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MG TD TF 1500 - ET has landed...

Öunder the dash of our TD and MGB. Iíll get to that in a moment. First, Iím sure that one of the most unpopular places to have to work on our cars is under the dash. Not only does one have to drape themselves upside down and backward over the seat on one side or the other of the car, and find the least uncomfortable place to rest their head where one or the other of the pedals is not poking in their ear (this is all complicated further for those of us who wear bi or trifocals, but there is the problem of getting some light on the subject. It is tiring to try holding a flashlight in ones teeth and keep it aimed on the area needing the work and a standard incandescent work light not only melts or burns the carpeting (depending on the quality of material), one almost always manages to get their ear placed firmly on the bulb and it always rolls so the light is aimed somewhere other than where it is needed Ė you all know what I am talking about. Enter my lead in. No, ET has not really landed, what is pictured below is known as a Wireless LED Puck Light (be careful how you say that). This is a neat little puck about 4 inches in diameter with 5 bright, white LEDs in the face, a flat back surface and the ability to aim the light where you need it to shine. It doesnít produce any heat so, the carped (and the ear) donít get burned, it doesnít roll so that the light is facing in the wrong direction and ones jaw and teeth donít get sore and cramped from trying to hold the light where one wants it (not to mention drooling all over oneself). We got one of these to try to shed some light in a closet that didnít have a light installed in it, but the light was too directional to be of much good, so I tossed it on my work bench until we could figure out what to do with it. It happened to catch my eye when I next had to work under the dash of the TD and I decided to give it a try. Itís not perfect, but it is several orders of magnitude better than the alternatives. They are available in many different stores, so keep an eye out for one.

David DuBois

Hey... thats neat enough to have been designed by 'Apple'!!!
gblawson (gordon)- TD#27667
gblawson (gordon)- TD#27667

Also consider a fluorescent work light, which can be found at Home Depot, Lowe's, Sears, Amazon, etc. I have a Sears two-bulb unit, each bulb individually switched, that throws a LOT of light and does not get warm. The two-bulb unit has essentially a flat back, so it is less inclined to roll. It even has a removable magnetic bracket that can be used to attach the unit to a metal surface, although I find the magnet to be a bit weak.

I also have an LED headlamp which is helpful when directed and more modest light output is sufficient.

All great holiday presents!

Larry Shoer

Like everybody, I am of course familiar with the pain of working behind and under the dash. However, there are alternatives, such as the design by my friend Carl Cederstrand whose dash moves forward a few inches and allows one to do all the repairs one needs without even having to bend too much forward from his seat. Ask him.

Denis L Baggi

The Puck lights sound like a good idea. I use the screw in fluorescent bulbs in all my drop cords in the garage. Good light, much cheaper to operate, and much less heat, which when working around gasoline is a good thing. Larry
Larry Brown

I saw a set of three in a package just this morning at Harbor Freight. I think the price was around $16.00 for three.
Sandy Sanders

David, I love your vivid describtion: could almost see you hanging upside down there. Greetings, Huib
Huib Bruijstens

I tend to use a small LED headlamp for this type of work, however the puck has the advantage that under the most tight conditions it will work much better.


Came across this one at my local Advance auto parts.

28 LED bulbs and battery or plug in powered. Works well under the car. Have not tried under the dash yet.

The MG Enthusiast magazine in the UK did a survey of these and this is the one that came out on top -

David Wardell

Costco also has LED puck lights - a card containing 6 of them is about 25.00. I'll have to get some next time I go.

T Leis

I installed "courtesy lights" in my foot-wells years ago and a little "amber lamp" that runs off my dash lamps to put some light on an "aux switch" panel that hides under my dash. Found that when I take the "amber lens" off I have good light for under the dash work.
David D:
You had me LMAO with the description..thanks ..I needed that!
I keep telling you guys ...remove your left makes working in there so much easier, and you have twice the "leg-room" when on a long trip!
These work well also:
(see image...upper right hand side)
Old Lucas work light & Old Lucas "parking light"....both worthless if your battery is dead though!
David 55 TF1500 #7427

David Sheward

Or for those places way up 'under'....

gblawson (gordon)- TD#27667

Dave S- "I keep telling you guys ...remove your left makes working in there so much easier, and you have twice the "leg-room" when on a long trip!" As the judge once told a defendent, you are awful close to not having a leg to stand on ;)

"Old Lucas work light & Old Lucas "parking light"" there was one of the Lucas work lights on e-bay not long ago. The only problem with them is that after a couple of uses, the plug prongs become fatigued and no longer make good contact in the inspection sockets. My solution was to get an auxiliary power outlet fom Boater's world and install it, then put cigarette lighter type plugs on anything I wanted to plug in (trouble light, inverter to keep lap top going, automotive electric blanket for the wife, etc.). the nice thing about the socket I got, it is all plastic, so ithere is no problem with polarity.
Cheers - Dave D
David DuBois


"...the nice thing about the socket I got, it is all plastic, so ithere is no problem with polarity."

My car is negative ground. I recently got a Lucas plug and have it wired to 12v cigar lighter socket so I can plug all the stuff with a male cigar connector end into it (haven't plugged anything in yet) . Do I have a polarity problem with the MG sockets in the dash as they are wired for positive ground?

Thanks in advance

Larry Karpman

Larry - I'm not sure which socket is which. Normally the red socket would be positive, but I don't know what the original polarity of the red socket was, so you will need to check hat you have on the sockets. Using a multimeter set to read 20 or 25 volts, place the red lead in the red socket and the black lead in the black socket, see which way the meter reads. If the meter reads up scale, then the red socket is positive and the black is negative.
Cheers - Dave
David DuBois

I hope your not going to plug anything in there like a 'gulp', cel phone charger...or 'oh my god', a computer ....!!!!!!!
Only trouble lights, window defrosters and tea pots allowed!!!!!!
gblawson (gordon)- TD#27667

I would have to agree with Gordon here...
The TF came on the scene minus the "test socket" found on earlier T types. I had collected quite a few period bits using this type of connector (and a few that were missing the connector) so I went with a more modern version. (One that I had lots of from my business)...not wanting to drill holes and put it in the dash was part of the inspiration for my little "aux" panel that hides under my dash. The "other" inspiration was what I felt was a sadly under fused electrical system of our little cars! So ...I wanted to ad fuses & switches (but not bastardize the dash or wiring). The answer (for me any way) was to make a little panel that hides under the dash, has all my little switches and upgrade fusing, cigarette lighter socket,(for GPS,cell & other "modern" toys, and a banana jack for the period bits. Very few people even notice it hiding under the dash and many of the switches are "pre-select" setting for the "AUX" dash switch the factory put on the TF dash intended for fag lamps.
Been real happy with it!
David 55 TF1500 #7427
Here is the "underside" were my extra fusing is (also the only place I used multi-colored butt connectors...I hate seeing those under the bonnet!):

David Sheward

Oops ...spell check does not know the differance between "fog" & "fag"!
David Sheward

Dave: I checked polarity with a test lamp, and all seems OK. The Lucas plug will only go in one way, so as long as I have power going to the center contact inside the female end of the lighter socket, all should be well I assume. Thanks.

Larry Karpman

This thread was discussed between 15/11/2007 and 18/11/2007

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