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MG TD TF 1500 - Electrics?

I suspect that when someone comes up with the answer, I will say that I should have guessed!

Anyway having put the TF away for the wintter, the time has come to get it out and back to work.

Unfortunately she stubbornly refuses to start.

Two clear and possibly linked symptoms, no spark at the plugs and the lights are not working; none of them. I wonder if a mouse has had its way, and where to look first. Otherwise, any thoughts, please.

Ian Bowers

Did you turn the key?
Mort Resnicoff (50 TD-Mobius)

Ian, if you still have points in your distributor, make sure they didn't get a film on them over Winter. I have a couple antique farm tractors and it's quite common for them to do that. I just clean the points and their good again. Of course that wouldn't take care of the light problem. PJ
Paul sr

In as much as lights are not fused I think the first thing I would be looking for would be bad ground.
Does anything electric work? Horn - Wipers - Brake lights?
David Sheward


I'm assuming the starter turns? If so, I'd imagine the starting problem has to be a broken/dirty/corroded connection somewhere in the ignition system, or further back in the wiring/connections which feed that part of the system. Does the ignition light come on?

Have you got a test meter or light, to check for current to the coil and points? That'll tell you whether or not the ignition system is live. Then I'd suggest a check for earth continuity on that part of the system.

If it's dead, my first suspicion is that something's come adrift, has corroded or is loose, in a connection behind the dash - the ignition switch is b****dy awful to wire (how did they get away with it all those years ago?) and I'd be looking there first, as it's also the point where the lights are all wired in.

Others may have a different take on matters. Let us know how you get on.


- Tom.
Tom Bennett - 53TD 24232

Charge battery?
J E Carroll

I didn't mean to post charge battery since it's cranking. It's only the beginning of what I wanted to type but auto correct started to get me and the iPad sent it anyway.

Not going to use iPad any more.

Sorry for the stupid looking and unhelpful post!
J E Carroll

As you can see from the posted replies, a more detailed list of what it is doing or not doing is needed,, fuel pump clicking?


Screw it, drive the Lotus!
Happy New Year,
PS: Snowed 3" last night here!
efh Haskell

I might add, are you sure it's gassed up? I remember a certain trip back from the Goodwood Revival with you that ended on the side of the road looking for a fill up! Good memories...
efh Haskell

Many thanks for all the helful answers, and apologies for the delay in returning to the thread, but I was laid low by a bout of flu.

Just to add a bit of history, I first tried last w/e, when without charging the battery the engine turned freely, but nothing happened. However, I noted that the flexible fuel feed to the carb was leaking copiously, so thought it might well have perished and was blocked. Replaced the item this w/e and gave the battery a boost whilst waiting. The horn and wipers work but not the brake light; strange!

Still no sign of life, so, as with all possible fuel failures (yes, Ed, I remembered the lesson!) I checked the electrics. And found no spark at the plugs.

Being a purist, I have fitted the under dash shield, so was hoping that there would be some clues of elswhare to look first with possible success to avond having to take off the shield.

Today, I have to report that groping in the dark under the dash is next, dammit.

For those without snow, enjoy your spring drives.

Ian Bowers

Before crawling upside down under the dash, I'd run a voltmeter around the coil & distributor looking for voltage.
A quick test I run sometimes is to pop the distributor cap off and short the points with a screw driver looking for a spark with the coil wire close to a grounded part.

This thread was discussed between 06/04/2013 and 07/04/2013

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