Monday, 19 November 2012

NEC and CMoT

 This year's NEC started for Amanda and I on the Thursday morning. One of our exhibits had no motive force, we managed to borrow a car transporter trailer from good friends Pete Johnson and Richard Measures (thankyou gents). The picture shows how to get two trailers down to Redditch and ultimately the NEC with only one car! HOE gets fully used again.
 Once we had got to Alan Chatterton's and unloaded then reloaded the car transporter with 'Libby', Alan's Lines estate, it was a short journey with Craig Bennett's Range Rover (thanks Craig) towing Libby and HOE towing the stand equipment to the NEC. First thing to do when we unloaded Libby was ridicule Alan for the 'Paris-Dakar' stance of the Lines estate, something must be wrong!

 The stand was sorted along with the rest of the 'show' cars and Friday's show opener went well.
Saturday Amanda and I didn't do the NEC but went to the Coventry Museum of Transport. A good day out and free, with displays on motorbikes and scooters and Coventry's blitz experience.Lots of nice cars on display including this mk1 2000 estate and a mk2 2500TC Police car. Lots of other Triumphs on display, Stag, TR7, Vitesse
 and VA1 the first Dolomite Sprint.
They also have a display including the actual car, on the current land speed record car Thrust SSC. The museum is well worth the visit if you are in the area.
Sunday we were back on stand duty, arriving before opening I took the chance to snap a few cars before the public made it much harder. As always the standard of cars on display is very high with paintwork to die for on many cars.
Highlights for me included a 1974 Citroen DS in black, a stunning car.
The FJ Classic car show usually has car clubs grouped together in a logical order, the 2000 Register stand was next to the Standard car club and Club Triumph, with the TSSC and Dolomite owners club and TRregister all nearby, with this in mind I looked out for the Lancia owners club and American vehicles and managed to photograph this 60's Ford
Thunderbird, a hardtop coupe rather than the convertible also on display.
On display on 'our' stand we were lucky enough to have (along with Alan's Lines estate) Mike Weaver's FF V8 estate, Julie Hadfield's 2500S saloon, Gary Burn's MK1 2000 saloon and Bill Bradley's works rally mk1 2000 FHP 993C, thanks must go to all these people for providing their cars for us to use.
Also on the stand Friday and Saturday
was Pete Collier with his newly printed book 'Triumphant Rallying' the story of big saloons in rallying competition through the years. We had a signed copy from him and can thoroughly recommend it.
The photo to the left shows Mike's car towering over Libby (just) on her axle stands so that all could see the front differential and driveshafts, unique to this car.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

RBRR final prep.

Dad came up yesterday in readiness for the RBRR,(up the A1 again) Mum has stayed at home with their daily driver BMW so Dad came up in the T6. Today I drove it over to show Pete at Yorkshire Triumphs after we had spannered a bit on HOE and the rebuilt engine is loosening up nicely, in fact it was a very enjoyable 40mile round trip.

So what did we do on HOE?
Readjusted the front wheel bearings, the front pads were suffering some heavy knock back, the bearings had settled nicely and just needed a little tweak.
I also fitted a new spring and plunger to the bottom of the more annoying buzz from that anymore! Gearbox, diff and engine oil levels were checked along with PAS oil and belt. Radiator and oveirflow bottles were checked and wipers replaced. I also got some K-Seal just in case. UJs greased and gearbox mount checked, along with some bolt security checking and then off to the garage to fuel up and jet wash. A light polish and RainX later this is what we are left with.

Just some bits to chuck in the back tomorrow and then off to the Plough...see you there.
Just a thought for the 'other' big saloon in our life, still dirty from the trackday and left behind tomorrow, always a bridesmaid, never the bride!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Over the last few days I have replaced the front wheel bearings after confirming the best way to do it via the Register and CT forum, a quick 52 mile round trip dropping Shannon back at Uni confirmed that some more noise has gone!

Alan Chatterton dropped an auto box off to me yesterday at work from Mike Weaver for Steve burrows, he picked it up last night from my house, gets complicated just before the RBRR.

Last night I checked the tappets, first time for ages. Couple of tight exhaust ones so something to keep an eye on and four loose ones so a bit more noise has gone.

Finished off by applying the RBRR logo on the tailgate. Looks well!

Monday, 24 September 2012

No more the 'startled hedgehog' and RBRR prep

Last Friday saw the usual suspects back at Blyton for another trackday. When we were here last April FRanK gave a good showing, with excellent brakes and 'Sweeney' handling. Less flattering was my mate Al's description that FRanK looked like a startled hedgehog. Since our last visit some Superflex trailling arm bushes and some very good rear subframe bushes have been installed, along with some 205/400lb Chris Witor front springs. The pic below is from April.

