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RBRR 2016. Another Success!

RBRR - 1 month to go......Gearbox out again!!!

RBRR Preparations.

A great weekend away - Scotland again. :)

Saturday 22nd August. A run out for the Pi.

April 18th & 19th Club Triumph Historic Counties Rally.

11th & 12th April. Bending things and breaking things.

January 24th 2015. What colour Pi would you like?

December 23rd. Pi Work continues

Wow! An update! December 7th. PI Work starts

October 3rd to 5th. Round Britain Reliability Run

August 31st- Not a great weekend.

August 23rd A new stable mate for Gertie

June 28th. Gertie's nose job.

At last an update! May 18th. Something a bit different!

Gertie's Clutch Issues resolved

8th March- Nachtrit van het Oosten 2014

Back in the fold!

Saturday 23rd November. Gertie's floppy one!

Wednesday 30th October. Gertie goes modern!

Saturday 26th October. Something different!

Saturday October 5th. The estate gets a Rat look!

Sunday September 22nd. More welding!

September 21st- Gertie is back on her feet.

September 5th-9th- The Club Triumph 10CR


RBRR 2016. Another Success!

Friday the 7th October 2016 and the long awaited Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run was upon us. 
Hopes of a nice lie in were soon dashed when the neighbour across the road was having his driveway block paved and I was awoken by the sound of a nine inch angle grinder revving its nuts off! Moving into the lounge wasn't much better as the house behind me was also doing some building work with the aid of a kango! How's your luck? 
My two co-drivers (Darren Sharp and Dave Saunders) arrived just before 2pm and after a quick coffee we were ready to set out. However, Dave then noticed a spring laying in the driver side footwell. Further investigation revealed that the clutch return spring had broken and just dropped off of the pedal!
Dave and Darren then proceeded to remove the parcel tray while I disappeared into the Garage to rob the spring from my Mk1 Pi. (See? it pays to have more then one car!)
Once this awkward and fiddly job was done, we were finally ready to set off, although now an hour later than we intended. 
The traffic around the M25 and A1 wasn't too bad and before long we were at the start location at Knebworth I always love the start of this event and meeting other club members that you wouldn't normally see is always a highlight for me. 
Before long we were setting out and leaving Knebworth turned out to be a lot better than leaving the previous location for the RBRR. No traffic hold ups at all. Lovely!

A quiet drive up the A1 saw us arrive at the first check point at Blyth more or less at the opening time. A quick stop for fuel and signing of the roadbook and we were away again. We had to devise a diversion for the next bit as the A1 was closed at Leeming Bar for bridge works. We opted to take the A168 and A19 and then cut back over not far short of the next control at Carter Bar. (The Scottish Border)
Arrival at Carter Bar 20 mins early found the check point initially void of any CT marshal's, but by the the time it was due to be open, they had arrived. A quick dash up to Kinross Services for the next control saw us take on fuel again and then it was my turn for long run up past Inverness and the next control at Skiach services.
After more coffee at Skiach to boost the energy levels we then encountered the beautiful drive up to John O Groats while watching the sun rise over the North Sea.

A hearty breakfast at the Seaview hotel, John o'Groats was most welcome and was consumed in good company too.
Gertie at John O Groats
With Gertie full of 99 octane and us full of coffee and hot fried food we left view earlier than intended, but only to vacate the table for more incoming crews.
A leisurely drive was then taken across the top of Scotland through Thurso and over to Bettyhill before heading south towards Altanharra. The next control point was back at Skiach and because we left JOG so early we were there a good hour before it opened. This was fine with us as Dave wanted to grab more sleep and Darren and I did some fine tuning with the car.
I then took my seat behind the wheel for (in my opinion) the best part of the run. We went down past Loch Ness and Fort William and stopped at a lovely roadside cafe juts before Glencoe for a nice piece of Lemon Drizzle cake and more coffee. 

I continued the drive down to the next control at Stirling before Dave took over for the motorway stretch down to Tebay. At Tebay we took some time out to have a hot meal and a shower (not at the same time and certainly not together!) so we all felt refreshed for our second overnight drive.
Darren was now in the driving seat and I tried to grab some sleep on the back seat as for some reason, sleep had totally evaded me so far.
The Gledrid control was its usual hive of activity and it's at this point that I took to consuming Red Bull and Haribo TangFastics sweets in readiness for the pitch black Welsh forest stages down to Sugar Loaf.
The Sugar Loaf control was crammed so we just pulled in, had the book signed and moved on. Another good drive saw us topping up with fuel at the previous control at Gordano, before carrying on down to Westonzoyland aerodrome and the next control. Coffee and Banana cake was the order of the day here before the long slog down to Lands End via the check point at Okehampton.

Sunday morning saw us at Lands End and finally in the daylight again. This is the part of the run where we all start perking up. The daylight driving makes life easier, plus you know that you are on the last leg and homeward bound. (Well heading for the finish anyway)
Another good hearty breakfast saw us revitalised and heading for Bude Motor Museum. More coffee followed and I made arrangements to leave my timing light and spare distributor for my fellow CT Essex colleagues in car 104 who were having a few difficulties and were about 90 mins behind us.
From Bude we headed for Badger Holt at Dartmoor where we enjoined ice cream purchased from the petrol money. (Such Luxuries!)
Pimperne would be the next control and famous (with CT anyway) for the vast array of cakes laid on. This is always a favourite haunt for RBRR'ers and nobody ever seems to be in a rush to get away from here. This was the penultimate control, so the drive from here is always full of apprehension and the dread of something going wrong at this late stage. The rain also set it at this point which was a pity as this had been the best RBRR for weather since my first one in 2010.
The drive back to the finish was the usual Sunday night go slow, but not too bad actually. We made Knebworth in good time and walking up to the bar I was met by a giant dog serving beer! I thought I must have been more tired than I thought and had starting hallucinating, but it turned out to be one of the bar staff in a dog costume. =)
We had booked into the hotel for the night, so no more driving for us and we had the chance to have a few beers to round off a great weekend. 
We'd had another great run and once again Gertie had performed faultlessly. (Apart from the broken clutch spring at the start)
This was now her 3rd RBRR in my ownership and 4th in total. All without breakdown or serious issue. I have to say though, I may stand her down for the next one and give the Mk1 Pi a try. Listening to all those other Pi's on the run just made me want to be in the same.






posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 16th October 2016 9:00pm gmt



RBRR - 1 month to go......Gearbox out again!!!

Since about  May this year I have had a strange tinny rattling sound on Gertie. However, this sound only happens when you turn the engine off. You never hear it when driving along.
The noise is very similar to having a loose exhaust clamp which is spinning round the exhaust. So, that  was where the investigations started. 
Over the past few months extensive investigations have also been carried out on the starter motor, alternator and various other parts that rotate. I've also laid underneath the car while someone starts it and turns it off again looking for this noise, I've looked through the engine bay, up inside the nose cone in case the electric fan brackets had come loose or broken, you name it, I've looked there. 
I eventually convinced myself that it was coming from the bellhousing area, so when after all else had failed, I resigned my self to removing the gearbox. (Not my favourite job- I think this is the 4th time since 2011 now!)
Inspection of the gearbox proved to be fine and everything looks and works as it should. However, I then tried to push my finger through the splined hole for the clutch plate and felt something very loose and flapping about. 
Removal of the clutch plate revealed the below. I'm not too impressed I have to say. Particularly as this clutch was only 14 months old when it started making this noise. 

You can see the crack in the bottom left of the hexagonal metal plate. 
This metal plate was obviously dropping onto the first motion shaft and spinning round it when the engine was switched off. Maybe it was doing while driving along as well, but I couldn't hear it because of the engine noise. Or, maybe the centrifugal force of the flywheel was moving it back into place while circulating? Who know? All I know is, I need another bloody clutch! =( 

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 04th September 2016 6:01pm gmt



RBRR Preparations.

