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MG Midget Interior

MG Midget Interior Installations

General Instructions And Tips

Tools Tools Needed
What You Need To Do-It-Yourself

Read ahead a paragraph or two at a time so you can plan ahead. Lay out items as you dismantle the car and match them up with the new parts.

Keep the parts for each area labeled with masking tape and marking pen for easier location later.

Small containers such as plastic film canisters or baby food jars that can be taped to the larger parts come in handy. Don't throw all the parts into one container, as you may forget which piece went where.

Don't throw away anything until you are sure that you won't need it again. This is a good idea anytime with an older car, considering the decreasing availability of parts.

Where holes are needed in new panels for screws or rivets, place the old panel on top of the new panels and tap the awl firmly with a hammer to punch the pilot hole at each spot. Use the old panels or a piece of cardboard under the area where you are working to keep from damaging your work area.

Lay out the new carpeting beside the car before installing. Place each item in the car to check placement and fit. It may be necessary to trim the raw edges of the carpet with scissors.

Use a knife or scissors to trim carpet and other material. You may lightly tap the material with a hammer to aid sticking the carpet down and removing wrinkles.

Clean and vacuum as you go so you eliminate having old abrasive dirt under your new interior. Keep your hands clean and dry while working with new carpet and vinyl.

When gluing, apply adhesive to both surfaces and allow to dry slightly before joining.

Use a good quality cleaner designed to remove glue from carpets and upholstery to remove overspray or glue spills.

Rivets will have to be drilled out with an electric drill and a 1/8" drill bit. If a rivet starts to spin as you drill, hold it in place with the tip of a flat screwdriver and then place the drill at a slight angle.

Disconnect the battery cables before working, to avoid the possibility of shorting out anything while working.

This would be a good time to check the condition of the floor boards, doors and any other body sections for rust, corrosion and wear. Repair these before installing your new interior.

Carpet and Panel Replacement (Part 1)

Figure 1: Remove the chrome finisher plate.
Figure 2: Move seat forward and remove the rar seat bolts.
Figure 3: Front seat bolts attach underneath the car.

Getting Started

Unsnap the convertible top boot and remove the convertible top retaining bar. Unsnap and remove the convertible top, frame hardware and attachments using the #3 Phillips screwdriver. Remove the door seal trim by unscrewing the chrome finisher plate, drilling out the snap rivet (Fig. 1), and pulling loose the trim. Check for wear and store for later use or purchase new trim. If replacing, keep the old trim as a measure for length on the new piece.

Push the seat as far forward as it will go and using a 7/16" socket wrench, remove the bolt at rear of each runner (Fig.2). Then push the seat back and remove the front bolts. These bolts attach through the floor boards underneath the car. Use the socket wrench below and an open end wrench above (Fig. 3). CAUTION! Make sure that the car's exhaust system is completely cool before attempting to remove these bolts!

Disconnect the seat belt warning switch under the driver's seat. Unbolt the inside seat belt latches from the transmission tunnel using a 5/8" wrench. The wire to the seat belt warning system will need to be disconnected on the driver's side. You do not need to unbolt the seat belt unit attached to the wheel wells and behind the door sill, because the carpet is easily cut to fit around it.

Figure 4: Drill out the rivets in the rear cockpit panel.
Figure 5: Pull out the rear quarter panel from the bottom.
Figure 6: Remove the peg stud fasteners.

Remove Carpet And Rear Side Panels

Remove rear deck carpet by simply pulling it up from the deck. Remove the rear cockpit panel by drilling out the rivets (Fig. 4), and place aside. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the lower door sill panels. Pull loose rear quarter panels above the wheel arch. Pull out on bottom of the quarter panel first, where it is clipped into place (Fig. 5).

Remove the rear wheel arch carpet, as well as the strip of carpet that covers the rear deck reinforcement area.

Using the Phillips screwdriver, remove the two peg stud fasteners located above the transmission tunnel on the panel located behind the seats (Fig. 6).

