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The body and frame lists to the right

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bantlejohn1 John Bantle
Midlothian, Virginia, USA   USA
I am currently restoring a 1960 MGA 1600 roadster. All the metal work has been completed and the body and frame has been either painted or powder coated. When the body was first pulled of the frame I noticed shims tinkling off the left front of the car and we later discovered that the kingpins were bent. After the metal work and the fitting of new kingpins, we test fit the body to the frame and all looked well, but I did know that the car had been in an accident on the right side. I was stunned after reuniting the painted body to the frame that the car had a list to the right. I checked the body and it sits correctly on the frame. The right side of the frame is about 3/4 inches lower on the right than left. Same with the body. I was able to level the car by jacking it up under the right front spring pan by about 1 and 1/4" inches as measured by the side of the body to floor. What I need help on is how to level this car without pulling the body back of the frame. I have some ideas, but would like to hear other ideas from the MG community.

Thanks! Jack

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Mitchman2 Avatar
Mitchman2 Mitchell Andrus
Mills River, North Carolina, USA   USA
Sounds like you need a really big hammer. Kidding, don't even think about hammering this back to level.

If it was me, I'd take the frame to a sympathetic frame shop. Once bolted down, this might be a one hour job, if that.

To do this at home you have to remove the body to shoot levels. Need tons of weight and a tank of acetylene to soften the areas to be tamed.... and a laser level. And a friend. Google DIY frame puller, straightener, etc. Plenty of youtubes too.

Buy a man a plane ticket and he flies for a day,
push a man out of an airplane and he'll fly for the rest of his life.

'30 Model A Ford
'48 MGTC
'58 MGA
'58 MGA

bobs77vet Avatar
bobs77vet bob K.
northern Va, Va, USA   USA
either a frame shop to stretch it or cut it and weld it up.....i would take it to frame shop and do it right

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Billm Avatar
Billm Bill Masquelier
Santee, Ca, USA   USA
Try sitting in it and see if it levels out- maybe it was done that way to account for "bachelor lean" smiling smiley

bobs77vet Avatar
bobs77vet bob K.
northern Va, Va, USA   USA
if the frame is not straight you will be chasing issues for ever. i realize its a royal PITA but this is one thing to really get right, the body panels will fit better, doors will close, the car will steer straight. the list goes on and on.

mgaex189 Avatar
mgaex189 Platinum Member Giovanni Delicio
Obrigheim, Rheinpfalz, Germany   DEU
1955 MG MGA 1500 "C2"
1955 MG MGA 1500
1955 MG MGA 1500 "C1"
1960 MG MGA 1600 Coupe    & more
You may get another frame and start from "new" !!!!


Twofin David T
Bedworth, Warwickshire, UK   GBR
Hi Jack,

Body needs taking off and the frame sent off to be measured and straightened on a Jig , it may have lozenged as well as twisted up on the one corner, pulling / jacking properly back into alignment , rather than diy job with heat or cutting and shutting the frame. It would be money well spent.

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jonathan in mass jonathan eagle
weston, ma, USA   USA
I understand from your post that you don't want to take the body off, and I'm assuming that the body gaps are good, but you have the "listing" problem only.
You have another potential problem. If the body was adjusted to account for the non straight frame, that's a real problem. If you straighten the frame, the body may not fit. So fixing the frame won't help. A new frame would have the same problem and probably worse because this frame and body go together. I think I would try to get it straightened with the body on. Ask if they can creep up on the proper alignment. You might have to settle on getting close and some shims.
I'm no expert on this kind of problem, maybe get a email to Barney. He's seen it all.

billjamesSTJames Avatar
billjamesSTJames Bill James
Southport, NC, USA   USA
Is the car sitting on the ground by the tires? If the frame is straight and the body is tight to the fame, it may be your coil or leaf springs. or different diameter tires

