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Everything posted by RichardB

  1. Thanks Mark, those look neat - do they bend the edge of the panel at all?
  2. I'm ashamed to say progress has more or less stalled over the last few months. I slipped a disc in my back lifting loft boards in whilst insulating and boarding, stupidly trying to carry more than was practical up the loft ladder. That put a damper on things through February as recovery was slow, and then a few other major projects took over whilst recovering. This month I've made a small dent though and picked a couple of tasks well worth doing. First was cleaning the garage - my word, grinding dust covers everything and probably isn't very good for my health just sitting there. Despite wearing a respirator when working, I'm sure some of it will get kicked up into the air when it gets disturbed at other times. I got a cyclone online called the 'dust commander' that goes in between the vacuum cleaner recently so brought that out and set to work. It's not strictly necessary in this situation, I bought it more for woodworking but every bit of filtration helps. Next job was to start filling up the 8-10mm holes in the b post door catch panel from previously drilled through spot welds. This was a bit of a mess and almost made the panel not worth saving, but I thought it's good practice to use the copper backing bar and a MIG to fill up holes, as big as they were. The back of the lip looks scabby as you never get a smooth reverse face doing this, but I'm not sure that's really that big a deal? Even the front is mainly hidden under the rear wing - what concerned me more is having a fairly even thickness of metal and no unsightly remnants of previous repairs. It's easy to go too thin with the angle grinder when smoothing off, so I don't want to end up burning through any parts I spot weld or weakening the panel. But then again if there's a huge thick build up of weld behind the lip, imagine that won't help spot welding either as the current will be too low. Think it's alright now anyway. My next puzzle is what sheet metal cutter to obtain as I want to start making a repair patch to fix the rubbish repair patches at the bottom of the b-post area where it meets the floor. Any recommendations would be welcome, I'm looking at things like this? ebay affair with wheels or this ebay cheapie straight guillotine but not sure if they'd be a false economy. I tried using a nibbler which works tremendously well but the mess is unbelievable and takes years to find once it's fired out everywhere.
  3. I think the answer on the swage line might be neither lining up with the top of the sill, nor the bottom of the front wing. Its exactly half way between which would make sense aesthetically. All the cars I've seen with original panel work seem that way except where I think the bonnet cones are shot and the front wing sits lower than it should.
  4. Sorry yes should have mentioned that, the lower edge of the floorpan lip on original cars is shallower at the a post end, it becomes 3/4 deep around where the a post meets the sill strengthener if I remember correctly. There's loads of photos of restos on the Internet where you can see this as people start pulling untouched cars apart. I was thinking more of the top edge of the lip being dead straight along its length, as well as straight along its face.
  5. Do post back and share pictures if necessary for advice Mark. I'm going through this at the moment with mine and can confirm the advice above, it's surprising how much the form of the sill changes when you move the flanges up and down. I'm also using old AR pressings both sides, though the car has had a lot of surgery and sagged at some point. In my research I've realised something helpful - there's quite a lot of lines that were originally very straight. The floor pan flange should be very straight across its edge both above it and on its face. The doors equally have a curvature vertically, but horizontally they should be dead straight. You should be able to move a straight edge horizontally up the door and check for any bends in the panel. My floor pan is only 1/2" deep so will need extending. Not sure how easy that will be to weld without creating a really distorted flange, or otherwise making a right mess. It's a long strip of metal to weld on, even if I cut it back a bit and weld closer to the 90 degree bend.
  6. Thanks Nick I do plan on strengthening that area. On the driver's side it has had heavy repairs done because the bit the glass seals sit on had rotted particularly badly. I wish I had a spec for what the rake angle of the screen pillar should be, as I'd be able to just fit a gusset now. The two sides of the car are slightly different angles so I probably won't do it until the door fit really gets going and I am starting to play with glass inside the door. It's a lot of work doing that only to take it out for painting, but it used to drive me nuts that I couldn't wind the glass up properly, I could never get the angle of the glass to sit far back enough (again proof the bulkhead had sagged).
