Tuesday, 22 November 2011

RBRR prep starts here.

The very first part of a cunning plan began this evening as I picked these up locally. 
 The last RBRR was very wet on the M5 from Bristol in the early hours of Sunday morning and we already have a V8 estate and a 4x4 V8 estate on the run,the only logical car missing was a 4x4 estate with a 6. Hence the large off road wheels and tyres!
Obviously I am joking,Amanda wouldn't part with the MOMOs.Preparation for us will possibly involve some more bodywork,I have the panels to get the rear end of the estate refurbished.......I just need the money to get Pete to do it!
We are car 55 this time and along with all the other competitors we will be raising money for 'Children with Cancer'.October 2012 seems along way off at the moment,but it will soon be here.Good luck to everyone else who is now getting their mind focused on car preparation and see you all at 'The Plough'

Friday, 7 October 2011

A new edition to the fold

After some extensive searching Dad has something to keep the GT6 company in the garage.
This is just how the car looked after driving 120miles back to his house, the overdrive needs a look at and Dad isn't sure about the rear fogs or front spots, but it looks a good sound basis for future improvement. It looks like last year's RBRR in the estate has a lot to answer for!

Friday, 27 May 2011

An inDIFFerent day!

Today was the day to install the rebuilt diff in the estate and hopefully put an end to some noise and oil drips from the rear.The diff was the original as far as I know, so with 137k on the clock it hadn't done bad.It has just recently sprung a leak from the nose too,which has meant extra monitoring of the oil level.

Up on the 2 post lift the task ahead didn't seem so bad.The rear wheels off,followed by the driveshaft flange bolts and inner sections removed.Next was the prop,the handbrake cable was undone at the join between front and rear cable,the cable has frayed at both tubes through the rear subframes,so something to order and replace.The prop front UJ had some play in it too.Pete whose lift I was using got on the blower to a local autofactors who duly delivered a new one.The reason for the UJ play was evident in the shape of a collapsed gearbox mount,well it was a repro item with at least 20k miles under it's belt.A good secondhand Metalastik one from my store will be put on tomorrow.Exhaust was next off,the middle single box section caused a lot of trouble as I wanted to replace it with a stainless twin box section(which didn't fit when I tried to fit it).So Pete's 'trade' tip which eventually got the sections apart was all in vain anyway.

 The 'deadman' was employed for support whilst undoing the subframe to nose piece bolts and rear mounts.He looks a little wooden in the photo though.More tips and some additional muscle from Pete saw the diff on the floor.

Fitting the new diff was just a reversal of removal(it sounds easy but...) please don't ignore Mr.Papworth's handwritten warning next to the filler plug!So I filled her up with some fresh GL4 just after this photo.

By this time the UJ had turned up and Pete swapped them over whilst I reinstalled the driveshafts and exhaust.Pete did mention that the UJ cups were loose in the prop yolk,but back in it went.Look how nice that new diff looks and with voided rear bushes from Superflex I'm hoping for a big improvement.Handbrake cable back on along with wheels and a test drive beckoned.

Instantly the improvements were obvious,no clonk as the drive is taken up,so that was the old diff and a general lack of rear end noise as I trundle up the road.Got to about 60 and suddenly huge vibes.Limp back to Pete's with exclamations of 'it feels like I have square wheels'.Back up on the lift and the clicking noise heard driving into the garage is found to be the new UJ,it has shed a circlip and is about to lose another.The prop is pronounced scrap.A spare one is found in Pete's garage and swapped out.The second test drive and return home is much better and the new diff has made a lot of DIFFerence.Just I now have to source a new prop.Thanks must go to Pete johnson at Yorkshire Triumphs,it would have been much harder without his help and lift.So now you see what I mean by an inDIFFerent day!

Monday, 9 May 2011

A smashing day.......not!

We got up early this morning and left home at half six with 170miles to travel to Mike and Ann's near Wallingford.Just short of jct27 on the M1 the day took an unexpected turn.With a sound like a gunshot the toughened screen became the world's hardest jigsaw. At least it stayed intact and I piloted us off the motorway and into this layby by peering through the 'zebrazone'.

