hursst

1960 MGA Restoration

Recommended Posts

Had 3 days off and relatively good weather this weekend.  Finally got it disassembled.  Still have a fuel line and about 1/2 of the broken-off floorboard bolts in the inner chassis to remove.  Removing those bolts is a nightmare, as some won't come out and may have to be drilled.  Have been soaking them in penetrating oil for a while, and have been able to remove about 1/2 of them so far, but with great effort with locking pliers. I think I'll be able to get 3/4 of them out by hand, then I'll have to try drilling or heat to extract the remainder.

 

I not sure if I'll be sand blasting the chassis myself, with my small, easy-clog blaster, or if I'll rent a trailer and haul it to the pro blaster, which will do a faster job, but will be much more money.  Can't wait to get to the point where I'm putting parts back on instead of taking them off.

 

Happy with the progress I've made, but will need to replace a lot of parts and every other part needs rebuilding or restoration work.  I want to keep costs as low as possible, but may be tough...need a radiator, exhaust, new leather seat covers, engine rebuild, new fuel tank, fuel sending unit, tires, wire wheel repair/replacement, among other items, all of which are things I can't do myself. 

 

 

100_3275.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found the application of heat to help with things that have seized. Perhaps that may allow them to undo.

Matthew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As falconriley says above... heat is your friend.  One thing that works very well for me is multiple heat/cool cycles.   The bolt and rail will likely stretch/shrink at a different rate so multiple heat/cool cycles can break the bond of the rust.  I like to heat the area up and then cool it down with penetrating oil.  Obviously you get some occasional flames and such but it seems to do the trick.  One final tip... once you get the bolt to turn, just turn it 1/8th of a turn... then tighten it back.  Then go for a 1/4 turn and then back... so forth and so on until you get to a full turn.  This tends to pulverize the rust/gunk and the bolt will come out easier and have less chance of stripping the threads on the way out. 

 

Really great to see your progress, I'm very jealous!! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slow progress, but progress none the less.  Ended up taking the chassis out in the driveway, putting it up on its side for better leverage, then getting a heavier-duty set of locking pliers than I was using before, lots of penetrating fluid and following some tips you guys have been sending me on the forum(s).  Ended up getting out 80% of the rusted-in broken-off screw heads on the floor framework that have been a real pain in the neck to remove over the last couple months.  I ended up with 4 than I could not remove, so I ended up drilling them out, collapsing in the remains of the hollow screws and pulling them out with needle-nose pliers.  Chased all the threads with a tap.  3 additional ones rusted right through the framework, so at least I got them out.  That was the last step in final disassembly.

 

This week, I've just been waiting for sand blasting weather.  Rain doesn't work for that.  So, I "de-greased" the front of the chassis with a scraper (it was covered in a thick layer of caked on oil held together with sand, photo 1), removed the rubber chassis to body insulator strips on the top of the chassis, and brought in my floorboards to use as a reference for fixing the few areas of the floor framework that are rusted out (photo 2).  Once dry weather rolls around, I'll be sand blasting the rusted out areas and seeing what's left.  I'll then cut out the bad metal and start getting ready to weld in some patch panels.  I'll need the old floorboards in order to figure exactly where the new holes need to be in the part of the floor frame that have rusted out.  I'll then tack weld the nuts to these new holes to make them captive nuts, just like original.  Wish me luck, since I have about 2 hours of welding experience so far!  I'm sure it will take me 10 times as long as anyone else while I learn.  This thing should really speed up once I get the welding complete, but still have a while to go, as there are a few other chassis rust outs (not structural) and the battery boxes are a rusty mess and will need a lot of work.

100_3308.JPG

100_3316.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a FYI.  I use four plastic saw horses, one at each corner, to get frames off the floor to work on.  Saves the old back and brings the work closer to you.  Great work by the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a thought, but I had a company sandblast and powdercoat my frame.  It was the best 400 bucks I ever spent.  I figured labor and paint costs and decided I broke even.  It also gave me time to work on the suspension parts and they were ready to install when I got the frame back.  I'm a huge fan of doing as much of the work as possible, but in this case I'm glad I went the way I did.  You're making great progress, by the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$400 to blast and powder coat a frame does sound like a deal.

