Stevep's TriumphsStevep's Triumphs
RBRR Preparation has started!
Another Stag modification
Another modern update to the Stag
No More Spitfire!!
Stag Emergency Fuel Shut Off Device
Stag has a new Ticket!
New Year, New Challenges!
Mercedes Header Tank fitted to Stag
Spit and Stag update
Two Weeks later
Spitfire Rust Removal
10CR CAR 12
Nice Shiny Wheels
£30 Well spent!
Triumphs Update and Drive It Day
Stag and Spitfire update
More Stag news
Stag update and a bit of history!
RBRR 2010 - A long awaited result!
Stag Auto Box seal replacement
RBRR Preparation has started!
Today was the start of the preparations of the Stag for the Round Britain Reliability Run, this commenced with draining and replacing the coolant. This required the disconnection of the bottom hose, but like many things on the Stag, nothing is straight forward! To get to the jubilee clip on the bottom hose, I had to move the Power Steering pump and battery as the screw was at a difficult angle on the top of the hose! Total time spent draining coolant and replacing - 2 hours and a lot of choice words!
Whilst the system was drained I decided to tidy up the pipework leading from the header tank (Mercedes) to the water pump. I had not been happy with the tight run of the hose as it ran around the front of the cam cover so have now cut the hose and inserted a right hand bend which now places less stress on the hose. as can be seen from the following pictures.
I also took the opportunity to tidy up the fuel hose from the filter to the carb using some steel overbraided hose and a nice clean fuel filter.
Once all this was done, it was time for the oil and filter change. Having struggled with the original spec oil filter I have now decided to replace this with the spin on type on the next oil change! The easiest job today? - putting 5 litres of VR1 into the car!
Next on the list - some copper grease on the back of the brake pads to reduce the squealing from the part worn EBC Green Stuff pads I fitted last year, top up the diff and check the auto box fluid. Check all u/j's and wheel bearings and pack the spares into the hood well.
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 04th September 2012 10:51pm gmt
Another Stag modification
Today I received an exciting parcel from LD Parts, the specialist Stag parts supplier. I have decided to try out his 'Secret Spoiler'. To put this in context, a number of Stag owners have fitted various spoilers to the front valance to aid cooling at high speed as it is reputed that the airflow 'stalls' behind the front bumper at continued high speed and misses out the bottom part of the radiator resulting in a increase in engine temperature.
For those of us who prefer the original classic lines of the Stag, there is now a solution that has been developed by LD Parts. I have not included a photograph as it is currently 'patent pending' but it is an extremely simple solution that redirects the airflow to the bottom of the radiator and is invisible to the unknowing. You need to crawl under the front bumper to realise its there. This evening I fitted it in 5 minutes, provided this warm weather continues, I shall take the Stag along a nearby motorway where I know where the temperature gauge rises to in hot weather when sustained high speed is maintained to see what effect it has.
Details of the 'Secret Spoiler' can be found here:Secret Spoiler
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 26th July 2012 6:48pm gmt
Another modern update to the Stag
When I first got the Stag I fashioned a home made 'breeze breaker' for use with the hood off using 6mm perspex. This has worked well but unfortunately was cracked rather badly on the 10 Countries Run when I put it in the boot and carelessly closed the lid. I effected a temporary repair with good old Gaffer Tape.
Since then I have been mulling over what to do, replace the perspex, purchase a good secondhand Bosscreen (too expensive new), try to make my own mesh one, or purchase a specially designed mesh one, again too expensive.
In the end I followed an interesting thread on the Stag Owners Club forum where some owners reported that the Audi A4 folding wind breaker was a good fit for the Stag. After bidding on a few on EBay I was eventually successful in getting one within my budget last week and it arrived today
very little modification is needed, just some form of strap to the T Bar which is effected using Velcro as seen in the following pictures. There are two positions it can be used, either using the correct tilt as used on the A4 which means the tonneau covers the back seat but leaves a slight gap by the B Post, or angled against the B post which leaves a slight gap at the back seat. Having tried both positions, there does not seem to be any difference(or increase) in drafts. it is as effective as my previous perspex one.
And it all folds up nicely in this ba
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 05th July 2012 6:50pm gmt
No More Spitfire!!
Its not as bad as the title sounds, last week I decided to EBay the Spitfire and today it has gone to a new owner in Dartford that has plans to 'tinker' with it for a hobby. I was pleased that it has gone to a good home and a little sad to see it go given the experiences I have had with it on two failed 10CR and the successful RBRR in 2010. In fact I think it was the documented history that I had with the car and the photo's across Europe and on the RBRR that helped sell it.
In the end it went for a good price, and exceeded the reserve I set.
So, I am now down to one Triumph, the Stag which is this years choice for the RBRR
Anyway as a homage to the little yellow Spitfire, here are a few photo memories
2012 - near home Club Torque - Spitfire pictured in Spain on front cover
Drive it Day 2010
RBRR Meeting Gaydon 2010
10 Countries Run 2009
10 Countries Run 2009
10 Countries Run 2009 - Millau
10 Countries Run 2007 - Morez
10 Countries Run 2007 being recovered!
Drive it Day - 2009
Spitfire Day - Duxford
These are but a few highlights of a very enjoyable time with an excellent little car
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 23rd June 2012 7:59pm gmt
Stag Emergency Fuel Shut Off Device
Having looked at a post on the TSSC forum about the fuel pump emergency shut off device that shuts off the fuel pump in the event of an accident I decided to look into fixing mine. Ever since I acquired the car some seven years ago the existing device has been circumvented by a previous owner, I know why having taken the existing one apart some years ago, it was thoroughly rusted inside.