On the last part of the recent Scottish trip Dave and I had become aware that the brake pedal had a tad more travel than normal. Once home and time permitted inspections revealed that the front pads were indeed getting low. 
Replacements were purchased and while I was at it I decided to replace the rear shoes as well. Further inspections revealed that the nearside inner front wheel bearing was noisy, so I replaced all of the front wheel bearings. My train of thought being that they were all fitted at the same time, so if one was worn, the rest may not be that far behind. Plus, I'd rather do the job now in a nice warm garage with plenty of light and tools, rather than on the RBRR in a pitch black lay-by somewhere while it's peeing down with rain and watching my sockets roll down a drain hole! (Or worse still the replacement bearing!)
With this done I then focused on the shock absorbers. Gertie has become a bit 'wallowy'  of late and needed to be tightened up a bit. A full set of brand new gas shocks were purchased and fitting commenced. The rears had been replaced with new standard shocks a few years back so these were swapped with the new gas items and put in the spares bin. The front shocks however, had never been replaced.In fact, if I remember rightly I had swapped the entire front legs over off of my Mk2 before I sold it so that I could keep my lowered springs. 
Once I had stripped the legs right down and removed the shocks I discovered that the driver side had a Monroe gas shock in it, but the passenger side had a normal hydraulic one! I can't believe that people can do these things. 
Both gaiters were completely knackered as well, so a new pair were ordered. The new shocks were fitted, then the search began for a replacement strut top as my nearside one had seized solid and this had caused the rubber bonding to split. You wouldn't have thought so though as the car steered perfectly. It's amazing what power steering can mask! 
So with this little lot done, all that's needed before the RBRR is an oil and filter change, then we are all good to go and Gertie will have another sticker for the inside of her bootlid. :) 

I've been doing bits to the Pi as well. I finally got fed up of the 'super lightweight', vague and constantly leaky steering and removed all of the power steering kit. I also re-greased the strut tops while I was at it and set the Koni Adjustable front shocks for a bit more 'firmness'. 
The Pi steering wheel has also been removed for something with more strength in the form of a Motolita. (No, the Pi wheel isn't for sale) :) 
The next job was to remove the awful Mk2 rear brakes that someone had fitted. The so called 'self adjusting' handbrake type that do nothing of the sort! Mk1 back plates were sourced, new wheel cylinders and brake shoes were fitted and now at last I have a car that I can park on a hill and it will still be there when I get back. 
An oil and filter change is also next on the list for this car too. Plus, I've almost got a full set of good doors and panels for her now, so the bodywork should start taking shape soon as well.
I just really need to get out and drive the bloody thing more. It goes like stink when required and sounds fantastic too. 

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 09th August 2016 05:04am gmt



A great weekend away - Scotland again. :)

After a year or so of not doing much at all due to injury, it was time to take to the roads for my first proper road trip since last September. A small group of us had decided to take to the Highlands and run a tour of Northern Scotland.
So,with the Hotels booked, Friday morning finally came around and after putting in a few hours at work, it was time to head to Derby to collect my co-driver Dave Harvey.
A reasonably clear run saw me arrive at Dave's at 2pm and after a quick chat we set off across the A50 and onto the M6 to start heading North. We stopped for coffee and petrol at Lancaster services and in general were doing well for time, although an accident in the roadworks lost us about 20 minutes. 
By early evening we were on the A9 and heading in the direction of Inverness. The original plan was to all meet at the Premier Inn, Inverness, but with me having to work Friday morning, we were never going to make check-in before it closed. Therefore. our planned stopped was the quaint little town of Dunkeld, about 100 miles short of Inverness and we would catch up with the others sometime Saturday.
We arrived at Dunkeld at 9.20pm and the friendliness of the hotel staff was in complete contrast to the town folk! We tried for a Pizza only to be told that they stopped serving at 9.30pm and then walked into town until we found an Indian Restaurant only to be told they stopped serving at 10pm! (although the takeaway part was open until 11pm!) We then gave up on food and settled for a couple of pints of Tennants and a bag of crisps each before retiring for the night.
Our quaint little Friday night stop. 

Breakfast in the guesthouse wasn't served until 8.30, so we told the guys at Inverness to crack on without us and we would catch them up on route. The Plan had been to all meet at their hotel at Inverness and then head to the Applecross pass to tackle the mountains. Dave and I cracked on with only a brief stop for coffee and fuel and then managed to meet up with the rest of the crew who had stopped for a leisurely lunch break at Applecross.


After leaving Applecross and its stunning scenery, we travelled along the coast road and encountered even more stunning views just about everywhere. It seemed like every time we came round a bend, we were met by sights that just absolutely took your breath away. it was incredible.
After more leisurely driving we headed for our hotel stop at Ullapool. It was a beautiful place and our hotel room even had a balcony to step out onto overlooking the bay. 

A quick freshening up was the order of the day, then we all wandered into town to try  out the culinary delights. Fish seemed to be the most popular choice, but Dave and I opted for the Haggis lasagna, and very nice it was too. Tim's mate Darren decided to ask for a whisky at the bar and was given a four page book full of numerous Whiskey's and asked 'what one would you like?'
A few more drinks at it was time to call it a night. Although it was now 11.25pm and still not really that dark! (See below)
Sunday morning and after declining an offer of Porridge with Whisky for breakfast and settling for something more non-alcoholic, we were on our way. Our destination this morning was up to Durness in the North West tip of Scotland. (This takes you through the county of Sutherland, which not many people even know exists)
It was a grey start, but the sun soon made an appearance and before long the day was as glorious as it had been the day before. A 'brew with a view' as it had become known was the order of the day and the camping stove was dragged out and tea, cake and Hobnobs were consumed at the beautiful location of Sandwood Bay. It was a bit too much for some us who had to discard our shoes and socks and go for a paddle in the beautiful cold sea. Dave Langrick decided to go one further and dive completely in much to the amusement of the rest of us.

With our frolicking in the sea complete we continued around the coast road and across to the Kyle of Tongue. Again, there is nothing but beautiful scenery up here and it makes you wonder why nobody comes here, the roads are almost empty. At Tongue we turned right onto the A836. After a few miles at Altnaharra, this road links up onto the RBRR route so we were on familiar territory.
We headed down toward Lairg and stopped at the Crask Inn for lunch. We always drive past the Inn on the Saturday morning on the RBRR but it's never been open, so we took advantage and enjoyed some sandwich's and coffee and good hospitality.
(The Inn is up for sale as well if anyone's interested?)
The last leg of the trip saw the skies get darker and the rain the that had apparently plagued the rest of Scotland all weekend had finally caught up with us. By the time we got to our next stop at Inverness it was well under way. A walk to the Indian restaurant later that night saw us all well soaked. However, the food was good and we finished off with a quiet drink in the hotel bar. 
We all met again for breakfast the following morning and then departed to make our long Journeys home. My sat-nav was telling me I had 573 miles to cover and that was without the diversion to Derby to drop Dave off! 
The rain was still pestering us intermittently as we finally headed south and we came across a section of road works with a speed limit of 10mph! Yes, 10mph! How ridiculous! We stopped for a coffee somewhere near Perth and then cracked on to Tebay Services. (Another RBRR check point) While we were here we felt it  would have been rude not to sample some of their fantastic food. (Pity not all motorway services are this good.)
By now, the sun had returned which made the driving all the more pleasurable even though we were going home and had that 'back to work and reality' feeling. (Well I did anyway, Dave was going back up to Scotland on Tuesday afternoon for the Triumph Register national week.)
Around the Lancashire area the motorway signs were telling us that there were 30 minute delays on the M6 at junction 19, so we took the M61 to Bolton and then onto the M60 Manchester ring road. We then  took the Woodhead pass over to Sheffield. (This was a route I used to take in my truck driving days when the M6 was closed) From there it was just a short blast down to the HarveyTune HQ at Derby where we arrived at 7.15pm. 
After emptying Dave's gear out of the car and filling the boot up with parts that I had bought off him, we had a quick cup of coffee and then I made tracks. It was now nearly 8pm and I still had 160 miles to cover and had to be at work at 7am the next morning!
Luckily, the M1 and M25 were clear and I arrived at my place at 10.15pm. It had been a brilliant trip with some excellent company and a great co-driver. 
The car performed faultlessly and racked up 1,648 miles door to door and the only time we opened to bonnet was to check the oil and water. Who says old cars are unreliable? :) 
Gertie home at last after another mammoth journey. 

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 26th June 2016 09:48am gmt



Saturday 22nd August. A run out for the Pi.