Remove the ashtray on the transmission tunnel, then pull the carpet loose from the panel and the rear section of the transmission tunnel.

Pull up the old carpet from the rear floor sections, and clean all areas well. USA specification cars built after 1972 may have extra heat insulation material under the carpets due to the catalytic converter system. Be sure to reuse this insulation, if possible, to avoid a fire hazard.

Figure 7: Glue the B-post vinyl in place
Figure 8: Align the rear deck reinforcement carpet with the front lip of the rear deck and the bottom of the wheel arch.
Figure 9: Trim the wheel arch carpets for a better fit.

Replace Vinyl, Carpet And Panels

Remove the vinyl pieces that cover the B-post and the small ridge on the rear deck that protrudes from the carpet, as well as any other small pieces used to cover gaps in the panels or carpets. Note the placement of these as you remove them, and use them as templates, using scissors to cut new pieces of vinyl for replacement. Leave plenty of overlap area for the carpet. Clean these areas well, then apply glue to the new vinyl and to the metal. After the glue is tacky, position the new vinyl as before.

On the B-post vinyl, lay the vinyl along the flat side of the post, and eliminate any wrinkles or bubbles (Fig. 7). Starting from the mid-point of the post, fold the vinyl around the front edge. Carefully cut slits in the ends to meet the corners and fold these flaps neatly over the top edge, trimming as needed at the top and bottom.

Check the fit of the rear deck reinforcement carpet pieces by aligning the front edge of the carpet to the front lip of the deck, and the outside edge along the wheel arch (Fig. 8). Glue them into place. The stitched line in the rear wheel arch carpet will lie on top of the arch running back parallel with the side of the car when fitted properly.

Press the dry carpet in place and check for fit. You may have to cut a slit for the seat belt unit a little farther in for proper positioning. Trim the inside of the seam, if needed, to get a better fit. Work the carpet down with your hands to press smoothly into place, then hold the new quarter panel in place to check the fit. Apply glue to both wheel arch and carpet back and press into place when tacky. Trim away excess overlap of the reinforcement section (Fig. 9). Repeat for other side.

Carpet and Panel Replacement (Part 2)

Figure 10: Mark the holes in the rear cockpit panel.
Figure 11: Apply the glue to the deck panel and back of carpet.
Figure 12: Fold back the edge of the vinyl strip.
Figure 13: Trim holes in the rear quarter panels to allow for the convertible top hardware.
Figure 14: Slide the radio console out to the passenger side and tie up and out of the way.
Figure 15: Align the new and old panels. Punch screw holes in the new panels as the old panels are removed.

Replace Rear Cockpit Panel and Deck Carpet

Using an awl or ice pick, punch a hole through the center indentation at the top of the panel, then line up this hole with the center bracket on the car, hold the panel in position and mark the other holes in the panel where they will attach to the outside brackets (Fig. 10). Screw or pop rivet in top of new rear cockpit panel. Use the appropriate trim ring or snap button, and screw or rivet into existing holes in bracket. Put the bottom of the panel in place and use the awl to punch the hole for the bottom rivets or screws, then attach the panel.

Put the carpet for the vertical panel behind the seats in dry, to check size, and check the fit into each corner. The top corners should overlap to cover the area in front of the wheel arch.

Apply glue to the deck panel and back of carpet (do not apply to the vinyl strip yet) and when tacky, press into place (Fig. 11).

Start at the center and work outwards and downwards, making sure to line up the edge of the carpet with the top edge of the deck for a smooth edge when the vinyl is turned back. Apply glue to top edge of deck and to the vinyl strip, carefully protecting the carpet from overspray with a scrap of cardboard or plastic. Turn over edge when tacky and press smooth along the edge, starting at the middle. At the sides, where the reinforcement section is, the vinyl must be cut and folded back under the carpet (Fig. 12). Check the fit of the rear deck carpet and glue it into place.

