Tuesday, December 26, 2006

10CR Co-driver quest

Well my RBRR co-driver Andy can't make the 10CR (wedding anniversary and a conscience) so I've been quietly looking for a co-driver to help me take the Vitesse up the mountains and round the 'ring. Trouble is there are loads of people out there who'll do it but who would you trust with your car and who can you sit next to for days on end talking bollocks and getting lost? So in the best tradition of finding mates to do daft things with I was having a few beers at a neighbour's house on Christmas day when a co-driver came into view. The kids round here are a good lot of lads, we've not seen any neons but we have seen Corsas and Clios, Fiestas and Peugeot 106's - oh and a lovely VW Golf GTI turbo nutter bastard thingy. That Golf is driven by Joe, one of the older sons of the neighbourhood. Anyway, Joe's always taken an interest in fast cars and my cars as well, Christmas day was no exception, we'd last spoken over a broken crank and an engine in a thousand pieces so we were catching up. Chatting away about the next run, the 10CR it was clear Joe was interested in having a go, especially when I said I was looking forward to a lap of the Nurburgring. So later on, when we were all marginally more sober, Joe came over to say he was definitely interested and so I've got a co-driver :-)
I think Joe will be a good co-driver, he likes a bit of speed, is keen, fairly young and stupid, used to staying up all ours (works shifts as a copper) and has never driven a Triumph before - ideal!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Watching carefully

I'm watching the Canley Classics - Blog avidly as Dave is preparing a 948 for his daughter's first car. My daughter has expresed an interest in getting a car and I've explained that if she wants me to maintain it, it will be a Triumph and more than likely a Herald :-) We've got a fair while yet but in less than 2 years she'll be on the road so I'm just keeping an eye out for the right car - a Coupe is her preference or maybe a convertible but she'll have what I can find and afford - the sweetener to it all is that I made a rash promise a few years ago, they have long memories these Chinn girls! I said I would paint it any colour she likes and yes, Pink is the colour she likes!
My ideal would be to find a straight original car with crap paint and use that - it won't be a bare metal paint job and I may well do it myself - I have the equipment and it could be fun. I don't mind a it of graft on it but not a complete restoration so something that's been sat around for a while and needs recommissioning would be good. She'll want a banging stereo and some nice wheels plus some garish interior but all that can come after we get the basics sorted. I'm fairly relaxed about finding a car, I have agonised about doing this to a car but then I thought that if it introduces a youngster to Triumph ownership then it can only really be a good thing. Judging by the prices of some of our cars these days and the numbers being restored I think it's worth a bit of effort to get something eyecatching on the road.
We have the added incentive that, thanks to Grandparents, Zoe goes to a school where many of the kids get given a new car when they come to driving age, the weapon of choice seems to be a Mini Cooper, usually with a personal plate. Yes it's that kind of place - so unable to compete with sheer cash, she'll have to just show them that money can't buy style and individuality :-) Who needs a personal plate when you've got a personal car? Besides, you can't even stand out in the crowd with an Aston Martin DB9 - there were 3 parked there the last time we had an event and with a Bentley dealership in the village you won't stand out in a Continental either - whereas go there in a Wegdgewood Blue 6 pot Spitfire or a Yellow Vitesse and you immediatley stand out for the price of a weeks depreciation on an Aston!
Skint and smug with it, that's me :-)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The engine is back!

Just got back from Canleys with my engine and the bill :-) I'm really pleased with the outcome and although it's been a bit of a roller coaster - finding things that lead to more new bits etc - I'm philosophical about it. We didn't just replace everything and hang the expense, we carefully selected the best of the two and half engines I had. In the end the basic spec was pretty reserved, it's built for reliability. The original head's been reworked with all new valves and unleaded seats, new spring caps etc. The Mk1 rocker gear was pretty worn, the shaft is scored and so I'll use a good Mk2 set I have - I'll strip it down and check it first but it looks good. The block's the original - the cross drilled cranks and early rods are topped with new pistons which were pretty much spot on and didn't need machining - they pop-up into the gasket (Dave did give me the measurement but I forgot it!). Everything was balanced, inc clutch. The rods did need quite a bit of work but the crank was very close. Rings were carefully gapped, all new bearings etc The original TH2 cam was fine and went back in, timed up - interestingly this now looks to jave been about 1/2 a tooth out because it's not in the same position as the original. New chain, tensioner and crank sprocket were used as were new high tensile bolts for the timing gear. Most of the hardware was renewed, I've got some lovely stretched main bearing cap bolts, I'll take some better photos as these really are amazing!
I've got to paint it and build the ancilliaries up to go on it etc. I had intended to have the engine bay cleaned up and chassis painted by now but that hasn't happened, I'll do it before I put the engine back in.
Seeing the engine back in the garage has brought me some enthusiasm to get on with it again, especially as Dave's done such a good job on the engine.
More on the blog in the weeks to come, if work and Christmas allow :-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fame at last - the engine rebuild laid bare

Take a trip over to the Canley Classics - Blog for new of my engine - Dave's working his magic on the pile of bits I dumped on his doorstep a few weeks ago.
Avid Blog readers will know I snapped the crank on my 6 pot - without really trying. This engine came with the car and had done sterling service with the previous owner - I'd not had my hands in it and apart from a little concern about crank case pressure (it could blow a little oil on a long trip) it was a strong performer, could easily pull some seriously quick manouvres and has been reliable. I'd added fuel injection and that did reveal marginal engine vacuum (Lucas PI likes strong vac) but I'd not had the change to actually test it - I bought the vac gauge a few days before the crank snapped.

Anyhoo - Dave's finding some interesting things in there, I'm surprised at the oil pump as the one thing that was always remarkable about the original engine was the great oil pressure.

Dave asked if he could put details of the rebuild on his Blog as a sort of technical news item, I'm happy for that to be happen. The engine's had a fairly hard life, it's done track days and Santa Pod, Round Britain Runs and two Sod Off runs (Club Triumph members will know what I'm talking about there) it's been uses to lug a very loaded car to the Isle of Wight a couple of times too. It's had fuel injection tested and retested on it and witnessed a blown diff and a broken rear spring in it's use. That's not to mention the fact that it's my fun car, so I enjoy it, to the full - it sounds great when nailled so ... I nail it!

The most alarming photo I think is the one of the stretched main bearing cap bolt - this must have taken some serious abuse with the torque wrench when it was assembled. Dave says there were bolts from different manufacturers used - he's replaced them all with new bolts.

I'll have to be more considered when I use the car this time around, a careful running in will be needed and then I can finish setting up the PI system - I was nearly there I think. Trouble is, I needed a long run to test it all properly, the RBRR was to be that test. No matter, it's a good learning experience and whilst the bill will be painful it'll be worth it in the end :-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What a plonker!

I made a schoolboy error last night, I was driving up to Newcastle from Reading for work - I'd dropped off at Cheltenham to see my Gran who's in hospital there following a fall. I was on my way to buy Dave Pearson a pint and needed to fill up with diesel. I pulled up and selected the nozzle, I remember looking at the pump and thinking "Not the premium stuff, the cheapo stuff will do" as I was filling up the pump cut out a couple of times then my phone rang. I needed to take the call so I put the nozzle aside and went into the shop, took my call and paid for the twenty quid of fuel, jumped back in the car and called Dave to tell hime I was on my way. The car then seemed to missfire but ran OK, it didn't feel right, crappy fuel perhaps I thought. I saw a BP station and as I still needed a tankful I pulled in, filled up with diesel, bought some food and jumped back in the car, it turned over but wouldn't start.
It then hit me, the first fuel I had put in was petrol! Checked the receipt - yup, what a plonker!
Phoned RAC, patrol turned up in 20 mins, full of doom and gloom but within 3.5 hours of my first call I was on my way again - the RAC contractor came out and said they were doing loads of these and a Toyota was easy - 20 mins job he said, and it was!
Whilst chatting to the recovery chap about a brown Herald he had towed in it turned out he was a past Triumph owner. He'd had a Ford metalic blue Ginnall TR7 v8 with a 3.9 engine. His wifes made him sell it a few years ago, he missed it.
So after a cup of coffee and achat about TR7s, Heralds and what you could use contaminated diesel/petrol for, I was on my way again. Didn't get to Newcastle until nearly midnight but I got there in the end.
Stupid things is I have driven a diesel car for 6 years and over 120,000 miles and alll it took was a moment's distraction.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I am selling off a collection of old car mags, when I get a bit bored I go through a pile, see what I want to keep and list the rest on eBay. I can't bring myself to chuck them and I've tried to get the kids involved in listing them on eBay but they just can't be bothered. So I'm doing it! Anyway - I was thumbing through Classic & Sportscar, September 1989 when what do I see? John Wolley on full chat in 6003VC on the Pirelli Marathon. This Vitesse is a car now in the collection of Canley Classics' "full time Triumph enthusiast" Dave Pearson - so here you are Dave, I'll bring the mag up for you when I am next passing.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The test of a good supplier is what they do when things go wrong

