The MGA With An Attitude
Part B - Main Body

At 07:57 PM 1/2/2012 -0500, Allan Thompson wrote:
"I am wondering if anyone has a master-plan for a strip down to the frame and a full rebuild"?

A full restoration is far too involved to cover in a single response, or even a dozen tech articles. I will endeavor to make brief summary over several pages. First thought is to take lots of pictures as you disassemble things so you recall how it should go back together later. Strip off all external trim, bumpers, lighting fixtures, interior kick panels and windscreen. Remove bonnet, boot lid, front valance panel, fenders and doors, keeping all door hinges and latch parts and any shims in original order for later reassembly.

The next step assumes the frame is still solid enough to be straight so it will serve as the alignment jig for the body. Get right into removing rocker panels and cutting away any rusted sheet metal in the body sills and lower door posts, as far up as necessary to get rid of anything that is rusted thin or gone. Buy or make replacement sheet metal parts, and rebuild the body sills and door posts and inner fenders as required. This is dirty work. The essence of rebuilding the MGA body is to start in the middle and build the body around the doors. When repairing door posts, keep the doors close at hand to assure proper construction and alignment of the posts so the doors will ultimately fit and work properly. An important point here is interface of four body mounting points, one each fore and aft of the doors on each side. Find a complete section of my web site detailing body sill replacement.

You may also need to rebuild the boot floor if necessary, and smooth out the rear valance panel. If the heater shelf is rusted out, then remove the engine for better access for that repair. If the front end of the body needs work, then also do that while the body is still on the chassis. Sometime before the body comes off of the chassis you will minimally need to remove radiator, front bumper, front valance panel, rear bumper, rear bumper support brackets, fuel tank, master cylinder and pedal assembly, steering column, front splash panels, and more than two dozen bolts holding the body on the frame.

When you have a complete and solid main body shell, then you can remove the body from the frame and set it on a pair of saw horses for additional work. The main body shell (with no fenders or doors) weighs about 200 pounds, so it is possible to lift off with two healthy people. One person may be able to tip it up on it side or set it down flat for subsequent work. When the body sills and door posts are in good condition the body is very strong and needs no bracing during handling. Pick it up and handle it any way you like with any number of people or with a hoist. Some people may piece together a body rotisserie, but it not required, as the MGA body shell will sit nicely at 90 degrees on its side sitting on the door posts. With the body off you can clean up welds and other things inside and underneath the body. It will be good to get at least as far as having the main body shell in primer paint.

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