Following a link on the forum I secured a modern one off ebay and proceeded to fit it today. The first job was to look at the existing connections to see what bits were needed, I was horrified to see the picture below!
The previous owner had taped everything together so I naturally assumed it had all been connected properly, not so, as can be seen some bent wire had been used to link the wires to the pump and the electronic ignition circuit. As can be seen from the picture below of the extracted wire it had begun to rust inside the connections and presumably was only a matter of time before one of the connections failed resulting in a stranded Stag!
Having cleaned up the connections I then had to find a suitable site for the new device, there was not room on the nearside bulkhead as the electronic ignition module is mounted there and it was too big to fit in place of the existing unserviceable device.
I therefore elected to put it on the offside (driver's) side extending the loom to this position. Having screwed it to the bulkhead and connected everything together I started the car to make sure everything worked. The car started and ran fine, but how do I check the switch cuts out as it should? Off came the screws holding it to the bulkhead, I was then able to tap it against the bulkhead simulating a hard jolt as in an accident, sure enough the engine and pump cut off as designed - Phew!
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 10th May 2012 3:03pm gmt
Why the French you may well ask, I had a moment today that reminded me of my first attempt at the 10 Countries Run in 2007 when the Spitfire knackered a rear wheel bearing resulting in our retirement in France.
It was such a nice day today that I decided to use the Spitfire, on my way home at lunchtime I hit a pothole with the rear nearside wheel which resulted in a very horrible screeching noise from the rear, remembering a similar noise near Dole in France in the middle of the night I limped the final two miles home very carefully.
Jacking the car up when I got home and turning the wheel, there didn't seem any play in the bearing so off the wheel came followed by the brake drum and what dropped out, the top brake shoe return spring! I remember I had replaced the brake shoes last November just before the MOT, clearly I hadn't positioned this spring properly, a quick 5 minutes work resolved the problem and I am pleased to say all is well again.
Well it is Friday 13th!!!!
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 13th April 2012 4:49pm gmt
Stag has a new Ticket!
After much gnawing of fingernails today I finally received the call from my local garage that the Stag has passed its MOT with a few minor advisories:
- cracked exhaust mounting on nearside below gearbox
- sheared bolt on autobox oil cooler
- suspected wear in offside rear wheel bearing as tyre shows wear on inside edge.
Can't dispute the first two, but I suspect the last one as that tyre was swapped from the front offside about a month ago and it was showing wear on the inside then! Still I will have a good look at it before the RBRR just in case he was right!
As it was a nice day today, I gave the Spitfire a good run and leaned off the mixture on the front carb as it was running rich, this has certainly improved the idle but I still have a problem with the jet going slightly into 'choke mode' on its own. I will have to look at the linkage a bit more closely as these were new a couple of years go when I replaced the old waxstats for conventional jets.
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 10th April 2012 5:47pm gmt
New Year, New Challenges!
This year its the turn of the Stag to attempt the Round Britain Reliability Run, should be fun I hope, it was in the Spitfire last time. Speaking of which, I dusted the cobwebs off the Spitfire today as it had been sorned since its MOT last November, taxed it and gave it a good run up to Morrisons for some shopping. Its amazing what you can get in the boot!
I have just booked the Stag in for its MOT in our local garage as its renewal has crept up on me and I've only got 7 days left on the ticket. Fingers crossed all is well, I've done all the usual checks but this is the first time I haven't sent it up to Faversham Classics for a service beforehand as I plan for it to have a service closer to the RBRR, it's only done 3500 miles since the last one and 2000 of those were on the 10CR
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 02nd April 2012 10:51pm gmt
Went into the garage this morning to be confronted by a very wet floor! Initial investigation showed that the Stag had dumped the contents of the new header tank into the 'V' and spilt out onto the floor. I at first suspected the water pump seal not being used to a decent head of water and started to dismantle the airbox to have a better look, fortunately I noticed the top hose was wet where it joins the thermostat housing and looking more closely at appeared that the leak was in fact from that so I released the jubilee clip and re-positioned it this time tightening it up with a socket rather than screwdriver. I also managed to get a few extra turns on all the remaining 'new' jubilee clips.
Having given the car another good run today I am now waiting for it to cool down to make sure this was in fact the root cause of the problem.
Watch this space -- as they say!
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 17th February 2012 5:47pm gmt
Mercedes Header Tank fitted to Stag
Just before Christmas I purchased a header tank off a Mercedes W202 (C200) to fit to the Stag after seeing a few similar conversions, particularly that done by Danny Stroud who had put an excellent description of his on the Grampian Stags website.
After conversing with Danny through email, following which he sent me further photo's I followed his lead and sourced most of the parts and hoses from Car Builder Solutions, which coincidentally is only a mile from home.
I have deviated slightly from Danny's installation and used a tee in the top hose rather than using a half inch BSP elbow in the radiator filler cap, this follows a route taken by other Stag owners.
