Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Re-fit of bodyshell to chassis

The first stage is to remove and throw away any of the old sealing strip which may be stuck to the floorpan edges and to clean (and if necessary true up) the edges. Many people seem to try to glue the new seal into position on the floorpan edge, but glue cannot not hold the seal strongly enough once you start to manoeuvre the bodyshell into the correct position, so affix it with pop rivets instead.
Don't make the mistake of cutting the new seal up into pieces, but begin by laying out the seal along one floorpan edge, starting from a front corner, drilling and pop riveting it in place as you go. When you come to the corner at the rear of the floorpan, cut the seal only part­way through. This allows you to fold the seal around the bend and to keep a continuous bead around the outside to keep out water.
Work across the back, then make another cut at the opposite corner, and start drilling and riveting up the other outer edge of the floorpan. Then you can cut off the remaining section of the seal, which will be fitted across the front.
Terry Ball cuts the edges of the front seal strip, then lays one seal partially across the other to give a good seal. The remaining section of the seal is riveted across the front of the floorpan. To improve the sealing qualities, Terry then applies a generous glob of windscreen sealant to the four corners of the seal.With some lifting gear and a great deal of ingenuity, the bodyshell can be manoeuvred onto the chassis by one person, but it is far better to have two strong adults and preferably three or more (two, three or four to lift and one to check that the mounting bolt holes are aligned). Before lifting on the bodyshell, check that there is nothing lying on the top of the seal and nothing lying on the frame head to prevent the body from seating properly. Align the rearmost holes first (those on the rear damper bracket); fit the spacers into position and bolt the bodyshell loosely (remember to use copper grease on all of these bolt threads) at this stage. Then move to the front of the car and try to align the two long bolts at the front edges of the frame head. Fit the bolts with new Ml 0 washers, then fit the four (two per side) smaller bolts which locate further back in the frame head.
If any of these bolts do not align correctly with their respective holes then running a tap through the threads can help, but do not force anything at this stage, because you will only be rewarded with a crossed thread if you do. If you cannot even get a tap through a hole, then try gently levering the bodyshell in the appropriate direction and try again.
Finally, fit the small bolts which run into the sill/heater channel assemblies and, when all bolts are in position, tighten them all. As the heater channels rot, rust spreads up to the bases of the A and B posts. If these have previously been repaired or welded onto new heater channels at some time, rusting will usually be found to have started at the actual weld. Either way, the bases have to be repaired and, as usual, both long and short repair panels are available.
Remove the door. Clean the old paintwork from the post base, so that you can determine the true extent of the rot, then decide whether you will have to fit the larger repair panel (which incorporates the lower hinge The quarter panel is the panel which runs from the rear of the door to the rear wing, and the lower area is very prone to rot. Both large and small repair panels are available; fit the smaller of the two if possible and, if you have to use the larger panel, cut it down to size rather than fit the entire panel. The author has seen quite a few full large repair panels needlessly welded into position where they could usefully have been cut down, so that the next time the panel rots out, the hapless owners have the option of patch repairing or going to the considerable expense of acquiring and fitting a full side panel,
Furthermore, the full repair panel edge runs right across the centre of the panel where welding-generated heat will almost certainly give corrugations; always cut the repair panel down to the smallest practicable size.
To fit the repair panel, either cut it slightly oversize and use a joddler to set an edge which can tuck underneath the edge of the existing panel or, alternatively, spot weld a strip of steel onto the hack of the repair panel to give the same effect. In addition to helping cut the chances of buckling from occurring, this also pulls the two panels into line. Fix the two panels together with pop rivets or self-tapping screws, tack weld them at in. intervals then join the tack welds together with continuous seam welds. By placing so many tack welds on the join and then welding only a short length of steel at a time, you reduce the chances of the panels bucking.

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