  7. Today's efforts were interesting. I had a go at shifting the bulkhead to see if my plan is correct, and to do this I got out my 4 tonne body adjuster kit. It's basically a hydraulic jack, similar to a bottle jack but with a multitude of different length extensions and different shape end fittings. This was the starting point - the door gap was too wide at the top and too tight at the bottom. No amount of adjusting the hinges would get the door in the right position, and in this photo the door hinges were jacked right up - not centrally located in the captive plates. After some experimentation, here's what I ended up with. The hydraulic ram pushes against the door gap adjuster, which is tightly bolted to the flange - this way it prevents it from distorting anything too much at the point of pressure. Unfortunately I learnt a lesson about support with this - the first go around I didn't have a block of wood underneath the foot and nothing underneath the car, and managed to raise the bulkhead but bent the floor downwards at the same time. It will straighten out later but it's tricky to do this well without bending something on the other end. The heelboard doesn't seem to work well as a base because the diagonal push ends up changing the door gap, and all I need to do is raise the bulkhead vertically up and down. You can see the extent to how much the A post has moved as this gap was even after cutting with the angle grinder - this was the first time around without any wood on either side. Even without the floor distorting, the shift is quite noticeable though. I reckon it had sagged around 1cm on the back once you minus the floor distortion. ^ Second attempt after thumping the floor back into position, this time I used some wood underneath as support. This is much closer now, the gap still is very slightly wider at the top but the difference here is the door hinges are in the middle of their travel where they attach to the bulkhead. The gap looks worse at the top due to lens distortion on the camera, it's probably close enough now you could fill it with a very small amount of lead or just leave it. So in conclusion whilst none of this trial is permanent, it proved what the car needs is not a door gap adjuster, but a vertical bulkhead adjuster. I was able to slacken off the door gap adjuster completely and that helped things go back into place, with the hard top bracing the shell and the hydraulic ram lifting the bulkhead, a considerable improvement in door gap was achieved. The bonnet then had to be shifted forward a bit to get a nice gap and that left it with an even 5/16" gap at the front of the door and 3/16" at the back. The only thing that didn't look right was the rear wing / sill join was a bit too inboard of the door. Lots of progress still to make though before I get round to worrying about that - I have all the old shrapnel to get rid of from the inner + middle sill and plenty of repairs to make.
  8. I have seen that before but it's been a while since I watched it, thanks for sharing Pete. I think that demonstrates the issue - the guys will be taking as much care as they can, but without anything to go by for alignment there is less chance it will fit. The original pressings presumably improve their chances of success a great deal. The headlamp surrounds in particular are problematic - if they drop them in just so they touch the main panel snugly, that won't work because that sub assembly isn't an all original pressing. My bonnet doesn't follow the contours of the alloy shrouds well so are going to have to be un-welded and reset.
