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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #27 - More A Post

The mirror of this post can be found on my website, Roundtail Restoration, by following this link.

Not that great of a night at the garage. Had to undo some work already done, and then figured out that I probably might not have had to after all. Oh well. The video:

I started out trying to fabricate the bottom portion of the A post that would fit near the bottom door hinge attachment and finish off the bottom of the depression, the top of which I repaired in my last post.

Here's where the new piece will go.

Cutting out the portion of the hole for the door hinge wasn't that tough, though I didn't do a great job, but the depression was a bit difficult. I used the old piece as a template and ended up clamping the metal in the vise, then banging it outwards to create the depression. Meh.

In vise in attempt to form depression.

I got that piece tacked in (no pics again, sorry). Before I put it in fully, however, I wanted to check the fit of the new lower A post. I fought with this for a while and never did get it sorted. I speak about it in detail in the video, but suffice it to say that there is are differences in the new piece and the old. I expect this, of course, but it is going to take more trial and error fitting until I'm willing to call it good.

One of the problems that I had, and may still have, is that the flange I made on my newly fabricated upper A post sections dropped down too low, I think. This pushed the whole lower A post down, causing the bottom to line up well below the bottom of the floor. So much so that I didn't have a flat weld area if I wanted to weld the two together. Not good.

So, I made the decision to cut out all of my hard work and focus on getting the lower A post fitted as I don't believe there is an order that matters. Again, I talk about it and show better images in the video.

One thing I did get to, however, was welding down the bonnet plate. I finished up the welding on the repair patch, ground it smooth, primed it all, and welded it in.

Ready for primer. You can see the bottom section hasn't been removed yet.

Welded in. Not as pretty as the factory, but I did plug two plug welds in addition to the edge lap welds.

That was it. Next visit I will tackle the bottom A post and see how it goes.

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #26 - More A Post (and some B Post)

This blog post is mirrored at my website Roundtail Restoration. You can link directly to this post here.

This Sunday (9/24) was probably one of the better days I've had at the garage in a while. Though I had to eventually undo some of it, I left in a good mood, so there was that! To the video:

My goal was to get the A post sorted. Lots of work here to repair significant cancer damage. I approached it in sections, the very front being the easiest. The middle, where the bonnet comes down was a bit trickier, though I had a hammer and dolly repair that I was going to attempt. The area under this, however, was rusted beyond repair and would require fabrication, a tricky thing.

I was also concerned for the area under the bonnet plate (I think that's the name) as there was significant pitting in the metal, leading me to believe that it had rotted through.

With that, I got to work. I cut out the front of the upper A post...

The front area of the upper A post requiring repair.

After the cut job. No problem.

I continued that cut back, doing it in two pieces to prevent inadvertent damage to the interior vertical supports. I drilled through the one spot weld that was in the area so I could pry the B post away from the supports, minimizing the chance of cutting into them with the cutting wheel.

The rear cut out done. Again, no issues. The area in the center top of picture gets cut out, too.

I then cut the welds for the bonnet plate and bent that up and out of the way to expose the corroded metal.

The right choice to look under there!

Yup, definitely the right choice!

After that, I cut away the area with the depressions. I argued with myself for a bit on whether to attempt a hammer and dolly repair with it still in there, but I couldn't get either in there. I knew that I would not be very successful at fabricated a new piece, so I said "what the hell" and cut it out to try the hammer and dolly repair on the bench.

The cut of the area to be worked.

I took a hammer and dolly to that and I was very happy with the result!

Like I knew what I was doing!

I turned that right back around and got it lined up for welding it back in. I shot the area with weld-through primer, got the edges cleaned up and got it back in.

Not too bad.

With that, I ground the welds down and admired my handy work.

Bad lighting, but you get the idea. The bottom repair is not as nice as the top.

With that done, and since I had the Hobart still warm, I decided to jump back to the bottom of the B post and get that piece welded in properly.

Not done-done, but good enough for fitting other pieces for now.

I jumped back to the A post to get the front bottom part formed and fitted. This is a simple piece with the flange on it, so fabrication wasn't an issue. I made a piece that went from where the bulkhead and A post meet back to the middle of the forward-most vertical support.

Since I was concerned with fitting for the outer sill, I used magnets to set the piece up and rough fit the outer sill to check how the flanges fit together.

