Messing About With Cars - Mike BishopMessing About With Cars - Mike Bishop
Oh How Time Flies!
A Busy Weekend of Motorsport Ahead
10CR - Final Prep and Ready for the Off
CMC Priestley Rally
10CR Prep Not Going To Plan
A Quick Trip To Stafford
Taith o amgylch Cymru - CT Welsh Tour
HCR not as Planned!
Core Issues Again
Things Didn't Quite Go Exactly To Plan
A Reluctant Re-Awakening Day 3
A Reluctant Re-awakening Day 2
A Reluctant Re-awakening
Tinkering With The GT6
New Gearbox for the GT6
Goodbye Old Friend
Quality Time in The Shed
Bugger! Another Overdrive Bites the Dust
More Good Progress and a Proper Drive on the Road
Gearbox in and closer to the road
A New Years Resolution Gone With a Bang!
Oh How Time Flies!
Well time has raced by since my last post - and I still haven't written anything about the 10CR back in September yet - but that will have to be another time!
Following on from previous, the Herald sailed through it's MOT (my welding bodgery on the outrigger actually looked ok after a coat of paint!). I was also amazed to realise that changing the previously failed starter solonoid had cured a long standing fault that had plagued the car throughout my ownership. Basically the starter motor displayed symptoms of low voltage and turned slowly, even on a fully charged battery. I had never been able to pin down the reason, and had just assumed that it had something to do with the extra cabling involved with relocating the battery behind the drivers seat. It must have been dropping voltage across the solonoid all along!
On the Friday evening, we had a cracking drive in the Sprint on the Chelmsford Motor Club Halloween 12 car, with a result of 4th overall (2nd CT) with 0 fails 25 mins. We might well have been a little quicker if a small navigational faux pas hadn't of had us driving (spluttering) through the same deep ford 3 times!
It was late to bed then up early on Saturday to jump in the Herald for the Club Triumph Historic Autosolo. It was a damp morning and we had a slog for around 1hr 20mins to get to the venue at Bovingdon, Herts. However, for once I was pleased with the poor weather as the Herald really does perform better in slippery conditions. This was soon confirmed by my morning times being up close to much faster and more competitive machinery. Sad to say however that it dried up after lunch and as a result, the gaps opened up! In the end though I was delighted to be awarded 3rd in class behind autosolo pro's Nigel Abdullah and Matt Helm. It was a good day and I had a great time trying, as did Darren who took a rare turn in the driver's seat, and I'm sure everyone enjoyed watching the crazy Herald sideways action!
Click HERE for video of Darren in action.
The Delado Rallysprint planned for Sunday was sadly cancelled due to the venue being waterlogged following the poor weather. After an exhausting Saturday, I must confess to enjoying the lie-in!
November saw the MOT expire on the Sprint. With a weepy axle hub seal, I decided to use that as the excuse to change the noisy diff for a spare unit before MOT'ing the car. Unfortunately so far, all I have managed to do is paint the replacement axle!
Next on the calender was the Dutch Night Rally or Nachtrit. This was to be Darren's first one, with the Sprint being MOT-less, for this one the Stag was to be the weapon of choice. It was also to be a brief trip due to work committments; we took the Eurotunnel on Saturday morning, then drove approx 3.5h to the start at Slenaken. As usual there were plenty of other nice classics there, along with Dutch friends Roger and Theo. It was great to see Roger's GT6 in the car park, following its long period off the road.Some pics can be found HERE on the CT forum on post 42.
Having had reasonable weather for the drive over, typically it started to rain just as we started the Rally! Following tulips in the rally roadbook, we had a cracking drive through the Dutch and Belgian countryside, driving around 100km to the half way stop. After a delicious bowl of sphagetti, we set off on the second leg, where the roads seemed to flow even better. Unfortunately so did the fuel, as after an hour the car was running on vapours. Open filling stations overnight in the Belgian countryside are like rocking horse poo! Luckily the satnav came to the rescue and after a small detour we were good to go again. Back at the finish, we enjoyed a few cold beers with the other entrants before heading to the Guesthouse for a long awaited sleep.
On Sunday morning we awoke refreshed and having packed up the car followed Roger to our breakfast stop. This turned out to be a little pub in a nearby village square that served up the most delicious ham and eggs Dutch style. Then with a large Dutch Vlaai in the boot (thanks Roger!) we said our goodbyes and followed the GT6 along the now sunny lanes to the motorway and headed back home!
Towards the end of the month, the next CMC 12 car beckoned - The Mick Bliss Memorial. With no Sprint and the Stag being less than ideal for hooning along country lanes, it was the turn of the GT6 to come out to play. Before using this it in anger, I wanted to change the driver's side front lower wishbone, as it was showing signs of opening up around one of the bushes. Imagine my astonishment to find that the car would not start, like the Herald previously this was due to a failed starter solonoid! Luckily I had bought a spare when replacing the one on the Herald so a bit of faffing around later we were up and running again. With a spare wishbone already sandblasted and powder coated, the swap over didn't take long, with the poly bushes thankfully coming easily out of the old and able to be re-used.
The evening of the event was mild and dry and we had another cracking drive along some great roads in north Essex and south Suffolk. A missed codeboard early on brought us 1 fail, then a couple of tricky bits of navigation had us coming in OTL at the penultimate time control, costing us another 3 fails, so no podium results for us this time!
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 05th December 2013 4:44pm gmt
A Busy Weekend of Motorsport Ahead
Plenty going on this coming weekend, starting with the Chelmsford Motor Club Halloween 12 Car on Friday night, The Club Triumph Bovingdon autosolo on Saturday and weather permitting a Delado Rallysprint round on Sunday!
As usual the Dolly Sprint will be the car of choice for the 12 car and the Herald for the Saturday and Sunday events. Unfortunately the plans for the Herald hit a snag when I dug out the paperwork, only to find that the MOT had expired several months ago!
It wasn't quite as simple as just booking it in either. When I dragged it out of storage to replace a faulty starter solonoid a few weeks ago, I was somewhat surprised to find the windscreen had a large bullet-hole and several serious cracks in it. There were certainly no cracks the last time the car had been put away around a month previous. As I changed the solonoid, I pondered all sorts of wild theories which included kids poking an airgun through the knotholes in the garage door! However.....
...... when I got back in the car to reverse into the garage, the penny dropped! A while back I recall a lorry throwing up a stone, hearing an impact but seeing no damage. Well what a bizarre coincidence - I had a chamois pad sitting on top of the dash which had neatly concealed the point of impact. I guess the hot days and cooler nights then subsequently promulgated the cracking as the car sat dormant in the garage.
So last week after considering various options, I paid the £75 insurance excess and had a new laminated screen fitted. While he was here the bloke was also kind enough to fit the new rear screen rubber I had bought around a year ago, so good result. I took the opportunity to clean up a few bits and pieces that I had removed to make fitting the screen easier. I has always assumed the sunvisors were grey, well after a bit of work with the soap and a scrubbing brush, I found they were actually white - oops!
Checking around the rest of the car showed up a few more faults that would not pass the scrutiny of the MOT inpsector - last years bodged repair on the drivers side rear outrigger required bodging again, the nearside track rod end was shot and there was play in the rack n/s inner swivel.
Luckily the outrigger bodging was sucessful (I hope), but it will need replacing for sure, along with the side rail before next year's inspection. Then I will be able to get the car's 4 wheels aligned at long last. Now where did I put those spare chassis sections that I'd bought a few years ago? :-)
Today I stripped out the o/s rack end, reshimmed it and fitted a new track rod end. It should have been a quick job but I managed to lose one of the original shims somewhere on my messy workbench so had to make up extra. Then upon reassembly it became apparent that the tab lock washer that prevents the inner swivel from coming apart would not be re-useable so a new one of those had to be made as well!
MOT booked for tomorrow afternoon - fingers crossed!
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 14th October 2013 10:17pm gmt
10CR - Final Prep and Ready for the Off
The last couple of weeks on the run up to the 10CR turned into a bit of a blur. With extra days at work, a weekend away at Shambala Festival and a long list of work to do on the car, there was no time to write blog updates. The jobs list looked something like this!
