Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Just a thought, but I had a company sandblast and powdercoat my frame.  It was the best 400 bucks I ever spent.  I figured labor and paint costs and decided I broke even.  It also gave me time to work on the suspension parts and they were ready to install when I got the frame back.  I'm a huge fan of doing as much of the work as possible, but in this case I'm glad I went the way I did.  You're making great progress, by the way.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

$400 to blast and powder coat a frame does sound like a deal.

 

Started learning to weld on my MGA, with a craftsman gas set up.  Still have it, along with better equipment.  Still learning 40+ years later.  

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

John, the body is on saw horses right behind the frame, so it will have to ride the ground for now and jack stands when it's painted.

 

I'm going to try the blaster at home and see how it goes.  I'll at least blast the rusted out areas to see what I'm left with.  If it's too much work or too slow, once I get the few patches I need, I'll consider taking it to my stripping/powdercoating company.  I don't have a trailer, though, so that adds complexity.  We'll see how it goes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have been following the 61 Merc project for months and don't know how I missed this one and it's sure been fun to look as the MG was my first from rusted nuts to sandblasting the belly, full restoration.

 

Might already have one, if you don't the MGA restoration guide is well worth the $20, though it is written in British which requires some translation. See that you have found Moss and Victoria British is another good source. Should it become important to you, a bent ring spanner is an offset box end wrench.

 

Something I discovered after blasting is that rust can hide inside the frame and you might want to hammer test every inch of the frame to make sure the hammer bounces back and doesn't go through, before you paint.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tips, Digger.  I just picked up the workshop manual, and I have a tech manual from the MG club in the UK.  I'll be making my first parts run to Moss later this week.  I'll try the hammer test, too, once I get the frame blasted, which I hope to start today.

Edited by hursst (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

More slow but steady progress.  Starting sand blasting, grinding, wire-wheeling, and sanding the chassis.  Also went down to Moss Motors to buy the first round of parts: a replacement floorboard bracket, new floorboards, rubber kit and body packing kit (photo 1).  Spent a lot, but the parts look great and saved $20 on shipping after fuel costs.

 

Here's a photo of blasting in progress (photo 2).  My blaster is Chinese, so it's a pile of junk.  Trying to save money.  The sand release valve at the end of the whole works broke after only 2.5 hrs of use.  I replaced it with one made in Italy, so we'll see if that lasts.  Blasting is slow and tedious, plus the chassis was covered in so much oil and dirt that it won't penetrate some areas, so I have to scrape, blast, scrape, blast, so it will take a while.  Other areas with heavier rust required a wire wheel or media pad to get rid of most of the rust.  Decided to prime the chassis piecemeal to prevent flash rust once I finish a section (photo 3).

 

Here are photos of the main rust outs (photos 4 & 5).  I have a replacement floorboard bracket for the horizontal bar, and I'll have to make a small patch for the rust out on the chassis (photo 4) There are a few other small areas on the other brackets, but they should be easily fixed.  In the back, the battery gas rusted out two holes in the rear cross member.  I cut out the obvious rust, then I'll cut out a little more to make it more even, as my cuts are quite sloppy.  Should be fairly easy to weld in replacement patches after I roll them to the proper diameter.  The battery boxes are in rough shape.  The outer frames are removable and I'll be able to salvage those and most of the attaching hardware, but I'll have some fabrication to do with the main support structures (photo 5).  The rest of the chassis is quite good, although I still need to do the "hammer test" to look for internal rust and finish rust/paint/grime removal. 

 

Although my method is slow, I'm quite happy with it, as I'm able to do it myself instead of paying some guy $2,000 to do a medicocre job.  I also think it will turn out very well when I'm finished, considering I have about 2.5 hrs of welding experience so far.  Quite rewarding building a pile of garbage into an AACA prize-winner (I hope!). 

