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Mike Bishop

Messing About With Cars - Mike Bishop

Messing About With Cars - Mike Bishop
Latest Entries-

Summer Fun with the Spitfire

Spitfire Successfully Recomissioned

New Year's Resolution started early!

Last Minute Panic for 10CR

The Rustiest Dolomite in the World!

TR6 Snagging

Quality Time in The Man Cave

Belated TR6 Misfire Update

Another Milestone Reached

Tracking Down an Annoying Misfire

Forgive me for I have sinned - again!

Temorarily Incapacitated!

Slowly Getting Ready For The Summer!

HCR - 2, Stag - Nil

Since my last post. . . . .

GT6 Differential Progress

More Differential Disappointment

Differential Disappointment

A Better Drive, a Successful Trip and Happy New Year to You All!

GT6 wheelarch de-rusting

GT6 Rear Radius Arms... and more

Oh How Time Flies!

A Busy Weekend of Motorsport Ahead

10CR - Final Prep and Ready for the Off

CMC Priestley Rally

Summer Fun with the Spitfire

I looked at the title of the previous post and thought this new one would be a timely update.  Well that was until I noticed the date - over a year ago, not exactly timely, hmmn!

Well I did have some fun with the Spitfire last year following it's recommissioning and MOT, including a trip to Warwickshire for one of Jon Fallowell's excellent rallies and a bit closer to home on the 3 Counties Rally.  All in all with a bit of commuting, it managed to cover some 1300 miles until this year's MOT.

With the fine weather that we have had, I've actually used it a a fair bit more regularly this year, albeit mostly again for the commute to work.

Although the car hasn't really done the miles, a few things under the bonnet were looking a bit tired and in need of attention.  So, a new dizzy cap and rotor arm was fitted and the plug leads were looking past their best so I invested in a replacement set of Magnecor KV85 leads. The air filters were not so old but went in the bin as they had ingested a lot of dust from farm storage. All together with an oil change and a little tweak of the carbs, the car now runs significantly better that it has done for several years!

During the course of this work, I noticed that the radiator and heater hoses were looking past their best.  Again not so old I thought but a check of the records showed them to be a new aftermarket set fitted some 15 years or so ago!  Still annoying as the much older used original type hoses that I had kept in the boot for emergencies showed no signs of cracking whatsoever!

Having no faith whatsoever in the current aftermarket offerings, I decided to splash out on a somewhat more pricey matt black silicone hose set.  By the time I had bought stainless steel band type hose clamps as well, the whole lot cost around £100 but I hope that I will not be needing to replace them again in a hurry.

Replacement turned out not to be completely straightforwards though as I found the heater valve assembly to be completely gunged up.  Removing it turned out to be troublesome with the steel bolts unusually seized in the brass adaptor.  Once removed, upon stripping and cleaning it, the alloy body was found to be corroded beyond repair.  A spare valve from my stash was butchered to make one good from two but again leaked like a sieve when tested.

At this point I decided that I had spent too much valuable time messing around with it and the way forwards was to buy a new one!  Again wary of buying a cheap aftermarket part with dubious durability, a bit of research found praise for an equivalent valve sold in the USA with "an improved design for not much more money over and above the UK standard offerings.

As the heater valve on the TR6 was also about as much use as a chocolate teapot (hot feet whatever position it was in!) I ordered a second one for it with thoughts about saving postage in mind. I did get a nasty surprise when the parcel turned up though - customs duty and a £8 handling charge from the Post Office.  I would have been better off ordering each one separately.

Anyway, the valves seem good, the Spit passed its MOT with only a few advisories (a bit of wear in front suspension and steering - anyone selling a Canley trunnion-less kit by any chance?) and the weather has been kind.  But now I need to start using the Stag a bit more as the 10CR is getting closer!

posted by mikeyb 01st August 2017 3:33pm gmt

Spitfire Successfully Recomissioned

Following on from my Christmas holiday post, I bolted up the diff and refitted the GT6 spring, only to tidy up the garage at home a few weeks later and find all the new bolts, spacers and spring buttons etc. that I had forgotten I'd bought sometime previously, to overhaul the Spitfire spring - doh! 

As the car was still sitting on the ramps, I decided to spend some time in my nice warm newly rebuilt shed to actually sort it out.

The spring was already dismantled and part painted, so after a quick lick of paint over the whole lot again, with the help of a couple G-clamps, reassembly commenced.

Back down the car shed, it didn't take long to whip off the GT6 spring and fit the newly overhauled Spitfire spring. I also took the opportunity to fit a pair of Koni rear shocks that I had recently acquired on Fleabay.

After a bit of a re-shuffle, out came the Spit and up on the ramp went the TR6 (watch this space!).  Another month or so of inactivity passed due to Easter holidays and lots of overtimeat work, but the car finally made it to the MOT bay a couple of days ago, from where I was delighted to exit with a "pass".

However, subsequently all was not to go well.  Having had a nice trip home via the "long way", I parked the car up on the drive and went in for lunch.  After lunch, I drove up onto my blocks to check the diff oil.  Whilst underneath the car, I noticed a dribble of something on the inside of the wheel rim.

Removal of the drum confirmed my suspicions that it was the brake hydraulic cylinder that was leaking. When the car first went into the shed for it's diff work, I had noticed at the time that the brake fluid was murky.  At some time in the past it had been filled with silicone, but I also had a suspicion that it may have also been topped up with DOT4, therefore I had previously invested in a master cylinder seal kit and a pair of new wheel cylinders. 

I was however surprised to find that the pistons on the new were smaller than the ones on the car that I had removed.  A quick check of part numbers confirmed that the new smaller piston ones were correct for the Spitfire, so I fitted them anyway.  It wasn't until I went around the car bleeding through the new fluid, that I remembered I had upgraded to GT6 front discs and calipers a few years ago.  I suspect I must have fitted GT6 rear cylinders at the same time.  We'll see how she drives!

posted by mikeyb 30th April 2016 5:32pm gmt

New Year's Resolution started early!

Mend the bl**dy cars!

I was lucky enough to have some time off work over the Christmas break (never guaranteed with shiftwork!).  Although there are always plenty of non car related jobs to do at home, I disciplined myself to allow a bit of car time every day, even if on some days it was just half an hour in the garage at home tidying up! For my first proper challenge, I set myself the task of getting the poor old Spitfire down from the car lift where it has been sitting for over a year!

The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that there are a few parts missing from under the rear of the car. It was originally put up on the lift for a diff change. This ground to a halt when the newly fitted replacement was filled with oil which promptly dripped out of the side seals! As the original diff had got noisy due to it's incontinence, I felt disinclined to drive the car in this state. 

In the process of original disassembly, one of the radius arm bushes was found to be seized onto its bolt, so this had to be cut off. The arm was cleaned, repainted and fitted with polybushes. The car sat high on it's uprated swing spring, so I'd previously acquired another that I'd dismantled for a clean and repaint. I had also intended to overhaul the hub/driveshaft assembly.

I'd already bought a pair of axle-shaft seals. With the car up in the air, it was a easy task to undo the 4 setscrews either side and pull the shafts out. With the circlips removed, the bearings were pushed off easily via the press and the new seals fitted to the keeper plates. A little unsure on how to facilitate reassembly, I did a bit of browsing on the web and came across the "freeze the shaft/heat the bearing" method. As the bearing is a very tight fit on the shaft, the idea behind this was that the colder shaft would contract, the hotter bearing expand, giving temporary extra clearance between the two for an easy fit. It actually worked a treat, 20 mins in the freezer for the shafts with 20 mins in the oven at 220 deg C for the bearings, they pretty much dropped on with just a little tap with an over-sized tube, hurrah!

