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Monday, April 30, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #51 - Brackets and Seat Deck

Behind again. This post covers two (I think) visits to the garage, consisting of more body repairs. I really do think I'm getting close, but I say that all the time. The video:

I revisited the  outrigger brackets and come up with a solution to get them to fit properly. I'm not sure it's the best solution, but it's what I came up with and it seems to work. Ultimately, the problem was that they were not fitting flush with the floor due to what to be a size mis-match between the brackets and the floorboard depressions. The only way I could figure out how to fix this was to cut the floorboard and adjust it so that it allowed the bracket to fit flush.

I didn't document this photographically very well, so I apologize for that. The approach, however, was not complicated. Due to the construction, the strengthener fits in the "channels" of the floor board and limits quite significantly the freedom of its motion.

The floorboard area where the bracket goes.

Since I was limited in that sense, it was just a matter of getting it to sit level, which was where the problem was. The channel on the back of the floor (the smaller-width one on  the left in the above picture) was not wide enough to allow that side of the strengthener to sit flush on the floor. After some banging and head-scratching, I decided to cut a relief in the floor to allow me to bend it "open", providing a proper gap for the strengthener to sit in.

Bracket it and screwed down after cutting the floorboard.

Same shot, but from inside the footwell. The holes are the plug welds and the grey is the the painted bracket.

Clamp for the flange portion of the front sill cap.

With that, I put some small holes in for sheet metal screws, tightened it down and welded it in.

A bit more prep work, but essentially ready to weld.

Post-welding and post-screw-hole-filling.

Post-welding from inside.

The other side was rinse and repeat. Maybe not the prettiest of solutions, but I got good penetration and they should hold just fine.

With those done, I moved to the boot floor area to repair some cancer spots around some spot welds back there. There were a few areas that require attention so I picked one and went at it. A rather straightforward repair, though getting the damaged metal out was a bit tricky because of the tight area.

The area of concern (the flange) showing the metal "bubbled" by the rust underneath.

Spot from the inside. Damage is right on the seam of the wheel arch, of course.

Blurry view of the extent of the cancer. Spot welds are mostly drilled out here.

Once the extent of the damage was bounded, I got it cut out and  a new piece sized up for installation.

Nastiness removed.

I flipped the car back and forth a few times to give me the best access for whatever particular goal I was trying to accomplish. Those wings have been working out great!

Good view of the plug weld holes.

Plug weld holes from the other side.

New piece sized up in there. That bottom gap is a bit wide, but I went with it.

Once it was all fitted and ready, I welded it up. The spot welds came out good, for once!

Spot welds in.

I then ran a stitch weld to fill up the gap and cleaned it all up. Job done!

Finished product!

I didn't get back over to the garage for about another week, but got over there this weekend for some stuff. That's coming up next!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Body Work #1 - Painting Materials

Welcome to the first in a new topic called Body Work. I've always kept it separate in my head, as more of a milestone than anything else (and to make me feel good about my progress), that "body work" means getting ready for final paint instead of fixing rust.
Since I've finally decided on the way I was going to go with my painting materials and supplies, it was time to dive into documenting this new phase of the restoration.

Here's links to the "hardware":

Gun. I bought this direct from Amazon used,  about $155. New it's about $195. Not cheap, obviously, but in my research it is the "low" model at the professional level and much, much better (and feels that way) then anything from Harbor Freight!

Mixing Kit. Just about everything I will need, I think, and probably a lot I won't use. About $20.

Squeeze Bottle. I intend to use these for lacquer thinner. About $9.

DeKups Demo Kit. Not sure if I needed this, but it was recommended to me. Demo kit, so not too bad price-wise, but this stuff is like printer ink / razor blades and can add up. About $35.

Gun Stand. So I have somewhere to put it between coats. About $14.

