MGB V8 Roadster Restoration

(Words and Photos: By Mike Macartney, July 2016)

Mark from Norway asked what is a ‘muleskinner’, as I am always banging on about using one. Before I start to write about it I thought I would look up the word on Wikipedia. They say a muleskinner or mule skinner is a muleteer or a mule-driver.

I know it as a wire brush encapsulated in resin. They are excellent for removing paint and rust. They fit in a drill chuck. The resin holds the wires in the wire brush vertical so they work better than a normal wire brush. You can switch your drill to rotate clockwise and use the muleskinner for a short while, then turn the drill to turn anti-clockwise and it will work even better.If you switch rotation every couple of minutes you will be amazed how well it works. I have nearly got the MGB to the point of priming the bodyshell and I have only used one muleskinner on the whole car and it is still only half worn. They work better and last about fifty times longer than a normal wire brush. I bought mine from Frosts. I think they are around £16.

The GRP bumper panel fits underneath the rear panel up to the reverse lamp. It then fits over the rear panel between the reverse lamp and the rear lamp unit. I keep leaving this area until I come up with some brilliant idea to make it look acceptable/ professional. Any good ideas would be appreciated.

This is the LH rear wheel housing. I have got rid of the extraneous mud traps and tidied up the area where the floor meets the wheel housing. On the right is the same area after seam welding the rear part of the chassis rail. This is to seal the join between the sheets of metal where rust can spread.

The rear section of the same wheel housing. Do I dispense with the rear spring hangers now that I am using dampers (shock absorbers) with coil springs on adjustable spring platforms? One reason for doing away with the original ‘cart springs’ was the weight of them. Back in the 1960s I used to race a Mallock MK8 in 750 Motor Club 1200 formula that car had 5-link rear suspension. That was OK.

The RH rear wheel housing after ‘pruning’ welding and etch priming. The photo on the right shows a strengthening piece I have put in with a hole for squirting in rust proofing material into the sill panel after the bodyshell has been painted.

This is the Dremel tool that I use for cutting or grinding in areas that you can’t get the 4-1/2” angle grinder into. The photo shows I am half way through grinding off the excess weld.

A bit of ‘grot’ in the rear corner of the boot floor area. This only became apparent after the bodyshell had been blasted. I cut a bit of plate ready to weld in place with my Eastwood MIG Welder.

A little hole appeared on the side of the battery box after the bodyshell had been blasted. So yet another patch needed welding in. The black hose lying across the underside of the boot floor is not one of the rare Norfolk Black Mamba snakes; it is the torch from my MIG welder!

All the marks are where I used the Mule Skinner to find any bits that I thought had been missed when the shell was blasted. The Panel Beating Hammer and Dolly set has been used to close up the seams were the panels had been spot welded when the car was manufactured. It also was useful in any dent repair that had occured when i was working on thw body. I will be using Seam Sealer over all the seams after the shell has its next coat of 2-pack primer. This will help to prevent corrosion caused by moisture creeping into the small gaps between spot welded panels. This is one of the most common problems encountered on older vehicles, and in this case my MGB!

Cutting a strip off the panel I was making for the closing panel between the rear wing and the bumper. 1mm cutting disc in the angle grinder. I was very pleased with this panel. My first proper bit of ‘panel bashing’ for many years.

After my last report Victor rang to ask what I was going to do about strengthening the holes in the inner wing for the exhausts to exit out of. This is another area I am not rushing into. My first thoughts are using my cardboard template to make a ring, about 1” wide to weld on the engine side of the inner wing. I am open to any other suggestions.

Removing the rear anti-roll bar mounting for the Frontline rear suspension to fit. With the chassis rail and battery box in the way I had to resort to the air chisel.

After ‘waking the dead’ and deafening myself with the air chisel. I could now get in to drill out the spot welds and start removing the rest of the bits of metal that were getting in the way of fitting the rear subframe for the rear 5-link suspension. This has easily been one of the most difficult jobs on the MG so far. The sweat was dripping off me. I purposely chose the hardest side first. The LH will be easier.

You can just see the spot welds that need drilling out. Centre punch them first. I have found that if I drill out the centre punch mark with a 3mm drill first, just through the top surface of the metal I want to remove, it makes drilling with the spot weld removing drill easier. If you are careful with the spot weld drill you can see the rust colour when you have got through to the metal underneath.

Ready to clean up with the grinder or flap wheel. The Frontline subframe finally fits in place. This job would have been a nightmare without the bodyshell spit. If anybody wants to buy the spit and brackets when I am finished, I am open to offers.

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