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Friday, August 25, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #16 - Battery Box and Lower Front Rear Wing

Two in one day! More updates to get caught up.

Still contemplating (or avoiding, more like it) the final decision for the outer sill, I tackled the stuff that I knew wouldn't matter if I did first. Namely, the battery box and continuing on with the lower front of the rear wing.

These two jobs were run in parallel so while talk about the jobs in series, waiting for paint to dry allowed me to do them in parallel.

If you remember a long time ago, I had started on the battery box replacement. As with any classic car, this is the repair area. If nothing else, you are probably going to be replacing a battery box. Turns out battery acid, from the old non-maintenance free batteries, sitting on steel over a 30-50 year period, tends to eat metal.

Starting off, I needed to clean up the original work area and grind down some of the original repairs I did over a year ago. I also applied some POR-15 metal prep to take care of some of the minor rust areas.

Cleaned up. The dark spots are the areas prepped with the POR-15 stuff.

I also needed to clean up the new battery box (I picked it up from TRF forever ago) and painted the weldable areas with weld-through primer. I had already formed the new battery box when I removed the old one (if you follow this link to this post, there are several following it). Since new boxes come with flat flanges the rear portion needs to be bent up a bit to follow the sweep of the bulkhead. I verified that my fit was still good, then painted both the flange of the new box and Dorothy.

Battery box drying.

Dorothy standing by for installation.

I also had already drilled some holes through both the box and the bulkhead to allow placement of some sheetmetal screws and I used these again to secure the box to the bulkhead. I worked my way around and get it all spot-welded in.

Screws and first few spot welds in. The easy welds are getting better all the time.

Unfortunately, when I welded around the area where I replaced metal, it warped a bit. Not a big deal, but I'll have to make sure I use a generous amount of seam sealer to prevent any more water from getting in there as this was obviously the weak spot to begin with!

All welded in. Not too shabby!

In parallel with that, I worked the lower front area of the rear wing. Turns out I had cut my original piece incorrectly but, since I had more old outer sill to use, I had more than enough to save my behind. The flange area where the wing and the outer sill meet was going to be tricky since that metal was wasted and/or cut away. I decided to stack metal on the repair patch to replicate the vertical displacement of the original flange.

Ready for welding.

You may notice in the above picture that everything is painted with weld-through primer but the spot weld holes appear magically free of paint. How did I do this?! I stole the trick from Elin Yakov, who I believe stole it from Jade Muttley (sorry to all if my crediting is faulty!). You simply use a grinder to square off the end of an appropriately sized drill bit. Then, take the bit and use it to scrape the paint off the inside of the holes. Easy-peasy.

Drill bit squared off. Camera didn't want to focus.

With the offset piece welded in, I put the flange piece on. I'm not sure if this was the best way to go about this repair, but I though it was pretty slick and, quite frankly, I would have to bend down to really see it so...

Flange made. I did a bunch of spots here and made it essentially a long bead.

Once that welding was done, I put the piece up and tested it for final fitting. I had also punched several holes in the bottom for attachment to the floor using my Harbor Freight Air Punch Flange Tool.

Test fit.

Closeup of flange. A bit more work there before I install the outer sill.

Once I was happy with the fit and everything, I marked it with several Sharpie hash marks and did final forming. The hash marks helped me make sure it would fit pending outer sill installation.

Hash marks done. I lifted it up at the rear (right) and it all lined up before welding.

And with that, I tacked it into place. I didn't finish the welds because the outer sill wasn't going in yet and, well, because I really didn't need to finish it at this point.

Tacked in. Good enough for now.

Finally, I needed to put the outer fender lip on. Normally this would all of been one big stamped piece. But, with the way I was doing my repair, I did it in several pieces (some from my last post) and I figured this would allow me to control assembly the easiest. I get it installed and will go back eventually and fill all of the seam, then grind it smooth to match up with the rest of the wing.

Another fuzzy one. Hopefully you get the idea.

And that was it for that day. A few more days passed before I was ready to get back over to the garage for more work...and frustration!

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