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934 Posts
Discussion Starter #101
Battery Box - Part 1:

I checked my old battery in the bottom of the tray and there is a lot of extra room for its new replacement.
( Which I will buy when the build is a bit further down the road. )

Sorry the next photo is blurred, but the light was fading and they looked OK on the camera when I took it. :rolleyes:

This was my first attempt at a cardboard template for the new battery box.

Then I gave the template a bit of a trim as I realised I had made it a bit deeper than was actually required.

Finally, I had to adjust the template to take account of the way I was planning to make it in metal.

I was going to recycle a section of Spitfire floor pan for the base of the box and the rear wall.

( There is just no escaping rust on this project! )

The three remaining walls of the battery box would be cut from my "clean" sheet of metal.

Note: I added a bit extra (in red) for welding tabs on two sides and a margin for error on the front edge.

After cleaning up the old section of floor, trimming it and hammering it into shape it looked like this.

I also cut off a small section of metal tubing that will be form part of the drain.

This is the two sections of the battery box resting together.

After this photo was taken I decided to put the tabs at the back of the rear wall, not in front of it.

This made it much easier to weld, so after welding it all together, it looked like this.

I have left making the final bend required at the front of the box until I have finished preparing the hole in the bulkhead to take it.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #102
Battery Box - Part 2:
I did the final trimming around the edge of the battery box hole in the bulkhead.
I then needed to make a few fine tuning "adjustments" to the box itself to ensure it fitted into this hole.
( In other words, I used my small lump hammer rather than the big one. ;) )

Finally I was left with this gap in front of the battery box.

I wanted to provide a bit of extra support, so I welded in a section of small box section.

Then I marked up where the battery box met this bar & bent the front tab to match.

I just need to hammer out the top of the left & right side edges until they touch the bulkhead before they are welded in place.

I will start welding from the bulkhead and work my way forward.
That way, I can make the final trim of the front edge when I know how it all finally fits in place.

Next, I drilled a hole in the bottom of the battery box and welded on my drainage pipe.

Now I just need to work out the best route for this hole to drain out of the cockpit/bulkhead.
Then I can weld a corresponding piece of pipe through the bulkhead and join the pipes with some surplus heater hose.

The battery box was given the traditional anti-rust treatment inside & out.

You will notice a couple of repair panels welded on the outside to completely cover the areas that had been "thinned" by rust.

These areas will also get a covering of fibreglass filler on the inside (currently on my "to do" list).

Although I have applied some filler and etch primer on the outside of the box.

As always, my objective is simply to be solid and water tight, so I can live with the "rough & ready" finish.

I need to a bit more work on the inside of the bulkhead before I weld the battery box in.

I also bought a new Spitfire battery clamp, as my original donor car didn't have one.

That is as far as I've got with the battery box at the moment, but I have been chipping away in other areas too...

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #103
Wooden Dash Board - Part 1:

I plan to re-use the Spitfire dash from my donor car, which comes in three sections.

But in order to fully mock up the changes I needed to make, I had to find these screws first...

They were the original fittings for the centre section of the dash that I had removed from my donor.

Unfortunately, they were the "needle" and this was the "haystack"...

And obviously they were in one of the most hard to reach boxes, that I hadn't put a contents label on after a previous tidy up. :rolleyes:

The two outer sections of the dash will use original mounting bracket at the far end of end panel.
( See photo near the bottom of this post. )

But the inside edges of these outer panels will need some new mounting brackets.

Partly this is because I have already modified / repaired / strengthen parts of the metal dash support.

One section previously looked like this.

But after welding, filler & primer it now looks like this.

So whereas previously there was just one connecting bracket on one side of an outer panel.

Note: This held the outer dash section in place when the centre dash section was screwed into place.

I now plan to use this approach to use all 4 of the centre dash section screws to support the two outer panels.

So the new brackets will look something like this.

Obviously the cigarette lighter hole (see more details below) means I can't run a simple straight bracket here.

