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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #33 - Outer Sill Installation (temporarily)

Reached a milestone on the last visit...the passenger's side outer sill is installed...and needs to come back off <grrrr>

As with most of the stuff I've been doing lately, there was a lot more iterations of fitting and adjusting, repeat forever.

I faced two big challenges. One was getting the sill placed in the right spot back to front. But before I could get that right,  I had to conquer the other - the front cap placement. This was not very easy and it appears as if the factory just beat the heck out of it all until it fit.

Area, primed, where the cap fits over.

My attack plan here was to bang out the bulkhead (it looked like it had been banged in) and make it as flush and straight as possible, then bang it in to get the proper fit. A bit easier said then done, but I eventually got it. I did bend the cap itself a bit, but I started to tear the metal at a crease and stopped (I point this out in the video).

After putting up the sill and doing a bit of hammer work. Nothing permanent, yet.

I used sheet metal screws to get the cap fit in place and once I was happy with that, I did a few plug welds to get it set.

A few plug welds to get it set up.

With that set, fitting came down to the vertical direction, especially around the door sill. The metal on the sill was sprung in this area and I had initially straightened it out, but went back and sprung it again to avoid interference when the door shut.

Other than that, like I said, it was just a lot of adjusting and fitting. I also put a bunch of holes in the sill for the plug welds.

Holes that I made with my manual punch.

A gap that I need to do hammer work on.

Once I was satisfied, I did a few plug welds to get it set in. I was struggling quite a bit with the plug welds getting good penetration and the first several I did just popped right off.

The three plug welds on the left are crap; the far right one finally grabbed.

After I posted my video, a viewer commented that my holes were way too small for the plug welds. He believed that I was filling up the holes with weld metal before enough heat was generated to provide adequate penetration. This never dawned on me and I just figured smaller welds would be easier to clean up.

I did a bit of research and found that the holes were too small,  hindering my welding. I had punched a bunch of 1/8" holes in the metal. Way too small. From my research on the internets (and this handy website), I should be doing something more like 1/4" or so. Whoops.

Given that I've struggle with getting good penetration on some other plug welds (using my HF hole punch that provided  3/16" holes) maybe the holes have been too small all along.

Look Ma, no clamps! Unfortunately, not for long.

I did get about 3 or 4 welds to hold, but next visit I'll go back and take it off, punch larger holes in there and try again! While I never like to go backwards, I very much appreciate that comment by one of my viewers as, in the long run, I'm sure it will result in much better welds. Cheers!

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