Repair piece and outer sill mated up.

The view from below. Pretty good!

I tacked the piece in at that point but for some reason I didn't take any pictures. Anyway, next up was the metal under the bonnet plate. Again, I argued with myself on how to do this, but I decided to just cut the damage out and weld a new piece in. Again, fabrication was simple.

The cutting wheel made short work of the damage. I filled the overcuts in with weld metal.

New piece ready to go in. The large gap at the bottom is due to the B post bending in slightly.

I tacked in the top corners and then hammer the bottom a bit to match up the slight depression in the bottom. Then, I tacked it in all around.

Another successful repair!

And with that, it was time to get cleaned up and go to a soccer game.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #25 - Bottom Rear Wing and some A Post

Visit my new website, Roundtail Restoration, to view this blog post and more!

Hello, all. I am writing this first post on the new website, which uses Wordpress, so we'll how the learning curve is. So far, though, it appears to be only minor differences. With that, on to the video:

My initial work was on the lower portion of the upper A post (here we go with the lower and upper stuff again). Due to the complexity of the repair (good pics and info in the video) I wanted to measure twice and cut once, so to speak. My biggest concern was the vertical support that ran up the inside of the A post as that would be in the way of some of the metal repair that needed to happen.

Pic of the ragged edge of the extent of the cancer.

Bottom edge of upper A post looking up, the vertical support being clearly visible.

My Hobart 140 makes a cameo appearance through the missing A post (as taken from inside the car).

I decided at that point that I would be better off stopping there and sleeping on my approach for a while. I moved onto the bottom of the B post / rear wing instead. Of course, with so many repairs to do, it's easy to switch between jobs when I hit a snag or delay!

I had the bottom of the B post pulled out from my terrible weld job and had it already prepped to go back in, so I decided to work on the repair of the bottom rear wing.

The trailing edge where it rolls into the wheel well was pocked with rust, much like the driver's side, so I fabricated a piece off of the damaged part. The repair was two pieces, actually. I used a part of the black car's outer sill again because the curve matched and this became the face of the repair. For the trailing edge that rolls into the wheel well, I cut a separate piece of metal and welded them together to make the whole piece.

The lip of the trailing edge getting lined up for welding.

First few tacks. I need to figure out why some of my weld beads grow and poke out as they cool (like the center one).

I finished up the edge weld, little bits at a time to avoid excessive heat generation that would warp the metal.

Welding done. Still come caterpillars there, but better.

I cleaned that up and...wow, probably my best joint so far. As a matter of fact, it was a bit too good as it should be more of a smooth "rolled" instead of a sharp edge. Oh, well, it's definitely good enough!

Ooooo, ahhhhh. No touch up spots, even!

I had already cleaned up and POR-15 Metal Prep'd the original wing piece that I was saving, so I clamped the two together and welded them up.

New and old ready to become one.

Unfortunately, as I welded closer to the bottom edge where the flange for the floor connection is, it got a bit warped and didn't weld up very straight. I was able to bang it out, though, and it worked out fine.

You can see where the weld gets obvious at the bottom again as the grinder couldn't "reach" into the depression.

There was one more small part of the original wing that has some pinholes in them, so I cut out that 1" x 2" area and fabricated and welded a new piece in.

New metal and gap it will fill.

In the above and below pictures you can see where the top edge is not at all even across its length. I did that intentionally to give me some wiggle room on re-fitting and also to ensure I didn't originally cut my repair pieces too small and waste the time, effort and metal in doing so.

Solid, if unfinished, repair. You can see the ragged top, hopefully. It's easier to see in the video.

That was about it for the evening. No new metal on the car but some good preparation work to get some done the next visit!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Announcing Roundtail Restoration - the website!

I took the plunge and started my own website, Roundtail Restoration. It is definitely a work in progress and I'm sure there will be broken links and general disorganization, but it's all mine. I've exported this blog, from the previous post to the first, to it.

(10/1/17) I've gotten comfortable enough with the Wordpress way of doing things that I will no longer be updated both sites in parallel. To keep up with my progress (or lack thereof), please visit my blog at Roundtail Restoration!

So, please feel free to take a look and contact me via email if you have any comments or criticisms or find anything broken.

I will be maintaining the YouTube channel as I'm sure, even with a dedicated URL, it will be the better place to host that stuff anyway.

