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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #53 - Done?

I got ahead of myself in the last post and documented more repairs than the video documented. That's what you get when you wait so long to update your blog, so sorry about that.
Anyway, I think I have accomplished the last of my body repairs. Except for some minor hole filling  and some odds and ends that I'm sure I missed, I really cannot think of anything else...well, unless I decide to redo that bulkhead patch. To the video:

One portion I fixed was where the driveshaft tunnel connected to the heel board. My investigation told me that the factory did not adequately spot weld this area and, with all of my moving and welding and all, I popped a few of them. So, with my trusty sheet metal screws and welder, I took care of that problem.

Area of concern is top of tunnel curve. You can see where the metal is separating.

The gap prior to repair.

After repairs...nice and tight (trust me, it's better).

I also re-did the exhaust hanger coming off the boot floor because I messed it up the first time. I couldn't see underneath then since the wings weren't in existence yet. An easy repair, none-the-less.

Drilled out and re-installed.

With that done, I moved on to the heater core interface with the body. As you may expect, this isn't always a dry area and rust had eaten away at the existing passenger's side of the pipe penetration and some of the fan flange. Because I'm a dork, I didn't photographically document this worth a sh*t, but there you go. As usual, the video does it justice.


Fortunately, and has been the case, this area of the black car was just fine and I cut the patch from it quite a while ago and finally got around to getting it welded in. A satisfying repair, I must say.  Cheers!

Triumph Spitfire Painting #1 - Practice Makes Perfect

I broke out the gun and gave it a shot:

I wanted to get a feel for how this stuff worked, figuring it was the way to save my butt from inexperience since epoxy primer, let alone the paint itself, is NOT cheap (~$75 for  a quart of primer and a quart of activator from Southern Polyurethanes).

What I did to test my setup and see how it all worked was get a large bottle of black acrylic craft paint from Walmart (~$4, much cheaper!), cut it with some water (about a 1:1 ratio) and sprayed it on to a few sheets of masking paper. It was fun and I figured out the gun controls.

Practice. You can see the round spots where I was figuring out the spray pattern settings.

Not really anything to it other than that, but if you've never done this before, like me, it's a cheap and easy way to learn how your gun works. And it cleans up with water...just make sure you really dry the gun out well so it doesn't rust!!!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #52 - More Boot Floor Repairs

The video:

I had another area of similar damage to my last post (the flange area around a few spot welds) and I took the same approach for the repair. I also found another spot that was Swiss-cheesed pretty well, so I fixed that, too. The write-up doesn't exactly match the order of events in the video as I was jumping around a bit that night.

In addition to the boot floor repairs, I also went at the cover that goes over the  rear spring. Dorothy did not originally come with one (and I don't believe they are available to purchase), but I had the black car's  and it was in decent enough shape to repair. Repairs entailed putting in a patch piece for the larger portions of cancer, spot welding some minor holes, and making a new flange-thing (you'll see what I mean in the pics). All in all, it came out just fine.

Old (left) and new flange-thing.

Patch ready to get welded in after some more alignment tweaks.

Patch welded in as well as some holes filled.

Finished product.

Other side, showing that "flange-thing".

With that sorted, it was on to the repairs to the boot floor. The damage was on the passenger's side and I was concerned of similar damage to the  driver's side. To figure that out, I took a wire wheel and various cleaning abrasives to the inside of the boot to get the old seam sealer out of there and inspect the joints throughout the boot. My fears were for naught, thankfully, as I found no additional areas of concern.

Same area, but on the driver's side.

Of interest here, you can see in the above picture the white area around the metal seams. Much like is recommended today (and I intend to do), the car is primed before any seam sealer (or body filler) is applied. Looks like Triumph followed the same process 50+ years ago as the white paint was under the seam sealer, indicated that the red top coat was sprayed after the seam sealer was applied.

In addition to the floor itself, a small bracket clip that functions to secure that part of the  backboard covering the fuel tank was right in the cancer area.  Since most of the metal was gone anyway, the spot welds were easily drilled out. After some initial hesitation, I was able to salvage the piece as it cleaned up just fine.

Bracket prior to removal. The broken off screw is indicative of the corrosion in the area (and the large holes, too!)

Back side of removed bracket showing captive nut, properly called a spire clip, I believe.

Other sides, showing sheared screw.

With the bracket out, I could now safely remove the cancer area without worrying about damage to the bracket. My small pneumatic cut off wheel  and some spot weld drill-throughs made short order of this. By the way, that cut off wheel thing cost about $8 from Harbor Freight, without a coupon. The reviews it got were not great, but the thing has been awesome for me; really good for the tighter spots that you don't want to put the 4 1/2 angle cutoff wheel in. I oil it before each daily use (as I do with all of my pneumatic tools using Marvel Mystery Oil) and haven't had a problem.

Boot (interior) side of the piece. Yuck!

Underside (exterior).

This piece was pretty easy to fabricate, as it was just a rectangular piece with two sides of it bent about 90-degrees.

New piece mostly fitted.

No going back now...well, without cutting that is.

The more tricky repair was the next area since it was on a more curved area of the boot floor. I was able to use my shrinker-stretchers again to make a new piece relatively easily. As I've mentioned in the past, these things are not cheap and I wouldn't make the purchase lightly, but the (too) few times that I've used them, they've been the only reason I got the good fit that I did.

The video documents the piece construction ok, but all I've got for you here is a still image after the fact.

Fit up, ready to weld. The gap is a bit bigger than I would prefer, but it worked.

Welded in.

And that was about it for those repairs. They went well and I was happy with the results.

Final repairs, pre-cleanup.

In case the camera angles may seem a bit odd, the car was up on the wings for all of these repairs. Not to toot my own horn, but I can't tell you how much the wings have helped me out in making things easily accessible and repairable. It's the best $40 I've spent on any tool yet and I highly recommend, if you need the access that I do, to give it a try. Thanks again to Chef Tush for the inspiration!

Until next time (which will hopefully not be as long as this time), cheers!