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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Chassis Repair #8 (Complete?)

For the second time, frame repairs are complete. I'm fairly confident in saying that this time (though I was last time, too) as I've been over the entire frame with a wire brush and haven't found anything else suspect.

This was definitely a more complicated repair than replacing the outriggers and the damage from those (related post). I made two intentional sacrifices to keep within my skill level. Hopefully, they won't come back to bite me.

Both significant sacrifices shown here. The obvious large hole in the center interior and the other, not-so-obvious small one on the left vertical.

The first sacrifice, and most obvious, was to treat and prime the gaping hole in the interior of the frame that you see in the above picture. I didn't assess this as a critical strength portion given the rest of the corrugation on this part. Also, the chance of messing up the repair beyond saving it with metal that was questionable to weld on, especially with my limited welding skills, I deemed too great.

The second sacrifice was a bit more subtle. Unfortunately, though not a surprise, the damage was in a bad spot. While forward of the suspension tower mounts, it's close to where the front lower wishbone mounts. Thankfully, the damage is on the lower part of the frame while the mounting hole is on the upper (the above and below pictures show the frame upside down). But, it's near the steering rack mounting brackets welded to the main frame. I made the conscience decision not to cut all of that out, further complicating the repair. Instead, I cut away as much as I felt I could, put rust converter on the rest and primed it up (weld-through) as best I could.

Backing piece tacked in. I did not further address the corrugated metal hole interior to the frame.

After priming, I put in a backing piece, also primed, to reinforce the damage and provide a better weld bed when I attached that part of the repair.

My last post covered most of the bottom and outside portion of the frame repair, so I won't repeat that. Last night I finished up the rest of the bottom, the inside and replaced the anti-sway bar mount.

As I left it the last time we "talked"

The remainder of the bottom repair, the little angled piece you can see (that's not there) in the above picture was fun. Lots of curves and stuff to worry about (well, for me, anyway) but I eventually got the repair sized and fitted. Again, grind, fit, grind, fit...ad nauseam. By the way, this was new metal, not a donor from the old frame. I used 16-ga weldable steel, which matched this part. The rest of the frame is mainly 14-ga. (thicker). I cleaned and primed the interior part of the frame and the new piece.

Final fitting prior to welding. I tried to bevel the edges on the frame and the repair piece for a better weld.


I moved on to the inside of the frame. I had tacked it in previously, but it was time to make it permanent. Not as easy to get to, but I got it done.

Not too pretty. It's in there, though.

Just grind it! I was using an air-powered die-grinder here. Worked great, but some areas were not accessible.

After getting the frame repair in there solid and cleaned up, it was on to replacing the anti-sway bar mount. I measured this up, based on several points that I took from the one that was installed already, and welded it in. This was straight-forward.

The anti-sway bar mount installed. Still beat up, just like it came out.

I also tacked back on a new front cross-member wire clip-thing. I had previously repaired this with new tack welds, but then the clip itself broke on me. So, new metal and re-tacked it in. No good pics on this.

The new clip installed, with the frame flipped. You can see the heat transfer through the metal. Guess that's good!

That was about it. This weekend is a bit packed with family things, but I hopefully will get at least a few hours. I bought some Gunk Original Engine Degreaser today at Walmart ($3) to start the "gross" cleaning of the frame in preparation for POR-15 application. There are still some spots that are pretty bad and I didn't want to waste the POR-15 degreaser on them. Once I get it as cleaned up as I can, I'll start the entire POR-15 process. This is in three steps: degreasing, metal etching and painting.

I don't suspect I'll get to any of the "official" POR-15 process this weekend, but I do hope to get the frame ready for that point. My Rimmer's order is scheduled for Tuesday delivery, so I'll probably put up a nice "ooooh, ahhhh" post on my shiny new exhaust. Otherwise, still crossing my fingers that I'll be frame complete by the end of October!


  1. Looks great and feels like you have good momentum heading into next step. Post picks as you clean, etch, and paint the frame. Also, thanks for taking the time to keep this site up with your progress. It is interesting to me, and motivating.

    1. Thanks, John. Sometimes I need motivating myself! I was pretty bummed when I found the new damage, but now that it's fixed, the light is starting to shine again.