MG Midget

Passenger Spring Hanger and Bulkhead Repair

This will be a longer post but the work represents a few weeks out in the shop grinding, welding, and pondering. Understanding that I’m going to be replacing more of the bones, I read many posts on that the door openings (at the very least) need to be braced before cutting away and replacing the side structural members. To do this, I chose to use some steel fence posts. I bolted them to the shoulder seat belt connections in the rear and forward to the windshield bolt holes. Bracing the car here will allow me to open and close the doors as needed. The doors are a key part of aligning the sills (rocker panels) later. With all the welding coming up, I decided to go ahead and drain and remove the fuel tank.

Rust is the biggest enemy for cars prior to modern anti-corrosion coatings and processes. These cars pre-date manufacturers installing wheel arch liners. As a result, road debris gets caked onto surfaces and the moisture causes rust to slowly eat away at the metal in these areas. Once a perforation is formed, more moist debris makes its way into cavities and the rust worm is further fed.

On this car, there is a spring hanger box in front of each rear wheel. This is a heavy gauge steel part which holds the forward portion of the rear leaf spring. The rusted out spring hanger boxes caused the prior owner to mount the springs using phenolic block spacers up front and plywood (yes you read that right) spacers in the rear. My plan is to replace the spring hanger boxes and the compromised sheet metal on the fore and aft sections of the bulkhead.

I started in the passenger compartment locating and drilling out spot welds. I have a new repair panel from Moss Motors which will be trimmed and welded into place at the completion of this job. Once the spot welds are drilled, I cut out the panel using a grinder with cutting wheel and opened up the cavity. Next, I was able to work on the spot welds holding the old spring hanger box and remove it. It all sounds simple when writing about it, but this required lots of grinding, prying, air tools, and pure grit. The new spring hanger box was fitted up and welded into place. With the opening exposed, I took the opportunity to POR-15 the cavity. Finally, the bulkhead repair panel was trimmed down and welded into place.

Rounding out the passenger side work, the wheel well was closed up and some additional metal was added behind the rear door where the rust worm had eaten it away. Now, I get to do the same work on the driver’s side!

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