Today really marked the final stretch for the MGF - there is not a lot left to do, and all the parts have arrived. New ball joints, new ARB links, new pipes, new cables, new welder, new compressor, etc. I'll begin by not listing all the bad things that have happened (like spending 4 hours trying to get the bonnet open again, etc).
I started work proper on Saturday. Removing that lower arm ball joint. There are three taper rivets, which are near molten when they are put in. I had to angle grind the tops off and I left it there while I checked the brake pipes. God damn it, they WERE corroded. Not only that, the clutch pipe was worse! I released it from it's clips (all of which broke) and it cracked right open. It was totally gone. I connected the single pipe running from front to back, and thought about getting some clutch pipe - it looked thicker than the 3/8 brake pipe, and later investigating at the motor factors revealed 1/2 pipe which looked similar. But they didn't sell any unions for this pipe, so I'm going to have to be unbelievably gentle with the two that are on there and re-use them! Bloody hydraulic clutches!!
I bought some really decent Titanium drill bits to take care of those rivets. I hate the idea of drilling stuff out - I can't do wood drilling, never mind metal, but these make easy work of those rivets. 3 minutes max on each and they popped out with a few bangs of a hammer on a screwdriver. Phew! These were worrying me, I thought I'd be hear til January a la Starion, but no probs. I swapped the ball joints over (greasing everything up) and then put the hub back in place. As the ARB links had not yet arrived, I left this till later, it's an easy job anyway ... looking at the other side of the car, I noticed that link had gone as well ... good job I bought a pair.
I had to get into the bonnet, so I managed to damage (see destroyed) the mesh on the bumper). I ended up taking the bumper off (an easy job - two big bolts behind the indicators, and four more on the inside of the wheel well) and getting in through there. As I had damaged the mesh, I thought I might go down to Halfords and buy some Ripspeed grille mesh. I also bought some Mig welding gas as well, so I didn't look like a chav. It was expensive at 30 quid for a small piece, but it had to be done, and it's a small amount compared to the rest I've spent on this thing.
And to be honest, it's made a massive difference. The chrome mesh looks millions of time's better than the faded dull grey of the old! I've got enough rest for the lower grille and the side vents as well! The grille is easily cut using wire cutters (carefully, each snip is closer to another 30 quid to Halfords), and then it's just attached using screws. If this was GM, it'll have to have it's own ball joint and gasket. Good old British Leyland! Probably money well spent. Anyway, I got into the bonnet, and then to prevent any problems ...
I replaced the bonnet cable which was a 'no no' on the MOT sheet. I got it working again, but it was corroded inside and wasn't really moving anymore, and the moment I got locked out I went inside and ordered a new one. I took one look at this and thought 'This is going to be a bugger of a job on Starion proportions'. It looped from the radiator, through the bulkhead, down under the carpet, through a box section, out the other side, up behind the seats, through another bulkhead and onto the lever in the boot. It had a load of grommets, and I thought I'm going to be here til January etc etc, but five minutes later and I had it all through - I'm starting to like this car, thought I, everything is simple and in the right places. If it only takes ten minutes in total to do this and remove a bumper ... I also -hopefully- fixed the hood, as it was letting in water somewhere. Driver's seat was pretty damp and there was a ton of condensation inside. Hope this isn't the deal with convertible cars!
While the MGF isn't nearly in the same league as the Starion for 'money spent on it', it's not far off. It's amazing how much I was working out when I had the MOT sheet - 60 quid max I think I said, and it's gone well over 10 times that now. Ball joints alone cost a bomb.
I travelled to Liverpool to purchase an ebay welder and compressor. After losing bid after bid in the dying seconds, I saw this as a 'Buy It Now' for pence so immediately clicked away. A good price seeing as if you bought them new, they'd cost just under 600 quid. I think I'll get on with the welding near the end of the week. The things that are left are (including jobs I've made for myself while repairing other things):
- Replace O/S ball joint(s) (upper joint needs replacing - might do lower if I can be bothered)
- Replace both ARB links (I had to use an angle grinder on one side ... )
- Replace clutch pipe and be carful with one end - the hose metal is corroded!
- Remove rotten metal and weld in new and use zinc primer
- Waterproof/seal hood with waterproof sealing stuff
- Buy handbrake cable and install