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  • 2 weeks later...

Continued to make some small progress over the last 2 weeks, but the bitter cold has slowed things down a lot.  Ran into a huge setback yesterday, where I discovered that my hub bearings are evidently not fully seated, which caused the hub bearing assembly to somehow bind against the axle tube flange, which would prevent the hub from rotating.  In addition, my axle half shafts stop short of mating to the hub bearing assembly by 1mm and 2mm respectively, on each side.  This is quite a disaster as it means pulling the hub bearing assemblies back off and trying to figure out where I went wrong.  It's also difficult, as I don't really understand how the whole thing works how the hub bearing assembly is supposed to mate to the axle housing and its association with the bearings and hub nut.  I'ts all very confusing to me, so I'll have to figure it out.  I figure this whole issue is setting me back a good two months, as I'm spending a huge amount of time redoing things, test-fitting things, researching, and trying to figure things out when I should have finished the whole axle assembly by now.

 

A few minor updates in photos.  I ordered a new hammer and tool carrier from Moss with a gift certificate I had (Photo 1).  I'll be trying to put together a complete tool set over time.  On the side, I restored the parking brake mounting assembly that goes on the rear axle (Photo 2).  I was able to install the main carrier onto the axle assembly (Photo 3).  Here's a photo of the frustrating problem with the axle to hub connection.  Note the air gap between the two (Photo 4).

 

Probably won't have an update for a while, due to very little time and trying to figure out this frustrating hub issue.  

 

-Chris

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Hi Chris,

Just spitballing here, but who installed the bearings and races?  Are they both fully seated?  The bearing on the shaft and the race in the housing?  I feel your pain as I am assembling a 55 TBird from a basket case without the parts bagged or tagged.  Sort of like a giant jigsaw puzzle, isn't it?   Good luck!  If I can be of help, let me know.  You are only around the beltway and across the river as I am out near Annapolis.

 

Frank 

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Thanks Frank and Martin.  Good call.  I had some novice install them for free.  You get what you pay for.  Oh yeah, it was me.  I've been on some MGA forums and yes, that appears to be the problem, I evidently did not seat the seal and/or bearings properly, so the whole hub goes in 1-2mm too far, rubs on the axle flange and is positioned slightly too far away from the axle half shafts.

 

I'll be taking the hub assemblies back off this weekend and taking a look.  Maybe I can try again or maybe it will be smarter to bring it to a shop and make sure it's done correctly, as I used improvised methods that appeared to work at the time, but proved to be a little off.

 

Chris

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Hey, I won't tell you how many times I have put the dang bushings on the upper control arms on the TBird.  You'd think it was a simple job, but Noooooooo!  Keep on working on it and take your time.  It all adds to the bank of knowledge.

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Thank you for the encouraging posts, that was very helpful.  I had a full day on the MGA today with nice weather, and I went out there refreshed with a can-do attitude, thanks to these posts.  It was a long day, but I pulled the hubs, pulled the bearings and threw them in the freezer.  Threw the hubs in the oven.  Went back out and reinstalled the bearings, knowing now that I did not seat them properly the first time.  I made some measurements, and sure enough there was about another mm+ of space in there and I was able to seat them properly.  I then installed them on the axle tubes and the axles fit in perfectly.

 

It was then when I realized I had installed the brake backing plates on the wrong sides!  Well, I had to take it all apart again, maybe for the 4th time, to put everything right.  I was able to do all that in about 45 minutes, now that I'm an "expert" in the rear axle.  Luckily, everything went together well, and I think I now have a complete and working axle.  I was also able to throw on the wheel cylinders rear brakes shoes (Photo 1), so all that's left on the ends are the brake drums.  I'll have the originals turned and blasted so they'll be almost as good as new.  Starting to look like a car now (Photo 2).  All these parts are clean, new seals all around, new brake shoes, new hub nuts, new gaskets and O-rings

 

Next will be working on the parking brake assembly and the rear brake pipes.  After that, I'll probably continue on the front suspension.  I'll have to farm some of that out, like the shock rebuilds and getting the front hub/knuckle supports sleeved with new bushings.  Many lessons learned on the rear axle, but I think I got out of it only by help through various forums.  