I also ordered epoxy primer on Monday. Let me tell you, if you're like me and think that the primer you want for your car is comparable to Rustoleum as far as price...it's not! I knew a good spray gun would cost me money, but I didn't think the primer would cost just as much, or more! I had sticker shock at a local place (I mention it in the video); about $250 for a gallon of epoxy primer, and that did not include the activator or the wax and grease remover. Needless to say, I was very surprised and, frankly, a bit frightened at the cost.

However, on a recommendation from someone on my favorite forum, I checked out Southern Polyurethanes, SPI, in  Blairsville, GA.  I had contacted them via their website a few times about general questions and they got right back to me...on a Saturday morning, so  I knew that was a good sign.  I called them Monday morning, spoke to the same guy who had replied to my emails (he remembered me) and promptly ordered some expoxy primer. While I ordered only two quarts (that was their recommendation for the whole car, since it's a 1:1 split with the activator), it cost me about $180 for those, two quarts of the activator and a gallon of their water-based wax and grease remover. Shipping is free. I don't know how long it'll take to get to me, but it should have shipped on Monday (they ship same day for orders before 3pm).

As for my choice of epoxy primer, minimal research will tell you (or at least told me) that this was the way to go. It is a direct-to-metal (DTM) product, meaning that it is designed to be sprayed on bare metal. If you've been watching my "underneath" videos, you can see that I'm going down to bare metal underneath. However, in talking with the SPI guy, as long as you scuff up the existing paint with a maroon Scotch-Brite pad (the colors signify different "grits", like sandpaper. Red, or maroon, is about 320-grit) and are confident that the underlying metal is not corroded, you're fine . So, for the interior portions, I intend to clean it all up really well and then scuff it up.

I have three main reasons for this. First, there is little to no corrosion in the interior that I haven't already adressed. Second, it will not be directly exposed to the elements like the bottom of the car will be. Finally, it will be a LOT more work to take the interior of the car to bare metal than the underneath. So, once I verified with SPI that I didn't HAVE to go to bare metal, I decided scuffing was just as good.

The  great advantage of epoxy primer is that it waterproof when cured. I'm pretty sure I replaced the bottom 4-inches of Dorothy because of corrosion...caused by water. So, yeah, as a base primer, that's a big plus for me. I will use a different primer as I build my way to my topcoat on the "top", but epoxy is going to be my basecoat primer everywhere first. Here's a quick read from Hemmings.

That's about it. I bought some stuff for constructing a make-shift spray booth like plastic sheeting and a few furnace air filters. I have a box fan as well.  We'll see how that goes and, of course, I'll document it all as I'm sure that will be an exciting adventure!

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #50 - Bulkhead and Brackets

As usual, I got a little behind, but here's my ketchup...er, catch-up:

First off, I did a <ahem> repair to the top bulkhead on the driver's side. This wasn't my best work and I will probably re-do it at some point. I did a lot of things just plain wrong and then wasn't patient enough during welding...lessons I continue to learn regularly.

This is a spot I identified a long time ago when I first acquired Dorothy. As a matter of fact, it was  the first area that I attempted to prep and prime. Little did I know...

About a month after I got her. Lots of pits and some holes.

Since there was actual cancer here, from decades of brake fluid leaks and standing water, it needed to go and I was also concerned about the flange underneath. Turns out some of that had to go, too.

Unfortunately, what I didn't do during this visit was take any damn pictures. Don't know what happened, but I did a lot of documentation using the video camera (and edited a lot out, too), so maybe that was it. Anyway, you'll have to watch the video for the full story, but here are some stills I got at the end of the night and the next visit.

You can see the oval holes right near the corner (big holes are from the spotweld cutter).

Backside, same place, a bit better of a picture. You can see some of the metal from the flange that this rests on between the 2nd and 3rd holes on the left.

The "finished" repair. Don't look too closely!

The next visit was devoted  to bracket work, specifically on the driver's side. I did much better with still image documentation, but here's the video:

A lot of the time was spent on prep, as it goes with this stuff. But, at the end of the day, I got the body mounting bracket and the outrigger support bracket (dash mounting bracket is what Rimmer's calls it) welded in. The outrigger support bracket needs more attention as it's not in there quite right yet (nor is it fully welded in).