So, head on over to Roundtail Restoration and take a look! You're comments and continued support are appreciated!


Friday, September 15, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #24 - Even More Floor...aarrrgh!

To say the my last visit to the garage was not a good time may be an understatement. Between not feeling so hot and being generally frustrated, I decided that it was better to give it up than to screw it up and went home after only about 3 hours. There was some advance, but not much.

The video:

Given that I needed to repair the back of the floor at the heelboard area, much like the driver's side, I had prepared a repair patch piece for that on my last visit. I used my Harbor Freight Step Drill Bit, which I have used in various applications, to make the hole in the bottom of the B post.

Nice big hole, though a bit rough around the edges. Note the two plug weld holes to the right.

I also used my hole punch and punch two holes in it for the plug welds to the heel board and lined it up for installation.

Lined up, with some minor adjustments to do.

Unfortunately, my welding here was pretty bad. I think I did not have a good ground so the welds were dirty looking. However, I did only tack it in so I may not have to totally remove it to fix it. We'll see on the next go around.

I also removed the cancer from the front bottom of the rear wing, again a similar area as on the driver's side.

The cancerous piece as removed.

Same piece, but the "inside" view.

I pounded the cut off piece flat and used it as a very rough template for a replacement piece.

Good metal versus bad.

I worked at it for a while and it just wasn't coming together. So, I decided that I didn't need to get that particular part finished before I got the floor tacked in, but that also gave me a hard time.

When I say I wasn't feeling hot...I had a stye in my left eye. As I think I've mentioned, my eyesight has been steadily degrading over the past few years (it's all over after 40, in case you're not there yet) and I've had to start wearing cheaters any time I'm doing something within about a foot of my face. It's gotten to the point where I'm wearing cheater safety glasses as well. So, my degrading close vision along with the fact that my left eye was just irritating the absolute s*%t out of me was beyond frustrating.

So, I decided that there was nothing that continued work would do other than continue to upset me and I packed it in for the night. My plan is to get back over there on Sunday for the day, so we'll see how that goes. My primary focus will be the floor pan...it's time to get the thing in!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #23 - Yet More Floor Installation Prep

Here's the video. Please understand that my write-up here and the video are not necessarily in the same order of performance. I jump around a lot at the garage, but I try to make my write-ups topical, staying in the same general area or repair.

There is a significant amount of time in the video devoted to how I get the floorboard fitted in the car. It's not a good fit at this point, but I had a YouTube viewer ask me, so I provided (hopefully) good information on how I am going about it, which is not to say there are alternative options.

The rest of the video was more of my "mainstream" as I continued to fight the lower 4 inches of rust on Dorothy. Essentially, the bottom 4 inches, or so, of her is rusted out. I'm trying to take care of this an inch at a time. In that pursuit, I located cancer at the back of the lower B post, similar to what I found on the driver's side.

Drilling out the spot welds in the search for cancer!

Cancer found...blurry cancer...so odd.

With that, I knew I had a significant enough problem that I needed to take more extreme measures, so I needed to cut away the lower front of the rear wing. I really <really> didn't want to do that on this side since it appeared to be in good shape, but in the end, of course, there was cancer throughout so it was good that I did. I cut the lower portion of the wing away from to gain access to the cancer-riddled areas.

Cancer from the inside. Outer lower wing cut away in this shot.

View from external. First cut for cancer extraction.

With that, I resigned myself to the fact that my cancer on the passenger's side was as bad (at least) as it was on the driver's side and I needed to just get it all out of there. So, I cut, cut, cut and did that.

Cancer removed!

Same cut but from inside the car.

I didn't get to making a patch part for this area yet, but I don't expect it to be too difficult, especially considering that I don't have to worry about running wiring through the "hole", unlike the passenger's side.

While taking care of the bottom B post, I was also taking care of the bulkhead in parallel. This was an identical, though smaller, repair as from the driver's side. I paid a bit more attention, however, to how everything fit together.

Closeup of the repair area.

Another shot of the area, with the front cap cut and bent away. 

Same as above, but a longer view.

Same as above, but closer showing the "paper repair" that I saw on the driver's side.

Assessing the damage and how everything went together,  I moved on to fabricating the repair piece. I had some more old outer sill metal remaining, so I used that.

Template traced out and ready to cut with tin snips.

Part ready to weld in, plug weld holes ready for use.

