Sunday, December 31, 2017

Done* With Body Work

I think I'm done* (see below) with body work.  There are a couple of spots I might need to touch up, but I'm spent.


I've removed every nut, bolt, plug and sticker and rubbed everything down with a scrub pad to get rid of the worst of the cruft.

I *think* I'm done.  I won't know for sure until my friend The Painter Guy comes to check it out.  If he likes it, I'll wipe everything down and we'll move it to his shop.
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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Almost There... Sort Of...

I'm down to sanding with 180 grit and a couple of touchups.  OK, a lot of touchups.  But the big stuff is done.


This will take a while.  It took me an hour to finish the boot lid (you know, the trunk).
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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Even Closer...

I'm almost there.  Really.

I got filler on the passenger's fender and the front valance, and did the first pass of blocking it down.  I filled some low spots and have to sand them, but then I'm down to touchups and final sand with 180 grit... and I'm "done".  I use quotes because at that point I get my painter friend to look things over and point out the hundreds of mistakes I made.  Not that I think I made that many, to be honest... I either did it pretty well or totally screwed up.  I think I got it pretty much right.

I'm hoping that I can finish up my final touchups next weekend, and then work out the plan to get the body into paint over the holiday.

I'm so, so close!  I want this done so I can get to the fun stuff, like putting the thing together.
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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Getting Closer

In this week's episode, I have made significant progress...
  • I finished sanding, cleaning up and fitting the new-to-me driver's side fender;
  • I mounted the front valance with all new bolts;
  • I reinstalled the bonnet (with new bolts);
  • I aligned the fenders, bonnet and front valance;
  • I got a really good start on the filler work on the bonnet. 
Here's what I have done, starting with aligning everything...

And finishing with the bonnet in filler.

There's still a high/low spot in the lower-middle part of the bonnet where I sanded all the way through, but it's pretty close for a first pass.  This was 12 hours of work on Friday and Sunday to get everything lined up properly.  I got extra time over the holiday as reward for a good deed. :)

Next time, I should have the bonnet finished and the passenger's fender and front valance in filler.  I don't think I need to get as crazy with the passenger's side.  We'll see.

After this, I'll sand the whole car in 180 grit, fix some spots I know I'll find, and then I can call the painter!  After I fit the front spoiler, that is...
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Sunday, November 5, 2017

A New Wing

I'm not happy with the quality of the repair I made to the driver's front fender.  While surfing the eBays, I found one in Kingman, AZ.  The seller happened to be headed to an MG car show... in Peoria!  Bonus--I got to spend time at the Arizona MG Club "Wheels On The Green" show on Sunday.

Anyhow, I picked up the fender--I actually had a choice of two, and of course I picked the one with 4 layers of paint and then house paint on top of that. I do think it was the better choice.

A test fit showed it fits well...


And so I went to work stripping off all that paint, with my trusty sanders and a lot of sandpaper.  The fender had a layer of filler in a couple of spots in between two coats of paint; it looks like it got pinged a few times and someone covered over it instead of fixing it properly.  So after the paint came off, I did some work to straighten things out, and I think it came out OK.



Mostly, I enjoyed the car show.

Next week, I'll fix a couple of holes and the attachment tab for the inner bolt, and then get back to filler.  I should have the front of the car mostly sorted in a couple of weeks.
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Sunday, October 29, 2017

You Guessed It... More Dust

I got a little farther on the filler this weekend.  The car south of the firewall is pretty much done and sanded to 120 grit, with only some minor touchups required.

Next stop: fenders and hood (or, wings and bonnet for you Brits out there).
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Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Finer Grain

I spent time this weekend sanding with 120 grit and identifying areas for touchup.  Fortunately, there aren't very many--I seem to be getting the hang of this filler stuff.

I also did a little work on the driver's side front fender (screwing up an old repair, fixing it, and cleaning up some welds) as well as fixing the driver's side door where it cracked (again) by welding in a patch.

All in all, not much done but enough that I can move on to applying filler to the sills and the front end next weekend.

No pretty pictures since it basically looks the same.
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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Great Progress Continues

Last Sunday and this Sunday have been very productive.

