View Full Version : TR2/3/3A Anyone got a TR2/3 Frame??

02-25-2013, 11:39 AM
Well, it's all apart, so the surprises are all over. Whew! Turned out to be easy. I just hit the thing with a big hammer and the whole body dissolved into rust...


My first step is to get the frame up to speed, but the last surprise was a big one. There is extensive rust damage. I can fix it, but not sure it is the prudent thing to do.


Just wondered if any of you guys are sitting on a decent used frame that you would be willing to sell. If anyone does have a frame, please PM me. Also, I have heard that brand new frames are available, but have not been able to locate them. I'll make a decision on which way to go once I know all the alternatives.


Mickey Richaud
02-25-2013, 11:48 AM
RATCO builds new ones - here's their website:


02-25-2013, 12:47 PM
Call Scott Harper at Team Triumph in Warren, OH for a used frame. 330-392-7176. He is usually there after 11:00AM Eastern Time. On Wednesdays he's gone around luch time but in later in the day. His fax is 330-392-8253. NFI, Scott is a regular guy who treats folks fairly. I wonder what shipping will cost however?

02-25-2013, 01:34 PM
Sorry John that is an ugly surprise; it should have leaked more oil than that, the preservative type.

02-25-2013, 08:46 PM
Thanks guys. I'll check those out.

Yep, I'll have to work on that engine to get it leaking right!

Marvin Gruber
02-25-2013, 09:33 PM
I have one.


02-26-2013, 02:14 PM
Yowzers, and I thought that my original frame was bad. Hardest part about a replacement frame is the shipping if you cant find one locally. If it comes down to a whole new frame from Tony at RATCO they're costly, but extremely well made, and stronger than the original 16 gauge sheet metal frame by far.

02-27-2013, 08:37 AM
When I first read your thread title I was like "of course I do, my cars sits on one!" :wink-new:

Whew, sure glad mine leaks now!

02-27-2013, 09:04 AM
Be cautious with used frames as I've recently come across two that were paper thin in places. The youngest sidescreen frame (TR3B) was made over 50 years ago and they were never painted on the inside, so rust just quietly eats away from the inside out. Try to inspect before buying and if the vendor allows, tap very lightly along the side members to confirm solid metal.

Check if the rear leaf spring front pins are in or out. If in they can be siezed solid and very difficult to remove. At least with the body off they can be left in place, as the springs usually go back before the body. There's only a problem if a leaf subsequently breaks, and even then it's usually easier to lift a corner of the body to remove a spring than get the pin out.


02-27-2013, 03:45 PM
Personally I wouldn't just "tap very lightly". I'd use a ball pein or pointed body hammer, and tap it fairly hard. But last time I looked at a rusted out frame, I could dent the metal just by pushing hard with my thumb.

Definitely been lucky, I've always gotten those pins out. Start by soaking them in PB Blaster or Kroil, then whacking them with a BFH to set up some vibration. Repeat every few days for several weeks. Then use a bottoming tap to clean out the threads in the head, and the highest tensile threaded rod you can find to make the puller. That's always done it for me, but the next step would be to start heating the pin as much as possible, while keeping a strain on it. The penetrating oil will catch fire, but it should go out quickly.

02-28-2013, 01:18 AM
Just an update...

Talked to Rasco. Theirs are the brand new, but they are not identical to the original. The price as I write this is about $4,500. If I were going to race or drive the car hard, these are a great option, but not for me going with an as original restoration.

For the restoration I am planning, I will stick to a used frame or the one I have. Scott, mentioned above, doesn't have any used, but seemed very nice. Marv, of course, has everything and anything British, including a frame. I think my plan right now is to study what I've got to see if it's true...blast it to see exactly how extensive the rust is, and then decide whether to use mine or Marv's depending on what I find.

Thank you all for the input. I've learned a lot from your suggestions and made some useful contacts along the way!

03-07-2013, 09:19 PM
Finished a week of sand blasting. Not good...but I put the tape on the frame to check every dimension listed in the service manual. It's actually within 1/16" on every measurement. Unbelievable! With the bent suspension and body, I thought the frame would be crooked. Says a lot for the strength of these old cars.

I've decided to take a stab at refurbishing the original frame. Hey, figure I'll have the only frame inspected and painted on the inside without dipping!?! Plus I'll get my rusty welding skills patched up in time for the body work coming up...

The metal used appears to be 16 gage...I just bought $70 worth of 14 gage steel and will start patching tomorrow. I'll have a lot of time invested, but less money than the cost of a single replacement outrigger from Moss or TRF.

03-07-2013, 09:35 PM
Looking forward to seeing some frame work John.