100_3333.JPG

100_3325.JPG

100_3332.JPG

100_3329.JPG

100_3330.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Hi 

just noticed this thread , very interesting to me as just taken delivery here in Cyprus of same car , same year and colour, but red seats 

had her shipped from LA . Will start a post when I start and we can compare.

cheers

pilgrim

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pilgrim65, great to hear, and will be great to compare notes.  I'm no expert on MGAs, but I'm learning as I go.  Going for authenticity and saving as much that's original to the car as possible.

 

Ugh, my last update was almost a month ago.  Was out of town for 2 weekends in a row, then had minor surgery that kept me out of the garage for another week.  Today's the first day I was able to get back to the garage after being well on the way towards recovery.  Still slow but steady progress.  Next weekend going up to the Simeone Museum to see the AC collection and a demo run of some race cars.  Will be great, but will lose another weekend on the MG.

 

Continuing to work piecemeal on the chassis.  Not adding any photos, as it now says the limit is 2MB for Max file size.  It used to be 24MB or something.  Oh well. 

 

Sand blaster continues to be a problem.  Getting yet another nozzle for it, as the first one broke and the second one was too light duty and the sand wore through the insides.  Getting a dead-man nozzle this time.  Also tried to get more blasting media from TSC,  they are out of stock.  Seems like everywhere I go is out of stock these days, no matter what store it is.  So many nooks and crannies with the front of the chassis, I need the blaster working to get in there.  Adding to the problem is that the front of the chassis was caked in grease and sand, so the blaster doesn't do too well getting through that.  Lots of degreasing, brushing, sanding, trying to get to the paint/rust layer so the blaster can make it clean bare metal.  Also ordered some Eastwood Chassis Paint so I can paint the areas I've primed already so I can prevent any new rust from coming back and so I can keep making some progress towards finishing the chassis.  Mostly doing the front part now, but doing some easy parts in the back here and there. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

John, I can reduce the photos myself, I was just too lazy and the photos weren't particular interesting, but thank you for the offer. Don't know why the policy has changed on file size.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I see I now have 125MB for max file size, so adding a few photos to match the last post.  The slow progress I have made is turning out quite well, better than I expected.  Should have a great looking frame very soon.  No progress since last post, though, too busy at work, snowstorm, tool issues, and too cold.  Hope to get back to it this weekend.

100_3350.JPG

100_3351.JPG

100_3352.JPG

100_3353.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Finally was able to be home AND have warm weather, so time to get back to the MGA after a few weeks of doing very little on it.  Was able to do a little painting on it and continued to do a section here and do a section there.  At this point, I almost have the front of the chassis before the goal post complete, painted with Eastwood chassis black (photo 1).  Doing it piecemeal like I'm doing produces over spray from primer, so I'll be top coating some sections again to cover any over spray or other errors.

 

I also decided to start tackling the welding repairs.  I cut out the rusted out driver's side toe board brace (photo 2), cut out the left over metal, cleaned it up and welded in a new piece from Moss Motors.  The piece was great, but was not bent at the correct angle, so I had to do it myself with hand tools, since I don't have the correct metalworking equipment.  I made it a lot uglier, but I got it to fit correctly.  I used the original dry-rotted floorboard as a template for proper hole placement (photo 3).  Welcome to amateur hour.

 

My welding is ugly since I have about 3 hours of total experience, but the welds are strong (photo 4).  I also cut out a few more small rusted out areas, for which I'll make small patch panels to weld in place (note the triangle hole with triangle patch where one of the fastener holes rusted to about 3x its original size).  I'll have to re-drill a hole in the proper place, then weld on a captive nut, as original, to complete the repair.

 

I have about 6 more small rust holes to repair within the floorboard framework, then I have to make new battery boxes at the rear, then the welding is complete for the chassis.  The real challenge will be the body rust. Can't wait to get the chassis complete, as I feel dealing with all the smaller parts from then on will be much easier and faster until I get to the body.

