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MG Car Repair/1979 MGB wont start


I recently purchased a 1979 MGB, I was driving it this weekend and it worked fine, when I went to start it the next day nothing happened.  I hear a clicking from the fuel tank, the wipers and lights work but it won't start.  I tried jumping it with no success.  It won't turn over.  Might this be a bad starter?

Hi Chris.

Sorry for the delay in answering you.  The system did not send me an e-mail so I didn't know there was a question waiting for me.

If your engine will not turn over on the starter, then the most likely problem is a faulty starter relay.  This is a fairly large metal can located on the inner fender towards the firewall, past the fuse box.  There are 4 wires going to it.  They are Brown, Black, and two White ones with stripes.  It is a regular automotove relay, so a good garage should be able to supply a replacement at low cost.  You can test it first:  

If you have a UK car, you can do this by yourself.  If you have a Left Hand Drive car, you will need a helper.

Hold the relay in one hand, then turn the ignition key to operate the starter.  You should feel a click as the relay kicks in.  If you cannot feel the relay operating, then you need to  replace the relay.  If you are handy, you could try removing it from the car, open it up and clean the points inside.  

If you CAN feel the relay operating, then leave it alone.  

Can you ALSO hear the solenoid on the starter motor kicking in?  If not, then the starter solenoid has possibly jammed.  This means taking the starter motor off and cleaning everything.  It may be easier to fit a complete exchange replacement starter motor.

There are other possibilities, but these are the two most common problems.

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Barrie Jones


MG Sports Cars from 1949 to 1980 - Including MGB, MGBGT V8, TF1500, TF, TD and modern Midgets. I also specialise in SU carburettors, Lucas wiring, suspension, steering & brakes.


I have owned my 1955 TF1500 since 1966. Technical specialist for the TD and TF with the MG Car Club T Register. Also owned 20 MGBs and currently own an MGBGT V8. Written 3 books on MGs and produced a DVD on how to strip and rebuild the TD/TF gearbox.

MG Car Club.

Barrie's Notes on the 1953-55 MG TF (author). /=====/ Barrie's Notes on the MGB (author). /=====/ Barrie's Notes on the MGB GT V8 (author). /=====/ The Essential Buyer's Guide to the MG TD, TF and TF1500. (author)

M Phil, C Eng, BSc (Eng).

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