Opening bonnet after release cable breaks

Many of us have seen TR6s with dinged bonnets because someone pried them up to release the catch after the release cable broke. This is unfortunate because it takes less than 30 minutes to release the bonnet without damaging it. However, it is very difficult to figure out how to do it without looking under the bonnet --- and if the cable is broken, itís too late for looking.

I first encountered this problem about 15 years ago when a friend called to ask if I knew how to get his bonnet open after the cable broke. His car had a new paint job and he was not about to pry it up. He was in no rush since he would not have to add oil for a couple weeks. I had one of my TR6s torn down with much of the dash removed making it very easy to devise a tool. Several years later the same guy went to sleep and rolled his baby while going only a few miles per hour. I ended up buying the remains. It is a California car with no rust. I have new fenders and a replacement windshield and bonnet (he mangled it that time). Maybe Iíll get in on the road in 2002.

Iím removing the interior of my í76 TR6 in preparation for painting. I remembered the hood release problem when removing the glove box and thought it was a good time to make a new tool and photograph the procedure.

The TOOL is shown in the following photo. It is made of an 18-inch length of mild steel bar. I used 5/16 inch diameter bar because it was the first one I found in the scrap pile; ľ inch bar will work just as well. Each of the three segments is 6 inches long.

The stay under the glove box, the glove box, and the right side ventilation and demister ducts are removed. The rubber grommet in the hole through which the temperature control and choke cables pass is pushed forward into the engine compartment. The tool is then inserted into this hole beside the cables; see next photo.

The tool is positioned properly when the middle segment is horizontal and the other two segments are nearly vertical. The vertical segment in the engine compartment should rest against the hood release lever as shown in following photo.

The hood is released by pushing the bottom of the tool to the left causing it to rotate around the middle segment and the top to move to the right and pressing against the hood release lever.

One caution, the positive battery terminal is near the hood release lever. If the rubber insulation is missing from the cable connector, it may be possible to get the tool on the positive terminal. A friend managed to vaporize part of a large screwdriver while attempting to open his hood through this same hole. If youíre really concerned about this, you can insulate the end of the tool by wrapping it with electric tape, duct tape, or masking tape. Another option is to turn on the lights and let the battery discharge. Playing the radio while simultaneously blowing the horn accelerates this process but may upset the spouse, the neighbors and the local police.