Friday, January 26, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #47 - Rear Valance Installation

It's in!


Yes, after several fits and starts, the new rear valance is in. There still some final welding to do, of course, but it's not going to move without significant persuasion!

First off, let me say that I appreciate any and all of you who have visited my website and a special thank you goes to those that have subscribed to my YouTube channel. I'm still very far away from the required 1000 subscribers to maintain monetization, but I've added more than two dozen in the past week, so thanks so much for that! Second, for this specific video, I feel that I didn't edit out enough "real time" stuff and it gets pretty boring at times, so I apologize for that. It'll be a better balance next time.

In short, the biggest lesson here that I learned is that metal flexes. In doing so, it provides some added rigidity that is beneficial to the strength of the panel. The sills are the same way, from what I understand, but I have yet to figure that out for sure.  I learned this as I struggled to get the curvatures at the wing flanges to match up.

I still needed to do some final prep work to the new valance. This included taking the three remaining wire tabs from Dorothy's valance, and one from the black car for a total of four, and swapping them over to the new valance. This entailed drilling out the two spot welds on the tabs, cleaning the surfaces of the new valance of black paint, priming everything with weld through primer, and welding them back in on the new one.

One of the tabs on Dorothy's original valance.

The four (three from Dorothy, one from the black car) post-priming and drying.

Clamped in ready to weld. Yes, the closest one is upside down. So glad I figured that out before I welded it!

And done.

With that done, it was back to fitting the thing up. My initial fit up did not identify that fact that I needed to "squish" the valance. I didn't take any pictures at the time because I didn't know better, but my video makes is clear that I figure this out and you can clearly see the comparison between right and wrong.

Another area of concern, which a viewer of mine commented that he had the same problem as well,  was the overlap on the driver's side of the valance.

The problematic fit area.

More of the same area, reverse side.

It simply seems that this side is just not stamped properly, at least for the Mk2. The passenger's side was very close to correct, so I doubted myself for a while, but in the end I took my cutting wheel and made it work.

As I fit the valance in, I used several (probably 10+) clamps during the process to hold everything in place. I then put the boot lid on, its rubber seal, and did a test. It fit pretty well, but I had a bit of rubbing right at the tail light area.

The boot does taper down as it works its way towards the back of the car. When I removed the old valance, the tail light area sprung "out" a bit, towards the center of the car, as there was nothing holding it back now.  I used some bar clamps to squeeze the tail light area together and then clamped the union between the new valance and this area together, which locked it down. It wasn't possible to take pictures to show this since it was so subtle, but the video tries to explain it more clearly.

Once the top was clamped in, I worked my way down, getting it all aligned and clamping along the way. Again, I'd refer you to the video for the better images. I used a floor jack and some 4x4s to compress the rear valance to get the bottom of it and the boot floor to align properly.

My only other significant areas of concern were the tail light area to rear valance where the brazing was done. This area was not a tight fit coming out of the factory  (hence the brazing) but I wanted to get as close as I could to minimize my gaps.

Initial passenger's side gap. Way too much. You can also see the better fit between the valance and the wing.

I did this by deforming the valance up in this area a bit while trying to press down on the tail light area. There is a flange in this area as well (not pictured) on the inside of the  tail light  that I could use as a clamping area, but that tended to bend before the valance, so the gap was still a bit too big. I used a mallet to make some final adjustments to get an acceptable gap (for me, at least).

Once all the clamping and fitting was done, I went to town welding, making adjustments as I went, working from top to bottom.

Passenger's side tacked.

Driver's side tacked.

Ultimately, there's still some gaps and final stuff to attend to, beside just the remaining plug welds. The shortness of this post doesn't do justice to the amount of effort required, at least for me, to get this right. Again, the biggest lesson for me was the required compression of the rear valance required to get a proper fit. I'm not quite sure what I did that helped me realize this, but am I ever glad I did!

Mostly done for the night. Not fully welded, but solid.

Again,  I highly really recommend watching the video, especially those portions where I'm speaking, if you are doing this yourself and need to "see" how it goes. It may not answer all of your questions, (you can skip me welding) but I'd stick with the speaking parts to get a full picture of what I needed to do. Until next time, cheers!

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