Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Broken brakes!

Yes it didn't take long to break the PI but then you do need to lay spanners upon a new car sometime.
I took it out for a blat and had one of those funny pedal moments where you think "Hey up, this doesn't feel right" so I drove home carefully without using the brakes much. I parked up and took a look in the fluid reservoir - low. Hmmm, lets have a looksee under the car and there it was, immediately obvious. Brake fluid all over the inside of the front wheel on the driver's side. Damn! One of the Stag calipers was NOS and one was a reconditioned one - they were provided by the previous owner for fitting so their provenance was uncertain. Yup - the NOS one was fine and it was the nice shiny plated new one that had let go. It was hard to see where the fluid was coming from but it was obvious that it was going to have to come out for a looksee.
It all looked OK but it obviously wasn't. I tested it as best I could on the bench and then stripped it, separating the calipers to find that the seal inside didn't look like the replacement - it was smaller, not so tall. It wasn't obvious where they had been leaking so I pulled all the seals out, cleaned it all up and examined for cracks or other defects. I then rebuilt the caliper with new seals, refitted and bled the brakes - I was going to go out for a test drive but it's hammering down with rain here now and frankly I don't want to go out in it inless I have to!
I'll go for a test drive tomorrow and see if that's fixed it, I hope so as so far my attempts to fix other stuff have failed miserably - the fuel gauge is still all over the place, new stabiliser on the way.
As for the Vitesse, the new owner is coming tomorrow to pay the balance and take it away. I'll be sorry to see it go but then nothing lasts forever.

Friday, April 25, 2008

In the pink

a certain well known Triumph Club secretary recently destroyed a perfectly good diff. In the past he had complained to a certain well known builder of Triumph mechanical units about the colour of paint used by said builder - the previous diff having been painted yellow and green. Anyway, said rebuilder asked me to obtain a suitable colour paint for the new unit, so I thought something in keeping with the Club Secretary's standing in the Triumph community - flourescent pink!
I do like to help out where I can.

Well that didn't last long

The Vitesse just sold - email, phone call, viewing and deal done in hours - as is with no MOT - what can I say? I am most pleased indeed, I'll be sorry to see it go but at least I'm back in the good books with Mrs C and I can now work on the PI with a clear conscience :-)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I've really gone and done it now.....

The Vitesse is definitely up for sale - Mrs C has explained it to me, no work can commence on the PI until the Vitesse is gone and as her car is out on the drive and both mine are in the garage it's getting rather political - If I take one out I'm sure she'll steal the garage for her Saab!

Pisonheads seemed like a good place to start, I'll do Club Triumph next although most will know it's for sale anyway - Pistonheads was easy Triumph : Vitesse Convertible - 2.6 injection and I had a call on it within a hour of it being uploaded!

I've got some fettling to do to get an MOT, nothing major - the new steering coupling seems loose but it was a bitch to fit so I'll have another swearing session at that, I think it just needs pinching up but it's one of those cast ones and they seem to be rather substantial!
Tunnel cover needs to come off to fix the overdrive inhibitor switch properly, last done in a German car park at 3am - it won't allow overdrive in third, only in top - needs a tweak.
The clutch fluid dropped over the 10CR so I'm going to replace the master cylinder with a spare.
The brakes need adjusting and she needs an oil and filter change and a general service.
Other than that she's ready to go.

I've decided that I won't be greedy and I'll pass on my good fortune in buying the PI so the price is £3500. The fancy leather Sparco rally seats and the hardtop I will sell separately after the car is sold in case the new owner wants them. The seats were terribly expensive but they are great, I even considered them in the PI but dismissed it as a silly idea.

In the meantime, I'm having a clear out on eBay http://search.ebay.co.uk/_W0QQsassZchinn2002 some interesting stuff in with the usual crap, if you need anything for your Vitesse just shout :-)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tax doesn't have to be taxing!

When I got the PI it had been off the road since about 1977/78. The previous owner had applied for and got a V5 but the taxation class said "NOT LICENSED" although the date of first registration is stated as "27 06 1969 (DECL/D MANUF 1969)".
I had taken a chance and driven it home but knew that I needed to get some sort of tax disc in the car despite the fact that it's free.
Anyway, I'd written to the DVLA but thought I'd have a got in the Post Office as I'd like to get some miles on the car in the coming weeks to shake it down. Unsurprisingly the Post Office weren't much help and the miserable old fossil behind the counter just said "You can't do that here, take it to the DVLA" well it turned out that there's a Local DVLA office just round the corner from me in Theale.
What a great place! Clean and tidy and free from old gits behind the counter, nice modern ticket queue system and chairs to sit in. Nice bubbly young totty behind the counter who filled in some forms and gave me my free tax disc and said she'd get me a new V5C from Swansea.

