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Dave's '63 Midget project...

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owdlvr Dave Hord
Squamish, Canada   CAN
Whelp, ran out of carpet...but had some left over VW carpet, so I have a slight non-match until I get another roll of the stuff I was using. Not a big deal, the VW carpet is a much nicer carpet! Installed new seat belts, and the interior is now waiting my red tartan to show up so I can finish the doors and get the seats done.


I then swapped out the headlights for Hella H4 conversion lights. I do this on all my classic cars, as the E-code beam is a much, much better beam for driving. I've started switching over to Brightsource LED H4 bulbs as well, but as I don't plan on doing a tonne of night driving with the Midget, I've left the regular H4 bulbs in. The nice part about this swap is that even though they are much brighter with a sharper cut off, the wattage is no higher so the stock harness doesn't need to be upgraded. Some people don't like the switch from a curved glass to flat, but I'll take safety while driving over strictly exact.


I've swapped out all the rubber flex lines in the brakes, and when aiming to do the leaking rear wheel cylinders discovered it was actually the axle seals. They had never dripped, just weeped, until I left it overnight with the wheels off...and it was an obvious puddle of oil, not brake fluid, on the ground. Both cylinders are dry as well. Not wanting to wait for parts, and also not finding any gaskets in there anyways, I simply swapped out the o-rings and used permatex to seal up the axles. We'll see how that works.


The car came with a bad master cylinder (installed) and a brand new one in a box labelled "NFG", because it had been installed and had no clutch action. The one in the car has no brake action. The parts car came with a master cylinder that looked relatively brand new, but as there was no brakes or anything on the shell I have no idea if it's any good. Before ordering a new one, I figured why not give it a shot? Swapped that over, including the pedals and box that were in better shape than the ones on my car. Turns out I don't have the correct cap for my power bleeder, so while I waited for the JB-Weld to cure on the one I made...I started playing with the front end.

First up was repairing the front bumper mount. It was solid on the driver's side, but broken on the passenger side and basically just floating there. A couple of tabs welded in under the car has it locked in an solid...though I don't think I'll be using the towing eye on the passenger side! I've been thinking bumper-delete from the very get go, and decided to try it out. I can't help myself but put a little bit of rally look into the car, so with some very cheap fog lights I ended up with this:




With tomorrow being a work day, I've opted not to bleed the brakes until tomorrow evening, so I have time to look for and solve any leaks. Should keep me from losing a litre of fluid onto the garage floor.

A front end inspection finds the kingpins with a slight amount of play to them, enough to consider whether I can reshim them...but not enough to consider a full rebuild. By mid-end of the summer, however, I might be looking at dropping a rebuilt set in. Without knowing if the shocks, steering rack, or other components are good, I'm not going to swap parts out unless it's a safety issue. I'm sure I'll have a good healthy chassis-list after the first week of driving. The tires, however, need to be replaced!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2019-01-21 01:13 AM by owdlvr.

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littlecars Avatar
littlecars David Bassett
Nashville, TN, USA   USA
1965 Chevrolet Corvair "Ski Team Transport SOLD!"
1965 MG Midget MkII "Buffoon"
1966 MG Midget MkII "Swiss Cheese...SCRAPPED"
1970 Triumph Spitfire MkIII "Tamara's Turd... SOLD!!!"    & more
Dave Hord, you need the proper plinth and rubber gasket for those parking/indicator lights under the headlights. I notice you have nothing, and those lenses actually look incorrect for the Midget. Your year would have had clear lenses (maybe even made of glass) with a chrome plinth and your bulb lead would feed through the hole behind and covered with a rubber cup. I may be able to set you up with some used ones which will call for some cleaning up.

owdlvr Dave Hord
Squamish, Canada   CAN
In reply to # 3878049 by littlecars Dave Hord, you need the proper plinth and rubber gasket for those parking/indicator lights under the headlights. I notice you have nothing, and those lenses actually look incorrect for the Midget. Your year would have had clear lenses (maybe even made of glass) with a chrome plinth and your bulb lead would feed through the hole behind and covered with a rubber cup. I may be able to set you up with some used ones which will call for some cleaning up.

I wondered about that, seeing as a buddies '67 had clear lenses. What does the sheet metal of the fender look like under the correct lenses? My car seems to have a lip that these lenses are set inside of, and I'm wondering if that is a factory lip or not. There is a paint chip near one turn signal lens that suggests a healthy use of bondo in the area. I'd be interested in a used set if you can dig them up, we could ship to my california address (where I have some other items I need to pickup).

