hursst

1960 MGA Restoration

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Didn't have much time today, but kept working on the valance panel.  Made an "anvil" out of bricks and wood blocks in order to have something to get behind the panel in order to keep working it (Photo 1).  Was able to get the rough contours back of the upper crease above where the bumper goes using this method.  Using various wood blocks and body hammers, was able to get the whole thing into general shape, minimized the twisting that was in it, hammered out most of the big dents and problem areas, and got the tears lined up fairly well, then put a clamp on to hold it for now.  Probably ready for a few tack welds to keep it in place, then keep working the rest of the torn areas, then tack those up, then keep working the general contours and make sure things are even before I complete the weld.

 

Bought some of the good Rage body filler, so I will start filling in any problem areas on my doors, hood, and trunk, maybe New Years Day, since it's supposed to be quite warm here.

 

Happy New Year.

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I agree, in order to get the rest of the dents out, I'll need a bag to work against the curves; flat surface won't do for much of it.

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You can go to Goodwill or another thrift store and look for a large leather handbag.   Remove the straps and other bling and fill with sand. 

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Got in some time here and there to do some work.  I got my one good wire wheel, blasted, primed and painted it.  Turned out well (Photo 1).  This will be used as the spare.  I went down to Moss and got 4 new wire wheels, as it's too much cost and effort to try to piece together a full set of originals that are any good.  I also picked up a sand bag so I can work on some larger areas with lots of curves (Photo 3).  I got my valance panel and welded up most of the torn area (Photo 2).  My welding is below average, but seems to be adequate so far.  Ran out of wire, so still have more to do at the bottom, plus more grinding and shaping.  The whole area is a little convex and not quite lining up at the bottom where there are multiple tears and a piece that just fell off which I need to weld back on.  Should be an easy fix, just need some time to work it.  I still have to grind the back side of it, as there are a lot of stalagmites that I produced back there.

 

Any welding tips are appreciated.  I'm using flux core with an Eastwood welder.  I have the heat setting between A and B and the wire speed at 5.  As you can see, I'm getting a lot of splatter.  I also got a some burn through, of which I've been able to mostly repair as I go.  The more I did the better it went.  I have maybe 3 hours of welding experience thus far.  

 

Also got a bunch of new heater hoses, so I pieced together a lot of the plumbing for the heater, so it should be an easy installation later.  Also got to fill in most of my NOS door with body filler.  A few dings, but not too bad.  Put a layer of guide cost primer on, so I'll find out what's what with the rest of the door soon.  

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Looking good!  I'm pretty envious of you being able to drive down to Moss and get parts.  :)

 

Is that Eastwood AC or DC?  If it is AC then you might be getting fairly good results as the switching plays havoc with your ability to keep a constant arc.   Spatter is usually low volts or high amps.  You mentioned burn through so maybe less amps would be better.  If you don't have control of that then it might be difficult to work through.   If I remember correctly... increasing wire speed increases amps, so maybe try a lower wire speed. 

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13 hours ago, hursst said:

I went down to Moss and got 4 new wire wheels, as it's too much cost and effort to try to piece together a full set of originals that are any good. 

 

Any welding tips are appreciated.  I'm using flux core with an Eastwood welder. 

hursst, be sure to post some pics of those new wire wheels when you get them unpacked. We like pictures of car jewelry.  :) 

 

As far as welding tips........if your welder can be used for either flux core or solid wire with gas, switch to the solid wire welding. It works much better on sheet metal in my opinion. The downside is that the surfaces must be clean, but usually that's not too much more work.

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Have a 3 day weekend, so plan to make the most of it with the MGA.  Today I attempted to get the hood, both doors, and trunk finished with a preliminary application of body filler where needed and sanded at an 80 grit level.  Almost got there, but there were a few additional low spots to fill.  Here's a door and the hood, finished with 80 grit (Photos 1&2).  Next will be moving on to a higher grit, probably 220 with the long board, to try to get these prepped for primer in the spring.  NOS door was a mess with dings everywhere from poor storage, but not a spec of corrosion.  Front of door needed a lot of filler due to it being a little lower than the edge of the door, where the skin is crimped.  Really tough to get to this area, because of inner door framing.  It's quite shallow, but big.  I will probably rethink it and try a little more withe the slapper and see if I an get it closer before the next round of sanding.  Hood was really good, too, only two spots that needed filler.  I would have hammered them out, but they are behind bracing and I couldn't get a good angle. 