I managed to get most of the car in filler from the A posts back and sanded to 80 grit, with all panels pretty flat (having used a guide coat) and lining up pretty well.





It's not going to be perfect, and that's OK.  I think it's pretty darn good.

There's lots to do yet, including tackling the front fenders and hood (or should I say, wings and bonnet) and the front valance.  After that, I get to fill in all the imperfections and pipnholes (of which there are few; this 3M Platinum filler's good stuff).  THEN, I can be done enough to get the painter to come and tell me how screwed up it all is.

I'm guessing 3 weekends to get that all done.  That's not too far off my plan.  Maybe I can get it painted by Christmastime.
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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Making Dust

I feel like all I do is make dust when I work on the Midget these days.  I put on filler, then I sand most of it off.  However, this time I feel like I actually did something right.

I had purchased some guide coat paint a while back and I finally broke open the package today.  It's neat.  It's like spray paint but comes out in a very fine mist, just enough to make it look dirty.  Then,  you sand.  The spots that look dirty when you're done sanding are low spots that need filler.

I used it on the fender and the door, and have successfully removed all the low spots with no high spots anywhere.  It's a nice, even surface and should be ready for primer after sanding with 180 grit.

I did work a little on the A post and the rear deck, just to get started there... so far, not bad.

Maybe I can finally work on some other part of the car now. :)
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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pedal Problems

I've run into one small problem.  The replacement floor pans I installed have a depression in the floor (like the original), but the depression is centered and not offset.  The result: The gas pedal doesn't fit.

After some discussion on the MG Experience, I decided I'd make a small shelf that would allow the pedal to bolt in where it belongs.  The alternative was to switch to a later style "hanging" pedal, but that doesn't look right to me.

So, I made a template out of cardboard:


Then I replicated it in metal, fit the pedal where it needed to be, and welded nuts to the underside so I could bolt it down once the shelf was welded in place.


Then, I welded it in place:

Now, the pedal fits where it should.  At least, I think it fits there.  Boy, I hope it's right.  I went from measurements folks gave me. The pedal has the right amount of travel and moves easily, so I think I'm in the right spot.
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Sunday, September 10, 2017

It's Filler Time!

As previously mentioned, it's cooled down just enough for me to consider getting back to body work.  So I decided, why not?

I spent some time straightening and removing high spots in the metal on the rear fenders, doors, and driver's side front fender before trying again.  I also fixed the passenger's door so it didn't wobble up and down when you leaned on it.

I learned a lot about heat-shrinking metal while I worked on the rear fenders.  The area by the door was thin, had bulges and would "oil-can" (pop in and out like the top of an oil can).  After heat-shrinking the metal was nice and tight, and much closer to the right shape.

This time, I'll skim coat pretty much the entire car and make things nice.

I got a start on the drivers side...

This time, it's much closer with less effort.  Not bad for a first go.

By noon, it was too hot to continue... so I'm hoping it cools off again this weekend.  Lows of 76 degrees on Sunday sound promising.

My goal is to have the filler work done by mid October so I can schedule primer and paint work.  I WILL get this car done!

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Inner Wing Work

It's cooling off... slowly... it's only hot enough to make you think your feet are burning instead of actually cooking them.  So I got some garage time in and worked on something that's been bugging me for a while: the passenger's inner fender.

The passenger's side of the car got twisted up somehow long ago and it's not quite right (though it's close, and the car tracked straight, so I can live with it).  When I welded in the inner fender, something got wonky and the passenger's outer fender would rub up against it.  It turns out it was shifted by almost 3/4" from where it should be.

Not much I can do about it now, other than to CUT THE THING UP!  So that's what I did.  I ended up cutting about 1/2" out of the inner fender and welding it back together.  It fits a lot more closely now and doesn't rub on the outer fender.

Here's what it looks like from the front.  You can see the passenger's inner wing is now much more closely positioned to match the driver's side.


I have to do some cleanup, but it's almost there.  It has vexed me since I first took the car apart, and now it vexes ME no more!

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

It's a Nice Day To... Start Again

It was "only" 99 degrees in the garage this Sunday, so I spent some time sanding on the Midget.  I ended up doing more than I thought...

