Monday, October 10, 2022

Assembly Continues

Now that the seats are done, it's time to get busy putting more stuff together.  I got a long way this weekend.

Here's the glamour shot first...

And now, down to business.

First, I cleaned up the wiper arms.  They were originally black, but I like the look of the chrome that was underneath them...

And new blades, of course.

Then I did a little more covering of things, namely the cockpit surround.  It's nice.

Then, my wife and daughter helped me take the boot lid off so I could install the seal and latch, and reinstall it to the car.  It fit well until I put the boot lid prop in - then it got tweaked somehow and I have not yet solved the problem.  I am frustrated enough to let this sit for a while.  It fits nicely in the picture here, though.  And it latches!

Moving on... I removed the bonnet with the help of my neighbors, installed the sound deadening material, and reinstalled it.  I installed gas strut props too, later.

From there, I moved to the big job - the windshield.  I had reassembled the windshield with new seals, and "all I had to do" was get it onto the car.  This was not at all fun, nor was it easy.  The new seal is not very flexible.  All the videos I watched made it look simple - just roll the seal outward as you press the frame down.


What I ended up doing was rolling outward a little bit by pushing on it from the back with a body filler applicator (being plastic and soft).  Then I pushed the frame down just enough to install the center bolts and use them to cinch the frame down a little bit at a time, stopping and pulling the seal outward by getting my fingers under it and curling it back.  After about 10 rounds of this, I was very close - and was able to get one of the frame bolts installed on one side.  I used a C-clamp to compress the gasket just a little bit more and it was enough to allow the bolt to start threading in.  I cinched the frame down in the center as far as I could and was able to then lever the frame into place on one side and get the other bolt in place.  I then repeated the C-clamp trick on the driver's side, but couldn't get the second (last) bolt in place.  I stopped for the evening out of sheer exhaustion.  But in the morning, I found that the seal had compressed enough that I could rather easily install the last bolt!  With that, the windscreen was installed and the angles are correct.

I do not want to do this ever again.

But enough whining... I moved to the doors.  My neighbor Jack again came to the rescue, holding the door in place while I installed new screws.  That worked out pretty well and the doors line up as expected.

Alice almost looks like a car again!

Next, I installed the quarter (vent) windows.  This went pretty well, having cleaned them up and installed new rubber.  The windows fit like they should with no fiddling required.  I added the door handles and locks, which move (and should work!).

Then I installed those gas struts for the bonnet, and spent an hour realigning the bonnet to fit the way I wanted.  It looks pretty good.  The struts allow the bonnet to open very wide!

And finally, I installed the chrome trim.  My friend George gave me a new set.  They're really nice, just like him.  I did have to reuse one piece of my old trim, but it was the one piece that was in good shape.  But ooh... ahh...  she looks like a real car and everything!

Now I just need to assemble the windows and figure out that pesky boot lid, and install the mirrors - and the outside of the car is complete!

Next step is the dashboard.  Once fixed up and installed, I can charge the battery and try to start her up.  Hopefully after that it's just a matter of installing the interior and seats, changing fluids, and installing new steering rack tie rod ends and boots (the rebuild will have to wait a bit).  I am trying to get Alice ready for the Arizona MG Club's British Wheels on the Green show at the end of the month.  I might make it.  I probably won't.  I will do my best, though!

Read more »

Friday, October 7, 2022


I've been a busy beaver over the last couple of weeks...

Starting with seats!

I had stripped the seats a while ago, and the bare frames were staring at me.

I finally steeled myself and got to work.  I have read that seat foam and cover installations are a bear.  They were right.  I used a guide I found online from the Toronto MG Club (here) and it helped a lot.

First, I needed to clean up the seat frames.  A little sandpaper, a scuff pad and some paint did the trick.  Then I installed new diaphragms, which are a set of rubber straps on a frame with clips.  Let me tell you, this was not fun.  The first 50% is easy, the next 40% is hard, and the last 10% is horrible.  I ended up using a channel-lock piers to pull the frame toward the seat frame and get the little clips installed.  It did the trick.  They make a little noise when you sit on them as the clip scrapes the inside of the frame, but oh well. I am not taking them apart.

Then it was on to the foam.  The seat bottoms were easy - glue one burlap to the bottom (to protect the foam from the rubber) and line up the foam on the frame.  The seat backs were not easy to sort.  The back boards were not hard to fit, but it took a lot of fitting to get the foam flat enough to allow the cover to slide on properly.  I ended up cutting channels in the foam to allow the foam to sit better onto the frame.  It worked out well.  Tape held the foam in place while the contact cement set.

From then on, it was not horrible, just fiddly.  The seat bottom covers fit well.  They get glued in the center to the center of the foam, and I used 3M 90 for that.  The clips hold the cover in place.  Nothing exciting and pretty easy.  I did have to fiddle with the cover a bit to allow room for the bracket that joins the back and bottom of the seat.  I wasn't going to cut slits.  It turned out fine.

For the seat backs, the trick is to use cling wrap over the seat foam to allow the cover to slide on all the way.  The cling wrap needs to cover the entire top part of the foam except where the center of the foam is (so you can glue the cover to the foam).  The backs also have cardboard inserts that are used to hold the cover to the bottom of the frame, and I made new ones from the old seat back cardboard.  Then it's just a matter of a couple of hours of lining things up and then gluing the seat back into place (again, in the center - this is tricky to get glue into there but it can be done, since I did it).

Once covered, the seats are reassembled.

The result is pretty good.

The backs and bases don't line up quite right, but this is just how the covers are made.  I am very pleased with this.  I also do have the headrest covers ready to go, but will not install them until the seats are in the car.  The quality of the material is excellent.  The seats recline (a little noisily, but they do) and can be folded forward.

On to the next challenge!

Read more »