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Theo Boonen

Beans' Triumph TR7 Blog

Beans' Triumph TR7 Blog
Latest Entries-

FHC resto nr. 51; Parts coating

The start of the driving season ...

Not the start of the driving season ...

Fame ...

FHC resto nr. 50; Parts sorting

FHC resto nr. 49; Heater rebuilt part 1

FHC resto nr. 48; Work slowly resumes

Calendar Girl 2017

Seasonal greetings ...

FHC resto; why I haven't done much this year

28th LTV Nachtrit

40 years of age last week ...

Back to work ...

It's official!

Another MOT

Gearbox oil change DHC

She would have been 35 years today

MOT time

FHC resto nr. 47; A messy job


A journey in the dark ...

First outing of the year

Adding lightness & light part 3

Adding lightness & light part 2

Adding lightness & light part 1

FHC resto nr. 51; Parts coating

A few weeks ago the repairs to the air-box-lid were finished, so all parts that should be powder- or E-coated were ready. And I am glad that I managed to drop of this batch of parts for paint removal, shot blasting and coating yesterday. It was slightly later than planned, but that's the price you pay when you have to much spare parts to search through. And the fact that these parts are spread over three locations and two countries doesn't help here either. But in the end I got everything sorted. A small selection ...

And to prevent any mistakes as to what part should get which coating or colour I decided to make an inventory of all the parts (Those of you who have been following this blog will notice that there are also a few parts there that will be used on my other TR7's)...

Added advantage is that both the coating company and I have a checklist to work from. And thus it should make life a lot easier. And if all goes to plan all parts should be ready within a week or two. When they return I can start on some proper restoration jobs, like assembling the heater, and cleaning and coating the inside of the fuel tank.

As you can see it looks pretty solid from the outside, and it was actually rather mint on the inside too when I pulled it from the car. But some 3 years in storage has resulted in a fair amount of surface rust on the inside. So once it returns I'll have to visit a local supplier to get me some Tank Cure to attack the inside!

posted by Beans 23rd March 2017 10:14pm gmt

The start of the driving season ...

After a bit of a false start for 't Kreng I actually managed to get her back on the road last week. Wanted to take her out for a short test run in preparation for the Nacht van het Oosten, which actually turned out a bit longer than planned. Not because something went wrong but because it was good fun. But when I got home and went over the engine bay after everything had cooled down a bit, I found these traces of coolant around the waterpump cover ...

Bugger! Clearly the leak is coming from the infamous connecting tube (UKC2538) between the water pump cover and the thermostat housing. As there was no visible loss of coolant in the header tank I decided to ignore it for the time being and hope for the best. This was mainly given in by the fact that I didn't have time to repair the leak or swap cars and go over the DHC in preparation for the Nacht van het Oosten in the time remaining for the event.

So while travelling up North towards the start I kept an anxious eye on the temperature gauge, but the needle remained rock steady between the 1/4 and 1/2 mark. And a last check before the start showed a complete dry area around the waterpump cover. Time for a (one sided :-) look at some of the other cars.



The rally itself again was very good fun. 180 Kilometres of rather challenging narrow winding country lanes around the Salland area in Overijsel, with a wide variety of surfaces, ranging from smooth tarmac to forest tracks. Which from far above looks like this ...

And I needn't have worried about the car, she behaved absolutely fabulous. It was almost as if she tried to persuade me to use her more often. Even the leak seemed to have disappeared completely. But on arrival home next day there were again some traces of coolant around the waterpump cover. See how it develops, but I have a feeling that the manifold will have to come of sooner rather than later!

posted by Beans 16th March 2017 10:26pm gmt

Not the start of the driving season ...

With February behind us, the mandatory three month hibernation for my TR7's is over for another year. And because I am enjoying a short holiday the plan was to give 't Kreng a short check up in the morning, and take her for a ride in the afternoon. All under the pretence of preparing for the first event of the  year "De Nacht van het Oosten" just over a week away.
As the car had behaved rather well last time I drove her I didn't expect much wrong. My main worry were the front bearings but they turned out to be OK. So I changed my attention to the fluid levels; coolant and brakes were up to their normal level. Not so for the clutch fluid. After removing the cap I was greeted by a rather empty reservoir ...

