Thursday, April 28, 2005

I've been asked whether the fan touches the water pump boss on the Sixfire, well, as is often the case with GT6s, there's not a lot of space in the engine bay for an electric fan. This is a very slim fan, only about 2 inches deep in total - that's including the shroud, mounts and motor. Remember that in order to get the engine and radiator into this engine bay, Triumph pushed the engine back and the radiator forward - this is afterall the same engine bay originally designed for a 4 cylinder engine. The crank pulley is a Vitesse item not original GT6. Clearance here is now about 1/2 an inch, should be enough to allow for slight engine movement under load. I will be watching to see if there's any fouling going on but I doubt it will happen.
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Sunday, April 24, 2005

First Job of the day was to fit my Vitesse with an alloy rocker cover I bought for my old Vitesse project - I had to get some longer studs as the original had some short ones on to allow a flush mounting with screws - neat but I wasn't able to replicate on the alloy cover. All looks nice now :-)

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And this is what was "left over" - essentially a full kit - it all works and will soon go on eBay - these kits are about £100 which I find quite scary considering it's just a few plastic bits.
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NOW SOLD - to Dave Walker, they guy I bought my Vitesse off :-)

The finished installation. You can just see the oil cooler mounting to the left of the pipes as they pass the chassis. The Temp sender for the Pacet controller is in the top hose with the white wire going into the blue plexiglas controller box.
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20 COUNTY CHALLENGE :: Triumph Torque

20 COUNTY CHALLENGE :: Triumph Torque

Looks like the CT boys had a good night out, the usual drama - old cars, you gotta love 'em.

Still, I had a good day today. I had a couple of jobs to do to finish off the Sixfire after Thursday and Friday's work. The controller unit was only zip locked onto the oil cooler pipes and needed a proper mounting. The oil cooler itself needed locating properly as there was something not quite right with where I'd put it earlier. I also wanted to paint up the expansion bottle holder and bottle cap and paint the chassis where we'd welded on the cooler mounts. Also I needed to tidy up some of the pipework that was left.

I had wanted to put some shiny bits in but Canley's didn't have any Stainless bottle carriers in stock. I would have liked to have had a new bottle, carrier, cap and pipework but there's been supply problems with this stuff and only the cap was in stock! Dave pointed me at a 2000 saloon and suggested I rob the bits off that - so I did, I forgot about new bits and just used second hand - today I took them all off and cleaned and painted them. I refitted the carrier with a stainless nut and bolt. As the Sixfire doesn't currently have any engine valences I'd drilled a suitable hole in the radiator mount to hold the carrier - worked fine that way. I will make up some aluminium valences one day.

Back to the main pain - moving the oil cooler. It needed repositioning to clear the GT6 radiator but I needed to make sure it didn't end up in a vulnerable position. Dave and I welded a couple of bolts onto the chassis to slot the oil cooler mount onto. On inspection this morning I found we'd not got them mounted entirely parallel - so out with the grinder! I buzzed off one, measured and repositioned a new bolt and welded it on. I then used a couple of shock absorber rubbers to make it less rigid. The idea is that if I do just catch the cooler on an obstruction it will give a little. It now sits behind the anti-roll bar and looks nice and sheltered. I also trimmed the bottom hose so it is angled away from the oil cooler mount, I don't want it to rub!

That left the controller to mount, I wanted to try and keep it out of the road spray and in a safe place but there wasn't that much wire between the sender and the controller so I ended up making a plate to "hang" it on the alternator adjuster - it fits nice. I'm unsure as to whether this is the best place as it may vibrate a bit too much but it'll do for now :-)

A little red lead primer and some Rosso Red top coat over the welding on the chassis and a few minutes spent tidying up the cables left it looking nice again.

All that's left to do is to put some anti-freeze in the system, it's just water at the moment. Oh and as soon as I can be bothered I'll put some pictures up :-)

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The best laid plans of mice and men .....

