Morris Minor Chat

Traveller Waist Rails

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GT6CA Russell F
Petaluma, CA, USA   USA

you make a compelling reason to take the side off the car, it would make life easier, however i am nervous about taking the car apart too far and disturbing things that ought to be left undisturbed.

Can i ask how you managed to get the side off when it came to the roof, i am assuming you cut the nails and then had to replace the drip rail and re-paint. Perhaps the upper rail was the one that fell to pieces in your description below which made it a lot easier

The vast majority of the wood i have is good and solid, the poor application of finish in the past is the only reason this waist rail has rotted out and thankfully just in this one spot. I am keeping my options open to repairs in situ or full replacement.

I agree on the cost of buying the wood and re-manufacturing the piece myself, i could do it but is it worth the effort, probably not. i think ESM has the waist rails for 75 pounds, i have seen them here in the US for about $160 so almost the same when you consider shipping costs.

In reply to # 28540 by gjoakes I was faced with a situation similar to yours - on one side I only needed a new waist rail, on the other a waist rail, rear post, and rear arch section. I too thought I would do it it insitu (and in fact Ray Newell's book on Travellers as a section on such "partial" repairs).

The reality was that once I started to prepare the frame for the repairs it was just like pulling a loose string on a knit sweater - everything turned to crap. Long story short I decided that it would be much easier to just pull the wood frame off the car so that repairs could be done properly. Admittedly I didn't think of cutting open the mortise/tenons as suggested above but now that I'm done I am glad that I did it the way I did.

Originally I was going to make new wist rails in my workshop but once you buy the materials (8/4 Select or Better Ash sells in this area for about $4 a bd/ft) and fuss with the fabrication it is far cheaper to just buy from UK suppliers and pay the freight. Note: This is especially true on the rear posts which are quite complex, I suspect the UK suppliers use CNC machines to cut them.

Another aspect of just replacing specific pieces in the frame is getting the color to match between the old and new wood. It can be done but be prepared to do a lot of bleaching, dyeing and staining.

Obviously, your experiences and results may be much different than mine. I'm quite happy with how mine turned out, but it was a lot of work.

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gjoakes Silver Member Greg Oakes
Cornfield, IL, USA   USA
1958 Morris Minor Traveller "Bridget"
1972 MG MGB "Buttermilk"

The roof panel/drip rail issue was the primary reason I had attempted to do the repairs with the frame still on the car - I didn't want to mess with that unless I absolutley had to. Unfortunately I quickly learned that it wasn't going to work out that way so I just threw in the towel and resolved to remove the entire drip rail and the nails that attached the roof panel. Keep in mind however that I had to do repairs on both sides of the car. It sounds as though your frame is in much better shape than mine. Like you, I had some rot but actually had more accident damage (that was poorly repaired) than anything else

The point where it really fell apart on me was the top of the LH rear post. I had to replace that post because of accident damage and when I opened up the top joinery (to the cant rail and the crossmember piece) the whole side of the wood frame just collapsed. That's when I knew everything had to come off. I'm truely embarrassed to show it but am attaching pictures of that moment.

Another difficult area is mentioned above and that is the screws attaching the aluminum panels. A few only secure the panel to the wood frame but many secure the wood frame to the wheel arch flanges. The latter are easy to get to but the only way to get to the former (the screws that only secure the panel to the wooden frame) is to raise the entire side of the wood frame so that it is above the wheel arch flange. If you cut open the mortise/tenons as suggested above perhaps you could replace the waist rail without having to aluminum panels. If that is possible then the alum panel screws are not an issue.

Good luck.

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GT6CA Russell F
Petaluma, CA, USA   USA

Thank you for sharing your experiences, it certainly needed fixing and it sounds as though you did it the right way, nothing to be embarrassed about at all, i personally learn a lot from seeing pictures such as yours as it gives me a better idea of the structure of the car.

Right now i need to investigate the problem a little more by taking the inner panels off to see how far the problem goes, i have a feeling its nowhere near as bad as i fear which leads me to the question of how to fix it, is it worth replacing the whole rail and as some have already said find myself having to bleach the wood to match...


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