Bearing in mind everything first came apart over a year ago - it took me some time now to find all the rest of the bits!  The arm was ready to fit, the hub complete as removed (but as it had no play evident, I decided to refit as is) and the spring remained in all its component pieces.  At the time of dissassembly I had had to cut a couple of bolts that siezed in the spacer tubes. Having no suitable spares over the holiday period, I dug out a spare complete GT6 swing spring as a temporary fix. I suspect the car will sit too high with this, but a spring is not that difficult to change and can be re-done later on.

All that remains now is to fill the diff (fingers crossed!), pop the wheels back on - then the lift can be dropped for brake bleeding, spring studs, then off we go!  The other small barrier to be crossed will be to tidy up the shed so I can actually drive the car out of the door. This will be no quick task!

Once the Spit has moved, the plan will be to bring the TR6 in to go up in the air - more about this another time!

Happy New Year everyone :-)

posted by mikeyb 01st January 2016 8:24pm gmt

Last Minute Panic for 10CR

Following the TR6's successful trip to LeMans back in June this year, I toyed with the idea of taking on the Club Triumph 10 Countries Run. However, after not a lot of thought, common sense prevailed and I decided it not to feasible this year. The main reasons being obnoxious fumes coming into the cabin with the roof down, crippling seats and no overdrive!  So the only other option open to me was to use the trusty Stag.
Partly due to car having been so reliable, then with my transition from shift work to day work then back to shift again and finally with the run up to Miya starting school, I failed completely to start preparation of the car in a timely manner, subsequently a couple of weeks before the event, a last minute panic set in!
Apart from the odd trip to work, the Stag hadn't been used much since the Historic Counties Rally, following which the overdrive packed up just before arriveing home. So a work list was hastily devised, with the overdrive coming at the top of this list!
A quick chat with Mike Papworth and Dale Barker highlighted the possible most likely suspects as the overdrive filter or solonoid. So after a quick phone call to friend and fellow Triumph enthusist Mike Helm, it was over to his car shed to get the car up onto the ramp and to see what we could find.
With the car up in the air, we removed the large brass plug that houses the filter, and found that the brass gauze cage inside was quite badly sludged up with bits of orange gasket sealer in it. It took a fair bit of washing out in petrol to clean it up, once refitted we decided not to change the solonoid but to test the car and see if the fault reocurred.  Subsequently as the overdrive seemed to work fine, I left well alone and just made a mental note to put a replacement solonoid in the spares box for the trip!
Next on the list was to be the addition of an engine coolant header tank. Two years ago, I borrowed a kit for the previous 10CR. This was designed and supplied by Chris Spain of "Stagweber" and comprised a custom alloy tank and a set of hoses and adaptors. The kit fitted and performed well, but upon return had to be fitted to the car of the chap who had originally purchased it!
Some months later, I came across a Ford Cosworth alloy header tank on Ebay and managed to win it at a good price, but never progressed fitting it. Having relocated it in a dusty corner of the garage, I retrieved it, made up some bracketry and bolted it to the n/s suspension turret. I pleased to say it fitted and didn't look out of place.   Next I sourced various plumbing fittings and a selection of black silicone hoses to connect into the cooling system.
The hoses themselves were the "Rolls Royce" of silicone hose, supplied by Viper Performance  and hence were not cheap. In fact they totalled more than the cost of the header tank did itself, however as the Stag cooling system runs at a higher than usual 20psi, I was reluctant to use cheap Ebay silicone or rubber offerings.  A little trial and error was required to get correct lengths, corners and connections, but finally complimented with a set of Mikalor stainless steel hose clips, it was in and working without leaks!
Final stage was to connect up the integral low level warning sensor. This was straightforward to a hidden warning buzzer under the centre dash speaker grille, but due to a defective float switch buzzed continually so had to be temporarily disconnected pending replacement.
Other smaller but collectively time consuming tasks were to strip, clean and re-grease front wheel bearings, swap tyres around and rebalance wheels, replace a dysfunctional screenwash pump, check oil levels, brakes pads/shoes etc and pack all the spares and tools (this in itself took a whole morning!).  But the bit I almost overlooked, that could have stopped the whole show was the MOT - which in the nick of time I realised was due to expire a couple of days before departure.  Thankfully I was able to get a short notice appointment and passed with no issues, phew!

posted by mikeyb 03rd October 2015 2:42pm gmt

The Rustiest Dolomite in the World!

A couple of months ago, I got to hear of a Dolomite that was being cleared out of a local farmyard and was destined for the scrapyard. Curiosity got the better of me so I went and for a look and found a very sorry looking Sprint. It had been parked up there for around 15 years, but during that time someone dropped a brick through the glass sunroof, the subsequent years of rain and snow getting in the hole, finished the poor old car off!  Nevertheless, it showed only 59000 miles on the clock and had a manual overdrive gearbox.

A deal was done and I picked up the car and much to Ivi's annoyance of Ivi, brought it home!

It was very far gone, and was never to be for restoration.

I decided it would be easier to break the car around the engine/transmission, rather than mess around with difficlut access to rusty bolts and cranes.

This did not prove to be difficult due to the extensive corrosion in the floorpans, bulkhead, chassis rails.

 Dismantling progress was sped up by my little helper!

It wasn't long before a pile of bits remained.

A princely £12 worth when weighed it at the metal yard!

posted by mikeyb 31st August 2015 1:37pm gmt

TR6 Snagging

Damn, I thought I'd posted this a month ago but just found it in my drafts box - so it's all going to be a bit retrospective - ah well here goes!

Well this was supposed to be a running report, however with a list of jobs to do before I drove to Le Mans, as long as my arm, I've been concentrating on spannering in my somewhat limited free time, rather than writing. I'm astonished to see that my last post however was in January!

So what have been up to? 

The TR6 running issues continued, with a reluctance to rev and a propensity to splutter and die when the fuel level dropped to a quarter tank. After extensive research, I bought a large tank outlet and coarse cleanable inlet filter from Malcolm at Prestige Injection. I fitted this and re-the original pump/filter configuration with the fine filter now after the pump.

These were not cheap but transformed the car, with an instantaneous increase in power and a new found ability to rev cleanly to the red line! At the same time, I pulled the tank out to replace the fuel sender unit, which had been playing up again. With the brand new sender and old one side by side, at last the root of all the fuel gauge troubles became obvious - the float had been clipped on back to front. That was £30 wasted on a new sender unit then!

The euphoria all came to a sticky end when I set about changing a suspect looking fuel pipe between metering unit and no.2 injector. Having removed the jubilee clips and rubber repair, I'm rather glad I did. I had expected a small nick or hole, rather than a whole section of missing high pressure pipe! 

Of course for no.2 fuel pipe, the metering unit has to come off. I decided it was easier to remove the whole distributor pedestal and MU together to facilitate this, having first checked the strobe timing (4 deg. ATDC, marked the distributor position relative to the pedestal and set the crank pulley up to TDC on no.1 cylinder. Upon reassembly, I removed the MU one way valve to view the shuttle orifice position, only to find it wrong (many publications show incorrect pictures for MU timing). So pedestal off, a quick tweak of the MU gear and everything looked as it should have been. However with the dizzy set back to its original position, the car would not start. Eventually she fired up with some fiddling but would not run/drive at the previous strobe setting (4 deg ATDC), but at a perceived optimal setting at around 18 deg BTDC.

The jury is still out on as to why but having made up a piston stop out of an old spark plug, I have confirmed that the marked TDC is correct. I then set the car by strobe to 11 deg BTDC, but this felt too retarded, so again I tweaked by ear, ending up at about 15deg BTDC with no apparant pinking. As the car subsequently ran really well, I decided to leave further investigation in lieu of more priority tasks!

Engine oil was changed and a spin on filter conversion fitted.

Air filter checked (OK), new points, condenser and a set of  triple electrode NGK BUR6ET plugs installed.