03-07-2013, 10:10 PM
You can always spot the talented folk......You go John.

03-08-2013, 09:28 AM
My 4A frame had gone out at the bottom like yours and about halfway up the vertical side faces. I got a sheet metal shop to fold up two U-sections, one with 1/2in flanges and the other a big U to match the original.

Then I unpicked the old tubes from the front-turrets, not actually hard, then posted the new U-sections through. I spot welded the flanges every 3/8in.
I did this everywhere that corosion ha dgot at it, one section at a time.

At the joints from old to new I included a backing plate. This allowed me to join the two with more weld-current without risk of blowing holes. Also helped with lining up.

This EVENTUALLY made a great job.


03-08-2013, 09:41 AM
Thanks guys!

Al, sounds like you have been where I am. My biggest worry is warpage as I do the welds. Did you encounter any, or do anything special to prevent it?


03-08-2013, 06:02 PM
Are using gas or MIG weld?

By making U-sections I could be pretty sure they would stay straight.
Especially as I spotted the flanges together to make a completely new tube section before joining to the old tube.

Since I don't entirely trust home-made spots I added a second lot so they finally pitched at 3/8 in.
Every 3in or so I ran a bead with MIG. In lots of places something happens, like a tube joins, so this wasn't needed.

In some places I cut the old tubes on the diagonal so that the join did not take all the bend at one location.

In a few places I added a central vertical web across the join. This where the chassis has a lot of work to do.

I did quite a bit of MIG-spotting by welding through a 3/8in hole with a high current.


Derek K
03-08-2013, 06:39 PM
I have a TR2 rolling chassis with 8 solid rims. Thing is, it's buried in the back of the shop. Good news is, I've sold my unit and have to be out by the end of March. Haven't looked at the thing in quite a while. It was taken off the road some time in the early '60s by the previous owner,. The body was trashed and a fibre glass kit called a LaDari was put on it. He never got very far with the conversion and it sat in his garage till I bought it some time in the late '90s. Since then it's been in my shop. I'll be moving it in the next two weeks. Problem for you is it's here in Ontario, Canada, and you're in Southlake, TX. If you're interested I'll check it out once I get it out, and send some photos if it's solid. E-mail me at seven_plus2@rogers.com and let me know your thoughts.
Derek K
ps My e-mail address is 'cause I have a BMW 7 series, a Lotus Super 7 series 2, a Lotus Plus 2 and a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud 2

03-08-2013, 07:48 PM
Thanks Derek, but I think the distance is going to be the killer there. Marv actually has a usable frame, but when I did the math on the drive to pickup/ship, I think I will be as well off repairing what I have got...but I have not split it apart yet, so who knows?

Al, we think a lot alike...I was planning to use diagonal cuts too, as it just seems like the strongest way to splice the new to the old without getting a stress riser. I was also torn whether or not to pre-fab some C sections, but have not gone that far yet. I like your idea of the vertical plates too, so will try to do that at the joints.

I have both mig and gas. 16 gage seems rather thin, so I am leening toward the mig to keep the heat distortion to a minimum. I'll get a better feel once I start putting the welder to the metal. That's also part of why I am using 14 gage patches...I think they will be more stable when welding.

Today I removed the first of the outriggers, and cut 2 new ones. I have been destructing the car for 2 months, so it was kinda nice to take the first actual step towards making it better. Boy will this take a while!

03-09-2013, 06:53 AM
Just measured a bit of scrap left over from mine. This is 1.6mm Metric stuff. 0.062inch.

This is too thick for "amateur" bending over anything more than a few inches. Especially if you want a small flange.
This is why I got a sheet-metal shop to crop and fold the sections. I made 1.5m lengths.

I had no problem with distortion anywhere MIG-ing this on top current with a medium size welder using Argon-CO2 mix.
Tacked at 2in, ran beads of about 1in before breaking off to check.

I use a 1/2in wide Copper strip clamped so that my nozzle follows the weld line. I weld by "wobbling" the nozzle against the guide so as to steer the wire from new to old metal and back as I go. I welded by dragging the pool.

Rather than butting the tubes tight I leave about 2-3mm so I can see the backing plate and weld into it. You get a flatter weld this way even though you have the current and feed up high.

If you dont use a backing-plate and butt the tubes tight then you risk the weld being all on the outside.
You will be tempted to keep the current low so you dont make holes.

If you do make a hole its messy to recover and it will worry you.
You want to run every weld right first time.
A practised pro would do this in his sleep but I am guessing that this is not your day job. 'Taint mine!

I worked on the basis that a "patch" has four edges so you will do a lot of welding.
By running longish lengths in new tube I could concentrate on making a few, very good joints.

