Monday, October 08, 2012

RBRR done

Well that was fun. Nigel and I finished 2000 miles in 48 hours in a car that up until 2 months ago had not been anywhere for at least 2 years and had done very little in the previous 18 or so.

As you can see, we worked the car hard, at least the brakes did.

It wasn't all easy and there were issues along the way but we completed the course, have a full set of signatures in our road book and more importantly still have the car, our friendship and sanity mostly intact.

Having prepared the car I was fairly confident that I had covered the ground needed, there was nothing in there that was suspect, well not much. I was not 100% confident of the radiator, there is a tiny leak somewhere that I have been unable to find. Rad weld is in there and I packed some extra water. Oil consumption seemed a little high, I was worried about that but and had packed a few litres of oil spare.  There rest was all good.

However, it didn't start so well, when we packed the spares and kit the car sat uber low, too low but what could we do? Well we could ditch a few spares and that water, that might lighten the load. However, I was with seasoned RBRR driver Nigel Gair, a man with some previous when it comes to spares carrying (his spares cache had got me out of a problem a few years ago, here was a man who knew what to carry). Of course that's fine if you have a big saloon, as Nigel does usually, but a TR6, not so spacious.

So, we packed and scratched our heads but we got it all in and were ready to set off, very early but then we thought we'd chill when we got to the Plough and soak up the pre-start atmosphere.

Yeah, it didn't really happen like that. As we drove off the exhaust clattered on the slightest of bumps in the road and that was before we encountered a speed bump. This was not a good start! We drove about half and decided to turn around and do something about it. That entailed getting the twin pipe system up as high as we could but it's not so easy in a TR6. The system was badly fitting in the first place but I think we improved things. I guess we could have gone back to the standard springs on the rear but there was no time to do the fronts too. I didn't think that was really necessary so we repacked and set off again.

We made it to the start in good time, no dramas and no clattering of the exhaust but we were still very low. Time would tell.

The start and up to Blyth was pretty unremarkable. We had fuelled up and checked the oil, seen that it was leaking a little around the rocker cover and using a bit so we topped up, resigned to doing that every petrol fill. The engine was string and pulling well with a slight tendency to run on 5 every now and again (or rather it sounded like 5 - more on that later). We left the Plough pretty close to the start, probably about 18:10 and arrived at Blyth at 21:02.

Carter Bar aka Lambrini Halt came up at 00:44 and we dropped off our border payment of a bottle of Lambrini for Mc Jim, he was so pleased - I hope we can do something similar next time.

We'd noticed that our headlights were crap well main beam was useless and dipped seemed to be OK but not for the occasional oncoming cars. We had fiddled with the aim before we left as there were a lot of new components in there including a headlight bowl and both lenses and lamps.

Arrived at Edinburgh at 02:15 and whilst Nigel signed in I took on the headlight fault finding. I figured it out, the wiring colours were wrong and who ever put the thing together in the first place had got the dipped colours wired into the mains and vica versa. Not really an issue until I replaced things and connected it up "correctly". So although I managed to wreck a connector I was able to bodge it with a terminal block from my spares, the rest of which helped out another crew later. We were away with decent lights at last. Oil consumption was looking like about half a litre for 300 miles and it was coming out of the rocker cover screws, a bit out of the top and at the rear - a bit of a mess really.

Skiach came and went at 05:46 and we made the Seaview hotel at John o'Groats for 08:10. The gods greeted us with a rainbow as we approached Jo'G

Arrival at John o'Groats was magical!

By this time we had clattered the exhaust a few times and the engine tune was starting to go a bit weird. Seemed like a misfire but not a misfire, I had been here before....

The 2.5 PI saloon had suffered a similar issue that was down to throttle synchronisation. The Lucas system needs all 6 butterflies to open and close exactly together. If they don't then the car runs like a bag I' shite. We were getting there with the TR, not good.

By the time we got to Conan Bridge the exhaust was blowing and we couldn't really just ignore it. We couldn't do much but with an axle stand from Carl Shakespeare Nigel was able to get to work on the pipes. There was a bit of swearing, some hitting it with a hammer, some head scratching and some more swearing. We had lost a nut from one of our improvised mounts, fixing that made it better but not great. I found an under performing injector and swapped it out with one of the 6 spares I had built up. We were off again.

We reached Morrisons early and were able to use the time to clean up the rocker box and daub some sealant on the leaks. This proved to be a good idea and slowed the leaks and the mess. The exhaust was OK and the rough running was no worse and only really an issue under 3000 revs. The intention was therefore to keep it over 3k :-)

The run down to Tebay services was OK, fast driving on the motorway was good but the issue was still there. We decided not to mess too much.

Gledrid came up and the rough running was getting worse. We were fortunate to get some opinion from Andy Roberts who confirmed what we thought and sort of have us a bit more confidence. The problem was not metering unit injector or ignition related, his diagnosis was that it was throttle synchronisation. We just had to get it to the right settings!

We decided to crack on and get to Sugar Loaf as early as possible and maybe put some time into the car to fix the issue.