A new alternator was fitted, due to a random failure of the old (better now than in France!), along with an uprated alternator bracket to replace the rather bent and flimsy original.  The accelerator pedal and inlet manifold linkages have all been poly-bushed and the old rubber bushings were non-existent. The rear shocks have been topped up with oil and a pair of TT uprated springs fitted, curing the soggy back end. New front wheel bearings were fitted and a new fusebox installed in conjunction with rewiring the electric fan that had previously cooked the old fusebox. Finally the drivers seat was removed, revealing a torn diaphragm and some extra non standard support bars running fore and aft. It was these that has caused the pressure points and acute discomfort on both bum cheeks!  A new diaphragm and an extra layer of foam has transformed it.

Another essential pre-France task was to sort out the rear suspension, which was extremely soft and sat a bit low. With a boot full of luggage, this was sure to be a problem. I topped up the lever arm shocks with EP90 gear oil and swapped the tired old standard springs for a pair of Triumphtune uprated ones I had in stock. However although stiffer, they were also shorter so the car still sat too low. Therefore a quick fix was improvised using my trusty plywood ring method!

Last jobs to do were bleed the clutch hydraulics, puncture repair, replace the blowing exhaust manifold gasket then drive, drive, drive.  The rest can wait!

posted by mikeyb 14th July 2015 09:33am gmt

Quality Time in The Man Cave

I've been taking advantage of the Festive break to catch up on some garage jobs!

The GT6 has been un-driveable since its rear radius arm failure back in August 2014. Having bought some adjustable arms to get around the awkwardness of shim adjustment, much of this time delay was due to finding some Spitfire mounting brackets to suit.

With the car now sitting up on the ramp, before fitting the new arms, I've commenced the laborious task of stripping, de-rusting and repainting the nearside rear wheel arch. This turned out to be in slightly worse condition than the offside rear that I worked on this time last year, but thankfully it has remained sound. Again the accumulation of surface rust appears to be down to water getting under the old "stonechip" that covers the underside of the car.

Unfortunately during this process I found another bit less sound - the first real bit of rot in the car. Scraping off some very flaky paint from the boot floor vertical section, a hole has now appeared where it joins the rear valance. As no one appears to sell a repair panel for this section, I'll have to do some cutting and fabricating to make it good again.

In between scraping GT6 rust, in the other garage I've been tinkering with the TR6! I may have mentioned before that it was fitted with the loudest exhaust I have ever heard on one of these cars. It was a "twin wheelbarrow" type that someone had removed the wadding from both of the silencer boxes! Having driven over 1000 miles in the car since purchasing it, I concluded that I must be getting old as it was too loud even for me! The volume was further exacerbated by a crack in one of the centre pipes.

When someone on the Club Triumph forum posted that his own TR6 was too quiet and he wanted a louder system, a decision was made and a deal was done. The four sections of the old system came off easily and now have a new home, however the damaged centre pipes would not part from the downpipe so I ended up dropping the whole lot down from the manifold. With everything off, the problem was found to be where a welded bracket that had torn out of the top of the pipe. Luckily my neighbour had a MIG welder set up for stainless steel, so it was a 5 minute fix!

I had acquired parts of a standard exhaust system to refit, but took advantage of the easier access to scrape clean and re-paint the chassis sections that the exhaust runs near. The whole underside of the car, including the chassis, is covered in thick bitumen. I would like to remove it all over time and go back to paint.

Re-alignment of the standard system turned out to be a pain, I ended up having to make an additional bracket to make it hang straight. Of course, the test run proved this system to be massively quieter. A little bit too quiet was my first impression! I really wanted a single bore Phoenix System, but currently the budget will not allow, this will do for now. I do think the looks of the standard system suit the back of the car though.

Having already removed the air intake tube to get a the manifold fixing nuts, I took advantage of the access and fitted at set of poly-bushes I had previously purchase, to the throttle linkages. The old rubber ones were completely non existent, letting the throttle shaft rattle around - so hopefully I will notice the difference. The front and rear ones were easy to fit, with the brackets just unbolting but for the middle one, the bush has to be cut and fitted around the shaft as the bracket cannot be separated from the shaft. Having bought a pack of 5, I have two spare bushes to fit to the accelerator pedal, which also seems to be devoid of rubber!

Once refitted, when the car started, the idle speed was too high. Even with the adjustment screw fully wound in, I couldn't get it below 1500 rpm. A quick look at the throttle butterflies confirmed why - all six were fractionally open. Adjustment was straightforwards with the tube off, each pair being tweaked in turn to the fully shut position. Tick-over was then re-instated by winding open the idle screw again.

All was not well on the test drive though - a solid misfire that felt like I was running with a cylinder down. Suspecting blocked/faulty injector problems again, I popped each one out in turn into a jam jar with the engine running. Each was providing a nice spray. So over to the ignition side, I uncrossed and re-arranged the plug leads - problem cured, running on all 6 again, hurrah!

On the modern car front, the Audi TT is on an very expensive vacation, having a new gearbox fitted. With the onset of winter weather and no other modern car available for my commute, I took the reluctant decision to go car shopping again so that the poor old Stag could have a rest!  Hence, a Mitsubishi Shogun has now joined the fleet. Handy if the weather turns bad - in the words of that famous Disney song, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

posted by mikeyb 02nd January 2015 10:24am gmt

Belated TR6 Misfire Update

Well it's been a while and some of this is a bit historical now,  but I thought I had better post an update!

First of all, I had a look at the filter. Having taken all the trim and spare wheel etc. I was amazed to find a 1/4" tank outlet as I had been previously warned. It's easy to understand this to see this potentially causing issues!

I clamped the outlet pipe, which allowed me to remove the filter for inspection with minimal spillage. It turned out to be a Crossland 6702 (original application Fiat/Alfa/Lancia).  Emptying it into a jam jar revealed a fair amount of fine particulate and a not insignificant quantity of 1-2 square mm sized particles that looked like paint flakes. A quick blow though either way showed there to be free flow still though (doesn't petrol taste grim!).

Just the tank outlet and rubber hose to go then.  With an airline blow gun stuffed up the end, I slowly unclamped, applied air pressure and blew back into the tank. No obvious sign of particulate floating around in the tank as a result, but viewing through the filler hole was of course limited. 

Upon start up, we had a smooth, quiet pump again, delivering correct pressure. A test drive proved the car running normally again. Hurrah! With the car in daily work use though, i wasn't brave enough to run the tank too low! 

A couple of weeks later,I found myself with a bit more spare time on my hands and decided to try and sort out the non functioning fuel gauge. Just to recap it read just over max on a full tank, as the level went down it only ever changed to just under max. Having unbolted the tank and pulled it forwards, it didn't take me long to get the sender out. Well it was a bit of a surprise, I'd never seen one like it before.  It was branded "Frekans" with open contact tracks and wipers.

When operated manually out of the tank, the fuel gauge followed up and down as it should from full to empty.  The float was good and when tested in the water butt was free from stiction so all seemed fine. 

Looking into the tank through the sender aperture revealed another couple of surprises. Firstly the presence of an integral swirl pot (a later tank must have been fitted sometime in the past) and a filler neck sized white plastic ring/seal sitting in the bottom.  A bit of fishing pulled it out, and again I was surprised to find it soft, slimy and floppy. At this stage, no idea's of it's origin, but entirely conceivable that it was getting sucked into the outlet.

The next surprise came the following day when I looked at the ring that had sat on the bench overnight, to find that it had considerably shrunk and firmed up. The size now corresponded neatly to the sender float diameter!  So mystery solved I think. A non petrol/ethanol compatible component that had dropped off an aftermarket sender unit. 

A test run with only a couple of gallons in the tank proved the original fault cured, with improved power and no misfires even on corners - yahoo!  

