Saturday, August 26, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #20 - Old Frame In / Passenger's Floor Out

I've finally got caught up with my posts, so here's the most recent video in all its glory. Some actions shots in there of my #1 son welding and cutting out the passenger's floor. Happy that he's coming with me, even though I can't always keep him occupied.



#1 was a big help today and had him doing a lot of stuff from welding to grinding to cutting to...lots of stuff. I think he enjoyed it! I didn't spend a whole lot of time over there, but with his help, I got as much done as I was hoping to as mentioned in the beginning of the video.

After some adjustments to the sawhorses to make them equal height, thereby making the body equal height, we were able to get them all back together and lift the body up and onto them one end at a time. Lucky for me the boot floor isn't really attached to anything so the extreme angle that the body was at with the front on the sawhorses and the rear on the floor wasn't a big deal 😳

Body up on sawhorses. Son is test fitting door support metal.

Rear mounting spot just before the frame dips down to keep it all level.

I put #1 on welding up the angle iron to support the passenger's side door gap. I had cut into this piece before but wanted to save a bit, so he welded it back together for me!

He's not boxing...it's thumbs up, ready to weld.

While he was doing that, I was cutting and test fitting the dash support piece that will go from the heelboard to the dash top to prevent the dash from drooping when I eventually remove the lower A post for replacement.

Showing mounting point at the dashboard.

Showing mounting point at heelboard. I moved this over on the other side of the radius arm mounting bracket to prevent interference in case I needed to replace said bracket.

How it will look.

And then it was on to cutting out the floor. I followed the same method as the driver's side (#1 was doing the cutting) and just, well, cut. I used the sawzall to get in the corners that the grinding wheel wouldn't fit into and gave #1 issues. Why is it so much easier to cut out then put in? Oh, that's right, the laws of thermodynamics (entropy)!

The rough cut line for removing the floor.

Floor removed.

Another shot of floor removed. You can see final mounting point of dash support piece here at the heelboard.

Other side of the floor removed.
That was about it for the day. The ice cream, from Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream, was awesome as always. Thankfully, we are close enough to downtown Mystic, CT, which is absolutely crazy with tourists this time of the year, that a 20 minute bike ride gets us down there. No parking worries!

Cheers and thanks for all of the YouTube visits of late. While it may not seem like much in the grand scheme of Elin Yakov (or PewDiePie), 57 subscribers is pretty awesome! I'll keep posting videos...just wish I had adopted thar format earlier!

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #19 - Body Mounted to Old Frame

And, again, the video. This one runs a bit longer than my normal; about 15 minutes. Oh, and I'll mention that I have a slight cold so I'm snuffing my nose quite a bit. I didn't realize it until I went back to review the video prior to uploading...and cringed every time I sniffed...sorry 😷



I got back over to the garage and went back at the measurements. The front of the the frame (I was using the mounting holes on the outriggers) was coming in fine. I attached a metal brace between the two rear mounting holes in the frame where it bolts to the body just behind the seats to lock that part down to its required dimension. But, as I worked my way back the short distance to the rear most mounting points (at the shock towers), the measurements were about 1/2" off.

What I was not considering was the that two pieces were rolling in towards each other. The piece of wood to keep the outrigger mounting holes aligned and relatively thin metal for the rear holes was of insufficient strength to prevent this. I went to my refurbished frame and was getting spot-on measurements according to the workshop manual (which was good!) but I couldn't translate that to the old frame. I almost called it just manufacturing tolerances and welded it up, but I had an epiphany and figured it out.

I didn't take enough pictures for this visit, so you'll have to refer to the video if you need to "see" this, but I was able to get the frame aligned with old bed frame angle iron and some vice grips to keep it all together. I then went to town welding the two halves together.

The front welded up.

Forgot a pic, but you can see the other angle iron through the rear spring access hole in the body.

Dash support installed. Lines up pretty closely, but not enough to get both sides bolted in.

I had just a bit of roll in the final assembly because my dash support would not align enough to get both sides bolted in. I'm off only by about 1/8" - 1/16", but it's just enough to prevent both bolts from going in. Interestingly, the top bolts went in easily, which leads me to believe that I'm either there or really close to being there for the proper dash height...meaning that my driver's side dash is not drooping that much, if at all and that I'm really close with the door fitment...which started this whole thing in the first place!

But, after man-handling the body back onto the frame, every other bolt lined up. There are several points where the body attaches to the frame and, with the exception of the dash support previously discussed, I could get the bolts in each one of them. I breathed a big sigh of relief knowing that I had not done any <significant> damage to the body in all of my work so far. Upward and onward!

