TC10178 – saved from sitting on bricks since 1967 in a Sheffield lock up garage (Part 9)

Getting there………….

The top of the right hand rear quarter panel with the tacks in.

Door fit not right and needs to be improved – as covered in the text (below).

Got in early. I took the doors off and refitted them with set screws and nuts other than the bottom body hinges which are blind so need to have wood screws. When I finished, the doors fitted perfectly so that was one job done. I then tacked the front door frame caps and after that the rear inner wings were to be fitted.

Door fit now perfect, but the rear wing is too far in. The chap in the background is Marcel, who is rebuilding a 2CV engine.

Hinges held on with setscrews and nuts.

The inner rear wings went on OK, I had to drill holes in the new quarter panel to fit them. At this point I was getting really tired. I had wanted to have all the wings on before I left so Maurice could carry on.

I did get the rear wings on under the direction of Maurice. However, when I put the rear wheels on we realised they were too far in. He got the running board and held it in place and it confirmed the front edge of the wings need to come out to align with the running boards. He will do this and fit the front wings over the next few days. He’ll then take it all apart and spray 4 or 5 top coats and reassemble it.

Happiness, joy, ecstasy…

All these things and more. I go to the body shop this morning. Imagine my surprise when I see an MGC parked on the front. I drive in and …. wow, there on the left is a wine coloured TC. I then look to the right and see mine.

The red TC. We’re so lucky it’s there as it makes a perfect opportunity to copy. I had to point out that the piping on this car is wrong. There’s no break between The running board and the rear wing. I’m going to buy some quarter inch rubber pipe to make the correct size for the apron. I could fit the 3/8″ that I have but I may as well get it right.

Getting there, at last. This is the trial run to get all the panels aligned. When fully built, it will be taken apart, painted and re-assembled.

Ever wished you’d not bothered? With nothing to do this morning I decided to add up all the costs.

The car and parts: £31,790

Tools and sundries £7,778

Total:……………… £39,568

I’ll have to get these figures checked from the company accounts as some have VAT and some don’t. The parts all have the carriage charges included. The tools include a new compressor and a few trips to the UK.

Proof positive that I am a certifiable idiot. I get to the bodyshop at 0750, Jean-Luc arrives a few minutes later and I take the car across the road. I switch off and it’s boiling. Open the bonnet so I remember to top it up tonight.

I’m going to put the floor boards in and then the trim. I lay the floor in and then the tunnel. I then place the tunnel in position. It won’t go down, a good 4″ gap to the floor. I start looking at the gearbox mountings and am really confused as to why the gearbox appears too high. Maurice comes over so I show him. He looks at it for 3 seconds and shows me the tunnel goes under the gear lever extension housing. See, Stupid.

I also find that the tunnel goes on first then the floor boards. I run a die down the two studs and Maurice welds a nut on, the old one has come away. Sort out some setscrews, nuts and washers, fit the tunnel and then have lunch. After lunch I fit the boards. The shape isn’t correct and they won’t go down fully because the corners are getting in the way. Also, the holes are drilled in the wrong place. Drill new holes. I’ve struggled all day with the floor, mainly because, apart from me being stupid, they aren’t the correct shape and the holes were in the wrong place. I just finished screwing them down at 1800. In the morning, I had looked under the other TC there (to see if the gearbox mountings were in the same position – they were) and noticed that the speedo cable was routed through the opposite side. Last job I did was to change my cable from right side to left side.

They’ve told me to have a holiday tomorrow whilst Maurice fits all the fiddly door jamb bits. He’s going to paint the car next Tuesday.

The tunnel in. Correctly this time.

The floors are in. The rubber gearbox cover isn’t screwed down. I’ll do it next week.

AND NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS….

Maurice has been busy. Tank, apron, running boards, fuel tank  straps, battery cover and rear number plate backing.

One front wing and two rears. The other front wing is done.

The skin peened over.

Rear panel.

The headlight mounting.

After 13 months of very hard work I can’t get used to the idea that it will (should) be finished in 10-14 days’ time. Pic shows the car in the spray booth ready for 5 or 6 coats of shiny black cellulose paint.

Maurice comes in and I expect the TC to be outside the oven and ready for me to start on the interior. It’s inside and he has sprayed two coats of primer on Saturday. He is now going to push it out, rub it down and then put it back for top coats. In the meantime, Robin (apprentice) is finishing the doors and petrol tank. I cannot work on the car. I stop and think. This is very difficult for me. I had less than two hours sleep last night and feel like a zombie. Whatever that is. I can’t concentrate or think clearly.

I test the fuel gauge sender and it doesn’t work. So, take it apart clean the contacts, straighten the flange and rebuild. It works, I ask the TABC group if the sender unit is painted or natural. At the same time, as I can’t find the 6 screws for it, and I know they’re here …. somewhere, I ring NTG and get Mike. I order the screws and ask him about the colour of the of the sender unit. He thinks it should be painted. I then get two replies that it’s not painted. Unpainted it will remain. See the picture below as to why sender units’ leak.

After this I take the spot lamp apart and clean the innards. Next is the windscreen. I get it out of the store and assemble the stanchions. PROBLEM. The new thread I made for the driver’s side wing nut has stripped. I run a blind 10mm Metric tap down it and a 10mm bolt fits well. They have a new lathe which is now in position in the machine shop and the old one out in the workshop. I will turn the beheaded bolt down at home and cut a new thread tonight. By this time, about 1530, I feel really bad. I’m almost staggering about and can’t find the windscreen butterfly nut. I search for about 20 minutes and then find it where I put it, in one of the screw dishes. OK, I surrender, I get all my stuff together, top the Mini rad up and go home. I feel really bad. Get home and plan to sit down. However, I take the bits I’ve bought home to the workshop and the walk across and the cooler air wakes me up a bit. So, I finish the new bolt on my lathe.