100_3390.JPG

100_3385.JPG

100_3387.JPG

100_3389.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris.  If you don't mind, If you can give me a little more information on your welder I can see what I can do to help you with a better bead.  Are you using a MIG welder with flux core wire?  What brand?  What do you have the heat and wire speed at?  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris, I am not a great welder yet either.  But your welds look like mine when I first started.  They look like you are not getting metal to metal penetration.  Grind one of them down and see if the weld has taken.  Martin has some good questions too.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll take any advice I can get, so thank you for the offers.  I'm using an Eastwood 175 MIG welder with flux core wire.  I have an individual wire gun that feeds through the gun, not through the welder.  I have the speed setting to "A," the slowest speed, but it still seems to fast. I have the heat setting at "C" on the dial.  I'm guessing I have the heat setting too low? 

Edited by hursst (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Another nice day, another update.  I stopped welding, as my welding is quite bad, so waiting for some tips in order to make some adjustments to get a bead instead of a splatter.  Thanks to Martin and John for pointing out that I need some adjustments!

 

I really have my sand blaster dialed in now, after many, many trials and tribulations from a Chinese pile of garbage blaster.  After replacing many of the parts on it, it's working well now.  Was able to blast the whole bottom of the chassis and framework in the middle of the car today (photo 1).   Within the floorboard framework, the insides are coated with a a thick layer of oil encapsulated in sand.  The bad news is, what a mess!  I had to chunk it all out with a screw driver (photo 2).  The good news is, this coating of filth has perfect bare metal underneath, so it protected everything where it was quite nicely

 

Threw on a coat of rust encapsulator to prevent flash rusting.  Should be able to prime and paint these areas after work this week, then next weekend, should be able to do the rest of the bottom of the chassis, and maybe some of the sides of these pieces. Goal is to have the chassis complete (minus welding repairs) before I take vacation to the UK next month.  One of my stops will be the old factory grounds and MG club in Abingdon, where my car was made.

100_3393.JPG

100_3392.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Time to get back to the MG project.  Made painfully slow progress while getting some welding lessons and taking a long trip to the UK.  I visited Abingdon and the MG Club there, right by the original factory grounds.  Seems there isn't much left, just a couple buildings, but the main factory is long gone.  for you MG fans, Photo 1 was the main admin building, which has been converted to apartments.  Photo 2 is the Kimber House, where the MG Club is located, which is steps away from the gate in Photo 1.  Also toured the Mini factory near Oxford, where the sheet metal for my MGA was stamped.  So, saw where my MGA was made, sort of.

 

Used the 3 day weekend to continue on the chassis restoration; haven't worked on the MG in almost 4 weeks.  My welding skills are still terrible, but much better than before. At least now I can make a solid weld, but have been challenged by it, as it's mostly butt-welding.  Lots of burn through and missing the joint as I refine my technique.  I'm wearing out a lot of grinding wheels fixing my numerous errors, but it is working and should result in a good result when I'm finished. My lap welding I would call "satisfactory."   No photos of the car, as not much had changed, just more sandblasting, sloppy welding, and rust encapsulation.  Will get some photos when I finish the welding within the next month.  Also working on some misc parts on the side while I want to primer to dry or tire of welding.

 

So impressed by the other posts on here; very motivating to work on the skills that others possess in spades on this site.

100_3465.JPG

100_3466.JPG

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Been another while since an update, but not much to report.  Still working on the chassis, but ran into some slow times repairing small rust holes on the chassis bracing.  Should have cut these whole pieces out and replaced, but only ended up replacing one of them.  Spent a lot of time filling in small holes, then making them bigger trying to weld them up, as the metal is too thin.  End up cutting out larger holes and working with small patch panels, which adds a lot of time for an amateur welder like me.  I'm trying to save as much as the original metal as possible, so this is adding time.  (Photo 1)  Still need a little more clean up, but replaced the top brace and fixed about 6 quarter-sized holes on the braces and one on the inner chassis itself.  (Photo 2) The new battery boxes are about 50% welded on, then I have to make 2-3 patch panels to fix the original battery box support brackets, rather than replace them.  The inner middle part of the chassis was blasted to bare metal soon after this photo and is ready for additional metal work, then rust encapsulator, prime, and paint.  The rest of the chassis is painted and ready to go.  (Photo 3) When I get too tired of working on grinding metal, I switch off to some easy pickins, such as the engine fan or other small misc parts, just to keep things moving along.

