My MG's Garage
Auxiliary lighting can take many forms. The simplest is to improve the basic lighting that comes with the car, to the extreme found in Pro-Rally Lighting.
Please also Note: Federal Law prohibits the use of non-sealed beam lighting except for off-road use. Lighting laws vary from state to state, and we do not advocate using improved lighting techniques or products in violation of federal or state laws no matter how stupid or ill-thought out they may be. It is the official policy of this web site that all modifications to lighting be accomplished in accordance with applicable laws.
However, in case you may wish to use your vehicle for off road purposes we will explain how in our opinion to best accomplish this. The first step before you upgrade your lighting is to ensure that your electrical system can support the additional load. First clean up any bad splices, eroded insulation, faulty connectors and switches. The generator/alternator, voltage regulator, fuse block, and wiring harness should all be in well restored shape. Make sure that the standard equipment works correctly, or you will spend hours trouble shooting, or worse yet repairing something that has fried after you have loaded up the system. Remember for the most part this stuff is probably aged, and it was Lucas to start with. An hour or two making sure that your electrical system is up to snuff will save the time and expense of replacing the entire harness.
Don't forget to clean off the bullet and spade connectors, as they tend to become oxidized and/or corroded. I use brake cleaner on them (be careful spraying this stuff so it doesn't hurt your paint job) and then use either emery cloth or a Scotch-Brite® pad to remove the oxidation. Scotch-Brite® pads were designed for scrubbing pots and pans but work well where you can't get a wire brush to clean things up. A friend suggested using a dremmel tool and wire brush, but I still find it sometimes too cramped to use a power tool around the electrical harness.
The MGB's battery is located behind the passenger. This location is not too well situated for adding any additional lighting. To accommodate this the first thing I added is an auxiliary battery post. The Audi 5000 has a battery located under the rear passenger's seat. To accommodate jump starting, Audi manufactured a remote battery terminal, which was housed in a rather nice little box placed in the engine compartment. It has been a few years since I purchased one, but at the time I think I spend about $6 for the box. The bottom is threaded to accept a screw in battery post. Instead I insert a 9mm bolt with two nuts (to act as jam nuts). I then went to a welding supply shop, and obtained a length of #4 welding cable (lots of copper & nice thick insulation around it). The length depends on where you want to remote the aux power point. Measure from the back side of the starter, to where you want to mount the box. I had them put copper lugs on each end, since I don't have the die to crimp the ends properly. The whole thing cost less than $10. Put the two nuts on the bolt, slip one end of the welding cable against the bottom nut (you may have to drill the ends out to fit the appropriate bolts), and attach the bolt into the remote battery terminal box.
Snug the bottom most nut up to provide good mechanical and electrical contact to the cable. Now mount the box in the engine compartment, with four sheet metal screws. Take some care where you mount this, as this post will connect directly to the battery with no fuse in between (a short circuit here will use the new cable to weld on your body until you melt the battery down. This is a very messy situation, so ensure that no part of the bolt, the connection point in the box, or the lug at the now connected to the box is grounded. I use an inexpensive digital VOM (Volt/Ohm Meter) purchased from Radio Shack ($15) for this and other electrical checks around the car. Once I was sure that this assembly is isolated from ground, I disconnected the cable connecting the battery to ground. Carefully route the unconnected end of the cable to the same post the battery hot lead on the starter motor. I had to pull the rubber boot back, and route the wire so the boot can be properly re-fitted. I then made a final check to ensure that the wire will not chafe against the bodywork and over time create a short circuit. I installed nylon wire clamps available at Radio Shack for about $1. It is not recommended that you secure the welding cable with tie wraps, as they will in time "cold flow" (see 9.7 in the linked article) through the insulation, and thus leave a potential point of short circuit. After final checks, and verifying that no short circuits exist the battery may be reconnected. This allows a convenient power point in the engine compartment for electrical hookups.
After you have restored the electrical system, the second change I would make is to replace your headlamps with conversion headlamps.
Last modified: April 26, 2005
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