Monday, March 4, 2019

Landing the Body and Body Panel Installs | Roundtail Restoration

This is a bit of a catch-up post. If you remember from my last post, I had clearance issues with the rear bumpers. Turns out it was just a stack-up issue and they fit just fine. Unfortunately, while I had planned to do some painting, the garage heater was messed up so i was only about 58F in there. Minimum paint temperature is 65F for at least 24 hours, so that was a non-starter. Instead, I decided to skip ahead a little bit and get the body mounted. Here's the video:



I didn't take any pictures of the bumper installation, so you'll have to watch the video. I also landed the body using the same methods as last time when I was welding in the outer sills, so you can refer to that post and related video for more information (as well as the current video).

While I know that I have to take it all apart again, I think I made a good choice to put it all together. I was getting rather tired of bodywork and seeing the car take shape, even if it's grey, has been a shot in the arm. That being said, I haven't started playing with any gaps yet, so I may change my tune quickly. To the video:


With the body on the frame, my first order of business was to get it bolted down. There are a total of 18 bolts that attach the body to the frame (6 of them most may not count, but I do...more on that later). Of course, all of those bolts are different in length (well, each pair is different) and the documentation of those bolts is...non-existent. There are also several spacers which, again, are not well documented in their location.

If you order a body hardware kit (most of the usual suspects sell them; I got mine from TRF a looooong time ago) you'll get everything you need (I assume), but it won't tell you what goes where. Well, here's how I'm doing it, YMMV.

I screwed some of this up in the video, so hopefully this will make it more clear if you didn't follow. As I said, there are 18 bolts that attach the body to the frame. 6 of these bolts deal with the radio tower. There are two bolts per side on the bottom of each tower leg and one bolt (a screw, really) that attaches to the dash. These bolts are easy to identify and are not part of the confusion.

The rest of the 12, however, can be confusing, along with the spacers (normally 8, but I used 6 for now). Each pair of the 12 bolts is a different size, so here's how it breaks down:

The easiest pair is the ones that go into the rear shock tower supports, that are accessed from the boot, under the gas tank. These are 1 1/2" long, but are 3/8" diameter - the thickest bolts and therefore easy to identify. They each get a spacer.

The next easiest pair is the very long bolts that go through the front outrigger, outer-most mounting hole. These are accessed from the footwells and use a nyloc nut. They are 3 1/4" long, 5/16" diameter. No spacer because of the thick brackets that are under that portion of the floor.

The next easiest pair is the very short bolts that go through the front outrigger, middle mounting hole. These are accessed from the engine bay and screw directly into the outrigger. They are 1" long, 5/16" diameter. They each get a spacer.

The front outrigger, middle bolt.

The next three pairs are the confusing ones. Their lengths are 3 1/2", 3", and 2" (all are 5/16" diameter).

The confusing bolts.

The longest bolts, 3 1/2", go behind the seats. I put a spacer here and they also have a thick washer.

Bolt showing the thick washer. The spacer is between the body and the frame.

Next up is the 3" and 2" bolts. These both go into the middle outrigger (under the floor cross-member), with the longer bolt being on the door side and the shorter bolt towards the gearbox. No spacers here.

Long and short arrangement.

There you go. Again, the video may be screwed up in some areas but I tried to edit these out smoothly. Definitely a confusing situation that was not well documented by Triumph.

I didn't mention that before I got the body on, I put on some of the rubber seals, namely the door furflex seals and the bonnet-to-body seal. Along with the boot seal, I want all of the seals on the car so that the gaps will be set with the seals installed because I do think they will have some impact on where the panels need to go.

Door seal (with some extra). Thought the red would give it a bit of a pop.

Next up was landing the boot. I put the seal on for this and got the reinforcing cage installed along with the hinges. I also put the little rubber vibration dampers between the cage and the boot lid, but they didn't stay in there too well. I went through the fit-up in the video, but I need to make sure I've got it right.

Latch handle and latching hardware also installed.

Next up was the doors. Not much to this since I was only going to get them on there. Around this time I decided I wanted to get all of the body panels, including the bonnet, on before I messed with any gaps. I put all of the door hardware on including the paper shims between all of the parts. Again, just as it will be during final assembly.

Striker plate installed, with paper gasket behind it.

With the doors on, I rotated the car to give me more room to land the bonnet. It just barely fit turning it around.

Like a glove...

First up was the front lower valance. I missing some hardware here so I didn't get this completely together. I looked for how the inner brackets that sit behind the bonnet hinges and bolt to the top of the valance are attached. I think it's spire nuts, but I can't remember and I can't find any pictures in my archive. The parts lists also don't show this level of detail, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Outer bracket fixed. The inner bracket (in epoxy) is what I don't have bolts for.

With the front valance attached using the outer brackets, it was time to put the pivot tubes in the bonnet. Turns out I also misplaced the two small nuts / washers that attach the center pivot tube, but again, that will be easily remedied.

Pivot tubes in.

Then I used the engine hoist to land the bonnet. This is a bit involved, but I've done it that way before so I remembered the setup. It did leave a slight deformation on the back lip of the bonnet, but nothing a quick hammer won't fix. I will not land the bonnet like this when it's in final paint!

Bonnet landed!

Outside of misplacing the LH pivot tube's spacer (which video evidence found), I discovered another area of concern that surprised me. I must have worked the RH latch area of the bonnet a bit too aggressively. I seem to hazily remember working on the angle there, but the LH is fine, so I'm not sure. Definitely something to come through.

Yeah, that's going to need to be addressed.

That was about it for the visit. I was there a solid 8 hours so that'll give you an idea of how long it'll take to get all of the panels on, even if only partially. I suspect gaps will take me probably that long as well, especially considering how much I struggled with the door gaps when I was welding the outer sills on. Not looking forward to that again.

Angled view. You can see how the bonnet latch area is not too messed up on this side.

Say cheese!

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