I bought some braided hose and fittings to remake the clutch master to slave pipe - I've never liked it in solid pipe and having seen a few in flexi pipe I though - "I'll have some of that". So I satrted shopping around a bit and got totally confused with pipe sizse (thanks to Dave Powel for the tutorial, much appreciated). Anyway, I found what I needed at www.rallydesign.co.uk and put in an order - I was impressed with their prices but not their postage costs which I thought where expensive - but hey! You pays yer money you takes yer choice.
So the package arrived and a neighbour signs for it - she brings it over that afternoon and I unpack - bummer, the pipe is damaged, looks like someone has dropped something on it and crushed it - as it was coiled up it's put a nice pinch in the pipe every 8 inches or so. No good - so I emailed them and got an auto reply saying emails might not be responded to immediately - so I called them. Explained the situation to a chap there who said they couldn't do anything with the courier as the package had been signed for as OK. Grrrr - that expensive delivery option wasn't worth squat. However, he said he appreciated it was no fault of mine and he'd get a new length of pipe out ASAP for me, the next day it arrived (60p's worth of Royal Snail - better than the £8.50 Citylink!) and all is well with the world again.
Now I can do my clutch pipe expertiments - if this works I'll sort out the other pipes I don't like the look of :-) I also bought an eBay special pipe flaring tool, then discovered I have a complete brake pipe set in the garage! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I've got fans!

Two plastic ones to be precise - thanks to Paul Bodium and Andy Cook for throwing some fans my way. They look the same but they aren't so I wonder which one is identical??!!?
I've just been given a new project at work so I'd better finish the DIY and get back to work - well after I've been out in the garage to sort out the little job under the Vitesse hood!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Paddy Hopkirk's World Cup Rally 2.5 PI for sale - only 1650 quid!

Well there I was just browsing through a couple of old car mags I'd bought on eBay. I was a little disappointed in the one I had in my hand, it didn't have the information in I was looking for so I flicked to the classifieds, you often see interesting things back there and true enough, there it was, somthing indeed very interesting - an advert for XJB392H. If you click on the picture it should open up to a full size image for you, in case you can't read it it says

"World-Cup Rally Triumph 2.5 PI Saloon, April 1970. This actual car was driven into 4th place in teh gruelling World Cup Rally by Paddy Hopkirk, Tony Nash and Nevilel Johnston. This car was prepared by British Leyland Special Tuning Division at a cost exceeding £6,000. Modifications are far too numerous to list, but include group 5 tuned TR6 engine, developing 200 bhp, 4 speed close ratio gear-box with overdrive on all 4 gears. Limited slip diff. 6 1/2 J Minilite wheels, 4 Bendix fuel pumps, aluminium body panels, full roll cage, double skin seam-welded body shell, etc. This car has been completely re-prepared at a cost of £700 and is now in pe-rally condition and capable of winning the toughest of national and international rallies. Now offered having only covered a genuine 20,000 miles at a fraction of it's cost with fully documented history, comprehensive spares and tools, at only £1650. PLEASE no time-wasters or stupid offers."

Interestingly the car looks like it's been completely repaired - it was quite bashed about the front end on teh World Cup Rally. "having only covered a genuine 20,000 miles" - I love it, the World Cup was an 18,000 mile rally - so what they were saying is that it's had the wheel driven off it for all of it's life! The garage was in Coventry Road Bulwell, which I think is Nottingham - I've never of them before.

I know where the car now rests and I know there's a few people trying to wrestle it from its current owner - I think he wants more than £1650 for it now though!

In the same magazine there's a '64 Lotus Cortina with 120 BHP, alloy panels and all the right bits for £450!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Old photos revisited

A while back I bought a "job lot" of old rally photos, Triumph 2.5 PI stuff mainly. One of them was this one, see my Blog entry back in June 2005 - http://chinn.blogspot.com/2005/06/this-one-has-caption-roy-fiddler-and.html Anyway, whilst trawling eBay I chanced upon this colour version of the photo on the cover of Autosport
eBay.co.uk: AUTOSPORT 25/11/1966 RAC RALLY '67 INT RACING CALENDER (item 260043098734 end time 26-Oct-06 09:19:19 BST) so I bought it - not sure why I paid four quid for it but then the red mist descends and "I want it!" fever sets in - you know how it is. I really must stop doing this :-) I also bought a few more magazines from this chap, they should be here soon and I'll post anything interesting here in due course. Oh and here's the colour picture for when this post gets old and the eBay link expires .

UPDATE 4/11/06
The magazine arrived and it does have some detail that really nails this one - unusual to have all your questions answered like this!
"Rough Country Motoring reminiscent of many of the special stages of this weeks RAC Rally: the Triumph 2000 of Roy Fidler slithers through a sharp left-hander in the recent TV autocross meeting. Fidler was out-accelerated at the start and his screen was covered with mud, so Good Samaritan Grahame White came to his aid with a neatly aimed bucket of water to increase his visibility a little." Photo Peter Burn

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Motor change completed

Well it was really sickening when the motor went bang, the wife was upset, even the kids noticed. I explored the professional options to fixing it but they were just too expensive, it was effectively a total loss!
I couldn't have that, it had been with me a long time and hell! I liked it - so I decided to fix it myself. New engine from eBay and several hours work and it was done. I did have to strip it down to it's component parts though, I took it apart just about as far as you can go, I even replaced some other bits and bobs and cleaned it all - it's back together and back in service now :-)

And here she is in all her glory!

Yeah so Mr Dyson, I know you are the Devil for you designed this feindish contraption to never be disassembled by a layman - but screw you! I did it and won - I never had a manual just the phone help from an ace guy on the Isle of Wight - Malc the Dyson Doctor :-) www.dysondoctor.net

Now I just need the Vitesse to be that "simple"!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A few days away and 1000 bhp

I' ve taken the family down to Penzance for a few days to see some friends. It can rain here, a lot! Chris is into his American cars - two Chevy pick-ups and a Dodge van currently. He used to have a Shelby Mustang GT500 - a real handful but he traded that for some cash and a chopped Chevy truck.
Being a lifelong fan of Yank tanks he knew he wanted a little more power so he went fot the 1000 hp crate motor, mahoosive blower and a 400 hp twin tank nitrous system!!
Here's the frame and engine, the truck was a little more together when I went to see it with some nice paintwork and detail - he reccons Christmas will se it out of the garage and on the street. More photos when I get home tomorrow and can pull them off the camera.
So, I got my petrol head fix whilst I was down here :-)

I also notice whilst I was away that some wag "borrowed" my Club Triumph identity and put up a few baffling posts - I think it was Dave Pearson (or maybe Jason Lee) from Canley Classics - I will have to look them in the eye when I'm next there and see who it was! The attempt at outing me as a soft furnishing loving ballroom dancer might have worked were it not for the poor grammar and punctuation. I'm not the best at sentence construction but I ain't that bad!

I'm still formulating a retalliation plan :-)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Taking stock, assessing, scrapping and making lists

After 2 days in the garage on the weekend collecting together the accumulated detritus of a lifetime's Triumph fiddling I packed everything remotely useful into my Dad's people carrier. I then slugged it up the motorway to Canley Classics to see Dave Pearson for some help - after contemplating my broken crank and trying to assess how it failed, why it failed and what were the consequences, we came up some explanations. It didn't fail in the main bearing, it failed near the big end but not where you'd expect. The crank had some nice radiuses on the journals and all seemed in order there - it wasn't in the best condition wear wise but nothing that would cause a failure. What we did find was that No 6 piston had touched the cylinder head - this was a zero deck to piston crown set up so you don't need much movement before you get contact. It was hard to see if this contact had occurred because the crank snapped or was this contact there and caused the crank to snap? We'll never really know for sure but what was evident was that the pistons were scrap. I'm not using those awful rods either - they are the late type heavy ones (with a hole in them) and I have a good set of early lighter ones to go in - the replacement set have not been buggered about with either.
Every top ring bar one was broken when I pulled the pistons, this would account for some of the crankcase pressure I had. Now a PI needs good vacuum otherwise it runs over rich so I will carefully gap the rings when it goes back together. The cross drilled crank looks good, it looks like it's never been out of the engine and is factory spec - I'll get the oilways teardropped, and give it a grind and balance. The clutch cover and plate will go round again, the flywheel ring gear is marginal so I'm going to throw a lightened flywheel on it with a new ring. The engine came with alloy front and back plates, I don't think the budget allows for an alloy water pump casing though, would be nice but you can't have it all!
The cam and followers looked OK - one is showing signs of wear so I'll probably just replace that one. The cam isn't anything too lairy but I liked it's nice wide tractable power band and the fact that you can drive it in traffic - I mustn't forget that my wife uses this car on the school run sometimes so it needs to be driveable in traffic! Timing gear looks good and will be re-used with a new chain. As for the head there is plenty of valve seat recession so unleaded seats and some new valves will sort that, the inlets look OK but I haven't stripped it down yet. I have a spare Vitesse big valve head that'll go on eBay to help fund this project - it's not cracked and is ready to fit or be "unleaded".
I'm also taking this opportunity to fix the gearbox, shagged synchro on second means you can beat it if you're not paying attention, rapid down changes are not a good idea. I will also cure the slight oil leak at the front. When I get it home I will tidy up the overdrive and reversing light wiring. I always hate the way this hangs there in a mess so I'll make up some new wires, bind them in loom tape and tidy them up properly.
Once all this is put together with new gaskets and is oil tight I am going to treat it all to synthetic lubrication after a little careful running in and hang the expense!


