My Trials and Tribulations
I was looking for a car that possessed the following characteristics: good body and frame, well-cared for mechanically, and preferably overdrive, while lacking the following: RUST, RUST AND MORE RUST. Rust isn't the end of the world in a 30 year old car, but it might be the end of your bank account. I hoped to find one without this added feature and luckily found my car in the Southwest. This is no guarantee of anything, but the car looked good and ran well upon inspection, so off I went on the trip home. Two and a half days, a couple of quarts of oil and much wind-blown hair later, I arrived home safe and sound with the only missed-beat being a somewhat uncooperative starter.
After pooling the resources of whomever would listen to my explanation of the starter issue, I have arrived at the opinion that my "new" starter is most likely bad due to being rebuilt by somewhat incompetent rebuilders and a competent rebuild will solve my problem. I also discovered a small pinhole leak in the radiator that needs to be fixed. I'm going to avoid any of the drop in solutions to fix it and am deciding whether to re-core the radiator or simply have the leak fixed. These cars unlike other British cars don't have a tendency to overheat so a re-core is not a necessity if the internals are in good shape.
"I may be mechanically inclined, but I'm no mechanic"
I don't know as much as many of my friends out there who own cars like these so I'm going to try to do as much of the repair work on my car myself with a little help from my friends until I get better up to speed on general maintenance.
I've also discovered that my car is running a bit rich. The most likely visible sign of this on any car is black smoke coming out of the exhaust. Black smoke isn't too bad it just means you need to adjust the mixture. Blue smoke and you've got a valve problem. White smoke and you may have a cracked head. So all in all I'm not worried too much about this. This will also decrease oil usage and prevent the thinning of the oil that the excess fuel is causing.
A closer inspection
A closer inspection of the car doesn't reveal any major reasons to cause buyer's remorse. The paint is in good shape, the frame is bone-dry, engine runs well, and the other cosmetics are pretty good. This leaves room for just a bit of minor beautifying of some things, all of which are unimportant.
Ran into my first scare with the car after a few days of tooling about enjoying the spring weather. While about to exit the highway I felt like I was losing power. How can this be? I pulled off the road at my exit and noticed that it wasn't the engine losing power, I had a binding brake caliper. It's a bit scary seeing smoke pour out from the bottom of your car wondering if the whole thing was going to catch fire and to top it off it starts to rain. Well, after raising the top (which always seems to take longer if you are trying to hurry) I pushed on the brake pedal and the caliper had released so I drove the short distance to my house with no further issues.
What's the problem? Could be a pitted caliper, but I'm betting that a replacement of the brake hoses all around coupled with the obligatory bleeding of the system will clear it up.
The bottom line
So despite purchasing a car in excellent condition, the car has proven that anything that is 30 years old will need a bit of maintenance so we are looking at a new starter, fixing a leak in the radiator, and a bit of brake work and I should be in business for a while.
After making hopeful diagnoses of my radiator and starter problems I set out to fix them. However, radiator needed a new core so that's being done locally so I guess I'm good for another 30+ on the new one.
Also incorrect diagnosis on the starter. Wishful thinking perhaps but after taking the starter to get checked out I looked in through the hole where the starter was to inspect the ring gear. As I mentioned, I am no mechanic but the ring gear was pushed rearward about a half inch off the flywheel. Correction involves pulling the tranny and replacing the ring gear.
Urban myth or not?
While inspecting the ring gear I noticed the tapered edge of the ring gear was facing backwards indicating that the ring gear is actually on backwards. This better explains why the gear was pushed backwards due to the improper engagement over much time of the starter.
The question is why was it on backwards in the first place. Here's where the myth part may come in, I was told that all, as in every single one, of the TR6's were produced in this incorrect manner. British Leyland kind of forgot to change the spec when the TR6 was introduced since the TR250's starter engaged from the rear. I don't know if this is true but it sure makes a good story. The second irony is that the cars would work fine for many miles before this issue needed to be corrected. If you have any details on this please email me.
April 15, 2001
No big news to report. I got my radiator back after the re-core and then put the starter back on so now I'm mobile again. Next week is the big week with the tranny being pulled to replace the ring gear. On the advise of many, I'm going to replace the clutch and a few associated parts while I'm at it. After this operation is completed I hopefully will not have much to do except the brake lines and normal fluids for a while.
May 3, 2001
I like a plan when it works! Replaced the ring gear which was causing the occasional starting issues. The only slight hitch was having to take the flywheel and ring gear to a machine shop to have them heat up the ring gear so it would slip on - which it did. Then it was on to the new clutch.
This didn't go exactly as planned. I did my best to ensure that whatever parts I might need I had on hand so as not to slow the job down. Encountered the broken clutch cross shaft pin. Then the trouble started. It had broken off inside the cross shaft leaving me with no other choice than to cut through the cross shaft and replace it. Replaced the shaft, fork and pin as well as the bushings for the shaft. Not too difficult except for the extra couple of hours to obtain the parts.
After much discussion on the Triumph list, I decided to go with 50wt racing oil in the transmission and overdrive. The choices of oil were: 30wt motor oil, 80/90 gear oil or the 50wt racing oil. Can't report anything good or bad except that it works very well indeed and that's all that really counts anyway.
The reverse lights are out and have been and I believe the culprit is the switch on the transmission, but I forgot to get the switch so I'll have to pull the transmission cover off sometime and put in a new one, but for now I'm going to enjoy the spring weather and the easy starting and working O/D.
May 15, 2001
Saturday was the British Car Motoring Day at Chateau Élan in Braselton, GA which is about 45 minutes northeast of Atlanta and just a couple of miles from Road Atlanta. The weather was perfect and the turnout amongst all of the cars was heavy with Triumphs being represented in strong numbers. Total turnout had to be at least 400 cars with plenty of Jags, Healy's, MG's, Triumphs and a decent sampling of Morgan's, Tigers, and other British marques.
I've not had the pleasure to attend any of the larger shows yet, but a good time was had by all and I look forward to going to a TRF summer party or VTR national in the future. The car ran fine with no mishaps whatsoever.
There was one particular TR6 at Chateau Élan, which had been there before, but is spectacular. It is a TR5 and in excellent condition. Lots of other nice 3's, 4's, Spits and 6's. If you ever get the chance to attend this event try to make it.
Also attended a Walter Mitty event a few weeks back at Road Atlanta. If you've never been to one of these vintage car races you really out to seek one out. There was everything from Triumphs and Jags to Cobra's, 911's and other exotics.
August 24, 2001
The site hasn't been updated recently due to lack of any meaningful information. I was experiencing a balky transmission, but not driving the car due to summer heat here in Atlanta, I let it slide until today. The car was becoming somewhat difficult to get into gear after my flywheel and clutch install. I got the feeling that I was not totally disengaging the transmission and while these symptoms could be a variety of things the easiest thing to check was to change the hole where the clutch slave connects to the transmission. I did that in five minutes and am happy to report that that seems to have fixed my issue. Lots of other minor things to do, but I will report on those when I've got the time.
December 13, 2001
I've been ignoring updating the site just like I've been ignoring a few things on the car. Winter is here even in the deep South which usually just means cold rainy weather and a perfect opportunity to get underneath the car and do something. Well, there are things to do. Earlier I had replaced my ring gear and did the clutch while I was at it for "preventative" purposes. Well, after speaking with some good friends and the good folks at TRF I ordered all the parts and fixed everything, right? Wrong. The ring gear is backing off again so this time when I pull the transmission I will tack weld the ring gear to the flywheel. Problem #1 fixed when I do it.
Problem #2 is that the tranny has gotten balky again. It is also my deep suspicion that the cross shaft pin has broken again. There has been much discussion on the web about throw out bearings and TR6's as well. I've done my best to read up on it and talked to a number of folks, thanks Nelson and Dave, and think I will go with the uprated bearing next time. This bearing for those of you who don't know is actually out of an older Toyota Land Cruiser and is heavier duty than the replacement bearing. It is my understanding that the OEM part as manufactured today is "just not made like the used to" so this combined with a new sleeve that has been pressed on should fix my balky shifter.
The other issue is what to do with the clutch cross shaft. The cross shaft pin is almost famous as a topic for TR6's, but it is my opinion that they typically break for a reason other than simple pin failure. Since the pin is a weak point by design, it is possible and quite probable in my mind that most pin failures are caused by either improper installation i.e. the pin being installed too tightly or by the sleeve binding on the input shaft. The fix can involve several things ranging from installing extra pins or adding a bolt to the fork to welding it to the fork. I'm still undecided on which method I'll use, but there is a good write-up on the Buckeye Triumph Website.
Well, that's about it right now. Several things to fix, but I'm not sure if I am going to worry about it until after the new year since we have a drive coming up in a couple of weeks, our annual Polar Bear run. Don't laugh it actually can get cold down here and it was in the teens last year.
Here's hoping that Santa brings all sorts of goodies for the good boys and girls who love Triumphs.
January 19, 2002
Installed new throw out bearing and taper pin. Details in the new maintenance page.
January 26, 2002
Installed new master and clutch cylinder to fix the remaining issue with my transmission. See maintenance page.
February 10, 2002
Tightened up emergency brake cable. Aside from dropping a cotter pin the operation was a piece of cake. The car continues to run and drive well after the transmission fix so now I'm evaluating what to work on or upgrade next.
February 20, 2002
Installed a new brake master cylinder and a pair of front shocks. Check the maintenance page for further details.
March 12, 2002
Is Shipwright's disease setting in?
Well, I'm not sure, but I've got to be careful. For those of you who don't know what Shipwright's Disease is I'll briefly give an example. Years ago I decided that the shower door in my bathroom needed cleaning. Well, naturally I wanted to do a thorough job, but then I decided that if I were to dismantle the plastic water shield then I could really get to the mildew. After taking that shield off I determined that it was old, yellowed and needed replacement. I also noticed that the caulk beading was in need of help so I started working on that and quickly determined that if I removed the whole door then the scraping could be more easily accomplished. After removing the door I noticed that some other parts were old so I finally decided to make a run to Home Depot and ultimately purchase an entirely new door. That's an example of how a small thing can balloon into something much larger.
Back to the TR6, I knew that I should replace my brake hoses so a few weeks back I started that job which wasn't too difficult except that I torque'd a brake line in the process. This prevented a free flow back and forth of brake fluid which would result in the brake eventually locking - which is not a good thing.
I ordered a new line from TRF and set about replacing the line. One connection fit fine. The other gushed brake fluid like a fountain - not good. So I ordered another one. This time the connection fit fine, but the connection to my three way connector had a leak in one spot. Order another brake line and new 3-way connector. Connect these up and the old leak is gone, but a new one has sprouted up. Hmmm, what's going on here. Order the line from the 2-way to the 3-way and a second 3-way adaptor which I'm awaiting as I write this.
I have figured out where and why I went wrong with these connections. First, when removing or reconnecting old parts there is a fair probability that they won't come off or go back on easily. This should not be unexpected for something that might have been moved in 30+ years. Secondly, the 2 & 3-way connectors are made of brass, which is a very soft metal so you really need to be careful when working with these pieces. Where I messed up was cross-threading the brake line connectors to the 3-way connector. Cross-thread a connection and you are guaranteed to have a leak.
