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934 Posts
Discussion Starter #61
Rear chassis mounting box section - Passenger side:
The good news was that the passenger side of the chassis mounting box section was in much better condition than the driver's side.
There was still work to be done, but given the fact I'd already done one side, fixing this side was very straight forward.
( Sorry, there are a lot of poor photos from my old camera in this section. )

As before, I made an initial weld so it would hold its shape and get some strength back in.

Then the edges to the right of the initial join were hammered together & welded up.

I then cut out a small metal "cap" to seal up one of the passenger side floor "channels" & welded that up.

I then cleaned up the remaining area of box section to the left of the initial welding join.
This included the main "tunnel" through the box section which I wanted to seal up as before.

So I cut out an oversize piece of Spitfire bodywork to cover the hole like so..

When everything was welded up, it looked like this, with the floor "channel" shape retained.

( This channel wasn't kept on the driver's side due to the huge area that I had to cut out as part of the rust repairs. )

Obviously I needed to make & weld in a patch for the other side of the main "tunnel" through the box section as well.

There was only a small fire during welding when the Waxoyl I'd sprayed inside the box section caught light!

Then it was the usual routine to finish the repairs off.
( Just to confuse things, the bulkhead is "upside down" in some of these photos. )


934 Posts
Discussion Starter #62 (Edited)
Bulkhead Repairs - Floors Final Round Up:

Whatever had been painted onto the passenger floor was flaking off all over the place.

So it was time for the usual routine of clean, treat, prime & paint...

By now the driver's side floor was fully repaired too.

So I had finally got this phase of the bulkhead repairs complete. :cool:

I still need to repair the inside edges of the floor where the gearbox tunnel is attached.
But it is already a big improvements on what it looked like before.
Although I seem to have forgotten to take a recent "before" photo. :rolleyes:
So this is the best I can do, from when the body shell was still in one piece.


934 Posts
Discussion Starter #63
Bulkhead Changes - Brake master cylinder recess - Part 1:
As my second hand body was actually a MkIV, not a late model 1500, it was missing a recessed panel.
This was designed to take the, bigger than standard, dual line brake master cylinder.
The kind of recess I need is actually fitted to the passenger side of the bulkhead (I assume for the export market).

So this is roughly where I need to insert a similar cut out on the driver' side.
( I did consider "swapping" the cut out panel over, but figured the less holes I made the better! )

Initially, I started hammering two sections of old Spitfire I cut out roughly into shape...

However, after getting this far, I decided it would be a much better idea to use a single length of metal for this main section.
So I made a rough cardboard template of the basic shape I was aiming for.

I also made a cardboard template in the shape of the back of the brake master cylinder.

But there was something not quite right that I couldn't put my finger on.
Then it finally dawned on me that the bulkhead is at an angle, not vertical. :rolleyes:

As I had been measuring horizontally from the back on the m/c, my recess was too big.
Not easy to make out in this photo, but the black lines match bulkhead & the green were my original measurements.
( This is the recess on the "wrong" side of the bulkhead. )

So I made yet another cardboard template & headed for my Spitfire recycling pile.

With the two pieces cut out & cleaned up they looked like this.

Note: I am going to add an additional "shape" to this recess on one side to accommodate the brake lines.

To Be Continued...

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #64
Bulkhead Changes - Brake master cylinder recess - Part 2:

Whilst I had a ready made lip on one end of the main panel, I needed to create a lip at the other end.
I don't have a vice (or for that matter a bench to fit a vice to, or anywhere for a bench, now you come to mention it. ;) ).
So I used a small section of box section, a couple of clamps & a small lump hammer.

I just needed to move the clamps as I went along, then I had two "lips".

I then bent this panel to match the shape of the end piece I had cut out.
In the end, it was easier to do this putting 2 tabs from the end section on the inside, & 2 on the outside.

I then recycled one of the bits from my first attempt at making this recess by turning it into this.

This was my first dry fit of the way the whole recess panel will look.

I have decided to fix this to the rear of the bulkhead, instead of the front, like so...

Although it will actually sit a little higher than this, as I still need to bend the top "lip" to match the curve of the bulkhead.
I think approach will look a bit neater and also give me a few extra mm of clearance.

I then started by welding the "easy" end piece to the main recess panel.

Then I started on the curved end, welding one of the curved metal strips to the inside of the main panel & the other to the outside of it.

Then the 3rd strip went over the top of these two.

