Tri­umph TR6

Matt tack­les his big­gest TR6 re­pair as­sign­ment yet

Practical Classics (UK) - - CONTENTS - Matt Ge­orge

Have you ever put off do­ing some­thing for so long, only to find that when you fi­nally took the plunge, the task wasn’t any­where near as scary as you’d in­ad­ver­tently built it up to be? Well, af­ter putting it off for months, the sill re­place­ment process on my TR turned out to be a bit like that. But I’m get­ting ahead of my­self.

At the cli­max of my pre­vi­ous Staff Car Saga (PC, Oc­to­ber 2018) Projects Edi­tor Matt Tomkins and I had re­moved the doors and fit­ted a jig to brace the body, mean­ing it was fi­nally ready to have the rot­ten outer sills ex­tracted. Start­ing on the pas­sen­ger side, I sanded the top edge of the panel with some abra­sive pa­per to ex­pose the fac­tory spot welds, be­fore drilling out each weld (of which there were plenty) with a spot weld miller mounted in a cord­less drill. Hav­ing taken care to only drill through the outer sill panel and leave the in­ner in­tact, I could then get a slim­line chisel into the gap and grad­u­ally sep­a­rate the two sill pan­els.

Next, it was out with the an­gle grinder and thin cut­ting disc, in or­der to make a cut along the top edge of the sill up against the in­ner whee­larch at the A- and B-post ends. The brazed joint at the bot­tom of the A- and B-posts was also split. Once done, it was pos­si­ble to fold the outer sill out­wards and slice it away just above the level of the spot welds to the floor­pan re­turn, mean­ing the crusty outer sill could fi­nally be binned off. The in­ner sill and floor­pan re­turn were cleaned up and treated to a coat of Rust­buster fe-123 Molec­u­lar Rust Con­verter, then once that had dried, some brush­able weld-through primer.

Nip/tuck

I’d bought a pair of re­place­ment outer sills from TRGB months ago… said to be the best qual­ity ver­sions cur­rently avail­able, they looked the busi­ness. How­ever, given the fact that we’d elected to leave the bot­toms of the A- and B-posts in situ rather than chop­ping them out for ac­cess, the re­pair pan­els would need to be trimmed and tweaked slightly be­fore they could go on. This was be­cause the top of the outer sill was orig­i­nally sandwiched be­tween the edge of the floor­pan and the A-/b-posts, whereas we wanted to ‘re­lieve’ the top edge so it could fit around/be seam welded to the bot­toms of the pil­lars… cut­ting away per­fectly solid metal for the sake of it just wasn’t a very ap­peal­ing prospect.

Af­ter teas­ing the panel into po­si­tion and sat­is­fy­ing our­selves with the fit, I drilled a se­ries of holes along the top and bot­tom lips to al­low the panel to be plug welded into place, then cleaned and painted them with weld-through primer. Fi­nally, it was time to bust out the welder!

We’ve re­cently taken de­liv­ery of a Tel­win Max­ima 230 welder in the PC work­shop and Tomkins had been rav­ing about how good it is. With the mod­i­fied outer sill clamped into po­si­tion,

I saw first hand just how right he was… the new panel went in like a dream. Matt worked his way along the top lip to start with, al­ter­nat­ing his plug welds to min­imise dis­tor­tion. Next, we used a trol­ley jack with a block of wood on the sad­dle to squeeze the lower sill lip up to sit against the floor­pan re­turn edge – an­other top tip I’d picked up and one that en­sured the top face of the sill went in with the cor­rect down­ward an­gle rather than be­ing par­al­lel to the floor.

Not half bad

Once the lower sill lip had been welded to the floor­pan, the plug welds were cleaned up, be­fore the whole panel re­ceived a coat of primer to stop it from start­ing to rust while the other side is re­paired. The seam welds around the A- and B-posts will need dress­ing fur­ther and pos­si­bly a light skim of filler be­fore paint but, all things con­sid­ered, I’m de­lighted with the re­sults.

It must be said that the re­place­ment sill panel was in­deed ex­cel­lent. As Tomkins said with glee: ‘It makes a change to be work­ing with nice clean metal, plus a de­cent welder makes such a dif­fer­ence, too. A great re­sult!’ We’ve also been in­debted to the car cra­dle supplied by CJ Au­tos, which has meant the TR can be manouevred around the work­shop with ease.

Af­ter a lean cou­ple of months with­out tan­gi­ble progress, it felt great to crack on and suc­ceed with such a big job. Next up: the driver’s side sill.

matt.ge­orge@prac­ti­cal­clas­sics.co.uk

Outer sill was com­pletely rot­ten and had to be cut off in the end.

In­tegrity re­gained… Matt is chuffed with the re­sult.

Trusty fe-123 Rust Con­verter sorted the sill in­ter­nals.

Panel in and ready to have the welds ground back.

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