When reassembling the brake lines to connections loosen the 2 or 3-way connector from the frame and gently hand-tighten all the lines. Since the connector is loose you will be able to rotate it slightly to ensure that you are screwing in the line at the proper angle. Then reattach the connector to the frame and secure the brake lines. This will save you the trouble of repeating my mistake.
March 29, 2002
I will give details once everything has arrived and been installed, but let's just say that the virus is spreading to my TR6's suspension. Shocks, springs, bushings.... this has got to get under control.
April 9, 2002
Where do I begin? It seems like so much has happened over the past month that I'm not sure where to start. First let me back up a revisit the previous brake work. I detailed it a bit further in the tech area of my website, but basically I had an issue with the brakes being on all the time due to an improperly adjusted actuating rod in my servo. Two washers and I'm back on the road, but there are other issues lurking out there.
The first problem that surfaced, and remember that I've been off the road for several weeks, was some rubbing of the front tires. This occurred both when going over such things as speed bumps as well as when the tire was at full lock. What in the world have I done this time? Well, the only thing that I had changed was the shocks so they were immediately suspect. But most of you by now will say that "the shocks don't have anything to do with ride height" and you are correct. But they do control the length of motion so if you have a weak shock and that is compounded by weak springs then you've got a problem. I should have mentioned that my car always sat low in the front and high in the rear. So now it was time to take a serious look at my front suspension.
After much thought and a severe dent in my credit card I will have the following new parts installed when I leave for the Panhandle British Car Show: new springs, shocks, rotors, calipers, front bushings and other various and sundry items.
May 1, 2002
Well, we made it there and back - to Pensacola that is for their annual British Car Day. I always enjoy getting my car out for a drive whether it be for a couple of hours around town, up to the N. Georgia Mountains or even for a six hour trip via the interstate to the beach. As you may have deduced by now, the car was successfully pieced back together and ran and drove flawlessly for the entire trip.
A couple of quick suspension thoughts
There is usually much discussion on the net and amongst owners of TR6's about the pro's and con's of upgrading springs and shocks. I'm not here to settle the debate, but just to give my observations about the change in ride from my previous stock setup to a more performance oriented one. My changes consisted of Carrera shocks in the front and a complete set of what is termed "comp" springs. First, the term comp, which is obviously short for competition is a misnomer; in no way are these springs anywhere near harsh enough to merit that term.
My springs are quoted at about 20% stiffer than stock and they also lower the car about an inch all around. The difference in firmness of the springs is noticeable, but hardly dramatic. Rear-end squat is reduced and the car feels more stable and that in my book is a good thing. Others have mentioned the "harshness" of the ride and all I can say is that if they believe driving a TR6 in any form is a comfortable ride then it might be time to move back to their Camry or Accord. Please note that I am opening myself up for both criticism and occasionally reserve the right to be wrong. But I like the change in springs and would highly recommend the change. BTW, I purchased my springs from TRF (NFI, of course) but the springs in question are actually sourced from GoodParts, Inc.
One slight problem with the installation of the springs should be noted, but not necessarily is to be taken as gospel. The rubber spring seats that came with the springs fit very well for the rear springs, but didn't fit very well for the front. I believe I most likely received an incorrect set and will replace shortly.
I also changed the front shocks. Initially I felt the front end was a tad soft so I ordered a stock replacement set and installed those. They were actually worse than the set I took off. Quickly I decided to replace those with an upgraded set and settled on the Carrera shocks partially due to their being produced locally here in Atlanta.
The shocks are much like the springs in that they are firmer than stock, but far from harsh. They also are guaranteed for life so they will be the last set I have to buy.
So the end result is that I have a car that rides and handles much better without being too harsh. I also will mention that a PO had installed the aluminum steering rack mounts which I highly recommend. The excess play in the steering wheel is reduced by 75% while still not being twitchy.
The weather was quite warm for our trip from Atlanta to Pensacola (around 90F) so I was grateful for several things. One, the Six's do not have a tendency to overheat and my car's temp gauge never moved from slightly below the midpoint. I have had the radiator re-cored which resulted in additional cooling capacity though. I am also grateful for overdrive in my vehicle. The two other vehicles in our caravan, a '57 TR3 and a 66 Triumph 2000 sedan, neither of which had overdrive, ran quite warm the whole way down and back. And despite what Joe mentioned in the story, we weren't burning up the interstate at too rapid a pace.
We had a great time and the hospitality of the Panhandle British Car Association was tremendous. We also spent some time talking to a boisterous and happy group from New Orleans and have decided we now have a reason to visit the Crescent city next spring for British Motoring Club of New Orleans show. We've now got a good reason to visit my home town to gobble up some crawfish and down a few cold ones; all in the name of Triumph camaraderie... or whatever you want to call it.
Well things are looking good for the upcoming few months. The car is running well, there is a great show on at Chateau Élan northeast of Atlanta on May the 18th. If you live anywhere near Atlanta you should try to make the show. Last year there were approximately 500 vehicles and it was even on My Classic Car.
June 14, 2002
Unfortunately the car hasn't been on the road a tremendous amount lately due to family trips and I chickened out of taking it last week on a fishing trip. I really wasn't too worried about the car, but taking it would have meant leaving it sitting by the boat for three days with no cover. Well it has a top, but that doesn't mean it won't leak or that some curious soul might decide to have a little fun with it so it stayed home. I did attend the British Motorcar Day at Chateau Élan last month and as usual a good time was had by all.
Total attendance was down a bit from last year's level of 500 cars to a little over 400 cars due to threatening weather, but despite a morning shower it cleared nicely by mid-morning. The Chateau Élan show is a all British car show and if you can't find something that interests you then you really must not like LBCs. Also as usual the best part is meeting and talking with other British car enthusiasts.
Not surprisingly, a good portion of the cars were made up of Triumphs and MG's, but since the featured marque was Mini, there was also a great showing of the older variety in addition to several new MINI's. I also was impressed by a Lotus Elise I saw in a nearby paddock, a stunning 1938 Jaguar saloon as well as the usual mix of other British cars.
I really don't have anything good or bad to report on my vehicle except that there are a few items/parts laying around that I still need to find time for such as: installing a new window channel kit on the passenger side, door felt, front right spring pad and most likely a couple I've forgotten about, but the car is running fine and I'm ready for cooler weather already.
September 9, 2002
I've enjoyed driving my car and doing much of the work myself, but with the 2002 Southeastern VTR meet in Jekyll Island, GA coming up next month, I thought it might be a good idea to have a professional mechanic take a look at my car. I wanted to get an idea of it's strong and weak points so that I could prioritize things a bit. So I took my car to a reputable mechanic and here's what he had to say:
1. Overall, the car is in pretty good condition.
2. However, there were several indications that the front suspension needed some work.
3. Blue smoke at upper rpm's indicative of worn rings or other engine wear items.
4. Bearings need to be replaced.
5. Other misc. items.
When I purchased my car, I was looking for a good driver - and I found that. BUT, I've also learned a thing or two in the process. It's important to know the reputation of the person who does any work on your car. Now this may seem obvious, but let me give you an example. When I bought my car I was told that the engine had been rebuilt about 40k ago so I was not expecting brand new performance, but also was not expecting to have to do anything major soon.
Upon inspection by my mechanic of the thrust washers he found them to be allowing about 40/1000's of movement of the crankshaft. Not good, but at least they weren't sitting in the oil pan. He also found the main and rod bearings to need replacing. These are items that should not need to be replaced as soon as they were - if they were done at all during the rebuild.
The point is, I don't know what the person did to the engine, but he didn't do everything right. It could have been that the engine oil pressure was not built up upon startup or any number of other things that could cause this issue. Also the intake and exhaust valve spring retainers were reversed. I'm not sure exactly what this could cause, but it is wrong.
My engine also puts out a decent amount of smoke in the upper rpm range, which as I mentioned could be worn rings, but then again given what I know wasn't done right, I'm not brimming with confidence.
Other odd items of note: the driveshaft was in backwards. Now this is not really an issue, but it means it simply wasn't done right. Several bolts were missing in various places and the U-joints were not put in properly.
None of these items is reason to worry about a catastrophic failure of anything, but it is disappointing and shows the value of knowing who did the work and what parts were replaced.
I've still got some issues I'm trying to track down and will rectify when I feel that I have a definitive answer. These are: sticky clutch, occasional starter noise (probably electrical, not starter) as well as general cosmetic issues.
October 3, 2002
On the way back from my mechanic's checkup I noticed that my O/D wasn't working. Given the fact that I'm going to be making a six hour trip in a couple of weeks, this was not a good thing. I troubleshot the problem with the help of a fellow LBC owner and the diagnosis was to pull out the interior to check a few things. I dreaded doing that, but it had to be done. Things went very quickly once I got through procrastinating and then I started to stare. While pensively staring at the transmission I noticed that there was a loose wire near the solenoid. Nah, that can't be it - too simple. So I connected the wire and I was right as there was no engagement noise. Hmm, wait a minute, the wire is also not connected on the other end. I connected it and then heard the joyful double click of the solenoid and the relay. Problem solved.
I also have replaced the window channel in the passenger door to cut down on the window rattling. The replacement of the rubber spring pad on my front passenger side is not looking to good as it's a PITA job. Other than that, the car is fine and will only require a oil change prior to departure.
BTW, does anyone want to come over an install my door waist seals for me? I'll buy the beer.
November 6, 2002
Well I didn't even attempt to install my door waist seals and still have not. But I did attend the 2002 SE VTR in Jekyll Island, GA in late October. For those that attended I thank you; it was a great success and I have many memories to cherish. I'm happy to report that my car and the rest of the caravan drove to and returned without mishap. That's more than I can say for one of our fellow GTA members who wrecked his car during an autocross run. Speaking of autocross, I had never run one before, but for those of you who have yet to run one yourself, I would only encourage you to do so. I learned a great deal about how much fun, how difficult it is and also the weaknesses of my car. I hope that the next autocross will yield more admirable results.
I mentioned that I had no mechanical difficulties to report from the trip, but that is only half correct. I was not left stranded anywhere, but I do have two ongoing issues that will need to be addressed in the future. Both involve the engine. My engine was rebuilt approximately 45k ago, but I believe the job to have been less than stellar. I appear to be suffering from worn rings and also most likely the cylinder head needs a rebuilt also. This is disappointing, but also proves that when looking for a car to purchase, you should have it checked out by a professional mechanic to avoid any surprises.
The drive back from Jekyll Island was somewhat wet, but another club member and I ran the entire way back sans top. It's just more fun to drive a Triumph with the top down. I did notice that my carpets had become soaked from this experience which I attribute to an old windshield frame gasket which lets water seep in whenever exposed to the elements. This like many other things will be addressed when the car comes completely apart.
Check out the Jekyll Island photo page for some of the interesting cars. Once again, thanks to those who took the time and effort to travel to the SE VTR; I enjoyed seeing old friends, making new ones and seeing in person those who I had only corresponded with via the internet. Cheers.
January 16, 2003
I haven't been updating the website much lately due to little activity on the TR6. That doesn't mean that there's nothing to do though. There are any number of little, mostly cosmetic, parts laying around in my basement/work area that could be put on the car. Most famous among those are the door waist seals which still lie (somewhere) among my parts stash.
