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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #9 - Lower A Post Final Install / Inner Sill Install

Got over to the garage today for a bit. Finished up installing the lower A post and got the inner still installed and the strengthener fitted, but not tacked. Not too bad for a days work.

The audio on the video sounds like I'm in a tunnel. Not sure if I did something or not, but there are bits that are hard to understand. Sorry about that.

A true multi-media post - video and a write up! Fancy, I know. Anyway, after finishing up the welding on the lower A post, I took some measurements to verify that everything was still good (it was) and I welded in some angle iron on the inside of the door frame. This was something that I fought with for a while and finally decided to do. Putting the support on the inside of the door frame allows fitting of the door which, in turn, allows proper adjustments to the outer sill prior to welding it in.

Welds at the back; front similar.

What it looks like from the outside.

Once the new support was welded in, I removed my old support. Then, I put the door in to check it out and it fit, though not very well. The upper hinge had A LOT of play in it which allowed the door to sag quite a bit. I've read a few posts in my favorite forum about getting new hinges when doing this job since the pins are normally pretty worn out. Bad hinges can make proper door gaps nearly impossible to achieve. The lower hinge is fine, but the upper...not so much.

Door installed. You can see how misaligned it is looking at the pinstripe line.

I got nervous about this at first, thinking the body had flexed but after I adjusted the door for the hinge sag both physically and "in my head" it made sense to have a large gap at the top as the hinge gave and caused the door to drop. With a tight hinge, the door will rise up and then both hinges would be slid back (they're adjustable, of course) to get a nice gap. At least, that's what I hope! I have several hinges in my attic from the black car so hopefully at least one of them is good.

Definitely not concourse!

With that checked out, I pulled the door back off and got to work prepping the area for the inner sill. I cut a hole in the bottom of the B post for the wiring harness portion that goes back into the boot (tail lights and what-not) with no problems.

I did several trial fits of the inner sill, making adjustments with the body hammer as necessary. I didn't need to trim anything and the sill to A and B post fits were nearly perfect. There are a few bends in the inner sill that corresponds to mating points in both the A and B posts. Given that I needed no adjustments with these, I reinforced my confidence that the body had not flexed or bent.

I cleaned up the inner sill as there was some bubbling paint and surface rust, punched a bunch of plug weld holes in it and primed it up with weld-through primer. I also primed the areas of the body where I planned to weld.

Inner sill prepped and drying. You can see a bend at the top. This is where it mates with the inside lower A post.

Once the inner sill and body were dry, I did the final fit up. Good to go!

Fit up from the outside.

Fit up from the inside. Again, though a bit hard to see, note the bends at the bottoms of the A and B posts. 

I did a few plug welds on the inside first at the front and back, then moved to the floor to sill union and welded that.

Floor to inner sill weld.

Inner sill to lower B post welds.

The next piece to go on is the strengthener, which fits between the inner and outer sills. The reason that not all of the plug welds are completed in the picture above is because the strengthener slides between the inner sill and the lower B post in this area and I didn't want to put a big weld bead in there until I knew how much room I had.

Also, the front lower rear wing portion that is already in need of replacement needs to be cut out to gain access to the area where the strengthener welds to the lower B post. Regrettable that this is the way it needs to be done as my passenger's side in this area is in good shape. Oh, well. Maybe I can figure an alternative method.

The front of the strengthener simply welds to a flange on the lower A post. The top and bottom of the strengthener welds to a flange on the floor and the top of the inner sill. I see a bunch more plug welds in my future!

Strengthener (black piece) sitting in there.

Next visit I'll get the strengthener in and start fitting the outer sill. Getting that in will probably take another visit or two.

I did learn that the weld-through primer doesn't seem to be very weld-through. I may have been under the misconception that you could just paint that stuff and then weld - oh, I don't know - right through it?! Nope. Pops, crackles and bad welds. In the future, I will continue to use it but will take more care in prepping the areas that I want to weld to get them down to clean metal, or close to it, to avoid problems.

To clean the plug area, one trick that I picked up from Elin Yakov, who in turn picked it up from jademuttley, is to obtain the appropriate size drill bit and grind the end flat. You then drill the plug area and the flattened bit takes the paint off. Works pretty good!

Flattened bit. Simple and effective!
That's it for this post. For the two people that have already read this post, I apologize for the late write-up!


  1. No worries. I was under the impression that weld-through primer was weld-through-able too. Is it possible you're applying the wrong amount (too much/little)? Or waiting the wrong length of time (too long/not long enough)?

    1. It's not. I did a bit of what we called in the Navy "Theory-to-Practice". The welds are fine with minimal "spitting" without the primer. So, I've taken to cleaning up the side that I'm welding to of primer and keeping the side that I'm welding on with weld-thru. Seems to work so far.