A quick inspection under the bonnet and in the interior with a small torch, showed that the master cylinder had no visible signs of any leaks. Safe to assume the leak was elsewhere. And there is not much else on the car were clutch fluid can leak, the slave cylinder. As this cylinder (as usual) was covered in all sorts of oily muck it was impossible to say whether it was leaking or not. So only one way to find out. And that is by removing it. With the two mounting bolts removed I carefully took the slave cylinder of (as in not to dislodge the push rod). Once free of the push rod the damage immediately became clear as a fair amount of fluid spilled out through the opening of the dirt cover ...

Initial plan was to use some new seals to rebuild the slave cylinder, but whilst searching for the correct seals I found two reconditioned slave cylinders in the same box. So I opted for replacing instead! Sadly it wasn't as straight forward as that. With everything cleaned and the new slave cylinder firmly in place I found out that the connecting hole for the flexible hose was deeper in comparison to the old cylinder. As a result of which I couldn't fully tighten the connector. At that time I remembered that the guy who made the flex hoses for me many years ago also supplied some copper seals, just in case. Glad that I remembered where I stored them.
Sadly there was nobody around to help with bleeding the clutch so with everything connected up it was time to store the tools and pull the cover back over the car. And time for a closer look at the leaking slave cylinder. Glad I made the decision I did, as there are some score marks on the piston the inside of the old cylinder has some patches of rust and scoring of the bore ...

Hopefully back on the road soon!

posted by Beans 02nd March 2017 7:53pm gmt

Fame ...

I had planned to use a trip last Saturday to help Roger moving his Mk1 Saloon as an excuse to commemorate the fact that it was exactly 10 years ago that I started my blog. And as he was part to blame for that I already had a title "It's all Roger's fault". Together with a picture or two of the job we carried out that day. Sadly I forgot to take the necessary pictures, as a result of which I dropped the idea.
But when I got home from work this afternoon I found the March issue of Practical Performance car on the doormat. And Guess what's on the cover and stars as this month's "Built not Bought" ...

posted by Beans 21st February 2017 6:51pm gmt

FHC resto nr. 50; Parts sorting

Over the past month or so I have resumed work on the FHC. With the bulk of the work being done consisting of trawling through all the boxes with assorted parts I have acquired over the years, and select the best ones for use on the FHC. So far it has turned out to be rather time consuming, especially with the parts scattered over three different locations! But getting there slowly but surely.
The parts that will be powder coated are sorted now. Although I am still missing the exhaust bracket that fits to the rear of the gearbox (UKC2499). Also the early (Sprint) air box first needs a little bit of TLC before it's ready for its new finish ...

Remains the biggest lot, the parts that will be galvanised. Here I have still not decided what to do, go for the more original approach and have them (gloss zinc) galvanised in yellow or have them passivated in black like I used on the DHC ...

Luckily there's still some time to go before I have to make that decision, and in the meantime I can continue busying myself with the making of a stock list of all the parts that need galvanising ...

... and carefully capturing all sorted parts on camera. Not only for record's sake, but also to help me with matching all parts together afterwards ...

posted by Beans 04th February 2017 6:00pm gmt

FHC resto nr. 49; Heater rebuilt part 1

With the work on my Defender almost finished for the time being, I am slowly picking up work on the FHC again. This weekend I disassembled the heater in preparation for its rebuilt. As all steel parts will be shot blasted and properly coated I picked the heater unit closest to hand. It actually has been lurking in the cellar for loner as I can remember. But it was more than good enough to rob it of its steel parts ...

It all went fairly straight forward, although some of the steel spring clips, keeping the various flaps in their correct position, had a mind of their own. This made removing some of the clips rather awkward. Knowing you have some spare parts left certainly helps here.
The same could be said of the pop rivets that had to be drilled out. Some were so badly corroded that they had lost their clamping power. So as soon as the drill got a grip they started spinning! Luckily I have a very small Vice Grip that could be used to lock them, thus enabling me to use the drill to the other end ...

