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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:08 am
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Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
It was nearly 3 years ago when I first came across this car sitting looking somewhat neglected in the city. It was nearly 3 years ago when I first came across this car sitting looking somewhat neglected in the city. It was as I described it, a barn find in my earlier posting, “Another Sprint discovered in New Zealand” .
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Earlier this year the ownership was transferred across to my name which has allowed me to start the restoration process. The registration has been allowed to lapse and here in New Zealand in order to re-register the car it must first go through a very detailed vehicle safety inspection before a Warrant of Fitness can be issued and only then can the car be registered and driven on the road.

Outwardly the car looks remarkably sound as will be evident in the photos which will follow as the work is undertaken. However an examination underneath showed the right hand chassis rail which connects to the back of the sub frame has been crushed.

The rail has pulled away from the body and it has been pop riveted back into position and an attempt has been made to repair a couple of cracks. It will not pass a safety inspection. The rail will have to be removed, restored and then welded back by someone certified to undertake structural welds on a car.
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20170224-1140Ptw HU 5089 damaged RH chassis rail.jpg
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Before that can happen the engine and sub frame and the damaged chassis rail have to be removed so that it can be repaired.

The ghost of Jonners came back to haunt me when I commenced the process of removing the engine and sub frame. Somewhere on this forum he announced before he died that he believed that I could remove the engine and sub frame from a car like this in less than an hour. I was certainly able to do so on my earlier restoration, 24 years restoring Sprint in New Zealand , but this car has caused me all sorts of problems. The task which should have taken about an hour was spread over several days.

Disconnecting all the services to the engine and the gearbox was a relatively easy and straightforward task.

The biggest problem was removing the nuts off the four sub frame bolts. they had been removed at some stage and then lock-tighted back into position. It was necessary to use a very long extension on a breaker bar and to wedge the bolt heads within the engine bay so that they would not turn. I left penetrating oil sitting on the bolt threads for 48 hours. Even so when I finally managed to break the nuts free it was a real struggle to unwind them off the bolt threads. I cannot understand why someone lock-tighted them for if they were torqued correctly there was little chance that they would have come undone. Likewise the nuts on the prop shaft to the gearbox had been lock-tighted at some stage.

I removed the spoiler before raising the body. The alternator was pushed up against the block so that as the body was lifted up the alternator passed by the bottom hose connection on the radiator.
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The exhaust system had been replaced at some stage with a non-standard system. The bracket which supported the downpipe and which bolted to the gearbox had been discarded and it was no longer possible to break the exhaust at that point. I had to unbolt the downpipe off the exhaust manifold and I did this as the body of the car was raised off the sub frame.

It was necessary to remove the rear anti roll bar to allow the exhaust to drop and the nuts on the four bolts holding it onto the rear axle trailing arm assembly had been secured with lock-tight. I needed a larger ½” drive socket set for breaking the nuts free.

It was not necessary to remove anything from the engine bay other than the air cleaner assembly so that the heater hoses could be disconnected at the H cross piece although I had to remove the heater motor so that I could gain access to the left hand rear sub frame bolt which had to be wedged so that the spanner did not reach round and damage the starter motor assembly.

With the sub frame and engine assembly removed I fitted a dolly which I had fabricated previously so that the car can be moved from under my chain hoist and positioned in the workshop where the next step will be to mount the car into a spit which I have fabricated so that the car can be rotated on its side. Then the damaged chassis rail will be removed.

Robert


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20190902-1521Ptw HU5089 Lifting the body.jpg
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Last edited by Robert 352 on Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:43 am 
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Welcome back Robert, I'm looking forward to this one.
Re Loctite, a good dose of heat usually does the job. I realise this will destroy any rubber...


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:12 pm
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Location: Highley, Shropshire
Well at least the subframe bolts weren't seized solid in the chassis legs as often happens on UK cars!

It looks like a really tidy car Robert, A "barn find" Sprint in this sort of condition is every UK Sprint fans dream, but the reality is they just don't happen in our climate! Looks like a series one car and presumeably in Honeysuckle, a rare shade on a UK car but coincidentally the second one i've seen this week! There is one for sale on UK ebay at the moment, though I don't know if the colour on that one is original!

I would have thought that the damage to the chassis leg would respond to removal of the rivets and some careful "plug welding" to restore it's integrity. Whilst the club do a very good replica chassis leg, it's not quite a perfect match for the original in shape and profile and requires a little fettling to fit successfully. And your original leg looks to be otherwise in very good shape.

