Saving a Troubled Trophy Winner – Another Car Saved Episode 8 “Disaster”

Thank you to everyone who has been following our “Another Car Saved” segment each week. We are mixing some our historic builds with current builds and some of our favourite builds to make sure that you stay interested and up to date with what our workshops are doing. With historic builds we will use the media that we have to make sure they are   as insightful as possible and show the full picture, With current and future projects we will throw in some video footage, How-to guides and relevant information to make your lives at home easier!

Saving a Troubled Trophy Winner – Part 1 of 4.

Background

This Morris Minor Traveller was a previous Trophy winner. We had originally met the owner at a MMOC (Morris Minor Owners Club) Rally at the Crich Tram Museum in Derbyshire. Impressed with our own works Morris Minor Traveller he expressed his desire to remedy a few issues with is Morris along with his desire to have some of our state of the art products installed and his disappointment with his current Engine explaining that since the previous rebuild the engine struggled with low revs and was not performing as the specification was described and that he would have to “keep running back to blip the throttle” when at Rallies as it simply would not tick over. He was keen to get some security devices installed ASAP due to the investment now locked within this classic.

We initially took on a few of the smaller jobs for the customer, Installing an Alarm system and Remote Central Locking System to his Morris Minor. We then stopped taking bookings for a short time whilst we kitted out our new, Larger workshop premises, his would be one of the first jobs booked in for winter work in the new premises.

The Vehicle is dropped off at A-Series Spares HQ

To launch our new premises we hosted an open event at the end of the Summer and this vehicle was brought down beforehand to showcase the remote central locking system already installed, This would then be the last outing for the vehicle until its Winter workload was completed.

The winter workload for this previous show winner was to be a simple snag list, Let’s not forget that this car managed most of the MMOC rallies and was usually runner up or in the top picks when judged. This means that from the outside this is one of the top Morris Minors in the country and so it should be, after all this vehicle was restored previously.

Initial Winter Workload

 

Tidy up engine bay: This was described by the customer as one of his least favourite parts of the car. With unused holes in the bulkhead, unsightly wiring, rust towards the front of the engine bay floor, untidy heater ducting, Oil leaks from the sump and dull paint work under the engine bay along with a host of other little concerns.

Tidy up Front End: Although an under rated classic, The Morris Minor is a car with beautiful curves and lines, The most noticeable curves on the Minor being those that run from the from wings through into the front door with the dividing gap being a crucial vertical line that needs to be evenly spaced both horizontally and vertically, Also crucial is that the door does not protrude out further than the wing itself. Get this right and the Morris looks stunning.

Our customer wanted the front wings, Bonnet, Grille, Front panel and front bumper painting as the paint finish was faded along with small spots of rust forming on the wings. Given the exposure this car gets and the apparent investment made it was imperative that the car kept its appearance and that we remove anything bubbling under the surface.

Inspect Engine: As mentioned in the preview to this episode, During the first meeting we had with the customer we were informed that the vehicle did not perform as he had hoped. The winter work schedule meant that the engine would be out of the engine bay and this would be a great opportunity to inspect the engine and its ancillaries (fuelling and ignition) and start a sympathetic strip down if required. The full strip down, Report and rebuild can be seen in upcoming episodes.

The Work Begins 

We began the winter workload by stripping down the engine bay. Removing the ancillary items, untying the wiring loom, removing the engine, exhaust, radiator, front panel. This left us with a bare engine bay to start over with.

Whilst untying the wiring loom we could see several areas where the wiring loom had gotten hot and fused together. Melted wires, damaged terminals and broken connection throughout.

We followed the loom back into the car where we found a more issues. The wiring loom had many areas of concern behind the dash board with broken, melted and fused wires. These findings meant we contacted the customer to come over for a site visit, view the issues so that we could give him a couple of options moving forward. We put the idea to the customer of having a custom made wiring loom. We would design it to reflect that of a modern vehicle with state of the art, modular fuse and relay box. We would design it to incorporate all systems including the new ones being wired in over the winter. Each system to be independently fused to remove the risk of melted wires in future.

The client was especially keen on this as an added safety feature due to his friend and fellow club member who had a new loom fitted before a recent trip over seas and the vehicle caught on fire due to lack of wire-through grommets and those new wires chaffing through on the bare metal. We had noticed the lack of wire-through grommets when that particular vehicle came into us for some wheel spacers to be fitted. It was flagged as dangerous by our staff but sadly not acted on, Thankfully no one was hurt.

We started by repairing any damage found, treating the rust patches and closing up any unnecessary holes. We then moved on to preparing the engine bay for priming, base layer and lacquer. Once painted we could begin the refit of the pipe work, servo and plan the layout for the new loom.

Engine Bay Strip Down and Refit.

The engine bay was now taking shape which left us with three large tasks left to tackle, The engine, New wiring loom and the front engine respray.

We decided to tackle the wiring loom whilst we had the dashboard apart. We moved into the cockpit and removed the front seats to give us access to the few wires that run from the main loom to the rear of the vehicle and also to keep the Newton Commercial seats away from the on going work. Upon lifting the carpets to remove the loom we found yet another disaster.

When the vehicle was restored, The rear floor sections had been “strengthened” with 4mm thick metal plate. We believe these were thought to be required to accommodate the larger, Aftermarket seats. These extra untreated welds had allowed for water and in turn corrosion to to set into the rear floor (pictured below) The underside of the floor had been skimmed over with bodyshop filler to hide the welds. The filler itself taking moisture in and speeding up the rust setting in.

Rotten Rear Floor

As you can see this vehicle is going to be a fight which is why we have put this into 4 instalments. Over the next 3 episodes following this one you will see the custom wiring loom on the design board and then produced and installed, The engine stripped and inspected, What was the issue and could it have been an outside source that caused any faults or damage?

Lastly in the final week you can see how the late nights and early starts combine to start putting this tired, troubled car onto the mantel. It is not often that we turn our restoration and modification team onto a Morris Minor but our Works Moggie does draw a crowd and certainly got this owners imagination working. Check back next week to see how we start putting this back together!

FOR ALL YOU MORRIS MINOR OWNERS We have huge offers on all Morris Minor Parts and Accessories for the duration of this 4 part instalment of “Another Car Saved” Click here

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