Friday, July 8, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Frame Repair #4

Got back from vacation on Wednesday and got to the shop Thursday night. Took apart the old fuel pumps that I got in Rhode Island, did some differential work and landed the body to get the outriggers all lined up for attachment. This ended up being a rather lengthy post, so reader beware.

First, I had to re-arrange my corner of the garage to be able to wheel the body back over to the frame. My garage-mate was coming over later to help me land it back on the frame to align the outriggers. I took a break to scarf down a sandwich after that and moved on to the fuel pumps.

Lined up and ready to land (one of many more times, I'm sure).

I think both are salvageable, though one is in much worse shape than the other. The rebuild kits are still readily available from the usual suspects and this will allow me to use an original AC (that's the company) fuel pump, as the car came with an aftermarket.

Fuel Pump the Good. This is the one to rebuild.

Though it did have a lot of debris in it, it all came out cleanly.

Fuel Pump the Bad. This one was on a whole different level. The screen is still in place. Reeked of stale gas.

The diaphragm from the good one. Still rather stiff and torn in a few spots, so a definite replacement.

All of the pieces are soaking in some Purple Power to break up the more stubborn stuff. We'll see how it looks afterwards and go from there. But, I'm confident of another successful saving of an original part (maybe two)!

Next was the tear down of the differential. Since I was pretty confident that Dorothy's differential was in worse shape, especially the spring mounting stud holes, I'm doing the inspection on the one from the black car. I had never taken a differential apart before and looking through the workshop manual and reviewing some stuff on my favorite forum, it appeared as though I would have no desire to totally tear the thing down. Lots of special tools and measurements and such...so I'm not going there. However, I do want to replace the oil seals (there are three) so I'll try to do at least that.

I started with trying to finally divorce the frame parts from the rear mounting point, but was again unable to do so. There isn't a whole lot of room to get the sawzall blade in there without starting to cut into the differential case. Of course I don't want to do that. Though I gave up on that, it didn't prevent me from disassembly.

This was my before cleaning picture. You can see the frame part attached on the rear mounting point.

First, I pulled both inner axle shafts out. This involved removing the four hex screws that hold them in.

The hex-head cap screws attaching the inner axle shafts to the differential case.

Then, a few pries with a screw driver and they came free. Well, maybe a bit more than a few pries, but I didn't want to damage anything so I didn't rush and didn't use a lot of force. Realize, however, that they are in there pretty tight, with an interference fit between the bearings and the races.

Cap screws removed and starting to pry out the shaft. The bearing is visible just starting to slide out of the case.

The assembly liberated from the differential housing.

The differential side of the equation.

Next up was to get the old oil seal out for eventual replacement. This required removal of a circlip and the bearing. The circlip came out easily using a small flat head screwdriver and a scribe. Unfortunately, my circlip pliers didn't close enough (the tips didn't come close enough together) to get inside the small gap, so I had to improvise.

Close-up of the circlip. Ask me how close I was to trying to pull the bearing without removing it.

Once that was out, I used my Harbor Freight Bearing Puller to pop the bearings off. The first one went fine, but the second one was a bit trickier. The angled cut on the bearing puller is not in the best shape anymore (not as flat and sharp as desired) and it was coming out from under the bearing. Since the bearing seemed in good shape, I took my time to prevent damaging it and eventually succeeded. Realize that it takes a good amount of pressure and they come out with a pretty good "pop".

Once the bearings were out, I knocked out the oil seal with a few light taps of a small hammer and punch.

Oil seal on right, retainer cap on left.

You'll note in the above picture the one side of the retainer cap is cut in a curve. Since it worked for me, I'll assume it's there to allow removal of the bolts that hold the inner axle shaft to the outer axle (drive) shafts. I'll also be replacing those bolts, by the way, as the threads were not in the best shape and the shoulders were a bit rounded and beat up as well.

After that, I removed the eight or so bolts holding the differential case together and cracked it open. Everything looked good to me with no chips or obvious scoring to the gears. The bearing also felt fine so, like I said, I'm going to leave well enough alone with all of that stuff.

One other thing I do want to do is replace the front oil seal. I didn't look into how complicated this is, however, though looking at the exploded diagrams, it doesn't look bad. I'll look at doing that the next time I'm at the shop.

Where the magic happens.

My garage-mate showed up about 7:30 and we landed the tub and aligned the outriggers. The passenger's side lined right up and required no adjustments, but the same could not be said of the drivers side. The mounting point of importance was the front body mount since this is essentially set in stone (though maybe not depending on required body repairs...future me). Since I'll be replacing the floors, that mounting point can be coarsely adjusted. Anyway, I had to do a good amount of grinding of the outrigger to get it all lined up, but it finally came in.

Passenger's side outrigger all set.

Passenger's side floor mount. Off, but these are my holes to cut on the new floors.

Driver's side outrigger lined up.

You can see in the above picture, focusing on the horizontal hole in the outrigger closest to the frame (brake (and maybe fuel) line passage) and comparing it to the same hole on the passenger's outrigger, the amount of grinding I had to do. I made sure, at least twice, that all of the holes for the rest of the body mounting points were centered up, including the four for the radio tower and everything looked good. Still makes me a bit nervous, but so be it.

Driver's side floor mount. Better alignment here, but given all the grinding, it better be.

That was about it for the night. I was back and forth so many times between the grinder and the fit tests that time just melted away. Now that both outriggers are fitted, I will pull them back off, do a final surface clean up, and prime the area. I have the zinc weld-through primer, but it has poor adhesion because of the high metal content, so I may do a mix of regular and zinc primer. In any case, the area will be provided corrosion inhibitor of some sort and then I'll tack the outriggers down in several spots. The top and bottom are lap welds so that's where I'll tack it. The front and back will be butt-welds (of varying gaps due to inconsistencies in square-ness) so I'm going to pull the body back off before I attempt to do that to provide the most room.

After that, it will be on to final cleaning and paint stripping and then paint preparation. Still haven't made a final decision on paint method but POR-15 is still in the lead. Cheers!

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