Of course lots of pictures were taking for future reference whilst I took the heater apart. I won't bore you with them all ...

And 4 hours after I started, I had a large pile of parts lying beside the work bench. A close inspection of these turned up some damage to the lower half of the plastic heater casing. So that one was discarded. Luckily some loose parts from another heater unit yielded an undamaged casing. Also the heater's matrix showed clear signs of a leaking core, though none were visible around the infamous rubber seals. But the matrix  will be replaced too. But that will get a rather non original substitute ...

So at the end of the day I was able to add another few parts to the ever growing collection of parts that need a new coating ...

posted by Beans 22nd January 2017 8:00pm gmt

FHC resto nr. 48; Work slowly resumes

At the closing of the year I am able to report some (though very slight) progress on the restoration. I used the Christmas period holidays as an excuse to resume work on the FHC. And I started where I left it earlier in the year; searching through my spare parts to pick out the best ones and sort them for coating. Almost finished the first batch, the parts that will be powder coated. Hopefully I'll be able to drop these of early next year ...

Next to be sorted are the parts that will be galvanised. I have made a start there with searching and registering the easier parts, but there are a lot, mostly smaller, parts that still need to be sorted. I decided to have a few spare coated too ...

Current schedule is to have all the parts coated in the first quarter of 2017. This should enable me to start fitting parts to the car in a short holiday scheduled at the end of May, early June. Hopefully I will be able to fit the stripping in that period too. But that means doors, bonnet and boot have to be fitted ... 

posted by Beans 31st December 2016 11:57am gmt

Calendar Girl 2017

With 2016 almost over it is time to look back at the work done to my TR7's in the past year. Actually not much to look back on be honest. So for some extra motivation I used one of my traditional end-of-years activities (the new calendar to grace the study) to boost morale! As a result of which every time I enter the study I will be reminded of the work that still needs to be done on my current restoration project, the 1976 TR7 fixed head coupé ...

The 1976 FHC in the shed waiting for dismantling to start. Picture taken a few months after I bought her, and with the main reason for buying her (the Wolfrace Turbo wheels) replaced with one of the standard alloy sets I have lying around.
(11 January 2014)

Patiently waiting in the shed for the restoration work to commence.
(20 October 2013)

Removal of the engine during dismantling.
(29 January 2014)

Dismantling complete.
(12 February 2014)

The two chosen seat frames after dismantling 3 pairs.
Found some interesting and rather lethal botch repairs on some frames.
(15 March 2014)

The first (suspension) parts ready to fit.
This was easy as the were part of my spare parts collection.
(15 March 2014)

Various jobs that have been carried out, from top left clockwise;
Part of the file for the striping set, based on the Jubilee striping;
The refurbished trim panel for the rear bulkhead;
The springs back from powder coating;
The first paint sample compared to a 1974 BL Colour and Trim leaflet;

The welding finished and waiting for final shot blasting and first layer of primer.
(10 July 2014)

The body after painting outside the spray cabin,
awaiting the (black) finishing touches on the sills and the rear light panel.
(8 September 2015)

The painted body back in the shed.
(14 September 2015)

Slowly regaining its identity.
(20 January 2016)

Rear lights and period licence plate fitted.
(11 January 2016)

posted by Beans 27th December 2016 6:29pm gmt

Seasonal greetings ...

Cue the music! Looks like another green Christmas on its way for the Low Countries. So time for an older and more fitting seasonal picture.
And it is still rather quiet with my TR7's at the moment as they are tucked away for their mandatory annual three month rest. But maybe I'll have something to report on the progress of the FHC by the end of the year ...

posted by Beans 23rd December 2016 5:46pm gmt

FHC resto; why I haven't done much this year

Those of you who follow my ramblings on here may have asked themselves what's happening with the restoration of the 1976 FHC. Well to be honest not much. Actually nothing has happened since my last report in May. And there is a rather simple reason for that, other priorities!
As mentioned earlier I bought a Defender 110 SW last year to replace my Defender pick up. And as this new car did lack some parts I thought it really needed, I have been rather busy upgrading it. With the biggest upgrade being caused by a promise I made myself when I bought my first Land Rover in the summer of 2000. What that promise was? If I would get stuck and would have been able to rescue myself with a winch, I'd fit one. Well earlier in the year this happened ...