First, I had some holes in the bulkhead from when I took the bracket back off  that required repair. They were not that big, but too big to fill with weld metal.

New metal in the holes.

Welded in and cleaned up. Sorry the image is a bit blurry.

Once the welding was done and ground down, I did another dry-fit of the bracket to ensure proper alignment and then made the holes for the sheet metal screws. Since I was going to prime the area before welding, I needed to make sure that it was properly aligned before I painted over my Sharpie lines, so I figured this was the best way. With that done, I hit the area with the weld-through primer.

Weld-through primer.

After that dried (I did the mating side of the bracket as well), I got the bracket screwed in and...

Bracket screwed down and clamped.

...got some metal hot.

Welds complete (though not cleaned up).

All in all, much better job this time. Good penetration on the welds and the bracket is flush to the bulkhead all around. Of course, my welding experience has come a long way since I tried this the first time, so there was that!

The bracket side of the foot well, after cleaning. Still some holes to fill, of course.

Nice and flush!

After that, I moved on to the outrigger support bracket. I'm kind of flying by the seat of my pants with this thing and, frankly, hope it comes out okay because I'm really not sure. At the end of the day, I just decided to put it flush to the A-post and that was really about it. There's not much wiggle room with fitting it (here's what I mean).

There still needs to be some adjustment, but that's going to take some hammer persuasion, I think, which I didn't do before  I left. The forward most holes the I drilled for plug welds were fine and the bracket fit flush to them. The rear ones, however, did not fit flush as the bracket, in that area, was wider than the channel in the floor. I decided to weld the forward holes in, since it will secure it but allow it to pivot, but that's where I stopped with the welding.

Plug weld holes as seen from the foot well for the bracket. The bolt is holding the bracket tight to the floor board.

Post-welding on the front holes. The rear holes have about 1/4" gap between them and the bracket.

In there...enough for now. Crooked a bit.

And that was about it for the day, as I cut it short. That day (Saturday) was the first nice day we have had around here since I don't remember when. Given that it's well into April, I needed to get some spring-time stuff done  in the yard, so I knocked off early and went to do that.

On my next visit, I intend to finish that outrigger bracket and then get the passenger's side one in (it seems to fit better) as well. Then, it'll be back to the old grind of  continuing on with preparations for epoxy primering the underneath. Cheers!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Restoration - Outrigger Repair and Other Stuff

ign: center;"> Finally, my posts are caught up with my videos!

So, for a little change of pace, I decided to take a break from getting the underneath ready for paint. I visited a local auto body place on Friday afternoon, during their business hours (according to Google) and the door was locked with a sign on it saying that it would no longer be open to the public as of May 1st. Well, that was a bummer.

Today, though, I went to another place and two older gentlemen were behind the counter and were very helpful. By the end of my visit, we were showing pictures of our project cars like others do of their kids. Though I didn't purchase anything, I'll be going back there later this week or early next to lay down some cash.

But, as for my garage visit, my initial intent was to get the strengthener brackets that go under the front of the floor pan between it and the ends of the outriggers welded in. These attach to the floor pan. To do this properly, however, I wanted to get the body on there to make sure I wasn't going to weld them in and not have them align.

Getting the body on and off is a rather involved event and it takes me a few hours on either side so I knew that I wouldn't make much progress, but it needed to be done. While I was at it, I also wanted to fix the broken bolt in the passenger's side front outrigger, and that's what I started with.

First, I needed cut out the area of the bolt and fish it out.

Hole cut, magnet stick at the ready.

I fished the bolt out of there . The bolt is " collared" and the smaller diameter of the collar fits in the hole. Unfortunately, there was no evidence of it ever being welded, so I took care of that.

The top view, showing the collared portion of the bolt sticking through the hole

The underside of the. Yeah, I don't see any weld metal, either.

There is now! She's not coming off of there. Just hope the other outrigger was done properly.

