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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Battery Box Installation #2

Got my weld on today. Also took some time out to show my boys what I know...which ain't much! But, now, I think we all have about the same amount of weld time!

Though I purchased a 75/25 Ar/CO2 mix bottle quite some time ago, it wasn't until today that I decided it was the right time to switch over from the flux core set up. If you are unfamiliar with MIG welding, as I was, without using a bottle of inert gas, you are not technically MIG welding.

MIG stands for "metal inert gas". The "metal" part is the wire that is fed through the "hose" to the tip of the welding gun. The "inert gas" part is the bottle of gas that you have that acts as a shield to evacuate the normal atmosphere to provide a clean environment in which to weld.

For the most part, when you buy a MIG welding rig, you get the welder, a spool of flux-core wire and sometimes a gas regulator and hose. I purchased a Hobart Handler 140 last Christmas at Tractor Supply when it was on sale for around $450 (normally about $520 it looks like). This welder has great reviews. I would recommend it, I guess, but I don't really have enough experience to say so. However, I would say that I HIGHLY recommend it over buying something at Harbor Freight. As I've said before, for something like this, name-brand is worth it!

Pretty catalog image of my welder. Shows everything you get.
With the Hobart, I got the obligatory spool of .030" flux core wire, a regulator and hose for gas, and the welder (of course). I played around with the flux core wire for a while. The drawbacks from the flux core wire is that it is a dirtier weld (more splatter) and that it is harder to weld thin metal (like the 20-22 gauge body panel stuff) without really knowing what you are doing. I knew I would convert to the actual MIG at some point, so I made sure I bought a unit that supported this requirement.

Anyway, I finally transitioned to 0.023" solid wire with 75% Ar, 25% CO2 gas mix today. There is some setup stuff that changes when you go to solid core wire and gas...but it's easy. I did some practice and let the boys take their shot at some welding, too. We did the trifecta...plugs, laps and butts (the adolescent boys snickered at that, of course).

My oldest ready to go.

My youngest striking an arc!
For the car, I did some more prep in the area. As I mentioned in my previous post, the area that I'm repairing has three layers; the front bulkhead, the top bulkhead and the battery box. My goal today was to get the front bulkhead area done. You may remember that the corner closest to the engine was in pretty bad shape and needed some new metallic love.

The forward bulkhead damage, but cleaned up and ready (sorta) for repair.
So, I took care of that.

Wow...that's really ugly!
Better, but you may notice that dark spot right under the apex of the inside curve...that's a hole.
There were times, of course, where I held the trigger a bit too long and blew through some sheet metal. One nice thing I learned about MIG welding today is that you have a wealth of new metal at your fingertips. Blow through a weld hole?...there's metal for that. Need to fill a previous rust hole...there's metal for that. Just pull the trigger and you get new metal. Of course, you have to be careful and all that, but it's great. I filled several missing gaps with the spool of wire.

Holes all gone, filled with MIG wire.
I also got some flap disk experience today with my angle grinder and learned that those things will grind through metal pretty quickly. I knew that, but I guess I didn't appreciate it enough.

Hard to see, but you can tell the metal about an inch from the far right is pretty thin...whoops!
While I was there with the flap disk, I took the liberty of grinding out all of the spot weld remnants in preparation for replacement.

Cleaned up, upper battery bulkhead gusset spot welds ground down.
I did some more cleaning and grinding and what-not and finally ended up with something that I'm quite happy with.

Still have some holes to fill...but mostly done.
Next step is to repair the top bulkhead, which will entail layering another piece of new metal on top of what I'm showing here. Fun, fun!

The notched-out area requiring repair.