 

While waiting for filler to cure, I blew apart my rear bumper assembly (Photo 3).  It was a mess, but is starting to clean up okay, and I will be able to reuse most of he parts.  I will probably need a new bumper and definitely new bumper bolts, as most of them spun in place and I had to more or less pull them thru the bumper to free everything.  One of the bumper guards was hit, but I was able to get it mostly back into shape.  The bumper has been hit, twisted, and buckled, so it will be difficult to repair.  I will probably look for a replacement, but keep this in case I can't find a good one.  Took a break from welding the torn valance panel, so it will sit for a couple days (Also in Photo 3).

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Did more this morning, but took the afternoon off to do other things.  I finished sanding the doors/hood/trunk and added a little glazing putty to some spots, but those pieces are effectively done for that phase.

 

I moved on to the passenger side rear fender.  It had a big whamo in it at the top.  It looked like someone dropped something big and heavy on top of it (Photo 1).  Kind of hard to see, but that shinny part is light from above it.  It's dented in quite a bit.  Was able to easily hammer it out with a sand bag, rubber mallet, and some fine tuning with the body hammers (Photo 2).  Turned out quite straight, overall.  It will still need some final work, but it's about 95% done.  The rest of the car body is mostly dent free.

 

I then went back to the front valance panel and finished the welding.  It was really tough working with the thin metal trying to butt weld it all, but it came out well for my skill level (Photo 3).  I ground it down to a reasonable level to get general contours before I start fine tuning it.  Glad I was able to save this piece.  It still has some thin metal and minor rust outs at the bottom lip, so may have to weld in a few small patch panels.

 

Also finished restoring the nuts and bolts for my back number plate brackets and assembly on the side.

 

Overall, quite happy with the progress I've made on the body work, didn't know if I could do it, having very little experience.  I think I'm going to move on to the 4 steel fenders and start chemically stripping the lead paint and get it ready for sandblasting.  The rear fenders look quite good, rust wise, but the fronts will need a little work at the lower front.  One has some rust holes and will need replacement patches,  while the other is just rusty at the extreme lower part and will need some very small patches.

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Great job!   Now that you've gotten the basics of panel beating down it sure changes how you look at things doesn't it?  Gotta be a great feeling.

 

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Thanks Jeff.  It's nice to be able to do things yourself and learn new skills, especially when the going labor rate in my area for just about any car work is $120/hr.   Thanks for the tips about the body hammers and dollies, I can really feel the difference when I'm using the "real" tools.  Now back to the garage...

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Today, I stripped a large part of the pass rear fender (Photo 1).  Needs a little more work, but the goal is to get rid of the white paint at least, so I can safely have it blasted, due to lead in the paint.  Found a few more dents now that the fenders are a little more clean, but no big deal.  Also decided to start stripping the body, too (Photo 2).  Will probably try to do most of the accessible areas on top, but I'll have a professional blast the car clean.  Not sure if I'll make a dolly for the body or what at this point.  Will also be removing the rocker panels soon, as they are shot.  Want to give plenty of access for the blasting later this year.

 

Fairly productive 3 day weekend, but very cold.  Didn't work as much as I could have, but decided to take it easy later in the afternoons.  Can't wait for spring.

 

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Curious as to how you concluded there was lead in the paint?  I thought automotive paint didn't use lead.  

 

Blasted a bunch of it off over the years in any case.  

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I bought a lead test kit from the hardware store.  The car has the original paint on it in between the rust, plus someone repainted parts of it later on..  I did a test of the paint on the rear bulkhead, which I know had been repainted prior to 1970, and it came up as positive for lead in the paint.  Not sure if the original paint has lead in it, but I was pretty sure that the"new" paint has lead in it, so trying to be very careful with removing it and not creating and dust, wearing a full respirator.  You may be right about original paint not having lead it in, however.

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This weekend I broke out the clogmaster 2000 to clean up some parts.  I started with the rear number plate assembly and two bumper brackets (Photo 1).  They came out quite nicely, but do have some pitting.  I think a good coat or two of build primer should get the job done.  I also decided to try a fender (Photo 2). With paint remover,  I took off what I thought was probably lead paint and left it with mostly primer, then finished up with the blaster outside.  Ran out of media before I could finish everything.  Unfortunately, there are a large amount of pinholes at the lower front of the fender, so it will need a patch.  Will probably need to do a quick blast of it again, as I used "used" blast media, which I learned can force bad material back onto the bare metal. Thinking about trying out a mobile sandblast guy I just find out about through the forum.  I figure that to do the body correctly, I'm going to need to use only fresh media only, which will add up in cost quite quickly.  It may be cheaper or as expensive to hire this guy to blast it all at one time, plus he'll have a better and faster blaster.

