The MGA With An Attitude
Ragtop FRONT WOOD BOW does not fit properly -- FT-015

At 10:37 AM 6/2/04 +0100, Mark Hester wrote:
>"The new wooden header rail (AFH6846) has two indentations either side of where the rail sockets (AFH2635) fit. .... If I screw the wooden header frame to the leading edge of the hood frame, using the countersunk screws, the two holes that the brass socket goes through no longer line up. (See Attached Images) ...."

Wood bow attached to steel frame
Wood bow attached to front of rag top frame. Notice that large peg hole in wood does
not line up with hole in steel flange. Also notice distance of hole from front of wood part.

Ragtop frame attached to windscreen
Steel frame with copper bushing in place, attached to windscreen. All parts here are correct.

At 02:15 PM 6/2/04 +0100, Mark Hester wrote: >"When the wooden header rail is screwed to the frame using only the two middle screws, it fits in the recess flush at the centre, but the ends have a huge gap ....."

Wood bow installed over copper bushing
Wood bow installed over copper bushing.
Notice the gap between wood bow and steel frame (at pencil point).

I checked the complete assembly on my car, with it all securely attached, including the 1600 type center latch, and having the thumb screws tight. The distance of the steel bow aft of the back edge of the windscreen top frame, in direction parallel to the mating surfaces, is consistently 0.300" nearly all the way across. For the last few inches at the ends, where the thumb screws pull the bow backward slightly (taking up clearance in the bushing bore), the distance aft of the windscreen frame goes to 0.375". I suppose that 0.075 difference is about equal to the radial space when the bushing is centered on the pin, so pulling the bushing back against the pin moves the frame back about .075".

Notice in your picture that in assembled position the pin is about 1/4" from the front edge of the flat plate. Note that the painted plate extends about 1/8" ahead of the chrome frame, and the steel bow extends about 3/8" aft of the chrome frame. All of this is correct.

Then look at your first picture above. Here you have the stick pushed back against the steel bow. Notice that the painted plate protrudes out the front a small amount, maybe 1/16". This too is correct, same as on my car, where I can detect that little protrusion through the shape of the fabric covering. Lastly notice that the round hole in the stick does not line up with the hole on the painted plate. Make a mental note of the position of that hole in the stick, particularly the distance of the hole from the front edge of the stick.

Now look at this picture:

Different wood bow during installation
Different wood bow, installed during Chicagoland MG Club tech session in February 2001

This is a different wood bow with the stick screwed securely into assembly with the steel frame. Notice the location of the hole in the stick, being about 1/4" from the front edge of the stick, and everything lines up. That 1/4" space of the hole from the front of the stick matches the space on the painted plate underneath, so the front of the stick comes out nearly flush with the front of the painted frame (and all is well with the world).

Note also in the picture above that the butterfly slots on top of the stick should NOT be parallel to the length of the stick as shown. This is an error in machining of this part. The butterfly slots should be perpendicular to the wing bolt to accept the bent down tabs on the brass socket.

Comparing this last picture with your first picture above, it is obvious that the hole is in the wrong position in your wood bow. So how good are you as a carpenter? Typical procedure to repair a misplaced hole in wood is to glue a round wood plug into the hole to close it. Then redrill the hole in the correct location (without splitting the stick of course). And you may likely have to carve the butterfly slots out wider (toward the front of the stick) to match the tabs on the copper bushings. Alternative is to return the wood bow to where you bought it, and find a better one from another source.

At 05:16 PM 6/2/04 +0100, Mark Hester wrote:
>"The Wooden header Rail came from Brown and Gammons."
I'll forward on you info and see how I get on."

At 03:18 PM 6/7/04 +0100, Mark Hester wrote:
>"I emailed Brown and Gammons twice with no replied, so I rang them. They said they tried a new header rail on two MGA's they had in the workshop, which still had hoods fitted and it fitted fine. I explained that that was not possible, as the trim would have got in the way. He said "I have fitted literally 100's of these and there is no problems with it". I asked if he had viewed the photo's and links I sent him as that would help to explain the situation, but he said he had not and would not. He politely asked me to return the header rail and he would refund the money.
>As an Australian I always find Customer satisfaction non-existent in England... my two cents worth anyway.
>So I will return the goods and purchase one from MOSS and hopefully have more luck."

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ADDENDUM June 9, 2004:
At 09:00 AM 6/9/04 +0100, Mark Hester wrote:
>"I received this email from Brown and Gammon's yesterday, so maybe they will look into it further today.

Alan Hall []
Re your e-mail,

We will not have any MGA hood frames in stock until Wednesday I will try the rail on then. We have fitted the rail to 2 of the MGAs we have in the showroom and it was a perfect fit on the screen frame.

Regards Alan hall

For more information on the wood front bow (27 Aug 05) check article TT-107.

For a tour of plugging and re-drilling to correct the position of the hole, see Patrick Mulholland's photos and notes at

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