Finishing up the frame.

January 25th, 2014

I finally got back onto finishing the frame. It being a long weekend here I want to try to get it painted. I can then leave that to harden for a few weeks while working on the floors and inside of the aluminium skin before we finally wrap the skin on.

I finished making the curve in the boot pretty then started making the floor part. That was just MIGed in place. I hammered a flange to allow me to spot weld it to the rear axle cover. I was thinking of joggling the new floor piece so it fitted over the existing rear floor part then spotting them together but in the end I butetd them and MIGed so I didn’t have a two layer join there to get wet and rust in the future. The seam isn’t the nicest but it’s under the car so not visible. It is under the cross tube in the boot (and welded to it) so hidden inside the boot too. Will probably cover the underside in underseal too anyway. The flange tapers round at the corners to match the curve under the body so the corners of the boot right behind the rear axle have a nice curve to them blending into the 90 degree flange.

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Joss suggested making a small hole in the vertical part to allow access to the rear axle filler. As he said it’s easier to pour oil down into the diff than trying to pour it in from beneath!

I borrowed the spot welder and welded everything together. The arms weren’t long enough to reach the middle part so I had to do three plug welds too. I then took the frame outside to give everything a good sanding back. I didn’t remove all the old paint, there is no need. I just smoothed things out and keys the remaining paint. It might look a bit rough in places but I am building an old car, not a new one. Patina I believe they call it!

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While sanding my Makita random orbit sander stopped being random orbit and became more just slightly swirly. I like makita stuff since you can usually easily take it apart and see what’s wrong. In this case the bearing on the eccentric flywheel thing was gummed up. I cleaned it out with some WD40 and put some oil into the bearing as best as I could (it’s a sealed one) and that fixed it right up.


The flywheel is also the fan and it’s made to be heavier on one side and offset from the centre so the whole thing wobbles as well as rotates to give the double action.

The frame is now sanded and tomorrow I will give it a wash in phosphoric acid to prep for the painting. That should be done tomorrow afternoon. Since I need to clear out the garage to turn it into my spray booth I took the chassis outside and gave it a wash to finally get rid of months worth of aluminium dust from the body work that had accumulated on it. I then parked it in my spare garage with my big car.

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Since the car was completely apart I weighed some of the bodywork parts.

All up thats 57kg. Interestingly that about the same weight as four wheels and tyres and wheel nuts! I have no idea what a ‘good’ weight is for a special. I have a feeling mine is a little bit of a porker. Still more to add of course. Wings, seat, instrument panel and so on. And fuel tank. Speaking of which those who know a lot more about these things than I do suggested 5 gallons is far too big for a special and I can get away with much smaller. That’s good to know.  The tank will fit on the shelf above the rear axle and be offset to the left probably to offset the weight of the driver a little.

The other thing I did was finish up the starter motor. We found some old ones in the shed at Joss’ place and I nabbed a spring and a slightly less wobbly switch from an old one.


He also had an old crankcase. That is unfortunately damaged around the sump threads (but may be repairable) but it has a good flywheel on it so I am slowly stripping that. I need to get the flywheel off the crank so probably need to make or borrow the tool that you can use that attaches into the threaded holes in the flywheel and lets you pull it off the crank taper.

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More things to go in the molasses bath (which is starting to get a bit pongy to be honest).

I also started string wrapping the steering wheel with some 4mm cotton I bought. It’s going very well. The wrap I use locks it on tight. I ran out of string though (a wheel is going to need something like 30 metres) so I can’t finish that until the next lot arrives. I also found real shellac to coat it with once wrapped. I’ve always wondered what it was (bug poo more or less!) since old physics and electronics books always mentioned is being used as an insulator but I’ve never come across it before.

Tomorrow is painting day. Everything is all ready to go. I’ll move the aluminium to the other garage before I start. I call the following piece ‘Escape’.



2 Responses to “Finishing up the frame.”

  1. Nigel Hamlin Wright Says:

    Hello Simon,
    Great progress. I would have thought 5 gallons would have been a minimum – I have 6 – and would have had more if I could to maximise the potential weight over the back wheels. Also, a big tank with a little bit of fuel in it is preferable to a small tank with nothing in it.

  2. admin Says:

    Will probably go for a compromise. An Austin 7 should get 40 MPG oo so right? NZ is a small place so it’s not too far between petrol stations! The tank has to fit in through the boot opening so will go for a medium tank and can always carry more in a jerry can for longer trips. I know what you mean about weight over the rear axle though. My MGB always feels so much more solid when it has a full tank.

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