I don't wish to be the prophet of doom, but i'd also measure up the shell VERY carefully as this damage shown reminds me unpleasantly of what MY Sprint shell looked like when I got it! You have to ask yourself what caused this normally very strong seam to part! In my case, accident damage to the front n/s corner of the car meant that the subframe took the brunt of the impact and transmitted the shock through to the mounting points in the shell resulting in distortion that cost me £500 to get jig straightened and that at "mates rates"!

Steve

_________________
2 door '73 Toledo with Vauxhall Carlton 2.0 8v engine OWF 797M (The Carledo)
'78 Sprint Auto with Vauxhall Omega 2.2 16v engine EGP 247T (The Dolomega)
'91 Cavalier 2ltr 8v auto
'95 Cavalier 2ltr 16v auto
Spectrum Auto Services, Servicing, Repairs, Electrical, Recomissioning, MOT prep, Trackerjack brake fitting service.
Apprentice served Triumph Specialist for 45 years and home of Maverick Triumph.PM for more info or quotes.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:15 pm 
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Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
It is indeed a Honeysuckle Sprint and it is also a very rare colour in this country.

Steve has questioned how or why the damage has occurred to the chassis rail.

The car has not been in an accident. It has been lifted on a two post hoist and the lifting arm which would have been swung under the sub frame has either slipped or the car has been bumped and the arm has moved back and crushed the rail. You can see two welds where someone has tried welding the cracked rail and the heat from the welding has scorched the rubber bush.
Some time ago I spotted a thread on this forum “roll over spit/jig/rotisserie” in which DF and Lazeruserpete both put up photos of a spit.

I knew that I could fabricate something similar. Steve provided me with a link to a UK manufacturer showing what they supply. I wish I had something like this when I did my first Sprint restoration.

I elected to fabricate something here from some scrap steel lying around behind the workshop. But first it was necessary to design something. I found my old Meccano set and made a scale model of what I needed and that formed the basis of the design of what you see here.
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I proved that it works for I swung the body from another Dolomite Sprint which has been scrapped because it has some, what we consider, terminal rust in the body, in this case in the roof of the car where water had worked its way in under the vinyl and caused the roof to rust.

It was rotated to expose the chassis rails and I removed this rail as practice.
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20190905-1530Ptf RH.jpg
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A 3/8” (8mm) drill was re-sharpened to form a spade type drill suitable for drilling out a spot weld. I marked the centre position of each spot weld and drilled a small pilot hole to act as a centre before drilling out the weld.

A 1” (25mm) dia hole saw was used to remove the weld around the tube through which the sub frame bolt passes and a conventional disc grinder was used to remove the weld around the front edge of the rail.
The rail itself is in remarkably good condition and it took very little effort to beat out some of the marks the rail had collected over the years. It is likely that we will use this rail and not bother to repair the one which will be removed from the car.

Robert


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:53 pm 
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Location: Highley, Shropshire
Glad to know you know the cause of the damage and it's not serious!

Can't believe that green shell is going for scrap for a bit of roof rot! If it was here in the UK, me and a lot of others would be fighting each other to give you good money for it! The thought of using a second hand chassis rail is just alien to anyone here, you'd never find one worth salvaging on a scrap car in the UK!

I guess the NZ rules on how resto welding is done and who does it means a lot more cars don't survive the attack of the tinworms. Pretty sad really! It's the one thing that puts me off retiring there, I'd die of frustration not being allowed to do something I know I can do! Kinda like a surgeon not allowed to practise by some rule rather than having done anything wrong!

Nice work on the rollover jig by the way! I presume, since it's not a car, you're actually allowed to do that yourself!

Steve

_________________
2 door '73 Toledo with Vauxhall Carlton 2.0 8v engine OWF 797M (The Carledo)
'78 Sprint Auto with Vauxhall Omega 2.2 16v engine EGP 247T (The Dolomega)
'91 Cavalier 2ltr 8v auto
'95 Cavalier 2ltr 16v auto
Spectrum Auto Services, Servicing, Repairs, Electrical, Recomissioning, MOT prep, Trackerjack brake fitting service.
Apprentice served Triumph Specialist for 45 years and home of Maverick Triumph.PM for more info or quotes.


