Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Let the trial commence

Canley Classics - Blog

Yes it's almost La Carerra Caledonia time! Certainly it's unlikely there will be another opportunity for me to blog again before the off. I'm planning on travelling up to Canley Classics tomorrow, stay with Dave tomorrow night ready for the trip up North on Friday. The plan os to fit some "radical new CC product" on my car. A good run around Scotlandshire should see if this kit is as good as we hope. What is it?? Well let's see, could it be the new 100 hp shot of Nitrous? Maybe the all alloy six pot engine, or perhaps some solid rocket boosters for that daring overtaking manouvre? Nope, none of those, so could it be something small and subtle, like an anodised gear knob or freshly chromed coil mounting bracket? Nope - you'll just have to keep guessing. Full story, pictures and verdict here after the event. Unless we crash and burn then I'll just remove this and deny everything :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Grating noise explained?

Whilst driving in to Norwich this morning I had a chat with Dave at Canley Classics, he's co-driving La Carerra with me. He explained that the mystery grating noise is quite common, he subsequently sent me an email "Grating noise is easy and relatively common. Basically the prop is riding a little high in the prop tunnel and catching the strengthener plate welded inside the tunnel to beef up the handbrake lever area. This plate is welded in at an angle, so if the gearbox is mounted slightly to the left it catches this plate (and nearly invisible from underneath!). Move the gearbox over towards the drivers side by slakening off the mountings and shoving it across, sometimes a few mm will do it."

Sounds like a plan, I'll have a go later in the week when I'm back home, failing that I'll do it up at Dave's place on the way :-)


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Monday, May 28, 2007

Tanks for the memory

I can now isolate and whip out a Vitese fuel tank in about 5 minutes I'm that practiced. I think I've sorted it out now by taking all the old bodges off,being fairly brutal with the cleaning off the old repairs and scouring the tank for possible leaks. I joked that I would use all the tank sealer if I needed to and I pretty much have! I left it all sat with fuel in it last night and nothing came out so I've reinstalled it proper and now have fingers crossed! It's been throwing it down today and so I haven't taken the car out for a blast to see what that grating noise is - that may have to wait for the journey up to Dave's place on Thursday night. Yes I've managed to persuade Dave Pearson to co drove with me on La Carrera Caledonia. The object of the game is to never lift the bonnet (or boot) in anger and see if all this poncing about has built the reliability back into the old car. I want to enjoy driving it and the company of Triumph mates :-)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Jason's Blog: Oil your nipples Madam?

Jason's Blog: Oil your nipples Madam?
Remember this? Well I used it today on the Vitesse and the Sixfire - what a GREAT piece of kit - works like a dream, very pleased.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Here we go again!

This fuel tank has been repaired more times than Trigger's broom. It was still leaking despite my attempts at repair - yup it was leaking again so I drained it again, took it out again, cleaned it up again and a great big slab of tank repair came off to reveal not one, not two but three holes in it!


So, I've bodged it up again to get me through the next week, I just hope it holds!

The next puzzle is this rubbing sound from under the car, something is grating on the prop I think. I had convinced myself that it was the U bolt for the exhaust but it's no where near the prop. I could see a very slight witness mark on the prop, just a bruise on the paint, not even chipped. Could that be it? It's down by the handbrake but it's not that - it looks like it could have been touching the chassis but not now. So I've put some tape over the witness mark and I'll go for a spin tomorrow then see if it's touched again. It's all good fun isn't it!
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

La Carerra Caledonia preparations

After the Vitesse's inauspicious last outing I got serious about the PI and specifically the metering unit. Having been chatting to Gareth Thomas over the last year I ordered a recalibrated MU from him. He did a lot of development work on fuel curves especially for the 2 litre PI application.

