Another busy week of work has come and gone. I only really had time to work on the MGB on Saturday, but I managed put in a full day on some of the more tedious projects...
To start with, I've been racking my brain over what to do about my wiring harness. My original harness, which was in good working order when I removed it, has many issues with the woven cloth covering that in many areas has gone to tatters or has faded out to a dull earthy colour. The actual wires and connectors are still in great shape and totally reusable, it's just the aesthetics of the cloth that needed mending.
Originally my harness was woven black cloth with a yellow tracer running through it. A new harness from Moss or British wiring costs over $600 Cad. and the new ones have a white tracer through them instead of the correct yellow one - hardly worth the money to still look incorrect!
So I decided to tackle refurbishing my harness as best I could myself before deciding if a new one is the better option.
I had already cleaned the harness a few weeks ago, so from there I first mended the areas that were tattered with some black cloth hockey tape.
Next, I masked off the coloured wires and sprayed the old cloth and repaired sections in a satin black upholstery dye. This made the harness cloth a uniform black again and helped my tape repairs blend in.
Then came the really tedious part, I sat down at the table with a tiny modelers brush and some yellow paint, and hand painted the yellow tracer threads back in!
Yes - I'm crazy, but it worked! In most areas I was able to barely make out the original tracer through the black that I had sprayed over so it was easy to just touch it back in. Areas that were taped, I faked it, continuing the same pattern of tracer line over the tape. This made my repairs blend right in and the harness looks almost new again. To finish it off I sealed my work with a fabric sealer. The entire process took me about 4hrs, which was well worth the effort in my opinion.
With the wiring harness restored, I moved on to my distributor and plug wires.
I first took some good pics to illustrate how much over spray of engine paint was on my distributor body - even inside under the points and condenser. Was this factory over-spray? - I don't know but I've never seen another B with engine paint on these components, have you??
I decided not to keep the over spray and gently cleaned the entire body of the distributor by hand.
I polished and painted the vacuum unit with a chrome paint to give it a new shine. I'll replace the rotor, points and condenser as well.
I cleaned my original Lucas plug suppressors and hand painted the little Lucas logo's in white again with my little modelers brush. I've ordered new wires, as well as the yellow numbered labels and the small rubber organizer that the wires will thread through.
With the distributor job set aside for now, I moved onto cleaning/refurbishing my grill.
I took apart the grill and proceeded to hand clean and polish all the stainless grill teeth. Mine being an original early grill, these teeth were all individually riveted in place, and the rivets were all looking brown with age. After cleaning off the corrosion, I carefully picked out the head of each rivet with some aluminum coloured paint on my trusty little modelers brush to protect and make them look new again.
The chrome grill surround and badge support have just enough fine pitting to warrant a re-chrome, so they will be sent out along with my bumpers at a later date. In the meantime I've got a new badge and the teeth look like new again.
To cap off the day, I cleaned my gas tank up and gave it a new coat of gloss black. It wasn't in bad shape - in fact an old Moss label was found half peeled off on top so I know it's a replacement.
In the mail this week I received an original British Motor Corporation radio - I found it on e-bay for $25! It will need to be serviced obviously, but will make a nice touch to the finished dashboard when it's done. I think I might know a certain father in law who might be perfect to handle this job... ;)
In other news, I am very happy to say that I'm one step closer to having my metal and paint work done! I have been debating for months over how and who to do it, I've finally decided it's going to be done once and and done right. I'm going to have Coachwerks here in Victoria handle the job rotisserie style so the underside will be properly painted like the topside. Over the next few months I'm eager to see the cars transformation. I've done several upholstery jobs with Coachwerks over the past few years as they handle most of the metal and paint for Rudi and Company. They're the best of the best in what they do, so I know I'll be in good hands!
Until next time -
Well what can I say, it's been a huge week of work and progress! It's easy to get things done when it's a labor of love I guess.
I put in 2 hrs every evening and then a full day on Saturday to keep things moving along.
I've been making good use of my zinc-electroplating system, cleaning up all my hardware on the wire wheel and re-plating them in zinc as original.
