Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just a quick post. Met another fellow MGB owner and snag these pics from his site. Thought I'd share them. Thanks Chris Divine!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Front Valance Refinish

For my next trick...
So everytime I washed the B, or even looked at it, I couldn't help but notice the lower front valance and how sad it looked. It was painted the same color blue as the main body but it had faded to a light, dull blue. I figured this was another oppertunity for a cheap, easy, quick fix with big payoff. Well it was cheap and I think it paid off but it certainly wasn't easy or quick. Getting the valance off was the hardest part. It was designed to only come off after you remove the bumper. Well that wasn't a project I was ready to get into and I figured there's always a loop hole. The valance was held to the body with 8 rusted screws. There's actually a bolt welded to the body for the screw to turn into. Seems easy enough: just unscrew the screws. Not so much. The screw heads are only accessible through a 3 inch gap in between the bumper and the body. Hence, take off the bumper for free access to the valance screws. So first I tried a small palm size screw drive which barely fit down and into the screw. But the screws were so rusted together that using a screw driver with such little torque just stripped the screws. I just couldn't get a good grip on them. So I used my vise grips, hammer, and a flat head screw driver to loosen it up. Some would just not budge and I had to pound off the head of the screw. It took me all together about 4 hours to get it off. Once I did, it was pretty smooth from there on. I also removed the grill grate between the radiator and bumper and refinished it.

Here's a before shot. Not that great.

Step 1: Remove Valance/Strip Paint
After I finally got the valance off I noticed there was alot of paint chipping. Just painting over it would leave a bunch of divits from the uneven paint. So I used some paint stripping gel that I painted on there. It took several applications because I noticed after the blue was stripped, there were several other layers of paint, primer, and bondo. It was like peeling an onion. I used a spackle scraper. I had to just take it down to the bare metal so everything would be even. The stripping gel is potent and will burn your skin. Wear gloves.

After it was stripped to the bare metal I pounded out a few small dings. There were still some unrepairable divets and dents so I decided to try my hand at bondo. Not as easy as it looks on American Hotrod!

I only applied the bondo to main part of the valance. The top pieces actually slide in between a narrow slit between the bumper and body.

After the bondo cured for about 30 mins, I used a variety of sand paper to smooth it out, starting with 40 grit and working my way down. Lots of dust, wear a mask.

After I had it smoothed out nice I hit it with two good coats of primer and let it dry overnight.

After I primed it, I hit it with two coats of flat black the two coats of gloss. I didn't use a gloss black because it doesn't apply as evenly as a flat black. Or at least that's what I've learned from building model airplanes. I find it looks better using a flat color then following through with the gloss. It also protects it longer. There are still some small divets that I couldn't see until the black was applied. So my bondo job was not as perfect as I thought after I finished sanding. I probably could've used another application of the bondo. Oh well. I plan to replace this piece with an air dam.

I let the black paint and gloss set overnight. I replaces all the rusted screws with hex head bolt and washers. This way, come time to take it off and put on the air dam, I can easliy slide in a socket wrench or an open end to get them off. Here's some "after" pics. I'm pretty happy with it. I really wanted the valance to match the bumper; to give the impression of a large front end. I think it worked.

Since I had to remove the grill grate to get to the valance and I had the paint out, I figured I'd hit with some primer and sliver metallic left over from the wheel project. It makes it pop out just a bit more behind the bumper and it was super easy. I also replaced the mouniting screws.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Small Interior Projects

This last weekend the weather was awesome. So I set out to give the B a nice wash and wax in preparation for the quickly invading winter. As all MG owners know, it always starts with a quick wash and wax. She did get a much needed buffing as well as some other small interior projects I had been putting off for some time. Check it out and let me know what you think. Cheers!

#1 Wash & Wax
Caiden helped me wash it then I spent most of the evening waxing. I switched from Turtle Wax to McGuire's paste wax. I'm pretty happy with it. If it's been some time since you waxed your MG and the paint is looking a bit shabby, I highy recommend McGuire's Cleaner Wax. This will actually revitalize you paint and remove any small scratches or swirls. I applied it when I first got the B from Lynn. I suggest you only use it once as it does go deep into the paint. I also gave the top a coat of leather treatment. Here's some pics of her all pretty and ready for the prom.

#2 Remove and Paint the Running Boards
I pulled these off with the intention of just scrubbing them down and removing all the dirt, surface rust, and grime stuck in all the grooves. But after several washes and scrubbings, they still looked pretty bad. I'll probably replace these through Victoria British. I believe they cost around $50. But since I had paint left over from the wheel project I figured I couldn't do much harm to them by throwing a coat of silver on. I think it paid off and it looks some much better, especially in person.

Some "before" shots. Since the old screws were rusted on and stripped, I had to use a small flat head and hammer to break them off.
What it looked like underneath. I gave this a good scrubbing, light sanding on the surface rust, and good waxing.

After a good scrubbing, I hit them with a primer coat using the left over primer from the wheel project. See that post for the details.

Next, I put on the same silver paint left over from the wheel project.

Finally, I hit it with some clear coat for extra protection. I replaced all the screws with #8 3/4" self tapping screws. ($8.00 at Lowes)
Some "after" pics.

#3 Misc Projects
These were really quick projects that I didn't get "before" shots of.

I pulled the ash try, primed and repainted it black. It was pretty scratched up. I also repaired the arm rest which has been missing since I got the car.

I cut some left over carpet (from the trunk project) and tucked it under the dash to conceal all the wiring. There is a plastic bottom dash piece you can buy from VB. I think it runs around $80. This picture isn't that good. I used velcro to secure it under the dash. This way I can still easily get to my wiring.