Gareth said he was coming to the UK soon andwould be happy to come take a look at the car and have a twiddle with the injection.
This sounds easy but consider that Gareth lives in Estonia and you start to get some idea of the logistics involved. Well it all came together yesterday and today, Gareth flew in from Tallin and I collected him from Hounslow. We got stuck in straight away and stripped out the old MU and fixed my mis-aligned dizzy drive. That allowed us to get the distributor looking right once the metering unit was installed and timed up correctly. Gareth adjusted the ignition timing and she sounded pretty good but not quite there yet.
We took it for a quick spin - now that was better.
It was getting late and it was time to call it a day and have a bite to eat and a bottle of wine or two.
I'd offered to put him up for the night so we had a good chat over dinner and started again fresh this morning.
One of the issues Gareth found was that there is some wear on the forward throttle spindle and that was making it quite hard to get the balance right. There was also insufficient tension on the throttle return so the butterflies were not returning to the closed position as well as they should. Attaching springs of different tensions and in different places, removing others and we were there - it wasn't pretty but I can sort that out later.
Gareth eventually got to reasonable balance, not perfect but pretty damn close. The tickover is now much lower and smoother.
We then took it out for another spin, it was much better, very smooth and eager to rev. Time for a longer blat - down the roman road at an indicated 100 - yup the Monster was back with vengeance. She pulls hard through the rev range and just keeps going - it's still a new engine so although I'm quite happy to rev it I'm going to use it sparringly until the memory of the broken crank has faded!
A little pinking needed attention but otherwise it was pretty damn good.
Back to the gargage for a little more twiddling and to put the vac gauge back on - would you believe it was reading 7.5 - bang on! All my worrying and farting around about vac readings - get the valve clearances uniform, the butterflies synchronised and the timing right and the vac will be right :-)

I learnt a lot today - it's the little things that make the big difference - OK so a fresh new metering unit is good too :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What have I done???

The workbench is clear!!! I can't ever recall it being this clear, I even managed to clear up the crap on the floor and painted it again with some paint I found in the pile of crap there. There's loads more work to be done but as I'm about to embark on sorting this metering unit out I thought I'd create some decent working space.

It won't last long of course!
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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Fueling about

You know how it is, your car breaks down, you come home on a flat bed, you are hacked off and you put it in the garage in disgust. A week or so later you go back to it and start sorting out the issues. So it was today woth the Vitesse, we'd come back from the Isle of Wight on a flat bed. I've oredered a new metering unit and am waiting for Gareth Thomas to come over and fit it and also give the car a tune up before I take it to Scotlandshire for La Carerra Caledonia in June. Walking into the garage last night the smell of petrol was over powering, really strong and pungent. I knew it would smell of fuel as there was a leak at the metering unit but that was only when running, there should be nothing there following so long just standing. There wasn't anything under the bonnet so back to the rear of the car - there is was, a nice puddle of fuel!
Investigation revealed that it was coming from the area around where I had welded in a new union.
I suspected my welding and so I drained the tank - pain the butt that is when it was nearly full and I took the tank out.
My welding was fine, the problem was historic - a previous owner's repair to some corrosion around the drain plug had failed. It was covered in some sort of filler then tape, sticky, gooey, horrible tape that was starting to break up with the petrol - nasty!
Never mind, I cleaned it all off to reveal the corrosion and had a go at it with a wire brush on my die grinder - came up pretty good and get the rust off to reveal the hole.

I don't have a spare tank so in order to get it back together I mixed up some epoxy tank sealer to do a temp repair - it could be permanent but I'm going to replace the tank with something a little larger and more solid. I have in mind a TR6 tank - it might fit and it will have the internal swirl pot and plumbing fittings for the injection - ideal! IF I can find one at the right price and if it fits.

In the meantime, I've bodged the old tank :-) It is petrol tight and went back in OK - I've left the drain plug grommet out so I can see at a glance if it does leak again. The epoxy sealer is pretty good stuff and I doubt it will fail there again but teh rest of teh tank floor wasn't great. It's definately time to replace it.

Whilst the tank was out I created a template for a bespoke tank to see just what it could look like, I can then get an idea of cost to get one made. I've always felt there's a lot of wasted space in the Herald/Vitesse boot and a bespoke tank would give me the opportunity to fix that. I have in mind something going across the back of the hood well and extening into the wings - see pictures. It can be slim and wide but will need to be baffled to prevent surge and have a swirl pot inside. This will also give me the opportunity to mount the pump better and regain my space wheel well - and therefore put a proper boot floor in!
I think I can simplify the construction so the "ears" at each side are not so complicated

It needs to be a little shorter too so I can get it in easier - wonder what it would cost to make up?