We collected the diff from Mike Papworth on the way back from Shambala, a good result as the gears were in good order and just needed resetting. As usual, fitment of this took a fair bit longer than removal, but with the aid of just a trolley jack I was able to wriggle it back under the car and bolt it up without too much drama. Re-aligning the exhaust pipes took a while. Annoyingly when bolting up the nearside subframe bracing strap, I noticed some corrosion around it's mounting point on the rear n/s floorpan, so the welder had to come out!
Once re-instated, it was obvious that the drivetrain clunking had been greatly reduced, however I was disappointed to note however that the very expensive modified driveshafts that I had purchased from EJ Ward only 4 years ago now both had a little play across their sliding sections.
So on to the roof. This turned out to be a bit of a saga. It went off to the blasters and came back very sound, with only a couple of minor cracks to weld up and a small repair to be done on one corner.
Cutting out and replacing the affected metal was pretty straightforward, then the plan was to send it back for a final blast before painting.
This is where it all went wrong. After a couple of days, a phone call came from the blasters telling me their machine had broken as was awaiting parts. By the end of the week, with only a few days to go before the 10CR, I gave up waiting and collected the rail. I then cleaned it with phospheric acid and etch primed it, before a couple of final top coats of satin black. The inside was treated with Bilt Hamber Dynax S50 Cavity Wax.
The following day I swapped over all the clovering, trims and rubbers from the old one and fitted it back to the car, finally glueing the hood back in place. Much to my dismay, the rail was still very difficult to clamp down to the screen top, so will have to be looked at further, post 10CR.
With the intended route taking us down to the south of France then across to Monaco, I had a minor concern about the ambient temperatures that we might encounter. This was compounded by my suspicions of a very slight leak from my water pump that showed as a little dampness in the engine Vee when parked up overnight. The cooling system on a Stag was marginal by design, although mine had been improved by the fitment of a thicker core radiator a few years ago, I decided a header tank would add to the security of the cooling system.
Having spent a couple of days trying to make a VW Golf tank fit, I concluded that the combination of mounting difficulties and low exit pipe made that not a option. A quick browse on line turned up some nice conversions using a Cosworth Header Tank, however none turned up on Ebay at the right time. It was then that I had some good fortune and a result!
Another local Stag owner had recently purchased a bespoke kit for his Stag, made by SOC member Chris Spain. He happened to pass by and stopped for a chat, bemoaning the fact that he had been quoted almost £100 just to have his kit fitted. A deal was done, with me offering to fit the kit to his car for free, in return borrowing it for my car for the 10CR trip! It was a very well thought out conversion, with fitting taking only around half an hour, so that was another job off the list.
Another job that really needed tackling was a nasty engine oil leak. This was rather odd as it only seemed to manifest itself when the car was parked up. A good clean up underneath, followed by some time spent reclining under a running engine with a torch showed the leak to be from the oil pump, which on a Stag bolts to the outside of the block. It seemed to be coming from the relief valve seal plug.
Removal of the oil pump at this late stage was not an option as it would have meant disturbing the exhaust manifold on that side, not a small job. I therefore tried to remove the seal plug on situ. this was easier than expected and a new o-ring cured the fault.
With the big jobs done, it was then time to prioritise the rest of this list into "Essential, Desirable and Nicety" categories. The LHD halogen headlamps were fitted, along with new rear brake shoes. A cigarette lighter power source was cabled into the boot, along with a LED orange warning light system (no hazards on my Stag). The newly recon alternator was fitted and a near broken cable on one of the coil LV connections was remade.
The final task on the morning prior to departure for Calais, was to have all 4 wheels balanced and a Hunter four wheel alighnment check carried out. This resulted in 3 spacer shims being removed from the o/s/r trailing arm and the difference it made to how the car drove was instantly noticeable.
Just the tools and spares to pack now!
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 15th September 2013 08:54am gmt
CMC Priestley Rally
This was the first of the CMC Winter 12 car series for this year. Initially on the reserve list, we were lucky to get a late entry due to another crew dropping out. Following a challenging drive in near torrential rain and flooding, we were delighted to finish 1st in class and 2nd overall. With other CT Crews both competing and marshalling, that also made us 1st CT - great result! The only downers to the night were having to push start the car before going home, and finding one of the tyres flat the next morning!
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 14th September 2013 08:36am gmt
10CR Prep Not Going To Plan
With the 10CR only a couple of weeks away, this was not how I planned the Stag to be today!
Not only is the soft top in pieces, but now the diff is out. There has been a bad drivetrain clonk for sometime now, and whilst the car was over the pit at the MOT station I had a good look and was surprised to find it due to a lot of backlash in the diff. Disappointing as it was expensively purchased from a well known TR Specialist only 6 years and 12000 miles ago.
A chat with Mike Papworth convinced me that it was a good idea to have a look inside sooner rather than leave it and risk causing expensive damage to the crown wheel and pinion. So Saturday morning the diff came out. I managed to leave the quill housing and nose extension in place which simplified and sped up the task, and within a hour it was out on the floor and draining. The next day it provided quite a bit of ballast in the back of the GT6 as we went up to Stafford, where it was passed over to the capable hands of Mike. Hopefully he will be able to adjust it up and turn it around quickly.
Now back to the soft top. The header rail has always been a bad fit to the screen surround, and more recently had become progressively harder to clamp shut. Then some time last year, the header rail broke at the corner where it joined to the side rail. Using the 10CR as a deadline to motivate me to sort it out, I stripped the canvas back around a month ago to investigate the damage.
First I removed the rubber seal. Then I drilled out the rivets securing the seal channel to the header rail.
This then enabled me to carefully unstick the canvas and peel it back.
This is what I found - not good!
This left me with no option but to remove the header rail completely to try and effect a repair. It was easy to fully unstick the canvas and pull it back.
This then enabled me to unbolt and split the side rails at the centre pivot and remove the header rail completely. Unfortunately at this point the broken section of side rail promptly fell off, taking a chunk out of the driver's door paintwork - doh!
With the bit off the car, the mode of failure became apparant. When new, the header rail was welded to an "L" shaped corner bracket, which attached to the side rail via a hammer rivet. The "L" bracket was originally a loose fit around the rivet, which allowed a little up and down movement of the header rail - no doubt helping it align and seal the the screen surroung effectively.
Anyway, over time these brackets rust and seize around the rivets, eventually repeated clamping shut of the hood frame causes them to snap. Mine had been no exception, but 20 odd years ago when having a new hood fitted, the corners were welded up by a reputable Kent based Stag specialist - of course back then I knew no different. I suppose to be fair, this bodge lasted 20 years, and the hood is still watertight, presentable and in good order so I shouldn't complain too much!
The recent failure turned out to be due to the welded bracket pulling out of the header rail. I attacked the welding carefully with a mini grinder, eventually proving that it had indeed snapped all those years ago!
With replacement brackets not available, this looked difficult to fix. I'm sure with a bit of time, trial and error I would have been able to sort it out, however thankfully a job lot of Stag hood components turned up on Fleabay the very next day! The seller confirmed the header rail to be unwelded, unbroken and useable, so a few bids later, the bits became mine for the princely sum of £31! Thanks Colin for bringing them back from Stafford - with me optimistically thinking they would fit in the back of a GT6!
The header did turn out to be exactly as described, but both corners were seized solid to the rivets. It took around an hour each side, with copious applications of heat and Bilt Hamber Ferrosil, but eventually patience and gentle easing paid off and both corners now move freely. I also had successin drilling out and re-tapping the clamp lever captives, two of which had sheared screw in them. A productive afternoon!
Tomorrow, it will be off the the blasters to get the reclaimed header cleaned up, I expect to have to weld a couple of local repairs after that. Then it can hopefully all go back together.
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 20th August 2013 10:12pm gmt
A Quick Trip To Stafford
With some bits to deliver to Mike Papworth and an Ebay purchase to collect, it seemed like a good excuse to take the GT6 out and go to the TSSC weekend at Stafford. With other committments on the Saturday, not to mention the lure of beer and curry, I decided to make a day trip on Sunday!
Mostly because of the after effects of the aforementioned beer and curry, the planned early start didn't quite materialise, however we did manage to get on the road by 8am, not so bad.
I decided to take the "fastest" route on the way there, travelling on the M25, up the M1, then across the A50. Although I had put over 2k miles on the GT6 since aquiring her a year ago, this was to be the first "long" trip I had driven in her. Once on the M25, it became quickly apparent that cruising at the legal limit was not going to be possible, partially due to the deafening howl from the diff and partially due to the horrendous wheel wobble from the rear end. Neither of these had been particularly noticeable previously whilst bombing around the lanes!