  9. Made some decent progress today. I got thinking over the last week or two about the Heritage bonnet and why it fits badly in some places. I have a theory that although BMH are at a disadvantage because they probably don't have the original jigs, that isn't the main reason - it's more likely to be that a 'Heritage bonnet' isn't 100% original parts, it's a mix of old pressings and repro ones. I have tried to figure out what's likely to be original pressings and the parts I'm suspicious of are the headlamp areas and the support irons because they appear to be different from original ones I've seen. I took the main bonnet support tube off and already I had less resistance to pushing it into the right shape by hand. I then fitted a spare original support tube back onto the bonnet and hey presto - no more tucking at the back corners. The bonnet has never looked this straight, I'm very happy especially as it proved the theory. The two bonnet support tubes are definitely a different shape, I reckon the flanges at each end might be original pressings (I haven't really looked) but the heritage tubes are a thicker metal and probably not bent on the same jig. Lining the two up together is tricky but it's clear the mounting holes on the original 1970s assembly are about 1cm narrower apart across the width of the bonnet, which tucks the wheel arches in a bit more and then that pushes out the rear lower corners of the front wings. The wings have had the holes in the original pressings enlarged at the BMH factory (see above) or less likely, by the previous owner but they didn't need to do this - what they should have done is gone back to the support tubes and improved that part. It's a shame as I prefer the BMH part otherwise, it's much more substantial with the heavier gauge steel and is less likely to rust like the originals do. I may rework it at some point once the car is back on the road, as I'd like to fit one of the USA support catches on the RHS. The support iron I've just fitted is from a Mk4 so would need modifying anyway, it doesn't have the bracket for it. The next job was to have a go at cutting the lower A post to separate it from the floor, and starting to remove the inner sill and strengthener. This allows me to start resetting the bulkhead to the right place. Before I did that I took a measurement of floor ^ up to dashboard so I can see how much I've moved it from the 59 cm height it's at now. There is clearly tension now pulling the bulkhead up a bit to where it should be, as the thing sprung up a few mm higher at the A post / sill join area after I finished cutting. Most interesting. We are a long way to go before it fixes the door fit though. The gap at the back of the door is still hideous, a very wide 'V' shape.
  10. Did you notice any change in the door gap Harry? I'm at the stage of measuring mine (although the outer sills have already come up) and surprisingly the door fit is worse on the side that measures the longest in the plane you've braced. I think for my car the bulkhead has sagged either when the lower A post was repaired, or the new floor was fitted. I'd check the bulkhead for cracks when using the ram, I've noticed the first place to give way when using one or door gap adjusters is the gearbox tunnel cover attachment holes in the engine bay. The metal cracks around the holes with the twist.
  11. Haven't posted for a while as there's not been a lot of exciting progress to report. I didn't get as much time to work on the car over the holiday period as I'd hoped, and the focus has been a lot of thinking, measuring, planning, and still more grinding away the remnants of the old panels. It seems as if I encounter a new problem at each step that complicates the work further. This time it's one of the new outer sills. They are both older genuine pressings, as I figure that gives me the best chance of getting a good fit. 70s pressing on the LHS and 90s (I think) Rover pressing on the RHS. The Rover pressing isn't as good though - the longest lip that rests against the A post panel isn't very sharp, only the curved portion of the lip is sharp on this sill. ^ left lip bad, right lip good I know this isn't right as a) it will need persuasion to sit at 90 degrees and b) the older sill I have is a nice sharp folded lip here. Bit annoying but not a deal breaker, I can probably panel beat it out with a good hammer form. I've got the driver's side door back on which is good news. To get an approximation of how far out everything is, I used a sharpie to get the hinges centred on the door and on the A post. This is a USA door with side impact bars that is in lovely condition... except USPS dropped it when it was on it's way to me and bent the edges. Urgh. You can see the lower front corner is really bent in here, I've since beaten that back with a hammer and dolly and think I've done a good job. No photo yet but it will require only a very slight skim of filler. What really helped with that is realising that Spitfire doors should be completely straight in the horizontal direction from back to front, it's only the vertical plane that they have a shape. So all I had to do to fix the damage was put a straight edge against the door horizontally and keep checking. It's really obvious just loosely clipping the outer sill in place how much the height of the sill placement affects the bottom door gap. The more you squeeze it and reduce the gap between the top and bottom seams, the more outboard it sits. It's too far in here in this photo. This side of the car is unquestionably better than the passenger (LHS) one but I still think the door gap will end up being a bit too tight without resetting it, looking at how the bonnet is currently too far forward. But something to worry about later. Next job was doing the same centering job with the passenger door, rehanging it to the sharpie marks. I then spent an hour measuring everything - not because I think these measurements are how they should be, but just so I have a frame of reference for what may have changed when I start cutting more metal out and moving things. I would love to know this measurement in particular if anyone has an unwelded shell. The curious thing for this car is that the door frame is currently wider on the left side, but the gap between the heelboard and top of the windscreen is wider on the right. About 1cm each way. The welds haven't popped on the windscreen panel (I checked this properly after your tip Nick) so the disparity is probably bulkhead related, with maybe a little bit of a bent windscreen frame too. Finally, I've been cleaning up a chopped up bit of Spitfire I bought ages ago to use for repair patches. Shame it's not the driver's side. It is incredible how much filler people used in the past to keep these cars going, it turned the driveway white with dust when I wirebrushed it all off. This bit of scrap has an original outer sill, inner sill, a-post filler and strengthener so might be useful for getting some measurements as a guide as well. Next on the list of jobs to do: find a solution to brace yet easily adjust the bulkhead on each side. don't want to have to keep tacking bits of metal bar if I can avoid it. start making repair patches for the hinge areas on the driver's side cut out the lower A posts where they meet the floor, so I can move them around and reset them with new repair patches
  12. My edit privileges disappeared as well recently. I was wondering if they were time limited as it was about a year since I last contributed.
