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MG MGA - Finally The Resurrection Is To Begin

Just over 2 years ago (April 2014) I mentioned here that I agreed to help a friend fire up an abandoned 1500 MGA project. I was waiting for him to move it from a warehouse to a garage.

I didn't expect it to take so long, but a week or two ago, he got it moved. If you want a bit more background, here is the link to the old 2014 post:

The owner is supposed to have a service manual, but I don
CR Huff

As for brake fluid... take some from the reservoir and puddle it on a scrap piece of painted steel and leave for a day or so.. if it reacts (wrinkles) it is most likely DOT3... DOT 5 will not hurt paint. Most single 12 V batteries require the battery box to be extended by about 1-1/2"..... but a Battery spec'ed for a 2006 Mazda MX5 may fit without the extension. Others will help here.

For the rest of the info.... Moss has a section on their site with Tech information for all the cars and you will find the rest of the information there.

Good Luck!
C.R. Tyrell

Regarding the brake fluid, dot 3, 4 and 5.1 are glycol based. Dot 5 is silicone, at least that's the position here in the uk. I believe you can just take a little fluid out of the master cylinder and mix it with water in a jar. If it mixes, it is glycol, but if not, it's silicone.
Regarding the battery, I bought a Varta Blue 202/002L (B36) that fitted in the battery tray easily without adjustment.

And to check if you are positive or negative earth (ground), why not just look at the terminals on your battery?

Regards, Graham
Graham V

C.R. and Graham,

Thanks for the responses. I wish I had thought to dab a bit of the brake fluid on some paint when I looked at the car last week. I knew that, but wasn't clever enough to think of it when it counted.

I'll try Graham' water trick if there is enough fluid left to get a sample.

C.R., it looked to me that a group 26 would fit; I was actually wondering if something larger would fit. But, all of the interior except the floorboards are out of the car. Would installing the interior reduce the effective space of the battery box? I could try the gp 26 from my BGT, but it is extra work, and the A needs a batt anyway.

If the batt space is that small, good tip on the Miata battery since I have no intention of welding an extension for the battery tray.

I think the brake fluid numbers are the same here, Graham. Though I haven't verified the newer 5.1, I'm sure the car had been sitting for quite a few years before I ever heard of 5.1. The numbers of your Varta don't sound familiar. Maybe those are different in the UK.

Regarding the positive ground, there are no batteries present to look at, so I can't go by that.

Thanks again,
CR Huff

Maximum size of battery to fit an original tray is 6.5" x 6.5" x 8.5" high. If you get a single 12v to fill this space it wouldn't really be high enough capacity (Ah).
At this stage I wouldn't go to the expense of buying a battery or batteries but would use jump leads instead just to get it started. If you have an old 12v battery capable of delivering five amps or so then you could try starting it on the crank.

Installing floor boards, seats, etc. doesn't make any difference to battery access but you may have to move the spare wheel back in the boot.

If the original dynamo is still in the car the chances are it's still positive earth. If your polarity is wrong you may damage the fuel pump.

Original plugs were Champion N5 which is what I originally used but I changed to NGK BP6ES and they were an improvement.

Setting the ignition between 5 and 10 BTDC should get it started although I would go on the lower side if you are hand cranking.

Don't forget to use fresh petrol or you may have difficulty starting it................Mike
Mike Moore

Interesting what you say about batteries. Mine is 44ah and has never missed a beat in the 3 years since I installed it.
Having said that, the car is garaged and not used in the very cold weather when I realise the battery is really tested.
Charley, look through the archives as there is lots there. But whatever you do decide to buy, make sure the battery poles are in the right orientation.
Graham V

Graham, I don't think I'd be worried about starting ability so much with the battery close to fully charged. In fact some of the newer technology batteries have higher CCA ratings than the original style 6 volt pairs. But the smaller, lower capacity batteries will be quicker to get to a lower charge state during driving and then starting might not be as easy.

The Lucas regulator + dynamo system, even when correctly set, will not be charging the battery under stressful driving conditions, i.e. long, dark & rainy trips, and it is then you may need the extra capacity to get you to your destination.

I'm currently thinking of going to two 12v batteries similar to the B36 because over the winter with a battery conditioner permanently connected to a relatively new pair of 6 volt batteries all the cells boiled dry (possible conditioner fault)and they now appear to be ruined. The 12 volt batteries are nearly half the price of 6 volt and some of them don't even gas when fully charged. I don't think any of the classic 6 volt batteries are maintenance free.

Of course you might not have to worry about these things if you have an alternator.......................Mike

Mike Moore

I use a single 12V battery that fits into the standard battery tray. I've used the same approach and same type of battery since I restored the car in 1989 and it has never let me down as long as I don't park up and leave the headlights on. Capacity of the uni currently fitted is 65Ah

Service parts and workshop manual are here for free:

dominic clancy

I looked at Graham's battery link and compared the size to the dimensions Mike gave.

Both look like a close match to a group 26. The gp 26 that I looked up is listed as 6.8 x 6.8 x x 7.8 inches which should be about 173 x 173 x 198 mm. The Varta site said 175 x 175 x 190. So, I think a gp 26 will fit, and if the Ah is not enough, I can do what Mike is thinking of with two 12-volt batteries. I believe I will pass on hand cranking a car that hasn't been started for years.

The car still has the generator on it. It has a more recent square fuel pump on it, so maybe that has the pos/neg marked on it.

Mike, (or anyone) if the car has copper plug wires, should I use the resistor version of the BP6ES? I have a vague memory of reading that from Jeff Schlemmer of Advanced distributors.

CR Huff


Thanks for the link to your website. I'm sure I will be putting it to use, and will pass the info on to the car's owner.

CR Huff

Charley, I wasn't worried about radio interference as I decided not to put one in so I used copper HT leads and the plugs are the non resistive type. However, I believe there may be resistance in the plug connectors but there wasn't a choice.........................Mike
Mike Moore

I checked the HT wires with an ohm meter and they are resistor wires. So, I'll get the non-resistor plugs.

CR Huff

This thread was discussed between 21/05/2016 and 30/05/2016

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