The fixing of the tank was actually the hardest bit, identifying suitable brackets to provide the supports, in the end I decided to use some 3mm steel brackets from B&Q. I have yet to fashion one for underneath the tank, but it is well supported by those fitted so far.
A major headache was reducing the size of the hose from the header tank from 25mm to 15mm, as the alternator had been relocated to the nearside this left little room for my initial plan to use a straight reducer, I solved this by using a 90degree elbow reducer immediately below the header tank, allowing me to use the 15mm hose behind the alternator to connect to the water pump.
After a good test yesterday running the engine up to temperature and giving the Stag a good hard run for half an hour, no leaks etc were found. All I need to do now ids fit the lower support bracket and maybe think about fitting a water level sensor. Round Britain Run preparation continues!
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 15th February 2012 9:06pm gmt
Spit and Stag update
Good news on the Spitfire, took it for its MOT this week to a new classic friendly garage in the Hildenborough area. Initially it failed on the emissions but with a little tweaking that was resolved. So I now have a brand new style MOT and the car has been put back in the garage until the end of January when the Stag's Tax runs out. I'll then put the Spitfire on the road and leave the Stag on SORN until March.
Speaking of the Stag, post 10CR the idle has been a little lumpy and sometimes cuts out when idling in Drive. Decided to have a look today - found the central bolt holding the carbs onto the O'ring was loose and the carbs were moving. A quick spanner job and the car now idles perfectly.
Took a drive up to Faversham Classics in the Stag, Trevor had rung me to say he'd got one of the heads off my old engine at last and did I want to see the condition.
Suffice to say it was well stuck - only one head bolt came out and he had to spend a number of days jacking up the head so that he could cut through all the studs. No way could that have been done in the car! So my decision to go for a newly built engine was clearly the right one. Apparently he thinks the original engine was a Tony Hart Rebuild.
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 29th October 2011 8:55pm gmt
Two Weeks later
Two weeks ago I started preparing the Spitfire for its forthcoming MOT. I am pleased to say it is now as ready as it will ever be. I (together with my neighbour Andy's help and advice) have ground, drilled, patched and welded parts of the floor to sill joints, primed and painted the interior and exterior floor sections and repainted the outer sills.
Unfortunately the existing Inca Yellow does not match the paint I bought. So once the car has been MOT'd (fingers crossed) I will be taking the car to a local paint supplier to get a better match, then I'll respray the sills in primer and start again!
One of the other decisions I made during this process was to refit the original seats, replacing the MX5 ones that I fitted for my attempts at the 10 Countries Runs in 2007 and 2009.
The original seats are in a quite good condition having spent the last 4 years in the garage loft with only a small split in the drivers seat. I have also replaced the rear brakes and adjusted them, replaced plugs, adjusted points and generally serviced the car. It still seems to be running a bit rich, so a bit more tuning is needed before the MOT. I even bunged some Redex into the Tank!
The MX5 seats are probably going to be tried out in Andy's Toledo to provide a bit of extra comfort for next years Round Britain run. We have already measured them and it looks like they will only need some minor fettling on the runners.
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 18th October 2011 6:05pm gmt
Spitfire Rust Removal
With the 10CR well and truly behind me , my attention has now focussed on getting the Spitfire back on the road. It has been on SORN for a couple of months now since both the tax and MOT expired. At last years MOT my tame tester (now retired unfortunately)remarked on the crustiness of the sills.
Having recently gone 'thirds' in a new gasless MIG welder with my neighbour Andy (car 48 in the 10CR) and his son in law I decided to make a start on getting the Spitfire ready for its MOT, which is planned for the end of October. A garage local to my area TSSC meeting point is opening up on our club night to show us how the MOT is carried out and the Spitfire is planned to be one of the guinea pigs!
Andy and I started on the car this week, the offside sill was not too bad, and only one patch was needed on the floor. I decided to strip the paint off the sill completely as it had suffered from brake fluid spills in the past.
The nearside sill/floor is much worse and as I write this has been prepared for 3 large patches to be welded in during the next week.
It has been a steep learning curve for me, never having touched a welder before, Andy is a good teacher and I managed some quite good plug welds today, but my seam welding leaves a lot to be desired!
Ideally, the correct course of action would be to put in a complete floor panel, and new inner and outer sills, and this may happen in a couple of years if I keep the car, in the meantime I have taken the decision to do some more 'minor' surgery to keep costs down.
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 30th September 2011 8:53pm gmt
10CR CAR 12
On the 8th September, my brother Richard and I embarked on our third attempt at completing the bi-annual Ten Countries Run. This year we used my 1978 registered Triumph Stag V8 – on the previous two occasions we had attempted the run (2007 &2009) in my 1976 Spitfire 1500, only to abandon them due to breakdowns.
The Stag was well prepared and I was carrying all sorts of spares including Alternator, Power Steering Pump, Fuel Pump, Electronic Ignition module, oils, water etc.
We departed from my home near Maidstone at 6.30am, accompanied by my neighbour Andy in his Toledo 1300 - a first timer on this run, although like me he had successfully completed the Round Britain Reliability Run last year. We arrived at The Plough, Crews Hill where we just managed to squeeze in a bacon sandwich before turning around and retracing our steps going back past Maidstone to Dover to catch the 12.15 ferry to Calais.
