The Story of an MGB Rebuild

 

Windscreen and Dash

Once the main wiring loom was in place under the dashboard, I could start thinking about fitting the dashboard. Before then I had to consider the windscreen. The windscreen has 2 'legs' which go through holes in the scuttle and that are secured to the body by 4 bolts. When I removed the windscreen, I found that someone had bodged one of the fixing holes in the windscreen (which is threaded) and the hole was like a figure eight. Research showed that refurbished windscreens weren't cheap. By accident, I stumbled across David James of the Windscreen Clinic near Tamworth. I took a chance and arranged to drop off the windscreen bits just before Easter. My misgivings were cleared when I saw his set up - here's someone who is an expert in his speciality! Within no time, a refurbished windscreen together with refurbished quarterlights were returned to me. David also arranged for my inlet manifold to be grit blasted.

Now came the bit that everyone had warned me about - fitting the windscreen. The answer is shown below using 2 tie down straps. The joker is the body/windscreen seal which insists on rolling up under the windscreen. It does need cutting to size. There's 2 aluminium spacers which have to go between the body and the windscreen legs. Then there's a gasket which has to go between the spacer and the body. You can't buy these so I used engine gasket. That got scrunched up on one side so I used some very thin plastic card instead. Not easy to fit all these bits.

Kevin Jones in Burnley makes a nice stainless steel tension rod that fits in the centre of the windscreen. The old one was very tired and used to constantly remind me of its presence.

The dashboard was refurbished by the MG Owners Club who charged a small excess to fill all of the surplus switch holes that had bred over the years. This was a very nice job. Make sure you hang onto the indicator warning lenses which I couldn't replace. I gave these a scrubbing and the warning lights are now more visible.

Once the dashboard is fitted, things moved fairly quickly and the interior of the car suddenly came to life. There was a lot of room to work with under the dash but that vanished once the speedo and rev counter were fitted. Those were fitted last after refurbishment by Speedy Cables in Swansea. They supplied the instrument lighting bulbholders which were proving elusive to find. I needed to replace the bulbs they supplied with a higher wattage as they were too dim.

One area of the 1970 MGB that I don't like is the radio speaker/console. I had got rid of mine several years earlier - the radio had stereo speakers in the doors so it was superfluous. I had used the old console housing to make up an additional instrument panel, with a voltmeter and ammeter. I liked the layout of the later console but this isn't high enough so I had to use the middle era console.

This is the easy bit. The windscreen has been lowered into place and the seal at the front levered out into position. The hard bit is to get the four bolts in.

Tie down straps were my answer. One down to the front grille area and the other to the bottom door hinge opening. First, I pushed the windscreen as far forward as possible within the scuttle holes. Then its a matter of working the 2 straps. Concentrate on getting one bolt in, then tighten the other strap so that the other bolt can go in. Part of the problem is that you've got to compress the windscreen body seal which will be new and which doesn't want to be compressed.

Once the windscreen was in, the dashboard was fitted and the car suddenly starts to look like a car. The dash took a bit of persuading, especially around the steering column but it fitted better than the MG restoration manual implied.

The steering column was next - the 'U' bracket is inverted and that caught me out. Then I wired up all of the switches in turn and connected the heater/air controls. The tunnel carpet fitted much better than the last time I did this - from MGOC.

I always fancied a Mota-Lita steering wheel and that's what was fitted. Most of the dash is completed. The console didn't fit and I had to go for an earlier model. Bit of a pity as the 3 gauges would have fitted nicely in those holes.

Meanwhile in the back of the car, the trim panels were being fitted. Note the tonneau stick holders which I hadn't had before. For the rail at the rear of the cockpit, I initially used the MGOC offering. This is very thin and I couldn't prevent ripples. The offering from Moss is much better and resists rippling. I used Evostick to glue the trim to the aluminium extrusion - I didn't use the instant contact variety!

Here's the finished product. The right hand door capping still had to be fitted and I was struggling to find some footwell lights - those are the stray wires you can see. Definitely not original but I like it!

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