The kids were with us when the screen in the estate went nearly 3 years ago,at least we had no ears this time.
Recovery arrived within 40mins and we were loaded and on our way home.At least it was only a little after 9 by the time we got home.First job was to remove the broken screen and contain the mess.Still intact after the recovery,front seats were removed and dust sheets put down.The glass was removed and the car hoovered.
The dashboard in FRanK has always been warped and split since we have had him,access seemed better with no screen,so I started to unbolt that too,I had a better one in the garage.

Without the dash the cabin looks very different,my son Callum's legs can be seen in the photo,he was helping me with the work today.

A little later on we had the new dash in and bolted up,the steering column to dash bolts were a challenge but we got there.I'm also going to change the wood binnacle for a better one but with my 'known' gauges.I tried to reverse the car back in the garage without the gauges installed,because the ballast resistor circuit was not completed with the tachometer disconnected,I didn't get beyond firing up and instantly stalling.Plugged back in the car ran fine.

Shouldn't take a lot of imagination to workout who I will be ringing tomorrow and about what.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Struts and stuff

Day off today,so as Amanda left for work,I took up the vacant space on the drive.The front struts have been built up for a week or so,just neded to swap them out.A simple nuts and bolts job really,don't forget the shims on the bottom two (smaller) bolts!I used some non setting caravan sealant at the top where the strut bolts up to the inner wing.

The difference is obvious from before and after.Next it was off for the MOT,which FRanK passed with flying colours.The ride has improved and seems quieter,less harsh,but more contolled.
This Sunday we are off down to a car show at Wallingford near Didcot with our friends Mike and Ann Stevens,it's their local show.Whilst the tyres on the pi are good enough to pass the MOT,they are 'old'.Classic cars are great,classic tyres aren't,especially if you are going a long way at higher speeds.So the solutions were,swap the wheels from the estate to the pi,or buy a set of tyres for the 14'' Stag steels I intend fitting to the pi.I hate 'S' alloys you see.
I then remembered that the MOMOs dont have enough clearance for the Stag rear drums I have just fitted to the pi.The raised lettering wont allow the wheels to sit flat,a problem that others have found with Stag rear brakes.So it was looking like major expense for new rubber.Until I found some 5mm spacers at the local accessory shop.Do I have enough clearance for 6''x14''s shod with 195/70/14 and 5mm spacers?

The photo above proves that I do........just,although its not a gap that a finger will fit in.I also gave FRanK a celebratory polish in readiness for Sunday's parade and show.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Sitting comfortably?

I won some Rover 620ti seats on ebay a few months back.I have been makng up some adapters for these from 50mm angle iron to mount them on a spare set of big saloon runners,after aborting the idea of using the Rover runners.You can see the brackets in the photos,the seats are mounted in for Monday's trip to York raceway for a bit of drag racing,they will be taken back out again,filed and painted ready to go back in with plastic side trims for Thursday's MOT and the Wallingford (near Didcot,oxfordshire) car show we are attending next Sunday with our friends Mike and Ann Stevens.

 The idea of the seats is to use them in either car as we need to,for long distance use/RBRR and such like.They look good in place,they aren't as extreme as Recaros but will give more lateral support than the standard slippy vinyl seats in the pi especially.If we get on well with them,I may look out for another 620ti passenger seat,they are obviously going to be less worn than the driver's seat that I have. 

Friday, 22 April 2011

Complete struts

 The component parts of a big saloon strut are not like some I have done before.The top mounts are not just a single unit that you place over the top of a compressed spring and fix with a single nut.The thrust washers and centre bush/sleeve need to be put together in the correct order to work correctly.
 The coil springs need a lot of compressing from their free length,I used three clamps on each to give more confidence.I also found on assembly that the clamps need to be a full coil in at each end or they will foul on the spring pans as you release the tension-guess how i know?
I also know that you cannot tighten the top nut down properly without a 15/16 deep ring spanner,not the ring end of a combination spanner.
After trying Halfrauds,screwfix,toolstation etc.I found a proper tool merchants who not only sold AF spanners but BSW too.£11-53 later I had the correct spanner in the back of the car.
Later I tried to tighten the nut up,sure that the 'endfloat' was due to the nut being loose.I then became concerned that I may have assembled something incorrectly and proceeded to strip it all back down.The moral of this part of the story is to check that the sleeve in the centre of the topmount is the same length as the top mount and coated thrust washers,you can't tighten the 'endfloat' away!
My problem here was assembling parts from four strut top mounts into two.After the learning curve of the first strut the second was a 20min piece of cake
 Install on the pi won't take long,remembering to watch out for the shims on two of the four lower bolts.The car should be about ready for the MOT it's due early in May,just a check of the handbrake adjustment after the Stag drums have bedded in.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Diff and strut latest.