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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cam identified

Thanks to Paul Bodiam I think we have identified the cam as a Kent Sports R profile.

Application - Sports ' R '
Power Band - 2500-6500
Cam Lift(mm) - 6.62
Valve Lift(mm) - I 9.69 E 9.69
Duration - 295 Deg
Timing - 39/76 76/39
Full Lift - 108 Deg
VC (mm) - I 0.56 E 0.61
LTDC - I 2.18mm

Whatever all that means!

The TH2 isn't listed in the tuning books I have but then I don't know much about cams so wouldn't really know what's similar. I'll get measuring to make sure that's what it is but seems likely.

Interesting find - what is this?

I'm stripping down the spare engine, it's an MG prefix (recessed block) 2.5 that came with PI attached and fitted in my old Vitesse - a car that had had a very hard life and subsequently was broken up.
Anyhoo - I'm stripping down the engine and I see that the crank is not the same as the one I took out of the Vitesse - it appears to have been cross drilled with two large oil holes and the original smaller hoil hole countersunk and plugged - nice work too. The crank and rods appear to be otherwise standard - now I don't consider myself an expert on these things so what have I got?
I also found a few spares I had forgotten about including a couple of heads and sets of rockers, also some 2.5 pushrods and a wealth of new bits - this must have been my stash for the old car - gasket sets, oil seals etc - amazing what you find when you go digging about!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I've become a stripper

Of engines!

Here's the crank in all it's broken glory :-)

Next we have a shot of the rods - this is how they were balanced, bit of a mess really.

Another shot of those rods, interestingly the crank show no signs of being balanced at all - there are none of these brutal grinder marks on it and no sign it's ever been fettled apart from it seems to be on a -20 grind.

And here is the pile of bits slowly growing - you probably can't see here but the thrusts are the modern type with a very thin layer of copper coloured metal. This is showing it's wear rather badly in parts.

Next the pistons, I was surprised to find all but one top ring was broken, some fell off in three pieces - incorrectly gapped when fitted maybe? They were supplied when the engine was balanced (on the same invoice).

The cam looks fine, the followers look OK but one appears to be just showing some wear so I think a new set is needed.

I need to identify this cam as it's something of an unknown quantity. It has the number 4 MC 24333 on the shaft and on flat end it has stamped KC TH2. Any ideas?

Now to see what the spares situation is like!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Well there's your problem Sir!

As I suspected, the crank is busted! Pulled the engine out today, stripped it down and this is what fell out when I undid No4 main. She's conclusively fubar! I'll have to strip the rest down to see what if anything is salvageable but it's dark outside and when this dropped out it landed on my inspection lamp!! I may have a look at the spare engine and see what's in that - pull the crank and make sure it's OK - I'll get it ground anyway but it's been my spare for 15 years and I never heard it run in the first place :-)

Here's what the rest of the crank looks like, hard to tell what's fubar but it doesn't look bad to be honest - click the image for a full size pic. The rod and main bearing cap look OK, the thrusts are toast but otherwise it's not looking hopeless.

One thing I will need is a new fan, I managed to break a blade on the plastic fan :-( I like that fan - I do have a metal/ali one but it's a bit knocked about.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Snappy crank strip down

Couldn't get the engine hoist until later so stripped down the ancilliaries off the block in situ, it highlights how messy the engine had become, too much use and not enough cleaning :-) I was feeling pretty down whilst I was doing this - pulling off all the injection I'd spent so long putting on and getting right. Removed the metering unit - they are a bigger to time wen you refit them :-( removed the rad, alternator etc - I've left the oil cooler draining in a bowl, will pull that off fully tomorrow and clean it all up.
I've stashed the parts in the garage loft, out of the way and to give me some room to work. When it stops pissing down (tomorrow) I'll get the complete exhaust off and roll the car out onto the driver where I'll hoist the engine out and roll it all back in. I can then mount the engine on a stand and turn it over for a good look at the crank and assess how much of the bottom end is scrap.
I've got most of the parts to build a replacement, just need some machining - I hope the block, pistons and rods are OK but there's no gurantees - the crank is flailing around so it could have fubar'd the block or bearing caps.
Have had a chat with Dave at Canley's and will take the gearbox up there for a check over and freshen up whilst it's out of the car.
I pulled off the exhaust wrap, that stuff is nasty, falls apart and makes you itch!! The exhaust is flakey but not too bad so I think I'll sand blast it and get some VHT paint - black methinks :-)
I can spend some time cleaning, painting and tarting up the ancilliaries in the next few weeks. I can also clean the engine bay and do some tidying up there - cables and pipes etc. I would like to replace the clutch hydraulics or at least service them.

Whilst doing this I realsied I need another clear out in the garage - so watch ebay for some bits and bid, I need the money! First up will the carb set up - I'm not going back to carbs, I've seen the light. ANyone want a Malpassi fuel pressure regulator?

Hmm - snapped the crank!

Well that was fun - having stripped out the gearbox and flywheel I couldn't see any issues with bolts etc - there was play though. I then reattached teh flywheel and started it up - wow, what a noise! Turned that off quickly!!
So, it appears that the crank is indeed broken, it feels like it's at the end - you can wiggle it around.

Some stuff I want to do whilst the car's off the road includes
  • fitting valve seats to the head
  • changing the push rods for 2.5 ones
  • changing the rocker pedestals for MkII ones
  • maybe renewing the rocker shaft
  • repairing the manifold and collector
  • re-wrapping the manifold properly - undecided on this, have heard that it's not a good idea on mild steel manifolds - this is a Gareth Thomas/Mike the Pipe example
  • change the exhaust for a single pipe system (anyone want a twin system? Make me an offer before I eBay it)

Engine choices?

  • Pull the engine, salvage what I can and replace the crank (I have spare, needs regrinding), replace bearings etc and put it all back together in the same block - that's assuming it's all reuseable which it may not be!
  • Build up my spare 2.5 engine and drop that in - this is just a standard 2.5, not decked. I could pull the cam from my present engine and reuse that though.
  • Build up with a 2 litre crank and head (I think I have a head!) for a revvy engine
  • Buy a second hand lump and throw it in
  • Buy a car with a nice engine and whip that out

First things first, I need to scavenge an engine crane off my brother in law and pull the engine out - I can then put it on the stand and turn it over to have a look at the crank proper - photos soon!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The strip down commences

I got stuck in today and pulled the gearbox off - the flywheel was securely bolted to the crank - nothing wrong with the bolts. The clutch cover and plate are fine. The flywheel is fine. The crank is moving - is it possible it's snapped?
I had to come in and get cleaned up for kid ferrying duties so that was as far as I got - this is looking expensive.
Other thoughts are that a main bearing has let go in a major way, allowing the brank to move. One thing is for certain, this is gonna take some time and money to fix.

So, options? I have a spare 2.5 engine, stripped down. I could throw this together to get the car moving again. Meanwhile I could then strip and rebuild the lump that's in it. I could just pull what's in it and rebuild that. I also have a 2 litre block and crank - maybe make up a 2 litre PI?

There's the other jobs that will be done with this off the road opportunity - fit some unleaded seats to the head and renew the second gear synchro in the gear box. Both not really major jobs now :-)

Also, I could use the opportunity to sort out the exhaust system - I would like to go to a single pipe, large bore, single rear silencer. I can also fix the manifold/collector once and for all!

Lots to think about - I now need to go find the money!!