I also had a good trip up to Liverpool via eBay purchase in Stoke. The sill trims are fine, worth £23 and Chris, the seller was good company to chat too, ready with the tea too :-)

He is a 2000 Mk1 fan of old but following a motor accident he lost his arm and can't drive his Mk1 so he was rationalising his spares and will be selling off his Mk1 2000. I didn't see the car but he asked me to put the word out if anyone is interested. It's in Stoke and I can give you Chris's email address if you're interested. He told me it's a 1966 2000 Mk1 in white with black interior and a sunroof. It was on the road 12 months ago but failed the MOT due to rust in the front rigger (a common rot spot) the car comes with the parts to repair but as Chris can't do it himself and can't drive the car after he wants to sell it. He's looking for £600.

I've no financial interest in the car or the seller and you know what I know but if anyone wants more info just drop me a line with your email address and I'll give you his contact details.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A little shopping

I can't resist eBay and it turns up such good stuff just when you need it. 1 item ticked off my "wish" list is a pair of sill finishers, the PI came with none so I'm quite happy. As a bonus they are in Stoke which I pass on my way up to Liverpool every other week - I just happen to be going on Wednesday so I won't have to trust them to the Post Office.
I won't be able to fit them as I don't yet have the clips and I think I may get killed if I start working on this car whilst the Vitesse is still here! That needs a few jobs and an MOT but I have the parts and will get some time on it this weekend I hope.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's home!

Well it's been a good few days. I got a lift up to Dave's place on Thursday afternoon and started the tinkering. Dave left me too it but it was good to have him around to help with my stupid questions and hamfisted ways of doing things!

The car looks good on those KN Gemini wheels, they fill the arches really well with 195/60 15 Toyo Proxies on. I had some issues with the wheels over the Stag brakes, I hadn't realised just how much bigger the Stage brake drums are. It looked like the lettering on the brake drums was fouling the wheels, so I had at it with the angle grinder and they were better but still not good. The drum and wheel were not in full contact, I needed spacers. Went down to the local factors and picked up some 3mm and 5mm ones, the 5 mm ones were good.
Whilst the wheels were off I also too the grinder to the arch flanges - just to be on the safe side. Now with the extra clearance I can get two fag papers in the gap ;-)

Just thought I'd pop this one in, new Konis, new Witor springs, recon driveshafts and arms, Stage brakes with new cylinders, all new lines. The brakes got a bit dusty but they were fine once I blew that off. The black you see is rust proofing - Dynotrol
I started adding up what the previous owner had spent on the car, I stopped when I got to twice what I paid and that was before I added in any labour as he'd had it all done for him. I've been really lucky here and I'm so pleased I was in the right place at the right time.

There are lots of jobs left to do, many small things that need to be done but the basic car is ace!

Despite the fact that it is a bargain I still couldn't afford it so now I just need to get the Vitesse sorted and sold!

Some things I need if anyone has them, please get in touch with prices :-)

  • A PI air filter element housing, I have the "log" I just need the "can". Any condition considered.
  • A pair of stainless steel sill trims (I'm poised for a pair on eBay now). UPDATE - they are mine :-)
  • The clock seems to be mullered so I wouldn't mind one of those, nice square thing it is too.
  • The correct round knob twin choke cable.
  • Shadow blue (or black) boot carpet - I've been promised a black Mk2 one so I can try and modify it, we'll see how that can be done.
  • A good Mk1 PI steering wheel (I have a loaner one to try)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Latest nail biting developements

Mostly this week I have been doing stuff for the PI.

Monday I got the new tyres mounted on the Gemini alloys, they do look nice now.
Whilst I was at the tyre fitters, Dave called and left a message (phone was in the car whilst I paid for the tyre fitting) The message went "Listen to this...." followed by some lovely 6 pot noises :-) The PI had refused to start on it's 18 month old petrol and flat battery so I asked Dave to recommission it for me and get an MOT - remember it's not moved for 18 months since it's last MOT!

I must take the plastic off the door too
On Tuesday I had a meeting in Birmingham so I loaded the wheels and tyres up and left early to drop them off at Canleys. The car was in the workshop still on it's shitty mismatched 40 year old rubber. It's going to look good on those wheels I thought to myself.
Today Dave texts me to say it's off for an MOT at 5:15. UPDATE - it passed :-)
Tomorrow my parents return from the US and although they don't know it yet they're giving me a lift up to Dave's. I'll take a day off work on Friday and rust proof the PI - it's hardly been outside in the last 40 years let alone see the road. I also need to sort out a choke cable, a battery (the new one put on 2 years ago has died) and fiddle with whatever else to drive it home.

