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Project Marina, Exhaust and Interior Trim

Amongst all the other cars that have had their time in the garage the past couple of months, the Marina hasn’t been forgotten about.

This is the culmination of a couple of months worth of work on the Marina. Like usual, motivation has been hard to dredge up for this car, as I know I’m getting closer and closer to the WOF check, which is hella daunting. The “for WOF” list is getting real short now.

One of the major things I need to sort out before a WOF check was the rear half of the exhaust, which had suffered from sitting for a while and ended up with a large hole just after the hump over the axle. This blew out to be a large hole after the first time I started the engine

One problem I knew about with it, was that someone had been here before and the exhaust was all one piece welded from front to back, making it a lot harder to work with (normally broken into two sections before and after the mid-muffler

So I started by jacking the car up on one side and placing it on stands. Not my favourite angle, I had to get it pretty high to clear everything, and couldn’t put stands under the axle as it needed to hang down

I hosed everything in WD40 and gave the threads a wire brush, to make my life easier

A ratcheting spanner really helped on the mid-hanger

Once the hanger was disconnected, since the rear hanger hasn’t been fitted in a long time (since I welded the rear valance) the rear of the exhaust just dropped down

The front manifold joint was easier to get off than I thought, I just had to be patient and keep the threads lubricated and they came off without any damage. Since that was the only other thing holding the exhaust in place (there is meant to be a hanger up the front too, but that’s long gone), the whole exhaust was now wrangled from its home. Much swearing ensued.

I picked this New Old Stock rear muffler section up off TradeMe a while ago. Compared to the old rear section, this has the correct extra muffler, and is longer

Ideally, you’d just undo the clamp on the outlet of the mid muffler and swap the pipes over, but some muppet had welded the pipe into the muffler, on both sides >_<

The plan was to cut the pipe close to the muffler and then clamp the new pipe onto it, but there wasn’t enough space for a clamp before the pipe started to turn up for the hump over the axle.

So I cut the pipe further along, planning to weld the new pipe to the old one

I got it all nicely lined up, tacked it in place

And then a quick trial fit showed that as hard as it was to get the old pipe out, getting the new one in and above the axle, all one piece, was impossible, no matter how much a swore at it.

So I cut the welds and started again.

Look, I know it’s not pretty, nor does it work perfectly, but it’s only temporary and will be sorted later. The long term plan is a new slightly bigger exhaust to allow the engine to breathe better when the twin carbs are fitted…

Using some scrap steel and my rollers, I made a tube that could act as a sleeve over the pipes

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have welded the sleeve shut

On the plus side, it did allow me to get the exhaust back into the car

The muffler fits nicely, almost like it’s meant to be there (it is). I bent up some scrap steel to make a bracket for the rear hanger strap to bolt to (the previous pipe had it welded to the pipe)

The length is legit too, didn’t even realise that it was short before. It barely cleared the valance

Some exhaust paste and a couple of clamps had everything snugged up into place

After starting the car and running it to get some heat in the exhaust, yes, the sleeve leaks a little at the bottom, but it’s better than a gaping hole in the pipe that it had before. I’ll call it a sacrificial failure for the WOF man; that and the handbrake which could do with some more adjustment.

Next on my whiteboard of things to do, was to make some door cards so that I wasn’t just left with big gaping holes in the doors and the potential for sharp bits. I also wanted to make some A-pillar covers, and remake the parcel shelf trim too since that was broken.

Before getting too carried away with my new jigsaw, I started by replacing the exterior handles with a pair of new old stock ones I picked up a while ago.

Since the barrel and mech on the back of the new handles were different, I swapped these from the old handles.

It was pretty easy to do, remove the C clips, remove the single screw, remove the mechanism and barrels, swap them over, tension the spring and then refit the screw and C clips. Done. One thing I did that was a little more complex was rekeying the new barrels to match my old keys, as the new barrels were in much better condition.

I was slightly amused by the passengers handle, which had a very DIY fix at home point

Yes, that’s a big old rusty nail. In its defence, it worked fine when removed! I did have to pull the nail out to remove the handle though, it wouldn’t fit through the hole in the door otherwise.

The new handles look and feel lush. I ordered some new gaskets to go behind them too

Now, back to that jigsaw. I will admit, I have zero experience working with wood, and don’t particularly enjoy it, but here we are.

I had one home-made door card from the previous owner, the other door never had a door card on it. This door card was manky AF, with mould on the back of it. It was useful for one thing only, a template.

I used MDF as that’s what was available locally, in the right thickness, and is easy to work with. I know, if it gets wet it’ll soak it up like nothing else, but the plan is to seal the back of it somehow (paint?) and then the front will be trimmed in vinyl. All holes in the doors are sealed with tape.

Using the template door card, I traced around it and all the various holes I needed to make and then cut it out

A couple of trims and test fits had it fitting reasonably well

I haven’t quite decided what the final fixing method will be, but in the meantime just to secure them I reused the screw holes the previous owner had made in the door shell

The handle looks pretty grotty (both do) but that’s after a thorough cleaning with Simple Green, so I might have to dye it.

With one door card working well, I used that to make a copy for the other side. The RH side has not had a door card since I’ve had the car, and probably a few years before that too.

The next job for the whizzy blade of missing fingers, was to chop some of the offcuts up and make covers for the base of the A pillars, to close them in. I started with some CAD on the back of a cereal box, clamped two pieces of wood together with a couple of screws through where the clips go, and cut them out

The first one went in easily, with minimal trimming

If it seemed too easy, it’s because it was. Of course they aren’t the same on both sides, I forgot about the darn bonnet release bracket

It was right in the middle of my new trim. So out came the CAD template, and using some scissors and a screwdriver, I located it and cut a slot to slip over the bracket

I’ll give the pillar a squirt of black paint when I take this off again later to trim it in vinyl, but for now, the plan worked perfectly

It’s been a long time since the car has looked this complete

The final part I needed was the parcel shelf trim. This piece came with the car, but in two of three pieces, so it needed some creative work in order to make a good template. This is far from perfect, The RH side needs more trimming, but for now it’s there, and tidies it up a bit

All of these parts will eventually be trimmed in some tan vinyl I have ready to go, but that will happen once the car is on the road and becomes a rolling project.

The last couple of things to do before the WOF are to sound-deaden the floors so I can fit this

A brand new custom-made fitted carpet set. That will allow me to finally bolt both front seats in once and for all, and fit the new seatbelts I had made.

Once that’s done, and I fix a couple of small things like the coolant leak it’s developed, I’ll cross everything and take it in for a WOF. A terrifying prospect after all the years it’s been off the road (30 years next year, over half its life) and the work I’ve done to get to this point.

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Tony Batchelor
Tony Batchelor
21 days ago

Hi, this is very interesting and helpful. I have a Morris Marina 1700 Estate which I bought new in April 1980, which is in need of quite a bit of TLC.

Cheers Tony