hursst

1960 MGA Restoration

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Nice weather today, so thought I'd attack my heater box, as I thought it would be easy.  I was right, it's a very easy heater.  Here it is before I started (Photo 1).  Came apart very easily.  I blew it up and started blasting the larger parts (Photo 2).  Minor rust throughout, but nothing the clogmaster 2000 couldn't take care of.  I completed blasting the major parts and got a coat of primer on them (Photo 3).  Most of the hardware needs cleaned up and zinc plated.  I'll need some rubber bushings, new "Smiths" tags (the old ones are corroded and probably not nice enough to reuse), and I'll need to get the heater core and blower motor tested.  The heater core looks to be in excellent condition, surprisingly.  The motor looks very good, too, just needs some cosmetic cleanup.

 

I'm going to have to re-blast my rear number plate brackets, as the pitting is too deep for just high-build primer.  Will have to use some body filler.  No huge deal.  Now that the body and body panels are on hold until consistent nice weather, I can continue to work on ancillary pieces in the meantime.  I may go for the steering column next.

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Been a couple weeks, but made some time this weekend.  I got back more parts from the chrome plater, so I was able to finish my parking brake assembly (Photo 1) and get it installed on the trans tunnel.  MUCH easier when the tunnel is not installed.

 

Also still working on the heater (Photo 2).  Had the heater core tested and it's perfect, for some reason, so had it thoroughly cleaned and back in it goes.  Took the blower motor to a electric shop to get tested and maybe rebuilt.  Took my repro ID tag to an engraver shop to see if they can repro the original stamping.  I'm going to reuse the original CAUTION tag, even though it's a little ratty.  The repro one I bought is wrong in so many ways and the CAUTION lettering is in red instead of the proper black.  It takes just as much effort to do these tags right that it does to screw them up, yet they screw them up every time.  Got the heater box painted, but may still do a little touch up.  The lacquer spray paint I used shows even fine sanding lines, so may need some redoing.  I had to strip off much of he primer and apply body filler earlier in the job, as my first attempt ended up with too much pitting.  I'm waiting on some additional grommets before I can put the whole thing back together.

 

Still slowly working on the bumper and numbers plate assemblies, but these pieces are all rusted and damaged, so having to supplement a lot of it with new parts.  

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22 minutes ago, hursst said:

It takes just as much effort to do these tags right that it does to screw them up, yet they screw them up every time. 

 

 

 

I've always wondered about that.   I wondered a little that it might be a copyright/trademark issue but I think that's a little unlikely.   

 

Glad you found something that worked... that always helps progress.   Looking good!!

 

 

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Got about 3" of snow today, which in Northern Virginia is a national emergency.  Most cowardly, untrained drivers in the world, so the gov't made me stay home today.  The good news was, I headed out to the garage.  

 

The heater work is on hold while I wait for parts, so today, I jumped into the rest of the steering column (Photo 1).  Steering column assembly is a mess.  The shaft itself is excellent, but the steering wheel is completely destroyed (I already bought a new one), and the optional adjustable steering column is corroded.  I was able to take the whole thing apart, eventually, but the separate adjustable shaft would not come out.  It looked warped or bent.  I ended up applying a lot of heat and some tactful hammer blows, and eventually it came out.  I soon discovered the issue.  Some cretin previous owner decided to try to take this thing apart, but they must have been severely mentally challenged, as they decided to try to unscrew the shaft, which 1) has spline in it and 2) has a metal key in it, to keep it from being pulled completely out.  So, they tried unscrewing it and somehow bent the whole thing (Photo 2).  Note that the keyway is bent to the left.  Idiots.  So, I have to buy a whole new shaft, which is $164 + tax from Moss.  Inside the shaft was a vintage Beech Nut gum wrapper from the 1960's (Photo 3).  Evidently this simpleton could not remove the adjustable steering shaft and chew gum at the same time.

 

Moss will be pleased with my next parts order.  My bank account will not be.

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Never been busier in my life.  Too many projects, not enough time! 

 

I've been trying to wrap up a lot of small projects on the car while I wait to get more into the body repairs.  I refinished the steering column (Photo 1) with new felt bushings and new telescoping upper shaft to replace the one that someone pretzeled.  Was not able to complete the rest of the upper telescoping pieces as they need to be re-chromed, so that will be about 2-3 more months.  Also working on the rear license plate bracket assembly.  Heavy pitting has held me back, as I thought I could fill the pits in with sand-able primer, but the pits were too deep, so I had to use some body filler (which I should have done to begin with, lesson learned), then had to do some wet sanding at the end.  I ended up switching paints and the original gloss black I used was too fine, revealing every detail.  I got some better paint that did a much better job of hiding fine scratches.  After redoing everything about 3 times, I'm just about there.  The rear license plate lamp assembly cover will have to be re-plated, so that will be a while until it's finished as well.  I took the base and rewired it (Photo 2), so now I can rebuild the whole assembly, minus the glass and cover.

