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NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/4/22 3:14 a.m.

In reply to californiamilleghia :

Fenders are steel and the central shroud is aluminum.

759NRNG
759NRNG UberDork
5/4/22 9:13 p.m.

Once again maestro you've got it all going on......sitting in the corner quietly.....late

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/4/22 9:20 p.m.

In reply to 759NRNG :

Just jumping out of airplanes reading parachute design books on the way down. 

759NRNG
759NRNG UberDork
5/4/22 9:28 p.m.

I must say your skill/execution levels are becoming envious.....for those of us that sit on are bloody arses paying you stoopid accolades.....most deservedly so I might add....wink ....oh and in case you hadn't noticed I'm following along...g'nite

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/7/22 10:07 a.m.

A shoutout to SmallAxe for taking and posting this picture of his Healey travails.

 

 

I am working in the trunk area now and since the work done by the previous restoration attempt was so bad, I did not know order of operation for the floor pan and trunk boxes. Both seemed to work and nobody on the Healey forum seemed to know. The last one I worked on was about ten years ago so I don't recall either.

Best I should bookmark his build since it covers a lot of what is ahead of me.

 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Dork
5/7/22 9:58 p.m.

Glad I could be of service! Hope I don't lead you astray. 

If there's something not on the thread that I didn't post and would help, just give me a shout, I may have a picture. 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/8/22 7:26 p.m.

In reply to AxeHealey :

I will be going  back to your thread as I prepare to hang panels on this car. Pretty sure that the panels that came with the project are not native to this chassis; they are in way too good a condition.

Also pretty sure the car was underwater at some point since when the rear diff was pulled off, the housing was full of rust and mud. Ironically, the only reason the diff was pulled was because I mentioned that the breather cap was off when the diff was sandblasted and there might be some sand got in, so best to check. 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/18/22 8:43 a.m.

PS demolition begun. The wheeltub and outer panel are off.

The good news is that a quick fit of the new wheeltub looks promising. 

The angle iron bracing is holding a bracket steady in 3D space so that not only does it end up where it must, but it will also serve as a datum for the new wheeltub. 

 

There are a lot of ways this can go wrong and I wont know for sure until I fit the outer panels if I have anticipated all of them.

 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/19/22 8:21 a.m.

Restoring Healey is a lot like nailing a slab of Jello to a tree, 

Made it this far yesterday.  Took a lot of time to cut out the remainders of the old panels, fit and trim the new stuff and try to locate them so that when outer panes are fitted, they might line up with something. Figure I am 85% of the way there physically and only about 50% on the fit thing. Wont know until I fit the shroud and the doors and the fenders. Gotta do the other side before I can do that.

These are pattern parts so not very precise and I doubt they are tested on any kind of a jig. Does not take much misalignment to make an outer panel not line up with its mate,  One of the points I was counting on was the pressing in the wheel tub that formed the outside of a torque box. This has to be precise and co-linear with a matching feature on the other side of the car.

 

This is what shows up  on the new panel. Note that we are not dealing with a flat surface either. And Aproximate is not going to cut it in this situation since we are building two boxes that need to have a riffle shot through all four walls.

 

So, the plan is to use the one scabby side to extend the hole to the other side of the car. to that end a 7/16" rod was run through both sides before work started and stabilized so that it would hold position while work was in progress

Since the "approximate point" is located inside of the box structure it is tricky to mark the spot where the rod hits the new wheen tub, To that end, I keep play dough in the garage, Put the stuff near where you think the hole needs to be and push the rod into the clay. I think I can work with that mark. Now to take it all apart again and fabricobulate a flat surface on the inside of the curved panel so the torque arm can be bolted in place.

And of course, with progress comes discovery. Todays discovery was this fine piece of chassis that is missing some structure, and a bumper outrigger that is mostly not there. Oh well...pass me another nail!

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Dork
5/19/22 9:10 a.m.

Patches is right! Holy cow. 

Great work as always. 

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
5/19/22 9:54 a.m.

Someone must love this car, but I'd bet right now it's not you.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/19/22 11:30 a.m.

In reply to JoeTR6 :

Oddly enough, I don't really get interested in a project until it looks hopeless.

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/19/22 11:59 a.m.

Most impressive project! I have always loved the big Healeys but after helping to sell one a few years ago and seeing the before and after of the car, they can definitely be restored but the complexity of the body work (welding the frame to the body, why?) has always scared me off of wanting one. It also sounds like many shops fail at the restoration as the car I helped with had also been to two shops before it was done right.

Patches is a great name for this, watching with interest and envy of your skills!

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/19/22 3:23 p.m.

how much worse, from a panel alignment perspective, is the AH vs an MGA?

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/19/22 8:27 p.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

how much worse, from a panel alignment perspective, is the AH vs an MGA?

The Healey has more variables in play since it has the inner structure, the aluminum shrouds and the outer steel skins. 

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
5/19/22 8:41 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Having done a fair share of both, I agree. 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/19/22 8:48 p.m.

Today's goal was to recreate the wheel tub dimple for the torque arm mount. The new panel does not have this feature and only suggest an aproximate spot for what it needs to go. Up to you to determine how you fab it,

 

Since the transmission tunnel is out, I can run a long 7/16" rod all the way across the car and use it as a center punch to mark the location on the other side.

 

Surprisingly, the mark (large dimple) was pretty close to the approximate location (smaller dimple) suggested by the panel vendor, Still needed to be indented so as to clear the tire. 

