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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Rear wing repair

Thought I would start a new topic! Having finished the Frogeye, I am returning to my 1971 car that I fully restored some 25 years ago but it is now looking a bit tired and shabby. It has been my daily driver for most of those 25 years and I have done over 100,000 miles. It is used throughout the year in all weathers and often as something of a workhorse including being used as a builders truck!

Rusting is reasonably limited to specific areas so I have started with some localised repairs. This task is for the rear off-side rear wing bead area. Bit of a mess really!


And 2 more after a bit of cleaning back to sound metal with a paint stripping disc in the angle grinder.


Apart from being OE white, I have almost identical pictures from when I repaired mine Guy.

Not obvious (unless youve done this job yourself) is the length of beading that I am holding in the photo. Surplus from the Frog resto! My plan here is to make 2 , !.5" wide strips folded to make the downwards flanges as original. The challenge will be welding those lengths without causing too much distortion and rippling of the wing panel.

I skipped replacing my beading as I couldn't figure how to weld in the downward flanges. So I repaired the beads, and now have signs of them needing to be done again. I've considered de-beading it, but I'll watch what you do with interest, before I do that.

When I did this job last time, the wing edges weren't quite so rusted. I ground the old beading off, chased out as much of the rust between the flanges as I could. Doused it all with rust converter. Then after cutting the stem piece off the bead I set it into place along the line between the flanges using lead. It sort of worked, but needed filler to complete the seating of the bead. It would probably have worked better with a metal based epoxy resin which might have sealed the rusted parts better, depriving them of oxygen and water.

They are annoying. I stripped it all back too and applied anti rust, but not lead. The problem with filler is it absorbs water. It didn't take long on mine, for hairline cracks to appear in tbe paint along the side of the beading (must be stressed), starting at the roof end. 3 winters later parked outside, rain snow and frost, and if I don't attend to it again soon, I'll have significant rust again too. It's already started.

I keep looking at de-beaded Spridgets, and I do think they look ok. But I like the beading more on balance; although not sufficiently more to need attention every 3 or 4 years. Hence this is going to be the last time I fix mine, one way or the other.

Every 3 to 4 years is far too often. This repair of mine lasted 25 years! Well maybe about 20 because it was looking bad about 5 years ago. On parts like this when know there is rust underneath, though supposedly stabilised with rust converter, I use a metal based rather than a polyester based filler. Supposedly doesnt absorb moisture the way poly does. I think that is also why I set it into lead in the first place.

I am tempted to use glue to fix the repair rather than weld as I am pretty certain my welding will result in oil can ripples in the wing. But I have never glued metal before so wouldn't know what to use.

Make a deep enough slot for the flanges and glue it, in sounds like a good idea.

Must be something in the 3M range.

3M Two Part Structural Adhesives for Automotive

Or this . See video.


This looks like it might be useful, albeit a tad expensive perhaps.

"Car van boat truck no need for welding metal panel bonding glue adhesive epoxy"

Pliogrip structural adhesives

2-part epoxy technology

Whenever high heat resistance or adhesion to bare metal is required, Pliogrip epoxy adhesives are the technology of choice.

Ashland's epoxy adhesives are engineered to meet specific high-heat and design requirements for the structural assembly of composite or metal substrates. The unique adhesive technology can provide durable bonds on composite and metal lift gates, tailgates, hoods, body panels and other automotive and industrial parts.

These adhesives are two-part, 100% solids, reactive epoxy chemistries with excellent chemical andmoisture resistance when cured. Our epoxy adhesives exhibit high modulus strength, excellent fatigue performance and superior impact strength. All products have been designed to offer high productivity and short cycle times

Hi Guy,

When I did mine I used metal epoxy glue.

The surrounding metal on mine was in a lot better condition than yours. But I came to the conclusion that I couldnt see how I could weld the beading in place.

I copied the restoration manual but instead of braising the beading in, decided modern epoxy should be strong enough and provide a water proof seal.

Got the sand blasters to have a good go inside the wing and gave repeated coatings of rust converter before final cleaning and gluing in place.

Got a post on my blog about it.

Guess Ill find out in a few years if it worked!