All rather embarrassing especially as I forgot that this car is equipped with an electronic traction control, which probably would have saved me. But this traction control doesn't switch on automatically, it needs activating by flooring the throttle!
At least it gave me a good excuse to throw some money at the Defender. But as money can only be spent once, the work on the FHC was put on hold. As for the upgrades, the most important ones  being LED lights all round, long range fuel tank, some dent removal (or hiding) to rear door and bonnet, some repairs to the roof rack, and off course the winch plus a new bumper to fit it properly ...

Still a few jobs left to do on the Defender, but they'll have to wait till next year. As for the FHC restoration, hopefully I will be able to do some work on it during the coming festive period.

posted by Beans 23rd November 2016 11:03pm gmt

28th LTV Nachtrit

Last Saturday, the 29th of October, saw another edition of our traditional night time touring assembly. This year's route again headed south east towards Adenau. It was actually the same route as last year but driven in the opposite direction, and with a few different road sections added here and there! As mentioned last year we had a good reason to return to the same area, because at the time some rather nice roads were closed due to road works. Added bonus was that, because we didn't have to get the long way 'round all the diversions, we were able to get the total mileage of the route below 300 kilometres. The best of these being ...

Near the Obersee

Detour through Simonskall

The long way 'round through Pomster, avoiding the B258

As has become customary over the years we did a last check of the route in the morning and early afternoon, to check for any last minute road closures or village fairs. There were none. I had anticipated on this and had one of the cameras with me to capture some of the stunning scenery in brilliant autumn colours. Sadly it was not to be. All day long it was foggy and wet or just grey and cloudy. So no need to get out the car for some pictures. At least the weather provided me with entertainment in the guise of some rather slippery and treacherous road sections! But despite that we were back in Rolduc well before the briefing and start of the event.

This year we were asked by the staff of Rolduc if we could start from the front of the main building, as it would be a much better back drop for pictures from the start. At least this gave me an opportunity to capture most of the Triumphs (of the 42 teams that took part) against this beautiful historic backdrop.

So for those who want to try it for themselves, next year's (and 29th) edition will be held on Saturday October the 28th. But this time we'll be staying closer to home with a road book that will have something to complement the tulip diagrams ...

posted by Beans 02nd November 2016 5:32pm gmt

40 years of age last week ...

I have been rather busy with lots of things over the past 6 months or so. Sadly my TR7's haven't been much part of that. But time moves on, and last Thursday it was exactly 40 years ago that my current restoration project was first registered (and in the Netherlands). So time for a little bit of history, or how the car used to be in her previous life, and as I bought her ...

Looking back at some of the work already done, dismantling finished ...

Shotblasting finished ...

Metalwork in progress ...

Metalwork finished:

Paint preparations and painting:

Various ...

The initial plan had been to finish the restoration by the time she turned 40, and thus being tax exempt. But I abandoned that schedule well over a year ago. Initially caused by the paint preparations taking longer than planned. But also by work that had to be carried out (or actually is still in progress) on the Defender I bought well over a year ago as my daily driver. And there's my work of course which takes a lot of my spare time, together with my other hobbies, the trumpet(s) and my camera's :-). To be continued!

posted by Beans 09th October 2016 00:47am gmt

Back to work ...

With my holiday nearly over it is time to mentally prepare for the office again, but also time to look back at another great walking holiday in the village of Sankt Martin in Passeier, Süd Tirol. So again time for my annual photographic report;

In the forests above Sankt Martin in Passeier

The small pilgrimage church of Mörre, Passeier Tal

A fire salamander in the forest above Mörre, Passeier Tal

In the fields just outside Sankt Leonhard, Passeier Tal

Typical wooden roof tiles on a farm building near the Jaufenburg

Tea room in Sankt Leonhard, when you find the entrance that is ...

