hursst

1960 MGA Restoration

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Messed around for about 45 minutes today.  Next step is to take off the rear fenders.  To do that properly, looks like I have to take off the rear bumper, and to do that easily, I may have to drop the gas tank.  Note the home-made taillight on the driver's side (photo 2).  So, took the trunk lid off and started with the fuel filler tube.  Of course it has an aftermarket locking gas gap...with no key.  Luckily, the tube can be disconnected in the trunk and it pulls right out (Photo 3).  Guess I'll have to go to a locksmith to get the cap removed, but at least I can take the small tube and cap with me. 

 

Gathered up the tools that were in the trunk.  I have the starter crank, jack with handle, tire pump, and spare tire clamp (photo 1).  I don't know what other tools I'm missing yet, but happy to have this stuff.  Missing quite a few small parts with this car so far, but nothing major.

 

 

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)

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Worked towards getting a rear fender off today, but didn't quite make it.  Started by taking off the rear bumper.  The captive nuts in the bumper spin in place, just like the front bumper's did.  Luckily, the rear bumper was tweaked just enough for me to get a wrench up in there, and I was able to remove both nuts that attach the bumper to the frame, so took the bumper off as one assembly instead of taking it apart further. 

 

Next, I had to take the rear wheels off for better access, then had to take the tail lights out.  This was a huge hassle, as there are a multitude of bullet connectors all at one point for the rear wiring harness.  Once I got those out and labelled them (photo 3), there is no easy way to get the tail lights off and the wiring out, as they appear to be one big connected system, no connectors.  The driver's side had a home-made taillight and the wiring was cut and spliced, so I just cut them at the splices and was able to feed everything through the small hole at the rear of the passenger's tail light.

 

Next, I had to take off the 3 small nuts and bolts at the bottom front of the rear fender.  These are very rusty and were very hard to get off.  These fasteners have small captive nuts and they always spin in place, so it was quite difficult.  Next, had to take out the 2 inner fender panels at front and rear.  These were easy.  Last, had to take out all the fender bolts.  Well, the very last bolt closest to the passenger compartment comes off from the inside of the car.  The bolt is covered from the inside by a interior panel, of which the convertible top is bolted into.  So, have to take the top off to get to the panel to get to the hidden bolt in order to get the fender off.  One screw on each side that secures the top to the car is stripped, so will probably have to drill them out, which will be a big hassle as well.  Had a strange surprise on the top, check out those hippie flowers stuck on the top (photo 1).  I'm guessing they are not original!  The top is in fairly good shape, I may actually be able to save it by cleaning it and having new plastic windows sewn in.

 

In addition, took the exhaust out.  It took about 3 tenths of a second to remove...as it just fell out completely (photo 4).  I'll use it as a template for the new exhaust.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)

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My first car was a 60 MGA in 1974.  Mine needed a complete redo of the body and repair to rusted out sections of the frame.  Yours looks to be very solid in comparison.

 

Car was a lot of fun, but was sold to buy something that could be used year round.  Replaced it about 10 years later with a TR3.

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Well, those hippy flowers ended up hiding a well-repaired tear in the top, so I'll have to replace the top.  Maybe I can sell the old one to someone with a driver MGA.

 

Took off the other rear fender yesterday, but not without some trouble.  On the rear door pillar, there are 3 screws that screw into the pillar itself, the rear fender lip, and then a captive nut.  Of course the last screw ended up spinning the captive nut in place, so had to cut off the screw to get the fender off.  There's no access to the captive nut, it's fully enclosed, so will either have to cut a hole in the pillar or just live with it.  I'll worry about it later.

 

Bought some angle iron to shore up the door frames when I take the body off (photo 1).  With some modification, I should be able to screw them right into the front door hinge holes and holes where the door latch is.  Don't have a welder yet and this method should leave no damage to have to clean up.

 

I think the next step is to remove the gas tank, then probably the engine.  I expect this to get a little more difficult now that there will be more confined spaces and tighter fits of things.

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This round, focused on the rear of the car.  Took the gas tank out, was actually quite easy.  The tank seems to be in okay condition for now, but the inside is a different story (photo 1).  Some nice chunks of 45-year old gas in there. Took out some more misc parts from the trunk, like the spare tire cover and the trunk latch mechanism, among other small parts.  Found a rust hole in the rear driver's side trunk corner (photo 4).  Also found a rust hole at the front of the trunk, caused by its proximity to the batteries (photo 5). 

