Back on the job again!

OK. I know. There’s been no posts from me now for over a year. How embarrassing.

There has been a reason, though: I’ve moved house. It was a fairly spur of the moment thing that we decided on in March last year (although we’d been thinking about it for a while), and we actually made the move at the end of April. We’re now in a lovely house in the Warwickshire countryside, complete with a garage and a paddock. All very nice, but this meant that I was now 36 miles from where the car was. The plan was to move the car to the new garage by the house, but for various reasons that didn’t happen until the end of July. I eventually got her loaded and ready for the move though:

Rosie on transporter

All done on the cheap, the van was borrowed from work and the trailer from the farmer at my old house. It made a fairly interesting drive, especially through the narrow lanes near our new house. Did I mention I’ve not really driven anything with a trailer for several years? :-o

Anyway, I got her home and into her new garage:

Rosie in new home

As you can see, I’m now right next to the house, so I’ve been able to get rid of the generator. It’s nice to be able to work with power tools without having the (frankly noisy) generator running all the time!

Unfortunately, what with having a new home (and garden, and paddock) to sort out, I didn’t really have much time to work on the car, so I decided to leave it for the year. And now here we are. I’ll be putting some time into the car this year, the bulk of the bodywork is done now so I’m hoping to get her painted and start reassembly by the end of the year. I won’t be able to start properly due to the cold weather for a couple of months, but I will soon make a start on stripping the underseal from the front arches. Watch this space!

Speaking of this space, it can’t have escaped your knowledge (you’re a smart bunch) that I’ve moved to a new blog. My old blogspot site was fine, but I’m trying to get all my personal stuff into one place, and chezred.com is it. There’s plenty more on the site if you look around! Also, this blog (using WordPress software) gives me a lot more flexibility than the blogspot platform, I’ll be tweaking things as I go, and adding new features and site layouts. All feedback is welcome!

At the moment I’m updating all the old posts – I’ve imported them from blogspot but the images are having to be done manually. If you look at an older post and there’s no images showing, that means I haven’t got to it yet to upload updated images.

To all the people that have followed me over from the old site, thanks for sticking around. I look forward to hearing from you all!

Headlamp Motor Assembly

Now I’ve moved the work inside, I’ve started work on a couple of different bits.

The first parts to get my attention were the headlamp lift motors and the wiper motor. The wiper motor is waiting on a couple of parts, but I’ve got one of the headlamp motor assemblies done now (I decided to do them one at a time so I could use the other as a template in case I forgot how it went together).

The start – Functional but seriously grotty:

Headlamp assembly

The motor assembly:

Motor Assembly

Motor body parts after cleaning, stripping and painting:

Motor Body Parts - Painted

It probably wasn’t needed, but I decided to replace the motor brushes while I was there:

Motor Brush Assembly

I also replaced all the wiring – on inspection, it was starting to corrode, even a little way up the insulation. So it all got replaced with some nice modern thin-wall cable, and the connector was replaced with a superseal connector.

As Rimmers were offering new bracket assemblies for dirt cheap money, I didn’t see much point in cleaning them up, so I just replaced them and used the old spring and turnbuckle.

Finished product:

Finished motor assembly

Getting Ready for Winter

As you might have noticed, I haven’t updated here for a little while. As tends to happen, other plans and projects mean that I just haven’t been able to get down to the car recently. As it’s now starting to get colder and the days are getting shorter, I’ve decided it’s time to pack up for the winter.

So over the weekend we went down to the garage, I spent a bit of time welding the wheelarch on (It’s taken me a while to fit properly, the shape and fit of the pressing is awful and needed a lot of beating into shape). Done now though:

TR7 wheelarch fitted

The only thing remaining is to paint the arch and wing, then that’s it for the winter.

I also (A couple of weeks ago) stripped and painted the o/s headlamp recess, that’s ready for final painting now:

TR7 front wheelarch painted

The car is slowly starting to turn grey, it must be the age.

With that done, we cleared out the garage, packed all the tools away and covered the car over (with cardboard sheets to stop the worst of the condensation dripping from the roof):

TR7 stored in garage

Just one more session down there, then it’s goodbye until spring :-( It’s just getting too cold now for proper bodywork, so there’s not much more I can do there.

What I do have, though, is a load of parts to be cleaned up and restored. With that in mind, I’ve spent the last couple of evenings sorting out and tidying my loft space to get a good workshop area.

