Monday, August 27, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Metal Work #7 - Bonnet Repairs Complete

Well, I hope they are complete. Should be...mostly...sorta...



With most of the preparatory repair patches done and the POR-15 now dry, this visit was dedicated to getting everything welded back in. It was going to be a shorter visit than normal for a weekend, but I got everything done that I wanted to.

First, I went at the bonnet patches on the two front portions of the bonnet. Nothing too complicated here, since they had already been test fit and the wheel arch portions already done.

Passenger's side welded in.

I didn't completely grind the welds smooth on anything because I didn't want to go to deep and flatten the area out like I had on some spots on the doors. Hopefully this will give me a good area to get the filler applied and not have to use too much of it.

Passenger's side mostly cleaned up.

The driver's side, having come out in two parts, was a bit more tricky to get lined up, but it went in fine.

Part one...

...and part two.

All cleaned up.

I also had a couple of cracks to attend to. I drilled a small (1/16") hole at the termination of each crack to prevent it from further spreading. If you don't do this, even if you weld it up, the metal will continue to crack until you relieve the stress by drilling the hole.

Passenger's bonnet latch cracks, holes drilled.

Passenger's bottom edge crack.

This is just forward of the latch area.Once the holes were drilled, I ran a light weld bead over them and ground it all most of the way smooth.

Next was the rear wing portion of the passenger's side. This was a bit more complicated as I had cut out a sizeable portion of the wheel arch to gain good access for repairs. When I did this, the bonnet sprung a bit as well, so I was concerned on getting it back to the same general area so that I wouldn't have alignment and gap issues when it was time to put it all back together. Only time will tell if I made the right choice, I guess.

Out of an abundance of caution, I also decided to clamp in the bonnet locating cone bracket assembly to help with any flex that might be introduced by it being installed. I didn't want to find that welding in the arch improperly resulted in not being able to get the bracket assembly welded in, so I clamped the whole mess in at the same time, then got to welding in the arch.

Clamping in the wheel arch.

Same shot, different angle.

Same shot, different angle.

Grinding it all down was a bit painful due to the limited access on the inside.With that done, I moved on to welding in the bonnet located bracket assembly. I cleaned up the POR-15 that wasn't covered by metal to prevent adhesion problems when I apply the epoxy primer (they don't get along). I clamped it all up, got the plug weld holes cleaned, and went to town.

Strengthener clamped and ready for the top plug weld.

The spider of clamps.

The spider of clamps.

Once it was all welded in and solid, I used my Harbor Freight Door Skin Repair Kit hammer and dolly to fold over the seam. This hammer is nice because it has a wide, but thin, face made for this purpose. I regret not recording it because it worked out pretty well. I also need to do two spot welds near the top and bottom of the assembly (it was brazed from the factory) but I forgot to get this done before I left.

Seam folded over.

That was about it for that day. I also got the wheel arch support welded in (I mention it the video but forgot to take pics) now that I was sure that I wouldn't be removing it. Next visit I'll get those two spot welds in and then go from there. Cheers!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Metal Work #6 - Bonnet #3

Almost caught up! Work continued on the bonnet, still in the repair and preparation phase.



Most of this visit was a continuation of the past visits, fabricating repair patches and getting stuff covered in POR-15. Specifically, I focused on the wheel arch bottoms that required repair. I approached each essentially the same - cut out the outer portion (the bonnet itself) to expose the inner portion (the wheel arch). Then, cut out the damaged wheel arch, patch both it and the bonnet as required, and get the whole area covered in POR-15.

I started with the passenger's front and removed both damaged areas.

Passenger's front with both bonnet and arch cut removed for repairs.

I cut a simple repair patch and fixed the bonnet portion. The wheel arch was in bad shape and I had to make a complete piece vice patching one in.

Bonnet portion is nice and clean compared to the the wheel arch - yuck!

Bonnet repairs started.


I was able to make a replacement piece for the wheel arch, but it was rather painful to bend as it is c-shaped. To make this a bit easier, I did one flat piece and then one 90-degree bend piece and formed them all as I welded them in, checking fit with the repaired bonnet piece.

