By Mike Peake.
So very nearly almost there! Can I get to the end or will bumbling incompetence ruin everything?
The next job was fitting the back of the hood back on to the rear deck. The previous chap had done this with a mixture of self-tappers and pop rivets. I’d been clever though and bought the correct quantity of the correct self-tappers from Canleys. However, when I went to fit them, they were too small for the holes drilled in the bodywork. So I went out and bought bigger ones. No 7 self-tappers. They were still too small and number 8 heads were too big to fit into the male popper studs.
Cursing the previous chap for pointlessly drilling out the holes, I decided to resort to pop rivets. These didn’t work either as they just pulled up onto the back of the finisher rather than the bodywork. I was stumped. Whilst doing all this, I decided that the popper studs I’d taken off really weren’t good enough to go back on, so went to order some new shiny ones and ponder my dilemma.
Whilst looking at the parts diagram to get the part number for the studs, I noticed something that had previously eluded my attention. They weren’t self-tappers that Canleys were selling to hold the hood and finisher to the rear deck. They were, in fact, No 6 bolts. Well, that’s not embarrassing at all is it? So I ordered some No 6 nuts and washers to go with the new studs and gave up any thought that I will ever be anything other than a bumbling incompetent fool.
The parts arrived and the hood was fitted with the help of Mrs FB who fitted the washers and nuts on the inside while I fed the bolts through from the outside. Correct quantity? Well maybe not. I was two short. Oh well, I’ll add them to the order for the driver’s door mirror. The bracket broke when I tried to fit it.
The headlights, sidelights and front grill all went on without any dramas at all. Well, apart from when I tried the right indicator, my left sidelight flashed and vice versa and my indicators came on with the sidelights. This was very quickly rectified with the judicious use of my multimeter. Now, I know what you’re going to say. “Why didn’t I look at my wiring diagram and identify the wires by their colours or simply look at the photos I’d taken before disconnecting?” Well, I’m glad you asked. No really, I am. You see, I’d forgotten to mask them and they were now all red. I’d also put the badges on the grill upside down.
Thanks to BL Dan’s advice the Triumph lettering and centre bonnet trim actually did go on without a hitch.
It was now time to put the inside of the car back together again. Whilst the gearbox tunnel was off, Mrs FB took it upon herself to re-spray the “Trinket tray” as she called it. The black paint I’d applied a long while ago was badly chipped and the white fibreglass tunnel was showing. She did a fine job. I also checked and topped up the gearbox oil, as it's much easier to do it from here than under the car.
The tunnel, speaker, door cards and handles were all refitted easily. However after fiddling with the door and window handles for ages to get the tiny cotter pin located, I realised I hadn’t fitted the escutcheons. Also, after fitting the gearbox tunnel with its 24 bolts and washers, fiddly to fit gaiter, carpet and speaker, I got out of the car and there, lying on the floor was, the insulation pad that goes under the tunnel. Eventually though, the inside was ready for a good and thorough clean. Mrs FB volunteered to do this too along with refitting the offside hood window again as the previous repair hadn’t stood the test of time.
That just left me to do the boot area. Fit the new carpet, refit the fuel tank, reconnect the fuel tank sender and number plate light to the wiring harness and fit the boot lid hinges and stay. Oh and four new tyres.
I really was on the home stretch. I tried not to get excited and concentrated on finishing it with no more moments of bumbling incompetence.
I succeeded – mostly. I was finished. I’d done it! - for now.
At this stage, I would like to offer massive thanks to my sainted paint Guru Tosh Brooks for his advice, mentorship and above all patience. Couldn’t have done it without you mate. Thanks. All the good bits are down to Tosh. All the cock ups are mine and mine alone. Of course I’d also like to thank everyone else who offered advice and material help. It’s part of what I love about this group and the proper real life friendships I’ve found here.
