hursst

1960 MGA Restoration

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On ‎30‎.‎10‎.‎2017 at 12:32 AM, hursst said:

 

I also took the starter and generator out to a shop for restoration and they did a beautiful job.  Not sure if the starter is supposed to be painted at the back, but will research and figure it out soon (Photo 5).

 

 

 

 

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As I have more experience with US cars than UK ones, I have following question: should not generator an starter motor be black? Anyway, those parts are good looking!

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Hello, one would think, but multiple sources say that these were painted engine color.  I'll site "Original MGA"  by Anders Clausager as one book that explains this.  According to the book, only replacement factory generators are black and there were a few starters that were factory installed in black, but most were engine color (reddish maroon) throughout production.  Thanks to Artie's Electric in Manassas Park, VA for the restoration of the generator and starter.

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Ugh, no real updates on the MGA.  Cold weather, travel, and work duties are greatly slowing my progress.  I was able to finish the valve cover last weekend.  Turned out quite well overall (photo 1).  I have the rear axle housing and carrier ready for primer, but can't paint because it's too cold.  Monday is supposed to be almost 60, so hoping for the best so I can at least get primer on them.

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The weather yesterday and today was in the mid-50's to mid -60's, so I was able to leave work a little early and get to work painting the rear axle and carrier (Photos 1-4).  I used Eastwood chassis black extreme and seem to have fairly good results.  Very pleased that I could get some more painting done in December.  This will allow me a lot of time to put all this stuff back together when it goes back to normal winter temps soon.  Won't be able to work on it for the next 2 weeks or so with the holidays and travel coming up, but hope to start putting the axle together after the new year and get it back where it belongs.  Most of the other rear axle and brake parts are ready to be installed, so it should come together fairly quickly.  Merry Christmas!

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Found a day to work on the MGA in between holidays.  Was able to install the rear axle carrier as well as a backing plate and some brake parts today.  Now it's starting to like like it may be a car one day.

 

First, I cleaned out the breather tube on the axle (Photo 1).  It was clogged up with years of sludge, which probably helped create some of the leaky seals.  That and 45 years of storage in a barn.  Was able to get the chunks out, then detail it out with Gunk spray, then a test with compressed air.

 

Next was to replace the temporary nuts and bolts I had in place for when I sprayed the leaf springs with the correct ones.  Had a few mis-steps as I tried at first to do the assembly from memory.  That didn't work too well, so went and consulted my photos and shop manual, so was able to get it together after a couple hours (Photo 2-3).  I continued on and added the backing plate for the brakes (Photo 4), then the wheel cylinder (Photo 5).  I also placed the hub assembly on there "finger tight" until I figure out how to get it on properly.  Hoping I don't have to take the whole axle out again and have them pressed in at a shop.  Didn't think that one through, but we'll see.  Will probably research and monkey with it more tomorrow.  Lastly, I was able to throw on the brake shoe pivot at the other end of the backing plate (Photo 6).  Also finished up the brass wheel cylinder brake line fitting, but didn't install it yet.  Needs new bleeder valves.  The old ones are clogged with dirt and cannot be cleaned.  Easier and safer to replace. 

 

I was unable to clean up the other backing plate last month with my clogmaster 2000 sandblaster, so the driver's side has to wait for a while.  There's 1/2" of snow on the ground, so no blasting until at least next weekend.  For now, I'll keep trying to build the passenger side, which will make the driver's side a snap after I learn the easy ways to assemble everything.

 

Got my water pump back from the rebuilder for both my '30 Plymouth and the MGA, but they are both in bare metal, and it's too cold to paint them.  Still continuing to work on ancillary engine parts on the side.  Also got a nice $150 Moss gift certificate for Xmas, so small parts won't be a problem for a while.  Happy New Year!

 

-Chris

 

 

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Thanks John, although I think it's going to take a lot longer than I thought.  Everything seems to be working out in the end, but each step is painfully slow.  Many things I don't know and have to research or ask, then many small problems that come up, then a small job becomes hours of work.  Had a small amount of damage to the axle threads when I tried to install my hub bearing assembly today.  Should have been 5-minutes, but took 2.5 hours before I was able to get the nut properly threaded.  None the less, still making some progress, no matter how small. almost every day.

 

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I've heard working with the Clogmaster 2000 can really test a man's patience... but it looks like you're making the best of it.  Great progress and best of luck in 2018!!

 

 

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Interested in the type of rear axle. It looks like it is a 3/4 floating type, similar to what Ford used for many years prior to 1949, correct?

 

Always enjoy looking at and reading your blog posts. Impressive work.

 

Thanks, JWL

 

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Thanks for the posts and encouragement!  Yes, it is a 3/4 floating type rear axle.

 

-Chris

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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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Don't give up on it yet. You will figure it out. I feel your pain also. I have had my run of redo's. Yes it is very frustrating, but that's what old cars do. Test your patience. ;)

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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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Every expert was a novice at some point.  Just think of "redo's" as practice makes perfect.  

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You have already learnt the wrong way to do it. You will need to redo it three times the right way to erase the memory of the wrong way. :lol:

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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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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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I have used Apple to rebuild Armstrong shocks.  They work fine, but be sure to ask them not to paint them black if you want the natural aluminum.

 

 

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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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