Faltschnal Alm Hütte, Pfelderer Tal

Guarding the entrance to the Faltschnal Tal

The Lazinser Hof, Pfelderer Tal

Small Field chapel outside the Ski resort of Zeppichl

Seeber Alm Hütte

The Seeber See

The Timmelsjoch seen from the Seeber Tal

Small farm seen through the low hanging clouds, Vellauer Felsenweg

Near the Römer Kehre, Urweg Jaufen Kamm

View from the Fleckner Spitze towards the Ratschings Tal, Urweg Jaufenkamm

On the flanks of the Saxner, Urweg Jaufenkamm

Fleckner Hütte, Urweg Jaufenkamm
(this used to be one of their tables ...)

View from the Timmels Alm on the Timmelsjoch and the Seeber Tal

Große Timmler Schwarzsee

The Timmels Alm with the Schneidlahngrat in the background

One of the many tributaries of the Passer River

On the Timmels Alm

Ancient iron clad door of the Schildhof Gereuth, Sankt Martin in Passeier

Doorstep, Gruber ...

Fiecht Jöchl, Falser Tal

The Fagls See

Typical farm buildings, Unterwald

Ultner Höfeweg, Ulten Tal

The little hamlet of Wanns, at the entrance of the Wannser Tal and the Sailer Tal

Sankt Johann Kirche, Wanns

Autumn colours, Sailer Tal

Typical "Forstweg", Seeberg Alm

Larch trees,Jägersteig Wannser Tal

Sadly getting there turned out to be a bit of an ordeal resulting in a very late crossing of the Timmelsjoch in dense fog

posted by Beans 03rd October 2016 4:16pm gmt

It's official!

I received a letter from the Internal Revenue Office today. It contained the official statement that the 1976 FHC, which I am currently restoring, was first registered 40 years ago on October the 6th of this year. And as such it will be tax exempt from that date on ...

Next question of course is, how long that is going to last? As I received two similar letters for both my other TR7's. That was when they turned 25. But that limit was changed to 40 a few years ago. Time will tell how long it will last now ...
Also the date on the letter is interesting as it dates from 21 July 2016. Back to the future!

posted by Beans 16th July 2016 8:16pm gmt

Another MOT

Last month I took the DHC for its biennial MOT, and today it was the turn for 't Kreng. As with the DHC last month I only got round for the most basic of checks of some of the essential items. And luckily nothing was wrong, so earlier this Wednesday I again drove over to a friend's workshop to have the car tested.

As expected not much wrong with the first stage of the test, checking that brakes, lights, wipers etc. work properly. Everything did, even the wipers :-). And although I found the CO slightly high (@ 4,1 %) it did pass without adjustment as it was below 4,5%.

On to the next stage, the suspension and brake lines. Again everything fine except the front suspension. Where we of course had a bit of a discussion. The mechanic thought that the LH steering rod end and the steering rod had some play. But after I replaced the track rod ends and adjusted the wheel bearings everything was fine.

I did make myself a mental note though. With the suspension on full droop there is some play inside the RH front strut assembly. Nothing worrying yet but after 10 years of use and abuse a full service of the AST struts looks near.

And while the mechanic was pouring over  my car in search of any faults I admired the cars standing around ...

I even managed to lay my hands on a small but vital part for the FHC I am currently restoring. In a TR7 he is currently breaking I found this undamaged early interior light. A bit of elbow grease should get it back to its former glory ...

posted by Beans 13th July 2016 5:40pm gmt

Gearbox oil change DHC

Although the weather is slowly but surely improving, we haven't seen much summer so far. Though we can't complain about a lack of rain! And as a result the DHC hasn't seen much action so far. Actually I only drove her to a friend's workshop for its biennial MOT and back. And while driving home I thought I could hear a very slight whining noise which seemed to be coming from the gearbox. But only under prolonged braking/retardation. As the gear changes were rather good I didn't pay much attention to it. But it kept nagging at the back of my mind.

So for peace of mind I decided to check the oil in the gearbox today. Initial plan was to just top up the oil level. But bearing in mind the awkward position of the filler/level plug and the fact that the previous time I drained the oil it had been rather murky, with lots of swarf on the drain plug, I decided it would be better to drain the 'box and refill it with fresh oil. Removing the drain plug revealed a plug that still did contain a bit of swarf but notably less compared with previous time ...

