TR6 – TR250 Hood Release Cables & Latches
Do you need to open your hood to check the oil? Will you be one of the unlucky ones that suffer from the broken hood release cable syndrome?
Believe me. I have personal experience with this dreaded phenomenon.
We have seen more than a few frustrated TR6 drivers literally tear the hood open on their car because the cable or hood latch mechanism has failed.
As you already know, opening the hood of your TR6 (or TR250) involves pulling on the “T” handle release cable on the LH foot well of the car, underneath and to the left of the dashboard.
A long slender “Bowden” type cable passes through the firewall on the drivers’ side. It then passes across the top of the firewall, above the battery, ending at the hood latch mechanism. The action of pulling the release handle inside the car is communicated via this long cable, causing the hood latch to open. The spring-loaded catch on the hood then pops open, allowing the hood to be open.
Unfortunately, several things can happen which interfere with this:
The inner hood release cable is made from finely stranded, twisted steel wire. It can and does fray with use.
The end of the cable, where it attaches to the latch mechanism, has a small “stop” clamped onto it. The stop is rather like a clamp. A screw threads into the stop and clamps the inner cable. Eventually, the “working” action of the cable movement causes the wire strands to fail. This will result in a broken cable and no hood release.
On our own car we encountered a situation where the hood release handle became jammed. No amount of pulling would budge it! After much to do we finally got the hood opened by other means (explained later in this text).
We found a peculiar thing had happened. The hood release cable had drooped down where it crosses the firewall, above the battery. The battery had shifted forward slightly and the hood cable had fallen down, behind the battery.
Imagine what transpired next-During hard acceleration, the battery went flying rearwards and smashed into the hood cable that was sitting behind it. The cable was squished between the battery and the firewall. The battery hit the cable violently enough to deform its outer sheath. It then became impossible for the inner cable to slide inside it. Hence, the release handle could not be pulled.
This problem is not uncommon!
Keep an eye on the condition of the hood release cable in your car. Check for fraying or obstructions that will impede its proper operation.
If the handle is extremely tight, do not pull with all your might. Doing so will only result in a broken cable with no easy method of hood opening.
Replace a frayed or otherwise damaged cable immediately. This will save a great deal of aggravation later when you have to take half the car apart to get the bloody hood open!
Opening The Hood of Your TR6 After Experiencing a Broken Hood Release Cable
Carefully measure off and mark the screwdriver blade with tape.
Shows the firewall after removing the glove box insert.
Shows the necessary positioning of the screwdriver blade for hood latch opening.
The hood release catch and latch on the TR6 are amongst the world’s most inaccessible parts when the cable snaps. It is practically impossible to open the hood from underneath the car.
In order to open the hood (without causing damage) it will be necessary to push the release lever on the hood latch sideways, moving it the same way that the release cable would if it weren’t broken!
In our opinion it is not possible to reach up from underneath to do it.
This would require that you reach ALL THE WAY UP around the back of the motor and somehow grope around and find the hood latch, by feel alone. This is all but impossible.
Try this instead:
Underneath the glove box you will find a steel brace running from the steel dashboard panel forward to the scuttle. This bracket stiffens the dashboard and supports the glove box insert. It is held in place with several screws. Undo the screws and remove this brace.
Open the glove box door. Remove several screws, which secure the paperboard glove box insert to the steel dashboard. Remove the insert. This provides relatively free access to the firewall.
Looking down inside the “Black Hole” through the glove box door you will see the heater hose connections at the firewall, and just to their right you will see the dual choke cables running through a rubber grommet.
While holding the dual cables in one hand, force the rubber grommet through the hole in the firewall with your other hand. Use a small slot screwdriver to do this.
Now go and find a stout, slot screwdriver, at least a foot long.
Important: Measure back from the tip of the screwdriver blade exactly six inches. Mark the screwdriver shaft at this spot with a piece of tape.
Insert the screwdriver through the firewall hole along with the choke cables. Position the screwdriver, as shown in the photo, so that the tip of the screwdriver contacts the hood latch release arm (where the release cable attaches to it). Pull the screwdriver handle towards the drivers’ side of the car until the hood pops open!
It’s a good idea to have an assistant push down on the hood slightly while this is taking place to relieve spring pressure on the catch. (This makes the job easier).
WARNING: Great care must be exercised during this procedure. The positive battery terminal and cable are in close proximity to the hood latch mechanism. The purpose of marking the screwdriver shaft with tape is to provide a guide as to how close in toward the battery terminal you are when manipulating the screwdriver.
As long as the screwdriver tip protrudes no more than six inches through the hole in the firewall, there is little risk of contacting the battery terminal.
Keep in mind that contacting the positive battery terminal would cause a direct short to ground, damaging your screwdriver, your car, and maybe yourself!
Do this job carefully to avoid paint scratching or damage to the choke cables.
After a new cable is installed, reassemble the glove box in the reverse order.
Don’t forget to push the choke cable grommet back into its correct position.
This is a great time to check the condition of the heater inlet & outlet hoses.
There will never be a better opportunity to replace them. With the glove box removed, the job is easy. With the glove box in place the job is impossibly difficult!
And speaking of your glove box-Why not cut out this article and keep it in your glove box for future reference.
If your hood release cable needs replacement, check the alignment between the male hood latch on the hood, and the female portion attached to the car body.
Any serious misalignment will make it really hard to open. In fact, it will take so much pulling effort that it will break the handle or the cable. If you install a new cable without correcting the problem, it will probably recur in short order.
The male latch & safety catch is attached to the underside of the hood with two small bolts, and they pass through slotted holes in the latch plate. The slotted holes are there so that you can adjust the latch!
Includes both the inner cable with its “T” handle and the outer sheath.
This is a special purpose clip. It is designed to securely fasten the outer sheath of the release cable to the hood latch assembly mounted on the firewall.
The hood release mechanism will not work properly without it!
This is the piece mounted on the back of the hood.
Many cars could really use a new one-The safety catch is often broken off and missing!
Broken hood release cables spell real trouble in a TR’. The hood release is high up, behind the engine. Accessibility to open the hood latch by “other means” is very poor.
Some TR’ owners (and I won’t call them enthusiasts), have been known to take a pry-bar to the hood to try and get it open. Usually they will get it open after two or three thousand dollars’ worth of damage…
This little kit contains a bellcrank lever and a stiff wire “handle”. It is mounted to the hood latch on the body of the car. After installation, it can be operated from inside the car to open the hood. It makes a great backup for the original release cable and knob that is so problem prone.
Easy to install and fits any 69 – 76 TR6.