This was started way back in 2011 and is still ongoing. The pace has picked up a bit in late 2013 with all the rust finally having been located and removed. All of the new body panels have now been ordered and hopefully will be in place before Thanksgiving. Once that’s completed the body will be removed from the frame and prepped for painting. Wish me luck!
The driver’s floor was very soft and needed to be removed. It was a straight forward process especially with the plasma cutter.
This is the original floor. It came out it only two pieces. If you don’t have a plasma cutter I would recommend finding one. It’s very easy to use and saves you a lot of time and wear and tear on your body.
The new floor dropped in very easily. It was an aftermarket piece made in Ohio. It was so good I wanted to replace the other side too even though it didn’t need it. Made in the USA baby!
Here’s a shot of the new floor being test fitted to the inner rocker panel. this went quickly and is 10X easier than on an MG!
Here’s two of the four new diff pins. So far this was the worst part of the whole resto. The previous owner took it to a local body shop to have new pins installed and it was some of the shoddiest work I’ve ever seen. It took almost three weeks to figure out how to undo their crappy work, but as you can see it paid off.
Two wooden templates were made to space the pins properly. It was a lot of work, but the end result was the diff lined up correctly on the first try!
- The original plan was to leave the body on the frame so small trap doors were cut out with a plasma cutter to access the top of the differential pins. The welds had to be ground down after the cutouts were replaced, but it worked well. When the pins were “repaired” before they managed to crack part of the frame so we had to reinforce/rebuild the area around the top of the pins, ugh!
The only rust we could find on the bottom of the car was right in front of the rear wheels on both sides and also behind the front wheel on the left side. The plasma cutter made it easy to remove just the rotted sections. Patch panels were made by hand from sheet steel.
This is the left side behind the front wheel. The same method was used on both sides.
I was pretty tired of body work after the situation with the differential so I decided to remove and strip down the original motor. It had 105K miles on it when it was pulled.
If you want to know what cheap motor oil does to an engine just let me know!
The valve train was in horrible condition. We turned the motor by hand and four of the valves didn’t move at all. The whole motor smelled and looked liked a burned tar factory.
Here’s a shot of the oil that was running through the motor. It had a 1/4″ of wax at the bottom and metal floating at the top! It turned out the camshaft was ground down to nothing along with most of the valve train.
I had the opportunity to trade for a freshly rebuilt TR6 motor with 0 miles on it! It was bored .20 over and has a bit higher compression than the original. I’ve got the original block, head, and crank in dry storage until I have the time and budget to get it rebuild.
After trading for the new engine I was pretty excited. The rest of the body appeared to be rust free so I started to sand it down for paint. I started working on the rear deck and noticed some rust flakes falling down. Further examination confirmed my worst fears. The edges of the rear deck and tops of the inner rear fenders were all rusted out!
As you can see it was pretty bad. This is on the right side.
Here’s a shot from the left side. Thankfully most of the body panels were pretty reasonable.
It turns out the rear deck had been worked on at one time. They just cut out the center section and welded in a patch. The also used a fair amount of filler to get it all smoothed out.
Sooooo… the only choice I had was to start drilling out spot welds. This is the left side about half way through.
And here’s what it looks like now. There were well over 150 spot welds to drill out. Amazingly it only took about 3 hours. There’s still a bit of straightening to do, but the new body panels are just about ready to go into place.
Here’s another pic of the patched up rear deck and rear inner fenders. There was way more rust on the top of the car than the floors and rockers. If I had known it was this bad I might have passed on purchasing the car. Unfortunately all of the rusted areas were covered with paint or rust proofing material and it wasn’t until it was removed that the extensive rust damage became apparent.