Only in very few places was I forced to weld a surface that wasn't horizontal.


03-09-2013, 09:45 AM
Excellent tips Al. I never thought about intentionally leaving a slight gap to keep the weld thin. Very good idea! Like you said, I have always used the low power on this kind of thin material, but will try some practice on high power...dragging the puddle may be the key to not burning through.

I picked up the metal yesterday, but have to spend the weekend at work. It'll be early next week when I get started. I'll be sure to post the progress...and really apprecieate any more tips as I go!

03-09-2013, 02:54 PM
Its a pleasure to have something useful to pass on to someone else. I've been welding old cars for 30 years.

The welding schools used to start with butt joining two 1/8in plates. You made a V by bevelling the edges at 45. Then filled it with weld. The backing plate/gap trick is the same thing but quicker.

1.6mm metal I regard as THICK. I can do 0.8mm, 22AWG gauge probably. This I do with a Joddler, which leaves one thickness behind the other. But 1.6mm is too thick to Joddle. So I spot on a backing strip.

With the Mig-spots you need a lot of current to get into the layer behind. You should see the wire-end poking through. If you dont then you use two holes adjacent so they break into each other and run a small bead. Done right these can be quickly linished flat.

Have you got one of those sheet cutters that has two big wheels, one knurled on the edge? This can cut 1.6mm without much distortion and beats hand-sawing.

One thing to know is that there tends to be a thin layer, between the metal that stayed cold and the metal that was liquid, that is carbon rich and goes hard. This is where the weld will crack most easily. So I usually try to add some reinforcement to welds that see a lot of cyclic stress.

In some places on the chassis repair I deliberately left 1/2in gaps between the ends of weld beads rather than running continously. This stops a crack running right round.

I clean the welds almost at once using Phosporic acid metal prep. Otherwise in our climate they will rust up overnight.

REMEMBER HIGH CURRENT ON MY WELDER MAY BE MEDIUM ON YOURS. Everything in Europe is weedy compared the the US.


03-10-2013, 04:29 PM
I had to look up what a joddler is. Really cool tool I have to put on my list!

When you are talking about the backing plate, are you talking about a steel backer that stays with the weld permanently, or a copper temporary backer?

The welder I am using is a 185 amp unit, and I have been using the smallest wire it will feed. I know the highest setting with this welder is too hot, but I will definitely try setting above the min to try your technique.

I'm glad you showed up, Al. Very good pointers!

Here are a couple pics. In general, all the rust through is on the bottom. I think the tires went flat and the frame settled into the mud. The top section is pitted where there was no floor to keep the rain off.



I grew up in New Orleans, which has climate similar to England...always damp and frequent rain. Bare metal would rust overnight, even if kept dry. I am now spoiled here in the dry part of Texas. The bare frame as you see in the pictures will not rust at all unless I get water on it. It really makes it easy for long repairs like this frame. Here's the start of my new outrigger...




03-10-2013, 05:04 PM
Nice pictures John. Mine had much worse tin-worm in this area.

If I were doing yours I would cut the side walls on their centre-line and make a new U-shaped bottom. This would put the weld on the neutral bend-axis.

If you imaging a tube supported only at its ends, with a weight in the middle, all the metal above the centre-line in being compressed and all that below is being stretched. The centre does not carry much load.

This is why you see construction beams made with a solid top and bottom but just tie wires criss-cross joining them. Like the wings on a WW1 bi-plane.

I made the backing plates from 18 SWG steel about 1in wide and spot welded them to the edge of the new metal. Same shape as the joddler makes.
Then the plate just slips behind the old metal.

The backing gets trapped by the weld. Basically you weld from the new-metal into the backing and the pickup the old metal. You get off the old metal a bit quick and go back across the backing-plate and pick-up on the new metal again. You are making like quick U-turns picking up the old-metal at the bottom of the U.

By the way I got two types of Joddler. One is two wheels that make a continuous run. The other is like a pair of hand-grips that Joddles 1/2in at a go.

Ask me to photo anything that would be of help.

Your chassis frame looks an easy fix to me. Take a bit of time but it will hone up your skills.


03-10-2013, 06:17 PM
A couple of other things:

Where the bumper irons are bolted to the frame I put a support across the frame made from 1in dia tube.
This means you can tighten the bolts without fexing the frame.

I reckon the frames fail at the end like this because they fill with water if you drive in the rain.
This just the lays for a while in the bottom of the tube.
We get some rain most days but there are not many days it rains ALL day.

This is another reason why I'd make the weld halfway up the side wall.
I also "capped" the ends.

