Tuesday 1 December 2020

First Round of Paint

To continue with the plan of making the MG Midget a rolling chassis so that I can get it to the paint shop without damaging the work I have already completed I needed to paint some key areas of the chassis. 

The idea is to repeat the process of the underside of the chassis, as in completing the seam sealing on all panel joins and then paint, leaving the main external body for the professionals.

I decided to use a brushable seam sealer that when dry can be sanded and painted over. I have found Granvilles G-Pro product was very easy to apply and dried very quickly. That still didn't help though with the amount of edges that needed to be sealed. I spent ages inside the cockpit and the engine bay making sure the every edge was done. 

Please make sure you follow the safety advice when using this product as it does have a strong glue like smell. I used an filtered face mask when applying.

When you use the brush it is difficult to get a smooth finish and if there are sections that are going to be on show you can use a tool, similar to a bathroom silicone sealer tool to smooth the product down immediately after brushing on. I found this made the sealer last much longer as you can push the product into the joint and along at the same time, whereas with the brush it is harder to force it into the joint or gap. 

After a few hours over a couple of evenings I had completed all the areas.

The next step is to prepare the chassis for its first coat of paint. I decided to get the cockpit ad boot done to avoid any stray black paint on the outer Old English White paint. 

First job was to sand down the primer and any rough dried sealer to provide a key for the new paint to stick to. I used 200 grit sandpaper and gave it a good once over. Then hoovered up all the dust as best I could. Then using a specialist paint cleaning solvent and lint free cloths I sprayed and wiped down all surfaces and allowed to dry. The aim is to remove any grease or dust particles that can affect the paint adhering to the primer and sealer. This should be done each time between coats using finer sand paper each time, before you get to the final top coat.

It does take time to do all this preparation, but what's a couple more hours after 8 years!

Now my thinking is that partly to save some money but also to put the best protection on these inner panels which are prone to rusting I have decided to just use more satin black chassis paint on any panel that is going to be covered by nice new carpet or interior trim panels. I think it turned out quite well so far.

Next up will be the engine bay with nice new Old English White paint.

Monday 9 November 2020

Steering and Suspension Parts

Over the last few months I have been trying to work my way through all the parts that need to be restored in order for me to get the Midget back to a rolling chassis before it goes to the paint shop.

Not wanting to post for each part I thought I would just share a photo of the main parts that were restorable.

I am not going to pretend this was easy to work through all of these parts. Some of which I had to purchase second hand, like the rear springs. For most of the parts they have cleaned up really well. Others sadly were beyond repair like the rear springs front mounts and one of the front brake dust covers that had been cut by a prior owner. 

In addition to this I have been cleaning all the smaller components, like the nuts and bots. That was fairly soul destroying, but again with the rotary wire wheel brushes most have come up clean and perfectly sound.

Here's just some of the many trays of cleaned up parts. Unfortunately for me there are still many more to work on! Hopefully this work will reduce my shopping basket at my local MG parts supplier!

Sunday 8 November 2020

Brake Callipers

Thought I would share my process of restoring the front brake callipers.

Both callipers were in a bit of a state, so I was unsure of how they would come up.

Fairly sure they were both ceased.

Only one way to find out and that is to take it apart. First off remove and inspect the brake pipes. Both were cracked and need to be replaced.

Need to be careful with this oil, not very nice stuff.

With the callipers secured in the vice remove the two pins.

Then remove the spring clip

The brake pads and anti-squeal shim can now be removed. Both of mine need to be replaced.

Now on to the tricky bit. Removing the pistons. If like me your callipers are not attached to the car then you'll need some way of getting the pistons out with damaging them. If like mine they are ceased and stuck fast then what I did might also work for you.

Mine were stuck fast and on reading on the internet others had suggested using compressed air to force the pistons out. Fortunately I have a small compressor, but you could always ask your local garage. There is a small rubber washer shown in the top left of the photo above that needs to be replaced as well. This seals the joint between both halves of the calliper.

I reconnected the pipe and connected that to my air hose and then turned on the flow. Nothing happened. It took a lot of heat, penetrating fluid and some gentle tapping with a hammer to get them moving. But once they did they shifted very quickly. I used a larger screwdriver to stop them coming out completely as I could only get one moving at a time.

Once removed you can see how badly the corrosion had affected the rubber seals. Fortunately these are replaceable.

First off you need to remove the outer rubber seal

Then the inner rubber seal, which wasn't in bad condition. But may as well replace.

This left the metal housing for the outer seal. This requires just a gentle tap with a screwdriver around the top rim to ease it away the it come off.

Just the clean up left!

That'll do!

