hursst

1960 MGA Restoration

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9 hours ago, Luv2Wrench said:

Nice solution!!  I too am puzzled by the inability to correctly make a reproduction part.

 

This explanation may help to explain the problem with some 'replacement' panels.

 

In the UK, the MOT test was first introduced in 1960 under the direction of the Minister of Transport, Ernest Marples under powers in the Road Traffic Act 1956. The test was originally a basic test including brakes, lights and steering check which was to be carried out after the vehicle was ten years old and every year thereafter. This became known as the “ten year test”, or alternatively the “Ministry of Transport Test”. The high failure rate resulted in the age that vehicles became due for testing being reduced to seven years on 31 December 1961. In 1962, the first commercial vehicle exam was created and a valid certificate was required in order to receive a tax disc, and in April 1967 the testable age for an MOT was reduced to three years.

 

Remember our 'classic cars' were once 'old cars' and hardly worth any money at all.

 

Many, many, cars failed the MOT in the UK because of rust in the sill panels, I believe you call them rocker panels. Companies such as VENG, to name but one, came up with the idea of 'repair panels'. These were these were made of thinner gauge metal and fitted over the rusted panel to hide the rusty panel below. This was big business for these companies. These 'repair panels' gave the MOT failed  'old cars' a few years more life.

 

I can only assume that many of the replacement panels being sold by some of the specialist classic car companies have used cars fitted with these 'repair panels' as there patterns for making the 'replacement panels'. I maybe wrong, but that's what I think is possibly the problem.

 

Having worked in the vehicle body repair business for most of my working life. When 'properly' restoring classic cars. If you could only buy a 'repair panel' rather than a proper original manufacturers 'replacement panel' it would be nearly impossible to fit it perfectly, without either spending a lot of time reshaping it, or even panel beating a complete new panel and 'binning' the repair panel!

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Took a 3-day weekend.  Went down to Moss Motors in Petersburg, VA to buy some parts for the MGA.  One of the things I picked up was the seat kit and foam, at 15% off with the special they had.  They also had in in stock.  They even gave me a tour of the upholstery shop!  All their upholstery is made in-house by hand, pretty impressive.  I got the black leather with white piping, as original.  I read some info on installation on the MGA guru site and chatted on their forum and got some great photos and input.  I decided to just tackle it myself, seemed doable by an amateur.  This was the only project I did this weekend, I went to the local AACA regional show with my '30 Plymouth on Saturday, then had to replace my steering rack on my lawn tractor (with only 103 hours on it).  Some poor engineering there.

 

It turned out to be quite easy, since it's a very simple seat and the upholstery was pre-fab.  I used staples to secure the fabric, as that's how most of them were done.  The experts say some had staples, some had tacks, some had a combination.  Mine appears to be about 80% staples with some tacks thrown in.  Decided to just go with staples to make it a little easier.

 

First photo is how I found it (seat folded down) in 2016 (Photo 1), second photo is with the lower frames and seat foam (Photo 2).  Here's the finished result (Photo 3).  Overall, quite good, no major screw-ups on my part.  The arm rest is how it came from Moss, it will need to be sewn onto the middle carpet section, so that's probably a good project for when it gets cold outside.  I may be able to salvage the original center carpet section, although the original arm rest is petrified.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Another boring week slaving at work and finally another weekend.  Got my new top from Moss Motors yesterday (Photo 1).  Overall, it looks pretty good, fairly authentic.  Even comes with a card signed by the person that hand-made it at Moss In Petersburg, VA.  Nice touch.  I'll have to farm this out to get fitted and have all the fasteners professionally installed.  One mistake and you ruin the top with all the fasteners, clips, and snap placements.

 

Took advantage of the cooler mornings and broke out the Clogmaster 2000.  The goal was to blast the 6 inner fender pieces and get them ready for primer.  The morning turned out to be fairly humid and the Clogmaster did what it does best, clog up, but I am now able to unclog it and get it going again for a while fairly efficiently.  Got about 2/3 of the way finished, then it started to rain, so that ended that.  When I emptied my compressor, it looked like it had about 2 gallons of water come out with the evacuated air.  Too humid.

