttle spindle(s)/Iinkages and keep the dashpot(s) filled with engine oil.

Remove the vacuum chamber(s) and carefully clean away carbon deposits with carburettor cleaner.

Use a balance gauge to synchronise the throttle butterflies on twin-carb set-ups before adjusting the mixtures.

Replace the single carb's air filter element every 12,000 miles.

Drain, clean and refill the twin-carbs' oil bath air cleaner with 20W/50 engine oil every 6000 miles

The standard B-series engines aren't compatible with unleaded fuel unless an additive is used or a modified head is fitted.


Adjust the tappets every 12,000 miles or when noisy, using the rule of nine principle (number one fully open, check number eight; number two fully open, check number seven, etc.).

Set all valve clearances to 0.015in - no tighter or the engine will run roughly.

Replace the cover with a new gasket.

Drain, flush and refill the cooling system using a good anti-freeze all year round to prevent sedimentation, at intervals recommended by the manufacturer.

Inspect the hoses, especially around the heater take-off on the bottom radiator hose.

A blocked radiator core is usually the cause of overheating.

If the engine knocks against the steering column when started, the engine mountings need replacing.

A judder on pull-away is usually caused by oil-softened gearbox mountings.

The syncromesh on the second gear hub can fail but won't effect its longevity.

Noisy back axles will solider on - new replacements are commercially unavailable.

The propeller shaft universal joints can wear causing vibration or screeching on pull-away.

Higher gearing can be achieved by swapping the standard differential with one from an MGA.


Push down on all four corners of the car - it should bounce once and settle; if not the dampers have failed.

Jack up and support the car; waggle the wheels to check for any play.

Wheel bearings are non-adjustable, so replacement necessary if loose.

Remove wheels and visually check all mounting areas, dampers, springs, bushes, brake pipes and hoses.

Inspect the front spring pans for corrosion and protect with wax.

Grease the front king pin and lower trunnion assemblies as often as possible, no longer than 3,000 miles intervals.

Replacing the bushes requires use of a stepped reamer to ream the bushes afterwards.

Fulcrum bushes (four required) and inner wishbone bushes (eight required) can wear.

Check steering joints for wear and replace track rods accordingly.

Top up the steering box and idler with EP90 oil and if there is lost motion in the box carefully screw in the adjuster (pre-1967) to alleviate play without causing tight spots.

The spring-loaded adjuster on later boxes should be screwed right home, then backed off to the correct pre-load.

The suspension can be uprated by replacing rubber bushes with polyurethane versions, and swapping the lever-arm dampers for a telescopic damper kit.

Remove the brake drums, get rid of any dust with brake cleaner, inspect the shoe lining thickness and check the wheel cylinders for leaks.

Adjust the brakes by locking each shoe against the drum, then backing off until it's just rubbing. Only then adjust the handbrake cable.

The brakes can be uprated by fitting a remote servo or fitting a front disc brake kit.


Regularly wash salt/muck from the underside, dry and protect with cavity wax. Inject cavity wax into the front cross-member under the radiator, the side members to which the steering box/idler are bolted, around the wheel arches.

Inside, peel back the carpets and brush wax onto the floor-pan preventing moisture getting through the screen seal first..

Inject wax into the sills, around the rear wheel arches, inner wings, boot and under the estate's fuel tank.

Make sure the door drains are unblocked, protecting the areas with cavity wax.


The easiest way to improve performance is by upgrading to a more powerful engine, either from 1500 to 1622cc, or from the standard engine to the twin-carb MG unit.Inform your insurance company of any changes and uprate the brakes, suspension and steering if any further mods are made.

A 95bhp three-main-bearing MGB engine will fit straight into the standard 61bhp engine's bay, but the better five-bearing engine will need the front- and back-plates swapping. The later MGB engine with overdrive gearbox can be fitted by shortening the propshaft.

Improve engine breathing by fitting free-flow air filters and exhaust manifold/systems.


The Farina range is comfortable and reliable, and able to hold its own in modern traffic.

Good radial tyres will improve handling. Don't put up with poor handling - an afternoon's work on the steering box and dampers will transform the car into the delight it was meant to be.

The gearbox is strong but no synchro on second can be wrecked if driven too forcefully, and the carbon clutch release bearing will wear rapidly if you rest your foot on the pedal!