Yep, it's pretty much all gone.  All those hours of work.  Gone.

Why, you may ask? Well, as I was sanding to get rid of the surface rust that had started to build up, I found that there was a layer of rusty looking stuff underneath the edges of some of the filler.  As a result, I decided that I couldn't trust anything.  So off it all went.

It took me only 3 hours to remove 20 hours of work.  They say it comes off faster than it goes on... looks like they were right.

While it's not my happiest moment, at least I know I'll be starting "clean".  I have some new filler (3M's Platinum) and a gallon of wax/grease remover to ensure I start with a properly prepped surface.  I'm also going to do some body dolly work to try to even out the worst of the sheet metal defects (made progress on the driver's side) and that way I won't have quite as many sins to cover.  Once that's done, I'll apply a skim coat over the entire surface versus the spot filling I was doing.

Now, it just has to get cool enough to apply it.  It's supposed to be 107 this weekend... won't happen then.  Maybe by labor Day there will be a nice "cool" morning where it's under 80.
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Monday, July 24, 2017

Rad, Dude

It was cool enough to be out in the garage on Sunday (only 95!), so I tackled a project I'd been itching to finish: cleaning up my radiator.

I have a radiator with a newer core that works ok but leaks and could be easily repaired.  But I also bought an original 'perfect' radiator that allegedly works better than the newer cores, because the spacing between cores is a bit larger and therefore has better flow through the radiator.  I figured, what the heck; if I ruin it, I lost some money but I've got a backup.  So I took it apart.

Here's where I started...

And where I finished.  I didn't take disassembly-reassembly pictures because I forgot, and it was still pretty hot out.

I removed the fan shroud and mounting brackets first.  Then, I desoldered the top tank (fun!), and found a ton of crap in it.  Apparently, 50 years of buildup were dislodged while I was banging on it.  I left the bottom tank alone and just cleaned it up.  It does look like the radiator was serviced at least once as not everything was actually soldered in place.

I tapped out some dents in the top tank and fixed what looked to me to be small leaks (though they could have been caused by me while removing everything).  I ran everything except the core through Master Blaster to get rid of multiple layers of paint.

I also found a couple of pinhole leaks (so much for 'it's perfect!') and fixed those, I think.

It wasn't that hard to put everything back together.  The tank was easy, just taking diligence and a lot of solder.  The mounting brackets were not too tough once I got everything lined up.  The fan shroud was a pain since the parts that attach to the mounting brackets have no holes for the solder to flow through.  But, I got it all buttoned back up.  It only took me 7 hours.

Tip for next time: Don't do this when it's 95 degrees because you need to use a blowtorch, which is also rather hot, and having a fan running puts out the torch.

I think it's good to go, but I'll run it through a pressure test by someone that can fix whatever I messed up.  I have to install the captive nuts that are used to mount the radiator to the car.  I will probably paint it, but who knows--maybe I'll leave the tank all shiny since it's cool.  Hopefully, all is well and I didn't just spend a hot, humid day for nothing.

EDIT: I had a pressure test done, and found one tube was damaged and needed to be sealed off.  Otherwise, it's good to go.  I did it right.
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I Haven't Forgotten...

I haven't done anything on the Midget lately because it's just too darn hot!  I'm down to filler work, and I can't get my garage cool enough for the filler to last more than 30 seconds of working time.  It's 95 degrees even at 4am.  So, I'm offline until the fall, or thereabouts.

Once I get the filler work done, and prime and paint the body shell, I'm ready to start assembly.  I'm itching to get started.  I'm starting to dream about it and what "first start" will sound like.

I can't wait.
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Friday, June 9, 2017

Spoiler Alert

I know it's silly, but I've always wanted one of these...

Tell me that doesn't look cool.

I'm going to paint it body color.  I have to do a little reinforcement and drill some holes to attach it with stainless steel bolts.  I don't think the tape will hold.  It fits pretty well.  It doesn't drop down any lower than the rest of the body, so it shouldn't catch on speed bumps and such.

Now that it's 115+ in Phoenix, this is The End for the summer... in the fall, it's on like Donkey Kong.
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