 

-Chris

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That chassis is looking BEAUTIFUL! Whatever you do, make certain you have the correct hubs on the correct sides. If not, they will unscrew the knockoffs and you will be left sitting in an intersection with no wheel....ask me how I know....

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Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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Glad to see that it all worked out. I think the car was trying to tell you that the backing plates were on the wrong sides. It looks like you would have had to pull the hubs anyway to change the backing plates around. Funny how things work.

Keep positive and keep rolling.;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sluggish progress continues.  My work schedule has changed for the worse, so now working up to 60 hrs per week, including some weekends.  That, combined with the terrible weather, makes for slow progress.  I see a staycation in my future when the weather gets nicer.

 

Spent a lot of time and effort researching and on forums to figure out the parking brake metering lever (photo 1).  It's quite a puzzle how it actually goes together and diagrams show where each piece goes, but not the order of assembly, so some trial and error was involved to get it right.  Luckily, I was able to reuse all the parts and was missing just 1 washer.  

 

Next, moved on to the rear brake lines.  I got the alloy easy-flex lines from Moss.  This seemed like the best way to go for the anti-corrosion abilities, easy flexibility, and lack of cost and shipping fees to have them custom bent out of steel.  They fit great and should function well.  Installation is not 100% complete yet, as I have to install the parking brake assembly to the bracket shown in (photo 2).  I also need to torque the bolts on the rear axle pumpkin to make it complete.

 

I'm also working on the front suspension while I literally wait for paint to dry, or a warm enough day to do more treatment/painting of metal components.  Here's one of the front spindle assemblies along with the pile of dirt, oil, and sand I scraped off of them in preparation to shipping to Apple Hydraulics, an advertiser in my local MG Club magazine (Photo 3).  I figure it will cut my weight on shipping, at the very least.  They will get the shocks and spindle assemblies for proper sleeving and reaming, since I do not have a machine shop.  Waiting for the parts from Moss so I can ship them all out.

 

Also working on the parking brake assembly.  Cleaned the thing all up and using a combination of clear coat, Eastwood "steel" paint to make it look as natural as possible while trying to protect it from corrosion.  Not sure what I'll do with the cabling, as it's sort of 2-toned originally, but there may be a little too much corrosion on them to just clear coat (Photo 4).  Lots of little details, brackets, and nuts, bolts and washing to redo, so it's been slow going, but I feel attention to detail is the most important part of a restoration.  Happy I'm able to reuse so many of the original components.

 

Last, I broke out the clogmaster 2000 Chinese sand blaster.  It seemed to work a little better this weekend, due to lower humidity and me trying to dial it in a little better.  Was able to blast the rear brake drums and water pump to radiator tube.  Came out great!  Waiting for a 50 degree+ day so I can paint them with some hi-temp brake drum paint.  Had the drums turned at a local shop.  They are original and have never been turned before, so should last for about 200 years at the rate we're going with their use (Photo 5).  Getting new brake adjustment plugs and french locks, as the originals were missing and used up, respectively.

 

Hmm, I guess I've done more than I thought, but all aspects are in various degrees of completion, so doesn't seem like much progress.  Looking forward to finishing the rolling chassis by the 2-year anniversary of the purchase of this MGA as a heap o' junk. Very pleased with the results so far, less so with the rate of progress.

 

  Not sure if I should do the engine next, or the body...

 

-Chris

 

 

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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The rain and/or cold has been nonstop here, so many portions of the work are on hold as I can't metal prep, prime, or paint.  In the meantime, I've been grinding rusty bolts and preparing other portions for completion.

 

First, I got my shocks and spindles boxed up and sent off to Apple Hydraulics.  I also started getting the fuel pump, fuel line, fuel tank straps and fuel tank ready.  Here's the tank with new sending unit (Photo 1).  I got the tank at Hershey, as my original is a disaster.  It may be able to be saved, but don't want it holding up the restoration, as it will need a lot of work, if it's even salvageable.  The old stuff, if repairable, is always better than the new stuff.  Here's the new unit versus the old unit (Photo 4).  The old one looks like it was recovered from Pompeii.  Lots of nuts, bolts, and washers either ready to go, or awaiting metal treatment, prime, and paint (Photo 2).  I broke the tank straps out of storage (Photo 3).  I'm refinishing the hardware, but I need a non-rainy day in order to sandblast them.  I also got the rear most floorboard out and prepped that; now it just needs some paint and it can be bolted on.

