Front Suspension Chassis Rear Suspension Interior Bodywork Engine Bay Electrics







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Toolmanweb 2003-2016

14 March 2004
I had been looking for a better set of wheels for a long time and found some via the internet. They are the Dunlop composite wheels with the chrome outer and alloy inner. The only problem is they were in Buxted - halfway between London and the south coast. With my father in law as co-pilot we set off at 7.00AM to pick them up. Took us about 4 hours to drive there and made the purchase from a nice chap called Gregg. Got a cup of tea as well you cant say fairer than that. When I got them back home I decided to give them a clean up as the paint was flaking off the alloy. Blasted them with my power washer and used the trusty smoothrite and a small brush to paint them. The first one has come up quite well. I hope the others are the same.
27 April 2004
Here are some pictures of the car illustrating the current state of the bodywork.
04 May 2004
Finished painting the last of the new wheels today. Hopefully the stainless wheel nuts will arrive tomorrow and I can fit them to the car.
11 May 2004
Fitted the new stainless steel wheel nuts and the reconditioned wheels. Also fitted new chrome mirrors to the doors.
25 May 2004
Cut and fitted a new stone guard to the air intake below the front bumper. The old one was heavy steel mesh around 1 inch square and was badly corroded. I have replaced this with some perforated aluminium sheet obtained from a car accessory shop. This is the sort used to fill the various ducting holes that cover the front spoilers that are currently fashionable. I am hoping that being aluminium it will not corrode as badly as the other one and it does look rather nice under the chrome bumpers. I wonder though if it will let enough air in to the radiator. Time will tell.
15 Jan 2005
Went to the classic auto jumble at the NEC in Birmingham and managed to get 2 new rear light units for the car. They were not cheap but are a bit like hens teeth now.
14 May 2005
Removed the rusty rear bumper from the car. I have been treating the bolts with WD40 for a couple of days. Of course one of the mounting bolts wouldn't come undone easily so I had to use mole grips to hold the rounded shiny end whilst I undid it. Fortunately I had a replacement in my spares stash. Fitted my second hand replacement bumper after hammeriteing the mounting brackets. I also cleaned down the number plate light, sprayed it silver and fitted new bulbs. It had been my intention to use the second hand bumper a temporary replacement whilst I had mine re-chromed however upon removal and inspection it turns out that it is in terrible condition. There are several patches and repairs that were hidden from view when it was on the car. I will have to get the replacement bumper done when I have the car resprayed.
Sometime after July 2005
Following the repair on the engine I decided to bite the bullet and start work on the body. Because of the limited space available in my garage the only way I could tackle this is by splitting the work into smaller jobs. The first to be tackled was the bonnet. I disconnected the electrical wiring for the light and removed the hinges. It came off quite easily but was fairly heavy. Once painted and ready to refit I will get someone to help me hold it in place to prevent any damage. Once removed I started by sanding off the paint. Take my advice, unless you have a seriously large compressor do not by an air powered random orbit sander. My 50 litre machine runs it for about 20 seconds then takes another 30 to put enough pressure in to start again. Because of this it took me 1 week! to remove all of the paint. But that was just on the outside. The paint on the inside was flaking very badly and fortunately came off easily with the use of a scraper and a bit of elbow grease. Then followed many hours of sanding, filling, stoppering, priming , sanding again, stoppering again......... you get the picture. Finally I sprayed it in my chosen colour - Bold Yellow - not the original shade but I like it. Whilst my spraying is by no means perfect it gave me enough confidence to continue with the rest of the car. The next job was tackling under the bonnet. I started by removing as much as possible and then began repairs. This to was something new to me as I have never worked with glass fibre before. The car must have been in a small front end impact in the past as both of the front body chassis mounts were cracked as was the battery tray. These had been crudely repaired before so I had to remove lots of old matting and filler before grinding into the matting and laying up new mat and resin. Again I am not an expert at this but I am quite pleased with the results and for the under bonnet area they are fine. Probably best to practice here before I start on the rest of the car.