Another angle of same shot above.

Post welding. Need to get my heat increased or wire feed decreased. Caterpillar welds...

 That was about it. I still need to fabricate a repair piece for the lower B post but the bulkhead is all done (it ground out ok).

Unfortunately, I have some family in the Naples, FL area that we are very worried about. We had a cousin in Houston (who made out okay, no flooding at their house, thankfully) but we have essentially the entire extended side of my wife's family in Naples, FL. Her parents have had a condo there for the last 30+ years. I expect it to be a total loss. They also had a beach house in Ocean City, NJ that was flooded and lost during Sandy a few years ago. While I understand that this may sound like a "woe-is-me" with all of these beach properties, understand that this are historical properites before living at the beach was "cool". The NJ beach home was a Sears home built in the late 1940's and the Naples, FL condo was bought sight unseen in the mid-80's.

Real people with real losses. I pray for them all..please join me in doing so.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #22 - More Floor Installation Prep

A slightly abbreviated visit to the garage today as I had a social engagement tonight with friends. I did get over there about 8:45 or so and continued with floor preparation. I did some cleaning up in the general area so that sucked up some time as well. Here's the supporting video:

In support of installing the floor, I had some things to take care of, one of which I forgot about until the very end. What I tackled first was preparing the black car's rear radius arm mounting bracket. As I mentioned in my last post, it was covered in some undercoating the PO had put on. So, with a variety of wire wheels and a bit of time in the blast cabinet, I got it cleaned up. I applied some POR-15 Metal Prep and let it do it's magic.

Ready for paint. I will seam seal those curved parts on the bottom plate after installation.

The driver's side bracket I had finished up a while ago, but I still needed to paint it. The passenger's side was in a bit rougher shape and needed some weld buildup in a cancer spot (I show the hole in my video) and a quick repair where I got a bit overzealous with the cutting wheel. I lit the welder off and got it done with no problem.

Top view of weld repair. Not great, but it fixes the hole.

Bottom view. I left the weld fat since it won't interfere with anything.

Both ready for paint.

Finished, I shot everything with two coats of Dupli-Color Weld-Through Primer and left them for future use.

One of the floor support brackets drying.

With that all done, the next chore was to remove the remaining parts of the floor pan that didn't come off with the initial cutting. The floor pan, inner sill, strengthener, and outer sill all form a big metal sandwich that I needed to break apart. The rear of this area, however, replaces the outer sill and strengthener with the B post.

The rear B post metal sandwich area. Spot weld cutter to the rescue!

This B post is in better shape than the driver's side was, but I think it will still require some repair. In any case, I knew that I wanted to preserve it as best as possible so I used my Blair Spotweld Cutter to remove those particular spotwelds and broke that portion of the floor free.

Since the rest of the sandwich to the front of the car was going to be replaced, I took the cutting wheel to it all and had at it.

The rust shower from just the cutting wheel. Lots of bad metal on the floor.

With that extra metal out of the way, I was back to fitting the floor pan itself. Much like the driver's side, it was a process of putting the floor pan in, making some cutting marks, taking it out and cutting it, putting it back in, making some cutting marks...you get the idea. This takes a lot of time and I didn't get it fitted...but I'm close.

Initial fit after the first cut. Some adjustments required.

One thing I did figure out was that my dash support angle iron that I welded in last visit and the factory dash support cannot be in when fitting the floor since they just simply get in the way. Maybe if I did it different...but I took them both out and proceeded with the iterations of fitting. Also, while leaving the frame is probably the better overall decision, it does make fitting the floor a bit trickier than without it since it provides some interference. Like I said, though, I think in the long run and to prevent alignment issues (like I have on the passenger's side) I think it's a better idea leaving the body on the frame.

As the end of the day drew near, I got pretty close to final fit but I had issues with the rear of the floor sticking out out past the sandwich area. I'm pretty sure I can just adjust the bend radius of where the floor will meet the driveshaft tunnel (picture above), but I didn't get to doing that. It lines up well at the front, so it is definitely not in there straight.

The overlap of the floor.

And the long view. 

With that, my day was over. I totally forgot about fixing the front of the bulkhead until I did my last video update, so I will probably tackle that first on my next trip over. Otherwise, not a bad day considering I only got about 5 hours and with the tedium that is getting the floor fitted.