 

In the meantime, I welded in the top portion of the outer rocker on the driver's side.  Went okay.  Once I got it in and sized properly, I found the lower portion to be quite far off, even after I bent the curve in tighter.  I decided to fit the door and try to get it spaced enough to get some type of door gap (Photo 2).  I got it pretty close, then drilled some fresh holes in the vertical door pillar to re-install the factory aluminum rivets on each side of the outer rocker. The factory holes would not match up properly with the new outer rocker.  That gave me a decent setting at the top, which should hold well, but the bottom is still quite far off.  I will probably try to buy a large clamp and see if I can continue to bend the radius of the outer rocker tighter so the bottom will line up with the inner rocker support panel.  Will be happy when these rockers are finished, probably the biggest pain in the neck on the car.

 

Also continued on some more smalls.  I'm now refinishing all the mounting hardware for the 4 fenders.  I think each fender has about 80 individual hardware components between nuts, bolts, washers, and shims.  I looked at my two parts storage areas and they are looking a little sparse, so making great progress on all the small parts.  Once I get the body painted, it should fly together.  I'm now thinking I may be able to get close to finishing the car in maybe another year to year and a half.

 

Lastly, no word on the engine.  I will call them after Hershey to get a progress report.

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Today was even more productive than yesterday.  Got the Clogmaster 2000 out again this morning.  Lower humidity today.  I also loaded the blaster up with more media than usual and I changed the ceramic tip on the blaster nozzle, as the current one had worn thin and the side chipped off.  This made a big difference, the blaster worked much better, faster, and much less clogging today, so I was able to complete blasting all 6 fender brackets (Photo 1).

 

It was such a nice day and I made such good progress, I went right on to priming the parts as well.  My sprayer is really dialed in now, and I'm getting better results than when I started.  Here are all the brackets (Photo 2).  I have all the hardware refinished and primed as well, so these are ready to be installed on the body (when the body is stripped and primed) to be painted all at once.

 

 

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Those look great!  It is getting to be the time of the year that the Clogmasters actually work well.  We've been having quite a drought here the last month... I'm thinking I might have to break out my Clogmaster to get some humidity and rain in the area... either that or try to paint outside.  Either is about guaranteed to bring rain. :)

 

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There are a number of different ways to clean and polish auto parts. Depending on the final finish required and the size, shape and geometry of the part, the final surface finish can range from a smooth, bright finish all the way to a near mirror finish.

 

If parts simply need to be cleaned prior to painting or coating, blasting with Glass Bead will result in a smooth, satin-like or matte surface finish. If additional polishing is needed, vibratory (or barrel) tumbling with a Polishing Precision Ceramic or Stainless Steel Media can produce much smoother, brighter finishes. The key with both processes is to select the proper media shape and size based on the part and areas of the part that need to be finished. The size of tumbling equipment is based on the size and quantity of parts that need to be finished.

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It's been about 3 weeks since my last post.  Between Carlisle, Hershey, and working overtime, there hasn't been much progress.  Hershey was very successful, picked up some good parts in general and picked up my latest batch from the chrome shop.  I mostly use Librandi's in Middletown, PA and they've done nothing but perfect work and service.  This time I got back my rear bumper, part of the front bumper assembly, and some odds and ends.  This morning, I was able to piece together the entire rear bumper assembly, with outstanding results.  Here's a before and after (Photos 1 & 2).  I'll be doing "Year of Manufacture" plate on the car as well.

 

My engine is slated to be finished on Oct 22nd, so my next step will be to get back to the rocker panels and get all the rocker work finished before I have to shuffle the chassis and body around when I receive the engine.  I'm having a lot of problems with fitment of the driver's side rocker due the the curvature of the repro panel being WAY off.  I have a plan to fix it and we'll see how it goes this weekend.

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The chrome is FANTASTIC!!  Too bad those guys don't do engines as well. :)

 

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Finished spot welding on the lower portion of the driver's side outer rocker today.  I had to use a heavy-duty hand clamp to try to bend the radius of the panel enough so that the bottom lip of the rocker was flush with the bottom lip of the vertical support panel (Photo 1).  I also had to make a wood block with a deep hole for the one side of the camp and a channel for the top side of the block, so the clamp wouldn't slide off the bottom of the rocker.  I got it about 90% of the way there and that was about all it would go.  I decided to call it good enough, as I don't really have any other option.  I think it will still work okay.  I will probably grind a little off the bottom to make it close to even.  I will still need to have some width to attach the rocket trim pieces, so I can't grind too much.  

 

I also put together the freshly chromed parts from Librandi's for the adjustable steering column (Photo 3).  Turned out very nice as well, but overall, this small section was a lot of work between re=chroming, replacing the telescoping chrome piece, and replacing the severely bent and warped primary sliding piece with key way.  It all works as new now.

 

Last, I put in the aluminum rivets that secure the outer rocker top side sections to the door pillars (Photo 2).  The back one will be covered with a long scalloped "outer" pillar piece, so I think only the fronts will even be seen.  Had to drill a few new holes for a few of them, as the repro outer rocker was so far off from the original.

 

I still need some cleanup work, like grinding down the newer spot welds, fixing any pinholes that appear,  grinding the bottom section, as described earlier, and I think I forgot about 3 spot welds in one of the corners of the outer rocker.  I'll also need to bang out the small creases I put in the driver's side rocker when I tried to bend them.  The main goal was to get them both on the structurally so I could move the body without worrying about too much flex.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Back to the MGA again today.  First, got a call from the British Car shop.  My engine is still not ready.  They had another engine on their test stand that had issues, so everything is pushed back.  I'm okay with it, as the shop is now communicating with me properly after my complaint.  Now it's looking like Nov 9th when the engine will be ready.

 

In the meantime, I'm going to attack the outer body panels and get them in better shape.  I started back up with the front valence panel, which has been very challenging before.  The initial large tear in the metal has re-opened 3 times now, so I've cut out a patch around it instead, the metal is just too thin and it's become a patchwork of patches (Photo 3).  With about 2/3 of the tear, it has still kept, but this 1/3 keeps opening up.  I also cut out some other bad areas and have welded in some fresh metal (Photos 1 & 2). I feel I've reached another level with my welding, I think I'm getting the hang of it and (with good metal), I think I can call myself "satisfactory."  Still have a long way to go to get to the level of some of the folks on the site. I did some further banging on the panel and applied a nice coat of filler over the lower portion of the panel to see where I stand.  I've done a lot of hammering on it, so it's not that bad, really.  The upper part, which was spared from damage from the bumper being in front of it needs minimal pitting fill.  I just need to weld in one more patch where the large tear in the metal was (again, photo 3), and it should be ready for a couple coats of etching primer, then I'll start sanding.  Here's the whole panel (Photo 4), just before I cut out the square area and called it a day.  Not bad so far, considering it looked like someone drove it through a parking lot full of anvils when I started.

 

Last, I'm working on cleaning up the dozens and dozens of nuts, bolts, washers, and shims that hold on the 4 fenders. As always, will always try to reuse any part that's original, restorable, and safe, rather than use new or repro.   Pretty easy work, but it's something like 270 individual pieces all told.

 

Still thinking about how great Hershey was this year, too.  Found an NOS door striker for my 1930 Plymouth in the bottom of a crate, an NOS vacuum wiper motor for my the same car, and found an NOS overflow tank cap and NOS oil filter for my '74 Camaro, among other great parts, signs, and other deals.  A lot of good deals if you dug a little deeper and haggled, amongst all the rip-off artists there.  Also saw some amazing cars that give me a really high bar to live up to with my resto.  

