The MGA With An Attitude
BULLET CONNECTORS - Living With Them - ET-103C

At 05:57 AM 1/5/06, Michael Sloan wrote:
>"I definitely like the older stuff. .... it is not rocket science. .... And the British stuff has the electrics by Lucas (the Prince of Darkness)."

snap connctor This takes a little getting used to. The greatest problem is with in-line bullet connectors in the wiring harness, as they tend to corrode. Prescribed maintenance used to be periodic cleaning of the female connectors with a small round wire brush, similar to a small bore rifle cleaning brush. But the female connectors are cheap enough to toss out and replace with new ones. Start by replacing all the female connectors with new ones, chemically clean the male bullets, and put them back together with a touch of silicone grease inside to prevent future corrosion. This applies to all of the bullet connectors in the engine compartment, and at all of the front, rear, and corner lamps.

If you need to replace a bullet connector, be sure to get it properly soldered onto the wire, no cold solder joints allowed. Use new bullets. Heat the bullet and let the bullet heat the wire, because the bullet is the heavier part. Wait patiently for the wire to get hot enough to melt the solder. Both parts must be hot enough to melt solder, or it won't stick. Also use resin core solder for copper wire.

When you insert the wire it should stick out the end of the bullet a little. Flare the end of the wire out to be wider than the hole in the tip of the bullet, but take care no to get too much wire outside (still must go inside of the snap connector). Then when you get the wire to hold solder, after it's cooled the lump on the end could not possibly pull through the hole (even if it was a cold solder joint).

For the bullet connectors in the harness immediately behind the right rear wheel, cut off all the bullets and solder the wires and cover with shrink tubing, or join with crimp connectors. Bind it all up with tape, and tie wrap the harness to the frame so it can't move. This is a HUGE improvement for long term reliability (as long as it's not for concours). The only reason there are connectors at that location is to allow the rear harness to be installed in the body before the body is placed on the frame (in original factory production). Those junctions never need to be separated in the real world. When the body may need to be removed for future restoration work you can pull the wires out of the corner lights and leave the rear harness connected to the side harness.

The rest of the wire terminals on the MGA 1500 are screw posts, which never fail. Later production 1600 cars used push on connectors on the generator and distributor. By MK-II production time the voltage regulator also had Lucar connectors, which can be a problem. Good to use the earlier regulator with screw terminals (if it's not for concours show). The low current terminal on the distributor is generally not a problem (as long as the connector does not fall off from vibration). Keep an eye on the larger high current output terminal on the generator. If you have to use a replacement ignition switch with push on terminals, install a barrier strip to carry the high current going to the lighting switch so it doesn't go through the ignition switch input terminal.

Once you get the bullet connectors licked, and stick to screw terminals for the rest of the wiring, the Lucas stuff is generally reliable.

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