Mk1 MGB Progress

“You’ll never finish it”

I recall a neighbour of my parents telling me that when I bought my first classic back in 1995 (Mk3 Spitfire) and indignantly telling him that I would.

I now realise what he meant……

By way of something different to post about, and as encouragement for other members, I thought I’d update you on the ‘progress’ on the MGB.  I say progress as it’s been off the road since Christmas and suffering from that usual affliction of one job turning into a number of jobs that ‘might as well be done when you’re in there’.

The current Mrs P kindly got my dashboard refurbished for Christmas – something I could refit over the festive break whilst enjoying a break from work!

Yes, I’m aware it’s June……

The ‘while I’m in there‘ jobs were:

  • Clean and check all the dials & gauges and replace the gaskets. refurbish the knobs and switches, fix the rheostat dimmer.
  • Dashboard indicator tell-tales have never worked – fix that.
  • Steering column isn’t ‘straight and indicator self cancel doesn’t work – fix that.

Doesn’t seem too much?

Right, I’ll add ‘fit new rear-view mirror which I purchased at the NEC in November.  It just clips on.  Firstly, I’ll clean the mounting rod up which is beginning to show some rust spots.  To make it easier to clean, I’ll just loosen the top nut which likely hasn’t been moved since 1966.  What could possibly go wrong?

Yes, it snapped the rod.

1 – 0 to the MGB….

No biggie I thought, I’ll order a replacement from Rimmer Bros. and then look on YouTube to see how to remove the bottom bracket as I can’t seem to shift it.

It turns out that you need to remove the entire windscreen to replace the rod….  I’ll leave that for the time being and do the steering wheel.  Francis did an article (Which you can read by clicking ‘HERE) on that for the website so I’ll read that and ‘Bob’s yer Uncle’.

The article was a great help and if I’d realised that, if the job made an RAF Pilot / Engineer swear, the likelihood of a rank amateur breezing through it was slight.

It was finally accomplished over the Jubilee Holiday Long Weekend (Thanks Ma’am) primarily because, Instead of having the odd hour to try and  do it between work / family / club commitments, I actually had a full day in the garage.  Cold chisels, hammers & swearwords were all deployed as was a makeshift steering wheel puller fashioned from a pair of spring compressors, a large socket, some protective rags and a ratchet….

1 – 1 !!!

Who needs the correct tool 😉

One of the previous owners had banged it back together completely out of sync with the inner column around 25 degrees anticlockwise out and the outer column around 15 degrees anticlockwise out (which accounted for the self cancelling issue).  My guess is that they tried to remove the steering wheel, which must have been refitted incorrectly at some point, couldn’t, and promptly banged it back together.

Onto the dashboard indicators!

All exterior indicators functioned correctly and having checked the wiring against the schematic and diligently tested all the bulbs, earths & switches, i was getting precisely nowhere.  With the dash off and the ‘Lucas Spaghetti’ visible and accessible, I checked, cleaned and refitted all the earth points, all to no avail.  Back to the internet…
I found a discussion about this very issue on the Mk1 on a board and the poster had eventually just replaced the flasher unit which cured the problem.  I dug around the garage and found a Lucas 3 pin flasher unit and Presto!  Another job done!  What a weird one to diagnose.  The previous owner had obviously had a shot of fixing it too as the bulbs and holders weren’t in their correct place in the dash when I started removing it.  2-1 Tony !

The rheostat, dials & gauges were actually refurbished over the Festive break and had been sitting patiently waiting for refitting ever since, so the windscreen removal and refitting was next.

The Haynes manual recommended removing the dash first, which was handily out, and then it was the small matter of removing 4 bolts and holding your breath.

Thankfully it came out with no disasters and fingers crossed it goes back in with the same good grace.  Like every other job on the car, It’s brought up a few more ‘while I’m in there’ tasks; notably the seals.

I’ve ordered a new set of seals, which are reputed to be the devil’s own job to fit and whilst it’s out I’ll do a clean up the frame too, which is where you find me today….

And that, dear reader is why the MR2 has been at all the shows I’ve attended so far this year!


It would be great to hear about what you’re doing to your car or even just a little info on how you came to own it and what attracted you to it – email Tony if you want to do that by clicking ‘HERE’

You can read similar articles in ‘Restoration Corner‘ to give you inspiration !!


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