However, there has been a much larger issue that I've spent some time on lately, and that is my clutch. Anyone who has read through my website knows that I've had clutch issues, but unfortunately they aren't solved yet. However, I now believe that I know why and more importantly, what to do to fix them.
So what are the issues? Well, despite pulling my transmission twice to fix things, the clutch doesn't work right. It engages too close to the floor and is somewhat sticky. I've had the pleasure of talking at length with Nelson Riedel, Dick Taylor and also Herman Van den Akker. I think I've got a couple of issues, and although I haven't removed the transmission yet again, I think they are as follows.
1. Misalignment of the Transmission - the TR6 has two dowels on the bell housing that help line up the transmission. I don't have those in place. I have acquired two dowels. When I reinsert my tranny, I will utilize those dowels to ensure that everything is as it should be. There are a dozen or so bolts that holds the tranny to the engine. All but two of those bolts are 5/16" in size, with a couple being 3/8" diameter. I can't say for sure that everything is properly in place. Note to self, don't hurry so much this time.
2. Throw out bearing - ah yes, the famous throw out bearing! I currently have the Koyo t/o bearing. That bearing has a larger O/D (outside diameter) than the standard RHP bearing. That means it contacts the clutch plate in a slightly different spot than the standard bearing. This can be a problem if your clutch has "stepped" or "cranked" fingers. Mine does, as do most. Some don't, but that story is for another time.
The standard t/o bearings (RHP) don't hold up too well. The Koyo bearing is considerably heavier in construction, and I would say better made. BUT, due to it's increased size, it can wear the clutch fingers and possibly not hold up as well as the original parts manufactured years ago.
It is my understanding that the actual make of clutch plate used by TR6 owners doesn't really matter that much. The problem lies with the t/o bearing and if everything isn't lined up right, then of course that's an issue as well.
So what to do?
Well, they say the third time's a charm, and it better be, since this will be the third time I've had the tranny out. However, several things will be done differently. (In no priority)
One, I'm having the flywheel resurfaced. That will ensure that the surface doesn't pose any problems. I'm not going to lighten it now. That will come later when the engine gets some serious attention.
Two, cross-shaft fork will be cross-drilled for a second bolt.
Three, new cross-shaft bushing will be put in place. They were replaced last time with bushings from Moss. The bushing this time are from TRF, and are substantially wider: approximately. 1" vs. 1/2". This gives the cross shaft more surface to rotate on and thus will give longer bushing life.
Four, the throw-out bearing is being replaced with a Gunst unit. There has been much discussion on Triumph sites about this bearing so I'm not going to tell the story again - see the Buckeye site for that. However, I will point out a few advantages this bearing has. The O/D of this bearing is the same as the RHP bearing. Also, and I think of most importance, is that the bearing is made of bronze. All other bearings are made of hardened steel. The bronze will make for a slicker movement on the front end. I am also going to preload the bearing so it spins all the time. This will cut down on clutch plate wear and should also make for smoother engagement. This bearings tail edge is also pre-chamfered so that where it contacts the input shaft there is less chance for binding.
Five, I will be using the locating dowels to make sure that the transmission is put back in straight.
OTHER FUTURE PROJECTS
I have purchased a set of aluminum spacers to raise the rear end of the car by approximately 1". The installation of the comp springs in the rear have resulted in the rear being about 3/4" lower than the front.
Rebuild rear brakes.
Replace rear trailing arm bushings.
Rebuild engine - I was intending on having the head rebuilt this winter, but have decided to put that off. I am using some oil and occasionally fog the neighborhood when visiting the upper rpm range. This is most likely worn valve guides. Compression, both wet and dry, is good. However, I would like to substantially improve the performance of the engine and saw no need to do the head no and then again possibly make additional changes later. So, I am putting this off for at least a year. Oil is cheap.
Brakes - possibly a four wheel disc conversion.
Rear suspension - coil-over package
Sway bars - front and rear sway bars (with rear bar over the differential)
February 26, 2003
Several weeks ago I installed the Gunst throw out bearing and related components - see the Tech Session log for more detailed info. However, I will reiterate that the difference with the new t/o bearing, coupled with the Sach's clutch is somewhere near remarkable.
Last weekend I took a few minutes to install my rebuilt heavy duty rear shocks and also new shock links. With the exception of installing new trailing arm bushings, this will mean that my suspension has had a total rebuild. The rebuilt lever shocks substantially stiffen up the rear which needed it. Everything feels balanced now, and I'm very pleased with the results.
I've still got plenty of tinkering to do, but the car is ready for the upcoming spring weather.
May 1, 2003
Carburetor Rebuild time
I should know better by now to make such broad proclamations like "the car is ready for the upcoming spring weather." As Mr. Buffett would say "the weather is here..." and it is, but the car is sitting in the garage with no carbs on it - so, no go. Now while we don't have to deal with three feet of snow or salt on the roads down here in Atlanta, it can be unpleasant down here in the wintertime, so those more astute might wonder why I didn't attend to this over the non-driving season? I wonder the same thing, but it is what it is.
And what it is - is that I decided that my carburetors needed rebuilding so I sent them off earlier this week. Hopefully, they will be back within a couple of weeks. The reason for the impromptu teardown was that I was starting to have some drivability issues. It was impossible to keep the carbs in tune due to one of the carb's appetite for damper fluid. Well, I could have done a quickie redo, but I like to do things once and forget about it - well, except for my hobby of pulling transmissions. BTW, the Guntz bearing and new clutch are very happy and they are working well..
AND since the carbs were off, I'm most likely going to get the intake and exhaust manifolds powder coated so they will look as nice as the carbs will when they come back. Reports on both will follow later.
I almost forgot to mention that I am in possession of a set of roller rockers that I got from Jim Swarthout. Unfortunately, they are still in the box. I ordered and just received a set of new valve springs as this was a recommended step to adding the rollers.
The roller rockers appear to be very well made and came with one of the best set of directions I've ever seen for any product. The ratio of the roller rockers is 1.75. This is a bit of an unusual ratio in that in precludes the addition of a high performance cam due to clearances, but the benefit of these rockers is that they will help a stock engine perform better by opening up the valves more. Several people have already installed these rockers and reported good results, so I can't wait to get mine on my car. News on this modification later also.
Other things in the works? Yep, my son and I went to Road Atlanta last weekend and bought a set of braided brake hoses from Ted Schumacher at TSI. I've also got the parts to redo my rear brakes so I plan to do those installs together.
Easy Way to Bleed Brakes
A tool that I recently developed/modified is a pressure brake bleeder. I purchased a pump bottle from Motive Products. They sell a kit with a universal adapter that clamps down on the brake master cylinder, but I found it to leak profusely. But I bought an extra reservoir cap and inserted a screw in nipple that attaches to the bleed hose of the pump. Hard to explain, but I'll get a picture up on the website.
Basically, the way this system works is that you pour some brake fluid into the pump bottle, screw the reservoir cap to your master cylinder and then pressurize it. Then you simply go around and crack open each bleed nipple until you get good fluid coursing through your system. This too will require a future update as I haven't actually used it yet. But it is used on most modern vehicles and the only difference in my case is the modified cap. Motive sells kits for more modern vehicles, but the diameter of the master lid is smaller than the TR6 cap.
Well, that's about it for now. Mostly a list of things to do, but isn't that always the case?
When the weather gets nice, it's easy to overlook updating the website and hard not to go out and drive the car... so that's what I've been doing. In mid-May, I attended the British Motorcar Day at Chateau Élan N/E of Atlanta. The car was put back together in sufficient running form about 5 hours prior to departure time. Oh well, I like working under pressure.
What have I done lately?
1. Rebuilt rear brakes
2. Installed braided stainless brake hoses
3. Powder-coated intake and exhaust manifolds
4. Installed rebuilt carburetors
Several weeks ago a buddy of mine, thanks Joe, & I rebuilt the rear brakes. No big news hear or anything technical to report; just by the book. Looks better and gives much more comfort to mind. I also installed a set of braided brake hoses from TSI to improve performance a bit.
The more noticeable differences are the rebuilt carbs & powder-coated intake and exhaust manifolds. They look better, the car drives better - that's the point right?
One other addendum, even if you have one of those clear fuel filters, take it off and check it. There might be more stuff in there than you think. And yes, the car now pulls much better at upper rpm's where it was starving for fuel.
June 6th, 2003
I hope I'm not jinxing myself, but it looks like the trip to Armagh is going to happen. Last year I was planning on attending, but some months earlier my wife and I took a trip to the mountains. Nine months later, as in "due in early August," Amalie Marie arrived. Well this year was going to be different! Obstacles can still get in the way, but as of now it's go. Departure is set for Wednesday morning, August 6th from Atlanta. Any of you Florida boys passing through town at that time? I'd love to hook up with a caravan. Keep your fingers crossed.
August 22nd, 2003
Well, I made it to Armagh and back with no difficulties whatsoever. I traveled with two other fellow GTA'ers. I had initially planned on leaving Wednesday morning, stopping for the night, and then arriving at The Roadster Factory around noon on Thursday. However, we made such good time that we decided to push on and arrived at the somewhat soaked facilities around 10:00 PM.
I really don't know where to begin in writing about the Summer Party other than to say it was my first. Despite the weather being a little on the wet side, I had a fantastic time as did most everyone I came in contact with. The site of Triumphs everywhere you look is something that you simply must take in sometime.
I met up with many great fellow Triumph enthusiasts, but missed many others due to the throng of people there. There's almost simply too much to do during the three or four days. Driving around Armagh is always fun with the little country roads winding through picturesque countryside. The trip through West Virginia was fantastic as well, the southern portion of the state is spectacular.
I've posted photos of the event at the TRF link. Hope to see you next time around.
September 1, 2003
Mileage - 49,749
September 22nd, 2003
Mileage - 50,677
It's been a while since I wrote up an extensive report, so I think I'll sit down and see what I've got tucked away in the recesses of my brain. First of all, I just got back from my first 6-Pack TRials on this past Sunday. The 2003 event was held in Bowling Green, KY, and it was a great weekend. There were approximately 60 TR6's & TR250's that attended, including a beautiful black TR250 that won best of show. I had the pleasure of meeting more folks who I've corresponded with on the internet via the 6-Pack list, but that was not all.
I arrived in Bowling Green on Friday afternoon just in time to catch the last tour of the Corvette factory. Corvettes aren't my cup of tea - well I wouldn't turn down a 63-67 Stingray - but it was interesting nonetheless to see the build process. I must admit that I wasn't to overwhelmed by what I saw at the factory and won't be rushing out to buy one.
Friday night the attendees had a nice dinner at a local Bar-B-Q joint followed by some beverages at the suite back at the Holiday Inn. The group was up early on Saturday morning to wipe their respective cars down from the morning dew and was greeted by the start of a beautiful day. The car show was held on the ground of the Corvette Museum just down the road, and we shared the facilities with a meeting of the F-Body group- which are Camaros and Firebirds. Once again, not a car I care much about, especially the newer ones, but they do make prodigious amounts of horsepower.
The car show was fun as it gave us another opportunity to meet and greet the various owners, and as I mentioned, the best of show was a black TR250. Following the show, the group took off for an afternoon rally of the neighboring countryside. The entrants were to spy clues along the way, some of which were pretty hard to decipher, but it was all in fun. That evening the event concluded with an awards banquet.
