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!