Sunday, November 12, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #34 - Rear Valance Removal

Before I get into the post, let me say that it's been a while since I've done anything on Dorothy due to some family commitments, professional commitments, and my Honda Fit breaking an axle shaft. On Thursday I got back from about a week of business travel during which my birthday passed. While she may not understand, my lovely wife (and the kids, too) have always supported my unique and expensive "hobby".  They continue to do so and this year, as with the first year I owned Dorothy, my birthday cake celebrated Triumph (I'm eating a piece as I type this).

Happy Birthday!

So, after about two full weeks, I finally got back over to the garage to get some work done.


Based off of recommendations from a kind gentleman (and Navy veteran) <thanks, Frank!> who offered some lessons learned advice after reading my posts,  I decided to stop the sill work pending landing the body tub back to the chassis. The idea being that I can get the tub bolted back down and set properly, then also put on the bonnet and the doors and everything else and get it all aligned before I do the final commit to the outer sills by welding them in.

Given that, I started the morning with removing the passenger's side outer sill. If you remember, I had tried to attach it last time but the plug weld holes I made were too small. This resulted in the holes filling up with weld metal before I got good penetration and, hence, the welds were...well, crap. I educated myself with the help of one of my YouTube viewers and pulled the sill back off with the intention of punching larger holes in it (about 1/4") in the future.

1/4" hole (far right) versus what I used. Not to be confused with the large hole above which is a factory drain hole.

Because the welds were not so hot, that was an easy chore. With that, I spun the body around (it's on dollys) for the better lighting and got to work removing the rear valance (which I cannot remember the name of in my video).

This is the typical job of drilling out a whole bunch of spots welds. I try to concentrate on the few points of interest in the video. In short, the rear valance is attached to the boot floor along its bottom (from right to left) and the  inner wing lower strengthener  on both sides. Lucky or not, depending on how you look at it, most of Dorothy's boot floor and rear valance were no longer were attached, so most of the welds that I drilled out were along the wings.

Slowly separating the wing, strengthener and rear valance (passenger's side).

Since most of the bottom was already detached, I only drilled out a few and just used my chisel to get the rest.

Part of the area of the boot floor to valance separation.

The trickiest part was around the taillight area. First, it's hard to get at and see. Second, there are at least two separate areas of attachment that are difficult to get at. I try to show this in the video...you get an idea of how hard it is to see given how poor of a job I do at accomplishing this.

The problem area. This picture doesn't really do it justice.

I didn't go back and take post-removal pictures, but I think these may be best left to pre-replacement pics instead.

Otherwise, it was not a complicated removal, if tedious. Just make sure what you are drilling through and you should be fine. After about 4 hours, I got the rear valance off and on the bench.

Now I have a Spitfire pickup!

On the bench. I used the Sawzall to help at a few points, which I didn't document.

Needless to say, I have a lot of repair work and fabrication ahead of me.  Of the areas of concern (there are many) my greatest, from a technical standpoint, is repairing the wing strengtheners. I'm not quite sure how to approach this yet, but you may be able to understand what I'm looking at below...how to get the new patch in properly while minimizing disturbing the existing, good metal.

Driver's side.

Passenger's side.

I think that's about it. Looks like I'm going to get back over there tomorrow for my weekday visit, so I'll need to make my decision rather quickly on how to proceed. Until then, cheers!

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