I can't believe I've not written anything here since April! What have I been doing with myself? 
Well, not a lot, is the answer to that one. Work has been manic and a serious back issue and a trapped nerve has sidelined me for a number of weeks now unfortunately. 
However, with the back issue now almost gone I decided to give the Pi it's first long run out in my ownership. 
I took the car to work on Friday for a bit of a shake down only to find that it decided to drop down to 5 cylinders on the way home. (This was the first time it had done this since I'd had the injectors refurbished in June.) Anyway, with no.5 injector removed and unblocked, it then ran as it should and all was well.
Early Saturday morning saw me heading for the M25 and M11 and making the long journey up to Wisbech in Norfolk. The car managed to behave itself and I eventually made the show ground at around 9am.

 Lee Godfrey was already there and before long we were joined by Peter Jackson in his Mk2 estate with his 2 door Mk2 saloon on the trailer. 

It was a classic car and tractor day and the line up of Triumphs was quite impressive. It was also a blistering hot day and long spells of it were spent under a tree, in the shade consuming tea, coffee and cake. Very nice. :)
I decided to make tracks just after five and again the Pi provided me with a trouble free run home. It was only when I parked the car on the drive, open the gates to the back garden, then started it up to drive the car in that it dropped down onto to 5 cylinders again! My exact thought was 'bugger it, It can wait til morning now'. 

Here's some more pics from the day. 






posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 22nd August 2015 9:54pm gmt



April 18th & 19th Club Triumph Historic Counties Rally.

After a long week of working on Gertie every night after work and installing a new complete clutch, alternator, and giving her an oil and filter change, she was now ready to take part in the 2015 HCR. I collected my co-drivers Saturday morning and we had an enjoyable breakfast in Collier Row near Romford, before leaving for the first start location at Stourbridge. (Although my choice of vegetarian fried breakfast probably wasn't the best choice for a long journey and left the car smelling very herbal at times!) 
We arrived at VeeBee Filteration for around 14.45 where we took part in a very short Gymkhana event before moving onto the Wagon and Horses for a quite un-spectacular dinner. Eventually we received our clue sheets, plotted our route and left the pub at 18.40. 
Our plotted route took us back up towards Stourbridge, then we headed for North Wales picking up the counties of Shropshire, Denbighshire, Gwynedd, Conwy, and Flintshire.(Anglesey was on the optional list, but we decided that would be a bridge too far.) We then headed for Cheshire, a Cheese factory in Macclesfield before heading over to Derbyshire. This was the last last county on the list, but on returning to the car after  gaining the obligatory photo evidence of the county sign, we found that our eta for the check in Control at Corley services was 12.59 hrs. This was ok, but the control closed at 01.00 and penalty points would be awarded for lateness after that time. However, some err... spirited driving saw us arrive at the control at 12.47am. Spot on!
After our enforced one hour break we had plotted the second part of our run which then took us to Northamptonshire, a bedding supplier in Bedfordshire, Essex, a hospital in Hertfordshire, Stansted Airport, the imperial War museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, Rutland, Lincolnshire, and a pork pie producer in Melton Mowbray. (yes, really!)

We then headed further north to collect a county sign for Nottingham before heading for breakfast and the finish location in Leicestershire. 
After a hearty breakfast and a chat with the other crews it was time for the results. We were quite chuffed to find that we had finished in fourth place. Quite pleasing for a car who's gearbox was still on the garage floor Tuesday night!  
When you looked at the route we had taken throughout the run, we had almost covered a massive figure of eight shape across the country. That will be why the event was sub-titled 'Loop the loop then! :) 

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 19th April 2015 8:39pm gmt



11th & 12th April. Bending things and breaking things.

A trip to Normandyin France this weekend with a few mates provided a fantastic laugh and a great time. However, it was slightly tainted by a couple of unfortunate issues.

The first was when we stopped to let an old lady cross the road on a Zebra crossing and a French white van man decided to drive into the back of us! The crash caused damage to the inner and outer rear valance and bootlid. Thanks to help from some of the crowd we were with, we managed to pull some of it out and get the boot opening and closing properly again. 

before...
after....

The second issue was worse on the 'going home' part of the run. The clutch had been getting quite difficult to operate smoothly. In fact, sometimes, the pedal seemed to stick and wouldn't  release at the biting point when it needed to. Luckily, we managed to get the car home ok, and the following morning the gearbox and clutch was removed for inspection. 
Investigation revealed that the fingers on the pressure plate were badly worn and also not quite in line in places. 

Even more investigation also revealed a broken engine mount. I suspect this was caused by the amount of 'jolty' pulling away we had had to do with the awkward clutch. 
So, a replacement engine mount has been fitted and a new clutch has been ordered. Hopefully, it will arrive in the next few days and all being well Gertie will be back in action on the HCR this weekend. 
       It's just a pity just this will now be two years running that she has had to compete with accident damage! 

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 13th April 2015 8:26pm gmt



January 24th 2015. What colour Pi would you like?

I have to be honest, I've not much to report on the work front what with Christmas and freezing cold weather getting in the way. Oh!, and the National Grid replacing a gas main outside my house and digging a large hole across my drive and stopping me from getting cars in or out of my garage or even allowing me to park on my own driveway!
The weekend that they did this I decided to take a run up to the Heritage Centre for the HRCR (Historic Rally Car Register) open day. It was a good day out despite getting battered by the strong winds on the way up there and having to divert across to the M1 on the way back due to an accident on the M40.
There was some nice cars up there and I was lucky enough to purchase Bill Price's book 'The BMC/BL competitions department'. The lady who's stall I bought it from said to me 'If you turn round and ask that man standing behind you nicely, he might even sign it for you'. So, Bill Price's autograph was duly obtained for the inside cover. (Well, you never know it could double the price in years to come!)  :)
Some cars from the HRCR open day....

With regards to the Pi, all I've really managed to do is repair the driver side B post and start fitting the replacement panels that I bought for her, although for some reason the off side rear door doesn't seem want to line up properly no matter how much adjustment you make on it! Colin Wake has got another one I can try, so hopefully that one will be better. The front passenger door was a better fit and the bonnet and bootlid fit ok too. (The bootlid still needs a bit more lining up when time permits)
The repaired drivers door looked good when I collected it, but now fitted to the car isn't that clever. So I am on the search for either another door, or replacement skin. 
So, with all of it's new panels the Pi is now looking somewhat Multi-Coloured! Progress is slow, but it's getting there. 

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 27th January 2015 06:54am gmt



December 23rd. Pi Work continues

A bit (and only a bit) more work has continued on the Pi. After removing the rear door as well as the  front drivers door, I started to grind down and then cut into the B post as it looked a bit 'crusty' around that area. I was dreading what I would find when I cut into it, but although the membrane in the middle of the inner and outer sills has surface rust, it hasn't rusted through yet. 
I'm not ready to start cutting sills off and carrying out a full restoration yet, as I want to have fun in this car first and give Gertie a bit of a rest, so for the time being the B post will just be repaired and patched up. 
The bonnet was also suffering in the form of a collapsed hinge mounting bracket so this was ground down and welded. I then discovered that the pin in the hinge was also broken, so my repairs had been in vain. I've fitted my spare 'Damson' bonnet for the time being. This should look rather nice with the two green doors I have to go back on and also the Damson, or Dark Blue boot lid. ( I have a choice of two)
Never mind, I can worry about the paint once it's all solid again. ( I was going to say rust free, but I don't think many of these cars are rust free now, they'll always be some rust  lurking somewhere now that they are reaching their 'senior' years) 
I've had to go back to work in between Christmas and New Year, so welding and repairs will resume when work and this bloody freezing weather has passed. 





posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 31st December 2014 6:10pm gmt



Wow! An update! December 7th. PI Work starts

After a few months of the Mk1 Pi annoying the crap out of me with sticking throttles, snapping bonnet cables, (with the bonnet down and the throttle stuck half open!) collapsing clutch master cylinder seals and filling the boot up with petrol (Twice!) I've almost managed to get it semi-reliable. 