Friday, May 18, 2007

The anti-Blog

Following the absence of one of my fellow Bloggers musings, one of the Club Triumph wags has created Pear Davidson's blog, it appeals to my sense of humour and is very smutty - Well done Rumpith!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oil your nipples Madam?

I have loads of grease guns, people seem to find them in sheds and give them to me as they know I have "old cars" so when I came to oil the trunnions on the wife's Sixfire it came as a shock that each and every one of these grease guns was crap! I started with the one I always use but the seal on that finally gave up and I was left in a pool of EP90 so I went through the rest and they were all useless for oil - I actually threw two away. So I gets on t'interweb and had a look through the archives of the various messageboards as I knew this had been discussed at length before - what's the best grease gun to use? I came up with this

It arrived today from Machine Mart - very nice too. I also bought some new feeler gauges having misplaced my metric set. I just need to get out of the DIY for a few hours and have a go at those trunnions again - I don't want to suffer the same fate as Jony5 could have so much worse. Yes that is what prompted me to oil them although I do them twice a year anyway even though the car travels very little it's a 10 minute job and costs nowt.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My head hurts from all the thinking

Poor vacuum, why would I have such poor vacuum on a new engine? I know it's been built right, valves and seats are new, as are pistons and rings. This has been going round and round in my head.

Valve clearances too tight causes low vac - prompted by a conversation with Dave Pearson I went and checked the Kent cams data - I couldn't see anything resembling what I was looking for so I emailed them - "It's all on the website" was the reply, I was just in the process of repying saying "oh no it's not" then I saw it - if you hover your mouse over "VC" it pops up with "Valve Clearance Inlet & Exhaust (mm)" with the values "I 0.56 E 0.61".

So I guess that's 0.56 for the Inlets and 0.61 for the exhaust. Converted to old money that's 22 thou for the inlets and 24 thou for the Exhausts - over twice what the workshop manual states for a standard cam. I'm kicking myself now I've realised this - one more thing to add to the list of things to fix :-) I may just experiment before I go this wide otherwise it's going to induce a lot of noise and some crappy characteristics on tickover.

Why do I have such a mental block with such a simple job as tappet setting?

Anyone know if those "click-adjust" gadgets are worth having??

Update 11/5/07 - Just had an email from Nigel Gair who's also running a Kent cam, higher lift version but same tech specs for vale to rocker clearance. He says he runs 15 thou inlet 17 thou exhaust - so I think I'll try those clearances.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Fancy oil for my fancy gearbox

Having done some research on what gearbox oil to use in my hybrid Vitesse, GT6, TR7, Dolomite box I came to the conclusion that Red Line Oil's MT90 was the stuff to have. I went looking for it in the UK and could only find it mail order for about £15.00 a bottle. I was chatting to my mate Jerry who lives in Wisconsin. He said he'd ask his neighbour who builds race engines and see if he recommended it. Jerry then called me to say he'd posted me a couple of bottles - that's what friends are for, postal smuggling :-)
Anyway , that was ages ago, back on the 16th March - we both thought it had gone astray or been intercepted by the customes - it was marked as a gift of maple syrup! Well anyway it turned up on my doorstep today having got here via Schiphol in the Netherlands. It was all intact just well travelled.
I'm going to go and put this on the work bench in front of the car to tease it. The car's not getting this until it starts to behave again!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

There's your problem!

Perhaps not the best photo but basically that hole shouldn't be there and it was :-(
I'm interested to see what the "new" diaphragm looks like but I'm not going to strip it down again until the new metering unit arrives.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bank Holiday Weekend, must be time for a breakdown!

Well that was a crap weekend for Triumph driving :-(

It started badly, 3am Poppy got up and projectile vomited across the bathroom carpet, I spent a happy hour, with Claudia hosing down Poppy and me with the carpet cleaner. Poppy rallied and felt well enough to go so I thought, what the hell and off we went.

