Saturday, October 30, 2021

Comments not appearing on the Blog- fixed :-)

Apologies to anyone who's comments never appeared on my Blog - I've found them now! 

I've never really been in control of Blogger and I've just found loads of old comments on historic posts that never got approved. Back in the day I used to get quite a bit of spam comments, only one troll (he won't own his comments with his name so he doesn't get published), because of this I decided to moderate comments - the thing is, I never actually told Blogger to notify me when comments arrived, so they just sat awaiting moderation, for ever!

It's been a bit of a roller coaster reading through them, a couple from or about friends who are no longer with us, a few funny ones - no I don't need a mail-order bride thanks. I've accepted a lot but they will be in the old posts and there are 585 posts spanning almost 20 years!

Anyway, I think I've now fixed notifications so if you want to comment, I will be able to 'moderate' and publish stuff.

Broken brakes back

 OK so they weren't 'broken' really but they were in need of attention through the passage of time. Because top quality components were used with silicon fluid and the car had been stored well, the brakes were in amazing condition although the pedal did hit the floor and stay there - a minor issue :-)

Here's the set-up. We have a Tilton "over hung" pedal box with three master cylinders. Twin masters for the brakes (front and rear) with an adjustable bias arrangement - that's the red cable on the left of the picture above. This red cable leads to a knob on the dashboard and means that you can alter the front/rear bias from the drivers seat. The clutch pedal is also part of the pedal box arrangement - this leads to a Saab annular release bearing, the bleeder you can see near the right hand master is a remote bleeder for the clutch . All this is all fitted into the pedal box which is in turn fitted into the reworked bulkhead. Master cylinders are Girling and although I couldn't tell until I had disassembled it all, they are all identical 0.7 bore - same as GT6 brakes.

Pedal box stripped out of the car (above) it's a nicely made thing, cast alloy and vert durable. The only thing I'm a little unsure of is that there's now trace of any return spring on the brake pedal, it relies on the internal master cylinder springs. A test drive is a long way off but that will tell me for sure if this is acceptable. It was not the easiest of things to get out due to space limitations in the driver's footwell!

Three times the fun, here are all the masters stripped and ready for new rubbers. The actual seals were fine but the little valves at the opposite ends were knackered, basically they were the consistency of a wet wine gum. All replaced with new now. The bores of the masters were perfect, no corrosion, scoring or any marks at all. These are proper Girling components, not Chinesium copies. It's worth pointing out that in the above picture, I have just dismantled, not cleaned anything.

The front callipers are Alcon with alloy hubs and grooved discs, again all good quality stuff. I've de-rusted the discs and expected to find them pitted and unserviceable but they are great. The callipers and pads have not seen much action
My plan is to take the pads out and see how the pistons are, they should operate OK after I bleed the brakes - if all is OK then I'll reassemble and run with it like this. I should be able to tell/see if the seals are OK but bearing in mind the quality of the components and the lack of work done I'm confident we'll be fine.

Rears are standard stuff but all new when the car was built, I intend to flush it through with fresh silicon fluid and go from there. The wheel cylinders are available (I haven't seen seal kits for a while now) so at the first sign of any issues, I'll replace them all. The brake lines are all Aeroquip Teflon lines with stainless couplers so they are fine. The only thing I might change is the brake light switch - it's currently fitted into a bracket that covers the pedal - I can't see how to remove the bracket so I had to remove the pedal from the pedal box in order to get the box out. It's also quite exposed and I think would be prone to damage. If I do put a hydraulic switch in, it would only work on one circuit, which is fine but I'm not sure if that's legal - I guess if I put it on the front brake line that would be OK. That would mean I could put the switch in the engine compartment and hide the wires -would make for a tidier installation and easier removal of teh pedal box (not that I intend to do that again!)

