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35 minutes ago, keiser31 said:

Brings back so many memories of when I worked on my 1957 MGA roadster and removed the engine and transmission. Excellent way you are going about it.

 

Me too! Mine was a '61, and white like this one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Still making slow but steady progress on the way to removing the body.  Have been working mostly on removing the dashboard items, then the dashboard itself.  Had a few problems.  Didn't know how the get the knobs off the dash, so worked with one that was already cracked.  Didn't discover until breaking the knob that it has a push-pin style retainer that is on the lower side of the knob.  Once I found that out, still didn't help me too much, as they were all quite rusty and would not move.  Time for a great MGA forum.  They told me how to build a tool for this job with a pin through pliers in order to press in the knob retainer pin.  My tool is quite amateur, but it worked for most of them (photo 4.  Still ended up breaking another one.

 

Having trouble getting the ignition switch out, don't want to break this knob, so I'll be back to the forum soon.  Once that's out, the wiring harness and everything else will be free from the dash, so I can remove that panel as well.  Next are some mics under hood items, like the rest of the wiring harness, hood release, coil, etc., then I'll be just about ready for the body removal.  Not much left of the interior or under the hood anymore (other photos).

 

Once body is ready, then have to weld on some support pieces for stability after my friend teaches me some basic welding, since I've never welded before.  Have to buy an actual welder, too.  Once the body's up in the air, I'll start stripping down the chassis.  I hear it can be very difficult...

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You are doing a super job.  Glad that you are almost at the end of the "taking it apart".  Look forward to fix, repair and paint process.

 

Oh, the Hunt Country Classic for British cars is going to be held near Marshall, VA on Sunday,  October 9th.  You are so close you should drop on by.

 

If you go, stop by the pastel green Jaguar XK 120 coupe and say hi.  Would love to meet you.

 

 

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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One thing I always recommend on a Brit car restoration is a brand new wiring harness.  It will cure all sorts of ills and help isolate other electrical problems.  True on my MGA in the 70s and TR3 15 years ago.  Have one for my TR2 project as well.

 

Man, this brings back memories.   My engine came out of the frame after body removal.  

 

Zimm

 

 

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I just bought as 1958 MGA roadster in April as a project - not quite as much to do as you are facing, but my car sat for 30 years in a barn.  I have the engine out and the engine bay stripped and primed.  I'm in Norfolk, so maybe we can connect one day and compare notes!

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Hursst, First, give us a first name we can use in our post.  On the car, do you plan to have the body and frame soda blasted or are you gong to strip it yourself?  Are you going to farm out the metal work?  Sure glad that you are almost at the turning point of putting it back together.  You are at the point that most folks give up or really slow down, thanks for sticking with it.  

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Bob, yes, we can compare notes any time.

 

Yes, I have the Moss motors catalogs, just haven't used them yet.

 

First name is Chris, guess I didn't mention it.  I will do the blasting myself, but not sure how I'm going to do it yet.  Don't have a rotisserie or an easy way to transport the body.  May use a wire wheel or sander or some kind, due to the surface rust and lack of an easy blaster.  I have a sand blaster, but I don't think it will work with an entire body as it's small and clogs up every 20 minutes, so it will take months to do.  I'll worry about the body when the time comes and come up with something.  First things first.  I'm going to try to do the metal work myself, for the same reasons above and the cost of paying someone is incredibly high.  Still have to buy a welder and get some lessons.  Still have to strip the chassis down once I get the body off, and I hear it can be difficult (front part especially).  The chassis and engine will be restored and put back together before I get to the body.

 

I plan on trying to get over to the Hunt Country meet...

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Chris,

Looks like you have a nice project your working on.  You've been making good strides at it.  I didn't care to much for all the grease and grime when I was tearing mine down, but it's sure a nice reward putting them back together when all the parts are clean and new.  I guess it's all part of it.  I would do another one once I get the chance. :D  Keep at it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Progress has been slowing a little, due to Carlisle, Hershey, and a busy work schedule, but it's still moving.  In Hershey, picked up a door (the wrong one, unfortunately), tail lights, gas filler neck and cap, rubber block-out piece, and rocker panels, so had a really good score.  Also bought a welder and paint guns in preparation for body work.

 

Bought a nice repro key fob and tech manual from the MG club in the UK, bought a sales brochure at Hershey, and am ordering a key from a British key shop in Maryland.  I think it's the details and original features that really make a restoration stand out from more plebeian efforts.  It doesn't cost all that much more, but makes all the difference on the show field and on the road.

