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22nd January 2011

Finally, actual progress with the A! Last weekend I pushed the car outside for its annual insurance photo's and as it was such a nice day, I put the camera down and picked up some tools. I spent the day fitting the front tub to the chassis, simple to say but a little more tricky to do.

I started with the NS A post fixing which went in with a little flexing of the web panel. I cut the web panel so that the flex was taken out and the tub sat nicely on the chassis, that'll be welded up now it's in the right place, then trimmed to fit properly along the chassis weld line. Next I fitted all nine of the under bonnet fixings through the master cylinder shelf into the top of the goalpost. All nine lined up exactly. Then came the four bolts that run vertically down the NS inner wing panel, again all lined up perfectly.

I moved over the OS A post fixing to find that it didn't line up at all, however, the four OS inner wing panel bolts lined up nicely so I fitted two of them to hold the panel in place.

I then spent some time pondering why the A post fixing didn't line up. Mid ponder, John arrived to provide pondering assistance. After some time looking at the car from all angles, we broke out the tape measure to see if we could find the error.

We measured the gap between the trailing edge of the front inner wing panel and the leading edge of the rear inner wing panel - effectivley the door gap - on both sides of the car. Result? Identical measurements. This means the front tub isn't on the chassis twisted, we had guessed that would be the case as all the bolt holes lined up with the exception of the OS A post one.

Next, we measured the distance from the A Post bracket to the trailing edge of the Inner wing panels on both sides, again identical measurements.

We then checked the bolt holes in the chassis, again in identical positions. By this time we were all pondered out so we gave up and put the car away. One thing we has deciced was that the OS inner wing web panel was in the wrong place and would need moving.

I decided to have another look today.

I started by removing the inner wing web panel by drilling out the spot welds. With this out of the way, it was clear that the bracing bracket at the bottom of the wing was also in the wrong place and wasn't allowing the wing to flex into the right place, so I removed that as well. With these two pieces out of the way, the inner wing panel was much easier to manoeuvre into the right place. With the panel in the right place I noticed something that we hadn't seen before and then realised why the OS A post fixing didn't line up - finally!

This shows where the wing bottom bracket was removed from

 

Wing bottom bracket
Inner wing web

The bracket that's fitted to the inner wing panel for the A post fixing has two fixed sides but it has a pair of plates welded in to form the bottom of the bracket where the bolt goes through into the chassis. These plates are not an exact fit into the width of the bracket but have some fore and aft adjustment in them. On the NS bracket, these plates have been fitted as far towards the rear of the car as possible whilst the OS the plates are fitted as far forward as possible, THAT'S why the OS doesn't line up.

This shows where the inner wing web was removed from (the unpainted line) and the A post fixing bracket

 

Having discovered this, I cut out the two bottom plates and made two new ones. I trail fitted them into the bracket and pushed them as far backward as possible, the same as the NS. The moment of truth was to flex the panel over the chassis and see if the holes now lined up and THEY DO!

You can see the new bracket bottom piece pushed all the way backwards in the space between the bracket sides. Now the holes line up.

 

All I need to do is prep the new pieces and the bottom flanges of the bracket and weld them in place. Then I can refit the bracket at the bottom of the wing and then fabricate a new inner wing web panel that actually fits properly, weld these into place and then I can start on fitting the F sections.

The inner wing panels that I fitted to the car were repair panels that I got with the car so I dont' know where they came from, I just trusted that they were right. The outcome was 50/50 as one was right(ish) and the other wasn't at all.

 

28th January 2012

More progress this morning.

I started by welding the the new bracket bottom pieces into place and bolting the bracket to the chassis.

 

With this done I reshaped the triangular bracket and refitted it.

Next was the inner wing web panel. I started by cutting off the lip where the spot welds were and grinding the the edge neatly. The panel was offered into place and trimmed to fit the profile of the inner wing. This involved taking material away mainly from the top radiused edge little by little until a good fit was achieved. I fabricated and welded in place a new lip all along the edge, this was painted in weld thru primer and test fitted again.

All looked good so with Dom's help I fitted the panel in place with skin pegs and finally welded the panel into place as I removed the pegs one by one.

 

 

I've offered up the F section and it fits ..... sort of. I'm off to have a good look at Barney's web site for some pointers as to how the panel should fit so i can tweak mine to fit.

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