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Monday, February 12, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Restoration - Bonnet Installation & Alignment

Got the bonnet on. Actually wasn't too bad...

I showed up not really sure what I was going to do. Well, I had an idea, but not a clear path. After some decisions, I went with landing the bonnet first. I used the engine hoist again, like the body, and used a few ratchet straps to  support it at both headlamp holes and in the rear center. The thing doesn't weight that much and wasn't too cumbersome with the hoist supporting it, so it made it easy to handle.


I found the long-lost pivot bracket from the driver's side and got it all cleaned up and arranged to make sure I had it all and it was ready to install.

Hardware for one side. Note the slots for adjustment in the pivot bracket (more on that later).

The hardware consists of the pivot bracket, one larger and two smaller bolts, various nuts and washers, and tube-spacers to prevent collapsing the whole thing when it's tightened.  This portion of the car was obviously assembled prior to shooting it with Signal Red paint as the attachment hardware left their outline where the paint couldn't get to.  Interesting insight into the order of assembly for the car.

The passenger's side pivot bracket was stuck to the bonnet as the bolt has rusted itself to it's tube-spacer. I used some heat and WD-40, but ultimately it required  my trusty Harbor Freight ball joint separator to pop it free.

Not the first time I employed this method successfully.

I got that hinge assembly all cleaned up also and attached  both of them to the frame. The pivot bracket itself provides three-degrees of motion for the bonnet. It it attached to the frame with one bottom fulcrum bolt, then another bolt a bit further up that allows the bonnet to "roll" back and forth. The last bolt goes through the bonnet support frame and this allows the front of the entire bonnet to move up and down.

All three bolts installed on the passenger's side.

With the hinges assembled, I tried to adjust its fit but had some difficulty, especially with moving the bonnet back towards the body. Contributing to this, I had previously removed the bonnet locating brackets (they are near the front of the doors) as Dorothy's were in very bad shape and needed replacement. I got donors from the black car, but had yet to weld them in. This prevented me from properly supporting the rear of the bonnet vertically and I think it limited my mobility with pushing it back (i had pulled it off the hoist by this time). Installing those locating brackets will be one of the first things I do on my next visit.

One of the donor locating brackets from the black car.

One of Dorothy's bonnet locating brackets. Yuck!

Front view with bonnet on. Haven't seen this look in a while!

Gap between the bonnet and tub. Needs to come back just a bit more.

After that, it was time to put the doors up there and try to get those aligned. This didn't work out too well and, while I put the sills up there, too, it really didn't matter as the doors never really fit properly.

Driver's side door gap - not good!

Passenger's side door gaps - meh.

I got some advice from Elin Yakov  (his YouTube Channel) on the process for fitting this stuff up and getting it right after I posted the video on it. Simply put, it's a pain in the ass and takes a lot of tries, but there is a process that can be followed.

In short,  the body is pretty much there and can be considered static.  Align the bonnet to the body, shrinking up the gap between the front of the  body and the back of the bonnet (the gap three pics above, that is).  After that, align the doors to the bonnet.  Then, the sill to the door. In other words, get something static and use it as a template to move down the line.  I am concerned with the gap that I have near the top of the door at the B Post (I mention that in the video) because I have it on both doors, but, I've got other beasts to conquer before I get to those.

I spent an hour or two with the doors and then stopped. Like I mentioned in the video, I had some welding to do and would save that for the end, which is what I did, getting the floor cross-members welded in.

As I had already prepped them with plug weld holes, it was simply a matter of bolting them down and aligning them. I used a square and the inner sill as my reference to get them running across the floor perpendicular (assuming that was how it was supposed to be, of course)!

Squaring one up.

I then marked and drilled several holes for some sheet metal screws as I don't have any clamps that I could have used to keep the cross member tight to the floor.

One sheet metal screw in there (top right-ish). I used about 8 per cross-member, give or take.

Once secure and happy with the alignment, I welded them in.

Not pretty, but effective. You can see two screws in this picture.

That was about it for this visit. Like I said, my next visit will focus on gaps, as this is really all I can do. I'll get the bonnet locating brackets installed and then get down to it. If I get totally frustrated, I'll clean up the garage and organize stuff. There are a few parts that I'm looking for anyway. Cheers!

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