The ash frame can be released from the car without removing the bulkhead, scuttle, quarter panels, doors, the rear end wiring and most of the mechanical parts. However, various cables, fittings, electrical connections and trim, must be removed first.
The advantage of leaving the steel panels on the frame is that it will remain rigid when the frame is removed. The disadvantage is that it will be heavy when lifted and the panels will have to be removed for a thorough examination of the frame.
The operations listed below reflect the experience of rebuilding my own 4/4 Morgan. They are based on my memory and notes taken at the time. Morgans have changed over time and there are differences between models, but hopefullly the notes below should be of help if you are restoring your own car.Figure 1
1 DISCONNECT THE BATTERY. It is essential to do this before carrying out any of the following operations. The earth terminal MUST be disconnected first, it can be recognised by the heavy braided lead connecting it to the chassis. SMMT terminals are undone with a wrench or spanner. If you accidentally touch the chassis with a spanner whilst undoing the earth terminal and the positive terminal is still attached, there will be no short circuit. If the earth terminal is attached and you touch the chassis with a spanner whilst undoing the positive terminal, hundreds of amps will short to earth through the tool. The heat produced can produce severe burns, particularly if you are wearing a ring, which can become welded to the wrench or spanner. Sparks produced by a short circuit can ignite hydrogen present in the battery, which will result in an explosion! Wear goggles.
Note: You may find that some early Morgans have a positive earth. If this is the case, the positive battery lead will obviously have to be disconnected first.
2 REMOVE THE SEATS AND TRIM. The seats in my Morgan consist of two inflatable squabs and a bench back, both of which, lift out with minimal effort. If your car is fitted with bucket seats they could probably be left in the car, although their removal will make removing the trim easier. Removing trim from the frame is much easier than removing trim from a modern car. It is secured by screws, nails and tacks as shown in Figure 4. A threshold plate covering the door rocker must be removed to expose the upholstery tacks fastening the sill board trim, which consists of leather or vinyl, covering a layer of horse hair. This layer of horse hair is partially responsible for causing rot to develop in the sill board and adjoining frame. Open top motoring encourages rain to penetrate under the threshold plate and soak the horse hair, which becomes saturated. Rubberised horsehair carefully sealed in polythene makes a good replacement. Remove the original aluminium threshold plate, which is tacked down with steel pins. The plate will most probably be corroded due to electrolytic action. Replacement stainless steel ones are available from Melvyn Rutter. The ones shown in figure 4 are stainless steel ones, fitted twenty years ago and still in perfect condition today. Most of the trim covering the doors, quarter panels and wheel arches is fixed with screw and cup fittings. The domed nuts securing the Land Rover door handles and the check strap will have to be removed to release the door trim. Upholstery nails fixing the footwell trim to the frame must also be removed. Finally remove the Hidem banding which hides the edge of the quarter panels. Gently prise open the central groove in the banding, whilst running a broad blade screwdriver along it. You will see the tacks fixing it to the elbow rail of the frame.
3 REMOVE THE POSITIVE BATTERY CABLE. The battery is positioned behind the rear seat in early 1970's Morgans. Access is gained by removing an upholstered plywood panel, which lifts out of a recess in the inner frame. If the battery is mounted under the bonnet, the battery cables can be left in place, but if your car has a rear mounted battery, it will be necessary to disconnect the positive cable from the starter solenoid which is mounted under the bonnet on the left hand side of the bulkhead. The cable can then be withdrawn into the footwell. Figure 1 shows the cable indicated in red. It is secured along the left hand sill board by 'P clips' and is covered by the trim. Undo the clips and withdraw the cable through the plywood panel behind the seats.
4 REMOVE THE FUEL LINE. When the trim has been removed, the fuel line can be seen running alongside the battery cable on the left hand sill board. If the spare wheel is removed, access can be gained to the fuel tank union (see Figure 1). Use a 15mm spanner to undo the union nut and remove the P clips which fasten the pipe to the sill board. Plug the union on the fuel tank and ensure no petrol or fumes can escape from it. Remove and discard the rest of the fuel line all the way forward to the petrol pump.
Do not use the old fuel line when reassembling the car. The original fuel line is made of plastic. Modern E10 fuel contains 10% ethanol which can cause problems with certain rubber and plastics in old classic cars. I believe that replacing the old plastic fuel line with 8mm O.D coper nickel (Kunifer) pipe is a safer option. Do not use copper pipe as it can eventually go brittle and fracture, due to vibration and age. The Kunifer pipe will not fracture or corrode and can easily be shaped. After passing into the engine compartment the kunifer pipe should be secured to the bulkhead with P clips. A length of 7.6mm I.D SAE J30 R9 nitrile synthetic rubber hose can be used to connect the kunifer pipe to the petrol pump. It will not be affected by modern fuel. Check that the rubber fuel line is a tight fit on the Kunifer pipe and use jubilee clips to connect the two together. The fuel pump, filter and carburettor must also be connected to the rubber pipe with jubilee clips. Check all connections for leaks and keep an eye on the accelerator pump diaphragm if a Weber carburettor is fitted. Classic Carbs supply a service kit for a reasonable price.
