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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Carrying on with my door fit problems!

Made it back home from my two weeks away and was soon back into the garage this afternoon. If you remember from two weeks ago I found out my door didn't seem to fit in the hole that it used to!

A measure up today and I think I have found my problem, further advice would be muchly appreciated! :-)

I fitted the wing and things look OK at the A post, wee bit wonkey but good enough and obviously not the worst problem!

But at the front of the wing there appears to be a gap

Malcolm Le Chevalier

and at the B post I have measured 455mm and 475 mm for measurements A and B, this is about 10mm or so shorter than on the other side of the car (which hasn't been altered yet).

So... I think the sill is ok at the A post, but slopes upwards from the front of the car to the back.

Can someone confirm the incorrectness of these measurements and anyone got any good ideas on a way forward?

Tea ready... got to go, can give more details later if needs be...


Malcolm Le Chevalier

Hi Malcolm,

Welcome back.

The middle of the car sagged when you put the sills on, simple as that. Also a complete pain if you have welded up tight and gone past the fit and tack phase.

If its just tacked, you could try putting the middle of the tub onto a large baulk of timber (across the width of the car at mid door point and bouncing on the ends to see if it will pull down and bend to the wings. (its in a BBS thread somewhere. Never tried it myself) Or I would either take the sills off - Yes I would - or try to release them enough to get the floor flat (I used some large 5 x 3 timbers running fore and aft from the bottom of the front footwell panel to the end of the floor at the back where the spring hangers and the box section behind the seats are. This then allows you to keep these two points still while ajusting the rest up and down with jacks or baulks of timber and wedges.

By the way the car needs to be off the floor as well so you can get underneath so all this needs to be on staging or I put mine on 4 axel stands.

I found I could with a lot of patience jiggle it all into place (temporary tacks and G cramps made, changed etc. to get the alignment)

I tell you what you get my engine running and I'l get your body straight.

Hopefully the image gives an idea but the only way is to break or undo some of what you have done.

Dave Squire - Notts

Then you can do the other stuff from there as it were. Everyone I read (including Porter) say get the sills right and everything else is easy so I did and they are right. So dont remove too much else till the car is right for the door to fit.

I have uploaded another pic here but will send over a load of others. It may help.

Like you I made a frame for the door opening exactly out of chanel so it was straonger than the door itself and the car could not move it while the sill was out cos the sill normally holds the middle of the car up on its own, not the door.

The cross member was held up off the timber baulk with wedges that could therefore be moved to adjust its height.

Dave Squire - Notts

Got loads of pics if you want send over e-mail address to

So once the sills were in I could do the jacking point cos I had a sill in the right place to line it up with. Floor was straight forward as well.

Dave Squire - Notts

Disagree here,
Regardless of where you put the sills, those measurements are entirely the result of the repairs at the bottom of the B post and back. The top of the body has fallen down, and/or you did put the sills wrong, but this error is the B post length.
The gap at the front of the sill/wing does indicate that you may have put the sill cockeyed, unless the wing bottom has been boogered as the door bottoms appeared to be.
You will at minimum have to cut the B post/quarter at the repair join up from the sill and make something taller.

On a thorough rusted but intact and unmolested 68 Sprite, B = 19 1/16", +/- 1/16"
The uncertainty is from using a tape measure with an end on, and from going around the still in place door latch mechanism. And I have no long metric stick, sorry! But I make it 484mm.

I cannot tell precisely where you measured A so I did not try to measure that.

I have not found these cars to be very saggy, even badly rusted, IF the center tunnel is intact. Cars with no sills whatsoever usually still have perfectly operating doors, if on a flat floor and if the A post hinge points are correct. The one that also had the tunnel chopped out with an ax (under the carpet) did sag to the floor when we opened the door!

You do need to use some sense in where you put the jackstands when doing this. Be glad it is not a Spitfire (or TR4/5/6), which you couldn't open/close doors on when new, if the stands were in the wrong place!

FR Millmore

Dave (and others if you so wish!) you can get me on mlechevalier at o2 dot

My brain can't get round what you say about it sagging, as far as I can tell the A and B posts are OK and haven't moved relative to each other (thus no sagging whilst de-silled), but the sill is on the cock... although it is all relative I suppose...

but then again my brain is really working after early start, long drive and some evening wine! Also have to sort out all the stuff that we took with us on holiday rather than think midgets. boo!

Malcolm Le Chevalier

FRM, B was just a straight line with a tape from where outside of B post corner meets sill to top outer corner of B post.

Your measurement seems to match up more closely with the good side of my car.

Malcolm Le Chevalier

So it is keep car floor flat (In your case get the whole thing so you can adjust it flat even if you have to take off the inner and outer sill).
When the car is loose enough to move around but on the flat base, shut the door and get everything so door is in right place when shut and the car stays put when you take the door out (measure, check, measure check .......). Offer up the outer sill, hold with clamps does it look right? (measure check door opening or as I did put the door back in, is it right?) Then sort out and tack in inner, (when the inner looks about right with checking with outer continuously, tack it.) Offer up outer sill does it look right? Does door fit? etc. (welding distorts panels) Lining up with front wing bottom and rear wing bottom can only be done with outer sill so hence the continual offering up and checking. To some degree once the car has inner sill holding it up, making the inner tidy later is simple however there is no hiding the outer so keep checking.

