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401 restoration - various questions

Hello Fellow BODA Members

I am just starting on the restoration of a 1950 401. The car has various missing parts, such as 

passenger door window and frame

bonnet trims

rubber window seals

it would be great if anyone knows where I might find any of those things.

I am currently stripping back in order to deal with some chassis and frame rust - not too bad - but am having quite a struggle with getting the doors off (they hang very nicely, but I think I should be getting better access to de-rust the hinge area etc). Any tips on loosening the very stubborn nuts on those hinges? 

The wiring is pretty bad, and the engine has been removed anyway, so I am also keen to remove the dashboard, complete with older type white-faced dials, to clean up the instruments, the woodwork, and to access the supporting frame again to de-rust and re-paint. Dashboard removal is not proving that easy either. 

The car is an earlier model, with the out-flared door bottoms. They don't look too bad along the bottoms, so perhaps I should take them at face value, and not start hunting for rust where there isn't much. 

I have removed the collapsing headlining, and was delighted to discover a hand-written note on the aluminium roof - Azure Blue. Funnily enough there is no evidence of the car ever having been that colour - there are traces of maroon and a kind of battleship grey (unless that's the AB having decayed?). 

Happy to share images along the way if anyone is interested. 

Finally, I'm looking into soda-blasting to knock off surface rust, prepare more decayed areas for welding, and clean up bodywork. A chap just proposed this to me today. Would be a relief not to be wire-brushing etc, all the many angles and corners, but does anyone have thoughts on that process? 

Advice welcome!


PS - I should add, I make no claim to be a mechanic or a craftsman. I am proceeding on the basis of common sense,  time, and my own muscle power, and where I encounter things I can't attempt, I am taking advice and seeking expert input. The car is very much off the road, stripped back, and not going to be going anywhere for a couple of years (or six..).



I am most of the way through a 403 restoration. Give me a call if you want a chat. I can't help with your missing parts apart to suggest you call Bill Lawson who looks after the Pegasus parts for BODA. He has the seal that goes under the quarterlights and round the door frames where the chromed window frames go. He also has the windscreen seal that goes round the outside of the frame. I am currently trying to find a suitable flocked rubber for the wind-up window frames. Original appears to have been a thick folded-over felt strip. Glazing rubber was just 1.6mm rubber strip. However, Andy Gibbs suggested using 3mm closed cell self-adhesive rubber strip and that is what I have just used on my windscreen rebuild. Time will tell if it is fully waterproof, but it was certainly much less difficult to fit than the non-self-adhesive 1.6mm solid strip I used on my quarterlights.

If the wiring is a mess, do what I did and get a complete replacement loom from Autosparks. Don't take the old one out though without 100% marking it up first. Treat the dash board re-wiring as a separate mini-project.

I've had my doors on and off several times. Firstly remove all the springs and stuff. Then liberally dose the hinges with WD40 and leave them to soak. The heads are Whitworth/BSF sized  - the correct size spanner or socket is essential. One is threaded, the other is plain.

If none of that works, try some heat from a propane torch.

Ben Morris has reacted to this post.
Ben Morris

Thanks Michael, and sorry it's taken me so long to pick up on your very helpful reply. Luckily(?) progress has been sedate, so your suggestions are still very helpful and timely. Hope things are going well with your 403. Ben