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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Restoration - Mind the Gaps

So close to getting an outer sill in!

I picked up where I left off on my next visit and fought with the gaps for about half of the day. It was back to working the hinges up and down and back and forth in an attempt to achieve the 3/16" gap (5 mm) that manual calls for <yeah, thanks Triumph>.

Workshop manual directions for adjusting the bonnet.

I brought the  bonnet catch plates from home and got them installed. These are what the bonnet latches hook into to draw the back of the bonnet down and in a bit. Getting these in removed another potential adjustment issue.

Interior of the bonnet showing the catch and latch plate.

After that, I needed to take care of the passenger's side hinge assembly. As I showed in a previous post, the interior of the hinge bracket has a few spacers. I couldn't find one for the passenger's side when I put it together the first time but had since located it. That hinge bracket was also bent pretty good, so I decided to take care of them both and pull it out and get it done right. I didn't take any pics of the hinge bracket after straightening, but I did show  what and how I did it in the video.

With that, it was back to adjusting everything 50 million times until I get it all just right. It eventually came in pretty good. There's nothing difficult here, it's just that when you move one part, something else changes and you chase your tail a bit.

Passenger's side gaps. Looks like 5 mm to me!

Driver's side gaps.

The only thing that I wasn't completely happy with is that the bonnet pops up a bit in the center. I don't know if there's a way to fix this without bending something, but it's not a concern for me now. Maybe I can adjust that center support tube...not sure...future me problem.

Center moves up about 1/4" or so.

Once I got those gaps done, it was time to throw up an outer sill and see what I could do  with that. Again, nothing technically difficult here, but a lot of moving and adjusting and fidgeting to  get it to fit. Once I was happy with the fit, I pulled it back off and punch lots of holes in it for the plug welds and also removed paint from outside in preparation for welding and painted the inside seams with weld-through primer.

Bonnet up here, but here's the fit in the front.

One thing that was gratifying was the fit of the sill under the bonnet. Once I got it where I wanted it, I looked a bit closer and found that the spot welds that I drilled out seem to be in just about the same exact position as my holes for the plug welds. Guess that means I'm pretty close!

Almost a perfect alignment! By luck, I'm sure.

Once I got the outer sill set, I did the sheet metal screw thing again and got about 8 of them in there all around. Much like the rear valance, the outer sill goes in under tension, so you get the bottom set and then press down pretty hard on the top (in the door well) to get it even with the top of the inner sill. I'll take some better pics of this next time.

One thing that remained was the support bracket that goes between the body and the outside of the outrigger. These were still floating, so I needed to get it locked down before I put the sill in and covered access. I drilled two holes in the bottom of the A post and plug welded it to the bracket. This is not my final solution, but it will prevent the bracket from moving around on me when I pull the body back off.

Plug welds done. I left that repair patch portion of the A post long on purpose just to give me something to grind off. Clean-up work.

I was getting close to put the sill in, but I was to use some seam sealer on the joints. The stuff that I bought  is brushable and it sets up  in about 15 minutes. Since I was running out of time for the day, I was afraid that I wouldn't have the time to get all of the plug welds done. I didn't want the seam sealer to set up between flanges that were not tight together and have to deal with that in the future when I was ready to finish welding. I'll do it all in one shot on my next visit,  assuming I get that far.

That was about it for the day. I did note that, with the all new front suspension, the front of the car is really high up off the tires.

Man, I really hope this settles down. That's a bit crazy. I don't think there will be much more weight up there. Maybe some good road bumps.

In hindsight, it was a darn good thing that I decided to wait on welding up the outer sill. I had completely forgotten about the front sill cap, which needs to go on the outer sill before it's welded in. It came to me on my way back home and and shouted out "the sill cap, you dork!" I would have been really, really upset!

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