hursst

1960 MGA Restoration

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hursst, you are 100% right. There is no substitute for original parts. 

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I'm back.  Had a nice vacation to northern Sweden racing Jaguars and Land Rovers on frozen lakes.  What an experience.  Then, back to work, so only got bits and pieces done on the MGA over the last 4 weeks, until today.

 

Ordered a lot of smalls from Moss over the last few weeks.  Here's the carb drain tube line clip (brass colored) that I got from Moss to replace the original that the British Car shop lost (Photo 1).  Got my gauges back from Bob's Speedometer.  They did an excellent job of revamping my original gauges, I'd recommend them, although I won't be able to find out how well they work fro another year or two.

 

Today, I got back to it and continued to install floorboards and misc engine bits and pieces...but ran into a big problem.  I got 3 of the front floorboards installed, only to find that the transmission tunnel was positioned too high in the rear, about 1" too high.  I thought I could press it down and it would work, but it was way off.  I had to take up all the floorboards, gas pedal assembly, and steering column to figure out the problem and fix it.  It turns out that the repro rubber grommet from Moss that go between the middle of the transmission tunnel and the chassis are WAY WAY too thick to work, so the trans tunnel was teeter-tottering about an inch too high on these grommets, so you could not get the whole thing flush with the rest of the chassis members.  Another repro piece of garbage.  They are twice as thick as they should be.  I ended up making my own out of old garage door weather stripping.  They fit perfectly after I did some cuts here and there.  That wasted about 3 hours of my time.  It's clear that they did not test these repro grommets, pure garbage.

 

Here's a few photos of the floorboard work in progress (Photos 2 & 3).  Have just the one large one left on the driver's side and the floorboards are complete.    I also connected the parking brake and assembly in the center.  Still have a few bits and pieces with the engine.  I was missing a few tubes and brackets, so I'm finishing up on some of those.  Also got the headlight assemblies 100% complete.  I couldn't believe how many parts there were just for the headlights.

 

Once I finish the floorboards and other engine parts, it will be time to move the chassis out, clean the garage, and swap its position with the body, then really get into that.  It would be nice to have the body finished and in primer this year.

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That car is looking awesome! Makes me miss my '57 MGA roadster so much.

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Made some more progress today, finished the floorboards (Photo 2).  Had to resize the holes a little on the last floorboard and grind off a little wood on the side to make it fit.  Seems they have swelled up slightly after I put on the wood treatment when I first got them prepared.  I'm going to go back and spend a little time putting some seam sealer among some of the cracks and crevices between the floorboards and chassis members to ensure that it's fairly weatherproof from the bottom.  The original layer of felt was really not up to the task.  I used some Eastwood seam sealer between the floorboards and chassis members as a moisture barrier and sound deadener.

 

I also spent some time installing the hydraulic clutch pipe, adding some clips to the firewall, and trying to sort out the other pipes to get them routed correctly (Photo 1).  I still have some fine tuning to do.  I also dug out the accelerator cable and got that partially installed whilst I clean/prep/paint some of the hardware for it.  It's quite a mess in the engine bay with everything being mechanical.  Glad I took a lot of photos on disassembly, it's been really helpful in piecing this back together.  Almost time to get back to the bodywork. 

 

Have a good and productive President's Day!

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I hadn't thought of sealing the floorboards and since my car long since lost something like that... I didn't even know there was supposed to be something.  Glad you posted about that, will certainly save me from having leaky floorboards.

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hursst, the MG is coming along nicely. Great progress. Thanks, John

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hursst,

Hope you don't mind but I noticed something that may present an issue with a jittery motor or cause an issue if you attempt to remove the Engine sometime in the future. Or, it could simply be just an optical illusion. Regardless, I noticed a rather long bolt shaft protruding from the Transmission to firewall connection just above the Transmission bell housing. Could a shorter shaft bolt be used here instead of the current one? See the attached photo where I circled the spot. Other than that potential annoyance your work is admirable. Thanks for posting.