 

The good news is, the work is coming along well and the holes are getting sealed up and I'm able to keep most of the original floor board bracing.  My welding is still second rate, but I'm getting better at it as I go, thanks to some of the members on the forum here, too!  More good news, I'm finished with the sandblasting on the frame, finally.  Took much longer than I thought.  I still have some more very small rust holes to fix, and two larger patches on the horizontal support that holds the battery trays, then that's a wrap on the chassis metal work.

100_4032.JPG

100_4036.JPG

100_4037.JPG

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

More small progress to report on the chassis.  Finished up plugging all the small holes and rust-outs on the floorboard frames and was able to rust encapsulate, prime, and paint the top part of the framework...but then ran out of paint (photo 1, with rust encapsulator on it). 

 

I then moved on to repairing the rust outs on the rear chassis tube. The back rear areas of the tube were exposed to battery gasses, and over the years, it rusted large hole through both sides near the batteries.  I cut the rust out of these areas in rectangles last year (photo 2).  I made a template for each hole, cut and trimmed the metal to size off a sheet metal blank (photo 3).  I then found a pipe that was roughly the same diameter and bent it around the pipe in a vice with a hammer (photos 4-5).  I then plugged the hole and welded in the patches.  My welding is still ugly, but effective, but I feel I'm slowly getting the feel for it.  I still need to grind the welds flat.  I also think of all the money I'm saving doing this myself for "free" rather than paying someone big bucks to do metal repair and welding, like I've paid for with my last car.

 

All that's left on the chassis is to repair the rusted out sections on the battery support box hangers (you can see one such section on photos 2-3), then flip the chassis over and grind the reserve side of my welding efforts for all the small holes down flat.  Then some rust treatment, prime and paint and chassis is complete.  I've still been restoring small parts on the side such as the oil pan (photo 9) which used to be 100% covered in about 1/2" of oil and is currently in primer, and the exhaust hangers (photo 10), of which I was able to save most of the original hardware and add it to the repro hanger core.  (Original on the right, "restored" on the left).

100_4063.JPG

100_4067.JPG

100_4069.JPG

100_4072.JPG

100_4074.JPG

100_4075.JPG

100_4078.JPG

100_4079.JPG

100_4061.JPG

100_4073.JPG

Edited by hursst (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good progress!

 

Here in northern NC, the temperature and humidity has been so high lately that we have really had to push hard to continue progress on our projects. What has it been like in your area of VA?

Link to post
Share on other sites

In northern VA it's been HOT!  95-100 degrees the last few days.  I put on some sunscreen, brought a gallon of water out and just toughed it out doing sandblasting and welding.  Need to make some progress, no matter how small, just about every day.  I'd rather it be hot than cold, though.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 Nice job on the the curved piece for the round tube of the frame. It's coming along. Can't wait to see it in paint. I can relate to the heat and humidity. We had are hot as heck June, now we are in the hot and humid monsoon season. We've been getting rain everyday. It feels like Florida. You just sweat all day long and don't feel like doing anything. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

It's been yet another month, but finally hit another big milestone.  Phase 2 complete (Phase 1 was disassembly).  The bare chassis is now complete!  I had a lot of challenges with my purely amateur status as a welder, my insistence on keeping as much original as possible, and a lot of small rust holes and pin holes to repair because of this.  Overall, the chassis came out quite well, but it would not win a 'best chassis" award.  I chose not to fill in all the pitting, as most of the pitted areas will not be seen.  The areas that will be seen on the chassis are quite clean, due to the thick oil spray over most of the chassis at disassembly.  The welded up rust holes are fairly sloppy, but solid.  They look a lot better with the black paint over them than they did in bare steel. I'll call it "satisfactory" work.