So the two and a half hour expected journey took over three, and we arrived just before lunchtime not exactly feeling refreshed! A quick stop at a roadside cafe just before the showground provided some cheap and very tasty sustainence, then it was in through the gate and we were there.
A quick drive around found the GT6 parking, and we joined the line up. Surprisingly there were two other nice white Mk1 GT6's there (and we had already seen a 3rd driving away from the showground on the way in!). After a quick chat to the neighbouring GT6 owners, we met up with Colin (aka Scrapman) who had driven up in his latest Mk 2000 (aptly named the "Basildon Banger") and wandered around.
Although there were some lovely cars inside the halls, including a Triumph Italia, and a good number of traders, the whole show seemed a lot smaller than the last time I had attended some 4-5 years ago. According the the ticket I was given on the gate, I was visitor number 546, so still plenty of people there but I'm guessing 8-10 years ago that number may have been nearer 1000?
We spent a good few hours wandering around looking at cars and chatting to friends as we bumped into them. I was pleased to pick up a new battery box for the GT, the old one having a big rust hole in the bottom of it currently give the passenger wet feet when it rains!
Late afternoon we decided it was time to head for home and after a bit of discussion with Colin and fellow CT member Darren Sharp, decided to follow the sceinic route back. With Colin in the lead we headed down to Rugley, Lichfield and Tamworth, picking up the A5 which we then drove all the way down to the outskirts of Milton Keynes, before heading east to pick up the A453 Bedford road. What a blast, the GT6 was so much more of a pleasure to drive on these roads, with diff howl and wobbly wheels forgotten!
A supper stop en route at a pub we had eaten at several times before was rather disappointing this time, won't be stopping there again. But with full bellies we carried on our journey, waving goodbye to Darren at the A1. Colin & I then drove the last part of our route along the A505 from Baldock Services though Buntingford. This is one of my favourite driving roads, and with very little traffic in the way, did not disappoint! Colin enjoyed it so much, he had to pull over in a layby on the A10 to transfer some fuel from his petrol can back into the car!
Back at home, both me and the GT6 were ready for a well deserved rest!
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 19th August 2013 08:36am gmt
Another busy month at work, continuing house renovation and going away for a fortnight away on hol in Bulgaria saw me missing the rather sunny weather that had gripped the UK and several motorsport events - not to mention neglecting my garage duties! However, in between all these pressures of life, I have been grabbing a few hours here and there and actually managed to keep on top of things, and even managed to catch up on a few outstanding jobs.
First the GT6; Some time ago Adam, another Triumph enthusiast in NZ, posted on the CT forum about getting some stub stacks made for Cd150 Stromberg Carbs, offering to collate & despatch orders for anyone else who was interested. Having read how this simple bolt on mod could noticeably improving carb breathing and increase power, I requested a pair. Some weeks later a parcel turned up, I was seriously impressed with the quality and finish of the items.
Before I could fit them, I needed to ditch the skinny chrome pancake filters that were fitted and replace them with something a little wider. A dig in the spares box found a random stash of K&N filters that I had aquired over the years, astonishingly with a pair of backplates that that bolted straight on! All the other bits were mix and match so it was just a case of selecting a pair of deep filter elements and the correct length assembly bolts and job done.
The other job long outstanding on the GT6 was to sort out the fuel tank breather. This ran from the top of the tank and out through the base of the n/s rear wing/boot floor. As I had discovered quite early in my GT6 ownership, this had the annoying habit of syphoning out several litres of fuel onto the floor if you brimmed the tank to the filler neck, which itself sat just higher than the tank breather outlet. The first time it happened, having just put in £50 of V-Power, I thought the tank had split - and nearly caused a major incident at the forecourt! The short term fix was not to fill the tank right up, however having found my lost stash of fuel hoses (unsurprisingly whilst looking for the air filters!), I decided it would be timely to do a fix before losing them again!
The old pipe was too short and turned out to be only pushed IN to the tank stub and held by what was now somewhat sticky plastic insulation tape! A larger correct diameter hose was pushed on to the stub and secured with a jubilee clip. Although unsure how the original should have been plumbed, with the longer length of hose I was able to pass it up to make a loop inside the wing, higher than the filler neck, before passing back down through the floor again. It seems to have worked, although it's still a nervous moment each time I fill the tank!
Next was the Herald - this had been laid up with a bent driveshaft since the Woodbridge Targa Rally last March, and a couple of good events had been missed due to it's unavailability. A request to the Delado Rally Club to put on some rally car rides at local charity event held at our usual venue provided the much needed pressure of a deadline to spur me into sorting it out! Thanks to good mates Mike Helm who donated a couple of Spitfire driveshafts and to Colin for providing the all important hub puller, it was a quick and easy job in the end.
The hub puller soon had the axle hub off, a quick check with a steel rule showed it to have a definite bend! A trial fit of a good hub onto the exisiting shaft confirmed that to be bent as well, so there was no option but to swap. The inner drive flange to diff bolts were fiddly to remove due to the close proximity of the custom exhaust pipe, however the rest of the swap went well and I was delighted to be able to fiddle the driveshafts in and out without disconnecting the brakes from the backplate. A quick test run showed all to be well. The car, freshly fit for the charity day, proved to be one of the most popular choices for the track rides! The car went well and the driveshaft held together, however the starter solonoid decided to pack up, leading to a bit of hot wiring with a jump lead!
Now onto the Sprint. Since the 2010 RBRR, the fuel and temperature gauges had always read high, despite trying a variety of used original voltage regulators. With plenty of time for Ebay whilst away on hol, I finally got around to purchasing a solid state one. At £12 quid a shot for a small component that can be purchased from RS for "not a lot", the chap selling them is making a killing, however he supplies them ready made up packaged in a neat little plastic box, and with connecting cables all soldered on they are true "plug and play" and can be fitted in minutes. On that basis, I decided that for the sake of £12, the time that I would have expended sourcing the individual components and assembling them all together would be better spent doing other things (see above!).
I was delighted to find that fitting the new reg had cured the fuel gauge anomaly, which now read normally. The temperature gauge which had previously been sitting above the 3/4 mark at normal running temperature now read just below the same mark - still higher than expected. Whilst out on an Ebay mission, I found myself passing TR7 specialist, Robsport so dropped in and purchased a new temperature sender. This dropped the normal running reading to just over 1/2, much better. I would prefer it to read a little lower still so will experiment with some different gauges when I get around to it. I also bought a new set of carb breather hoses as I had notice the ones fitted were cracking up - this may explain the whiffy fumes that seem to be finding their way into the car recently.
Final report was from the Essex CT Area Clubnight, at the Hurdlemakers Arms. Plenty of Triumphs in the car park on a balmy Wednesday evening, along with a dose of great company, good pub grub and a worthy selection of fine real ales was a recipe for a great evening. A surprise appearance by a group of Morris Dancers added some extra interest. In fact is was such a good night, I had to leave the Dolly in the car park and get a lift home due to the quantity of ale I had quaffed. Cheers to the next one!
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 03rd August 2013 9:57pm gmt
Taith o amgylch Cymru - CT Welsh Tour
Following the success of it's last minute outing on the CT Welsh Tour, I said I would put up some pics, unfortnutately due to the appalling weather throughout, I never realised I had taken so few. We really did experience all four seasons in one day.
As previously mentioned this was to be a family trip, with Ivi and Miya coming along. Miya was keen to get into the driving street right from the start!
We drove over to Gloucester on the Friday afternoon and booked into a Holiday Inn Express, so that we didn't have a long drive before the Saturday morning start. We were supposed to meet friends Colin & Michelle there for a leisurely evening in the pub, however unfortunately Colin's PI suffered engine probelms on the way and then had to turn back, go home and swap cars which made their arrival very late.
Saturday morning got off to a bad start when the hotel fire alarms sounded as we were still cogitating in bed. Although no fire as it turned out, it was down to an "incident" involving some "traveller" families and a heater!
This delayed our breakfast and had the knock on effect of making us late for the start. But we were soon on our way across the border and off into the Welsh countryside, where the rain commenced. This was to be the theme for the rest of the weekend!
In the depths of the Brecons, on the way to Builth Wells our stomachs decided it was lunchtime and we made a random stop at small village pub we came across.
