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MG MGB Technical - High-Tension Leads

After finding a cut in one of the Kingsborne high-tension leads on our 1974 B/GT I need to find a replacement. The current wire set is several years old, and probably due replacement anyway. Are their any recommendations?


Larry C. '69 Midget & '74 B/GT
Larry C '69 Midget

I recommend these (the manufacturer makes HT leads for others to put their name on), they only sell via their website by phone order so I don't know if the phone and postal costs might be too high for you where you are

but for others well worth the money

and proven by Peter Burgess, much against his expectations, to actually improve performance

'performanceleads' -
Nigel Atkins

Get silicone-cored, not carbon. They are cheaper and last almost indefinitely, I put a set on my V8 20 years and 100k ago and I've never had a problem with them. I've seen 'Hot leads' recommended, which sounded a bit of a gimmicky name to me, but then I looked at mine on the V8 and the roadster and that is what they were, so there you go. It's not work running some hugely expensive, really fat leads, it's the plug gap that controls the peak voltage.
Paul Hunt

Nigel & Paul,

Thanks for your comments. I'll look for a good set of silicone cored wires this week.


Larry C.
Larry C '69 Midget

"It's not work ..."

I meant to say "It's not worth ..."
Paul Hunt


No problem mate, all is well ;-)

Larry C.
Larry C '69 Midget

One point - if you change to silicone leads, then you should not use resistor plugs in ADDITION as these types of leads are suppressing by design.

If you use them with R plugs, you may suffer poor sparks, unless you've got a high-powered coil etc.

So, 'old style' copper core leads plus resistor plugs (e.g. BPR6ES) or, as I have just done as had a dodgy old lead or two, changed to silicone leads plus non-resistor plugs (BP6ES). Runs like a dream
R Kelly

Resistor plugs were developed to further reduce interference with modern ECUs. They are used in addition to suppressed leads, whether they be silicone or the original (in MGBs) carbon string, i.e. changing between silicone and carbon string is irrelevant.

If you chose to use copper-cored HT leads then you will need additional suppression, which is normally in the shape of suppressed caps. Resistor plugs on their own probably won't be enough, but again can be used with the caps.

Silicone leads have the same suppressing properties as the original carbon string, but are very stable over time, unlike carbon string.

R plugs should work equally as well as non-R plugs in our engines, but modified ECU-equipped systems may well malfunction without them. Depending on manufacturer the additional resistance is only about 5k, and if the HT system can't cope with that there is something wrong with it.

Having said that like many other things you may well find that some plugs work better than others in your engine, so use them.
Paul Hunt

I have the high-powered (Lucas) coil with the Pertronix ignition, and NGK (BPR6ES) plugs. No real issues until the cut wire.........
Larry C '69 Midget

in my daily use Midget for 2 years I used NGK BPR6ES plugs with a 123 fully electronic dissy, Lucas Sports coil and the high quality (lower cost) 'performanceleads' I mentioned earlier with no problems at all but Peter Burgess said I was just wasting my money and to just use BP6ES in future which I have

I've also used Champion RN9YC plugs and still have two or three sets left if anyone wants any
Nigel Atkins

I use Bosch leads. They are fine wire (resistive?) wrapped tightly around a core, at about 20 -30 turns per inch, with a resistance of 5 -10k. The reason I use them is that they are off the shelf at the local vendor. About $5 each. No issues with them, on both my cars.

Herb Adler

Out of interest I fitted a set of Bosch 4-point 15 years and 30k miles ago. A few quid more, but then they have lasted three times as long, and that's just so far.
Paul Hunt

I had a problem with misfiring at high revs with my V8; diagnosed on Peter Baldwin's rolling road as due to a poor contact in a plug lead.

Following up on Nigel Atkins recommendation I ordered new leads from Performance Leads. Phoned Friday asking for 90 deg distributor connectors, these were custom made yesterday and arrived in Cambridge from Bodmin at 1 pm today. Seem to be much better made than the set they are replacing and cost much less than available from elsewhere.

Thanks Nigel
V Todman

Thank you

great news

so good to be able to recommend a British made product of such good quality and reasonable price

once you fit the leads you have a confident feeling that they'll give many years of good service

I recommended these leads to a friend for his V8 but him being a tight fisted git he bought some less expensive and much more cheaply made lead set then when on your in Italy whilst on tour he got a misfire and had to swap back to his previous set of leads and dissy cap he'd carried in the boot

I'd also warned him about the quality of dissy caps too but he obviously wasn't listening

if you fit the 'performancleads' you don't need to carry a spare set
Nigel Atkins

I've another tip to give -

go to Peter Burgess instead of Peter Baldwin

for me Peter Baldwin was three times more expensive but only a third as effective as Peter Burgess

Peter Burgess was a third of the cost and three times as effective (so nine times better cost wise) as Peter Balwin
Nigel Atkins

just realised, for those that don't know

'performanceleads' sell via their web site on telephone orders

as they make leads for other companies to put their names on (and charge more for no doubt) it is a very low key retail sales operation
Nigel Atkins

Thanks everyone for your suggestions, and comments. I've gone with a basic silicone set (as Paul suggested) from my local Moss dealer, and all is well again.


Larry C. '69 Midget & '74 B/GT
Larry C '69 Midget

Hi Nigel
Thanks for further tip. I came across Peter Burgess long before I had an MG. After a customer service visit to Halls -the makers of cough sweets - I was checking out other potential clients on the industrial estate before heading out to the M6 and was beguiled by the sound of an engine running flat out. Navigating by ear I found him with a B running on his rolling road.

However he is about 150 miles from me whereas Peter Baldwin is 5.
V Todman

unfortunately for me Peter Baldwin didn't give my car a very good tune-up (at all) and charged me a lot (three time as much as Peter Burgess's excellent tune-up)

as Peter Burgess said perhaps Peter Baldwin was having an off day

but also the readings off Peter Baldwin's dials were ego stuff, showing very optimistic readings so much so that I didn't bother having a print off

the readings at Peter Burgess were lower but I'd suggest a lot, lot more accurate

sorry but even if it was a one off I can't recommend Peter Baldwin at all

the difference in cost alone between the two would have made it well worth my while to travel a 300 mile round trip easily paying for the petrol and a stop off for a good meal and drink and still be in pocket, let alone the better quality work

Peter Baldwin charges by the hour and part hour

Peter Burgess charges a set fee regardless of time it takes and he certainly doesn't rush the work
Nigel Atkins

This thread was discussed between 23/08/2014 and 03/10/2014

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