 

Still working on the heater, but waiting on an ID plate engraver and the blower motor tester.  Have a few smalls left to redo, but it should be complete in about 3-4 weeks.

 

I'm also working on the rear bumper bracketry at the same time, pretty much finished with that, now starting the front.  Fairly easy stuff. 

 

I really need to get to a good stopping point, as I'm ready to detach the inner rockers.  I tried an air chisel to try to break the spot welds, but that didn't work as the chisel point is too thick and just warps the metal.  Of course the air chisel itself failed after only 10 minutes of use (yes, I oiled it beforehand).  It will be going back for a refund tomorrow.  I then purchased an Eastwood spotweld cutter air gun, which should get the top and bottom spot welds easily. It's in the mail now.   I think I will have to manually drill out every spot weld that holds the inner rocker panel to the door pillars and other places on the top sides, as I see no other way to do it without doing some heavy damage.  My door pillars are somehow solid, so I need to save those and the flanges that come off of them at the bottom.  This will be the hardest part of the car, but ready to get it done before the good weather starts and I get the rest of the body sandblasted and in primer to seal it before I start the real body work.

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55 minutes ago, hursst said:

Never been busier in my life.  Too many projects, not enough time! 

I feel your pain.  That's the point I'm at too. 

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Back from some travels and a lot of work hours locally.  Was finally able to finish the rear numbers plate assembly.  Turned out well overall.  Still some minor pitting, but you can't see it when it's on the car, so good enough (Photo 1).  I have the chrome frame for the light headed to the chromer.  Re-wired the light as the old wires were disintegrated.

 

Otherwise, I'm finishing up on the heater box.  Taking a long time, as I still have the blower motor out at a shop, which seems to have been closed for quite a few days now, so not sure what's going on there.  Not out of business, just closed up.  I'll have to investigate further.  I got a repro "Smiths" ID plate, but it's pretty crappy.  I was not pleased with it.  I found a company in the UK that makes repros that are very close, so I ordered one of those and it's at an engraver now to get the numbers on it.  The rest of the parts are in primer and will be painted tomorrow.  Should have the whole thing done in a week or so, minus the missing blower motor.

 

Tomorrow, I'm going to continue trying to remove spotwelds from the inner rocker.  Just bought a spot weld remover gun/drill from Eastwood, so we'll see how it works.  Won't help on the thin tabs that come down from the door pillars and the attachments at front and rear of the rocker, but it should make short work of the upper and lower portions, where you can get the C-clamp portion of the drill assembly around the pinched areas.

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Very productive weekend; hard to find nowadays.  I finished painting the rest of the heater parts (Photo 1).  Will assemble the heater, minus the blower motor as soon as I get the "Smiths" ID tag back from the engraver.  I also completed the front bumper brackets.  I'll put them on the car as a good storage location for now.  

 

Big milestone today, was able to remove about 65% of the passenger side inner rocker panel.  The Eastwood spot weld remover works very well, I'd highly recommend it.  Once you get the hang of it and set the depth of how deep you want to drill, it's a piece of cake.  This has already paid for itself.  That being said,  it's of minimal use in tight corners.  Here's what it did for the top portion (Photo 2).  And here's where I am currently (Photo 3).  There are still pieces attached under the door pillar that will require some more work, as I want to save the door pillar, as it's solid.  I will probably do some damage I don't want to do, but there isn't an easy way to get some of the flaps from the door pillars to the inner rocker easily.  I was also not able to do the section at the front door pillar and in front of it, as the car is supported up in the air under that section, so I'll have to make some adjustments so I can reach it when I get back to the job.  I now need to buy some new inner rockers from Moss to see how everything lines up.  The inner support panel is rough, but it looks salvageable.  I'll have to weld in a few patch panels at the bottom to make it look nice and have solid metal to spot weld on the rockers and attack the trim piece after the car is painted.

 

I will probably wait until I get the repro panels so I can compare what I currently have to the new rockers while the driver's side original rocker is still installed and take some measurements, then I'll probably wait to get the whole body blasted to get rid of the surface rust before I install the inner rockers.  I think once I get the body blasted, I'll officially be on the downhill portion of the restoration.  I'll be 3 years in in May.  A guy in my local MG club called me "anal retentive" as I am taking so long to do this resto and I'm a stickler for originality or at least accuracy.  Most of the club owners drivers, not show cars, which is great, as these cars should be driven.   This just motivates me more, as I'm going to shoot for the best MGA out there and hopefully win some AACA awards with it.  Don't worry, I'll be driving it, too, it won't be a trailer queen.  If it doesn't win anything, I don't care either, I'll still have a great MGA to enjoy that I built with sweat equity.

 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

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Wow that looks like a lot of work, glad that tool is working out for you!  That really doesn't look like much fun. :)

 

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