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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Battery Box Installation #4

To start with an aside, I took delivery of a new inner sill and inner sill strengthener for the passenger's side of the car from a guy on my favorite forum (or at least its buy/sell & trade forum). While this is a small portion of what I will need to replace, it's a start. I'm really close to dropping a lot of money at Rimmer Bros. to take advantage of their 15% off sale on ALL Triumph Spitfire parts.

Rimmer Bros is a large parts house in the UK. They have some parts that you can't get over here and their prices are generally cheaper, but the shipping gets you. Take for example the sills (or rockers for us Americans) that are commonly rusted out. To purchase them from state-side parts suppliers costs about $120. This same part (the Steelcraft part distributed by British Motor Heritage) is only ~$105 from Rimmer Bros. If you put the shipping on that, however, it's essentially a wash. But, Rimmer's is now having a 15%-off sale for all Triumph parts. With 15% off, the sill is now ~$90 and, magically, shipping kind of becomes free.

Adding up the worst case of what I will need, I'm looking at ~$710 in new sheet metal (again, this is with the sale). This gets me both floor pans, both cross members, both outer sills, the driver's side inner sill and strengthener and the passenger's lower A-post (Dot's is essentially MIA). To price this out from domestic suppliers, I'm looking at almost double that...~$1300. Very tempting.

Okay, enough of that. I did get some more work on the battery box done today and I also cut apart a bit of the black car to try to salvage some sheet metal. This time, it was the two front mounting brackets that go under the forward, outer edges of the floor pans. They are pretty thick (maybe 10 ga) steel brackets that provide a solid mounting point for the front edges of the tub, through the floor pan, to outriggers on the frame.

A bit fuzzy, but I'm talking about part 3, right above this text.
They weren't pretty, but they are in solid shape. I have to remove the remaining old floor pan and random replacement metal the PO (of the black car) welding in there, but that salvage saved me about $50!

A bit hard to tell everything apart here, but the brackets are the thicker pieces of metal with the bolt hole in them.

The corner, cut out obviously, where the brackets were. That's the high-beam switch in the driver's foot well.
I was also working on removing the passenger's A-post in hopes that I could use that, but it is rusted out in the same spot that Dot's is towards the bottom. So, while the top is in better shape, the bottom is just as bad and I think I'll be better off with new.

After I got that all wrapped up, I moved on to battery box work (finally!). You may remember way back in my first post of this endeavor that I had cut the spot welds, unintentionally, of some of the top bulkhead while removing the old battery box. I had intended to just plug weld it back in but made a new piece (out of the old boot lid) instead since the original had quite large holes in it relative to its width.

Pretty exciting, huh? This was easy to make and I drilled 3/16" holes about a inch apart for the plug welds.
I used the zinc weld-through primer for the underside of the piece and got is set in place.

Piece set in place, ready to plug weld.
The contact points of the clamps that I have are not skinny enough to fit in between the overhang lip of the top bulkhead and the front bulkhead so I had to use magnets to hold it in place and I pressed down on the piece as I tacked it in.

Magnets from below.
Welded in. Ground down about half of it in this picture. You may also notice the tack welds on the other part in the background.
After I got that in and ground down, touching up welds as required, I went back to continuing the tack welds on the rest of the top bulkhead. I got almost all of it done but still need to grind down some welds to make sure I haven't left any holes.

A round of tack welds after they've been ground down. You can see several holes and missed spots.

Another round of tack welds, before any grinding.
If I haven't warned you on the power of the flap disk, let me say it now. Those things will just eat metal up. You have to be very careful of collateral damage while using a flap disk. The disk I was using is 60-grit and I am going to invest in 120-grit to see if they are a bit more gentle. I thinned out some portions a bit too much while trying to grind down the welds. Unfortunately, I don't have a compressor so a nice, small air die grinder is not in my tool box.

I did some additional grinding to get the battery box to sit as flush as I could, including some grinding on the battery box itself (the outside edge needed some trimming). While I doesn't sit flush by any means, it does sit in there. I'll go back with a hammer and dolly and get the opening as flat as I can and then work on the battery box to get that formed to fit. Hopefully, when I'm all done, there will not be any gaps and I'll have a good solid fit to weld.

She fits!

Well, mostly. Need some metal bending here.

And here. The box comes flat so you have to flare the back side of it no matter what.
Once I get the battery box fit snug, I'll drill several holes and get it plug welded in. Then, the supports need to get plug welded in and the task will be done. I did get them cleaned up and ready to go back in today, but didn't take any pictures. I removed those with the spot weld cutting tool, so the holes in those are rather large with a lot of metal to fill during the plug weld. I think some practice is in order.


  1. I just saw these photos on "your favorite forum". Amazingly I could tell they were yours before reading the byline. GJ, GL, HF!

  2. I succumbed to the Rimmers discount too. I placed one order last Thursday and a second one yesterday. Now significantly poorer, 2 x floorpans, 2 x crossmember, 2 x rear wings (I spent time sanding these down but I now think that at least one is probably best replaced, water pump, gaskets, front lower grill channel and more. My floorpans are not as bad as yours, but they do flex and while the car is stripped out it seems daft to bodge... My biggest problem is that I can't weld, so I need to find - and pay -someone who can.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys. Not sure how much import fees for Rimmers will cost me...waiting on that. Their prices are really good...too good in this case.