Note: I still need to line everything up properly and drill the locating holes.

In the photo below you can see the dash mounting fitting I have removed on the left.

On the right is the numerous holes that previous owners have made trying to fit it. :rolleyes:

I have used wood filler to seal off all of these holes for now, so I can measure this section properly and drill two new holes.

I also cut out a metal "blank" to fill in the original cigarette lighter hole.

This will be painted black and bonded into place.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #104
Wooden Dash Board - Part 2:
This is how the choke cable attaches at the back of the dash in its traditional location.

But I want to relocate to the right of the steering column.
So I tried re-using the hole for the original fog light switch (which I don't need).

Whilst this looks OK from the front, the hole at the back is too big.

So I made a small bracket like this.

Now the choke cable can be tightened up against this bracket.

And the mounting screws for the bracket will go into the original fog light switch locating holes.

The original Spitfire dash also had two warning lights that I will not be using either.

( The other one is the seat belt warning light. )

Which leaves three holes to be filled for each light.

So I cut two small metal discs to "shove" into the main centre holes.
( The smaller holes do not go all the way thru the dash, they are just locating points. )
I then put some wood filler into the holes.

I then put filler in some of the cracks in the original wood grain in all three dash panels.

When this filler was fully set, I sanded it all down & wiped it clean to leave the panels looking like this.

I brushed some wood stain I had lying around in my shed into dash.
( Which seemed in keeping with the recycling / "make do and mend" spirit of this build. )

Whilst one coat has made a difference, I will give it at least a second coat.

I also quite like the way the filler looks like part of the wood grain.

Note: If the brush marks are still visible when it dries, I will just rub it down with fine sandpaper.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #105
Other Odds & Ends:
The bulkhead lives under a tarpaulin, but we've had so much rain lately, that surface rust was appearing on my recent welding work.
Which is why I normally finish one section, before moving on to the next, so it was back into the old routine...

Anti-rust treatment, fibreglass filler, etch primer...

You will notice the bricks & rocks on top of the bulkhead.
This allowed me to quickly pull the cover back over when it started to rain without it sticking to the filler/paint.

There were a few other things that I gave the same treatment to...

The various brackets to be used in the metal dash support area:

The new heater control panel and the "blank" for the old heater control hole:

The "blank" for the cigarette lighter hole & the choke mounting bracket:

Following on from a previous post, I did order a new black plastic gearbox tunnel cover.

Note: I will still need to spend some time making sure I can get a good fit all round with it.

And finally, we recently had a family weekend away, staying in a converted pigsty of all places.

During our stay, my daughters were very keen to see what I would look like with long hair.
( Or any kind of hair for that matter! )

With children like these, who needs enemies? ;)

Until next time, take care, Paul.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #106
Bulkhead "Corners":
You may recall that I left two big holes in the bulkhead when I cut off the original Spitfire windshield.

Previously I had sealed up these holes from above.

So the final part of this particular puzzle was to seal them up from below as well.

As usual, the metal was given some anti-rust treatment & primed before I filled the "cave" with expanding foam.

When that was set, I could cut it to the rough shape I wanted and cover it in filler.

After tidying up the the filler and putting on another coat of etch primer, the two corners looked like this.

When this has been painted black I think it will blend in nicely with the repaired "A" pillars.

I also did a bit of work on each end of the metal dash board where it joined the bulkhead.

I made two small brackets to weld in to add a bit of strength to the joins.

I also did a bit of extra welding in these areas when I put the brackets in.

Then the whole area was covered in fibre glass filler to tidy up the welding and seal off any small gaps.

After the usual round of cleaning up and painting the corners looked like this.

And the whole dash section looked like this from the front.


