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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Car won't start..........

My factory 1973 V8 has been in the garage for a couple of weeks and not driven. Anyway just gone to take it out for a quick drive and it won't start. I am sure I have left it for longer than this before and it started - albeit tull choke and a couple of pushes with the accelerator pedal. If I move the key to the first position the Red bulb lights and I can hear the fuel-pump kick in and it all sounds normal. If I turn the key to start the engine I get a nasty tapping/rattling sound instead of the normal deep sound as the engine tried to turn over. I can see the starter motor spin a few times, there is fuel visible in the erm not sure what its called (sorry) and the oil level is OK.
I tried it a few times and the noise is exactly the same each time.

Does anyone have any ideas what this is likely to be or am I best calling someone out?


A Butterworth

First thing to do is check/charge the battery, Bulbs and fuel pump will work with a low battery but the starter may not.
Edd Weninger

Agree, sounds like a dying (rather than dead) battery.
David S

Agree with Ed and David but add a second earth strap before you change the battery - engine to chassis where you can see it.


The noise is the starter solenoid banging in and out because the voltage is dropping as it energises the starter below that required to hold the solenoid in. Can be caused by bad connections anywhere in the heavy current circuit, a flat battery, bad connections from the starter relay to the solenoid, or a starter motor on the way out. Although the latter usually happens on hot starts first. If the ignition warning light is dimming right down then that points to battery, its connections, or the main cable connection on the solenoid. If it stays bright it could be the solenoid relay connection or engine ground strap, but with that they usually crank slowly but the accelerator, choke and heater cables get hot.

Two weeks would often be enough for my factory V8 with sophisticated alarm to go flat, even if it wasn't set, and I went through three batteries in a couple of years. Now I have fitted a battery cut-off switch and things seem better. I didn't have any drains (apart from the alarm) when parked but you may have. When you have charged the battery disconnect its ground strap (in fact always disconnect the battery ground strap first and reconnect it last for safety reasons whenever disconnecting the battery) and connect an analogue voltmeter in its place on its 12v scale. If you see 12v registered that indicates a drain, although it may be coming from an alarm or radio. Without those you should see just a few volts registered, which is the normal reverse leakage of the alternator diodes, you can unplug this to check and it should drop to zero.
Paul Hunt

Thanks for the replies guys - You were right; it was the battery in a state of discharge. I bought a battery conditioner from Brown & Gammons and everything is now OK. I also installed some heavy-duty mains cable from the 2 batteries and a 2-pin connector (lawn-mower type) so I can easily leave the car on charge when its left for any period of time. The battery conditioner is excellent, it charges the battery and once charged fully it stops charging. Then periodically it 'polls' the battery and will start to charge again when the voltage drops.
I just got back from a week's trip to the South Coast (from Manchester) and it started every time. I wasn't too sure about taking it this distance but apart from it now looking like its been dragged out of a lake (its filthy) its been excellent.

A Butterworth

BTW, if you use a charger with a cigar lighter plug on the end you don't need any additional wiring or sockets.
Paul Hunt

This thread was discussed between 18/01/2004 and 31/01/2004

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