The pic below was last Friday and marginally less speed, but I think it shows less lean. Certainly for the short time the track dried on Friday and on the road the transformation has been dramatic. The front strut inserts are probably not up to the standards of the springs now but as 99% of my driving is on the road, this is not a major concern at the moment. So the startled hedgehog has gone.

Mum and Dad were up from Thursday night to enable Dad to go to Gaydon on Sunday for the RBRR driver's meet. After a trip to town on Saturday we had a couple of hours spare in the afternoon to prep HOE a little more. So a little bling was added in the form of Driver names and country of origin transfers on the rear side windows.

The Driver's meeting at Gaydon was done in convoy with Steve Burrows in his wedgewood 2000. The weather was dull but dry. Steve was having some problems with his auto transmission on the way down and decided to turn back at about halfway. We would pick up his driver's pack and some t-shirts for him.
The weather once there was awful and has stayed that way since, so today with a charity dress down day in aid of Children with Cancer  at my work, I had HOE outside the main entrance without the big charity stickers.  The rain eased at bout lunchtime so I decided to get 'stuckin'.I dried areas on the doors, polished them and prepped with some soapy water.  Three of the stickers went on fine, the first had torn as I was smoothing it down. I just wanted the car to look the part as I have now started to 'bully' people for sponsorship.  Hopefully Tim Bancroft will have some spare stickers at The Plough as mine seem to have lifted a bit with the intense rain we have had today. The car does look the part with them on though.

Let's hope the weather has rained itself out by the 5th October.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The pi is ready

Once home from work yesterday I got changed and started the last bits of prep work on the pi before next Friday's trackday. First on the list was changing the large (baked bean can) subframe bushes. Just like on HOE they were very weak, but they were most likely the originals as they were Avon not repros.
I had a very good used set in stock so I cleaned and painted them before install.
The last job left on the list was changing the trailing arm bushes. 
After swapping the arms on HOE I had cleaned up the ones I took off, installed new Superflex bushes and left them in the garage in readiness for changing them over on FRanK. So after changing the subframe bushes I took off the back wheels and removed the rear drums and driveshafts leaving what you see in the picture below.


I then went indoors to clean up and have some tea. The rest could wait until today.
One thing worth mentioning is that I installed the Stag rear brakes less than 18months ago, I didn't have any new Nylocs for the  6 a side hub retaining studs, so (as they looked in good condition and were very tight) I re-used them. All 12 of them were literally finger tight. I have done a few miles since then and a trackday, but I was quite shocked how all of them had loosened off. I now have and will use on re-assembly, new Nylocs. You should too.
Today I swapped the arms over, it all went well until I was installing the halfshaft on the second side. I rested the brake backplate on the studs of the arm and reached over for the halfshaft when the backplate fell off the studs to the floor, breaking the metal brake pipe flush with the male connector at the back of the wheel cylinder. I thought it was all going so well.
Molegrips on the flexi stopped the fluid leak, realising that the brakepipe was very long and could be rebent to give some spare changed my mood a bit and I located the flaring tool and new fittings in the garage. Taking the brakepipe off and using the vice for help, I reformed the Kunifer and flared the fresh end. Usually I use copper pipe with my flaring tool, Kunifer takes a lot more effort, the vice was employed again to assist with this. The remade pipe was put back on and tightened and Amanda assisted with the bleeding of the cylinder. Once back on the ground and driven back and forth to reset the back suspension I tightened the trailing arm bolts. The picture below shows the new arm installed on the driver's side before the passenger side (marathon) was started.

So that is Frank ready for the trackday, the original rubber bushes in the trailing arms were very soft and mushy. The new Suprflex bushes, along with the changed subframe bushes and progressive front springs should make quite a bit of difference on the road and a lot of difference at Blyton. Also without realising Team 55 has a viable plan B car for the RBRR, should anything happen to HOE in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

RBRR and trackday prep

The following things have been done over a few evenings during the past week.
First job on HOE, our chosen steed for this year's RBRR, was to change the large (baked bean can) subframe bushes at the rear. This also gave me a good excuse to try out my new high lift, long reach trolley jack, which I have been tripping over for the last few months in the garage. It was worth the expense.

I was lucky enough to source some NOS Avon Metalastik bushes to replace the repro items I had installed about three years ago. They had a little storage surface rust on the outer steel casing which I treated. This is how they looked after painting and curing in the boiler house at work.

The tell tale wiggle or twitch at the rear which can signify a weakness in the bushes had returned. An MOT advisory on the nearside one had prompted some action, they never usually look too bad from the bottom which you see with the car on the ramp. The picture below shows the top as installed, that you can't see when looking at them under the car. The central sleeve has clearly parted company from the rubber of the bush..........NOS, or poly is the only way when replacing these bushes!

Replacement is done by raising the car for access, supporting the subframe, undo the cental bolt and withdraw it, loosen the other end of the anti-vibe strap and push it to one side, undo the two fixing bolts and it's out.