934 Posts
Discussion Starter #107 (Edited)
Doors - Part 1:
One of the main reasons for picking the new Cordite kit, over the old Spyder one, was the doors.
So the fact they turned out to be complete junk, and almost impossible, to use was a real kick in the teeth.
Even forgetting the fact that the two doors were different sizes, their build quality was beyond poor. :(

However, my intention with this build has been to build the best car I can from the cards I was dealt.
So here is some background on how I got to my final decision about what to do with them...

They were supplied looking like this.

But on closer inspection, the two piece construction was splitting apart all over the place.

When I was finally brave enough to test their strength, they came apart with ease. :no:

In addition, the doors were not what you could call a good fit to the body shell. :rolleyes:

Originally, I was planning to use use some external door hinges from a classic Mini, as seen here on a similar kit.

But other builders had build their own internal hinges and these looked like a better solution.

Note: This build is in Holland, which is why the steering is on the "wrong" side. ;)


934 Posts
Discussion Starter #108 (Edited)
Doors - Part 2:
I'd seen one of the builds in this section of the forum used metal doors in their fibreglass body that looked great. :cool:

But the harsh reality for me is that even the simple jobs on this build take me a long time.
I've previously mentioned that the new kit car company owner abandoned the doors on his own kit.
So in order to keep things simple (for me), I have finally decided to seal the doors closed.

This was how the outer door skin looked during an early test fit.

So I will need to fibreglass this into place from behind and then fill the door gaps.

This was how the new kit company owner did it, when viewed from the inside.

Obviously I would complete the cockpit panelling so that you wouldn't see this join.
However, on this car, all the other panels had been fitted before the doors were sealed.

The thing that amazes me, is that if you were looking from the outside you'd never know...

In theory, the Cordite frame has extra strength built in at the bottom, to take account of the door opening.

But I will still run some extra box section across the top of the door opening like so...

I'll work out the final design after I have built the "join" between this framework and the Spitfire bulkhead.
I may also add another length of box section vertically, or diagonally, between the new top and existing bottom rails.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #109
Battery Cut Off Switch - Part 1:
One of the many things on my "To Do" list was find a suitable location to mount this switch.

There was an obvious hole in the left hand dash panel where the cigarette lighter used to be.

At first, this looked like an easy place to put the switch.

But eventually I decided it needed to be tucked out of the way a bit more, so tried further along this section of dash.
( Obviously, the switch would be facing the other way when fitted! )

I figured it would be worth adding some strength to this section of dash, so it was back to cutting out cardboard again.

After making this in metal, I welded the inside edges of the box section to the main flat sheet.
( The outside edges will be done when I weld the whole thing to the Spitfire dash. )

I then drilled a hole for the switch and 4 extra holes to help me "puddle" weld this piece into place.
( I will drill the 4 mounting holes when everything is welded into its final position. )

I then marked up the dash & drilled a hole in that for the switch.

At this point I realised I'd made a text book, schoolboy error. :rolleyes:

Whilst the hole is in the middle of the metal dash, the wooden dash board doesn't cover all of it!

This masking tape circle shows that the hole would be a bit close to the top edge of the wood.


934 Posts
Discussion Starter #110
Battery Cut Off Switch - Part 2:
In order to fix this little problem there was a bit of work to do...

First I took a slice off both the bottom of the switch and the supporting plate.

Then I had to lower the hole in the original dash panel.

Note: The hole in the supporting plate has remained the correct size.

The net effect of these changes lowered the hole in the wooden dash to this position.

Which gives me a more than enough wood around the hole I need to drill.

The next stage was to drill some more holes in the metal dash to puddle weld from the front.

I also cleaned up the metal on the other side of the dash, which was very hard to get at.

Then I could clamp the supporting plate in place & start welding.

After cleaning up the front face, it was looking like this.

The other side was not as pretty as my power tools can't reach inside. :rolleyes:

So I will simply give this area some anti-rust treatment and a coat of filler.
It will be completely hidden from view anyway and the main thing is that is is very solid. :cool:

Next I marked up the 4 holes required to mount the switch.

After drilling them and putting a coat of etch primer on, the front looks like this.

