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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Chassis Restoration #7

Trying to get caught up here, folks. I fought and fought with the rear trunnions, and to a lesser extent the upper ball joints, as chronicled in my last post. So, this is more of a wrap-up post with odd and ends that I accomplished before, during and after that whole ordeal.

I fixed the other rear vertical link that had a missing spacer on it that I mention in this post. I originally tried to use a bolt and nut to secure the spacer for welding, but after the first quick tack weld, I figured out that I couldn't verify that it was centered (it wasn't). I resorted to using a pair of vice grips instead so I could ensure the holes aligned.

Bolted down...but is it centered? Who knows? It wasn't.

I centered the spacer up with my hand, then clamped it down.

Spot welds done. Not factory, but functional.

Spot welds ground down, cleaned up and painted. Good enough!

That was a quick and painless fix. I also worked on wrapping up the differential refresh. The only new parts for it were the seals (axle and pinion), lock washers for the case bolts and axle bearing circlips.

"Female" end cleaned up and ready for assembly.

Male end the same.

I primed and painted the whole thing as well. It's still sitting as I type this and I'll go back, clean the paint off of the bolts that I used to keep it in one piece, then put the gasket on and seal it all up.

After two or three coats of primer and two coats of black. Hopefully still in this position as I type.

I was lucky enough to acquire a vented oil fill cap for the motor from EBay.

It wasn't cheap...about $30 with shipping, but it's mine! Damn purist!

If you remember, I have an early (FC399X-ish) motor, which puts it at an early Mk1. The PO swapped out the gearbox and the engine for this early combination at some point and for some reason, but put back in the Mk2 intake and exhaust manifolds. Significant design differences between the two motors with respect to the manifolds made it so that the motor, as I bought the car, did not have the heater connected, the correct water pump manifold, or the correct crankcase ventilation. I've been slowly, but surely, converting the motor over to the Mk2 components as best I can. I got the Mk2 aluminium fan from a regular on the Buy, Sell, Trade section of my favorite forum.

This aluminum fan is light enough not to require balancing, unlike the original Mk1 fans. Prettier, too.

The Mk1 fan. The adjustable part at the top is the balancing weight. Much heavier.

After those odds and ends, and after I finished up the trunnion business, I moved to prepping the frame for POR-15. I've mentioned this stuff before. I haven't used any of it yet, but I now have enough to do the entire frame. Of all the research I've done, this will be the best solution to provide immediate rust correction and future rust prevention.

However, as with most paint jobs, surface preparation is the most important. So, I started surface preparation by removing loose paint and grease and what-not from the frame. I was able to remove the one radio tower bolt that had been broken at some point by applying a lot of heat from a propane torch. I couldn't find a picture of "before" I took the broken bolt out, but took one after.

The bolt was stuck in the right (or rear) threaded hole. The two curved grooves are from the vice-grips that I used to turn the bolt out.

I took a wire wheel to the top and outer sides of the frame. I need to flip it over and do the bottom and also work on the insides. There are a lot of tight spots that will prove difficult and require by-hand attention.

As with most frames I've seen, mine did not escape damage due to impingement. Specifically, it appears as if the passenger's side anti-sway bar mounting bracket was dented in at some point. This resulted in a crease in the frame and resulting pin-holes.

Pin-holes and clear damage to frame. Side view.

Same side, but taken from more of a bottom view. Blurry..sorry. Not a whole lot of bracket damage here, though.

This seems odd to me as there is no other evidence of damage, but who knows. I've asked on my favorite forum for some advice.

Tomorrow I am going to the local Jaguar club car show, British Wheels on the Green, in Madison, CT. This was the first British car show that I attended shortly after I acquired Dot and will be my third time there. My oldest is going with me and I hope to meet the wife and my youngest there (soccer game in a nearby town) to make it a family event. While the Triumphs are few, the E-type Jags are prevalent and are a sight to behold! Garage on Sunday if all goes to plan. Cheers!


  1. Good post.

    Two things:
    1. Read the POR-15 instructions -- I just did, for a side project, and it says to NOT do much preparation: "POR-15 loves rust" or something like that. It does stand for "Paint over rust" after all. :) You can use POR-15 as a primer and then paint the chassis your favorite color (they're originally body color)
    2. Don't forget to put oil in your differential. You didn't mention it and I have it big block letters in one of my planning documents just to remind myself when I get there eventually.

    Hope you enjoyed the event in CT - last week I went to Brits on the Beach in NJ, my first British show.

    1. David,
      Thanks! The rust on the frame, externally, isn't all that bad, actually. As for the diff, I attached a manila tag to it reminding me!

  2. LOL, I thought the same thing when I was putting it on there.