hursst

1960 MGA Restoration

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Now I understand why your fuel tank looks so pretty.

I'll buy a new one as it is not so expensive, the same for the exhaust and keep the old ones as you say.

I hope to start the body for after the summer, hoping to have some full days during this holidays to work on it.

 

Next hard step for me is to choose the color.  Original one is old English white but I don't like it.

My prefered one is the verde acqua from the fiat 500, not an original one but between ash green and island green.

 

Have you already decided which one will you make?

 

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Angelo, I'm a stickler for originality, so I'm going with the original color, which of course, is Old English White, just like yours.  Black interior with white piping, gray top.  I must say, I've always thought the Dove gray is one of the best colors.

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I wanted to keep it original in the beginning of the restoration, but it is not possible.  Serial number was missing on the engine

It was blocked and when I opened it I was surprised by the diameter of the bore. 

It was larger than all the oversizes, it was one MGB engine!

I could only find 1600cc MGA engine on exchange basis, so I kept the MGB engine.

At this time I realized that the number 1800 on the block was the CC on the engine, it should have been 1600.

So I changed mind, if there is no original motor, I could go for non orignal color?

I saw one yellow with grey interior that I liked very much, but it is again MGB color.

 

 

 

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Still able to stick to my edict of doing at least an hour each day (when I'm home).

 

I finished the intake manifold yesterday (Photo 1).  Also includes a bracket and brass firing order guide tag.  Just need the gaskets on each side.

 

Finished painting the air cleaner assembly tops (Photo 2).  Tough to get these painted well, as there is always dust and dirt around.  May have to touch these up a little if there are any irregularities in them after they dry.  Should be starting the lower assemblies soon, before I start on the carbs.

 

Also got my condenser in from Moss, so finished up the distributor (Photo 3).  Tried to reuse as much as possible, but replaced the points, condenser, plug wires, and coil wires.  Was able to clean and reuse all the other parts (with help from a junker distributor I bought on ebay to replace the main shaft.  Very happy with the results on all these pieces, was able to restore most of the engine parts rather than replace.  Should make for a much more authentic restoration.

 

-Chris

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Took a day off work and spent some more time with the MGA.  Finished the preliminary cleaning of he transmission, finished painting the main floorboards (2 days ago), and started work on my carburetors.  I got a copy of the SU carb manual from the MGA club in the UK a few years ago, and now putting it to good use.  I exploded one of the carbs and it wasn't too bad with help from the manual (Photos 1 & 2, before and after).  I'll need to do a lot of inspection of the various parts as they've been sitting for such a long time.  Already discovered that the idle setting lever has worn into the main throttle shaft, creating excessive play.  I'll have to replace the main throttle shaft and lever pin.  I may be able to keep the lever, but an screw has broken off in it, so I'll have to drill that out.

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I like your idea about setting aside a hour a day to work on the car.  I'm going to apply this same rule and see how far I get.  The car is coming along nicely.

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I wasn't happy with my progress.  I meet a lot of guys and I ask "How long did this restoration take you?"  A lot of them say "Oh, a while, about 18 months or so."  This is incredibly fast, my last resto took 9 years and I'm already 2 years into this one.  I guess these folks are either retired or a pro shop is doing the whole thing.  I don't want this one to be another 9 years, so if I can do at least an hour each day during the week, I think I can speed up progress a little.

 

Thanks, I still love seeing the results of your resto; beyond professional.

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Are the carbs SU2 or SU4?  I'm fairly certain I have an extra set of both so if you needs some parts, let me know. 

 

An hour a day is a great idea.  I think it is a great way to keep things moving along.   I've found that I actually tend to get more done during the week than on the weekends.  There are 5 of those "weekdays" so a couple hours on each of them adds up pretty quick.  On the weekends I've got yard work, house work, family stuff, etc so they zip by pretty quick.

 

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Carbs are SU4.  I should be okay with getting some new carb parts from Moss, but I'll keep your in mind in case mine are somehow beyond repair.

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The trans is in the shop.  I should have it back around August, which is about when I should be able to ship the engine out for assessment and hopefully rebuild.  In the meantime, I've still been working hard on all the small ancillary pieces to the engine, especially the carbs.  I keep finding worn out parts on the carbs, so I keep ordering them from Moss.  I've found that some of the carb parts from Moss require some "finishing," either major or minor, and are not ready to just go right in.  Better than nothing, I guess, but frustrating.  I'm down to the last few bits on the engine, other than the carbs.  I'm now scrounging for small engine related parts in the pile to pull out and restore, so almost there.  

 

I finished one of the air filter assemblies (Photo 1).  The paint job on the other one is not satisfactory, so I need to do some more work on it.  Was able to reuse most of the original parts, with the exception of the filters themselves.  

 

I bought a repro coil from Moss (Photo 2).  It's quite different than the original (original on the right), but it will do for now.  I bought a repro sticker and put it on the repro coil (on the left).  For the life of me, I don't understand why so many reproduction parts are either crap or inaccurate or both.  The sticker design has the overall theme correct, but the fonts, size, and overall fidelity are way off.  I don't understand this cutting corners thing with repro parts.  I would gladly pay much more if they could make the part the same as the original, rather than some cheap knockoff that costs less.  If you're taking the time to repro a sticker, can't you just scan an original, clean it up digitally and make a clean basis from which to print repros?  I would think doing it correctly would take the same time as doing incorrectly, when you're starting from scratch.