Wheel arch 90-degree repair piece ready to be welded in.

With that side ready for POR-15, I moved to the driver's side front. This didn't look as bad from the outside, but there was significant pitting on both the bonnet and wheel arch which again required new pieces vice patches.

Bonnet area removed epoxing the pitted wheel arch. Doesn't look too bad, but it was.

The wheel arch didn't look too bad upon initial inspection, but as it is with rust, once I started to clean it up, hunks of rusty metal flaked away, exposing large holes. The backside of the bonnet in that area had lots of dirt and sand caked on it as well as some of the wheel arch stuck to it. Large pits riddled it as well.

Bonnet cut out and slightly cleaned up showing extent of damage

I changed my repair plan for the bonnet in this area mid-stream, but still removed most of the area for repair. I decided to cut a bit more of the bonnet back in this area as the pits on the wheel arch appeared to continue under the bonnet. Luckily, they stopped right in that area and further repair was not required.

I fabricated new wheel arch pieces following the same general method but was able to use a single piece of metal to make the piece as the patch wasn't a full "c" and was easier to bend into shape.

All welded in and ground down.

The step on the the bonnet is where I cut down a bit more. With those wheel arch areas repaired, I painted them and the backs of the bonnet pieces in POR-15 and left them to dry until the next visit.


All painted.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Metal Work #5 - Bonnet #2

Next visit, I got a bit of an extra "long session" at the garage, working on a weekend from about 7:30am until around 5pm. Sometimes I run out of stuff to do in the time that I have allotted and I knock off "early" - this bonnet kept me occupied the whole time!


While I worked continuously during the 10-or-so hours I was there, it may not seem like it. However, I'm sure I could easily double my <inexperienced> time estimates for how long something may take me and be more accurate!

Anyway...I picked up where I left off during the last visit, completing the repairs to the bonnet locating cone support plate. If you remember there was one part that I had prepped, but not repaired.

The area to be repaired...patch ready to go.

Again, this was a bit more complicated than the pictures show as the piece had a slight concave curve to it, but I was able to get it to fit good enough.

Tacked in.

Once I finished welding that patch in and got it cleaned up, I prepped the piece for installation of the locating cone support bracket. As I mention in the video, I've had problems in the past (and still do) with welding dissimilar metal thicknesses. Specifically, I struggled with welding the radius arm brackets (which were about 14ga steel) to the heelboard (which is the "normal" 20ga steel). I've found that welding the thin to the thick is easier than the thick to the thin. So, I drilled plug weld holes in the locating support plate (thin) to weld to the bracket itself (thick). Problem solved.

Bad picture for context, but it was the only one I took. Backside showing bracket welds.

With that bracket welded in, the removed pieces were about ready to go back to where they should be, pending POR-15 application.

Other side of support plate prior to bracket installation - weld-through primer applied.

That done, I went back and forth with putting the support plate as well as the piece under it (not sure of proper name)...

This guy

...and figured that the amount of warpage that I had could be remedied just by bending stuff. I moved on (though the video makes a slightly bigger deal out of it).

With the "removed parts" done, I moved to repair the area where those parts welded up. Specifically, the bottom of the bonnet where the inner support bracket welded up. There was some pitting here and it needed to come out and be replaced.

Outer view of pitting. The top hole is where the spot weld was, so that was my fault.

Inner view of pitting.

Easy-peasy...

Offending area removed. Flat and easy to patch.

I welded the patch in (sorry, forgot to take pics) and did a test fit prior to getting all of that area in POR-15.

Looks good to me. Note the locating cone bracket welded back in.

POR-15 applied to parts.

And applied to area that will be covered.

Additionally, I used sheet metal screws to attach the support from the bonnet to the wheel arch. Not being sure, at this time, whether or not I was going to remove the arch entirely, I used screws to get everything aligned, but on a temporary basis. I've since decided not to remove the wheel arch (thankfully) and I'll plug weld the bracket in at some point.

Close-up showing clamp and screw (to the right, left side not in yet).

