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!!
Filter by Author
Filter by Month