Unfortunately, at this point in time, sorting out the other side is still on my "To Do" list.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #111
Wooden Dash Board - Part 3:
This was one of those areas where I seemed to be continually taking two steps forward and one step back.

It was all looking good after I'd given the front faces a second coat of wood stain.

But when I fitted the brackets to locate the outer panels to the centre section screws I ran into small problems.

The bottom bracket runs along the original hole for the choke lever, which I'd forgotten to fill. :rolleyes:

So I cut out another small circle of metal and shoved that into the hole.

Before putting a layer of wood filler over the top.

When the filler was set, it was cleaned up and given a first coat of wood stain.

The other section of dash was just as frustrating.

The top bracket was no problem, but I couldn't fix the bottom one until I had mounted the "blank" for the cigarette lighter.

Unfortunately, when I did put this in, I decided it would look better with some wood filler in the hole.

On the other side of this "blank" I'd used fibre glass filler to give me a flat surface to work with (after sanding).

This allowed me to put the final connecting bracket into place after I'd put some wood stain on (it needs another coat).
Note: I am actually given the back faces of the wooden dash the same treatment as the front for extra protection.

The final job at this time was to test fit the old heater "hole" blank.
Whilst I still prefer the bare metal look, this is the more practical solution.

There is still a bit of work to do here, but it is slowly coming together.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #112
Tidying Up:
I know I have been working on this bulkhead for a long time now, but more jobs are getting ticked off the "To Do" list. :cool:

I did a round of anti-rust treatment, fibre glass filler and etch primer on a number of areas behind the dash.
I was happy to leave the underside of the de-mister vents quite rough, as long as there were sealed.

Note: As always you can spot the photos in my posts are not in strict time order, as the corners haven't been filled in the photos above.

I also started given various dash related parts their first coat of black paint.

I also did the outside of the battery box.

I know some of this paint will melt when I weld the box into position.
But it will still be easier to re-do these bits again, rather than paint the whole box inside the bulkhead.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Weather:
Well, no update from me would seem to be complete without a weather report.
It has officially been declared the wettest winter on record in the UK and I can certainly believe that.

In addition to the rain, it has been pretty windy here too, which makes MIG welding outside tricky.
We have a huge eucalyptus tree in our garden, planted by the previous house owner.
( My top tip, never put one of these in your own garden, as it will grow into a complete monster! )

At times the wind was having a field day with this tree, just a few feet from where I was working! :eek:

But days are getting brighter, our two cherry blossoms are starting to flower, Spring is on the way. :cool:

Given that I have made some progress during the winter, I am looking forward to making better progress in the Summer.

Until next time, take care, Paul. :)

4,741 Posts
Looking better each post Paul! :yes:

Looks like you're getting close to finishing up the structural part of the build.
Hopefully you'll get to the rewarding part of the build soon, that will motivate you even further when you start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Keep up the good work and keep us posted, really enjoy seeing your progress.
You are a trooper! It's going to be a cool little car when you're done.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #114
MPTech - Thanks for the encouragement. :cool:
Thankfully the bulkhead "To Do" list is getting shorter by the day.
You are right about motivation, even just seeing the battery cut off switch in place was a big morale boost.
( See second post below)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Battery Box:
I cleaned up the metal edges ready for welding, before masking them off while I put some primer over the first round of filler on the inside.

I was so desperate so finish this despite the fact it had started to rain, that I was left sheltering in the only dry spot I could find. :rolleyes:

Another day I cleaned up the bulkhead where the battery box is going.

I then drilled some holes for "puddle" welding and slotted the box into place.
Note: I will take care of some of the "bumps" with filler later on.

I started the welding from the front of the box.

As this allowed me to clamp / hammer the rear panel to match the slope of the bulkhead.

Then I could hammer the sides of the battery box to join the inside edges of the bulkhead.

Due to the weather, it took me a couple of days to complete all the welding.

