2 March 2022 Batch Day #1

I booked three days off from work, and a friend (Ashley) to help me tackle a batch of jobs on the MG. This is what we achieved on day 1.

Fan belt: I thought it prudent to replace the fan belt which came with the car. Given that the MG had been stood for at least five years, and in my ownership for three years, and that the current fan belt was of unknown vintage I had decided to replace it with a shiny new one. The job itself is really simple, slacken off the lower bolt on the sliding bracket. then the two top bolts on the alternator. The alternator can then be swung, taking the tension out of the belt and its comes off easily enough. The new belt took a bit of work with my thumbs to sit over the pulleys, but not too bad. I then swung the alternator back into position, applied some tension and tightened the bolts. The belt tension felt about right, although time will tell and anyway an easy thing to adjust. It certainly isn’t too tight. It brought back memories of when Dad used to service cars and I would help him. I seem to remember that he would ask me to hold the alternator, which of course would immediately move, and he would have to put it back and again and say something encouraging like ‘this time hold it.’ Oh the fun we had, I am not sure how much help I was!

A not very exciting picture of the new fan belt in place

Bonnet Seal: Next easy job was to fit a rubber seal to the seam which runs up the wings and then joins the scuttle. On the MG this is a three quarter affair – its starts halfway up the wing, goes around the top and then halfway down the other wing. This was a simple matter of pushing the rubber seal onto the seam and making sure it sat nicely. Then when I found that the two sides were uneven (it went further down one wing than the other), taking it off and doing it again.

The new seal fitted around the top of the engine bay

Seat Preparation: I had previously had all sorts of hassle with the seat runners, a victim of a mis-order resulting in too few of the right parts and too many of the wrong ones. Anyway, I now had everything I needed, so in the comfort of my study I laid out the parts and worked out what went where. The seats are now ready to be fitted.

Steering Column Bracket: Some time earlier in the build I had temporarily popped a bolt through the steering column bracket to hold it in place while I fitted the dash. I remind myself that temporary fitting of anything has tended to end badly. So it was that Ashley and I found ourselves struggling to remove the temporary bolt which had wedged itself into the bracket (note: the bolt was too short to stay permanently). Combining this job with re-fixing the dash as I wasn’t happy with the fit, we loosened off the dash fixings and this enabled us to manoeuvre the steering column and dash allowing the temporary bolt to pop out willingly and the correct bolts to be promptly inserted and tightened up. With the steering column properly fixed to the underside of the dash we could then refit the dash, with the correct stays in place and a bit of adjustment to the brackets, achieving a better overall result. Its not perfect in terms of fit, but it is solidly and correctly placed which is good enough of me.

The correct bolt fitted to the steering column bracket so we now have a firmly attached steering wheel (this is important)

Rear Window trims: The MG has door capping trims which extend from the front doors to the rear windows. We had previously been short of the right screws to fit these. They are important to keep down the carpets and of course aesthetically. Ashely went on a mission to Halfords, Screw Fix and then B&Q in the hunt for suitable screws and returned with a suitable product which was swiftly fitted and so another job was struck off the list.

Rear capping securely fitted

Door Glass: I’ve had a couple of goes at putting the door glass in before, but this time, I had Ashley alongside and I had a feeling that he would have a better three dimensional picture of what needed doing which turned out to be the case. I have trouble imagining things in three dimensions – my brain is tuned to other things, so these sorts of jobs I find really taxing. Ashley suggested checking that each door lock worked before fitting the glass and we verified that yes they were working fine. This was a smart check as otherwise it could have been very annoying to have to take it out again. We then spent a bit of time just looking and (Ashley) figuring out what needed to go where and then had a proper go. The tricky part is feeding the winding mechanism through the door as the opening is really tight and then aligning the bracketry so that the actuator is at the correct orientation as well as the other bracket which takes the weight of the window. Another challenge is getting the glass passed the outside window trim which again is tight. However, the drivers side glass went in and wound successfully up and down. We did have the adjust the quarterlight and rear rails to pull the window forward as the glass was too far to the rear and catching on the B-post. After adjustment it was better, but the glass was still a little short and far back – looking at it, we concluded that the door has dropped. This also explains why the door does not shut well. Neither of us was confident in adjusting the door hinges, so this remains on the job list, alongside other panel adjustments needed to the bonnet and hatch.

The passenger side was a repeat job and naturally doing it for the second time it was easier. Saying that, Ashley was the brains of this particular job, although it would be difficult for one person to do due to the need to both manoeuvre the mechanism and support the glass at the same time. This side fitted perfectly first time, providing further evidence that the drivers side door has dropped.

