Before I go through this it's important to say that none of what we found on the car and I've described below is to be regarded as a criticism - this car was built using some top notch components and to a high standard. The thought and thoroughness that's gone into it is amazing. Not everything is perfect and it's not all to my taste but, and here's the key, it wasn't built for me, or you. I will keep a lot of what's been done, I will change some of it and I will doubtless have to do some re-engineering to make it work. I may even find that some of it just won't work but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it and I'll enjoy the ride.
Many issues are down to the effects of years of standing and whilst I didn't do the work I'm writing about, I've done it before on other cars - I seem to be drawn to cars that have been stood for years, or stored for years, or just not used, this is the fourth Triumph I've had with a ling history of standing!
This time round I had James Cooper wielding the spanners - I've known James for years and he'd done some work on my yellow TR6 when I was travelling and needed to get it in shape for an event. I'm in a similar situation at the moment and as I can earn it faster than I can spend it with James, he's got the job. I'm really glad we went this way, James' day job is fixing aircraft so it's fair to say, he's got some skills :-)
Lucas PI is a thing of beauty but it's a tricky thing to get right. Now I don't profess to be an expert but I do like to think of myself as tenacious so I was determined to keep the PI on the Vitesse and get it working. For a car that had stood for many years with fuel in the system, this was always going to be a tricky one but, challenge accepted :-)
When the car was running, it had eaten at least two cam shafts, the previous owner had driven the car to Stafford and the TSSC annual event there. The trip up was not without its mishaps but the car had won an award there. Unfortunately, on the way back to Exeter, the car developed a misfire - symptoms that were the same at the previous camshaft issues. Those turned out to be poor materials and/or overly strong valve springs that cause premature wear. Fearing this was another camshaft, the previous owner put the car away, a little annoyed with it I suspect. He fully intended to have at it again and didn't intend for it to be laid up for so long. Of course, life got in the way, then work, then marriage, then children and several other projects - you get the picture. No judgement, we've all been there.
So along I come and whilst the story of me becoming aware of the car and buying it is a multi year odyssey, I'll just say for now that I acquired the car as a non-runner, with an undisclosed engine issue, that could be something cam shaft related OR it might not.
First order of business as far as mechanics was concerned was to get the engine running and see what issues we could find. I was prepared for it to be another camshaft and something deep in the engine. I was also prepared for it to be a PI problem or indeed, something else. Spoiler, at the time of writing we think we've identified and fixed it BUT we haven't yet done the work to test that theory.
Fresh oil, fresh coolant, lubricating and freeing off a few parts plus some nice new injectors, replumbing the fuel pump and some new hose - some old hose was petrified and crunchy - and the engine was running. Sort of.
Above was the prototype temp fuel pump mount - a proof of concept if you like.
This was one of our trials
It was clear that the link pipe need a bit of work, OK a bit of replacement
Diaphragm type PRV came with the car, the original Lucas type had proved unsuitable with the 044 pump.
Spotted a rather thin necked pipe, replaced with a new one to ensure there was no restriction.
This is the dirt shield to cover the pump and filter and offer some protection form the elements. I'm prepared for this to promote heat retention and need modifying. We'll see. This has now been painted and is not really visible from the road.
Here ares some of the issues you have to contend with when a car's been standing for years,
Fuel injectors don't like old fuel, this should be shiny and clean. The O rings are hard and brittle.
This is what was in the fuel - this was, we suspect, the remnant of the fuel level sender, that had almost dissolved.
These bits play havoc with the injectors
This was what was in the metering unit and the fuel lines, the tank had been drained and cleaned out by the previous owner,
I've done a few and learned that there's no short cuts - replace all rubbers and trust nothing, drain the fuel and throw it away, change filters and flush everything.
It was fluffy, revs were rising and falling on tick over. Covering the air bleed did not kill the engine - we had an air leak. Well, to be precise, we had many air leaks.
The intakes were running without gaskets, each of the three intakes had been machined to accept O rings like a Weber twin choke carb.
Note no gasket on the inlets, the usual combined inlet and exhaust gasket has been trimmed away to leave just the head face to mate directly to the inlets.
Those O rings had not faired well, this was the best set!
I decided not to take the easy way and fill the machines grooves with chemical metal and stick a conventional gasket on it but it was clear that the machining wasn't quite right. A straight edge and some measuring confirmed the face of the inlets wasn't flat and the grooves were not 100% uniform depth. These inlets a bugger to clamp for machining and we had to try a couple of machinists before we found one who was capable and prepared to do it.
Sorry, couldn't figure out how to arrange these pics better but you get the idea.
So with the inlets back together and bolted on, we were ready for a start again.
Better, bit still not right.
Back to the air leak theory and we found that the throttle shafts were fine, no wear so that wasn't where the air was getting in. Some head scratching and we turned attention to the injectors - pulling them out had left the insulators in the manifold but pulling the insulators revealed the O rings were hard and brittle, time for new ones.
All this has taken time and the final run revealed we had improved things but it still wasn't right. During this work we'd swapped out the whole ignition system to rule out issues there and so we ended up swapping out the whole injection metering unit with James' TR6. And there we had it, she runs and despite over fuelling, there was smooth running and response, no fluffy stuttering pick up. SO, a metering unit overhaul was required.
We sent the 2 litre PI metering unit up to Neil Ferguson for a fettling and to get some spares, James had a couple of MUs in the queue with Neil and he turned it all round for us in quick time.
And that's where the story pauses, on a cliff hanger - did it work, have we cracked it?
Dunno, I'll let you know.