Saturday, July 9, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Frame Repair Completion

Caution dictates that I temper my title with some reservation. I do know that I have one more hold-down tab (what are these things really called?) to replace, but otherwise I do believe that significant frame repairs are complete.

Needless to say, I got some time at the shop today; about 5 hours. The first thing I did was get the outriggers off to apply weld-thru primer to the areas. I used painter's tape as boundary markings and applied two coats, following the can directions for drying time.

The tape was only to mark the boundaries of where I needed to paint as I didn't care about over-spray.

First of two coats. I waited 10 minutes between coats, then 15 after the final and checked it dry.

While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I prepped the outriggers themselves by removing the black paint at the weld boundaries. I didn't apply primer to them, however.

Paint scrapped away in weld area. The foldable tabs on these are different than original (picture later).

After applying the second coat of weld-thru primer, I started in on Fuel Pump the Good from Thursday while waiting for the primer to dry (more on that later). Parallel paths, as we used to say in the Navy.

After the paint was dry and ready for welding, I carefully placed the outriggers and bolted them down snug at both the exterior and interior body mounting points. The exterior mounting point has a thick shim and that went in as well. I figured doing it this way helped to keep the outriggers stationary while also ensuring that they were properly aligned.

Driver's side mounted up. You can just see the shim under the exterior mounting point. The dash mounting bracket is also visible at the right edge of the outrigger.

I also used my 12-inch F-style Welding Clamp that I got at Harbor Freight to clamp the metal ends of the outrigger tightly to the frame for a proper lap weld joint.

This pic was from Thursday, but you get the idea.

After that, there was nothing left but the crying, so I ran a few short beads on the easily accessible spots of the outrigger so as to avoid the body.

Passenger's side. Weld in back (top in pic) isn't too bad; front ones are pretty proud, though, indicative of poor penetration.

And driver's side. Better overall, I think.

The welds weren't too pretty, but they are good enough (I hope). I used the recommended settings from the welder for the metal thickness but the welds were a bit caterpillar-like (or proud, as the Brits say). From what I understand, this could be caused by poor penetration as the wire material just lays on top of the metal or by moving too slow. In my case, I think the current was too low. However, I was afraid of burning through the frame so I lowered the wire feed speed instead to allow for more heat. In the end, I think enough of the beads were good to make the entirety okay.

Probably my best overall weld. I found pushing up, fighting gravity, worked best for me.

My father-in-law was coming to see the shop and I intended to have him help me move the body off so I could finish the welds. In the meantime, I went back to the Fuel Pump the Good. I didn't run into any surprises and it cleaned up well. I still need the rebuild kit, but that should be easy to put in. I put it back together to keep everything in one piece until I get the kit.


Nice and clean. A bit of surface rust on the priming lever and cap, but should be easily remedied with more attention.

Just about the time I was finishing up the pump, my father-in-law showed up. I showed him what I had accomplished so far and the plan ahead and then put him to work helping move the body. Thing is still just as light as the first time and it came off without a problem.

Back to its resting place, awaiting work hopefully starting in late fall or early winter.

Without the body in the way, I easily finished up the top and front and back vertical welds. The back vertical welds were pretty tough for me and neither came out very nice. No pictures of that nastiness. Before I flipped the frame over to weld the bottom, I drilled out and primed the area to replace two of the hold-down tabs that had broken. I got the donors from the old outriggers that I was originally going to use. I have one more to replace and will get the donor from the black car's frame.


The broken tab on the front cross-member. The headlight wires are held in place with this one. Note the punch holes over the spot-welds for guiding the drill bit.

Donor tabs, prior to cleaning and priming.

I followed the same two-coat priming with weld-thru primer and waited until it was fully dry.

Finished products.

After that, I flipped the frame over and finished up the bottom welds on the outriggers. I used the F-style clamp again to keep the lap joint tight. I took a grinding wheel to everything to smooth it all up, but don't intend to grind it down much more than I have. One, I don't see the point and two, the factory didn't clean up their welds very good, either, so it will be in keeping with the general condition.

Passenger's side all done.

Driver's side all done.


Dishes are done, man.

The only other thing I wanted to get to was getting the front pinion oil seal out of the differential, if possible without extensive tear down. I'll look at the workshop manual and determine if it will be easy enough to replace.

As for the frame, I'm going to take a wire wheel to it and see how that goes. If it looks like the job won't be good enough, I'll get quotes for blasting it. In either case, I have decided that I'm going to use the POR-15 system to get it painted. They sell a "safety red" top coat...wonder if I can get a sample to see how it matches the signal red and try to make it closer to factory.

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