The only annoyance subsequently found is that the fuel gauge rises ok when the tank is filled, but sticks when the fuel level drops. A bang every now and again on the back of the tank drops it but it refuses to drop on its own accord. I'm unsure if the float is dragging on the side of the tank or if it requires the additional (minimal?) weight of the plastic ring to help this happen? 

I've also found out that my setup of tank through Crossland filter, through Bosch pump then off to metering unit is incorrect. I would apparantly be better off with a small 30 micron pre-filter, then the pump, then the 12 micron Crossland. When I get on to doing this, I'll have another go at the gauge sender! 

posted by mikeyb 13th December 2014 7:48pm gmt

Another Milestone Reached

The Stag turned over the 150,000 mile mark a couple of days ago.  Not a bad innings for a 42 year old car. It made me reflect on the day when 3 months into my search for one, the vendor opened his garage door, revealing the car which I swear had my name stenciled on the bonnet!  That was over 25 years and 70,000 miles ago.  I've had a lot of fun with this car!

posted by mikeyb 22nd November 2014 9:43pm gmt

Tracking Down an Annoying Misfire

I've been using the TR6 as a daily commuter for the last few weeks, mostly with the top down, I'm pleased to say! The couple of times it rained, proved that the soft top is nice and watertight, albeit stiff to fold/unfold. A quick 5 minute whizz around the pivots with a oil can made a surprising difference and you now have to be careful not to let it drop and catch your fingers!

However an annoying problem has come to light - with a full tank of fuel, the car runs fine and revs hard and cleanly, however as the level drops, a misfire becomes noticeable at the upper end of the rev range. As the tank level drops further, a more pronounced misfire occurs on corners. Finally when you can still see a couple of gallons of fuel sloshing around in the tank, the car conks out as if it had run out of fuel.

I had some good tips on from the TR Register forum, including opening out the tank outlet, changing the fuel filter and moving the Bosch fuel pump out of the boot to a lower point on the car. As the fuel tank level sender is u/s, I'll need to tank the tank out sometime soon anyway so will look into all of this then.

In the meantime, I had a peek in the tank with a torch tonight with the thought of seeing if anything was blocking the outlet. Although I could not see the outlet, the bottom of the tank did look nice and clean, however there was something in there that I did not recognise. A bit of fishing with my extended claw brought this out! (Rattle can nozzle in photo just for scaling).

I suspect that these are so call "lead additive beads" otherwise known as Snake Oil!

I didn't have a chance to drive the car to see if the problem has been cured, however it's not inconceivable that they were restricting the flow through the outlet. We'll see!

posted by mikeyb 18th October 2014 9:35pm gmt

Forgive me for I have sinned - again!

A good ebay session, following a boozy Sunday night whilst the girls were away, resulted in this!

Possibly due to being somewhat badly listed (no mention of Triumph or TR6 anywhere in the title or description) and with the auction finishing after midnight, my rather speculative and somewhat low bid resulted in a trip to Southampton the following Sunday to see what I had "bought". Apart from the fact she ran like a dog, I was rather pleased with what I saw, completed the transaction and drove her home.

Described as "running a little rich and needing a tune up" turned out to be a slight understatement as even attempting the good old "Italian Service" on the M3 only resulted in 4 running cylinders intermittently increasing to 5. The deafening backfire and associated jet of flame out of the exhaust in the Dartford Tunnel was something to behold. I never made it home on a tankful either!

Two weeks on, I'm starting to get to know the car. The twin exhausts are excessively loud, albeit not helped by a bad blow from one of the sections under the driver's seat. She now runs on 6 having swapped out a couple of blocked injectors for spares and opening up the tappets a touch to improve the vacuum has resulted in smoother running and a slightly abated thirst. At least my hair doesn't stink of petrol after a drive now!

A couple of breakdowns highlighted a condenser requiring replacement, a dodgy wire in the distributor and a duff fuel gauge.

A good tinkering day last Friday revealed a seized fuel pump cut-out to be the reason for some bodged bypass wiring that I'd spotted under the bonnet. All rectified and back to standard now, although the fusebox is corroded and showing signs of past overheating so will have to be replaced sooner rather than later.

She does pull like a train though and is rather fun to drive. I look forwards to improving things further and getting in a few days of open top motoring before summer is gone!

posted by mikeyb 29th September 2014 9:47pm gmt

Temorarily Incapacitated!

On my way back from work a few days ago, a couple of miles away from home, there was a loud twang from the back of the car and the rear end went a bit wobbly. I had an immediate suspicion what had happened, found a safe place to stop in the rush hour traffic and sure enough, look what I found!

The passenger side rear radius arm had broken.  Those of you that have read my blog previously may remember that I worried about weaknesses in the arms when I polybushed them back last December, maybe I was right!

As I was so close to home, I hitched a ride back, filled the boot of the Stag with tools and spares, went back an fixed the car by the roadside (using a late long shaft arm with soggy bushes!)

Looks like the time has come to fit the adjustable radius arms I had bought some time back - just need to get hold of a pair of Spitfire (short shaft) radius arm mounting brackets - anybody got some???  :-)

posted by mikeyb 09th August 2014 08:17am gmt

Slowly Getting Ready For The Summer!

Well behind on blog updates again, mainly due this time to work related changes. Having done shift work in the nuclear industry for over 25 years, I bit the bullet earlier this year and put myself forward for a completely different role within our industry. I was successful and started the new role on 1st May, transitioning onto day work. On the downside, my regular time off during the week has now gone.  All is not bad though, as our Site operates on a 4 day week, so I'm now getting into the routine of a regular long weekend!

On the car front, the GT6 passed another MOT yesterday without issue. That and the Stag have been in regular use on my daily commute. Both are running well, although the Stag looks like it's developing a water pump weep and the GT6 driveshaft UJ's sound like they are beginning to knock again, so both cars will need a little attention in the not to distant future!

I've not yet managed to fit the adjustable radius arms to the GT6 as I've still not managed to locate a pair of Spitfire radius arm brackets.

The BMW also passed it's MOT recently, albeit with a comment that the rear discs looked like they were reaching the end of their useful life. I've already purchased the replacements so that's another job to add to the list.

The Spitfire remains on the ramps in the car shed, not quite managed to get the diff back in yet, the rear mounts will not quite slip into the chassis brackets. I think it will need to be dropped down again to allow me to get in with a lump of wood and hammer to open the brackets up again slightly. The replacement swing spring is all stripped, painted and ready for assembly. The new spring pads, bolts, spacer tubes etc. have all been purchased and sit it a box next to it awaiting spare time!

On the social side, the CT Essex Clubnight was well attended by good company as usual and myself and Colin Scrapman found ourselves making a guest appearance at a Chelmsford Motor Club committee meeting, where the forthcoming 12 car rally series was discussed, along with proposals for some new exciting events. I look forwards to the new season kicking off!

posted by mikeyb 31st May 2014 8:57pm gmt

HCR - 2, Stag - Nil

I'm fast coming to the conclusion that my Stag and the annual Club Triumph Historic Counties Rally are incompatible. Following last years little faux pas where its alternator failed just after the half way point and the spare that I always carry turned out to be in the boot of the Sprint some 350 miles away, I was looking forward to settling the score this year. I had spent some time over the previous week carefully checking the car over and making sure that everything was in order. However, it was not to be.

The usual Saturday morning ice skating lessons with my 2 year old daughter coupled with an earlier than usual HCR signing on window, meant that there was little last minute preparation time and definitely no power napping opportunities on the day of the event. Indeed, by the time I had paused to make a few extra sandwiches, we ended up being perilously late and only just made the signing on deadline!

After a bollocking from Ellis, one of the event organisers, we got stuck into the pre-rally driving tests, which culminated in a thrash around the cones. This was to prove our undoing.

