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1977 Stag restoration

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    1977 Stag restoration

    I bought this Stag unseen from an Australian seller and shipped it over to NZ, thinking I had bought myself a "rolling restoration" - a car on which I would do some work, and spend some money over a couple of years, while enjoying driving it. When it arrived it was clear to me that this was not the way it was going to play - the car has apparently suffered at the hands of molesters for much of its life, one of the worst aspects of this being a bad paint job in a colour other than its original Carmine Red. My first thought was to flick it off and take a loss; let somebody else do it. Then I figured I just needed to get stuck in and do it. So, over the past couple of weeks I have been stripping the car, trying to carefully catalogue everything removed - what's OK, what needs replacing etc., and storing all fasteners and other small items in ziplock bags, referenced by number in a spreadsheet detailing their contents. As I work on dismantling the car it is apparent that the approach taken by previous people has been just to throw all of the nuts, screws, washers etc. removed into a bucket, then rummage through them to find something to fit when reassembling. I'm aiming towards having a rolling shell, with engine and transmission still in place, which will then go to an engine specialist who will remove the lump and inspect, report and rebuild as necessary; meanwhile the car will go off to a panel and paint shop where the final stripping will be done in readiness for a bare metal paint job. At this stage I have not settled on who I will get to do the bodywork - I have discussed the job with a couple of firms; one of whom would propose to acid dip the body to remove all of the old paint and expose any rot, while the other firm say they would media-blast it. I'd appreciate any input from Members regarding which way they think is best to go. In the meanwhile I'll keep going with the spanners - two images below; first being from before I rolled up my sleeves, second being current status following today's endeavours. Incidentally, I today hit an obstacle when trying to remove the steering column adjustment clamp - did a search on the Forum, which revealed the presence of a roll pin which was stopping the bolt from being withdrawn - information not provided in the workshop manual. Thanks for that, S.O.C!

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    #2
    Morning' Davo,

    Just seen your post.
    Looks like you have probably landed a basically good car body-wise, but no doubt as others will tell you, you never really know the true state of affairs until the paint has been removed.
    (I went to look at a previously restored car 18 months ago, which looked ok, but when it was up on a lift at eye-level, you could see the signs of established rust at the rear of the front wings, and the front of the rear wings......plus a few other places.....I didn't buy THAT one !)

    I saw a Stag which had been "stripped & dipped" last year at the big Birmingham classic show. The process certainly showed up what might otherwise have not been revealed by just media blasting.
    Not cheap (I believe close to 4 figures) but very revealing. Apart from cost, the downside was that EVERYTHING has to be removed prior to dipping.
    No doubt others in the Kiwi Owners Club can guide you as where to "delve into" for the areas of "hidden" rot.
    I think there are quite a few photos in various parts of the Forum which also show the known problem areas.
    You'll find the Forum is generally very good for info., such as roll pins in parts of steering columns etc.! And if you throw out a question, usually someone will volunteer an answer.

    Anyway, "the journey" has started, try to enjoy!

    Best regards,

    Neil.
    '77 Tahiti Blue, Spax, MoD, poly-bushed.

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      #3
      Thanks Neil - yes I think that having spent it's life in Australia the car has largely avoided the tin worm. I have so far only found some small holes in the floor under the outer mounting for the passenger seat, and a small "crunchy" patch in the bottom of the passenger door, where the bump stop for the window is. As you say, however, until the paint has been removed, who knows? I used to do a lot of work on my cars back when I was a young feller living in England, including a '75 Stag which was my pride and joy, but it's been about 35 years since I did any serious wielding of spanners. Despite the aches and pains of now tackling this later in life, I am enjoying the process of stripping the car, and also the anticipation of fixing and fettling things, and sourcing replacements for those which I can't. I do however get depressed when I see some of the terrible things that previous owners have done to the car. Apart from the fuel tank, heater box and wiring, the car is now stripped as far as the front bulkhead - at least as much as I intend to do as it will need to be rolled on to a transporter for the next parts of its journey. I will post further updates as I progress.

      Cheers,

      Dave

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        #4
        Morning Dave,

        At least you will have the satisfaction of seeing the older, terrible "bodges" sorted out properly. Unfortunately in the UK the Stag suffered from being thought of as "just an old car", and was (mis)treated accordingly.
        Hopefully your car has fared a bit better.
        Not sure where in Oz your car came from, but I remember seeing 4 seasons in one day in both Melbourne and Tassie, and was given a lift by our ship's agent in Townsville in a Mazda - which had the interior stripped out, and a "tide mark" inside - it had been floating around in a flood (after a tropical storm passed through) the previous week ! So, still wet 'n windy, except no salt on the roads to eat away the underside!
        All the best,

        Neil.
        '77 Tahiti Blue, Spax, MoD, poly-bushed.