  13. I was thinking of making my own windscreen drip gutters as most of the aftermarket panels I've seen look like they were made by someone with their eyes closed. The drivers side one was terrible and I've removed it already, but the passenger side is still the original. After speaking to Chic Doig I got some from him as he makes them up and said they fit well. I'm very impressed. They are indistinguishable from the originals, I know its a fairly simple panel but it's still rare to see that. It's saved me a decent chunk of time making my own.
  14. Thanks Hamish I'm interested to see your results. When my car gets back on the road I'm going to put an oil temp sensor in the sump as well and compare before/after logs with a laminova heat exchanger. Will put a sensor in the gearbox oil too and maybe even the diff. I love the idea of getting some stats on things like this as there's so much advice given on things like cooling engines, gearboxes and diffs for our cars, without much data to back up assertions.
  15. Whats the reason you've removed the oil water heat exchange Hamish?
  16. The 'last' Spitfire at Gaydon. Looking at these again the bonnet to front of door gap might actually be the same as the Herald book above (5/16") - the photos I have all make it look different depending on the angle the photo was taken from. Planning this job for so long, I've accrued an unhealthy number of photographs of Spitfires... Interesting to see how the bottom of the rear wing looks bent up at the front. The bonnet wing/sill gap is even, that's just lens distortion making it look shorter at the back.
  17. Here's the research I've done so far and some sources, combined with a few measurements I remember from old threads before the Club Triumph forum regressed 20 years in technology. Door to rear wing gap: 3/16" or ~ 5mm Door bottom to sill gap: as above, maybe a bit bigger? not sure how easily this can be controlled and probably not an issue. Door front to bonnet: 3/8" or ~10mm. Rule of thumb appears to be double the rear gap for Spitfires - interesting to see Triumph recommended less for the Herald. Different shape though. Bonnet to windscreen: 5/32", narrowing slightly to 9/64" at the rubber bumper. Front wing to outer sill: 3/16" seems an ideal target from looking at photos The bonnet to windscreen gap I found on the Triumph Experience forums. All these are guides at the moment until I get things fitted but I'm conscious recording this stuff on here might be useful to people in the future. The 3/16" ish gap for the back of the door seems a constant across most Triumphs of the era (see Herald factory repair guidance) and the advice of restorers who know what they're doing these days. I suppose you could gap it to whatever you wanted and try to make the car have modern panel gaps, but regret it later on when things shift later on and you can't open the bonnet or door without damaging it!
  18. Looks good to me Nick. The beauty of a fat MIG bead is if you lay it on heavily you have more meat to shape with a flap disc afterwards, no?
