Driving a 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 from Peking to Paris in the June 2019 ERA Rally.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

0041 Fixing a major crack

1st March 2018
How to deal with a major crack in the bodywork

It has been a long time since we started this rebuild, and there have been some great solutions found
How it started out
to major problems that were discovered with the car as we dismantled it.   It hasn't been easy, especially due to the major accident(s) that the car had been involved in earlier which left the bodywork out of shape and often full of bog.
As we draw near to completing the bodywork and get close to painting Gidget's panels, I have one specific "fix" that I think is worth documenting in detail, as it has all turned out really well, and is very representative of several other similar repairs that have been effected on Gidget to make her a much stronger and effective rally car.

The alloy front shroud
The crack revealed
The front and rear shrouds are aluminium.  They were not pressed out of a single piece, but are 4 separate pieces  that were then welded together, with a diagonal seam at each corner.  Over time, with the flexing of the body, these joints can suffer - In our case, with the additional stresses of the accident damage, most of these seams were cracking quite badly, although it was only when we
started to strip the paint away that we could see the full extent of the cracks.  In the case of the front right hand corner, it was probably 6 inches long, and had been "stitched" together at some stage using pop rivets and a large piece of unpainted and ugly galvanised tin on the inside and lots of bog to cover everything up on the outside - Unfortunately I don't have a photo of the inside.

Ready for repair
Having stripped the paint back locally and removed the previous
Strengthening panel inside
"repair", the full extent of the problem became apparent, and after stripping the paint off completely, Andrew started on the repair.
In order to give the (now thin) alloy some strength, he inserted a large patch underneath - Welding it, not pop rivetting it !!

Repairs on the outside

With the inside now firm, and the whole area re-inforced, he was then able to weld along the crack on the outside.

Bogging begins
Covering with primer
Then it was time to try to prepare the area for final painting.   This was a case of judicially adding bog around the section - Using bog is an interesting repair system - Basically you add as little bog as you can (while still covering the area), and then you try to remove as much of it as you can (leaving it as thin as possible.)  In this case, being in such a visible area, and with both convex and concave curves there, it was just a
case of being patient and rubbing down and bogging again and again until
Ready for final painting !
the repair was all but invisible once it was painted with primer.  And in the end, I think what had previously been a bit of a disaster area (as well as an area of potential catastrophic structural failure) has turned out pretty well - Although the final result will only be seen once the 2 pack Coronet Cream paint is added !

This is just one small part of the much bigger story, but worth documenting to show just how much care and attention is being paid to ensure Gidget is the very strongest she can be.

The damaged rear shroud
Thick bog on driver's door
Now to move on to some much bigger bodywork issues - Namely
the rear shroud and the driver's side door which are almost totally covered in thick bog which covers a multitude of dents and repairs underneath !!  Certainly getting lots of practice at this !

Rest of the pics are here :-  https://photos.app.goo.gl/Vk0qCVhQ5xKsmVw12

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Ashton & Giles welcome any visitors, support, and comments as we prepare for our Adventure !