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #18 - Old Frame Assembly

Here's the obligatory video:


As you may be able to figure out from the video, I decided that using the black car's frame was the best way to go. While I still may not go back and re-visit the driver's side door issues and leave well enough alone, I definitely don't want to have the same problem when I attack the passenger's side.

The first order of business was to get the body off the sawhorses and onto the floor so I could get the frame under it so see how it lines up.

Let the body hit the floor, let the body hit the floor...(that's a musical reference).

Another view.

Since the frame was in two pieces, I needed all of the measurements from the workshop manual to get it back together.My initial plan was to mount the two frame pieces to the body and then weld them together. The more I considered this, however, the more I thought that if the body had twisted or was distorted in some way, I would only translate that distortion to the frame and then have a bad base...bad data in gives bad data out, so to speak.

Instead, I put the two pieces on the ground next to each other and tried to get them lined up and fit using the workshop manual measurements (which there are a lot of thankfully). Unfortunately, this wasn't working out for me for reasons that I couldn't figure out (but would eventually).

By this time, though several hours had passed, my son was getting rather bored and his old man was getting frustrated, so I gave it up for the day. I've found that, while I lose valuable time cutting my losses and leaving, I can usually figure the problem out after being away from it for a bit and I also tend not to do anything stupid!

How I left it, to revisit just two days later and figure it out.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #17 - More Outer Sill Preparation

And another! It's a record!



So after a frustrating false start that I mention in the video, I was back over to the garage on Sunday, a bit refreshed and ready for a new battle. With the exception of some minor battery box and seam sealer stuff at the end, my time was devoted to fitting the outer sill, which ultimately still escaped me.

As I mentioned in the front of the video, I needed to replace my repair to the front of the bulkhead and then to the opposite end to clean up the bottom of the B post. To start, I filled in the little bit of the B post that was missing. Minor, but a gaping hole just would not do, of course!

Weld center of picture. Not much to look at, I know.

Another angle. Not horrible...and it will be mostly hidden, thankfully!

Then it was on to the more difficult repair of the front bottom of the bulkhead. Since I didn't have an original piece here and the passenger's side was "covered" by the installed outer sill, I didn't really know what this looked like. Therefore, I had to wing it and cross my fingers for a good fit.

Initial fit up. Not bad. Some tweaks and good to go!

Repair tacked in. Blurry to make it look better!

Once that repair was complete, I could see how the outer sill would fit. Turns out, it wasn't that bad, but not where I want the final product.

Outer sill...still to wide of a gap there...

...which corresponds to the too little of a gap here. Seems like I didn't make any real difference with the A post change 😡

With that, I decided to forge ahead and finish welding in the repair piece and continue to play with the outer sill fitment.

Outer sill with repair. A bit tight of a fit, though that's not easy to see here.

Repair all done and ground smooth. Some minor holes to be filled.

The other complication, which I hadn't considered up until this point, was the cap that goes on the front of the sill. This isn't an obvious fit. I'm still not sure how the factory did it, even after looking at the original passenger's side. I figured it was best to screw it into the outer sill and then fit it in and see how it looked.

Front cap screwed in. Who knows!?

Ultimately, I think this is the correct way to approach it, but I wasn't ready to do any welding on it. Some of my repairs to the A post needed to be trimmed and there were other areas that needed attention that I wasn't ready to commit to, so I left it as it was. Close, by no cigar yet.

I moved to cleaning up the supports for the battery box and getting them straightened and painted with primer.

Supports as clean as I wanted to get them.

Bottoms showing large holes that will be a pain to fill. This was done with my spot weld cutter.


All cleaned up and primed with weld-through.

Finally, I went back and hit the holes and gaps in the A post adjustment with either welding or seam sealer. The larger holes were welded because it just didn't feel right to fill them with seam sealer...like filling a dent with Bondo. I did my due diligence on holes, then went over everything with seam sealer. Hopefully I won't need to undo this all over again!

All pretty and sealed. Is this the end of it???

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #16 - Battery Box and Lower Front Rear Wing

Two in one day! More updates to get caught up.




Still contemplating (or avoiding, more like it) the final decision for the outer sill, I tackled the stuff that I knew wouldn't matter if I did first. Namely, the battery box and continuing on with the lower front of the rear wing.

These two jobs were run in parallel so while talk about the jobs in series, waiting for paint to dry allowed me to do them in parallel.

If you remember a long time ago, I had started on the battery box replacement. As with any classic car, this is the repair area. If nothing else, you are probably going to be replacing a battery box. Turns out battery acid, from the old non-maintenance free batteries, sitting on steel over a 30-50 year period, tends to eat metal.

Starting off, I needed to clean up the original work area and grind down some of the original repairs I did over a year ago. I also applied some POR-15 metal prep to take care of some of the minor rust areas.

Cleaned up. The dark spots are the areas prepped with the POR-15 stuff.