The flange of the sender unit. A couple of people have mentioned that the fuel tank units leak and can’t be cured. When I’ve told them it’s because the screws have been overtightened they look at me like I have got two heads. OK, this is what happens when the screws are overtightened. The flange distorts. Are you surprised that it leaks. I’ve straightened it by putting it in a vice with soft metal jaws. It’s now flat and when I fit it I will just “nip” the screws up so it’s tight on the rubber gasket (a later replacement for the original cork) which has a slight smear of gasket cement (black silicone or red Hermetite, but not so much it gets inside the tank) but not so tight that the soft metal flange distorts… and leaks.

Instruction for repairing a non-working fuel tank sender.

The arm has a copper connector in the shape of a two-prong fork. Screwed to the body is the screw the wire goes on. Remove the large plastic knurled knob, undo the nut and take it all out laying the washers and insulators in the order they came off. Clean the contact surfaces with wet & dry, the contact is at the bottom of the plate, and prise the bottom of the copper plate out towards the middle. Put it all back, refit the cover and it should work. I used a slight smear of black silicone gasket cement on the rubber gasket faces, not too much, you don’t want it dripping into the tank.

Also, get some lead or ali plate and put it in the jaws of a vice. Then tighten the flange in the vice turning it around all 360 degrees in stages. This should get the flange flat and straight. When you refit the tank unit just nip the screws tight, do not use a huge screwdriver and use all the strength you can as this will distort the flange and it will leak.

Arrived at 1130 today. I fitted the new stud to the windscreen frame. I drilled the first hole in the windscreen stanchion for the mirror on the nearside. Then lunch. After lunch I finished drilling

and tapping the stanchion and fitted the mirror arm. I got the windscreen out of the store, laid it on a blanket on a table and fitted the stanchions to the screen. I’m missing the “D” washers but they’re on the way and can be fitted later. Time to change the lenses on the headlights. I got the clips off the new one and then found the “cats eyes” lenses I have are a tad too big. We (Robin and I) struggled to get the clips on. Having finally got them on I find the rim will not now fit over the bowl as the glass is in the way. Then Jean-Luc comes up and says they have a problem. Maurice has polished the four coats of paint he applied yesterday and was going to put the fifth and final coat on today so I can start putting the interior in. Jean-Luc wants to leave the paint to dry more overnight. So, I will not be able to work on it tomorrow. No real problem, just my plans going tits up again. Maurice and I will refit the wings, doors and other panels as well as the tank on Friday and Saturday. I will start the trim the following week. But, I should have it finished by Friday 27th May.

I’ve also arranged insurance to start on the 30th. It’s booked in for its French MOT (Controle Technique) on the 30th. They want a valuation so it’s covered 3rd party for now and I should get a valuation certificate from MGOC as soon as I get them the pictures.

I’ve set up an express valuation with the MGOC but can’t get the pictures to them until the body is painted and rebuilt and the interior is fitted. I looked in the insurance folder and found the Hagerty quote which is about the same as the French quote. It’s now 0900 and I’m going to ring them…… back soon.

OK, now 0930 in the UK and I’ve insured the car from 27th with Hagerty. All I have to do is get a tax thingie with the DVLA, no fee as the car is old enough to be free. The transaction was totally hassle free, they sent me an update of the quote, value is £25,000, miles are 3000 miles pa. Big advantage is I can keep the original UK registration.

Shiny enough for me. Problem is I think it’s going to look over-restored. I’ll sort that out; I’ll use it all the time, which will solve the problem.

Got to the bodyshop at 0750 and started straight away. I had to lay all the bits out on the floor as they had put them on my tool bench because they wanted the table. My target for today was to fit the rubber cover on the gear box and get the carpets in. I struggled with the rubber cover as I couldn’t see the screw tops to put the screwdriver in. Got there in the end and not too bad. At this point I realised the three side trims need to be tacked in before the carpets can be fitted. So, I tacked the front piece, the bottom sill section and was tacking on the rear quarter panel when Maurice pointed out that I hadn’t put the beading in between panels and body. OK, all off and start again. Finished that side just in time for lunch. After lunch fitted the driver’s side. Looks good.

I needed more long tacks so whilst I awaited 1400 and the local Espace Terraine to open I glued the felt to the driver’s side rear wheel arch. At 1400 took their van and got a pack of nails and put the last few in. I then fitted the driver’s side seat adjuster bracket to the wheel arch. I’ve used some brake drum screws and thin nuts – should be riveted but screws are easier. After getting the back rest in and screwed to the adjuster arm, I drilled and screwed the passenger side. Next came the carpets and they are all laid in, then I laid the seat squabs on the floor.

So, I far exceeded my target. With a bit of luck, I’ll get the vinyl wheel arch covers on, the carpet studs in and the seats in tomorrow morning. That will leave the dash to go back in.

Hopefully, on Monday I’ll be helping Maurice fit the wings, doors, petrol tank and front apron (as well as the bonnet). Plans again…. bet they go wrong.

The passenger side trims in place….with the beading.

Editor’s note: This was going to be the final instalment of the story of Norman’s rebuild. However, I don’t have the space to fit everything in, so I’m afraid that you’ll have to wait for the next issue to complete the story.

The full blog can be read at www.frenchblat.com (MG TC, bottom left) After June it carries on in the new blog: LIFE AT LA FOIE-DAILY BLOG

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