-Dave

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littlecars Avatar
littlecars David Bassett
Nashville, TN, USA   USA
1965 Chevrolet Corvair "Ski Team Transport SOLD!"
1965 MG Midget MkII "Buffoon"
1966 MG Midget MkII "Swiss Cheese...SCRAPPED"
1970 Triumph Spitfire MkIII "Tamara's Turd... SOLD!!!"    & more
Actually, factory fenders would have a lip extending >>OUTWARD<< to accommodate the housing seating. Terry Horler's book can give the exact years when the cars went from clear to amber. For the 63-1964 model year in the United States, all production cars got amber. Not sure about cars exported from England. Your friends car is incorrect with clear lenses, unless it is UK specification. I personally like the clear lens with an amber bulb and that is what I have fitted on my 1965.

There are currently several pair of housings, gaskets and lenses showing up on eBay for not a lot of scratch. I'll see what I can find in my stash but these components get plenty of road grime and other damage due to their location on the front of the car.

ice Avatar
ice Gold Member Larry Ice
Lawrenceville, GA, USA   USA
Hord, you mentioned that you replaced the flex lines for the brakes. Did that include the one to the rear brakes? Many owners forget that one when they replace the flex lines.

Looks like you are coming right along on getting the car back on the road.



Iceman

Atlanta GA

60 AH MK1
62 AH MKII
67 Midget
71 Midget

owdlvr Dave Hord
Squamish, Canada   CAN
Ahh, well that's good to hear. Seems the 90's "restoration" at least attempted to keep the front sheet metal correct tongue sticking out smiley

Will check out ebay for some signal lenses and housings. Initial search just pulls up page after page of bulb replacements and unrelated crap. But to be fair, my ebay searching skills are relatively low.

owdlvr Dave Hord
Squamish, Canada   CAN
In reply to # 3878268 by ice Hord, you mentioned that you replaced the flex lines for the brakes. Did that include the one to the rear brakes? Many owners forget that one when they replace the flex lines.

Looks like you are coming right along on getting the car back on the road.

Yuppers. Though the one that was in the car appeared to be new, along with the wheel cylinders and rear drums which are still bare steel on the outside.

Chas 906 Avatar
Chas 906 Chuck Peterson
Iron Mountain, MI, USA   USA
1961 MG Midget MkI "Little Red Rider"
Dave, just did a total brake job on Little Red last fall. Easy to do. Springs were a little hard to get in place. had a rear spring brake while driving. Couldn't believe it would have made that much of a difference in power. The rear brakes were employed. Smelled horrible!

owdlvr Dave Hord
Squamish, Canada   CAN
We have brakes! First time I've ever had a bleed screw strip out of a wheel cylinder on the 'last bleed'. Broken 'em trying to open, yup. Pull the threads out after 4 or 5 times already using it with success? Nope. Good thing I had backups ready, it was a quick swap.

We have clutch! At least, I think we do. Pedal doesn't feel 100%, but then I haven't driven an MG hydraulic clutch in a year +, and my Rally Bug has a full Tilton setup in it, so the feel is vastly different. I should probably just jump in my MGB to get a feel, but it's cold and wet out tongue sticking out smiley Now that I know there are no leaks (with the car sitting overnight), I'll fire it up and see if I can get gears on the stand without any issues.

Thought I would explore the transmission leak a little last night, and discovered stripped threads on one of the 'plugs'. Number 76 in the diagram.






It should have a couple of interlock balls above it, and I would have anticipated at least one would fall out (but having never pulled an MG transmission apart, they may be held captive as part of the assembly). The plug is shaped to obviously hold the interlock ball in, but even rotating through the gears won't allow me to seat the bolt flush with the transmission case. Hmmm...previous owner, who's a friend, didn't mention any issues with the gearbox. A slight mystery, one which may find some enlightenment if I actually read the transmission chapter of the repair manual. In the meantime, my shop helicoils are metric only, so I'll have to see if I can get a 3/8-24 set today to repair the trans. Worst case scenario there is enough meat to go up to 10mmx1.0 and I can fashion the correct shaped bolt on the lathe.

owdlvr Dave Hord
Squamish, Canada   CAN


I love my lathe. Purchased in the last six month from a local motorcycle shop, and it's awesome.

Transmission issue repaired.

Chas 906 Avatar
Chas 906 Chuck Peterson
Iron Mountain, MI, USA   USA
1961 MG Midget MkI "Little Red Rider"
I was a journeyman machinist for years prior to a 25 year run in manufacturing management. I miss a machine shop now I'm retired.

owdlvr Dave Hord
Squamish, Canada   CAN
Well, if I make it through all the flying delays today, I'll be back in the shop tomorrow evening. It was going to be tonight, but so far I've been delayed twice without any indication I'll get back into Canada. This time I was able to plan ahead, however, and bag #2 contains the Moss order I had shipped to my hotel. My buddy who watches my house suggests I've got some bits waiting for me there as well...so I will get some updates with photos up this weekend.

I had the wheels sandblasted and powder-coated while I was gone, and now have serious doubts about the colour I chose. I picked a non-factory colour, one that I thought would do the car well...but it's not a colour that is going to do the current "look" I've created very well. Hmph. Will post photos and reveal once I pick them up and get tires on them (Monday). I already know how I'll correct it if my choice was wrong...but probably should have relaxed and though about the colour for a bit before pulling the trigger.