This was a good idea but we didn't really factor in just how bad an out of tune car can get, how foggy it can be in Wales at midnight and how pissed off the crew can be when it's all going wrong. The car was almost undeiveable in those conditions of road and weather.
It was clear that we either had to fix it at Sugarloaf or quit. We were that screwed. It's here that I was glad that Nigel was with me, he persevered with the settings and after an hour we had made it worse then much better! We were back in business.

To say that the car was better is an understatement, it was transformed and I drove it hard out of Wales into the Gordano stop. It still wasn't 100% as we didn't quite have full throttle travel. We got our book signed right at the edge of the time window but we were still in the game. Nigel tweaked it again and we had more throttle travel.
We drive hard to make up time and passed through the Oakhampton control at 5:58, in the middle of the window.

The drive down to Lands End was spirited, the exhaust issue was all that was really of interest. By the time we got to Bude we were making up lost time and were ahead of the game, getting there 10 minutes before the control opened.

The weather picked up and so we dropped the roof for the next few hundred miles. This was new territory for Nigel who had never done any open RBRR motoring. We weren't really equipped for serious top down driving but enjoyed it all the same.

Badgers Halt came up and we were still in tune and on time. Oil consumption had reduced but that exhaust was still looking dodgy. The back of the car was covered in a film of oil and road dirt.

The rest of the run was pretty straight forward, that is until we were about 20 mins out of Didcot. The exhaust let us know it wanted some attention,as Nigel negotiated a speed bump at the gentlest and slowest speed imaginable it parted and we sounded like a tractor.
Time to find a kerb to drive up and get underneath again. I told Nigel to pull in and I'd try something. As I understood the mechanics of the problem, the geometry of the exhaust and the relationships between the pipes I was able to apply just the right amount of force to the tailpipes to rejoin them. Yes, that's right, I got out and kicked the tailpipes as hard as I could and they clicked back into place. We drove on :-)

We made it back to the Plough at 19:07 and celebrated with a slap up dinner. It was another great RBRR and the car and crew survived.

As we left the Plough the pipes fell apart again! My booting them didn't work so it was out with the overalls and Nigel was back under the car. He got them back together and we made it home OK. The post RBRR sleep has to be the best sleep ever! Claudia couldn't wake me and so she just went to work and left me there!
She did us proud despite having a dirty bum! Those pipes have got to go.

I will work on the snagging list tomorrow and start looking for bits to replace that exhaust!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The list is down to one page now

I managed to waste most of last night on a "minor" job - the front bumper fit.

When the car was painted they removed the front bumper but when it was refitted they neglected to fit the two end bolts so it was only attached by the main two bolts. As far as I could see the holes didn't line up as the main fittings were bolted up tight.

Because the sides were not bolted up they were chaffing the new paint, not a huge issue as it is easily touched up and out of sight. I figured if I loosened the main mounts I could get enough slack to get the bolts onto the sides.

Wrong! Well to cut a long story short, I had to remove the bumper then found no threads in one side and very bad alignment. A couple of hours fettling and slighting elongating a few holes gave me just enough room to get three bolts out of the four in, I figured if I could just get this last one in then I could wind them all in a bit at a time and it would settle. I ended jacking the bumper up into position and using some studding to allow me to wing in the side fixing.

Access to the bolts on the wings is easy but the main ones are buried in the engine bay and you need double jointed octopus arms to get at them, it's just an uncomfortable and unnaturally angled job. Add to that there is very little room to swing a spanner (and my ace ratchet spanners are too long) and you end up with a painfully slow job.

the result looks better as the bumper now fits in the holes in the wings rather than hanging low to expose them.

The only other job I managed to do was to strip, clean and reassemble the brake pads to try and prevent the occasional squeal that they emit. The pads are old Unipart but look like they have seen no work at all, supporting the info I have that the car has done very little mileage since it's restoration 20 years ago. I chamfered the edges and put a dollop of copper-slip on the backs then reassembled, that should do it. I was a bit knackered and filthy at that point so I elected to call it a night. I am now off to Milan for a couple of days with work so I won't be able to do any more jobs on the list until Thursday. Fortunately some new parts arrived in the post this morning so that bodes well for getting at least the important stiff done. To be honest the only really important job is the heater valve and I think if that doesn't arrive I can just bypass the valve to it's on all the time, I don't think we'll be complaining it's too warm in Scotlandshire!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Mirror mirror......

Every now and again a job comes along where you know what needs to be done, you have the parts, the tools, you even know how to do it but you just can't bring yourself to actually do it!

Fitting a pair of door mirrors was that job - all I had to do was mark up and drill 4 holes then screw in the plinths, attach the mirrors and adjust. Easy as falling out of a loft really.

Why then did it take me about a month to fanny about doing this? Probably because I had to drill into my nice new yellow paint with a power tool. Holes that would be permanent and obvious if they were in any way wrong.

Well yesterday I marched out to the garage and did the job, took me all of 20 mins and that includes getting my lovely wife out to hold the mirror in the right place and check placement. Oh and I must remember not to give her a pencil when she's near the car so then she can't drop it down the door glass opening into the inside of the door! Love you Claudia - grrrrr.