 

So this left the challenge of hole-sawing a 2" hole on a curved surface and it had to be colinear with the same holes on the other side of the car.

 

Drill 7/16" hole where dimple was located

 

Use the lathe ( AKA drill press and file) to fab a 7/16" pilot that goes over the hole saw's drill bit. Make big hole in new panel and hope for the best

 

Cant see the curved surface, but it looks reasonable

 

Fab up the recess from a piece of 2" tube and a washer and weld it all together.

 

Can see the curved nature of the wheel tub by the way the insert is deeper on one end

Weld, grind and done. On to the next side. 

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/20/22 7:09 a.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) :

Really no comparison as the structure on the Healey is much more complex and since the frame is welded to the unit body, much more difficult.

Verse an MGA where you can just pull the body and work on the chassis

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/20/22 9:15 a.m.

In reply to dherr (Forum Supporter) :

You CAN pull the body off of a Healey frame. It is kind of scary how poorly attached it really is?!

Since restoring any car uses pretty much the same bag of skills, tricks and tools, I would not say that one is more "difficult" to restore than the other. I would say that there is "more work" to be done on the Healey and that the introduction of alloy shrouds introduces its own challenges compared to an all-steel car.

If a person is looking for a first car to restore my advice is to find one where good panels are available and spend the money on those panels rather than try to make cheap parts fit. Doubly so if you are paying anyone by the hour to install them.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
5/20/22 9:32 a.m.

Wow.

 

Wow.

 

Wow.

 

Someone finished welding those in, and said "Yup, that's job done. Let me throw some paint on here and get that invoice ready."

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/20/22 11:12 a.m.
NOHOME said:

If a person is looking for a first car to restore my advice is to find one where good panels are available and spend the money on those panels rather than try to make cheap parts fit. Doubly so if you are paying anyone by the hour to install them.

there is iron in these words, no doubt.

right now i'm just toying with the idea of which DHC to get. Use case: ice cream runs and drives in the country, with an occasional fair-weather commute. i have equal lust for AH3000, TRs 3 through 6, MGA, and E Type.  Not much interest in Spridget, or B.  Could tolerate a chrome-bumper Spit.  Practically, the TR6 is probably the best for as-is driving.  Anything older than TR6 would probably get a miata engine and trans.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/20/22 9:56 p.m.

So here is an example of why the Healey is "harder" to restore,

 

There is a box structure in each corner of the trunk. It covers the suspension and ties 5 panels together, Is is a pretty simple structure and one that you would think hard to get wrong; it is just a flat sheet folded in a few places.

So, a quick test fit and a lot of pondering later ( pondering to figure out why it fits so bad and is it the rest of the panels or this one that is wrong?)

So basically, the red dots are spot welds that will attach the part to a flange  underneath. The issue is that the flanges on the firewall and the wheel tub are 1/2" below the panel.  That ain't gonna work no how  and how am I going to fix it without leaving traces? 

 

After a lot of pondering and questioning if I did something wrong that it does not fit, the anwer is that it needs to be enshortenfied. Then more pondering on how to do that?

 

Answer is to cut the top off.

Thought I could re-use the top by welding it on a bit lower, but the curve does not match the wheel tub so no joy there.

I will make a new top and then edge-weld it back on to the rest of the structure after trimming it down 1/2" and it should be  invisible to the casual observer. 

 

More stuff to look forward to:

These two parts should nestle together.  They don't but they will.

 

This floorpan should meet the side panel.

It does not but it will.

 

None of the obstacles are all that hard to fix, but there are a lot of them and when you are doing one for the first time, you lack the self confidence to know if you are doing the right thing. 

The real fun will start when I try to hang the outer tin on this tub. All bets are off when it comes to making Healey panels fit.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Dork
5/21/22 10:09 a.m.

Yeah, no sane person would pick a big Healey as the first car they attempt to restore...

Not that it matters at this point if they're already bought but where did you source your replacement panels? I can't bring the name to mind at the moment but a local Healey restorer suggested to me years back that I only buy the stuff made in Australia (maybe it's NZ) and although it's more expensive most of the pieces fit quite well. I had to buy them from a small shop out of California. I bought the less important bits where fitment wasn't as much of a concern from the popular British catalog.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/21/22 1:43 p.m.

In reply to AxeHealey :

These panels come from AH Spares in the UK. 

If any of you recall the first car I ever restored, a very sad Bugeye Sprite, that is also where I got the panels for that job. They were mediocre then and not any better now. That said, they got the job done then and they will now.

Killmartin in AU is the place to get panels that are built to factory specs. However, the place has been closing for the last few years as the owner was retiring with nobody to carry on. Rumor is that there is a person trying to keep the doors open, but I would not want to be caught in the transfer process.

While it might be perceived as "difficult to restore" the flip side is that other than the shrouds, it would not bee too hard to make just about any panel on this car from a sheet of tin.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/22/22 11:18 a.m.

And the finished result. The goal was to minimize the evidence of a weld-scar since this car has way too many of those already. The box now fits up against the flanges where it needs to get spot welded and follows the contour of the wheel tub.

 

As a bonus, a separate problem is resolved. When I tried to refit the battery-cut-off panel ( big flat thing) it would not go back in place without moving the top of the rear bulkhead. Also the battery tray did not fit properly. With the box lowered by half an inch, everything seems to fall into place. Small victories add up.

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