As we exited the autotest venue, I gave the car a bit of welly and heard a sort of clonk and twang from the back. Looking in the mirror, nothing appeared to have fallen off, nor did the car feel any different so we continued to the supper stop, a couple of miles up the road. Having parked, it was then that I began to suspect that something actually may be wrong. When I pulled on the handbrake, it hardly moved and was very stiff. A quick skulk under the car still showed up nothing obvious, however when I got up and stood back to ponder the matter, the drivers side rear wheel seemed to be in a funny position in relation to the bodywork.

A more careful examination revealed this.

The complete end and mounting bush/bracket had torn out of the the driver's side rear subframe - not impressed!

After a bit of quick thought and discussion, I abandoned Darren my navigator and slowly limped the car back the 8 miles to home, got the GT6 out, checked fluid levels and tyre pressures, packed the boot, crossed my fingers and tore back to the supper stop via the petrol station, arriving just in time for a delicious home made curry!

So did the GT6 make it? You'll just have to wait and see!

posted by mikeyb 24th April 2014 11:19pm gmt

Since my last post. . . . .

Gosh I'm well behind with my blogging again!  A quick summary of my exploits since my last post follows.

Back in March (seems a long long time ago now!) was the CT Annual Presentation Dinner, held at the Hilton, Milton Keynes. Back went last year's trophies, none for me this time - or so I thought! 

No Ivi with me this year either - the logistics of her plus two young girls plus mother in law proving too difficult to overcome, so I took the Stag and went on my own! Saturday was hot and sunny so it was roof down and off to MK via Coventry to collect my GT6 diffs from Mike Papworth.

Having dropped 3 duff diffs up to him to work his magic on some time back, I was pleased to collect two fully rebuilt diffs - a 3.63 and 3.27.  The 3.27 was a bit of a surprise as I had thought I had given him two 3.89's and 3.63, but I wasn't complaining and it has gone on the shelf for "future reference".

The boot of the Stag was looking full!

After a cracking night as always, during which I received an unexpected trophy in the form of my old Herald crankshaft, the morning after soon came around and after a suitable sobering up interval, followed by a hearty breakfast, it was off to the car park to fill up the car a little bit more!  This time with a big saloon gearbox that had come down via the CT Pony Express all the way from Leeds. Massive thanks to Andy Heeley and Paul Derbyshire for helping me out with this one.

I had left the back seat at home in readiness, the gearbox was soon safely ensconced!

The poor old Stag was destined to earn it's keep that weekend with the next stop being Costco MK, then home via Bishop's Stortford to collect my roofbox that I'd previously loaned to another Club Member. With no roof to put it on, I had to improvise!

Back at home, I persevered with swapping around suspension shims on the GT6, the latest trip to the Tyre Bay for alignment checking bringing me to the glum conclusion that I needed half thickness shims both sides to get it exactly right at the rear.

At this point, having made more than a few trips to said Tyre Bay over the last couple of months, I decided that messing around needed to end and it was time to purchase a set of adjustable length rear radius arms. I was lucky in that I was not charged for every wheel alignment visit, but if I had paid full price each time, 2 visits would have almost equalled the purchase cost of the new radius arms!

After looking at the options, I decided to purchase a pair from Jon Wolfe, who is well known in racing circles and for his deveopment of upgraded Triumph parts. Sadly they are still not fitted as when I compared old with new, this is what I found - on shortest adjustment they were still 14mm longer than the originals.

Jon was a great help and after much head scratching between us, we worked out that the bigger bush in the original GT6 radius arm necessitated a unique mounting bracket and that the lengths would be equalled out by fitting the new arms with Spitfire brackets. The only trouble is that I do not currently have any!

The new diff did go in though - with it's 3.63:1 crown wheel and pinion, mounted on a Dolomite 1850/Marina "DAM" carrier, it should hopefully last and remain resiliant to the engine performance upgrades I have got planned for the future.

posted by mikeyb 17th April 2014 10:06pm gmt

GT6 Differential Progress

Although work had remained incredibly busy since my last post, I have been snatching a few hours here and there to maintain progress on the GT6.

An early weekday trip to the Tyre Bay for another alignment check following the last re-shim of the rear radius arms showed that I had undone a lot of the previous good work!  The car did feel less stable than before I had slipped the extra shims in so I wasn't too surprised. What did surprise me though was that messing around at the rear knocked out the adjustment at the front again.

Although there were a few conflicting opinions on how many degrees/minutes of adjustment relate to mm of shim thickness, the conclusion was obvious that there was too much toe out on the n/s rear and too much toe in on the o/s rear and too much positive camber. The advice given was to to sort out the rear camber first, then the toe, before moving on to the front.

The GT6 was currently fitted with a replacement original fixed type spring. As with all small chassis Triumphs, the only way to adjust rear camber without modifying vertical links is to fit a lowering block to the rear spring. I saw no point in working with the inferior design of the original fixed spring so a swing spring conversion seemed the way to go.

Some years previously, I had carried out a similar conversion on my Mk3 Spitfire, using a new "heavy duty" late Spitfire spring. Unfortunately even now, the rear end sat too high with this spring, causing the wheels to sit with positive camber. It made sense to try this spring on the GT6, with the theory of it being more suited to the heavier body tub.  A used Spitfire swing spring was aquired from Colin aka Scrapman to replace the one to be robbed from the Spit. 

The Spit was stored in the car shed down the farm, so with a quick re-shuffle, I was able to utilise the car lift, especially handy as it was likely to remain dismantled for a while. It took a bit of time to get the car/arms positioned satisfactorily, without using jacking points on the sills, it's quite tricky to raise a Spitfire on a 2-poster!  With the car up in the air, rear spring removal was a doddle! While the Spit remains on the lift, I'll take the opportunity to sort out the seized rear radius arm bushes and leaky diff output shaft when time allows.

At around this time, I spotted a 3.63 diff on Ebay, within an hour's drive from home. I won it fairly cheaply, speaking to the seller upon collection revealed it to have been the subject of a recent DIY rebuild. He was breaking an unfinished project so having had a root around his bits, I also came away with a rebuilt Spitfire 1500 swing spring for beer money.

With a diff now available to play with, it made sense to fit it and convert to swing spring at the same time. So back at home, the GT6 was jacked up in the garage and rear spring/diff removed. This was a much more awkward job on the garage floor! With a choice of rear springs now side by side on the floor, although the recently aquired rebuilt spring turned out to be a thick leaf version (long shaft Spit/GT6), the heavy duty thin leaf version (short shaft Spit) removed from my Mk3, sat higher. Therefore I elected to refit this one the the GT6 along with a 1/2" lowering block.

Inspection of the halfshaft UJ's showed rotating cups on both sides. This explained the rotational  knocking noise heard at the back end that I had assumed to be coming from the old diff. A quick rummage in the circlips box failed to turn out some suitably thicker circlips, so I made up some packing from brass shim, job done! I managed to do the drivers side in situ, however the old circlip jammed in the passenger side so I ended up having to disconnect the rear brake pipe to remove the hub/driveshaft completely to sort it out.

Imagine my surprise when undoing the brake pipe, then end snapped off! Close inspection showed it to be an aftermarket copper pipe that had been terribly flared. At the other end of the pipe, the flare was also poorly formed and misshapen to the point that it must have really restricted the fluid flow to the rear brake cylinders. The end that had broken had been the subject of a double flare, so poorly formed, it had ended up way to thin and enlarged, causing it to jam inside the fitting and tear off as I undid it.

 The other end was not much better!

Inspection of the drivers side copper pipe revealed a reasonable flare but still with a very restricted bore. This was easily sorted with a needle file, I suspect these restrictions are part of the reason why I have struggled to get rid of excess brake pedal travel.

Last job prior to commencing reassembly was to swap a packing shim from n/s to o/s radius arm brackets. The return trip to the tyre bay showed up some interesting results.

