The MGA With An Attitude
Body Sill Replacement - RT-630
Outer Body Painting
Raining again this morning, so I made a trip to the radiator shop to get my perfectly good 15 year old radiator a checkup. More on that later (maybe). After lunch the sun came out and the driveway dried off, so I decided to have a go at the top side painting, even though it was still very high humidity. I sprayed a light tack coat for good adhesion, followed by a heavier cover coat. It's not enough paint for the final round yet, but I figure to wet sand it before spraying the final coat. That's one reason I didn't mind painting in high humidity this time, as well as wanting to give my air line filters a good test. I had an old medium size desiccator filter on the compressor, although it had tuned from blue to pink, so maybe not great for removing water. I had a new small filter in line with the air hose, supposed to be special tailored for giving clean dry air for a paint gun.
I started by painting the top side of the main body, and that seemed to come out very nice, especially after a second coat. Then I pushed the body dolly off the front corner of the room and started painting loose panels in the opposite corner. Front fenders first, then the rear fenders, each one set up on a separate saw horse (some of those borrowed), then push each finished unit back toward the corner of the room. I was doing okay until I fat fingered something and dropped a half painted rear fender on the floor. Doh! Oh well, just a little more wet sanding and another coat of paint will fix that (tomorrow). Then I did the doors (2nd coat), and began seeing a few small spits of water droplets on the paint, nothing to worry about yet, as it would be wet sanded one more time (at least). The bonnet went about the same, pretty nice results. When I was doing the deck lid the sprayer began spitting unreasonable amounts of water in a few places, but I wasn't going to stop this close to being finished. With a little paint left in the gun I did the valance panel (second coat), then 5 of the 6 splash panels (2nd coat) and quit when it ran empty, not wanting to mix up one ounce of paint for a single part that could wait till later. By early evening everything was red, no more gray, and it was time to clean the gun and take pictures.
Even though there is still significant grunt work to go, I like to think it's all down hill from here, paint, sand, paint, sand, buff, buff, and reassemble. Been there and done that, several times before. Keep one eye on the calendar. .... (30 May 08)
If you're getting impatient several days on, so am I. The last pictures were taken on a Friday evening. On Sunday morning my air compressor motor burned out, just as I was about to spray the second coat of red (after wet sanding). I ordered a new 2-HP motor, but it may take a week for delivery. Meanwhile my house picked about the same time to give me some mechanical grief for a few days. The MG club newsletter just came out and needs to be posted on the club web site, and the format has changed dramatically, so that will take some time too. When it rains it pours. Looks like body painting just got set back a week.
Meanwhile to stay productive I rolled out the chassis, dropped the exhaust system, pulled the engine, ripped out most of the carpet, and I'm cleaning and repainting part of the frame that is accessible only while the body is off and carpet is out. Get that picture quick before the sun drops. The radiator also went into the shop for inspection (a few days earlier) and will have the 20 year old core replaced (bummer, but only money not my time). .... (6 June 08)
Better news today. My radiator is back form the shop looking like new (with a $300 bill attached for the re-core once every 20 years). I also finished the second coat of Chassis Saver paint on the frame, so that's a bit of dirty grunt work out of the way, and ready to accept the body whenever it's ready.
While I was painting the frame FedEx dropped off the new motor for the compressor. It is Saturday morning no less, so score one for FedEx Ground delivering on the weekend (when UPS Ground wouldn't). By late afternoon I had rigged a modified mount for the universal motor, so my compressor is working. By that time it was raining again, so I guess the second coat of red on the body will wait another day. .... (7 June 08)
Rain again this morning (beginning to feel normal), so I took the opportunity to go shopping for some little bits and air fittings. Got a new wall mount air line filter hooked up. Rain quit, sun came out, temperature went up 10 degrees, driveway blew off dry, so humidity was down a bit. Anxious about more delays, I took a chance and shot the second coat of red on all exterior body panels. Looks reasonably good, at least no noticeable problem with water spitting this time. Good that I did it too, as late night dropped the temperature 15 degrees and brought more thunder storms. This is tricky dodging between the rain drops. I will do one more pass of wet sanding before shooting the final coat. At least I can do that in the rain if necessary. .... (8 June 08)
A perfect day for wet sanding, overcast, still a bit wet. temperature in the low 70's mid morning, so I get play with the garden hose and 600 grit emery paper. Four hours later temperature was in the mid 80's when a serious cloud burst sent me indoors for a half hour while the temperature dropped back to the mid 70's again. Then back to work for a couple more hours to finish wet sanding of all outer body surfaces (for the third time). One more coat of paint to go, but not tonight. I'm not taking chances with high humidity for the final coat. .... (9 June 08)
Ah, finally a good day for finish painting, and good timing too. Warm and bight sun from early morning throughout the day, rising temperatures and dropping humidity. Since this is not a big job, I wait until mid afternoon for the driest conditions. Then in a couple of hours, like magic, there appears a sea or red in my garage, and I hope the last spray job. Tomorrow on to fine grit wet sanding and polishing. There is progressively more adrenalin flowing these days as reassembly time is fast approaching. You might not believe it from here, but I WILL have it completely finished and on the road within two weeks. Stay tuned. .... (10 June 08)
I have been saying since the start that this is not a complete restoration, only body sill replacement and a repaint. I have (or had) all good intentions of reassembling it with all of the prior trim parts with only new carpet, fender piping, and some new rubber grommets. A friend has been bugging me to replace the 22 year old slightly irregular aftermarket grille (with just one little dent that I might push out). This is not important to getting the car back on the road, and might be considered for some later cash flow (or likely not).
Apparently there is a slight conspiracy afoot. Tonight I attended a Natter 'n' Noggin with our local club members and was presented with a couple of gift boxes wrapped in nice red paper with ribbons. Inside the smaller box were some new chrome trim bits, cowl vents, headlight and parking light rings, "MG" emblem for the boot lid, license lamp cover, and a new fuel cap. The larger box contained, TA-DA, a new chrome grill from Moss Motors. Several friends and club members had gotten together to pool resources. When Moss Motors heard about this they promptly donated the new grille to the cause. Wow! Here's hoping it fits in place of the older one and doesn't set the project back for rework time on the body nose. .... (10 June 08)