 

Next, started to work on the passenger compartment.  Looked in the battery compartment and found some OLD batteries.  These were Autolites dating from Fall, 1966 (photo 2).  Car has probably been sitting since 1971 or so, I guess it was a true barn find by the previous "broker" who sold it to me. 

 

Next job will be taking out the large aluminum patch screwed to the bottom of the floor, so I can get the seats and floor boards out.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)

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Was able to work on and off the last week, mostly off.  Spent a lot of time today working.  Was able to take out the seats, the rear floorboards, and the shelf board.  As usual, it was not that easy due to heavy corrosion of the fasteners and some of the bolts/fasteners spinning in place from the other side.  I had to drill out about half of the large screws used to hold in the floorboards.  The driver's side had a large piece of sheet aluminum screwed into the bottom of the frame, as the wood floorboard was rotten.  The driver's side floorboard turned to splinters upon removal, whereas the passenger side was intact, but a little dry rotted. I'll be able to use it as a template.    The rear shelf board is in excellent condition and can be reused.   Not sure if I'll just buy the new wood kit, or make my own.  Probably make my own to save some $$$.  Found a 1959 penny under the carpet, but otherwise nothing else interesting.

 

Photo 1) after the sheet aluminum was removed, but before the seat was removed.  Love the wooden floorboards, so easy to replace compared to welding in steel.   Photo 2) Here's a pile of residue I swept up from under the car so far.   The car was starting to compost itself over time, like all cars do.  Photo 3) Here's after removing the floorboards and part of the driveshaft tunnel.  Photo 4) a further back view of the passenger compartment.

 

I think next is removing the fuel tank straps, then the drive shaft, then maybe start getting the engine ready for removal.  Still really happy with the overall condition, the rate of which it's coming apart, and the simplicity of disassembly so far.  I'm sure I'll run into some more difficult issues, but looking forward to reaching the total disassembly point where you start putting the car back together again.

 

 

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Trying to do a little each day and a lot on weekends when I'm around.  Got the driveshaft out (photo 1)  and am continuing to disassemble the passenger compartment for now.

 

I got the original tonneau cover with the car, but a lot of the stitching is coming apart.  Overall, it survived quite well and I think the piece is nice enough to clean and sew it back up, so I'm going to sew it up by hand, a little at a time.  Should be easy, since I can just follow all the existing holes.  It will take a while, but a good project to do a little at a time at night (Photos 2-3)

 

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Made some slow but steady progress this last week and weekend.  Working towards getting the engine out, but have to get the transmission tunnel out first, but have to get the floor boards out to get to the transmission tunnel.  I got all the floorboards out except the upper driver's side one.  It's been quite difficult as most the fasteners are severely corroded and must be drilled out.  Some I've been able to save, but I must use an impact screwdriver, which is very time-consuming, but want to keep as many good fasteners as I can.  It's also been tough working in 95 degree heat.

 

Luckily, I'll be able to save about 1/2 the original floorboards and use the other half as templates for new ones (photo 2), along with parts of the carpet and jute padding which are in good condition.  Going to be another busy week, but hope to have the transmission tunnel out soon.

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It was 102 today with a heat index of 110.  Time to spend all day in the garage.  Actually, my garage is about 15 or more degrees cooler, so I was able to work on the MG in relative comfort. 

 

I've been working slowly over the last 2 weeks toward getting the transmission out, but haven't had much time until today.  I saw on article on the Moss Motors website where a guy took the trans out through the passenger compartment.  Seeing how long the trans is and how little room there is in the engine bay, it made sense to me to take it out through the passenger compartment (which I can do myself), then yank the engine straight up when it's ready instead of having to tilt it 278 degrees and stand on my head.

 

Easier said than done, but really no time lost as the whole car has to come apart anyway.  Ended up having to take out the clutch and brake pedal assembly, the master cylinder, the clutch slave cylinder, loosen the starter, remove the steering column, remove the accelerator cable, remove the metal portion of the lower firewall, remove the heater, and remove the fasteners from about 10 of the 3,000 cables running from the dash through the firewall/engine compartment (photo 1).

 

With the help of a floor jack, I was able to get the trans high enough up to tilt it so it didn't get caught on the frame structure and so I could grab it and move it out.  I was surprised how light it was, as I was able to easily yank it out through the passenger compartment by myself.  Photo of the trans removed (photo 3).  Aftermath of all the parts removal today (photo 2).

