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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #31 - Sill Strengthener

Made some actual progress again. The video:

Getting the strengthener in is rather straightforward as it is just a relatively flat piece of metal that gets sandwiched between the inner and outer sills to provide added rigidity. Therefore, it is easy to get it installed and aligned.

Getting it lined up.

If you remember from a previous video in a recent blog post, I had drilled out the holes for the plug welds vice using my Harbor Freight Air Punch and Flange Tool because it ceased to function properly (it was donated to me, so I can't complain). This caused the strengthener to bend quite a bit, but I wasn't concerned since it would get welded straight.

A bit wavy!

I aligned and clamped down the strengthener using several vise-grips and started welding it in. I alternated top and bottom and left and right with the plug welds, moving my vise-grips as I went to ensure I kept the two parts (strengthener and inner sill) as tight together as possible to minimize the waviness introduced by the drilling process.

Lots of plug welds...that'll do.

With that done, I moved next to getting the rear radius arm bracket welded in. I followed the same process as on the driver's side with hammering and/or bending it to fit flush with the heelboard, and then bolting it in tight to weld (link to video at time I show this).

I struggled again with welding it in.  As the welds cooled, the metal of the bracket would not flex at all and, given that I wasn't getting good penetration, they popped off. I think I did about a dozen welds and they all gave one loud "pop" and I was able to take the bracket right back off with no effort. Not good.

I cleaned it back up, drilled some new plug weld holes and adjusted my welder settings (hotter, with a bit more wire speed) and tried again. Worked this time and I ran some beads for good measure.

Bracket installation - take 2.

After that it was time to prep the lower portion of the upper A post that I stole from the black car. This involved a lot of cutting and grinding of the repair patch to get it to fit, but it wasn't too bad.

After cleaning it up and cutting it down on the bench.

Getting it fit up. Still some adjustments to do.

After a bit, if was ready to tack in. You may notice some rust pitting in the piece. I thought about this and my assessment was that it wasn't significant enough to scrap it. I applied some POR-15 Metal Prep to convert the rust I didn't fully remove and went with it.  I may regret this decision, but it was a chance I was willing to take.

A few tack welds in.

The indentation near the bottom door hinge attachment points  on the donor piece didn't quite line up with the  but I was able to hammer it flush.

And done. Not too bad. I'm getting better at the easier stuff.

That was about it. There are a couple of extra nuances in the video, but that was the most of it. Thanks for reading!

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