 

Started learning to weld on my MGA, with a craftsman gas set up.  Still have it, along with better equipment.  Still learning 40+ years later.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, the body is on saw horses right behind the frame, so it will have to ride the ground for now and jack stands when it's painted.

 

I'm going to try the blaster at home and see how it goes.  I'll at least blast the rusted out areas to see what I'm left with.  If it's too much work or too slow, once I get the few patches I need, I'll consider taking it to my stripping/powdercoating company.  I don't have a trailer, though, so that adds complexity.  We'll see how it goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have been following the 61 Merc project for months and don't know how I missed this one and it's sure been fun to look as the MG was my first from rusted nuts to sandblasting the belly, full restoration.

 

Might already have one, if you don't the MGA restoration guide is well worth the $20, though it is written in British which requires some translation. See that you have found Moss and Victoria British is another good source. Should it become important to you, a bent ring spanner is an offset box end wrench.

 

Something I discovered after blasting is that rust can hide inside the frame and you might want to hammer test every inch of the frame to make sure the hammer bounces back and doesn't go through, before you paint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tips, Digger.  I just picked up the workshop manual, and I have a tech manual from the MG club in the UK.  I'll be making my first parts run to Moss later this week.  I'll try the hammer test, too, once I get the frame blasted, which I hope to start today.

Edited by hursst (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More slow but steady progress.  Starting sand blasting, grinding, wire-wheeling, and sanding the chassis.  Also went down to Moss Motors to buy the first round of parts: a replacement floorboard bracket, new floorboards, rubber kit and body packing kit (photo 1).  Spent a lot, but the parts look great and saved $20 on shipping after fuel costs.

 

Here's a photo of blasting in progress (photo 2).  My blaster is Chinese, so it's a pile of junk.  Trying to save money.  The sand release valve at the end of the whole works broke after only 2.5 hrs of use.  I replaced it with one made in Italy, so we'll see if that lasts.  Blasting is slow and tedious, plus the chassis was covered in so much oil and dirt that it won't penetrate some areas, so I have to scrape, blast, scrape, blast, so it will take a while.  Other areas with heavier rust required a wire wheel or media pad to get rid of most of the rust.  Decided to prime the chassis piecemeal to prevent flash rust once I finish a section (photo 3).

 

Here are photos of the main rust outs (photos 4 & 5).  I have a replacement floorboard bracket for the horizontal bar, and I'll have to make a small patch for the rust out on the chassis (photo 4) There are a few other small areas on the other brackets, but they should be easily fixed.  In the back, the battery gas rusted out two holes in the rear cross member.  I cut out the obvious rust, then I'll cut out a little more to make it more even, as my cuts are quite sloppy.  Should be fairly easy to weld in replacement patches after I roll them to the proper diameter.  The battery boxes are in rough shape.  The outer frames are removable and I'll be able to salvage those and most of the attaching hardware, but I'll have some fabrication to do with the main support structures (photo 5).  The rest of the chassis is quite good, although I still need to do the "hammer test" to look for internal rust and finish rust/paint/grime removal. 

 

Although my method is slow, I'm quite happy with it, as I'm able to do it myself instead of paying some guy $2,000 to do a medicocre job.  I also think it will turn out very well when I'm finished, considering I have about 2.5 hrs of welding experience so far.  Quite rewarding building a pile of garbage into an AACA prize-winner (I hope!). 

100_3333.JPG

100_3325.JPG

100_3332.JPG

100_3329.JPG

100_3330.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi 

just noticed this thread , very interesting to me as just taken delivery here in Cyprus of same car , same year and colour, but red seats 

had her shipped from LA . Will start a post when I start and we can compare.

cheers

pilgrim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pilgrim65, great to hear, and will be great to compare notes.  I'm no expert on MGAs, but I'm learning as I go.  Going for authenticity and saving as much that's original to the car as possible.

 

Ugh, my last update was almost a month ago.  Was out of town for 2 weekends in a row, then had minor surgery that kept me out of the garage for another week.  Today's the first day I was able to get back to the garage after being well on the way towards recovery.  Still slow but steady progress.  Next weekend going up to the Simeone Museum to see the AC collection and a demo run of some race cars.  Will be great, but will lose another weekend on the MG.

