Sunday, March 13, 2016

Flat As A Pancake

While I was sanding the doors and rear fenders, I noticed that they weren't exactly flat.  The door and fender curve inward to a point at the gap, about 1/8", on both sides.  I thought it was normal, but I figured I'd check it out.  After fruitless searches of the Google, I broke down and asked for help on the MG Experience.  Gerard posted a pic of his beautiful Sprite that has mirror-flat doors and fenders, so I knew I had some more work to do.

Here's what I mean.


I wasn't going to just fill the gap with filler.  The edge of the door would have been 1/8" thick, which is not good.  So after some thought and advice from Larry on the MG Experience, I took a chance that I wouldn't screw things up too badly, and decided to straighten the door and fender to be flat.

I started by straightening the door, like so.  The door is on the right.

Then I cut a slot in the rear fender and pulled the metal out to match the curve of the door.

When I had the curve even, it looked much better.  Then I welded in a piece of the A post that I had replaced after beating it to a bloody pulp.  I folded the edge over, welded it all together, ground it down, welded it again where I broke through the metal, ground it down again, finished it off, and it turned out pretty OK.  It's not beautiful on the inside, but then again, neither am I.


I did the same on the driver's side.  I'll spare you the rundown.  This time I thought ahead and made a filler piece with the edge folded over first.  It took lots less time and was much easier to fit.  I guess that's how it is when you do something more than once.  Both sides will need a thin coat of filler to smooth things out and make the door gap perfectly straight, but I'm OK with that because it will be metal underneath with no filler on the edge of the door.


Now maybe I can really be done welding.

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