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MG MGA - Cleaning up the engine bay

One of my chores after pulling the engine on my Mk II is to get the engine bay cleaned up. I'd like to put off a full restoration for a couple more years, but the engine bay is an eyesore. It was spray painted with most of the accessories in place, and looks pretty bad. Now that I have the engine out, a way forward for cleaning things up is not all that clear. Picture of the newly empty engine bay below. My initial thought is to remove as much stuff as I can, then power wash with degreaser, followed by wire brush, hand sanding, and Dremel tool.

Any advice on better ideas would be appreciated !

Thanks,
Chuck

Chuck Mosher

Chuck,

I did a similar job to my B (must admit I don't have an A), but the job is the same. One good tip is to use aluminum foil for masking the troublesome parts like brake lines and wiring. It fits tight without messing with paper and tape, and is easy to remove. Also, Scotch-Brite is often better than sandpaper for reaching convoluted parts of the bay. I don't think I used a wire brush at all.

Since you found that it had been sprayed before without removing anything, probably the prep work was poor as well. That may work to your advantage in that the paint won't be stuck so well, and so it may come off with a rag or Scotch-Brite and some acetone or xylene. Here is a pic of mine with the foil in place, and the main clump of wiring in a plastic bag, just before shooting the primer. Also note that I was able to do this without disconnecting the brake lines.

Charley

C R Huff

Charley,

You've inspired me to give it a try !
Thanks for the tips, the picture really helped. Any chance you've got an "after" shot to provide further inspiration ?

Best regards,
Chuck
Chuck Mosher

Chuck,

Sure, I'm happy to provide an after pic (ie show off). I stopped at this point because I found an overdrive trans. Now, after doing all the work in situ, I get to try to take it apart without scratching the paint.

I'll also see if I can add some "during" pics so you can see the progression.

Charley

C R Huff

Chuck,

Here is the engine in primer.

Charley

C R Huff

The engine in black.

C R Huff

The engine bay pressure washed but not prepped. The dark yellow is spray can paint from the PO.

C R Huff

And finally, the engine bay in primer. Good luck with your project. It's dirty work, but the results are rewarding.

Charley

C R Huff

Chuck,
Something you might think about is using a brush on primer and top coat. No overspray. Some may laugh, but I used Rustoleum primer and paint. The Rusty metal (brown) primer adheres very well and the surface doesn't have to be squeaky clean and rust free. Clean it, sand it, paint it. My car is OEW (sort of). I used Rustoleum white with a bit of tan mixed in to get the tint I wanted. Put it down with a foam brush. Flows out great, nice and smooth. If it's not a show car this method can produce a very acceptable result with a lot less work.
Cheers,
GTF
G T Foster

I'm inspired by both Chuck & G.F.T. to tackle the engine bay. The brush suggestion will solve and simplify the job. Thanks Gents ... Sean
S Sherry

Thanks to all for the tips !

Charley - your work looks great. I'll see if I can post as nice a result once the work is done !

-Chuck
Chuck Mosher

Chuck,

GTF mentioned overspray as a possible problem. He is right to bring that up as a caution. Probably the hardest part is getting the firewall masked to avoid overspray into the interior. Check it from the cockpit side and mask anything you find that could let the overspray in. It's probably not a bad idea to cover the seats and dash etc. with some plastic sheet.

Charley
C R Huff

This thread was discussed between 16/01/2011 and 18/01/2011

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