So, have I enjoyed the process? Well, looking back, now the pressure is off, I’ve got the finished article to look at and can see the funny side of my various incompetent episodes – NO I BLOODY DIDN’T!! Well, maybe I did. Just a little bit.
Would I ever do it again? Well, I have learned loads of new skills, I have the proper equipment so – NO I BLOODY WOULDN’T!! Well, maybe, if the right Mini came up. Right now though, I am very much of the opinion that I would happily give the car and a shed load of cash and another shedload of award winning lemon drizzle cake to Tosh Brooks and let him get on with it. He really is the god of painting.
Am I pleased with my work? That’s a tough one. It depends of the light. It certainly isn’t the perfect glass smooth, mirror finish that I expected and Tosh Brooks turns out time and time again, but maybe I’d set my expectations too high for a 1st attempt. It is red now though and not pink.
I have certainly come to see that it is absolutely true that EVERYTHING is in the preparation. There are a lot of dinks and dents and even some sanding marks that I hadn’t feathered out properly. I really thought I had got them all and filled or feathered accordingly. Both Mrs FB and I had gone over the whole car in miniscule detail and thought we’d caught them all. However, I guess our inexperienced eyes and fingers missed some. Ok, missed a lot. That, or the fairies attacked it with tiny hammers in the night. In fact, that’s it. It was the bloody fairies and little folk! The evil things.
To me, all those little marks under the paint stand out. However, short of sanding it right back down and starting again, there is nothing I can do about that now, so I’ll have to live with it along with the remaining orange peel and the odd scratch from heavy handed flatting back.
So, to answer the question, No. Not really. I am very pleased with the fins, I just wish I knew what I’d done there and been able to repeat it on the rest of the car. The boot and bonnet aren’t too bad I guess.
I’m thinking that maybe over the winter, I might pick a panel or two and flat it back again with an even finer paper to try to improve it, but right now I’ve had enough.
She looks good in the photos and from about 3 meters away, so I will just have to bring Kevin and his triangle back to enforce a 3 meter exclusion zone around the car.
So, when you see her, lie through your teeth and tell me what a great job I did unless you want to see a grown Fatbloke cry.
In addition to the flatting, I still have more to do. I need to re-spray the white stripe,. I also need to sand the inside boot from the seagull poo primer I’d sprayed it with way back in the early stages and re-spray that too along with the inside of the doors.
However, I’ve run out of paint, gumption, will power and the will to live for the moment so that can wait until next year. You can’t see it with the boot closed anyway. I could also do with taking out the wooden dash and giving it to my father in-law for a spruce up.(I'll fit the wheel trims on Friday after the new tyres are fitted.)
Not yet though. Now? I need to drive her!!
By Mike Peake
With the boot lid now red and the very last of my paint used up, I was finished with spraying. Thank the gods! The isocyanates hadn’t killed me despite all the horror stories and neither did the cellulose fumes, so that is good news. I gladly threw away my disposable gas mask. Dare I say that I’m on the home stretch and there is light at the end of the tunnel?
After my adventures with rattle cans and boot lid last year, I’m leaving it well alone for at least a week before touching it. So I turned my attention to the unmasking. Following advice, I ran a razor blade along the edge of the masking before very carefully removing it. I even managed to do it without removing the paint from where it was supposed to be – this time. However, I was somewhat alarmed at the amount of red that was staining my windscreen and white stripe. Most of it turned out to be from flatting water and wiped off easily but some was paint that had managed to get through. Even this came off easily with some wet 1200 grit paper though. A razor blade flat on the windows had a similarly cleansing effect.
Mrs FB, with her steadier hands used touch up paint to go over the bits of damage I did to the white stripe when sanding the car as well as a few battle scars. It was now that we found out that my white stripe isn’t Triumph White 19. It turns out that Triumph White 19 is in fact a creamy colour and it looked almost yellow against my white. Anita and Sophie were dispatched to The Range and Halfords to look for a more suitable touch up. They came back with Vauxhall’s Summit White, which, whilst not perfect, will do until I can re-spray the stripe.