5 DISCONNECT THE 9 WAY CONNECTOR attached to the rear wiring loom. The plug is located in the right hand footwell. Disconnect the wiring loom from the rear lamps, handbrake switch and fuel tank sender, by pulling off the lucar connectors.
6 REMOVE THE FRONT WINGS AND BONNET. The grill, cowl, and cowl box will also be removed along with the front wings.
7 REMOVE THE REAR PANEL. The spare wheel support bracket and panel can be removed along with removal of the rear panel.
8 REMOVE THE REAR WINGS. It is easier to remove the rear wings, when the rear panel has been removed. When both front and rear wings have been removed, the wing piping can be taken off the car. If the piping is damaged, companies like Woolies keep a good range in stock.
9 REMOVE THE QUARTER PANELS. The front and rear wings should have been removed before removing the quarter panels. These panels will usually be corroded on an old Morgan, but are the easiest to make. Try not to distort the panels whilst removing them, because they will be used to produce templates for making the new ones.
12 REMOVE THE DASHBOARD. Before removing the dashboard it is essential to undo and remove the cable from the rear of the speedometer. Most of the wires to the main loom are connected to the switches, warning lights and instruments at the rear of the dashboard. These wires should be disconnected before removing the dashboard. Try to have the circuit diagram at hand and double check that you have isolated the battery. If you are not familiar with the wiring of your Morgan, the Introduction to Wiring page will hopefully be of use. It is wise to tape a note on each wire describing which switch or instrument to which it was attached. The loom can look quite confusing when it has been removed from the car. Under 'Electrical system' on the main menu is a sub menu named 'Dashboard wiring', which shows the layout of the wiring behind the dashboard.
13 REMOVE THE WINDSCREEN WIPERS. Removing the wiper boxes and fittings from the scuttle is described on the Windscreen wiper motor page.
14 RELEASE THE BULKHEAD FROM THE ASH FRAME . Twenty seven screws attach the bulkhead to the front of the ash frame. They are easily accessed and should not present any problems removing them.
15 REMOVE THE DOORS . The trim, door handles and check strap should have been removed as described in section 3 above. Six countersunk bolts secure each door to the hinge post. They pass through a steel plate at the back of the hinge post. Having removed the bolts and doors, keep each plate with their respective door so that they line up properly when refitting them.
16 RELEASE THE ASH FRAME FROM THE CHASSIS. Ten coach bolts and two hexagonal bolts secure the ash frame to the chassis. Two hexagonal bolts passing through the steel latch post brackets also help secure the frame to the chassis. They are indicated by a green 'B' in Figure 3, whilst the position of the coach bolts are indicated by 'CB' in red. A bitumen damp course is fitted between the chassis and the ash frame. An effective waterproof damp course must be fitted when refitting the frame. An inner plwood panel is screwed to two battens on the wooden floor near the battery. Remove the screws securing the plywood inner panel to the battens on the floor. See Figure 4. A steel leaf spring hanger cover is also screwed at either end of the inner panel. Remove the four screws and the seat belt anchorage bolt from each of the hanger covers. Remove 3 screws attaching the transmission tunnel to the inner plywood panel.
The steel inner panel, door striker plates, seat adjustment brackets, seat belts, hood frame and any other metal fixings you may find, should now be removed from the frame.
17 LIFT THE FRAME FROM THE CHASSIS. At this stage it can be advantageous to leave the scuttle attached to the frame, as it will help keep it in shape whilst lifting it. As soon as the frame is lifted off, it is important to fix temporary stabiliser struts made from reasonably thick plywood (see Figure 4). Should you visit the Morgan factory, you may notice that they use two struts on the front of the frame whilst they are assembling it. They also appear to have an 'X' shaped frame between the two sill boards to assist in maintaining alignment. When the frame is off the car, find somewhere flat and level to store it. If the car is old and has never had any restoration carried out, much of the frame will most probably be quite rotten, particularly on the sills and door rockers. The joints on the door pillars are usually in poor condition, particularly if the car has been stored in a damp garage, or not garaged at all. The scuttle is fixed to the frame with pins and screws. They are hidden by a woven bonnet tape, which will lever off quite easily. Carefully remove the scuttle and try to make accurate patterns of frame parts before you remove them.
Before removing any of the original frame components, accurate templates should be made of the parts requiring renewal. The door rocker is the most difficult part to make because it curves in the horizontal and vertical planes. It supports the hinge post to the door. Make accurate patterns of both the side profile and the top. If you are purchasing a second hand Morgan, gently try lifting the door. Vertical movement could indicate a rotten door rocker or hinge post. Maybe both!