Said enough, good luck, just keep at it.

Here is another pic by the way showing the secong baulk of timber I used (they were old fencing rough sawn)

Dave Squire - Notts

Found the definitive book ref. Got mine fron flee bay for a 10 er.

Title: MG Midget & Austin-Healy Sprite
Guide to purchase and DIY restoration
Author Lindsay Porter

Its a Haynes book out of print.

ISBN 0854293361

Lots of references to this in early BBS threads and restoration projects on the net.

Lots of pics and descriptions in a logical and straight forward manner based on the technology of 1984 (published date)reprinted in 85 and 86
Dave Squire - Notts

And the final pic before putting on outer sill but knowing the door and the sill are going to fit correctly.

Note the drivers floor edge, footwell floor, toe board, drivers cross member, rear wheel arch front, closers front and back etc. are still to do as they all fit to where the sill is and that goes to where the wing bottoms are when the door is in.

I didn't remove the timber support until the outer sill was on. Once the outer was on, the support came out and everything else was just time consuming fit.

As you can see from this pick the previous owners had the car fixed (at least 3 times on this side alone and once on the front where it has an earlier valence plated over some crud that I am going to do a short term temp repair on) and I started off by thinking it only needed an outer sill. doh.

Car actually looks shiny in this pick, forgot how good it can look. Lots of wire brushing and grinding later it looks much dirtyer.

Dave Squire - Notts

Gentlemen: I feel very fortunate to have discovered this forum as this is just where I am with our 67 Sprite.
One inner sill has been replaced, the other patched, the floor is original with patches, and the lower A posts replaced. I'm trying to fit the doors and outer sills next and your discussion re sag has me worried. The welding was done in a shop many years ago and I hav no idea what precautions were take to prevent sagging. Could you help me out with measuring? Exactly where are the measuring points I can use to determine if sagging has occured? any pictures you want to send woud be much appreciated.

John Campbell

Welcome John. I would suggest fitting the doors and checking the door gaps at the A and B posts as a good check for sagging.

Then fit the outer sill from there.

If not I can measure up the good side of my tub and give you some rough measurements tomorrow (day off work as it's my birthday! so whole day in the garage woo!)

Ah... so easy to advise, soooo difficult to actually do! ha ha!

Malcolm Le Chevalier

Thanks Malcolm, I'll give it a go, and if you get a chance to measure, so much the better. If you're anywhere near my age the best part about a birthday will be the day off work.

John Campbell

Hi Malcolm,

I think that you have more than one problem, and that you won't get it right until you get the angle between the A post and the cill correct. Get that right first, and then you can move on to sorting out the (too short) B post.

From your photo that gap at the front of the upswept curve of the wing is too much and shows that the A post is leaning back a bit too much (relative to the cill) Or if you like, the cill is rotated anticlockwise relative to the A post. - Comes to the same thing. It means that when you offer up the door with its front edge aligned to the A post, the cill at the rear corner is too high - or that the door rear corner is too low.

The simple way of correcting is to use a slitting disc vertically on the footwell side just ahead of the A post and adjust until you get that angle correct. Its not far out, but sufficient to drop the rear corner of the door by about 10mm. Use both the wing and the door to get it right. Put in some tack welds and double check it again until it is accurate. Then, when that is right, you can attend to the B post.

The reason I call this the easy method is that although it will correct the door fit you may have also got a twist in the floor so that the two cills are not sitting in the same plane. This will depend on what repairs you have done to the rear cross member (spring hanger box section) which may not be truly horizontal.

Get two good straight 6' lengths of timber, something like 2" X 1" will do if they are straight. Position them across the width of the car under the cills. One near the front of the cill and one near the rear. Prop them up so that they are both touching the bottom cill flange on both sides. Now lie on the floor behind the car and sight through and check that the two battens are exactly parallel. You should be able to detect if there is any twist at all in the frame - which of course there shouldn't be! This is of course just a check but will highlight where any fault lies.

I would still focus first on getting that A post at the correct angle relative to the cill. You are only a few degrees out (5 maybe ?) but that is enough to throw out the door fit by that 10mm and to make the door opening go lozenge shaped.
Guy Weller

Missed the edit!

At the A post, you may need to also put a slit in the footwell side horizontally up at the top, just under the footwell lid and connecting the door opening to the top of the vertical slit. The reason I suggest there is that you want to tap the top of the A post forwards a few mm. Do this rather than move the bottom of the A post rearwards because it looks in the photo as if the cill curve and the wing curve are already just about matched correctly for length.
Guy Weller

Very helpful information. Hope not to be breaking any forum protocol by introducing my problem(s), but it seems very similar to Malcolms. The doors have been off my car for so long now I don't know exactly what the proper fit is. Is the top of the door above the door handle level with the rear wing or B post or is it slightly lower? Any other info with respect to how the doors should fit would be most helpful. From there I can determine if I have a sagging issue or not. I'll try to include a picture.

John Campbell

it should be level,where shown in your photo. But you really need to look at the gaps all around the door opening to know if any sagging has taken place. What you illustrate could just be that the hinges need adjusting.
Guy Weller

This thread was discussed between 07/07/2012 and 15/07/2012

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