Firstly a photo of the freshly rebuilt differential for Amanda's estate, carrying it from Alan Chatterton's Audi to the pi boot at Crich was not an easy task. Not looking forward to lifting that in to place!
 It has to be said that if the outside looks of the diff are any reflection on what the insides look like,Mike Papworth has done a great job.Thanks also to Alan,not only for picking up the diff from Mike and bringing it to Crich,but also for taking Dad's old driveshafts back to Mike.
And so to this evening.My freshly painted strut tubes need building back up,the thread in one was a little challenged and although the insert retaining ring was picking up,it needed winding in with a tool.
 The inserts I got from E J Ward have pin drive retaining rings rather than a hexagon nut.This is wound in as far as needed to stop the insert moving up and down.Two washers were needed as packing pieces under the strut insert,don't forget to pinch the top in to stop the retaining ring coming undone.
 I knocked up a 'tool' for the retaining rings out of some flat bar and two 4mm bolts.A hole cutter removed the centre to allow the damper rod to pass through and the bolts were secured by tapping the holes and screwing them in.
Guessing the positions for the bolt holes gave me two rather than three pins lining up,but that was enough to wind them in whilst the strut was held in the vice.The bottom superflex spring insulators can be seen in place.Just the springs and strut tops to fit on along with gaitors and top spring insulators.Then on to the pi ready for it's MOT.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

'Cars on your drive always end up with their wheels off!'

That was what my neighbour said this morning when he popped home for a couple of bits from his garage.I guess he is possibly right.Mum and Dad arrived yesterday,the longest journey the GT6 has done since Dad rebodied her with a T6 Fabrications fibreglass LeMans body.Today's 'wheels off' adventure was to change the rear driveshafts and hub assemblies for ones rebuilt by Mike Papworth.  
 One advantage of Dad's car is the total absense of rusty fastenings to hamper jobs,the old unit he has in his gloved hands is nearly as clean as the new one.
 The shafts come complete with hubs and brake backplate,so the brake shoes,cylinders,adjusters etc need to be removed from the old and replaced on the new.Not much left on the nearside.
 Looks better all back together with brakes bled and the reasons for changing them were proved correct upon examnation,both UJ's were showing signs of fatigue and one wheel bearing felt a bit rough!
 After putting the car back on the ground and driving back and forth to allow the suspension to settle,it was up on some small wooden ramps to allow me to tighten the radius arm bolts with the car's weight on them.
 Next job was on a more familiar car,but still involved wheels coming off.Time to fit the Stag rear drums on the PI.
Brakes dismantled and driveshafts withdrawn,no dramas with the six securing studs in the alloy trailling ams!
 A quick and gentle wire brush of the studs and trailing arm mounting face,then a light dusting with the copper grease spray and we are ready for reassembly.
 Cleaned the splines of the driveshafts and coated with CV grease to try and avoid spline lock after replacing the refurbed Stag backplate assemblies.
 Dad attacked the drum facings with a sotchbrite pad and some gunwash and they were back on.Also fitted a new rear cable on the handbrake and reset the brakes after bleeding the new cylinders.They do look nice though.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


With the estate getting a rebuilt diff,I decided that the quill shaft bearing in the diff 'nose' should be replaced too.After all what would be the point of putting the new diff in without doing it?The spare diff came with the correct height nose extension for the estate but these are said to be a weak spot particularly on facelift estates like ours,it's recommended to add some strength with welded 'webs' like shown below.
 Excuse the holes drilled in them,this wasn't some futile weight saving exercise,just holes from previous use of the steel bar they were cut from.I have owned an arc welder for over 20 years,it keeps dust off a shelf in the garage very nicely.I have never used it though.So I decided to have a go at welding them into place.I had mislaid the instructions,but had some 2.5mm welding rods and set the amps halfway through the range shown for this size and tried welding some scrap bar together.Not easy but I managed it,so I decided to have a go on the nose.A few hours later and lots of grinding back and rewelding,I had four welds that try as I might,I could not break.
 Not the prettiest job in the world and certainly no challenge to Chris Witor for his exchange strengthened nose pieces,but I did it myself and once painted and under the the car it will be fine.Today in between decorating our downstairs toilet I found time to assemble all the parts of the Stag rear brakes which are going on the pi.This is the final piece of the brake upgrade which has already seen me install the front brakes,master cylinder and servo and dual circuits from the same car.With any lluck these will be fitted later this week in time for Crich next weekend.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Leaking diffs

