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Friday, December 22, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #40 - Boot Floor Repair Preperation

Got another two-fer for everyone today. A longer post this time, so be prepared!

With most of the rear wing sorted, it was time to move on to the boot floor. Specifically, the portion as it takes a 90-degree downward turn and welds up to the rear valance. If you remember, this area is almost completely gone on Dorothy. Fortunately, the black car's boot floor wasn't in nearly as bad of shape (though not quite as good as I had originally thought). So, as I've  done several times in the past, I removed the needed area from the black car.

Biggest repair patch ever!

I loaded the rear 18" of the black car in my Honda Fit and headed over to the garage to see what I could do. My intention was to use the rear valance as well, but upon closer inspection, it was in similar shape to Dorothy's with some additional dents that would need to be worked. Most importantly, the bottom flange that connects the rear valance and boot floor was just as rusted out as on Dorothy, so only the boot floor would be used.

The flange area that is just as bad. The rear valance on the left, the boot floor on the right.

As for the boot floor, a PO had attached a 1/4" plate steel on both sides of the vertical portion of the floor to act as a support for hanging what was probably a dual-pipe exhaust...or something similar. Of course I removed those, but that left two big holes in the vertical portion of the floor, on either side of the factory 1" hole.

The holes. Not pretty. The 1/4" plates are in the background.

I separated the rear valance and the boot floor with the cutting wheel (sacrificing the rear valance side) and used the grinding wheel to remove the remaining bits of the rear valance flange from the boot floor, grinding through the spotwelds and taking off metal as required. I came home looking like a coal miner that night from all of the metal, dirt and rust flying through the air!

The boot floor ready to start repairs.

In addition to the already mentioned cancer repairs, I needed to address what I called "boils" directly above the rear bumper support brackets that are spot welded to the bottom of the boot floor. On both sides, the boot floor metal had corroded directly above the bracket, leaving a rather large hole.

The dreaded "boil". This is the passenger's side.

The solution for this was to drill out the spot welds to get the brackets off, repair the hole, and weld the brackets back in.

Same side with the bracket removed and the extent of the cancer revealed.

Just like the driver's side, the boot floor on the passenger's side, after the curves upward to meet the wheel arch, was corroded and required repair at that union. Since this area was fine on the repair piece, I wanted to maintain it intact, hence the reason for repairing the boil around the bracket. I figured it would be a less complicated repair if I could just use the black car's floor than to fabricate another complex repair patch like I did on the driver's side.

One additional area that would require repair was the driver's side where the boot floor turned to the vertical. Much like on Dorothy (wonder if this is coincidence?), this area was cracked (vice corroded) and would need to be weld repaired.

The crack. That's one of the bumper support brackets that I removed underneath the floor.

With the areas requiring repair identified, I moved on to fabricating repair patches. Thankfully, each of these areas was flat and mostly square, so the fabrication was about as easy as it gets.

The "holes" area cut out...including some heavily pitted areas around them.

The boil patch clamped in and ready for welding.

Boil patch tacked in.

Cracks tacked back together.

Hole patch piece installed, with new "factory" hole drilled out.

In addition to the areas that I mentioned, I had to recreate the flange on the vertical side of the boot floor where it welds to the wing strengthener. Again, this was just a straight piece of metal so it was easy to fabricate and attach. That was a good day at the garage.

Flange installed.

My next visit was a quick one after work mid-week.

Most of my time involved finishing up repairs to the areas that I already started. I additionally identified another area of excessive pitting that required another patch much like the "hole" patch.

Another patch to the left of the "hole" patch.

Also in preparation for removing the corroded areas of Dorothy, I removed the exhaust pipe bracket (?) from her for preservation and re-installation. This bracket connects between the bottom of the boot floor and the vertical portion and is spot welded to both areas.

Spot welds drilled out and the bracket cut out.

The bracket...this was mostly gone (intentionally?) on the black car.

With the new patch welded into the boot floor, it was time to  get it ready for POR-15. This is the stuff that I used on the frame forever ago to provide for corrosion prevention. Given that this area is especially susceptible to water collection (why would you design what amounts to a water trough into the boot floor?!), I decided that a coat of POR-15 was warranted on both sides of the boot floor in this area. So, that meant a good dose of POR-15 Metal Prep.

POR-15 Metal Prep applied and working.

While I let that stuff do it's magic, I turned back to Dorothy to cut away corrosion and metal that was going to be replaced. Specifically that area near the wheel arch and that side of the boot floor.

Drill out spot welds for the boot floor from inside the wheel arch.

With the boot floor disconnected from the wheel arch, I took my cutting wheel and cut a straight line back from there to the back of the boot floor.

All gone!

Another cancerous area removed!

Since I cut a much larger portion of the  boot floor out on this side, I assessed that it would be easier to replace the bottom of the wing strengthener piece now instead of after repairing the boot floor. That way, I have access from the inside of the boot and won't need to cut away as much of the rear wing to gain access from the "outside" of the car.  I don't know yet if that assessment will hold, but that's the way I'm going for now.

That was about it for the night. There is another portion of the boot floor that I should replace. I mention it in the video but I decided at that time not to do it. However, after sleeping on it for a bit, I probably really should.  I'll look at it first thing on my next visit and make the decision at that time, but I'm leaning towards it.

Until next time, cheers!

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