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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Battery up front with (V8) engine

I've been thinking about moving the battery up to the engine compartment to improve weight distribution a little. My engine/alloy gear box ended up about 25 odd kg lighter than the orrigional and the weight distribution has definitly moved toward the back of the car and is showing a little more oversteer than previously.
On top of the passenger foot well seemed the obvious place, but you'd need a small/short battery and moving the very heavy battery up about two feet higher seemed a retrograde move re weight distribution. Also I've got my overflow tank up there and that's where I'd like it to stay.. Then I noticed the obvious, that right up front, in front of the engine, on the left hand side (port side), partly behind the radiator, under the air intake filter and radiator hose, sort of on top of the steering rack, is a large squarish empty space. On the right hand side are the generator and plumbing associated with the remote oil filter but the left side is space enough for the largest battery. You would just need to fix a tray to the rail for the battery to sit in with a strut down to the very conveniently placed steering rack bolt I guess. Could even use the battery hold downs to hold the tray in place and ovoid any extra bolt holes incase you change your mind. This puts the battery right up front, right down low and as well as improving weight distribution make access for battery inspection/maintenance (which mine gets little of) very easy. It's also close to the generator.
Any one tried this? Any thoughts? Down side that anyone can think of?

Should also have mentioned that I am intending to wire the battery in by simply attaching a heavy lead to the back of the generator. Can anyone see a problem with this?

"Down side that anyone can think of?" Here are a few:
1. Batteries don't like heat or vibration. They reduce battery life and they promote leakage of corrosive fumes.
2. Battery fumes will promote corrosion of relatively sensitive and expensive components.
3. In the event of a collision, your big box of acid will be in a probable crush zone.
4. To my ear, "partly behind the radiator" sounds like "partly restricting air flow" through the radiator and over the engine.
5. Will the proposed location make it more difficult to service the radiator?
6. Static weight distribution is one thing, but polar moment of inertia is another. Weight should be shifted toward CG.

Unless you've actually measured corner weights and found your scale reads lighter for the front wheels than the rear wheels, you're going the wrong way. Just tune your suspension. If your suspension seems unresponsive to suspension tuning, one reason might possibly be that the chassis isn't sufficiently rigid (torsionally) and you might do well to reinforce or repair it. (Is it a rust bucket?) It can't be too rigid.

"Battery maintenance"? IMHO, if you replace the battery every six years or so, you're doing all the maintenance a modern "Maintenance Free" battery requires. For most MGBV8's there's no better battery tip than installing and using a disconnect switch to eliminate parasitic loads. This can dramatically extend battery life, plus it's a good safety feature. With the battery under the back seat, it's convenient to put the kill-switch within easy reach from the driver's seat.

Whilst it is true they don't like heat and vibration they don't like cold either.
I don't see the vibration as an issue. If it is use a rubber pad available from off road and marine places.

Batteries are heavy so a really strong welded cradle would be my choice and a decent set of tie down rods.
It may be possible to locate it length wise to avoid blockage of the radiator if that is an issue.

It will be closer to the starter and the alternator / generator so saving cable weight ( and electrical load ) on the heaviest cables in the car.

It is still within the wheelbase if I read you right and will be better located for servicing, provided you actually do it of course.

By the way I have managed 11 (no that is not a typo)years from just about every battery I have ever had using the weekly check and distilled water method.

Keep posting how you go.

Cheers , Pete.
Peter Thomas

Peter - this comes up from time to time (see the archives) - it can be done and that is reason enough for some but weight distribution was one of the B's successes - if the changes made to yours have had an effect on the handling - why not put that right by increasing the size of the front sway bar and see how that grabs you - in the interval you may take another view about the importance of free space around the engine.


The only down side I can think of is corrosion, make sure you monitor the mounting for signs. midgets have worked well for years with the battery located in the engine compartment so the heat and vibration shouldn't be an issue, but the corrosion can be a real pain. (Ask any Midget owner who's had to replace a battery tray)
Bill Young

Well I've found the main cause of the oversteer so the battery can stay where it is at the moment. Thanks for all comments.
I was looking through the archives the other day and found a comment that the ideal rear suspension travel should be between 2 and 2.5 inches and that early contact with the bump stop could cause over steer in some cases. This seemed to be the goods. My car was a rubber bumper car prior to me lowering the ride hight and replaceing bumpers. This meant that at the back there was 37mm (1.5inches) of supension travel before I was on the bump stops. I cut 20 mm off the stop (and siliconed some rubber into the centre hole). This give me 57mm of travel or about 2.25inches.
And it worked! The sudden appearance of over steer half way through the turn is virtualy gone. Who've have thought, so simple.
There is no danger of the shocker link arms contacting bottom of the car as the metal bump stop hold on will contact the axle bump first, and there is still half an inch of rubber above that.
I might also add the ride is a whole lot more comfortable now.

This thread was discussed between 24/05/2005 and 02/06/2005

MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical index

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