Removing the Rear Wings

Figure 1

Removing rear wings

Notes on Removing the Rear Wings

Always disconnect the battery before removing any body panels. At first sight, removing a rear wing appears to be straight forward. The wing is secured by six bolts which pass through the laminated ash wheel arch above. The seat belt rear anchorage also passes through both wood and steel wheel arches, whilst a support bracket bolted to the inner wheel arch secures the outer edge of the wing at the rear end. Apart from a small screw at the inner trailing edge, the only other support is by two bolts which attach it to the front wing.

I am not sure whether Morgan use stainless bolts on their wings nowadays, but they did not do so in the 1970's. There are no wheel arch liners to protect the steel bolts which protrude through the inside of the rear wheel arch. From the first run in the rain these bolts are subjected to water and mud sprayed up by the tyres. If the trim is removed from the top of the wheel arches forward of the ash frame top rail, it should be possible to access the heads of four of these bolts, but the remaining two under the rear panel are not easily accessible. Usually the threads of the bolts will be so badly corroded that they are siezed solid or shear whilst trying to remove them. The obvious solution is to remove the rear panel so that the heads of the bolts are accessible. Replacing them with stainless steel ones during reassembly is a wise choice. It should avoid the necessity of removing the rear panel if the rear wings have to be removed in the future.

Morgans built before 1975 have half round aluminium retaining strips either side of the rear panel and they must be removed before the back panel is released. Nine counter sunk screws hidden by paint & filler secure the strips to the laminated ash wheel arches, so the first job is to expose the filler by carefully rubbing down the paint on the strips. The filler and the screws are then carefully removed and the strips released. The rear panel is fastened to the laminated wheel arch by pins, but at this stage do not be surprised to find the edges severely corroded. Two "durable dot" fasteners on top of the top rail and four "lift the dot" fasteners on the front of the top rail attach the top of the rear panel. The position of these six fasteners is critical as they secure the hood and tonneau covers. If you are making a new rear panel keep the old one as a template.

When the spare wheel has been removed it should be straightforward to loosen the jubilee clip securing the fuel cap to the fuel tank hose. The bottom edge of the rear panel is sandwiched between the bottom rail of the ash frame, the rear number plate lamp and the number plate panel. Removing the screws and pins securing these panels will allow the back panel to be released from the wooden frame, but take care not to strain the indicator and number plate lamp wiring. These wires can be detached from the main loom by unplugging the snap connectors. At this stage remove the light fittings and store them in well labelled boxes. You may be surprised at the replacement cost of old Lucas lamps if you lose or damage them. Make notes on which wires from the main loom go with their respective light units, particularly if someone has rewired anything without sticking to the Lucas wiring code. When you are reassembling the car, you can check where the wires should go in the 'Rear End Wiring' section under "Electrical system" on the main Menu.

When the rear panel is removed the wiring snap connectors on the lamps can be disconnected from the main loom. The bolts that fix the rear wing to the ash wheel arches, can be removed along with the two bolts that connect the front and back wings. It is surprising how paint can hide the extent of rust in the steel below. As I removed these two bolts the trailing end of the front wing and the leading edge of the rear one disintegrated. The problem with the front wing arises because it is screwed & bolted to the wooden sill board. Water finds its way between the sill and wing causing the steel to rust and the wood to rot.

Notes on Repairing the Rear Wings

Figure 2

Rear Wing Rust

When the rear wings have been removed, the extent of rust and damage can be assessed. Dents should be dealt with first. Minor dents can be dealt with in the same way as that described under the menu option Removing Front Wings. Obviously severely damaged wings will have to be replaced with new ones. Melvyn Rutter or the Morgan factory should be able to supply the correct ones.

Do not be put off too easily if you find rust has eaten away parts of the wing. When I removed the rear wings on my Morgan, the front leading edges disintegrated as shown in Figure 2 stage 1. The first job is to remove paint and assess the extent of the rust. When you are satisfied that you are back to brigt steel, scribe a line as shown in stage 2. Make an accurate template that butts up to the line and follows the profile of the wing. Use the template to cut a piece of 18 gauge steel and bend the steel carefully to follow the profile of the wing. The edge of the wing is swaged and wrapped around wire. If you have a swaging wheel allow an extra 10mm around the edge of the swaged edge and wrap it around a 4mm wire. I do not own a swage wheel machine so I use joddlers (see Figure 3). Unfortunately the depth of the swaged edge produced by the joddlers was too short to wrap around the wired edge, so I MIG welded a piece of 4mm diameter wire to the inside edge to match the original. I then fillet welded the top edge of the wire to prevent the ingress of water.

Cut away the rusty steel, following the scribed line as accurately as possible. Tack weld the new piece in and try not to distort the metal. Finally grind the weld flat. Fill any slight distortions with body solder and patiently grind the surface until perfect. Make sure to thoroughly remove any flux from the body solder and use an etch primer to cover the job as soon as possible. If all goes well the final job should look like Figure 2 stage 4.

Figure 3

Rear Wing Rust