Moving on, I still needed to get the portion of the wheel arch in this area that was rotten out for repairs. The access here is pretty good, so using my Dremel and pneumatic 3-inch cutoff wheel, I was able to get a sizable chunk out. The cancer area was much smaller than what I cut out, but welding the larger piece back in, following repairs, will be much easier in the long run.
I cut out the cancer and started making up the patch pieces.

Cancer removed, except for the large pit on the top.

Patches ready. I drilled out the large pit, removing the bad spots.

I got all of those patches in, again forgetting to take pictures. They weren't too complicated and that, along with the fact that you won't really see this stuff, made for an easier job. I got this part in POR-15 as well, at least the areas that would not be able to be epoxied.

Finally, there was one spot on the bonnet which required further pit repair. Instead of trying to just do the pit, I decided to cut the hole portion out and fabricate in a new piece. Some of the fender flare is in this area, so it's not real pretty, but nothing that some body filler won't take care of.

Repair patch held in with a magnet.

I decided to try and form as I went with this repair. I tacked in the patch and then used my hammer and dolly to work it around to roughly match the shape of the fender in this area. It worked good enough.

Repair patch formed and tacked in.

Ground down smooth. A bit wavy, especially on the 90-degree bend, which will require body filler.

Backside of repair.

That was about it for that day. A good, long day of about 9 or 10 productive hours. Like I said, this stuff is taking more time that I had thought it would, but I also like to think that it's getting done right, so there you go. Until next time, cheers!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Metal Work #4 - Bonnet Work

Try to get caught up here...

The bonnet work, while seemingly minor, is more complicated that I had envisioned. Well, I shouldn't say more complicated, just more intricate. I've gotten lots of practice and cutting and replacing patches by now, but this one has taken some planning.


When I left off the last post, I had come through identifying most of the damage (missed a few spots, but nothing too major) and had cleaned the passenger's side. I moved on with this visit with cleaning the driver's side, identifying an additional cancer spot on the front bottom of that wing that had not been repaired, as well as finding a dented up area in the front near the turn signal and head light back on the passenger side.

The dent damage, previously "repaired" with filler, all cleaned out.

I figured I'd suffer pain early on, so I went at that bonnet locating cone reinforcement plate. This turned out to be a multi-piece repair that would not be easy. Fortunately, I kept my cool and made "good choices" (like I always tell my kids to do) and decided that complete removal of the entire assembly was the best way to go.

Turns out, below the reinforcement plate is a strengthener piece that runs down the outline of the bonnet, under the plate.

The strengthener. You can see the cancer towards the RH bottom side.

The reinforcement plate, some cancer already removed, the rest visible.

The bonnet after removal of both pieces. Very littel cancer behind those; mainly surface rust.

With the pieces removed it was merely a matter of cutting out the cancer and welding in patches. Of course, both pieces had some curves and bends to them that made it a bit tricky.

I started with the strengthener, removing the bad metal. I was able to take advantage of the stretcher again (love that thing) and put the gentle curve into the repair piece that was required to follow the contour of the strengthener.

Repair patch welded in.

Another angle of the repair.

With that done, I moved on to the locating plate itself. The bracket that holds the cone had quite a bit of corrosion behind it, so I drilled the six spot welds out on that and removed it, confirming that the corrosion and pitting behind it required removal and replacement.

The offending area cut out, repair patch standing by.

And repaired. Still some cleanup to do.

With all of the planning and delays, and the fact that it was a school night, that was about all I got done for that visit.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Metal Work #3 - Front Valance & Bonnet

First, let me say "Thank You!" to all 36 of you that have subscribed to my blog. I know the videos are a bit more exciting (well, I like to think so, anyway), but I do hope that you are getting something out of my words and pictures. As always, any and all feedback, positive or negative, is appreciated!

On my visit Saturday, I finished up the repairs to the front valance, did some hammer and dolly work on it, then moved on to assessing the repairs required on the bonnet. The video:


First up, I finished up the cancer repair to the front valance. The repair was essentially the same as the repair I did the last visit.

This is what I started with.

After cutting it out.

New piece in, ready to weld.