I replaced the orginal shifter with a slightly shorter, chrome shifter. Then I removed the old leather boot and just kept the rubber boot in place. I think it looks a bit sportier. I also polished up the chrome housing ring.

Even the garage got a small make-over.

#4 Steering Wheel Re-Finish
I've had a replacement steering wheel I bought off eBay for $11.00 that I've been meaning to put on. The leather wrap on the original wheel was peeling and got pretty bad. So since I spent so little on this new (but used) steering wheel, I thought I'd play around and try out a "Rostyle" finish like the rims. I think it came out pretty cool. All the paint I used was left over from the rim project.

"Before" shot. The spokes were a bit scuffed.
I wrapped the leather in plastic to protect from overspray the I hit with a coat of primer.
Next, I followed with a coat of black. I learned from the rim project that the silver paint tends to peel if you try to mask it, even after letting it dry 48 hours. So I did black first, then taped off the sections I wanted to remain black.

Then I hit it with another primer coat and followed with the silver. Then I pulled the tape off and here's the final product. Also, here's a picture of the old wheel next to the newer finished wheel. I also painted the logo on the rubber horn cover to match the car.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Trunk Carpet

Finally! I finished the trunk carpet project! I started this back in March or April and got somewhat side tracked. But I regained some momentum and buckled down to a nice finish. Like all my projects for this car, I'm very satisfied with the final outcome. Check it out!

Some "Before" Shots

Step 1: Line with a moisture lock flashing
I used a Moistop flashing I picked up a Lowes for pretty cheap. This is what they "wrap" new homes with before applying siding. I'm hoping it will stop any more corrosion and rust. It's not pretty looking but I'm confident it was worth the money and effort. I used the same 3M spray adhesive I used on the back seat carpet project to adhere it to the bare metal floor. It was quite messy but effective.

Step 2: Line with sound/heat insulation.
Like the back seat project, I wanted to ease some of the road noise I get from the back end. So I used more of the heating duct insulation. I had plenty left over. I used the 3M spray again to get it to stick. I left the side walls bare so I could still have access to my rear lighting wiring.

After all the insluation is laid it's ready for carpet.

Step 3: Lay the carpet.
I used the Victoria British trunk carpet kit (see my parts list for p/n). After it's all said and done, I don't recommend using it. Though it's sewn to fit my trunk it is by no means a peferct match. As you can see I had to do a lot of trimming. Also, the kit doesn't come with carpet to cover the side walls. Keep reading on and I'll explain how I got around that. So if I had to do it all over again, I'd probably stick to just buying a couple rolls of auto carpet from Checker. If you're good with a sewing machine, this is definately your best bet.

Bare side walls.

I couldn't have the bare metal walls after carpeting the rest of the trunk. It just looked incomplete. Plus the wiring is kinda ugly.

Step 4: Carpet the side walls/ cover the wiring.
As I just mentioned, the carpet kit from VB didn't provide anything for the sidewalls. This is probably so you can have easy access to your wiring. But it just looked so incomplete without it. So I bought another roll of auto carpet at Checker and just cut to fit. Instead of gluing though, I used velco so I could easily pull the carpet piece and get to my wiring. Though I really have no business messing with any wires. What I meant to say was I used velco so a MECHANIC can get to the wiring. While I was at checker I also picked up some black split loom to cover the wiring so it wasn't so obvious. Most of the wiring I was able to stow behind the carpet panels.

Step 5: Spare tire hold down.
After spending all that time refinishing my Rostyles and carpeting the trunk I didn't want to use this ugly piece of hardware to secure my spare to the trunk floor. So I came up with a better idea: use a early MG style wheel knock off. First I broke loose the top plate and strip of metal on the original hold down so that all I had was a 8" bolt threaded on each side.

Then I bought a 3/8" turn buckle (to fit the bolt) at Lowes and cut it in half. Then I JB Welded it to the inside of a new knock off from VB. Then I just screwed in the bolt to the turnbuckle. The turnbuckle allows me to adjust the length of the bolt to fit any lenght from 7" to 8 1/2". It also allows me to adjust the length of the bolt so the knockoff rests level when securing the wheel.

Then I cut a circular piece of carpet and cut a slit in the middle to fit over the turn buckle and rest on the rim of the knockoff. This is to keep the knockoff from scratching the new paint job on the spare wheel.

Top of my new spare wheel hold down. It's alot prettier than the bottom huh?

Here's the final product in place. I love it!

I also hit the jack with a coat of black paint to liven it up. This jack is probably the original and therefore I don't really trust it for its intended purpose. I just wanted to keep it with trunk in an attempt to stay original. However, I decided to buy foldable T iron to store back there. So if I ever get a flat I'll be able to take the lugs off. I'll just have to lift the car with brute strength.

Then final "After" product.

Thought the VB trunk carpet kit didn't come with side wall carpet pieces, it did come with this spare tire cover. I had this patch I bought some time back I had originally planned to sew on a jacket. But instead I sewed it on the cover. I don't like that you can't see my sharp knockoff hold down though. Your thoughts? With or without the carpet cover?

Part Lists/Cost Breakdown
Moistop Flashing 6" x 500' roll $40.00
3M #90 Spray Adhesive (High Strength) $13.00
4' X 50" Metal Duct Heat/Sound insulation (left over from the back seat project) $50.00
Victoria British Trunk Carpet Kit Black 16-450-BL $89.95
Construction Grade General Purpose Adhesive (2 tubes $2EA) $4.00
Black 1/4" Split Loom $4.99
Black 1/2" Split Loom $4.99
Black 3/4" Split Loom $4.99
Victoria British Wheel Knock Off RH 9-086 $44.95
3/8" turnbuckle $1.99
Foldable T-Iron $11.99
Velcro 2" X 8' $8.95
TOTAL: $229.80
Labor: 20 hours