Try the Metal Prep from Frost/Eastwood. It will get all the brown off your frame left by your blaster.
Its phosphoric based and is the ideal pep for painting with POR.


03-10-2013, 06:20 PM
Nice work so far and it looks better cleaned up.....you sandblast it? Al where is the extra support you are talking about for the bumper irons?? Got any photos....

03-10-2013, 06:27 PM
You can see one of these tubes in the photo actually. Its just that mine had gone and I had to re-invent them I realise now.

Anyway its important to ensure you have these and not just bolt-up across the frame faces. It won't go tight.


03-10-2013, 07:50 PM
Ahh ok see it through the eaten up frame photo....I will be on the lookout because that is the same area that I need to attend to as well.

03-11-2013, 01:15 AM
Yep JP, that's straight bare metal after sand blasting with the low-end Northern tool blaster. The parts with a lot of brown showing are the parts that will need to be replaced, as they pitted all the way through with rust.

Al, it gives me comfort to know you fixed a frame in worse shape. I understand what you are saying about moving the seams to the mid-line for strength. I'll try to work that into the heavily rusted sections.

Can't wait to get back to work this week!

03-11-2013, 08:36 AM
Call Mike Weist 717-891-2546

also RATCO in Long Island NY makes new frames

03-22-2013, 10:15 PM
Well, still not done, but got everything but the final weld beads to go. If I never touch another body grinder it will be too soon! I did discover some interesting facts about TR frames...

1. The frame was painted inside. It appears it was dipped after final welding at the factory. Surprised me!
2. Rust is not uniform, as I thought it would be. It attacks in pits, that invariably go deep either from the inside out, or vise versa, but never both.
3. My frame was damaged at the front, allowing water inside. Once in, the only way out was through a single hole in the back of the frame. The result is that an inch or so was puddled inside , likely for years, till it made its own hole out.

Anyway, I think the pics speak for themselves...hope somebody learns something from my pain!




03-22-2013, 10:26 PM
All the original metal was 16 gage, or .063", with the exception of the outrigger mounts, which was originally 14 gage, or .83".

I had a shop cut 14 gage strips that were 2-3/4" by 4', and I used these for all repairs. I don't have a sheer, so cutting was done with a body grinder using a cutoff disc. I don't have a break, so all bending was done using a 6" vise and a hammer.





03-22-2013, 10:31 PM
And continuing...








03-22-2013, 10:53 PM




And this last one is a pic of how it looks after final welding and grinding the bead smooth. By using Al's technique of high heat and dragging the puddle, I was able to get the bead equally thick on both sides...in other words, I got the bead on the front side and back side with one pass. That ensures there is no unbonded metal, with the bonus of being able to take the bead down flush. Once painted the welds will be practically hidden.

For each patch the old gets ground off, the new is cut by grinding, and then the bead gets ground flush...lord I'm tired of grinding!!!


03-22-2013, 10:55 PM
Awesome work John!


03-23-2013, 12:13 AM
Nice fabrication, and welding work, keep it up.

03-23-2013, 07:39 AM
it is not hard to spot talent.....looking good John.

03-23-2013, 10:17 AM
Wow, wonderful work. What are you treating the inside with?


03-23-2013, 12:15 PM
[QUOTE=Anyone got a TR2/3 Frame??

looks like you do!:encouragement:

03-23-2013, 04:13 PM
Thanks guys!

Good question Scott...everywhere I could access, I sprayed with black rustoleum. I sprayed the inside of the patches too.

I don't have a lot of confidence that it will help, though, since the welder heat will inevitably remove some of the paint. I am torn...on the one hand, I may see if it is cost feasible to have the whole frame dipped, like standard did originally. On the other hand, my TR3, finished 1-1/2 years ago has not seen a drop of water since it was finished (it gets wiped down instead of washed), so I doubt the TR2 will ever have a problem with rust! Even if it does get wet, the extra .020" in thickness for the patch steel should give it an extra decade before it rusts out.

I don't think this car would ever have had a corrosion issue in TX, except the bozo PO damaged the frame without plugging the hole, and then parked it for 24 years with flat tires in a mud puddle...uncovered. "whata maroon", to quote Bugs Bunny!

03-23-2013, 05:40 PM
Good lord, I want to make friends with someone like you so that I can learn to weld =P My welding is ugly at best , and just barely good enough for the fabrication that I've had to do with my roadster project

03-24-2013, 02:31 PM
Nice to see you are making progress with this.

Over here we are fighting damp all the time. We fill these chassis tubes with "Waxoyl" or something similar. This is Paraffin-wax dissolved in Naptha.

We block up all the holes and blow it in. Then let out the surplus. DON'T DO IT UNTIL ITS ALL WELDED.

