Technical Details of the Morgan Three-wheelers:

Chassis The Chassis of the Morgan three-wheeler, made from steel tubes, was very simple but strong and efficient. A main feature was the independent suspension for the front wheels, the rear wheel was attached via a hinge at the back of the gearbox and sprung by quarter-elliptic leaf springs. The size of the chassis of course varied from model to model and over the years. For example in 1923 the wheel base was 6ft and the weight approximately 2¾cwt; the "F" 4-seater from 1936 had a wheelbase of 8ft 3in and a track of 4ft 2in. The "F"-Type used a completely different chassis. It was made of pressed steel but retained the centre tube, which connected the engine and gearbox.

Front End This picture shows the Front End. The engine can be easily removed by undoing four bolts. The clutch is directly attached to the engine, from there a driveshaft leads to the gearbox at the rear of the car.

Sliding Axle The Front Suspension is an early Morgan patent and was used with all Morgan Three-wheelers. It can even be found in the Morgan 4/4, +4 and +8 of today. The principle is simple: A Kingpin, a sliding axle, a main spring and a rebound spring are the main parts. Some of the more sporting three-wheelers also had shock absorbers (Newton-Bennet, later Duplex Hartford) for only the front wheels or for all three wheels.

Clutch The Clutch was described to be self-contained, dust-proof and easy to adjust. It consisted of a simple cone with a ball thrust bearing and was operated by a foot pedal. The clutch was in the beginning metal to metal, in 1913 the cone was lined with leather and in 1917 the lining changed to Ferodo. Single dry plate clutches were introduced in 1931/32 and first fitted to the Super Sports model.

Rear End The picture shown here is from the 1923 maintenance manual and shows the Rear End of the 2-speeder. The drive is from a square joint in the clutch through the main frame tube to the bevel wheel on countershaft in the gearbox. A pair of Dog clutches can be worked with a side lever, putting into gear one of two chains. There is no reverse gear on the 2-speeder. In 1931/32 Morgan introduced a new R-type gearbox giving 3 speeds and reverse with only one chain.

M-Type Chassis Opposite: The New M-Type Chassis from 1929 and what Morgan said about it: ...we have improved the transmission, braking, springing and accessibility of the rear wheel. We have not attempted to complicate the design, being still of the opinion that our success lies in the fact that we offer the public a simple and sound machine of light weight and good performance, without attempting to make it a "car on three wheels."

Arrangement of Spare Wheel Until 1932/33 the front wheels were technically different from the back wheel. With the introduction of the 18in x 3in Dunlop Magna Wheel the front and rear wheel became interchangeable and thus it made sense to take along a Spare Wheel. Mounted first at an angle on the top of the tail panel it was soon laid flat on top until it was finally integrated into the tail. This model soon became known as the "Barrelback" whereas the older one was called "Beetlelback".

Brakes: The first Morgan three-wheelers had two band brakes fitted to the back wheel. These were operated by a hand lever and a foot pedal. For 1923 cable front brakes were offered as an extra, later they became a standard feature. A separate hand lever operated the front brakes and were at that time considered to be used for "emergency"-braking only. Later the brakes were modified to internal expanding on all wheels, the rear one was operated by pedal and the front by a hand lever with ratchet. With the "F"-Type the foot brake worked on all three wheels and the hand lever was used for the parking brake only.

Steering: Until 1926 steering was direct and featured a "patented anti-wobble steering pin". Thereafter geared steering with a reduction of approximately two to one was used for some models. From 1932 onwards, geared steering was mentioned in Morgan's sales-catalogues as a standard feature for all models.

Tank: Two tanks were fitted under the bonnet, one for petrol and the other one for oil. The oil was fed to the engine through a glass oil pump. An average tank size was three (later four) gallons for the petrol and half a gallon (later one gallon) for the lubricating oil.

Self-starter The Self-starter was an option for many years. This picture is from the 1927 maintenance manual "Hints on running a Morgan Runabout".


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