MGB bonnet catch - an alternative solution
V8NOTE438 Malcolm Venables reported a dangerous experience he had suffered with
his bonnet catch failing which allowed the bonnet to blow up onto his screen.
He describes how it happened and recommended the bonnet catch should be checked
carefully as a service item. Here Jon Moulds explains how he has developed a solution.
A number of reports recently
have described how MGBs have had bonnets fly open at speed. The cause has been
due, in part, to the original type of safety catch failing to do the job it was
designed for. Having experienced this first hand when a bonnet opens at speed,
often several things happen: the bonnet prop is ripped from its mountings, the
bonnet hinges will bend along with the rear section of the bonnet frame, the front
of the bonnet will wrap itself around the roof, damaging it beyond economic repair,
the roof itself may become dented from the force of the impact and the windscreen
The whole event will take place in a split second and the
first a driver will be aware of the situation is when an incredibly loud bang
occurs as the bonnet hits the roof, not to mention the driver's view of the road
ahead will be completely blocked whilst attempting to get the vehicle to the side
of the road: a potentially life threatening situation.
What can we do
to ensure this dangerous situation doesn't occur? The first essential check is
to ensure both the bonnet catch and safety catch are properly adjusted. *Note*
Whilst working in this area, the bonnet release catch and cable could probably
do with greasing as they are often forgotten about until at the crucial moment
the cable goes "ping".
As an extra cautionary measure, some
owners elect to fit a bonnet strap. This is a fine solution so long as you don't
mind non-original features, but what can an owner who is both safety conscious,
yet would prefer their car continued to appear standard from the outside do? Well,
for those with originality concerns or a rubber bumper model that cannot easily
be fitted with a bonnet strap, there is now an alternative solution in the form
of a second safety catch.
The solution I came up with was to utilise
a "break away cable" kit as you can find fitted to caravans or boat
trailers and a small U clamp. The kit adapted to the MGB bonnet comprises of a
simple sprung clip, like a carabiner, at one end which should be attached to the
existing U bracket on the slam panel of the car. The other end of the suitably
shortened cable is secured to the original safety catch with a clamp.
installation is quite straight forward as follows:
> Remove the
3 bolts holding the safety catch to the bonnet.
> Drill two small
holes through the handle of the release mechanism.
> Shorten the
cable to around 8 inches in length.
> Pass the cable through both
of your pre-drilled holes and loosely fit the clamp.
the safety catch to the car.
> Adjust the length of the cable to
suit the car. You should aim to keep the cable as short as possible whilst giving
enough free play so you have space to reach in and operate the sprung arm of the
> Tighten the clamp up and trim off the excess cord.
The plus points of this modification are it allows the car to maintain a
standard outward appearance but gives a third layer of security in case the bonnet
catch and original safety catch fail. The only down side is that you will need
to release the sprung clip of the carabiner every time you open the bonnet, but
arguably this is no more effort than having a leather type bonnet strap fitted?
Suitable breakaway cable kits can be sourced from either your local automotive
supplier, your local caravan and camping supplier or even your local chandlery.
Suitable U clamps can often be sourced from the same suppliers or even from within
the lighting section of a DIY home improvement store.
See our illustrated A4L PDF note online for better copies of these photos.