I took it to the last Essex club meet hoping it would behave itself, and apart from having to stop half way and wiggle the fuse to get the dashboard and rear lights working again it got me there ok. Getting home was also interesting as one of the injectors decided it didn't want to play and the remainder of the journey was completed on 5 cylinders only and me sulking. 

Over the past few weeks, I have been collecting some panels for it and have so far managed to find one front door, two rear doors, a bonnet and bootlid. The only door I was having trouble locating was a drivers door. So I removed my one and had it repaired by the guy that did the repairs to the Red Shed when I owned it. He's made quite a good job of it, despite the amount of rot that was in it. 

The next stage will be to remove and replace the rear door, although before the replacement goes on I will be looking at having the bottom of the door post repaired as this is a bit 'flaky' as you can see.

The only other modification I've done so far to the car is remove the Mk2 front seats that were fitted and fit a more comfortable pair. Instead of going down the 'Alfa Romeo' route as I had before, I looked from something different. Alfa seats are nice, but they aren't really black, they are more of a Charcoal colour. I wanted something that would look a bit closer to original, so I opted for the black leather Range Rover seats that my friend Gavin had in his car. (He changed to MGF seats in his MK2) As you can see, they are a good fit and look a better colour match. Just need to find suitable rear ones now. 


posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 07th December 2014 8:52pm gmt



October 3rd to 5th. Round Britain Reliability Run

Friday October 4th finally arrived and after loading the car with tools, spares, snacks etc. it was time to make my way to Enfield for the start of the RBRR. 
After picking up fellow crew members Dave Maton and Graham Parkins from Cheshunt we filled up with petrol and headed to the Plough to  book in and meet up with the other 105 teams taking part. 
The 6pm departure time soon arrived and due to where we had been parked, we were the 101st car to leave out of the 106 starters. 
Graham was the first man in the driving seat and we were soon heading up the A10 and made good progress up to Blyth Services for the check point. I jumped out to get the book signed while Dave and Graham pulled straight onto the petrol pumps to fill up. Dave was now driving and we got going straight away, but unfortunately drove straight into a bad traffic jam on the A1 due to an accident. Once past this, we thought we were in for a clear run, but then came across another long delay this time due to roadworks! Finally we got past the hold ups and carried on up the A1 to the A68. Before long we were at the second check point at the Scottish/English border at Carter Bar and were amazed to find that we were the second car to arrive behind Andy and Sarah Johnson in their Triumph Stag. As soon as we crossed the border the rain started and there was lots of surface water laying around making progress slower than normal.
The third check point was Edinburgh Airport and after a quick coffee it was my turn behind the wheel for the 'Graveyard  shift'. From Edinburgh we headed up the A9 to Inverness and it was quite weird looking at the sat nav and seeing that the next roundabout was 110 miles away! Luckily, by now the rain had stopped and we had a good clear run up to Allness for the next check point at Skiach services. Graham then took over for the next stint up to John O Groats and we arrived there at around 7am. We decided to go and do the obligatory photo shoot before going for Breakfast at the Seaview hotel. 

After a good hearty breakfast we headed across the top of Scotland, through Thurso and over to Bettyhill before heading south towards Dingwall. Dave's previous arm injury was causing him considerable pain, so we all decided it was best he didn't do any more driving and rest. After lunch at the Conon Bridge Hotel, I took the driving seat for my favorite part of the run which is down past Loch Ness, Fort William and then through Glencoe. The only drama we had was when the driver's side windscreen wiper fell off! Luckily, it landed on the bonnet and stayed there until we stopped. A quick repair with black electrical tape was the order of the day and we carried on. We arrived at Stirling around 5pm and after another quick coffee at Morrisons garage Dave decided to try and give the driving another go. However, after half hour he was in pain again and handed over the driving to Graham. 
We arrived at the next control at Tebay (Cumbria) services early so all of us grabbed a very good hot meal while waiting. With Dave now unable to drive anymore we had now discussed the driving situation and worked out a plan. Graham was happiest with the motorway sections at night while I was ok with country lane bits. So, Graham took the drive down the M6 to the next control at Gledrid in North Wales while I tried to grab some sleep on the back seat in Readiness for my second 'Graveyard Shift' through the Welsh forest sections. 
A good crown turned out to greet us Gledrid and I grabbed a can of Red Bull and a Mars Bar in the hope of them giving me some energy. (and I don't even like Mars Bars!) The drive from Gledrid to Sugar Loaf takes in some beautiful driving roads, but unfortunately for some reason also seems to encourage some ridiculous and dangerous driving from some of the other crews. A few times we were overtaken by other Triumphs on the wrong side of the road on blind bends in the pitch black! 
We arrived at Sugar loaf at around half past midnight and as soon as we were allowed, we got the book signed and made tracks for the next  control at Gordano Services on the M5 south of Bristol. By now we were on out second night without proper sleep and we were all getting quite tired. At Gordano services I found the shower open so took advantage. A hot shower and change of clothes had never felt so good! 
Graham took the driving seat for the next stage from Bristol down to Lands End, although I took over about 30 miles from Penzance due to tiredness creeping in on him. 
We arrived at Lands End to find that the cafe had forgotten we were coming and weren't ready. Not impressed! Eventually we were allowed in and breakfast was served.

After breakfast I took the drive up to Bude Motor Museum for the next control point. We removed the front wheels and checked the brake pads as we had been getting a squeeking noise when braking, but it turned out to be a loose backing plate. With that rectified Graham took the next drive over to Badgers Holt at Dartmoor.
After a short stop we then headed off for the famous 'cake stop' at Pimperne. By the time we are at this stage, things are a bit more relaxed. Although it's a great event, it's also a nice feeling knowing that you're on the homeward leg and almost at the finish.
With coffee and cakes devoured we set out for the penultimate stop at the TR Register offices at Didcot. Once again we were greeted by friendly faces and hot coffee and after getting the book signed we headed for the Oxford ring road to pick up the M40. It was here that the scares began when Graham suddenly announced that we'd lost the clutch. To be fair the clutch pedal had been getting stiffer since the early hours, but we were praying that it would hold out. I was pretty convinced that it was the seals in the master cylinder giving out. We had a spare seal kit and clutch fluid and a bleed tube, so we could have hopefully repaired it if need be, but how devastating would it be to make Didcot and then not make the final check point if we couldn't?
We managed to pull off the road to investigate and then after some pedal pumping, miraculously, it seemed to right itself. It was still wasn't as it should be, but it was good enough to select all gears and allow us to continue. We encountered quite a bit of 'stop-start' on the motorway but the clutch held firm and after about 90 minutes we arrived at the Plough for the final check point.
It had been a fantastic trip with some beautiful scenery and some good laughs, so a well deserved pint was downed in celebration. Roll on the 2016 event when I'm hoping to use the Mk1 Pi.


posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 08th October 2014 9:52pm gmt



August 31st- Not a great weekend.

I had a free weekend this weekend, so now that the garage is almost finished I decided to finally start work on Gertie's RBRR preparations. The first job was to replace the nearside track rod arm that was advised on the last MOT and while I had the wheels off, I fitted the hub spacers that I bought off of James Shackford god knows how long ago. While I was doing this I checked and adjusted the front wheel bearing and repacked them with grease.

I then fitted the new oil pressure relief valve that I ordered  last week. Gertie's fluctuating oil pressure has been of some concern of late and I was hoping that this was going to cure my problems. 
As i was covered in oil and grease I left test driving Gertie for later and had a quick play with the new PI. After finding her with a puncture, then flooding her and making the battery go flat, I finally got her started and moved into the garage. When I collected her she had a god awful boot rack that had been drilled and bolted through the boot, and a tow bar that had been drilled and bolted through the spare wheel well. 

Needless to say, I wont be needing either of these for my purposes so they were removed and abandoned to the corner of the shed. I had had to remove the rear bumper to get rid of the tow bar and I did then toy with the idea of going for the bumper-less look with this car as well as Gertie, but have decided to keep it standard looking. 
I have also removed the 15 inch revolution alloys for now while I get the puncture fixed and have put my 14 inch minilites on. I've also discovered while doing this that the car has Mk2 trailing arms and drive shafts which give it a wider track. I'm not keen on this so I'm now on the look out for some Mk1 items. 

Sunday Morning.