I built "A frames out of heavy angle iron making sure the stud holes off the ground where all the same. Remember weight on a car moves on the diagonal. So if the right from is too low it might be a weak right front coil or a higher rate left rear leaf. You could start by switch the front springs (assuming they are seated correctly ) Once I got the car on the ground I noticed that the gap from the top of the tire to the fender (@ 12 O'clock) was different side to side and front to back. With modification (removing steel and replacing with aluminum I had lost a lot of weight so the car rode high like an SUV. I added blocks in the back and lowered the spring pan in the front for the proper ride height


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bantlejohn1 John Bantle
Midlothian, Virginia, USA   USA
Hi! Thanks for the feedback. I had the complete frame with running gear at the MG meet in Louisville last year where more than 100 people saw it and no one saw a list to the frame as I drove it in to the hotel for a tech session.
We did build up the body and replaced all the sills while the body was attached to the frame. What was stunning is that we trial fitted the body back to the frame after first removing it to work on the body to get it ready for paint. Three guys at that point saw no problem with list. Then after the body was finished and painted we had a team of 5 guys put the body back on the car. The body fit perfectly to the frame at all 31 bolt positions. No one saw the list . I got the car home in my garage and it was my wife who saw it listing. Go figure. Maybe all the guys saw was the paint job.

All tires were inflated to 30 lbs and have the same wear. When I had the leaf springs off the car I checked and made sure the were at the same height. Of course that doesn't mean they would react to a load in the same manner

Front left top of arch to tire is 3 1/8"; Right side is 2 7/8"

Rear left top of arch to tire is 2 1/2"; Right side is 2 1/8"

These differences are slight.

I will look in to the springs to see if they are mounted right and have the same dimensions.

Thanks for all the responses.


bobs77vet Avatar
bobs77vet bob K.
northern Va, Va, USA   USA
interesting.....take some measurements of the spring pan to shock absorber arm height for both sides . use blue tape and measure the same distance and mark it with a sharpie. maybe its being compressed differently.

i had a corvette that would never sit at the same ride just kept changing as it wanted to i finally stopped trying to figure it out.

i would be tempted to swap tires side to side and see what the meaurements are.

thats not really very much of a difference......i bet the battery could account for that. when someone is sitting in it whats the difference

Twofin David T
Bedworth, Warwickshire, UK   GBR
A lot of replies above are missing the fact that when you removed the body there were shims fitted and that you say the car had been in an accident. So by saying springs , tyres etc. Are misleading and leading you astray somewhat, get the car on super level floor put the frame rails in floor area on supports of exactly same height so car should them be sitting level , then measure all round e.g. Corners, suspension mount areas, etc they should all be the same height off the floor left or right,, or if it's not able to sit on the frame rails on all 4 corners of the basic floor pan area and rocks to start with, then its twisted, check diagonally for lozenging get at the same time , if this confirms it bent/twisted then you'll need to remove the body to get the frame straightened at proper alignment shop, you won't be able to do it at home properly , it's not that expensive ,and it will be as new.,
The frame is a lot stronger than the body so when straightened should pull down or shim it slightly , yes the gaps will change a little but not massively ,

It's very very easy to knock a corner into the air or down to the ground with a very light accident, as there is no real bracing it's basically a flat square that's been hit on the corner , no triangulation height wise unlike modern space frames,

I worked in accident repair shop for 15 years repairing and Jigging cars, and know how easy it is for them to move out of alignment , Range rovers/ Landrovers are mega easy to damage chassis with lightest knock in an accident.

bantlejohn1 John Bantle
Midlothian, Virginia, USA   USA
Well I found my problem and fixed it. It turns out that the front left front coil spring was hung up on the little guide cup inside the well that holds the top half of the spring. This caused the right rear to sag as the left front was elevated. I also discovered that the left front coil as 1/4" longer than the right front coil so I swapped them. At this point my right front was still about 1/8" too low so I was able to slip a 1/8" shim in the right front frame extension pad. The car now sits level and I even had an alignment done that indicates that all is well. I want to thank everyone for their contributions. They are much appreciated.


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