3 Feb 19 Pedalling

Having resprayed the master cylinder assembly recently, I decided today to reinstall the pedals. This was fairly simple after I had worked out what went where. Fitting the return springs was a bit of a faff but once I had fitted one, the other was a bit easier.

Also gathered all the air filter bits into one place and loosely fitted them together so that I am not hunting around for missing bits when I put them back on. The factory air filters are restrictive, but they have character, so I am going to keep them, at least in the short term.

I am thinking about how to build the engine back up and working out what I need to have ready. Carburettor and exhaust gaskets are on my shopping list as essential as is painting the newly blasted exhaust manifold which needs high temperature paint.

I am off to the MG and Triumph Spares day next weekend, so will be purchasing essentials and meeting suppliers – should be fun.

2 Feb 19 Mind the (panel) gap

MG in the paint shop

A trip over to Reef Paintshop this morning to give Gavin the boot and bonnet catches he had requested, and a chance to review progress. My main observation was that there was a lot of work going on to prepare the car. As much as the engine bay and interior are basically finished, the panels were marked up with the many minor imperfections which Gavin is going to rectify. He has filled the bonnet which was looking really smooth and is working systematically around the shell.

Inspecting Gavin’s work [Photo Credit Helen Trigg]

Gavin pointed out the first significant hurdle he has identified which is the panel gap on the o/s wing. The pictures below show the difference in gaps on either side.

Good panel gap
Bad panel gap

There are a number of ways of tackling this, but only one proper way which is to unpick the panel and re-fix it to the correct alignment, which is going to cost a couple of day’s labour. Other rectification would be a bodge and leaving it as is is going to spoil the job, so we decided to have it done properly. Fortunately Helen was with me, so not only was she able to see the car, but also to join the discussion on the repair and see the problem for herself.

Helen looks typically enthralled

On a positive note, Gavin explained that he has a supplier who can refinish bare metal for around £40 per bucket. This is for items such as the door catches and other sundry non-chrome items that could do with a freshen up. This seems too good an opportunity not to take up and is an economical way of getting these visible items into a presentable condition. I’ll be routing through my box of carts for suitable material.

I collected the air filter housings while at Reef, which Gavin had kindly resprayed for me as a little extra. They look great and will join the other parts he has refinished which will go towards an excellent under-bonnet look.

Black and shiny air filter housings
The Kennet & Avon Canal, iced over [Photo Credit Helen Trigg]

As an aside, over the last couple of days, Southern England has been hit with snow fall and on the drive over to Reef, we took the opportunity to stop by the canal and take some pictures.

25 Jan 19 First paint!

The main shell in the paint shop

First image today of the main shell with paint. The outside is still finished in epoxy primer, whereas the inside has received its coat of Glacier White and looks great.

Gavin messaged me earlier requesting that I drop over the following parts for trial fitting – head lights, tail lights and chrome strips. I found the lights easily enough, but I had dumped the chrome strips during the strip down. A quick call to Moss sorted that out and I had the parts delivered by mid afternoon. He also highlighted an issue with the valance as he wasn’t sure how it was supposed to fit. I researched fitting of it on the internet and sent him some notes to clarify that I want a bolted on look, not all smoothed over as I think this looks more authentic to the original 1967 Sebring MGB-GT (see photo below).

The original 1967 Sebring MGB-GTs, the inspiration for my build

My GT is not going to look quite like this, especially as being on standard springs, it will sit higher, but the photo indicates how good they look without bumpers.

21 Jan 19 Rebuild commences

So a grand name for a blog of little practical significance, but bear with me. Today I collected some loose parts of the MG from Gavin of Reef Paintshop. This includes newly finished dash, radiator shroud, heater box and master cylinder cover. Significantly, I had removed the glove-box lid for it to be refinished and hence when at lunchtime, I re-fixed the lid to the dashboard, then, tah dah! the rebuild has commenced, albeit in a somewhat minor way.

As to progress of the respray, the blasting has revealed a couple of areas needing some attention, previously unknown. The n/s rear window surround has a small area of perforation where is has rusted out, probably due to it being a water trap. To do a full metal repair here would involve substantial work, so I have agreed for it to be cleaned up, glass-fibred and then filled smooth. Another area by the o/s door shut has some perforation so Gavin proposes plug welding this as the perforations are small. Of more significance is the front wing headlight mountings. These were scabby before and after blasting look worse. Gavin asked me to research what panels are available and I quickly identified that Moss do these as a replacement part, so have ordered two to go to his shop tomorrow. Other than that, there are no surprises and after he has completed a BMW M3 that was in the shop, he will be cracking on with the MG. All work to date is of a great quality and I am happy with how it is progressing.

