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MG MGA - Electrical or ?

Yesterday I was gave my MKII and extended warm up. I had driven about 10 miles and was making a U-turn when the motor died. I tried to start it with compression in the last few feet it was coasting to a stop. I tried to start it with the starter but was unsuccessful. The motor turn over quickly but no go.
I lifted the hood and checked out the coil wire and removed the distributor cap, but found nothing out of sorts. When I got back in to try it once more, it fired up as nothing was wrong. It ran fine to the five miles to my house.

Today I cleaned all the electrical connections on the control box, fuse panel and distributor and coil. After cleaning all the connections and replacing one connector on the control box I thought it would run. The points looked a little gray from corrosion, but with a little emery cloth that should have cleaned them enough. However it did not start up.

I checked the voltage at the distributor with the ignition on and got about 12.50 volts.

While waiting for my son to help me check for spark I tried to start the motor one more time, and as you can guess it started right up.

((Last year I had a similar problem when the engine suddenly died. I rolled into a driveway popped the hood and wiggled the connections at the control box. As soon as I touch a connection I had power back,as I could see the the gas gauge come to life. It started fine at that time and has been no problem after numerous drives. ))

My coil is a Lucas sports coil,the points/condenser were changed about 12 years ago when I had the distributor rebuild, but has only seen about 6000 miles on those in that time.

Any ideas what may be the problem?

Thanks Ray
Ray Ammeter

Clean all your grounds!

Thanks SD,
Checking out Barney's site there are more grounds than I thought there were. Sorry about taking so long to say thanks for your reply.
Ray Ammeter


These are exactly the symptoms I had when the condenser failed in a brand new distributor. Once replaced I cut the failed one in half and I was not surprised it failed and then restarted. The contact was not soldered relying on the can to maintain contact by pressure. I presume when it got warm the pressure was reduced and contact was lost but when it cooled it made contact again. Unfortunately I didn't belief it was anything to do with the 'first trip disi' so I suspected coil and wasted a lot of time before eventually changing condenser.

Paul Dean


I had a Healey 100-6 that would often die when you started from a stop if you let the engine fall below idle speed as you released the clutch pedal. It would restart if you "played around" in the engine bay for a while. It turned out to be a loose rivet connection at a terminal on the regulator (control box?). After finding it, you could just touch the connection and the car would start right up.

C R Huff

This thread was discussed between 22/04/2016 and 29/04/2016

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