Wednesday 12 April 2023

Chrome Trim

This is without doubt one of the scariest jobs. Fresh new paint and one slip and it's ruined.

The first thing I tackled was the MG badge on the boot lid.

I bought a nice new shiny set as I wanted it to look perfect against my lovely new paint.

But in the process of preparing the boot for paint all the old holes were now filled. How was I going to line it all up straight?

Fortunately on the underside was the reinforcing plate with with the holes on show.

So the only thing I needed to do was to drill from this side and hope they all line up. My only worry was trying not to drill to quickly that it might crack the paint on the other side.

Very slowly and carefully I drilled all the holes. Trying not to put too much downwards pressure as I went. 

Success! But would it fit?

All the clips went on ok and gripped the stems. Had to push the badge down a little hard to make sure it was flush with the boot surface. 

But that looks perfect!

Next up was the long chrome beading rail that runs from front to back along the wings, a-post and doors.

You may remember that my wings are donor ones that didn't have any beading rails on them and so no holes. I would have to drill the holes!

Luckily the doors are original and the holes were still there. Some had a little filler left behind but at least this gave me a line to aim at. The holes were also all ok in the rear wings sections.

Needed to enlarge some of the holes to get rid of the filler.

Then I needed to work out the gaps between the holes to make sure I followed the spacing that would have originally been done. It is important and the beading must be pulled on to the body work at the correct points or it might not sit flush.

Once I had measured a good few times I needed to transfer that to the tape and mark out the drill points. If I get this wrong the beading won't look straight.

The masking tape did it's job and stopped the drill from moving around and all the holes were drilled without any paint scratches. Such a relief!

Next up was to fit the clips that are held on with rivets. I've not used a rivet gun much so i was super nervous.

I very quickly ran into a problem which meant I had to drill out the first couple of goes. 

As you can see in the photo below you can see the clip is touching the face of the rivet gun and so leaving a gap between the rivet and the clip. So when you tighten the rivet to the point it snaps the clip is loose.

So I had to come up with a way to resolve this. I found an old small nut and filed it down so that it would fit between the rivet gun and the rivet.

Wasn't really sure how it would work but I had no other choice.

The first few times I tried this it did work well. But I found the rivet gun would jump towards the paint after it snapped. Caused a couple of very small marks in the paint. So I ended up wrapping my hand around the end of the rivet gun, pressing against the paint so that it couldn't do that.

It is important that you make sure each clip is the same way. I had it so the two prongs were at the bottom, so when you fit the beading you slot it on the top and push down so that it clips in. 

Fitting was really easy. The beading went on in seconds, clipping it down all the way. But how would it look? Did I get all the holes in line?


Then I just had to fit the A-post beading. 

Was much easier to line up with the beading in place either side.

And no rivets!

Not bad at all!

Last bit of trim was the grill surround. This should have been straight forward. Just a few rivets.

But it wasn't as easy as I had hoped. The holes in the wings and front valance that are supposed to line up with the holes in the chrome surrounds didn't line up well at all. Also some of the holes were too big and so the rivets wouldn't attach. 

I got really frustrated by this as I had to drill out the rivets and start again. Having to drill new holes in places and then trying to get the new chrome trim to fit inline. 

Also the edges of the chrome surrounds are very sharp and as I found out scratched and chipped some of the paint. I would advise using masking tape so you can avoid making the same mistake as I did.

I had to bang the side surrounds into shape to get them to fit properly. Really not ideal. I now have to get some touch up paint and correct this. 

Despite this annoyance with the chrome trim all finished and the grill back in place I'm very pleased with the finish.

Sunday 9 April 2023


As mentioned in another post I decide to get the seats professionally restored. 

I thought I had taken a photo of the seats so I could show a nice before and after. I can't find one!

This is the best I have, sorry.

Hard to see but the vinyl was ripped. The vinyl itself was very dirty and stained and the foam underneath was falling apart. 

So lots to do. I really didn't know how I was going to tackle this. By complete chance I met a guy called Ray who lived in the village. He was a car trimmer. We got chatting and he agreed to help me.

I came to pick up the seats and all the panels and in a couple of weeks he returned with this!

I was so happy with the finish. Looks amazing and best of all Ray did me a very good price.

So now I just had to fit them.

First is to make the holes in the carpet for the bolts to fit through. 

The backing mesh makes it quite easy to mark where you need to make the hole with a sharp point.

I then used a drill to make the hole.

All done!

Slide the runners on to the seat. Worth applying a little grease. Keeping them to stay there is a bit of a challenge.