 

I also spent a few minutes examining the wheels.  Unfortunately, 2 of them appear to have sunken into the ground at some point for a very long time, so there's a portion at the bottom that is severely rusted as it was probably buried.  Judging from the age of the batteries, I appears to have sat for about 43 years, if I did my match correctly, probably in a dirt-floor barn, as it would not have survived outdoor storage.  I think I can save the other 3 wheels, but I won't know for sure until the wheels are stripped.

 

Next step will be getting the engine stripped down more so it can be removed.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Been a while since an update, I was on a 2-week vacation.  Have the engine all ready to come out, but plans fell through to yank it out yesterday.  It will have to wait.  Been spending time taking off a lot of misc stuff, like the exhaust hangers, fuel tank straps, rear bumper mounts, windshield wipers, and tonneau cover snaps, among other bits and pieces (photo).  Next will be working on removing the gauges and knobs from the dash while I wait on getting my help together for the engine pull. 

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Be VERY, VERY careful removing that heater control Bakelite panel from the dashboard. That sucker will snap if you look at it the wrong way! If I remember correctly, there is a set screw in the round knob on that slider adjustment.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)

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Reached a huge milestone today, got the engine out.  In hindsight, I probably should have waited and taken the body off first before I took of the trans and engine in 2 separate pieces, but it was fairly straight forward.  Now, back to the body and stripping out the dash/gauges and all the myriad tubes that go through the cowl.

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Guest BillP
35 minutes ago, keiser31 said:

Brings back so many memories of when I worked on my 1957 MGA roadster and removed the engine and transmission. Excellent way you are going about it.

 

Me too! Mine was a '61, and white like this one.

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Still making slow but steady progress on the way to removing the body.  Have been working mostly on removing the dashboard items, then the dashboard itself.  Had a few problems.  Didn't know how the get the knobs off the dash, so worked with one that was already cracked.  Didn't discover until breaking the knob that it has a push-pin style retainer that is on the lower side of the knob.  Once I found that out, still didn't help me too much, as they were all quite rusty and would not move.  Time for a great MGA forum.  They told me how to build a tool for this job with a pin through pliers in order to press in the knob retainer pin.  My tool is quite amateur, but it worked for most of them (photo 4.  Still ended up breaking another one.

 

Having trouble getting the ignition switch out, don't want to break this knob, so I'll be back to the forum soon.  Once that's out, the wiring harness and everything else will be free from the dash, so I can remove that panel as well.  Next are some mics under hood items, like the rest of the wiring harness, hood release, coil, etc., then I'll be just about ready for the body removal.  Not much left of the interior or under the hood anymore (other photos).

 

Once body is ready, then have to weld on some support pieces for stability after my friend teaches me some basic welding, since I've never welded before.  Have to buy an actual welder, too.  Once the body's up in the air, I'll start stripping down the chassis.  I hear it can be very difficult...

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You are doing a super job.  Glad that you are almost at the end of the "taking it apart".  Look forward to fix, repair and paint process.

 

Oh, the Hunt Country Classic for British cars is going to be held near Marshall, VA on Sunday,  October 9th.  You are so close you should drop on by.

 

If you go, stop by the pastel green Jaguar XK 120 coupe and say hi.  Would love to meet you.

 

 

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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One thing I always recommend on a Brit car restoration is a brand new wiring harness.  It will cure all sorts of ills and help isolate other electrical problems.  True on my MGA in the 70s and TR3 15 years ago.  Have one for my TR2 project as well.

 

Man, this brings back memories.   My engine came out of the frame after body removal.  

 

Zimm

 

 

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Yes, there will be a new wiring harness, no way I could trust the existing harness.  Great for reference, though, as it appears to be all there and original.

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I just bought as 1958 MGA roadster in April as a project - not quite as much to do as you are facing, but my car sat for 30 years in a barn.  I have the engine out and the engine bay stripped and primed.  I'm in Norfolk, so maybe we can connect one day and compare notes!

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Hursst, First, give us a first name we can use in our post.  On the car, do you plan to have the body and frame soda blasted or are you gong to strip it yourself?  Are you going to farm out the metal work?  Sure glad that you are almost at the turning point of putting it back together.  You are at the point that most folks give up or really slow down, thanks for sticking with it.  

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