Monday, April 19, 2010

WCR40 - what a day!

Just a short post to say a big "Thank you" to everyone who attended and supported yesterdays event. I was mainly chained to the auditorium running the slightly dodgy audio visuals (no one saw the join but basically I could not stop the films only pause them as we have no scene search, fast forward or rewind facility). Big thanks to Paul the Gaydon technician guy for getting us that far, in fact big thanks to all the Gaydon staff including John Bishop, fantastic venue and they could not have been more helpful to us.

I didn't leave the site until 6pm on Saturday and was back again for 7am Sunday - I think I was one of the first cars to arrive so the car park was empty. When I was able to venture outside later I was overwhelmed by the numbers, so much so I admit to having a little emotional moment. You've no idea how much sleep I'd lost over this - would the cars come, would the people come, were there enough anoraks to go round?

The inside event went so well we had standing room only for some of the events. I'm so grateful to people like Alan Chatterton and Joe Welling for doing the running around. Alan was especially good at making sure all the speakers were lined up and ready to go. "I don't know what they look like!" he said - "Well I can only tell what they looked like 40 years ago!" I think you did fantastic mate!
Tim Bancroft and Bob King were great, there when they said they'd be, did what they said they'd do and no fuss - thank boys, you did Club Triumph proud.
Thanks for the beer, curry and moral support, not to mention a sofa to sleep on from Dave Pearson - as ever mate, very much appreciated.
Thanks also to Graham Robson for doing such a professional job of keeping the program moving, to time and at the right pace.
I will have forgotten people I should be thanking so a general "Thank you" to everyone again!

Now a plea - I was more or less chained to the inside event and whilst that was great I did not get outside much at all. I did take a camera but I didn't get chance to take many photos - I asked a few of you to take lots of pictures so can you share them with me please? I have an ulterior motive for this. You see there are many World Cup Rally fans around the world who read this blog, some who bought tickets with no intention of attending just to show support (thanks guys) and I said I would try and share as much as possible on-line.

You can get photos to me by emailing me of using my Picas "Drop Box" to upload

For those who've asked where they can get the films from, the answer isn't simple. Five for Fiesta is commercially available from Duke for a tenner. The rest are personally owned home movies or were promotional films for which there appears to be no active owner (i.e. the Castrol film was made freely available for distribution by Castrol) so I think we should be OK. The Rob McCauley film is currently not commercially available, he gave permission for it to be shown but as for distribution, I don't know.

When I'm clear that I can make them available I will, somehow. I don't want to tread on any toes and I don't want to get into trouble - I don't want to make any money out if this but similarly I don't want to deny the rightful owner of the opportunity to do so! Remember a lot of these guys aren't wealthy and personally I encourage giving them the opportunity to supplement their income .

OK on that last point, a couple of "plugs" for people trying to make a few quid out of their exploits and who I think we should support. The more worthwhile people like us make these books, the more encouragement we give and the more likely it is that these sources of information are maximised. Show support please to -
  • Graham Robson's new book is out, get it through Veloce Publishing
  • Brian Moylan is trying to get a second edition of his "Works Rally Mechanic" book off the ground, again through Veloce so drop them an email to show support.
  • Brian Culcheth, Triumph driver has a DVD out, "An evening with Brian Culcheth" well worth getting and available direct from Brian by sending a cheque for £16.50 (to include p&p) made out to ‘Brian Culcheth’ at his home address :- Porch House, High Street, Porlock, Somerset TA24 8PU.

I think that just about covers it, I'm now going to start working through the list of jobs I have around the house and at work that I ignored to do WCR40 - it was worth it though :-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

MOT sorted and modern fun

Well the PI passed the MOT and promptly let me down. Not strictly true, it didn't leave me stranded but it has decided that indicators are for other cars but not the PI. I have side repeaters and no indicators - all 4 have stopped.
Investigations all seem to point to the flasher unit. Here's my set-up and history. About 1 year or more ago the original flasher unit was playing up, erratic operation. It would operate OK for 2 or 3 flashes and then become fast/slow erratic. I bought a modern flasher relay and I put that in, problem solved.
I decided to have a play with LEDs and got an LED flasher unit and some festoons for the repeaters as they were quite dull with conventional lamps. I never did get round to putting LEDs in the indicators.
So the car sits with LED repeaters, incandescent indicators and a modern flasher unit good for LEDs and incandescent lamps.

So, back to the problem -
The repeaters work, the dash warning light works and the flasher relay makes the required clicking noises.
All earths seem OK, fuses are OK, same issues with engine running or just ignition on.
If I swap the modern flasher relay for the old (erratic) conventional flasher relay, I get the erratic operation again, this time much more random with the side repeaters not often working and the indicators flashing madly.
If I wire in only two of the flasher relay pins I can get sensible indicators but no repeaters and dash warning (the repeaters and dash are on the same circuit)

So, that's how I left it - bodged up old flasher, 4 indicators working and no dash warning or side repeaters. I've ordered a new modern flasher and will have a rummage for another conventional flasher unit and try a bit of swapping around.

