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MG TD TF 1500 - What battery to use

After using the 'Lucas" repro batteries for the last 5 years and the last one leaked this pas winter, I'm done. What brand and size battery is everyone using.

1952 TD positive ground.

Thank you for any help.

New Jersey

Tim - Any 12 volt batton the market today will work in the TD. Nearly 30 years ago, I got one of the maintenance free, "lifetime batteries" from Penneys and over the yers have had a succession of batterys installed each time the old one give out (all at no cost - best investment I ever made), from the older series of batteries that were the original size down to a 26 series battery that is small enough to allow room for a coolant recovery tank to share the same shelf with it. If you are looking for originality, get one of the large batterys withthe terminals configured so they are at the front while installed with the positive post on the driver's side, Get a Lucas sticker and put ont he front of the battery and all but a hard nosed concours judge will think it is original. If your not concerned with originality, use one of thte 26 series batterys and have enough room for a spaer quart or two of oil on the shelf with it. Stay away from the Exide batterys - they are way down the list on quality. The last two batterys installed in our TD were Interstate and have been very long lasting. You may also want to consider the optimus battery that uses a gell electrolite, so there is evenless problem with electrolite leakage. Cheers - Dave
David DuBois

I had a Penney's battery in an old Buick. Do they even still have batteries? I think the one in Raleigh is strictly clothes/housewares/etc...
Rob Edwards

If you want reliability, performance and long life - go with an Optima (Red Top 51R is plenty for the T-Series).

For looks, a Lucas will do the job.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.

Gordon A. Clark

I agree with M. duBois's comments concerning Interstate batteries. I have used them for many years in both my "normal" cars and also my toys. The TD has one which is 5 years old and which seems to be working well.
Geoff Love

I like a larger battery for a couple of reasons. It more approximates the size of the original Lucas battery. The larger size will generally have a larger capacity. This is beneficial if I am running with headlights and driving lamps, where the generator may struggle to keep up. The larger battery will also power the ignition system longer in the event of a generator failure, perhaps letting you get home where otherwise you could be left along the roadside.

I just replaced a Wal-Mart 34-3 battery that was in my TD for seven years. Because the Wal-Mart store I was in did not have a new 34-3 battery, I puchased a MAXX-34N battery, which is way overkill (925 cranking amps and 770 cold cranking amps). Both batteries were the same phyical size. The primary reason I like the Wal-Mart batteries is that all the advertising and product information stickers are easy to remove. I put the stickers on a piece of paper and file them with my other MG paperwork, in case they are every needed.

My positive earth TD connects to the battery terminals which are toward the rear of the car.

Larry Shoer

Some other battery notes....

In Clausager, pictures of a TD and a TF both show the battery terminals to the rear of the car.

While in the possession of the previous owner, the horizontal bracket that holds the front of the battery slipped down. The bracket contacted the exposed hot terminal on the starter switch. An exciting welding experiment occurred under the hood while the TD was on the road.

Make sure you have installed the correct rubber boot to fully surrond the hot terminal on the starter switch. I also put a second locking nut on each side of the threaded "J" rod that holds the horizontal bracket. Finally, I put adhesive backed Velcro between the horizontal bracket and the battery.

Larry Shoer

Local Canadian Tire has a selection with terminals both left and right set up... cheap ($60.00) and still strong after 4 years!
gblawson - TD#27667

My car came with a costco "kirkland" battery and it is working fine, 3 years later.
Larry Ayres battery died yesterday so time to get a new one. I've talked to a few people about the subject and the Optima brand keeps getting mentioned. An interesting pitch by Optima on how they are designed and supposed to work. Since I don't drive the car all that frequently, my concern is the battery discharging between use. I do have a trickle charge going, but even then, the battery I had (Sears Diehard - European) died. It was about 5 years old. Will the Optima battery hold a charge longer?

Gordon, I looked at the Optima web-page and a 51R is listed as a yellow top with 500 CCA /625 MCA. I'm looking at the smallest red top M25/35 with 720 CCA / 910 MCA.

Electrically confused..

Jim Rice

Jim. You'll note that one of the main pitches on the Optima site is how slow they discharge during non-use. I ran a red top in one of my last Jags with good results.

I think the yellow tops may be better for a T Series, in that they are designed to handle lots of amperage use by components (stereos, winches, etc.). While we don't have any of those exotic items, we do run many accessories (fog lamps, driving lamps, etc.) that put our little dynamos under great load, while counting on the battery as back up. My $.02 USD

L Karpman

I have a Energizer Max, made by Johnson Controls 34DT-M. It has a 675 CCA rating. Its a big high capacity battery that will run your parking lights for days.
It will almost fill the compartment.
Cost was about $65.00 US.
Optima is a good battery, but very pricey for what it give you.
Colin Stafford

For the best of both worlds (old and new), I bought a red top Optima, and put it within the Moss fake tar top case. It looks very good and works great.

Ira Spector

Jim (Rice),

You looked at the wrong web-page.

A Red Top 51R is plenty for the T-Series. If anything, its a bit of overkill, but it is the smallest they offer. Extremely reliable and will go months w/o charging.

Look at

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.

Gordon A. Clark

I'm curious about the "Moss fake tar top case." If it is just an empty box, can't this be used with other batteries? Can somebody provide the interior dimensions of this box and a picture of its insides?

Perhaps the only complication is whether the openings at the top of the box line up with the terminals in another manufacturer's battery.

I looked at the Moss website, but couldn't find this item. What is the Moss part number?


Larry Shoer

Tar Topper - Page A20 of the Moss catalog, next to the Optima battery. Part #241-035


L Karpman

This must be a catalog only listing. The part number is not found on the Moss website.

Larry Shoer

There appear to be some "Tar Toppers" that can be used with more affordable lead acid batteries (not just the Optima). See:

Larry Shoer

Not unreasonable pricing for a nice little detail. Can you see Bubba tring to fill that thing? "Yeah, my battery water is a little low, could you please add some for me?"

This thread was discussed between 16/06/2007 and 24/06/2007

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