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I need some basic restoration info for my first car project

JimLaney

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I bought two sprites in pieces. Both are MK IIIs. One was to be the basis of a rebuild and the other a parts car. The problem is that the rebuild started and ended very early in the process 15 years ago and I have boxes of parts from several sources including a 948 engine in pieces. The body has been well repaired and the front and rear suspension and axels installed but all the parts are sporting a patina of rust.

Unsure exactly how to proceed I have begun an inventory using several books on spridgets to identify major system components. I have also begun sorting the many small containers of nuts and bolts into sizes and thread type. In order to proceed I need some basic restoration/rebuild information:

1. What is the best method to clean starter motor, generator and other parts that may contain electrical components while requiring removal of grime and rust?

2. I have a new HF blast cabinet and 50 lbs of 70 grit Aluminum oxide. What parts can I safely use the blast cabinet on without risking stopping up tiny orifices ?

3. Should I remove all the suspension parts assembled 15 years ago, clean them of rust and reassemble? Should I expect the seals that were replaced in the brake calipers and the master cylinder to need replacement since they have never been wet with fluid?

4. I have a 1098 engine block reassembled to include crank, bearings, rods & pistons, front and back plate. I was told that the block and the head had been "surfaced". Must I tear the whole thing back down even though the crank, rods and pistons seem to move smoothly?

5. The head has been protected with tape on the mating surface. The rocker arm assembly was assembled incorrectly and does not want to release the pedestals from the shaft where there appears to surface rust. Must I replace the whole rocker assembly?

6. Should I fit everything together and then remove it again to paint the body a final color or can I finish the body and then begin the re-installation of sub systems?

Your experienced advice would be very helpful to a novice.
 

NutmegCT

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Jim - first step - start asking your questions one at a time over in the Sprite forum here:

https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/forumdisplay.php?31-Spridgets

There's a lot of help available, so take it one step at a time. What experience do you have in rebuilding cars?

Buying cars in pieces can lead to buying boxes of aspirin.

Hang in there.
Tom M.
 

JPSmit

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I bought two sprites in pieces. Both are MK IIIs. One was to be the basis of a rebuild and the other a parts car. The problem is that the rebuild started and ended very early in the process 15 years ago and I have boxes of parts from several sources including a 948 engine in pieces. The body has been well repaired and the front and rear suspension and axels installed but all the parts are sporting a patina of rust.

Welcome! Glad you are here, you are in the right spot. I have a Vauxhall I bought the same way, and, while it is like a puzzle without a box, it is fun too - and, a Sprite is easy to start with! In terms of cataloguing - Classic Motorsports Mag recommends putting the parts in boxes but, taking a picture before you close the box - then print the pics and keep a catalogue - so, you have the number on the box - with corresponding pic - to know what is actually inside. Of course I have ignored this advice and have parts spread out everywhere! :grin:

Unsure exactly how to proceed I have begun an inventory using several books on spridgets to identify major system components. I have also begun sorting the many small containers of nuts and bolts into sizes and thread type. In order to proceed I need some basic restoration/rebuild information:

Good call! Good books are important - Bentley and Haynes especially. The other thing is Google and Ebay. My Vauxhall is comparatively more rare so, if one comes up for sale, I download the pictures. You should be able to find pics of mist subsystems, or we are happy to provide pics. BTW a few years ago, Classic Motorsport Magazine restored a Sprite - I have most of their articles in pdf so, PM me your email and I can send you them.

1. What is the best method to clean starter motor, generator and other parts that may contain electrical components while requiring removal of grime and rust?

Youtube is your friend here - they are pretty easy to dismantle, clean and reassemble - and, even replace the bushes.

2. I have a new HF blast cabinet and 50 lbs of 70 grit Aluminum oxide. What parts can I safely use the blast cabinet on without risking stopping up tiny orifices ?

Your grit might <might> be a bit aggressive for this use - others can weigh in. I use glass grit. You earlier said patina - patina is different than deep rust - I would still fix it but, you might not need to be quite so aggressive. Products like WD40 will provide enough of a protection till you decide. Also, some of this has to do with whether you want a driver or a show car.

3. Should I remove all the suspension parts assembled 15 years ago, clean them of rust and reassemble? Should I expect the seals that were replaced in the brake calipers and the master cylinder to need replacement since they have never been wet with fluid?