 

Also finished the carb heat shield (photo 3).  Turned out really well, I think.  For comparison, here's the original mess I started with (photo 4).

 

Once I run out of small engine-related parts, I'm going to start pulling out ancillary body panels, such as the dash, fender supports, and interior panels, blast them, and get a primer coat on them in order to try out my new paint gun and see if I can get it working right with primer.  Never used one before, so I'll have a learning curve.  I'll slowly move into the fenders, aluminum parts (doors, hood, trunk lid), then work on the main body.  Goal is to have the whole body completed and on the car by 2020, and try to do most if not all the work myself.

 

Happy July 4th!

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1 hour ago, hursst said:

If you're taking the time to repro a sticker, can't you just scan an original, clean it up digitally and make a clean basis from which to print repros?  I would think doing it correctly would take the same time as doing incorrectly, when you're starting from scratch.

 

If you want a PERFECT reproduction the only way is to start from scratch. I have done a couple of name plates.

 

1. photograph the item with axis of photo perpendicular to the item. Use a 50 mm lens so there is no distortion. Use a tripod and very good lighting.

2. import the photo onto a layer in a VECTOR graphics program.

3. on another layer, draw over the original photo (which you have sized to the correct original size using the units in the program), i.e. a complete new drawing.

4. when happy, send to print on decal medium.

 

I say VECTOR graphics because that is the only way to get a sharp, non-furry edge, non-pixellated decal. Vector graphics have NO pixellation at any scale, no matter how far you zoom in.

 

I used Inkscape. From the web site, " Inkscape is a professional vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It's free and open source. "

 

Be prepared to put some time into this to get it spot on. You can match any type face. Just print the text into Inkscape with an available font, convert it to paths, then edit the path using Bezier curves. One tricky thing is that all lines have width in Inkscape, unlike CAD programs.

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Looking great!

 

I feel your pain with Moss parts needing adjustment.  Just about everything needs some adjustment.  I also think that artwork not being a perfect duplicate might very well be for fear of copyright violation. 

 

I'm a little concerned to see those air filters because I have the same thing and it makes me wonder if they are not for the TD.   I've been disappointed several times to find out my best parts are actually for an MGA.  Hopefully they were used on both.

 

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Be careful when cleaning the SU dashpots - I have heard that attempting to buff them clean can get them hot enough to permanently distort them! The Burlen UK SU kits come with new shafts with bushes, butterflys etc. Yours will be H4 types based on the brass jet in the pics. Get the best jet seals, Orings etc available, as they are prone to leaking. 

Still watching with interest.

jp 26 Rover 9

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On 7/5/2018 at 6:44 PM, jp928 said:

Be careful when cleaning the SU dashpots - I have heard that attempting to buff them clean can get them hot enough to permanently distort them! The Burlen UK SU kits come with new shafts with bushes, butterflys etc. Yours will be H4 types based on the brass jet in the pics. Get the best jet seals, Orings etc available, as they are prone to leaking. 

Still watching with interest.

jp 26 Rover 9

 

Another danger with buffing dash-pots is they might catch on the 8'' buff wheel and get 'dashed' onto your scrap metal pile. Ask me how I know. Took a lot of work to get the distortion out of that one.

I tend to purchase my Burlen SU parts direct from sucarb.co.uk  A comprehensive website, even if a bit confusing at times. And no, I don't have a connection to the business.

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You know that the filter makers Vokes also made filters for Spitfires used in the middle east during WWII?

jp 26 Rover 9

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An important part of rebuilding MGA carbs is making sure the main jet is centered to the needle. There is a small tool that takes the place of the needle when re-assembling the jet and seals that insures the needle will be centered in the jet. And in my experience they always need new throttle shafts, not a difficult job.

 

Greg in Canada   …..   45 years of MGA's. 

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Pretty deep into the carburetors at this point, but making painfully slow progress as I learn and/or find problems as I go.  Here's one of the problems, the holes in this lever for the first carb are elliptical and/or worn too large. The main throttle rod and throttle plate are worn down and have elliptical holes as well (Photo 1).  Repro lever on the left, old one on the right.  Notice the larger or warped holes.  The repro throttle rod is to the right of that. Annoyingly, it is way too long and does not have the hole for the idle lever pin drilled, so I'll have to make a trip to the machine shop and spend more $.  It was be nice if Moss had mentioned the extra time and expense I have to put in if I buy this part.  So, I'm waiting on buying the throttle plates and other parts before I continue on this portion, should have them next week.