 

I think by the next sunny weekend over 50 degrees, I'll have made a lot of progress towards finishing the chassis, with much of these smaller portions ready to go.

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Had a VERY productive week, fighting time and the weather and made it work!

 

Finished with the rear brake drums.  Got them painted (Photo 1), got new brake shoe adjustment access hole plugs, new french locks for the lug nuts, cleaned up and plated the lug nuts and threw it all on the car (Photo 4).  Please ignore the crusty wheels and tires, they will be replaced towards the end of the resto.  No reason to have new tires sit for 3 more years.  

 

I also refinished the original rearmost vertical floorboard.  It was in very good condition, so I gave it a light sanding, repainted it, and installed it using the original washers and screws (Photo 4).

 

I was also able to finish a ton of hardware (Photos 2, 3; refinishing in progress)).  These are from the rearmost floorboard and the fuel tank straps, respectively.  I was able to salvage a few of the original washers and screws for the floorboards, so I cleaned them up and reused them.  Most were from for the rearmost vertical floor board.  All the others were rusted beyond salvage, and most had to be cut off and removed with vice grips.

 

One item that's been holding me up for the week has been the parking brake cable assembly.  I restored the assembly, but upon installation, discovered that the cable had seized within the conduit, so I could not install the assembly after all.  I soaked each side in penetrating fluid for 5 days, but still no luck.  It seemed to be fused to the conduit.  I guess 45 years of sitting in 45 year old grease will just petrify everything.  So, I had to get creative.  Using my favorite tree (you may remember this tree from me using it to help remove my octagonal hub nut from my rear axle).  I don't know what kind of tree it is, but I consider it a tool in its on right.  I'd high;y recommend on for use where leverage is needed. So, I took the parking brake assembly, then took a washer and cut a slit in it and placed it around the cable, so the washer would butt up against the conduit, so it would hold in place as I tugged the cable itself.  I wedged the assembly into a tree bough, then put a bolt and nut at the end of the cable attachment, then hooked this up to a chain.  I yanked on it by hand the best I could, but no luck.  I then upped my game and brought in my Swiss army knife of vehicles, my Jeep Wrangler (Photo 5).  I attached the chain to a pull strap, then to my Jeep's winch to get some real tugging power.  Yes, I could have bought a new parking brake assembly, but these new parts are not the same and I want everything as original as possible, so saving this piece was important to me.  The rest of it is in excellent condition. The first try bent the washer up and it came through the tree.  The second attempt bent up the bolt attached to the cable, so the chain slipped off.  The third attempt, I adjusted washer in the tree bough, wrapped the chain around the cable, the secured it to the badly belt bolt at the end of the cable, then tried again.  Third time's the charm, and this time, the cable broke free from within the conduit (Photo 6).  With some more penetrating fluid and moving the able back and forth, I was able to get it moving fairly well.  I'm going to soak it a little more to free it up the best I can, then it will go on the car very soon.  This will be the last piece for the rear axle assembly; all that's left is to torque everything down.

 

In addition, I broke out my clogmaster 2000 sand blaster and got the two fuel tank straps cleaned up to bare metal (Photo 7).  I'll be able to metal prep it on Sunday.  The fuel tank with sending unit is done, so I should have the whole assembly installed within a week, after I finish painting the straps and finish refurbishing the rest of the hardware.

 

Overall, the most progress I've made in a long time.  Hope to have the whole rear of the chassis finished within a week, then continuing with the front end.  Still much to do there, but making some progress.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Continuing to be productive, dodging the bad weather when I can.  Lots of nice days popping up here and there.  Finished with the fuel tank I bought at Hershey.  Had to respray some of the paint on it to make it look right, but no big deal.  Was able to apply the rubber noise seals and original fuel tank straps after I repainted them (Photos 1 & 2).  Finished tank (Photo 4).  Can't install it until the body is on, as it looks like the filler neck won't clear if the body is dropped if the tank is installed.