After receiving a shipment of new stuff from the Roadster Factory, I was able to refurbish my carburetors. I replaced the fuel lines, re-plated all the hardware, transferred over the original 'Smiths petro-flex' label to the new fuel line. I also got my new heat shield correctly plated in golden cad.
The carburetors I just gave a good cleaning and replaced all the gaskets. I avoided the temptation to over polish these as they never were originally.
I was able to find a brand new/old stock starter motor on e-bay to replace the modern one that had been put in mine. The date stamp says 12/63 so it's perfect! I painted it in the MG maroon engine colour as original.
I also stripped and painted the fan and pulley in yellow and re-plated the hardware as original.
I also received my new/old stock clutch master cylinder in the mail. After giving the brake and clutch master cylinders a light hone a few weeks ago I found that the clutch cyl. had some corrosion on the inner cylinder wall. Luckily I found this brand new one online for a reasonable cost. To go with it, I've ordered a new pair of the correct metal caps from Scarborough Fair. I also rebuilt the clutch slave cylinder with new rebuild kit.
Last but certainly not least - today I worked all day on cleaning and painting my engine/gearbox assembly. I came prepared with a big tarp to work on. I spread the tarp out outside, rolled the drive train out onto the tarp (to collect any mess from the process)
I washed everything down carefully by hand, scrubbing every nook with small wire brushes and plenty of Varsol. Soaking up the mess periodically with paper towels and making sure every port or opening remained sealed off. When it was all clean and dry, I masked off what was not to be painted and gave the engine a few coats of colour. I ended up using Krylon Dual (paint/primer) in their Burgundy colour. I think it's a great match for the MG colour and from what I've read it should hold up to the temps that this little engine puts out. I'm still probably going to sandblast and paint the rocker cover and oil pan separately later on to get a better finish on them.
That was probably the most productive week of work yet, between upholstery work and MGB work, it's all work that I'm genuinely proud of and enjoy doing.
Until next time -
Had a great Saturday day off spent puttering away on various parts for the B. Among other things, I cleaned and polished the intake manifold and the breather assembly. There seems to be some debate as to how the intake manifold was originally finished, some say they were just left bare aluminum, others say they were painted engine colour. My car showed clear evidence of engine colour being sprayed onto most of the other engine components: the starter, generator, some over spray onto the gearbox bell housing, even the distributor body! However I wasn't able to find even a spec trace on my manifold, so I decided just to polish it. If I am proven wrong I can always paint it later.
I did repaint the top plate of the breather in grey hammertone as was on there originally, and zinc plated the wire hose clamps and the breather support bracket.
I also spent some hours cleaning up hardware on the wire wheel and zinc plating them with my new electroplating system. Here you can see some freshly zinc plated parts like the fuel filler neck, the wire hose clamps, and the hardware for the gas tank and fuel pump. These items can be polished to a shine or left dull depending on preference. I've left these pieces dull in this case.
I also cleaned the fuel pump, repainted its bracket and cleaned all the rubber components in warm soapy water.
Here's the brake light switch polished, and it's hardware replated in zinc...
The Radiator and its support bracket, all cleaned to bare metal and repainted in gloss black. The rad I cleaned and by hand with a wire wheel on a drill to clean the tank and sides and a brass wire brush to clean the fins. The bracket I stripped in a glass bead blast cabinet.
A few more odds and ends, cleaned and painted as original...
I had to find these original horns on e-bay, mine had been replaced with some aftermarket plastic ones. I found this working pair with a date stamp of '64 so they're just right.
Another busy week of work has come to an end. My days were spent installing all the interior trim on a Mercedes 220se. In the evenings I came home to what felt like Christmas a few days in a row as deliveries of B parts arrived in the mail from Moss and The Roadster Factory.
Mostly just small odds and ends, like rubber seals, gaskets, hose clamps etc...
Some new rubber pads for the pedals, a new pair of wiper blades...
Unfortunately my old oil cooler hoses are on their last legs and upon trying to remove them from the oil cooler, the aluminum cooler rad broke at the hose fitting.