The MG under dust covers at Reef Paint Shop

20 Jan 19 Perseverance

Ah, the sweet satisfaction that comes from solving a problem. This afternoon I turned to the engine block to continue the tidying up I have been doing, mainly consisting of wire-brushing and spraying with black engine paint. Having today completed spraying all surfaces and therefore beginning to concentrate on the details I focused on the distributor which has to date steadfastly refused all attempts at removal. I consulted the manual, which suggested you ‘simply remove’ and poked around it with a torch looking for some fixing or other that remained in place. Having found no clues there, I decided on some gentle shock therapy, so I used the wooden handle end of one hammer and some gentle blows with another hammer to knock it first anticlockwise, then clockwise, trying to get some movement out of it. After a half rotation each way, the distributor was certainly beginning to free up. With a gentle pull, it came smoothly free of the engine block at last.

The engine is beginning to look a bit neater

My intention is to replace the distributor with an Electronic Ignition system, so it needed to be removed. Some such systems re-use the original body of the distributor so I will strip it down on the bench and figure out which bits to retain and so on.

While in the garage I put some more paint on the master cylinder housing and on the other end of the brake and clutch pedals. These are now hanging up to dry in the garage.

14 Jan 19 At the paint shop

First photo of the blasted shell courtesy of Gavin

So the MG is in the paint shop and its good to see the green has finally gone. The components below have also been blasted and are ready for a coat of shiny black paint.

Blasted components ready for paint

The gearbox and manifold have also been blasted and are ready for collection so I’ll pop over soon to pick these up. I have to buy a new clutch and then I can mate the gearbox and engine together again and start to build up the engine with its components.

The gearbox looks a lot different with all the muck removed!

13 Jan 19 Rebuild preparation

There’s plenty to be getting on with while the MG is being resprayed. This afternoon I turned the engine around and de-greased the dirty side. As a reminder I had previously painted one side of the engine and as the results of this are okay, I decided to prepare to paint the other side. I am using a cycling de-greaser, sprayed water and a brush to remove the muck. I used plenty of water and could see the muck coming off the engine onto the garage floor. That face of the engine now needs to dry thoroughly allowing me to give it a dusting of black engine paint (I am using motorcycle engine paint).

While in the garage I pulled out some components which will need a bit of love before they are refitted. First out of the box were the clutch and brake pedal. Interestingly, one of these (I am not sure which is which at this stage) had a seized bearing, which cannot have made for a particularly smooth pedal action, probably the clutch since that is the one that had failed. Anyway I used a chisel and hammer to gently coax it out and then rubbed it down with sand paper so I would fit back in and turn nicely. I was pleased to spot this as it was an easy job today, which might have been a pain if found after I had fitted all the pedals back in place. I gave the pedals a rub with some sandpaper and a dusting of primer, then engine paint. I am not fussy about the finish on these sorts of components, just aiming to freshen them up a bit before they are refitted.

I did a similar job with the bracket which houses the brake and clutch master cylinders, removing both cylinders, rubbing down he bracket and giving it a coat of paint.

The painted bracket resting on the spare wheel

Finally, an update on the respray. The MG has been blasted and transported to Reef Paint Shop. Roger (the blaster) text me to say it had all gone okay, no hiccups or nasty surprises. So now its over to Gavin for him to work his magic.

7 Jan 19 Blast-off

The MG was picked up today (by Chris from Oakwood of Corsham) and transported to RJH Blast services where the paint will be stripped by Roger prior to the respray. On arrival at the premises there was a lot of noise and dust from one of the garages from which Roger emerged to offer me a friendly if dusty handshake. We talked about the job and Gavin from Reef was on hand too to discuss what was needed. I was reassured by Roger’s assertion that ‘it doesn’t look too bad’ and so I was happy that the MG is in good hands. Gavin identified that I hadn’t removed the indicator stalk, so he quickly removed this so that it avoids being contaminated by the blast media which it turns out is ground recycled glass.

MG loaded onto Chris’s truck
The MG awaiting blasting

So we were four petrol heads all talking cars before I realised I was supposed to be at work, so I said my goodbyes and headed off. I am really excited to have reached this stage of the project. This is the turnaround, the end of the strip down and the start of the rebuild phase. I do have some jobs to do while the MG is away for a few weeks, including finishing off painting the engine and getting all the components into good condition and ordering the new parts which I will need for the initial build, so there will be no slacking!

30 Dec 18 Rear wiring loom removal

Following on from yesterday’s progress in removing the main wiring loom, this afternoon I removed the rear loom. I had disconnected the rear loom from the main one yesterday by pulling apart the connectors so all I had to do today was to unclip the loom along its route from engine compartment to where it emerges in the boot floor. ‘All I had to do…’

I jacked up the o/s of the MG and set it on two axle stands. Then lying on my back I started to remove the clips and brackets starting at the front and working towards the back. The loom goes through a chassis member about halfway along, but the loom pulled through this once the grommets were loosened. The job got a bit more difficult around the fuel pump, firstly because some parts of the loom were still connected to it, and secondly because there is a clip right up inside the rear arch which was difficult to get a spanner too, and very stiff to boot. It took a while (a long while…) but ultimately I removed the nut and this loosened the loom allowing me to feed it up through the hole into the boot. I then had the satisfaction of removing it from the car and reflecting on a job which had gone well.