A (little) bit of bench space:

Workshop area 1

Boxes and piles of random bits (Mostly V8):

Workshop area 2

Chemicals:

Workshop area 3

And more work space, plus computer for research, blogging, and, er, music!

Workshop area 4

Pile of crap rare and valuable parts that I probably don’t need anymore (but don’t want to get rid of just yet):

Workshop area 5

It’s not a perfect work space, but it’ll do for me.

New Wings

The body panels I ordered arrived today.

TR7 new body panels

I have now spent more on replacement body panels alone than I bought the car for in the first place! It’ll be worth it though.

I tried a test fit of the wings, they seem to fit with no problems. I just wish I’d known that the top channel came with the new wings before I spent an hour rubbing down and straightening up the ones on the car! So after all that work I ended up cutting them off.

TR7 front wing test fit

But it looks like I need to get the new closing panels, the old wings fitted directly to the A post and never had these panels. Now I just have a huge gap:

TR7 front wing test fit 2

Wheelarch panel isn’t such a good fit, it looks like I’ll need to do a lot of work fitting and adjusting them:

TR7 wheelarch test fit

TR7 wheelarch test fit 2

TR7 wheelarch test fit 3

I think I’ve got it more or less in the right spot now:

TR7 wheelarch test fit 4

Before I commit to the welding though, I’ll screw it into place with some self tappers and make sure the wing fits over it OK.

Battery Tray & Wing

Not a lot of blogging recently, the weather has been hampering any serious attempts to work!

I have managed to get a bit done though. The windscreen frame is slowly taking final shape. I’ve got it nearly there, just a few last small ripples to get out.

Work moved on to the battery tray, it was in basically solid shape but needed a good tidy up:

TR7 battery tray before stripping

So I ground off all the surface rust, acid etched both parts and welded on some new metal after I mangled the bit where it connects to the bulkhead:

TR7 battery tray after stripping

Then it was time to clean up the engine bay area:

TR7 battery tray area

A lot of that couldn’t be reached with any power tool in my collection so there was a whole lot of rubbing down done by hand. I’m happy with the end result though.

A bit of priming and seam sealing:

TR7 battery tray primered

The seam sealer ended up a bit of a mess, I thought water would be fine for smoothing out out, turns out that’s not the case. I later discovered white spirits does the job just fine, but it was too late for this lot. It’s smooth enough that you don’t notice it once it’s overpainted though.

Then the welding back in:

TR7 battery tray fitted

As you can see, I’ve painted some parts of the bulkhead. I couldn’t see a good way to paint these bits once the tray was back in, so I did it with a rattle can before the welding. I’ll rub back all the stuff I can get to later and that’ll be repainted properly when the time comes. In the meantime, I know it’s all covered back there and is unlikely to rust like it did before.

A final bit of priming and it’s done:

TR7 battery tray fitted

Now I’ve got that bit of welding done, I can sort out the little bits that need filling – as you can see, I’ve already made a start.

The other job I’ve been doing is prepping the inner wings ready for the new panels (which are now ordered and on their way). I can’t do much for the nearside until I get the wheelarch in place, but I got to work on the offside.

First off was a bit of remedial work on some rust:

TR7 inner wing rust

TR7 inner wing rust repair

TR7 wheelarch repair panel

Then a good rub down and cleanup, followed by etching with Metal Ready:

TR7 wheelarch

Before painting with POR-15 and seam sealing:

TR7 wheelarch - painted

As always, a bug of some sort decided to check out the wet paint:

TR7 wheelarch - painted 2

So I just painted him over, he’s well and truly entombed now and a part of the car.

Now I’ve just got to deal with a crossthreaded bolt in the A post, paint the front part with chassis black and sort out the top channel, then it’s ready to have the wing fitted.

Windscreen Frame part 8

After waiting for a day with some decent weather, I got the welding finished off this weekend. Firstly I welded the bulkhead panel in place, then ground down all the excess weld from the top and sides:

TR7 screen frame welded - side 3

Then went back over the whole thing and redid a few parts that weren’t up to scratch. Once happy with that, I tapped down a few high spots and got started with the filler. It looks like the filler I’m using is past it’s best, it’s a couple of years old and isn’t as smooth or easy to work with as it used to be. So, time to get some more.

I persevered with what I had for today, quite happy with the result so far:

TR7 screen frame - filler

TR7 screen frame - filler 2

I decided to fill the seams for now and have a smooth A post:

TR7 screen frame - filler 3

TR7 screen frame - filler 4

I can chase some seams back in later if I decide that doesn’t look right.

