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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Bonnet strut

Pursuant to a previous post, I am keen to either replace or compliment the existing bonnet telescopic strut on the driver's side with either a simple "prop" type or gas struts suitably located so I do not achieve the horrible current drooping of the bonnet to one side.

Re the gas struts, I ordered 2 Land Rover bonnet struts - but far too firm I think - rated at 450N apparently. Cannot even extend them using considerable force in the vice! Tailgate struts from somewhere perhaps? Suggestions as to what has been used successfully most welcome.

Mark O

The CitroŽn AX had a fibreglass tailgate, so maybe their struts would be suitable. Plenty in scrap yards.Or any car with a fg tailgate.
Bernie Higginson

The only time I used these people was a few years before I got my midget, but they were very good, and ought to be able to suggest an 'off the shelf' pair of struts at a reasonable price.

J Smith

The OE telescopic (rectangular section) latching strut is weak in two places: the finger latch, and the welded plates (top and bottom).

Personally I wouldn't even think about using gas struts. A Midget bonnet would cause serious injury if it were to fall with somebody's head/neck/shoulders under the bonnet.

The best option would be to augment the OE strut with a 'washing line prop' strut (as used on most 70's cars - and my '95 Astra). There is something very reassuring about having a 3 or 4 foot (secured top and bottom) one-piece steel rod holding the bonnet up when working on the engine.

Andy Hock

Have a look at this site, with some basic measurements you should be able to sort out what struts are required.
Kevin Fuller

I have gas struts on one of my Midget's bonnet and I feel very secure with them ... much more so than with the stock telescoping prop in my other midget.
Trevor Jessie

When I fitted struts to the bonnet of a club members Austin Sprite I used MGB boot struts.
Alan Anstead

I use a section of vacuum cleaner pipe that locates neatly around the latch parts on the bonnet edge and into the cup at the front edge of the engine bay where there latch strikes. It makes a very handy place to clip on the pit-lamp too.
I never liked the one-sided tele-prop. It makes me cringe to see the twist on the bonnet panel.

7 ping iron fits perfectly
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

i use an old crutch from the hospital, they don't take them back any more.cut the top part off what you hold and it leaves you the long part that is adjustable. the rubber foot fits perfect in the bonnet catch on slam panel and fits perfect on the pointy bit on bonnet catch.
bob taylor

I should mention on the #7 golf iron... upside down in the latch cup and the golf head fits nicely in a pocket on the underside of the bknnet for a secure tomarrow

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

I bought a 1metre length of 25mm chrome tubing from B&Q and fitted rubber furniture feet at either end. Fits as mentioned above, one end in the bonnet catch cup and the other under the front of the bonnet. But I kept my telescopic prop extended just in case of a gust of wind or a nudge.
Bernie Higginson

I fitted Landrover ones to mine, albeit secondhand ones, I believe from a 1990's Vogue. I used all 4 Landrover "ball" fittings, cutting the fitting smaller that went onto the inner wheelarch, and I also had to flatten out the fitting part that connected to the bonnet as it is slightly angled.

Geoff Mears

Here is another picture

Geoff Mears

The bonnet fitting - needs to be flattened..

Geoff Mears

I tried gas struts on my Frogeye and could not get them to work. They are adjustable - you have to bleed out gas until they are just right, so no going back. The problem was that to lift the steel bonnet they have to be quite strong, so that when closed the bonnet is pushed forward and won't sit neatly on the scuttle. I did this after doing my back in lifting the bonnet!
L B Rose

And the bonnet fitting

Geoff Mears

Some years ago I bought a 2 strut kit from MGOC or Moss, cant remember which, which contained all that was needed.

Has worked perfectly since and easily fitted.

Quite expensive though, but saved buying and hoping in scrap yards etc.
JB Anderson

After having seen hundreds, if not thousands, of B's with these struts, I decided to get some for my Midget. I've seen fewer numbers for Midgets but the vendor who probably supplies most of the ones here for B's is now making kits for Midgets.

So, I ordered a set and carefully installed them. But, I had a problem that when closed, the struts pushed the bonnet rearward and it almost hit the bodywork behind it. I adjusted the mounting points and still had the problem. I contacted the vendor and he sent new struts with lower pressure (200 nm) and same thing. It must be something with my specific car because I've seen Midgets with struts and they don't seem to have any problem. I have the scissor/multilink hinges and I'm thinking that the rivets are loose and have too much play allowing the struts to push the bonnet rearward. I finally gave up and put the single support back on. I'll give it a go again at some point in the future, but just wondered if anyone else had run into this problem? Trevor, I'll check out yours, any hopefully others, at MG2016 later this year.

Jack Orkin


NICE JOB... the best ive seen... but wow also scary it looks like it could collapse with a strong wind

jack... i think your correct about the sizzor hinges and the rivits when i 1st got my car i had a lot of bonnet issues and replaced the worn out sissor hinges with new and that made a huge differance in the behavior of the bonnet lid ... okay HOOD for the yanks in the room haha

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Jack, the gas struts are on my Free Midget project. The panel gaps are horrible on the car but I cant say that ive noticed that the gas struts are pushing it back noticably.

I'll probably drive the Free Midget during the event (complete with "for sale" sign) but take my green Midget to the show at the waterfront.
Trevor Jessie

MG Metro (well any metro I suppose) tailgate struts. Been on mine for 15 years and still work fine. Bolt on brackets at bottom (just a right angle - home made) and weld on additional bracket on underside of bonnet - using original one on other side. Then bolt through the 4 ball joints that you take off the metro. Need to work out where the lower mounts go so that they fit in the right range, but have been brilliant. All my family and mates had Metros back in the day so it was what I had to hand...
This is an old pic - matters are much improved under the engine bay these days.
L McInally

McInally's gas struts push forward when closed. That is different than what most people have done.
Trevor Jessie

Work really well - light action. Metro tailgate probably weighs about as much as a Midget bonnet?
L McInally

L McInally - your car must be very light. I see you are required to carry ballast in the boot!:)
Having the struts work in the opposite direction is an option, but getting the brackets mounted with MCs in the way looks like a pain, and I thought that it might just cause the problem pushing in the opposite direction. I may still try that at some point. Is there a reason why you couldn't put the ball mounts at the location of the original strut location? Might even be able to bolt the ball connectors in the orig. bracket.
Jack Orkin

If you've any doubt about the safety aspect of the tele struts, you could always make up external mechanical locks to go over the extended rams. The system worked well as mechanical locks for aircraft undercarriages, while on the ground.

This thread was discussed between 09/03/2016 and 11/03/2016

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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