 

Finished the rear axle area, pretty much completely (Photo 3).  Torqued everything down and filled the rear with the proper gear oil.  No leaks yet!  Everything turned out really well.  Will still need to do some touch ups on some paint chips and on the nuts on the axle pumpkin.  I added a "before" photo from Dec 2016 (Photo 6) for perspective.  It's come a long way in the last year, but wish I had more time to get it further.  Starting to imagine what it's like to drive it...

 

Got my front suspension pieces back from Apple Hydraulics (Photo 4).  I asked them not to paint the shocks.  There is still work to do in painting the shock arms black and I will probably clear coat the shock bodies as a protectant.  I kept all the original parts, so I may swap back on some of the the original nuts and bolts for some of the hardware store stuff that may have been put on by the rebuilder.  The axle trunions and spindle will need all the rest of the shafts, seals, and hardware installed so that I can hook everything up, but that appears to be an easy job.  I'll also be painting most of it black, as original.

 

Once all this stuff is completed and installed, I'll work on the front hubs, seals and bearings, then I'll be starting on the front chassis extension and the steering rack.  The steering rack is filthy, but everything looks to be in great operating condition.  I may just be able to clean it all up as is, repaint it, and put it on the car.  We'll see.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Jeff, Wow, great find!  I hope you post the restoration on this site while you do it.  I think I used about 7 months in taking mine apart, so that is some time savings, as long as everything is labeled correctly.

 

Chris

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Chris,

 

Yes, I will start a thread.  I still l haven't finished the Metz Roadster but the MG TD was something I couldn't pass up.  My daughter really wants to work on a car with me and the MG is a much better car to work on.  Parts can be ordered, books and videos are available, etc, etc.   I'll still finish the Metz but it will have to wait on the MG.  I don't know if anything is labeled.  The project looks like a restoration that wound down for whatever reason.  The sheet metal is in primer... but that was done over 30 years ago.  There are boxes and boxes of parts that I didn't look through so I'm sure there will be surprises.   I blame you and thank you for the inspiring job you've done... you gave me MG envy to the point I just couldn't stand it!!! ;)

 

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More progress made, purely in spite of the terrible weather and all the problems it caused. Luckily, had many bad trees cut down 2 weeks ago, so no damage from windmagedon, but still had plenty of cleanup.

 

Thanks to a member who was viewing these posts, I was able to pick up 2 more nice wheels, since 4 of my 5 originals are trashed, due to 45 years storage in, what I'm guessing, was a dirt-floor barn.  The rims of the wheels where they were closest to the ground are rusted beyond repair.

 

Anyway, I got back my front suspension parts from Apple Hydraulics (Photo 1).  They appear to have done an excellent job.  I painted them correctly and began to throw them on the car, starting with the shocks (Photo 2).  I then painted the spindle assemblies (Photo 3).  While I was in between prime and paint, I broke out the original King Dick jack and restored that (Photo 4).  Was in excellent condition, just needed to be stripped and repainted.  Have it all greased up and fully functional.

 

Next, I got out the steering rack.  Surprisingly, it's in outstanding condition overall.  The tie rod ball joints have some wear, so I will have to replace those, but the rest of the mechanism is very solid and tight, so I'm going to reuse it as is.  Here it is after a little effort, still quite filthy (Photo 5).  After lots of de-greasing, taping, then hit it with a fine wire wheel to bare metal, here it is using the crepe myrtle again, all cleaned up and ready for primer (Photo 6). 

 

In the meantime, I put on the spindle assemblies, loosely (Photo 7).  Needs some paint touch up and some minor adjustment, but is otherwise ready to go.  I'll have to pause as I figure out how to compress the coil springs, before I attach everything together. Coil springs are small, so probably have to find a small internal coil spring compressor of some sort.  I was able to reuse the original upper hardware on the spindle, but the lower hardware had too much wear, so I'm going with new parts.  

