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MG MGB Technical - Cleaning Questions

Realising that these questions aren't really of a technical nature, I'm going to be bold and ask anyway. They concern a 1977 MGB

1. The best way to polish the brushed aluminium of the windshield frame. Both inside and out. This one has about twenty years of grime and muck that regular washing won't touch (not even mild solvents or gasoline have worked)

2. The best method of cleaning the vinyl seat covers. These tan coloured seats are extremely dirty and the grime has "collected" in all the recesses of the seat upholstery pattern.

3. The tonneau cover has three areas where the material has "stiffened", to the point where it almost feels brittle. I suspect it was exposed to raw fuel in the trunk, since the car had a very leaky fuel pump when I got it. Anyone know of a method of "revitalizing" this material. I've tried soaking it in Armou-all. The tonneau itself is in excellent condition otherwise, and I would really hate to have to discard it.

Thanks as always for the anticipated assistance.
JR Ross

I cant't help with the frame. But I made some beige vinyl seats look respectable with some Mr Muscle kitchen cleaner (or whatever you have in Canada) and a tooth brush to get in the grain.
R Fowler

To the best of my knowledge, the frame is actually "anodized" aluminum and not easy to clean without removing the anodized coating that is created during an electrolysis process. There are some aluminum polishes and brighteners made that might help with your frame. Try a boating store since they're often used for aluminum pontoon boats, but look for something that will work specifically on anodized aluminum. As a last resort, you might try some very mild wet sand paper, 1500 grit for example and use it carefully. That's how I cleaned mine.

I have black seats and they looked great after using Simple Green and a medium brush followed by Armor All protectant wipes. If you have the opportunity, remove the seats from the car so that you can turn them over and lightly spray with water so that the soaped up grimy stuff flows off instead of finding its way back into the intricate design of the vinyl and drying. If you have a wet/dry Shop Vac to follow along as you scrub, you might avoid removing the seats. The vinyl seat covers are actually a top layer of vinyl, a layer of cotton "batting" underneath that and a layer of cloth below that. Your seams may leak water into the batting, so give them plenty of air and time to dry after a thorough scrubbing.

In some auto stores, you should find "vinyl dressing". I don't know the brand names out there now or what Canadian Tire might have.

Rick Penland

Couldn't make any impression on my frame short of emery and wire brushing, so I've left it. Many years ago I used specialist car upholstery cleaner on seats to very good effect. Non-specific cleaners may affect any stitching. Your tonneau cover may well be toast, I had one which had also been in the boot which despite repeated scrubbing continued to leave oily marks on any thing it came into contact with. Eventually I replaced it.
PaulH Solihull

JR Ross, Ontario, Canada

I have a full tonneau if you are interested contact me.

bcmills at gmail dot com

Hi JR,

This web site might help you with the screen.

Herb Adler


Several of my classic car friends swear by Autosol metal polish for this job.


BJ Quartermaine

P.S. to my previous post:

.....for polishing the windscreen frame.

BJ Quartermaine

Autosol was one of the things I tried, and whilst it should remove any surface film from a frame that has languished without any cleaning at all for years, that's about it. For 20 years mine has had nothing more than water and a hose brush maybe four or five times a year, looks nothing like the 'new' frames that are available, and Autosol did nothing for it. The only place I use Autosol is on the SS exhaust tail-pipe, and new stainless spokes to bring them up to highly polished before fitting. Ordinary polish (currently AutoGlym) is all that is needed for the rest of the chrome and other brightwork, as well as the body of course.
PaulH Solihull

This thread was discussed between 29/08/2010 and 02/09/2010

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