Our first stop should have been Steenvoorde, but we missed it and carried on to the 2nd stop at Charleville Meziere,we met up with Andy there and had a coffee break and rest for an hour. At our next stop Bartenheim, we parked in a large car park by a Kart Circuit where we attempted to get a couple of hours kip only to be woken by low flying jets at 5am!
At 5.15 having made sure our Swiss Vignette was firmly stuck to the windscreen and proceeded to Basel where we were stopped at the border and questioned by the guard who wanted to know if there was a rally on as there had been a lot of old cars going through!
The route book then took us up the Brunig, Grimsel and Furka Passes. These were magnificent roads with fantastic views and hairpins, which the Stag took in its stride, although being an auto it did tend to stay in 2nd and 1st gears most of the time! Andy was following in his Toledo and we pulled over occasionally to wait for him and his wife Di to catch up. We missed the Gotthard Pass, trying to be clever we decided to use the St Gotthard Tunnel not realising the Control Stop was at the start of the Pass above us! Rather than retrace our steps we continued to the next Control Stop at San Bernardino using the old road, again a lovely road with lots of hairpins through the tree line. We were supposed to approach the Stelvio Pass through the Bernina Pass and Livigno, but decided to make up time going on through St Moritz to Zernez and approached through the Umbrail and Ofen Passes. The car struggled up the last part of Stelvio, I suspect due to the altitude, some power was lost and it was getting very hot, so we had a long break at the top having a superb sausage roll from one of the street vendors there. We continued down Stelvio to our overnight hotel stop near Cavalese in Castello Di Fiemme where a number of other teams were also staying. Having stuffed ourselves with the ‘Stelvio sausage’ we didn’t have dinner, just beer!
The following morning we had a superb continental breakfast accompanied by a lovely Apfelstrudel in the hotel and departed for our Saturday start point at Passo di Lavaze. After climbing the pass and descending down it we used the old route to Vipitano which took us alongside the busy and congested autoroute with little delay. On the way to Vipitano we picked up a third car for our little convoy, Sam Shattock and Keith Bennett in their TR4a which was suffering from overheating problems and appreciated our leisurely pace! Halfway up the Jaufen Pass we stopped in a lay-by and Andy brewed up the kettle on his stove for coffees and teas. It was a typically English scene enhanced by Andy & Di producing picnic chairs from their car boot! After climbing to the top we started our climb up the Timmelsjoch (2509m) – an arduous but far more enjoyable run than Stelvio. We stopped halfway up to give the cars a breather but it was well worth the climb
The descent from the Timmelsjoch was as enjoyable as the climb up and we descended through the skiing resorts of Obergurgl and Solden to join the Innsbruck to Bregenz autoroute collecting an Austrian Vignette from a BP Station on the way to Liechtenstein,
We let the Sat Nav find our way out of Liechtenstein and continued on towards our next overnight Hotel stop in Lautrach, Germany We arrived at the hotel at around 7pm, where we had a very welcome beer or two followed by an excellent dinner and early night. Richard and I had our photo taken by Ellis Stokes next to the Stag as this was the furthest we had achieved so far in a Ten Countries Run!
Up at the crack of dawn – to be met by a welcome cup of tea brewed by Andy as we were sharing a 2 bed roomed apartment with him and Di. After a welcome shower I went down to do the usual car check, Oil, Water, Tyres, Food etc. Whilst down there I loaned the use of my Compressor to fellow entrant Steve Radley as one of his tyres was low and his spare was already punctured. After a while it was apparent no more air was going into the tyre, the valve had split and this now left him in an even worse predicament. I was pleased to hear from him later in the run that he managed to borrow two rear wheels from a couple of donor’s for his Mk1 2000.
After another excellent breakfast we left for the Sunday start point at Aichstetten, only a few miles away from our hotel, which gave us a nice early start for the day’s run up to the final overnight stop and finish at Rolduc. We had a good run up through this part of Germany with the hood down until we reached the next control point at Pirmasens. Where we refuelled both ourselves and the car, we left on the next leg to Spa. On the way we were hit by torrential rain for the next half hour or so, reducing our speed to a necessary crawl. I was told later that some of our fellow travellers were not so lucky and got caught with their hoods down.
On entering Belgium we let the Sat Nav lead us to the next control point – Spa – so I chose the Circuit de Spa Francorchamps from the Sat Nav menu and it lead us off at an earlier junction than the Road Book suggested, taking us along some very quiet straight roads to a rear entrance for the circuit where we could take a suitable picture of the cars and listen to Porsche cars racing on the circuit.
Our final leg took us back into Germany through some heavy traffic, only to find that the road we were supposed to take was closed, again, Sat Nav came to our rescue taking us along some nice country roads into Kerkrade, the Netherlands, THE FINAL COUNTRY!!, and our final destination for the day and the official end of the run.
The car was pretty much faultless given the treatment it received in the Alpine Passes, it proved to be remarkably economical for a Triumph V8 Auto returning 27.5mpg average, confirming that the car does indeed have a 3.41 ratio Diff which also accounts for the 7% inaccuracy in the speedo and odometer.
The car required no top ups of oil, auto or power steering fluids and the tyres kept their pressures, which was a surprise as at home, they regularly need a bit of air each week. The car did use a half litre of coolant, but this was more likely the result of me stupidly leaving the expansion bottle cap off whilst checking the level in the radiator causing the bottle to fill rapidly and overspill. – Stag owners take note!