Finally the 4th strip went over the top of that and I cleaned up the welds a bit.

Although it still looks a bit Frankenstein ish on the inside.

I will clean up these welds and use some filler to smooth over the "scars".
But first I need to cut out a hole in the bulkhead and weld this into place.
That the next job on my long list of things to do.

So until next time, take care, Paul.

Given I have never tried to make anything like this before I was actually very pleased with this work.
In fact, I was so proud of the fact it was a solid panel, I took it indoors to show my wife and children!
I know all this extra work is due to problems with the kit, but I have learnt a lot more as a result.
So the silver lining to the cloud is a new self confidence in what my limited skills can achieve. :cool:

11,853 Posts
I admire you perseverance! Take two cars make part of a car and make it look pretty good. Nice job. Learning is part of the process. Richard.

4,741 Posts
Hang in there! We're rooting for you!

Keep banging away, the progress is great and this will be VERY rewarding and unique when complete.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #67
Richard Oben & MPTech - Thanks for the kind words.
This project is definitely teaching me a lot about both car building & myself.
If you manage to get to the end of this latest batch of updates, you will see I've learnt a lot.
I really can't believe what it is possible for an accountant with no metal work experience to achieve.

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Bulkhead Changes - Brake master cylinder recess - Part 3:

I made a simple cardboard template for the hole required.

Then I cut the matching hole in the bulkhead, drilled a few holes & cleaned it for welding.

Welding through the holes keeps the panel in place while I weld along the edges.

Although in order to weld "downwards" as I went around the panel edges, I had to keep rotating the bulkhead.

Eventually the front of the panel looked like this.

Then it was the usual routine of anti-rust treatment, filler, primer & paint.

The two other spots of grey primer cover two surplus holes in the bulkhead that I had welded up.
( Originally used to mount the windscreen wiper motor. )

Obviously the "back" side of this recess panel went through the same stages to look like this.

The primer gives you a better idea of the shape, as the first coat of black makes it very hard to see.

This was a landmark moment in my build for two reasons:
- I can keep my dual line brake master cylinder.
- It proves that with time & effort I can overcome my build problems.

Although this new found confidence was surely tested during the next round of repair work!!

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #68
New Welder:
My mate's welder broke just as I finished welding the bulkhead recess panel. :(
( The wire feeding mechanism has completely given up the ghost. )
So I ordered a new replacement to keep the repair momentum going.

If possible, I will get the old welder repaired (& serviced) before returning it to my mate.
If not, he will get this brand new welder as a thank you for lending me his in the first place.

Bulkhead Repairs - "A" Pillar - Driver's Side - Part 1:
You may recall that I had discovered this bulkhead was over 40 years old.
Unfortunately this means it was build in the 70s, which wasn't a great era for quality car making in the UK.
Add to that some dodgy repairs over the intervening decades and you get the mess I am faced with now.

It doesn't look too bad from this angle, with just a small "factory" oval hole to patch.

But the real rust horrors are here.

When I'm not really sure how to fix something properly, I will always opt for an over-engineered solution.
So my first thoughts were to build an external "brace" from lengths of box section to hold everything together.

In keeping with my recycling tradition, it was time to cannibalise the kit's bulkhead framework.

Cutting this up also signified a full commitment to making this Spitfire bulkhead work.
With a few sections cut out, this is the general idea of what I had in mind.

I welded it together one length at a time, capped the ends & cross checked it to the bulkhead as I went along.

By this stage I'd discovered the rot was even worse than it initially looked.
Therefore I will have to cut out a lot more than I expected which will not leave me much good metal to work with.
So I added two more small lengths of box section to this external support structure.

Quickly followed by a flat section of metal on top of the "square".

Hopefully how this is all going to work will become clearer in the next few posts.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #69
Bulkhead Repairs - "A" Pillar - Driver's Side - Part 2:
I needed to fabricate the repair panels and this was a serious 3D puzzle solving exercise for me.
I'm sure this is very straight forward if you know what you were doing, but unfortunately I don't.
Still, this whole project had turned into a big test and as they say... "Necessity is the mother of invention".

So I started playing around with cardboard, well old cereal boxes, until I had my first template to transfer to metal.

Obviously, I hadn't spotted the section of Spitfire I was recycling was caked in filler. :rolleyes:

Eventually it was cleaned and ready to go.

I clamped it to some wood before hitting it with a hammer to create the first bend.

Eventually I had most of the bends I needed in the panel.

