Wednesday 13 November 2013

Nearly ready for first weld!

Over the last few weeks I have been making a real effort to get back into this project. Summer is now in the past and the nights are drawing in, which has drawn me back to the workshop. 

Unfortunately the restoration fairies did not pay me a visit and unsurprisingly the chassis was just the way I left it a couple months ago. But after a few hours of careful cutting and using my new spot weld drill bit, (which you have to get by the way as they are amazing!) I have removed nearly all of the rear bulk head section and have cut the new panel to fit.

I have taken so many measurements that I hope I can remember which one goes where!

The aim to date has been to remove the back section of the rear bulk head that has been badly affected by the rust and to replace that with a new panel cut to size. This has been a particularly difficult task as I am sure that there cannot be to many places where so many panels meet in one area. 

  • back and front of the rear bulk head
  • floor panel
  • inner sill
  • outer sill
  • boot floor and wheel arch

What makes it even more difficult is that the areas where they all join are totally rusted so finding out what to remove or how the new panels will all fit together is a real challenge.

These photos give you a good idea as to what I am facing. But restoring the MG Midget in the state I bought it would have always thrown up complex problems that need solving. That was always part of the plan, to challenge myself and to go through the process.

So on Wednesday evening it was a great pleasure to take these photos, where the first new panel is cut to fit and is more or less ready to weld in place.

It will be some time yet until my welding skills are tested as the picture above shows the extent of damage to the wheel arch and, in order to make sure everything lines up correctly I will have to make bespoke repairs to these sections first.

But to see the new panel in situ is a massive boost for moral.

Monday 19 August 2013

Rear Bulkhead Repair

Now that I have settled into my new workshop, come shipping container, known as "The Oven" and with temperatures closer to the norm for this time of year, I am spending as much time as possible to keep pushing on with the restoration of my MG Midget.

My attention is focusing on the offside rear bulkhead area which has some of the worst rust damage on the car. Starting here will allow me to rebuild the panels working forwards to the footwell.

The spring hanger area is particularly bad as there has been sufficient water penetration between the panel joins that more and more metal needs to be replaced. But I have got to the point now that nothing is phasing me on this project. It is just going to take longer to fix this and more cost for replacement panels. Nobody said it was going to be easy!

1965 MG Midget Restoration Project - Rear Bulkhead Repair 01 1965 MG Midget Restoration Project - Rear Bulkhead Repair 02 1965 MG Midget Restoration Project - Rear Bulkhead Repair 03 1965 MG Midget Restoration Project - Rear Bulkhead Repair 04

These photos give you an idea of what I am dealing with! The closer you get to the inner sill the less metal there is remaining. I have purchased the rear bulkhead repair panels and the spring hanger section. Having these helps me with measurements and my confidence as they seem to have been made well and look like they will fit in perfectly.

I am certainly now getting closer to welding in my first panel which will be the bulkhead kick board as shown. I have marked out the welding line on the above panel and on the repair panel, leaving a 2mm gap for the weld.

There is still some preparation work to be done in cleaning the metal of old underseal and applying rust converter to stop the rust from damaging my MG any further.

I am really looking forward to getting my first panel welded in as I really don't want to be cutting any more metal off this chassis.

Monday 29 July 2013

More Welding Practice

Last night it was great to be in my new workshop sorting out the electrics and lighting.

It just seems ages since I was last working away on the MG and having so many issues with the welder certainly did not help. But just being in there with the welder working correctly was a big boost to moral. 

I have got to say that I am very happy with my progress using the MIG welder.

Being able to produce a nice straight weld with little more than watching a video on as my training, just makes me want to get on with it now.

I will need to get some steel sheets next as there is plenty of work to be done!

Thursday 25 July 2013

Delays and Frustrations

So what's going on? 3 months since my last update??

Well first off I have moved premises. My friend gave me 1 months notice that I knew was coming. He had rented out the workshop that has been my renovation classroom since November. 

But fortunately he is a good friend and found me somewhere else to continue my journey!


Yes I am now in a shipping container! Or as it shall now be know 'The Oven', because with the recent hot weather has meant it has been impossible to work in there. I really wasn't sure I would get it all in there, as I was sprawled over such a large space in the workshop. But thankfully there was plenty of room, especially with the chassis on its side. 

I also had a problem with the welder in that it suddenly decided that it would start to arc and then just stop for no apparent reason. After much consultation with reliable experts which took a few weeks (including waiting on parts to be delivered from an unreliable ebay supplier) it turned out to be the old wire, that has oxidised! New wire installed and welding training was underway again. 

