Tuesday, December 26, 2006

10CR Co-driver quest

Well my RBRR co-driver Andy can't make the 10CR (wedding anniversary and a conscience) so I've been quietly looking for a co-driver to help me take the Vitesse up the mountains and round the 'ring. Trouble is there are loads of people out there who'll do it but who would you trust with your car and who can you sit next to for days on end talking bollocks and getting lost? So in the best tradition of finding mates to do daft things with I was having a few beers at a neighbour's house on Christmas day when a co-driver came into view. The kids round here are a good lot of lads, we've not seen any neons but we have seen Corsas and Clios, Fiestas and Peugeot 106's - oh and a lovely VW Golf GTI turbo nutter bastard thingy. That Golf is driven by Joe, one of the older sons of the neighbourhood. Anyway, Joe's always taken an interest in fast cars and my cars as well, Christmas day was no exception, we'd last spoken over a broken crank and an engine in a thousand pieces so we were catching up. Chatting away about the next run, the 10CR it was clear Joe was interested in having a go, especially when I said I was looking forward to a lap of the Nurburgring. So later on, when we were all marginally more sober, Joe came over to say he was definitely interested and so I've got a co-driver :-)
I think Joe will be a good co-driver, he likes a bit of speed, is keen, fairly young and stupid, used to staying up all ours (works shifts as a copper) and has never driven a Triumph before - ideal!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Watching carefully

I'm watching the Canley Classics - Blog avidly as Dave is preparing a 948 for his daughter's first car. My daughter has expresed an interest in getting a car and I've explained that if she wants me to maintain it, it will be a Triumph and more than likely a Herald :-) We've got a fair while yet but in less than 2 years she'll be on the road so I'm just keeping an eye out for the right car - a Coupe is her preference or maybe a convertible but she'll have what I can find and afford - the sweetener to it all is that I made a rash promise a few years ago, they have long memories these Chinn girls! I said I would paint it any colour she likes and yes, Pink is the colour she likes!
My ideal would be to find a straight original car with crap paint and use that - it won't be a bare metal paint job and I may well do it myself - I have the equipment and it could be fun. I don't mind a it of graft on it but not a complete restoration so something that's been sat around for a while and needs recommissioning would be good. She'll want a banging stereo and some nice wheels plus some garish interior but all that can come after we get the basics sorted. I'm fairly relaxed about finding a car, I have agonised about doing this to a car but then I thought that if it introduces a youngster to Triumph ownership then it can only really be a good thing. Judging by the prices of some of our cars these days and the numbers being restored I think it's worth a bit of effort to get something eyecatching on the road.
We have the added incentive that, thanks to Grandparents, Zoe goes to a school where many of the kids get given a new car when they come to driving age, the weapon of choice seems to be a Mini Cooper, usually with a personal plate. Yes it's that kind of place - so unable to compete with sheer cash, she'll have to just show them that money can't buy style and individuality :-) Who needs a personal plate when you've got a personal car? Besides, you can't even stand out in the crowd with an Aston Martin DB9 - there were 3 parked there the last time we had an event and with a Bentley dealership in the village you won't stand out in a Continental either - whereas go there in a Wegdgewood Blue 6 pot Spitfire or a Yellow Vitesse and you immediatley stand out for the price of a weeks depreciation on an Aston!
Skint and smug with it, that's me :-)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The engine is back!

Just got back from Canleys with my engine and the bill :-) I'm really pleased with the outcome and although it's been a bit of a roller coaster - finding things that lead to more new bits etc - I'm philosophical about it. We didn't just replace everything and hang the expense, we carefully selected the best of the two and half engines I had. In the end the basic spec was pretty reserved, it's built for reliability. The original head's been reworked with all new valves and unleaded seats, new spring caps etc. The Mk1 rocker gear was pretty worn, the shaft is scored and so I'll use a good Mk2 set I have - I'll strip it down and check it first but it looks good. The block's the original - the cross drilled cranks and early rods are topped with new pistons which were pretty much spot on and didn't need machining - they pop-up into the gasket (Dave did give me the measurement but I forgot it!). Everything was balanced, inc clutch. The rods did need quite a bit of work but the crank was very close. Rings were carefully gapped, all new bearings etc The original TH2 cam was fine and went back in, timed up - interestingly this now looks to jave been about 1/2 a tooth out because it's not in the same position as the original. New chain, tensioner and crank sprocket were used as were new high tensile bolts for the timing gear. Most of the hardware was renewed, I've got some lovely stretched main bearing cap bolts, I'll take some better photos as these really are amazing!
I've got to paint it and build the ancilliaries up to go on it etc. I had intended to have the engine bay cleaned up and chassis painted by now but that hasn't happened, I'll do it before I put the engine back in.
Seeing the engine back in the garage has brought me some enthusiasm to get on with it again, especially as Dave's done such a good job on the engine.
More on the blog in the weeks to come, if work and Christmas allow :-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fame at last - the engine rebuild laid bare

Take a trip over to the Canley Classics - Blog for new of my engine - Dave's working his magic on the pile of bits I dumped on his doorstep a few weeks ago.
Avid Blog readers will know I snapped the crank on my 6 pot - without really trying. This engine came with the car and had done sterling service with the previous owner - I'd not had my hands in it and apart from a little concern about crank case pressure (it could blow a little oil on a long trip) it was a strong performer, could easily pull some seriously quick manouvres and has been reliable. I'd added fuel injection and that did reveal marginal engine vacuum (Lucas PI likes strong vac) but I'd not had the change to actually test it - I bought the vac gauge a few days before the crank snapped.

Anyhoo - Dave's finding some interesting things in there, I'm surprised at the oil pump as the one thing that was always remarkable about the original engine was the great oil pressure.

Dave asked if he could put details of the rebuild on his Blog as a sort of technical news item, I'm happy for that to be happen. The engine's had a fairly hard life, it's done track days and Santa Pod, Round Britain Runs and two Sod Off runs (Club Triumph members will know what I'm talking about there) it's been uses to lug a very loaded car to the Isle of Wight a couple of times too. It's had fuel injection tested and retested on it and witnessed a blown diff and a broken rear spring in it's use. That's not to mention the fact that it's my fun car, so I enjoy it, to the full - it sounds great when nailled so ... I nail it!

The most alarming photo I think is the one of the stretched main bearing cap bolt - this must have taken some serious abuse with the torque wrench when it was assembled. Dave says there were bolts from different manufacturers used - he's replaced them all with new bolts.

I'll have to be more considered when I use the car this time around, a careful running in will be needed and then I can finish setting up the PI system - I was nearly there I think. Trouble is, I needed a long run to test it all properly, the RBRR was to be that test. No matter, it's a good learning experience and whilst the bill will be painful it'll be worth it in the end :-)