The MGA With An Attitude
SIDE CURTAINS Installation #1 - TT-111

At 07:48 PM 9/9/04 -0400, Earl Chilton wrote:
>"I don't see how in the world I can make these side curtains fit."

Remove the front mounting plate inside the door to get it out of the way. Drop the rear peg into the socket, hold the side curtain in place while you close the door, and see if the side curtain lines up with the windscreen okay. If not you need to do something to realign the peg or socket first to get the front edge of the side curtain to match up to the windscreen post.

Then you put the mounting bracket back on, and bend the front bracket if necessary to align with the mounting stud. When you can drop the side curtain into place and tighten the nut, close the door to check alignment again. You might still need to bend the bracket in or out a bit to make the front edge of the side curtain mate properly with the windscreen frame.

>"It is quite unbelievable how Moss thought these things could be functional."

Oh, I dunno. I think the factory may have had the same problems with original units. Tolerances on the door and trim rails were not that good then either.

Sealing around the roadster side curtains is a matter of having the convertible top properly installed and side curtains correctly aligned (as best as possible). Original type fabric covered side curtains will have a fabric flap extending at the edges all around which should snuggle up against the rag top, windscreen and door top. The wide fabric edges make this type of side curtain more forgiving of misalignment, so there was likely no individual aligning required for original factory parts.

The metal framed side curtains have a thin rubber seal on the front edge (except for some rare aftermarket parts) which should fit up securely against the windscreen post. You may need to bend the side curtain front mounting bracket slightly to get this alignment. Do this first with the top down, then check it again with the top up. Properly aligned the side curtain should fit snugly against the rag top (at top and back) at the same time as sealing at the windscreen post.

Metal framed side curtains will have a rubber seal at the bottom. When installing new metal frame side curtains you may need to trim the bottom rubber strip. This can require some patience and a little finesse. The idea is to trim the rubber flange so it will cover the leather wrapped door top rails, also covering the piping along the outside edge of the door rails, but stopping just short of touching the paint on the door (so it won't abrade the paint with vibration). Be sure the side curtain is first properly aligned and fully seated on the front and rear brackets when you do this bottom trimming. Metal framed side curtains should also have a rubber seal flange along the top and back edges (except for the hardtop side curtains). These edges should be okay as shipped from the factory, although I have seen some aftermarket units with excessively wide rubber strips here.

Here is a link to an instruction sheet for trimming the bottom rubber seal:

Air (and water) intrusion around the side curtains is not as bad as you might first expect. When driving with any significant speed the air motion around the windscreen and convertible top produces a slight negative pressure above which pulls the fabric upward and taught. This pressure differential also tends to move air past the edges of the side curtains from inside out, so you don't notice much of an intruding breeze, except maybe a bit from the back edge if you leave a gap there (door ajar). In cool weather when you have the heater blower running air comes in through the heater and goes out around the side curtains.

Running into a strong headwind at an angle causes a slight vacuum on the leeward side which tends to pull the side curtain away from the windscreen post. When that happens you may still have outward air flow at that point, so no cold intruding breeze to notice, and little or no water intrusion if it rains. That does make for some increase of wind noise though, so it is desirable to minimize this wind gap if possible. With more patience and finesse you may find a reasonable compromise for angle of the mounting bracket. Later 1600 and MK II cars were equipped with small metal brackets on the front edge of the side curtains to hook onto the edge of the windscreen post. Those work nicely but can be a bit of a fiddle when closing the door.

Thank you for your comments -- Send e-mail to <Barney Gaylord>
© 2004-2012 Barney Gaylord -- Copyright and reprint information