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Mk2 Vitesse Renovations


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I would imagine that I am not alone in being slightly disappointed when their new Vitesse Floor pans arrived.

Not quite pressed enough to be an easy fit.

A request on the forum for advice met with limited success. Apparently it was a 😡🤬🤬🤯 kind of job.

Well it is now complete (almost, but run out of gas) and with all ythis time on my hands I thought I would share the experience which may be of help to someone in the future even if just to show how not to do it.

I had the bulkhead blasted which then tells the full extent of what work is required.

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Front leading edge badly corroded. Evidence of earlier brazing repairs.

 

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Sill leading into A-post also not good.

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Again evidence of poor earlier repairs. At least the lower inner A-post looked intact which would assist in lining things up.

For those of you who are not aware the floor pan repair panels available are only pressed once, leaving the outside edge to be modified to suit the sill/A-post/bonnet catch area.

Following advice from Karl (Bordfunker) I bought a pair of lower A-post repair panels from Chic Doig and I found these greatly assisted with the repair and would highly recommend them to anyone undertaking this repair.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HERALD-VITESSE-FRONT-BULKHEAD-BODY-MOUNTING-A-POST-FLOOR-ASSEMBLY-CHIC-DOIG/371166198802?hash=item566b3abc12:g:1wIAAMXQiNdRdPx4

Where to start? I decided to repair the flange around the front of the bulkhead to which the floor pan is spot welded. I removed the existing spot welds, although many were simply rusted through and other areas had been brazed/welded from previous repairs. It was a difficult job but once complete that part of the old floor pan could be cut away. I didn't remove the whole floor pan as I wanted to retain as much rigidity/shape as possible. I don't have a shrinker/stretcher so I simply cut out a strip of mild steel to the correct radius and length.

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This was the result with holes ready to spot weld to the new floor pan. Not quite as pretty as I had hoped for but it is solid and with some epoxy primer and a smear of filler before paint it will be ok for me.

 I decided to tackle the sill to A-post next as combined with the above would permit the Chic Doig repair panel to fitted/aligned.

 I am not aware of a repair panel for this location but no doubt someone will tell me otherwise. But with very limited fabrication skills I thought I would give it a go!

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I thought I would cut out the rot but try and keep the edges to hopefully allow me to reform it with basic repair panels. In the photo above the clean cut of the sill represents the extent of the Chic Doig repair panel which will form the base to the left.

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I started to replace the underlying rot.

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And then tried to reform the shape with separate little panels I formed in my vice.

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I than added the Chic Doig repair panel (red oxide) to try and align everything up and tack in place.

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Not pretty, and needs a little more work to address aesthetics.

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On the inside the existing A-post was spot welded to the Chic Doig repair panel. Note this has to be cut /modified towards the front in order to accept the new floor pan.

 

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I now had a reasonable base to which I could begin to fix the replacement floor pan to. The remainder of the old pan could be removed as the sill/A-post structure was reasonably stiff.

I removed the bulkhead from the chassis to facilitate this. All previous work had been undertaken with the bulkhead bolted to the chassis in an attempt to keep its shape during repairs.

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I clamped the floor pan to the bulkhead. It can be seen from the  above photos the extent of modifications required to the outside edge and also the Chic Doig repair panel is clearly visible (red Oxide). The side view shows the floor pan clamped to the mounting brackets. It needs to be cut here to permit a higher fixing.

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The floor pan was now at the correct level albeit still requiring some modifications to the outside edge.

At this point I tack welded a couple of points on the front edge and re mounted the bulkhead to the chassis to ensure it remained aligned before full welding.

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Once back on the chassis the whole edge could be fully welded. Photo before grinding/tidying up

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From underneath showing how the floor pan has been trimmed/modified. Currently only tack welded as Ive run out of gas!!

The extent of the replacement Chic Doig Panel is clear in this photo.

.......then repeat for the other side 😊

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Not perfect I know and if I did it again I would probably do a better job, but hopefully this provides some assistance to anybody undertaking the same repair in future if only to let them make more informed decisions.

