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Monday, February 26, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair # 48 - Driver's Side Outer Sill Installation

For full transparency, I submit the following second try:

Now that that pain is over...finally!!!

I don't know how long I've been working on getting these things in (and I don't want to know), but I finally got the driver's side outer sill installed. It actually lines up pretty well, too!

I had done a lot of the fitment leg work already with the bonnet and the door, but that was now done and there was little left to do except get that puppy welded in. One critical piece did remain, however, and that was the front sill cap. This is a unique fit because the cap sits inside the outer sill, but outside the tub,  so getting it right can be a bit tricky. It's not flush to the tub yet, but it's nothing that  a few sheet metal screws and some welding won't take care of.

The sill cap needs to go into the  out sill first, then is adjusted to the tub from there. At least, that's how I did it. I almost made the mistake of putting the sill on first...that would have been bad.

Putting the sill cap in the sill.

Final fit! And, yes, looking at old factory pictures the gap between the bottom of the bonnet and the sill is a bit wider than the vertical door/sill/bonnet gaps.

Prepping the sill cap for installation.

Sill cap welded in. No going back now.

With the sill cap installed, it was time to get the outer sill up and clamped in.  But first, I had to repair the flange piece that I had originally made at the rear wing. It wasn't that great of a job to begin with and, as I had to grind some of it away to get the sill to fit, I ended up cutting through the welds. So, I made a new piece and plug welded it in. Thing is solid, now.

Front of the rear wing where the flange should be. Holes for plug welds punched.

New flange welded in.

Nothing left but the crying after that, so I put the sill back up, clamped it in and checked all my gaps. Of course, some minor adjustments here and there,  but once that was set, I used sheet metal screws and the clamps to help keep it secure.

Front view.

Rear view.

I was especially concerned with  the area at the upper A post since there is not place to get a clamp in there, so the sheet metal screws (and some hammering) did the trick.

Most of the plug welds done on the front portion.

I did put holes in the rear of the sill where it meets up with the B post.  I don't think they did this at the factory; I think they just did a brazing job. I don't have that equipment, so I punched holes and used some sheet metal screws to tighten it up and plug welded it in. There's still some gaps, so I'll have to figure that one out.

Rear of the sill showing the plug welds to the B post.

That was about it for the welding. Seems like a lot of time for a little work, but I can't tell you how many times I check gaps and fitment. It was A LOT! I did prepare the transition piece that forms the front of the door jamb at the A post to sill, but I didn't weld it in.

Inside of the transition piece. I definitely cleaned that up!

Transition area prepped and ready.

All in all, I was very happy with the day. Like I said, I have the transition piece to put in and  still a bit of a gap between the front sill cap and bulkhead, but I don't believe they will cause me any problems and I should be able to get both of those things knocked out on my next visit. I do regret not punching some plug weld holes in the sill cap, but oh, well.

Looking down at the sill cap, trying to show the gap. Hammer and dolly, and some sheet metal screws, should take care of that and allow me to weld it up.

On a related note,  I came into contact with another local Spitfire owner (recently purchased 1978)  via my favorite forum. He came over the garage to check out Dorothy and I went over to his place later in the afternoon to check out his acquisition. She's in really good shape for being a Connecticut car. Problems, as you would expect, but definitely seems to be a solid platform to improve!

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