After an excellent buffet meal, lots of the local beer and a good night’s sleep we had a reasonable back to Calais. After stopping at a local wine store to fill up the back seat we arrived in time for our 2.15 ferry home. The Ferry departure was delayed for a couple of hours, and once near Dover the ship had to ‘heave to’ for an hour until a berth came free for it to dock. We remained in the restaurant having ‘eaten’ our way across the channel. We made the trip home to Maidstone up the A2 in record time!
Overall this was a great run, was great fun and gave us a great sense of achievement, our thanks go to the organisers Ellis Stokes,Andy Flexney, Paul Darbyshire and Rob Southern for all their hard work in making the 2011 run such a great success.
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 25th September 2011 7:56pm gmt
Nice Shiny Wheels
Spent the afternoon today polishing the Stags alloy wheels, they were in a sorry state with ingrained brake dust and tarnished alloy. After copious amounts of Brasso and Autosol they came up a real treat. I finished them off with a couple of coats of polish.
My father in Law recently sold his car having decided to give up driving, so I volunteered to dispose of all his car related bits which was basically dried up bottles of polish, old brake fluid and lots of unused cloths. Rummaging around the cardboard box I'd retreived a few weeks ago were these gems - a box of unused Picnic Tables still wrapped in Tissue paper!
So I had to try them out! - Should come in handy on the 10CR!
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 02nd August 2011 8:04pm gmt
£30 Well spent!
What a difference the outlay of £30 has made to the Stags ride!
For some time now the car has been plauged by a vibration between 55 and 80 mph, not just through the steering, but also through the 'seat of the pants'. I have tried on a couple of occasions to remedy this by going to well known tyre suppliers to have the wheels balanced. Each time, some small improvement has been gained.
In a final attempt before looking further into potential prop shaft balancing I used a local garage that has a reputation for handling classics in a sympathetic way.
On Saturday they took the car in and balanced each wheel for me, one of which, the spare , was found to be very difficult to get a balance on due to a possible misshapen wheel. and they also found the existing weights on the rears were far in excess of what was needed.
Having been out in the car this morning, testing it along the A21 Dual carriageway at varied speeds up to 85ish (sorry officer!) the ride is now as it should be, nice and smooth with no trace of vibration front or rear.
The car is now just about ready for the 10CR, just need to fit the backup Kenlowe fan and change the oil for some VR1 closer to the date.
The cost of the balancing? - £30 cash - best value money spent so far this year on the Stag!
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 25th July 2011 12:30am gmt
This weekend saw the annual Darling Buds Classic Car Show near Bethersden in Kent at the farm where a lot of filming took place for that classic TV show with David Jason and Catherine Zeta Jones. The owner of the farm is a former Chairman of the P5 Alive club and puts on this show every year in aid of the Kent Air Ambulance Trust. I have been to this show a number of times before and it is always guaranteed to have a good turnout, last year was particualrly good with over 1000 cars, this year the turnout was down a bit, probably due to the weather which was a typical english summers day, wet and windy with the odd sunshine break!
This was the first time I'd experienced a change in the way they organise the cars, when I'd been previously they'd been organised by Manufacturer, this year it was by period, so I found myself initially sandwiched between a W reg Fiesta and V Reg Mercedes Saloon in the 1976 to 1980 Class in my 77 Stag. Fortunately a fellow TSSC member turned up in his 78 Sptfire and I moved next to him. All together there were 5 of us from our local area but we were dotted around the show field - must get a Club Stand next time!
My Wife, Daughter, Son in law and Grand Daughter were due to join me during the morning for a picnic, but they elected to stay at home until the early afternoon due to the poor weather. Consequently very few photo's were taken until they arrived, so I have posted some of my Grand Daughter Maia whom as you can see is already taking some interest in Classic Cars!
Ahh - This must be Grandpa's Triumph Stag
Now there's the Handbrake and Gear Lever - where are the pedals?
When can I have a go Grandpa?
Now this is much better, I can reach the pedals!
I know it rained a lot, but this is ridiculous!
The Stag ran well there and back in the rain - the windscreen wipers worked, it didn't leak - but the cigarette lighter socket has now stopped working. I suspect this may be something to do with taking out the carpeting last week to vacuum it out as the interior was getting a bit crabby.
So when the rain stops I'll get this sorted ready for the multitude of chargers need for the 10 Countries Run! I also fitted a Mountney 15" Leather steering wheel I won on the bay last week which is a great improvement over the standard wheel and more comfortable than the 13" one I'd transferred from the Spitfire.
Next job is to mount a backup Kenlowe fan currently winging it's way to me from a fellow TSSC/CT member. This will be fitted with a manual switch rather than a thermostatic one for the moment as the main fan is on a newish Viscous Coupling and does a good job in hot weather (when we have it!).
Other than that the car is pretty much ready for the 10CR pending fluid checks - I have have some VR1 Oil coming my way courtesy of a very good July offer in Eurocarparts so will do an oil change nearer the departure date.
