MG-Cars.net

Welcome to our resource for MG Car Information.

Recommendations

Parts

MG parts spares and accessories are available for MG T Series (TA, MG TB, MG TC, MG TD, MG TF), Magnette, MGA, Twin cam, MGB, MGBGT, MGC, MGC GT, MG Midget, Sprite and other MG models from British car spares company LBCarCo.

MG MGA - Battery Life

Is 12 years a reasonable life for my battery? I think it may be on its way out. Spun the pre-engaged starter yesterday and the engine was turning fine but did not fire. As I let go of the starter pull she fired into life. My interpretation was all the battery energy was going into the starter with nothing left for the spark. Did a reasonably long run to recharge. Today I put the battery on charge and noticed the symbol (one of 3 lights) showed it as the lowest stage of charge.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Steve
In my experience, I think 12 years is well beyond the normal life expectancy of a battery.

Sounds like you've done well but it may be time for a new one!

Graham

Graham V

Steve,
I have had my present MGA for just over 12 years now and I am on my 3rd battery change. So I think you have done pretty well with them.

They would probably have lasted longer if the car had been fitted with the correct size battery cables when it was restored. I recently discovered that the cables were much too thin for the task and I have now replaced them all with the correct thickness.

The problem was that the thinner cables restricted the current flow enough that the battery had to be in peak condition to start the car.

Colyn
Colyn Firth

Thought that might be the case. Measure up the size tomorrow and off to Halford or the like. I extended the battery tray during my rebuild so quite flexible.

Remind me of the sort of amperage to go for, otherwise will delve in the archives.

Steve
Steve Gyles



Gentlemen,
It is interesting that offerings on this subject have all originated from England!
Batteries do not like sudden changes in temperature.
A car parked in the open, and enduring a sudden frost , will often render a battery U.S.
Always place a piece of 5 ply timber under the battery in its cradle.
This is a good heat and cold insulator.
Drill the hold-down bolts right through into the metal base.
I reckon that my car's regular battery life of 12 years+ results from this trick.
I.W. Cowen.

Stave
Mine is 44Ah (B36) which has worked well for me but I do very little winter driving.

Graham V

Interesting discussion about batteries and battery life.I would imagine that 12 years for a battery is remarkable Steve!

Like you I have often bought from Halfords generally with a three year warranty. I now buy from one of the online firms who can provide a range of batteries of different prices including delivery and a 4 year warranty. They also have a 24 hour delivery service. I have bought a new battery for the MGF, TC and YT on line and all are fine, and a good 15% cheaper than Halfords.

I also acquired a very cheap battery conditioner (about
JERRY BIRKBECK

Thanks Graham and Jerry.

I thought the battery would have been fairly full after its run. But the battery reconditioner showed it at its lowest setting of the 3 level of charge. It's now been on charge for 20 hours and still only showing the middle level.

Will check with my local supplier what they've got, otherwise it's on line as Jerry suggests.

Cheers

Steve
Steve Gyles

Just had a look at it. It's a Varta B18 so a bit longer than the B35. As I said I extended the tray so I guess I have more choice.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Steve
Try Tayna batteries.

https://www.tayna.co.uk

Regards
Colin
Colin Manley

My local auto store told me that Varta have gone down hill a bit of late. He recommended Banner.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Taken battery out. Interesting observation. The bracket holes for the battery retaining rods are optimised for the short length 6V batteries. I extended the battery tray for a much longer 12V battery. Whilst the battery clamp essentially holds the battery in place fore and aft, the geometry of the clamp rods allows it to lift at the back over bumps. My assessment is that I need to drill 2 holes further down and further back on the brackets to get the correct retention.

I wondered what the thumping was I used to hear behind me. Assumed it was the junk in the trunk (pun intended).

Steve
Steve Gyles

7 years in a Canadian climate is normal. +30 to -30 C
Art Pearse

I agree, 12 years is doing well. Mine typically last 6-8 years depending on how they are treated. I run small batteries, and usually AGM, so I usually kill them before they would have otherwise gone on their own, often by draining completely and damaging a cell. So maybe I'd get 8-10 if I treated them better. I've had them go as long as 14 years but that isn't typical.
Steve Simmons

It might sound great having a battery last for 12 years. However, one of the side issues was that the retaining bracket rod nuts were rusted solid so had to make new ones. Also, the new battery had slightly different mouldings so had to modify the bracket.

I would be interested to hear from others how they stop their battery lifting at the rear when going over bumps in the road. The angle of the retaining rods only secures the longer 12V batteries fore and aft. The back end can lift up because of the rod geometry. I have done a temporary bodge with interlinked cable ties round the battery and tray to make all secure.

On the plus side the car has never started so well in recent times. When things like batteries tail off so slowly you tend to not notice the drop off in performance.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Battery hold down clamp, Braille Universal FRP part number BRL-6188.

barneymg

Installed with a new dry cell battery (ignore the supplementary terminal clamp).

barneymg

Yes. That looks probably a better way to clamp it than at the end which I had been doing Barney. I will look at my battery moulding mid length.

Thanks

Steve
Steve Gyles

My bracket just arrived. Should do the trick.