--

Mike

Hursst-Long Bolt Issue.jpg

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Thanks for pointing that out, always looking for tips or issues I missed.  I took a look at it, and it's a little of an optical illusion, it's about an inch way from the transmission and is at an angle, so it wouldn't be much of a problem to take the engine out again if I had to.  It is also the correct size of screw.  there is one in the kit that is even longer.

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On 2/16/2020 at 9:37 PM, Luv2Wrench said:

I hadn't thought of sealing the floorboards and since my car long since lost something like that... I didn't even know there was supposed to be something.  Glad you posted about that, will certainly save me from having leaky floorboards.

I read this on the MGA Guru site.  I'm mainly concerned with moisture getting between the wood and the metal and getting trapped, moreso that water splashing into the passenger compartment.  I have no plans to ever drive this in rain or wet, although it could happen.  It will also help with vibration and rattles, I would think.  Just put a thin-ish strip, I went fairly easy to start.

 

-Chris

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Beautiful weather this weekend, so got a lot done for the most part.  I put the original wiring back in my headlight buckets, finished up some misc work on the floorboards, and hooked up the throttle cable assembly to the gas pedal.

 

The big activity was that I moved the chassis and body out of the the garage and cleaned the whole side of the garage where the MGA work was being done.  Here's the chassis, chassis with body, and the empty garage, pre-sweeping it clean.  Took me most of the day, but now it's fairly clean, better organized, and I swapped out the positions of the chassis and body, so I can easily move the body in and out of the garage for when I get it blasted.

 

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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I couldn't get thru the weekend without problems, of course.  When I moved the chassis out of the garage, I noticed that what I thought was neutral was not neutral, but 2nd gear.  I shifted it into neutral and here is the position of the shifter (Photo 1), way up front.  There was no way to shift it into 1st or 3rd, there is no room.  Luckily, I was able to move the chassis around in the meantime.  Here's the clean garage and where I placed the chassis for now (Photo 2).  

 

I went on the MGA forum to ask for any ideas on what may be causing this and I got some ideas about the split ring that connects the shifter unit to the internal linkage.   I had to take apart my nice work on the trans tunnel to access the shifter unit.  I took it out and took some of it apart to see if I could figure it out, and everything looked fine.  I then went to the trans itself to see if an adjustment could be made on the  paw and main shaft, to allow the shifter to get a central neutral position.  It was easy to adjust as THE REBUILDER FORGOT TO PUT IN THE BOLT THAT SECURES THE PAW TO THE MAIN SHAFT! ( you can see the hole at the bottom of the assembly on Photo 3).  A forum friend was able to locate an original bolt for me, so I'll have that fixed soon.  So disappointed that nothing, just nothing is done correctly by these people that you pay a good sum to, only to get shoddy, half-hearted work.  I wonder how the inside of the transmission is now.  Anyway, this should fix the problem once I get the bolt in there.

 

Once that got squared away, I got right into the body work again.  Starting back on the bonnet (Photo 4).  IT's been sitting for a while, so some flash rust has come back on the steel areas, so I cleaned up the steel section around the outside and sprayed it with some rust inhibitor to stabilize any remaining rust.  I'll have to do that with most of the steel frame, as it was all a little rusty and it flashes back pretty quickly.  I'll leave the aluminum alone and hit the whole thing with good primer once I clean up all the steel frame.  After the bonnet, I'll do the doors, which are half-way completed already.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Looking really, really good.  You'll be done before you know it!!

 

Also... doesn't that bolt have a hole through the top for safety wire?

Edited by Luv2Wrench (see edit history)
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Thanks.  When you have to do everything yourself, you improvise.  The skateboard is the perfect dolly.

 

No hole in that bolt.  Nowhere for the slide on the shaft to really go, the trans may just stick in gear.  I don't think the bolt will go anywhere.

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Posted (edited)

Got out to the garage this weekend a little.  Has been harder and harder to find time to work on the car.  

 

I was able to install the missing bolt in the transmission and get that all sealed back up.  Hopefully I won't have to mess around with that again.