Using scissors, carefully trim a small hole in the rear quarter panels for each of the three convertible top bolts (Fig. 13).

Attach clips to the back of the quarter panel and slide the rear portion in behind the edge of the rear cockpit panel. Snap the top clip into place, and push in the bottom of the panel.

Remove the screws on the sides of the radio console and slide it to the passenger side (Fig. 14).

The console may be tied out of the way to the passenger side by looping a string through any hole in the console and tying the other end to the sun visor or rear view mirror.

Loosen the nut and washer around the hood release cable, remove the screws holding the radio console backing panel and pull out the old panel.

Depending on your car's year, the new radio console panel may be taller than the old one, and you may have to cut it in order to accommodate the choke cable and hood release cable. Mark and punch in all of these holes in the new panels, as well as the screw holes, using the old panel as a guide and another old panel or cardboard to protect the floor (Fig. 15).

Figure 16: Replace the vinyl between the carpets and panels.
Figure 17: Carefully fit in the cross-member carpet.
Figure 18: Bend the top of the ring clip points using a flathead screwdriver to secure them.
Figure 19: Replace the shift gaiter and ring

Foot Well Carpets and Panels

Unscrew the door check straps from the outboard kick panels, noting how the reinforcing plate is attached under the strap. Unscrew and remove the shelf beneath the passenger side dash, then unscrew and remove the kick panels on both sides. Pull the rest of the old carpeting and vinyl out, including on the transmission tunnel, again noting the placement and size of the vinyl scraps and the extra vinyl attached to the panels.

Replace the vinyl first, coating both surfaces with glue and applying when tacky (Fig. 16). Replace the carpet strip that covers the inside reinforcement along the transmission tunnel, being careful to align the back edge where it meets the floor cross-member. Check the fit of the carpet and kick panels before gluing the carpet, then trim and glue in the carpet on the cross-member (Fig. 17).

Replace the kick panels and the radio console backing panel. Put the foot well carpet in place, then push the points of the ring clips through the carpet, centering them where you can feel the snaps beneath. Working on a hard surface, turn the carpet over, add the ring clip backs and bend the points over with a flathead screwdriver to secure (Fig. 18). Then snap carpet into place.

Remove the ring surrounding the base of the shift gaiter, and unscrew the shift knob (Fig. 19). Replace the shift gaiter and reattach the ring, driving the screws through the vinyl gaiter. Refit the shift knob.

Check the fit of the transmission tunnel carpet, then glue it in place, noting where the ashtray screws back in. Lay the front transmission tunnel carpet in place and attach the clips as on the foot well carpets. Screw the radio console and new door sill panels in. Use the awl to locate the screw holes in the transmission tunnel and screw the ashtray back in place.

Lay the back floor carpet into place and check the fit. The carpet should slightly overlap all the other carpet. Trim the carpet as needed, and cut holes just large enough for the seat bolts and seat belt warning wire to fit through. Glue the carpet into place and bolt in the seat belt latches. Replace the door seal and chrome seal cap using screws and rivets as before.

Door Panel Replacement

Figure 20: Use a 5/16" open end wrench to reach behind the rail and loosen the bolt.
Figure 21: Cut a "V" and trim the vinyl on the end of the door rail. Glue folded end over.
Figure 22: Slip the door panel under the top rail and clip in.
Figure 23: After cutting an "X" with a box knife, tuck in the vinyl around the window crank hardware.

Slide off the screw covers on each end of the door pulls and unscrew the old pull. Roll the window all the way up, then remove the window crank by removing the screw in the center of the crank and pulling loose.

Unscrew the door latch handle with a #3 Phillips Screwdriver, and using a #1 Phillips screwdriver, take out the two small screws holding in the latch plate. Note carefully how this latch is assembled for later installation.

Remove the door panels by pulling out on the bottom and sides of the panel. It may help to use a screwdriver to pry near the clips. Align the old door panel with the new one and mark the screw holes for the handles.