Oh yes, she will truly be mine, soon :-)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Isle of Wight Triumph Weekend anyone?

Every year I take a gentle drive down to the Isle of Wight and camp with a load of fellow Triumph enthusiasts from on and off the island. The weekend is something of a fixture in my family calender, both my girls look after me all weekend whilst I enjoy the ale and our little crew of friends forms the usually invincible Quiz Team - OK so I had enjoyed the ale a little too much to know the answer to the tie breaker a few years ago and have never lived it down - who cares how many bottles of champagne are in a Methuselah anyway?

It all happens on the first May Bank Holiday weekend, 2nd to 5th May and costs are modest, £34 for me and my two kids to camp plus a ferry - Tesco Clubcard points are buying mine this year, it's usually around the £50 to £60 mark

There's lots on that weekend, if you prefer a bit more of an active driving weekend, try the Club Triumph Historic Counties Challenge, the HCR. This starts and finished at Canley Classics premises in Fillongley near Nuneaton.

I like the Isle of Wight because it's a good family friendly weekend, you can camp, stay in one of the static caravans or even in a chalet. There's a good atmosphere, with events, excursions, convoys, a quiz, a treasure hunt, a disco, etc all organised for you. You can even get to see me work for a change as one half of the Two Jasons world infamous drunk BBQ chefs attempt to feed 150 Triumph enthusiasts without killing anyone including ourselves. It's been touch and go some years, especially during the lighting ceremony but since we turned unleaded we haven't even maimed anyone.

I like it because it's so casual, if you want to be organised all weekend you can, if you want to drop out and kick back by your tent or in a local pub then that's fine too. There's so much to do on the island that you can't be bored. We've always had reasonable weather for at least a couple of the days. Granted it has in past years been either frosty, wet or bloody cold but it can also be hot, bright and sun burn weather - I have caught a tan there before. One thing's for sure, it's never made any difference to how much we've enjoyed the weekend.

For more details and a booking form got to The Isle of Wight Triumph Site
For more info than you ever wanted to know about Champagne bottle sizes go here

Friday, April 04, 2008

Exhumed from storage

Here it is in the cold light of day, sitting on it's shitty wheels and covered in workshop dust

There are some useful modifications including power steering and removal of the crap remote servo, fortunately I'm not an originality freak but it is a shame there's no PI steering wheel with it, I'll have to find a suitable alternative

There are one or two minor bits missing, like an air filter box, choke cable and some odd fittings that have been lost over the years but overall these are very minor. The car's super clean with new Stag suspension all round, all power coated and polybushed. Brand new Stag brakes and a lovely fresh engine. I'm still figuring out the spec but it seems to be mostly Witor parts including a Witor cam, new rods, +60 pistons, Witor Super Sports exhaust and a stainless Witor manifold.

What strikes me about the car is how very ordinary it looks at the moment, just what a difference a set of wheels makes!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wheels within wheels

Thanks to Colin "I can spot a bargain at 200 miles" Wake I followed up a lead on a set of KN Gemini alloy wheels yesterday and secured 4 good uns and one mullered (kerbed) one from a TR5 owner. He was suspicious of some apparent cracking on the reverse of the spokes of the wheels and had decided to get some new rims. I on the other hand am not so careful so I decided to take a risk and bought them for a £20 over scrap value gamble. I have a metallurgist friend who's seen them and says they don't look like stress crack but the only real way to tell is to cut them up. I could get them tested but the cost is an unknown as yet, I'm waiting to see if it's worth while. The mullered one could get sacrificed but the inference is that even at mates rates the testing could cost more than a new set! The one that got kerbed didn't break but bent so I am inclined to think they are OK. I have one more opinion to solicit and then I think I'll make a decision to use them or scrap them. They are in really nice condition with centre caps and even came with nuts - thanks Jerry (the previous owner). Jerry's got a nice TR5, nice because he's had it for 25 years and drives it every week, it's a car that's enjoyed on the road not just in the garage and looks nicely used - so few TR5s get a spanking these days it was good to see one that works for it's fuel.
If these Geminis are OK I'll pass on the TR6 rims to Alex, if he wants them. If he doesn't then I'll whack 'em on eBay and see if I can make a quid or two.
Right, better get going now, up to Liverpool for the rest of the week and no, I'm not going to the bloody horse races! I couldn't find a hotel in the city centre and have ended up in some flea pit in Speke!