What a find - it was like walking into your Grandmother's front room, to find her giving you a friendly welcome from behind the bar - the then menu, the food and beer were superb and well priced. Would love to go back!
The afternon drive took us along some fabulous roads and through some specactular countryside, one of the final highlights being the Elan Valley.
The next couple of pics were taken near the top. Being in May, we laughed and joked as we passed the first ice warning sign, only to experience tremendous hail just aorund the corner. It was like driving on ball bearings!
At the bottom, we stopped at the Elan Valley Hotel for a cup of tea and welshcakes. Having parked the car facing the sun (which had come out just as we got there!), I was amazed when we came out some 30 minutes later to find the ice on the car still had not melted, despite the ambient temperature being warm. It must have been bloomin cold ice!
It was not long before we arrived at our stop for the night, the Aberystwyth Park Lodge Hotel. There was already an impressive line up of Triumphs in the car park, and an equally impressive line up of Triumph drivers at the bar. Miya didn't waste any time before joining in!
After few small beverages and a rest, the whole group sat down to dine together, one of the features which I think makes these CT events so good!
The following day took in more driving, more spectacular scenery and lots more rain. It would seem I forgot to take any more photos though!
Looking forwards to the next one!
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 03rd July 2013 09:02am gmt
Not much time for blog updates in the last month or so as work is busier than usual. I've even been sent to far away places such as Birmingham and York. On top of that I've been grafting away on the house, although not as much as Ivi would like apparantly! I have been managing to grab a few hours here and there in the garage around all of this, mostly pottering but still reasonably productive.
On the GT6, the winter salt had taken it's toll on the wheels. They really needed blasting/powdercoating to sort them out properly, however I was unsure whether to keep them white or change to another colour. Therefore I cleaned up two only and repainted them using a silver rattle can to see how they looked.
Not the best photo as the light was funny, but you get the idea! A poll posted on the CT forum had over 70% of voters favouring white, which I think I myself prefer. I may experiment further and try a different or contrasting shade of white.
GT window Another morning of pottering saw me tackling the driver's door window. General old age and misalignment had resulted in a stiff window that only wound down a couple of inches before jamming and persistently dropped out of it's guide channels. I had already tried to rectify this once unsuccessfully, but with the warmer weather approaching, mending this became a bit more of a priority.
With the door card off, I copiously lubricated every moving part with engine oil. This included between the coils of the winder spring - as I had discovered in the past, oiling this makes for a much quieter, smoother action. After a bit of head scratching, I concluded that the trouble was that the glass was too loose in it's guides. Part of the reason for this was that the felt had dropped in the rear most channel. Both the rear channel and the front channel (which formed part of the quarterlight) are adjustable, however the rear one did not seem to want to move where I wanted it to go. Removing it completely to resecure the felt revealed why - it's mounting bracket had broken and been re-welded sometime in the past, however a big snot of weld was preventing it from locating correctly. A quick duff up with a file soon sorted that out. A little crush tab hold the felt in place, some quick work with the screwdriver and pliers soon had the felt nicely trapped again.
Once fitted back inside the door I was able to move it where I wanted and with a bit of jiggling at the quarterlight end, I soon had the guides parallel and the glass moving a lot smoother. However when I shut the door, I realised that the whole glass and quarterlight assembly were now at the wrong angle relative to the and B pillars.
This had obviously happened before in the car's life judging by the old paint damage to the b pillar.
With the rear edge of the glass sitting too low and the front edge too high, I "thought out of the box" and adjusted the whole door via the hinges and striker plate to raise the back edge up. This worked well and I ended up with a better fitting door that closed on the catch without having to be slammed and with really good even gaps to the sill, bonnet and rear wing. However then it became apparent that the top edge of glass and quarterlight stuck out too much at the top, not contacting the door seal. A little bit more work at the door hinges improved things again, then I set about tweaking the linkage pivot inside the centre of the door. I'm not sure exactly how but moving this about affected the angle of the door glass in relation to the guides. After around half an hour of tweaking on all planes of adjustment, I had it fitting and operating to my satisfaction - result!
Another free morning a couple of weeks ago had me taking the GT for it's MOT. My pre-checks had found nothing worse than a slightly loose front wheel bearing and a blown number plate lightbulb. I'm glad to say that the MOT tester found nothing else amiss and I got a pass. He did comment on the lack of clearance between the engine sump and steering rack - fag paper was the word, and the poor routing of the fuel pipe that passed under the chassis rail near the diff. I had already spotted the fuel pipe previously but have not yet worked out the route it really should take, but regarding the sump, I will have to take a look at the engine mounts.
The only other point I noted whilst the engine was running inside the test shed was that the exhaust smelt a little fumey. I had already made plans for the future to whip the engine out to overhaul the crank and bearings, however although the oil consumption seems to be minimal, I may also now have to take a look at the rings and bores too. If the head comes off, then it could be time to fit a PI cam - yeah!
Fresh from the MOT, I took the GT to the Club Triumph N. London May clubnight, although noisy around the lanes, she was a lot quieter than I expected on the motorway at cruising speeds. I still don't like the way she skips around on uneven road surfaces though, and in slippery conditions seems to understeer more on rh bends compared to lh. The nearside front tyre has also worn faster than the rest. although vastly better than when I first started driving the car, something remains not right. Unlike the fronts, I don't think the rear radius arms are polybushed, so I think I will plan to look at these and then go for a 4 wheel alignment check.
The other car that has had some unexpected attention last month was the Sprint. Having used it for a lot of winter road rallys, the body and paintwork has got seriously overdue for attention. The salt has not been kind. Because of that and an intermittent gear selection issue, I had pretty much parked the car up pending work.
However, having discovered I couldn't fit the baby seat in the back of the Stag quickly, the Sprint was pressed into service for "Taith o amgylch Cymru", the Club Triumph Welsh Tour. The car ran faultlessly throughout the whole weekend, although the weather was foul, we drove some great roads including across the Epynt Ranges where one of the Works 2.5PI rally cars came to a sticky end back in the 70's, and down the Elan Valley in a monster hailstorm! I'll post some pics of that in another blog update!
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 16th June 2013 11:34am gmt
HCR not as Planned!
Having suffered yet another dose of backache following a couple of trips to work, I reluctantly decided that it would be folly to try and use it for the HCR. With it being an all night event, likely to cover over 400 miles, along with another 250 mile journey back home afterwards, common sense kicked in and I decided to use the Stag instead. The seats were not the only consideration in the decision, having put over 1800 miles on the GT6 since purchasing her, I'm getting to know all the little quirks & foibles now. The noisy diff and horrendous wind shriek at speed from the screen top to roof seal would have made motorway cruising tiresome, the low/hard suspension setup gives a bumpy time on the back roads and with a forecast of heavy rain, the sloppy screen wipers were less than ideal. I'm still loving the car though and are having loads of fun blasting around locally in it, I'll continue working through the issues over time.
So back to the HCR. Following a wash, polish, oil change and few general checks, I deemed the Stag to be fit to go. On Saturday afternoon, I drove up to Cambridge and picked up navigator Darren from the railway station, then we headed off to the start at Soham. There were already plenty of Triumphs there, with people varying from chilled to panicked! Darren soon had a route for us plotted, taking in most of the optional destinations.
Following a nice supper and the driver's briefing, we set off to the Test Venue. There were 3 tests - a simple reversing manoeuvre, a trick slalom where the navigator had to steer and a timed run around some cones. With a number of cars to get through, we sat around waiting for our turn for a bit but got through with no issues.
Out onto the road, we retraced our steps around the town to collect the code board we had missed, then headed for our first destination of Grimes Caves. We then dropped down into Suffolk before heading for Essex. We took a strategic decision to miss the Finchingfield and Castle Hedingham destinations to "bank" some time to give us more options later on in the night. Our one and only Essex stop was deemed to be Newport, located to the north of the county near to the Hertfordshire border. Across the border we picked up Cottered on the A507 for an extra point, before hitting the A1.
Once on the A1, we headed north picking up Bedfordshire, Notts, Rutland, Lincs and some random Golf Club that gleaned us extra points! Finally we deviated at Doncaster to collect N Yorkshire before reaching the half way point at Ferrybridge Services at around half past midnight. Here we had a mandatory 1 hour break where we recieved our instructions for the second half.
Sadly the second half didn't go to plan. York being a mandatory point, we were blasting through the lanes only to suffer alternator failure 5 miles away. With few tools and no spare, the only option was retirement and recovery.
