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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #46 - Rear Valance Prep

Getting this one in prior to the next visit!

This visit was dedicated to preparing and installing (if lucky enough) my new rear valance I picked up at Rimmers. I took advantage of their January Triumph sale  and picked it up for about $135. While shipping was about $50 (UPS oversize, it's usually not that expensive), it still cost me less than if I had purchased it domestically  (~$220 not including shipping).

First, I  got the vertical section of the boot floor painted with POR-15  to give it time to dry. I aimed my shop heater, I mean, halogen work lights at it to help it dry.

Shiny coat of POR-15.

With that done, it was time to get the rear valance ready for installation. The general shape of the rear valance didn't change for the roundtails (MK1 through MK3),  but the rear lighting arrangements did. It is up to the installer (me) to put the right holes in the right spot for their particular version of car.

Thankfully, Dorothy's valance was in good shape in these areas so I was able to make a template. I cut a piece of manila paper big enough that it would hit the top and outer edges of the inside of Dorothy's valance so that I had it squared up, and taped it down. Then I flipped the valance over and traced, from the outside,  the outline of the holes. Next, I   transferred it over to the outside of the new rear valance and taped it down.

Template on outside of new valance.

Once I was confident of the placement, I used a small drill bit (about 1/8") to drill pilot holes in the center of each circle (using a ruler to find the center) and the little hole "tabs" for the flasher light  spire nuts. That done, I used my step drill bit to drill the 1-inch hole for the rear bumper post and the 1 1/4-inch hole for the flasher light assembly. I used a piece of 2X4 on it's short side to provide some support to the rear valance so I wouldn't bend it with the pressure from the drill. While this was effective, it probably wasn't necessary. I followed the same procedure on the other side.

Flasher light hole with spire nut holes and the pilot hole for the rear bumper post. Off a bit, but should work out fine.

Next up were the holes for the license plate light and the boot lid catch plate. I was more concerned for this step since there needed to be agreement between the rear valance and the boot; two separate pieces. If my holes for the lights were off a bit, I don't think it would be noticeable. However, if my holes were off for the boot latch, it wouldn't close properly...not good!

Again, I made a template from Dorothy's valance and took several cross-reference measurements. In addition, there is a small strengthener piece in this area that the new valance didn't come with, so I drilled it out from Dorothy and transferred it over.  I did not drill holes for a license plate, however. I'll do that when I actually get one.

Strengthener liberated from Dorothy's valance.

Template for the license plate lamp attachment points and wire hole.

Closeup of license plate lamp holes and the boot lid catch attachment holes.

The strengthener plate welded in.

The "big" flick.

With that, the rear valance itself was essentially prepped. I punched holes in the bottom flange for the plug welds to the boot floor and punched a few more holes in the rear wing on the car itself for the sides attachment points.

While the paint was still drying, there was more to do. I finished up the welding around the driver's side stop lamp that I hadn't completed...

Some grinding still required.

...and made and welded in a patch for the same spot on the other side where my spot weld cutter made holes that were too big to weld back up. I punch  smaller holes in it prior to welding it in for the future plug welds.

The area to be patched.

And the area patched! Again, grinding remains. Should have welded it from the inside, though :(.

You may notice in the picture above that I primed over the POR-15. This was a lesson I learned when doing the frame. The POR-15, after it dries, is too smooth for good adhesion of a top coat. There are two options: first, you can do like I did with the frame and go back and rough it up with 400-grit sandpaper and then shoot it with primer (or a top coat) or you can do like I did this time and hit it with primer once it is almost dry, but still a bit tacky.

There is still one more area of cancer that requires attention in the upper area of the boot lid channel on the driver's side. I hacked this piece out of the black car for transplant, but didn't get to it.

Rusted out right on the seam between the two pieces of metal.

The rest of my time entailed fighting to get the rear valance to line up and fit properly. I didn't cut anything, but I did bend some stuff, though nothing too extreme. Specifically, I'm having problems where the valance and the boot lid channel meet on the driver's side. It's almost like the new valance is a bit too "big" in this area, but I'm not ready to make that final conclusion yet. Also, it looks as though I'll need to use a jack and a 2x4 piece of wood to "compress" the bottom a bit to push it up to better align with the vertical portion of the boot floor for all of those plug welds. I think this may be by design, like the sills, to provide installation under tension for some added strength.

As close as I could get. Almost there!

So, all in all, not a bad visit. My next trip will focus on getting the rear valance permanently installed and I hope I can get there. After that, I'm flipping the body over to do cleaning and preserving underneath!

I'd like to thank everyone for their subscription response to my YouTube channel that I mentioned in the beginning of my video. I've picked up about two dozen new subscribers since I put out my pitch. Not nearly enough, but it's a start, so thanks! Cheers!

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