Screen pillar repair next....eek😬

Keep safe everyone.

 

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  • 1 year later...

Its been a bit of a slog but today was a big moment in the Vitesse restoration as the finished bulkhead was reunited with the chassis!

There were times when I thought it would never happen but it has today and I am rather chuffed so i thought I'd share it.

If any of you are at that desperate stage with your restoration right now don't give up, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel!!

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56 minutes ago, Peter Truman said:

Remember to put the brake and fuel lines on the chassis before putting the rear tub on as there a bu**er to fit afterwards.

I would say "And the rear part of the handbrake cable" but being a Mk2 complicates that. Still, probably best to fit it to the body before uniting with the chassis.

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Looks a neater job than Mine!!. But I fabricated all but the Floor pan from scratch, using a bench vise, angle iron, and hammers on a "sand" bag. 2 - 8x4 sheets of steel!. Not knowing the Bit`s where available. Hence much scruffier, but Strong. Currently having fun repairing Cill`s and fitting those to get alignment with the doors and shut lines. It`s all steel but I am afraid the there could be  a lot more filler involved to get a smooth finish!!.😟 Seam Sealer is good?, and should keep any moisture out.

P.S. second the idea of putting the rear brake cable in as far as possible before re-uniting the rear tub.👍

Pete

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Thanks for the advice guys. I had thought about the brake/fuel lines and did install them first. However not thought about fitting the handbrake mechanism/cable to the tub but makes great sense so thanks for that!!

1 hour ago, PeteH said:

But I fabricated all but the Floor pan from scratch, using a bench vise, angle iron, and hammers on a "sand" bag. 2 - 8x4 sheets of steel!. Not knowing the Bit`s where available. Hence much scruffier, but Strong.

Pete, well impressed with anything fabricated from scratch not sure my skills are up to that. The lower A-post repair panels from Chic Doig were god send for me and made lining everything up a simpler operation. Good luck with the panel alignment, we all know what fun that can be!

I would add "Stone Chip" to "Filler" and "Seam Sealer", as it can also hide a lack of repair finesse 🤠🤠 

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On 19/11/2021 at 09:39, Phil C said:

I would add "Stone Chip" to "Filler" and "Seam Sealer", as it can also hide a lack of repair finesse 🤠🤠 

Add underbody seal too, my own Herald restoration thread has photos of an 'excellent' convertible tub that was well disguised. It went from well disguised to well blasted and probably will end up well dumped.

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On 20/11/2021 at 16:19, 68vitesse said:

Your rocker cover looks like the one I have on my Mk1 Vitesse, had to modify it as unhappy with clearance with bonnet.

Paul, thanks for the heads up on this issue 😳.........before I fit and close my nicely painted bonnet and dent it!!  I also notice your fixing bolts are flush where the ones supplied with my cover are tall, standing proud, another potential conflict with the bonnet me thinks?!  I will be very mindful when refitting the bonnet.

On 20/11/2021 at 12:58, Pete Lewis said:

a complete hotch pot of welding 

Looks pretty solid though!! 😉

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there is not a general problem with clearance on the herald/vitesse but alloy covers on a GT6 can be in contact

the club tried a similar mod to the front fins but it didnt solve it , in fact i bought it cheap at one of Bern's HQ bazaar sales  its on the 2000  now 

there are a good few dings in bonnets due to tall studs or the elusive socket left in place  so yes its tight and depends a lot on the basic bonnet height adjustment  all adds up

Pete

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1 hour ago, Pete Lewis said:

there are a good few dings in bonnets due to tall studs or the elusive socket left in place

Not to mention the thermostat hose jubilee clip fitted with the adjustment on top.

Bought some four inch stainless bolts but needed to cut to length, polish the head and cut more thread, but then plenty of time during lockdowns.

Noticed your no oil note on gearbox, also have to leave similar notes these day.

Regards

Paul.

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