 

I broke out the bonnet again and completed metal-prepping the steel portions with rust inhibitor (Photo 1).  Looks fairly good.  Next step will be to clean up the rest of the aluminum portions and spray the whole works with some of the good etching primer to prepare it for paint.  On the other side, I cleaned the surface up to remove any old primer that was left over from when I did the surface work months ago.  It is pretty much ready for primer as well.

 

I then started on the boot lid (Photo 2).  First round was to use paint stripper to get rid of the original paint.  The original paint looked like it was painted during a dust storm, it was almost like sand paper!  I'll be doing the same procedure here, with cleaning up the steel first.  Most of the steel portions still had paint on them, so I should be able to get to bare metal easily, then just hit it with primer, no rust inhibitor.

 

In between, I've been restoring all the various brackets, hinges, hardware, and prop rods.  Here's the bonnet prop rod and hardware (Photo 3).  These were originally in black medium gloss primer and installed and painted while on the body, wit h the bonnet and boot propped open.  Only a little body paint got on the tops and bottom of these, they were mostly left in black.  I'll try reproduce that when the car is painted.

 

Last, I reached out to a mobile sand blasting company to try to get an estimate to blast the body.  Will probably wait until the summer or even fall before I do it, as I'm pretty much out of money for the MG.

 

Cheers.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Unfortunately you are having many of the same problems with repro parts as I have had over the years. I generally avoid Moss parts except as a last resort. My cars are always just drivers so I try to find the best used example I can out of my MGA parts pile when something needs replacing.

I have parted 3 of them over the years so I can often come up with something. But my stock has definitely run down considerably from what it once was.  A good friend also runs an A and we dip into my stash as necessary.

 You will find that the more you can do yourself the fewer mistakes will be made. Your engine problems are unfortunately all to typical these days. I never send anything out except as basic parts , for example the head with valves by itself , the block as a piece for boring and piston

fitting, the crank for inspection and polishing.  If balancing is desired { a good idea } I take the necessary parts to the balancing shop myself.

And re -assembly I always done by yours truly. These are very simple engines , no reason why a first timer that follows the factory manual can't successfully do a re- assembly themselves. All those  " British car " mechanics had to learn somewhere myself included. 

I did my first engine , a MGB 3 main at 17 . It gave years of service afterwards. By age 20 I had also overhauled several gearboxes both for myself and friends. The manual is very well written, just follow it closely and use intelligence when working around NLA special factory tools.

Very few of the "British " shops have them these days either. 

It looks like things are moving along. Just remember the skills you master now will put you in a good position for the rest of your life. 45 years since I bought my first A. I am hoping for another 20 years before my MG days are over.

 

Greg in Canada

 

 

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hursst, looks great up on all fours! Really nice work. John

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17 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

Just remember the skills you master now will put you in a good position for the rest of your life.

 

A excellent and useful post. There are many of us who have trod Greg's path and gained a lot of skills on the way.

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Thanks for the tips and encouragement, gentlemen!

 

Saturday was a pretty good day out in the garage.  I got the hood in primer, so it is now ready for a final sanding, I think, before paint (Photos 1 & 2).  I'll be putting all the hardware back on today, as these parts were originally painted as installed on the car.  I'll be setting it aside and continuing on the trunk lid.  Want to try to get the hood, trunk lid, and doors in primer before I tackle the body, although it will probably be delayed due to pollen season.  Hood turned out very nice overall.

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Later in the day, I decided to primer the front valance panel and see how it looks (Photo 2).  It certainly turned out better than I thought it would, with my limited hammering and metal skills. It's far better than where it started, looking like a pretzel, but it's not quite there yet, not ready for prime time.  Still has some issues from the metal being effectively folded and it has some contour inconsistencies.  I think "good enough" may work eventually, as you can't really see this piece when the car is together, but I don't think it's good enough yet.  I'll set it aside and revisit.  I may pass it to a professional if I can't get it to where I want it.

