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Monday, October 12, 2015

Spitfire Body Removal Preparation #2

Some more work today. Got a few hours before dinner and after a nice family outing for Halloween stuff and pumpkin picking.

As far as the checklist went from the last post, I got 10 of the 12 body bolts (I missed the two that are on the ledge behind the seats), the radius arms and the steering column. My youngest helped me with some of the bolts before his soccer practice.

I started with the radius arms since I figure they would be the worst. The passenger side was first and its nyloc nut came right off but, as expected, and the bolt would spin, but not pull out, even with some manual persuasion. Since there isn't a lot of room in there to swing my 3lb sledge, I had another one of those brief moments of genius and put my trusty Harbor Freight Ball Joint Separator to work and was able to push the bolt out. Once it became flush, I was able to use another short and smaller diameter bolt and have it then push the radius arm bolt out the whole way. Pretty proud of myself on that one, especially since it popped quite a few times on its way through as it broke the rust bonds. I'm sure I would have never gotten it out so easily otherwise. The driver's side, however, came right out. Something must be up and, sure enough, the bolt seemed to be zinc coated...or at least not original and I (or, should I say, my youngest) was able to spin it right out.

Tie rod separator set up before bearing down on it the first time.
Success! A no blood loss!
Something tells me this bolt is not original...and also not the focal point of this picture..sorry.
After the radius arm removal, it was on to the bolts under the gas tank and then I worked my way forward to the 6 bolts inside the passenger compartment and the two bolts in the engine bay. All of these came out without a problem, though the one in the driver's footwell came with a lot more metal than originally designed.

The youngest doing the bolts under the gas tank.

Here he is on the passenger's side floor cross-member. Small hands, big gloves.
In there somewhere is a 1/2" bolt head. Everything extra is floor pan...oh, boy.
I then moved on to the steering column. That was a bit of a pain, but I did get it separated. You have to remove two mounting brackets for the steering column inside the passenger compartment and this can be a bit painful since there is little room for your body and less for the wrench. After I got those out, I undid the bolt on the steering knuckle closest to the steering rack first. Note that, at least for me, I had to pull the bolt all the way out. Until I did that, I wouldn't budge. Of course, it may be all of the grime on it, but there you go. That out, I pulled on the steering column and in a few tugs it separated from the steering rack. I then removed the upper bolt on the knuckle and used a small hammer to knock it off the inner steering column. The knuckle went immediately into a small bucket of Purple Power and I left the steering column detached, but not totally removed.

The passenger steering column parts needing to be removed.


Hanging in the breeze.
That was about all that I got to. I still need to disconnect the accelerator linkage, but I don't foresee a problem with that. Oh, and I did end up missing two bolts that are on the ledge right behind the seats, but those should come right out, too. After that, the body will be liberated for, I suspect, the first time in almost 50 years. I do intend to pull the windshield frame, the instrument cluster (too much work already done to take the chance of it getting messed up) and both doors to make the body that much lighter. I also intend to put some square steel tubing in the door jams to provide some support since the sills are obviously lacking. Hate for the thing to fold in half on me!

I put the jack under the front corners of the body to do a check to see if I got everything and it came up fine. However, the passenger's side front sill is essentially gone and for every little bit I lifted the body, it crushed in just a bit less...nothing there but rust and future tears, I'm sure.

All in all, after a bit of a dry spell filled with thoughts of despair for the amount of work to do, this weekend was productive and motivational. There is a lot of work...I accept that. I also want to do it right, which will entail more work and more time. As much as I would like to put her on the road in 2016 in celebration of her golden anniversary, I doubt that she will be on the road until sometime in 2017. But, I'm okay with that because I hope she will be solidly on the road vice "just barely" and, after all, she probably deserves it!


  1. Another mechanic in the making. He is up for anything !! Good Job!

  2. He definitely has his moments where he wants to help!