I couldn't resist

The strip down has started - well I just went out and pulled off the starter motor so take a look atthe flywheel. Yup, it moves!! There's rotational movement, a good 3 or 4 mil - thos isn't turning the complete crank (crank could be broken!) so I think I'm losing my flywheel bolts - or have lost some. Time to strip the tunnel out and pull the gearbox for a proper look and repair. Hope the flywheel isn't toast. Now building a mental list of nits in my head - ARP flywheel bolts and thread lock are at the top of it I think!

Monday, October 09, 2006

A good photo opportunity :-)

Lands End, Saturday morning.
For more CT bloggers have a look at the CT homepage or for photos of the run, take a look at the CT Albums  Posted by Picasa

And so it began

Here's Andy Cook's GT6 that, with 20 mins of preparation, has just completed the Club Triumph 2006 Round Britain Reliability Run. I'm greatful to Andy for his faith in the car, his companionship on the run an his "foot down and rag it!" driving style :-)
This photo was taken after the 20 mins of preparation, that included pulling the stickers off my shamed Vitesse and whacking them on the GT6 Posted by Picasa

Gutted, elated and knackered!

Just a quick post to say I completed the RBRR on the weekend - but not in the Vitesse!
Driving to Co-driver Andy's house, some 15-20 miles away, that vibration at speed started to get worse and was at any speed. So bad was it that I really didn't think I was going to make it. When I pulled up at Andy's the car sounded like a meat grinder full of spanners - something at the front of the gearbox/back of the engine was seriously wrong - the noise was there at tickover, clutch in or out. Everything else worker but it was clear we were going nowhere in this car - GUTTED!
So what to do now? Go home and take the wife's Sixfire? Or take Andy's GT6 - neither cars had been prepared. "Mine just needs an oil change" said Andy - so that's what we did! We spend 20 mins preparing the car - changed oil and filter, topped up the fluids and went.
The car never missed a beat all through the event, we ran towards the front of the field, arriving at most controls early and getting some sleep before the control opened. I am seriously impressed with Andy's car!
As for mine, well my brother-in-law and I will collect in on a trailer tonight and I'll start tearing into it immediatley.
The possibilities are endless but I think it's either clutch cover disintegrating, flywheel coming loose or crank bearings seriously busted!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Buckle up!

Well the last jobs have been done, the stickers are on, the spares and tools are in and the windows are waxed :-) I haven't gone mad with the tools and spares as I figure if anything breaks it's going to be major and, well I will probably not be trying to fix it at the side of the road. I've got the usual silly little fixes and odds and sods in case we have a minor mishap but there's a limit to what you can carry before you start loading the thing up too much. I mean I've got enough crap, err spares, here to fill the boot. However, I figure that just puts more strain on the car and could encourage a failure. Anything I was suspicious of I have either checked, adjusted, replaced or am carrying a spare.
So, I'm just going to make myself a cup of coffee and relax a bit before some lunch and a trip down to Basingstoke to pick up Andy my co-driver. From there it's about an hour to the Plough - should be there around 3 or 3:30pm ready for a bit of socialising and then the big off at 7pm.
100 Triumphs all raring to go, I am excited! I'm really looking forward to 100 finishers, all covered in road grime and well used at the finish on Sunday - we will be there, with stories to tell and looking like the walking dead :-) Love it!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A little distraction

My eldest daughter Zoe has spent today in the rain and mud with the Pangbourne College CCF. This is how I collected her, complete with mud in hair and commo cream everywhere. They even gave them guns to play with although as she hasn't done her range safety course, she didn't get any bullets! Posted by Picasa

Stick it!

Last few jobs to do today - when the rain stops I'll wash the car and stick the stickers on. I've put in my new fangled Iridium spark plugs - bought on a whim from www.summitracing.com. As Bill Goodwin was coming over form the US I took the opportunity to get a set at less than half the UK price - I also sourced a couple of high flow fuel filters to try - I'll pack them as spares but I won't mess with the current set-up as it seems to be working fine now I've changed the tank plumbing.
In other Triumph news today - I got an email out of the blue from the guy who built my old Vitesse KRN555H about 4 owners before I acquired it as a "thrice abandoned project" - I've replied to him and we'll see where that goes. He's only a few miles from me and currently building an Aston!
Oh and I found out yesterday that I won't be being made redundant, not this week anyway, there'll be more reorganisations for that but I live to fight another day - exactly what I'll be doing and where remains to be seen but I still have a job. It's almost what I wanted - we'll see where they deploy me as I work very well when doing something I believe in and very badly (if at all) when deployed to something I see no value in! Probably one of the main reasons I made a lousy serviceman!
So, I'd better do some real work now :-)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Bill Goodwin flew over from the States yesterday, I picked him up at Heathrow and put him up for the night - we went out in the Vitesse to collect an eBay purchase, pick up my daugher and then on to my TSSC Area meeting.
A new sender arrived from Canley's (thanks Dave!) and we now have a working fuel gauage - result!
This was the furthest the car's been with my newly tweaked metering unit and it seems much better although the timing now appears to be a little off!! It idles better and faster - I've turned that down a bit. It seems to rev better throughout the range but that vibration is still there and I am now paranoid about that! It seems to be engine related but there aren't any other symptoms. I can't see anything amiss. I suppose I can look on the bright side, if it is internal (clutch/flywheel/gearbox/bearings) then there's naff all I can do about it now!
I'll get the timing light on the car later and see what it looks like, I've retarded it just driving around, 8 clicks of the adjuster from the 14 degrees advance it was running - no idea what that is in degrees now so will check later.
Need to
  • re-torque the wheel nuts
  • change the plugs for my new go faster Iridium plugs that Bill brought over from the States
  • pack tools
  • wash and wax the car
  • apply stickers
and thats about as far as I'm going to go with the car. Now for some personal preparation, I have a mystery injury that I need to get some pain relief for. I woke up on Saturday to this - I really have no idea how I did it, what it is or why my foot is now purple.
It doesn't hurt that much unless I move it from side to side. Trouble is, it's my clutch foot. I guess it'll be OK with enough pain killers. I'll pop down the local chemists for some snake oil or wonder drug later on today.
If you see me hobbling round at the start say hello, just don't kick my ankle please!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

T'was a good day

I've done all the dirty jobs, after yesterday's stupidity I even managed to have only one mishap! I was topping up the gearbox oil, always a pain to do without a ramp from below. As I was struggling under the car, wriggling to get into the best position I managed to put the back of my head in a drip tray! That wasn't so bad but as I felt the cold oil in the tray on the back of my head I pulled my head up and whacked my forehead on the exhaust clamp! I've just come out of the shower having washed my head in Swafega!
I really should cut a hole in the transmission tunnel so I can top up the box from inside the car - like the Sixfire. I also realised that this car's never had any insulation in the cardboard tunnel - I may sort that out but not now, post RBRR maybe.
I've replaced all the rear studs and all the wheel nuts with new. Not that they were obviously knackered but I did have an episode when I found a couple of loose wheel nuts and I thought better safe than stuffed in the armco with a wheel adrift. The RBRR is great for energising you to get all those jobs done you've been meaning to do.
So there's not a lot left to do - replace that sender unit when the new one arrives, wash and wax the car and whack some stickers on. Oh yes, and drive 2000 miles in 48 hours - gulp!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Today's learning

An oil change is an easy thing to do, provided you have the right tools.
  • Draining your oil into a square flat pan is a good idea
  • But not if it has a crack in it and lest the oil out almost as fast as it goes in
  • Pouring the oil out of the pan into an old oil can is a good idea
  • But not if your funnel gets blocked and the oil spills out over the top
  • Hammering a screw driver into the spin on oil filter is one way of getting purchase on it to get it off
  • Hammering two holes causes oil to squirt out of one hole into your eye
  • Staggering about the garage with oil in your eye looking for a rag to wipe your face on is OK
  • Unless you to kick over an old oil container full of waste oil that you forgot to put the top on

As you can tell, today I have been learning that I should not play with oil first thing in the morning.

It's all cleared up now, ready for some trunnion oiling - another messy job! Trouble is today I have some family stuff to do that entails me getting dressed in tidy clothes - same tomorrow! Snatching a couple of hours at the car here and there will have to do.

I also replaced those H4 P43t pattern bulbs with my nice new eBay specials - the correct bulbs for my bowls - H4 P45t 100 watt mains, 80 watt dips.

I have ditched my locking wheel nuts for standard ones, no use making it complicated if I have to change a wheel in the dark. I have a new set of nuts so I can change them all and consign the old ones to spares. I also have a new set of studs for the rear, I will try and change them too - the car puts a lot of power through those 8 studs.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sucky sucky ten bucks?

