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Friday, August 5, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Chassis Restoration #3

With the family still in NJ, last weekend and this week I got some good time over at the garage. On Saturday, however, I did a little bit of saltwater fishing in the Long Island Sound with a friend from work. There was three of us and we all got our bag limit of five Black Sea Bass. In my opinion, there is no better tasting fish in the ocean!

First one of the day. Note the cool T-shirt!

Just about every type of fish in the sound was caught that day from bluefish, to sea robins, to summer flounder, or fluke. A good time was had by all!

Ain't he cute! Size minimum is 18" for fluke in CT. This guy was about 6" long.

After that, and for most of the week, I continued to hammer at the suspension parts. It wasn't very exciting, but it was productive.

To complete the disassembly process, I needed to remove some seized bolts. Each side had one upper wishbone arm bolt that had rusted itself to the metal bushing sleeve. The twist with these particular bolts is an anti-loosening device spot-welded to the suspension tower. While great from a safety standpoint, it makes bolt removal impossible since I couldn't turn it to break the rust bond.

Bolt rusted to the bushing, trapped by the lock tabs.

To solve this, after inquiring on my favorite forum to make sure I wasn't going to regret my removal method, I cut the bolt using my 4.5" HF Angle Grinder and cutting wheel on both sides and removed the upper wishbone arm.

The remains. From left to right, the wishbone arm, bushing (rubber) remnant, bolt head and bushing sleeve (steel) remnant.

I then used my bench-top shop press to push out the bushings and all of the stuff rusted to it.

A little tricky to set up to prevent movement, but it worked just fine in the end.

Following that, I continued with cleaning and painting pieces-parts. For each piece that I wanted to paint, I followed the same basic procedure:

First, I soaked them in Purple Power for about an hour (or overnight for the really nasty stuff). I've found that waiting an hour, depending on the "freshness" of the Purple Power, is sufficient to break up the grease and grime to the point where it can be more easily cleaned off.

A close-up of one of the vertical links and lower trunnion before soaking. Yes, I think that light colored stuff on the trunnion is a fungus!

This is one of the vertical links after an overnight soaking. I've removed the lower trunnion here, obviously.

I then scrubbed the parts as clean as I could with a hard bristle brush or a small wire brush for the especially stubborn parts.

Vertical links after scrubbing and blasting.
The front suspension towers and lower wishbones, however, were sprayed with "real" engine degreaser because they were especially gunked up. I let them sit for a bit, following the directions on the can, then hit them with the pressure washer.

Soaking. For the most part, the suspension towers are red...you just can't really tell.

Post-pressure wash close-up. Definitely the way to go with these more complicated parts. Pressure washing peeled a lot of the red, and some of the black, paint off.

Lower wishbones after pressure washing. Hard to see here, but the holes on the left wishbone that hold the trunnion are elongated. Black car spares to the rescue!

Once the parts were clean of grime, they went into the blasting cabinet. Afterwards, I rinsed the parts with water to remove the residual dust and glass beads from the blasting process and blew them dry with the air compressor to prevent flash rust.

Blowing the parts dry was a lesson learned as the first few parts I let dry "unassisted" and they almost immediately developed a very light surface rust. It was easily fixed, but blowing the parts dry prevented this. In hindsight...duh!...but there you go.

I did a close inspection at this point to make sure that I didn't miss anything in the crevices. A few times I took a wire brush to get some stubborn grime that survived the blasting.

I then wiped the part down with some citrus cleaner to remove any residual oils and finally rinsed it again with water and blew it dry. After that, two coats of primer and two coats of paint. Just today I bought two cans of top-coat gloss. Not sure if I really need it, but I figured I'd give it a shot.

Bunches of stuff in various stages of being painted.

On my several trips outside to spray the various parts, I noticed that some yellow jackets (nasty wasps with a serious attitude) decided that they wanted to start a nest in the exhaust vent of the bathroom. I paused for a trip to Walmart to get some wasp spray and took care of that little problem.

Little bastards!

That's where I left it. Tomorrow I'm running in the 54th Annual John and Jessie Kelley Road Race out of Ocean Beach Park in New London, CT. John Kelley was the 1957 Boston Marathon winner. The race (I'm not really racing but just trying to finish!) is 11.6 miles. I've run further than that in one shot, but only twice, so we'll see how it works out for me.

The family returns sometime early in the week, so this is my last full weekend, excepting the race, to devote to the car. I'll try to get at least half of a day tomorrow and all day Sunday. If I can stick with it, I think I can get to the point where I'm ready to start suspension reassembly. Of course, this means I need to get to work on the frame to be ready to accept the suspension parts. Still climbing the hill!

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