 

I also continued to refinish and rust encapsulate, prime, and paint all the hardware (Photo 1).  Some of the original bolts, washers, and nuts, being tucked away in the latch mechanism, are in mint condition and need no refurbishment.  I think these are the only pieces on the car that will not receive restoration or replacement. 

 

Pretty sure at this point that I will have the car professionally painted.  I think I have the skills to do it, but I do not have the proper facilities and equipment to do a show-quality job.  I'll try to deliver a perfectly primered body that will need minimum handwork to be ready for paint.  I plan on having the body blasted around May, then get it in primer ASAP.  Got what I think is a cheap quote for a mobile sandblaster service.  Once the body is blasted, I'll be able to see the full extent of the rust damage to the trunk and some minor issues above the rockers.  The rest of the body is a mess, but appears quite solid.  I think I can have the body generally finished by the end of the year, then get it painted early next year.  After that, it's all down hill.  I'm quickly running out of other parts to restore.  I think there's a possibility I can have the car finished around Spring 2022.

 

Cheers!

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I like your plan and I think it will work great.  I'm not sure what the body shop environment is like where you are but for me it made it impossible to find a place for paint. Everything around me is a chain, high end... but still a chain and they don't do custom work as it is new (less than 10 years old) cars and insurance work only.   It was recommended to me (by Barry at SPI) to find an independent show car painter and that those guys would have a deal in place with a body shop that let them rent it for a project.  This is not only a little cheaper, but you get a guy that's really good and will take a lot of pride in painting your car.  www.autobody101.com is a good place to find someone in your area or just call Barry at SPI

 

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Jeff,

   We have quite a few good shops here, but what usually happens is in owner is really good at painting cars, but his employees are just guys off the streets, so sometimes you don't know what you're going to get.  I think your idea about hiring a free-lance painter is a good one.  I'll have to look into that when the time comes.  I know a lot of cars guys, so I'm sure I can figure something out.

 

Chris

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Posted (edited)

This weekend, I finished redoing all the steel portions of the boot lid by getting them to bare metal and spraying rust inhibitor.  They weren't too rusty, so this was easier than with the bonnet (Photo 1).  I'm saving the aluminium for the regular primer.  It needed a little body filler to hide the marks that were made from pounding out a few dings and dents.  Turned out okay so far.  The other side will need a little more sanding to clean it up a little before I spray the primer.  The boot lid had more dings and dents than the bonnet, so needed a little more filler.

 

I've also been continuing to work on all the props and pull rods for the boot lid and bonnet.  Here are the primered pull rod and hardware for the bonnet (Photo 2).  Already finished both prop rods.  Still have the boot lid pull rod and hardware left.  Once I finish the boot lid, it will be on to the doors.  

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)
On 3/15/2020 at 8:42 AM, hursst said:

Thanks for the tips and encouragement, gentlemen!

 

Saturday was a pretty good day out in the garage.  I got the hood in primer, so it is now ready for a final sanding, I think, before paint (Photos 1 & 2).  I'll be putting all the hardware back on today, as these parts were originally painted as installed on the car.  I'll be setting it aside and continuing on the trunk lid.  Want to try to get the hood, trunk lid, and doors in primer before I tackle the body, although it will probably be delayed due to pollen season.  Hood turned out very nice overall.

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Hey, just joking here but that hood make me think of a Quonset huts front door! Anyway, things are really looking great. I feel your pain about paint and I’m sure you read my “painter problem” posts. Funny thing is, we have a guy in town that’s an incredible painter, about my brother’s age, 62, but he’s a drop down drunk. He’ll sober up when he’s low on drinking money and paint a few cars for people, then he buys his booze and goes on another tear! He no longer does any bodywork or prep, just sprays paint so I’ve heard all the hot rod guys get their cars all ready and they see who can find him first when he’s straight enough to spray. He was living in a truck body on a cow farm in town. I have no idea if he’s still living there. It seems painters and body men in my parts are all addicted to some sort of drug/alcohol. It’s a shame but most are. The others that aren’t, excepting a few, just aren’t that good!

Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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