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!


veronica chinn said...

this is jasons' mum I have a comment
the only one of your triumphs not to get you home?? come on!
what about having to get out of bed at some ungodly hour to tow you back from off the M1 somewhere near whatford when you should have been back in Cranwell at 11pm??

Jason said...

Ahh but that was in a previous life when I could just call my Mum for help :-) I had forgotten that episode!