During the rally, I chose to ride along with a fellow GTA member due to an unfortunate discovery on my car. I had noticed some squealing of tire, even at walking speeds, when I turned the wheel. I took off looking for a local who would throw my car up on a lift so I could take a look. I was successful in finding the lift, and unfortunately also successful in finding something amiss. I had a sheared off bolt on one of my lower control arms. This allowed some movement of the wheel, and was obviously a source of some discomfort for me.
This issue couldn't easily be fixed either, as the whole suspension must be removed to access the bracket or bolt. Btw, the bolt is actually tact welded to the bracket holding the A-arm on, AND the bolt that broke, has an unusual head that is thinner than normal so not as to rub against the wishbone. Well, now knowing what that loud pop noise from a week ago originated from, I took some comfort in the fact that I had driven from Atlanta to Bowling Green with no ill effects. So I took a big chance and drove back on Sunday in the same condition that I arrived in, AND MADE IT!!!
Well, parts are on the way from TRF as I'm trying to get the car back in action for this weekend's trip to Hendersonville, NC for their autumn show. I'll keep you posted.
Well I missed it. Yep, I failed to get the car back together for the NC show, and by all accounts it was a terrific show. Next year! In fact, I barely got the car back together for yesterdays jaunt up to Blue Ridge, GA. The GTA went on a tour of the mountains and later met at the Swan Drive-In for a double-feature. I couldn't make the daylight drive, but I did make it for the first movie. Seeing an assorted bunch of LBC's parked in the front row of the drive-in was a hoot. The weather wash chilly, but not too bad, and basically a good time was had by all.
My car is back in decent driving shape after replacing both passenger side A-arm brackets. What a pain in the arse it is to get the spring pad back on. No wonder I procrastinated so long. It was actually worse that I remembered. But I figured that if I was replacing one, then I should do the other and it was a good idea since the rear bracket has a partially stripped stud. For any of you in the middle of a suspension rebuild or a total redo, I urge you to go ahead and replace these brackets, it's just not worth it to through all the effort and have this fail with potentially disastrous results later.
I also replace the windshield frame to body seal. It was a PITA too with one side not wishing to come out. However, luckily I possess one of those ol' English tools, the BFH, that greatly assisted in removal of the sticky side.
As far as what else I've got on the plate for the future I'd have to admit that I'm not sure. At some time the car will come completely apart as will the engine. But I most likely will postpone this for a year or so. In the meantime I think I will just continue to drive and enjoy the car. Yeah, famous last words!!!!
WARNING!!! - SHIPWRIGHT'S DISEASE IS VERY PREVALENT IN THE WINTER MONTHS!!!
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Last Friday my wife and I celebrated 11 years of marriage. During those years we have been blessed with three beautiful and healthy children and of course our two dogs, Gumbo - our first child, and Tupelo, our latest four legged creature. It's been an wonderful 11 years and I am lucky that my bride will still have me. But just to show you how amazing my wife actually is, she allowed me to "celebrate" our anniversary by leaving her - figuratively of course.
I took off the morning of our anniversary to drive the three hundred plus miles to Oxford, MS to see Ole Miss, my alma matter, take on the #3 ranked LSU Tigers. To make a long story short, the Rebels lost but played a good team tough, but even better I got to drive my car to Oxford and back in spectacular fall weather.
To any of you out there who have not been to Oxford, you are missing out on one of the best little towns in the country. Wait, Oxford is experiencing tremendous growth right now, so on second thought, please don't come, and if you do - don't stay, it's too good a place to be spoiled by growth.
So I urge any and all of you whose roads are not covered with salt to get out there and take at least one last good fall drive. When I left Atlanta, the weather was clear, but the temperature was in the mid-40's, and it was perfect.
January 4, 2004
The following was published in the January issue of the GTA newsletter:
GTA Polar Bear Run
by Ashford Little
I think I may look forward to this drive more than any other during the year. Sure it has the distinct possibility of being cold - hint, hint, that's why we call it the Polar Bear Run - but there's something that's just downright fun about piling in your car and heading out on a crisp cold morning for a drive in the mountains of North Georgia.
So it was with this excitement ringing in my head that I cranked up the TR6 on morning of Saturday, December 27th and headed for Roswell to see what other idiots like myself thought it would be a great day for a drive. Heading up GA 400, the car egged me on to go just a little bit faster than normal. I think part of it is my eternal hunt on days like this to seek out and blow by the inevitable MG with the top up. The other part is I woke up late or the kids woke me up early, I'm not sure which. Anyway, back to the top up thing. Several miles before the turnoff, I spotted my prey in the far right lane tooling along with the boot in place. A few minutes later I arrived at the jump-off point du jour, the Roswell Starbucks Coffee House and my prior excitement was not to be unwarranted as there were over 75 cars already in place.
Aside from the chilly weather, and it was a
chilly 27 degrees that morning - the other major draw for me about the Polar
Bear Run is the variety of cars that show up. Don't get me wrong, I like
my Triumph, but I'm an equal opportunity lover of old cars. And in the
parking lot was a car lover's mix of autos - cars from the
The basic plan for the day was to wind our way
The group arrived in Dahlonega prior to noon and had ample time to explore the downtown square before sitting down for a nice meal at The Smith House. Lunch was good, and afterward we congregated outside in the parking areas for more conversation and an opportunity to visit and take a peek at each other's cars. It is my hope that in the future there will be more events of this nature with multiple clubs participating.
The drive continued as we headed southeast towards Road Atlanta and pulled in to legendary driver and team owner Skip Barbour's garage an hour or so later. The inside of the unassuming building contained a couple of very serious looking Porsche race cars and hundreds of race posters from decades of events. A special treat was the opportunity to meet Mr. Barbour as he was kind enough to address the crowd and field questions before allowing us to wander about his facility. The tour of the garage was the end of the day's events and the crowd gradually thinned and wandered home.
I'd like to thanks Steve Cripps, George Forster, Bob Kassow and anyone else involved in organizing the 2003 Polar Bear Run and making it a must attend drive for any vintage car enthusiast in the metro Atlanta area. Now excuse me while I sneak off for a few weeks and attend to some of those items that need attending to before the spring driving season cranks up.
Cheers and Happy New Year,Ashford
February 13, 2004
Well I realize that tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and that some of you will be going out and buying chocolates and other gifts for your sweethearts, but I'm not. Call me grumpy - that's a fairly accurate description right now of my state of mind - but I'm tired of the current weather. It's been damp and cold for a while. Now before I get emails from my brethren up North, let me say that I'm not saying that our weather is worse than Buffalo, but just that I don't like cold damp weather. It's done nothing but rain here almost since the start of the year.
This dampness has definitely interfered with my desire to do anything on the car. At the moment the car is running very well with no known real issues. I had anticipated taking the engine out over the winter for an overhaul, but it's running too well to do that. So for now that's about it. Pray for clear skies - I don't even care if it's cold.
March 17th, 2004
Mileage - 52,669
Spring Oil Change
March 30, 2004
Let's be honest, the purchase of a set of Panasports or other alloy wheels for a TR6 is not a necessity - it's a purely emotional purchase. But then again, most things regarding our cars could slot into that area as well, or we would all be driving Camry's. So let me fill you in on how I came to have a set of Panasport wheels dropped off at my doorstep yesterday.
There are a variety of sources around the country to purchase these wheels from, and the prices seem to fall within a fairly narrow range. Let's face it, there isn't a huge market out there for these wheels like there is for coffee can exhaust on Civic rice-rockets so due to low volume, the price will remain higher than most of us wish. However, given this fact, I wondered out loud one day "it sure would be nice to have the wheels and tires arrive already put together aka mounted and balanced. So I sent an email to The Tire Rack (NFI) and asked if they could get Panasport wheels already knowing that they didn't stock them. The return email was short and said they didn't stock them - gee thanks, I already knew that. I then followed up with a phone call, and got a "maybe, let me check." That maybe turned into a yes and the game was on. Upon hearing that they could indeed get the wheels, I decided to go ahead and order them. The price per wheel was still more than I had hoped for, but they would come with the tires mounted and balanced which I regarded as a nice bonus. OK, everyone wants to know what the cost was so here's the breakdown. The wheels were $246 per, lug nuts came to $28, and shipping was $72. BTW, my contact at The Tire Rack was Jim Holloman - email@example.com.
One thing I liked about the Tire Rack, whether or not you buy from them, is that when searching for tires, you can look at actual owners experiences. These short blurbs contain the mileage driven, the car, and what they thought of the tires. I don't take any comments as gospel, but you can skim through and find out the general consensus pretty quickly. In the course of my search for the size I wanted (215/60/16), one tire stuck out of the norm. This tire was the Kumho ECSTA KH11, which is a summer tire. It was also only $51 per tire. Not only was it inexpensive, but this tire and Kumho tires are developing an excellent reputation amongst enthusiasts. Michelin tires were well over $100 per tire, and other good tires (Yokohama DB S2's) were still $80-$90. Well, I thought it time to consult with a sales person to see if I was missing something here. He said that the Kumho's were less expensive since they were still building their market share, and that a summer tire would be fine for my car.
Here's another misconception amongst a lot of folks, including me prior to this. A summer tire will work in hot dry weather, but it will also do well in rain too. All season tires have at least a bit of snow or mud capability, well I don't know about you, but I'm not looking to take my car out in snow drifts, and we don't get much of that in Atlanta anyway. Also the tread life should be decent too since these are not competition tires. At a minimum, and if I drive an average of 3k a year on my car, and only get 15k out of the tires, I will still have had them for five years. It's not a good idea to keep tires for much longer than that since dry rot will kick it. And that is exactly what had happened to my existing Michelin all-season tires.
So the tires showed up on Monday afternoon and I was like a kid at Christmas time, but there are a few more interesting details I will point out. The first thing I noticed when trying to mount the first Panasport was that the lug nuts are smaller and your Triumph tire iron will not work. The existing size is 3/4" while the Panasports take an 11/16" so you will need to carry a socket and wrench with you in the car.
The second thing that was almost a source of a embarrassment was when I took my first test drive. I hopped on the expressway and took off for about a mile or so, and then go off at the next exit. When entering the turn - at a moderate speed despite my new rubber - I noticed the rear end starting to come around on me. Oops, I had forgotten that brand new tires needed to be scrubbed in or heat cycled before you attempt any maneuvers. Usually you never notice this since you've driven more than a couple of miles when you left the tire store, but I'm just warning you to keep this in mind if and when you take off with new rubber. All you really have to do is drive them for ten minutes or so and you're fine - it doesn't require the slalom-type maneuvers you might see prior to a Formula One race.
Another bit of unscientific trivia was the weight of the old wheels vs. the new wheels. I had tires mounted on both wheels, so I can't tell you what the weight of the Panasports is compared to the old steel wheels, but I did weigh the tire and wheel combo and the results are, drum roll please, THE SAME. I got an indicated (bathroom scale) 44 pounds for both. This shows that even with a one inch increase in wheel size and larger tire, the weight stayed the same. Also the extremely scientific "seat of the pants" feel of the new wheels and tires is good. By good, I mean that in driving the car, I sense that I have a much larger contact patch than before.