The differential front oil seals on both our cars are leaking,the estate has always been dry up until a week or so ago,but the pi one has leaked from day one.The diff on the estate I have always suspected of being noisy,with a definate 'whooshing' sound at speed.With this in mind I went to see Mike Papworth this morning,with a spare 'unknown' estate diff and some Timken bearings that I have picked up from somewhere.Mike and his assistant Darren both said the same thing when the back cover came off..............so it looks like a full rebuild.At least the bearings and oil seal I took with me will make the cost a bit less and as Mike said,you can't just buy Timken bearings off the shelf.I should have it back the weekend of Crich Triumph day via Mr.Chatterton or Mike if he decides to go.
I didn't come home fromMike's empty handed though,my Dad had asked me to speak to Mike about some reconditioned halfshaft and hub assemblies for his T6 bodied mk1 GT6.We shall fit these when Mum and Dad come up to stay just before Crich.
Below are pics of these.Not a bad day for Mr Papworth then!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Raising the pressure

I had a day off today,so I started by changing the cotton reel rear exhaust mount on the estate.I noticed it was broken when polishing the tailpipe on the stand at Stonleigh and meant to change it there,but hey-ho.
The garage has been in need of a tidy for quite some time,so I gave this a bit of a go today.I turned up a bonnet pull cable that I had forgotten I had,so the one on the pi that was broken at the T handle was duly changed.I just changed the inner cable,greasing it before install has made it much easier to pull. 
Attention was then turned to the PRV that I still hadn't adjusted.The photo above shows what lies under the left hand boot board,on the left is the auxilliary fuesbox I installed,fed direct from the battery,one fuse then powers the pump via the relay next to it.The relay is triggered by the original fuel pump wiring.
Mounted at the top right corner of the pump carrier bracket is the PRV.After clamping the HP fuel hose from the pump to the PRV (the C shape hose) I took the top mounting bolt out of the PRV,this allowed it to be tilted up at the back as shown in the next photo,so that when I removed the return hose from the end to access the adjuster screw,I could see what I was attempting to do.
 A clockwise half turn was tried first,the pipework reconnected and the clamp removed.This gave me roughly the reading I was advised by Andy Thompson to look for,thanks Andy.108-110psi on tickover seems OK.A quick trip round the block showed the car to be pulling well.
In a little show of 'character' a misfire crept in as I reversed up the drive.I suspected no1 injector was not playing,pulling it out confirmed this so I changed it for an overhauled one and after a few seconds normal running was resumed.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Parts painted and thrust washers

 The freshly blasted strut parts were kept in the boilerhouse at work this week,lovingly painted with black smootherite and left to dry overnite between coats, they are now ready for reassembly.
Probably not quite the finish you would get had they been powder coated,but I had the paint and brushes already,so all it cost was time.
Having stripped two sets of front struts,I have four strut top rubber mounts.All four appear to be in good condition,two will be used by myself,two by Alan Chatterton for DEL 33.The other part that can wear on the strut assemblies are the thrust washers.These can create tight spots as you turn the steering wheel.The photo below shows the 8 thrust washers I have,they are showing varying degrees of wear to the teflon like coating on one side of them.The top row left is very worn like a bearing shell and scored,others show areas of coating that have chipped off and worn away.Having received 8 new ones from Chris Witor today,I can confirm that I have 1 or possibly two that could be used again,the left two on the second row.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Having a blast

 I had to change a front strut on the PI the morning of the MOT last year,bad leak.What went on was very 2nd hand.With the MOT due again in May I decided that it would be much nicer to have some refurbished ones on this year,everyone knows MOT testers are like magpies......they like shiny bits.
So I stripped down a spare pair of struts I had in the garage and took the springs,strut legs and top spring pans for blasting.Above is what they looked like before,below is how they came back £25 later.I started painting them today at work.A boilerhouse makes a great paint drying area.