Sunday, May 29, 2005

My Vitesse and daughter Zoe at today's Best of British Day, Gaydon.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Problem solved

Well I finally tackled the overdrive failure that occurred on the way to the rolling road last week. I had checked the switch and found that to be OK. I couldn't see any major oil leaks and so I decided to take the gearbox tunnel off and check it all. Oil level was indeed fine, everything looked in place.
I started off by bypassing the inhibitor switches as these sometime give trouble - nope it wasn't there.
I then started looking for bad connections, it's fair to say that the overdrive harness had one of every conceivable type of electrical connector in there somewhere. Although some of them were decidedly dodgy they were all making contact.
Solenoid? I took a look and saw something out of place, some broken insulation on the earth wire leading to the solenoid. Nice one, yet that wouldn't cause the overdrive to fail - a quick wiggle and there it was, not only was the insulation brittle and broken but the wire had fractured where it was supposed to be joined onto the spade connector. No earth, no circuit.
I couldn't get to the bottom of the overdrive where the earth wire was attached so I ran a new wire to a convenient point - on the chassis.
After a quick test drive, I put the whole thing back together, sealed up the tunnel with some duct tape and the job was done.
The rest of today has been spent cleaning and tinkering - I fitted a mini filter to the catch tank I'd fitted last week - it's not the best fit but I'm waiting for some nice braided hose to arrive and I can sort out the plumbing properly - I'll have to get some fittings and tidy the whole instaltion up.
The other job I wanted to do was adjust up the rear brakes and see if I could trace the handbrake "sponginess" - yup, the cable is a bit kinked and the return springs are unequal. I've fettled it and now the handbrake is working fine. I could do with getting a pair of springs, something else for the shopping list for tomorrow.
Right, off to get the rest of my stuff together - see you tomorrow if you're going to the Gaydon show, the Vitesse will be on the Club Triumph stand.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Shiny bling

Having noticed that my top alternator mount was cracked I faxed through an order to Chris Wirtor for a replacement one in stainless. I bought some other trinkets too. Impressive turn around on the order and a good price too.
Chris Witor - Triumph 2000,2500,2.5 & Dolomite Specialist Parts Supplier.

They break quite often - it's the second one I've seen broken in 2 years.

These top mounts aren't available new and no one else is making them so second hand ones are getting harder to find. Not that they are anything special, just another part to remake.

The above new one arrived in 24 hours, impressive :-)

Whilst on the Bling trail I also went from this

To this - hard to see in the dark I know.

It's a chrome handbrake lever I've had on the shelf for at least two years. Another impulse buy. The handbrake in the Vitesse needed atttention, the lever was loose and moved excessivly so I took it apart, the rubber boot was well knackered and I though "What the hell, let's go 'exposed' for a change". A new cable might be needed as it's pretty well stretched, I'll adjust the rear drums and see what it's like first though.

And finally, as I may be going abroad in this car, I thought a GB sticker would be good. Again, here's one I've had in the garage for several years.

....and that concludes today's blingification. Of course I still haven't fixed the overdrive fault!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Catching what's dropped

After the rolling road session the car dropped some oil on Neil Slark's newly painted floor and I thought it was time to fit the catch tank I'd had in the garage for a while. An eBay impulse buy from the US it looked quite nice once I;d pulled the silly stickers off it . So armed with some aluminium plate to make a mount I went to work. Here's where it ended up.

The cheapo clear hose needs replacing, I think some nice bling bling aeroquipe stuff will do. I know it's a bit tarty but I like it. I also need to find one of those little filter thingies for the vent just to finish it off.

On the subject of hoses, I think I will replace the fuel hoses too, there are some cracks appearing and whilst they are in a low pressure applictaion I would still prefer something that looks a little safer :-)

Thank you Canley Classics

Called yesterday at about 3pm for some ignition parts - a new rotor arm and a spare (should have got two!) and a pair of points. Arrived this morning -excellent.
Both cars will be up and running today - now to trace the overdrive fault.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Photos from the rolling road

Ready for the off

First run done

The car's doing about 85mph standing still here

There are lies, damn lies and statistics .......

The Rolling road Dyno chart from Slark. This wasn't the best run of the day for power but was the best for reliable and sustainable power. Click on the picture to enlarge it if you want to read it all - the bottom line is max power was 127 hp at 5300 rpm with max torque of 140 ft lbs at 3600 rpm .

Panic over!

Dodgy/worn points and a knackered rotor arm - put my spare points in and pulled the rotor arm off the Sixfire, put that in and she fired up and roared. I just now have to re-time it and find the optimum again - the clicker had fallen out of the dizzy, I salvaged one out of a spare dizzy but lost all my settings - I've timed it up thereabouts, just need to give it a run to fine tune. It'll give me a chance to use my accelerometer thingy my mate sent me from the States - just need to wire in a cigarette lighter socket to plug it into. I also noticed that my alternator bracket (the top one) has fractured, they do that. So time for a nice Witor stainless one methinks! That'll complement the stainless catch tank I have "in stock" - ooo shiny bits

Whoo Hooo!!!!

