Monday 4 March 2013

The First Cut

So now the really scary bit! With angle grinder in hand it was time to start to remove the damaged panels of the MG Midget. I decided to work on the offside of the car, because that side had had work done on it that was of a poor standard. I could also get the measurements needed from the original nearside where there has been no alterations.

I started by measuring every distance that I could and cross referenced it to the nearside. There where some differences caused by the poor patch jobs of a previous owner. After that I had to go for it and work out the best way to get the sills off.


So I started to investigate where the inner sill was attached. There didn't seem much...

Then I looked at the A post which was rusted at the base and cutting what I thought was the worst part only hinted that all was not as it seems. The whole panel was covered in filler! There is a large dent running right down the middle of it. So that had to go as well, which didn't leave much for the inner sill to hold on to, except the cross member. 


I decided to take stock of the panels I needed and with the vouchers my lovely wife got me from Christmas I popped down to Moss and purchased two new inner sills, two outer footwell side panels and a toe board. I still needed plenty more but for now the outer side panel helped me realise how bad the rust had got. So I cut out it out!

With a little more persuasion both sills came off, along with a section of the cross member and part of the floor!

So I am now left with tidying up the edges to prepare them for the spot welding, but there are more rusted sections on the front footwell panel and triangular support, shown here below.

But I am getting to grips with the metal work and even in this small section things are progressing and I am starting to love flap disks.

I also got the chance to practice some welding for the first time with the help of my 17 year old nephew, who wanted to see what his crazy uncle was up to. He thought it was 'Sick Man!'

Sunday 17 February 2013

One or Two New Panels Required

So now that I have removed all of the patches that a previous owner had decided at the time was a good idea to cover up the rust, I can now see the full extent of the MG Midget project that I have sitting in the workshop. The only good thing to say is that my grinding skills have improved dramatically!

The offside rear wheel arch seems to be the worst area leading me to think that I am best off replacing the entire boot floor.

Other areas were as bad as I had imagined...

I believe the general consensus is to start with the outer side panels, sills and cross members. Then I will need to work on the lower A post and door hinge.

Small steps!! 

Monday 4 February 2013

Metal work begins

Last night I packed away my spanners, socket set and WD40 for the simple reason that there are no more items to remove off the chassis. As of today I consider the restoration work to have started, just short of 3 months since the Midget was rolled into the workshop.

My next task will be to take measurements of the chassis to make sure that during the metal working I retain or in some cases return the chassis to its original specification.

For example, I have measured the door span on both the near and off sides and on the off side where the a previous owner has made an attempt to repair the sills, the gap is 0.5 cms smaller than the near side, which explains why the door doesn't shut properly!

Once I have confirmed the alignment of my chassis I will then start to cut out all of the patch welding to expose the rust behind. From there I will be focusing on the sills, outer side panels and the bottom of the A posts. The floor will follow along with rear bulk head repairs.

Certainly got my work cut out!! 

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Suspension Removal Update Continued....

Last night I managed to grab a couple of hours in the workshop and successfully removed the axle.

1965 MG Midget Restoration 1965 MG Midget Restoration 1965 MG Midget Restoration 1965 MG Midget Restoration

That did though give me a chance to look under some of the patch welding that seems to be dotted here and there. More tests for my welding skills!!

1965 MG Midget Restoration

Also I think new springs might be required...

1965 MG Midget Restoration

Monday 14 January 2013

Suspension Removal Update

Tonight I have finished removing the front suspension. I will start on the rear hopefully later in the week.

Thursday 3 January 2013

Underseal removed

Unfortunately I didn't manage to get as much time in the workshop as I had previously planned over the holiday period, apart from a few hours on New Years Eve.

MG Midget 1965 Restoration - Underseal
Now that I am getting closer to start replacing the damaged sections of chassis, I wanted to find out the true condition of the floor from the underside of the car. This meant I needed to remove all the underseal, which was fairly thick in places, as you can see from this photo. I had asked a few people about best methods which ranged from hair dryers and heat gun paint strippers to go old fashioned elbow grease.

So I tried the hair dry first, but there just wasn't enough heat to help shift it and to be honest where it did have an effect the underseal just turned to thick toffee which was making a mess.

MG Midget 1965 Restoration
I then had a idea. When I bought the car there was an old wooden handled chisel in the footwell. You can see it here in the photo next to the door. At the time I asked Kim Dear if he wanted to keep it. He said it wasn't his and I was welcome to it. As the underseal was quite hard I wondered if the chisel would be a better tool.

I couldn't believe my luck as within two hours I had cleared all the underseal from the underside of the floor and engine bay sections.

                             Click on images to enlarge

MG Midget 1965 Restoration MG Midget 1965 Restoration MG Midget 1965 Restoration MG Midget 1965 Restoration

This now gave me the ability to make a decision on what repairs I needed to make. Although the vast majority of the metal was in very good condition, the areas where rust is commonly found is quite bad. Particularly in the key areas where the strength of the chassis is crucial.

MG Midget 1965 Restoration MG Midget 1965 Restoration MG Midget 1965 Restoration MG Midget 1965 Restoration

Looking at these photos makes me think that the best approach is to completely replace the floor section as a whole. Even though there are repair sections that will replace the rusted areas, the amount of cutting and welding could easily exceed the amount required for the entire floor, especially with that bloody big hole a previous owner decided to make in the middle of the drive shaft housing. It will also expose areas that are currently inaccessible to check for further problems. 

I think it is time to start ordering new parts!!

Saturday 15 December 2012

Engine Removed

After draining the oils from the sump and gearbox it only took me 30 mins to carefully remove the engine. I was quite surprised how easy it was to be honest, with the right preparation and tools of course.

MG Midget 1965 Restoration MG Midget 1965 Restoration MG Midget 1965 Restoration MG Midget 1965 Restoration MG Midget 1965 Restoration

So after just over five weeks the chassis now has my total attention to tackle the rust. I have been doing a fair bit of research and I have found one or two suitable rust converters that will stabilise the rust and provide a good platform for priming. 

The first job is to remove all the dirt, weather protection, grease and loose rust. Once all the rust has been taken care of the next job will be to replace the irreparable metal work.

MG Midget 1965 Restoration MG Midget 1965 Restoration

Thursday 13 December 2012

Carb Clean Up

As it is always the case that when I can't make it to the workshop I feel like I am wasting time if I didn't do something towards completing this project.

As I had recently removed the carburettors in preparation for removing the engine from the chassis, I thought that I would set myself a good challenge to learn all about the carburettor and give it a good clean up at the same time.

I started by removing the pancake air filters which as you can see are heavily rusted. The foam inside was so gone they turned to dust with the slightest touch. I had a go at removing the rust but there are too many areas where the rust had badly pitted into the metal. I had a look online and you can pick up a brand new pair for about £25 which seems a good price to add a bit of bling to the engine bay.

Once I had removed the air filters I then wanted to remove the return spring support. I have notice that this carb did not have a large heat shield but there was this smaller one which looks like it should do the job.

I then removed the piston suction chambers, which were fairly dirty both inside and out. But as I was cleaning them I did appreciate the engineering that went into manufacturing these items.

Looking into the carburettor body there was certainly a large amount of black tar like deposits that will need to be carefully cleaned.

But for now I finished cleaning one of the suction chambers and was happy with the result. I am not sure how to get it shining like a mirror yet but that can be a job for another day.

More information about tuning up SU carbs can be found here: