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Fitting a Battery

My beautiful pictureIt is not until you come to renew your Y Types battery, that you realise there is a real problem. The early ‘YA’ has its battery bay to the nearside and access is easy. But when the ‘YT was developed it was to be the very first MG car that would be available in both RHD and LHD, so to clear the LHD steering column, the battery box was moved the the centre of the engine firewall. So what you ask? Well, the little ‘One and a Quarter Litre’ MG has a gull-wing bonnet of the 1930s, so the hinge of the bonnet is now above the battery and there is no room to fit or remove that battery without removing the bonnet! But do not panic as it
is fairly easy if you remove the two FRONT screws from the pivot on the radiator grill. Take care to catch the two nuts (often held in place by the thin webbing the bonnet sides sit on). Now pull the bonnet out of its rear pivot CAREFULLY having placed a rolled-up blanket down between the n/s bonnet side and the near-side wing. You only need to move the bonnet forward about two-inches. Then you can slide the rear of the bonnet over enough to be able to lift out the battery from the offside. The blanket is there to stop the bonnet from falling onto the wing and damaging both.

My beautiful pictureOnce you have fitted your nice new battery, do remember to coat both terminals with Vaseline to stop corrosion and that (if unmodified) your car is positive earth, not the modern negative earth. Luckily your battery terminals will be of the type where you cannot connect them up wrong (by their size). But you are not out of the woods yet. You can easily slide the rear bonnet hinge back into its pivot but the front one will be more awkward. The bonnet’s weight means you will need another to hold both bonnet side up in the air as you slide on the front pivot and replace the two screws and nuts. Without help the ruddy bonnet will move either way which ever is the closed half, moving the screw hole well out of alignment.

The position of the later car’s batteries means it is not practicable to let Halfords fit it for you without running the risk that they will try to undo the screws at the windscreen end. This seems more logical until you find out very often one or both nuts are no longer ‘anchored’ and they fall out of the back of the dashboard, becoming almost impossible to replace without removing the said dash….hence the removal of the front pivot instead.

Neil Cairns.