The MGA With An Attitude

Here we have a fix for a problem on replacement front parking lamps for the MGA 1500.

Below is a picture of the original part, still on the car. Note the location of the mounting screws, with the top screw slightly off center to the right. This makes an asymetrical hole pattern, so the part cannot be mounted in any other orientation. Also note the location of the four locking tabs that will hold the lens in place these are equally spaced 90 degrees apart with the top tab being just slightly off center to the right.

Original 1500 parking lamp base
Original MGA 1500 parking lamp base.

Next below is a picture of the replacement part, attached to the car for the first time. This particular part was purchased from Moss Motors in the fall of 2001. Again, because of the asymetrical hole pattern this part cannot be mounted in any other orientation. Note the location of the four locking tabs, definitely not in the right position to hold the lense straight up.

Replacement 1500 parking lamp base
Replacement MGA 1500 parking lamp base.

And last below is a picture of the replacement part after being modified to fit. I had to drill three new mounting holes in the base to acheive the correct orientation for the lense mounting tabs. To assist in spotting the right location for the new holes I removed the lamp socket from the center of one of the old lamps and then used the old base as a drilling template over the new part. Note that not just any orientation will work. Turning the new part in any other orientation in 90 degree increments results in one of the pre-existing screw holes interfering with the desired location for drilling the new holes.

Modified replacement lamp base
Modified replacement lamp base.

Also notice that the locking tabs on the new part are formed such that the tips of the tabs extend farther into the center of the lamp base than on the original part. This interferes considerably with installation of the lense when it comes to rotating it into final position. The expedient solution here is to use a hand grinder to remove a bit of material from the tip of each of the tabs until the lense will rotate into final position with light finger force. The modification of this part removes the protective surface plating, so it will be prone to rusting in the future. Make your own choices here.

I have received a feed back note from Moss Motors in mid December 2001 assuring me that they intend to do something about the existing parts. It sounded like they intended to have three more holes punched in the base to allow proper orientation of the part. Whether they intend to do anything about the long tabs or the plating they didn't say. If anyone else should buy one of these from Moss after December 2001, I would like to know about the condition of the part as received.

Addendum - May 2004
A friend recently bought two new parts from Moss Motors. They have two holes punched in the back on a horizontal line left and right of center, and the three misplaced holes are still there. This looks like you would have to manually align the part and drill two new holes to match in the fender, then attach the lamp with machine screws. If they will not put the three holes in the right place, then I like my solution better, not to mutilate the fender. Also the lense is still very tight and resistant to assembly, so it appears there has been nothing done to correct the malformed tabs.

Addendum - Decenber 2004
Follow up reveals multiple problems with this part. The mounting holes appear to be punched in random orientation relative to the outer tabs. The tabs are too long and should be either flat or slightly concave across the tips (big circle). The center phenolic insulator plate carrying the bulb contacts is abnormally thin, leading to occasional breakage of the indexing key tab. Wires are too short, about 9-1/2 inches when they should be about 18 inches long. It is missing the black ground wire where it should have three wires running through a protective sleeve. Moss Motors is still investigating these problems with intention of getting them all fixed as once. Have more patience?

Addendum - July 26, 2006
On 7/24 Moss Motors sent me a new production sample of this part for my personal evaluation. They had been selling them "for a while", only a few returns for non-quality reasons, no reported quality issues, and indeed it looks pretty good. The one they sent me has a nylon disk to carry the contacts, .060" thick with molded projection tubes to carry the contacts, and very strong indexing ears (probably better than the original phenolic plate). The bulb is a "normal" loose fit with good mechanical security in the socket, good electrical contacts all around, and good spring force behind the contact plate. The wires are now the correct 18" length to reach properly for the MGA, including the black ground wire, the two colored wires in a vinyl tube which is nicely secured in the back of the socket (good mechanical mount and nearly environmental tight by itself), and the bullet connectors are soldered to the wires. The lense with chrome rim twists on/off easily and nests securely in the correct orientation with the chrome ring very close but not touching the body paint (with the supplied rubber gasket in place). Appearance and finish of the plastic lense and chrome ring are generally good for a commercial production part. The base appears to be zinc plated, bulb socket may be bright zinc or nickle plated, and the plating looks good enough to be generally durable (only time will tell).
new issue MGA 1500 type front parking lamp assembly
There is still one design issue with the rear rubber boot which was designed to seal two individual wires. They say they intend to update design of this boot soon. Meanwhile you need to cut a slit between the two holes to make one larger hole to pass the three wires together.
new issue MGA 1500 type front parking lamp inside
I think that Moss has hit the commercial production quality target spot on for this part, a huge improvement over past issue parts, and I think at least equal to original factory issue (with possible exception of the chrome quality which was generally very good on original parts). This report comes from a bloke who does not dole out praise easily when the "norm" for quality is expected to be good.

Barney Gaylord

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