We made the decision to get transported back to Darren's house in Morecombe, as he had both tools and spare alternator. Following a gruelling steady run on the back of a truck over the Pennines, we grabbed a few hours power nap, nipped down the local cafe for brekkie then set about the repair.
On the Stag the alternator is not in an accessible place - offside front, low down under exhaust manifold, power steering pump and tight to engine mount and radiator hose. In the end in good daylight with trolley jack and proper tools, the swapover took over an hour. Not really a viable roadside repair at 3am on a dark, rainy night! I'm tempted to look into a proprietary conversion which remounts the alternator on the nearside upper area of the engine bay!
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 02nd May 2013 09:25am gmt
Core Issues Again
The GT6 has been off the road again. I had one issue with the new Mick Papworth gearbox in that I couldn't get the reversing lights to work. I changed switches, messed around with thick and thin gaskets but eventually came to the conclusion that the selector rod was not actuating the switch. Full credit to Mick, when I emailed him he sent me another gearbox top cover/selector assembly immediately. I promised to return the suspect assembly to him at the Stoneleigh Triumph Spares day last month.
With the onset of Stoneleigh looming, I popped the tunnel out and swapped the selector assemblies over - voila, problem cured, reversing lights worked as designed again. While the tunnel was out I decided to carry out some preventative maintenance and change the seals in the clutch master and slave cylinders. They had been filled with Dot 5 silicone fluid sometime in the past, not something that I am a big fan of, and it was looking rather black and dirty anyway which suggested pending seal failure.
The seal change itself didn't take long, however whilst that section of the bulkhead was clear, as the paint was badly cracked and flaky with visible rusting.
I sanded it all back, gave it a dose of rust killer and brush painted it Triumph White again before re-assembly.
Unfortunately a drive to work next day indicated that things were not all well, with the clutch biting point being much nearer to the floor than before. By the time I had driven back home again, I could barely engage 1st or reverse gears to manoeuvre into the garage.
A torchlight inspection revealed that I had not tightened up the hydraulic pipe connection into the slave cylinder properly, presumably allowing some air in. Unfortunately much to my annoyance I noticed that that another core plug under the manifold had started weeping. This time there was no way it could be repaired without stripping the manifolds off. So I bit the bullet and got the spanners out, to my surprise all all the nuts and fixings undone ok - I was half expecting to wring a stud or tow as is the norm! Been apart before perhaps?
With the manifolds out of the way, the leaky plug was easy to remove. Not wanting to be be caught out again, I popped out the remaining two old ones too. Close inspection of the backs showed one to be ok, the other to have some pitting so a good move there I think. Much to my surprise, unlike behind the front core plug that I'd changed a month or two ago, there was minimal sludge in the block waterways behind the others. For some reason it seemed to have been all confined to the front. The red core plug in the picture is one of the replacements. Although cadmium coated, I decided to etch prime and paint the insides to try and ensure longevity.
Given the pitting on the others, I worried a bit about the core plug on the rear of the block. After a bit of head scratching, I decided I would be able to access it from inside the car if the gearbox tunnel was out. So out it came again, not my favourite task but I'm getting good and quick at doing it now! Changing this plug was actually easier than expected, whacking the bent screwdriver through it soon had it out and using a socket on an extension bar as a drift soon had the new one in.
As a person who hates a scruffy engine bay, I took the opportunity to clean and re-paint the side of the block whilst it was exposed, looking much smarter now, well on that side anyway!
I then popped the thermostat housing off, out of curiosity to see what was fitted and got another surprise. Really heavy corrosion, scale and hard deposits were present under the thermostat itself, to the point where flow must have been quite restricted. The drilling to the water pipe that runs through the manifold was totally bunged up. This may of course be historical, but I'm starting to have serious doubts about the anti-corrosion properties of the TSSC "waterless" antifreeze the cooling system was filled with
I then rolled the car out of the garage, got the hosepipe and airline out and flushed the heater core through in both directions, getting lots of crud out. Hopefully this may mean the heater puts out a bit more heat now as this GT6 is uncharacteristically cold!
Starting up after refitting the carbs and manifolds reminded me of the presence of a slight fuel leak from both carbs that dripped and collected on the heatshields below when cold starting. I had always put it down to weepy float chamber gaskets but close inspection concluded that the weepage was actually coming from the joints between carbs and heatshield. This may well also have been leaking air into the manifolds too and could explain the occasional spit back that I had been experiencing when cold. New gaskets and a smear of sealant has hopefully cured this.
She now starts and runs again, however the driving, comfort and handling are still not where I want them to be. I hope to use the car on the forthcoming CT Historic Counties Rally, but I need to sort out the crippling seats, cure the deafening shriek that emanates from the passenger side A-post/screen gutter/door frame at speed and finally raise the front suspension ride height. This still leaves the noisy diff and not entirely proven question of reliability! As the HCR is an all night endurance event, likely to cover a distance of around 400 miles, the car needs to be spot on!
The Herald finally arrived home yesterday, courtesy of Colin who had been "looking after it" since it's demise on the Woodbridge Targa Rally. In the back were a pair of really rough Mk1 GT6 seats finished in tan velour. Bizzarely they seem more comfortable than the ones in my car, so there may still be hope for the HCR yet!
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 01st April 2013 10:23pm gmt
Things Didn't Quite Go Exactly To Plan
Well the big day came with a rude 5am awakening. A peek out of the curtains confirmed my expectation of snow, however the roads looked to have been well salted and were clear. Having packed up the car the previous day, we set off. Darren followed behind in my S2000 as I needed to leave for home as soon as the last drive had finished as I needed to babysit so that Ivi could to go to work.
With two spare wheels on the roof rack, I held a steady cruise of around 60mph and in just over an hour we arrived at the Targa Rally venue, RAF Woodbridge.
Upon arrival we were directed straight to the noise test, I was a bit surprised to find the Herald was louder than I had expected, with it only scraping a pass. From there on it was straight into an uneventful scrutineering and then into the queue for signing on. From there it was back to the Paddock to change the rear wheels for a pair with "sacrificial" tyres on. Several other Triumphs were taking part - Mike Helm in the TR6, Colin Wake in the 2.5PI and Clive Senior in his Toledo. Steve Radley was navigating for Colin who in turn was navigating for Mike!
Following the drivers's briefing, it was straight on to Test 1. The correct route around this course (and all the others) was denoted by lettered cones, which had to be passed in order. Penalties were to be awarded for missing cones, passing on the wrong side or in the wrong direction or hitting them! Darren was soon calling the turns from his map and a clean albeit rather slow run ensued. By the time we had completed Test 5, we had both settled down and were going well. Then it was time for a break to allow other groups to go out. We were quite amused to watch Clive drive in, misjudge his manoeuvre and park on a buddliea bush! He did redeem himself later on though by being one of only 2 Triumphs to finish the event and quickest CT car of the day!
A quick check of the car showed up nothing wrong and before long we were back to the start for Test 6. We were really starting to fly now, but disaster struck in Test 8. In the middle of a fast sideways drift around some cones, there was a big bang and the car lurched towards the drivers side. We had skidded across a large metal drainage channel and the o/s/r tyre had com off the rim.
At the marshalls direction we limped to a safe location where I was annoyed to find that the wheel brace and jack had been left in the Paddock - doh! So there was nothing else to do but wait for the lunch recess for a rescue. We took the opportunity to snap Colin in the 2.5PI almost mess up a turn!
Finally help arrived, the spare was fitted and we just made it back in time for lunch. Sadly closer investigations after lunch revealed that either the half shaft or hub flange had been bent in out incident so it was the end of our competition thereon. Mike too was out, having suffered terminal gearbox failure not long before our "moment". Shame, as we were all having a lot of fun!
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 13th March 2013 10:24pm gmt
A Reluctant Re-Awakening Day 3
Having lost two days at the end of this week to work, little time was left to sort the car, so on Sat morning it was up from bed early and straight out to the garage for me!
It didn't take long in the daylight to find my box of carburettor bits, and a jet with a good fuel connecting pipe was soon tracked down. As the jet was for a different carburettor, I elected to transfer the connecting pipe to the original. These pipes can be removed from the jet by carefully wiggling off the brass collar where the pipe meets the jet with a pair of pliers, then the pipe will come straight out.
Pushing the collar back on grips the jet back around the pipe.