So to sum it up, I'm pretty pleased. I gained new wheels which give the car a more athletic look, and tires which are both new, have more grip, and yet ride nicely. The drawback is that the dent in my wallet will push back any paint or body work for quite a bit and/or an engine rebuild. However those two areas are in decent shape and this way I'll get to enjoy the 2004 driving season with a new pair of shoes.
If I left something out or you've got further questions then please drop me an email. I'll try to get back to you fairly promptly, but be patient, as I might be out enjoying my latest indulgence.
May 25, 2004
Mileage - 54,728
I need to update things, but I keep forgetting so this is a reminder to me.
July 12, 2004
Mileage - 54, 835
Those of you who made it through junior high algebra might figure out that I've only covered 107 miles in the past 6 weeks or so. I should be flogged and made to serve without rum for an indeterminate period. The reasons are many, but have much to do with my replacing the windshield wiper wheel boxes. What a PITA!!! I'll fill you in on it later, but right now I'm trying to get the car movable for the VTR Nationals in Richmond this weekend. I due to roll out of Atlanta on Thursday morning, and (as usual) it will always be close to see if the car is ready.
Yesterday I made a minor breakthrough so it looks like I will see some of you in a couple of days. Till then, and wish me luck
July 15, 2004
Mileage - 54,894 - leave for 2004 VTR in Richmond
July 23, 2004
Mileage - 56,090
Back in Atlanta after the VTR. I traveled to Richmond, VA with two other GTA members and we made the trip in about 8 hours - not bad time. The RTR did an excellent job of hosting the VTR but as always the highlights to me were meeting several Triumph folks who I've either heard about or communicated with, but never had the privilege of meeting in person. Thursday evening
July 24, 2004
Mileage - 56, 094
Oil Change - is it possible to spill more oil on the garage floor?
October 3, 2004
Mileage - 56, 816
My family and I went to Flat Rock, NC last weekend for their fall British Car Show. I'm proud to say I made it to the show as I've had serious plans to make it the prior two years, but failed due to varied reasons. The car continues to run well and I have been very pleased with the Panasports - did I say that before?
Most anybody reading this diary will recognize the term "shipwright's disease." I've fallen victim to it occasionally, but have been a good boy recently. This is partly due to having nothing major hit me that needed attention. The car's overall shape continues to be a "good driver." I say this because one day the car will need to be taken all apart. The paint looks good from 20 feet, but the interior is showing it's age. The engine continues to burn oil which is probably due to an engine overhaul that wasn't up to snuff. So one day the whole darn thing will come apart. The longer I can hold off of this project the better since the funds aren't there nor is the time to complete such an undertaking.
October 25, 2004
Mileage - 56,847
OK, looking at the difference in the mileage since early October I think I need to be flogged. I also haven't been doing a very good job of keeping this diary updated and the rest of the site. BUT WAIT!!! there is big news. The first bit is that I now have my own domain name!!! Actually this will make the updates substantially easier, and if it's easier then I will update it more often. The second bit of news won't take place until November 5th. I promise to have photos and possibly even some video of the event. There is a tight lid on press right now and you'll understand once I explain.
But the car is running fine right now, and it better be or I'll be in trouble next week.
November 16, 2004
Mileage - 57,649
The 2004 Damn the Torpedoes Rally was a blast, a great success, and I avoided the local gendarmes so I'm happy. I'm proud to report that I ran 2nd throughout the first half of the race, and was a close third near the 3/4 mark, but blew it on the last portion and dropped to 13th place. I'll blame it on my navigator or maybe it was the two trains in Waycross or... However, 13th out of 42 wasn't the end of the world, and I can't wait till next year.
Photos can be seen at:
2004 Damn the Torpedoes Rally
I was also a bit lucky though. I pulled over late in the race due to an unusual noise coming from the left rear axle. The noise didn't sound dire; I hoped it was a rubbing wheel weight or brake pad, but after finding nothing I continued on to the finish line. The next day I did some further investigating and then it was that I found I was missing one of four bolts on the inner axle U-joint flange. And the others were getting looser by the mile.
The trip back was uneventful despite a little U-joint noise, and the extreme disappointment of a lackluster Blizzard at a Dairy Queen in Waycross, GA.
So, the winter projects are starting to line up, and while I'm doing the U-joints, I guess I might as well do the trailing arm bushings at the same time. Hmm, those adjustable brackets from Richard Good might be the trick!
It is my belief that the U-joints, which hadn't been replaced since who knows when, were a lucky signal to alert me to the axle issue. A quick trip to the hardware store corrected the missing nut and bolt, but all four axle U-joints await a winter fix.
January 22, 2005
I've got some things that need attending to, but I don't like not having the car on the road so sometimes things back up. This is one of those times, and I think I'll list them so that they are put down in black and white in hopes I won't forget them.
February 6, 2005
Mileage - same as above
The car looks the same except that the rear axles are off the car. I took them off to get the four u-joints on the axles replaced. I had heard reactions from "it's easy" to "definitely a pita" in regards to replacing the u-joints. I watched over the job and it did indeed appear easy, but then again it was done by Barry, who has over 30 years experience with LBC's so who knows.
I was more than a bit bummed out yesterday when I was about to put the axles back in. I was suited up in my newly acquired monkey suit from Wal-Mart when I realized that I had other jobs that I had intended to do prior to reinstalling the axles. Didn't I say something about a list? Anyway, I forgot that have a set of Richard Good's adjustable trailing arm brackets as well as a set of poly trailing arm bushings. As long as I have the axles out, I should do these things NOW!!! As in today. So with a little luck, and since the weather is decently warm I might tackle that today.
Later the same day
I decided to get going, but in the process I took a look at the trailing arm bushing, and they looked fine. That means that I will save the bushing and adjustable trailing arm brackets for the full-blown-down-the-road restoration. The axles are in and the car is ready to drive. The weather is spring-like today. Cool.
February 14, 2005
My car hates me. Many issues from being left alone too long. Brakes, drivability, booster, shit what's going on?
Details to follow.
February 18, 2005
Mileage - same as above
Let this be a lesson to all of us, drive your car because if you don't then gremlins will creep into your car and cause havoc. My issues date back to early November & the Damn the Torpedoes Rally. During that rally I had a bolt fall off my left rear axle and that u-joint had seen better day. I put off the repair on the u-joints for a while, but eventually got it done a couple of weeks ago. A combination of bad weather and a missing rear end has kept the car off the road a lot recently. Or at least more than usual.
I had also planned on replacing the trailing arm bushing with some poly ones I've had at least a year, and also replacing the trailing arm brackets with some adjustable ones I recently acquired. That project turned into an easy one when upon close inspection, the trailing arm bushings were in good shape. I'll save the parts for the full-blown restoration scheduled for sometime down the road.
The car failed to start after putting the axles back in. The timing was way off. I don't know why yet, but that was not all. The brakes were also apparently rubbing slightly in the front and causing things to heat up and eventually stop the car. That's not good, btw! A faulty booster was causing a rough idle and quite possibly causing a very slight pressure to be exerted on the brakes. I ordered a rebuilt booster from Partco so that should solve at least one issue. A good bleed of the brakes and I will be able to test out my theory.
March 12, 2005
Just when I thought things were getting better all hell breaks loose. The rebuilt booster from Partco fixed my brake problem, and the car seemed to be running fantastic. So, I thought to myself - self - why not take off on a road trip? There was a show in Panama City, FL this weekend and the weather was going to be excellent so why not go? I mention this to my wife last night and she says "Go!" But something didn't feel right, and to further confound me, I didn't know why. I decided that I'd sleep on it, and maybe go at the crack of dawn today. Well, first I couldn't get to sleep, so I watched a couple of shows on The Speed Channel until I fell asleep around 1 o'clock. Well I woke up just past five this morning and said well, that must be another sign to go. So I tell my wife I'm off and off I go. I get about twenty miles down the road and funny things start to happen. My radio starts going on and off, my gauges are reading very low and my overdrive won't engage. I pull over and then the car barely starts so I head back home. I notice as I'm pulling into the garage that my headlights aren't burning very brightly. So I'm perplexed and pissed. However, I've got the day to myself and should have no interruptions so I hope to fix something. Stay tuned.
April 19, 2005
Mileage - 58,697
I'm not on the best of terms with my car these days. I had planned to take he/she/it to Oxford, MS two weeks ago with my oldest son to catch the spring football game, visit some friends and enjoy a drive in the spring time. The last time I was planning on going out of town my alternator died. Oh yeah, I forgot to fill you in on that. The issues in March were due to a bad alternator - a bad Bosch alternator which was only 13 months old - so much for Lucas, Prince of Darkness. Then new one is working fine and it didn't cost me anything although I think there is a slight noise coming from the alternator fan.
So, I wanted to head to Ole Miss, but frankly I didn't trust the car. It hasn't been running 100% lately and I still haven't gotten to the bottom of it. Initially I had been told that my timing chain might be the source of the noise coming from the front of my engine, but I tend to discount that.
Other issues that have me pissed, discouraged, or otherwise not happy are:
The interior is showing it's age and needs to be replaced.
Engine - might be time for a rebuild
In general my car has been very fun, very reliable, and looks pretty good. However, there are a lot of unknowns about who did what and how they did it - such as the engine, apparently the rebuilder was not "top notch." There are a couple of small places on my doors that need to be addressed when I budget money to paint the entire car.
On a positive note, the Walter Mitty races are in a couple of weeks at Road Atlanta and there will be a large contingent of Triumph lovers there. If you are coming then be sure to stop by turn 5 and say hello to the Georgia Triumph Association contingent.
May 16, 2005
Mileage - 58,812
The Walter Mitty Races at Road Atlanta were a blast. The Georgia Triumph Association had one of our own out on the track - see www.gatriumph.com for a report. With Mike Munson racing, I had the opportunity to spend some time in paddock and even help out a very small amount. It was very fun. If you've never been to a HSR race then get out and go. I didn't get to go in the TR though, I took my Trooper and ended up camping out in the back. Memo to self- next time bring an air mattress!
On May 7th, the GTA was also part of one of the largest British car shows in the Southeast, Atlanta British Motorcar Day - that's a mouthful. The event draws in the neighborhood of 500 cars that include many MGs, Triumphs, and Jags, but also plenty of the smaller marques. The show has been held on the grounds of Chateau Élan, which is near Road Atlanta, and is about 45 miles northeast of Atlanta. If you like cars then make plans to come next year.
I did drive my car to the Chateau Élan show, but on the way home my car started to act up again and I began to wonder if I was going to make it.
Today I did a few checks on things which culminated in a compression check. But before I get to that, let me lend a little bit of advise to those of you who are new to LBC's, but might not have bought one yet. Get as much documentation as possible on your future car. Documentation such as who actually rebuilt your engine, and do they know wtf they are doing? If someone says "I had the engine rebuild last year" say fine. But ask who did it, and ask to see the receipts. The quality of a rebuilt and which parts they used varies, but you might tend to forget these things when you are dying to drive off in your new whatever.
Ever since I've owned my car, the #2 cylinder has been suspect. Oil consumption has increased dramatically and it was obvious that the "rebuild" that had been performed earlier wasn't of the highest quality. Oh well, this time it will be. The valve guides are certainly allowing a lot of oil to go in the wrong places and today the compression figure for #2 was virtually nonexistent. So the head will come off soon. I would like to not perform a total rebuild right now since funds are tight, but we'll see when it comes off what it going on.
