12. THE SILLS…

So the time had come to cut off the old sills which I thought were going to be where the worst of the rust lay.  I knew the outer sills were rotten in parts but a pair of cover sills had been included with the sale I just needed to hope that the inner sills were OK otherwise I was thinking it would be beyond my restoration capabilities. I wasn’t even sure at this point if the outer sills were beyond me but as I’ve said through this I wanted to do as much work myself as possible.

Here’s the first picture before I started in with the grinder. Bit blurry which I didn’t realise when I took it but you get the idea.

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Offside sill.

So I started in with the grinder. Gingerly at first….

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Little bit to start with…

Then decided to jump I’m both feet first.  I had the full cover sill so thought I might as well just go for it…

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Offside not looking great
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Nearside a bit better..
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Another shot of the offside.
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Offside sill though after a bit of a clean up…
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Nearside sill from a different angle
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Not looking great but not the worst..

I realised I hadn’t taken as many pictures as I’d have liked but overall the inner sills were pretty decent. There was a couple of smaller bits I’d have to cut out to replace but overall I was happy with what I found. More importantly I felt comfortable that I could manage the welding and repairs myself.

Just need to buy myself a welder and teach myself how to weld now…

11. THE INTERIOR

So looking through my pictures I realised that I hadn’t really taken any of the interior before I stripped it out which is a disappointment but here’s a couple.

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The interior was pretty decent and there was no rips or tears in any of the seats or the carpets.  The carpets had some overspray on them as you’ll see from the following picture but overall I was happy with the interior. The only thing I am disappointed with is the sun visors were completely ruined and they’re like gold dust but I will keep looking. Got a solid undamaged and recovered rooflining however so major bonus there as this is always a problem area where it sags and can easily break. Anyway picture of the carpet as promised

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So I stripped out all seats and carpets to get a good look at the floor pan which is where I discovered some more rot.

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Passenger footwell – with my fingers poking through
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Passenger footwell – house key for scale.
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Driver footwell with 8″ adjustable wrench for scale
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Zoomed image of drivers footwell
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Zoomed image of drivers footwell
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Rear offside footwell at rear bench.

So after examination it was pretty decent only the 4 areas where I had to cut out the rust to be replaced with new metal.

I will post the sills later as I knew from the start I was going to replace them as both had rusted through towards the rear but as I mentioned earlier I got two replacement cover sills as part of the sale.  Fingers crossed the inner sills were good….

I knew when I bought the car I wanted to do most , if not all, of the work myself which is why I didn’t want a full bare shell restoration which would be beyond my capability.  Having seen the damage I decided that I’d buy myself a welder and teach myself to weld armed with advice and help from family along with the assistance of the good old tinternet and the various forums that exist.

I can highly recommend http://www.mig-welding.co.uk for anyone looking for any advice and guidance they are a friendly bunch with a wealth of knowledge and I learned a lot from it.

10. THE REAR END.

I’ve already covered inside the boot area but I removed the rear bumper at the same time and it appeared pretty solid behind it. It was clear that a previous owner had repaired some rust earlier as I could see a repair panel however it looked as if it had been well done and was still looking solid.  As you’ll see the rear valence had been painted as well probably at the time of the repair. On both pictures you should be able to see where the repair panel was patched in just underneath where the rear number plate light wiring is coming through but it’s probably more obvious on the second picture.

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9. THE FRONT END.

So I removed the front bumper and front wings to leave this

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It looked quite solid apart from the panel in front of the intercooler which had quite a bit of surface rust on it. In addition the intercooler was also quite used looking though functioned fine so I made a note to give it a tidy up whilst the car was in pieces.

Couple of pictures of the panel showing the rust.

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Other than that all looking well at the front.

8. FRONT WINGS REMOVED.

Both front wings just bolt on and off so there is some slight rust on the wings which I’ll cover later but I wanted to inspect the inner wings to see what they were like.

Offside first.

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Nearside next.

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Overall I was happy with both. Both sides seemed pretty solid having clearly been protected previously with some sort of underseal. I was intending removing the old underseal to see what the metal was like underneath having read of horror stories of rotten metal being coated in underseal to hide the rot. I knew there was nothing serious as I tapped all around the inner wheel arch with a screwdriver and it all appeared solid.

I did notice the suspension was shot though so that’s another job added to the list. Pretty sure I shouldn’t be able to see this 😀😀

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7. STRIPPING THE BOOT.

So I started and removed the boot carpet and folded up the rear seats looked pretty decent on first inspection although needing a clean.

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Then I checked where the rear valence met the floor. Didn’t realise the following picture was as out of focus and didnt take another but the picture after shows what I had to cut out.

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Here’s what I eventually cut out.

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And from underneath.

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No other issues in the boot so all good just needed a good clean.