Unless anyone has any bright ideas?

The modern fun was with the wife's Saab convertible and a disappearing clutch. It was so bad that selecting gears was touch and go. I couldn't figure it out and frankly under the bonnet of this 10 year old car scares the crap out of me! It's got a single fluid reservoir for brakes and clutch, annual slave and is generally a very tight for space. I couldn't see anything amiss, no fluid loss and plenty of fluid in the reservoir. I didn't have the time, patience, talent to do much else than go see my local independent Saab specialist - Simon at DCA in Upper Bucklebury.

After discussing possibilities ranging from about 900 quid for fitting a new clutch down to about 400 quid for fitting a new master cylinder I left the car with him and drove off in the loaner (always a free loaner from these guys, no question).

Then came the call -
"You know those phone calls you get when your heart sinks and your feel sick?" says Simon
"Err yes" says I in faltering, wallet tightening voice
"Well this isn't one! It's done, come and get it" he quips, smuggly!
It turns out that after a thorough inspection he could find nothing mechanically wrong with the clutch, the master wasn't leaking, in fact it was all in very good order. So he bled the clutch, tested it and pronounced it fixed. Apparently he'd seen it before and although he couldn't explain it fully I was happy with a fifty quid bill and a caution to "Watch it and let me know if it get's bad again".

I'm not expecting that to be the end of the matter but if it is then great! I was most impressed with DCA again, it's not much of a place to look at but there we have a classic example of a job where they could have riped me off and I'd have been none the wiser. That's why I go back there, even though I should have been able to do the job myself I wouldn't have been confident that it was fixed.

Cars. don't you just love 'em!?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring and the end of hibernation

Following my broken brakes episode I went up to Gaydon in the modern but was amazed at how many Triumphs I saw. 2 Heralds, a Spitfire, a 2000, a Stag and TR7 - all at different points in the journey and all doing mundane things, like daily driving duties. It kind of inspired me. Not that I need much inspiration, I booked an MOT for Monday, just before the calliper let go!
Anyway, that's all fixed, new calliper from Canleys fitted, I still can't understand why the last one failed twice but it's not worth the time and hassle to try and figure it out. It's now in the core bin for a recon.
I was reminded of all the times I'd tried to use an Easibleed in my youth, connecting it up to the spare tyre and spraying brake fluid all over the place. Now older and wiser and having read the instructions I am always impressed with this gadget (and slightly ashamed that I was so bloody awful at using it in the early days!)
I've now been called in for lunch and then I'm off out for a drive, let's see if I can work my way through the poor running (no power and pulls like an IT technician at a convent). I suspect that a winter's tinkering, swapping pumps, PRVs and generally using the car as a test rig has taken it's toll. I have an electronic ignition set just sat there waiting to go on so I might do that but I don't want to screw it up before tomorrow. I can limp the thing to the MOT station as it is now :-)
Ahh, old cars, don't you just love them!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mystery part identification

Calling all anoraks and officianados of Works Triumphs. Can you identify a part for me?

In the boot of a world Cup car there are a number of modifications to the diff mounts, mainly to strengthen the area and enable quicker diff changes.

Here's a view of WRX's boot, ignore the floor, it isn't the correct floor, the right one is awaiting installation . What you're looking at is the two holes above the diff mounts. Ordinary production cars have this all boxed in.
Here's a close up below - what I'm trying to identify are the domes that are welded over the diff pins - they are substantial. But what are they from? Where did the parts come from?
Any ideas?? Get in touch by email, chinn at


Friday, April 09, 2010

Oh you little b.........!

Booked the PI in for an MOT for Monday, built a nice pump from all my new bits, put that one and fired her up. Lashed up an electronic fuel pressure gauge so I can see what's going on - only shows 102 psi but it's constant. OK, let's have a little road test.
Drives like a milk float, brakes are crap too. Get home, front calliper seals have gone again! That's the second time in 18 months.

So, I won't be going to the WCR40 meeting tomorrow in the PI but at least Canley's have a Stag calliper I can buy. I have a seal kit but frankly if it's gone again in 18 months then the calliper itself is suspect - looks lovely and clean but won't hold fluid. I'd rebuild it tonight but I have a wedding reception to go to and Mrs C would kill me if we were late.

So, off to Gaydon for the final meeting tomorrow and perhaps fix the breaks on the PI on Sunday, MOT on Monday then at least have a chance of getting it running right for the WCR40 event next weekend!

It's all fun fun fun here at Chinn towers :-)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Get your tickets here!

Click above to buy your tickets, just over a week to go.