My to my surprise it all went back together again nicely first time and with no leaks. However a quick test run showed that there was still an occasional misfire of sorts. Setting up the carbs and mixture did not cure it so I turned my attention to the ignition timing. Again the garage tidy up caught me out, having to spend 20 mins searching high and low for the timing light. When it eventually turned up (in the first place I had looked - but just not carefully enough!), the timing was found to be spot on. Upon reaching under the plug leads to refit the vacuum advance pipe to the distributor, I was surprised to get a sharp shock. Problem found, dodgy plug leads! I borrowed 5 leads from the GT6, lo and behold the misfire was no more. Time to order a new set for the Herald I think!
Next on the job list was to remove the door roundels and cover over the various even and advertising stickers. this was a requirement of the event regs. Unfortunately as the roundels came off, so did most of the paint underneath them, so a frantic dose of touching up with a paintbrush had to follow. Our idea to cover the rest was to print off some body coloured paper on the laser printer and tape them up. Well when I was doing the colour match, I must have been colour blind - the match was terrible! Oh well it will have to do.
The last job was to round up some wheels and tyres from my various storage sheds, giving the ideal excuse for a decent test drive. With all running well, the last job was to pack up the car with tools and spares etc., and we're ready for the off!
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 10th March 2013 5:41pm gmt
A Reluctant Re-awakening Day 2
Well day 2 didn't go much better than day 1.
I took the nearside rear radius arm off so that I could insert some shims behind the bracket to replace the ones that had fallen out. In the process of re-fitting the arm noticed that one of the bushes was knackered. Thankfully these are quick and easy to replace. I had previously purchased a stock of poly bushes, but typically having tidied up the garages last summer and moved everything around could not find them! So a new standard rubber bush went back in. I then changed over the rather hard and worn knobblies for road tyres, no issues there but I may need to take a couple more wheels/tyres as spares just in case the surface turns out to be abrasive.
Next I built up a pair of K&N filters, using the two sets I had and the bits that Mike Helm had given me. The stub stacks just fitted inside of them, although bolting tham up was a faf. I couldn't find my K&N cleaning fluid so I had to pick the cleanest looking pair of elements and hope for the best. The old foam Piper Cross elements previously fitted obviously hadn't been doing a lot of filtering as the inside of the carbs themselves looked quite dirty.
In the process of refitting them I noticed that the fuel hoses on the carb tops were badly cracked, further investigation resulted in on crack turning into a break as I bent the rubber. Not good as they were new only a couple of years ago. There is usually plenty of spare fuel pipe in the garage for such eventualities, but you guessed it, they too had disappeared in the tidy-up so I had to make a trip to the motor factor to aquire some more.
A good test drive to set the carbs up to the new filters started ok, until I revved the car hard and picked up a misfire. This rapidly turned into what felt like two cylinder single carb running. Pulling the choke out killed the misfire, leading me to conclude that a bit of the dirt I had noticed earlier and done nothing about had found it's way into a jet!
Back at home I pulled the dashpot, piston and float chanber top off the first carb, cleaning them all up. Then I made my mistake; wanting to clean the jet out I unbolted it it from the bottom of the float chamber to blow it through with carb cleaner. When I went to re-assemble, I found the rubber seal on the end of the connecting pipe had swollen and would not go back into the hole. Tired and getting late now I tried to assist it back with the aid of a small, sharp screwdriver, promptly slipped and put a hole in the side of the connecting fuel pipe.
"Oh deah" were not the word I said! With two 12 hour days of work to follow, I gave up and went to bed. Not much time left to sort things out now, I hope my next update will have better news.
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 09th March 2013 07:29am gmt
A Reluctant Re-awakening
Next weekend, Chelmsford Motor Club will be running a Targa Rally. This is a fairly new type of event, run as far as I can understand on a similar basis to the old Gymkhana's they used to run. Having driven the Sprint in one of the last Gymkhana's to be held, I had always hankered doing one in the Herald, however the stickers and decals it sports had always precluded this.
I had decided to email some photos of the Herald to the organisers to see if things were different in the new format, I was delighted this week to get a positive response. I will have to cover some if not most of the stickers and remove the roundels from the doors, but I can live with that. So with only a few days to go, the Herald had to come out of it's winter storage asap! Unfortunately all did not go completely to plan.
As always, I drive another car around to the lock up, drive the Herald out and leave the other car behind. Except the Herald did not want to start. This is not completely unusual after a reasonable period of inactivity - I think that there may be a bad earth somewhere that causes the starter to run slow. However this time, despite being disconnected, the battery was completely flat. Jump starting from the Sprint didn't work so after a bit of head scratching I removed the batteries from both cars, put the dead one in the Sprint and jump started it from the other. The Sprint started and ran fine so the good battery then went into the Herald, with jump leads back on the engine turned but still didn't fire.
A bit more head scratching later deduced that the fuel was not reaching the currently dry float chambers. So followed a quick disconnection of fuel lines and pressurisation of the tank by blowing down the filler neck! This pushed fuel into and beyond the fuel pump (which I suspect may have been the culprit, maybe sticky non-returns valves caused by evaporated fuel perhaps?) Finally a bit more churning over on the key had fuel passing into the carbs and with a few coughs she sprung into life.
The next issue came to light when I tried to drive away - no clutch! Plenty of fluid and some feeling in the pedal led me to conclude the drive plate had stuck to the flywheel. Having then started the car in gear and kangarooed around the parking lot with the clutch pedal depressed, it eventually freed off.
Back at home I had a small list of jobs to do, but as I parked on the driveway noticed that the handbrake wasn't really working very effectively. So wanting to check inside the drums anyway, I jacked the car up, pulled them apart, cleaned everything and put it back together. With the handbrake cables disconnected, I attempted to adjust the shoes up only to find that not just one but both of the adjusting mechanisms were suffering from stripped threads. So it all had to come apart again!
With the shoes now wound up tightly in the drums, the handbrake adjusted up nicely and the test drive confirmed all was well. Unfortunately it also confirmed all was NOT well the handling. A sharp and constant pull to the left reminded me of the missing shims that had dropped out of the nearside rear trailing arm on a previous rally! Of course I could not find my spares so a quick phone call to Mike Helm had some waiting for me.
Before setting off to collect, I thought that I had better clean the sponge air-filter elements that had ended up caked during a particularly dusty rally late last year. Much to my annoyance, they promptly fell apart as i removed them - doh! Another call to Mike Helm found a "spares or repair" set of K&N's waiting for me - not a problem as I had a couple of other sets myself to cannibalise bits from - thanks Mike!
With regard to the trailing arms, I had decided to stick in a shim or two, then drive the car and check for improvement. As all had been apart before, a straightforward job I thought - err no! With the radius arm removed, a knackered bush was revealed, this had to be changed too!
Maybe tomorrow I will be able to start the prep work I had actually planned to do!
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 05th March 2013 10:10pm gmt
With all the bad weather we have been suffering this winter, the roads around here have been deteriorating fast. I cannot remember any time before when the roads had been worse than now.
Whilst out for a drive the other day, as the car crashed into a particuarly large and unavoidable hole, the shock through the steering ejected the horn push which fell into my lap and the spring loaded brass contact pencil which flew past my ear! A little further down the road when the horn started tooting itself I realised that pencil had come apart and a piece had remained, becoming trapped between the boss and the column. Back at home I concluded that I had no choice but to remove the steering wheel to extract the offending piece!
The first hiccup occurred when I tried to put a socket on the centre nut. As someone in the past had butchered it with a chisel so there was no way a socket was going to go on over the burrs. However after a bit of careful work with a centre punch, the nut came off.
Next I found that the wheel was stuck fast on its splines. Normally a bit of brute force and wiggling does the trick however Mk1 steering wheels are somewhat flimsy, rather rare and hence unfortunately expensive to replace! Luckily due to the design the wheel and spokes can be removed from the boss.
A small puller soon had the boss off and the stray brass contact dropped out!
With everthing apart, I took the opportunity to have a good clean and polish up before re-assembly. The nut filed smooth again and was able to re-used and the finishing touch was the fitment of a "correct" horn push to replace the later one that had been fitted previously. With the wheel now sitting straight in relation to the wheel, I was also able to cross another task off my snagging list!
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 16th February 2013 11:00pm gmt
Have continued to enjoy putting miles on the GT6, making the most of the relatively dry salt free days we have been enjoying down here in the mild south!