First of all, it showed a pretty even change in results from one side to the other.  This implied that the spring and diff swap has made little difference to the alignment.

I also concluded that on my car, one spacer shim had the effect of changing the tracking angle by 22-25 minutes. Annoyingly this also seemed to prove that in order to get the rear alignment spot on, I needed to find some thinner shims. More work needed there then!

Also, the massive effect on the front tracking that adjusting the back has could be clearly seen. 

Finally, the rear camber was at last negative (although only just) so it looked like it was the right decision to fit the lowering block.

All in all, a pleasing result. With a tweak to bring the front into line, the car now drives rather well. The steering is much lighter, the crashiness and twitchyness over bumps has all but disappeared and the new diff ratios seem to be almost perfectly matched to the torque profile of the engine. Not finished yet, but very happy!

posted by mikeyb 11th March 2014 8:45pm gmt

More Differential Disappointment

With both spare diff units sitting on the bench, that I had originally taken from a pair of late Dolomite 1500HL's, it became obvious that all was not well. Both casings were stamped with DG numbers - Dolly 1300. A quick tooth count of 40:11 confirmed that they were both 4:11. If I had realised this 15+ years ago when I stashed them, they would have probably ended up in the skip!

I was slightly surprised to find a third diff in the box. This turned out to be a Dolomite 1850 unit with the correct WF number. I have no idea or recollection where this one came from as I'm sure that I have never dismantled an 1850! A quick search online came up promising - 1850 manual cars have a 3:63 ratio.  The tooth count of 37:9 confirmed this and to my untrained eye, the crownwheel and pinon looked to be ok.

An email to Mike Papworth revealed that some but not all 1850 CW&P's will fit a GT6 casing. Neither of the casting numbers he told me to look for were present, just "DAM 2728". Another email from Mike identified this to be a Marina part number, but with the good news in that it should fit! So the plan is to take a pile of diffs to Mike and get him to sort something out.

Having eventually found some spare rear radius arm shims, I spent an hour in the garage this afternoon and fitted an extra one to each side. When I get some spare time mid week, I'll pop down to the local tyre bay and get another 4 wheel alignment print-out done. Then we'll see if the estimation is correct and if any more shims are required.

Now just a quick clear out and check over required then the car will hopefully be ready for the CT East Anglian Winter Rally on Sunday. Hope that the weather is nice!

posted by mikeyb 17th January 2014 7:01pm gmt

Differential Disappointment

I caught a few more hours in the garage today, and having had a tidy up decided to move forward with sorting out the GT6 diff. Following a quick trip to the Car Shed, my two spare diffs were retrieved. The plan was to fit the better one temporarily to the GT before the noisy one in there gives up the ghost terminally.

The first diff, a rather rusty one with quite a bit of backlash in it, was labelled up Mk2 Vitesse and had a KC number stamped on it. The second one had a KD number with very little play and showed evidence of a repaint in the past. Annoyingly there was the remains of an old luggage label that would have no doubt reminded me of its origin had it not disintegrated! I decided that I would fit this to the car and see what it was like.

As it was getting cold and dark by this point, I decided to leave the diff swap for another day, and just out of curiosity removed the half-shafts and split the rusty diff open to see what was inside. Much to my surprise, out fell two bits of bronze washer.

Annoyingly, there would appear to be a third bit still missing somewhere in the depths of the diff. I reckon it came from the planet gears as there was a lot of play where the arrow points below.

On the basis of what I found in the first diff, I thought then that I had better have a look in the second one. Just as well I did - look what i found in the bottom of this one!

A large lump of tooth from the pinion gear. Not impressed! A quick count of the teeth (35:9) confirmed its ratio as 3.89:1 as expected.

So with no good spare diff to fit, removal of the one in the car has been postponed. Tomorrow I will dig out my two spare Dolomite 1500 diffs and hope that at least one has a good 3.63:1 crownwheel and pinion to enable a rebuild.

posted by mikeyb 04th January 2014 6:27pm gmt

A Better Drive, a Successful Trip and Happy New Year to You All!

Well as predicted the nearside rear wheelarch had similar flaky stonechip and surface rust - but again thankfully no holes. But with no time left, I had a quick scrape of the loose stuff and applied copious quantities of protective wax. It didn't take long to clean and paint the radius arm/bracket. 20 mins the oven at 150 degrees (whilst Ivi wasn't looking - good job she doesn't read this!) soon had the paint baked and ready to fit the polybushes. Interestingly, unlike the drivers side, the rubber bushes were both in quite good condition, and the arm had what looked to be reasonably fresh paint on it - a more recent recon maybe? I slipped an extra adjustment shim under the bracket prior to reassembly as the way the car drove (and wore tyres!) made me think it was toe-ing in too much on that side.

A trip to the local tyre bay for a 4 wheel alignment check showed up some interesting results. Every single measurment was out of spec!  According to the Technician, approx 10 "minutes" of measurement equates to around 1mm. Taking into account the extra shim I fitted to the n/s rear radius arm bracket, the whole alignment on the car was pretty even side to side, although very wrong!

At the front, there was massive toe-in - around 6mm if the info above is correct - and at the rear maybe a couple of mm too much. The excess negative camber I knew about - down to the lowered springs, and of course the rear camber is not adjustable. With time to depart on my trip westwards drawing near, I opted for a quick adjustment on the front tracking for now, I'll mess around with the shims at my leisure and take it back to be checked in the New Year! With just the front tracking sorted out, the car felt transformed, steering nicely around the bends and with bump skipping greatly reduced. Very happy!

The other issue that needed sorting out before our trip was to change a very skinned tyre (courtesy of the poor alignment), and a bent wheel that wobbled violently above 60mph. The quickest solution was to borrow the rear wheels off the Spitfire! The result was that the car was a lot more pleasurable to drive on both the motorways and smaller roads, the biggest thing still restricting decent cruising being the banshee like wail from the diff. Will have to sort this out sooner rather than later I think!

As the title implies, the trip to the West was a success. Dad was brave enough (or maybe foolhardy!) to come along for the ride. Due to appalling rain and spray, it took us over 3.5 hours to get to Fordingbridge, our 1st destination. The weather cleared up for the last part of the drive, along the A303 & A343, so we had some fun. After tea and homemade cakes with my Aunt and Uncle, we drove through the New Forest to Lymington to collect some Triumph bits from a nice lady who was clearing out her late brother's belongings, then headed east again to Chandlers Ford to stay overnight with my sister and her family.

The next day after some family time, we set off through the lanes to Lower Woodford, the venue for the New Year's Eve Lunch. Again the weather was poor but we had a cracking drive, the highlight being the A30 from Stockbridge back to Salisbury. what an awesome road, with barely a car upon it! We arrived at the pub in good time, parking up with a few other Triumphs already in the car park.

I particuarly liked this beautiful 1300fwd.

A nice lunch and chat with all the other Triumph enthusiasts and their families then ensued, before we hit the road again and headed back to soggy Essex, completing a journey of over 300 miles.  Apart from the diff wail, the car performed faultlessly, and was a lot of fun on the A and B roads.

I would like to use the GT on this year's Historic Counties Rally, so need to stay focused on improving it to the point where I can rely on it to cover distance reliably and comfortably, therefore I think a diff change will need to take place sooner rather than later!

Best get out into the garage then.  Happy New Year to you all !

posted by mikeyb 01st January 2014 9:49pm gmt

GT6 wheelarch de-rusting

Well the first side is almost done - just got to check the paint is properly dry this morning, apply some protective wax then put the wheel on.  Then it's turn the car around and do the other side!

To de-rust the GT6 rear wheelarch, once everything was back to bare metal, I first used an assortment of abrasive devices to remove as much of the surface rust as possible.