The top door rail is attached by nuts inside the door frame. Using a 5/16" open end wrench, reach inside the door under the rail and remove the nuts holding the rail in place (Fig.20).

Tip: Tie a string to the other end of the wrench, to make retrieving it from inside the door easier.

Remove the door check strap by pushing in and down, then pulling out. Try pulling up and then out, as these may have been installed either way. Remove the retainer bar from inside the strap by drilling out rivet, and rivet it into the new strap. Install the new ones, using a screwdriver to help push in the retainer bar.

Pull the old vinyl off the old top rail, and use as a template for the new vinyl. Lay the vinyl face down on flat surface and apply glue to both the rail and the vinyl. When tacky, lay the rail on top of the vinyl, and starting from the center, wrap the vinyl around the rail, smoothing it as you work towards each end.

Cut a "V" out of the end of the strip to aid in folding the vinyl back, and trim to approximately 1" to 1-1/2" from the end (Fig. 21). Apply a small amount of glue on the inside end of the rail, and fold the vinyl over the end when tacky. Install the rails on door.

Place new clips in the door panel. Slip the panel under the rail, align the clips with the holes in the door frame and snap into place by pushing firmly at each clip (Fig. 22). Using a box knife, cut an "X" in the vinyl to allow for the window crank (Fig. 23). Tuck the vinyl behind the crank and screw on the handle. Screw on the new door pull, and slide the screw caps into place.

Seat Cover Replacement

Figure 24: Remove the clips on each side of the seat back.
Figure 25: Pry out the staples from the bottom of the seat.
Figure 26: Pull the seat cover up over the headrest.
Figure 27: Press in on the clip at the base of the headrest shaft to remove the headrest.
Figure 28: Remove the clips on the base of the seat.
Figure 29: Clip webbing in place.
Figure 30: Apply glue to the recessed area of the seat foam.
Figure 31: Work the cover over the seat foam.
Figure 32: Pull the rear seat base flap under the bar at the rear of the frame.
Figure 33: Lift the seat base and apply glue to the frame.
Figure 34: Bend the new seat backboard at the indented lines.
Figure 35: Apply glue to the edge of the seat foam.
Figure 36: Pull the new seat back cover on, being careful not to pull apart the seams.
Figure 37: Staple the back flap of the seat back cover.
Figure 38: Trim a small hole for the seat adjustment handle.
Figure 39: Glue down the flaps underneath the seat.

Work with the seat on a bench or table at a comfortible height. Keep one of the seats together to use as an example, checking your work against it until the first seat is completely recovered.

First remove the clips on each side at the bottom of the seat back, using a flat screwdriver to press down on the edge of the clip (Fig.24).

Using a Phillips screwdriver, remove the screw holding the seat adjusting handle, and carefully pull or pry the handle away from the seat.

Turn the seat on one side, then pry out the staples holding the back vinyl to the base (Fig.25). Pull the folds of material out of each side where it is tucked underneath the seat.

After making sure all staples are removed, untuck the flap from the front of the seat back, loosen the cover from the foam and peel away the cover, turning it inside out and pulling it over the headrest (Fig. 26). Pull back the seat foam and press in on the clip at the base of the headrest shaft, with a screwdriver, to remove the headrest (Fig.27). If the seat backboard is worn out, remove the 2 screws, holding it in place at the bottom, and pull loose. Save the plastic, if possible, for use under the new seat cover.

Turn the seat upside down, and note the position of the C-clips and smaller U-clips that hold the seat cover in place. Remove the clips using the flathead screwdriver to pry them loose (Fig. 28). Pull loose the entire seat foam and cover, saving the fire retardent cloth beneath the seats, if possible. Turn the seat right side up, and using pliers if necessary, pull out each of the clips that hold the webbing into the seat frame.

If the frame is rusting or flaking paint, lay the seat on its back, and remove the seat rails, using a Phillips screwdriver and a 7/16" wrench. Sand or wire brush any rust or flaking paint from the frame, and repaint with black enamel. Then replace the rails.