The nearside rear hub has in the past had an advisory and I was sure had a noisy bearing. A spare shaft in stock felt OK apart from the inevitable knackered UJ. Fantastic, my favourite job in the world! Changed that and the shaft was ready to install.

Iffy handbrake on oneside I think was down to worn self adjusting mechanisms, the footbrake was perfect. Luckily I had some NOS shoes with new adjuster mechanisms on the shelf, so as the drum was already off on oneside to change the halfshaft, it seemed like the best time to do them.

Some play had been detected in the top of one front strut, these were rebuilt by a PO just before we bought the estate. So fearing the worst I had a good look. Turned out to be the strut top nut had not been tightened properly, which was easily sorted.
So just the front wheel bearings to replace and the car to roadtest to see if the 'new' halfshaft has a quiet bearing. Fingers crossed.
The end of next week sees me at Blyton Park for another trackday. The pi seemed fast enough on the straights but very wallowy cornering. My mates in spitfires could have cornered faster, but weren't able to pass me on the straights or outbrake me. With this in mind I had sourced some 205/400 Chris Witor springs. The front struts had been overhauled by me last year so removing the old springs and installing these was relatively fuss free. Look at the difference in free length between the original and progressives.

Two hours later and they were changed and I had been fed too. Lucky I had the front wheels off, the pads in the Stag front brakes were a little low, not ideal for a trackday.

The difference between the worn pads and NOS astbestos laden Ferodos is easy to see. Discs are perfect still so the pads I took out must have been old stock as well, they have always left lots of dust on the front wheels.

So I now need to do the front wheel bearings on HOE and slacken the much improved handbrake, check the fluids in 'box and axle and grease the prop UJs and we should be ready. I also have something to put in the windows but more of that in the future.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

GSM Delta?

I helped Pete Johnson pick up a couple of cars today, so this morning at South Yorkshire Triumphs there were a few more rare cars. GSM Delta. Not a name known to many I would guess, (I had to google it when Pete told us about them earlier in the week) but today 2 travelled 400 yards from a residential garage to Pete's workshop.

So what are they? A fibreglass vehicle produced in South Africa and West Malling Kent, in the late 50s early 60s. With a tubular ladder chassis and Ford pre crossflow engines, they were around 500kg with a bhp/tonne ratio of well over 100.

This example would appear to have always been a roadcar, certainly very different and not unattractive, I like it anyway.

Shades of 50s corvette in the dashboard design

Stylish door card for a very limited production run.

Ford engine looks fairly normal, transverse leaf front suspension is more unusual and look how far behind the axle line the engine is mounted.

The second car has racing history which is gradually being researhed, it certainly raced at Goodwood back in the day. It does need some work now though.

When we picked up the race version there was a hardtop that wouldn't fit in the Vectra estate, so I carried it back. It rests on the roadcar to see how it looks.

In the picture above you can just see the front wheel of Pete's mk1 pi estate and in the workshop is the shell of the 'barn find' laurel green mk1 pi we had on the Register stand at Stoneleigh last year, lots of new panels and bare metalling has got it to this stage. As I said lots of rare cars at Rawcliffe at the moment.

Last but not least a Stag, not that rare but just being fitted up after a paint job, this one has never been welded, has all it's original panels and exhibits all the spot welds on the lips of the arches that it left the assembly line with. An RV8 with Weber 500 and manifold and Monarch headers make this a powerful and very smooth driver. It also has USA high back mk1 seats.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Back on the straight and narrow

Shortly before the 2000 Register national in Dorset last month I had investigated a vagueness in the steering on HOE. What I found were signs of deterioration in the rubber coupling at the top of the steering shaft under the bonnet. This shaft joins the steering column to the steering rack and is bespoke to the PAS equipped cars. Chris Witor always attends the National and offers to bring parts orders to the event with him. So along with some other bits and pieces a new rubber coupling was ordered and duly picked up at the event. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, I should have looked at the UJ at the bottom of the shaft too because as soon as I started to dismantle a couple of weeks ago the play was obvious.
This UJ is part of the shaft and unavailable, Chris Witor sells a new version of the shaft complete with a new style of rubber coupling at the top. So this was ordered instead.
Removal is simple enough, two pinch bolts are undone and removed from either end of the shaft and the steering column height adjustment handle is loosened off. I then pulled the column up through the bulkhead using the steering wheel. The first picture shows the rubber coupling with a screwdriver stretching the splits, there were more than I realised as this is the unseen underside of the coupling. 

The next picture shows the old and new improved shafts next to each other.

One plus of the column being out of the bulkhead was that the perished rubber bush that the column passes through could be replaced with a Superflex item. Wear in the old bush is obvious to see in the picture below.

