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.

Saturday 23 November 2019

Left Rear Wing Repair

Getting this rear wing done was one of those major milestones that I have been looking forward to for some time. 

I had to look back through the blog to remember how bad it was rusted and the poor attempt to repair it.

Which all needed to be cut out

You can see the damage behind which was all fixed a year ago in this post: Left-hand-rear-wheel-arch-repairs

Certainly looks a lot better now behind the wing, which leaves the next job of lining up the new replacement panel.

Needed the usual preparation of weld through primer and holes for the welding.

Then make sure it lined up ok. This took quite a bit of fine adjustment with the angle grinder to make sure that the panel fitted just right, but also left a small gap between the new and original metal to weld into. About 1mm to 2mm is normally about right.

Then a final spray of chassis paint to cover the parts that the sandblaster probably won't reach.

And then it was time to weld it all and grind to a smooth finish.

It will certainly need a thin coat of filler to make perfect but considering the extent of the damage I'm very happy with this result.

Monday 7 October 2019

LHS B-Post repair

After the pain of getting the a-post repair completed I was in an upbeat mood about how quickly I was going to get this very simple repair done. On the drivers side I bought a nice new B-post panel that fitted really well, but for this side the guy I bought the car from had thrown in a few panels to help me on my way and that include the same b-post panel but for this side. Happy days!

Turned out it didn't fit anywhere nearly as well. It wasn't long enough so I had to flatten it all out and remake the curve using my hammer and dolly set, whilst lengthening the overall panel to fit.

It took hours!!!

I also had to use my dremel with the mini sanding disks to smooth out all the imperfections in the metal from hammering it so much. But it was worth it in the end.

I'm not 100% happy because the door gap is ever so slightly increasing as you come down the door to the base, but the b-post is straight which suggests that the A-post is slightly at an angle. But i think there is only about 1 to 1.5mm in it. I'm probably being too fussy but when you've taken this long you kind of want to get it as best as you can. Hopefully a little more fettling and the door gaps on my little MG Midget should be good as new!

Looks so nice...well in my head it does!

Tuesday 1 October 2019

LHS A-Post Repair

Now that I had finished the outer sill it was time to tackle the other a-post. Reading my blog from before reminded me what a job this was. I cannot tell you how many times I fitted and refitted the door and wing, but it was a lot! Even though I had done this before I was fully aware just how important it is to get this repair right. Failure results in a poorly fitted door and incorrect gaps and having got the right hand side looking fairly good the pressure was on. 

I honestly didn't think that this side was as bad as the right hand side of the Midget...

I was wrong...again!

So that all needed to be cut out and replaced.

Another alignment check...

It is not easy to get the inner section exactly in the right place because you can't easily tell where is should be with the outer skin covering it up. So you have to keep measuring and checking the gaps.

And then in the end you have to bite the bullet!

It is really fiddly welding this in place. Even harder to grind the welds flat. But once in place the outer skin can only really fit one way, although that didn't stop me from checking the gaps about 30 times.

You have to be careful though to make sure the outer skin of the a-post sits flush with the front wing as well as making sure the door gaps are ok.

Fortunately everything came together nicely...

I'm definitely happy with that. Think I can relax now. What's next? Oh the b-post repair...more gap alignment checks!!!

Tuesday 24 September 2019

LHS Out Sill Fitted

Another major win on the MG Midget project, welding in the outer sill. It doesn't actually take that long to weld in place. It is the all the prep work that needs to be done first. 

Drilling the holes for welding, painting the sections that will be hidden forever. Making sure that the contact points are painted with weld though primer. And then there is the measuring and alignment, which seems to take forever, but is totally worth it because if you get this part wrong it will have a massive knock on effect that could ruin the door alignment.