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How do you open the bonnet when the release cable has snapped?

Alan McLean (Damask 1516) in Dublin posted a message on the V8BB seeking advice on how overcome this problem and Geoff Allen, who worked in the Rectifications Department at the MG Factory for 27 years, came up with his routine for getting the bonnet undone again. (April 05)

It is a bit of a fiddle when the bonnet release cable snaps but I usually find the following procedure works.

1. Give the bonnet release catch a good soaking with WD40 through the grill from underneath using a can with the extension pipe fitted.

2. Press the bonnet up and down on the free play a few times to make sure its free.

3. Get someone to keep the bonnet pressed down as

far as possible to take the load off the catch, and then direct a light up through the radiator grille to the left of the centre badge housing where you will see the back of the catch lever.

4. Push a piece of rod around 3/8" diameter and 18" long between the platform support and the fan motor bracket and press the catch lever over to the right and holding it there release the bonnet lid. It sounds a bit of a fiddle, and it is but in the majority of cases it works.


The usual cause of cable breakage is water (and salt) entering the outer cable where it curves round in front of the radiator diaphragm, the outer case opens to allow the wet in. I tend to fit a plastic sleeve to the front couple of feet of a new cable to stop the ingress of water and also give the cable a good greasing before fitting the new one. If you really want a top job do as I did and replace the outer cable with a length of copper nickel brake pipe.