  19. Thanks both I agree. I actually can't see how you can do any of this without all the panels in place, you'd have to be some sort of genius engineer. The bonnet I've got is a heritage one which isn't ideal, as the wings curve in at the back and this needs sorting too. Should be good enough to sort the sills out first though. The fit around the headlamps also needs sorting as the alignment is wrong - presume this is because there's a mix of OE and non-OE sheet metal in that area. My strategy is to start with the driver's side as that has an original rear wing, so I can get that gap to be correct and then get the bonnet to match. Once that's perfect like you say I'll have measurements to aim for on the other side. It's a shame the Spitfire at Gaydon is still suspended 5m up in the air - I was hoping to go down there and take some measurements. I have since found a period Triumph repair guide designed for the Herald that gives some desirable gaps that I think will be transferable.
  20. Thanks both. Your advice and encouragement is keeping me positive and those threads are major inspiration Nick. I'd forgotten how much Chris cut out. If I do any panel fabrication as well as that GT6 tailgate you did together I'll be very happy. I think I understand the Z brace concept as when the bulkhead sags, it leans back rather than sinks, right? The diagonal of the Z pushes from the lower B post to the upper A post. I am assuming this is the main plane of movement to rectify, with some consideration to horizontal (door) gaps, and hoping I don't need to sort any 'spread' as I've heard the two B posts can become wider apart as well. In Martin Thaddeus' fantastic book on bodywork he shows how to use a body ram to push diagonally. This might be a bit tricky to do with some accuracy I think as the Spitfire windscreen frame is so flexible. I've got time over Christmas to ponder all this stuff I suppose. Just need to keep cleaning up seams so I can get the other panels mounted and see where I am, the MIG welds in tight spots take ages to remove with the Dremel...
  21. I am planning ahead at each stage, and coming to the conclusion that I will probably have to cut out the lower a-post panels where they join the floor, and re-do the repair patches there in order to redress the sagging of the bulkhead and get the doors to fit. I've been doing more cleanup to remove the old sills and remove the sill/A post filler panels, and after trial fitting the door again on the passenger side it still needs quite a bit of shifting past where it is now. I managed to get the hard top on with the door gap adjusters, but I think that's still not enough as the door gaps won't line up even at maximum travel - the gap is too wide at the upper rear edge of the door. The advice I've been given in the past is that just setting the hinges in the middle should give an indication of where things aren't in the right place. These puckered outrigger mounts don't help but I think they also tell a story. When the body has sagged, the mount on the bulkhead will have been higher up than it should be. As the body is bolted down, something had to give to meet it in the right place so the captive nut has been pulled up - rather than the bulkhead being pulled forwards. So I'm working on the assumption at some point I will need to take the body off again and sort this. Just not sure whether to do it now, or after I've cut out the inner sills and strengtheners too. Those inner sill panels have been left in place for now, as I want to clean everything up and just loosely put the outer sills and doors on both sides to see where everything is. Here's some more snaps from the cleanup. Salvaged the filler panel by using anything flat in the garage to separate the seam. The chisel is too aggressive here and distorts the panel, so I used a tenon saw but in future I've bought a decorating tool that I think will work nicely. Should clean up well, I'll fill the holes with MIG and a thick copper backer. This repair is what I think I'll need to cut out and re-do, in order to reset the bulkhead. I had a lightbulb moment this weekend. I'd always assumed the sagging was from the outer and then inner sill replacements it has had, but it's equally likely that it was caused by this A post repair. If it wasn't braced, the whole bulkhead relative to the floor could have been welded back in to the wrong place as soon as the A post was patched up. Also I'm worried if I don't cut this patch out and replace it, one of 2 things could happen: I think I've fixed the gaps, but when I weld on the other panels and remove the adjusters it 'springs back' into where it was before, because this bit never moved It works, but it rusts out from this seam. It had a new floor plug welded to it, so should be clean, but it looks a bit pitted and unhealthy in parts. Daunting stuff and a bit depressing if I'm honest. It's 2 steps forward 1 step back a lot with it. I'd like to brace more than the door gap at the top because I can see the shell becoming like jelly, but its tricky knowing what I should actually brace. There are lots of chassis measurements in the repair manual, but it's exceptionally hard finding any original measurements to tell me where the bulkhead panels should be relative to anything. So maybe some adjustable bracing is better?
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