Bought myself a vacuum gauge off eBay for a tenner - we'll see just how much this engine sucks and how well it stacks up to the factory figures. You see a PI relies on good vacuum to adjust the fule delivery - something I am now accutely aware of following Guru Pearson's wise teachings. (James, where's that photo??)
Playing with the metering unit today I found the right feeler gauge to insert between the datum and the roller by trial and error - it's a metric feeler with "20" on it so I'm guessing .2 of a millimeter? That converts to 0.007874 of an inch which bears little resmblence to the "couple of thou" comments from the Guru - I hope I've done it right!
I ran the car for a while with the feeler gauge inserted, a bit of gaffer tape could have held it in ofr a drive around but I decided that it seemed so much better that it's was there or there abouts. Any bigger and the engine died, any smaller and the effect was negligable.
So I set the engine at TDC, took the metering unit of the distributor drive and carefully put a mark on the rotor so that if I did move it accidentally at least I could get it back to where it was meant to be!
I also replaced those suspect banjo bolts whilst the MU was out of the car, impossible to do with it situ.
The feeler gauge was cut and stuck with Araldite rapid, I left it a good 20 mins before reassembly and reconnection. All went well and she fired up quite easily after that - a little coughing and spluttering whist the air cleared from the fuel lines but sounded fine. I had changed all the plugs for some new ones I had "in stock" so I'll take the car out for a thrash and see what the effects are - will the plugs be black??
Here's a photo if the modification, the red wire is just holding the rollers hard back against the datum point so I could get in there with the cut feeler gauge and the araldite. Click on the photo to get it full size and you can clearly see the piece of feeler gauge :-)

Fuel Gauge fault traced

The full story is that the gauge worked fine for years. I took the tank out and welded in a new bigger bore outlet for the PI, washing the tank and generally having it at all sorts of angles in the process. I think the gauge worked fine after that but immediately I'd done the welding I replaced the tacho cable and disturbed the instruments in the process. The gauge then read zero so I pulled it out and found a dodgy earth, I put a new terminal on the earth (I think this is the earth for the light and nothing to do with gauge operation). So then the gauge read full (wrongly but I thought it was OK).
Last night my brother in law came round (I'm recovering some lost data from his laptop for him) and so I pressed him into fault finding service - he used to race a Vitesse in the early 90's and is a lifelong Porsche technician so he can be very useful :-) Testing voltages and resistances, pulling wires off the sender and joining them together all indicated that there was an intermittent fault with the sender. As the tank was quite empty I could pull the sender out and sure enough, the fine wire of the variable resistor was broken.
There was nothing at all wrong with the gauge!
We tried to solder a repair but the old wire refused to take any solder so in a bodge I managed to weave some fuse wire into the right place and got the sender working. We reassembled it all and it seems to be OK - I'll get another sender ASAP and hopefully replace it before the RBRR!
The computer fixing then swallowed the rest of the evening so my metering unit modification will happen today!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

An interesting day

I went up to Canley’s yesterday to help Dave get the venue ready for the driver’s briefing and to get him to lay hands upon the Vitesse. I reciprocated by laying hands on his Stag, dredging up my knowledge of SU fuel pumps from 25 years ago (my first car was a Morris Minor) and being entrusted with rebuilding the distributor internals - first time I'd ever seen dual points, interesting!

The Vitesse had been pretty good on the way up, the fuel pump behaved and felt cool when I tested it. I ran in daylight with the lights on dip to ensure nothing got too hot in my new wiring – an hour+ running like that was fine. The fuse holder was warm but not excessively hot – I didn’t burn my fingers again! I bought a new one anyway to be sure.

There is an annoying vibration over 70 mph, it’s one I can feel through my backside, the steering wheel is fine. It feels like driveline – the prop is new so could it be rear wheel balance? These tyres haven’t been on a year and were fully balanced when fitted – I’m not 100% sure they were well balanced as they seem to have a LOT of weights on. I might take them down to my local tyre place and see if they can improve them.

I though the engine had been running rough, maybe a slight misfire? I sometimes think I get paranoid about these things! I’ve been playing with the timing and wasn’t very happy with it, it wouldn’t idle properly and was reluctant to start. It smelt very rich, the plugs were fouled (I must pull them again after yesterday's 200 miles). I tinkered on the way up and got it to feel better – it steadfastly refuses to pink and pulls OK through the rev range. It’s now running something like 14 degrees of advance and as Dave says, it really shouldn’t need more.

Some fiddling with the metering unit hasn’t improved the rich running but Dave was able to get the mixture leaner by inserting a feeler gauge between the shuttle and the control plunger roller – you can adjust this to compensate for wear but mine is adjusted to the max. This may help explain http://www.lucasinjection.com/Lucas%20page%2011%20fig%2010.jpg from the very useul pages of http://www.lucasinjection.com/

There are several ways to adjust the metering unit, it is something of a black art and does seem very complicated. However, as I understand it, what needs to happen is the shuttle travel needs to be reduced. This can be done y either adjusting the control plunger roller to be closer to the shuttle OR, as in my case when you’ve exhausted that range of movement, you can add material to the shuttle. The tolerances inhere are really fine so Dave recommends running the car at idle, selecting the right gap by inserting a feeler gauge to lean off the mixture – you can hear the engine note change and go past the optimum. Once you’ve selected the right feeler gauge (Dave thinks about 4 thou should do it) then cut the end off the feeler gauge and stick it onto the shuttle. Araldite should be OK, I could swear I've seen this method written up in an article - solder was used to stick the feeler gauge on the shuttle - I can't remember where that was though!

The Metering Unit will have to come off the car to do this (the sticking bit, the rest has to be done whilst it’s running) but that suits me as I can then renew the two banjo bolts (injectors 5 & 6) that are impossible to get to with the MU on the car.

I should be able to do this in the next couple of days but we’re getting close now!

I never did get the car on the ramp to look at the exhaust, however I did test my ear plugs on the way back :-)

Another annoyance is the fuel gauge, I thought I'd fixed it but now it’s always reading full! How the hell do I trace this fault? Apart from the obvious visual inspection for crap connections? Any ideas??

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The finished headlights

Here are the relays, nestling up in the dry and out of the way yet accessible if needs be.
And another shot supposed to show them in context but I was distracted by my nice engine!

Monday, September 25, 2006


Well what have I learned today?

When something is smoking, it is not a good idea to touch it because you WILL burn your finger!

I didn't get the time I needed at the car tonight, I fiddled with the timing and it seemed to be running better so I jumped in and sped off down the road. Suddenly, no lights!


That's when I realised what the problem was, well after I blistered my finger! That spare fuse box I installed had been in mt spares stock for a few years, it was well tarnished. I "cleaned" it up a bit when I fitted it but not much, in fact not enough! the fuse was barely making contact and the contact it was making was crap. I removed it, after it had cooled down a bit! I then gave it the once over in the sand blaster cured the corrosion. I refitted it all, put the lights on and then, this is the good bit, I used the temperature probe on my multimeter to see if it was still too hot! It was hot but it never got too hot!

The main issue was that I lost a bit of confidence in my wiring! The car's all together now and ready for a run up to the RBRR driver's briefing at Canley's tomorrow. It will be both a test and shake down - finger's crossed that the whole thing behaves :-)

The only thing I really need to do now is sort that exhaust out - the mild steel manifold has a rather battered collector an the fit isn't great - I've adjusted it a few times but I really need to get it up on a ramp and sort it properly. I'd rather not have to replace the exhaust now but if I need to I will - I like a single pipe.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Well that was a mixed day

Headlamps completed - relays fitted, second fuse box added, wiring tidied up and loom taped up, 100watt mains in (OK so they are the wrong bulbs but we'll gloss over that - eBay has turned up a pair of the correct P45t fittings - 100 watt mains for £6.50 delivered - they popped up and I sanpped them on a buy-it now). It's all nice and neat under the bonnet now.

Fired her up and noticed that the fuel gauge was registering zero, not right. Temp gauge worked fine but fuel gauge didn't! Fiddled about under the dash and found a rather dodgy earth connector (just the wires twisted round the mounting) made up a new eye connector and reinstalled it all. Works fine.

I'd always wanted to fix the wipers on this car since I've had it - they work but don't sweep the whole screen. I'd been told that the gear in the woper motor was probably wrong, it should be stamped 160 and was probably stamped 130 - sure enough it was. I swapped the whole motor out for a spare that I checked had 160 on it, no damn difference :-(

Took the car out to fill with petrol, runs like a dog over 3500 rpm - grrrrrr. I think the timing is all out after the electronic ignition and Magnecor leads fitting - I haven't really used it in anger since.

Right tomorrow is full of family stuff, I may not get a chance to look at it, might have to wait until Monday.

I also need to get the exhaust sorted so it's up to Canley's on Tuesday for a quick bit of ramp action and then the RBRR driver's briefing. I was toying with going to go to the Plough briefing too but work committments have scuppered that - I would like to give the car a bit more of a work out but it looks like that's off.

