Old topic on tub construction but new for me

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Michael Ponsano
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Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Michael Ponsano » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:14 am

I need some help on tub construction and your advice and thoughts will be appreciated .

The problem in short is so many things do not fit and do not even come close to the measurements in Michael Sherrell's book.

I bought TC 9864 from the original owners son as a basket case. It came with a new tub ( 20 years old ) from Naylor Bros. I did not like the quality of the construction and when matched up with original doors or other parts it looked as though their measurements were way off. I sold it off ( with full descriptions why of course) and I purchased all the tub wood and sheetmetal from Craig Seabrook. I also had him assemble the back board and rebuild the doors.

I have the frame on a stand in the shop and it is level. I am past step one with the back board and the diff cover. Parts were off by 1/8”, but no big deal making it accurate to MS dimensions.

The hinge pillar, elbow and top rail, no way no how would fit the new sheetmetal or the original. The new sheet metal was almost exact in size and bend to the old.
I cut away a lot of wood material and was able to massage the new wood into the new and old sheetmetal. It is clean and snug.
I set this assembly on the frame rail with the door clamped to the hinge pillar and WOW, there is no way MS measurements will work. Its almost like this body was built 1” smaller everywhere.
The frame outrigger protrudes into the wheel well about 1/2". I see that this was addressed in earlier posts but I could not find the resolution of the problem, just a final discussion of hood material thickness to compensate for moving the tub back. The tub cannot go back further.

Is MS measurements just a guideline? I have spent days adjusting moving and trying different ways to make the parts fit what MS says. I can make it look great and make fit if I just ignore what is on the page. I see that others have run into similar problems except with 9864 its more that just one or two issues.
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Michael Ponsano
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Michael Ponsano » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:50 am

Here is a pic of the outrigger extending into the wheel well.
I can make the wood and sheetmetal work if I extend the bottom main rail to match up with the outrigger.
Has this been done to deal with the problem?

Then if I drop the hinge pillar down to 13 3/4" instead of 14 1/2" and move it back to 29 inches from the back board instead of 30 1/2" the door works, the top rail matches up to the back board and the sheetmetal fits.
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jddevel
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by jddevel » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:51 am

Not much help other than a possibility to explore for someone. I remember two or three years ago seeing a complete set of plans/drawings for the TC body work. On Australian EBay I believe it was.

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Marv
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Marv » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:37 am

Mike, Just a thought but have you talked with Craig Seabrook on this matter? I've always found him very helpful and willing to offer his sage advice. Also, Doug Pelton in Mesa, AZ is a good source as well. He has built numerous TC tubs and offers similar services that Craig does.

I purchased my TC wood from Craig as well and have had no problems so far but I am not as far along as you are. In my case, however, I have all the old tub wood that I've saved for comparisons and I think that is a big help. You don't have that at your disposal unfortunately. I doubt seriously that MS measurements in TC's Forever More are to be taken as "approximations". I tend to believe something is amiss somewhere on your setup although from your pics, it all looks very professional and thorough. Good Luck...

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stephen stierman
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by stephen stierman » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:27 am

Mike,
I built a new timber frame a number of years ago for TC2911 using timbers from Moss, some flat panels that I made up myself, and some still good original bits in conjunction with the measurements from the MS book as a rough reference. I have also built and repaired a number of Morgan timber frames over the years. I had a chance to visit Craig's shop a few years ago as we don't live too far away and found him to be an interesting and cordial character. Bet you didn't know he is a VW guy too, but I digress.

When restoring the above cars it is usually necessary to either make up new panels or repair old panels. If you are trying to fit old panels to new timbers or vice versa there is always going to be some trimming or shaving needed to get things to fit and this is the beauty of the two mediums you are working in as well as the type of vehicle you are working with. I made up new front and rear quarter panels to fit my timbers so fitting was not really a problem. The fit up of these cars is almost infinitely adjustable but the most important part of the project is door fit up. If the dimensions are a touch off as yours are but you have achieved good door fit you should not despair, the appearance and function are what is important. I will confide in you that there have been a number of times when I have taken my MIG welder and added a bit of metal where it was needed. Will also tell you that is a darn good idea to set the tub on the chassis that is on wheels with the running gear in situ as that makes a difference when dealing with a fairly flexible chassis. These cars were built to a price and none of them were quite the same and given time and dampness and miles they are even less the same. Not sure if this has helped, but what you have found is not unusual and you just have to realize that some approximation will be in order.
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Richard Michell
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Richard Michell » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:57 pm

I too built a body from bits. It appears that your tub is sitting too far forward. The rear of the outrigger should be just forward of the wheel arch (as you have guessed). What is determining the fore/aft location of the tub?

As was discussed in a recent post, I found - as had the poster - that when I fitted my front guards and the running boards I had a gap of about 1 - 1.5 inches between the rear end of the running boards and the fronts of the rear guards. Your location would probably avoid this problem but creates a far more difficult one.

There is something of a mystery. Here is a very poor copy of a drawing that exists somewhere. About the only thing clear is that the outrigger is just in front of the rear arch.
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stephen stierman
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by stephen stierman » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:50 am

Good catch. When building these things it is almost mandatory to use existing reference points. I left my firewall in place and used some of the existing cowl timbers to locate the thing from front to back. Timbers above the "water line" are almost always still useable and with works holes already drilled provide an exact location to build from.
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Steve Simmons
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Steve Simmons » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:47 am

Here is a better view of the area in question on the drawing.
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1949 TC8975 / XPAG 9609
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Michael Ponsano
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Michael Ponsano » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:34 am

Well, a number of things here came up and I had to put "Maggie" on the back burner for a month or two.
Thank-you for all the responses as I do have a better idea of what to do going forward. I don't have complete answers just yet but as I do I will post them with pictures. In response to one suggestion, the tub frame rails are as back as far as possible. This seems to be the exact place it needs to be at stage 2 since the back assembly and the diff cover pretty much set where they are setting. Thanks Steven for all the pictures and words of encouragement.