I ordered new hoses from Moss but as you can see the new hoses and fittings are very different from the originals - as is often the case with replacement parts!
I'm now considering trying to find a local hydraulics shop that could make me some new and more accurate hoses using my original fittings.
I refurbished a few things Monday evening like my wiper motor assembly.
I took it all apart, cleaned everything, and re-greased the mechanisms before reassembly. The body was originally painted in a dark grey hammered finish - not black wrinkle as I've seen on some other cars. So I restored mine to what it was.
I also refinished the gearbox support cross member and stay rod. Just cleaned them up to bare metal and repainted as original.
Until next time...
Over the past several months I have been working away on all the interior upholstery components for a 1960 Mercedes 220se that is being restored by Rudi and Company.
We're trimming this car in original Roser Tan colored leather. I was able to find good kits for the seat covers and the the top. But everything else I had to make by hand.
Here you can see the door panels I made, copying the original ones exactly -
Here are the rear 1/4 panels (before and after) and the rear bench seats -
The finished front seats...
On the car, I started by installing all of the lower dash and glove box leather, as well as the rear top stowage area...
Then came installing the new rear 1/4 panels and trim,
And the door panels and trim...
Next came the most time consuming part of the job - installing the cabrio top and headliner. It starts by installing the sewn headliner assembly to the top frame and getting it perfect on the inside...
Then building up and shaping the inner top padding...
And finally fitting the top itself - this takes a lot of patients and adjustment to fit right...
To finish it all off, the seats and the top boot cover...
It's been a very busy few weeks since my last post. The upholstery work has been rolling in, so I've been working 7 days a week just to keep ahead. The work is inspiring though, I'm grateful that I'm able to make a living doing what I do, I don't take it lightly. More to come on that later -
Meanwhile I have been getting in a bit of work on the B in the evenings at home...
I purchased a zinc plating system from the Eastwood Company for doing my own zinc electroplating of all my hardware. A lot of restoration shops send this stuff out for re-plating and it inevitably comes back in a box with all of the hardware looking great but all mixed up. With this kit, I can set up on my work bench and just plate what bits I need to as I go along, no need to mix up all my individually tagged bags of hardware.
Speaking of plating, I have also been getting into restoring my brake and clutch master cylinder's. I have found enough evidence that I believe the outer body's of these were originally Cad plated in golden cad. And the early cars up to about mid '64 had metal filler caps instead of the more common plastic ones.
I've carefully disassembled both cylinders and will be sending the bodies and pedal arms out for re-plating. In the meantime I'm tracking down some original metal caps and have purchased rebuild kits for both M/C's. When they come back from plating, I'll lightly hone the inner cylinders before rebuilding them.
The other night I also started documenting and disassembling the intake manifold, breather, and carburetors. My B which was built in Feb. 64' was one of the first 3 main bearing cars that had this second style of crankcase breather assemblies installed. Earlier cars would have had just a simple pipe going from the top of the rocker cover to the front air cleaner. Here you can see the original breather on top of the intake manifold, with a pipe going down to the front crankcase side cover.
I also documented the HS4 carburetors, and the original "Smiths Petro-flex" fuel lines. As you can see a few of the clamps have been replaced, but I have new original style ones to set them right. I will also replace the fuel lines with original style ones and transfer the original Smiths logo to the new ones. The carbs I'll just clean and rebuild.
Here is the original golden cad plated heat shield that protected the carburetors from too much heat from the exhaust manifold, preventing vapor lock.
As you can see these original panels had asbestos riveted to the back side, I wore a proper mask and gloves while briefly handling this. I sealed the entire panel in a big zip-lock bag and then double bagged it before safe disposal at a designated facility.
Moss sells new identical panels as these with a convincing non-asbestos insulation on them and correctly finished in new Cad. To avoid dealing with the hazardous removal and replacement of the asbestos, the new panel seems an obvious solution.
Until next time -
Classic auto enthusiast, upholsterer, coach trimmer, and fine scale modeler.