 

Last, here's a photo of the steering rack in primer (Photo 8).  Ran out of warm enough weather, so called it a day.  I'll need some new steering rack components from Moss, such as the rubber grease seals and new tie rods, among other misc parts, so will probably make a trek down to Petersburg soon, since it's cheaper than shipping costs.

 

-Chris

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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I've been reading up on coil spring compression.  My "small" coil spring compressor is external, and my internal one is way too big.  Thanks to the MGA Guru site and Barney, I was able to see some alternatives.  I came up with wrapping a lot of rope around a jack and the upper shock (Photo 1).  The "guru" folks used a chain, which I didn't have.  Was able to compress the whole works with this method fairly easily and now I have the springs in (Photos 2 & 3).  I have a lot of touch up to do, some of the bolt heads aren't quite nice enough, there are a few small paint chips from this effort, and I didn't get enough paint on the spindle assembly, so I need to do some detailing and then torque up all the small bolts, except the main ones (they will be done when all the weight is back on the car).  

 

As a bonus, I redid the tire pump handle.  It was embedded with grease and age, so I sanded it the best I could and used linseed oil.  It will be a little patina'd, but I think it looks okay overall.

 

I also got the steering rack painted, but need to do some minor redos to some of it.

 

Now, time for a trip to Moss to get new front brake rotors, bearings, and seals, as the originals are worn out.  Also need tie rods.  I'll probably work more on some of the original tools while I wait to buy more parts.

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Looks great!  Also super timing... I've been trying to figure out what the heck goes where on the front suspension and your's looks very, very similar to my TD.  BTW... a fair amount of MGA parts tagged along with my haul, are you needing anything?

 

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Jeff, let me know if you need any detailed photos of anything, if that helps.  The suspensions are very similar, if not the same in many ways.  I'll PM you about the MGA parts.  I bought a lot of parts already, so don't need too much else, but I'll see what else I may need.  Thanks!

 

-Chris

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Great work you're doing. I too had one of these way back when.

 

As enthusiastic and helpful as that Crape Myrtle has been in the restoration, it may be fitting to craft something of a bit of it as a memento. Maybe a gearshift knob. 

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Small update for today.  Got a few things done over the weekend and during a few minutes after work, but overall light progress.  Would have had more photos, but camera batteries died.  Was able to complete and install the steering rack (Photo 1).  I have the steering  shaft in steel gray, but the restoration book says black.  I've seen others in "natural" finish as well, but will do some more research and figure out what is correct.  I'm guessing it should be black, like the book says.  Since this photo, I put on the restored clamps for the rubber dust shields on each end, and I have cleaned up the locking nuts and attached the new tie rods to the ends and then to the steering links attached to the spindle.  I found an original grease gun for the tool kit in England, and it's being shipped now, so I'll pump up the steering rack with the proper grease using the proper grease gun.  I'll then restore the grease gun and add it to the tool kit I'm trying to put together.

 

It will be too cold to paint for a while, so now working on the front hubs.  Will be taking out the old bearings and replacing them, then replacing the front brake rotors with new.  Restored brake calipers are ready to go on next, so hope to have this thing on two front wheels by Sunday evening, but we'll see.

 

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Well, we got about 2" of snow here in the northern VA area, which can only mean one thing...TOTAL PANIC AND COWARDICE.  Which means I didn't have to work today.  Headed off to the garage to catch up on the MGA.  I got a whole lot accomplished today, and did some this last weekend as well, but nothing is ever as easy as it seems, so everything took me extra time with a few mistakes throughout.

 

Started with the front hubs by knocking out the wheel bearings (Photo 1).  These were the original bearings and were in excellent condition, but I wouldn't feel comfortable reusing them, not having known what they've been through.  I will save them as backups just in case.  Here are the new bearings I got from Moss (Photo 2).  Here's one of the new rotors with one old one and old old hub unit (Photo 3).  The original rotors were heavily pitted and beyond saving.  I cleared up the hubs and they turned out fairly clean (Photo 4).  Here are the new bearings, all lined up and ready to go in (Photo 5).  Also cleaned up all the hardware for the hub assemblies, on the right (Photo 6).  I will usually zinc plate hardware that is in good condition with no pitting, but I will prime and paint hardware that has a little pitting, as the zinc won't stick to the pits and they start rusting with just a little humidity.  Once I install them, I usually touch them up, as torquing them down usually chips the paint.