However during routine checks under the bonnet, I noticed that the front core plug under the exhaust manifold was looking decidedly the worse for wear.
A quick peek under the manifold at the adjacent two found them looking ok, so I decided to have a go at replacing the offending one without removing the manifolds etc. As the engine had been filled with a "waterless" coolant, I took great care to drain the radiator and block into a bucket.
Disconnection of the water pipe gave plenty of space to attack the core plug with an old screwdriver and drift, before long the it (or what was left of it!) was out. Unfortunately the waterway underneath it was completely blocked with rust and sludge. I don't know what is is with the 6 cylinder blocks (poorer flow due to greater area of waterways perhaps?) but they always seem to sludge up more than the 4's.
A fair bit of digging with hooked picks and bent bits of wire had it cleared as far as I could reach, but I was amazed at what came out - there was even more that cannot be seen in the photo as it ended up on the floor!
All clear now and looking good, however I've resigned myself to taking the manfolds off sometime in the future and removing the other core plugs too as inevitably they will be blocked up the same.
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 01st February 2013 8:08pm gmt
Tinkering With The GT6
With a good gearbox/overdrive now running well in the car, Iâve started ironing out some of the minor faults and niggles that I have discovered. For me the highest priority by far, was to try and improve the rather uncomfortable driving position.
As I had mentioned before, the sun visors and associated bracketry obscured the top 5cm of the windscreen. Given that a Mk1 screen isnât the tallest in the world, I found this to be a big problem, ending up with back and neck ache due to craning/slumping around it! I had decided that the easiest solution was to remove the visors and brackets completely, however whilst doing so I noticed that swapping the outer brackets left to right would change the angles so decided to give it a try. Bingo â a perfect fit with the visors and brackets now sitting above the screen when folded, they must have been accidently transposed sometime in the past!
Adjustment of the column was the next job as the steering wheel was too close to the dashboard for my short arms! An easy hit one minute job which entailed slackening off two clamps via four nuts saw the column adjusted up nearer to the driver, job done. I can now sit straight whilst driving the car, which makes a massive difference.
The post adjustment test drive around the bumpy lanes reminded me of my perceived skittishness of the car, that I had noted the first time I drove it. Time for a little experimentation â the car is running 175/70/13 modern tyres and when checked were pressurised to around 30psi. As the GT is a relatively light car and the tyres not an especially low profile, I dropped the pressure down to 25psi in each tyre. Result, much more confident road holding on bumpy bends. As the shocks are adjustable, I might soften up the rears a little sometime in the future, but will see how I go for now.
Onto the niceties now. The driverâs door glass had popped out of its channels, something John had warned me about. The door card on this side also didnât fit properly with half the retaining clips not holding, allowing the it to bulge out.
With the door card off, another issue was revealed â no plastic on the inside of the door shells, meaning the hardboard door card backing was saturated! A quick inspection found that the passenger side was the same so the cards were whisked off inside to dry with fingers crossed that they wouldnât warp.
Back to the window, I was able to undo the bottom fixing bolt on one of the runners and pop the glass back into place. However when winding back down, it jammed and popped out of the channel again. The issue seemed to be caused by the cross bar between the regulator rollers flexing and catching on a bolt. Iâve re-bent it to clear for now but I think the problem will re-occur so may need to find a way of reinforcing or keeping it straight.
Next I turned my attention to the door locks. John had said these had never worked throughout his ownership. The problem seemed to be mainly down to lack of lubrication, with a bit of release agent, a lot of exercising then a liberal application of oil, everything except the driverâs door external lock was working as it should. The link bar between the key lock and latch was missing so Iâll need to source a replacement.
I finished the task by applying copious quantities of Bilt Hamber Dynax wax protection before making up a pair of plastic protective sheets then refitting the now dry and thankfully still straight door cards along with new clips.
Finally I had a look at the accelerator pedal. Depending on what shoes I was wearing, it seemed very sticky at first push, causing a jerky throttle response. It appeared that the pedal was sitting too high in it's off/slack position. The stiction was caused by a funny angle of contact between it and my shoe! A quick tweak (1cm length reduction actually!) of the adjustable carb linkage soon sorted that.
I'm really starting to enjoy driving the car now, building on my confidence with it as the mileage increases.
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 19th December 2012 9:57pm gmt
New Gearbox for the GT6
Iâve had a couple of good results recently, associated with sorting out my gearbox/overdrive issues. Firstly fellow club member Darren Sharp phoned me to say he was taking some stuff up to Mike Papworth and offered to courier mine up via the CT Pony Express! Big thanks to Darren.
Secondly, I did not expect Mike to be able to sort out the box etc much before Christmas as he had already told me he had a backlog of work, however another one of his jobs got unexpectedly delayed, so he was able to turn around my bits in record time.
I sent him one gearbox and three overdrive units, in the hope of getting a good overdrive box back. The box was the new Jigsaw Racing one that John had sold me with the car. One overdrive was the damaged unit from the original gearbox, another was a Spitfire unit of unknown condition that I had taken off a gearbox stashed in my shed and the third was a worn out MG overdrive donated by fellow CT member Floyd, hopefully good for spares.
There were more good results with the overdrives. Mike was able to save the original unit by de-burring the splines and fully overhauling it. The Spitfire unit was checked over, cleaned out and pronounced to be in good health so can be reunited with its gearbox. The MG unit was confirmed to be worn out but will still yield useful spares, possibly to fix the buggered one that I had temporarily fitted in the car.
Mick also inspected the new gearbox and after discussion re-assembled it with an uprated second gear and one of his special layshafts.
Darren came to visit last weekend so I made good use of his extra pair of hands, removing the temporary gearbox/overdrive and fitting the new. Apart from the lack of a working reversing light, all is good with the new unit. Iâll have look at that in a few weeksâ time when I will take the tunnel out again to carry out a precautionary rebuild on the clutch hydraulics.
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 28th November 2012 09:52am gmt
Goodbye Old Friend
Today I said goodbye to one of my best friends. We had been together for over 13 years, through good times and bad.
Life is a funny old thing. One moment it can be there, then next moment it's not.
It can be happy, it can be sad. It can be fun, it can be filled with pain. It can be peaceful, it can be burdened with pressure or stress. In reality it is a complex mixture of everything, isn't it.
RIP, Whizzer - sadly missed, always loved and never forgotten.
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 21st November 2012 09:53am gmt
Quality Time in The Shed
Last weekend I should have been up north participating in the Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club "Devil's Own Rally". Sadly with less than a week to go, we received notice that it had been cancelled due to lack of entries.
This event had clashed with the Dutch Nachtrit night rally in the Netherlands, so with arrangements already made not to be at home, we turned out efforts into planning a last minute dash there instead. This would not have been our usual relaxed long weekend away that is the norm for these events as I was due to finish the last of 3 nights on the Sat morning of the event, so it would have been a balst down to Folkstone, cross on the train, drive to the night rally, participate and come back.
However after a particularly busy first night shift, with the prospect of the other two being busy subsequently, I reluctantly made the decision to stay at home.
With both sets of plans for a weekend's enjoyable automotive activities in tatters, I decided to make the best of it and use the spare time to clear up the car shed. With 5 cars and an awful lot of bits and pieces sitting on the floor, there was barely enough room to swing a wheelbrace. So with tea, coffee and provisions all packed, I decamped to the shed and got to work.
Just before the RBRR, I had aquired a load of redundant heavy duty racking from work. I decided the way forwards would be to erect it and fill it one bay at a time, clearing each space as I progressed.
So with cars and spares all shuffled around, I soon had the first bay up.
Sunday proved to be cold and wet, so unable to pile stuff up outside I refilled and bled the brakes on the PI, which had managed to lose all it's fluid whilst being laid up, then heading back to the relative warmth of home for the rest of the day.
Monday was brighter, so it was back to the shed. With bits and pieces moved out into the yard, the next bay was tackled. I had to call assistance in the form of Mike Helm (thanks Mike!) for the next uprights, although only a metre higher than the others, they felt significantly heavier and a lot harder to manoeuvre.
Two pairs of hands made short work, with two more bays up on the opposite side of the shed, Mike left me to reorganise all stuff at floor level. By the end of the day, the majority of this was done, leaving me enough space to walk around most of the cars, and most importantly access to the lift clear.
A very productive weekend I think!