The final bends on this panel will be made after I have started welding it into position.

So, one panel down and one to go, following the same basic steps.

Seeing the panels out of context doesn't help much, so here they are just resting in position.

With the three main parts I needed to repair this mess ready, it was time to get to work.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #70
Bulkhead Repairs - "A" Pillar - Driver's Side - Part 3:
After cleaning up the area & marking up two reference points it was time to take a deep breath & cut. :eek:

I clamped the external support structure in place, making sure my reference points were the same distance apart as before.

I started by just welding the left "arm" of this box section to the bulkhead along both the top & bottom edges.
Then what remained of the edges of the bulkhead were hammered over the box section.
I then welded one small section of these bulkhead edges to the box section (I'll finish the rest off later).

Sorry this next photo is so blurred, but hopefully it shows where other parts of the bulkhead were welded to the box section.

There was a supporting bracket inside the A pillar & I welded that to the flat plate on the box section.
( I did finish off welding the right hand side of this bracket after the photo was taken. )

At this point, the bulkhead was already more solid than it was before and I still had the panels to weld in.
I started with the main pillar repair section, which required me to crawl inside the bulkhead to weld all the edges.

Next I welded about 2/3rds of the other panel into place.

This is because I need to cut & shape one end of the panel to blend it in with the curves of the bulkhead.
So after making the cuts, then hammering & welding 2 of the tabs into place it looked like this.

When all four tabs were done it looked like this from the inside.

I know a lot of my work has a Frankenstein look about it, but this is now rock solid.
And with the basic shape in place I was happy that I could smother it in filler to hide the "wounds".

But first, there was a final repair panel to fit...

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #71
Bulkhead Repairs - "A" Pillar - Driver's Side - Part 4:
My next job was to seal up the hole left by removing the rot in the bulkhead seen just above the "top" of my external supporting arm.

I cut out another section from an old Spitfire panel to cover this.

As this allowed me to continue around the corner like so...

Note: It was a much better fit when clamped into place.

I started the welding on the bottom / box section edge.

I then hammered the panel along the top edge to match the bodywork and welded that too.

There is still a bit of work to do to get a tidy finish on the front corner.

This is the view of the repair from the inside.

The final job for the day was to slap on some anti-rust treatment.

I know I haven't finished all the work I need to do on the outside panels of the bulkhead yet.
However, as this is where the bulkhead lives overnight, I was a bit worried about the weather getting at it.

So slowly, but surely, the repair work was all coming together nicely.
But there was still a bit of work to do...

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #72
Bulkhead Repairs - "A" Pillar - Driver's Side - Part 5:
In addition to the main repair panels I fitted, there were a lot of smaller repairs to do.
As before, the build time line is a little out of sync as I squeezed jobs in when I could.

One of the panels was coming away at the bottom edge, but welding it made it stronger.

I also fixed the last remaining rust hole just above the driver's side floor.

Then I started sealing up all the "factory" holes on this driver's side that would not be needed in my car.

There was a lot of crawling around inside the bulkhead to get all this welding done.
All of these areas were then given some anti-rust treatment, so I could start applying filler...

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #73
Bulkhead Repairs - "A" Pillar - Driver's Side - Part 6:
Given the state of my welding, there was a lot of filler required to given a vaguely smooth surface.
Thankfully the whole look of the car will be "a barn find put straight back on the road"!

I also covered the inside edges of the floor repair panel that I had welded in a while back.

When all the filler was set I generated my very own snow storm of filler dust as I roughly smoothed it all out.
But a simple coat of primer over the top really made all the effort seem worth while.
I can live with "rough & ready" provided the work is structurally sound and there is a lot of good metal here now.

But deep down, I really can't believe this is something I have been able to do by myself. :cool:




Now all I need to do is remove the remaining old seam sealer / surface rust on this side of the bulkhead.
Then I can get the whole of the inside surfaces of the driver's side in primer and then give it a coat of black paint.

Until next time, take care, Paul.

You can see the original Spitfire door hinge mounting plates on the outside of the bulkhead have been left untouched.
That is because they will be used with the bracket I'll need to make to join the Spitfire bulkhead to the kit's rear framework.

master craftsman
5,597 Posts
Incredible work my friend. Some assembly required!!

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #75
Riptide Motosport - Cheers, I will be very happy when I finally get back to doing some assembly work.

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Bulkhead Repairs - Driver's Side - Exterior Panels:
I cut out large sections of previous repair panels on the outside of the bulkhead as they were simply covering up more rust.

