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MG MGB Technical - Door glass, quarterlight surrounds...

Good afternoon all,

I hope that this question doesn't come across as daft or lazy!

I have a '66 GT, have owned it almost a year. We had a baby two weeks after I bought it (well, my wife did, I just held her hand and made encouraging noises), so I didn't make a start on the various jobs that came with buying a bit of a 'fixer upper'. So my plan is to go through the car this year. Nothing too scary, though, mostly cosmetic stuff.

First up - doors. Although mine is a Mk1, and has the non-reversing light bodyshell, the doors are from a later car, so I have the later door interior door furniture etc. As the bottoms are rusty anyway, I was quite sanguine about replacing the doors with earlier items when time and money permitted. But here's the question:

I realise that I will need new door cards, internal door pulls etc., but will I need new glass and quarterlights? Is the chrome quarterlight surround interchangeable between model years? I had assumed (I know that that's a dangerous word!) that they were, so I would swap across my existing glass and quarterlight frame, but I have seen quarterlights advertised on eBay as being 'early', which implies that my car might need to change its quarterlights when it acquires early doors.

I have tried looking into this and have not found a definitive answer: can anyone on here kindly shed some light before I waste time and money buying the wrong bits!

Many thanks,


Piers Colver

Piers, You have come to the right place, I am sure someone will have the right answer here - my understanding is the main difference between the Mk 1 and later variants is the pull handle - you mention the cards of course. I believe the glass was the same and the quartelight surrounds were also substantially the same except for the change in material from chrome to stainless.
This not an inexpensive undertaking which you are contemplating as the earlier door replacement suggests - it might be advisable to check out that the rest of the shell (sills and headlight surrounds et. al.)are not a higher priority and that both your co-owners are content with the outlay. Yes, she is a hatchback (one of the first) but the clutter will grow exponentially with age.
Every good wish with both your projects.
Roger W

I always recommend that you don't spend any money on cosmetics and upgrades (unless part of service or repair work) until you've run the car reliably and regularly all year round for 12 months otherwise you might need the money spent for more urgent distress purchases on work on the car
Nigel Atkins

Thank you for both of the responses.

Nigel: I entirely agree with you, but I am fortunate in that the previous owner took pretty good care and handed over a large folder of history which I have organised into a binder in date order, and fortunately the structure of the car has been gone through - the sills, spring hangers and floors were all replaced in the 18 months before my purchase. There was a bottom end rebuild on the engine relatively recently, and various other mechanical things sorted. The car has also been undersealed annually, which while not pretty seems to have spared me a few potential issues, or at least delayed them. The car had a bottom half and seams respray two years ago, along with replacement lower wings, all of which I have pictures of. I garage the car and use it minimum three times a week (I take sons to Cubs/Beavers/swimming lessons in it). I had a Sprite for 11 years before the MG so hopefully I can spot demons lurking on the horizon.

The car has, however, got threadbare carpets, split seats, pretty grotty door cards, peeling paint on the dash, an unusual horn solution and rusted out door bottoms - I can actually put fingers into the bottom of the driver's door. I'm concerned about water ingress, both from a rust point of view but also from a 'it's not worth sorting the interior out with leaky doors' point of view. I'm going to need a new exhaust this Spring, plus will want to convert the head to unleaded at some point, hopefully this summer, but generally I'm looking good on the more serious stuff. So starting with the doors is not the off-the-cuff fix-it-because-it's-obvious starting point it might appear. I take your point, though, and thank you for keeping me honest!

Roger: co-owners! You're quite right. Young Alice is already seriously in charge, and given that our boys are 9, 7 and 4 I might as well just sign car and house over to them, move into a tent and be done with it. But for now I have drawn a line in the sand around the MG which appears to be holding, so I thought I'd make it my 2014 sanity project. Claire and I both work largely from home and do our own childcare, so all sources of sanity are to be cherished!

Thank you again for the responses.

Piers Colver

Really early quarterlights have a differently shaped handle, I believe.
Dave O'Neill2

when I let my previous Spridget go it had two or three folders of receipts for parts and work done, my present midget is only up to two folders - it doesn't mean that some work might not be required on either of them

my Bs went with just one folder each I think

I see you use the car but if it's only for short journeys then that's not as good but at least it's regular use and if your 11 year Spridget ownership was a while ago it's surprising what you can forget (or is that just me)

you mention the important bodywork and not so important engine but what about the important car systems of -
. brakes (hoses, fluid flush/change, seals etc.)
. (tyres, wheels)
. steering
. suspension (bushes, dampers, springs)
. lighting (and other electrics)
. (windows and mirrors)
then there's
. coolant system (rad, water pump, coolant flush and change, heater valve etc.)
. engine ancillaries, ignition/timing, fuel system, etc.
. issues from wire wheels

I take your point about the doors but a sheet of plastic could protect and as long as the rust holes are free to drain the water the rust wont jump to other panels

(if you've not already got a copy) you may not think you need it but only today someone who has a copy but didn't refer to it now wishes he had, the relevant Driver's Handbook - (Ref: 0050) -

notice I put all this because I don't know about the quarterlights!
Nigel Atkins

The glass and 1/4 lights will swap easily between door years. The earlier doors had a different winder/regulator mech and lock mech including the altered internal release etc however.