With the bolt now securely fastened to the metal, I tacked it back into the outrigger at the corners. I wanted to get the body landed, since I was going to do it anyway, before I welded it in fully  just in case I needed to tweak its  placement a bit (I did).

Another part that I was working on was the driver's side front body mounting bracket. I did a horrible job welding it in the first time around (as I mentioned in my last post) and decided to take the one from the black car since it was unmolested (I reamed out the hole to enable me to mount the body).

Getting it cleaned up.

Another angle.

With that bracket prepped, I landed the body back on the car and get several bolts (in the back and to the middle outriggers) aligned.

Home again, home again, jiggidy-jig.

I got the new bracket as aligned as I could (I think the outrigger ended up being welded in just a bit off) and verified that the other side bolt repair also came into alignment.

Looks good to me!

I also get the strengthener pieces in there and these ended up being essentially a non-event, as they fit in a channel and extend all the way out to the edge of the A post (I'll show this better when I actually get them welded in). Well, I didn't need to land the body to tell me that, but at least now I know and am confident the other repairs will align as well.

So, with that, off came the body and I welded in the outrigger bolt and repainted the area in POR-15.

Welded in.

And POR-15'd. I'll scuff this up and hit it with red eventually.

And that was about it. All told, I spent  about 7 hours over there during this visit and I would say a solid 4 of it was dedicated to getting the body on and off. So, lots of work for little progress but, like I said, better safe than sorry and better to avoid creating new problems that I may only find much later down the process - like after paint! Cheers!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Restoration - The Underneath

Sounds like a horror movie title or something, doesn't it? Well, it was pretty dirty under there, but it's getting much better. Lot's of messy, time consuming work, but it's coming along. If you haven't (or don't) kept up with my YouTube channel, there are a few videos to update you all on. Keep in mind that they aren't incredibly exciting, but that's how this stuff is. I'll provide the video then do a quick discussion for each, so here you go:

As I mentioned in my last post, using various cleaning methods including paint stripper disks, wire brushes and wheels and 2" roloc abrasive disks, I was able to take this:


...eventually to this:

After...well, the "top" half anyway.

The next visit was more of the same, again using the same general cleaning methods. I also used a heat gun and a coarse wire brush to melt/scrap away the hard-to-get seam sealer. This method worked pretty well, actually.

In addition to cleaning, I did get some repair work done and loose ends  tied up. Namely, the front sill cap for that passenger's side, the rear seam of the passenger's side outer sill and the cut in the floor that I intentionally put in to help it fit better.

Front sill cap.

Floor cut welded up.

Rear seam. Not real crazy about how this came out.

All of that and, of course, more cleaning:

Floor work.

Rear area.

The next visit involved, you guess it, more cleaning but also some assessment of the  front lower valance. Surprisingly, the one from the black car, while not as dented up, had quite a bit more cancer, so I'm sticking with Dorothy's.

Bumper still attached. Not the straightest of pieces!

Inner strengthener was made of Swiss cheese, I guess!

Outside shot of the hole where a strengthener piece resides on the inside.

Outside of the cancer, however, which isn't really all that bad, it just needs some straightening and it should be good as new.

The next two visits were more of the same; yup, cleaning. Sorry, but this stuff isn't very exciting and is also quite time consuming.  So much so that I didn't even take any pictures for my Part 3.


I took a few for part 4, though, because I did some more welding, finishing up the driver's side floor weld (from the bottom) and also the driver's side sill cap.

Weld bead, ground down.

The picture below doesn't really do it justice (you can see it in the video here) but I got a small cancer hole drilled out and repaired in the rear  deck pan behind the seats.

Hole repaired.

Front sill cap done.

And that was about it. So, I apologize for the long time span between updates and then slamming you with a bunch of videos. Like I said, they aren't all that exciting but you can see the methods that I used to clean stuff up.  I've got one more video in the hopper so I'll try to get that up soon as it's a bit more exciting. Cheers!