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Sunbeam Alpine & Tiger: Draining the Body Shell (Part 1)

Discussion in 'Featured Articles & How To's' started by Tim R, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. Tim R

    Tim R Silver Level Sponsor

    This video is about modifications that we make to assist with draining water out of Sunbeam Alpine & Tiger sills and the outer panels of the body shell. The standard Alpine & Tiger body shells had almost no drainage provision, as a result they are renowned for rusting out in the sill area. This video shows how we modify our Alpines to ensure that they stay rust free. There are other ways to do this, the video is simply a record of what we do to our own cars. If you want to do something similar we hope that it helps you.

    puff4 likes this.
  2. 65beam

    65beam Bronze Level Sponsor

    You make some good points with what you've done. The mods would help preserve the body. Doug Jennings at Tiger Auto in Dayton has done total body restorations for us and over the years I've seen a few things that he did that also make a difference. He removes the inner fender above the rear wheel which allows that area to be cleaned when dipped as well as the small indented areas front and rear that allow access to the area between the outer sill and the inner sill. When he starts the body work he makes a new panel for above the wheel , installs the sill panels and depending on the gap between the front inner fender and the body he welds in sections to close up the gap in order to seal the area much better. One thing I've noticed with our series 5 that he restored is that it has two drain holes in the sills, one under the fuel tanks and one in the area in front of the door. It was a rust free unrestored car the wife bought in California. The series 4 also has these openings. That body had a lot of dents that were more easily replaced than repaired. The white Harrington was a rust free body and has openings in the sills. You might want to look at these added things Doug did if you don't do them now. Based on what I've seen in Doug's shop I've wondered if the hidden areas such as inside the sills were even primed. These videos help new owners so keep it up.
  3. Tim R

    Tim R Silver Level Sponsor

    That sounds like a very thorough approach. My youngest son had his Series V acid dipped then electro-cathodic primed and it would have benefitted from doing what you describe Doug Jennings doing before dipping as he had a couple fair locks form that impacted on the success of the dipping.

    There are a number of enthusiasts who take different approaches to making the Alpine body shell more resistant to rust. Draining the sills and outer panels was something we were advised to do by a longer term Alpine owner many, many years ago and we have developed the approach shown in the video over the years. Anything that allows the body to drain water out has to help.

    Thank you for your comments on the videos, there are now more than 50 separate videos on The Sunbeam Alpine Channel on YouTube and they average over 150 views every day from all over the world.

    Best Wishes,

    Tim R
  4. 65beam

    65beam Bronze Level Sponsor

    After the body is picked up the first thing Doug always did was to wash the body to remove any left over residue from being dipped 107_0510.JPG . This was called a wash party where several local owners used scrub pads to hand clean the body. Then DP 90 epoxy primer was sprayed on the body and body work started in a few days. After the body/paint work was done he used 3M under coating inside the X frame and other areas. This photo shows the amber undercoating that he used. The excess you see was removed leaving a bright finish.
  5. 65beam

    65beam Bronze Level Sponsor

    100_0726.JPG 100_0730.JPG 100_0728.JPG Epoxy primer
  6. Tim R

    Tim R Silver Level Sponsor

    You guys have done very similar to what my youngest did. He bought the Alpine when he was 14 and set about restoring it ready for when he could drive. He got to the dipping stage in 2008. He is nearly 30 now. The company he used for dipping the shell had a contract with Aston Martin and the cathodic priming was done in their tank.

    After the dipping, the company washed the shell in neutralising chemicals before the shell got sent down the road to Aston Martin for the priming. It looks like a shiny knife blade when it first come out of the acid.

    When it came home our version of a 'wash party' was a scrubbing party, it lasted for 5 days with 3 of us working all day, everyday, using countless scotchbrite pads. The cathodic primer is incredibly hard but has to be scratched at every point where 'normal' primer and top coats etc are going to be sprayed to give a key. (I never knew how big the surface area of an Alpine is until I did this job!) After the top coats were done my son literally filled the car with Waxoyl. A single 1 gallon can will do an Alpine, he used 8 or 9 cans. It is meant to be a barely visible film of wax protection, his car looks like it has been buttered! On hot days it used to drip out and form pyramids under the drain holes but to be fair to him we live right by the sea and it doesn't rust!

    He dipped the shell in 2008, the latest picture was taken couple of months ago. Dipping is definitely the way to go.

    Tim R Matt's Alpine Dipping Feb 08 016.jpg P1020179.jpg P1020169.jpg P1130079.jpg P1020471.jpg P1020473.jpeg P1020493.jpg P1050903.jpg
  7. 65beam

    65beam Bronze Level Sponsor

    The problem we ran into with the epoxy primer is that final body work has to be done quickly after application. The wife bought the RHD LeMans from an owner in California that had bought the unfinished project from Ian Spencer. She bought it in April 2011 and the metal part of the body had been coated with epoxy while Ian had it. The body shop had it for three years before starting body work and they had their doubts that body filler would adhere to the epoxy due to the length of time since applied 100_0621.JPG 110_0724.JPG so they worked a few spots and let it set until the next day and they found they were right. It was a lot of work to get the body back to bare metal. We had under coating dripping out on hot days for awhile from the series 4 after Doug finished the body. At this stage of life our cars spend a lot of time inside so rust doesn't seem to be a problem in climate controlled conditions like our storage garages. The series 4 has covered 600+ miles since 2013

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