Friday, June 17, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Frame Repair #1

Made some more progress this week (Wednesday) on the frame repair. I got the remnants of the outriggers off and cleaned up the area real good to get an complete look at the extent of the damage. Not horrible, but it definitely requires removal and replacement of some metal.

Driver's side damage (frame upside down). You can see the crack that extents from the left tip of the hole.

Bad lighting, but Sharpie showing outline of repair cutout. This extends to underneath.

Damage on passenger's side (frame upside down). Damage was more extensive to frame on this side, but outrigger was in better shape.

Damage showing outline of metal to be removed. Extends through top and bottom of frame.

I spent the majority of my total time that night (about 4 hours) working to take it from what it looked like in my last post to above.

The rest of my time was spent prepping the "new" outriggers. These will both require some repair but are in better shape, overall, than the ones on the black car and are much cheaper (cost me postage) than getting new ones (they run about $100 each).

The guy that I got them from was cutting up a frame and cut the frame clean through about four inches on either side of the outrigger. So first, I had to liberate them from the frame. Sorry that I didn't document it with pictures. But, I cut just inside the weld beads on all sides. Unfortunately, I didn't have anything small enough (my Dremel was at home) to cut into the weld on the inside portion of the interface, but I was able to bend it back and forth and they broke apart right at the outrigger side of the weld.

Though all of this required a lot of noise, cutting and metal shavings, it seemed to work out okay. I put them in a vinegar soak until I get back to them. My concerns are that, because I had to cut into a bit of the top and bottom "wings" that fit over the frame, I won't get enough overlap to provide the design structural integrity. However, I think I only lost about 1/4" all around by cutting just inside of the welds so I think I'll be okay.

In the long run, after all of the repairs and clean up and such, I'll tack them on and then temporarily place the body back on. Though this will be a pain in the rear, it will save a lot of work in the long run if I discover that my methods caused them to be unusable.

Driver's side, post frame liberation and prior to going back into vinegar soak.

Passenger's side. You can see the very large hole (this extended into the frame) that I'll repair on the bottom flap of metal.

The other concern I have for these "new" outriggers is the inaccessible corrosion on the inside. However, I intend to cut the spot welds off of the inside metal pieces (I'll take a picture to show what I mean when I do it) so that I can inspect and then preserve the inside of the outriggers. Another thing some folks do it tack in some round tubing, or pipe, through the holes in the outriggers. This way, road dirt and such doesn't get inside the outriggers, get wet, and sit, leading to more corrosion. I'll take a look at doing this when I get that flap of metal off and make the decision then.

Other than that I did some minor frame clean up of the parts that were not covered in grease and grime. I need to get my pressure washer over there to blast the heck out of it, but I'll need help from my garage-mate carrying the frame over the Datsun's to get it outside. Also, I want to repair the gaping holes in the frame so I don't flood it with too much water!

Minor cleanup with a cup knotted wire brush on my angle grinder.

Blurry shot of one side of the emergency brake cable guide and differential mounting bracket.

Same shot, but other side where the grease and grime was not as bad.

One thing I learned in all of my cleaning and investigating was that the Brits didn't seem all that concerned with pretty welds. You can see sloppiness in the above shot and there were several other instances of weld splatter and just not cleaning up the work that I found. Makes me very confident that my welding techniques will be more than adequate!

I'll get more garage time tomorrow (Saturday) after my morning run and making breakfast for the boys. Sunday, being Father's Day and all, will be better spent with the family. I intend to cut out the frame that will require replacement and hopefully tack, if not finish welding, in the repairs. However, the frame metal measures out to be 14 gauge and I don't think my local hardware store has that. If not, I'll have to come back home and hack apart some of the black car's frame...I left the sawzall at the garage.

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