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          #5
          Hi Neil - I think the majority of Stags would have endured that dark era, especially given the issues that arose with them early on. I owned my previous one for 5 years and never had any trouble with it - though I did keep an eye on things. Brought it with me when I came to NZ - I understand it's still around somewhere, but colour changed from white to dark blue and transmission from auto to manual. My current car was delivered new in Sydney in December '77 and spent it's life in NSW until a couple of years ago when it was relocated to Hobart.

          Cheers,

          Dave

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            #6
            Three weeks into it and I'm getting close to the point where I'll draw the line and let others take the car on its journey. Yesterday I pulled out the gas tank and pump, plus pulled out the two wiring harnesses that connect everything from the B-posts back. Today I pulled out the radiator, along with - being an Aussie car - the coveted fan cowl. My final frontier will probably be removing the exhaust system, which I will likely junk and replace with a full s/s system. Currently psyching myself up for this upside-down-on-my-back experience - have done it before, but that was 35+ years ago...

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            Attached Files

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              #7
              More horrors unfolded today as I slithered my tired old body under the car to tackle removal of the exhaust system. After clocking the perished and missing rubber mountings, I saw that my strategy of first removing the tailpipes was not going to work as the tailpipes and intermediate pipes were inseparable, being fabricated as one. Also noticed that somebody must have figured the mounting bracket for the front pipes was superfluous, given the exquisitely welded fixings in the pic. below... so discarded it. I see that this bracket - UKC5780 - is listed as no longer available from Rimmers, though I guess it is something that could easily be made up if necessary. Decided to start from the front instead and removed LH front pipe and silencer so far. Noticed also no balance pipe between the two sides - maybe a custom-made system? also appears to be s/s, but whatever, it won't be going back on as it's too loud. Also, while I had this side up in the air, fitted a couple of the temporary wheels I bought for while the car is off to panel & paint. The alloys are in good nick so I figured I'd keep them at home and just titivate them up in time for when the car comes back.

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                #8
                I saw a comment in another thread regarding removing the T-bar and not being able to get it back on, and immediately panicked about the fact that I pulled mine off a couple of weeks ago, since when I have been jacking the car up left, right and centre during the process of stripping. So yesterday I grabbed the T-bar off the pile - in any case I wanted to remove the cover to inspect the status of it (another horror story as the cover and padding disintegrated into a pile of ripped vinyl and dust) - and ended up trying to re-fit the nude and rusty member to the car. As had been predicted, it wouldn't fit - I had all the screws in at the front, plus the bolt in the left-hand B post, but found that the hole in the right-hand B post was about 20mm forward of the hole in the T-bar, and no amount of shoving and grunting was going to do it. I packed up for the day, reasoning that if I jacked the car up forward of the right-hand B post, so allowing the rear right-hand wheel to hang in the breeze, it may assist in bringing things into line. This morning, after stoking my boiler with a good coffee and a croissant with jam, I went down to the beast's lair to face up to the challenge. Pleased to say that my plan worked, and the thing is now bolted up, bracing the car back into square(?). Photo attached.


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                  #9
                  Looks like you have your work cut out there,have fun

                  Dave
                  73 mk 1/2 now gone to the dark side BLUE

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                    #10
                    Fun and misery in equal measures... soon to be somebody else's source of entertainment as it will be off soon for bare-metal job.

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                      #11
                      And out she goes - on the next leg of the journey, to have the engine and trans pulled out for checking and any work, while the rolling shell goes off to the panel and paint shop. I will be visiting her at various stages so stand by for bare-metal shots, where we find out just what the truth is regarding the tin-worm. While she's away I will be drafting in a new companion to play with - I became aware of a Stag which had been stored in a shed for 20+ years and has suffered badly, probably having rusted beyond redemption, but has numerous items of interior which I can use, so I have bought it as a donor. I intend to keep it around for reference whenever my infallible(?) cataloguing of the strip-down falls into a hole, leaving me asking "where the **** does this go?". Ultimately I guess I'll on-sell it to somebody who can use other parts - I guess we'll see...


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                        #12
                        And here's the stand-in lady - just arrived today. Doesn't look too bad in this pic., apart from the rust you can see on the hardtop. The boot lid is the worst part - the last few inches of the top panel are non-existent. This is where the transporter left it - the driver and I tried to shove it further back into the carport but two flat tyres defeated us. I swapped some wheels on to it and my son and I tried to move it, but still could hardly budge it - i guess in 20-odd years a lot of moving parts have become reluctant... So until we get a few more helping hands it's blocking my daily driver in!

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