So here are the finished articles, satin black as I like the less chrome, more black effect with the yellow paint.

The flash seems to have washed out the colour a little

I've now made a list of the remaining jobs, too many to really get done in time, especially as I have to go to Italy tomorrow for a couple of days for work (how inconsiderate) but there's nothing major.

New heater valve is ordered as are new vac hoses and wiper blades so I think all the parts I need are in the pipeline. I do need to go get some screen wash having now evicted the floating mould and dead things from the washer bottle!

Then there's the route to mark up and the Sat Nav itinery to load up and I think that's about it.

I've got Thursday off so I may just be doing all this then - that will also be the day we decide if it's soft top or take that off and install the hard top (fittings for which are on the way to me now, thanks Tom). If we keep the soft top on then I will polish the windows and clean/proof it (as I have the stuff) although it's very tight and in excellent condition.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reaching for the fire extinguisher!

That was not a good experience! Having been faffing about with the car today I took it out for a test driver, went OK and everything seemed within normal levels, oil pressure, temperature, etc. fuel was a bit low so I threw a spare fuel can in the boot thinking I could fill up as I will take one on the RBRR and they are much more useful with fuel in them. It was getting a bit chilly so put the heater on, using my newly installed heater cable. Nice warm air came into the cabin and all was well, I trundled around a bit taking the long route to the petrol station and generally enjoying myself.
As I approached the petrol station, there was a slight misfire developing, a bit of a pain but not unusual as I had been messing with the injectors, replacing the mismatched ones with some I had just. built. Then the traffic lights changed to red and I stopped. There was an instant waft of what I thought was smoke, pucker factor set to high I pulled over and with fire extinguisher in hand I pulled the bonnet release. Then good sense clicked in and I realised there was no smell, that wasn't smoke it was steam, I put the extinguisher down and opened the bonnet. The damn heater valve was leaking, a lot! Thinking about it, although t wasn't seized when I got the car, the cable was broken and it was stiff. It may have been the state of the valve that helped cause the cable to break but who knows? All I do know is that I've ordered an new one and hopefully I can get it fitted by Friday or we'll have a bloody cold RBRR, especially as we are considering doing some of it topless!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Progress at last

It seems like its been a long time coming but I've made progress. The new springs and shocks are all on the car. When working on the rear we found a missing stud holding the hub to the trailing arm and then soon found why, a stripped thread in the trailing arm, a pretty common issue, so I got a Helicoil kit and fitted a UNC insert and new stud, the original stud is UNF both ends and not ideal for alloy so now it's UNC into the Helicoil and original UNF hug side, new stainless nylocs completed the job.

Shiny new springs and uprated lever arms, pretty!

It feels a lot more sure footed but it does now show up that the wheel barrow handle exhaust hangs pretty low. I will see if I can have a go at raising the pipes a bit.
Tim Bancroft came round on the weekend to help me fit the exhaust and suspension, this didn't go too well! The manifold fitted really well but the system seemed to be missing about a foot in length so we had to strip it all off and put it all back to how it was. The manifold fouls the support for the plenum chamber so I will need to design something to get round that when I come to fit it all again properly. I think I need a new main pipe for the system, the back box is OK but the pipe has had a bit of cut 'n' shut done, which I knew about when I bought it, but it's just a bit more than I had bargained for. It's a Rimmers system and they have given me the correct dimensions so I may have to just bit the bullet and cough up the £80 for a new pipe.
The inlets are again balanced and the engine seems to run pretty well now, they are of course very clean and new so it's hard to get a gas tight seal on the butterflies but it's far better than the worn originals. I would recommend Neil Ferguson's PI parts, he's a good bloke and the quality, attention to detail and service was excellent (thanks again Neil!)
After the weekends work I feel I've now got over my previous feelings of apprehension. There's still a bit to do but at least the fundamentals are sorted. I won't be changing much now, just running it and tweaking a few things.
Last night's test drive in the dark reveals that the headlight aim is crap although the lights are good, better that the seal beam "candle in a jam jar" efforts of before.
Tickover is still a little erratic and seems to rise a little after a run, I suspect the old vac hose to the metering unit isn't 100% so I'll get a new one of those.
The car pulls well and feels like it has more to give. I am concerned about sticky rings and oil consumption, the only thing to do is to keep checking it, pack plenty of oil for top ups and spark plugs in case of fouling.
On the "to do" list - I need to build up a set of injectors and put those in, I'm not sure I'm getting decent performance out of the assortment that's in there at the moment - two screw in "long" types, one crimped end one (the type that can't be repaired) and 3 "normal" ones albeit two without pintles - all in all a real mixed bag. They seem to perform OK although the crimped one went in the bin last night after it dropped to a dribble the refused to fire at all! I'll make up a set and throw all the rest in as spares - I know they will run in the car so they'll get me out of trouble.
I was disappointed with the wiper motor performance and stripped down the motor to see if I could improve things. It is better now and doesn't seem to be about to fail but still not great, new blades and rain-x should help.
The interior is still all over the place, I have an overdrive logic controller to wire in and some interior lights to sort out. There were no side panels to the tunnel and now a big hole where the useless radio used to be so it looks a bit crap, might tart that up if everything else is OK and I have the time.
Then I think it's hard top on (need to get the fixings from a mate, who has promised to post them to me) and give it a wash and it's first polish (it was fresh paint when I got it) then all is good for stickers and RBRR.
I'm pleased I've got it to this point now as I have to be in Milan Tuesday & Wednesday which isn't ideal but I guess it pays the bills!
Oh and in amongst all that we've had a new boiler, cylinder and the floors up to solve a heating issue, then there's the deluge of entry changes, updates and questions - it's busy busy here at Chinn Towers!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Two steps forward and one back

