Sunday, August 12, 2018

Triumph Spitfire Metal Work #3 - Front Valance & Bonnet

First, let me say "Thank You!" to all 36 of you that have subscribed to my blog. I know the videos are a bit more exciting (well, I like to think so, anyway), but I do hope that you are getting something out of my words and pictures. As always, any and all feedback, positive or negative, is appreciated!

On my visit Saturday, I finished up the repairs to the front valance, did some hammer and dolly work on it, then moved on to assessing the repairs required on the bonnet. The video:


First up, I finished up the cancer repair to the front valance. The repair was essentially the same as the repair I did the last visit.

This is what I started with.

After cutting it out.

New piece in, ready to weld.

While the damage on this side didn't extend down quite as far as the other,  I decided to cut the whole piece out because there was some pretty good pitting. Besides, it made it easier to fabricate and weld. Also,  if you remember, there are two contours I'm dealing with here, one E to W and the other N to S. To help form those two at the same time, on the advice of a viewer's comment on the YouTube video, I smacked the center of the repair piece over a shallow-curved dolly to spread it out a bit and thin the metal. I'm not sure how much of a difference it made, but it welded in just fine and I didn't have to make as many hammer adjustments as the previous repair.

With this done (I didn't take any post-work pics), I started with some hammer and dolly work. Outside of the door that I worked on briefly, this was my first concerted effort at metal work. While there are a lot of good YouTube videos on metal work out there (visual learning), if you also like to learn by reading (verbal learning), I'd recommend reading the book The Key to Metal Bumping, published by Martin Tool & Forge. Turns out these are the guys that also made my new hammers and dollies. This book was first published in the 50s by Fairmount Tool (Martin bought them out in the 80s), so it's old-school. Good explanations on reversing the damage (called the Fairmount method..coincidence? I think not!) vice just beating the metal into submission. Some of the pictures in the book, being from the 50s, are hard to see, but they work.

Armed with my new-found knowledge, I went about assessing the damage and formulating my approach for getting it fixed.

Not very straight.

Nice ding here, too.

Unfortunately, I found it difficult to capture good before and after pictures that actually show some accomplishment, but it did get much better. I'll have to take a bit more care and try to set up some shots that show good (or bad, depending on how it went, I guess) before and after comparisons.

The dent remaining after some hammer and dolly work. Highs and lows clearly visible.

Another new tool I got for myself was a metal shrinking disc manufactured by Wolfes Metal Fabrication. Now, unfortunately, I totally brain-farted on its use and tried to use it to bring up lows vice take down highs. Whoops. You can watch me try it on the video and I just nonchalantly move on when it doesn't seem to make a difference. Yeah, wonder why! I'll revisit that soon and actually try to do it properly next time.

Given that it was now around noon, I wanted to move on to getting a good look at the bonnet. The thing isn't all that heavy, but it is awkward, so, being alone, I need to use the engine hoist to get it on the  work stand. But first, I stripped it down of all hardware, including the pivot and support tubes.


The two pivot tubes (larger diameter) and single support tube (smaller, reddish). Dirty, but solid.

After that, I started cleaning. There was a lot of road and engine grime on there as well as some body filler. I used my favorite Purple Power and lots of shop towels to get one half cleaned up. As expected, I found some cancer.

Front bottom edge of wheel arch (outer side)

Same spot but from the inside.

Rear bottom edge of wheel arch (outer). Real close to the fender flare, so it may be tricky.

Same spot but from the inside.

I also found some pretty good cancer around the  reinforcing plate that holds the bonnet locating cone. I don't think the repair will be too bad, but the cancer did get into around the locating cone bracket, so I'll have to be careful if I cut that out to get it back in the correct spot. Somehow, I failed to take a picture, but it only appears to be on the passenger's side.

Here's Rimmer's picture of it. Out of context a bit.

While I did only get half of the bonnet  cleaned up (took a while to get it on the stand), I didn't notice any further damage, or at least not any cancer. There are some tears that will required fixing, but those are easy.

Two areas that were of interest: first, and I didn't get a good picture of how it all works, but the pivot tubes bolt, using plates and clamps, to the bonnet.  There is obviously a water trap between the plates and the bonnet, resulting in some pretty good pitting in that area. I didn't poke at it, but it may have to get replaced.

Where the plate sits.

Second, the support bracket that goes between the top of the bonnet and the wheel arch had come detached at some point. It wasn't rusted out or anything, so either years of stress due to the car bouncing down the road or maybe just bad factory spot welds was the cause. Moving the bracket to the spot where it will be spot welded again tends to bring "in" the side of the bonnet near the latch, so hopefully this doesn't mess with all of my fitment work! Hard to explain, but I'll try to show you later.


Half clean. The support bracket that I mentioned is circled (left).

Otherwise, that was about it. I took the paint stripping wheel to other areas that were a concern for pitting (you may see strips of bare metal above), but they all cleaned up fine.

Next visit I'll continue with cleaning and maybe move into some repair. Cheers!

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