Saturday, June 2, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Body Repair #54 - Nope, Not Quite Done...Maybe Now??

One of the last things to fix on the body was to install new rear wing finishers, or  trim pieces. Unfortunately, they don't appear to be cut properly at the top, where the tail light mounts. In the picture below, you can see where the top of the union between the rear wing and the rear valance in cut at an angle sloping "down", while the trim piece is cut at an angle going "up". This is true of all of the major suppliers, as best I can tell, and the consensus on my favorite forum is that they are definitely cut improperly. That's a bummer and something that I left to take care of in the future.

The valance/wing angle and trim angle should match...should.

Unfortunately, while this area is somewhat covered by the rear bumpers and overriders, this particular area is not, so I'll have to come up with a proper solution. Shouldn't be too bad, though, as I'll probably just wrap metal around it.

To the video:


I started with the driver's side (the still images are all of the passenger's side, however), which ended up being the more difficult of the two, but neither was too bad. As you may expect, the trim piece didn't fit real well with the curve of the wing / valence, so some clamping and mechanical persuasion was required. I used regular vise grips and a rubber mallet to make it work.

Once I was happy with the trial fit, I weld-through primed the area on the wing and valence.

Primed and ready.

While waiting for the primer to dry, I drilled several holes along the trim piece for plug welds.  Once the primer was dry, I liberally applied some brush-on seam sealer.

Seam sealer applied. Not too difficult to work with.

I let that air out a bit, and then put the trim piece back on and clamped it down.

Final fit for passenger's side.

With that done and fit, it was time to weld. Seam sealer is quite flammable. In hindsight, and if I were to do this again, I would have used an adhesive made for metal bonding. I probably would have been much easier and prevented what I'm sure is compromised seam sealer in the area of the welds (it did catch on fire, after all).

Underside showing it welded in.

Outside, all welded in and ground down. You can see the smoke marks from the burning seam sealer.

And that was about it for those. There's still some work to do back there, but the most important thing was getting those on because I wanted them attached before I epoxy-primered the bottom of the car, since I was going to weld them in. Again, if I had used an adhesive, I would have epoxied first to take advantage of it's great corrosion resistance and sealing properties - lesson learned for next time...I never do this again!

The last hour or so of the visit was dedicated to errecting a paint booth. It required some more work, but it would be effective.

First prototype.

That's about it. On a separate note, tomorrow (6/3/18) is the  31st Annual British by the Sea  car show hosted by the Connecticut MG Club at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, CT. The weather forecast has steadily improved over the last several days and I should be there around mid-morning. If you are reading this, are local, plan on attending, AND you recognize me, please say hi! Cheers.

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