Yesterday's spannering went well, I got the new inlets on and connected. I also renewed the fuel filter, a messy job, petrol everywhere! Glad I did as the original was full of crap. I did an oil and filter change, again the old filter was nasty but no worrying flakes of metal, bits of bearing or other such nasties.

The new inlets look very nice, here's a shot of the work in progress

Spot the new one!

I was going well right up to the point where I was running the engine and setting up the new inlets. There was this "phit phit phit" noise that wasn't there before. I wandered round to the other side of the car to see an oil slick developing on the floor! I killed the engine with the fuel cut off inertia switch and immediately saw that the "phit phit" was the oil being pumped out of the oil pressure gauge line that was cracked! I can only think that when I fitted the new oil filter I disturbed it and it cracked.

So the fresh oil was by now mostly on the garage floor which gave me a nasty job to do clearing up but also meant that the evenings tuning work was over. I examined the fractured pipe and realised there wasn't an easy way to repair it so after cleaning up I went inside, ordered up a new one and wondered how much damage if any had been done to the engine.

I don't think  it will have done any as I didn't run it for long, it wasn't warm, under load, etc so I hope I've got away with it - stupid issue that's cost me a new pip and an engine full of fresh oil but I'm glad it happened in the garage and no on some deserted road in the pouring rain in the middle of nowhere at 3 am!
Parts and oil ordered so they should be waiting for me when I get back from Milan on Thursday.

In doing this job I also found that the exhaust manifold fixings are all free so I will have a go at fitting the new tubular manifold and big bore exhaust system I have collected. I must get some hangers for it too as it doesn't have any fixings. That should be a blessing as I really dislike the look, sound and performance of the current twin pipe system.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shiny shiny bling bling

Refurbished inlets arrived today from Neil Ferguson. What a helpful chap he is, knowledgeable and customer orientated. So refreshing after dealing with some of the prima donnas encountered over the years.

I am very impressed with the quality and attention to detail here. Neil was apologetic for the blacked balance pipes, he had run out of plated ones but was keen to get the set to me as he knew my timetable and checked with me first. I'm not actually that bothered by bling so black is good enough :-)

These should improve things no end and if I can find a decently priced tubular manifold I can get a decent exhaust system installed on the car before the RBRR too.

I never did get round to the suspension work as it was my youngest's sixteenth birthday and family duties kept me out of the garage. RBRR duties will take up some of this weekend then in off to Milan for a few days, time is ticking away!

Friday, September 07, 2012

It's already been a good day and it's only 10am

Dropped No2 daughter off at school then the wife off at work and went straight down the DVLA local office in Theale. Took a ticket, say and waited in the empty waiting room for a few minutes then approached the window - what happened ten went along the lines of
"I'd like to change the status of this car to historic, get a free tax disc and cash in the unused portion of this tax disc I paid for when the car was PLG please"

The response?

"Certainly Sir"


All done, sorted, game over. Within 20 mins I was out of there with a nice new free tax disc, a refund in the system and a new V5 on it's way to me from the duper computer in Swansea.

A good mornings work I say.

All that remains is for me to say

To Dave Pearson for suggesting that I should check in the first place.
To Derek Pollock and Club Triumph for narrowing the dates down
To Heritage for confirming the exact date through their £5 single data point enquiry then back to Derek for writing me a dating letter.
To the DVLA - yes I know, unusual but I have always found them to be very helpful and pretty straight forward in the Theale office, OK it is still a "fill in this form" exercise but at least if you take all your documents with you they will give you the right form and you can get it all done there and then.

Right, to celebrate I think I'll fit the new uprated suspension package I've put together from eBay bargains.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Let there be light - as long as you hold the wires together with one hand

After last night's hot wiring of the light switch I ordered a new switch ad a couple of other bits from my new best friends, James Paddocks. They seem to be very competitive on price, just watch the VAT calculations on their web site as prices are shown nett until you select a destination for delivery. They also offer "free" postage, just unstick the express option, in practice everything arrives in a couple of days irrespective of what you select. They seem to have most things in stock and the quality is good. I still get stuff from Canleys but as they only do a limited amount of TR stuff I have had to go elsewhere.
Anyway, spookily enough, I just clicked the order button for the light switch when the postman knocked at the door and presented me with my previous order!

A nice pair of halogen conversion lenses which will at least allow me to see something in the dark, once I have a light switch that is. I intend to fit the HID kit I have had on the shelf for many years but for now I'll lob the halogen bulbs in and get the switch replaced, one step at a time!