 

Continuing to work piecemeal on the chassis.  Not adding any photos, as it now says the limit is 2MB for Max file size.  It used to be 24MB or something.  Oh well. 

 

Sand blaster continues to be a problem.  Getting yet another nozzle for it, as the first one broke and the second one was too light duty and the sand wore through the insides.  Getting a dead-man nozzle this time.  Also tried to get more blasting media from TSC,  they are out of stock.  Seems like everywhere I go is out of stock these days, no matter what store it is.  So many nooks and crannies with the front of the chassis, I need the blaster working to get in there.  Adding to the problem is that the front of the chassis was caked in grease and sand, so the blaster doesn't do too well getting through that.  Lots of degreasing, brushing, sanding, trying to get to the paint/rust layer so the blaster can make it clean bare metal.  Also ordered some Eastwood Chassis Paint so I can paint the areas I've primed already so I can prevent any new rust from coming back and so I can keep making some progress towards finishing the chassis.  Mostly doing the front part now, but doing some easy parts in the back here and there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hursst....if you need for me to reduce a few photos, I will do that and post them here for you.

John

keiser 31 @ charter .net  (no spaces)

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, I can reduce the photos myself, I was just too lazy and the photos weren't particular interesting, but thank you for the offer. Don't know why the policy has changed on file size.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see I now have 125MB for max file size, so adding a few photos to match the last post.  The slow progress I have made is turning out quite well, better than I expected.  Should have a great looking frame very soon.  No progress since last post, though, too busy at work, snowstorm, tool issues, and too cold.  Hope to get back to it this weekend.

100_3350.JPG

100_3351.JPG

100_3352.JPG

100_3353.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally was able to be home AND have warm weather, so time to get back to the MGA after a few weeks of doing very little on it.  Was able to do a little painting on it and continued to do a section here and do a section there.  At this point, I almost have the front of the chassis before the goal post complete, painted with Eastwood chassis black (photo 1).  Doing it piecemeal like I'm doing produces over spray from primer, so I'll be top coating some sections again to cover any over spray or other errors.

 

I also decided to start tackling the welding repairs.  I cut out the rusted out driver's side toe board brace (photo 2), cut out the left over metal, cleaned it up and welded in a new piece from Moss Motors.  The piece was great, but was not bent at the correct angle, so I had to do it myself with hand tools, since I don't have the correct metalworking equipment.  I made it a lot uglier, but I got it to fit correctly.  I used the original dry-rotted floorboard as a template for proper hole placement (photo 3).  Welcome to amateur hour.

 

My welding is ugly since I have about 3 hours of total experience, but the welds are strong (photo 4).  I also cut out a few more small rusted out areas, for which I'll make small patch panels to weld in place (note the triangle hole with triangle patch where one of the fastener holes rusted to about 3x its original size).  I'll have to re-drill a hole in the proper place, then weld on a captive nut, as original, to complete the repair.

 

I have about 6 more small rust holes to repair within the floorboard framework, then I have to make new battery boxes at the rear, then the welding is complete for the chassis.  The real challenge will be the body rust. Can't wait to get the chassis complete, as I feel dealing with all the smaller parts from then on will be much easier and faster until I get to the body.

100_3390.JPG

100_3385.JPG

100_3387.JPG

100_3389.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris.  If you don't mind, If you can give me a little more information on your welder I can see what I can do to help you with a better bead.  Are you using a MIG welder with flux core wire?  What brand?  What do you have the heat and wire speed at?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris, I am not a great welder yet either.  But your welds look like mine when I first started.  They look like you are not getting metal to metal penetration.  Grind one of them down and see if the weld has taken.  Martin has some good questions too.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll take any advice I can get, so thank you for the offers.  I'm using an Eastwood 175 MIG welder with flux core wire.  I have an individual wire gun that feeds through the gun, not through the welder.  I have the speed setting to "A," the slowest speed, but it still seems to fast. I have the heat setting at "C" on the dial.  I'm guessing I have the heat setting too low? 

Edited by hursst (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now