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 18th July 2011 09:29am gmt
Not a lot on the Triumph front recently, this was because we've been away on a holiday in the South of France and Italy. We started off flying to Nice for a couple of days before we joined our Cruise ship, the Azamara Journey for a short 4 day cruise that took in Portofino, Italy where we visited the Cinque Terre villages, Saint Tropez, and finally arriving in Monaco at 8.00am on the day of the Grand Prix. This is me having lunch on board overlooking the harbour.
We spent the morning walking around the 'Old Town' of Monaco soaking up the atmosphere, our ears being assaulted by the sound of the support races bouncing around the old buildings. We had decided not to purchase tickets for the GP given their exorbitant price (400+ euro for a grandstand seat) and instead to watch/listen from onboard ship. We could just see the cars entering the tunnel from the Sun Deck. I elected to return to our cabin and watch the GP on the TV (BBC of course!) with the real sound of the cars coming in through the open patio doors. At one point I had to close the doors as I couldn't here the commentary on the TV!
I was glad we didn't purchase tickets as the last 6 laps were a farce following its restart and the front runners changing their tyres!
After returning to Nice the next day we had a very nice couple of days in the villages above Nice, staying in a nice Hotel in Vence and driving a Fiat 500 up some very interesting roads. Practice for the 10CR!!
On our return home, I had my Birthday Present which was a drive around Goodwood in an Aston Martin Vanquish - what can I say? - I want one!!! Forget all those Ferrari Cars that people want, the Aston is THE car to have, superb drive, no idea how fast I went, too busy looking out for braking and turn-in points, all I can say it was bloody quick and 80mph along the A27 later in the day seemed slow! Yes, that is me in the pic below, you can't see my big grin behind my hand unfortunately.
Had the Spitfire out over the weekend, still going well, must get the welding done before the MOT next month. I have a part share in a brand new MIG welder so my only excuse is now to learn how to use it.
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 06th June 2011 10:54pm gmt
It all started with changing a blown bulb in the courtesy lamp on the centre console of the Stag. Having bought some spare bulbs at the TSSC South Eastern Meet yesterday I decided to replace the bulb on the passenger footwell which has not worked for some time, for good reason as when I took the cover off the existing bulb was nowhere to be seen.
I knew there was one in there as I'd replaced it a couple of years ago, so off came the parcel shelf and sure enough, the bulb had simply dropped out and was nestling safely between the centre console and carpet. No need for a new one, this time I made sure it was securely fitted.
Whilst I had the parcel shelf out I decided to see why the radio would not sit right back in its slot, so out that came, I then noticed for the first time a small toggle switch cunningly hidden away behing the dashboard, clearly a previous owner had an alarm of some kind which had latterly been replaced by a Clifford immobiliser.
After checking with a multimeter that none of the wires were powered with the ignition on or off I traced the wires back through the centre console behind the radio , some to the relay board and some to the engine compartment. Fortunately, this is where they terminated behind the sound deadening on the bulkhead, being blanked off with insulating tape.
After some careful extraction, removing scotch lock connectors from the loom, the picture below shows just how much there was. And the radio? - well it now sits properly fully back in its slot.
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 09th May 2011 3:43pm gmt
Triumphs Update and Drive It Day
I didn't realise that I last updated this blog at the beginning of February, OK so we've been on Holiday and dealing with parents and grandchidren that have kept me a bit busy with little on the car front until a few weeks ago. One thing I did do 2 months ago was advertise the Spitfire for sale, I had come to the conclusion that I really can only afford to run one Classic - the expensive one!
Luckily so far the Spitfire remains in my garage, a few nibbles but nothing conclusive - but then I didn't advertise it as well as I could have! During this time, the MOT on the Stag crept up on me unnoticed, I thought it was later in the year to coincide with the anniversary of the new engine in August , so having organised a run out for my local TSSC area I found myself relying on the trusty Spitfire.
This was a lovely run a couple of weeks ago from our base in Hildenborough to the Dering Arms in Pluckley that has a 'Classic car Sunday' every 2nd Sunday of the month. 3 Spitfires, 2 Vitesse and 2 Gentry's did the run and we arrived amongst some very exotic and specialist cars in the station car park!
The following week I had organised another run, this time on Drive It Day to Brooklands, again 3 Spitfires but with 1 Vitesse and 1 13/60 Herald convertible. Brooklands as always is a fascinating place and there were plenty of Classics there as well. An added bonus is Mercedes World next door and amongst all the modern machinery there is a small display of classic cars as well. They also serve excellent coffee!
And what of the Stag, she has passed her MOT just needing two new anti rollbar links and a handbrake brake adjustment. She has also had a full service and two new silencers in readiness for the Ten Countries Run in September.
The pictures from the Dering Arms Run and Brooklands Run can be found here: http://tssc-west-kent.webs.com/apps/photos/
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 20th April 2011 9:14pm gmt
Stag and Spitfire update
A few weeks ago the battery sensing wire on the alternator loom of the stag broke for the second time, looking closely at the wires it was clear that they had hardened and become brittle through age. So I ordered a new cable from EJ Wards - my Stag has a relocated alternator to the nearside so an extended cable was needed, and this is what was ordered.
When it arrived I went to put the new cable on, only to discover that although it was long enough to reach the alternator from the junction connector on the offside wing, it was much shorter than the originally extended part-loom. So, after some head scratching, I thought as a temporary fix as it was cold outside I ran the cable over the top of the engine (see pic).