Also in the bid is a new heater cable a thermostat and some instrument to dash rubber rings so that the tacho doesn't wobble about. Still waiting for a replacement tacho cable from an eBay purchase to arrive to fix that one.

I also managed to replace a few of the broken plastic press studs on the hood bag so it didn't flap up and try to kill me whilst spanking the car along the A33. Canleys came up with the right metal "Durable Dot" type poppers but I didn't have a suitable fitting tool. I improvised one but it's crap so I have ordered a purpose made one as they are only a few quid, I can replace all the crappy plastic poppers then and add in the ones on the inside of the B post that make the real difference.

I am having trouble living with the exhaust though and really would like to get a replacement before the RBRR but the budget is under threat and I may just have to out some ear plugs in! I'm following up on the possibili of a tubular manifold to mate with a sports system I have but the trails gone cold :-(

A gentleman does not go motoring about in the dark

Despite falling out of the garage loft and having the heater out of the TR to cure the noise of the blower (it's now back! Grrrr) I did manage to get the car the the club meeting in Hook last night despite having no tacho and a few last wires dangling out the dash.
It was good to catch up with the regulars (and the irregulars) but when it came time to leave I found that the light switch was behaving a bit weirdly. It felt unusual and although the sidelights came on, the switch wouldn't stay on the headlight setting, it just pinged back to sidelights. The next times switched it there was nothing, no click, no lights. Damn!
So a quick rummage in my tool box produced a switch but not the right type, I could get either side lights or front head lights only. Clamping all the wires together worked and I was able to get home to order a new switch, I've been successful in fixing these sort of things in the past but it's clear a spare is worthwhile having.
The price of these things seems to vary hugely and a new switch seems to be anywhere between £15 and £50, the TR tax applies although this is a switch that looks common across the range.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Down to earth with a bump but coming up smiling

I had a rather nasty experience last night. I was up in the rafters of my garage looking for a few bits, unsuccessfully. As I came down, and I'm still not entirely sure how, I managed to send the step ladder sideways. That left me with my torso above the rafters and the ladder falling away. That left me to fall to the concrete floor whilst tangling myself up with the ladder. I manage to scrape both arms on the rafters, whack my face on the ladder and land like a sack of spuds in my arse/hip. I lay there for a while wondering if I had broken anything and thinking "this floor is bloody hard and unforgiving!"
Fortunately I haven't broken anything but I do look like I have been in a fight and am walking like I've crapped myself!
To cap it all, the clips I was looking for we're in a box on the work bench all along, FFS!!!

However, this tale of woe ends on a happy note. I contacted Derek at Club. Triumph to see what the production records could tell me about when my car was made to see if I could get it changed to a tax free historic vehicle.
Derek was able to put my car in a batch that could be 1972 made and some rough maths said it was going to be tight. I then contacted Heritage and for a fiver they will informally confirm by email the build date. I now know that my car was built on the 14th December 1972, result!
So I now have to prove this to the DVLA and get the car class changed to Historic on the v5 then cash in the current tax disc. Fortunately there is a very helpful DVLA local office down the road from me in Theale. There have been registration issues with the last three cars I've bought and they have been excellent with them all.
I just have to finish putting the dash back together before our local meeting tonight!!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The heaterectomy

Well that was fun, I've spent most of the weekend getting the heater out of the 6, fixed it up so now it doesn't sound like a spanner in a waste disposal!
Whilst in there I've also replaced the wiper wheel box fittings so now the wipers don't flop about in the wind although the motor is crap!
I've replaced all the coolant hoses now too, including the ones to the heater, whoever designed this must have been on crack.
I also fixed the glove box light, before I took it all apart again :-)
I took the car in a 200 mile round trip to see my mate Dave at Canley Classics, it was a pretty uneventful trip apart from losing the rev counter. It looks like the cable went dry and snapped, new one ordered. The heater valve cable is snapped too! New one ordered.
I managed to reassemble the rev counter so now the oil pressure light isn't rolling around inside it!
I've found that there are a few broken duradot fasteners on the hood cover which means it flaps about in the wind, I've got some new ones but need to make up a tool to fit them.

So now it's sat in the garage with the dash hanging out of it as I was too knackered, bent and contorted to put it all back together tonight, that's tomorrow's job, along with putting in some interior lights.

I also found out on my test drive that the headlights are crap. I think I'll order up some new lenses to convert to halogen or maybe HID (I've had a set on the shelf for a couple of years)

Finally, a chance comment by Dave means that I need to find out if he car was manufactured before the tax cut off. The commission number seems to suggest it is a 72 car despite not being registered until May 73. That could be a bit of a bonus!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I don't usually do this but.......

Those annoying politicians are at it again. There is a move to prevent modifications to older vehicles and to even outlaw those modifications already made. This is crazy, it potentially makes it illegal to fit seat belts to a car that never had them in the first place or prevent the fitment of modern headlights or stop lights. OK so the idea is to prevent unsafe performance modifications but the regular MOT will pick up inherently unsafe modifications already and we don't need this daft and costly legislation. Bin it and spend the money on fixing the roads!
Please read the petition and make your own mind up but if you have an interest in cars it affects you, get involved.