There’s still a lot of finishing and shaping to be done before I’m happy, but the job is basically done now. I can carry on working on it in conjunction with other parts, it makes a handy side job while waiting for things to dry, or if I just get bored with whatever else I’m doing. :-)

Windscreen Frame part 7

Both panels are now in!

I tacked the top panel in place and did a bit of measuring to make sure nothing had slipped. It all checked out fine, so time to get going on with the welding.

End result:

TR7 screen frame welded in place

TR7 screen frame welded - side

It looks a mess, but a good session with the grinder should sort that out. It’s not as level as I’d hoped for due to some inevitable heat distortion (maybe I was hoping for too much?), but it’s nothing a bit of hammering down and filling won’t fix. Overall, I’m happy enough with the job.

There’s a couple of bits to patch on the join between the A posts and the roof panel where I got a little carried away with the grinder (Remember, kids: Measure twice, cut once – don’t let this happen to you!)

TR7 screen frame welded - side 2

I’m currently wondering whether to leave the seam there for originality (due to the welding it’ll be a false seam) or fill it in and have a smooth A post. Opinions are welcome.

Other than that, I need to do the plug welding on the bulkhead sections (another 31 plug welds to add to the 58 done so far, it’s starting to get boring now!) then I can press on with the grinding and tidying, plus whichever bits I find that need redoing.

Windscreen Frame part 6

The fitting continues – with everything more or less the way I wanted it, it was time for a final test fit of the screen – this time with the finishers:

TR7 screen frame test fit

It fits well enough, so time to carry on with fitting.

I got all the holes drilled for the welds:

TR7 screen base painted

And then tack welded the bottom part of the frame in place. It’s only held on by six welds at the moment, so it can easily come out again if needs be.

Then the inner part of the top surround was welded in place:

TR7 screen frame top lip

Cleaned up and painted:

TR7 screen frame top lip 2

Yay, I finally have a windscreen lip!

The outer part was cleaned and straightened up, painted and prepped for final fitting:

TR7 screen frame top test fit

I need to get a new tip for the welder before I can carry on, this one keeps jamming and causing wire feed problems. Otherwise, I’d have had the top part tack welded in place today.

Hard part’s nearly over – just a whole load of welding to go!

Windscreen Frame part 5

After a bit more tweaking, I’ve finally got the base panel ready to fit.

I had to go over the A post bits again as they weren’t quite precise, it’s a nice snug fit now.

I also ground back the rest of the welding on the sides and welded some new metal in:

TR7 screen frame ready to weld

TR7 screen frame ready to weld 2

It’s not exactly pretty, but then it doesn’t have to be – the wings will cover most of it anyway. what’s important is that they’re now level with the rest of the panel, the old bits were welded on top which would have caused problems with the fitting of the wings.

I then primered the bottom part (weld-through primer on the bits being welded, etch primer on the rest):

TR7 screen frame painted

All that remains now is to drill some holes for the spot (plug) welds in the necessary bits, then it’s ready for final fitting. I’m happy with the fit, when I first started it needed hammering and pushing around to sit properly, now it just drops exactly in place. Good job really, with the amount of times I’ve fitted and removed it!

I also did some more work on the top panel, cutting and grinding it to fit:

TR7 screen frame top

TR7 screen frame test fit

It’s not quite there, I need to lose about 5mm of metal along the middle, but it’s close. I also need to weld in the inner part along the top, I’ve cut it out and it just needs a bit of shaping before welding.

It’s been a lot more work than I’d anticipated, measuring, cutting, measuring again, then grinding literally millimetres at a time and checking for fit each time. But I feel it’s worth taking the time over to get it right – I’d hate to get the car finished, painted and reassembled only to find the screen didn’t fit properly!

Windscreen Frame part 4

Today I got the top part cut out and tried a test fit:

TR7 new screen frame in place-001

Obviously a lot of cutting, shaping and grinding to be done, but so far so good.

TR7 new screen frame in place 2

Duct tape is as strong as welding, right? :-)

A quick test fit of the screen (doubtless the first of many):

TR7 new screen and frame test fit

It’s not a perfect fit, mostly due to the old sealer still on the screen. It’s pretty close though.

I admit that was a slightly frivolous exercise, but I did learn a bit. Mainly that the top of the frame, given the chance, will drop down lower than it should, something to watch for when fitting it properly.

Tomorrow should see the top panel cut to shape and ready for final test fitting before I get started with the welding.