The car went fine but there was a strange occasional grating noise from the handbrake area. It got worse on the motorway, especially on the overrun. I thought maybe the handbrake cable was catching on the prop. It was annoying more than anything else. I never did get round to a proper diagnosis but I think it's the U bolt of the exhaust touching the prop, it just needs turning round. It was the least of our worries.

Friday night was fine, good fun with old friends. Saturday morning we went out for breakfast, when I came back to the car it smelt heavily of petrol. I didn't think much of it until we were preparing for the Saturday drive out. The kids were all ready for the off when I thought I would just check under the bonnet. Fuel was dripping out of the metering unit, the diaphragm between the shuttle and the vacuum operated stop had failed. This meant that the excess fuel from the metering unit was not returning through the proper spill pipe but was taking the line of least resistance through the casing :-( Game over!

Or maybe not

We parked up, Carl threw us the keys to his Subaru and we did the run in shame at the back. Talking to Graham, one of the organisers, revealed that he thought he had a spare, result!!

He did and later that day I stripped out the metering unit, replaced the seal and reassembled - it ran again. The shim I had put in at the back of the adjustable stop had come off but when we test drove the car it seemed OK. So buoyed with my success I settled into some serious beer therapy. All was well again.

Or maybe not

Sunday was another drive out so we all loaded up and off we set but whilst waiting for the convoy to move off the engine kept dying. The ultimate embarrassment was when I pulled out in the line of cars leaving the campsite and it died blocking the road. It would not restart so I pushed it to the side and Carl threw me the keys to the Scooby Do again! I actually kicked the Vitesse - I was not a happy bunny.

Another chat with the ever resourceful and encouraging Graham led us to try some adjustment to the metering unit. He went home and got some instructions from the web. We tinkered and it seemed to run better but just as we were patting ourselves on the back, the bloody seal went again! Petrol leaking out of the metering unit. We'd run out of spares and ideas. More beer therapy.

At last something went right, our pub quiz team, "The Non-Starters" won first place and the cash prize.

Monday came and, having still not managed to fix the exhaust clamp, I decided that driving a car that was leaking petrol that would flow past a source of metal on metal sparks was not a good idea. I admitted defeat and called the flatbed. We had an uneventful journey home and the car is now sat in the garage awaiting a sound thrashing.

I'll investigate that exhaust clamp tomorrow maybe and as I've got a new metering unit ordered anyway once that arrives I'll fit it and get busy making the damn thing run properly. If that doesn't clear me out of funds I think I would like to get a proper fuel tank made and then get the damn thing reliable again.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The calm before the storm

Isle of Wight weekender tomorrow so today I'll have to get packing. Fortunately Carl offered to take some of my kit down to the Island for me as he and Becky are taking two cars again. This has the added bonus that if he gets bored he'll put my tent up for me. This is what Triumph friends are for - means when we get to the camp site just as the light is fading we can go into the bar immediately :-)

Thanks Carl - I owe you!

It looks highly unlikely that the new metering unit will turn up in time so I'm going to see if I can tweak it a bit just to run a bit leaner for the weekend - although it's going to be juicy whatever I'm sure I can get it back to where it was before the engine rebuild.

I've tried to check the vacuum readings but the gauge needle goes all over the place and it's hard to get anything like a steady reading. I'll put a T piece in the vac hose to the metering unit and tray again. I also have some new vac hose to try.

Anyhoo, I had a moment of inspiration the other day, well one of those wake up in the night moments actually
  • PI's need good vacuum
  • Good vac is, in part, dependant upon correct valve closure
  • Correct valve closure is dependant upon correct tappet adjustment
  • Correct tappet adjustment is dependant upon setting TDC and knowing which tappets to adjust
  • My record for this is not good - remeber this
  • So, did I set the tappets correctly?

It's worth a check so that's what I'm off to do, re-check all clearances and see what that does to the vac readings and the running.

Whatever, I'll take the car and the kids to the IoW Friday, it's agreat weekend. I'll throw some spare plugs in and tools and take a spare can of petrol and both credit cards :-)