Sunday, April 17, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Tub Tear Down #1

I started on the tub dis-assembly for the '64 this weekend. Ran into some issues, of course, but I got some very ugly welding in on Saturday. I really need to practice more.

My plan is to tear the '64's tub down and hack it up completely. I'll keep the bonnet intact and offer it to someone that needs it, for free, since Dorothy's (Dot) is fine. There are also several other parts that I can make available to others that are fine on Dot. However, she does have some body issues that require attention (don't let my wife read that!!) that the '64 can help solve.

First order of business was to brace the tub in an attempt to prevent if from folding in half when I finally remove that last magical piece (like that one bolt from the Bugs Bunny cartoons that would make the car fall completely apart). For that, I used some square tubing that I bought forever ago to do the same with Dot but have now re-purposed. I took two hinges off one door from the '64, banged the pin out of them, and used the side that bolts to the body, mounted backwards, as the front part of the brace.

The hinge and tubing. Yes, that's a welding table. Yes, I'm about to get my testosterone on!
For the back part, I had intended to use the door strike. But, it looked like it was aluminium and those things go for about $50 a pop, so I used some 16ga sheet metal instead. Another donation opportunity not wasted.

Sheet metal, pre-drilled for attachment to the door jam, ready to weld.
After several measurements and fit ups, I was ready to weld the hinge to the square tube. Not pretty, but this about doubled my time with MIG welding, so I'll take it. While I do have the capability to do solid wire and CO2/Argon mix, it was pretty windy and I didn't see a need for the prettier welds that the shield gas will provide. So, flux core it was.

Just a wee-bit of blow-through. So awesome!

I bit happier with this side.
Once I got that all done, I bolted and screwed it in. I figure the body will want to fold inward on itself so the fact that the tube is there should be enough to provide resistance and prevent that. I hope, that is.

How the rear side attached. Hopefully the original screws are good enough.

The finished product.
This solution, while untested, seems to work pretty well. However, there is a drawback. While doing some research and asking questions on my favorite forum, it is advantageous when you are replacing the sills and/or the floor boards to fit the door up from time to time to make sure that the body hasn't flexed. Being that this method goes right across the door jams, it is obviously not a good choice if I want to test fit the doors while doing this repair to Dot. The door strikes were also changed, due to regulation, around FC56578 where they went from a rotating handle to a push button with an anti-burst strike. Therefore, I'll have to re-do the rear connection regardless. Future me.

A woodpecker was keeping me company during all of this. Cool to watch them.
I got both sides shored up and braced. I then started to dig into cutting stuff apart and slowed down a bit in the interest of trying to save more than I damaged. I want to try and save the sills as much as possible, since they are new steel. The floors would be nice, too, but they are patched so I'm not as concerned about them. Regardless, I raised several questions in my head about the best way to go about it all and decided to hold off on just going at it to make sure I wasn't going to cut away (using my HF 4.5" angle grinder and a sawzall) something that I would later regret. In the long run, however, it is fortunate that everything I need to replace/repair is available as new sheet metal...just not that cheap, of course.

I did, however, drill out both of the bonnet cone brackets. For whatever reason, they are totally trashed on Dot, but seem to be in fine shape for the '64. This is one of the sheet metal parts that is not available, so I saved them, of course.

Driver's side one removed.
You may notice that one of the holes is really big where I drilled out the spot-welds while the others are small. I decided that my spot-weld cutter, while very effective, would be wasted on this since I didn't really care if I popped through both pieces of sheet metal (which I did on all occasions). However, after I had drilled through the 14 or 15 spot welds just to get the two brackets, the drill bit was shot. This lead me to a quick education on the different materials that drill bits are made of.

For drilling hard steel, titanium or carbide drill bits are the way to go. The titanium bits are only coated in titanium while the carbide bits are solid. This makes the carbides more expensive, but they can be sharpened whereas the titanium ones cannot be since you would sharpen off the titanium coating. Trying to plan for the long run, though I don't have a drill bit sharpener, I bought two of the carbide ones for about $6 each.

I haven't tried them yet, however, because today I spent my day working around the house instead of on the car. However, when I get there, I'll let you all know. I think I'm up to four of you, now!

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