6. MY FIRST TURBO.

So I know this is out of sequence but I was tidying out the other day and found a couple of Polaroids of my original turbo so thought I’d share. Quality not great but the picture is over 20 year old and it was in the days when you had to get a spool developed no fancy digital images then 😁😁😁

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MG Maestro Turbo No.  216

5. THE STRIP DOWN CONTINUES…

So thought I’d add some more information and pictures of the strip down to find out just how much rust there was.

As I’d said earlier the engine bay was stripped and painted before I picked it up but the previous owner had sent me some pics as it went along.

Here’s another couple of the engine bay. As you can see it was in pretty decent condition some areas where you see the primer were rubbed down and treated prior to painting.

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And a shot of the engine bay painted and some of the ancillaries fitted prior to the engine going in.

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Picture of the engine refitted.

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As a result of the pics and my inspection when I picked up the car I was happy that I wasn’t going to have to take the engine out for any bodywork issues although the engine and ancillaries would be getting a detail as I’d some mods planned anyway.

4. LETHE THE STRIP DOWN BEGIN…

So with the car now in the garage, although on the face of it looking pretty solid, my intention was always to strip out all the interior and remove what bolt on/off bodywork I could to see what the car was like in the bits I couldn’t see. Knowing that both sills were rusting and going to be replaced I suspected that there would be other areas that would need some attention.

The engine had been rebuilt by the previous owner and the engine bay prepped and painted prior to refitting so at least that should have been one area I didn’t need to do.

For the bolt in parts removed both front wings, all 4 doors, front and rear bumper and stripped out the interior to give me access into the B pillars, floor panel and boot floor checking out all the known areas of rust for these.

Here’s a list which I had stored and taken from an online buyers guide.

Bodywork

You will find nearly all Maestros regardless of model will rust in similar places. The word ‘Maestro’ is an anagram of ‘seam rot’, and this is very apt……

Common areas to look out for are:

Tailgate

  • Tailgate bottoms start to rust on the inside seam across the bottom.

Rear Valence

  • Unfortunately Austin-Rover (AR) decided to save some money on paint, and you will find most rear valences (behind the rear bumper) will be unpainted and are prone to rusting. The best place to check for rust is to look inside the boot underneath the carpet towards where you are standing.

Windscreen

  • Corrosion on the a-pillar seams are not unusual, if left to rust this can cause problems.

Rear Wheel Arches

  • A common problem on all Maestros, dirt becomes trapped inside the arches and causes them to rust.

Rear Suspension Turrets

  • Lift the carpets inside the boot area and check for corrosion on top of the suspension turrets.

Sills

  • Inspect the sills for corrosion, common areas of rust are found on the seams at the bottom of the pillars, sill end plates on the front and rear wheel arches and on the inner sill under the rear door area.

Doors

  • The bottom of the doors are a common area for rust, particularly at the corners.

So from the above list here is what I found :-

Tailgate – this was one area there didn’t appear to be any issues so result in my first check.

Rear Valence – OK first issue noted. The exterior panel behind the rear bumper had been repaired before and repainted (or painted given AR decided not to paint at factory) and seemed solid however from the inside where it meets the bottle floor was showing signs of rot.

Windscreen – this area seemed solid with no issues and the windscreen seal had been removed so I could get a decent look at it.

Rear wheel arches – outer arches appeared solid however there was some rot in the inner arch so this will need some attention.

Rear Suspension Turrets– no issues here apart from the suspension being shot but bodywork wise it was solid.

Sills – these were needing replaced having rusted through at the rear on both sides. Need to check the inner sills when the outers are removed. Fingers crossed the inner sills are OK as it was only outers that I had new to replace.

Doors – no major issues here but some surface rust that will need attention.

In addition to the above I had some rust on both front wings which would need attention and some slight surface rust on all inner wheel arches. Again this would be sorted.

When the carpets were out I discovered some areas of the floor pan which were going to have to be cut out and replaced. Two areas at the front jacking points, one area at the drivers footwell, one at the rear offside floorwell and one at the boot floor where it meets the rear valence.

It was always my intention to try and do as much of the work as I could so a welder was purchased and practice began prior to actually using it on the car.

Onto some pictures.

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Engine out and prepped for paint
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Engine bay painted.

3. 108 ARRIVES HOME.

So a pretty uneventful drive back home and managed to get some pictures both in and out of the garage which would be it’s home whilst I carried out the work on it.

Note how low it’s sitting – this isn’t because it’s been lowered it’s because the suspension is shot and needs replaced.

Overall i’m happy with it and on initial inspection it looks pretty solid but we all know what classics are like when you start to strip them down…..

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Offside view
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Nearside view
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Front view in its new residence.
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Rear view in its new residence.
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Waiting to go to bed.
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Front Nearside shot with indicator missing.