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 11th November 2012 10:24pm gmt
Bugger! Another Overdrive Bites the Dust
The GT6 had it's first commuting trip last Tuesday. Having stuck my head out of the door at 6am to check for ice (none) then decision was made to put her to work. At 6:30am I loaded up and drove out of the gate, however much to my annoyance 0.5 mile down the road, the inside of the windscreen froze up. Not impressed! Having scraped and wiped, this happened a further four times until I had put a few miles on the car and the cabin began to warm up. Definitely not a shorts day, brrrr! Although the heater got nice and hot, the blower fan seemed rather pitiful with barely a light draft hitting the screen. Another job on the snagging list, and potentially a good candidate for an upgrade!
As the car reached temperature, she began to run like a dog. A quick roadside stop found that the outer sheath of the choke cable had jumped out of it's rest on the side of the carb, causing the chokes to remain on even though the knob in the cabin was pushed fully in. A quick tweak and she was all running fine again and the rest of the journey was rather good fun!
I have a reserved spot in the works car park, a nice wide bay near to the site gate, on a slight slope. When reversing up the slope I was surprised to experience a little of what felt like clutch slippage. I thought no more of it, had lots of favourable comments from colleagues who had passed by and liked the car, and got on with the duties of the day!
The ambient had warmed up a fair bit by home time and I had an excellent blast back during the 22 mile journey, starting to get to know the car a bit by then. But disaster struck upon my arrival home, upon selecting reverse to back into the driveway, I found all drive to be lost. Re-selecting forward gears turned out not to be a problem so I drove around the block and parked up forwards at home instead.
My suspicion is that the overdrive had been partly or maybe even fully engaged (even though not wired up electrically), becoming terminally damaged during reversing manoeuvres. I had noticed a judder from the transmission a couple of times when driving spiritedly, with hindsight, this may have been the overdrive trying to decide whether it should be in or out. it was always going to be a risk fitting an unknown box, but as the original unit was already out of the car along with tunnel etc when I bought it, it didn't take long. At least I know the condition now!
So now it's back to Plan A, the new gearbox and selection of tired overdrives are going up to Mike Papworth this weekend, for remedial action.
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 08th November 2012 10:40pm gmt
More Good Progress and a Proper Drive on the Road
First job - investigate the misfire; With electronic ignition, new quality plug leads, new carbs etc. I had thought this would be a tricky one to pin down. As it happened, I spotted the cause pretty quickly - with distributor cap removed, there was evidence of burning/arcing on the centre carbon brush and on the rotor arm spring contact that bears on it. A quick brush up with a nylon cleaning stick removed the soot and revealed no obvious longer lasting effects so I elected to replace and test run again. The result - engine revved really well, pulling even stronger over the higher rev ranges with no misfire. The rotor arm (County brand I think) did however look flimsy and perhaps poorly manufactured. I know that better quality items have been remade for the Lucas dizzys but need to look into whether anything is available for a Delco.
Onto the brakes; It was pretty obvious that somehow air had got into the system, so it was off with the wheels to check the pad/shoe linings and to look for caliper/cylinder leaks. All looked good so having enlisted help from Ivi, each wheel was beld in turn. Lots of bubbles in the pot indicated my diagnosis of air was correct. Small chassis Triumphs can be a little tricky to bleed sometimes, the best way to ensure all air is expelled from the rear cylinders is to disconnect the handbrake cables and wind the adjusters up tight before bleeding. Road test number two was another success with the brake pedal feeling greatly improved, although still not as firm as I would have liked. As the system is filled with silicon fluid it may be just down to that, however the actual stopping force is not a sharp as I know it could be, so a little more work may yet be needed. For now I will drive the car for a bit and see if it improves with use.
So with with a bit more confidence in my ability to stop when required, I took the car out for a good blat this afternoon, doing a round trip of approx 20 miles around the lanes. Even though I was a little more restrained than usual, the roads were wet and I'm not fully used to the car yet, it was seriously good fun. You can't beat looking down that bonnet bulge and listening to the growl of "the six". Plenty of head turning in the villages too!
So I'm now starting to formulate some impressions of the car. When pushed she seems a bit too jittery on the bumps. This may be just down to the standard fixed rear spring, or possibly the suspension settings are adjusted a touch too hard. I may try them off slightly, if that doesn't work then a swing spring conversion could be on the cards.
I'm also not totally comfortable with the driving position. The right hand offset pedals I will get used to (the Herald & Spit Mk3 are the same), however the steering wheel is too far away and I felt that I was sitting too high. Strange, as in a GT6 you sit pretty much with your bum on the floor. I'm not especially tall either! The column is adjustable (with the help of a spanner) so this should not be a problem, however the seat looked pretty much as it should do, with no possibility of sitting lower. After a bit of pondering I realised that the sunvisor brackets kinked down 4cm lower than the top of the windscreen, therefore the sunvisors even when folded up part obscured the top of the screen. I can't really do without them but will pop the drivers one off just to see if it does make a difference or not.
Finally a few more things to add to the snagging list - the fuel gauge doesn't seem to work, the drivers door glass has popped out of it's channels and the passenger door catch doesn't always seem to latch closed. All part of the joys of driving an old car!
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 04th November 2012 10:00pm gmt
Gearbox in and closer to the road
Been working on the GT6 on and off in my spare time since my last post. With a bit of help from Darren, a gearbox is now back in. I had found this unit buried in my gearbox stash - had no idea it was there, nor what condition it was in! It's a Vitesse box with a D-Type Overdrive. I was looking for a non overdrive box I thought I had got!
With the box bolted in, we went for the inaugural test drive only to find we could not select 3rd & 4th. So back home, gear selector and remote housings were swapped but but the problem remained. With the remote back off again, all gears could be selected with a screwdriver, with the (different) remote back on, no 3rd & 4th!! Eventually we realised that the cam lever on the front of the remote linkage was jamming on the overdrive inhibit switch that it was supposed to be operating! Removal of switch and mounting bracket gave us third and fourth back again. I'm still puzzling over the Overdrive electrical wiring (extra relays and non standard cable colours have been used in the past) so I'll worry about that another day.
The next road test revealed some good and bad points. The car spluttered and misfired over 3k rpm and the brakes were atrocious with several pedal pumps required to apply stopping power. However she steered and cornered really well, feeling firm, precise and well planted - an obvious good testament to some of the work that previous owner John had done.
So brakes next I think.
posted by mikeybhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 04th November 2012 08:40am gmt
A New Years Resolution Gone With a Bang!
Well, I 've not done too well with any of them to date actually!
1) Mend my Triumphs - due to the pressures of fatherhood, babysitting and ongoing house projectst - I've just about managed to keep the ones on the road going!
2) Sell some of my modern cars - with an S2000, an Impreza, an Audi TT and a BMW in the household, at least two need to go - still have all four!
3) Don't buy any more - massive fail!
Back in July, fellow CT member John Martin aka "GT6John" posted on facebook that he was considering selling his car. His car was (in my opinion anyway) one of the sexiest Triumphs ever produced - a 45 year old GT6 Mk1. Well we exchanged a few messages and texts then subsequently I took the Stag for a blat down to West Sussex to have a look. I wasn't disappointed so a deal was done and Triumph number 14 joined the fleet!
A few days ago I collected the car with the help of good friend Mike Helm, shown above leaving West Sussex Restorations where it was stored. We had a gentle drive home with the trailer, stopping at a nice pub for a sausage-fest lunch at the The Nevill Crest and Gun , Eridge Green near Tunbridge Wells - highly recommended!
Back at home the car was swiftly unloaded.
And now sits resplendantly on my drive!
John being the thoroughly decent chap his is, went to great lengths to tell me the history and all the little troubles with the car, the biggest issue being the gearbox.
This had failed catestrophically when John was driving along at around 40mph, locking the rear wheels up before grinding (literally!) to a halt. John had procured a new box from Jigsaw Racing but found that the overdrive had also been damaged and would not slip back on. At this point he decided enough was enough and I became the new proud owner of the car.
So I have a gearbox/overdrive to sort out. Another friend from the Club, Floyd, kindly let me have an old MG overdrive with knackered clutches so all the bits will be going into a big box for delivery to Triumph gearbox guru Mike Papworth! Hopefully I will soon have a decent unit to fit back in.
I can't wait!
posted by mikeybhttp://email@example.com 29th October 2012 8:49pm gmt
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