 

Still working on one of the doors (Photo 3).  Didn't quite get enough filler in two spots, so had to add some more. 

 

No space for more photos today, but also cleaned up the original rear deck trim/side curtain bag as a side project.  Overall, looks good and it's original to the car, but has a slight amount of discoloring and two small tears in the vinyl near two of the lift-the-dot fasteners.  I think it's good enough to reuse.

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Found a small indoor project to do this week, since it's so cold outside.  Got the side curtain storage bag/trim from the parts pile and inspected and cleaned it up.  Here's before and after (Photos 1 & 2).  Being original, I want to save it if I can.  Turns out, it's in quite good condition.  I vacuumed out the inside and put on some 303 Protectant to clean the vinyl.  Put a little chrome polish on the Lift-The-Dot fasteners as well.  The piece has a few areas with some fading and there are two small tears, maybe 1/2" or so, on either end of the upper Lift-The-Dots, but otherwise, it looks good.  I will reuse it.

 

In the meantime, I bought two new buckets of garnet sand for the blaster, so I can properly start blasting the rest of the fenders, without using the recycled stuff.  I think I can get away with using the recycled stuff on the inside of the fenders, or other places where they can't be seen.  Media is not that cheap.

 

I also think I'm going to remove the rocker panels this weekend.  The both have large rust holes in them, so they are shot.  I dug around in there and found some rust holes on the inner rockers as well, although it looked fairly minor so far, but it will need some surgery.  Time to get in there and get it down.  Have new outer rockers ready to go.

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The best treatment by far for vinyl and other tops is RaggTop. Silicon is not what you want.

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Looking good.  Keep at it and we both will be driving our fresh restorations when the weather warms up!

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Thanks for the encouragement, but I have at least another 2 years.  All my parts need a LOT of work, nothing easy on this car.

 

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2 hours ago, hursst said:

Thanks for the encouragement, but I have at least another 2 years.  All my parts need a LOT of work, nothing easy on this car.

 

 

Just keep making the steady progress.  That's all you can control.  Do that and it gets done and you get to drive it.  After driving it for 10 years it will seem like it took no time at all.

 

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Today I took the plunge and broke into my rocker panels.  Here's the passenger side before (Photo 1) and after (Photo 2).  Not having a proper spot weld remover, I just cut the metal as close as I could to the spot welded areas.  I will either buy a spot weld driller-outer, or maybe just grind the other pieces out.  Not sure yet.  Here's the driver's side after I cut the rocker out there (Photo 3).  The inner sills have rust holes, but it doesn't look too bad at first glance.  

 

My plan is to stop with the body, other than continuing to remove what's left of the paint, and wait until I can get it professionally blasted to bare metal.  I think at that point, I'll be able to see the full extend of the damage.  Right now, it looks like I could maybe put in some patch panels, as it looks fairly structurally sound, but the blasting may open up a whole can of worms.  I don't have the expertise to replace the full sill assembly myself, I would not be able to keep the body in alignment.  

 

While winter continues, I'm still working on some smalls on the side.  Was able to heat up the garage today and primer the rear number plate brackets and hardware.  Should be able to sand and paint them up tomorrow.  Picking up some chrome pieces later this week, and dropping more off.  I also need to call the engine shop.  It's been 4 months since I dropped it off and last I heard it was at the line bore shop.  Starting to get a little antsy, they should be wrapping it up about now.  Plenty of paint on the body still to strip.  I could get back into the heater, that would be easy and consistent work.  Probably shouldn't get too far ahead of myself, my credit card has been smoking other the last few months, it could probably use a break from car parts/services purchases.

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Chris,  The number plate is yours, please email me, jrdshen@verizon.net.  Same place where you got the 2 wheels.
Your message to me via AACA had a no return email address.  It's the second time I've not been able to reply to a message sent via the club.  Clicking on "Hurrst" for personal info also gave no option to send a PM back either.   Can't understand what's going on.   Dave

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Looking good Chris, nice progress.  I guess that's probably as bad as it gets on the car? 

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Thanks Jeff, it is getting done, a little at a time.  There are some rust holes on both sides at the back of the trunk sides.  There is also a lot of damage at the very upper trunk where it meets the bulkhead.  Battery acid/gas got to it.  I should be able to patch these areas up okay without having to do major surgery.  All 4 fenders will need some patch panels at the lowers, but that should be it.  No major structural rust anywhere, but quite a few minor rust outs that need attention.  It will be a busy summer welding and priming.

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