And the oil that came out did contain only very little contamination, but most importantly no swarf from the synchromesh rings or the gears ...

Time to refit the drain plug, remove the filler plug and put 1,6 litre of Castrol Syntrans Multivehicle 75W90 in. Easier said than done when you are lying underneath the car with a rather inaccessible filler hole! Luckily I did have a bit of PVC tubing lying around, which, together with a funnel, makes life so much easier (thx for the tip Phil) ...

With the 'box refilled I turned my attention to the drained oil. I always use the containers from the new oil to store the old oil. And I was mildly surprised to see that all the drained oil fitted inside one 1 litre container. With a little room to spare! Clearly the small oil leak I noticed last year in preparation for Club Triumph's 10CR needs rectifying sooner rather than later ... 

posted by Beans 06th July 2016 5:49pm gmt

She would have been 35 years today

Today it was exactly 35 years ago that TPZDJ8AA403557 (or JL-GX-37) was first registered in California. The car was imported to the Netherlands on the 19th of September 1994 by a friend who eventually sold it to me on the 27th of December 2006. I actually bought it because I wanted to take part in the 2007 edition of Club Triumphs 10 Countries Run with a TR7 DHC. And after a fair amount of work she performed faultlessly during the event.

But after a few years of use I decided to scrap her and use her as a parts donor to restore my first car, an early Dutch TR7 DHC. So she lives on  ...

posted by Beans 30th June 2016 11:11pm gmt

MOT time

The weather hasn't been very brilliant this spring, so the DHC hasn't seen any action so far. But last week I took her out off her long hibernation in preparation for her MOT (or APK as it called over here). Only got round for the most basic of checks of all the essential items. And luckily nothing was wrong, so earlier this Friday I drove over to a friend's workshop to have the car tested. It was already her fourth (biennial) test since her restoration was completed in 2010. How time flies!

As expected nothing really wrong, only the CO was slightly high (4,9%) as were the headlights. Both were easy to adjust within the legal limits. One advisory were the dust covers from the lower ball joints of the front suspension. They are starting to age a bit, so will probably need replacing before the next test in two years time.

But we had a bit of a discussion over the gaiters from the steering rack. I always make a tiny hole in them to avoid them blowing up when on full lock. But according to the mechanic they should be completely closed, and as such should be rejected. As he saw my point we settled on an emergency plan in case there would be a (random) verification check by the RDW. The plan wasn't necessary.

Also nice to see some other wedges in his workshop, like one of his own TR7V8's patiently awaiting some much needed attention ...

and this genuine TR8 DHC from a customer ...

posted by Beans 03rd June 2016 4:43pm gmt

FHC resto nr. 47; A messy job

It's been a while since my last report on the FHC restoration and there has been a very good reason for that. Due to other commitments there was not much to report. But yesterday I used the fine (read warm) weather as an excuse to have a go at wax-oiling all the box-sections and cavities of the cars' body.

When restoring the DHC a few years ago I made the mistake of wax-oiling the car late in the year with lowish temperatures. In the end I got everything covered with the sticky stuff, including myself. But it took a rather long time as the spray tubes clogged up frequently due to the cold temperatures. Not so yesterday. After covering the floor with a liberal amount of corrugated cardboard it was time start.

For the DHC I used the classic brown wax-oil from Dinitrol, but that was no longer available through my usual supplier. So they supplied me with a colourless alternative from Motip (Section Wax). It certainly is as sticky as Dinitrol, only it is less visible. Which can be an advantage or a disadvantage. Depends how you look at it. But I think I got everything pretty well covered! Only the sub frame, doors, bonnet and bootlid are still waiting to get the same treatment. 

Will give it some time for the surplus wax-oil to drip out ...