June 3, 2005
Mileage - same - 58,812
I've been updating the site recently about as often as I've been driving the car, which is to say, not very often. However, the UPS man has me believing that XMAS must be near given the amount of boxes that he has been dropping off lately. To sum it up briefly, the #2 cylinder has some major issues. So what to do? Redo it obviously!!!
I had an extra cylinder head that went to the machine shop. I opted to install some stainless steel valves that will flow much better than stock. I also had the head shaved to up compression to 9.5:1. I will also be installing a set of 1.75:1 roller rockers from Creative Engineering. My cam is stock so this will give me more valve lift and thus give a little more oomph. I plan on redoing the bottom end of the engine later unless when the head comes off there is something that needs immediate attention.
My car has had a growing appetite for oil during my ownership and it appears that the last rebuild was of substandard quality. In that case, I'm not even sure if the previous owner knew anything about the quality or who did it, but this is where it pays to know the history of a car, and I didn't.
This time, the reworked head was done by a very reputable machine shop in Atlanta that is very familiar with Triumph engines. To my surprise, they had it turned around in about a week. I also decided to make some other changes too.
I had my harmonic dampener reworked and the results were very nice. You might ask, how could that be? Aside from looking brand new, the most impressive thing to me was being able to actually read the timing marks. And now the part won't come apart when I least need it to either.
And since I have to take the radiator out to put this on, I am going to install an electric fan to pick up some additional horsepower. I went with a Perma-Cool 16" fan coupled with a Painless wiring kit. I plan to use a thermostat from a common vehicle (I've heard the VW's work nicely) and have a bung installed in the radiator rather than using the supplied sensor.
I've not done any of the work yet, and will be heading out of town soon for a few days, but once I start the actual work, I will update the site and get some pictures up for your viewing pleasure.
June 20, 2005
Mileage - Don't Ask
OK, so what's been going on? Well, I did have an extra cylinder head redone, and done right. However, until I took the existing head off of my engine I was not sure that my thoughts were going to fall in line. So two days ago I took the head off of my engine. The tops of the pistons looked ok - not great- but I've seen a lot worse. The cylinder head looked about like I'd expect it to - #2 cylinder valves did not look great. I'd done a wet compression test so I'm still leaning heavily on the fact that my lack of compression in #2 was either a stuck valve or a burned valve.
However, when I scraped off the carbon on the #1 cylinder I was surprised to find that the block had not ever been bored out. The pistons are STD. Hmm, this leads me to believe a few things and also reinforces who to do and what not to do. According to the previous owner, my engine had about 40k on it when I bought it, thus making the total mileage about 140k. But I did not ask what exactly was done in the rebuild and hence I'm guessing here on a lot of things.
I do know that the car's cylinder head was not reworked very well due to the oil usage that I'm attributing to valve guides. Several years ago I was also told that something else didn't look exactly right when a well-thought of mechanic took a look at the engine. I also now know that at best, the cylinder walls were honed. It's possible that this was all that was needed, but given what I've run across during my ownership, I tend to doubt it.
So, the lesson here is documentation. If you are looking at an LBC to purchase, you need to ask very precise questions and ask for the proof of what was done, and as importantly, by whom. Otherwise, you really don't know squat.
Presently, I have an expertly rebuilt cylinder head, and I know the specs on it. I also have an upgraded rocker assembly with roller rockers. I do know that the bottom end of my engine had the connecting rod & main rod bearing replaced about two years ago. The cylinder walls are not perfect, but I plan on most likely acquiring an extra engine soon and then rebuilding the bottom end over the winter. The compression figures were consistent across the board so while I expect there is some considerable wear in the cylinders, it's nothing that won't hold up till the weather gets nasty.
That's my plan, and it will allow me to continue to drive the car until it gets cold and rainy down here.
June 22, 2005
Mileage - you know
One more thing that I forgot to mention. I was sitting around the other day prior to Father's Day, and I ordered myself a gift. I ordered a Passport G-Timer. This little device, made even more of a deal by a flyer in the mail, will enable me to cut through the BS, and measure 0-60 mph, 1/4 mile times, horsepower, g-forces or cornering forces. So from now on when I make a change to my car that I expect to improve horsepower or something else, I will be able to measure it vs. my baseline numbers.
It should be interesting, and I'll be able to post this information on the web in the near future.
June 28, 2005
Mileage - same
Before I forget, somebody had one GT6 pushrod in my engine! This is yet another example of DPO screw-ups.
July 20, 2005
Mileage - same - 58, 812
So I'm taking a little longer to button this up than originally planned. However, where do I stand? Well, the fan is mounted up to the radiator, and I am very pleased with how it turned out. I took a couple of photos that Shannon Muncy, a fellow 6-Pack email list member forwarded on to me when I dropped the radiator off. Four tabs were welded to the radiator frame, and then studs were welded onto that tab, and secured with a nut. I like this approach because it is secure as all get out and it's easily removable.
However, nothing ever goes exactly as planned so here's the rest of the story. I used a 16" Perma-cool fan, which may be overkill, but I had also been warned that clearance could be an issue with the front cross member. It was. I had to wallow out the hole on the radiator brackets to allow the radiator to be mounted about 1/2" further away. I found this out after I had persuaded the radiator in place, and then found that the cross member was pushing on the radiator fan motor enough to prevent the fan from turning. That would not be an acceptable solution, but I did get a new drill out of the deal since I broke my old one enlarging the hole.
Oh, and the cylinder head is back in place. I used a copper gasket - cuz Mike "Tigger" Munson says so- from Gasketworks, and currently have in place some 1.75:1 roller rockers from Creative Engineering. I'm hoping that I will be able to feel a definite difference when I am back on the road.
Oh, and I almost forgot, I put on the reworked harmonic dampener. I like it since I can read the timing marks with having to resort to using white-out.
Speaking of back on the road, what is left to do?
1. I've got to wire the fan
2. Finish replacing the coolant hoses - TRF had a sale on green ones.
3. Put the manifolds back on - I'm waiting on some new studs and bolts.
4. Change oil
That's it! But it better be since I'm going to be out of town a lot in the next couple of weeks, and I return a two days before I'm supposed to leave for The Roadster Factory's Summer Party.
Actually, that's not it at all. I should take the time to once again thank all the generous and extremely helpful Triumph nuts on the big Triumph list and the 6-Pack email list. Without you, we'd all be in a lot more trouble.
Keep tuned to see if he/she/unnamed car will make it to Armagh!!!
September 15, 2005
Mileage - 58, 841
29 MILES!!! That can be viewed as either a victory or a dismal failure since that is the distance I've covered since May 16th - a little math tells me that that's almost 4 months. It's late at night, and I'm too tired to get into all the "trials and tribulations", screw-ups, malaise and who knows what else has kept me from driving what used to be my trusted steed. I will give an update in a moment or two, but first I must mention some bad news that is not related to my TR.
On August 29th, Hurricane Katrina swept down upon my old stomping grounds and home area of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You've all seen the pictures of destruction that Katrina left in her wake, but it was not pretty. I spent a few days back at home to help friends and family dig out from the incredible mess, and while things are pretty bad to say the least, I will mention that I felt positive about the steps the Coast is making towards recovery and bringing things back to what was once a beautiful area. The coast will rise again, but just like after Camille, it will take a while.
The bad news is that is automotive related is that my father's Morgan Plus 8 and early 911 both got wet. Neither met the fate that his old TR4 did in the aftermath of Camille, but they will both require full rehabilitation.
On a more positive note I leave tomorrow for Little Switzerland, NC for the 6-Pack TRials. My car obviously did not make TRF's Summer Party. It will most likely miss the TRials too. I have some slight confidence that the car's bugs have been worked out, but not enough confidence to drive the four hours to NC. So, all you 6-Packers out there better be on the lookout since I will be wanting some seat time in your car. I'll post photos of the Summer Party and the TRials when I return, but for now it's off the bed.
See you on the road soon!
September 27, 2005
Mileage - 58,865
The mileage has not budged much since my last report, but I'm fairly confident that everything is in order for this weekend's Southeastern Vintage Triumph Registry Convention which is being held at Jekyll Island, GA. The past few months have been trying to say the least. I suffered a burned or stuck valve in #2 cylinder necessitating a cylinder head rebuild. I don't guess that I'm all that surprised since that is the same cylinder that seemed to be suffering from excessive valve guide wear. I'm sure that other ones weren't in that good of shape either. Since I was having that done then I decided to do some other things which included: roller rockers (more on that later), removal of the mechanical fan and fan extension and replacement with an electric fan. These items went according to plan, which means that they didn't and I had to overcome many small obstacles along the way.
However, as I write this, the car isn't leaking any more fluid than the usual small leaks of Dino oil, and the car definitely has more pep than before. The interior and exterior is starting to look a little tired. The car underwent some sort of restoration many years ago, but not everything was done correctly nor were they necessarily done in original materials. So if I bump into you at Jekyll you will forgive me for not having the car look as good as it can or should. I am thinking of building up a bottom end of the engine this fall and going with a hotter cam and a few other go-fast items.
The money tree seems to be suffering from the drought that the Southeast has had and on top of all that I'm acquiring a new project. Hurricane Katrina really messed up my hometown of Gulfport, MS and specifically my father's Morgan and 911. The good news is that the 911 will be moving north to Atlanta. The bad news is that it went swimming in the hurricane. I've made arrangements for the car to get a thorough going through by a 911 mechanic, and hopefully the damage is not too severe. If so, then it may turn into a track car.
October 3, 2005
Mileage - 59, 597
732 - that is the number of miles since we last got together. I wish that it had been an uneventful number of miles, but that would be far from the truth. I fought through a lot of issues during my trip this past weekend to Jekyll Island for the 2005 SEVTR. Basically the problems boiled down to two main areas: overheating and a miss that didn't want to go away.
October 6, 2005
Mileage - 59,937
Sorry for the scant coverage of my ills, but here's what happened. My car appeared to be running fine, so I took off last Thursday morning to meet up with some fellow caravaners (sp?). By the time I had covered the thirty or so miles my car's temperature gauge had climbed dangerously close to the maximum level. My friends were there to greet me, but I had not time for niceties and quickly popped the hood to discover that the radiator was loosing fluid out of the cap. I checked everything and after the car had cooled I added some more fluid. The timing was spot on, the fluid was topped off so there was no good reason for the issue. We took off and I hoped for the best. I was mistaken. Luckily the gauge only got up to about 3/4 or so this time and as long as I was moving it remained relatively safe.
I was enjoying driving the car though. The increased compression to 9.5:1 and the roller rockers had added some oomph, but I kept my eye on the gauge. When we stopped for lunch, it was hot, damn hot... both the engine and the outside temperature. I popped the hood and peered about. Wait a minute!!! Currently I do not have the crankcase vent going back to the carbs and vent to the atmosphere - just don't tell the tree huggers. The air inlets on the carbs are blocked off with rubber nipples, but I found one missing. I have no idea how it could have popped off, but that would definitely cause the car to run lean, and if things are lean then the car will run hot.