So with the new bush installed and care taken aligning the steering column indicator self-cancelling mechanism (I had set the steering rack dead ahead before dismantling) the top of the shaft was slid on to the coumn and the UJ end slid on to the rack. A bit of pushing and shoving backwards and forwards of the column to allow the pinch bolts to be installed and NEW nylock nuts tightened, the engine was started and the lack of vagueness was obvious. Not a bad hour's work.

Friday, 15 June 2012

The best Father's Day present ever?

Sadly like many families these days my kids live with their Mum and stay with us every other weekend.
This weekend (handily) they are with me. Callum who is 12, asked me when he arrived this evening if I wanted my father's day present now.
Not wanting to stop his obvious enthusiaism, I replied 'Yes ok'
He shot off to his bedroom to get it out of his bag and after closing my eyes as instructed, this is what I received.

He made the frame himself and even etched the perspex with the logos via some special computerised printer at school. It isn't important that Father has an extra r in it, although it may be apt, (Callum is so used to spellchecker these days he never checks things!) Kids frustrate you at the best of times, but occassionally they really make you so happy.
I think it maybe the best Father's Day present ever! 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A quieter exhaust?

Today, with the aid of Pete's lift, I started the first stage of the EFI installation on Amanda's estate HOE. With the 2000 Register National starting next week and us planning on using HOE for that, now would not be the time to start major projects. The CW 6-3-1 does have a welded socket at the collector for a lambda sensor, these don't like being subjected to use without being connected electrically. I managed to cobble together a bung for this via a truck parts retailer.
So after removing the exhaust system and downpipe from the old cast manifold I stripped the carbs and inlet manifold off, plugging the coolant hoses to stop too much leaking out. As I stripped this out I noticed damage to the cast item that I would no longer be using.

Obvious in the photo above is a section of metal missing from around the securing hole above cylinders 4 and 5, more obvious in the photo below is the hairline crack developing in the centre where the front 3 and rear 3 cylinder join. This was longer still at the rear! So the manifold had seen it's best.

Another item that had seen it's best was the gasket between manifold and head, this showed signs of blow by at both exhaust and inlet. When undoing the securing nuts, some were no more than finger tight so the blow by was no surprise. Once removed the gasket had 'manifold' stamped on one side and looked for all the world as if it were the original.

The new (to me) CW manifold looks far sexier than the cast item, so after cleaning up the mating surfaces of the head and manifolds, reassemly began. The photo below was before I remembered that Andy had given me some cut down 9/16 spanners, once I tried bolting up the inlet manifold at no.1 cylinder I worked out what they were for and why I shouldn't have left them at home. The first lower stud under no.1 inlet is shrouded by the exhaust runner from no.1. So it all had to be undone, the spreading washer was shaved a little to reduce height and width and the nut was wound on (1/8th of a turn at a time) whilst slidng the exhaust manifold back to the head. I will be investing in some allen head set screws before the inlets are changed to the EFI ones to try and get over this problem.

Once this minor set back was overcome the rest was just a reversal of the stripdown. I just hope the starter motor doesn't decide to give up now! A rear exhaust support bobbin was replaced along with a coolant hose and clips and it was time for the big startup. The car now sounds really nice, this manifold is said by many to flow no better than a 6-2 TR5/6 manifold, but it does sound good, it may have removed a little of the 'boom' that estates with semi sport exhausts suffer with too, BONUS.

Friday, 1 June 2012

A foot in the door of recovery

My last blog entry finished with me about to take (with Dad driving obviously) FRanK for an MOT. So the photo above of FRanK at Blyton circuit is an indulgence due to him passing the test.
The remaining photos are what was uncovered today when the bandage and dressing was taken off by the nurse. A good rate of healing for seven days.

After a buff over with a wet wipe to remove what was inaccessible for a week it was clear to see (but not so much in the pics) that all the foot is bruised and at least yellow but in some places purple.


At least it is on the mend and I can put socks and shoes on both feet for the first time in a week. My apologies for the foot pictures I have had some complaints about the last ones.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Tomorrow and beyond.

With mum and dad here until Wednesday, me unable to drive and FRanK wIthout MOT
a phonecall was made to my favourite test station and an appointment made for 11am  tomorrow.
So after a trip to Morrisons in HOE to fill her and the 20L jerry can up for FRanK, dad then moved the three cars about to enable us to get FRanK out easily for his test.
A little driver's seat swapping was also done, with the Recaro used for and since the trackday, removed and replaced with HOE's original driver's seat. While dad swapped the cars I took this pic of a little piece of Canley in Doncaster.

I also had another quick look at the parts in the garage waiting to go on HOE as part of the EFI install.
First thing to go on will be the CW 6-3-1, should make her sound a little different..........once I can get about properly and start working on the cars that is. So it looks like I am planning how HOE will run, before I can walk!

So this will be the first proper drive Dad has had of FRanK, let's hope they don't find anything untoward at Conisborough tomorrow.