It depends, you should be able to assess many of the parts in place and make a decision - it might be a light sand "in situ" and some rattle can paint is all you need. I wouldn't worry about things like the master cylinder until you have evidence that they aren't working.

4. I have a 1098 engine block reassembled to include crank, bearings, rods & pistons, front and back plate. I was told that the block and the head had been "surfaced". Must I tear the whole thing back down even though the crank, rods and pistons seem to move smoothly?

Again, it depends, if everything is turning smoothly, you are likely OK - In terms of the block & head being "surfaced" your biggest issue will therefore be the pushrods and whether they have been adjusted accordingly. Also, it is not hard to take down the block - measure tolerances with plastigauge - re-lube and reassemble - with the added bonus of being able to say "I did that too."

5. The head has been protected with tape on the mating surface. The rocker arm assembly was assembled incorrectly and does not want to release the pedestals from the shaft where there appears to surface rust. Must I replace the whole rocker assembly?

It isn't hard to take apart and reassemble the rocker arm
6. Should I fit everything together and then remove it again to paint the body a final color or can I finish the body and then begin the re-installation of sub systems?

I would suggest that you assemble subsystems and then assemble the car - so, engine first, brakes all done and in a box, wiring, suspension etc. etc. In terms of paint first or last - again, what you want to end up with (show car would typically assemble and then take apart and paint) - most of us have drivers so, paint then assemble.
Your experienced advice would be very helpful to a novice.

We were all novices once - there are no dumb questions and this is a very very friendly and helpful forum - I couldn't have restored mine without the help of this crowd!

PS you can't take enough pictures! - don't ask me how I know. And, as Tom says, get over to the Spridget forum - this is for more generic questions like glue and paint and tools. :cheers:
 

Bayless

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JP gave such excellent advice that I can't right off think of anything to add. But Welcome to the forum. This is the friendliest, most helpful car place in the whole world. I bought a Sprite in the same condition. Body is really pretty good but everything else is in a couple dozen boxes. Oh one thing I can add is take lots of photos as you go.
 
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JimLaney

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thanks to all who have replied. I appreciate your suggestions and advice.
In answer to the question of show car or driver, I'm definitely planning a driver.
I live in North Alabama outside of Huntsville and near Guntersville Lake. Looking forward to driving back mountain roads around the big lake.

Thanks again for your help.
I will continue to update my blog here as I work on this project.
 

DavidApp

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2. I have a new HF blast cabinet and 50 lbs of 70 grit Aluminum oxide. What parts can I safely use the blast cabinet on without risking stopping up tiny orifices ?


What size compressor do you have? Blasting can be hard on a smaller compressor. Small jobs are probable OK but larger jobs can really heat up a compressor.

David
 
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JimLaney

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David,
I'm lucky and have three compressors - two of them can provide air pressure to the blast cabinet. Newest one is 60 gal tank and provides 9.5 cfm at 90 lbs. I drive stone carving chisels and die grinders with it so I think it will work with the blast cabinet if I use it in moderation. I have another that is larger and it needs some work but it is a 13 cfm at 90 lbs continuous. The smallest one I use to run nailers but it won't power the blast cabinet.

I bought aluminum oxide for the blaster but wonder if I should use glass beads on parts. I thought aluminum oxide would work best on rust but I don't have any experience except cleaning up bronze castings. I also worry about getting the alum oxide in places that will be hard to clean out. Any guidance on media to use on the parts?
 

Brinkerhoff

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Most of the blasting I do is outside with a small ( holds 80lb. of sand) pressure blaster that I've had for 25 years. I use a fine grit silica sand as I find the medium grit leaves too coarse of a finish on steel. You'll need like 60 psi at the blaster nozzle to remove rust. Dial your sand feed down to increase velocity and conserve sand. I would practice blasting on suspension parts first to get the idea of what you are doing. Its easy to ruin exterior sheet metal with any type of blasting if you are a novice, so stay away. I'll do everything except aluminum parts or small ( fit in hand) steel parts with the pressure blaster. I use my cabinet with glass beads for aluminum parts. Blow everything off with clean , filtered compressed air ( a must) , or you will be blowing oils onto your parts which will cause finish problems. I like to use Cyclo Non Chlorinated Brake parts cleaner ( non petroleum based) to clean small parts , then blow dry . Always handle freshly blasted parts with clean gloves.
 