 Then I applied copius quantites of Bilt Hamber Deox Gel. I have used it before but not with complete success. So this time followed the instructions to the letter - initially degreasing with white spirit, then washing with soapy water. once dry the gel was applied, cling filmed over  and left overnight to fester. The idea is that it eats away the oxide leaving a finish similar to sandblasted metal. Once festered, an important part of the process is to agitate and scrub off all the gel with water. 

It went against the grain to apply water to freshly de-rusted metal but to my surprise, it worked pretty well. Ideally you would keep applying, waiting then cleaning until all the metal is shiny, however with time being short, I opted next to treat the whole arch with phospheric acid to stabilise the remaining oxide.

Once the Jenolite treatment had dried, I painted on two coats of Rustoleum. When this had dried, i applied a hefty dose of brush on seam sealer where required.

Finally I applied a light coat of stonechip which was brush overpainted in acrylic Triumph White. Apart from the stonechip not going on very well (leaving more of a crackle finish than orange peel), the finished arch looks pretty good. It will be interesteing to see how good it lasts!

The last task was to re-fit the newly rebushed radius arm, prior to tackling the other side! As I'm planning on using the car on New Year's Eve, it will most likely just get a quick rebush of the other radius arm with no time for scraping and painting, but we'll see how good or bad things are!

posted by mikeyb 27th December 2013 09:43am gmt

GT6 Rear Radius Arms... and more

One of the must do jobs on the GT6 list has been to sort out the suspension alignment. The hold up with this was the re-bushing of the rear radius arms, which unlike the front which had been polybushed, remained soggy and standard!

Over the last week or so I started on the driver's side. Thankfully the bolts were not seized in the old bush tubes, so it didn't take long to get the arm off. Then with the help of a couple and sockets and a vice,the small bush popped out, closely followed by most of the larger one. Unlike the smaller bushes, this one had a metal ring around its circumference that sat inside the radius arm eye. Of course this remained firmly stuck in situ.

To get it out, I first made a cut in it with a hacksaw, taking care not to cut into the radius eye itself. Then it was out with the trusty blowlamp, then finally some slightly less than delicate hammer and chisel work saw the metal ring come out.

At this point I started to have some reservations on the best way forwards. without bush and metal ring, the radius arm eye looked thin and flimsy. My replacement polybushes did not have such a ring.

I contemplated various options which included:

1) Fit polybush I already had and hope for the best
2) Source replacement polybush formed in ring as per original (if such existed)
3) Source and fit original rubber type metalastik bush (maybe in uprated rubber)
4) Fit Spitfire trailing arm instead with smaller bush and eye both ends

Following a bit of debate on the Club Triumph Forum, I concluded that the GT6s had a larger bush for comfort and noise transmission reasons rather than improved performance as I had previously assumed. As others had successfully tried and tested the large polybush route before, I decided to stick with the original plan, no.1.

So today I cleaned and de-rusted the arm, buzzed a couple of re-inforcing welds where the eyes attached to the arms and painted it with Rustoleum. Whilst the paint was drying and the arm was out of the way, I decided to clean and inspect the wheelarch. I had noticed previously that some of the paint and stonechip had cracked and started to flake, so got the scraper out. It was then that a quck job turned into a big job!

As could be expected, there was plenty of surface rust under said stonechip, where water had got in and became trapped over time.  I had planned to just repaint the loose spots but having seen the corrosion underneath glumly decided to strip it all off to make sure that there were no horrors lurking underneath. What a bugger of a job, stonechip is not easy to remove!  After a good 4 dirty hours of scraping and cleaning with a variety of hand and mechanical devices, it was pretty much back to bare. I was relieved to find good metal and surface rust only - no nasties or holes! I was surprised though to note that there was evidence of past restoration as the outer half of the inner wheelarch looked to have been replaced.

So the next job will be to attack, minimise and treat the rust patches before re-sealing and repainting.

posted by mikeyb 14th December 2013 11:08pm gmt

Oh How Time Flies!

Well time has raced by since my last post - and I still haven't written anything about the 10CR back in September yet - but that will have to be another time!

Following on from previous, the Herald sailed through it's MOT (my welding bodgery on the outrigger actually looked ok after a coat of paint!). I was also amazed to realise that changing the previously failed starter solonoid had cured a long standing fault that had plagued the car throughout my ownership. Basically the starter motor displayed symptoms of low voltage and turned slowly, even on a fully charged battery. I had never been able to pin down the reason, and had just assumed that it had something to do with the extra cabling involved with relocating the battery behind the drivers seat. It must have been dropping voltage across the solonoid all along!

On the Friday evening, we had a cracking drive in the Sprint on the Chelmsford Motor Club Halloween 12 car, with a result of 4th overall (2nd CT) with 0 fails 25 mins. We might well have been a little quicker if a small navigational faux pas hadn't of had us driving (spluttering) through the same deep ford 3 times!

It was late to bed then up early on Saturday to jump in the Herald for the Club Triumph Historic Autosolo. It was a damp morning and we had a slog for around 1hr 20mins to get to the venue at Bovingdon, Herts. However, for once I was pleased with the poor weather as the Herald really does perform better in slippery conditions. This was soon confirmed by my morning times being up close to much faster and more competitive machinery. Sad to say however that it dried up after lunch and as a result, the gaps opened up!  In the end though I was delighted to be awarded 3rd in class behind autosolo pro's Nigel Abdullah and Matt Helm. It was a good day and I had a great time trying, as did Darren who took a rare turn in the driver's seat, and I'm sure everyone enjoyed watching the crazy Herald sideways action!

Click HERE for video of Darren in action.

The Delado Rallysprint planned for Sunday was sadly cancelled due to the venue being waterlogged following the poor weather. After an exhausting Saturday, I must confess to enjoying the lie-in!

November saw the MOT expire on the Sprint. With a weepy axle hub seal, I decided to use that as the excuse to change the noisy diff for a spare unit before MOT'ing the car. Unfortunately so far, all I have managed to do is paint the replacement axle!

Next on the calender was the Dutch Night Rally or Nachtrit. This was to be Darren's first one, with the Sprint being MOT-less, for this one the Stag was to be the weapon of choice. It was also to be a brief trip due to work committments; we took the Eurotunnel on Saturday morning, then drove approx 3.5h to the start at Slenaken. As usual there were plenty of other nice classics there, along with Dutch friends Roger and Theo. It was great to see Roger's GT6 in the car park, following its  long period off the road.Some pics can be found HERE on the CT forum on post 42.

Having had reasonable weather for the drive over, typically it started to rain just as we started the Rally!  Following tulips in the rally roadbook, we had a cracking drive through the Dutch and Belgian countryside, driving around 100km to the half way stop. After a delicious bowl of sphagetti, we set off on the second leg, where the roads seemed to flow even better. Unfortunately so did the fuel, as after an hour the car was running on vapours. Open filling stations overnight in the Belgian countryside are like rocking horse poo! Luckily the satnav came to the rescue and after a small detour we were good to go again. Back at the finish, we enjoyed a few cold beers with the other entrants before heading to the Guesthouse for a long awaited sleep.

On Sunday morning we awoke refreshed and having packed up the car followed Roger to our breakfast stop. This turned out to be a little pub in a nearby village square that served up the most delicious ham and eggs Dutch style. Then with a large Dutch Vlaai in the boot (thanks Roger!) we said our goodbyes and followed the GT6 along the now sunny lanes to the motorway and headed back home!

Towards the end of the month, the next CMC 12 car beckoned - The Mick Bliss Memorial. With no Sprint and the Stag being less than ideal for hooning along country lanes, it was the turn of the GT6 to come out to play. Before using this it in anger, I wanted to change the driver's side front lower wishbone, as it was showing signs of opening up around one of the bushes. Imagine my astonishment to find that the car would not start, like the Herald previously this was due to a failed starter solonoid! Luckily I had bought a spare when replacing the one on the Herald so a bit of faffing around later we were up and running again. With a spare wishbone already sandblasted and powder coated, the swap over didn't take long, with the poly bushes thankfully coming easily out of the old and able to be re-used.

