Sunday, 30 March 2014

FHC resto nr. 7; Ready for welding & some smaller jobs

Last week I received a message from Habraken in Best to notify me that the body was ready. Meaning paint removal and shot and blasting had been completed. So time to pick up the body together with some other parts which I left at Habraken for coating. More on these at a later stage.
I have to admit I was rather curious as to what remained of the body (or how big the rust holes would be) after blasting. Well I needn't have worried, the shell hadn't disappeared completely ...

First the good bits, the floor area at the back of the interior and the rear valances in the boot ...




And the not so good bits. To start with the front of the interior were bulkhead, floor and inner wings meet ...



With the paint removed the hole in the transmission tunnel looks even more crude then it did before ...


As expected the area off the front suspension turrets and wings is fairly well supplied with rust. But it all in all not too bad. Although some sections will be a bit fiddly to repair  ...






And some not so expected rust at the back of both rear valances ...


... and the front lip is also very thin in places, with lots of small holes. Probably better to replace it with one of my spares.


Removing the paint (and filler) also has the advantage (or should I say disadvantage) of revealing all the dents the car picked up during its lifetime. And in this case there are a fair amount of them, luckily most are pretty small. But also two nasty ones on the roof ...




Also left a few bits at Habraken for various methods of coating, to see what the  quality is. Although the company I have used in the past (Giessen in Heerlen) always did a good job on powder coating parts, I still partially blame them for the problems with the paint on the DHC and their lack of interest in rectifying the problem. Of course the company they used for paint removal (Mitraco in Genk) is to blame most here! So both companies are in my little black book now, which means I am looking for alternatives.

And while waiting for the body shell to be ready to pick up, I finished some of the (rear) suspension parts. They were actually meant as spare parts for the DHC, but will now be used on the FHC ...


Also took the opportunity to have a little clear out. Which meant I dismantled some of the seats I have acquired over the years. I picked out the best frames, which are now away for coating, in readiness for re-trimming. 


Ones the cloth arrives that is. I actually tore down three pairs of seats, as they all had very faded and worn cloth, so no use in keeping them complete. It turned out that one of the frames was badly damaged and most of the covers and foam were only fit for the skip.
And on the topic of interior trim. I found some original early door cards in the sales section at Rimmer's. They are not matching but for the price I paid they are perfect for re-covering, using the tartan cloth I am (still) working on and some black vinyl.


Talking of vinyl, that will also be necessary to get this GRP parcel shelf covered properly. Also from Rimmer's but the surface finish is pretty poor. On the other hand that gives me a good excuse to have it trimmed properly. Although that might be a rather time consuming affair to carry out properly.


And this bit for the interior is well ahead of schedule, as it will be one of the last parts to be fitted to the car. But boy does it look good ...


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

FHC resto nr. 6; That 70's look ...

I was pleasantly surprised today as I received the colour sample promised to me by the guy who will be taking care of the paint-job. Sadly it was already dark outside so not able to judge it properly for which daylight is essential. But with some tinkering with the calibration on the computer screen this is what it should look like. And as you can see it matches rather nicely with the Red Tartan cloth for the seats and door cards. Will see tomorrow if the paint recipe needs some adjustment or not ...


And almost as important for that period early-TR7-70's look is this rather obscure and crude looking piece of rubber which I too received today ...


It's our first attempt at fabricating our own fuel filler cap seal for the large early fuel filler cap. This seal is no longer available and all three my early caps didn't have a decent seal. This being the best one ...


I first tried various after-market industrial seals but didn't find anything suitable. So I was already looking for a nice after-market black alloy aero cap. But a few weeks ago (probably over some beer) I was discussing this with a good friend and during this discussion I was reminded by a recent article in PPC-Magazine. In this article the guys at PPC described how to make your own polybushes etc. So why not try that approach for the seals? And this is where the original seal came in handy. With that I could knock out a simple CAD drawing of the seal ...


And with this drawing we were able to fabricate a simple mould, with shown result. With a little more care and patience the seals coming from the mould should be of much better quality and fully up to the job. We just have to determine which compound we have to use, so the only test remaining for the prototype seal is to see if it is fuel resistant. To be continued

Thursday, 6 March 2014

FHC resto nr. 5; Next stages


With the body fully stripped, it was time to come to a decision on how to proceed with the body work. After consulting a few friends it was decided to go for thermal paint removal (pyrolysis). The complete body shell will be put in a computer controlled oven, where it will be gradually heated up to about 450ÂșC. At that temperature all paint, sealant and under body coating should evaporate. With the paint removed the shell's rotten sections and all seams will be shot blasted to get rid of all the rust. After which the welding will be carried out. So today the body, together with some bigger parts, was loaded onto the trailer and transported to a company near Eindhoven for paint removal and shot blasting.



The shell should be ready for collection and welding in two or three weeks time. After which we can start in earnest with some welding. But not yet sure how to proceed after the welding has been done. There are two options I am considering right now for final body treatment;
  • Low pressure shot blasting and coating with an epoxy primer;
  • Acid dipping and E-coating;
The last came as highly recommended to me, but I have some reservations against using chemicals. Well I have a few weeks left before I have to make up my mind! Also the time between body repairs and paint preparations will be taken into account to determine how to proceed.

And to kill some time I have started  sorting through my spare parts. I thought that I only had a spare set of rear suspension arms ready to fit. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out I have an almost complete set of suspensions components powder coated and ready to fit. With all the problems I have had with the DHC over the past three to four years, I  had completely forgotten about this. They were intended as spares, but will come in handy now!
And on the subject of sorting through parts ice cream boxes are very handy at storing small parts ...


Then I received a cloth sample from House of Tartan recently to check colour and pattern. I want to use this on the seats and as inserts on the door and rear bulkhead liners. As you can see it is not what you call a perfect fit ...


But with the sample I was able to work out a pattern. I find the original pattern a bit too thin. So I opted for a slightly wider pattern, adding more colour to the interior. And I went for a traditional square Tartan pattern as opposed to the slightly stretched pattern as used by BL. Only to find out the sample was of a different weight weave, so with a different thread count. To be continued ... 

Then I had a first chat with the upholsterer, to see what his opinion was on this cloth. His verdict; "Nice quality but a bit thin. Might cause problems with applying the backing cloth. But that's my problem" At least that problem will be solved with a heavier weave. Also asked him if it would be possible to recover the parcel shelf in black vinyl. "Yes it can be done, but will take a lot of time (= money) to do properly ..."  I am now looking for a new parcel shelf.

And finally I made up my mind as to what steering wheel to use. For a very 70's look I really wanted an American spec early steering wheel but in the end I decided to go for feel instead of looks. But the chosen wheel should also look rather nice and period, being a variation on a for me well known theme. I have held Moto Lita wheels in my hands for more than 20 years and well over 200.000 kilometres so far ...