Today saw the test drive of Gertie with her new oil pressure relief  valve. Although the oil pressure was higher, it was still fluctuating wildly. Most disappointing. A lot of suggestions I've had is that it could be the oil pump coming loose in the sump, or just the oil pump beginning to give out. The last thing I need on  the RBRR is oil pump failure, so I decided to pull the engine out. According to the Haynes manual, you can remove the sump from underneath, but seeing as I was going to pull the engine and change the cam after the RBRR anyway, I may as well  go the whole hog now. It was also damn annoying that I managed to snap a manifold stud in the process too. 
So with the RBRR just over a month away, Gertie's engine is currently sitting on the garage floor. Is it time to panic yet??

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 31st August 2014 9:45pm gmt



August 23rd A new stable mate for Gertie

With the recent sale of my Mk2 estate and what had become a very unreliable Mini, I had decided not buy anything else and just concentrate on Gertie.
So there I was the other night in garage running cables for the impending electrics when I received a text saying 'want a cheap Mk1 PI?'. Well naturally the vagueness of the text aroused my curiosity and before I knew it I was on the phone discussing said car. By the following night I had been sent pictures and by Friday lunch time I had spoken to the owner and arranged to go and the view the car Saturday morning. 
The only snag was that the car was in Bristol, so I decided that if I was going all that way (173 miles!) then I would go with the option of buying it there and then and bringing it away with me. So, Friday evening I borrowed a lovely four wheel car trailer and made preparations for my long journey. 
I was aware that the Saturday morning was the start of a Bank Holiday weekend and the traffic could be horrendous, so I set the alarm for the ungodly hour of 3.30am. As it happens, I woke up at 2am and thought 'sod it, that's close enough, I'll sleep when I get there.
A nice trouble free run saw me arrive at outside the sellers work unit at Bristol at 6am and I went to sleep until he arrived at 07.30. After a couple of coffee's and a good chat, the sale was agreed, the car was loaded up and I left there at 08.45. 

I was lucky enough to have another trouble free run home, with only a bit slow going traffic around Heathrow where the M4 meets the M25. I arrived home at 12.45 where the car was unloaded and I then returned the trailer. 
The car itself is 'cosmetically challenged' but very, very solid underneath. It has MOT and tax until June 2015 and has been fitted with power steering and a front anti roll bar. It also came with 15 inch revolution 5 spoke alloys. (Even a spare one in the boot!) The seats aren't so clever, but as most people know I don't run standard triumph seats anyway so this area will be addressed at at later date. It also still has it's full injection system. (Something I now need to learn all about!)
I also have to sing words of praise for my Landrover Discovery on this trip as well. It was the first time I'd ever used it for towing and I was very impressed. it's a 2.5 TDI and it's fuel consumption was very reasonable considering what it was pulling. I was trying to keep at around 60 mph, but even on the hills she never dropped below 50mph. (and there's some long climbs on that M4!) 

As I said at the beginning, I wasn't looking for another car, but the price was very good and the car has a lot of potential. I didn't think I'd ever the get the chance to own a genuine Mk1 PI so  I feel quite privileged. :)

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 24th August 2014 07:55am gmt



June 28th. Gertie's nose job.

After my mishap on the A127 shortly before the HCR, the time came to take Gertie on a trip up to my good friend Peter Jackson in Cambridgeshire so he could have a go at performing surgery on her and trying to restore her natural good looks. 
After months of chasing I had managed to find a replacement nosecone panel (for the bargain price of £20!) in case nothing could be done with the dented panel and her nose cone had to be replaced entirely. 
On arrival at Peter's, I offered him the option of cutting up the new panel and welding sections in as I thought that might have been a lot easier than trying to pull her one out but Peter was confident that that wouldn't be necessary.
With the car up on axle stands to enable a suitable working height the inner head lights, side lights,  indicators and front grill were removed for easier access to the front panel. 
Peter's first plan of action was to weld pieces of metal with holes drilled through them onto Gertie's nose. I had brought my large hub puller  with me which would act as a large slide hammer and this was then attached to the pieces of metal via a large nut and bolt.
Some spirited pulling and yanking ensued and slowly but surely the nose cone started to reform its original profile. The hardest bit was the drivers side as this side was more flatter than the other but by welding a bolt directly onto the panel near where the crease was and pulling while hammering at the same time, it gradually relented. 
 Peter also pulled out the dent where the badge was which I was delighted about as that had always been there since I bought it and was nothing to do with the accident. It was then that we discovered that the backing plate for the badge that pushes into the three small holes was missing and that the chrome surround and plastic badge part were just glued on anyway! 
With the panel now up to Peter's very high standard he then started filling, sanding down, then filling, then sanding down, then filling, then.......well you get the picture. I never realised there so much that goes into bodywork to get it perfect and Peter certainly has more patience than I do. Even though it wasn't his car, not once were the words 'that'll do' or 'that's close enough' were spoken even though, by now time was getting on. 
Relentlessly, he carried on until he obtained the shape and profile that he wanted and then and only then did he start talking of getting some paint on. 
I have to say, I'm seriously impressed with the end result and cannot convey my appreciation enough to Peter for his high standard of workmanship and dedication in restoring Gertie's nose. This last picture doesn't do the work justice as the Grey primer and 'mist' of Satin black somewhat hide the shape and finish, but believe me it's very very good. 
I finally left Peter's house just before 9pm and arrived home around eleven. A very long, but very very rewarding day. The next move will be to flat the primer back and get the nose ready for painting. Then Gertie will look her best again. :) 

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 29th June 2014 6:24pm gmt



At last an update! May 18th. Something a bit different!

A lot has happened since my last post including moving to a new house in a new town and renting out my old house. The move happened over the Easter weekend and since then there really hasn't been much time for car work or events.
However, with (reasonable) normality restored, it was time for some fun. (Or so I thought)
So, at the insane hour of 4.45am on Sunday morning, I left my new town of Leigh On Sea to travel down to Enfield to collect my nephew and head to Crystal Palace to the start of the Classic Mini London to Brighton Rally.
The local councils were obviously aware of 2,500 Mini's (Yes, that is right, 2,500 Mini's)  descending on south London as they decided to shut the Blackwall tunnel. Good thinking! A lengthy diversion saw us heading over Tower Bridge at around 6.15am and eventually onto where we should be.

With us finally booked into registration we began the long wait for our departure time. They line the cars up on a 'first come first served basis' so basically, the later you get there, the later you leave there. Our delays were not in our favour. Needless to say, we had plenty of time to kill, so we hung around the campsite/car park for a couple of hours or so. I have to say though, there were some fantastic Mini's there to see.


By just after 10.30am it was our turn to leave and we made our way through London to pick up the M23 to Brighton. With over 2000 Mini's plus normal traffic in front of us progress was very slow and with being the hottest day of the year so far, a lot of Mini's had already started overheating. We seemed to be coping ok with the heat and by about 12pm we had eventually made the M23. 
We stopped for a quick sandwich in the services but it was shortly after leaving the services that our problems began. The sound of what I initially thought was 'pinking' soon turned into rattling and a quick exit off the A23 found a petrol station where we could stop and investigate. The engine for some reason had boiled itself dry. We let it cool down a bit a refilled it with water, but it wasn't keen on that and belched loads of it back out. I optimistically put it down to sitting in loads of traffic for so long and tried to continue with the journey. However, on arriving just outside Brighton at the roundabout of the junction of the A23 & A27 (of which both routes were solid with traffic again!) she boiled over again. I was now convinced that we had blown the head gasket and decided to turn around and try and nurse the car home. 
After stopping a further six times, and getting through about 14 bottles of water and flask of coffee (we had ran out of water at the time) we were doing well. We had made it back to Essex and was on the M25 when she overheated again and this time refused to restart. I admitted defeat and we called for recovery. It was 3.15pm by now and we were given an eta of 4pm. We thought that was pretty good, but then at 4pm we received a phone call saying we would now be recovered at 5.30pm. I didn't fancy another 90 mins of getting roasted to death in the sunlight on the hard shoulder of a motorway, so luckily, now the engine had cooled a bit, I managed to get it started and got it off of the motorway. Unfortunately, we still only managed about another ten miles and it finally gave up the ghost near Basildon, only 7 miles from home.