The evening of the event was mild and dry and we had another cracking drive along some great roads in north Essex and south Suffolk. A missed codeboard early on brought us 1 fail, then a couple of tricky bits of navigation had us coming in OTL at the penultimate time control, costing us another 3 fails, so no podium results for us this time!

posted by mikeyb 05th December 2013 4:44pm gmt

A Busy Weekend of Motorsport Ahead

Plenty going on this coming weekend, starting with the Chelmsford Motor Club Halloween 12 Car on Friday night, The Club Triumph Bovingdon autosolo on Saturday and weather permitting a Delado Rallysprint round on Sunday!

As usual the Dolly Sprint will be the car of choice for the 12 car and the Herald for the Saturday and Sunday events. Unfortunately the plans for the Herald hit a snag when I dug out the paperwork, only to find that the MOT had expired several months ago!

It wasn't quite as simple as just booking it in either. When I dragged it out of storage to replace a faulty starter solonoid a few weeks ago, I was somewhat surprised to find the windscreen had a large bullet-hole and several serious cracks in it. There were certainly no cracks the last time the car had been put away around a month previous. As I changed the solonoid, I pondered all sorts of wild theories which included kids poking an airgun through the knotholes in the garage door!  However.....

...... when I got back in the car to reverse into the garage, the penny dropped! A while back I recall a lorry throwing up a stone, hearing an impact but seeing no damage. Well what a bizarre coincidence - I had a chamois pad sitting on top of the dash which had neatly concealed the point of impact. I guess the hot days and cooler nights then subsequently promulgated the cracking as the car sat dormant in the garage.

So last week after considering various options, I paid the £75 insurance excess and had a new laminated screen fitted.  While he was here the bloke was also kind enough to fit the new rear screen rubber I had bought around a year ago, so good result. I took the opportunity to clean up a few bits and pieces that I had removed to make fitting the screen easier. I has always assumed the sunvisors were grey, well after a bit of work with the soap and a scrubbing brush, I found they were actually white - oops!

Checking around the rest of the car showed up a few more faults that would not pass the scrutiny of the MOT inpsector - last years bodged repair on the drivers side rear outrigger required bodging again, the nearside track rod end was shot and there was play in the rack n/s inner swivel.

Luckily the outrigger bodging was sucessful (I hope), but it will need replacing for sure, along with the side rail before next year's inspection. Then I will be able to get the car's 4 wheels aligned at long last. Now where did I put those spare chassis sections that I'd bought a few years ago?  :-)

Today I stripped out the o/s rack end, reshimmed it and fitted a new track rod end. It should have been a quick job but I managed to lose one of the original shims somewhere on my messy workbench so had to make up extra. Then upon reassembly it became apparent that the tab lock washer that prevents the inner swivel from coming apart would not be re-useable so a new one of those had to be made as well!

MOT booked for tomorrow afternoon - fingers crossed!

posted by mikeyb 14th October 2013 10:17pm gmt

10CR - Final Prep and Ready for the Off

The last couple of weeks on the run up to the 10CR turned into a bit of a blur. With extra days at work, a weekend away at Shambala Festival and a long list of work to do on the car, there was no time to write blog updates.  The jobs list looked something like this!

We collected the diff from Mike Papworth on the way back from Shambala, a good result as the gears were in good order and just needed resetting. As usual, fitment of this took a fair bit longer than removal, but with the aid of just a trolley jack I was able to wriggle it back under the car and bolt it up without too much drama. Re-aligning the exhaust pipes took a while. Annoyingly when bolting up the nearside subframe bracing strap, I noticed some corrosion around it's mounting point on the rear n/s floorpan, so the welder had to come out!

Once re-instated, it was obvious that the drivetrain clunking had been greatly reduced, however I was disappointed to note however that the very expensive modified driveshafts that I had purchased from EJ Ward only 4 years ago now both had a little play across their sliding sections.

So on to the roof. This turned out to be a bit of a saga. It went off to the blasters and came back very sound, with only a couple of minor cracks to weld up and a small repair to be done on one corner.

Cutting out and replacing the affected metal was pretty straightforward, then the plan was to send it back for a final blast before painting.
This is where it all went wrong. After a couple of days, a phone call came from the blasters telling me their machine had broken as was awaiting parts. By the end of the week, with only a few days to go before the 10CR, I gave up waiting and collected the rail. I then cleaned it with phospheric acid and etch primed it, before a couple of final top coats of satin black. The inside was treated with Bilt Hamber Dynax S50 Cavity Wax.

 The following day I swapped over all the clovering, trims and rubbers from the old one and fitted it back to the car, finally glueing the hood back in place. Much to my dismay, the rail was still very difficult to clamp down to the screen top, so will have to be looked at further, post 10CR.

With the intended route taking us down to the south of France then across to Monaco, I had a minor concern about the ambient temperatures that we might encounter. This was compounded by my suspicions of a very slight leak from my water pump that showed as a little dampness in the engine Vee when parked up overnight. The cooling system on a Stag was marginal by design, although mine had been improved by the fitment of a thicker core radiator a few years ago, I decided a header tank would add to the security of the cooling system.

Having spent a couple of days trying to make a VW Golf tank fit, I concluded that the combination of mounting difficulties and low exit pipe made that not a option. A quick browse on line turned up some nice conversions using a Cosworth Header Tank, however none turned up on Ebay at the right time. It was then that I had some good fortune and a result!

Another local Stag owner had recently purchased a bespoke kit for his Stag, made by SOC member Chris Spain. He happened to pass by and stopped for a chat, bemoaning the fact that he had been quoted almost £100 just to have his kit fitted. A deal was done, with me offering to fit the kit to his car for free, in return borrowing it for my car for the 10CR trip! It was a very well thought out conversion, with fitting taking only around half an hour, so that was another job off the list.

Another job that really needed tackling was a nasty engine oil leak. This was rather odd as it only seemed to manifest itself when the car was parked up. A good clean up underneath, followed by some time spent reclining under a running engine with a torch showed the leak to be from the oil pump, which on a Stag bolts to the outside of the block. It seemed to be coming from the relief valve seal plug.

Removal of the oil pump at this late stage was not an option as it would have meant disturbing the exhaust manifold on that side, not a small job. I therefore tried to remove the seal plug on situ. this was easier than expected and a new o-ring cured the fault.

With the  big jobs done, it was then time to prioritise the rest of this list into "Essential, Desirable and Nicety" categories.  The LHD halogen headlamps were fitted, along with new rear brake shoes. A cigarette lighter power source was cabled into the boot, along with a LED orange warning light system (no hazards on my Stag). The newly recon alternator was fitted and a near broken cable on one of the coil LV connections was remade.

The final task on the morning prior to departure for Calais, was to have all 4 wheels balanced and a Hunter four wheel alighnment check carried out. This resulted in 3 spacer shims being removed from the o/s/r trailing arm and the difference it made to how the car drove was instantly noticeable.

Just the tools and spares to pack now!

posted by mikeyb 15th September 2013 08:54am gmt

CMC Priestley Rally

This was the first of the CMC Winter 12 car series for this year. Initially on the reserve list, we were lucky to get a late entry due to another crew dropping out. Following a challenging drive in near  torrential rain and flooding, we were delighted to finish 1st in class and 2nd overall. With other CT Crews both competing and marshalling, that also made us 1st CT - great result! The only downers to the night were having to push start the car before going home, and finding one of the tyres flat the next morning!

posted by mikeyb 14th September 2013 08:36am gmt

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