 

As far as working on the car itself, I was finally able to clear out everything from the dashboard.  Very frustrating as I broke a few pieces, as they were locked in place due to corrosion, but may be able to fix them.  Now able to move on, at least.  Got the whole dash panel out, the soft trim piece, and the wiring harness out of the interior area (what a mess, but complete for use as a template) (photos 1 and 2).  Otherwise, I just have a few trim pieces in the back and under the hood, then I'll be ready to remove the body.

 

Went to the Hunt Country show in Marshall, VA yesterday.  Thanks, all, for bringing it up earlier, although didn't get to meet everybody.

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A little more progress over the last week.  Finished getting all the wiring harness out of the body.  What a mess (Photo 1).  It's mostly labelled and ready for use as a template, although I should be able to use all the hardware and maybe some misc. parts from it.  Not sure yet if they repro the whole harness or if I have to have one made up. 

 

The engine bay is getting pretty empty now (Photo 2).  I removed all the body mounting bolts and only broke 1 (there's always at least 1), so I'll have to drill it out.  Body is ready to come off, but have a lot of work to do before I do it.  Have to weld on some door opening supports, have to get wired for 220V in the garage, and have to learn to weld.  Luckily, I have a good friend who can help with all the above.  Not sure how I'm going to remove it or where I'm going to place it yet.

 

In the meantime, I hand-re-sewed about 1/2 of the threads on the original tonneau cover by doing maybe 2 hours a week for the last 3 months or so (Photo 3).  It was really easy when you space it out and all the original holes were there, so it was like connect the dots.  Although I want a Grand-National-worthy restoration, I really don't want to trash any original pieces that are 95% good, I'd rather save them if they are in reasonable shape.  The tonneau is a little stained, has a small rip in the zipper at the end, and now has 1/2 old and 1/2 new stitching, but looks okay and is original.  I think with further cleaning, it will get even nicer.  I'll have to do the same thing with the top.  It has a rip about 9" long in it, but is otherwise in very good shape and is original.  I think maybe I can make a folded in seam, like on the side of Levi's where you see a crease, but no stitching.  I would hate to have to replace the whole original top when a 95% good original exists. I guess we'll see when I get there.

 

While I wait to get ready for the body situation, I will start restoring a few small pieces just to continue to make some progress.  Maybe try different rust removers or techniques to see what works best.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not too much going on lately.  Taking off some misc items, like the VIN plates, door striker panels, but have spent most of my time installing a 220V outlet so I can use my new welder.  Just got that job done, so now, have to get the welder set up and get a couple quick lessons so I can weld on some support brackets to the body, before removal.  Probably going to be a little slow before the body is off, but need to learn a little and do the job correctly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some more progress, finally.  Got my welder hooked up and watched a few videos on youtube and from Eastwood.  Using a flux-core MIG welder, per the suggestion from another restorer friend.  Had a lot of problems, but found I was using too low of a level of voltage.  Did a lot of practice on some scrap and got good enough to get some reasonable welds. 

 

Tried it out on the MG by trying to weld in the 2 support brackets to fill in the door gap.  I probably didn't need them, but I wanted a fail safe, since I wasn't 100% sure the MGA body was sturdy enough.  Welded the brackets in and got some welds that are plenty sturdy, although I wouldn't call them good welds by any stretch.  Don't laugh too hard.

 

Body is now ready to come off, with no sticking anywhere.  Two people could yank this thing off right now, but I want to get some saw horses set up to put it on temporarily, then build some type of mobile platform.  May be 3-4 weeks before I can get all the supplies ready and get a buddy or two to help out.  Can't wait to get the body off so I can continue with tearing down the chassis.

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Good job but I would put another brace each side at the top of the door level.  You will be amazed at how flexible the body becomes when you lift it up.  

You could use small self drilling roofing type screws for fixings if you want to back up your welding.

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Yes, your diagonals will work on up-down movement of front relative to back but not be much help on tilting of the nose upwards.

 

You should probably also think about trapezoidal flexibility of the body (i.e. left moves forward or backward relative to the right) and of the middle of the sides inwards. Other than the sills, which are of unknown condition inside, there is not much holding the front and back together. The chassis is pretty deep across the door opening with big flanges. If you are going to put it on a rotisserie, it needs to be longitudinally stiff too, so it doesn't sag as you turn it over.

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Thanks for the advice.  I'll weld in another piece at the top of the door gaps.  I won't be going rotisserie at this point, but I will keep all that in mind as this progresses.

 

-Chris

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John,

   It's got a rust hole in the driver's side rear trunk area, a little hole on the frame where the upper chassis tube gets closest to the batteries, a few some areas in the floorboards, and both rocker panels have rust holes in the middle portions.  Overall, pretty minor.  Lots of minor surface rust throughout the body, but nothing structural...so far!  We'll see the full damage once it's blasted.