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Jobs on the Vitesse

Although OOD looks pretty much together and ready for the road, there is a lot to do to start her up and get driving.
I'm going to list the main jobs as I see them and then go into some detail.
Firstly, it's worth pointing out that this car is in remarkable condition and it's a testament to the builder and the choice of quality parts when it was assembled. I have to admit to being a little in awe of it and that's some of the reason it's taken me so long to get to this point. It's gradually becoming mine as I get to know its secrets.
The main issues I see are:
  1. Fuel system - it's a PI that's been sat for a long time, partially stripped and now needs putting back together with some new components. Hoses are mostly good as they are Aeroquip. 
  2. Brakes - well hydraulics really - discs need de-rusting, it's equipped with Tilton race brakes and a Tilton pedal box that all need attention and maybe rebuilding - pedal goes to the floor and stays there. I'll rebuild the three master cylinders, I suspect the callipers will be fine but will need testing. Rear cylinders my need replacing but it's had silicon fluid in it and it all looks very good. Clutch seems fine, it's got a Saab annular release bearing that seems to function OK.
  3. Electrics - needs a battery and probably some cleaning of contacts etc, again it all looks great and as good quality components were used I suspect all that will be needed is checking and contact cleaning. Battery is in the boot and the batter box mounting needs attention to fully support it - I need to design something to cope with the angled boot floor.
  4. Oil system - the oil filter housing isn't fully mounted - it's insecure at the moment and that needs sorting, I'll give it an oil and filter change before I try and start it. I'll also drain the gearbox oil and use some Redline MT90 which I used in my last Vitesse - a great fully synthetic that works well with overdrive.
  5. Door trims and window winders - these were never fully finished and Adam is working on improved window regulators to cope with the body strengthening mods (more on this later). He's designed some new regulators and has relieved the door panels to suite, I just have to pick them up from him in Portsmouth. This was part of the purchase deal and I'm very grateful he's doing this. I've also noticed that there's no anti-drumming in the doors, I'll get some adhesive pads fitted before the door cards go back in.
  6. Engine - a bit of an unknown quantity here. The car was run for about 700 miles (I think) and developed a fault, believed to stem from overly strong valve springs that may have caused premature cam wear. The engine was pretty much new and a well tuned 2 litre. However, some of the quality of the components available in the late 80s early 90s was dubious and Adam thinks this may be what's happened here. I've got some investigations to do that's for sure! 
  7. Minor stuff that will wait - the seats (Bond buckets) are fixed and will need some runners for other drivers. The hood, white vinyl, has shrunk and I fancy a black mohair hood, the fuel tank sit across the (extended) spare wheel well and needs a tweak to allow the full sized spare to fit, there are a few other non essential bits I'd like to do but most are minor.
No 1 - the fuel system.
One of my favourite views - Lucas PI in a Vitesse

The fuel system was partially dismantled when I got the car - when she was parked up it was never envisaged that she's be stationary for circa 20 years . As Adam said, life intervened - as it does. So the fuel system solidified in the tank, filters, pump, injectors, etc. Most of this has been cleaned out and the rotted out fuel sender replaced.  
The car is a 2 litre with Lucas PI, Bosch pump and diaphragm PRV. The system was build well with new or reconditioned parts - in fact that goes for the rest of the car too really. There are numerous modifications which I'll explain as I come to them, lets just say this isn't a standard Vitesse.

This was the temporary installation - some great rope work with paracord - the pump and filter mounted on a backing piece and slung on the rear outrigger. Age and fuel had eaten the low pressure feed pipe from the tank - I have some new pipe for that. The Aeroquip pipes are all fine, they are pretty indestructible. 

Stainless custom fuel tank, the big heat sink looking thing is an amplified for the in car entertainment system, some of which Adam still has - all in good time.

Bosch pump and filter - testing shows it runs but I'm not confident that it'll be OK, I will assume it is until I can test it fully

Bosch filter, looks fine but I'll renew before running it, I have a spare in a box somewhere!

I powered her up (battery, in the boot, was knackered and didn't come with the car, I've since bought a replacement). The gauges are really neat with digital read outs of fuel and oil pressure in one gauge and oil temp and pressure in the other.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Time to resurrect the blog? New project, new enthusiasm?

 It feels like the time is right to resurrect this blog, there's quite a bit going on that might be of interest to fellow Triumphists. 