Still I'm glad those jobs are done - just need to get the most important one sorted now, get the damn thing running nice!

Thank you Google, I've seen the light and it's Japanese!

OK maybe not Japanese but certainly Johnny Foreigner is to blame :-)

Half an hour Googling has revealed the sitiation.
The Cibie lenses accept the Halogen H4 P45t bulbs as opposed to the more usual Halogen H4 P43t (three prongs).

Apparently these lenses were meant for a Kawasaki motorbike! Although I found most of the helpful stuff on a GT40 discussion board.

Anyway, I've found that I can either buy some new bulbs of the correct type OR buy some adapters OR change the lenses OR just bodge the buggers in anyway!

I think I'll buy the right bulbs :-) Now to find me a motorcycle shop that stocks some 100w mains. Ooooo - you can get 160w mains, now that's just silly.

The other bulbs can go in the Sixfire, I think that's already relayed up for high power headlights!

Grrrrr - bloody bulbs

So I've done my relays, wiring, fuses and whotnot, I've even taped up the loom so that it's nice and tidy using proper loom tape.

As an aside, if you are thinking of doing some loom work, get some of this stuff it's really easy to use and looks excellent, far better than the self adhesive crap!

So I come to put the new bulbs in and guess what, they aren't the same! The are marked the same with H4 although the new ones are marked H4 U. The new ones are what I'd expect, with 3 prongs. The old ones are altogether larger and round with pressed location dimples in them. They fit snuggly in the Cibbie lenses and are rtained by two clips.
The new ones will fit but look awkward and leave a gap between the bulb and the lense - they just don't look right although they work fine and look OK from the front.
So, what's going on!!?? Thoughts anyone!?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How many things can get in the way?

Well those nice chaps from Auotosparks came up trumps as promised and I have all the neccessary parts to finish the job so last night I went out to get stuck in, then my brother-in-law turned up. He had crashed his laptop and was somewhat upset as it had all his photos on it and he had no back up. I came into the house and spent the next 3 hours trying to salvage it - didn't succeed as I need some means of recovering the files off the laptop onto some other media that it will recognise in it's knackered state. Never mind, a quick trip onto eBay to get the neccessary and he'll be sorted soon as it arrives.
Nil progress on car.
Today I had to go out at 5 and wasn't back 'til late, where upon a cold beer and supper was waiting for me so I settled into that and yup, no progres on the car!
Tomorrow I have to go to Manchester for a couple of days with work and you guessed it - no progress on the car!

So a week will go and I'll have done bugger all!! Grrrrrr

Roll on the weekend, I think I have some "must do" DIY lined up so I am hoping to get out of that and lock myself in the garage until the job is done!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Autosparks - what nice chaps!!

I usually get my wiring odds and sods from Autosparks ever since I met the boss man at a show a few years ago. So impressive what his knowledge that he was able to produce exactly the correct connectors, wiring gauge and colour for a rear light rewire on a Herald that it's stuck in my mind ever since.
Anyway, I ordered up some stuff to do the headlight relay conversion, including some inline fuse holders - one to use and one for "stock". I came to do the job yesterday and found that the fuse holders were incomplete - basically I had 4 male ends, 4 springs but no female tops and no connectors. A picking cock up, never mind. But even if the holders had been complete they would have been too tight on the chunky 35 amp cable I wanted to fit one into - a rethink was needed.
So I called them up, they were suitably apologetic and saif they'd get the replacement parts out to me asap so I could make up 4 complete holders (I only ordered 2 so there's a bonus in there for me).
I took the opportunity to have a chat about the job as I was a little uncertain on the gauge of earth wire needed. The guy was interested and took the time to chat it through, working out the amps per side, wiring required and even solved the problem of the fuses - put one in each side of the feeds to the headlights for now.
I may, if I get my confidence up, put another fuse box in the front and do what others have done, have a fuse for each light. I'm kind of tempted by some new fangled circuit breakers but they are expenive at £12+ each, especially when you want like 6 of them. There are some really nice panel mounted ones that would do the job but they are £15 each - you can blow a lot of fuses for £100 worth of circuit breakers!

Keep it period, it's cheaper :-)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

No Kaboom - confirmed!

Here's my welding all tidied up and painted. I used a 3/8 barbed hose end - apparently called a "life saver" by the hydraulics place I got it from, no idea why! I welded it to the tank using my Mig and then silver soldered it to make sure itt was fluid tight - I tested it with water and it weeped, only a tiny bit but a miss as as good as a mile here so I tried again and it leaked again, worse! So, I went in search of something I could use to ensure it was 100% fuel safe. I found a two part epoxy repair putty that was very fluid, flowexed well and hardened in only 10 mins. It was specifically recommended for unleaded fuel and seemed a better bet than just plain Araldite which was my intuitive response. So I mixed some up, worked it in and left it to set. A quick test showed it was water proof, I put a little air pressure in the tank too and it was fine. So I emptied the tank, dried it out as best I could and refitted it all. I took the opportunity to replace all the fuel pipes with new Aeroquip pipe of 3/8 bore - I had an off cut from making the main fuel line - just enough to do the job but no spare to make a neater job. I put a gallon of petrol in and ran the pump - lovely! No drips, leaks or damp patches on the tank, one hose needed pinching up. The Aeroquip hose is very tough stuff and the jubilee clips really need to be at the edge of their spec to hold it tight - I could replace it all with proper threaded fittings but at that's for another day I think.
The car fired up fist time - I'm still getting used to the PI starting regime, it's not like a carb engine at all. She ran with little fuss so I left it at that - I put a couple more gallons of petrol in and that was Satuday's work done. I'll take it for a run and fill it up sometime in the week.
Next job for Sunday was to put some relays in the headlights and some uprated bulbs.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

No Kaboom!

Well I have now welded a fuel tank and lived to tell the tale!
I drained and cleaned the tank - just washed it out with water. There was surprisingly little crap inside, a few flakes but probably the cleanest tanls I've ever seen!
I welded in new a 3/8 outlet at the base of the tank and plumbed it all back in without the helper pump using 3/8 hose. All the returns from PRV via cooling coil and from the metering unit now go straight back into the tank like a 2.5 PI rather than through the filter as I did have them - I need to sort out a better blanking plug for the filter. I also repositioned the filter slightly lower - shoudl be able to make a boot floor now. I wish I could remember who offered me some plywood to do this with!
Anyway, it all seems petrol tight and working (I've fired it up) but I only had a one gallon container to save some petrol, the rest went into the Sixfire. I've bought another can for the RBRR so at least I can fill two up and out a couple of gallons in it before taking it to a petrol station!
I also changed the tacho cable, it was knackered but still working.
Tomorrow, provided all is well again with the fuel system, it's 100 watt headlight time, refit the front grill and an oil change.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Breathing easy

A little trip around Reading's plumbings and builder's merchants has turned up the neccesary 80mm pipe to make up a filter housing.
OK it's an 82mm grey soil pipe 45 degree bend - cut down fore and aft to allow the K&N to fit under the bonnet and to the side of the radiator - it's pretty tight and I've yet to refit the grill but I think it'll be OK.
I'm disappointed that the chrome face of the filter is facing the fresh air but that's the way it ended up. I have seen a Pipercross filter that has some gimmic "vector cone" intake that takes air into the centre of the cone - that would be better so I'm going to see if I can get one of those. The K&N is OK and didn't cost me much - it's off a boy racer's Nova! Another cheap and nasty eBay special.
Here are some photos of the finished job, I sanded the pipe to provide a key and painted it black so it doesn't look so obvious!
There is no real support for the filter or the plenum chamber but it's pretty solid with all those jubilee clips! If it sags I'll make up some support brackets.
The little bit of gaffer tape you see on the bottom rail of the bonnet is to hold the thing together - a little remedial bodywork is needed here. A wintder project may be to find some of the right paint and tidy up some of the scabby bits on the car.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Now that is GREEN!

eBay.co.uk: Triumph Herald Saloon / Convertible 1960 (item 270026084918 end time 13-Sep-06 10:04:06 BST)

Spotted on eBay down under - you're sure to get noticed in this!! I was looking for a Coupe to see what prices are like these days - I've got a couple of years before my eldest daughter needs a car and she's set on a Coupe, the earlier the better but anything will do - ideal spec would be one on a Mk2 chassis with tatty paint but bodily sound - that's so we can paint it! She has made it clear that Alpine Mauve and Spa White is her preferred colour scheme.
Anyway, it's not a super serious search at the moment but of the right car came uup I'd be duty bound to buy it, god knows where the money would come from, maybe I could sell a kidney?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Breath easy

OK so it's not ideal but it's better than nowt - a cheapo K&N off eBay (just to see if it'll work) plonked onto the plenum - yes it clears the inner wing but it fouls the bonnet top - angle it down a bit and it fits BUT it's not in the right place. I think reposition the expansion bottle and some 80mm tubing should allow me to put it right in the cold air flow at the front.
I've been told that there is a soil pipe made at 80mm but I can't seem to find any in the local DIY shops, I've been told Jewson may have some so I'll try there in the week. I've got some travelling to do next week so I may stumble across one, will throw a spare plenum in the boot of the Eurobox just in case :-)
I have a neighbour who is a plumber, wonder if he has anything in his van - right, I'm off on the scrounge!