While the damage on this side didn't extend down quite as far as the other,  I decided to cut the whole piece out because there was some pretty good pitting. Besides, it made it easier to fabricate and weld. Also,  if you remember, there are two contours I'm dealing with here, one E to W and the other N to S. To help form those two at the same time, on the advice of a viewer's comment on the YouTube video, I smacked the center of the repair piece over a shallow-curved dolly to spread it out a bit and thin the metal. I'm not sure how much of a difference it made, but it welded in just fine and I didn't have to make as many hammer adjustments as the previous repair.

With this done (I didn't take any post-work pics), I started with some hammer and dolly work. Outside of the door that I worked on briefly, this was my first concerted effort at metal work. While there are a lot of good YouTube videos on metal work out there (visual learning), if you also like to learn by reading (verbal learning), I'd recommend reading the book The Key to Metal Bumping, published by Martin Tool & Forge. Turns out these are the guys that also made my new hammers and dollies. This book was first published in the 50s by Fairmount Tool (Martin bought them out in the 80s), so it's old-school. Good explanations on reversing the damage (called the Fairmount method..coincidence? I think not!) vice just beating the metal into submission. Some of the pictures in the book, being from the 50s, are hard to see, but they work.

Armed with my new-found knowledge, I went about assessing the damage and formulating my approach for getting it fixed.

Not very straight.

Nice ding here, too.

Unfortunately, I found it difficult to capture good before and after pictures that actually show some accomplishment, but it did get much better. I'll have to take a bit more care and try to set up some shots that show good (or bad, depending on how it went, I guess) before and after comparisons.

The dent remaining after some hammer and dolly work. Highs and lows clearly visible.

Another new tool I got for myself was a metal shrinking disc manufactured by Wolfes Metal Fabrication. Now, unfortunately, I totally brain-farted on its use and tried to use it to bring up lows vice take down highs. Whoops. You can watch me try it on the video and I just nonchalantly move on when it doesn't seem to make a difference. Yeah, wonder why! I'll revisit that soon and actually try to do it properly next time.

Given that it was now around noon, I wanted to move on to getting a good look at the bonnet. The thing isn't all that heavy, but it is awkward, so, being alone, I need to use the engine hoist to get it on the  work stand. But first, I stripped it down of all hardware, including the pivot and support tubes.


The two pivot tubes (larger diameter) and single support tube (smaller, reddish). Dirty, but solid.

After that, I started cleaning. There was a lot of road and engine grime on there as well as some body filler. I used my favorite Purple Power and lots of shop towels to get one half cleaned up. As expected, I found some cancer.

Front bottom edge of wheel arch (outer side)

Same spot but from the inside.

Rear bottom edge of wheel arch (outer). Real close to the fender flare, so it may be tricky.

Same spot but from the inside.

I also found some pretty good cancer around the  reinforcing plate that holds the bonnet locating cone. I don't think the repair will be too bad, but the cancer did get into around the locating cone bracket, so I'll have to be careful if I cut that out to get it back in the correct spot. Somehow, I failed to take a picture, but it only appears to be on the passenger's side.

Here's Rimmer's picture of it. Out of context a bit.

While I did only get half of the bonnet  cleaned up (took a while to get it on the stand), I didn't notice any further damage, or at least not any cancer. There are some tears that will required fixing, but those are easy.

Two areas that were of interest: first, and I didn't get a good picture of how it all works, but the pivot tubes bolt, using plates and clamps, to the bonnet.  There is obviously a water trap between the plates and the bonnet, resulting in some pretty good pitting in that area. I didn't poke at it, but it may have to get replaced.

Where the plate sits.

Second, the support bracket that goes between the top of the bonnet and the wheel arch had come detached at some point. It wasn't rusted out or anything, so either years of stress due to the car bouncing down the road or maybe just bad factory spot welds was the cause. Moving the bracket to the spot where it will be spot welded again tends to bring "in" the side of the bonnet near the latch, so hopefully this doesn't mess with all of my fitment work! Hard to explain, but I'll try to show you later.


Half clean. The support bracket that I mentioned is circled (left).

Otherwise, that was about it. I took the paint stripping wheel to other areas that were a concern for pitting (you may see strips of bare metal above), but they all cleaned up fine.

Next visit I'll continue with cleaning and maybe move into some repair. Cheers!