The MGA With An Attitude
Mounting a BADGE BAR, MGA -- BP-101

At 10:45 PM 11/5/05 -0700, Raymond Auger wrote:
>>"My MGA does not have the front bumper tube that most MGA's that I have seen have- the tube which presumably protects the grille."
Badge bar on MGA
This is actually a solid steel bar, not tubing, and you have that backward. Most MGA do not have this part. It was a dealer installed option, maybe occasionally installed at the factory on special order. Dealers and owners often installed non-factory aftermarket parts here, many of which were somewhat different in form and appearance.

It might be more appropriate to call it a "grille crusher" rather than "grille guard". Anyone who tells you this will "protect your expensive grille" is flat out lying and probably trying to swindle you out of your money. The original intended purpose, and still it's primary function today, is for use as a "badge bar". For most cars it is nothing more than an appearance accessory, like white wall tires or a fox tail on the radio antenna. I can do without the extra weight.

The MGA bumper is mounted on flat spring steel brackets with dogleg bends. These brackets allow the bumper mount to flex a bit. If it encounters a mild and very low speed impact. like a very careful "park by ear", or a gentle push start by another car, the brackets can flex rather than bending the bumper face bar. This works especially well if the impact or push is directly on the overrider rather than on the face bar. A gentle nudge by another car is intended to be taken on the overrider, with little or no touch on the face bar, in which case the face bar serves to stiffen and stabilize the overriders to keep them from twisting. End result is that a gentle nudge will wiggle the bumper but do no structural damage. This is best served if the bumper is mounted a little way away from the body so it doesn't chip the paint when it wiggles.

In the case that there is a mismatch in bumper height (vs. a larger car), such an impact will often occur at the top end of the overrider. This can twist the spring mount allowing the top edge of the overrider to come into contact with the painted part of the body nose. This will then put a small crescent shaped impression in the sheet metal, but with luck no other damage, and it may not be to hard to repair. This is not by intention, but just works out that way in the environment of mismatched bumpers.

When the accessory badge bar is installed it effectively connects the two overriders together mechanically, and also creates a new possible point of impact high in the center farther forward than the overriders. The top shoulders of the badge bar will also be closer to the body nose, which becomes a greater hazard to the sheet metal and paint, and to the grille. When the badge bar encounters an impact with a mismatched bumper the contact point may be up high in the center of the badge bar. Grille Crusher on MGA This gives a longer lever arm for the twisting action on the spring brackets. The bumper assembly then twists considerably easier, and more, while flexing less rearward. End result is that the top shoulders of the badge bar are pushed back and come into contact with the body. This is MORE likely to cause sheet metal and paint damage and smash the chrome grill with a very minor impact. The badge bar essentially provides no protection at all for the grille, and can actually cause increased body and grille damage in the event of a mild impact.

The badge bar attaches to the bumper with the overrider mounting bolts. Space is allowed to accommodate a fog lamp bracket along with the badge bar. When the long bolt is tightened the badge bar bracket and the lamp bracket should be captured securely between the nut plate in the overrider and the face bar. When the badge bar is installed without lamp brackets, spacers need to be installed between the badge bar bracket and the face bar to fill the space, allowing the bolt to pull up tight to secure the badge bar.

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