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MG MGA - Bulkhead components

Some of the different components on the bulkhead on my car have been painted over (except my regulator is a replacement and original color...and I am curious how to restore them to the proper condition as original, e.g. the master cylinder is bare metal..ok I got that note on an earlier thread with comments on the brake lines. But what about the relay and the windshield wiper motor and the fuse box? Anything else of note I am missing when I reinstall things? Thanks.

Stephen Lofaro
Simi Valley, CA

Stephen Lofaro

The Bakelite stuff is difficult. Depending on the paint you could use a solvent (thinners) or abrade it off, but you risk losing the shiny finish of the original.
You could sandblast and then spray with clear laquer.
The DPO of my car went crazy with a red spray gun and got it over wires, switches, knobs even.
Art Pearse

I remember cleaning paint off an old Lucas RB106 with paint remover (like Nitromors over here); it does not attack the bakelite at all. Leave for a minute and wipe off and the bakelite comes up better than new.

With the fuse box use an old toothbrush to apply it in the crevices, it seems to remove oil deposits as well. If you use the water friendly paint remover you can clean it off with neat washing up detergent following by water rinsing. Don't use any sort of wire brush or you will leave scratches. Bakelite comes up well with Brasso. You can use the same treatment with all the parts on the bulkhead. I think it may attack rubber but you probably will be replacing all old rubber bits anyway..............................Mike
m.j. moore

The windscreen wiper motor castings are bare metal. The body shrouding is black.

Steve

Steve Gyles

The master cylinder and wiper motor were originally unpainted. Clean well and give them a coat of cleat lacquer.
Barney Gaylord

Great info, my thanks to all the contributors. Other thoughts...I know about the flasher unit...bare metal, ok. Is the turn signal relay bare metal?

Barney, what did you think about the image Steve Gyles sent showing the wiper motor painted black? At the moment mine is all bare metal, showing some signs of stain, but I can polish them out, I think. The clear lacquer idea is good.

Right now the engine compartment looks like a photo from a 1950's Women's Magazine showing a 'curlers and housedress' look...this is NOT TO BE SEEN. LOL. However, I have shot some etching primer on a couple of the brackets (after thorough chemical cleaning) and the look is very promising, indeed!

I am having some nightmares about remembering how it all goes back, which I suppose is normal. But I am keeping photos and copious notes. Thanks to all, so far.

I am still working on the water gauge sensor...keep good thoughts for that one.

Steve
Stephen Lofaro

Steve

That's quite interesting, Barney is far more likely to have it correct than I am. Mine has been that colour since I bought the car as a wreck in 1996. Prior to that it had been derelict in a 'barn' in San Diego since 1973. What happened before that with the windscreen wiper is anyone's guess. I had the wiper motor out about 4 months ago to paint its support bracket and took the opportunity to overhaul the motor. The black paint looked original, not a respray (no overspray etc). Following on from Barney's comment above I had a browse through Clausager. It was difficult to see any original photos of that area of the bulkhead of any pushrod cars, although there were some photos of a Twin Cam (cutaway car) showing the wiper motor body painted black. Perhaps Barney can comment?

Cheers

Steve
Steve Gyles

Just looked at the 'MGA Restoration Guide' by Malcolm Green. On page 120 he states: 'The wiper motor body casing was a satin - nearly matt - black finish with the rest left raw aluminium.'

Steve
Steve Gyles

I will stick my neck out and say I think Malcolm Green is in error. I don't think that Lucas or MG ever painted part of any electrical device before or after assembly. It was either unpainted or completely painted, not partly painted. Same for the wiper motor, starter motor, and generator.
Barney Gaylord

Mr. Gyles,

What color is the wiper support bracket? I have decided to match the engine bay to the body color although I know there is a branch of opinion that bay should be black. Again, that may be a function of serial numbers in production.

I was wondering about the usefulness of Malcolm Green's book for this project I am doing. Someone read his book. And I think Steve Gyles has that car! Seems still to cause a bit of confusion on this item. I am going to check my starter and generator to see how they compare to Barney's comments. It's night here...so tomorrow. I will report back for comparisons.

Also, to Steve's point, and since I have my wiper motor out, what is involved in having the motor overhauled? Mine has been run so infrequently all I have wondered is how to change out the grease?
Any ideas? Perhaps that is another thread...

Steve Lofaro
Stephen Lofaro

The metal body (polepiece)of the MGA wiper motor was painted a bronzy finish. The mounting bracket pieces were black.

regards John
John Lambie

"Bronzy finish"? Perhaps plated yellow cadmium over zinc, which corroded away quick and early. Doesn't seem like they would be plated either. Does anyone have a picture of an original one that color? I have never see one that color. Perhaps I wasn't paying that much attention to originality detail when I was driving three different MGA in the late 60's but I'm still pretty sure the wiper motors were not black.
Barney Gaylord

hi Barney the U shaped pole piece was painted, albeit a thin coat. I have about 10 on the bench with vestiges of original paint. I will put up some pictures of an unrestored motor and a repainted one when I am able. I am cruising the Med all of April.

MG books by experts have a fair share of mistakes and errors. I could write a volume to cover that.

Cheers John
John Lambie

Are those Australian made wiper motors? I know they had their own way of doing some things down under.
Barney Gaylord

Steve

As John says the bracket was black. That was why I pulled my motor as I had painted it body colour during my rebuild - now sorted. While it was out I helped Barney with its measurements for his cad drawing of it. Barney also has a page on the motor overhaul: http://mgaguru.com/mgtech/electric/et217.htm Interestingly the one shown in the rebuild has a bronze body!

Steve
Steve Gyles

I have an electronic copy of an original Lucas Technical Services document. Our DR2 series wiper motor is covered. Attached is a photo from the relevant section, clearly showing the body is painted black.

Steve

Steve Gyles

I believe it was crinkle finish black. It certainly didn't stand up well to the test of time, which is why many believe it was not painted. I had remnants on a couple of mine and it pretty much wiped off with the rest of the grime!
N McG

Every one I have ever seen (in original condition on many different cars, not just MGA) is always a matti sh black, not wrinkle or gloss.

The basic design is used on many cars of the period, and the difference between the units is the position of the pivot for the rack on the main gear wheel inside the motor. This is what determines the sweep of the wiper blades. As far as I remember, minis have the same sweep.
dominic clancy

The wiper motor in ET-217 is mine, and it's not bronze, it's slightly rusty bare steel with a satin clear lacquer overcoat. It hasn't changed appearance notably since 1986.
Barney Gaylord

My wiper motor had the metal body painted with a grey finish. Definitely painted and not plated. I bought the car in 1975 and it was not restored at that time. My guess is the colour is as John Lambie suggests.
It was tricky to replicate the colour with a slight mottled effect. Picture prior to restoration.

John Francis

This thread was discussed between 24/03/2013 and 29/03/2013

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