Monday, 13 January 2014

Wheel Arch repairs

As some readers of my blog and other MG Midget restoration enthusiasts will know that before welding in the outer rear bulkhead I have to make good the wheel arch where is connects to the bulkhead, as shown here:

So where do you go from here? Well I thought I would give a step by step guide as to how I went about it.

Lucky I love these I'll be needing the cardboard!
Pressed up to left hand side which is less damaged
Drew line to highlight the edge
Measured in 1.5 cms
Followed 1.5cms gap all way round
Drew in line
Cut out

Checked shape on left hand side
Flipped over
Check curve again joining repair panel (made earlier)
New Steel
Best place for I reckon!
Mark out
Looks about right
Ready for grinding out
Nearly there
Looks good match, thanks to flap discs!
Might squeeze it in
Cuts to make flange
Flange should be ok 
Need to work out how to fill those gaps
Looking good
Think it'll fit
Little by little think I might just get there!

Friday, 10 January 2014

More metal in!!

Such a boost to start getting more new shiny metal in place. So here are some photos of the progress so far.

Blow out! No back plate
Will sort these holes out

Now started to work on the inner wheel arch.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Welding needs to improve...more practice!

When I thought about this project I really thought that getting to grips with welding would be down to my abilities and practice. There is a part of me that wants to blame the welder but I can't, it is just my lack of experience and learning what I need in order to weld successfully. 

Just for anyone reading this who is keen to do a restoration project and has, like me, never welded before, find someone who has and get them to tell you every tool that you need and every little tip that they can show you. Then persuade the guy to spend as much time as they can with you, showing you what to do.

It has taken me literally months to get things sorted, but that is part of learning. So I guess I will share with you the hurdles that I have been through so far:
  • Friend lent me MIG welder and two gas bottles
  • Bought welding mask, gloves
  • Start to practice
  • Not arcing - this was caused by old wire that had oxidised
  • Was told to buy 0.8 wire to replace it
  • Bought 0.8 wire and new tips and shroud to go with it
  • New tips and shroud didn't turn up from ebay seller
  • Had to reorder tips
  • New tips were wrong type, but found old tip worked ok
  • Welding buddy set up welder and found I could weld in a straight line!
  • Ran out of gas of first bottle
  • Then weather got colder and wire stopped feeding ok.
  • Found out the tip was 0.6 and the hole shrank in the cold making wire feed slow
  • Ordered new 0.8 tips
  • Tried out new tips all seemed ok, good clean welds
  • Had a go at first weld on the chassis and immediately blew a hole in the metal
  • Welding buddy came back and reset the welder for me and told me to order some aluminium to use as a backing plate to help stop blow through during butt welds
  • Ordered aluminium from ebay
  • Tested weld on test butt weld and all went well
  • Tried out on chassis again...
  • ran out of gas on second bottle
  • no more gas!!
So I have learned so much in my restoration journey, which was the plan so I am happy really.

Monday, 9 December 2013

First Weld In Place

Yes tonight for the first time I have added some nice shiny new metal to my MG Midget. 
Damaged Area

So from this photo above you can see the extent of the damage to the wheel arch viewing from the inner sill. The complicated part of this is that there are so many panels coming together at this point.

Support Repair
This is the rusted support that connects the wheel arch in the background of the top picture to the inner section closest to you.

So I needed to make up a new section as shown above. (I'll have to upload a photo of this new part later) 

But you can hopefully get an idea how these parts fit together from this photo.

But before that I had to make up a small repair which you can seen partly welded in below.
First Weld!

I will tidy this up during my next session. But got it straight and in place which was my main concern. The welder was a little problematic. I really do need to work out how I can get it to be more consistent. Would help me enormously!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Fuel Gauge Repaired

I seem to spend a lot of time scrolling through ebay trying to find little bargains here and there. Two weeks ago a guy called Keith in the USA was selling an original second hand Smiths Fuel Gauge FG2530/70 face! 

Smiths Fuel Gauge FG2530/70 face

I really couldn't believe my luck as avid readers of my blog may remember that I ruined mine trying to clean it.

Smiths Fuel Gauge FG2530/70 face
Cleaning damage

So I made sure I won the item and set to work replacing the old face with my new purchase and I have to say that you can't help thinking that some things happen for a reason, as my completed fuel gauge looks way better than mine ever did!

Smiths Fuel Gauge FG2530/70 face
Ready to go
Smiths Fuel Gauge FG2530/70 face
Old face removed, all ok inside
Smiths Fuel Gauge FG2530/70 face
Old v's new
Smiths Fuel Gauge FG2530/70 face
New face fitted
MG Midget Smiths Fuel Gauge FG2530/70
Looking better than ever!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Bespoke Panels! What next?

I have been learning a new skill this evening, making bespoke new panels and repair sections. This is the only way that I am going to complete this project on my budget.

I had really hoped (yes I know stupid) that buying new panels and welding them in would be a little more straight forward, but of course you need to weld them to something other than rust, as you can see here from this photo.

Above is the right hand wheel arch, looking at where the arch panel comes down to meet the rear bulk head (currently removed). So I needed to make up a section to cover that rusted section as shown here:

So I have cut this out and made a new repair out of the sheet steel I purchased back in the summer. I thought no problem to weld this in now, but then realised I would have to make a new repair for this section in red first.

This meant that I had to remove a supporting section of the B-Post which has rusted through and needed a replacement made. So more cutting and shaping resulted in this:

Got to be said having a nice new repair section made by yourself is a good feeling and I cannot wait to get it welded in place, but there is still so much work to be done in this area that it will be a few more evenings graft before I get that chance.

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