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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Frame Repair #3

I finished up the passenger's side of the frame repair, though I was not quite as happy with how that side turned out. Before that, though, I took a ride into the deep woods of Rhode Island to look at some post-restoration extra parts someone had. I know Rhode Island isn't all that big, but it felt like I was in the middle of nowhere. Getting off 95 the road started out wide, freshly paved and painted. As I went deeper the road narrowed, then the shoulders disappeared, then the center painted line, then the road surface got worse until eventually I was down to about one-and-a-half lanes of poor pavement and no painted lines. But, Google Maps got me there, regardless.

This gentlemen had a '67 that he was restoring and, while doing some work on his roof, fell off, seriously limiting his mobility. He was able to sell the car as partially complete but had several parts left over.

While a lot of what he had either didn't apply to Dorothy (like square-tail stuff), there were several Mk2 parts that I took off his hands. Namely, one each of the seats, one covered and one not, a flywheel (saves me significant cash for converting over to a diaphragm clutch), radiator, front bumper (not in great shape, but too rare to pass up), a heater valve, two fuel pumps (no idea if they work) and a water pump/housing/elbow assembly. All in all, I offered and he accepted $50. He was literally throwing the stuff away the very next day, so it was great timing for me. Oh, and he threw in his air-powered metal punch/flange tool that he used to repair his floors which I'm sure will come in handy! You hate to hear stories like this and it makes you continue to work at your dreams; a lucky find for me!

The flywheel. Needs to be cleaned up, obviously, but teeth are in better shape than the one I have now.

Mk2 radiator. Some damage here, but nothing too bad to me. No idea if it's water/pressure tight.

Water pump assembly, fuel pumps (original) and heater valve. Oh, and the seat with the cover.

This was about a 1.5 hour round trip so I got back to the shop around 6pm and started working. The first order of business was the weld repair to the frame. Like I mentioned, I wasn't as happy with this one. While I'm confident the repair will hold, I didn't keep up with hammering the replacement piece and it bowed on me as it went in, causing a pretty good lip to form at the bottom of the patch (or top, in the picture). In the final analysis, this boils down to improper fit-up and probably a good bit of impatience to get it done. I've got to really stop doing that or I'm going to be sorry for real one of these times!

But, since most if not all of the repair will be covered by the outriggers, I'm not too worried about it. I don't care about the appearance, I just don't want road grime to get caught in any small depressions in the weld area. I will reassess when I dry-fit the new outriggers before I make any further adjustments.

Some grinding done, but not finished. The frame is upside down in this picture.

Once that was done, I moved on to some housekeeping. I had brought my pressure washer over to go to town on the frame and various other parts. I got the black car's differential cleaned up pretty good.

Before. Those are ear plugs in the stud holes to keep a gross amount of water out.

After. Silver? The ear plugs stayed intact, through I did avoid hitting them directly with the water jet.

The frame was next. My garage-mate had showed up and helped me carry it outside. Though not totally clean, I did get most of the large clumps of gunk off of the frame. Also found the frame number (FC 645XX). That's about 5500 units away from the commission number, but I'm not sure if this is significant. I know that Triumph didn't try to match numbers, but it seems a rather large jump to me. Then again, it does not appear as though the frame and tub have been separated before now, so I'm going with it being original.

A mostly clean frame. On that cross-member is the frame number plate.

I am going on vacation in a few days so I don't plan on any work between now and when I get back. When I do, I intend on finishing the frame degreasing and getting the outriggers tacked in. I do intend on dropping the tub back on the frame to do this to make sure everything will line up. There are two body attachment points on each outrigger. One is for the very front of the tub in the engine bay and the second is in the forward portions of each footwell in the passenger compartment.

Self-explanatory for inside the car.

Engine bay mounting bold. I partially colored the outrigger so you could see it better.

While I will be able to drill my own holes for inside the car since the new floors do not have pre-cut mounting holes, I can't do that on the engine bay mounts. Since the outriggers are accessible with the body mounted, I can get it all aligned and tack the outriggers in using (what's left of) the holes in the old floors. Then, I'll pull the body off, weld them in all permanent like and proceed with finishing up the frame restoration (POR-15 and an internal frame coating, like this one from Eastwood).

Small steps, but steps all the same!

P.S. I ran over to the shop tonight to do the front brakes on my Honda Fit. The outriggers came today so I brought them over to check very rough fit and make sure they weren't way off. Some adjustments will be required, of course, but it looks good!

The look of things to come.


  1. Eric the Car Guy *just* posted a video on how to refurb a diff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il8nDlCepyc

    1. Sweet. Thanks, David. I plan on breaking into that and the engine when I get the frame done...along with everything else, of course!

    2. You're welcome. It's mostly "clean, wirewheel, paint" but it's still useful.