Monday, 2 March 2020

Right Rear Wing Repair

Time to complete one of the last major sections on the chassis on my MG midget.

The rear wing on the right hand side had some particularly interesting repair sections.


It has been some months now since I completed the wheel arch and floor panel so this left me with a good starting point to work from. First job was to offer up the repair panel and mark out the cutting line.

When it was all looking right and aligned it was time to cut the old metal out.

There is some rusty metal on the lower end of the downward curve of the wing that will need to be cut out and replaced. I will also need to weld up the holes and any joints that are exposed to moisture creeping in. Then I need to prepare all the metal in this area with protective paints as there will be parts the sandblaster can't get to. 

The repair panel seems to offer up nicely. So quite a bit more prep work and then we're good to weld in.

Here are some photo's of the repair to the lower downward curve. Should be ready to attach a flange that the rear wing panel will attach to.

This gives me the chance to make up a bespoke repair again. There wasn't much of a template left.

All cleaned up and we're ready to weld in the rear wing panel!

I have always been really worried about warping the metal on these outer panels. It is really important to make sure that they don't warp outwards as they can cause the whole panel to look out of shape that no amount of filler will ever fix. The way that I have found works reasonably well is to take your time and not weld in one place for more than a second. That way you don't build up too much heat in the panel which can cause the distortion.

I think this repair panel has come out just fine.

There are a few small areas that need tidying up but I think that finishes off this section, which means I have only two areas left on the main chassis and that is the front chassis legs and the sill ends on this right hand side. After that it's the doors!

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Front Chassis Plate

When I first looked at the damage to the plate on the underside of the front chassis I was genuinely worried about the possible extent of rust that most certainly lay in wait for me.

It is difficult to tell from the photo but this panel was really beaten in and bent back with gaps to let water in and so most certainly create rush behind.

The original plan was to make a new shiny new replacement for this. I decided to use this old panel as a template.

After cleaning up the surface the metal was in good condition, apart from the dents.

I set about drilling out the spot welds to remove this panel.

Amazingly once I had done that and removed the panel I really couldn't believe how little damage was behind. Almost none!

The plate itself needed a good clean and hammer. But i thought that if it came up good enough, why not just prepare it and weld it back in.

First job was to prime the box section. 

Then hammer time!

Gave it a coating of weld through primer and the following day after it had dried, welded it in.

Apart from the chassis leg ends or front end support that is the underside of the car finished!

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Sill End Repairs

Getting closer now to finishing off the left hand side of the chassis now.

Just got to tackle these tricky little sill end finishers. 

The one thing you have to keep reminding yourself is that this area is so prone to rusting due to water get into the sill. So I needed to make these sill ends as watertight a possible, but also ensure that they fit smoothly, so not to remove the primer. Not easy and takes a lot of small adjustments before welding it all in the set position and drilling the welding holes and spraying on the weld-through primer.

I have been preparing the other three areas as well all in the same fashion.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

To bead or not to bead

I have read quite a few posts on forums where MG Midget owners have discussed replacing the rear wing beading. As it is a common rusting point where moisture gets in under the beading and silently rots away the joint where the rear wing meets the main section of the chassis. 

I am extremely lucky in that the wings are in very good shape around that area, but there is a little rust bubbling around the beading and in one small section it has come away. With further probing with a screwdriver found that this beading needed to be replaced. 

There has been a few debates about the best way to tackle this problem. The more pure enthusiast will suggest that originality is vitally important and certainly in the restoration guides it gives a very good description of how to attached a new beading strip with soldering techniques. 

There is another view though that the beading was a cheaper alternative during the manufacturing process than making the seam between the wing and the chassis seamless. Today this gap could be filled to make a smooth and impenetrable fix by using the lead loading process, which uses molten lead to shape the desired finish, or just some filler if you preferred.

This is a highly skilled job to get this perfectly correct as you can see in this video: YouTube - Lead Work and on my MKII the beading is a lot longer so there is more to get right.

So far I have removed the beading and cleaned out the joint with the grinder and a metal cutting disc to remove the rust, which thankfully is limited and then applied rust converter to stop further corrosion. I'll have a further thought about which way to go.

After a little over a year later I decided to replace the beading. The Midget had beading and the rust took it away and I still feel that it is important to try to restore the car to as best that I can get it.

I purchased a new beading strip that is designed to be fitted when you are attaching the outer rear wing to the main chassis. Although I have no idea how you can weld all those parts together as access is a nightmare.

Here is the new beading and as you can see the flange is quite deep and certainly a lot deeper than the gap that is left behind. The Haynes restoration manual suggests cutting the flange to fit the depth of your gap and then fit the beading using soldering techniques.

I really wasn't comfortable trying to solder this in and so I had a thought after watching a programme on TV that was demonstrating the strengths of modern adhesives. After some internet research I came across this product.

Mannol EPoxy Metal adhesive claims to have many properties that really felt like it would be a good solution to work with for this repair. Things like fillings cracks and cavities, can be painted over and has high mechanical strength all sounded perfect for the job.

Apart from the "hardens in 4 mins" section! That didn't leave me with much time to apply the mixture and force the new beading into position. But it did mean that if I was quick enough and applied the right force evenly along the beading I wouldn't have to wait very long for the adhesive to set.

Preparation was the key. Isn't it always! First up was to clean the gap up and strip the primer back to bare metal.

Next job was to cut the beading to size and check how much depth I needed on the flange. Too much and it wouldn't sit flush and too little and I was worried there wouldn't be enough metal for the adhesive to bond to.

It took a while but after a lot of measuring I was happy to go for it.

It took even longer to get the beading to sit flush. Cutting the flange created some heat which caused the beading to bend, but the groove also mends downwards towards the rear. I wanted to get this to fit as best I could without any pressure as I only had 4 mins to set it in place and hold it there.

Getting ready to mix. I wasn't expecting the syringes to be so hard to squeeze, but eventually it came out and then panic started as I began to mixed the two compounds together.

I didn't have time to take photos of my method, but using a metal spatula tool I worked the adhesive into the gap and then placed the beading into the gap and used a clamp at each end and a strip of wood about the length of the beading to lean on. I had to keep checking that the beading was sitting flush. After about 5 mins I could feel the adhesive setting which then allowed me to double check everything was sitting right. I also used a hammer to very lightly tap the beading down. 

The good thing about this adhesive is that it can also fill which helped to make a seal between the beading and chassis. I then left it over night to fully cure.

Once cured I could then sand down any excess and prep for a coat of primer.

I had to weld up each end and file that down to finish. There is some very light surface rust around parts of the lip by the beading that will need some filler before paint, but it has come out really well. Glad I chose this option, it all seems really solid.