Clip the seat webbing into the seat base (Fig.29). When installing new seat webbing, use a hair dryer to heat the webbing. This will loosen the rubber and allow you to stretch it into place much easier for better fit and placement. Use pliers to grab and help stretch each clip into place.

If needed, cut new material for beneath the seat base, or use the old flame retardant material.

If using new material, cut slightly larger than the seat base foam. Apply glue to the back of the material and to the bottom of the foam. When tacky, lay the material on the foam and trim away any excess.

Fold the seat base cover inside out, and apply glue to just the recessed area of the seat foam and the corresponding areas on the back of the cover (Fig.30).

Do not apply glue to the raised edges or sides of the foam or seat cover. When tacky, place the cover on top of the foam, carefully aligning all sides.

When in place, press with the your palms for a few minutes in the recessed area where the glue has been applied, to create the proper contour of the seat. Work the cover over the foam one edge at a time, starting at the front of the seat. Place one hand on top of the front corner of the seat and press down the foam. With the other hand, curl the cover down into place around seat bottom foam (Fig. 31).

Adjust the piping and seat foam as you eliminate bulges in the seat cover.

Place the seat base in the frame, pulling the rear flap under the bar at the rear of the frame (Fig. 32).

Lift the front of the base just enough to apply glue to the frame on each side, then press the base into place (Fig. 33).

Pull the material down and put one clip on the front and one on the rear.

Using scissors, cut a slit just big enough to allow for the frame in the flaps on each side at the rear of the seat. The material behind this slit will tuck in under the seat.

Slightly bend the new seat back board at the lines impressed in it (Fig. 34). Attach the new backboard by aligning the top of board with the top of frame and screwing it in place.

Tape down the edges of the seat backboard to conform to the frame all the way around, creating a nicely curved back.

Check fit of the seat back foam on the seat frame and trim the edge of the backboard with scissors, if necessary. Overlap the foam over the back and align hole for the headrest.

Apply glue to the edge of the backboard and inside the foam flap on the seat back foam, then press into place (Fig. 35).

Trim away the foam around the seat adjustment handle fitting.

Use the old plastic, or cut a piece of plastic from the bag that the seat covers came in, and glue in place across the top of the seat back foam. This will help when sliding the new cover into place.

Pull the new cover over the seat back, taking special care not to pull at the stress points where the sides and back of the cover are sewn together (Fig. 36). You should also be careful with the adjustment handle fitting.

Align the flutes of the seat back cover with the flutes of the seat base cover.

Adjust the seat foam and piping folds inside for the proper fit and to eliminate lumps. Check the fit of the headrest by removing the clip inside of the headrest shaft and placing the headrest temporarily into place. Adjust the back seat cover and foam for proper alignment of the ribbing with the seat base.

Turn the seat over and pull the bottom front flap through the seat and staple the center in place. Pull each edge tight and staple. Then pull the back flap tight, fold under itself, and starting in the middle, staple in place (Fig. 37).

Attach the small clips that hold the side flaps to the cardboard, and tuck the ends of the vinyl flaps underneath. Cut a small hole in the vinyl for the seat adjusting handle with the scissors, and refit the handle (Fig. 38).

Turn the seat on its side, and glue down the flaps at the rear of each side of the seat (Fig. 39).

Pull the flaps down around the framing, smooth out any wrinkles and attach the clips. Trim the front flaps to fit around the frame supports. Replace the retaining clips and install the headrests.

Trim a small hole in the carpets at each place where the bolts will need to fit through, then reinstall the seats into the car.

With your new interior kit installed, you’re ready to reassemble your car. Replace the convertible top and the top retainer bar in the same manner as they were removed. Attach the convertible top boot and reconnect your battery cables.

You did it yourself! Yes, it was work, but the finished job was worth it. Go ahead and smile… you earned it. This is what pride is all about!