The recovery arrived with us just after 5.15pm and with the AA man confirming that the head gasket had indeed gone he recovered us back home. The only problem with that was that I now had to get my Nephew back to his home in Enfield. It's a good job I could rely on my Triumph estate to serve that purpose. I finally got home about 8pm that night. A bit of a long day then! 
The good thing about Mini's though is the parts availabilty. A head gasket set was ordered Monday afternoon, the head was removed Monday night, the gasket set arrived on Tuesday and the car was put back together Tuesday evening and driven to work and back on Wednesday with no further problems.

Some more pics from the event.......

Ready for the off.......eventually! 

A rare traffic free moment!

A very nice blonde girl with a lovely figure. Oh, and some Mini's. 

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 21st May 2014 9:13pm gmt



Gertie's Clutch Issues resolved

The recent trip to The Netherlands and sitting in the awful stop start traffic of the Antwerp ring road inspired me to finally resolve a clutch issue that I knew I had with Gertie. 
For a long time there has been excessive play when the clutch hasn't been engaged and when it is engaged the piston is almost coming out the end of the slave cylinder. 
I suspected that the taper pin that holds the clutch fork onto the cross shaft inside the bell housing was broken and this was causing my problem. Although if it was this, then I'm amazed that the clutch would still function properly at all. After various other investigations proved fruitless evidence was still pointing towards the taper pin and after a few days of pondering I decided to take the plunge and remove the gearbox.
Initial viewings of the taper pin, cross shaft and clutch fork showed that all seem to be well and everything was operating and turning as it should. However, when I unbolted the taper pin I found the below......
In a way I was quite relieved as this meant that removing the gearbox hadn't been a waste of time. Removing the cross shaft from the clutch fork took some time and effort, so there must have just been enough of the pin sticking out of the cross shaft to still operate the clutch. 
Once removed new cross shaft bearings were fitted and the new taper pin installed. I also fitted a new clutch release bearing as the old one had become a bit 'chatty'.
With the gearbox back in and all bolted up I then had to wait for the return of my reconditioned starter motor a few days later.
 The starter motor was the collected from Danbury auto electrics and fitted that night and a very short test drive proved that the clutch is now nice and smooth with no nasty 'clicky' noises or 'notchy' movements. So all seems good.
Looks like we are back on schedule for the HCR after all! Happy Days! 

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 21st March 2014 07:05am gmt



8th March- Nachtrit van het Oosten 2014

At long last the day had arrived to get away from it all and disappear for a well deserved weekend away. The destination was once again The Netherlands to take part in the Club Triumph Chinese Rally. We departed Wickford at 9am to catch the 12pm boat to Dunkerque and were pleasantly surprised to find very little traffic. (Even at the Dartford Crossing!)
A brief stop on the way to Doverhad us in a mild panic as Gertie refused to restart. After persuading the starter motor to rejoin the land of the living with the aid of a small hammer, Gertie fired up and we were once again on our way. Halfway across the channel the sun decided to join us as well and a very nice drive through France and Belgium followed. This was my third year of competing in the Chinese Rally and the weather had never been so good. It snowed last year and rained the year before that so the sunshine was absolute bliss.

The traffic on the ring road at Antwerp was horrendous and over an hour later we finally made the exit we wanted towards Eindhoven
A brief stop in the services saw us topped up with Coffee & Cheese biscuits and we then carried on into the Netherlandsand to our hotel at Haaksbergen.
By the time we arrived it was 9.45pm and the restaurant was closed but the friendly lady in charge cooked us two pizzas anyway. This was washed down nicely with a few beers and made for a nice end to a long day.
 Saturday morning was spent mooching around the local town which again was very beautiful in the sunshine. We then decided to check out the start location for the rally later that evening and fill up with petrol in case there were no garages on route.

Back at the hotel we were joined in the afternoon by Andy Flaxney & Jeremy Lupton, Mike & Gillian Helm, Mike & Jane Charlton and Mike Bishop and Darren Armitage. We were also joined a bit later by Theo, Roger, and Willi and Jennie Mindak. 4pm soon arrived and we headed for the start point at the Kings Wok in Beckum where we enjoyed a lovely Chinese meal. Our departure times arrived and before you knew it we were off into the wilds and following the tulip diagrams in the road book and trying our best to keep to the proposed route.

 Ten pages of diagrams later we were joining the other drivers at the halfway stage for coffee & cake. Once suitably refreshed we set off again into the night for the second half of the event.
There were some great roads and some real nice cars as well. The British Triumphs all finished although Andy Flexney's car did have some electrical issues. More beers in the bar finished the night nicely and we turned in in readiness for the long trip home.
 Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny again and after a good breakfast we all bid our farewells and took to the road. Large thermometers by the side of the motorways showed a gorgeous 16 degrees and I couldn’t remember the last time I drove Gertie with the windows open. Roll on the summer! 



We arrived in Dunkerque in plenty of time for our Ferry, but then Gertie blotted her copy book again by refusing to start when being called for embarkation. The ignition lights came on but then nothing when the key was turned. Luckily the people behind us very kindly gave us a push start and we made the ferry back to blighty.
 Just over two hours later we embarked at Doverand promptly drove straight into a traffic jam on the M2. I was diverting off at the Sheerness turn off anyway as I had won a Triumph Stag Petrol tank (For my MK2 estate-they’re the same) on ebay while we were away and had arranged to collect it on the way home. With the tank collected we headed back to the M2 only to find it still busy! Two hours later we arrived home quite exhausted from our long, but fantastic weekend away. I do like these weekends away in Holland and will most probably book the next one in November. However, the main focus for now is sorting out Gertie’s starter motor issues in time for the HCR in a few weeks time. Actually, since returning home another issue has come to light and at present Gertie’s gearbox is sitting on my workbench! Will it be cured and refitted in time for the HCR? Who knows? Watch this space! 

Estate:

The fuel problem that has dogged me for so many years with this car has made an unwelcome return after 15 months of absence. I thought that whatever it was that clogged the fuel line up every now and then had finally gone into retirement when suddenly on Thursday 6th March 2014 it viciously returned.
To add insult to injury the car had just passed its Mot and was on the way home. As usual, it decided to break down on a busy dual carriageway with no lay-by’s or emergency breakdown areas, or street lamps. So I know it wants to kill me.
Now that Gertie is minus its gearbox, this is the car that may have to be used for the HCR god forbid! I wonder if we’ll get a special prize for breaking down in every county? 

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 15th March 2014 07:28am gmt



Back in the fold!

Due to other commitments (Details to be revealed soon) I've not really had the time to do anything much car related recently hence the blog being quite.... erm.....quiet.
I've managed to fit in a couple of local rallies which resulted in finishing in 2nd from last place both times, so not a good start to the year.
Last night was the Chelmsford Motor Club 'Tendring Classic', so it was time to try and improve on my dismal performance. Ellis Stokes was recruited as navigator for the night but as with the previous two rallies, the rain appeared on Friday morning and stayed! I took the car to work so I could get away sharpish and head straight up the dreaded A12 towards Ipswich. (Never good on any night let alone Friday)


After a long day at work, a long drive up to Ardleigh in Suffolk followed where the rally was to start from. The rain still hadn't stopped and you couldn't help feeling that you'd have been better off with a boat!

With our start time due we were handed the clues and Ellis set about plotting. The CMC rallies are timed events and very strictly adhere to as well. It was Ellis's first CMC timed event so we were entered in the 'beginners' class. This class allows you fifteen minutes to plot as much of the route as you can before your 'departure' time. However, given the length of the route, you really don't get much plotting done. 
eight long sections on the agenda along with rain, mud, potholes, puddles and some fords thrown in just for good measure. 

(Ellis Plotting-and my finger in the way of the lens!)

Our departure time from TC0 (Time control zero) was 20.01 and we finally arrived back at the last time control at 10.55. Probably one of the longest CMC night rallies I've ever done. The results were announced and we had come 1st in class and 6th overall. A good night and a good result too. Ellis even enjoyed himself and has vowed to do more in the future. 
Gertie performed well and caused us no problems, which is just as well as she is off to Holland next weekend for the Club Triumph Holland 'Chinese Rally'.