Now you know why I made new tube sections. Or at least you will but the time you have done all the welding.


03-24-2013, 03:17 PM
Al, is the waxoyl black? That may be what I found in the frame...it looks like a gloss black paint with lots of run marks. I didn't try to scrape it to see if it was solid or waxy.

I came very close to having the C sections bent, but most of the rust through is right around where the rail bends, and I couldn't think of a good way to bend the C. Your tip of leaving a small gap really works well. All my worry about warpage was unfounded to. The 16 gage metal is a pleasure to work. It's thin enough to shape with a hammer and dolly, but thick enough to stay stable during welding. Thanks again for the pointers!

03-25-2013, 05:24 AM
Waxoyl is usually brown but we can get black also. Its recently gone outof fashion a bit, because its smelly.

The current favorite is S50 from:

Because you have a gap, leading into a joint, at the bottom where you have repaired this, I would definitely inject wax of some kind.
This will draw up into to joint and vastly improves its survival. The S50 aersol is easy to use. Two cans is enough for a whole frame.

Recently a TR3 rebuilder in UK got carried away with Waxoyling as he worked. Its easy to do it this way. Eventually he came to a halt worried about the whole thing catching fire from the welding. He rigged CO2 injection to prevent this.

Its not actually much of a risk. Done it loads of times on "daily-drivers".

Are you welding the whole distance of the long joints? Or just short runs at regular steps?


07-23-2013, 11:03 PM
Bet everybody thought I was off the job. Well, Surprise! I'm back!

Finally got the frame repaired, painted, and ready to start building on. It's near perfect in the areas that show, and...well...not perfect in the areas that don't show with the body in place. But, at least it's done! A few perspectives.

1) Was it worth the time? No
2) Was it easy? No
3) Would I do it again? Actually, Yes

The sole reason I would do it again is that I can always say the car has the original frame (mostly). And, it was pretty cost effective, since I only invested $70 in 14 gage steel (only used half that) and $100 in sand (builds up the low spots in the yard) and epoxy primer (priceir than pixy dust). I'll have to write off the 3 weeks of labor...as usually in any restoration!?!

https://i1082.photobucket.com/albums/j377/cjdurant/DSC01246.jpg (https://s1082.photobucket.com/user/cjdurant/media/DSC01246.jpg.html)

https://i1082.photobucket.com/albums/j377/cjdurant/DSC01243.jpg (https://s1082.photobucket.com/user/cjdurant/media/DSC01243.jpg.html)

https://i1082.photobucket.com/albums/j377/cjdurant/DSC01253.jpg (https://s1082.photobucket.com/user/cjdurant/media/DSC01253.jpg.html)

My next job that is all labor and no money will be drilling the body panels apart. I'm pretty sure it will be more like the Blue's Brother's car at the end of the movie, where it falls apart...it's in such bad shape.

My plan is to destruct the entire body and start it over on the "new" frame.

But that'll be for a new thread, titled..."Anyone got a TR2 Body"!?!

07-23-2013, 11:19 PM

07-24-2013, 01:37 AM

Must be an unseasonably cool summer in Columbus.....

07-24-2013, 02:31 AM
Wow John - Unbelievable work (and tenacity) given what you started with in the first post. You are truly returning a TR2 from the grave.


07-24-2013, 08:48 AM
Tenacity...I like that. Sort of like the old Chief in "Outlaw Jose Whales", who was told to "endeavor to persevere"! Just hope I don't get "bit" by this zombie after it comes back from the grave.

That Ohio frame looks decent...it's the shipping to TX that kills it.

07-24-2013, 12:01 PM
Dang, Kevin. Beat me to it

07-24-2013, 04:19 PM
That's too nice to put a body on. I would be very proud if it was my frame.

07-24-2013, 07:40 PM
Very Nice Work and well worth the effort.

07-25-2013, 09:31 AM
Wow. Very nice. -I was just starting to think I was an overachiever.

I hope you often have the chance to say 'it's the original frame', just to make it worth your while.

07-25-2013, 10:06 PM
I hope you often have the chance to say 'it's the original frame', just to make it worth your while.

That's my usual pick-up line for the babes...at my age they really go for an "original frame"!

07-27-2013, 09:59 PM
try this guy. Team Triumph 330 394 7176

07-28-2013, 06:50 PM
Dang John....I got to sub you out to finish my frame...REALLY NICE...you are made for this stuff. I hope to have a garage by fall to get all my TR3 parts consolidated.....ohh with better insulation and maybe a lift.....

07-29-2013, 04:25 PM
Awesome work. Look forward to following the rest of this story....