So I am now just waiting for a power supply which is due very shortly and we can get back to getting this MG back to its former glory. 

During the lovely weather it seems every MG Midget owner has been taking every advantage of the sun, which has been both great to see so many fine examples out on the road and has spurred me on to get back on it!

Hopefully the next update will not be that far off and I'll have some more progress.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Quick welding update

Just thought I would let my readers know that I have been teaching myself to weld over the last couple of weeks with the MIG lent to me by James Shopland. I have been learning a lot of mistakes and very quickly too, not on the Midget though, just on scrap metal.

I cannot really progress too much further without the necessary skills in place, but I also need some more parts, in and around the rear bulkhead which I am saving up for this month.

I have been cleaning up some of the old metal with flap discs and preparing it for welding. I am trying to cover all types of welds that I need to complete the chassis. These include flat gap, angled gap and pit welding. I will try and post some pictures of my attempts in a few days. 

I bought a new auto darkening welding mask which is brilliant I have to say. But I do need some specialise mole grips to get the job done properly, further cost to this build, but nothing really that others incur thanks to the generosity of my friends and family. 

My stepfather donated a heavy duty vice to help with the metal work, which is very kind of him. It will fit very nicely on my new bench.

Monday 8 April 2013

Further Test Fitting

Certainly getting closer so welding in some panels now. I have been concentrating on preparing all the edges and making sure that the good metal is all straight to receive the new panels.

I know I have mentioned this before but it is such a good feeling looking at the Midget with shiny new metal in place.

1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration 1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration

My next stop will be the local metal supplier, where I need to buy some sheet metal so I can make up some new sections. One to go in the front footwell panel, the other to go in the rear bulk head, behind the kick board.

Last weekend we had good weather and as the sun shone it felt like Spring for the first time this year. It prompted us to get in the garden where we had a Spring tidy up, that included a clear out of the summer house which more resembled a city's dump than anything else.

One of the things that had been filling the space in the summer house was a couple of trestle table legs and an old kitchen worktop, which I have put to good use in the workshop. I just now need a bench vice so I can begin my bespoke metal work!

1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration

Monday 1 April 2013

Floor & Sill Repair Preparation Update

Over the Easter break I managed to spend some more time working on my MG. The focus has continued to be removing old metal and preparing the existing panels to be ready to receive the new panels.

I am still working on the offside floor and have now removed enough metal to get a first test fitting on a new floor panel!

1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration - Floor panel repair preparation 1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration - Floor panel repair preparation 1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration 1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration 1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration 1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration

On Saturday I also managed to get the new cross member from Moss that I will be cutting to size and welding to the good part of the original.

1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration

It is so good to see the new panel in place, it really helps with my confidence and motivation. Drilling out all the spot welds is certainly a labour of love!

The rust damage around the rear bulk head is considerable and I will need to make up some repair sections myself to make good that area.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Floor & Sill Repair Preparation

I have been following many peoples advice when restoring a MG Midget, to take it slowly and concentrate of small sections at a time. This is very important advice, as there is so much metal work to be done and I have to learn many new skills as I go.

Today I tackled the task of removing sections of the rusted floor plan that was originally spot welded to the chassis.

First job though was to buy some ear defenders as recent grinding activities had left me with my ears ringing for hours. I can't tell you how much a difference it made to my concentration. Removing the one sense that was distracting me from the job in hand helped enormously.

Spot weld by spot weld, I drilled each one and removed a small section. These drills holes will act as my guide to puddle weld in the new panel.

1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration 1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration

It was a relief to see that the inner part of the chassis was relatively free of rust. I will apply some rust remover and finish with black chassis paint before welding on the new floor panel. 

1965 MG Midget MKII Restoration

This section though needs some serious work. I would like to repair this with steel cut to size and welded in. Give me a chance to test my very new and raw welding skills.

New Supplies

Whilst browsing through ebay the other day I came across a bonnet (the only part not supplied with the car). It looked in good condition so I kept watch. As the auction end got closer there was only one bid of £10. Knowing that new you can pay £400 for a new one, I though it was worth a go and I was surprised that the bids didn't go much higher, as I won the thing for only £16!

I picked it up from a great guy called John who was having a clear out. He also offered me a box of parts that he was putting together and said that I could pick it up the next time I was passing by. He didn't want any cash for them, he only asked that I made a contribution to the Air Ambulance. So I thought I'd put the link here and see if some of my readers would like to donate as well. Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance

There are a few minor rust holes that can easily be sorted

This week it was my birthday and family very kindly gave me some more Moss vouchers, so my collection of new panels is coming along nicely!

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!!