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Another two weeks of work, sleep, a short weekend vacation, repeat.  Got another free weekend.

 

No word from the British car shop about my engine; we had originally planned on having it delivered Nov 2nd weekend, but postponed to Nov 9th, as I was out of town Nov 2nd.  I had to call them to get an update.  This time it's the flywheel ring gear that is slightly out of alignment with the starter teeth, so it's going back to the machine shop.  Yet another delay.  Going on month 15 for the engine work.

 

Now that the cold weather has arrived, I'm shifting back to body panel repair.  This weekend I'm tackling the driver's side front fender.  Here's what I'm starting with, pretty severe rust out (Photo 1).  The rest of the panel is in great shape.  The repair panel is made in Taiwan, and guess what, it doesn't fit properly, of course.  I decided to just cut out the bad section instead of cutting the whole lower section out, as the replacement panel is the entire length of the lower part of the fender.  Here's where I decided to cut (Photo 2).  There is some pitting outside of the box, but the metal is quite solid there overall.  I cut out the same shape from the repair panel, so now I don't have to worry about the rest of it not fitting.  Here's what I cut out compared to what I cut out of the patch panel.  With a little more adjustment and cutting, I was able to cut a very good fit (Photo 4).  As you can also see, I really couldn't cut any higher on the fender, as there is a large support bracket in the inner part of the fender, plus it's in excellent condition.  I also left a small strip on the far end of the fender to ensure I got the proper contour, plus this little strip is mostly rust-free.  I'll be trying to weld it in this afternoon.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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And here is the mostly completed job (Photo 1).  I still need to clean up the very lower parts at the lip with a dremel grinder, then I have to even the metal out a little more to eliminate as much use of filler as possible.  Note how the lower flange is significantly wider on the repro panel than on the original.  I'll have to trim it, then make some new holes/expand the existing ones.  Enough welding for today, moving on to some more hardware refinishing.

 

Cheers

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Nice! You sure did that quickly and made it look easy.

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Today, found a nail in my tire of my '74 Camaro, so had to fix that, had to vacuum out the interiors of my other cars, had to adjust my sunroof on a another car, and had to adjust the power window setup on my Camaro as well, to fix a rattle.  Then went to the Marine Corps 244th birthday at the Quantico museum and got some cake, too.  Not as much time with the MGA today.

 

Almost the same as yesterday, except on the opposite fender.  This one has slightly less damage (Photo 1).  Did the same procedure as yesterday and cut out a slice from the repro panel (Photo 2).  Here's the cut-out fender and then the repro panel installed and ready for welding, hopefully tomorrow afternoon. (Photos 3 & 4).

 

Here's to Veterans Day and all our Veterans and to Remembrance Day for my Commonwealth friends.

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Hey Chris, want me to pay a visit to your engine shop??? I’m Italian you know!😁 maybe we can speed things along. 

 

 

 

 

Ok, just joking and having fun. Feeling a little spry today. I hate when things aren’t even close to being delivered when they were supposed to be and you hear more excuses than a ten year old can conjure up!

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5 hours ago, chistech said:

Hey Chris, want me to pay a visit to your engine shop??? I’m Italian you know!😁 maybe we can speed things along. 

 

 

 

 

Ok, just joking and having fun. Feeling a little spry today. I hate when things aren’t even close to being delivered when they were supposed to be and you hear more excuses than a ten year old can conjure up!

Ted, There you go with the Italians again! LOL!  Chris, really nice work on the MG. John

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Sorry I left you out John. I can stop by Long Island and pick you up. I bet two of us would get the shop to finish his motor done in a day. Especially an Italian from NY!🤣🤣

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Haha.  Lesson learned on my part.  The only good thing about this is I really don't need the engine back in any particular hurry, as I'm doing the entire car.  There's still plenty more work to do without the engine.  I couldn't imagine having a complete car sitting there for 15 months with the engine being done over 15 months (and counting).

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