Next a degrease and a coat of primer and chassis black. As with all these main parts there are usually plenty of smaller parts that also need inspecting and cleaning or replacing.

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Stripping the bonnet

When I had the car blasted to strip the old paint back to bare metal the guy told me that he wasn't happy about doing the bonnet because he was worried that he would put too much heat into the metal and warp it.

At the time I thought that was fine as it wouldn't take me long with my wire wheel brushes. However when I tried to strip the paint away it was taking ages and making a horrendous noise that would probably go on for so long that the neighbours would probably complain.

So I thought I would try using paint stripper instead and as luck would have it I found a bottle at the back on my shelf.

It said it would work on metal so following the instructions and thinking I'd have the whole bonnet finished by lunchtime I painted it on and left it.

Two hours later and with scraper in hand I started to remove the paint. Trouble was that it hardly removed anything, just a thin layer and not evenly either. Some parts it came off easily others nothing at all.

So I repeated the process and 4 days later I eventually got the rest of it off. Turns out there were about 9 layers of paint!

After a clean with warm soapy water it was looking better but there was still small patches of primer left and a general scum.

So with the wire wheel brush I cleaned it off and after an hour it came up really well.

And with a degreasing and wipe down I applied a nice new coat of primer it is looking a lot better when compared to before.

Also had to sort the underside. This was much easier as the paint was a lot thinner and the wire wheel brush coped very well.

Need to finish the seam sealing on all the edges to make sure it doesn't get in such a state again.

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Rear Brakes and Axle

Trying the keep pushing on with cleaning up the running gear and next up is the rear axle and brakes. 

Certainly was very dirty and rusty and quite a large section. Plan of attack was to start with cleaning up the axle.  

Decided to use a variety of weapons at my disposal. Rotary steel wire wheel brushes, think I must have bought at least 50 of these so far over the years. Also use the similar but more abrasive angle grinder version. Plain old wire wool to get into those corners and plenty of degreaser with my old toothbrush.

There was certainly a lot of crud!

Over the course of a few nights things started to clean up quite nicely.

While that was in progress I removed the hand brake mechanism and the brake pipes. Apart from a few rusty split pins that hold the rods in place all came apart without much fuss.

After that I moved on to disassembling the rear brakes to prepare for inspection and cleaning.

Firstly need to clean all the grease of the hub. Then undo the four nuts and remove the two lock tabs.

The brake drum comes away fairly easily with a screwdriver pushing against the backplate and working around the edges. Need to check for wear and any sign of a lip on the edge. Mine need to be replaced, but these are not expensive.

Then to remove the hub which is attached two the half shaft that connects to the differential.

You need to undo the single screw and that will allow the two hub sections to separate.

I needed to tap the outer hub away from the inner hub. Be care not to damage the two facing parts of the hub as they need to form a perfect seal to stop oil leaks. 

Now the hub and half shaft should come away easily. Check for signs of wear. I think mine look good.

On this face of the hub you will find a gasket and an O ring. These should be replaced if you have come this far. I found that the inner hub did moved ever so slightly, but it didn't when the outer hub was attached. I am hoping therefore that the bearings are good. They certainly don't make any noise and are smooth on rotation.

Then it is time to remove the brake pads.

These are held on by the spring loaded clips.

A screwdriver will help here.

Once they are removed the pad comes away.

And the same for the other side. They do suggest replacing these in pairs to keep the car breaking in a straight line and as I am replacing both drums the pads will also be replaced.

To remove the handbrake level you first pull the rubber gaiter off and check for cracks in the rubber. 

The level comes away very easily.

This then leaves the wheel cylinder and that is removed by unclipping this horseshoe clip.

You can see the bleed nipple here which can be unscrewed.

For both of mine the pistons were stuck fast so causing the brakes to fail.

But I found it quite easy to disassemble them and get them functioning again. First remove the rubber gaiter and check for cracks. Mine were in very good condition.

You need to remove one of the pistons by pulling it out. Some penetration fluid will help here.

Once out you can see the rubber O ring that forms the seal. Again mine were in very good condition.

Then using a fine grade of wet and dry paper I cleaned the inside of the cylinder.

All the other metal parts were cleaned with the wire wheel brush and came up very nicely.

They all fitted back together well and seem to function without any problems.

The only issue I had was trying to remove the manual brake adjuster wedge on one side. It took heat, penetrating fluid and the various clamps but it wouldn't budge.

I ended up welding the thread of a bold to it and the with two nuts managed to turn it though the hole. It took me about 4 hours to do!

Just need to finish cleaning all the parts and start to spray the axle with black chassis paint to protect from further deterioration.