Monday, August 20, 2012


A bit of an impulse buy that's turned out to be a bit better than I thought. I saw a set of updated lowered suspension on eBay that failed to sell so I contacted the seller and made him a low offer, surprisingly he accepted and it all arrived today. I was working on the basis of getting the springs and taking a chance on the shockers, it turned out the springs are new and unfitted, the front spax are old but appear to have covered very little mileage and the rear lever arms look like they were fitted but never saw the road.all this for less than the cost of the springs new.
This should improve things a bit as the current set up is a little tired.
Now if only I could sort the electrics out and get lights and indicators back!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sitting pretty

Well what an epic that was, took me the best part of three days to rebuild the seats on the TR. The covers were very good and so they remained, the frames were excellent and the rear webbing was great but the foam and diaphragms were totally shot!
New diaphragms and foam were bought from Dave at Canley Classics, although he doesn't publicise it much, he does do a lot of TR stuff.
Spray glue and webbing had been bought up front from eBay. I didn't need the webbing and clips so if anyone wants some, shout and you can have it at cost.
The biggest problem was that whoever fitted the covers over the old foams had trimmed a bit off here and there making it quite tricky to refit. The end result is so much better than they were, it's the difference between sitting on a sofa and sitting on a stone!
Other jobs done include fitting the eBay bargain new sun visors and replacing the coolant hoses. I usually do the hoses on a new car as they are something I have had issues with in the past and when one lets go in the middle of nowhere on a dark night it is a pain to fix!
I am pleased I did this as I uncovered a very corroded steel bottom hose which had a nice tidy outside but a scaly inside. Inspection revealed a tiny pin hole so that stopped me but with the TR national on this weekend I will be there Sunday with a shopping list as long as your arm including a stainless pipe!
Other jobs done include a DIY rebush of the throttle pedal which was so worn that there was in fact no sign of the original bushes, no trace whatsoever!
There were corroded contacts on the Kenlowe controller and the fittings of the fan to the radiator, all a consequence of storage I think. I have made up some new mounts but they need work, I'll see if I can find a better solution. The controllers terminals have rusted away and it's seized solid so I bought a new one.
In general the car has been fighting me every step of the way, the nut splitter has been out on several occasions and I have lost a bit of knuckle skin to the car but I think we are making progress. The objective is to get it reliable and use it as much as possible before the RBRR keeping modifications to a minimum unless opportunities (ie cheap parts!) present themselves.
The paint job is good and I'm pleased with the work Brian did for me which came in on time and within the modest budget set.
I'm off to see my parents for the weekend and will be at Malvern on Sunday, probably with my Dad in tow.
Anyone want a rollover bar? I didn't like the look of it on the car so it's on eBay now.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

She's home

After a 100 mile trip back from Essex my 'new' TR6 is home and in my garage.

The trip home was uneventful until about 60 miles in when the overdrive dropped out, not the end of the world. Then I noticed that the fuel gauge was dropping so I was a little relieved as I realised it was just an electrical issue. My releif was a little short lived as I realised I had lost windscreen wipers and indicators, not great on the motorway under dark skies! Never mind, my wife following would be my indicators and well, it's the summer, it won't rain! I think I lost brake lights too but let's just ignore that for now.

I got the car home and slipped itin the garage just before the heavens opened and it pissed down. Of course ww had actually been away all week so there was a lot of work to be done before I could get out and play. That included flat pack furniture assembly, unpacking and getting some dinner together, oh and falling asleep on the sofa - so tomorrow I'll have a proper look and see WTF is going on.

I can then go about making lists and figuring out what bits to do first as although the car looks lovely it does need some work, that's why I bought it!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

It's painted

Collecting the new toy tomorrow, really looking forward to slipping her top off and jumping in for a bit of fun ;-)

Sorry, couldn't resist as I'm watching QI and they've just been talking innuendo and double entendre.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Does anyone know if........

There's a PDF version of the Triumph parts book for the TR6 that I could download now? I'll buy one at the next show I go to but I am away from home and need to check some parts, their orientation on the car and their numbers.

By way of a quick update, I'll be collecting the "new" TR6 on Thursday having just had the unpleasant experience of paying for road tax :-(. That's the first time I've had to do that on a Triumph, not nice.
The car is looking very yellow at the moment fresh out of the paint shop and needing it's external trim refitting but I hope to share some photos soon, unless I can figure out how this iPad app works!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A bit of a clear out

Does anyone need some Mk1 Stag seats to practice rebuilding on? I've had a pair in the shed for as long as I can remember and it's time to move them on or throw them away. Currently on eBay for no reserve at a 99p starting price. I must admit that since eBay changed all their listing categories I am baffled, whilst there's a category for complete interiors and one for seat belts, there is no category for seat! Anyway, they are listed as item number 251114390110 -

Please help me out and take them away, then I can fill the space with new crap! More previously enjoyed Triumph parts will be listed as soon as I can get to grips with this new category system!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A mid-life crisis car?