Yesterday I decided to do a proper job, so thinking it would be a simple job to remove the old cables, which by this time lay disconnected in the engine bay I proceeded to trace their route, only to discover that they seemed to go in front of the radiator. after much tugging, swearing, taking off the radiator grille, I gave up trying to get them out and cut off the visible ends. The remainder of the cable will be a surprise for whoever takes the radiator out next!
After this fruitless task I turned my attention to a better routing for the new cable and determined that the easiest solution was to cable tie it the front anti roll bar, keeping it away from the front nearside downpipe.
One of the most frustrating parts of the process was screwing back the radiator grille which hadn't needed to come off in the first place!
Today I turned my attention to the Spitfire, I have decided to sell this and concentrate all my efforts (and finances) on the moneypit (Stag) As it hadn't turned over since well before Christmas the battery needed a good overnight charge, but I am pleased to say she started easily once the fuel had got through. Only problem now as I've sorned it I can't give it a good run, so I ran it up and down the Close I live in a couple of times to make sure nothing was sticking (brakes, clutch) and that everything works. I also took the radio out to put in the Stag as its a more modern MP3 one. The next decision is whether to sell it with the MX5 seatsthat I fitted a couple of years ago or put the originals back in which I still have and ebay the MX5's.
Apart from that it just needs a good clean inside and out, some photo's taken and then advertised.
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 09th February 2011 3:31pm gmt
More Stag news
The Stag is safely back from Faversham Classics having had its second head torque and oil change following clocking up over 1000 miles on its new engine. According to the engine builder, Trevor, I am now allowed to extend the engine rev's gradually above the previous 3000 limit. I can now report that this engine is very sweet and smooth at 4500! and accelerates very nicely. Really need to get on a rolling road to see what its really putting out!
One adverse effect is that the new engine seems to have found the weaknesses in the silencers, I knew they were a bit marginal at the last MOT and had to have some welding up, well now they will definitely need replacing before the next one!
At long last I have taken the RBRR stickers off the Spitfire and have been using that car a bit, it seems to have developed a few new rattles since the RBRR so some light winter restoration is needed. Still runs well though there seems to be a constant smell of fuel coming from somewhere, the top of the float chambers seem to slightly wet with fuel so will start the investigation there.
That probably explains the comment from my Co Driver Grahams wife when we returned from the RBRR that we stank of petrol, I thought at the time it was because I spilt some fuel over the rear deck at The Plough when topping up the tank from the fuel cans that were carried unused for over 2000 miles- clearly not the case!
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 01st November 2010 7:52pm gmt
Stag update and a bit of history!
I've been using the Stag a fair bit over the last couple of weeks, mainly to put mileage on the new engine so that I can put it in for the next oil change and head torque. Consequently its now booked in next week having reached the requisite 1000 mile mark. This new engine just gets sweeter as the miles go on and its getting increasingly difficult to keep to the 3000 rpm limit - only 4 more days to go!
One thing I did notice recently was a bit of driveline vibration between 50 and 60, so today I took the car into my local National Tyres for the wheel balance to be checked. I have good experience of this tyre supplier having bought tyres for my Skoda, Spitfire and the wifes Ka through tyreshopper.co.uk for fitment there.
They balanced them all, but pointed out that the offside rear was very difficult to balance as it was slightly buckled, this is strange as looking at the wheel it seems to be in better condition than the rest. Anyway, they did get a good balance on it in the end and I took it for a good run up the M20 - admittedly at a slightly greater speed than the legal limit and more than the 3000rpm for just a few minutes, what a difference - the vibration had gone completely. Just need to sort out the slow puncture in the spare now and swap the wheel.
On a slighly different topic - still Triumph related in a way, I have been scanning in some old 35mm slides on a new slide scanner I bought from Maplin and came across some photo's of my first Triumph Herald a 1966 1200 convertible taken during a holiday in Cornwall in 1973 with my then Fiancee Rose (now wife) - hence the strange photo of me pointing to an appropriately named road! You can see from the photo that this was my Hippy look!
The next photo was taken outside the holiday cottage we had rented - I seem to holding the local cat!
The last photo is taken in the driveway of Rose's parents back in Kent. I remember that we had to stop on the way home at Heathrow to wire up the exhaust rear box as it started dragging along the ground whilst travelling along the M4!
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 14th October 2010 10:57pm gmt
RBRR 2010 - A long awaited result!
After 2 failed CT 10CR events in the Spitfire I can now hold my head high and say 'YES - We've done it!' My friend Graham and I reached The Plough last night after 2000 odd miles in the Spitfire on this years Round Britain Reliability Run.
We were exhausted, the car was exhausted (but running) and elated as we went to get that final signature in the roadbook, certainly a new experience for me! Roll on the 2011 10CR!
The beginning of the run was very wet and we were stuffing rags around the most leaky parts of the hood for the first couple of hours and then it eased off the further north we went, By the first stop at Blyth we were actually beginning to dry out. The car was running well, although I was a little concerned that it had started to show some slight rattling under hard acceleration from the bottom end but decided to ignore it - I was determined to get to the end!