The early 1/4 lights were chrome plated brass with different hooked looking catches. The later were stainless steel with the bigger simpler catches. You may still have the correct 1/4 lights?

Roadwarrior: that's very helpful, thank you. I'll get images of both, have a good look and mine and figure out what I have. I'm an annoying originality freak deep down.

Nigel: it's very kind of you to go to that level of effort, thank you very much. I completely get what you are saying, and I agree with you. I just have some money to put into the car now, as it is, and having looked into other bits, and having had my friendly mechanic have a good look through, I'm reasonably happy that other stuff can be done as and when. Other work has been done that I didn't throw into my short list, plus I spoke to the garage who carried it out prior to purchase, and I have done a few other things myself - including a new set of wire wheels and tyres last summer. I have had new discs and pads on the front, and new rear brake shoes etc are being fitted tomorrow (in the margins of the MOT). So I know one can never be 100% (frankly 50% would be nice!) with these things, but I think I'm doing things in an okay order.

Having only just come up for air after new baby and house renovation, however, I have not yet purchased the Driver's Handbook - thank you for the link, I'll order that now!

I really appreciate the checklist. Will have a proper look over the cooling system, which I have neglected, this weekend...

THank you guys - got my answer and some generally helpful tips, can't beat this place - I hope that 2014 sees me more of an active contributor than 2013 managed! No kids planned this year so am optimistic!!

Piers Colver

For situations such as this,try & get hold of a parts catalogue.You can usually see at a glance if any changes have been made during the production years. Most of the larger dealers supply them for free & they're usually copies of the manufacturers parts catalogues anyway.Barrie E
B Egerton

And Nigel, I sold the Sprite to buy the B so it was a year ago but you're right, in many ways it seems a lifetime ago, plus the sale came at the end of a winter when I had been less active as we had an awful lot of snow.

I realise I missed your mileage point: the Scout hut is nine miles away, so I do an 18 mile round trip on a Wednesday evening (punctuated by an hour in a country pub with a good book), same again on Thursdays, and then an eight mile round trip on Friday evenings for swimming - so I do 44 or so miles a week minimum, plus any weekend trips I do, so my hope is that I am running the car often enough to show up issues as early as is reasonable to expect. I ran the car through last summer, just in its 'as purchased' state.

Barrie: thank you, yes, good point, I just find that catalogue shots can occasionally fudge a detail in the drawing so thought I'd ask some experts, too.
Piers Colver

Piers, It sounds as if you are well and truly bitten. A good survey and imagination will tell you what you will need over the next few years. The best advice is to buy it - when it's available. Have a look at :

Roger W

no problem, I repeat these type of things so often they're easy to put (if not type)

brakes are of course the number one thing so good that you've got that covered, don't forget fluid changes as many often do (and hoses)

getting good tyres helps with the braking, steering, suspension, handling and ride comfort and noise so I think changing them is good

depending on the drive and weather conditions of course 9 miles might not be enough to get the starter charge back into the batteries and all oils flowing well so can I suggest if you can't do blow out runs at the weekend that the book you take into the country pub is a copy of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide and then you can look for another pubs a bit further to exercise the car more and give you a wider choice of pubs and beers

I've a simple coolant cleaning method which a couple of posters have used to some success - but one miss out one simple step by forgetting to refer to the DH as he had already done coolant refills a couple of times so thought he knew, like we all do - if you're interested just email me, as I'm not mechanical or technical all my notes are about basics, but until you deal with the basics you can't successfully more on to the more sexy technical

when you get older a year won't seem very long at all

good luck with the doors
Nigel Atkins

Nigel, you're right of course. The car has a battery cutoff so the odd weekend when I have missed a longer run has caused me to be punished by non-starting YET, but I do try to get away on longer runs, usually with success - indeed my wife kindly indulged me in making that an essential part of the package when we moved from city to country, it was part of the driver behind the move. I definitely take your point.

Thank you for the kind offer - I will drop you an email today! (Off on school run now)

Many thanks again,

Piers Colver

Short footnote to this, with particular thanks to Roger: I have bought the pair of doors his eBay link led to. So now looking for a local paint shop etc.

Suddenly strikes me (I know, I'm chaotic!) that I had assumed that the mechanism that lifts the windows, the metal bars and wheels, will swap across from the later door to the earlier one. So will try to confirm that over the weekend. There's always something!

Again, thanks to all for the various inputs and opinions, and to Roger for acting as a door/'66 GT dating agency.


Piers Colver

The mechs sit at different angles and have a taller (or wider if you see it that way) extrusion where the winder handle sits on; this is also shaped for a square hole rather than the hex nut type affair of the later ones. They're also a little different in shape here and there. The later ones may be able to be made to fit, but there's no guarantee your window will then go all the way up, or down, or that the handle will clear the door card etc. I've never tried a swap, but I know they're different for certain.

Thank you, Roadwarrior, I feared it would be a case of that. I'll start assembling a kit of parts!!!

Piers Colver

You can download a workshop manual here

3rd one down is the early manual

D.K. McNeill

Kent, that is enormously kind of you, thank you.

The doors arrived this morning so getting to the fun bit!

Thanks again for your help, all.

Piers Colver

This thread was discussed between 28/01/2014 and 03/02/2014

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