DavidApp

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Where do you get the sand?
I have been getting the Black Diamond medium from Northern tools but if I blast the tub outside I am afraid that I will go through a lot of medium getting the job done. I try to recycle as much as possible. Blue tarps may catch some of it to sieve and reuse.

David
 

DavidApp

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Thank you. Do you use a good respirator while using the sand? I have seen somewhere there are issues with silica sand. I suppose no dust is good for you.
 

JPSmit

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Brinkerhoff

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I use a Survivair respirator with replaceable charcoal cartridges and particle pre-filters for sand blasting as well as painting. I'm paying $10 for a 80lb bag of silica sand. As long as you are breathing filtered ( or using a supplied air respirator) air and doing your heavy blasting outdoors with good ventilation , shouldn't be a problem . I won't hesitate to sand blast.
 

DavidApp

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Hello JP

Thanks for the link. Interesting reading. Reinforces what I had heard elsewhere. Northern Tool has glass and slag grit.

David
 

JPSmit

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Hello JP

Thanks for the link. Interesting reading. Reinforces what I had heard elsewhere. Northern Tool has glass and slag grit.

David

and I find glass gives a nice finish - slag works too but man is it dirty!
 
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JimLaney

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Based on the exchanges here, I'm going to switch to glass beads as a media. I'm familiar with media blasting of cast bronze pieces but i thought that the finish would vary considerably based on the media used. I think I can use the Alumn Oxide on seat frames, top braces, and wheels.

Wheels is the subject of my next question. I have 5 matching wheels that I need to put tires on but I want to clean them and refinish them before I mount tires. What processes and finishes do you use to refinish wheels?

I think that I need to clean and media blast the wheels; then seal them with something (primer?) and then paint them or powder coat them. What do you recommend to refinish wheels?
 

JPSmit

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I think the answer is (as usual) it depends. I have rostyles on Ms Triss and media blasted them and painted them with rattle cans. The finish has held up fine and I am very very happy with the results. If you want a higher or harder standard, there is two-pack paint at a shop or powder coating or chrome. I have a friend who wanted to powder coat rims (kei car not MG) and was told that because they rims were two parts and might flex that powder coat wouldn't work - so, not sure what to conclude from that.

I will say that in my general experience, we sometimes get a little to serious about these cars. Wheels are kind of the jewellry of the car so, have fun, white walls, red, white, you name it - they are easy enough to change. For instance, my rostyles are supposed to be black and silver - mine are a cast grey and silver - it is subtle but I think updates it and, to my eyes many rattle can gloss blacks look amateur compared to the factory finish.

Don't overthink these cars - especially Spridgets - don't ask me how I know. :grin:
 
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JimLaney

JimLaney

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I think the answer is (as usual) it depends. I have rostyles on Ms Triss and media blasted them and painted them with rattle cans. The finish has held up fine and I am very very happy with the results.
.......................
Don't overthink these cars - especially Spridgets - don't ask me how I know. :grin:


Thanks. I've read and enjoyed your post describing the refinishing of the rostyles. I think I will clean, blast and rattle can paint the steel (slotted) rims I have since I can do something different later if it is needed. I'm working on a driver rather than a concours restoration so "does it work?" is the question for me right now.
 
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JPSmit

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Thanks. I've read and enjoyed your post describing the refinishing of the rostyles. I think I will clean, blast and rattle can paint the steel (slotted) rims I have since I can do something different later if it is needed. I'm working on a driver rather than a concours restoration so "does it work?" is the question for me right now.

Good question - and good answer. A part of me still wishes I had done a few more things to Ms Triss ( 5 speed/ dual carbs etc) but then I remember it is driving and I am having fun. It seemed like each "good idea" was going to be another $1000 and six more months - so, every time I start thinking about those addons even now I bang my head in a door till the feeling goes away. :cheers:
 

DavidApp

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Hello Jim

I have just done the wheels. Took a bit of work to come up with 5 straight true wheels but I now have a great set and several that have some run out.

I sandblasted them goung through several colour changes on the wheels. Then primed with 2 part primer EURO Classic DTM primer. I had that on hand for the bodywork.

Then painted with rattle can Ford Argent Silver. As I am going out of town for a few weeks I will wait till I am back to get tires mounted. It will give the paint time to harden up.
Looked into powder coating but at between $100.00 to $115.00 per wheel I thought T could get by with rattle can paint.

wheels sand bladsted close up.jpgwheels sand bladsted close up of pat no.jpgwheels painted.jpg

David
 
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