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Friday, December 21, 2018

Most of the Body in Epoxy - Roundtail Restoration

Everything but the front bulkhead (vertical and shelf areas) is covered in two coats of epoxy. Too many dings and bumps to count, but she's looking oh-so-much-better.

As the caption says, the video is just over 33 minutes, capturing three garage visits. Given that, this post will be rather long as well.

First thing I did when I got there was give myself a motivational shot in the arm by putting my new bonnet emblem and TRIUMPH letters on, just to see how they'd look.

So nice. Except that it's not red!

After staring longingly at that for a few moments, it was time to get to work. The first visit, being a school night, was planned to involve stripping the boot area and getting it in epoxy. The leftover epoxy I had from painting the driver's side a few days before seemed to still be sprayable, so I got at prep work by stripping down to bare metal using a variety of tools including stripping disks, wire wheels, roloc sanding discs, etc.

The corners of the boot lid channel were some of the more challenging areas.

All stripped.

Once it was all stripped, I taped off the inside of the boot area and cleaned the heck out of the newly stripped area with wax and grease remover and let that dry.

Masked off, ready for paint.

In between, I also got fiberglass filler on the areas that needed it, namely my weld repairs and the multitude of plug welds.

Trailing edge of the rear wing that I replaced.

Covering the plug welds, among other things.

That all done, it was time to spray. Turns out the epoxy was a bit more cured than I thought and the initial spray did not go well, so I stopped. I didn't take any pictures, but it's here in the video.

All in all it wasn't a bad visit, but I was on a timeline for things that I wanted to get done. I let that cloud my judgement a bit, resulting in a stripping job that could have been a bit better (I fixed this on the next visit) and a fiberglass filler application that was not up to my standards. I haven't addressed that yet, but I will and probably end up with lots of re-work in that area. Shame on me. Thankfully I was smart enough to stop when the painting went screwy.

The next visit was a weekend, so I had a lot more time. My intentions this time were to strip the boot lid a bit better in the areas that I skimped on as well as strip the entire passenger's side, similar to what I had done on the driver's side. I also wanted to use the stud puller to work on the rear wing dent, then get the whole thing in epoxy. While I didn't quite get there, this visit did go much better.
I started with work on the rear wing dent. There was a pretty good crease in here that needed to come out as well as holes that the previous owner had left when he used a slide hammer to pull some of the dent out. As for the stud puller, I was happy with its performance, but the pins that came with it were crap. I invested in 500 new ones, by Motor Guard, via Amazon and these were of much higher quality and cheaper than Harbor Freight, per piece, to boot! They normally are $19.95, but sometimes the prices on Amazon mysteriously fluctuate, and I snagged them for just over $17.

Much better.

Not wanting to waste all of the HF ones, I used a mix of both to start work. I used lots and lots of pins (maybe 50) to do what seems like little work, but they were very effective in small doses, so to speak, and I was very happy with the final result.

Before any significant work. You can see the hard crease right under the tail light area.

Same time, different angle, trying to show the crease better.

Lots of pins now, working out from front to back.

A bit better. I applied heat to try to soften up the metal a bit, hence the heat bloom.

Again, same time, different angle. Crease still very much there, but better.

And better still.

Still going.

By this time, a few of the holes from the previous owner's work had "joined" due to all the pulling. Given that, I decided to stop using the stud puller at that point and just replace the damaged metal with a small (about 1" x 2") patch. This worked pretty well.

Just before cutting out the damaged metal for a patch.


Same time, showing the vast majority of the crease all gone. Ready for filler, even?

Finally, I filled the little gaps and holes that I left when putting in the new rear valance.

There were holes under the tail light that are now gone...trust me. You can see some sloppy welding as evidence.

Again, I was very happy with the mostly-final results to the point where I'd even say I got lucky. This was really the last major damage, dent-wise, that I had to worry about. There are many that still aren't done yet, of course, like the nose, but I don't have any worry that I'll get them sorted - just a matter of investing the time to do it right.

With that area as done as I wanted it to be for now, I moved on to stripping the side of the car. It went exactly the same as the driver's side and I didn't find any surprises, though there were many dings, of course. It took a while, of course.

Sometime in there my plans for the weekday garage visit changed and I was going to come back the very next night. So, instead of painting, I kept going with stripping, deciding to get the front sail plate and that area stripped down. By the end of the visit, I had it mostly stripped except the painful tight areas.

Front sail plate mostly stripped.

Random brazing plug. Wonder what happened? Spot weld mistake?

The final visit of the three was another school night and I had to pick up on of my kids from basketball practice, so I had a time limit. However, there was minimal stripping of the front sail plate left and then just a bunch of W&G remover cleaning and paint mixing and it was ready to shoot.
Ready except for the fact that I forgot to fix the one soft top snap hole that was damaged.

Top blown-out hole filled...

...and ground down. Didn't even have to re-drill it!

There was also a random divot in the area around the radio antenna hole. I don't remember causing this, but I filled it with weld metal anyway.


...and ground down. Went a bit low, so it'll need a bit of filler (that's the dark ring around it).

That all done, I masked off some of the areas and cleaned everything several times with W&G remover until the paper towels came out clean. As for masking it off, I had someone ask me why. I can't tell you why, really. The only thing I can say is that I didn't want a lot of over-spray because it just seems like the right thing to do. Maybe a waste, but it gave me some practice at masking techniques, so there's that.

Masked and ready.

With that, coat #1. Got good coverage everywhere.

Front quarter.

Front sail plate. Happy with how this came out since there were several tight spots.

Boot area.

With the first coat on, I had a 30-minute wait, so I started to work on the bonnet a bit. I did some stud puller work on the passenger's side headlight bucket and caused a bit more damage, but I think it'll work out in the end. It took a pretty good shot up there that the PO tried to repair, but ended up covering with mostly filler. I made a rounded corner into a sharp edge that was weak and I caused it to crack with my work. But, in the end, I think it will work out just fine. The video explains it a bit better than my pictures do starting about here.

A pin in.

After that work, I got back and laid down a second coat, a bit heavier than the first as I've been doing. Went down well and I'm happy with the end result.

Front side.

Rear wing.

Boot area.

Again, not a bad round of visits. Next visit, which will be a weekend, will be to strip and get epoxy on the front bulkhead. I fully expect this to take most of the 7+ hour time as there are lots of tight spots to get stripped and painted. I also have to possibly teach myself a new painting technique by using a pencil stream to get into those tight areas that a normal "fan" pattern won't reach. I'll be practice before actually laying paint down that way, that's for sure. Any work beyond that will be gravy as that will probably be my last visit of the year being the holidays and all. Until next time, cheers!

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