Other jobs carried out so far, coating the springs so they match the interior, and searching through my spare wiring looms in search of a half decent late European specification one. Refurbishing and checking all wiring will be next on the to do list together with having all smallish parts coated.

posted by Beans 27th May 2016 1:29pm gmt


Today 34 years ago 't Kreng was first registered. At that time she had been standing at a dealership for a year or so. According to her VIN number she must have come off the line in Solihull somewhere in April 1981. And while trawling through my photographs I was reminded of the fact that on the 4th of March it was exactly 10 years ago that I joined Club Triumph. Completely forgot that one, time certainly flies when you're having fun, thanks so far CT. Some pictures from the archives showing the car's various guises over the years;

Restoration nearly finished ...
(September 1996)

During the English Car Rally, shortly after her restoration
(June 1999)

After a local navigational rally
(November 2000)

On top of the Stelvio Pass
(July 2002)

Near the French Atlantic coast, Les Sable d'Olonne
(July 2002)

Dawn near Lausanne during Club Triumph's 2005 10CR
(September 2005)

Le Carrera Caledonia
(June 2006)

On Buttertubs Pass prior to Le Carerra Caledonia
(June 2007)

Near the village of Buttermere after the International AutoEcosse
(June 2013)

And her current guise
(March 2016)

And two interesting pictures of two sister cars. As their licence plates have an ascending sequence it is safe to say they were registered together ...

posted by Beans 16th April 2016 9:37pm gmt

A journey in the dark ...

Took 't Kreng out for a test drive, in the dark last evening, to see how the new lights perform. It became clear immediately that these lights have a much better output compared to the Lucas 7" units (which in my case are fitted with halogen bulbs). The light pattern on low beam is much brighter and more "focussed" with a fairly clear beam cut. But that is not a problem.
Have to admit though that from a colour point of view the eyes need to adapt a bit. Especially on narrow country lanes without markings the white light just lights everything up. A more yellow light will highlight greens better thus accentuating the verges more. On major roads with marker lines they are perfect.
Also typical for these focussed beams is that at the edges of the beam pattern there is a narrow coloured band. This is caused by refraction on the edges of the focussing elements. Looks a bit weird when driving behind light coloured vans or passing large faced objects close to the road.

Low Beam

High beam is everything that it should be. But here there is a slight draw back. Due to the beam's projection there is a slightly "darker" area in the light pattern in front of the car. On smooth roads this is not much of a problem. But on the less smooth country lanes around here, together with more speed, it sometimes seems like the light pattern looses "contact" with the road. Clearly a small draw back from the very focussed beam pattern. And in my case highlighted by the fact that I adjusted the lights towards their upper legal limit. Lowering the beam a bit should improve this. As will reconnecting the spot lights ! (I disconnected them so I could better judge the LED lights)

High Beam

And finally it was good to drive TR7 in the dark without lights that were vibrating madly on everything but the smoothest of asphalt !

posted by Beans 13th March 2016 2:01pm gmt

First outing of the year

Hadn't really planned to do this, but as the weather was rather fine and the new headlights' aim needed final adjustment, I decided to take 't Kreng out of her mandatory three month hibernation and go for a few hours' drive through the country. Was quite amazed that she started on the second attempt and immediately settled in a fairly steady idle.

First I drove to the local Land Rover specialist in the rural village of America. They did supply the new headlights and agreed to adjust them as part of the service. As usual with the lights' adjusters in good order it took less time to adjust the lights then to get a cup of coffee out their coffee machine.

And with the lights adjusted it was time for some fun, and a few little photo shoots ...

posted by Beans 09th March 2016 4:48pm gmt

Adding lightness & light part 3

With all the hardware in place it was time for the final and probably the biggest upgrade, the headlights themselves. While working on this up-grade over the past few months I started thinking off adding some better lights up front, and to replace the ageing Lucas 7" H4 headlamp units (actually originating from BAOR surplus ...), with some more efficient headlights. In the end I went for LED headlights which are more commonly seen on Land Rover Defenders (JW Speaker 8700 Evo2). They are certainly not cheap, and they do add a little extra weight compared to the original Lucas 7" headlights, though less than expected. 

But their high Lumen output and focused beam pattern is absolutely brilliant. And they have a low current draw of only 3 Amp's @ beam, reducing the loads on the switchgear, thus improving reliability a bit. And they were unexpectedly plug and play, with absolutely no changes necessary. Even the original wiring connector was a straight fit ...