 

Here's the first carb restored so far (photo 2).   Compare to the pile of junk it was before, seen in previous photos, it's turning out quite well so far.   I'm doing it piecemeal, like many other parts of the car, as I wait for new parts to come in or paint to dry, or whatever other problem comes up.  I used Eastwood Carb paint for the body, the Eastwood "Zinc" paint for the add-ons.  As with everything else on the car, I'm trying to reuse any original parts if they are serviceable.  Most of the steel parts on the carb were quite corroded, but cleaned up nicely after 2-3 days in some Evapo-rust.  Getting these very small parts zinc plated is a bridge too far for me due to the corrosion, nooks and crannies, small size, and the great expense of having it done right.  I can always do that in the future if it's not good enough.

 

Started messing with the float chamber and it has half of Brighton Beach in it (Photo 3).  These pot metal pieces, or whatever they are, seem to clean up with lots of degreaser, a few light runs with a Dremel tool, some steel wool, and some acetone, before the carb paint.  Being carefull not to heat them up too much.  The second carb should be much easier to restore/rebuild, as I should know much better about what I'm doing, since I've never done this before.  Got some great tips at the Gettysburg show from a fellow MGA owner, too.  Great all the AACA'ers are so willing to help, hope I can return the favor many times over.

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Hursst,

 

I've been following your progress and the work is amazing (I am a TD owner).  Two observations...first, I hope you did not pitch your old condenser.  It is probably still fine. Also, the new ones are pretty much garbage.  While there are many anecdotes about them failing, I experienced a total failure within 30 minutes after installation of one from the big parts supplier. Luckily I had the old one which I reinstalled and all was well.  Some TD owners have had the same condenser almost 50 years without a failure.  While you can buy Lucas points, apparently Lucas is out of the condenser business.  Second, the crud in your float bowl isn't all that bad. The filters MG put in the fuel line only capture large crud.  The very fine debris from an old fuel tank gets through and needs wiped out every so often (until one gets the tank cleaned and sealed, that is). The carbs are pot metal. Be careful in attempts to polish. Also, I might recommend going to Burlen, in England for any parts other than gland seals and gaskets; they are the SU authorities.

 

Good luck with the resto and I look forward to watching your progress...looks great.

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Really looking good but you sure are scaring me with your issues so far.  I think it is safe to assume I'll have the same issues.  I think I have two or three sets of carbs so maybe I'll be able to scrape up enough parts to get one get set.  The air filter up in post 235 is just amazing.  Maybe you should be rebuilding my carbs!!! 

 

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I usually just carefully silver solder worn/ elongated holes in the choke levers. then take them back to round with a fine rat tail file.  An hour or so of careful work and they are ready for another 25 years service. They always seem to have a fair bit of wear.

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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DrData, I've kept all the old parts from the car in case they can be saved/used/restored or for reference in the future.  Some items are not worth trying or restoring right now, like the 45+ year old condenser or the 50-yr old brake rotors, but I'm holding on to them for reference.  I'll get the car running, then try to swap condensers once I get it baselined.  I have a few other items, like the original and correct  spark plug wire ends that I may try to re-install after the car is running well.

 

Jeff, I've never rebuilt a carb, so I shouldn't be rebuilding anyone's carbs!

 

Greg, good tip.  I will hold on to the original bits and maybe try that in a few years.  I'd have to learn how to silver solder, so for now, it's easier to go with the new stuff.

 

-Chris

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22 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

I usually just carefully silver solder worn/ elongated holes in the choke levers. then take them back to round with a fine rat tail file.  An hour or so of careful work and they are ready for another 25 years service. They always seem to have a fair bit of wear.

 

Greg in Canada

 

Wow, that's a great idea, thanks for the tip!!

 

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When i did my SU with Burlen parts I had zero issues - check the new shaft is good in the body, slip it in, fit the new butterfly, slip the throttle lever on the shaft - drilled and threaded - fix with screw; install and centre new jet, connect to bowl, tighten it all up, add dashpot oil, good to go. Sounds like the throttle lever fitting is different - mine is an HS2.

Update:- my throttle lever slips onto flats on the shaft end, and retained by a nut, so its quite different from an H type. Being a single carb also means the shafts are different.

jp 26 Rover 9

Edited by jp928 (see edit history)
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On 6/20/2018 at 8:06 AM, angelo said:

It was larger than all the oversizes, it was one MGB engine!

I could only find 1600cc MGA engine on exchange basis, so I kept the MGB engine.

At this time I realized that the number 1800 on the block was the CC on the engine, it should have been 1600.

 

 Hi, Angelo. Sorry, just noticed this, and apologies for hi-jacking the thread.  But there are many 3 bearing MGB engines hiding in MGA's and Magnettes. The usual trick is to carefully grind off part of the '8' in the 1800 on the block, turning it into a '6'. On a Magnette I believe it is necessary to modify the sump to fit in with the different front cross member, but not sure if any change is needed on an 'A'. A look at your sump will tell.  So, if you did want more horsepower, that is one way to go.

Edited by Bush Mechanic
clarification (see edit history)

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The only limiting factor is that 3 main MGB engines are somewhat rare. I have a couple of them, and have used them for years. I haven't found an additional one for at least 15 years . The early MGB's around here generally bit the dust in the 1980's and 90's.

 Heresy to many; myself included until recently, I might do a Miata engine / gearbox swap on my next basket case resurrection. If for no other reason than MGA gearboxes are getting quite expensive to rebuild.

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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