Trying to order a tonneau cover from Victoria British was a nightmare. Long story short, they didn't win me over from Moss and I might just give away the $50 credit they're sending me. Tonneau coming to Canada, via a Vancouver supplier, but it will be 3-weeks. One thing I forgot to order was the front lowering kit. Easy enough to make on the lathe, but for the price it wasn't really worth my time to make it. Guess I don't have a choice now!

-Dave

Daveboyardee Avatar
Daveboyardee David Evans
Sooke, BC, Canada   CAN
Hey Dave.
Before you put any holes in that Moss tonneau make sure it is the right one. Ordered one that was radically wrong but an upholsterer friend and I had already begun putting the snaps in place. Long story short, had to return it and it took weeks for Moss and the manufacturer to acknowledge and refund because we had put some of the snaps in place. The upholsterer friend made one instead but it was an unfortunate experience.

And if the front suspension is the same on your car as on my 67 Mk 3, I just got some 3/4” connecting nuts and longer bolts to space the spring seat. Cost about $8 for the highest grade I cold find. The size of the spacers (or in my case, nuts) seems to be about 1/2 of the lowering difference...So my 3/4” nuts brought the front down about 1.5”...Or more than enough to scrape the headers on many, many road hazards! If you have headers then I would suggest not more than a 1 inch drop unless this is just for track.

what tires will you be running?

owdlvr Dave Hord
Squamish, Canada   CAN
In reply to # 3883470 by Daveboyardee Hey Dave.
Before you put any holes in that Moss tonneau make sure it is the right one. Ordered one that was radically wrong but an upholsterer friend and I had already begun putting the snaps in place. Long story short, had to return it and it took weeks for Moss and the manufacturer to acknowledge and refund because we had put some of the snaps in place. The upholsterer friend made one instead but it was an unfortunate experience.

And if the front suspension is the same on your car as on my 67 Mk 3, I just got some 3/4” connecting nuts and longer bolts to space the spring seat. Cost about $8 for the highest grade I cold find. The size of the spacers (or in my case, nuts) seems to be about 1/2 of the lowering difference...So my 3/4” nuts brought the front down about 1.5”...Or more than enough to scrape the headers on many, many road hazards! If you have headers then I would suggest not more than a 1 inch drop unless this is just for track.

what tires will you be running?

Gotcha! My Canadian supplier (Overseas Auto) is a Robbins dealer, but the same issue of "check the tonneau" will apply. For tires, I am not sure what my dealer was able to bring in...I'll find out on Monday. Not a whole lot is available in a 155/80/13 tongue sticking out smiley

Well, I got back from my US trip with a bunch of parts in my luggage...and I also picked up the wheels from a local powder-coater. Once again, I'm not sure I made the correct colour choice for the 'look' I want...but it will be easy enough to change.




For the wheels, I will probably end up using plasti-dip to make them black. I think a black wheel is going to look better for the period 'racing' look I'm after, but didn't want to powdercoat them permanently black, as I fear they'll look like cheap winter steelies.


I also managed to pick up the seats that I had recovered, and got the guys to quilt some panels for me that I used on the inside of the doors. To say I'm stoked on the interior would be an understatement. While it's certainly not original...it's is 100% 'me'.











The steering wheel is planned as a 'temporary' item, until I can find a thick-rimmed, 13", wooden wheel at a price I'm willing to pay. But I do love the feel of a good alcantra wheel when I'm driving, so I suspect it will stay in the car longer. Pretty much the only reason I'll swap it out is the quick-release moves the wheel 1.5" closer to the driver over a stock wheel. I could run without the quick release, but I know from my Beetle that if you let the alcantra sit in inclement weather, they start to feel damp and clammy. With no top, I need to be able to take the wheel inside!

Kerr Avatar
Kerr Platinum Member Norm Kerr
Ann Arbor, MI, USA   USA
Wow, the fabric looks great on the interior!

I think the cream wheels will look very period, with the Tartan red body and black tires (especially if you can get the "dog dish" hubcaps). Will you be getting whitewalls? They can look very smart on Mk1 and Mk11 midgets, though with the cream wheels might not go together.


You'd mentioned no top, and alcantara steering wheel feeling damp: will you use a tonneau cover to keep the cabin dry while parked? It only needs the snaps fitted around the perimeter of the cabin, and goes a LONG way to keeping the inside out of the weather while parked. Its what I use, far more than putting my top up. I ask because with those absorbent, checked cloth seat inserts you'll really want to keep rain/dew/mist off of them or the steering wheel will be the least of your worries and you could look like you wet your pants after you get back in to drive away to your next destination.

smiling smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-02-02 06:56 AM by Kerr.

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