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 Post subject: The restoration starts
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:31 pm 
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Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Steve has questioned the decision to scrap the green shell. He is right in that yes the rust in the roof could be repaired. There is a lot of damage to the bulkhead in behind where the brake booster sat, where with the spillage of brake fluid on the bulkhead it has removed the surface treatment and where it has rusted badly. The area around where the accelerator pedal was bolted is cracked and has all but disappeared.

The car was raced in this country at some stage. It had a tough life. The new owner of the Sprint parts taken from this car has been reconditioning the engine and in doing so has noted that someone fitted Cortina pistons when it became necessary to do so.

I will be storing the rest of the body under cover in the meantime. If Steve wishes to take the body he can have it at no cost. In return though he might like to bring with him a Sprint Stainless Sports exhaust system which is unobtainable here.

What you folk do not realise is that you have access to spares which are simply uneconomic to ship to this country. We make do where we can.

Most repairs can be undertaken by a competent person except in the case of welding a structural element on the body. It must be done by someone who has the experience and who has been certified to do it. I don’t intend to go into the reasons why this rule was introduced but it followed the export of second hand cars from countries to this country which drive on the right. Sometime after the cars were landed here they failed a routine Warrant of Fitness inspection and had to be written off.

I have sand blasted the interior of the donor chassis rail. The metal treatment given the body of the car by British Leyland has been more than adequate for the conditions in this country. The chassis rail does capture and hold water but apart from some light surface rust on the interior surfaces it is in remarkably good condition for a car which has been used throughout its nearly 45 years of use. It just goes to show that the design and finish of the steel used was perfectly adequate for those countries where alternatives to putting salt on the roads to counteract freezing conditions are the norm.

With the engine and the sub frame assembly removed from the car it was time to mount the body in the jig and when that was done the rear axle assembly was removed from the body without any drama at all. All the radius arm bushes had been changed at some stage so there was no problem in removing the bolts, radius arms and sway bars. The hand brake cables and the hydraulic brake connection and connection to the brake proportioning valve were all disconnected and the axle wheeled away. It will need some work later for it is missing a wheel stud which has broken off.
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The petrol tank was removed which was timely for the rubber connection at the tank outlet to the pipe running forward to the petrol pump had perished and was leaking.

The clutch master cylinder was unbolted still attached to the clutch slave. New seals will be fitted. The clutch reservoir was also removed for I do not want any brake fluid spilling on the body.

The brake master cylinder was removed along with the brake booster so that the top of the chassis rail can be cut out of the body. It too will have new seals fitted.

While all this was going on I stiffened up the jig for although it was perfectly adequate for working within the workshop the car body and the jig will be moved onto a car trailer so that it can be transported into the local Polytech some 20 miles away for the welding in of the replacement chassis rail. The jig needs to be fairly robust in order to hold the car firmly on the trailer.

I built some adjustment into the height of the jig mounts not knowing where the centre of gravity would sit with the body fully trimmed with all the doors and glass intact. It was necessary to lift the car a little and it now spins easily although it is necessary to brace and support the car when it is turned on its side.

It certainly makes it easy to work on the underside of the car which is in very fair condition for a vehicle which is also nearly 45 years old and which the odometer had recorded 100,000 miles of motoring. There is some corrosion particularly around the sub frame bolts where water has been trapped under the rubbers and has not been able to escape. There is also some evidence of corrosion on the bulkhead and on the brake servo on this car where spilt brake fluid has removed the paint.

I am now about to start the removal of the damaged chassis rail which you can see in these two photos has been cracked quite badly and the attempt to weld the crack insitu has not been successful.
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If left the crack will no doubt lengthen until the rail fails completely.
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Robert


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:28 pm 
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Location: Highley, Shropshire
Some flippin' big pidgeons in your part of the world Robert!

No wonder they don't let just anyone weld 'em up, if that's the standard!

Steve

_________________
2 door '73 Toledo with Vauxhall Carlton 2.0 8v engine OWF 797M (The Carledo)
'78 Sprint Auto with Vauxhall Omega 2.2 16v engine EGP 247T (The Dolomega)
'91 Cavalier 2ltr 8v auto
'95 Cavalier 2ltr 16v auto
Spectrum Auto Services, Servicing, Repairs, Electrical, Recomissioning, MOT prep, Trackerjack brake fitting service.
Apprentice served Triumph Specialist for 45 years and home of Maverick Triumph.PM for more info or quotes.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:39 am 
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Location: Over here...can't you see me?
....sitting contemplating the logistics and costs of importing some green 'scrap metal' from New Zealand...