In the end the outside was looking like this.

So I ran some welds along various exposed edges to hold it all together.

Followed by my traditional liberal coating of anti-rust treatment.

This whole area will be covered by the kit's fibreglass bodywork, so I just needed to make sure it was water tight, so out came the filler.

I know it looks a complete mess at this stage, but at least that is all the welding / panel joins covered.
Thankfully after roughly sanding down the filler and putting some primer on it was looking a bit more respectable.

I have decided to leave everything in primer for now until all the repair work is done.
As I am already scraping some of the black paint off as I move the bulkhead around to work on the rest of it.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #76
Bulkhead Repairs - Driver's Side - Interior:
I cleaned up, treated, filler & painted the inside of the old heater hole that I'd repaired previously.

The inside of the wiper/screen washer holes got the same treatment.
( Sorry that depending on which way up the bulkhead head was, the photos appear to change sides. )

I also removed what was left of the old seam sealer on the inside edges of the bulkhead.

I'm sure this stuff is supposed to keep the water out, not trap it and become a breeding ground for rust!

Eventually after I had cleaned up the worst of it I applied some anti-rust treatment.

And it looked a whole lot better after a quick coat of primer.

I have bought some new seal sealer which I will apply before I put on the usual coat of black paint.
But I want to do all the sealing in one go, so will now finish the passenger side before any more painting.

Unfortunately, removing this seam seal stuff created yet more work on the driver's side...

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #77
Bulkhead Repairs - Driver's Side - Yet More Repair Work:
A hole in one corner of the bulkhead was exposed when the seal sealer was removed.

I just put some note paper behind the hole to make it easier to see in the photo.
Also I had made the hole worse by cleaning it up ready for welding in the repair patches I made.

Rather than just patch a small hole, I made the repair panel oversize to add strength to the corner.
Then I covered the area in anti-rust treatment.

Then it was time to apply some filler:

- Above

- Front

- Inside

After roughly sanding the filler, I got some primer on it.

Due to the angle the bulkhead is resting it, that is dust/debris sitting on top of the grey paint on the inside, not more rust.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #78 (Edited)
Bulkhead Repairs - Driver's Side - Final Stages:
Another little job was putting a temporary seal over the top of the repaired "A" pillar.
As I was finding that all the debris from cleaning the other areas of the bulkhead was going down the inside.

I have cut & shaped some modelling mesh to cover both this area and the bottom of the windscreen support sections.

One of these days I will get around to putting a layer of fibre glass over the mesh to seal it all into place.

Go Kart / Moon Rover Plans
I know there will be a shed load of bodywork / fibre glassing to do once the current metal work repairs are completed.
Others builders of this kit have suggested getting the body fixed and bonded on before worrying about restarting the engine.
However, I have always likes seeing the photos / video clips of the Go Kart stages of cars on this forum.
I also think getting the car to a stage where I could start it up and drive it would be a real big motivator for me.

EDIT - I did have a photo of the new owner of the kit car company at the "Moon Rover" stage as he called it.
However, that photo has been lost in the PhotoBucket ransom scam, so here is another builder instead.

This is the Spyder kit based in on the Triumph Herald which is designed to keep a cut down bulkhead.
This means that the rear frame work is designed to bolt to the original door mounting points like so.

However, the rear Cordite framework will not reach this far forward.
( As it was supposed to attach to a front frame taking the place of the Spitfire bulkhead. )
Instead, it ends at the vertical angle iron you can see just at the front edge of the door opening here.

So I need to design and build a "join" between the two sections.
This is certainly a job that would be easier to do when both sections are mounted to the chassis.

For now, I am simply leaving the original mounting points alone.
Although I have covered the holes in tape so that nothing can get inside the "A" Pillars.

Heater & Dash Board Options
Another kit builder recommended a micro heater for the car to blow warm air into the foot wells.
Given the car is completely open, he says that with warm feet/legs/lap, you can add clothing for your top half.

Before I ordered one for myself, I make a cereal box match the extreme outside dimensions of the heater.
( Although given the heater's shape, it will not take up all of this space. )

I could then use the box to work out where it would fit behind the dash.
This is where the Spitfire heater was fitted and there is plenty of room around here.

Not surprising really given that this is the comparison with the original heater.

The other area I need to consider in conjunction with the heater is the dash board.
I still have the original Triumph Spitfire one from my donor car.