But I am happy that the battery box is absolutely rock solid.

This also represents the last of the structural work on the bulkhead. :cool:

I just have minor repairs to the inside edges where the gearbox cover sits & some small holes to "blank" off.

After the usual round of anti-rust treatment & etch primer, the next round of filler went on.

I managed to do this is a small break in the rain, but took no chances with the cover.

I use a selection of old bricks to keep the tarpaulin from sticking to the fresh filler.

Just a small bit of finishing off to do on this side of the battery box.

Then I need to start crawling around inside the bulkhead to finish off the battery box joins in the cockpit.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #115
More Dash Work:
There were lots of small steps to take before there was any visible signs of progress.

The bolts I bought to mount the battery cut off switch were a tad long.
But nothing a quick wizz with the angle grinder couldn't fix.

Then I counter sunk the mounting holes in the metal dash & tidied up the edges.

However, my first attempt to fit the wooden dash board also ended with a trip to the angle grinder.

As the driver's edge needed a small adjustment:



This may be due to the fact the dash is from a 1500 & the bulkhead is actually a MkIV.
Or it could be due to the way I cut and repaired the windshield posts.
Either way, I had no intention of re-working the metal bulkhead at this stage of the game.

Thankfully, after this little mod, I could finally fit all 3 dash sections using the new central locating brackets I'd fitted.

This in turn allowed me to mark up the locations of the final mounting points on each end of the dash.

Once I had fitted these & checked the dash fitting again, I removed the brackets for my usual rusty metal treatment.

While the dash was on, I also marked up the position of the battery cut off switch and drilled a new hole.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a wooden drill bit quite the right size, so I simply drilled a smaller hole & filed it out to size.

And this is what it looks like with the cut off switch in place.
Note: The top of the switch is not faded, it is just a reflection in the photo.

I still need to touch up some parts of the dash with wood stain.

But this was this a big step forward for me, where it felt like I was building a car, not repairing a bulkhead. :cool:

I might need to make one further adjustment on the driver's side, but I'll cover that another day.

So until next time, take care, Paul. :)

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #116
Well slowly, put surely, an end to all this extended bulkhead work is finally coming into sight.

As I've managed to tick off lots of little jobs recently and thankfully they all count.

Battery Box:
Tidied up the filler & got a coat of etch primer on, before giving this its first lick of black paint.

In addition to the "working" side of the battery box, I was also sealing it along the inside/cockpit side edges too.

Two of the sides were each to reach, but the other two sides were hard to get at and practically impossible to photograph.

But I'm sure you get the general idea.

Battery Box Bulkhead Drain Pipe:
This turned into another over-engineered solution, but did make use of the "stuff" I had to play with.

I started by cutting off another small section from my metal tubing (as used in the battery box itself).

I then cut an oval hole in the bulkhead so the tube could be welded into place at a downward angle.
( Note: Photo is upside down so you can see the angle of the pipe into the engine bay. )

This allows me to connect a small section of heater hose on the cockpit side of the bulkhead like so.

I can either fit some more hose to the pipe on the engine bay side of the bulkhead, or just leave it open.
( But I'll worry about that when the bulkhead has been re-fitted to the chassis. )

As always, the welding on both sides of bulkhead were treated, filled, primed & painted.


934 Posts
Discussion Starter #117
Gearbox Cover:
I compared my new gear box cover with the old, damaged one.

I quickly realised that I needed to remove the moulding edges from the new plastic one.

So this is a close up of "Before" & "After".

I then gave it a quick test fit and this confirmed that almost none of the existing holes line up.

This is not really surprising as both the old cover & the bulkhead look like a Swiss cheese in places.

So I decided to simply weld up all the holes along the edges of the bulkhead so I could start with "fresh" metal.

Then I can drill fresh new holes of the correct size, in the correct place, to hold the cover in place.
( I know, crazy thinking! )

Bulkhead - "Inside" Edges - Part 1:
I used a variety of repair techniques to seal up the edges, some more radical than others.