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 01st March 2014 7:21pm gmt



Saturday 23rd November. Gertie's floppy one!

The recent weekend away at the NEC highlighted an issue with Gertie's indicator stalk. Something had obviously gone wrong somewhere and although it was still working it had become very loose and floppy like.
Luckily Dave Harvey was attending the NEC and after a quick phone call, he grabbed some spares he had laying around and brought them with him. Resisting the urge to try and fix it at the show, I waited until the following weekend before pulling the car to bits.
I decided the easiest way was to remove  the dashboard binnacle, all of the gauges and various switches.

With the mechanism for the indicator stalk removed the problem became obvious. The barrel that the actual stalk fits into had broken in half and was allowing the stalk to move excessively.
Luckily Dave has supplied one of these too, so this and the new stalk were fitted and the interior refitted. With it all reassembled the indicator was tested and I'm pleased to say it was all nice and tight and working as Triumph originally intended.
Whilst in the garage I decided to fit a new sticker to the front wings. I'd seen it at the NEC and it appealed to my warped sense of humour, so I had just had to have it.
With this done it was time to turn my attention to my recently acquired Mini. Driving home from work in the dark with the lights, heater and wipers on was making the fan belt slip and subsequently squeal like a stuck pig. I don't think the alternator has got long left to be honest as the charging light comes on on tick over when all these items are running. However, because the fan belt was slipping this could also have been the reason for the alternator not charging properly.
A new fan belt was obtained and the task of trying to figure out how to fit it began. The fan is incredibly close to the radiator and the radiator mounting plate is also very close to the crankshaft pulley. After trying to get the fan belt past both of these unsuccessfully I decided to undo all of the radiator mounts and cowling so I could move the radiator back and have more room. Luckily this worked. Recent test drives have shown that the squealing has stopped but the charging light is still coming on. Looks like a new alternator could be on the shopping list then!



posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 27th November 2013 9:48pm gmt



Wednesday 30th October. Gertie goes modern!

A rush home from work saw me in the garage at 17.35 and awaiting the arrival of Colin Wake. (Scrapman on the CT forum)  The reason for Colin's visit was to assist in the fitting and tuning of my 1-2-3 Performance and programmable distributor.
Colin is a bit of a whizz in anything IT and tuning and advance curves and all manner of stuff that I don't really understand.
So the plan was to fit the new dizzy and then take the car to the CT Essex meet and have a play while on route.
(Colin making some notes before installation & tuning)
 
With the dizzy fitted we then attempted to start the car and to our surprise it fired and ran straight away. So with the USB lead connected between the dizzy and the laptop via the bonnet and the quarter light window, we set off for the meet.

 
It's quite a strange thing to be driving a 1968 car while someone sits next to you with a laptop tuning it. We tried different curves, some which made the car pretty damn quick and others that made the car pink like mad and run slow. The main difference I noticed was how much smoother the car was on pull away. There was no hesitation at all. There's still a bit more experimenting to do, but a good pub dinner was calling. I'm looking forward to another  tuning session when time allows. 



posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 11th November 2013 9:13pm gmt



Saturday 26th October. Something different!

I've not done much work on either Triumph lately to be honest, my mind has been on house hunting and replacing my boring every day car, my Peugeot 205 diesel. Don't get me wrong, it's a great car and you can get around 60 mpg in them if driven sensibly. (Apparently!)
With the car hunting I still wanted something old(ish) but something that I can use every day, has good fuel consumption and I can also do other events in. Spares and parts availability needs to be good too so that if it does go off the road for any reason it can be repaired and put back into use pretty quickly.
After looking around at a few different options I decided the ideal car would be..........a Mini! A proper little Mini that is. Not the stupidly large German 'Mini'.
They have a great following, plenty of regional and local clubs and events and there's very little you can't buy for them.
So after looking at a number of them and weeding out the rot boxes a choice was made on a 1977 Metallic blue 850. Ideally I did want a 998cc model, but this car has a stage one tuning kit, Cooper front disc brakes, Koni shocks all round, but more importantly a very, very good solid shell. Anyone into Mini's will tell you it's better to have a good shell with the wrong engine, than the right engine with a crap shell.
It also has high lift rockers fitted, but there's no history with the car and the camshaft spec is unknown. I'm hoping it has an upgraded camshaft and that's why the high lift rockers were fitted, but who knows? It certainly flies along for an 850!
So, after some serious haggling, said Mini was collected and driven home from Chadwell Heath near Dagenham and I'm pleased to say it did so with no issues at all. It does appear that the stage one kit has been fitted, but then the carb hasn't been fine tuned to suit the new needle, so a rolling road session at Atspeed in Rayleigh is booked for Friday morning where this issue will be addressed.
Overall though it's a great little car and has the potential of being a super  fast buzz bomb! Watch this space! :)

 

 

posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 30th October 2013 05:51am gmt



Saturday October 5th. The estate gets a Rat look!

For some weeks now the bonnet on my Mk2 estate has needed attention. I haven't been able to open or close it without it catching on the front panel and causing damage to the paint. After several previous attempts at adjusting it, all to no avail, I had come to be convinced that the bonnet was rusting from the inside of where the bonnet hinge plates are welded on.
So as a precaution I had bought another second hand bonnet just in case my one was completely beyond repair. With my bonnet removed and after further inspection, it was decided that it was indeed beyond repair and so the replacement was fitted. The good news is that the new bonnet works a treat and the bonnet now opens and closes without catching at all. The bad news is that this bonnet is Sienna Brown, with a splash of white and some yellow road paint thrown over it along with some dried leaves, bird turd, fur that looks like it's from a Badger and three spiders. (Two of them dead.) (Well what do you expect? it did come from Colin Wake. i.e Scrapman.)

Part of the cars long term plans are to have all the bodywork taken care of and a complete respray, so for the time being I might just have to spray the bonnet matt black with rattle cans. (It'll still be better than in its present state!)
Or.....if I'm going to paint the bonnet black shall I go the whole hog and create what I had before? A Mk2 estate in the guise of a British Leyland Rally Support vehicle. I always loved the look of that car and regretted selling it. (Although it was rotten!) This is the car on the 2009 HCR. It was my first Club Triumph event. We managed to earn joint fourth place and our results have got progressively worse on this event ever since!
Another issue I had always had with this car was its reluctance to wear a strut brace. For some reason with a strut brace fitted you could never close the bonnet. I think its had either accident damage or restoration repairs at some point in the past and the front panels were never lined up properly. Seeing as Gavin was present and is a dab hand on the gas welding kit, he cut into the strengthening framework under the bonnet and altered and re-welded them so that they could compensate the strut brace. So for the first time since I've owned the car (Five years this New Year) it now has a strut brace.






posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 09th October 2013 9:08pm gmt



Sunday September 22nd. More welding!

With Gertie now finally back on her wheels again I was able to bring her out of the garage and strip the interior out so I could get to the floor by the handbrake. Luckily it was a dry day with no sign of rain, so pretty soon all the seats and carpet etc had been removed to allow access to the floor.
Once the carpet was removed it appeared that the cracked floor was far worse than I first thought. (Isn't it always?) I have to admit though, the handbrake lever had never felt loose, this was just something I had spotted from underneath when removing the propshaft. It also made me wonder how many other big saloons are driving round with the same issue without realising it.
With the offending area cleaned up and welded the handbrake lever was reattached and all the interior refitted. I really could do with a new carpet that will have to wait until I find out who makes the best ones for a Mk1. I also want to fit black one instead of red. (Red gets dirty to easily)
After this I had to remove the exhaust I had fitted the day before so I could refit the propshaft, then I reattached both of the handbrake cable and then the exhaust. again.
With all of this done it was time for the big start up, so the HT lead was removed and the engine cranked until the oil light went out. (She has been off the road for six weeks now so I thought it best to get the oil pressure up) With the lead reattached she started, but seemed to be only running on one carb. I removed the float chamber lid on the rear carb and fiddled with the float and then she seemed better. However, the test drive was cut short when she went back to running on one carb again. The clutch pedal also seemed a tad funny as if air had got in the system while it's been off the road. The joys of old cars eh? By now it was getting late so I called it a day and decided to leave these jobs until I could give them more time next weekend. At least she's back on the road though, so I was quite happy with that. 


posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 28th September 2013 04:06am gmt



September 21st- Gertie is back on her feet.