Norman Tuck
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Norman Tuck » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:53 pm

Is the drawing provided by Richard Michell available for download on-line with a higher resolution? A link? Or is an already printed-out version available for sale? Where?

Thanks, Norman

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Mark McCombs
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Mark McCombs » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:47 pm

Mike-
The main rail extending past the curved metal where the inner wheel well fits looks like mine, using Whitworth shop wood. Offer up the inner wheel well to see if it fits along the inside of the arch, and fits flush again the rear face of the main rail. As a reference, I measure from the inside edge of the main rail to the outside edge of the rear of the backboard, in a straight line, as 27 7/8".

Michael Ponsano
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Michael Ponsano » Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:36 pm

Well, we are having an " atmospheric river" pass over us and that gives me time away from other distractions to briefly get back to " Maggie" .
I found a picture on the internet depicting the dumb iron stiffener and measurements. I compared it to what I have and there is a big difference...... It shows the distance from the diff cover to the top of the curve to be 6 1/2" and mine is 5 3/16" ...... !?!?!? Yeah.... Ok I am so open to ideas and thoughts.
pictures as soon as I figure out how to post them.
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SteveW
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by SteveW » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:07 am

That's a picture of my bulls horn that I took for someone on here a couple of years ago. Its probably also in a discussion thread on here somewhere. In practice, you have a bit of flexibility with the dimensions as there is a bit of padding between the bulls horn and the inner wing. Having now fitted one of my inner wings, I could have gotten away with slightly less than 6 1/2" (but probably not 5 3/16"). That said, looking at my original old and rusty inner wings, it looks as though they underwent a fair bit of metal tapping to get the profile to fit both the bulls horn and the curve of the wheel arch as defined by the wood frame.

Steve

Michael Ponsano
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Michael Ponsano » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:16 am

Thanks Steve, that bit of information does help. I have new inner fender wells and had to reshape the curve to fit the frame rails and the bull horns. In my 3rd pic you can see that I am dealing with the bullhorn looking like its too short.
Any idea on how many coach builders in 1949 were building MG TC tubs? and did they use the same measurements or jigs?

Michael Ponsano
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Michael Ponsano » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:15 am

Ok, here is what I have.

In my 2nd picture above it shows the bullhorn in where the wheel well is.
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Tom Wilson
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Tom Wilson » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:28 pm

Michael, all the tubs for TCs were built at Morris Bodies Branch in Coventry, one of the divisions of The Nuffield Organisation, the parent company of MG. Wood parts were cut on shapers using template guides. For assembly, standard jigs were used, both for subassembly and final assembly of the tub.
Once the frame of the tub (wood and metal reinforcements) was complete it was placed on and bolted to an angle iron frame sled which served as its base through production. This was slid down the production line through a number of stations where the sheet metal and doors were installed.

After assembly was complete, tubs went to painting. A neat detail from factory photos show what looks to be many many coats of paint overspray on those angle iron sleds. After painting, back to an assembly line, where all trim was installed, windscreen, wipers/motor, hood, tonneau cover, and side curtains. Then they were loaded onto lorries and delivered to MG in Abingdon.

At MG, tubs were stored on the mezzanine level, then dropped on the chassis at the first station of the body assembly track. Can you picture the coordination of getting the right tub color onto the chassis so the radiator slat colors matched the interior color? Probably more than one mistake on this through production. The angle iron sleds went back to Bodies Branch for reuse.

It’s likely that there was a very high degree of consistency and accuracy in their work - based on tolerances of that time period. That means looser tolerances than we would like, but still of a high quality for the period. We have technology and abilities today to hold much tighter tolerances cost effectively than industries did in the 1940s.

So - there was only one coach builder for TC tubs.

If you’ve read this far, another tidbit for you. Early TC tubs - the first 500 or so - had wider cross braces (bulls horn, or dumb iron) than the next 9,500 tubs. Thes ends were inset into a recess cut in the wood. Talk to Fred Kuntz at Craig Seabrook’s shop about this.

Tom Wilson
TC0273, TC0279, TC2040

SteveW
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by SteveW » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:55 am

Michael Ponsano wrote:Thanks Steve, that bit of information does help. I have new inner fender wells and had to reshape the curve to fit the frame rails and the bull horns.
Unfortunately the quality of after market replacement parts can vary enormously. I had to buy two new inners as well. Despite being from a reputable supplier, the profiles were way out and the two bits of sheet metal that each were made from were only tack welded together, rather than seam welded. By the time that I had re-welded them and made them fit I was wishing that I had just started from sheet metal myself.

Michael Ponsano
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by Michael Ponsano » Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:40 am

A number of years ago I restored two Triumph motorcycles, a 1952 and a 1966 500c and I took great care and a lot of research to make them as factory exact as possible. A lot of work ( and pleasure ) but still jut a matter of careful assembly and attention to detail. I am coming to the realization that restoring the MG is going to require a fair amount of fabrication beyond what was required to restore a Triumph. I am enjoying the challenge but at times I wish I knew all the answers, right now!

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stephen stierman
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Re: Old topic on tub construction but new for me

Post by stephen stierman » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:02 pm

The rear wheel arches on TC 2911 were badly rusted for about an inch in from the timbers they fastened too. My choice was either to purchase replacements or trim the rusted edge off and butt weld in a new section in which I did. This worked out reasonably well, I prefer to try to use the original stuff when possible, not so much because it is original but because it often fits properly and was reasonably well made. I did try to save some of the timbers above the water line that were not rotted and re use them for the good fit up they provided.

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