Saturday, 27 March 2021

Rear Axle and Suspension Rebuild

Pushing on with the rebuild has finally brought me to a very exciting point. Attaching the restored rear suspension to the axle and then to the chassis for the first time in over 8 years!

It will be another milestone in getting the MG Midget back on its wheels before we go to the paint shop!

I had to finish off the handbrake mechanism and the rear brake pipes first.

I wasn't sure of the condition of the brake pipes and brass fittings and was thinking they all needed to be replaced. 

But with some cleaning with wire brush and wire wool they showed no signs of corrosion at all. 

The pipes were like new underneath the grime. I think there was so much grease and oil on them that they were protected. Which made it very easy to reconnect them as the bends were already done.

MG Midget Rear Axle Brakes

I then moved on to the handbrake rods and lever balance. The rods just needed a few sessions on the wire wheel brush and then coats of rust converter, primer and then black chassis paint and they came up really well. As did the lever balance.

There are a few felt washers on the handbrake mechanism that need to be fitted. 

New grease nipple as mine was missing.

Once done you can then put it all together which initially seemed easy, but is actually quite fiddly! There are more felt washers and some normal washers and split pins to hold it all into place. Important to make sure the grease nipple is pointing the right way so you can get to it as the manual suggested injecting new grease every 3 months or 3,000 miles.

Getting the lever balance to be in the right place is important and you have to tighten it to the carrier support enough so that it is tight but also so the arm that connects to the brake cable is in the right place as shown.

Then just had to fit the straps to secure the brake pipes. Looking good!

After that time to rebuild the rear suspension!

I decided to buy a set of SuperPro bushes from Moss which deliver a better performance than standard rubber bushes. I had to buy some other new parts like the U bolts and axle shims, the front mounting brackets and all the shapers and washers. As I had everything ready I started the rebuild.

First up was to fit the new eye bush into the spring.

With a little grease and the use of the vice it went in very well, not loose at all and didn't have to apply too much pressure.

Then on to the other end that connects to the rear mounting bracket.

The bushes kit comes with grease so applied that and these bushes slotted in very well.

All the bushes are the same in this area so can't really go wrong.

The only part you have to really think about is making sure that the spring you are working is being built with the side of the car you're going to fit it. The mounts need to point outwards. Also important to make sure you can access the nuts so they need to be on the outside as well.

These are the new plastic washers and with a little grease stay in place whilst you attached the metal spacers and fit the front mounting bracket.

When I tightened the bolt it all seemed quite loose initially but the more you tighten it the gaps to close up. You have to tighten this before you fit it to the chassis as you cannot access the bolt as it will be in the spring hanger.

Time to fit the springs to the axle. This requires these two bushes first. Applying the grease as well.

Then the top and lower plates.

Then place the shim on the axle.

Then place the U bolts over the shim.

Best to raise the axle so you can get the springs underneath and start by putting the top plate on the U bolts. If you can get some help it would make this easier. I used blocks of wood to keep everything in place.

Then get the lower plate and the damper bracket in place.

With one hand lifting holding the damper bracket up you should be able to use the other hand to get one of the nuts on top the U bolt. Not that easy on your own. But got there in the end.

Last was to fit the rubber check strap and new tube.

And we're good to go for attaching it to the chassis!!

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Steering Rack Rebuild

The steering rack was in good condition. It was just really dirty!

So it was the usual process of stripping it all down and preparing for paint, then putting it back together with some new parts.

It is important to make sure that there is no horizontal play or excessive floppiness in the tie rods. If there is the shims that sit behind the ball housing have probably worn and will need replacing. They are not easy to find.

The teeth on the rack bar also need a good inspection as if they are warn then you need a whole new rack as they are also not easy to find.

Also the main pinion needs to be checked for wear. Again not easy to find if it is excessively warn.

These definitely needed replacing!

But the whole main part was generally in very good condition and came up well using the wire wheel brush.

The main issue was the parts that were missing. Like washers, gaiters, grease nipples and clips. But once ordered they all fitted perfectly.

Below are the new shims that help the column fit into the brackets securely.

Here is the steering column all in place! All that is left to do is inject the oil that lubricates the rack. Later models use grease.

The Rebuild Begins

Over the last couple of months I have been preparing the chassis to start installing the steering and suspension. In order to do that I needed to paint parts of the engine bay.

I bought a few rattle cans of old english white paint and started to prepare the engine bay which involved sanding down the primer to provide a key for the new paint to stick to. I used 200 grit sandpaper and gave it a good once over. Then hoovered up all the dust as best I could. Then using a specialist paint cleaning solvent and lint free cloths I sprayed and wiped down all surfaces and allowed to dry. 

Once the first coat was applied I needed to repeat the process with even finer sandpaper. Starting with 800 and then 1000 grit for the final 3rd coat. The finish was really good for my first attempt and considering it was just the engine bay I'm very happy.

The first item I wanted to install was the steering column which I had recently finished restoring with the new parts.

It went in so well having cleaned up all the parts so next up was the front shocks or dampers.

Starting to come together! Next up will be the front suspension.