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Chassis Renewal (11/2004 - 10/2005)
  1. Have chassis cleaned to bare metal
  2. Inspect for damage and measure geometry. Compare measurements against workshop manual. Fix any major issues.
  3. Reinforce known weak spots at front suspension and differential mounting pins
  4. Inspect original welds. Fix all cracked, weak and separating welds
  5. Apply protective coating outside
  6. Replace rear differential mounting pins (a real kill-joy)
  7. Touch-up Paint and Spray Protective Coating in the Inside

I took the chassis to a local metal cleaner (Metal Rehab) that was recommended by a man in my local Triumph club. I wanted to have it thoroughly cleaned, inside and out, therefore submerging it in a bath for almost three weeks seemed like the way to go. I am glad to say I am not dissapointed with the results. The chassis came back to me like I wanted it; bare and still structurally sound. In fact, I am very blessed that the chassis is still in the condition it is in. But I'm here to tell you, nothing will reveal all of the little dents, creases and nicks in a bare metal chassis until after its been freshly painted. A fresh coat of paint reveals all imperfections in the metal. I hope I remember this when I move on to the body painting.

After picking it up from Metal Rehab, I sent to over to Rick Cardenas at Blak Racing (a SCCA colleague of my father-in-law's) to inspect it, measure it out on his chassis table, and weld on the reinforcement kits I had purchased from Revington TR. I bought their body-off differential pin reinforcement kits that covers both the front and rear differential bridges. Also purchased from Revington TR was their front suspension kit for reinforcing the front, lower wishbone mounting points. Once again, I was not dissapointed as Rick's team did a great job.

One piece of news that is not-so-sunny is that mom did bend the chassis up a bit when she lost the right-front wheel while driving the car back in the late-80's. Rick measured and found that the chassis was about a quarter-inch higher on the passenger side rear corner than on its driver's-side counterpart and helps explain the issues found when I first got the car from mom. He said the discrepency is not worth the trouble or expense of straigtening out; but rather can be easily addressed via shims, etc. with little to no cost or time.

Once I got the chassis back from Rick, it was finally my turn to do some work. I couldn't adequately clean it, and I can't weld, but man can I paint! I ordered the Chassis refinishing kit from Eastwood that includes their Rust Encapsulator and Chassis Black products and spent the early part of this week applying them. As of late December 2004 I am leaving the paint to cure while I enjoy the New Year's holiday.

At some point I need to apply a generous amount of something to the insides of the chassis to resist rust and corrosion. I am looking at a product called Corrosion X, because I have some connections with that firm.

One thing I notice more and more as I work over the exposed chassis is the poor quality of the welds used in some parts of the chassis. From the looks of it, I'd swear they were in a hurry because the work in some places in pretty shoddy. So word to the wise, if you ever take your car down to this level, be certain to inspect the welds; especially in the steering mounts, differential bridges, and suspension attachment points. I'd hate for anyone to wreck their car and harm themselves and others because they skipped this critical inspection.

I thought I was done, but as I was mounting the rear drive train components... a heartbreak occured. I discovered that the two rear differential mounting pins needed replacing due to the threads being stripped. I was devasted. I had done all the work to get the chassis reconditioned, including adding the diff mount reinforcement gussets, and now I have to undo a lot of that work in order to cut-out and weld-in new pins.

So, I ordered two new rear differential mounting pins from VB, took off all the components I had managed to get on the chassis (diff and one drive-shaft), and sent the chassis back to Rick to cut out the old pins and weld in some new ones. After getting it back I was able to remount the diff and complete the rear-end of the car. Looks great!

After completing the work to the point of having a rolling chassis, I brought it home and finished off the last of the chassis work. First step was to touch-up the chassis paint in a few areas that needed it due to post-painting work. The last step was to coat the inside of the chassis with something that would help prevent rust. Now this may sound anal, but the well-known fact is that these chassis' tend to rust from the inside out. I set about researching the best stuff to use on the TR Mailing List, club periodicals and Internet and what I ended up with was a natual solution of parrafin, linseed oil and mineral spirits. (Read This Article for some good research). After getting the solution made it was only a matter of injecting it into the chassis rails using a rig I came up with employing a shot blasting gun, some plastic tubing and an air compressor. Other than making one hell of a mess, it did the job quite nicely. See the How To page for more info.

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The content of this page in intended only to communicate my own thoughts, actions and opinions while restoring my own automobile. It is not meant to serve as instruction for others to do maintenance on their vehicles.