With the rear loom removed, it was time to quit while I was ahead, and call it a day

29 Dec 18 Wiring Loom Removal

An opportunity to complete a few of the jobs which need doing prior to the respray. I was just getting the MG out and was door-stepped in a nice way by Russell, a dog-walker and classic car enthusiast who has owned a number of MGBs, MGCs and MGB V8s – we had a good chat about the rebuilt and I marked him for future help.

m I was soon joined by my childhood friend Phil who had come along to help. First priority, after making cups of tea of course, was the removal of the loom. Given that I am likely to buy a new loom, this job was easier that it might have been, but it was still fiddly feeding all the connections through the small hole in the firewall. Within minutes of arriving Phil had added value by relating the accepted wisdom that the loom was removed from under the dash and fed into the engine compartment, rather than the other was around, so that’s the way we chose to do it. With me feeding cables from the interior and Phil pulling them through we got the job done surprisingly easily. I now have a complete loom as a template.

Phil has owned three MGBs so his insight was invaluable

Next job on the list was to remove the near side front wing. This was to check for any unexpected rust prior to the respray. Having done the off side recently, we knew where all the bolts were, so it came off nicely without any hitches. There were no horrors stories under the n/s wing so we then put both wings back on with just two bolts at the top and one at the bottom for the car to be transported to the shot blasters.

Phil helped to unbolt the n/s wing

I had earlier disconnected the rear loom from the main loom and inspected the route it took under the car. While initially sceptical that it was a good idea to remove it from its clips, I was encouraged by Phil and Helen to reconsider and remove this too. However, this is planned for another day.

I take another look at how the rear loom is routed
Phil verifies the route of the rear loom

I lifted the battery out of the car as it won’t be needing that for a while and removed various random rubbish from the interior. Phil and I looked for the gearbox cross member but couldn’t find it – I would like it to be shot blasted, so will need to have an organised look soon. In showing the dashboard to Phil, I explained the troublesome chrome strip on the glovebox lid which I had been worrying about. I decided to attempt to remove it and fortunately with a bit of light prying with a tiny flat screwdriver it came off nicely – another job off the list.

Tea is important, and lists, especially completed ones

I love it when someone helps with the MG restoration. Everything seems easier with two people and much as I enjoy working with just the radio for company, sometimes another person can make things appear more do-able. For Phil and I to be working together, with our shared MG history dating back to when he owned MGs and we used to go to events in them, was to fulfil a long held ambition. I look forward to other days when we can work on this project. Thanks Phil.

27 Dec 18 Garage Tidy

I am planning to remove the loom on Saturday (with some help) so I thought I had better tidy up the garage in readiness. I managed to fill around three bags of general rubbish, made a pile of cardboard for recycling, collected around ten reusable bags and restacked some of the dismantled parts into neater piles. A good couple of hours spent on making the workspace somewhat tidier.

Believe it or not, this is the garage after tidying

I also located several components which I want to be blasted at the same time as the body shell. They include the carburettor heat shield, exhaust manifold, and the heater box all of which I stacked inside the car for when it is collected for respraying. While I was routing around I picked up the flap through which hot air is drawn for the interior. This was fairly ropey, but is too delicate to be blasted so I cleaned it up with my Dremel tool. It will need further preparation and painting before refitting.

Later in the day I rang Moss of Bristol and spoke to George to order the Sebring Valance, Wrinkle Paint and front wing splash plates. I will go to Bristol tomorrow to pick them up. Finally I sent a SMS message to Chris from Oakwood transport, arranging for the MG to be delivered to RJH Blast Cleaning Services. He replied that was okay, so we are good to go for collection Monday week.

15 Dec 18 Wing removal

One of the final preparations for the respray is the remove the front wings, so I tackled that this afternoon, on a wet and windy Saturday before Christmas. It was so unpleasantly cold that I couldn’t stand to be outside, so I manoeuvred the MG within the garage so I had a bit of room and unbolted the drivers side wing. One of the those jobs that I had read up about, and for once it went pretty smoothly, I only forgot one bolt and having been there before with my Suzuki Cappuccino I soon tracked down the remaining one. They are bolted on thoroughly, but once all the bolts were removed, the wing came off easily. On initial inspection, the condition of the wing and the inner wing appear good. The bottom edge of the wing is a little ratty, but that should tidy up when blasted and resprayed. 

A bit more daunting was my inspection of the loom. I have to feed the loom from under the bonnet through a small hole in the firewall, which doesn’t look easy especially as some clips and bits are still fixed. I removed a couple of pieces, but I may have to go as far as un-taping it and pushing it through one wire at a time. I need to find time to do this as it doesn’t look like a 5 mins job. Also, I have to work out the piece that goes under the car and presumably to the rear. I could do with a dry day, not too cold – some hope of that before 6 Jan 19! (pick up day). I seem to suddenly find myself with a lot to do and not much time to do it, hmm!