 

Before and after (photos 1 & 2).  The bare chassis resto took 6 months.  Much longer than I thought, but isn't it always?  For you true MG fans, I had a celebratory Ale.  This Ale was originally created for MG's 50th Anniversary by a local Abingdon brewery.  They still make the Ale and they still make MGs (sort of).

 

Photos 4 and 5 are examples of me trying to save original steel.  I was able to save most of this rusted-out battery tray bracket by welding in small repair pieces from a "repro" bracket that was, of course, for the opposite side.  Turned out acceptable.

 

I've already started on a lot of the miscellaneous parts of the chassis, such as the front suspension bumpers, some of the body cork bushings, as some misc nuts and bolts.  The next phase, the whole chassis, should be much easier, but I'll have to visit many specialists for things like brake cylinder re-sleeving, new fuel pump, getting the rear axle up to snuff, shock rebuild, and truing the wire wheels, for example.  I may try some of these on my own, but I have no experience with rear axles or the lever/fluid shocks.  My goal is to do as much as I can myself as a learning experience and to try to save a lot of money.  We'll see! 

100_3275.JPG

100_4121.JPG

100_4124.JPG

100_4117.JPG

100_4119.JPG

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that the bare chassis is complete, my progress should be much faster.  Have started putting on ancillary parts such as most of the cork and rubber body mounting pieces, and the battery mounting hardware.  Otherwise, I'm generally getting the disassembly instructions I made and working backwards.  I'll pick a part number I created, find that part, recondition it, and put it back on the car.  This may involve multiple levels or repair, cleaning, general restoration, or replacement with a used or repro part.  Because some of the parts need de-rusting, rust encapsulating, priming, and painting, I'm skipping ahead on many parts so I don't have to literally wait for paint to dry.

 

This weekend, I was able to put on the triangular aluminum filler panels on the side of the chassis "goalpost" area (photo 1), install a new fuel pump (bought a new SU, seen on the floor towards the back of photo 1), and install most of the exhaust hangers, of which I was able to salvage most of the original pieces.  I also started on the rear axle (photo 3) and disassembled the leaf springs (photo 2).  Will need to remove the front leaf spring bushings professionally, as I don't have a press and using a hammer, and then trying to make a press via vice and some old sockets was not enough.  I'm also preparing the brake cylinders, calipers, brake shoes, and brake master and slave cylinders for a trip up to White Post restorations for their service on these parts.  I'm sure I'll need a full reconditioning and boring/re-sleeving after 45 years of sitting.  My goal is to have the whole chassis, including the engine, finished in a year.  At this rate, doing a lot each weekend and then just a little bit each day during the week, I should be able to make continual progress.  Cheers!

 

100_4131.JPG

100_4135.JPG

100_4138.JPG

Edited by hursst (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/20/2017 at 10:49 PM, Jose E.Sierra said:

Congratulations on your project, MGA's are my favorite cars, I have two of them that I haven't started restoring yet but will start soon! one is a 1960 convertible and the other is a 1958 Hard top! call me at 337-378-8822 if you would like to chat about them!

Thanks Jose, we can definitely help each other out, as we have the same cars we're restoring.  I still have a lot of learning to do, but the MG club and MGA forums have been very helpful in keeping me rolling and creating as authentic a resto as possible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That aluminium appears to have quite a bit of corrosion on it already (the whitish appearing deposits)? Maybe some corrosion protection is in order. Remember Al and Zn are at the top of the galvanic series and will corrode first, passivating any steel electrically connected to it (e.g. through the mounting screws).

Link to post
Share on other sites

It had some very minor corrosion before I cleaned it up.  I hit it with some wheel cleaner and some very mild steel wool.  I didn't shine it up, I just got rid of 99% of the obvious corrosion.  The areas around the steel fasteners were all cleaned up as well; those places had slightly more corrosion.  Since it will be hidden from view, there's no sense in making it perfect and shiny.   If it lasted 57 years of neglect and mistreatment without any real corrosion, I'm sure it will be fine under my ownership.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...