It's with slight feelings of shame that I write this. I should really be taking part in the 20 Counties Challenge with Dave Canley Classics News Blog but business, work, time, apathy, being knackered etc all got in the way and well I'll cut to the chase, I'm not doing it. It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride this week anyway and I'm kinda relieved to be back at home.

It went something like this -
The Sixfire was built with a Saab 900 turbo radiator plumbed in - it was sound theory - the rad was wide, had space for twin fans and seemed to do the job. However, it revealed itself to be really marginal, a pinhole leak started to show up the design. The car wouldn't keep a constant temp, if left to idle it would overheat, chuck it's water out and well you get the idea. Radweld fixed the leak. The temp sender was zip locked to the outside of the top hose, this meant that there was no possibility of a leak but it also meant that the controller was operating at the extreme of it's range.

I acquired a new controller with a sensor that sits in a collar in the top hose - it's screwed into a section of hose so it looks a little strange with 4 jubilee clips in it but it works. A proper GT6 radiator replaces all the pipework required for the Saab unit - I have ended upstripping quite lot of weight out the front end and am now left with the Kenlow controller and a slimline fan to sell on - eBay I think :-)
The resulting cooling system works great, it's been ticking over for hours getting up to temp and cooling down. I did the swap up at Canley classics and it ran great on the way home.

Which is more than can be said for the journey up there!

And there lies a tale. The Sixfire is the only one of my Triumphs that's ever failed to get me where I wanted to go and this trip she let me down again! That's the third time on a flatbed so this time, I was determined to find this fault and fix it. Essentially it just dies, fuel starvation symptoms. The first time it happened I thought it was the fuel pump and having examined the original it was not 100% but it didn't look bad - I changed it and that seemed to be OK for a while. Then it died on me again and Karl at Canley's traced that problem to a sticking carb jet.

This time I saw crap in the fuel filter - lots of it, not enough to lock it but enough to be concerned. Everything we saw seemed to be contributory - there was a flat spot in the metal fuel pipe that could be restricting the fuel. This and the dirty filter were sorted but I knew these weren't serious enough to cause the engine to die. I took it out for a spin and whilst driving along those country lanes started to think about the pattern of breakdowns.

The thoughts were these
- the car dies after being filled up with petrol.
- it spluttered on long, straight, fast roads
- there was crap coming through the filter
- the flow of fuel into the filter was not steady
- it was fine on tick over
- it was fine on twisty roads

It had to be a blockage in the fuel lines, a leaf in the tank floating around maybe? But then it hit me, there's an electrically operated fuel valve in the fuel line and I decided that this was likely to a bottle neck where debris could accumulate. I decided to strip it out and isolate it to remove it from the problem list - as soon as I got it out I could see it was choked with crap and I mean choked! I couldn't see how the car had been running at all like that, it was solid. So, as the valve is a good anti-theft device I kept it and refitted it but with a fuel filter in front of it.

The fuel now goes like this - Tank>filter>shut off valve>filter>pump>carbs

The car ran fine on the way home and I'm happy that I've solved the problem.

Of course that wasn't the whole story, whilst fitting the radiator I managed to damage the bonnet, again! I had it open, then jacked up the front to get underneath but forgot that with gas struts fitted, once you tilt the bonnet there's nothing to stop it falling. It fell, with one almighty crash and yes, you guessed it, it bounced hard down on the rocker cover and put a pimple in the bonnet.

I cried.

This is the second time I've damaged the bonnet, last time I had the whole top repainted. As soon as I got home I called my painter mate and have set him up to come and do the job with me. I think I'll get him to paint the whole bonnet this time and blow some paint round the wheel arches too just to give it some more protection. This car goes out in all weathers afterall.