Well not really but it does kind of feel like it seeing as I am no spring chicken anymore.

So, 2.5PI saloon sold and I've bought a TR6. I went over to the workshop where it's stored today and did the final deal. I am going to have a few paintwork issues that the car picked up in storage corrected by the resident painter there and then pick it up in a couple of weeks. That'll give me time to get the documents in my name and tax it whilst gathering the parts to rebuild the seats and possibly a light refresh of the interior trim.

It's not tax free and it's not Sapphire blue, two of the things I set out to get when I started looking but it was a good price and it is sound. Mimosa yellow has always been a favourite of mine but this is the first yellow car I've owned, I wonder how I will get on living with it? The engine has had some performance work done including a gas flowed head, a full lighten and balance of the rotating parts and the addition of "stress relieved" rods - I think that means they were shot peened. It seems to drive well, gearbox and over drive operation are slick and all in all I think it was well worth the money. There's some work to be done to it before I collect it including a little tweak to the door fit and painting the back panel the correct satin black, I hope to collect it in about a fortnight.

The car has a fresh MOT and needed very little to get one despite being stored and unused for quite some time. The owner has only lived in the UK for 2 years out of the past 20 so the car hasn't seen much action. He had owned it for a total of 27 years but has now left the UK permanently for Australia.

On the do list already are
  • New seat foams, diaphragms and headrests. The covers themselves are all good.
  • Change the steering wheel, it's got a wood rim on that is not to my taste, I prefer leather.
  • Remove the roll over bar, will sell that, I prefer the clean lines and instant death in a roll over accident.
  • Rear trim is a bit tired so I will re-trim the vinyl over the wheel arches and possibly the rear panel
  • The inlets are worn so I need to refurbish those, unless I can find some excellent second hand ones that come with a guarantee (that's a tall order!)
  • As some of the under bonnet rubber was looking perished I will renew all hoses
  • I need to find or make a retaining strap for the washer bottle, the original has perished badly
  • Brake and clutch hydraulics seem good but I'll get rebuild kits and keep as spares.
  • I'll probably replace the brake flexi-hoses too
  • In the near future I suspect it'll need suspension bushes so a Polybush kit is on the list
  • One rear bumper corner is a little corroded so I may try and find a better second hand one, I know I can get new but that will not match the patina or the rest and I don't really want to shell out on a full bumper.
  • I managed to buy a single pipe large bore stainless exhaust system for it, as you do, so now I need a decent manifold to join that to. It's got wheel barrow handles type exhaust on it at the moment and whilst I can live with it, I much prefer a single pipe.
  • The hardtop is fitted at the moment but it was done without a full fitting kit and I think it's missing the rubbers that seal it to the deck - will have to investigate that and get the right hardware and seals. The hood its good and fits well.
There will doubtless be more to add to the list and I am being picky as I do like my cars to be in good order. The trouble with a TR is that you can get almost everything shiny and new, at a price!

If anyone reading this has any of the above for sale or wants to buy any of the bits I am going to take off (roll over bar, steering wheel) then give me a shout.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Time for a change

Well it's happened at last, I have waved goodbye to saloon ownership and am actually "without Triumph" at the moment. I am on the trail of a TR6 that was restored 20 years ago but has done very little since, like the saloon, the TR owner has emigrated - sounds familiar? It a long story how all this came about but in a nutshell I was thinking of selling the saloon and getting a TR6 as I wanted to return to convertible motoring. My wife has never really liked the PI, so much so that I thin she's only been in it once or twice. We had a heart to heart and basically she misses the Gitfire! We're also at that stage where the kids are growing up and out so having 2 seats isn't the show stopper it used to be. So on the Isle of Wight, same as every year, Ashley Mills comes over for a chat and, same as every year, he asks me to give him first refusal if I ever want to sell the saloon. Now I had entered the International Auto Ecosse and the RBRR so zeal was done where I would part with the car after the Auto Ecosse, provided I didn't bend it. I'm pleased to say the the car did well on the event, about 1500 miles done with a couple of hiccups. Nothing terminal and both fixed properly with real parts, not duct tape and string bodges! Ashley has been a busy chap and although he paid up for the car straight away he wasn't able to collect it until today, which was great because if I get this TR soon and my daughter comes home with her car and my parents go back to Cyprus and leave me there car I will be awash with cars!! So congrats to Ash, look after the old girl and give her a sound spanking every now and again. So what of the replacement? Well it's a cheap TR6 as I just couldn't bring myself to spend ten grand - OK so Mrs C wouldn't let me spend it but I did convince her to put a few quid to the proceeds of the saloon sale. We went and saw quite a few TRs, some were just OK, some were downright awful and one was pretty much just right. Buying a car from an absentee owner on the other side of the world is quite tricky, you need patience and understanding then some more patience. Suffice to say that the deal is not yet done and I still need to pay a deposit but I'm getting there, I hope. This will be my RBRR car so I hope I can get my hands on it soon and start the recommissioning process, time is awaisting.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

It's been a year but I think it's time to blog again as I have actually done some Triumph related stuff!