I then machine polished and waxed it. I will re-spray the white stripe eventually, (when I’m feeling particularly masochistic) but want to make sure my new red paint is fully hardened. I don’t want to risk putting masking tape on new paint.
I then spent a full day at my polishing wheel getting all the chrome ready to go back on the car. There seemed a lot more of it than I remembered but it was quite a satisfying and therapeutic task and many of the parts came up really, really well considering I’d only ever used Autosol on it before.
Next were the front bumpers which were a little more problematic than the rear ones. They slid on easily enough but getting them to sit correctly on the bendy bits was nigh on impossible. I did the best I could but it didn’t help that all 3 were too long and needed cutting whilst on the car but I got there in the end. That was the job I was fearing most about the build-up because of all the horror stories I’d read online. It’ll be much easier now won’t it?
Nope! If I thought that was fiddly, I should have waited until I fitted the aluminium bumper end caps before complaining! Good grief that was a pain! It took half a tube of KY Jelly, a very sharp knife, blood because of the very sharp knife, brute force, perseverance, ingenuity, bad language and a whole morning just to fit four aluminium bumper end caps.
Still, the rest of the fitting up will be easy - won’t it? Of course not! I keep forgetting that I’m a bumbling incompetent fool, albeit an optimistic one with delusions of competence!
It was time to turn my hand to fitting the weather strips to the top of the doors. This’ll be easy as I’ve even bought the special tool and all new clips and strips to do it.
Needless to say, it wasn’t easy. Hours of trying to squeeze the special tool, weather strip, clips and my fat fingers between the window and the door skin produced no success whatsoever. I was beginning to see why the previous chap had resorted to pop rivets and self-tappers but I was determined to be the better man. I thought it might be easier to take the window out, so I removed the interior door handle, window winder and door card in order to get at the window mechanism. At this point I decided that, no, it wouldn’t be easier to take the window out. It was fiendishly complicated in there and my workshop manual hadn’t even bothered to try to explain how to do it. At least I was able to recover all the clips I’d dropped into the door though.
In the end, I managed to do it by fitting the clips to the strip first, and then stuffing it all into the gap and pulling the clips up into place using the special tool. I then carefully wiggled the rubber back up into the correct position. The second door went much quicker but I still had to remove the interior door handle, window winder and door card in order to recover dropped clips.
It took me a whole day just to fit 4 weather strips (inside and outside the widows). Traumatised and tired, I called it a day and had a pint of G&T in the garden.
I could put it off no longer. It was time to flat back the boot lid. Have I mentioned how much I hate flatting back? I moved the boot lid into the back garden. However, having suffered the consequences of turning the garden table white after flatting back the primer, I made sure I covered the table in used polythene masking. The marathon began and the boot lid and my fingertips gradually became smoother and smoother.
It was time to get the machine polisher out to compound and polish the boot lid. I’d even learned a lesson from the last time I did this. I’d bought small polishing pads for my drill which is much easier to manoeuvre around the fiddly bits reducing the risk of inadvertently burning through the paint with the top of the polishing disc. It actually worked too. I didn’t burn anything. After a lavish application of wax, I was actually pleased, yes pleased with the result. I know! It’s a miracle! Of course it’s not perfect, but as I had no more paint or patience, I was pleased with it.
I was so pleased that I decided to fit the furniture. Another lesson learnt from last time, DON’T TURN IT OVER TO FIT THE FURNITURE!! I turned the boot lid up onto its edge and got Mrs FB to hold it so it didn’t fall over while I fitted it up. The finished boot lid was then VERY CAREFULLY carried through the house and placed safely on the back of the car. There is still lots of work to do in the boot so I didn’t fit it yet, but it was the safest place I could think to store it.
So very nearly almost there! Can I get to the end or will bumbling incompetence ruin everything? I really wish I knew!
To be continued …
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