Steve

Steve Gyles

I have fitted my battery restraint shown in my last post. It is commonly available in the UK through the likes of Ebay. Word of caution. It is advertised as universal. It is not; at least not without much modification to the rods. They are too large a diameter for the battery tray holes, but that is easily solved with a one size larger drill. The main problem, though, is they are also far too long by about 4 inches. The cut to the required length removed all the thread. Not a show stopper if you have an M8 dye cutter. At least that's what I thought. Unfortunately the outside diameter is fractionally too small for M8 and the wing nut was too sloppy a fit. I think the original thread must be machine cut into a slightly odd size bar. I ended up buying some M6 threaded bar and wing nuts and making rods to suit.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Steve, I suppose the other option would have been to have left the threaded ends alone and instead, cut the other ends off and re-bend them to fit into the holes in the battery tray.
Cheers
Colyn
Colyn Firth

Colyn
I doubt Steve would cut corners! - sorry my daft sense of humour
Graham V

"I suppose the other option would have been to have left the threaded ends alone and instead, cut the other ends off and re-bend them to fit into the holes in the battery tray"

That's what I did with the MGB rods to fit the Varta B36.
Dave O'Neill 2

"My local auto store told me that Varta have gone down hill a bit of late."

Thanks Steve, I've just bought a Varta for my 'bike. 😕
Dave O'Neill 2

I replaced my two 6 v batteries about 8 yrs ago with a single 12v unit and the clamps were rotten so just used a heavy duty molded occy strap over battery top with galv. metal hook ends connected onto the tray holes ..changed batteries about a year ago but straps still fine ....
Some of the devices above look a little over done!
Neil Ferguson

Colyn

The rods were long enough that I was able to try bending the upper cut off threaded section. It was very hard metal and even with heat did not form a crisp bend. The resulting protrusion into the tray did not then give enough room for the battery.

Steve
Steve Gyles

"I doubt Steve would cut corners", I like it Graham, wish I had thought of that one. :-)

Hard luck Steve, attempting to re-bend them was worth a try.

I think that the clamp bars on my twin 12v battery set-up are the original Moss MGA type, but they are fitted across the centre of the battery to hold it down rather than along the end with the rods standing vertical and not at an angle.

This makes the clamp rods a little bit too long but the threaded portion was long enough to screw down the nuts far enough to work ok.

Colyn


Colyn Firth

Fits nicely now.

Steve Gyles

Original threaded battery hold-down bolts were one long and one short for each battery. The Moss replacement parts are all long bolts, so even installing original twin 6V batteries you still have to cut down and re-thread a couple of the bolts.
barneymg

Barney, Yes, I noticed the hole positions are not symmetrical. You can see in my photo the rods are angled differently. My only minor concern looking at my kit is that should any of the wing nuts vibrate loose over a period of time there is the potential for the metal hold down bar to move forward and short against the positive terminal. Going out into the garage now to mull things over. No problem if it all remains tight. I am thinking along the belts and braces lines of a plastic tie to a suitable anchorage.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Steve,
Pop some locknuts on top of the wing nuts?

Regards
Colin
Colin Manley

I think I am pretty well the same as Colyn hence havenít quite understood what all the fuss has been about. Standard components but clamp vertical across top of Halfords Ď063í battery. I just use a couple of large nuts as washers so I donít need to extend thread. With this max size battery I do have to put it in at an angle and put rods through the holes first but this isnít a problem.

Paul
Paul Dean

Paul

I was just alerting to that specific bracket kit should anyone else buy it. The rods supplied, if left uncut, would extend about 4 inches into the area behind the seats and the battery cover would not fit. Once cut to a suitable length there was no thread left on the rods.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Steve

I note you have put your battery behind the driver's seat. I put mine behind the passenger seat for better weight distribution. My passenger is usually lighter than me and when I'm driving solo it helps too.
John

John Francis

I went for the 50:50 weight distribution option John, I put a 12v battery on each side.

This isn't for better weight distribution, but more for putting a bit more "weight" behind the starter motor as my car has always been a little reluctant to spin up the motor.

Like most of my attempts to sort out issues with my car, this has probably proved to be unnecessary. I since found out that the battery cable had about 6 joints in it and part of it was very thin cable from a motorcycle.

Colyn
Colyn Firth

John

When I rebuilt the car it was the only cradle welded to the frame. I did subsequently weld on a second cradle and installed a second 12v battery. Eventually decided it was a waste of time and unnecessary having 2 batteries so reverted to the one. I can't be convinced a bit of weight like that only about 12 inches off centre makes much difference especially as driver weight can easily vary by half a dozen or more batteries from driver to driver.

Steve
Steve Gyles

I agree with you Steve, I cant see that the weight will make much difference, but I guess it does no harm.

Colyn, Very surprised you have have put a second battery where you could have located another parts store!

Graham
Graham V

Graham
I have to admit that I hated to lose the special "emergency breakdown kit" that I kept in that spare battery tray.

It would have been interesting to compare the number of miles per pint consumed of those essential motoring fluids with miles per pint of oil used by the engine. :)

See picture below of the "emergency breakdown kit)

Cheers
Colyn

Colyn Firth

Now thats what I call a good tool kit :}

Nice one
Graham V

Graham

....as long as Colyn has now added a corkscrew and bottle opener to his extensive mobile tool and spares kit. I am interested to know how he cools the white wine. Also, I hope his diff oils seal holds up well. An SAE90 alcoholic drink.....yuk.

Steve
Steve Gyles

A Swiss Army Knife sorts out the bottle opening problem but, and I was initially concerned about the wine becoming warm.
However, in practice it just never seems to be left unopened long enough for this to happen! 😁

Maybe I will finally have to concede to Steves point of view on fitting a boot rack.

I wonder how big a barrel I could fit on there? 😁

Colyn
Colyn Firth

This thread was discussed between 19/04/2018 and 01/05/2018

MG MGA index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG MGA BBS is active now.