Push the threads into the holes in the carpet and through the holes in the floor panel.

Tighten the nuts if you can. You might need someone to sit in the seat to get enough of the thread to show.

The rear two bolts should be a little easier if you slide the seat right forward on the runners.

All bolted on!

And there we go!

Ready for a drive!

Monday 3 April 2023

Interior Trim and Panels

Time to restore the interior trim and panels.

These were stored for quite a few years in the loft of the garage. Some of them had been nibbled at by the mice. All of them stank of mouse piss. Whilst there were all there few were in good condition I decided to remake new boards for most of them and get them retrimmed. 

First job was to remove all the old smelly vinyl and foam from all of the panels.

There was one or two staples that needed to be removed.

The foam was stuck down but came off with a little scraping. Then both surfaces needed sanding down with rough paper to make sure no foam remained and it was clean for the new foam and vinyl.

In the cockpit there are aluminium rails that are also covered in vinyl and foam. They fit above the dashboard, on top of the doors and around behind the seats. These also needed to be stripped back.

It was time consuming getting all the old adhesive off. I ended up using the old wire wheel. 

The main door cards were bent in places and needed replacing. 

So I needed to strip them back. They were stained with damp and very fragile.

But once stripped I could use the old ones as a template for cutting out new ones from fibre board.

Took me a while to get the complete set all prepared and ready for retrimming.

I decide to outsource the retrimming of the seats to a local professional and so asked him if he would be happy to recover all the panels for me. He agreed and for a very good price. 

In a couple of weeks he called me up to tell me everything was done apart from the rail that runs behind the seats. He said he had trouble getting the vinyl to stretch around the corners. 

I told him not to worry and drop everything off and we'd work it out together. I didn't take a photo of the rails when they came back, but it didn't look good. The rest of the panels were really good though and ready to fit straight away.

As you can see from the photos below the MK2's rear rail is not an easy shape to stretch vinyl around. 

The angle is very tight and the vinyl needs to wrap round tight and it doesn't want to.

Even getting the foam to fit isn't easy.

I tried speaking to a few other trimmers in the area. They all said it would be difficult and some of the pricing quoted was making it not worth the effort. Some suggested just painting it.

After a few phone calls there was a suggestion that I should try to get 3 way stretch vinyl. However they don't make 3 way in the same type of vinyl my guy used on all the other panels and rails so it would look crap.

The vinyl that my guy did use did stretch but not in the right direction. By chance he left me quite a lot of the vinyl roll and I realised that I could cut a section of vinyl off the roll that went across from one corner to the other, rather than along the edge, the stretch would then be going in the right way to allow me to wrap it around the rail. Using a hair dryer to heat it up it eventually worked as you can see below.

There are a few small creases but it looks good enough and million times better than before. 

These rails all bolt into place using the sliding bolts. (sorry poor pic)

The dash rail needs to go in before the dashboard is fitted.

But totally changes the look.

Fitting the door rails is a little harder because there's not a lot of room to tighten the nuts up on the slide bolts. I found this spanner in my toolbox. No idea how I got this but decided to put it to good use.

It was just the right size to fit the nuts and thin enough to allow me to tighten the nut with the limited space.

Next on the doors go the inner panels. Not really sure what function these provide other than aesthetics. 6 screws and they're in.

Next is the main door panel and as you can see it looks very nice.

I reused the clips that came off the old ones and they allow the panel to move whilst you align all of them before you can knock them in so that they clip on to the door.

Before you clip the door panel in you must fit the check strap. Slide the bracket into the gap.

Make sure the holes are not covered.

Work out the location for the holes. 

I just used a drill.

Then fit the screw, bracket and retainer.

And bolt to the side panel.

Back to the door panels and make sure you don't push the clips all the way in until you've got them all lined up.

Just when you think you've got one in another one moves out.

So good to get that done. Just needs the chrome work to finish. Those two indentations on the top rail came out with the hair dryer and a little manipulation. 

The old door release catch and lock needed a bit of a refurb before putting back.

Bit of fine wire wool cleaned it up and prepared the face well.

Then masked up in prep for paint.

Time to finish the doors! Looks great I think.

The rest of the interior panels fitted much easier. I decided to try Velcro rather than screw them to the chassis.

I used glue as well rather than just the back adhesive. Some
 fitted in very well but others needed a better fixing and I used modern alternative. 

Which required increasing the size of the holes.

Generally they all went in very well and with the hair dryer again all the dents smoothed out nicely.

The only other panel was the larger rear section behind the seats. 

But even that wasn't any trouble.

So all done and now fit the seats!