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:18 pm 
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Location: Highley, Shropshire
Quote:
....sitting contemplating the logistics and costs of importing some green 'scrap metal' from New Zealand...
Funny you should say that!..........

But I think you'd need a container jammed full of such green material to have any chance. Stuff like bodyshells in particular are very high bulk, you wouldn't get many in, unless you cut them up first, which kinda defeats the object!

Steve

_________________
2 door '73 Toledo with Vauxhall Carlton 2.0 8v engine OWF 797M (The Carledo)
'78 Sprint Auto with Vauxhall Omega 2.2 16v engine EGP 247T (The Dolomega)
'91 Cavalier 2ltr 8v auto
'95 Cavalier 2ltr 16v auto
Spectrum Auto Services, Servicing, Repairs, Electrical, Recomissioning, MOT prep, Trackerjack brake fitting service.
Apprentice served Triumph Specialist for 45 years and home of Maverick Triumph.PM for more info or quotes.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:08 pm 
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Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
The comment about the standard of welding did prompt a smile. Think though of the poor sod who undertook the repair. I surmise that the damage occurred when the previous owner took the car in for a service somewhere and this damage occurred without him being informed. Someone has tried to repair it without removing the engine and sub frame assembly. They would have pulled the brake and fuel lines back and then somehow tried to reach into the gap between the gearbox and the body to weld the crack. It would be an overhead weld and done without looking directly at the crack itself.

You are right though, it looks as if someone has thrown some weld in the general area. It highlights the reason why this sort of repair is totally unacceptable – in this country.

I have no doubt that had the previous owner known about this problem he, being the sort of person who insisted on everything being done properly and would have in turn insisted that a proper repair be completed.

With the car mounted in the rotating jig it has been very easy to work on removing the damaged rail. I had used a conventional drill sharpened to a spade point to remove what will be the donor rail. I located a nifty little drill mill tool for drilling out the spot welds. This tool, purchased out of China for about £10.00 posted to my doorstep worked very well.
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The centre of each spot weld was marked with a centre punch and then a small stub drill was used to drill a little dimple so that the sprung loaded drill mill centre had something to run in. I used a variable speed drill and operated it at the lowest speed possible. Then by driving a very small cold chisel in beside where I was milling out the spot weld the chassis rail would ping off the car body when I had milled sufficient metal away. Some welds were a bit more difficult to mill and required a steady hand.
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The photograph shows the milling of the spot welds on the gearbox side of the rail. To the left you can see where I have marked where the spot welds are. At this juncture I rolled the car over and started drilling along the other side of the rail and steadily worked my way forward alternating on both sides until all that was necessary was to use a disc grinder to grind along the radius which sits below the flange to which the spot welds are attached until the rail fell off in my hand.

Drilling out the bush through which the sub frame bolt passes was a relatively easy process. It did involve removing the brake pipe to the front right wheel and cutting back the sound deadening that sits beneath the brake booster.
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A conventional 25mm / 1 inch hole saw was used and I turned up a simple mandrill which sits inside the top of the bushing tube and which acts as a guide for the centering drill.
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Much of the brown colour sitting on the bulkhead is the remains of the glue which was used to hold the sound deadening in place. The rust you can see to the left of the drill in this picture has been caused by the spillage of brake fluid from the reservoirs above. There is evidence of some fluid working its way down behind the sound deadening as well. The rust will be removed and the bare metal treated and painted both on the inner wing seen to the left as well as the bulkhead seen on the right.

What did it reveal? A very clean and nearly totally rust free internal space. Except for the one small area of surface rust shown under the arrow head.
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The surface treatment applied by British Leyland was certainly adequate and very effective. I guess though we are lucky in this country for it is against the law to spread the likes of salt on the roads here which would in due course enter our storm water systems and poison the soils and drains through which the storm water passes. What water which found its way into the internal areas of the car has drained away without penetrating the surface coatings shown.

The next job will be to use the disc grinder to remove all the spot welds and then offer up the replacement rail and prepare for the its welding in place.

Robert


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:17 am 
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Superb job Robert, that's exactly how I removed the chassis legs on Shaun's car! :D


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:33 am 
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Great work.
If the sub frame mounting tube was in good condition I would have left it in place and just cut the chassis leg away, then weld in the new chassis leg to the existing tube. This way you know it is in the correct place for alignment with the subframe.

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