With the body now supported on blocks the chassis was rolled out on the trolley jack it was time to assess the damage to the chassis. The most obvious was the front cross member where the front ¼ panels attach. An earlier repair by a previous owner by plating over the rotten metal had not lasted too long and the cross member resembled lace. The rest of the chassis looked fine but will be investigated thoroughly once the paint, underseal and rust is removed. As the chassis was now out of the garage time was of the essence to strip it of all its components.
The brake pipes were all quickly taken off and any that proved difficult were cut through to be carefully removed later. Starting at the front the road wheels were removed and the chassis put on axel stands. The track rod ends were split from the front hubs to allow the steering rack to be removed. All the bolts had been sprayed with penetrating oil a number of times in the previous weeks so all came out without any problems. The only item to cause any problems was the anti roll bar as the bolts are too close to the chassis to turn so the U bolts were just cut through with the angle grinder.
Both front suspension units were removed from the chassis complete and will be taken apart at a later date.
The diff and rear suspension was next, so with the rear road wheels off and the back of the chassis on axel stands the strip down began. On the Spitfire the diff is attached using a long bolt through the chassis which I have heard can cause lots of problems as the nut will usually come off but the bolt rusts into the chassis stopping the diff from being removed. The nut came of easily but as expected the bolt was tight in the chassis so I poured as much penetrating oil in as I could and left it over night. The next day with a bit of persuasion the bolt started to turn and eventually with quite a bit of back and forward movement it came out so the diff could be removed.
With all the components off the chassis it was moved back into the garage. To enable this, the body had to be lowered to the ground and turned on its side. We used some old tyres to protect the body and tipped the body onto its side, it is surprisingly heavy but 2 of us managed to do it.
With the space created the chassis was returned to the garage for cleaning. This was done with a rotating wire brush in an electric drill. One thing I would recommend however is to make sure that all the old oil and underseal is removed before using the wire brush as they can easily clog up able become useless. It took a long time to clean up the chassis as there is so much surface area to be worked at. To remove all the old oil one fine sunny day I took the chassis outside and sprayed it with oil and grease remover, I gave it time to do its stuff before attacking it with a pressure washer. There was a lot of this old oil around the front turrets and was a real pain to remove even with the pressure washer. During the cleanup of the chassis more holes appeared which needed to be repaired but none were too serious. In the next part I will identify the repairs required and show how I repaired them.