These two sections were the worst.


934 Posts
Discussion Starter #118
Bulkhead - "Inside" Edges - Part 2:
Although this section wasn't too good either, now you mention it, but it was also cut out & repaired as before.

Note: There only needs to be one mounting hole in this area, not two.

Eventually, all the holes were gone and the inside edges of the bulkhead were looking like this.

Then both sides of these edges were given the usual treatment, but with one extra step (see below).

The extra step was the application of some "seam sealer" along the inside edges of the bulkhead.

This effectively "joined up" with the seam sealer that I had applied to other repaired areas a while back.

934 Posts
Discussion Starter #119
Battery Cut Off Switch Panel:
It was quite easy getting some filler on to the rear side of battery cut off switch panel.

But sanding it down was a bit harder as I couldn't get any power tools in there and had to do slowly it by hand.

Ironically, this has turned out smoother than some of the work I've done that will actually be visible. :rolleyes:

In keeping with my "made do and mend" approach to this build I dug out an old (punctured) mountain bike inner tube.

It didn't take much effort to make some rubber seals for the switch itself.

Oil Pressure Gauge:
I can't remember if I mentioned that my donor car came with an after market oil pressure gauge that had been fitted in the engine bay.
It was actually broken, no doubt shaken to death by the fact is was simply mounted in the middle of a section of hose, with no support.
I decided that a working oil gauge would be a good idea, but mounting it in the dashboard would be a better one!

I managed to get lucky on Ebay and pick up two mint condition gauges quite cheaply.

The one on the left is electric and the one on the right is mechanical.
( I will have a chat with a Triumph specialist before I make a final decision on which one to fit. )

The main thing was that they are both the same size, so I can modify the wooden dash to match.

The good news is that there is more than enough room for the back of the gauge to go inside a "factory" hole in the metal dash.

The only bad news is the corresponding hole in the wooden dash was where I planned to relocate the choke lever.

So that will need a new home, but first I marked up the wooden dash for the oil pressure gauge.

The big red circle was my cutting guide & the smaller red circle was the existing hole in the dash.

( The thin black lines are where the holes in the metal dash are. )

I wanted to be extra careful, so I knew the holes I was drilling were inside the circle I needed.

Once these holes were "joined up" I had my rough hole to slowly enlarge to the correct size.

I took my time, double checking the hole size with the gauge as I went along with some hand files.

It was actually dark by the time I finished, so the photos I took at the time weren't great.

The fact it was dark, might also help explain the slightly less than perfect circle that greeted me the next day.

But at least the gauge was a snug fit in the hole.


934 Posts
Discussion Starter #120
Relocating Choke Lever:
With the oil pressure gauge sorted out, I could mark up a new position for the choke lever.
The black line represents the edge of the metal dash area, as the wooden dash extends beneath it.

For a nice change, I actually had a drill bit just the right size, so no extra filing by hand required.

However, as I started playing with the cable routing I quickly spotted yet another school boy error.

I was so busy making sure that the choke lever wouldn't foul this edge of the dash...

That I completely forgot about the new heater vent panel behind it. :rolleyes:

I didn't really want to put yet another hole in the wooden dash, so I decided to work with what I had.

First I needed to drill a grommet sized hole in the vent panel.

Then I cut a choke cable sized hole in the grommet.

The choke cable just clears the the ducting, but there is more work to do (see below).

The whole point of mocking all this up now, is to find (& fix) problems before I re-fit the bulkhead.

So in order to make this choke cable work, I still need to do the following:
- Wrap the cable (or the ducting) with some of the heat wrap bandage I have got for the exhaust system.
- Drill a new hole in the bulkhead to let the cable out with a more gentle bend than you see in the photo above.
( The cable was just pushed through the nearest hole in the bulkhead to see how it looked. )
- I may actually need a longer cable given this new route, but I can't tell until the bulkhead is back on the chassis.
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