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Summer 2013 - the final push!


Stuart R

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2013

Rain again! Got very wet changing the oil this week, so gave up working in the drive earlier this week and put finger to keyboard...

 

More progress over the last few months and it's looking like there's a good chance that we may make it Stafford in a Triumph.

 

My last big hurdle was to get the passenger door repaired. The bottom of the doorskin looked like it had been previoulsy repaired, but there were now many holes in the bottom of the door frame as well. It seemed as if the splooge of body filler was holding the bottom of the door together.

 

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I had purchased some thinner steel that I used around the front indicators -nice and bendy. However, when I tried to hammer all the curves in the correct place, it became obvious that progress would be very difficult to make a single-piece repair for the complex curves at the front of the door.

 

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Many years ago, on the driver's door, I added two L-shaped patches to the door frame, although these looked a

reasonable repair at the time, they left very obvious bumps in the skin once it was fitted. I decided to take more care this time and so I would make small repair patches with simple curves that could be made in the vice, making each oversized. I tried to cut-out only a small part of the door frame at each time, then trim the oversized repair to match-up neatly with what remained.

 

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This took many days to achieve with some gentle andle grinding to remove the worst of the beads. At least the curve of the rear frame repair were a little more straightforward and only needed one patch with the edge hammered over to meet the curve of the door frame.

 

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For the final frame repair, I acquired some angled steel, kindly cut down to size by a colleague in the company's machine shop.

 

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For the first time, I was able to make good use of my butt-welding clamps. I bought them early in the restoration, but never found a use for them as the MIG always blew through the thin metal close to any air gap. I filed some larger slots in the positions occupied by the clamps which then gave me around a millimetre gap to fill with weld, which seemed to work well with minimal burn-through.

 

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Despite the 1mm 'expansion gap' and doing a succession of individual welds, moving the welding torch from one end to the other and allowing things to cool, there is still some distortion, but nothing that couldn't be straightened with the hammer. Once I was happy with the repair, seam sealer and a stone chip paint were applied to the inside of the door frame.

 

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The skin repair was not so successful. I've had the repair panels for a long time. Again, a lack of experience means that I've incorrectly rebuilt the driver's door a long while ago. The profile of this door is rather flat where it was easy to see on the passenger door, I needed to try and keep a 5mm bow between the centre and edges of the door skin (but who is to say this is correct?!) I had removed the rusty door skin and trimmed the repair panel down a few mm to get a nice close fit of the joggled repair panel. The before and after pictures don't look too bad from a distance, but I had some real difficulties welding this and gave up early on this and smothered the results with a bit more filler than I'd like.

 

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On the last door, I had a real problem with the door skin sinking as I welded, which left a bit of a dip in the repaired panel. At Stoneleigh, this Spring, I purchased a set of Cleco pins, which I used to hold the repair panel tight against the door skin. This seemed to work quite well, although looking back, I think I should have not clamped the bottom of the skin to the door frame before welding as there is still a definite kink at the repair point. I was keen to clamp everything up to maintain the correct door dimensions, but really, I think the repair would have been better if I had left the skin to rest where it wanted and then weld it before tightening it around the frame.

 

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I used a stout piece of extruded aluminium with a 5mm packer at each end as a gauge to try and maintain the curvature of the door. I also cut a small wood block to ensure the middle of this curve remained proud and fastened this in place with a self-tapper via one of the door trim fixing holes.

 

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The trouble begain with the welding. I'd given the area of repair a good go over with the wire brush attachment, as the repair panel appears to be galvanised (it has survived 10 years in the garage without rusting). For the first tack welds, I made a single weld each side of the Cleco pin, however as the weld cooled, there was a 'ping' and the joint failed. The weld was not penetrating into the repair panel, even though I'd earthed the welder to a wire-brushed part of the lower repair panel. I didn't want to increase the welder's power setting for fear of causing more heat distortion, but it did help the weld penetrate better, but still created a messy weld. My only thoughts here are that there is something about the galvanised repair panel, or that I didn't clean the underside of the original door skin thoroughly enough and the old sound deadening coating gave off fumes, reacting with the weld.