I stuck some duct tape on the inlet as I was fresh out of nipples, and the car's temperature instantly moved down the scale to roughly half. The miss was still there though. Throughout the weekend I checked everything I knew to check: timing again, points, plugs, rotor, cap and even the discumbobulator, but nothing cured the issue. I then decided to check each spark plug again. Numbers 1, 2 and 6, if I remember correctly, were fouled due to my richening the carbs. I changed those and the issue went away. I wasn't able to conquer my problems in time to run the autocross, which was a bummer, but at least I was pretty confident that things were looking up.
The SEVTR weekend was a very good time. Jekyll Island, GA is a scenic spot not too far north of the Florida border, and will be the scene of the spring 2007 SEVTR so stay tuned to www.sevtr.org for photos of the past event and updates later on for the next one. Sunday morning dawned over our tired, but happy crew, and a good buddy and I took off for Atlanta. We got about halfway home and stopped in Dublin, GA for a burger. I should have known something was up when the fuel pump didn't stop pumping fuel and dumped a bunch of gas on my trunk. After cleaning the mess up, we were off on I-16 headed towards Macon. It was then that I called a buddy to see where they were. Immediately after I got off the phone, I looked over and noticed that the temperature gauge had once again climbed towards the 3/4 level. I watched it from then on, but it never rose above that level and I made it home safely without further incident.
However, the overheating was starting to really piss me off. I waited for the engine to cool, and then checked the oil and coolant level. The oil was about a quart and half low. This means that I lost about a quart over 300 miles or so. The head gasket was leaking slightly, but not enough to account for this amount of oil. I then checked the coolant and found it to be about a quart low too. The fluid had bubbled over into the overflow bottle and I suppose bubbled out of it too. The coolant color also troubled me. It was a brownish color. Initially I had observed this, but chalked it up to the Barr's Stop-Leak, but this time I felt it was unmistakable evidence that the oil was getting in the coolant.
I am running a solid copper head gasket, and the cylinder head was shaved, but the block was left untouched, so I suppose this must be the reason for the leak. I am going to go to a stock Payen gasket until the bottom end of the engine gets rebuilt. The copper gaskets are good for warmed over engines, but the surfaces must be clean and smooth. I can't speak to the smoothness of the block. So for now I am waiting on the new stock head gasket to arrive to pull my head and hopefully eliminate the one remaining issue that I have. I don't have much time to mess around as I'm running the car in this year's 2005 Damn the Torpedoes Rally. Think of it as just a few guys out for a stroll on a Friday on our way to the beach. That's all I'm going to say about that, but I'm aiming for a top 5 finish this year after running 2nd or 3rd for most of the rally last year, but dropping to 11th by the finish.
May 20th, 2006
340 miles since October. That sucks, and eventually I'll get off my arse and tell you why. If you occasionally check on my website to see what the latest exploits were and wonder why I've not updated the site, then do me a favor... email me and make me update things.
Btw, the TR did not make the 2005 Damn the Torpedoes Rally. I ended up taking a new/old friend and finished 7th despite some of the most horrific navigating errors.
Happy 4th of July!!!
Happy 4th of July to everyone! I hope you have a happy and safe holiday which includes driving your LBC. I WILL be driving mine today, thank you very much. I'm not sure what the heck I did to upset my Triumph, but it's been a rough year and half. As soon as I chased down one problem - another would pop up. I'm not trying to jinx myself, but I drove it the other day and it ran like a bat out of hell... and nothing went wrong. Sure the list of things to do is long, very long actually, but for the first time in a long time I think I could hop in it and go anywhere. I'll update what I really need to be doing shortly, but that can wait.
October 2, 2006
Aha! For those few of you out there in cyberspace who rigorously follow this diary you will notice that the mileage has changed more than a few tenths since my last update. The non-driving gods have conspired to keep me off the road for the better part of a year and a half. The car has periodically appeared to be in tip-top driving condition, but after weeks of sitting idle I'd find something else wrong, something that I'd forgotten about or simply something that wasn't "quite right."
Over a year ago a friend of mine began to prod me and a few buddies to drive our Triumphs to a football game in Oxford, MS to see the Rebels play the Georgia bulldogs. It sounded like a fun idea, but no plans were really made until the past couple of weeks. These plans did not really include a heavy checking out of the TR, but I piddled with it over the past couple of days and decided that it seemed roadworthy. We embarked on Friday afternoon from Atlanta with a six hour drive ahead of us. The rest of the caravan of Triumphs never appeared so it was just my buddy Joe and me in my TR, and two other friends in a late model VW GTI. Things went well till we hit a massive traffic jam just west of B'ham.
My car really didn't like sitting in stop and go traffic and began to foul a plug or two. Number two cylinder has always been a problem, and it continued to lead the suspect list. I had the head redone a year or so ago so the issue appears to be something in the block - either a broken ring or simply worn out rings. Oil consumption appears to be quite unacceptable, and my earlier suspicion of valve guides being the issue may turn out to be incorrect.
Despite the plug issue, which was generally corrected by cleaning them up a bit, we drove on and got to Oxford around 9:30 p.m. that night. The car was running pretty poorly again but we were just glad to be there. Saturday consisted of socializing in "The Grove" which is an amazing place to tailgate prior to a football game. The game didn't turn out in the Rebels favor largely due to some amazingly bad calls but the TR got us back to the house Saturday night.
Sunday we had a leisurely breakfast and got on the road around lunch time. Less than five mile out of town the car started backfiring badly. There had been no prior indication of anything wrong and to say I was worried was a big understatement. I feared that something was about to let loose. I changed the plug on #2 again despite it not looking too bad, and gave it five miles to either turn back and pile in the GTI or forge onward.
Five miles came and went... 8 miles then 308 miles and we were back near Atlanta. The car never once backfired again. All is not well however, as I had heard a bad noise coming from the rear end like something big was loose and rattling. I have not checked it out yet, and I hope it's not the rear differential mounts. A much better problem would be if one of the shocks is loose. I'm having a few buddies over in two days to check it out and a few other things.
So that's where I stand right now. Good news followed by bad news. Hopefully it's just a loose nut on the lever shocks.
October 6, 2006
Mileage - 61,207
I don't know anything definite yet, but I had two problems. One, #2 is fouling out too often, and two, a noise coming from the rear. I think issue #1 is ring related. I think #2 may be been something loose in the trunk or should I say I hope that's the problem.
I did a compression test on Wednesday night, and got the following figures.
#1 - 180
#2 - 180
#3 - 150
#4 - 155
#5 - 165
#6 - 180
I had sort of hoped that number two would be low, but it wasn't. I haven't had a leak down test done, but I'm thinking I've got a problem with a oil ring or possibly a bad lobe on the cam. Neither will be diagnosed for a little bit.
I did bleed the brakes a bit, and they seemed good.
January 16, 2007
The car has moved about a mile since I last reported. A combination of things has kept me from driving the car not to mention that I had it up on four jack stands to let it meditate on things.
As I mentioned in October - jeez has it been that long - I had a noise in the rear. I cleaned my trunk up to verify that I didn't have a loose jack or something clanging around in there. So this weekend I put the rear wheels back on the car, and let the car down off of it stands. There was a crack in the vacuum line from the carb to the distributor which I fixed and hoped it would run better. It appeared to. It was then that I backed it out of the driveway for what was planned to be a twenty minute drive or so. Could all my problems really be traced to a cracked rubber line? The car sure seemed to be running decently.
I reached over and put the car into reverse. Backing up my driveway I noticed a something that felt odd. Actually I continued to hear the rattling from the rear end. Previously I had checked the u-joints and lever shocks to see if anything obvious was loose or bad. Nada. Yet the clank continued. Then I felt as if something was binding... then it went away. I put the car in first having already determined that I should initially confine my drive to the neighborhood. The rattling confined with what felt almost like my brakes were dragging confirmed that I wasn't going far. I limped my way around a one mile loop and then put it in the garage.
Out come the jack stands again. I check the u-joints again, but this time focusing on the drive shaft. They looked fine. Then I start looking at the differential mounts. The rear ones looked fine, but you really can't see much of the front ones with the diff in place. I decided to run my hands up on the stud and think I have detected an issue there. So, as it stands right now the car probably shouldn't be driven until I've removed the differential and checked the diff mounts for cracks. Looks like a little welding is in order.
I hope your project is going better than mine.
February 12, 2006
Mileage - same as above whatever that is
Well, I suppose this falls under the category of "I've got some good news and some bad news." I had convinced myself that I had fallen victim to the dreaded broken differential mount issue. Everything seemed to fit except I really never heard the "clunk" in the rear, but rather a rattle. So after waiting for it to fix itself by sitting up a foot or so on jack stands and realizing that wasn't going to happen I got to work. I enticed my buddy Shawn to come over an add a helping hand we got to work this past weekend. We managed to persuade the diff to come out without removing the exhaust system, which is a good thing since it would have meant buying a new one. Much to my surprise I found not only unbroken mounts, but the front rear had been fixed previously. The welds weren't the prettiest, but everything was in place in all four corners. We then took another look at the u-joints and they seemed fine too. Hmm? What the hell?
Maybe I should take another look at the lever shocks? Damn it! I had inspected them before and thought I had put a wrench on them, but the answer is that I had not. So, I got the privilege of removing the differential for naught, but at least I learned a few things, and also changed the oil in the rear. So the noise in the rear appears to have been corrected.
I've not driven the car yet to verify, but I feel 95% confident that I found the problem. That leaves me with potentially another issue that I will report on in the next week or so.
Since we all love to talk about the weather and how cold it is this time of year, I will tell you that if you experience warm weather in the next week or so, it isn't due to global warming. It's because I ordered a propane radiant heater for the garage. Sure enough it was near 70 today in Atlanta!
Maybe things are starting to turn for the better!
February 26, 2007
Mileage - a little bit more
I may finally be getting somewhere! I dropped my car off it's jack stand perches the other day and took it for a spin. The rattle coming from the rear end was no longer there! Excellent, one problem solved. However, the car's transmission seemed to have a mind of it's own. It felt like I had those new-fangled paddle shifters as at times it appeared to shift on it's own. Now we all know that can't happen and the clutch wasn't slipping so it had to be the overdrive. I think I've got a short somewhere, but I disconnected the OD till I have a while to check into where the wiring has run afoul.
The good news is that the car ran well, and appears roadworthy. I'm going to figure out the OD soon since once you've had one, you don't want to do without. But the car should be good for around town duty to shake it down further.
Did I mention the weather is finally getting nice too? Sorry for you boys up in the Great White North, but it's top down weather here... at least this week - so let the fun begin.
Cheers, and I hope you all are making some progress yourselves.
April 12, 2007
Just when you think you are getting somewhere the bottom drops out, or in this case the transmission. I had recently come to the realization that it was time to take my car to a great LBC mechanic in my area to get the car 100% for the driving season. I arranged for a buddy of mine to come by with a tow vehicle and a dolly, but when I got in the car and attempted to back up to load the car it would not go in reverse. I gave it a couple of tries, but saw no need to bust something to prove a point. I discussed the issue with Bart and he said it was probably just something on the top end of the shifter... bushings or whatnot.