This would need to be modified slightly as I will have new heater controls.
I will also be fitting a battery kill switch and would like to relocate the choke lever too.
There are a number of ways I could resolve this, but I will do some mock up work before I commit to anything.

In this photo you can see a bracket below the dash that was originally connected vertically to the chassis.
( This connecting piece also doubled up as the place to fit a radio on the original Spitfire. )

I hope that I can turn this bracket 90 degrees backwards so it faces the front of the bulkhead.
As this will then become part of the structure I need to build to support the heater ducting/vents.

I'm still a long way from worrying about this at the moment, I only mention it because I've now ordered the heater.
In fact, it has since been delivered and here is everything I could possibly need to install a micro heater in my car...

Well, when I say everything, there are still a few nuts & bolts required to secure some of these things.

Anyway, that is enough of the new shiny stuff and back to working with rusty old metal I go...

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #79
Bulkhead Repairs - Passenger Side - Part 1:
There is a great expression in Ireland that goes something like this...

"If you want to go there, you don't want to be starting from here."


When I started this project I had no idea of the problems the original Cordite kit had.
With hindsight I'd be on the road by now if I'd just chopped my original donor in two!
I could have simply left the bulkhead in place and just removed the windscreen.
There would be no need to disconnect the dashboard, steering, pedals, electrics, etc.
So, apart from when I refitted the petrol tank, it would still be able to run and drive.

Mind you, if I knew back then, what I know now, I wouldn't have bought the kit in the first place.
Note: The new kit company owners have removed all these problems from their Ribble Navigator kit.

Similarly, I had no idea just how much work this bulkhead would need when I started to repair it.
If it had been a horse, it would have been put down by now, to save it from further suffering.

I've already gone through the work required for the driver's side in great detail.
The passenger side was simply more of the same, so I will stick to some of the "highlights".

This is "before" (I turned this photo "upside down", so the bulkhead appears the right way up.):

"A" Pillar

Initially, this didn't look half as bad as the driver's side.

There even appeared to be a lot of good metal to work with after I'd cleaned it up a bit.

However, there was one corner that was making me very nervous the more I looked at it.

And even though I knew I was making more work for myself, I wanted to do a proper repair job.
So I started to cut & peel away the whole bottom section.
Which revealed the way that rust had developed & completely eaten away the driver's side.

There was more metal to cut out, but I needed to put some strength back in before I did that.
Unfortunately, I had been lulled into a false sense of security by my first impression of the passenger side.
I hadn't put an external support structure in place in the way I did for the driver's side as I planned to work from inside to out.

For now, I patched things up as best I could and after the first round of welding, the 'A" Pillar area looked like this.

This was more than enough metal to hold everything in place so I could cut the next section of rot.

Whilst Midas could turn everything he touched into gold, everything I touch on this bulkhead seems to turning into a rusty mess. :rolleyes:

But I am determined to sort this out once and for all, so even more metal needed to be cut out.
However, as before, I don't want to keep cutting without at least putting some strength back in first.

So I decided to make the next repair panel in two sections, rather than a single piece as originally planned.
Here is the first part, forming part of another side of the "A" Pillar.

I welded in a temporary brace between two sections of the bulkhead.

This allowed me to cut the entire join between these two panels out once & for all.

To Be Continued...

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #80
Bulkhead Repairs - Passenger Side - Part 2:
There was a running theme of just cutting out rot and repairing it properly, this was at the side of the bulkhead.

After a new panel was welded in, treated and filler applied to the edges it looked like this.

I built another external support arm using box section from the bulkhead framework from the original kit.

Which left my Cordite bulkhead looking a little more "compact".

I plan to use a lot more of this frame work when I build the "join" between the rear frame and the bulkhead.
( See Go Kart / Moon Rover plans in previous post above. )

With the external support arm welded into place I could fit the next repair panel.

Then I added another repair panel along the support arm, leaving me a front corner section to make.

The next repair panel joined the bottom of the "A" Pillar to the external box section.

The final repair panel in the "A" Pillar area started off flat.
( Not easy to see as once again I found myself trying to work in the dark. )

But was eventually hammered into a rough shape and welded into place.

I am hoping that this patch work quilt of repairs will look a lot better with some filler over the top.
As always, as long as there is solid metal underneath I will be happy that the structure is sound.
Even though it happened on the driver's side too, I am still amazed how much stiffness this initial work has added to the bulkhead.
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