Radiator Grill Quick Release


An issue that frequently comes up on MGA forums is a stuck bonnet. If the locking mechanism jams shut there is little that can be done to release it without damaging the bodywork or the grill. This is because the bonnet latch mechanism is shielded from underneath by the radiator duct panel. Also, the grill cannot be removed to gain access to the latch without having the bonnet open.  This is because the 3 top attachment bolts are inside the engine compartment; only the 3 bottom attachment bolts can be accessed from underneath the car.

Of course there is an argument that a correctly assembled and regularly maintained latch and operating rods will never jam! Fine, read no further.

I recently serviced my latch and, while I had everything apart, I decided to look at the issue to see what could be done. It is worth a mention here that when I took the latch plate off I found the bottom latch plate around the wrong way.  This plate (picture below) has a lip on one side of the hole through which the bonnet pin locates. The lip should be towards the return spring. Mine was towards the operating rod.  This lip is there to prevent the bonnet catch pin being pulled to one side by the force of the latch slider plate return spring. This could cause the whole bonnet to be pulled slightly out of alignment.


Anyway, back to my task of solving a potential stuck bonnet. After consideration I came up with the idea of dispensing with the grill upper mounting bolts, replacing them instead with locating pins.  After a bit of trial and error I found a solution that worked perfectly for me, as described in the following pictures:



My grill has 3 captive nuts each top and bottom. Bolts are normally screwed through the bodywork to hold the grill in place.

I simply rotated the upper 3 bolts so that they are permanently attached to the grill.  The idea being that the grill could simply be pushed up into the 3 locating holes and geometrically held in place by the lower 3 bolts attached in the normal way.





To provide a tight fit in the locating holes I sleeved each bolt with a strip of plastic tubing. I cut the sleeves much longer than the bolts as this made initial location in the holes much easier.

Precise fitting remains trial and error. I had to ease (bend) one of the tabs slightly to get an overall tight and consistent grill fit across the top of the shroud.



The finished article. I actually prefer to glue the grill plastic trim to the grill edge. It makes the whole fitting exercise so much more easy.