Chronicle of a Tiger Repair
Part I

As Explained by John Logan, His Tiger & The Giggly Girls!
By John Logan and Doug Jennings, Photos by John Logan

First published in Rootes Review, December 2005

In 2004/05 my Tiger went through a major repair at Doug Jennings’ “Tiger Auto Service” in Dayton, Ohio. The work described here was done by Doug with help from his son Doug Jr., and final painting by Steve Mitchell. With Doug’s agreement I’m going to describe, step by step, what was required and how it was done. Doug considers this project a repair, not a restoration; at my direction, many parts and assemblies were reinstalled rather than replaced or restored. This description was the subject of a Technical presentation by Doug at the TE/AE United XXV.

Was This Necessary?

I’ve told this part of the story to many of you but I’ll tell it again in case you missed it. It was Sunday May 30th 2004, a beautiful spring days made for open Sunbeams. I gassed up my Tiger and followed my son; he was delivering his Aerostar to a prospective buyer. I had just upgraded the car with one of Ford’s 340 HP crate engines, installed an Edelbrock manifold, a heavy-duty clutch and rebuilt the Holly 600cfm carburetor.

We were sitting at a light, and I looked at my rear view mirror. I saw a couple of giggly young girls in a PT Cruiser, 20 feet behind me, traveling at about 30 MPH! The driver (?) failed to notice that we were stopped. So, BAM, she ran into the back of the Tiger, slamming it into John’s van. I crawled out of the car, stumbled around a bit and went up to her car to see if they were all right (or was it to ring her bloody neck?) The Tiger was seriously damaged in the front and back, I had a sore neck, and the hatch of the Aerostar was damaged so that it needed repair before the potential customer would want to buy it.

After a few seconds a puddle of gasoline from the fuel line grew behind the Tiger! The fire department came and shut down two traffic lanes. Of course they had no knowledge of how the line is routed or where the tanks are located, and the last thing they wanted was advice. After about an hour the flow of gasoline stopped, a wrecker towed the car off to some unknown wrecking yard; because of Memorial Day I didn’t see it for three days.

The outside damage consisted of crumpled front fenders, hood, rear cross member, both bumpers and a buckled right rear quarter panel. Somehow the impact was below the trunk lid, so the lid, the left door and quarter panel were undamaged. Inside, the radiator was pushed up against the fan, and the main rails were bent down between the front bumper and the engine mounts. The right main rail was bowed over the rear axle.

I became very discouraged. I restored the car in 1985 and continually updated it over the years. I decided I was not up to restoring it again and it was insured. I contacted club member Doug Jennings, of Tiger Auto Service in Dayton, Ohio and he agreed to help me out. He negotiated the settlement with Hagerty Insurance. Michigan has no fault insurance, so Hagerty the stated value minus the scrap value. The girl that hit me got a ticket for $65. Doug agreed he could do a complete strip and repair of the car with the money available.

Disassembly

Stripped but still in need of repair

Doug likes to work with a body that is completely stripped of all paint. The first step is to remove all parts in preparation for dipping. If you are planning to do this yourself, it is important at this time that you reattach nuts and bolts or keep them with their counterparts; assemblies should be stored in a logical pattern. Take lots of pictures as the assemblies are removed, and keep a log of the disassembly sequence so that you will know how you should reassemble it. As time passes so does memory of how things went together.

We made a list of damaged parts and other things like door seals and the dash pad that get destroyed during removal. Replacements are either ordered at this point or found from Tiger Auto’s vast inventory of donor cars. My power train and suspensions survived the impact so they didn’t need to be repaired.

Dipping

Dipping is a major cost and transportation can be a problem, especially if you don’t have a facility near you. However, by removing the paint and rust from all the panels and seams, it vastly improves the ability to identify and repair rust and damage. A lot depends on how bad the car is and how much per hour removing rust and paint by hand is worth to you.

As soon as the body components return from the dipper, they are thoroughly washed with a metal prep solution like Oxi-Solv to neutralize the dipping solution and stop surface rusting. Heavy sound deadening material that I had applied to the floor was not completely removed so it requires extra time to heat and scrape out. The original lead joint fillers used in these bodies combine with the dipping solutions. If they are left on the body, paint bubbling will occur due to poor adhesion. To correct the problem, the lead is melted out and filler pieces are welded into the seam depressions.

The rear valence was removed for repair
A cleaned front end Circle shows area to be replaced

These pictures show how clean the metal is after dipping. It’s at this point where the problem with rusty bodies will be evident. There is no rust in this body but there were several in Doug’s shop with “lacy” panels or virtual floors that require major structure and panel replacement.

As soon as the body components return from the dipper, they are thoroughly washed with a metal prep solution like Oxi-Solv to neutralize the dipping solution and stop surface rusting. Heavy sound deadening material that I had applied to the floor was not completely removed so it requires extra time to heat and scrape out. The original lead joint fillers used in these bodies combine with the dipping solutions. If they are left on the body, paint bubbling will occur due to poor adhesion. To correct the problem, the lead is melted out and filler pieces are welded into the seam depressions.

Click here for the next part of the story.

Post tag

Leave a Reply