The last blog post I did was the day before the 2011 Isle of Wight weekend and here we are again!

I won't bore you with everything that's been going on for the last year suffice to say that work took over. My area of operation included Poland, Turkey, France, Italy and Ireland - that meant I saw a lot of airports, taxis, hotels and restaurants/bars - it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it. What with Zoe my eldest going off to college, Poppy taking up rowing our best friends moving to California (well we had to go visit!) and a big DIY project of rebuilding the main bathroom in the house there just wasn't the time for Triumphs.

Anyway, all that aside, I thought I'd get back in the swing of things and blog about some recent Triumph activity. The PI has been running fine on the odd occasion I have been able to get it out and about. Once a month seems to be the extent of its use these days so last year I decided that I would make some commitments to do a round of events in it this year, once things get stuck in the diary I can work around them and make them happen.

The first of those is the Isle of Wight Triumph weekend, a nice leisurely drive down to and around the island, nothing too taxing on the car, more taxing on the driver's liver due the social side of things.

The second is to take the car up to Scotland on the International Auto Eccose again, I went with Dave Pearson in the Works Mk1 PI last year and in 2010 we were in my PI - but it limped around with a persistent misfire that I have since fixed. So this year it will be third time in a Mk1 PI, mine again. Due to being a miserable old git and having to attend to a house extension build, Dave won't be coming on the IAE so I've roped in serial Dolly offender Carl Shakespeare, aka 32Valves, to co-drive. Carl's not driven the car before but I've done a 10CR with him and we get on well so it should be a laugh. I do owe him as every year he takes my tent to the Isle of Wight and puts it up so I and the girls don't have to contend with tent assembly in the dark when we arrive (the added bonus is that I can get straight into the bar!)

The final big event of the year will be the Round Britain, for those of you who read the Club Triumph forum you'll  know that I blog under the RBRR Organisers banner too, as I administer the entries. This year I'll take the PI and pay back another favour or two, this time to serial 2000 offender, Nigel Gair. Nigel and I have done a couple of Ten Countries Runs in his blue Mk2 2000 which is a bit of an iconic car having done many, many events over the years. During the last 10CR we talked about the RBRR and Nigel mentioned that he'd like a change so we hatched a plan to do the event in my PI. Just recently Theo Boonen contacted me to see if I had space in the car for him as he wanted to photograph and document the event rather than drive it. Theo didn't want to drive but was prepared to navigate and pay his way so I thought this might be a reasonable thing to do. We therefore have a three man crew for the RBRR.

All this rambling gets me up to the present day and preparations for all this. I've been fettling the car and trying to use it often but not really fitting it in so on Tuesday I decided to go and see Dave P at Canley Classics, the excuse was to get some parts but also to get a second opinion on a weird MOT issue. The car passed with no official advisories but the tester was interested in the N/S/F suspension. It felt a little loose when jacked up, it was like that last year but now worse and although there was some "new" play that was wheel bearing related (soon adjusted out) the looseness seemed worse. I checked it all over and couldn't see anything obvious, I didn't suspect a failed component as all the suspension was rebuilt only 4 years ago and let's face it, the car hasn't done that many miles since.

The 100 mile drive to Dave's was monsoon like, it pissed down all the way but I was really enjoying myself, the car went fine and is really stable on the road at speed. It cruises happiest at about 80 (I used my private road all the way of course) and although there is quite a lot of wind noise it was a reasonable journey and it was good to get out and stretch the car's legs.

At Dave's he diagnosed "something not right" with the strut after a brief shake and wiggle - that and the bearing needing adjustment and so after adjusting the bearing I stripped the strut off the car. Dave was interested in this as it was not a component he had sourced when the car was built. The previous owner acquired a lot of interesting parts from different sources - a lot of stuff came from Chris Witor and Mick Papworth but no one could remember how these struts arrived and they didn't look like anything familiar - they were not fitted with inserts yet were not factory. To cut a long story short the strut was an original but appears to have been reworked in some way, suffice to say that it was buggered - the fluid seal had been damaged by a bloody great set of gouges in the piston. It appeared as though the piston had been clamped with a set of mole grips or a Stilson pipe wrench and had slipped whilst turning. Game over for this part and it went into the scrap bin.

Dave didn't have any inserts in stock so sorted some spares from the stores and found an acceptable replacement from second hand parts for me. Dave built it back up for me and I fitted it back on the car - what a job, it's like getting a  octopus into jam jar, you need 5 pairs of hands (and a hammer helps). I managed it in the end but I have to admit, I did swear a lot.

On the road the car felt fine (but then, to me, it did before) to be honest the only real criticism of the car in the handling department was that it had a tendency to wallow a little on the motorway and I felt it needed better dampers at the front - I was keeping an eye out for some Konis to match the rear. This whole episode has taught me that I don't really know jack about handling! Dave's advice was sanguine "if you couldn't tell it was knackered then you won't feel the benefit of fancy dampers now, plus you can spend that cash on beer" - good advice as ever!

Right, I've typed too much and said too little, see you on the Isle of Wight tomorrow!