The Sixfire passed it's MOT first time, nothing required, no warnings or advice. I needed something to make me smile again and that was it :-)

I took a look around it this morning having fettled it on the weekend. I don't know what made me try it but having found the Vitesse Dizzy loose yesterday I just put my hand on the dizzy in the Sixfire and wiggled it, bugger me! It was loose! The clamp wasn't tight and I could ove it, quite a lot. Out with the timing light and I timed it back up again, ran a little smoother and faster too.

The MOT man was complimentary - he was an enthusiast and talking to him, he seemed fair and reasonable. I had been told he was and I'd recommend him to anyone, The Sun Garage on the A4 heading out of Reading towards Newbury

Now to get out into the garage and try and ressurect the Vitesse!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Roadside shame

The Vitesse let me down :-( I can't believe it, it died on the approach to a roundabout and just refused to start. No cough, splutter or other signs, just died on it's arse.

To put it all into perspective -

I took the car down to the Rolling Road in Amesbury, a great run down, I was late, I spanked it severely. As I got close the overdrive popped in and out, it's a column switch and had been playing up a little, not engaging correctly so it might be that. No drama, I didn't need it for the rollers.

I got to Slark and met Neil Slark, what a nice chap. His brother restores Triumphs, mainly TRs but he has a Stag, Spitfire Mk3 (I think), a TR4a, 5 and 6 in his workshop at the moment. These are all major full restorations. I had a chat with him after the RR session, seems like a genuine chap and the Stag they were doing looked very nice.

Anyway, I digress. Neil put the car on the rollers and did a power run, 130 ish at the flywheel (these rollers can calculate transmission losses - about 11 HP in my case). The car was pinking under load and running a little rich but not bad. He retarded it 5 degrees and she misfired at the top end. A little testing and we got to a place where full power was achievable - 127 HP at 5300 rpm. The torque was impressive - 140 flbs at 3600 rpm - that sort of torque is produced from about 3250 rpm and does start to drop off until about 4250 rpm. A carb balance, checks for wear in the jets and a tinker with the mixture and the car was given thrash up the road - nice.

One thing we did spot was that the dizzy advance vernier was not very positive, it didn't click round as they usually do. In fact it was quite sloppy. Neil marked it for me so that I could tell if it was moving - perhaps that's why I had started to get pinking?

So, bill paid - £80 which I thought was good value. Apologies to Neil for dropping a little oil on his newly painted floor and I was off. No overdrive but that was OK and I headed for home.

The car went well, despite the rain and traffic until it cut out 3 miles from home!

so back to the breakdown - I was in a bit of a vulnerable position but I couldn't do much about that. I tried to see if I could find any obvious faults but it all looked fine. A passing motorist stopped to help, he had a Stag in the garage at home. We played about a both and noticed that the spark was weak but present and the dizzy seemed loose. On closer inspection I saw that the vernier adjusting wheel had moved, Neil's marks were not lined up. In fact the body of the dizzy was loose and I could turn it - the timing must be shot to bits now :-(

I couldn't get the thing to start so the wife came out and we towed it home. I've parked it in the garage and walked away. I have the week off work to play with cars so looks like I have my work cut out.

I just hope the Sixfire passes it's MOT tomorrow!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Rolling rolling rolling

Slark race engineering: Performance engineering and rolling road tuning
I was talking to a mate of mine last weekend, he hill climbs a rather quick Mini and had just had it on the rolling road to try and cure a high rev misfire. He's been using rolling roads for some time and I have been meaning to get my cars tuned up properly for a while. He and I were boy racers many years ago - he in an indecently quick Metro that we replaced the entire front end on and me in a Ford Fiesta that would go off the speedo but frequently eject the whole choke assembly off the carb in a fit of vibration! Mike was my best man when I got married 15 years ago and wrote off that Fiesta when I leant it to him. Not his fault at all and the Insurance comapny were very kind to me ;-)
Anyway, there's a rolling road here in a Reading that always used to have a good reputation, Mike has been there before and sais they were OK so I called them - Clifford Cox. Seems they are having trouble with their operator, he's got some family or health issues and can't work full time. I wasn't filled with confidence that I wouldn't get messed about and as time is precious I thought I'd try Mike's new suggestion, Slark engineering down near Salisbury. Now I remember Slark back in the days when I was hanging around the Mini crowd, most of my mates had Minis. I of course was different and had a Vitesse! Slark were always good with heads but I had lost sight of them over the years and it wasn't until Mike told me he'd been there and they are a well established rolling road operator that I remembered them!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Fan controller

A couple of people have asked me where I go my nice new fan controller from, well it was from fellow Club Triumph member, Andy Pearce. This will take you to his new Blog and give you contact details - ajp-triumph there's a limited supply and it's only for Club Triumph people I think.