Saturday, June 19, 2010

First Cut

Bracing for the first cut.

After getting the engine running, I have no more excuses in removing the rocker panels for replacement. It wouldn't have made much since to remove the panels if I couldn't get the engine running. Getting over that hump means there is nothing pratically stopping me from working this project to completion. From the looks in the above picture, the rust doesn't look that bad, but the rule is the rust you see doesn't compare to the rust you find underneath...

With Spitfires, when removing the rocker panels, you must always brace the door. The rocker panels provide support for the body and the body itself will distort without bracing. I cut a piece of 2X4 and wedged it in the door opening. At first, it didn't look like it was necessary, but when I jacked up the front to remove the tire for clearance, the brace was in there tight!

First Cut

The piles of rust after slicing through the sill with a cutoff wheel was pretty amazing. Handful after handful of rust was removed from the cut opening. There was a lot of dirt trapped in the void as well, even though I blew out all I could with the air compressor. I'd hate to think how much extra weight in dirt was being drug around in the car...

Rocker Panel Removed Front View

I removed the rocker panel completely and found out quickly that I should not be using an air hammer to remove parts. You can see the ripping of the metal along the edges near the front. I hand chiseled the area near the door. I will have to re-shape the metal distorted from the air hammer. A lot more rust was hidden under the panels, but I think enough is left to be able to weld the new panels in place.

Rocker Panel Removed Rear View

I still need to remove the inner sill, but after all the hard work, I was advised that you are supposed to drill out the spot welds. You live and learn. I also need to cut out the rusted out back panel. I simply ran out of time and energy and was unable to complete the job. Not too bad for a days work, getting it running, and removing most of a rocker panel.

Not too bad for someone who's never done metalwork! It must run in the blood.

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