Next on the list to tackle are the doors. Today I removed the drivers door. I was unable to move the hinge screws even with an impact driver so I had to resort to drilling the heads off them. A point to note here is that there are 2 hidden screws 1 inside each hinge aperture. A result of a few hefty blows with the impact driver is a large pile of rust under the car. there should be a metal plate sandwiched between 2 layers of glass fibre that helps to support the whole thing but most of mine is long gone. I will need to fabricate a new one which might be interesting given the amount I have left to work with. I removed what was left by cutting the outside skin away with a Dremel.
This is the result of 2 hours work with a tape measure, steel rule and a lot of rusty metal bits. As I have no pattern to work with I resulted to the trusty cornflake packet and made myself a cardboard one. I will offer this up a few times to the car and see if it looks OK before using it to construct one in 1.5mm steel.
This is the finished article. I must say I am pretty pleased with the results.
Some time later...
This is the gel coat layer being painted on to the repair from the rear. I have wedged a mould on the outside of the car and painted on to this from within the wheel arch.
This is then covered with 3 layers of glass fibre and resin and finally the reinforcing plate is fitted with just 1 layer of matting to hold it in place.
With the mould removed from the outside this is what is seen. Any rough areas where the old and new gel coats meet will be filled.
Later still....
Soon after getting the car I was aware that the rear bumper mounts were not very clever and knew that this was due to the rear chassis extension being rotten. I figured out that either I would need to remove the body completely or find some other way of repairing it. I decided on the latter as I have no room to remove the body. So one afternoon I fired up the Dremill and cut the back of the body off the car.
This revealed a mangled rusty mess which was once the chassis extension. With the help of a can of WD40, and a lot of heaving I eventually managed to unbolt this from the car. I brought the replacement a couple of years ago from Adrian at Southwest Scimparts and this was given a generous coat of the smoothrite before being bolted in place.
Then it was just a matter of glassing the back of the car back on. Not a bad job even if I do say so myself. It needs more preparation before the final spray job but that can wait until I have all of the repairs completed.
Started to remove the paint from the rest of of the car.
This is the car masked up and ready to paint. I have already gone round it several times with a few rattle cans to try and see any imperfections.
The problem I have is trying to spray it in my single integral garage - not really happening so I decided to make my own spray booth. Two Gazebo's from Ebay later and  I had this
Time for a final flat back of the paintwork
And then some primer
Time for some nice yellow paint (Bold yellow in Cellulose)
Left it for a couple of months to harden than removed the masking and machine polished it. Still got the doors and bonnet to do yet.
Couldn't resist fitting some of the new bits I had been buying for some time like chrome letters, lights and fuel filler cap.
Couldnt decide on what colour to use for the headlight surrounds but eventually decided on Black
Had to make 2 new brackets to hold the read seat outside hinges in place together with captive nuts.
I re fitted the guttering using a sealant to both waterproof and fix them to the body. I found that normal pop rivets would not hold so I brought some peel rivets and they worked fine. I also re fitted the vinyl trim and GTE badges on the B pillars.
I brought all new rubber seals for the car including rear windows and all apertures. I fitted the rubber to the rear windows but swapped the frames side to side leaving the un touched former inside edges now on the outside. These look like new and have certainly saved me having them chromed. The secret to fitting these is plenty of lubrication on the outside of the seals where they touch the body. I user silicone tyre dressing as I had some and it worked a treat.
Made and fitted a new rear number plate lamp bracket from some stainless steel and fitted with new bolts. Also fitted the rear hatch locking mechanism along with the rear hatch and door seals.
Managed to obtain a second hand replacement windscreen via a request on the RSSOC forum and had it fitted by a professional with a new seal. He made it look easy but it wasn't. Looks very good though and I am extremely happy with the results.
Refitted the rear hatch with a  new lip seal.
I had painted the drivers door and bonnet several years earlier but unfortunately they got damaged in storage so I sanded them back and re prepped them. Got them primed and top coated in a weekend and I am pleased with the results.
Disaster struck when I accidentally tried to start the car in gear and it shot forward and hit my workbench. There is some damage to the front and to say that the air was blue would be quite an understatement. I cant believe this lapse in concentration and this now means that I will have to do more repairs to the body and try and blend in the paint somehow.
Started to put the frame together for the drivers door. Got new quarterlight seals from the RSSOC and they fit perfectly. Then re assembled the door and fitted it to the car. Its nice to be putting this back on as it feels like real progress at last. Also refitted the rest of the door mechanism including new door handles.