 

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Anyway, it's all covered with filer now as I needed to get on. Have also had two sills in the garage for a long time and these were beginning to rust under the red primer. I sanded these back to bare metal and had to add some rust treatment where the surface was getting marked. Spent the best part of a day trying to drill and file the elongated fixing holes in the sills and add suitable holes to the bottom of the door steps. Two coats of filler primer have not hidden the rust damage and I still need to strip and repaint the underside, but they look smart enough in grey from a distance!

 

Also purchased a carburettor service kit and spent an afternoon on the kitchen table adding the variuos O rings and giving it a good scrub. The carb fitted to my car certainly looked like the Solex B30 PSEI that should be fitted, but I could find no identifying marks on the float chamber where eveybody said they are. Indeed they are on the float chamber, but very hard to spot as the stamped letters are very feint.

 

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Anyway, the best bit of this rather door-based update is that last week, I took the car just round the corner to my local MOT station. It failed on a worn track rod end and a blocked windscreen washer (embarrassing!) which I was able to put right back at home (I had previoulsy bought two track rod ends) and returned to collect a certificate within a few hours.

 

The MOT Examiner was impressed with my DIY welding efforts but did have to issue an advisory on the doors as they are a little diffcult to oprn and close as the door gaps now seem tighter than ever. I need to deal with this ASAP as I keep finding small shavings of the striker plate on the door step!

 

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Having purchased a new set of tyres, I'm keen to get the wheel alignment checked as I've possibly messed about with the settings by fitting new track rod ends and rear outriggers that hold the rear tie-rods. I've had a go at Pete's How to Do it section but despite a garage full of stuff am struggling to find the 68Kg to load the front seats with!! Did take it to a local tyre centre today where a helpful chap gave me a computerised printout of the alignment, but they told me in advance that they cannot alter the rear alignment as their technicians cannot make

any adjustments that are more complicated than turning a cam with a spanner. Inserting or removing shims is something they are not prepared to do. The print-out did suggest that one wheel was parallel -which is a start, I guess!

 

Have changed the oil this week and so far clocked up 11 miles! With such large distances travelled, the clutch has

started playting up again and the new fluid I put in has turned a gloomy shade of brown. More investigations are required and a slave cylinder repair kit arrived in the post this morning.

 

Need to work on curing the A post leaks as my new passenger floor has got very wet this afternoon. Definitely want this sorted before I fit my new carpets.

 

I'm sure there'll be more to add, but for now, I'm chuffed enough to be driving around in the car! Here's my late Grandfather, at the wheel of the same car in our drive in the mid 1980's.

 

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2013, a few weeks later....

 

We made it!

 

A 250 mile round trip to Stafford. The car's first major outing since 2003. Just over 3 hours each way via A roads at around 55 mph where we could.

 

Lacking a bit of pull on the hills and still sounding a bit 'tappety' (I checked valve clearances twice, but I've not much experience here). At least we didn't need to use the AA card and didn't cause any embarassing queues.

 

Repair kits to both clutch cylinders but fluid still oozing out from master all over the bulkhead and a few notchy gear changes. Fortunately, found a nice N.O.S Girling unit in Bingley Hall. A job for tomorrow...

 

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2016

 

So that's brought us up to date. We've been spotted around and about at TSSC Herts & Beds Events and Triumph Fest 2014. But reading this has reminded me there is still an awful lot to do 3 MOT passes later.

 

I'm embarrassed to say the car is still currently in a mixture of faded Wedgwood paint and grey primer, with surface rust appearing. Door gaps are still too tight and getting tighter as the rubber mounts deform. I must try and carry on what I started and smarten the car up.

 

I have made a small repair panel for the 12/50, so after 14 years in the garage that is now underway too.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Apologies for the small images, they were lifted from the old forum pages and saved into a word document, I may be able to dig out the originals another time.

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