A labour of love

Boot floor and rear valance fitting

Boot floor and rear valance fitting

Slightly slow progress over the last few weeks as the world gets turned upside-down by COVID-19, but hopefully a silver lining of being housebound for the foreseeable future is that I’ll have a bit more free time to spend on the car. Time will tell, but in the meantime I have managed to get the new boot floor and rear valance fitted amongst all the chaos.

In the picture above you can see I had the edges of the boot all cleaned up and in weld-through primer, ready for the new floor to be put into place. The right hand wing has been mocked up and clamped onto what was left of the old rear valance to help with positioning. And with that all lined up, the next step was to cut the rest of that valance off.

Even though the left hand wing will be replaced too, I took great care to separate the vertical seam between it and the valance cleanly, so that I could accurately position the new valance later on. The left hand chassis leg was thankfully in pretty good order, so I also very carefully drilled out the spot welds between it and the valance to make sure I didn’t damage the flanges.

With the valance out of the way, there was now enough room to offer up the new boot floor and get it prepared for welding in. Here it is in place, with all of the edges punched ready for plug welding.

This slotted in pretty easily, and since the front edge laps over the back of the battery shelf, and the back corners locate onto the top of the spring hanger mounts, it’s pretty much impossible to get the position wrong. The only tricky part was persuading the axle rebound strap brackets (which form part of this Heritage panel assembly) into place in the front corners. At this point I went ahead and welded up all three edges, and then moved on to getting the rear valance ready.

I had originally ordered a Heritage rear valance from MGB Hive, but they called to say they were out of stock, however they did have a supply of faulty panels that were being sold for under half the RRP. It turned out the “fault” was that the 2 boot cover supports that are fixed to the back of the GT valance had been welded on the wrong way round (left-hand piece was on the right etc.), and would need to be drilled out and welded back on correctly. For that kind of saving it was a challenge I was well up for, so went ahead and took one, with a refund of the difference. This is how it arrived:

Yep, that is definitely the wrong way round.

There were about 10 spot welds on each side, which were easy to drill out, and then it was a straightforward job to weld them back on the right way round using the ready made holes. For an hour or so of work it was definitely a bargain, well worth checking with MGB Hive if they have any left if you’re in the market for this particular part.

With that sorted it was on with getting it fitted to the car, and “fit” really was the most important thing here as this is obviously a pretty key panel, bridging the left and right sides of the car. The original left wing was still in place as mentioned, and I had taken great care to get the right wing clamped accurately relative to the old valance, so it should have been a simple job to just slot the new valance in between them. As usual, quite a bit of fettling was needed to get it just right though, and the panel went on and off several times for adjustments before I was happy with it. The valance and right wing are both Heritage parts, but I needed to use a bit of persuasion to get the vertical seam between them to meet up correctly.

I brought the old tailgate panel into position several times to check the fit and make sure the gaps were looking consistent on all sides before I embarked on any more welding.

Once happy with everything and all the pieces securely clamped in place, I started by welding up a couple of the chassis leg flanges where it meets the valance. It was something of a relief to validate the fit of my chassis leg repair section at this point by seeing this all line up so neatly.

Then I spent an awkward couple of hours crawling beneath the car to reach the flanges at the bottom of the chassis leg with the welding torch. I thought about leaving these for now since at some point I will probably end up with the shell on a rollover jig and they would be a lot easier to get to then. But then again, the shell would need to be mounted on the jig using the rear bumper mounts, which I think largely depend upon this joint for their strength, so better to be safe than sorry!

It then only remained to complete the final row of plug welds where the back of the floor panel meets the valance, and I’m done here for now. The right wing will be coming off again so that I can fit the boot corner panel and new boot cover support, so I’m not welding up that vertical seam just yet.

Before I packed up for the day, I just had time to weld that rear seat belt mounting plate back into place over the new floor panel, and then gave everything the usual light coating of primer to keep it protected for now.

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