 

Chris

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Rocker panels = what I call sills? i.e. across the bottom of the doors? If there are holes, you had best not rely on much strength from them and set up your bracing accordingly. If the front sags they will be under compression and are likely to buckle at the holes.

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Chris, I'm going to call a spade a spade here, as unpopular as it may be. Unfortunately, rust in the rockers/sills is serious and structural. The car is very rusty and all credit to you for taking it on. 

 

I've been where you are more than once. You need to ascertain whether the chassis is rusty (likely) and you will need to separate the body from the chassis to repair both. These things are always rustier than they appear. I think you are at the tipping point that occurs in most restorations, either commit to a full on resto or cut your losses and move on.

 

All the best

John

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John may very well be correct, but don't panic until you get the body off and can take a good look at the frame.  Since you are doing it yourself, you have nothing to lose but some enjoyable time in the garage.  To me, the most fun in a restoration is taking things apart and trying to figure out the problems and how to solve them.  Have fun!

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The rust appears to be minor to me at this point, but I could be wrong. I had a Camaro restored that was far more rusty than this, so I'm not too worried about it.  We'll see how it goes when I take the body off...slowly! The rust is in the outer rocker panels.  You can kind of see it in the photo below, a little towards the top part of the rockers towards the front of the door.  The chassis, from what I can see so far, has no major rust in the structural areas, just surface rust and a few issues in the non-structural areas.

 

If I can get a hold of a rental engine hoist, I may have the body off this weekend.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Thanks for all the tips and thoughts on this.  I will proceed with safety, care, and caution when removing the body.  Couldn't line up an engine hoist or help this weekend, so I'll try again in about 3 weeks when I get some time and a hoist.

 

In the meantime, don't wont to lose any momentum, so started tearing down the engine.  The exhaust manifold is broken in 3 places at the bottom, so it is junk.  Everything else came off fairly smoothly so far, but can't get the head off.  May let the rebuilder do this step, don't want to mar the mating surfaces.  Not sure how to get the crank pulley off, since it has a captive-style washer folded up on the side of it.  The coolant passages are jammed up and full of crystallized 45-year old coolant.  Hope it can be boiled out.  Engine turns freely, so that's a good sign.  Amazed at how simple the engine is, should be pretty easy to rebuild.  I lack the skill and machine tools to do the engine myself, so I'll send it out to a rebuilder and I'll tackle some of the cosmetics and extraneous parts.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Haven't been able to work on the MG for 3 weeks now, but finally got some time today and hit a huge milestone.  Body is now off of the chassis!  I used an engine hoist and some tow straps and it came off fairly simply.  Still can't believe how light the body is.  Next step is to disassemble the front of the chassis.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Looking good Chris.  Now you really get to dig into it.  I like this part of a restore.  You get to remove years of rust and dirt and get all the pieces looking new again.  The greasy part wasn't all that fun though, but part of it.  Have a ball. :D

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The frame itself is very solid, just some minor surface rust.  There are some minor rust outs in the floor frame brackets, the rear horizontal support member, and the battery trays, but these appear to be easy to repair and non-structural.  Can't wait to get to the point of building it back up again, although that will take much longer as every part on the car needs some type of rebuilding, repair, or replacement.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Made a lot of progress today.  Took off about 98% of the front suspension.  Had lots of trouble with the cotter pins in the nut within the hub (had to remove it through an access hole in the outside of the hub.  Very difficult if everything's not set up perfectly).  Also had some minor problems getting the hubs off, but got some good tips from the main MG forum about using a socket inside of the hub against the axle stud nut while using the wheel spinner as a puller.  It worked well in the end. (Photos 1 & 2)

 

Slowly moving towards the rear of the car, but have a lot of small, annoying items to take off, like all the floorboard screws I had to drill out as they were so rusty I cold not get a screwdriver of any type on them.Ended up having to drill the heads out to get the floorboards out, but now left with the lower threaded part of each screw.  I have about 16 to extract.  Got 2 out fairly easily, but some of the others are really frozen in there.  I've been hitting them with penetrating fluid to try to break them free. Luckily, there is a lot of material on the opposite side of the screw, so I can grab the lower part of the screws with locking pliers and unscrew them from below or behind.  One has broken off again at the top, and I am twisting the bottom part, but the part in the frame itself isn't turning don't want to have to drill again, that was a nightmare.  See the broken off lower screw parts in (photo 3).

 

I may just do a little at a time and hit the rear end next time, then worry about the small details after the main components are off.  Getting very close to the point where re-assembly starts, although I'll have some very minor chassis repairs to weld in first.  Happy with the progress so far after only 6 months of ownership.  Re-assembly will take about 10 times as long, I'm afraid!

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  • 3 weeks later...

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. 

 

 

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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!! 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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.

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