Good luck

James Paul

Like others here, I glued my beadings in with epoxy, Araldite Metal in my case. I had to trim the blade of the new bead to fit around the spot welds, which of course I didn't want to separate if they were sound.

Not long after I bought the car in 1978, I chopped off the beads and glued on strips of Formica. That job lasted about 15 years!

Brazing would be ideal, but my skills would not be up to doing that without distortion.
Les Rose

I have used Bodloc B638 for joining stainless steel components with great success. It's quite expensive, but you don't need much.

Here is its description:
B638 Retainer is designed to give High Strength Retention under
Cyclic loading. B638 will retain its full strength and not suffer fatigue under
load stress. B638 is a cylindrical parts supplement, suited to Structural
components such as cylindrical parts under dynamic load, keys, splines, even structural tubing with close tolerance fit."
Peter Blockley

My plan is to fabricate the smaller repair at the front end of the wing seam with smaller pieces cut, shaped and welded in position until I have built up those awkward shapes. As they are small I dont think that distortion will be a major worry!

Then for the long straight top of the wing I will cut two strips, fold a flange down each and spot weld them together with the bead in position with its stem sandwiched between the flanges, as original. This can be done off the car so access for welding and tidying up isnt an issue. Then the last stage will be to fit this assembly into position, probably needing some dressing and fettling before either plug welding or glueing along either long edge.

Sitting here with my laptop it sounds pretty easy and straightforward but I have a suspicion that reality may be somewhat different!

I have been gradually cutting back the rusted metal and fabricating the pieces of new metal. Being cautious though so progress is slow. Here's a photo of the wing edge aligned and ready for fixing. Still not sure whether to wel or glue so for now I have stepped a lap joint with a joddle tool. Wing bead just pushed into place to see what it will look like.


That's a thorough looking job Guy. What are those removable rivets holding in place?

I've always called them aviation fasteners. They are good for holding lap joints together, accessible and released from one side only.

Tried an ebay search and see they are listed as Cleco fasteners, but maybe that is just in USA?

Neat job Guy. Please tell me the hood is removed whilst working on car!
Bill Bretherton

I must get some of those. A bit late though, as hopefully I won't be doing anymore welding that would need them.

Must be the poor quality of the screen on my phone. It looks like those fasteners are just going through masking tape over the original wing section.

Ah right, I downloaded the pics to my laptop and now I can see what you're doing. That's quite a bit of metal you had to cut out and replace. Looks good. I think I'd rather weld that than glue it. Small well spaced welds, leaving plenty of time (minutes) between indiviual welds for cooling.

Luckily mine weren't that bad along the wing, but very similar around the cockpit. I was annoyed with myself that I didn't do it earlier, before the rust became more than surface deep. I must attend to the beading before it gets worse.


The aviation sheet metal tools - ’skin clamps’ - you mention that are used for temporarily clamping thin aluminium panels while riveting to aircraft frames for manufacture and repair and also for building and repairing ali panelled steel tube framed kit cars and racing cars (such as Locost, Caterham, Westfield, Jedi and Formula Ford) are ‘Clecos’ (which I think were first made in USA?).

Good supplier of these is LAS Aerospace:
who also sell the screw version known as ‘British Skin Clamps’:

Also available from racing car parts suppliers such as Trident Racing Supplies, Merlin Motorsport and Raceparts. Probably also from Frosts restoration.

For non-UK folk try Aircraft Spruce & Speciality (as well as LAS Aerospace):

M Wood

Thanks Mike. Probably more helpful to others than me as I am not in the market for any more at the moment. I was answering Anam's question. I find the clips are good for repeated trial fixing and removing panels, when fabricating. But for when its time to weld the spring in them isn't really strong enough to really get as tight a clamping action as I would like. I sometimes add some self tappers to pull the panels really firmly together for welding.

And Bill, no couldn't be bothered to remove the hood but do throw some old thick curtains over it before grinding or welding!

Progress, but slow!


All ready for some plug welding tomorrow!
Doesn't photograph that well. #1 is the underside. #2 topside with bead in position.


Clever bit of panel making there Guy. Do you have a sheet metal bender?

