From the factory, MG used spacers and packings to hold the seats off the
carpets. The original design used an alloy spacer, 3/8"
thick, 3/4" in diameter with a 5/16" hole in the center for
the seat-mounting bolt to pass through. Around these spacers was a
1/4" thick wooden packing strip to hold the carpet down and help
support the seat rails.
This system had problems. The wood tended to get wet and hold
water on the carpet for long times. This promoted rot of the
carpet, the packing strips, the seat rails and floors. Through the
years, many previous owners have removed these packing strips, either
because they were destroyed by rot, lost, or just believed them to be
unnecessary. This` tech tip tells how to replace the packing
strips with something that will not only work better but will also not
soak up and hold water.
First, you will need to acquire some aluminum flat bar stock, /4"
thick and 1" wide. I purchased 6061 from McMaster Carr, an
industrial supply house. McCarr online at http://www.mcmaster.com
has just about everything in the
whole world available at reasonable prices. And their service is
FAST! The aluminum can also be found at larger hardware stores or
building supply dealers.
When you find your materials, cut four pieces 20-5/8" long.
You can then lay one of your original seat rails on top of it to locate
where the holes need to be drilled. Notice that the holes are not
centered in the strips; rather the hole centers are about 3/8" from
one edge. The 1" wide material also fits perfectly under the
seat rails. Before you mark the holes, be sure you have the right
locations as the seat rails have several holes in them for other
applications. The holes you use should be 14-5/8" apart,
center to center.
Once these holes are located, drill them with a 5/16" drill
bit. The bolts that pass through them are 1/4"x28 TPI, so the
larger hole will give you a bit of slop to help aligning things when you
re-install the seats. If you have the original seat packings, I'm
sure you've noticed that the originals are a bit different from your new
ones. The originals fit around the alloy spacers and sit on the
Your new ones sit on top of the alloy spacers, thus holding them above
the carpet. This helps prevent moisture from being trapped under
the packings and rotting your carpet and floors. Don't have the
spacers? No big problem. The originals were made from round
aluminum, 3/4" in diameter, 3/8" thick with a 5/16" hole
through the center. I made new ones from aluminum stock; however
you can do just as well by buying a handful of 3/8" stainless steel
washers and gluing 4 or 5 together as a stack with superglue until you
have a spacer of about the right height.
I also suggest that you
replace the original 1/4"X28TPI X1"long bolts with longer
stainless steel bolts as well. Once again, I purchased mine at
McCarr but they may be available elsewhere. Your new packing strips
can be left unfinished or painted black, as I did. Black paint will
make them show up a bit less unless you are looking for them.
all that's left is to reinstall your seats with your new packing
strips on top of the spacers. If you remove the stop block at the
rear of one rail for each seat you will find them easier to
re-install. Start with the rear bolts, and then once you get them
snug, go to the front bolts. I also ran a long bolt through the
floors from the bottom to act as a guide in locating the holes, but
a screwdriver can be used just as easy. So there you have it, how to
replace your rotted wood packing stops with something more modern.
(NOTE: In all fairness, I can't
claim responsibility for this idea. Les Bengston wrote about it
back in 1999 and his problem is on his website, http://www.custompistols.com/cars/articles/index.htm.
Thank you, Les, for the solution to a common problem.)