We had a good run though the night rolling in to Edinburgh Airport in the 2nd half of the pack, having been passed by the faster cars on the way up. Dawn was breaking as we reached the next control at Skiach which made for a lovely run up the coast to John O Groats and breakfast! After a very welcome meal at was off to take the obligatory photo as proof of our adventure so far. It was then time to depart off to drive the great roads, in particular the B871/B873 by Strath Naver down to Altnaharra. This was the first time we took the hood down as it was warm and sunny. We had a great time on this road, following a 2000 at a decent speed.Our next stop was at Conon Bridge - more food and coffee!. We departed in the sun to drive down past Loch Ness and up through Glencoe (nice clean toilets at the Glencoe Visitor Centre). By this time, the rain had started again so the hood went back up. By this time we were about an hour behind schedule and arrived at the Stirling stop (Morrisons Garage) for coffee and very nice Scotch Pies.
The next part of the journey was the run down to Lancaster Services past Glasgow, this was another damp and somewhat boring run as it was the M80/M73/A74/M6 during which we had to stop to change drivers - sleep deprivation was beginning to show its effect.
After Lancaster we headed towards Wales stopping at Gledrig for fuel, and refreshments. After this was a nice drive down to the Sugar Loaf Picnic Area passage control. in the early hours of Sunday morning. As there was limited space here we travelled on after getting the roadbook signed and stopped by the side of the road to change drivers. At this point we were approached by a friendly policeman who pulled alongside as asked if we were OK - after explaining we were changing drivers he asked if there was a special rally on as there seemed to a lot of cars around, so the next 5 minutes were spent explaining what we doing - they were suitably impressed!
Following this we travelled down to Monmouth where admittedly we took a deviation from the route and took a quicker route to the M4 to pickup some time. As I got out of the car at Gordano Services on the M5 I noticed that the ignition light was glowing and the Battery Condition Gauge was only registering 11.5 volts - I hadn't noticed this earlier as the steering wheel boss hides the light. A quick diagnosis confirmed the alternator was not charging.
Fortunately, before the run, my neighbour Andy in Car 98 (Toledo 1300) had discussed spares and he agreed to carry his old alternator as a spare, so once he arrived at the services I put it on my car and we were back in action. The rain started halfway through this process and continued with high winds until well into Cornwall making the drive very arduous at this point.
We were about an hour behind schedule when we got to Lands End and saw many fellow Triumphers going in the opposite direction to the breakfast stop at Scorrier
The breakfast was excellent and plentiful, after adding another half-litre of VR1 to the car we headed off for the next stop at Bude, an easy run and more coffee and cakes! The sun was out so again the hood came down for the run across to the Badgers Holt Control Point at Dartmeet. I have to confess that this time I plugged the destination into the Sat Nav to let Graham get some sleep as a consequence we used a longer but quicker route to get there.
After Badgers Holt was a quick run to Pimperne Village Hall, Graham knew most of this road well so we swapped driving and I catnapped until we got near. I still can't work out how Graham manages to sleep so soundly in a Spitfire! At Pimperne we were greeted with lots more Tea/Coffee and excellent homemade cakes. From here was the trip to the final control stop at the TR Register Offices at Didcot, again we decided beforehand to let the Sat Nav do the directions and take the quickest route there - we wanted to get back to The Plough as quickly as we could as we were now over an hour behind our schedule. Having successfully got our roadbook signed and used the TR Registers loos we followed the roadbook instructions back to The Plough. This was entertaining and at a few points we questioned the wisdom of following them until we saw the ques on the M40 when we passed over it. Eventually we joined a traffic free A41 and a similarly quietish M25 for the final trip to The Plough.
After being greeted on our return, getting the roadbook signed at the finish we settled down to a pint of Shandy and food.
We had a great time, and the car performed almost faultlessly, I even started ignoring the rumbling bottom end bearings during Sunday afternoon as the realisation that we were going to make the end finally dawned on me.
There are many people to thank for making this a successful event, My great friend Graham for agreeing to do the event with me, Andy for donating the alternator, the organisers, Tim, Jason, Nigel and the many others who helped them.
My 3rd and most successful CT event - roll on the 2011 10 Countries Run!
posted by Steve Pratthttp://firstname.lastname@example.org 04th October 2010 11:56am gmt
Stag Auto Box seal replacement
Had a very interesting day today. For the past couple of weeks my Stag has been leaking auto fluid from the Torque converter area following the installation of its new engine, so today I took it up to Faversham Classics where one of the owners, Trevor and I were to jointly remove the box and replace the seal. This was an education for me, I had never been in the position before where I could work on one of my cars in a properly equipped garage with Lift and all the right tools.
It was also a great help having Trevor to show me how to do it with all his knowledge and shortcuts. We started at 10.00am, had the box out by 11.30 having removed exhausts, propshaft, starter motor, gearbox mountings to name but a few of the items. The culprit was found to be the seal between the Torque Converter and gearbox, there was also a weep from the gearbox rear seal, so both these were replaced. I was surprised how warm the Torque Converter still was despite having 'rested' the car for 2.5hrs following my drive there(35miles)
Following a break for lunch, the car was ready for the drive back home by 3pm. I now know the value of having the right tools for such a job! I also have discovered muscles I didn't know I had in my arms and hands!
Yet again the people at Faversham Classics cannot be praised enough for the way they look after their customers, Trevor was very fair when it came to discussing the bill and very few bits of the folding stuff was needed.
posted by Steve Pratthttp://email@example.com 25th September 2010 00:07am gmt
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