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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Dashboard

Turned my attention to the dashboard as a suitable Sunday morning task. And welding warms one up in a cold garage, as a bonus!

My Frog dash had 11 extra holes. Although some were just screw holes there were still 6 extra switch-sized holes and a raggedy radio rectangle.


And later - - -
A few blemishes, but nothing that won't hide with a skim af filler. And anyway, it will then get covered in Vinyl.

Main thing was keeping it from heat distortion.


Guy, I remember getting heat distortion when covering dash holes up. I ended up using fibreglass matting and resin on the rear side and filling on the front. Then painted the dash with black rustoleum combicolor. The extra large hole is for a voltmeter. I've kept the radio rectangle as I have the remains of the "cubby hole". I agonised for ages where to position the extra gauge hole:

Bill Bretherton

Looking at yours, Bill, I think the hole to the left of the ignition switch on mine has been opened out and is now too large. Its for the wiper and it may be that a PO has replaced one of the early style pull-push switches with a toggle switch and opened the hole up for this reason.
I need to see if there is a wiper switch in the "store"!

"I remember getting heat distortion when covering dash holes up"

When I was welding up dashboard holes, I flattened a short piece of 22mm copper pipe and clamped it behind the patch that I was welding in. As well as reducing the chance of distortion, it helps to stop blowing holes in the (thin) steel.
Dave O'Neill 2

I have a copper block that l "repurposed" ( l think that is the term), a buzz bar from an old 3-phase consumer unit that l use like that Dave. It works well.

What I don't understand with the copper thing is, if the copper is removing heat how is the weld still hot enough to penetrate properly? Or are you just keeping the heat local? I've had the same issue welding repair pieces to doors. Isn't it also the fact that the weld "shrinks" the metal locally which causes distortion elsewhere? I do struggle with the distortion problem on thin flat panels.
Bill Bretherton

What kind of welders are you guys using

That's why I like 2 part epoxy instead of weld for this kind of thing

1 Paper

Bill, l am no expert but l think that the thin sheet metal reaches its weld temperature very quickly - effectively instantly, so there is no time for the heat to dissipate into the copper before the weld has taken place. But the heat then does sink into the copper rather than spreading into the adjoining steel and causing it to expand and buckle.

Prop - it's MIG welding. There is very little distortion on that dashboard panel of mine.

Guy, well if the copper helps I'm going to try it!
Bill Bretherton

Good work guy...your truly skilled with the mig, I at times i can tie a bow with sheet metal and a mig
1 Paper

And now with a skim of filler and a light coat of primer.
Given this is going to be covered in vynyl I have probably spent rather longer than I should have done!

Not sure what to do with the back. The paint is ok - ish except for where the welding has burnt it off. But it also has the original builder's scrawl in yellow chalk from 58 years ago - "Green" and the body number.


Looking good, Guy. Given the history on the back of the dash, maybe just clean up the burnt parts and paint those areas with a brush to prevent rust.

C R Huff

2X charley

It looks like it's ready for vynal

1 Paper


Have you considered a clear coat finish for the back. It will protect it and still leave the original markings.

to fill holes in dashboards I use a coin behind the dash and epoxy it in place - the roughness of the coin gives it a good bonding surface. then I just add epoxy on the front and skim with filler when everything is hardened off.

Dominic Clancy

I've been looking into my Workshop Manual, and it makes it quite clear that if you wish to avoid buckling of the surrounding metal, you must use a wet asbestos poultice.
Nick and Cherry Scoop

Nick, I've also read that in the workshop manual. Different times, different health and safety eh?!
Bill Bretherton

I've found Cold Front quite good for inhibiting heat distortion. Got it from Frost.

L B Rose

This thread was discussed between 04/03/2018 and 12/03/2018

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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