The 1960’s and were a simple time for the automotive industry. Safety features were just becoming available, power sucking exhaust emission gadgets were just beginning to appear and in the early years, seatbelts and headrests were either optional or not available.
Of course there were some huge advantages in many areas when it came to lack of complexity and the electrical system must be at the top of the list. When I first started working on the MGB GT this is what the electrical system in the engine compartment looked like.
There isn’t much to go wrong but of course many of the components are Lucas so….
Jokes aside, the wiring on these early cars is very simple and if properly maintained should be reasonably dependable. The problem these days is we add bright headlights, plug in navigation systems and charge all sorts of dumb electronic goodies. Even a decent window defroster or heater could be nice.
Eagle eyed MGB purists might notice that the wires going to the regulator have been removed and spliced badly together. At this point I had removed the old 2 ton generator that produced a whopping 30 amps? at 5,000 or so RPM and installed the Delco C130 alternator that produces well over 120 amps. Alternators have built in voltage regulators so the old regulator is now not required.
And here’s a close -up of the huge MGB GT fuse holder that contains… two fuses that power the entire car.
I did say that 1967 MGB wiring is simple, correct. These wiring diagrams are fun to look at. The top image is the wiring diagram for my 1967 MGB and the bottom wiring diagram is for a Honda Fit of some unknown year so could be anything after 2007. Is more wire better? Of course, the Honda Fit being a modern car has luxuries like lights that work, airbags, power windows, defrosters that work, electronic ignition systems you never touch and stereo systems. You don’t even have to know how to read a map anymore and on really modern cars know how to drive. It also has lots of items that can go wrong that only a computer will tell you how to fix. That being said however, the Honda is a far better car in most circumstances other than attracting girls and old guys that used to own an MG at some time in the past, usually college.
So what’s the point of this post? Good question. I was doing a little spirited driving a couple days ago as I slowly break in the recently restored MGB. Mechanically the engine is running well, the brakes work, the transmission shifts and the steering steers so that’s the positive. On the negative side, the electrical system isn’t exactly behaving as well as I would like.
As I was driving some backroads near me the car stopped running, fortunately in an easy location to pull over. I initially thought it might be a fuel issue as the starter would engage but after a few moments I noticed I had lost all me instrumentation and noticed the fuel pump was running. That sounds like an electrical problem. I had blown the lower fuse in my huge 2 fuse fuse box by perhaps turning on my blinker at the same time that I switched on the high powered lights. This provides power to almost the whole car! Of course, being just out for a short drive I hadn’t grabbed my extra 53 year old Lucas fuse that’s lost somewhere in my garage. Luckily I had an alligator clip in the car and this made the perfect Lucas inspired fix to bridge the gap where the fuse once lived. Read all about it!.
I’m working on a permanent fix and will post soon after Amazon delivers a couple items.
This is what the fuse box in the MGB and the fuse relay box in the Honda look like. Which do you think might be more dependable? Stay tuned, electrical work is about to begin.