Some of you may know I've been pursuing a rather special Vitesse for a number of years, well I bought it (that was never in doubt) and it's back home with me (that took some doing).

I did write up the story to remind me of the odyssey, so here it is: (fair warning, my memory is a bit hazy on some of these details so do call me out if something doesn't stack up!)


OOD taken by Adam in Exeter probably 2013

It's been a long time in the brewing, but patience is a virtue – I'm not sure what tenacity is though, maybe a curse? Anyway, I wanted a Vitesse, I found one, it took a while to get it home.

I first knew of this Vitesse sometime on the early naughties, maybe before, when I saw an engine bay picture and thought "that would be good, a PI Vitesse". I then bought a Vitesse, added PI, had my fun and sold it and sort of regretted it. (that's a whole other chapter).

I bought a TR6 and whilst it was a good car, it wasn't as special as a PI Vitesse.

Anyway, back to my PI Vitesse, the Jasmine yellow one that I broke the crank on - I thought it needed better seats so I found some nice leather buckets from a guy called Adam (actually his name is Finn Adam Egland-Jensen) who, it turned out, owned the car in the picture of a PI Vitesse engine bay that I'd used as my inspiration for my Jasmine Vitesse!

In May 2013 I pinged him a note on Facebook Messenger to see if he still had the car and would he ever like to sell it, if so could I have first refusal. I never expected a reply.

He came back to me later that day basically saying that he was open to suggestions.

The car was laid up in 1997 but had been started and run which threw up a few issues including maybe the need for a new cam (it's only done 700 miles on that engine).

Over the course of the next few years we corresponded, Adam designing/making/fixing the things he wanted to get done before releasing the car. He was a serving Naval Officer (still is at the time of posting this) and so prone to spells at sea. The car was in Exeter, Adam in Portsmouth and I in Reading - it was always going to be logistically challenging to get to see it.

In 2016 a plan was hatched to meet him at the car's resting place but it wasn't until August 2018 that I actually got to see it in the flesh – I was hooked. It was a bit of a time warp - but in great condition.

There then followed some interesting discussions around price – which was tricky given that neither of us really knew what state the car would be in when it eventually changed hands. It was never built as an investment, it was Adams car, built by him for him - there's lots we have in common but lots we have differences on. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I liked it so that's all that mattered really. Anyway, we got there and agreed a spec, a price and that Adam would complete some of the jobs.

There were plans to extend Chinn Towers and in 2019 the East wing was added – an extension that included removing the roof of my garage and re-orientating it, connecting it to the house and generally causing major upheaval. I didn't push Adam for a collection date as I was in no way ready to receive another car. 

I started to try and find a car transporter I could hire and even considered getting the car roadworthy down there and driving it back, but that seemed even more complicated. My good friend Carl had moved down to Cornwall and in order to move his car collection down from Basingstoke, had got himself a nice car trailer. I floated the idea and he agreed, it could be done – I'd catch a train down to Exeter, he'd meet me, we'd get the car loaded up and drive up to Reading in time for beer o'clock at my place – what could be easier?

In late 2019 the extension was done, the storage in the garage was more or less sorted – electric winch repurposed into a loft lift is a highlight – as are the fully fitted kitchen units around the garage.

By March 2020 the temporary garage in the garden was gone and I'd even grown a lawn, laid the day that the Covid pandemic lock down started. Moving around the country became tricky but that meant Messenger email traffic increased between Adam and I and we finally got a date in the diary to collect the car. 

My mate Tim got wind of the plan and immediately offered to help so the train journey was out and Tim driving was in.

And so it came to pass that on Saturday 24th October 2020 the Vitesse came to it's new home.

Now those of you reading this will realise, that was a year ago! What's been happening since? Well it's been a fun time in amongst Covid, working away from home and trying to balance everything. In that last year by youngest daughter has graduated, moved from Nottingham to London (Dad's removal service) and my eldest daughter has produced Rose, our first Grandchild - yes I am Grandpa Jason. I've also helped move my parents (literally round the corner from their old house who's garden touches their new garden!), I've prepped and sold my youngest's car and kept my pair of his n hers Saabs on the road.