So a good couple of days, breakdown, flat bed ride, mechanicall work, panel damage and fault finding. All I have to do now is make a permanent fix for the oil cooler and fan controller, oh and pay for the paint work!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Two on show

We went out today for Sunday lunch and took both Triumphs, me and Zoe my eldest in the Vitesse and Claudia my wife in the Sixfire (six cylinder Spitfire). The little one, Poppy, was out with her Grandparents. It was all organised by Hants & Berks Area of the Triumph Sports Six Club where I'm Area Organiser - although I didn't do much organising and ended up being the last one there!
It was fun to get both Triumphs out but it did involved shuffling two modern cars (I'm looking after my parents VW whilst they are in Cyprus). Once both cars were out of the garage I gave them a wash and polish and then decided to go the whole hog and waxed them both! I was knackered after that and needed a rest but the cars looked great.
So off we zoomed to get to the pub in Newbury for 12:00 noon only to turn around and go back home because I'd forgotten a package for a mate, Carl (that's a whole other story - toys from the US) .
So we re-zoomed (sorry) and made our way out onto the A4. The intention was to turn off the A4 ASAP and go via some of the nicer minor roads. Of course no plan survives contact with the enemy and as soon as we got to the turn we were greeted with "Road Closed" signs - sigh.
With my 13 year old Zoe navigating we successfully spent the next 20 minutes traveling parallel to the A4 only to emerge back on the A4 not appreciably closer to our final destination! OK no great problem, let's just follow the A4, turn left and Bob's your uncle, we'll be there. In fact no, we'll be even more lost :-) OK so we drove around in circles for a bit with me thinking "This is stupid", my wife following mouthing "This is stupid" and Zoe keeping very quiet. Suddenly I see a Vitesse with a Club Triumph sunstrip on heading in the opposite direction. I wave like a loony, as I usually do when seeing a Triumph. It's friends Craig & Sarah on their way to the pub -thankfully the phone rings, Zoe answers and it's Sarah with a life line. "Turn round and we'll be in a layby waiting for you" she says - and the day is saved!
A very nice lunch with fellow enthusiasts follows and then we have a nice drive back home, without getting lost at all! And all with the tops down, a glorious 6 pot soundtrack and the sun shining - of course if rained later in the day but by then I'd ceased caring.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Another Blogger

mintylamb - automotive photography and utilities
This is James, fellow Triumph enthusiast and it seems full time net junkie. This trackday lark looks like fun, I must find out some more - doesn't look too expensive, unless you break something!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

WTF was that? A near death experience

OK so maybe not THAT near to death but it was frightening.
So I'm on my way to Norwich, 8am bombing up the M11 in the Toyota Eurobox, in a line of fast lane traffic all doing 70 ish, good spacing, no one doing anything silly. It's chucking it down with rain but visibility is fine. I can see something in front of the car ahead of me, it's black and about the size of a laptop (I'm writing this on my laptop so it wasn't mine!) and it's flying over the car ahead of me and swooping down, heading for me! Now I'm in the outside lane, the inner lanes are occupied, cars all round d a central reservation barrier to my right - you get the picture, ain't nowhere for me to go! So I grip the wheel tightly and whince
It hits the front of my car,
it hits the screen
it hits the tailgate.
I am nervous - I check the screen for cracks, none. Check what I can see for obvious damage - none, nothing seems to be broken so I carry on.

When I arrived in Norwich I took a look at the car - nice gouge out of the front bumper grill and bonnet - big black marks, almost like a massive hand print on the bonnet - with three dents to prove it. I'm not a happy bunny.

I can only think it was a piece of lorry tyre or similar but whatever it was it put the fear of God into me!

Still as I sit here, Billy no mates, in my hotel room, it does give me something to write about and prevents me from ordering another beer - oh, that's it, I'm finished - Room Service!!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Greeks In Oz

Greeks In Oz
I've just found Graham Reeks' Oz Blogg - Graham's a fellow Triumph enthusiast, veteran of the Ten Countries Run and the Round Britain Run and the man responsible for me ever thinking I could be a rally navigator (I was hopeless). Anyway, he's sodded off to Oz and is now teasing us with tales of Brumby driving in the outback - it's all Greek to me!