I also needed to clean up the new battery box (I picked it up from TRF forever ago) and painted the weldable areas with weld-through primer. I had already formed the new battery box when I removed the old one (if you follow this link to this post, there are several following it). Since new boxes come with flat flanges the rear portion needs to be bent up a bit to follow the sweep of the bulkhead. I verified that my fit was still good, then painted both the flange of the new box and Dorothy.

Battery box drying.

Dorothy standing by for installation.

I also had already drilled some holes through both the box and the bulkhead to allow placement of some sheetmetal screws and I used these again to secure the box to the bulkhead. I worked my way around and get it all spot-welded in.

Screws and first few spot welds in. The easy welds are getting better all the time.

Unfortunately, when I welded around the area where I replaced metal, it warped a bit. Not a big deal, but I'll have to make sure I use a generous amount of seam sealer to prevent any more water from getting in there as this was obviously the weak spot to begin with!

All welded in. Not too shabby!

In parallel with that, I worked the lower front area of the rear wing. Turns out I had cut my original piece incorrectly but, since I had more old outer sill to use, I had more than enough to save my behind. The flange area where the wing and the outer sill meet was going to be tricky since that metal was wasted and/or cut away. I decided to stack metal on the repair patch to replicate the vertical displacement of the original flange.

Ready for welding.

You may notice in the above picture that everything is painted with weld-through primer but the spot weld holes appear magically free of paint. How did I do this?! I stole the trick from Elin Yakov, who I believe stole it from Jade Muttley (sorry to all if my crediting is faulty!). You simply use a grinder to square off the end of an appropriately sized drill bit. Then, take the bit and use it to scrape the paint off the inside of the holes. Easy-peasy.

Drill bit squared off. Camera didn't want to focus.

With the offset piece welded in, I put the flange piece on. I'm not sure if this was the best way to go about this repair, but I though it was pretty slick and, quite frankly, I would have to bend down to really see it so...

Flange made. I did a bunch of spots here and made it essentially a long bead.

Once that welding was done, I put the piece up and tested it for final fitting. I had also punched several holes in the bottom for attachment to the floor using my Harbor Freight Air Punch Flange Tool.

Test fit.


Closeup of flange. A bit more work there before I install the outer sill.

Once I was happy with the fit and everything, I marked it with several Sharpie hash marks and did final forming. The hash marks helped me make sure it would fit pending outer sill installation.

Hash marks done. I lifted it up at the rear (right) and it all lined up before welding.

And with that, I tacked it into place. I didn't finish the welds because the outer sill wasn't going in yet and, well, because I really didn't need to finish it at this point.

Tacked in. Good enough for now.

Finally, I needed to put the outer fender lip on. Normally this would all of been one big stamped piece. But, with the way I was doing my repair, I did it in several pieces (some from my last post) and I figured this would allow me to control assembly the easiest. I get it installed and will go back eventually and fill all of the seam, then grind it smooth to match up with the rest of the wing.

Another fuzzy one. Hopefully you get the idea.

And that was it for that day. A few more days passed before I was ready to get back over to the garage for more work...and frustration!

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #15 - Front Lower Wing / Odds & Ends

Here's another update for you.


As I contemplated what to do about the door, I continued with where I left off on repairs to the bottom front of the rear wing, finishing up the new piece. It fit much better this time.

Inside tack welds.

And outside tack welds.

I finished the tack welds up, making essentially a  long bead and ground it relatively smooth. Then, I clamped it up and welded it in.

Clamped and ready to weld in.

All done getting that part in.

With that part welded in, it was time to apply some seam sealer. I picked up a tube of Dynatron Seam Sealer from Amazon for about $20. It comes out just like caulk for a bathroom so it applies easily and is spreadable. I wore a nitrile glove while doing this, of course, because it's pretty nasty to get on your skin. It says it's sand-able, but I haven't tried that yet.

Wow, horrible pic. You get the idea.

The end result. I hit a few other spots as well.

With the inside portion done, I welded the fender lip piece on. Same idea here where I'll tack it until I get a solid bead, then grind it down smooth.

Not completely finished, but good for now.

With that done, it was time to fabricate the piece for the entire lower wing. Fortunately, I saved the outer sill from the black car that I cut off forever ago. Turns out is has nearly the same curve that the bottom of the wing has so with just some minor adjustment, I was able to re-purpose another part of the black car.

Initial fit up.


It bowed out on me a bit but was easily remedied.

While getting down there and fitting the patch I noted some more rust-through pinholes, so I cut them out and made a quick and dirty patch for that.

Small part cut out.


The back of the offending part. Always much worse from the other side.


New and old.

Welded in. Obviously some clean up required.

And that was about it for the day, it being a "school night" and all. Cheers!