 

Back to the crepe myrtle for painting part of the hubs (Photo 7).  I rust encapsulated them, primed, and painted, to keep them relatively clean and protected, rather than leaving them bare steel.  Of course, left the threads natural.  Here's a finished hub, ready to be bolted back together (Photo 8).  I threw the finished assemblies back on the car (Photo 9), but of course there many more steps, putting in the washer and castle nut, torquing to spec, then feeding a cotter pin through a small hole in the hub, then through the castle nut, securing the cotter pin, then putting in the grease seal that covers up the hole from the inside (Photo 10, hardware).  I had some challenges in that the passenger side hub was about 1 mm short of where it should have been in terms of being pressed onto the spindle assembly, so I had to take the cotter pin out again, which took my about 50 minutes.  Leaving it where it was resulted in the brake calipers and pad rubbing against the outside of the rotor, locking up the rotor from spinning.  Getting these out is almost impossible.  I did get it out, re-torqued the hub, replaced the cotter pin, and everything was fine.  I continued on and put the front Lockheed brake calipers on as well (Photo 11 & 12).

 

On Sunday, I was also able to loosely install the front and rear fuel lines as well as the front to rear brake line.  Next, I have to buy new brake hoses for the front, probably before I put the wheels on.  The chassis is really starting to come together, but I still have much more to do before the chassis is complete.

 

-Chris

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Wow that really looks sharp!!  I'm getting ready to place a big order with Moss that should cover the engine and gearbox rebuild along with a bunch of suspension stuff.  I can't wait to get where you are!

 

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Quick update for today.  Basic rolling chassis is complete.  Next phase is to complete the full chassis, which means frame extension, the rest of the fuel and brake pipes, wiring harness, floorboards, horn, and other misc items.  Will probably shuffle things around in the garage and start on the body, then maybe get the engine out for review and rebuilding about 1/2 way through the body work.  Hard to get any painting done, as weather is still freezing with highs only around 50 at best each day.  Global warming is taking 2018 off, evidently.

 

-Chris

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  • 2 weeks later...

Worst winter ever.  Spring should be starting here tomorrow, but hasn't stopped my from working on the MGA in the mean time.  Started working on the ancillary chassis parts such as the wiring harness, rest of the brake pipes, the battery wire, the chassis extensions, and all the clips and hardware.  Here's the brake pipe switch and proportioner before restoring the pieces (Photo 3).  Nice to work on the brass brake fittings.  Here's most of the finished product, going on the car (Photo 5).

 

I found an original oil pump on English ebay, bought it, then restored it (Photo 4).  It's not quite the original color, but as close as I could get.  I then used it to oil my steering rack, which was its original intent.

 

I'm going to replace all the wiring, as the originals are quite torn up.  Lining up the old with the new to ensure everything is right and that I can line up the clips (Photo 6).

 

I blasted the front extension pieces, so here's before and after (Photos 1 & 2).  Took a long time with the clogmaster 2000 sandblaster.  I did buy some new media and that helped it quite a bit.  Too much moisture I guess in the older, recycled stuff I sweep up later.  Still beats paying someone else to do it.

 

Refinished the spare tire hold down (Photo 7). 

 

Here's the front frame extension more or less on the car (Photo 8).

 

Also installed new front brake hoses.  Was able to salvage the original hardware, but had to replace the hoses.  Was also able to clip off the original yellow tags and put them on the new hoses to make them look more original (Photo 9).

 

I still have a lot of hardware to finish, like the front bumper mounting hardware, plus some more of the battery cable/wiring harness clips.  I've started  to search out engine and transmission shops, as that will be next, before I do the body.  I think both need professional attention, although I've been restoring the outside engine attachments as I go.  Should have the engine and/or trans to a shop in about 2 months, I think.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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6 minutes ago, hursst said:

Too much moisture I guess in the older, recycled stuff I sweep up later.

The sweepings probably contain particles that are coarser (bigger) than the clogmaster is designed for. If you sieved it to the size it requires, it might work better, as it does with new media.

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