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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Chassis Restoration #16

Not an incredible amount of progress today, but I got some stuff checked off the list. The main goal was to get the rear suspension sorted, but there were several odds and ends that I wanted to wrap up as well.

First, I needed to get the chassis closer to the ground so I could start using a floor jack. I got some 2x4s for support distribution and a jack stand at each corner to get it close enough to the ground to be floor jack accessible.

Hurts my back more, but I'll be able to get it rolling on tires this way.

Next, I painted the anti-roll bar and blasted and primed the front brake line supports and emergency brake cable fork ends and operating levers.

Anti-roll bar painted with POR-15. Figured it would be better than regular Rustoleum.

Brake line supports and fork ends. They need their top coat of black. Operating levers weren't painted yet and, thus, not shown.

I also sorted my concerns for the threaded holes in the chassis for the body mounting points. As you may remember, I didn't pay attention to thread protection when I was painting the frame and I gummed up most of them pretty good. Today I was able to get them all cleaned out and it appears as if only one suffered any damage that may required re-tapping (for the bonnet pivot link...don't even remember what the bolt is actually securing...future me).

To limit any further potential damage, I first took a small stainless steel brush from Harbor Freight's Engine Brush Kit, chocked it up in my drill and cleaned the threads out thoroughly. On a side note, I really like this brush kit. But, at $17, it seems a bit pricey for Harbor Freight and what you are getting. The brushes get beat up pretty rapidly and the handle that comes with it broke on me in the first several uses (which wasn't unexpected). If you don't have one, I'd recommend it. If you do, baby it as best you can.

The small brush.

I also used a bolt from the black car's body mounting hardware and cut a groove in the threads. This is a trick that I've seen used elsewhere and even Triumph's parts manual calls out their use in various applications (gas tank bolts on my car). The groove provides a cutting tooth as the bolt is driven through the threads, removing any debris. My thread cleaners also use this technique, but the bolt I was using has a "nub" on the end which helped align it better in the hole before I started engaging threads.

Groove cut using a cutting wheel on my angle grinder.

The debris deposited as the bolt came out. This was AFTER using wire brush, too, so this is pretty effective!

With some patience and being careful, I was able to successfully thread each and every hole except the one I previously mentioned. Looking at it, I definitely jacked the first several threads up so I may have to drill and tap this one. We'll see.

The last odds and end thing was cleaning up and installing the 3- and 4-way junction/manifold for the brake lines. After the brake line leaves the master cylinder, it travels to the front, 4-way junction/manifold. One line goes to the back while the other two split to deliver fluid to each front wheel. In back, the 3-way junction/manifold takes the feed from the 4-way and delivers fluid to each back wheel.

Front 4-way splitter. The master cylinder feed comes in to the top.

Rear 3-way splitter. The front feed comes into the (looking at it) bottom port.

That's was the ends and ends that I did throughout the day while dealing with other stuff. And when I say other stuff I mean the rear suspension. That turned out much more difficult than I thought it would so I needed several frustration breaks!

First thing was to get the vertical link attached to the leaf spring arm. I had to use the wooden 2x4 spreader that I used when going through the hell that was installing the rear trunnions for the passenger's side vertical link, but this was minor. I used my rubber mallet and drift punch to get the holes lined up and got the bolt in.

Spreading it out a bit.

Bolt in. Like the front, this bolt will be left loose. May have thread engagement problems here, but we'll see once it's tight.

The driver's side did not require the "spreader" so that bolted right up. The next step was to "Jack up the vertical links, fit the dampers...and reconnect the axle shaft couplings. This step was not so easy. Since there really wasn't any weight to the chassis, at least not a lot, when I jacked up the vertical links, the entire thing came up.

First, I just tried to load up the chassis with some weight.

Floor dry, two flywheels, my Hobart and my bench press. Not even close.

After that, I solicited the help of my father-in-law, who was in town, and my garage mate who happened to show up around the same time. My father-in-law sat on the frame while my garage mate stood on it and pressed against the ceiling as I jacked up the vertical link. This worked pretty well. With some Sil-Glyde and my freshly cleaned top shock absorber mounting bolts, I was able to get the upper shock mounts in (the lowers were already installed on the vertical links).

Cleaned on left, not-so-much on right.

The Sil-Glyde stuff is great. The rubber bushing for the shock would not go in without it.
Another thread protrusion concern. The parts manual calls for "thinner" nyloc nuts that I was not able to find. May have to source from on of the suppliers.

Once the shocks were mounted, the axle shafts were next. This required some brute force which, in hindsight, would have been made easier if I had loosened up the rear trunnion bolt. But, I didn't do that so I grunted and sweated it together.

Following axle shaft to differential bolting.

 And that was about it. All in all not a bad day. I've got a parts list that is getting pretty long so I'm going to take stock on my next trip to the garage and then get some stuff, especially engine bearings and such. Next trip I should be able to get the rear brakes installed along with the emergency brake cable and then I'm going to start bending some brake and fuel lines. I'm sure that will be a treat!

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