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 - Anyway, whilst trawling eBay I chanced upon this colour version of the photo on the cover of Autosport 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 :-)

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!


Email sent from
Virus-checked using McAfee(R) Software
Visit for more information

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 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!