We're really doing it all today - fuel air and spark!

Here's the fuel part having dealt with the sparks below - a fuel pressure gauge, it T's off the metering unit (and that union was damn expensive - £25!) - at the moment it's a lash up, I wasn't going to leave it permanently in the car but I may change my mind! Posted by Picasa

And the other end is just gaffer taped through the quarterlight! The gauge was an El Cheapo and not being damped in any way is hard to read - if I do go permanent I'll need to find a better one more in keeping with the rest of the instruments - I've seen industrial glycerin filled ones that look ideal but are expensive. Also, with my history of fuel in the cabin I will go for some armoured hose!

A quick change round of the pumps shows me that the original pump (the one that draws over 5 amps) is in fact kicking out the ideal pressure - between 100 and 110 PSI (the needle moves about a bit but between the right numbers!).
So, it may draw an amp more than the spare but at least it pumps enough to run the car properly. This is the first time connected to with the helper pump and cooling coil. I now need to do a bit of sustained running with it like this and ensure we don't get cavitation again.
I could hack about this pump and the spare to put the high pumping of this one with the low current draw of the spare's motor but I am reluctant to do this as I could end up screwing up both! One for me to ponder.

Following up on leads

The new leads arrived as promised from the TSSC, I am impressed. Of course I have since been shown them a few quid cheaper at http://www.rallydesign.co.uk/ just watch the VAT and postage charges!
So I went into the garage today with a few jobs in mind - first off I would fit my new leads. Removing the old leads, that didn't look at all bad, revealed a bit of a horror - the king lead literally fell apart in my hand - the terminal stayed in the distributor cap and the rest of the lead came off - it wasn't jammed in as I removed what was left with my fingers. No 6 was similar, the crimped end wasn't - if you see what I mean!
So, on with the new! These are nice leads, real thought has gone into their manufacture - each lead is numbered, the plug caps are angled appropriate to their position (some are straight) the dizzy cap connectors are right angled so clearance isn't a problem now and finally you get some little clips to tidy them up.

Here's the installation, I haven't clipped them up yet as I'm going to now fit the electronic ignition I bought from the States and then do the timing so things might move about a bit.

So, the verdict is - expensive but a real quality product. Do they increase performance? Could I have spent my money better elsewhere? Pah - I don't much care, they are an improvement over the old ones which would have let me down sooner rather than later. They are probably overkill and they do look a bit Max Power but I'm happy :-) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Well I never!

I was looking for solutions to my plug lead clearance issues - with the mechanical drive take-off for tacho and metering unit the dizzy sits proud, it puts the straight entry plug leads in contact with the bonnet top. I suspect some of my misfire issues have been caused by this. I have found a loose plug lead twice now and despite careful attention to making the connection at the dizzy cap it was loose again after my last run out. I'd been recommended to try Magnecor leads so off I went to find some. Doing my usual price comparisons I couldn't find anyone supplying really cheaply then I remembered a conversation with fellow TSSC member Tim Bancroft - he said he'd bought his from the TSSC, I had dismissed this as silly, because the TSSC shop is always expensive, isn't it? Well, I found something quite surprising - the Triumph Sports Six Club shop was in fact the cheapest for these leads and had the lowest P&P charges too, not way cheaper but nevertheless the best price! So I called Nigel in the shop and had a chat - as ever he was very helpful and confirmed that the leads have a right angle cap, were in stock and would be with me tomorrow. So I paid my money and gave my business to the TSSC.
Triumph Sports Six Club - Competition Lead Sets (8.5mm)

Cue an avalanche of people saying "I got my leads from Bla Bla and they only cost 50p" -go for it!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pressure? What pressure?

I popped down my hydraulics place again, saw Steve (we're mates now) and got a union and hose to attach my pressure gauge to the metering unit - now we can see what's going on. Sure enough there it is, a problem - only 80 PSI. It needs to be between 100 and 110 psi. ASdjusting the PRV and swapping out the PRV made no difference - the pump (spare) is not delivering enough pressure at tickover.
So with the gauge gaffer taped to the dash and the pipe coming out of the bonnet I took it to the TSSC meeting and for a blast - at no point did the pressure get over 90 psi and at full throttle under load it dropped to just over 70 psi (and the car felt strangled) As the injectors trigger at 60 psi (sp the book says) I suspect that's getting close to their limitation.
So, stuff to try - change the pump for the original, the one that draws more amps than the spare and see what that does. Can't do it now, need some sleep as I'm off to Norwich for a 9am meeting another re-organisation, I wishe we could get it right for more than 12 months!
Nevermind :-)

Now that's FUBAR!

I recently had a ride in fellow CT member and Blogger Dave Powell's Spit, the Beast. Very rapid and very well prepared. Unfortunatley the car ate a valve on the way home from the track day - now that's a real shame. More details on Dave's blog where you can follow the trials and tribulations http://www.crazyspitfire.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 04, 2006

Facts & Figures

Well the pumps seem to have worked, it never stuttered or stalled on a 150 mile round trip.

I used A roads through towns etc for half of it then blatted back on the motorway at an indicated 80 for the other half - those 150 miles used 6.5 gallons of petrol - that's 23 miles to the gallon. Doesn't sound that good but when you consider that it used to struggle to reach 10 I'm reasonably happy!

I also took the opportunity to test the temperature of the pumps - under the cooling coil on the spare (the coil was not connected) the temp was 48 degrees, the actual pump body was 38 degrees. That all seems quite hot to me.

The car's still not 100% - down on power at the top end, tick over is crap (too low and it will stall eventually), the misfire still seems to be there occasionally and that vibration in the drive train is still there at over an indicated 80. It is not that easy to start and feels like it's running rich.

So, what to do - well first off I have to consult with the guru and see what could be the problem(s). There's a limited time to sort it. I can fit that electronic ignition and check the timing - I also want to double check those damn tappets but I feel like I'm just poncing around the problem rather than tackling it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

It's fun fun fun all the way!

The day wasn't over so I decided to have a crack at the car - poor running first, checked tappets and equalised them all, only one was way out - No 5 (exhaust) had opened up, I couldn't see any reason but there was the cause of my noisey top end.

I had a look at the plugs, 5 & 6 dark the others OK, well lighter.

Wiggles a few leads - No 6 was loose - very loose! Could that be it? Put it all back together and yes! There you go, check the bleeding obvious first.

Now the pump - a little head scratching and a look on the bench to see what was in the parts bin. The car now sports a Facet low pressure, high flow pump plumbed upstream of the Lucas pump (the temp one at the moment without the cooling coil connected). This should help the Lucas pump draw fuel all the time - we''ll see.

Also I took the opportunity to play with my newly replaced multimeter (thanks Draper!)- pump one (the one that's properly mounted and has the connected cooling coil) draws 5.25 amps, the spare draws 4.24 amps. Also, the meter has a temp probe that I stuck in the spare - 36 degrees under the cooling coil - whatever that means!

So the boot now looks like a distillery!! The next long trip I do I'll take my testing kit and start to see if I can figure out what's going on here - first it's down to Pirtek tomorrow to get some unions to plumb in a pressure gauge I think!

Anyway, it's late, I smell of petrol - time for a shower and some rest!

Close but no cigar

Hmmm, the trip out to the Triumph World picnic did not go according to plan - Oh we got there OK with both cars and had a good day there. Catching up with old friends was good and although the morning looked wet, the weather turned out to be great.
As I pulled up I heard the fuel pump noise change and the engine stopped - cavitation!


So with lots of people having a look I canvassed opinion from the gathered PI intelligenci. There weren't any new ideas but some rationale for old ones.

The tank set up probably needs revising - it's a syphoner at the moment and that could be changed to a drainer by adding a union. Dave at Canley's recommended making a swirl pot inside the tank - I like this idea but I'm not sure my welding is up to it - maybe braze it. Also, heat in a petrol tank could be fun :-)

A helper pump could be one solution rather than the above surgery but that's two pumps = twice the potential for problems.