My intention is to post a few photos of the car, update you on what's' been happening (newsflash, not a lot until recently) and try and get the car back on the road.

That's probably enough waffle for now, here's a few photos (I'll be mixing Adam's pics with my own).

OOD at home in the partially competed garage

Tuesday, March 30, 2021


 You can't keep them all, or so Mrs C keeps telling me. 

So, my TR6 needs a new home.

It's a 1970 UK car, with overdrive. Its all up and running well. I've had it for 7 years and its completed a few events and trips, in it over the years including a Round Britain Reliability Run, well I am on the Club Triumph organising team so it seemed necessary to do 2000 miles non stop in the TR. It's been used well and I've taken it to France and various trips with friends around the UK, it's never been home on a flatbed.

When I acquired the car, back in 2012, it had been off the road for many years in dry store. I drove it home from Essex to Berkshire and apart from a little last minute high temperature when I came off the motorway, it was fine. The rise in temp was due to a poor connection to the electric fan. That's all been replaced now with a modern controller and in 2018 a new radiator. Shown below when fitted

Over the years I have replaced the inlets and linkages with refurbished ones from Neil Ferguson, along with a set of injectors and a metering unit just last year. I generally source my refurbished stuff from Neil as he's ex-Lucas and a helpful chap with decent prices. My next project car is Lucas injected too :-) Teaser image below!

Back to the TR6 - I've renewed most of the interior with standard vinyl, black carpets and new sound insulation. I rebuilt the seats underneath with new foam and webbing but using the original covers. I've added some hidden USB for phone charging and sat nav too.

The suspension was a bit of a voyage of discovery, when I first had the car it was prone to wallow and not very comfortable over our bumpy A roads. I replaced springs and shocks for the RBRR but I went a little too low. The car came with a twin tail pipe exhaust system and that hung below the diff so we grounded out far too much. I replaced the exhaust system, including a tubular manifold, with a single pipe system - it's not too loud but gives a nice note. Over successive trips I tuned the suspension ride height with different thickness spring insulation pads. Ultimately I settled on Koni shocks on the front and uprated lever arms on the back, there are thicker pads top and bottom on the springs. That's the set up that's still on the car today and it's a good all round set-up, pliant and not too hard so it stays comfortable at speed and round town.

There have been a few other improvements over the years, the RBRR suggested new halogen lamps and headlight units to improve the night driving experience. 

When the clutch release bearing was getting noisy, I renewed the complete clutch, I consciously went for the TR4 arrangement without the dowel, this is not as quiet as the TR6 arrangement but with a bronze carrier and no dowel it's far more long lasting - you don't get the wear notch that ruins the carrier.

A trip to France in 2017 showed up a failing overdrive, it didn't let us down completely but it was close, I pulled it out and had it rebuilt. That took a little running in but it's good now. A fine crack in the original radiator lead to weird water loss when stood but nothing when used so I put in a new radiator last year. 

The hood is tight and the windows are clear, being tight it is a bit of a workout to fasten but it does mean that it's as waterproof as any Triumph I've owned. It's very good in even the worst weather. There's a tonneau cover that fits too.

The car was restored many years ago, when replacement panels fitted, and its still very good today. It's no concours motor, it's pretty and very useable. There are some cosmetics around the car that could be improved and things to tinker with if you're minded to.

Why am I selling? Well, apart from not being able to keep them all, I have been pursuing a Vitesse for a few years now and just recently I managed to buy it - it needs investment and work and therefore I need to release funds and space.

The TR6 is tax free and MoT exempt, I have service history from my ownership but very little prior to that. I'm hopeless with dates and realise that the above reads like a story but the order is a little wrong so I'll need to refer to the bills for the detailed chronology if any one's really interested!

The advert is here 

Free cup of tea with any viewing, free biscuit to the buyer!

Thanks for all the interest! In had to disappoint some viewers as the car sold yesterday and is now with its new owner.