No. I use various bits of bed frame iron and flat bar held in a vice. But I did treat myself to a shrinker/stretcher set although not used that on this particular job - its good for making curved flanges on flat or compound curved panels like wheel arch lips.
I'm not very good at this metal bashing, but I like the challenge and am getting better - from a very low base!

Well if that's a low base, they look pretty good to me.

Realised I hadn't continued with this thread. That wing top now welded in and skimmed with a bit of filler. Quick rattle can spray over yesterday to seal out the rain forecast for today, which duly arrived! Not yet been over with a guide coat treatment but I don't think the shape is too bad.

I have also done a similar patch repair on the n/s rear lower wing.


Looks good to me.
Bill Bretherton

Nothing shabby about that repair. Other than the colour difference it's not noticeable. I need to crack on with mine.

I have a stack of old part used rattle cans. Useful for guide coats and, as in this case, to seal the primer from impending rain. That dark green is an old Audi A4 colour I think.

Really good repair that Guy, looks factory fitted.
Jeremy MkIII

Thanks Jeremey.
It took quite a while and my efforts wouldn't be viable commercially. But I find it absorbing and satisfying doing stuff like this. That was a first attempt at making up a replacement section for the wing and the bead done like that.

Reactivation; questions for Guy, or anyone else who bought rear wing beading recently.

Where did you buy your wing beading?

Who's cheapest?

Is it all the same stuff from all suppliers?


Not recent Anam. Mine was bought a out 8 years ago for fitting new rear wings on the Frog. Not even sure where I bought it!

Ah right, ok thanks. Sussex looks as likely as anyone then.

I made mine as I only needed about 3 inches.
I just carefully tack welded two strips of steel together to form the T shape. The welds were dressed with the grinder, painted in primer and I used epoxy to glue it in.
Chris Madge

Sounds good. Any pictures of that Chris?

Hoe long has it lasted so far? Which epoxy did you use?

The details are in my build thread. Its only been there a year or so, so a bit early to say how well its going to last, but so far so good.

Scroll to around 2/3rds of the way down:
Chris Madge

Computer says no to that link, Chris

The top of the T section that I bought is slightly shaped a bit like a stialised seagull wing Though once sprayed the paint fills the shape and it barely shows.

Link not working Chris. What's the thread name? I'll search for it. Is it in technical?

Looks like Thread: What’s happening in my garage posted 02 January 2019 at 22:04:29.

Looks like some improvements could be made to the search results such as adding information about the date/time of the thread. The last term thread= is the year+month+date+??? the thread was started so narrowed down to 2019 but can you search a single year, I got results for all years and with no date information in the results it took a few attempts to find the right one.

Midget and Sprite Technical is subject and subjectar 97, General is 110.
David Billington

I think the image Chris was referring to was posted 24 January 2020 at 20:51:42 in that thread.
David Billington

ETA: the hyperlink I've just posted works directly (for me) and looking at the grey cursor address (I've no idea of the technical term) the address Chris put up has %ACs where as mine has the %23s. Microsh*t beating Apple i-can't this time, I assume AC is for Apple Can't. 😁

Cut & paste into address bar and you're straight there. -

IIRC it might having something to do with (opened?) membership access.

Nigel Atkins

How strange. Nigel's link works with just a click ( no need to cut and paste), but Chris's doesn't, and yet they look identical to me.

Anyway, never mind, thanks David B, I found it and the pictures being referred to.


Well, lucky me.

Earlier in this thread, I said mine was as bad as Guy's. That's how I remembered it, but actually, on stripping back the paint, both sides are not that bad at all. I think I might have been remembering the rwa Midget I had for a while.

I've only got one small hole to weld, and the beading is all intact. So I just need to do a better job than I did the last time I repaired/painted it.


Just need some rust converter, primer, and a bit of top coat. Nice to have a simple job to do.


My small hole. If only all welding jobs were this simple.


That is lucky to only have a small hole

Got my beading from Moss
James Paul

I like the de-beaded look James, and if mine had been bad enough, I think I would have gone for it. But with so litle rust in mine as it turns out, it's actually easier to keep my beads. I don't even need to replace any of it, - miraculously.

This thread was discussed between 04/07/2021 and 03/09/2021

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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