Also, the spill from the PRV and the Metering Unit currently go back through the filter housing - like the early TR5 plumbing. One of the theories discussed was that the fuel, warmed from the Metering Unit and PRV (as it's gone round the pump in the cooling coil) could be one of the problems. The warm fuel should really go back into the tank - the rationale being that with such a large volume of cool fuel it will absorb the heat. I could use the syphoner outlet as a spill inlet from bother the PRV and Metering Unit using the current "T" piece.

So, armed with all this info I set off for home, yup, she started to stutter and was in danger of dying on me - I knew the next thing would be the engine would stop death. HOWEVER! I was prepared, I had a fully built up spare pump, cooling coil and PRV - I plumbed in the spare pump (2 minute job if you leave it all unsecured) and was ready for the off again. So I got home with the spare but it's still not right. I have a slight misfire and I suspect that's No6 or No5 and that could be those troublesome banjo unions on the Metering Union - I have new ones but fitting them is a pain as you need to pull the Metering Unit out and then re-time it.

So now I'm sat with a cup of tea thinking "What the hell am I going to do and when? I've got 5 weeks!!!

More tea I think.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Do you need a Magazine?

eBay Seller: zoe deere: Magazines, Books, Comics Magazines items on eBay.co.uk

My daughter Zoe is disposing of my collection of magazines - acquired from various sources in a quest for info on World Cup Rally cars etc. I've done a deal with her that I'll help her list them on eBay and she can pocket the profit - if she makes any :-)
I think she should make a few quid but we've kept the prices down so we can shift them - if you need anything from the 80's and 90's. Titles include Practical Classics, Classic & Sportscar, Your Classic, Autosport, Motor, Classic Car, Cars & Car Conversions and many others. There are an absolute load of Practical Classics mags. As I acquired piles of them I have got 2 and 3 copies of the same mag in some cases.
I am a terrible collector and unable to throw stuff away so help her to help me!!
All proceeds go to sending her to see her mate in Florida OR towards her dream car, a Herald Coupe.

Idle hands and a keyboard!

In a moment of boredom I've managed to do some more RBRR preparation. I've bought some Castrol Valvemaster lead replacement additive for the run off eBay of course! Funnily enough when you look at the listings they all seem to come back to one seller! Nevertheless http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Chequer-Plate-Supplies have a few quid of mine and will be sending me a sack of leaded jizz to squirt in my engine! We'll see what occurs.
I also bought one of those sil blow up travel pillows - I saw a couple of people using them on the plane home from holiday and they seemed to get some sleep - with ear plugs in and my head supported I think I may have a better chance at some rest. Granted it's very unlikely but you gotta try haven't you - I don't think the back seat is going to be any good but who knows. I'm not averse to pulling over and getting 30 mins kip if we need it. With a 2 man crew we have to be sensible about these things. I'm also intending on running with a few other cars - safety and strength in numbers I think :-)
I also went silly and bought an electronic ignition - I have mixed feelings about this but for such a lot of sustained speed driving I think it's a good idea. The last two I've bought have come from http://www.vintageperformance.com/retrorockets/triumph.htm and have been fine. I don't usually like electrickery igntions because I like to see what's happeing but they have been so cheap and reliable in the past I thought "What the hell!" I will of course, like any true Triumph driver, have an igntion set in my spares kit to convert back to points!
I need some service bits for the car and I suspect a new set of brake pads won't go amiss (got an annoying squeek and they look a bit low) I'm sure I have a nice set of NOS with mucho asbestos lurking in the garage somewhere!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

PI Plumbing sorted

A bit of a landmark today, I managed to collect the last of the plumbing fittings and sort out the fuel line. I went down to the local Pirtek fluid systems place - they are hydraulic experts and can make up hoses etc for you. I didn't want the hose made up but I did need someone to help me get around the incompatibility of the fitting I had with the PRV. Result, they had exactly what I needed - it did cost me a whopping £7.79 which was more than all the other fittings combined but it works. The down side is that I had to lose the fuel tap that was connected to the PRV but I can live with that.
The hose I've used is pretty serious stuff with massive burst pressure but takes "push on" fittings. Easy, you just push on the hose and it will take a couple of hundred PSI no problem. So you "just push on" the fittings do you? Yeah right! They were a bitch to get on, now they are on I've no doubt they will stay on! I made up a clamp to hold onto the hose and make inserting the fitting at the metering unit end easier.
So, the pump now has a cooling coil, a big bore T piece and a tell-tale drain that goes out of the car. The fuel pipe is connected with proper fittings that pass through the wheel well via a grommet. It then runs up alongside the chassis side rails but up out of the way behind the sill. I managed to get it around the front footwell and up into the engine compartment between chassis and scuttle - I relieved the gap a little with my die grinder and made sure I tool all the sharp edge off - this took a while but seems to be OK now.
I ripped all the temp fuel line out of the car and plugged up the two holes with silicone and a nut and bolt The fuel that leaked into the footwell has destroyed the duct tape that I'd used to seal the tunnel so I've left that all open for now. I ran out of time so I'll go back to it and re-seal it all tomorrow evening (if I get back from Norwich at a reasonable time).
So what's left to do?

    Buy a fire extinguisher - Done
    Tune the end float on the Lucas pump - Done thanks to Draper who replaced my faulty multimeter 2 years after buying it!
    Find a way to fit the cooling coil - Just found and bought of eBay a pump, PRV, cradle and cooling coil all fitted together - Done
    Plumb in a "helper" pump for the Lucas pump - undecided on this
    Tidy up the throttle linkage and fit a stronger return spring - sort of done, need to find a better spring -
    Make the plenum to throttle body joiners - Done
    An air filter
    Sort out the tell tale drain from the pump - Done
    Re-mount the filter bowl lower
    Make a boot floor - piece of MDF or ply or similar - so I can use the boot again
    Mount the spare wheel in the boot, on the new boot floor
    Change the fuel filter - just in case, get a spare too.
    Source a take off for the fuel pressure gauge I've got
    Recon a couple of injectors, a spare pump and a spares kit for the car
    Select or buy some tools specific to the car
    Oh and get some inserts in the cylinder head but that's a whole other can of worms!!!

    I've seen it and it's big

    I've just managed to wrestle Zoe's camera from her and downloaded the pictures. This one gives you an idea of the size of the rig I was driving - it's BIG!

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    Triumph World Picnic 3rd September

    Triumph World - Feature: 10th Triumph World Picnic

    This year it's being held at Wellington Country Park just South of Reading off the main A33 Basingstoke Road - litterally just down the road for me! I think we may try and take both cars for a run out, the Vitesse is not 100% but it'll be OK for such a short run out (famous last words!) I'll pack a tow rope!
    If you're intending on going let me know or come and say hello. There seem to be a few guys from my TSSC Area going, it is local afterall :-)

    Saturday, August 26, 2006

    Cool man!

    One cooling coil fitted and nestling nicely in the boot. I wish I could get the filter lower so I could put a cover over all this but it's just too tall. I may take a saw to it and trim off the top of the housing. Then I can mount the bolts lower and it won't stand to tall - there's no real need for it to be so tall. Posted by Picasa

    The battle of the sexes, plumbing style!

    I should have known, there are different types fo female fittings! No wonder I can never understand women!
    I finally managed to get out to the garage to attack the Vitesse plumbing and sort out the fuel lines. I fitted the larger cpacity T piece weeks ago and today I thought I'd get the cooling coil and Aeroquipe hoses in place. Well the cooling coild went in surprisingly easy, I even managed to plum in the tell tale drain from the motor - this is the little pipe that tells you if your seals are failing. If you have failing seals you'll get a little drip of petrol out of this, it's important that you ensure it routes out of the car - petrol leaking and collecting in your car is not a good thing! So I extended the hose down to the drain in the boot floor, added a grommet and all is well.
    So, bouyed by my success, I set about the real job. I fell at the first hurdle!

    I had bout the neccessary fittings and hose as soon as I realised the plumbing wasn't up t the job. I ordered from www.thinkauto.com the stuff came and all was well with the world. Now I come to fit it I find that there must be 2 different types of adapters - where the hose needs to go onto the pressure relief valve I need to go down from 1/4 BSP to 3/8 BSP - easy enough BUT (why is there always a but?) although the thread is right and the size is right there's a matching problem - the pressure relief valve has a "pointed" end to it's thread ie it's like the left hand thread in the picture above. The Adapter should therefore have a seat that matched it - it doesn't, it has the same "pointed" seat - so the two can't seal :-(

    I'm a little hacked off with this as now it's 3:30pm on Saturday (and a Bank Holiday weekend) so I can't do anything about it, Think are close and my local hydraulics place is too. So this will have to wait! I guess I can still try and sort out the pipe route and the metering unit end (that fits OK) but I don't want to immpobilise the car if I can help it - I hate having a dead car in the Garage! Posted by Picasa