Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Boot Lid Repairs

Nice not to be working on the chassis anymore and with both doors more or less ready for blasting I chose the boot lid to be next up on my restoration journey.

On initial inspection I always thought that this wasn't too bad. Certainly had a few small blisters in the paint indicating some rust underneath, but the fact that there weren't gaping holes I was feeling fairly optimistic about this repair. 

I mean yes there was some bending to do...

Some gaps to align


So lets crack on with it!

Oh damn! Not so good then as there was a whole load of filler under the lip and rather a lot of rust and holes.

But the more I cleaned and the harder I looked I could just see more and more rust underneath the lip that holds the skin of the boot to the frame.

There were only two options really. Option 1 to buy a new one or option 2 see what I could do with this. After about 45 mins of working the lip of the skin off the frame the two parts came apart for the first time in 55 years. 

At this point I was thinking option 1 would not be a bad choice after all. 

But I am supposed to be 'restoring' this MG Midget after all. The skin was actually in good condition apart from the surface rust. If I could make some custom flanges for the worst parts of the frame and stabilise all the surface rust I might be able to turn this around.

With flap disc and rotary wire brush I set to work.

It came up really well and I was actually taken back by the engineering of this part. Now all the surface rust was gone from both parts it was time to stabilise the metal with rust converter.

Next job will be to start making the bespoke repairs.

Should be fun as I like making these.

After working around the whole flange in the usual manner. I then had to spend quite a lot of time making sure that the frame was as straight as I could make it, which wasn't easy as there are a lot of curves and angles to get right.

Then it was time to protect this side of the frame with chassis paint to stop it from rusting. This side is hidden behind the outer skin so blasting will not really touch it. 

The outer skin only had a couple of sections that needed to be sorted for rust. 

The metal is much thinner on these panels and so much more prone to warping during welding. It was also important to make sure that the flange that wraps around the frame and holds it in place wasn't damaged when I pulled it apart. Fortunately only two tears that were easily welded up.

So after a couple of test fittings and quite a lot of hammer work with my dolly set I managed to get all the edges looking straight and restored the curves to as close as they were meant to be.

It certainly fits a lot better than it did before and now there is no rust. It will need some filler to get it perfectly fitted but that's not a problem for me.

Next up is the bonnet!

Monday, 20 April 2020

Rolling Midget

Now that I had finished the main chassis I decided I no longer needed the tilting mechanism I built as the underside of the MG Midget was finished and free from rust.

I wanted to build and rolling platform for the chassis while I worked on the doors, bonnet, boots and wings.

So I came up with this. Two pallets and four castors. 

I googled the probably weight of the chassis and it was suggested somewhere between 350 to 400kg. So I made sure the castors were up to the job.

I think that the car is starting to look more like a car. For the first time ever since I bought Midget I got one of the seats and sat in my 1965 MG Midget. They are really small!

Front Chassis Legs

I don't think that I have taken more measurements before whilst working on this MG Midget, than I have during the repair of the front chassis legs that support the front valance and radiator.

I have been contemplating the best way to repair these. I did think about making bespoke panels section by section. The reason for this was because I was really worried about keeping everything aligned. There is so much anchored to this part that if I made a mistake the consequences are massive in terms of the overall finish of the car, especially gaps.

But the damage was extensive...

So I just decided to buy the replacement sections and cut the old ones off.

Which was very daunting I have so stay. There was a moment when I looked down and thought what have I done.

But I did take as many measurements as I could.

and then started to offer up the new part.

It became very apparent that there are many different variables that you have to get right. I think I counted 10 in the end and the only way to check if I had got them all correct was when both of them were done and the radiator and front valance were in place.

Next was to weld on the radiator mount and that had to be cut off the old part, cleaned up and prepared for welding. I then had an idea about how to get this as close to perfect as I could.

When I moved into the garage I designed a tilting mechanism and part of that used the radiator mounts. 

I realised I could bolt this back on and that would help me get this part back, with the help of the measurements.

All seems good and so on to the other chassis leg.

Although this one wasn't as damaged I felt it was better to do them both. It also gave me a chance to clean out the box section and painted rust converter down there for added protection.

Then it was just repeat the process and work off the measurements. I hoped I had got the other one correct. Only a few more welds and we'd find out.

So now with that complete would the front valance fit?

It did! I was so relieved. And this meant that all of the welding on the main chassis was complete. Just the boot, bonnet, wings and one of the doors to tidy up and we're good to go to the blasters.