Then the call came in from the mechanic the next day. Your transmission has major problems! Damn! Much metal in the fluid when it was drained so he said the only practical thing to do would be get it rebuilt. Ouch! This is about the time some of you might consider replacing the tranny with the Toyota conversion which would probably be the more practical answer, but I chose not to go that route. My car is 37 years old and while the Toyota would no doubt be bulletproof - it would take away some of the charm of the TR.
A few days later the phone rang and it was the guy who was going to rebuild my transmission. He started off the conversation with "don't worry this won't cost you any additional money." Never a good sign. Anyway, the lay shaft, apparently a weak point know for wear on TR6 transmissions, had spewed all sorts of metallic pieces and also frozen itself. He's sending me the broken bits and pieces back with the rebuild, which should be done in a week or so.
I also had a leak-down test done on the engine. Not good news, a couple of the pistons showed about 40-45% while another was at 70%. In other words the engine is worn out. Time to finally get a rebuild on it for some more zoom-zoom. Given the unexpected cost of rebuilding the transmission, that will most likely wait till the fall.
August 5, 2007
Mileage - ~61,000
Changed the oil
August 7, 2007
Mileage 62, 292
I'll update the site more thoroughly this evening, but I just wanted to point out that the car did indeed move in the past few months. Drove from Hotlanta to Cincy to Dayton - back to Cincy and then home to Atlanta this past week. Oil consumption is high, but the car drove great. The roads in Ohio are some kinda rough though, I thought I was going to break something at times. More on what my plans are in the next few days.
Mileage same as above
Temperature: 100+ degrees
It's late, the dog's asleep, I've got a big gulp full of iced tea, the family's out of town and for some strange reason the King is singing Merry Christmas Baby - what better time to contemplate matters? I know it's not exactly Christmas (maybe it's wishful thinking for cooler weather - damn it's been hot lately), but I think perhaps if I put into words what I'm thinking then perhaps I'll get something done that needs to get done. That something is planning for and actually performing a rebuild on my engine. I've been threatening to rebuild my engine for the past three years. Some say procrastination is bad, but I prefer to think of it as a way of saving money. However after travelling from Atlanta to Cincinnati and back last week my oil consumption has finally gotten my attention. I covered a little over a thousand miles and added five quarts of oil. No matter how hard I try to rationalize things that's a lot of oil. ** I just did a check above and found that its been five years since the bearing were replaced.
Anyway, I think the time has come to finally get things done right. The head was done a couple of years back and hopefully is still in good shape. That leaves the bottom end, but driving season and the 6-Pack TRials are coming up. My hope is that I can continue to drive the car through September or October and then take the car off the road for the rebuild. It's time to start accumulating the parts. My head was shaved to yield approximately 9.5:1 compression. New pistons will undoubtedly be needed. More zoom, zoom is also in order. That means a new cam, and I'll probably go with a GP2 or GP3 cam and other go-fast goodies. I'll keep you apprised of my wish list and welcome comments on that.
Sunday, February 17th
Mileage = can't recall
Major news and photos coming soon. Yeah, yeah, I know, how many times have I heard that, but this time it's true. Sorry for the lack of updates, but mechanical and pc related issues have kept me away for a while. Back soon!
Tuesday, April 8th, 2008
Break in oil changed from 10W30 Valvoline Racing to 20W50 Valvoline Racing.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2008
Boy it's been a long time since I sat down so here's the abbreviated version. Car goes to shop, engine gets refreshed, everything now much better! You want more? OK, I'll get to that a little later.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Mileage= not sure, I should check
I should post some photos. The car is running like a champ! Well, that doesn't mean everything is hunky dory though. My electric fan went out, but thank goodness for that metal called aluminum, or at the Brits like to say, Al-you-min-ee-um. I can drive my car without a working fan as long as I don't try to poke along in rush hour traffic. Not to worry, I'm going to get it fixed, but I just haven't had time.
The engine refresh has made me a pretty happy guy. The engine somehow didn't need new pistons, so the bores were honed, new bearings installed, new cam, new lifters and the aforementioned aluminum radiator put in. The engine can now rev, and rev, and rev. I'm not sure how much since the tachometer went out. I've got another one to put in, but haven't gotten around to that either.
The brake booster was found to be torn to hell and back so I got another one. I wasn't the exact repro, but I like the brake feel much better. Braking is also much better thanks to some more aggressive pads. I can now stop sorta like a modern car.
I've got a thousand cosmetic items that need attention too. My top is starting to rip in some small places, and the seats don't look too good either. I did order a new carpet kit a few months back. I purchased a grey set, and am anxious to see how it looks since I've not installed that either.
I suppose a flow chart of things to be done might be in order. Photos soon, and this time I mean it.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Mileage - not sure
I've covered about 2,000 miles since the engine rebuild and it's been running phenomenally. I've got an oil leak (don't they all?) but it's nothing bad. The car is away for a few days while I get a new electric fan installed. I bought my radiator from TRF and it's a Wizard fan. I found out later that if I had ordered it direct from Wizard that I could have gotten a better fan pre-mounted. Too late for that, but I ordered the fan and brackets from Wizard.
I'm taking off in a couple of weeks on a long tour. I'm headed for Michigan to spend some time with some Triumph guys and then to Ypsilanti, MI for the National VTR convention. Then I take off for Canada and then back to Atlanta. I figure that I'll put about 3,000 miles on it during my journey so everything has to be ship-shape. Wish me luck.
I'm also thinking of doing some major cosmetic stuff over the winter.. this could include a new paint job and a variety of other stuff. Stay tuned for updates on that.
Monday, November 17th, 2008
Mileage - 74, 389
It's been another long period between entries and while I'm sorry, and might have forgotten some of the details, at least the car is running well. So where did I leave off? Of yeah, I was about to take off on my long adventure. I did, and it was fun. I left at the end of July and headed north to Michigan to drive my Triumph with a bunch of other LBC enthusiasts. I stopped in Cincinnati, Ohio and stayed with another Triumph buddy and then we went on to Swartz Creek, MI. We spent several days exploring the area including a trip up the peninsula.
We stopped in the middle of nowhere and found this an excellent spot to top off our tanks with a quick cold one. As you can see from the cars and might imagine, we had a great time! Motoring along in a caravan like this is about the only way to recapture some of the good ol' days when driving was really an adventure.
A couple of days later I drove an hour or so over to Ann Arbor for the Vintage Triumph Register's national convention. Seeing hundreds of Triumphs in the parking lot is not a bad sight. As usual, the VTR is a lot of fun, but soon enough it was time to head over to Canada and hook up with my family. I left Ann Arbor about nine a.m., and things were fine until I got within a hundred yards of the Canadian border. For some reason, some idiot had called in a bomb threat so I spend the next three hours trying to find a spot to get across the border. I arrived near Lakeview, Ontario later than planned, but the TR didn't let me down.
I spend the next week doing not much of anything; that's what vacation is about isn't it? But when departure eve came I couldn't sleep. Finally at 3 a.m. I got up and walked out to the TR6 and cranked it up. I planned on driving for about twelve hours, which would put me at my in-laws house, so I could get a good night's rest. Well, I got there a 3 or so, and figured "what the hell, I could be home in a mere 8 more hours" so I pressed on. I drove into my driveway at 11:15 that evening. I had covered one thousand two hundred miles in my car in one day, and yes, I was bone tired. The trip had covered 3,005 miles in two weeks or so, and nothing had gone wrong. Who says you can't drive the cars on long distances?
The next few months were spent driving around Atlanta with our local club. However, as November neared I became a little worried about a vibration I had developed under load. I run a rally with a bunch of other car nuts this month so I wanted the car to be perfect. I suspected a worn u-joint, but it turned out to be a broken differential mount. These are quite common on TR6's, but I had dropped the differential a while back and noticed that the front right mount looked good. In fact, it had been nicely repaired in the past so I didn't suspect that this could be an issue. I was wrong, again...
My 911 had been in the body shop for the better part of nine months, but was due out any day now, so I felt comfortable that one of these cars would be ready for the rally, but as usual, it was down to the wire.
The 911 had a fuel leak that couldn't be repaired in time so the TR6 was my driver for the DTT Rally. Things went well from the start. We drew an early start position, and navigation went pretty well. However, as I pulled into checkpoint #1 I saw a bright yellow Shelby GT350. He had left about nine minutes behind me and had been there for ten or fifteen minutes. So much for 1st place.
My navigator Alan and I took off trying to make the best of it, but as luck would have it we made very good time over the next five hours or so. We also had some more luck and the Shelby was out of the picture. We were first to the finish line, but had to wait a couple of hours to verify that we had the best time of the day. Team Triumph took home FTW, Fastest Triumph in the World as well as first overall.
I had several folk mention that I couldn't wipe the smile off my face the whole weekend, and they were right. Winning the DTT Rally was a definite highlight of recent years.
January 25, 2009
Mileage - 75,137
Hmm, 750 miles later and I've done nothing but drive the car and have fun. Are there things that need to be done? Well yeah! But these things are mainly cosmetic and I just don't feel like it right now nor is the monetary fund doing too well these days so things will remain the same. The other day it was cold down here in Atlanta but I felt like taking a drive. The temps were around 25 degrees and the top was down. I didn't feel like putting it up so I bundled up and headed off. Thirty minutes later and a little colder I came back with a big smile on my face. I still need to remind myself to richen up the carbs a little, but the car is still running like a top. No worries. Sort of a boring update, but sometimes no news is truly good news.
June 2, 2009
Mileage - not sure
Time has a way of changing things whether or not you want it to. Over the past couple of years time in the garage has shrunk. Much of that has to do with having three young children. My oldest son, Nathan, will turn 11 next month. Davis next in line is 8 1/2 and Amalie will turn 7 also next month. They are great kids most of the time, and they are busy. Since they are busy, my wife and I are busy. Soccer, lacrosse, baseball, basketball and now swimming take up a remarkable amount of our lives. Although I might complain to my wife about all the practices and such, I really am just being a bit of a grump since I really love watching them competing on the field. There are also the numerous school functions that infiltrate our calendars. This leaves little time to work on my cars. Luckily the TR is in good shape mechanically. Cosmetically it needs some attention, but I'm not sure I want to embark on a long and certainly expensive total restoration. I got a call from a friend of mine today asking if I'd be interested in having him take care of some restoration for me - at a cost of course. My first reaction is "hmm, that sounds like a good idea." But I can't ignore the economic realities of what has happened in the past couple of years. Therefore I doubt I'll be doing anything right now. I think the prudent thing to do right now is to focus on the big stuff like my family and trying to save some money for those little things like retirement and college. Oh yeah, and I did move recently and that is always more expensive than planned.
I have had some car fun lately though. In late April I along with a bunch of friend attended the 2009 Walter Mitty races at Road Atlanta. If you haven't been to the Walter Mitty races then you should go. The sound of roaring engines... straight sixes, inline sixes, V8's and even small bore 4 cylinders coming down through Turn 5 is a treat. Attendees can stroll through the pits and see some amazing cars and some very nice folks.
Our local club, the Georgia Triumph Association, has a busy summer planned with drives to the Ga Mountains and beyond. If you live in or near Atlanta or nearby then check us out - www.gatriumph.com. The 6-Pack is another sources of fun and a bunch of 6-Packers came from far and wide to see the Mitty. If you own a TR250 or TR6 then you probably know of this club, but if you don't then join - www.6-pack.org. That's it for now