Sadly I forgot to inspect the rubber headlamp surrounds properly when I took them off, so when I wanted to refit them most of the steel rings that are moulded into the rubber fell out. Time for another upgrade. Luckily this one was much simpler compared with the work already done. Fabricate eight ø22,25 mm (in this case 2 mm thick alloy) washers and machine two countersunk screw holes in each of them, and screw them to the back of the headlamp surrounds. Together with some special glue/sealant that should do the trick ...

With the headlight surrounds repaired they were fitted to the headlamp pods and the wiring was reconnected. Job done!

... Well almost, only need to (fine) adjust the headlamps aim.

I have to admit that I have chosen these lights for their performance and not their looks. And I had mentally prepared myself in case they'd spoil the car's looks even more. But I think they don't look to bad, actually the more I look at the end result the more I like it. I still have to drive the car in the dark yet, to see how the lights perform. But I have seen them in action on a Land Rover and they definitely are very effective!

Almost forgot the original target for the project, which was shedding some weight up front. In this I succeed ...

And for those interested, the spec-sheets from the JW Speaker 8700 Evolution 2 headlight units

posted by Beans 06th March 2016 3:34pm gmt

Adding lightness & light part 2

With some lightness and coating added to the headlamp pod's mountings, I started fitting everything back to the car. But not before some final coating. With the pods permanently in the "up" position there is a fair chance of being blinded by (sun)light reflecting onto them. So they were duly coated matt black. I had hoped to finish this little project in the few hours available today. The right hand side went pretty smoothly ...

But while refitting the left hand headlamp support and pod I was reminded of the fact that while restoring the car many years ago, that had been a bit of a struggle too. The complete assembly was sitting to far to the inside, clearly visible in the pictures below. The right hand side ...

... and the left hand side ...

As a result of this the pod was touching the edge of the aperture in the front panel. At the time I thought I had fitted the pod incorrect onto the lifting mechanism. But it turned out that the mounting panel was fitted rather badly to the car's body shell. So the spacers I used than between headlamp support and bulkhead were duly refitted. This improved the positioning of the pod enough to give fairly even gaps, although I did use a rubber strip between pod  and bodywork for extra peace of mind. After that it was time to refit the headlamp bowls (also treated to a new layer of black powder coating) and wiring ...

Remain fitting the headlights and the rubber headlight surrounds ...

posted by Beans 27th February 2016 5:19pm gmt

Adding lightness & light part 1

With my two roadworthy TR7's of the road again for a three month period starting on the first of December, it was again time for another little winter project. This time for 't Kreng, shedding a few kilograms from the front of the car. It was actually one of the jobs meant to be carried out when the bodywork would be tackled. The original plan had been to weld in a steel support in the headlamp holes in the nose panel, and bolt the headlamp pods directly to these. This would not only shed a few kilograms but also make room for a nice big air filter cone in the space were the lift motors used to be. But as that looks like it is still a few years in the future and the lift mechanisms of the headlamps were showing clear signs (and sounds!) of wear, I decided to go for a temporary solution. Remove the lift motors and replace them with some simple supports between the lift-motors' steel mounting brackets and the alloy hinge platform.

But with the headlamps removed and the lifting mechanism dismantled I had a better look at the available space and parts. It was immediate clear that all that was needed to fix the lamp pods in the "up" position were some rather simple supports. But I also noticed there was a lot of steel on the original brackets that would lose its function, and as such could be removed. This not only reduces weight even more, with the bulk of the remaining weight sitting further back (which is always good). It also provides room for a future adaptation to fit the already mentioned air filter.

When I started this little project the plan had been to fabricate a simple support from steel strips, bolted in place using the original mounting holes. But with the temporary fix becoming permanent meant the design for the necessary supports needed to be tidied up a bit. So instead of one, I decided to go for two supports per side, machined from aluminium. Using my AutoCad skills and modern technology to fabricate these ...

Apart from that it only needed drilling a few extra holes and removing some material from the alloy platforms (where the spring is mounted) to get everything together. And to underline their permanent status all parts were powder coated ...

before they were re-assembled ...

To be continued ...

posted by Beans 17th February 2016 8:41pm gmt

Views expressed here are personal are not necessarily endorsed by Club Triumph

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