In the box of window bits was a chrome trim which we worked out was fixed to the door trailing edge (I love that term) to stabilise the glass when it is up. This needed to be rivetted in place, so an excuse to get out the rivet gun which is huge fun and within minutes the drivers side was fitted and looking good. However, there was only one trim in the box, so where was the passenger side one? Fortunately, I had previously sourced a spare door which had said trim, so it should have been an easy job to swap it on. However, not only were the rivets very reluctant to let go, but the chrome trim had been over-sprayed in green by the previous owner of the door. With some targeted brute force we removed the trim and set to with sandpaper to remove the horrible paint. After around 40 mins of effort we had the trim is reasonable shape and condition to be fitted. I walked around to the passenger side and…you’ve guessed it, the trim was already in place, having been over-sprayed in white (and thus invisible to us earlier). How we laughed.

The lovely chrome trim riveted in place

Overall a good day of progress and a few jobs knocked off the list.

It was a busy day

1 Aug 20 a step forwards

I’ve had a problem with oil leaking from the oil filters area for a while and this has prevented me progressing the engine start because cranking the engine resulted in a pool of engine oil under the car. Having had several goes at refitting the oil filter to oil cooler union, today I used my brain and had Helen in the car cranking the engine over and me looking to see where the leak was coming from. Turns out the leak was from the oil filter ONTO the connection so I was looking in the wrong place. So my focus turned to sorting this connection out and following a phone call to Dad I removed and refitted it. No leak on cranking! Problem solved. I couldn’t resist cranking the engine over to fire (which it didn’t) but I did check and I was getting no spark so at least I know one of the problems to sort out.

This lovely engine bay will sound nice too one day
Oil everywhere but where from!

Back to earlier in the day and ongoing (and off going) saga of the doors and their glass. I had previously fitted the quarter lights but on inspection the runners were perished so I recently ordered some new one from Moss and had stripped them down. So while British Grand Prix Practice and Qualifying ran on I sat in the lounge working the new rubbers into place using a blunt ended tea spoon. Apart from where it dug into my palm painfully it wasn’t too bad and I followed the general approach that Andy from Wiltshire Windscreens showed me when he fitted the front and rear screens. So with these done I loosely fitted the back in. I will tighten them when I get the glass as I think you need them loose to get the whole mechanism in and then you tighten it all up.

Also in preparation for the glass (which I need to order) I removed the lower bracket from the rear glass stay. I have ordered new ones of these with nice new felt lining but they don’t come with the bracket. Rather than put the old brackets on as they were. I decided they would be better painted. I used a Hammerite black straight to rust paint, brush applied. It doesn’t need to look good but it should be protected against corrosion hence this approach. I was a bit delayed in fitting the stays as the paint is still drying so I will need to fit those when I next get the MG out.

Waiting for these to dry before fitting

So that’s about it. Keith the TV aerial guy was passing with his mate and said Hi. A couple of other people nodded their appreciation (or sympathy or contempt it’s hard to tell) so it was an encouraging day on the MG. Last thing to say is that to save my back I towed it out the garage this morning with my CRV which worked reasonably well although I did need a willing assistant which was of course the ever patient Helen.

A closing thought about gratitude…

5 April 2020 Door glass

A fine spring day (Sunday) as the COVID-19 lockdown continues. With the engine start programme on pause, I decided to continue refitting some of the extensive exterior trim on the MG. Having recently taught myself to pop-rivet, and finding out that is the most fun thing ever, I continued to fit the chrome drip rails and today managed to complete both sides. Just one clip missing which will either turn up or I’ll have to buy from Moss. I then turned to the door glass which I have been wanting to fit for a while. Unfortunately, the door glass is very badly scratched (I don’t know how) so I will need to replace them, however, I decided that there was merit in having a go at fitting them anyway as a sort of trial run for when I get the new / second hand ones. Tricky to justify buying new glass at the moment as I can’t collect from Moss (shop closed) and the cost of shipping glass is blooming expensive. Also, I would have to pry off the metal rails which looks tricky, so maybe I’ll source some second hand units via Ebay for as long as that remains. Anyway, back to today’s efforts which went alright actually. I had to remove the quarter lights and then reaquaint myself with the lifting mechanism which is a bit fiddly. I just looked at it and fiddled it around a bit until it fitted – it took a couple of attempts, I then dropped the windows in and they seemed to slide up and down quite convincingly After checking on YouTube I find that I haven’t hitched the glass properly, so something to sort out tomorrow on my day off.

Lots of people say hello as I’m working out the front on the drive, but one visitor today didn’t really understand the whole social distancing thing. I kept backing away as he enthusiastically looked over the MG. He apparently has a couple of Lotus’s he is intending to restore although when he mentioned making one of them into a four door, and commented on how thick the fibreglass was, I began to question his sanity. It was about 7mins and 30 seconds into the conversation before he mentioned ‘Wheeler Dealers’ which is where my interest tends to tail off. Anyway, I think he was probably a bit lonely and confused by the whole Coronavirus thing. It goes to show how it is impacting people in different ways. I wished him well and off he went with his shopping trolley.

Final job today was to scrub the interior trims that I have. I just used some kitchen cleaner to clean the vinyl so I will fit what I have got tomorrow. There are definately some bits missing, so I’ll have to decide how to replace these and draft up an order to one of the many suppliers. I am keen to attempt a repair to the headlining, so there is not much stopping me cracking on with this now.