With the welding finally completed on Gertie's rear floor it was time to start the reassembly. There is some more welding to do, but it’s near the handbrake mounting so I need to remove the seats and carpet and I can only do that with the car outside the garage. So today's task was to get it back on it’s wheels and rolling at least.
The first (and trickiest) job was to refit the differential. This is normally straight forward with two people but today I was working alone. Plus the car was jacked up at an insane height, so lifting it was going to take some doing.
After the third attempt and several swear words the diff was bolted up on the pins with a large truck axle stand supporting the nose cone. The diff has been fitted with a new quill shaft bearing and new seal and has also been reinforced while it was out. Next to be fitted was the nearside subframe complete with a new superflex suspension bush. The trailing arm was next followed by the spring, brake back plate and the driveshaft. With the nearside completed I then reassembled all of the offside.
The next job was to refit the fuel tank which was a bit awkward to get to the breather pipes and the filler pipe. However, after removing the vinyl parcel shelf tray, this became a lot easier due to having more access. While the car was still up in the air I filled the diff with new oil and also refitted the exhaust. Fitting the exhaust was a mistake actually as I then realised that I should have fitted the propshaft first due to clearance and I cant fit the propshaft until I’ve welded the floor and refitted the handbrake. So it will have to come off again. By close of play though everything was refitted and Gertie was standing on her own feet (Or wheels) again, so it was quite a successful day.


posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 22nd September 2013 08:20am gmt



September 5th-9th- The Club Triumph 10CR

My Club Triumph 10 Countries Rally began on a very foggy A127 driving down to Darren Sharps house to load my gear into his car for this epic adventure. After a quick cuppa we took a leisurely drive down to Dover docks via Tesco’s for a cheap breakfast and refuel.
A steady crossing later and we arrived in Calais and set about finding our hotel. It wasn’t difficult. It was the one that looked like the set of prisoner cell block H! (But it was cheap!)
Seeing as it was a nice afternoon, we sat in a roadside bar and studied the map and tried to learn the route that we would be taking over the next five days or so. It looked an interesting route and we were both looking forward to driving around Monaco and Nice.
Later in the evening with met up with Tony Pullis and Zak (Whose Mother-in-law had predicted would die in this trip! Nice!)  and had a fantastic Pizza and some beers. Later in the evening we also met up with Team Torpedo. A group of guys that had flown over from America and bought four cars in Englandto take part in this event. Very Impressive! After a good few beers with these guys it also turned out they were also staying at cell block H with us. They also had a large bottle of Monkey Shoulder Whiskey which they insisted had to be finished before we could retire to our rooms.
      The following morning we headed down to the official start where we met with the 70 or so other crews taking part. After listening to the final instructions we set off heading for Belgium, but at the first junction we came across the four cars of Team Torpedo all stopped in the hard shoulder. We asked if they needed help to which one of them replied ‘No, we’re ok. We’ve just left one of our guys at the start’. Still laughing we headed for the motorway which turned out to be our first mistake. Some forty minutes later we hadn’t got very far due to roadworks and traffic jams. We then made our second mistake when we decided to turn off and cut across country roads but found some of those closed due to roadworks too!  By the timewe arrived at the first check point at the old Reimsrace track we were an hour late.



It wasn’t too bad though, as there were quite a few other crews there too. After a quick photo session we cracked on towards the next control at Dijonrace track and after some spirited driving we arrived there on time, so we had caught up the hour we had lost on the diversion. Shortly before arriving at Dijon we had been hearing a metal scraping noise coming from the underneath of the car, but a quick check of all exhaust brackets revealed nothing untoward. However, just as Darren was about to close the bonnet I noticed that the battery was sitting really close to the alternator. Then I noticed that the battery clamp was missing. Closer inspection showed that the clamp had fallen off completely and was balanced over the front beam but dragging along the floor. That’ll be the metal scraping noise we heard then!
With it getting dark we decided to miss the national roads and take the motorway down to Grenoblewith the hope of gaining a few extra hours sleep on the overnight drive. This was a good plan and we arrived at the Bastille at Midnight.



We took a quick pic as our proof that we’d been there and then decided to miss the sleep stop and get out of Grenoble city before the morning rush hour. It was quite an entertaining drive out of the city with many bus stops and corners frequented by young black girls with very little clothing offering their services.
Although it was late, I still wasn’t tired and we decided to just keep going until we did. The night drive was made more challenging by the full beam switch burning out, (That’ll teach Darren not to fit relays!) but we coped well and before we knew it we had arrived at Friday morning’s control point at the abandoned village at around four in the morning. Five hours early! The abandoned village is also close to the Col de la Bonnet which is the highest mountain in Europe at 2,802 metres high. Needless to say the stars looked amazing and the place was deathly quiet. We got our heads down and slept well for about two and a half hours, although we were bloody freezing when we woke up!




Newly refreshed we set out towards Nice and had the pleasure of driving through the city in Friday morning rush hour. We took the coast road towards Monacowhere I took over the driving so Darren could hang out of the sunroof and take pics of parts of the grand Prix circuit. After more traffic we eventually turned north bound and back over the mountains where we managed to find a nice little French café for some lunch. Another leisurely drive up into Italy saw us arrive at our hotel in Italy at about 3pm. I caught up on some much needed sleep after my night driving session while Darren went and ‘socialised’ in the bar. By evening time most of the other crews had arrived and it was a real good night despite the hotel running out of beer! Dinner was an experience best forgotten too to be honest.
Saturday morning dawned beautiful and hot again and the nights entertainment had obviously taken its toll on me as I managed to take three wrong turns including taking the wrong slip road on a motorway and having to go ten miles to turn round! We continued to head northwards and soon made the first control point at Lake Maggiore. What a beautiful place this is. I can see why people holiday here. Switzerland was the next country on the list and the next (and final) check point for the day was San Bernadino. After a coffee and some fruit (I wouldn't pay £8 for a sandwich!) we headed off again before diverting through Lichtenstein and Austria. After a few more stops for some pics we headed for Lake Constance where, based on the previous nights disappointing dinner we decided to eat before arriving at our hotel. Luckily we found a road side Pizza bar that served very good food. We arrived at the German hotel around 7pm and after a wash and brush up we wandered down the town to the pub where we met up with lots of other crews.
After the pub closed we headed back to the Hotel to find that Team Torpedo had just arrived after suffering a breakdown with EVERY car that day. They looked tired, deflated and dejected. So we stayed in the bar with them until 3.30am purely for supportive purposes you understand!
Sunday morning saw a grey and gloomy drive up through Germany, back into Franceand then up to Luxembourg. The rain stayed away though and after completing numerous check points we arrived at the race track at Spa in Belgium.


After more pics we then set off for the final check point at Rolduc in The Netherlands. This is always the final location and where the party really starts as the three previous nights are just rehearsals. Team Torpedo were among the last to arrive again although they had had a good day compared to Saturday breakdown wise. Needless to say, a huge cheer went up when they did arrive as their determination and dedication was a joy to behold. Well done guys. A splendid achievement.


I had a somewhat early start on the Monday as Darren and I had a twin room in the dormitory and due to copious amounts of alcohol consumed he was snoring like a warthog with asthma! I had had enough by 5am and went and slept in the car. I awoke at 7am and headed in for breakfast but as I walked away from the car realised I had locked the keys in it! Bugger! Never mind, it’s a Triumph. Anything will break into it. A Triumph stag key got it unlocked quite easily actually. With Darren still suffering I did the drive to Calais where we were hoping the boats wasn’t delayed by strong winds like they were two years ago on the same event. Luckily there weren’t and we back in Blighty by about 3pm. Lashing rain and cold weather greeted us and the alternator decided to pack up as well. It didn’t affect us though, we had enough battery power to reach Darren’s place.
So, it's now back to the reality of work, rain, and boring every day stuff. However, there's also the possibility of another short European trip in November providing I can get Gertie ready and find a navigator.
Here's some more pics for the event.












 

 


posted by King Rat Racinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/07514766105168278272noreply@blogger.com 21st September 2013 08:35am gmt


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