Thursday, 24 November 2011

Thursday 24th November. Engine disection!

The 2.5PI engine was stripped tonight ready to have the crank polished and the block inspected by Carlow engineering tomorrow. Whilst stripping the engine down I found that the main bearings were worn as well as the big end bearings, so more expense is required.
The good news (well hopefully anyway) is that to my (albeit non expert) eye the crankshaft and the cylinder walls in the block don't look, or feel too bad, so I'm hoping that the bearings required will be the only large expense.

Workbench full of engine internals!

Crankshaft removed and ready for polishing

Tuesday 22nd November- Bleeding the bleedin' clutch!

        A delivery at work today saw the arrival of the Clutch master cylinder kit that I had purchased from eBay on Sunday. So, once home from work the master cylinder was stripped down, cleaned and the new rubber seals and washers were carefully fitted. The master cylinder was then reassembled and fitted in readiness for my mate Andy to arrive and help me bleed the clutch. (Definitely a two man operation!)
      Andy arrived and we got to work straight away, but as usual, it wasn't playing ball. Triumph clutches are notoriously bad for bleeding and can sometimes take some time to get all the air out of the system. About half hour and god knows how many attempts later, we were still nowhere, so we decided to opt for a power bleed with an air powered bleeding tool that I have. This sucks the fluid through the system at high pressure rather than pump it through with normal bleeding. So I switched the compressor on and we decided to go and have a cup of tea and warm up while the compressor built up enough air. 

 Once sufficiently warmed we again continued with the bleeding process. With the high pressure tool being used we were now getting  a firmer pedal but still not enough to even get the car in gear. A few more attempts and it was getting better, but there was still one large air bubble in the clutch hydraulic pipe that just didn't seem to want to budge! In the end we went back to the manual way but this time with me holding onto the steering wheel and pumping the clutch pedal as fast and as hard as I could, so much so that I nearly bent the steering wheel! I was pumping flat out while Andy was shouting from underneath 'yeah, go on! faster, faster, yeah! (God knows what the neighbours thought!!!!!)
Anyway, this seemed to budge the last bit of air and now we had a good pedal and were able to get all gears. I've not had a chance to test drive the car yet, but I have to collect more tyres on Friday (for the Yellow Peril) so I will see how she performs then.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Monday 21st November. Yay! RBRR 2012...........We're in!

           Got home from work tonight to find that our entry form for the Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run 2012 had reached its intended target in deepest darkest Reading!
           We were a bit quicker off the mark this year as well as in the 2010 run we were entry no. 58, where as next year we will be car no.44. At present the chosen weapon of choice for the 2000 mile non-stop in 48 hours dash will be..............The Yellow Peril! (see below)
However, Gertie will be kept in top form as a back up car, so no matter what happens, we will be using a Mk1 saloon. Watch this space!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunday 20th November. - A bit of everything!

Due to not being able to sleep, I found myself out in the garage at half seven in the morning! (and it was bloody cold!)
             The last time I drove the estate I found I was having to pump the clutch to get it in gear and had a lot trouble driving it home. Assuming it was the slave cylinder I drove it forwards into the garage so I could get to the nearside front of the car. After inspecting the slave cylinder and finding it leak free, I looked inside the car  near the clutch the top of the clutch pedal and found that the firewall and carpet was wet with fluid. So, it was the clutch master cylinder that was leaking, not the slave! The motto here being - 'never assume things' when you ASSUME things you can make an ASS out of U & ME!
            The next issue was that all of the fluid had now leaked out of the car while it had been in the garage since Friday and all of the pressure had gone out of the system leaving me with no clutch at all. So, the garage doors and garden gates were opened in readiness, the choke pulled out of full, the car put in reverse, and then the car was started. The car burst into life and immediately shot backwards where i was able to steer it out of the garage, down the drive onto the street where I quickly switched it off to stop it. The process was then repeated a few more times so I could turn it round and get it back in the garage the right way round so I could work on it. Easy! (not!)
            The offending master cylinder was then removed and put on the bench ready for a clean up and to wait for a seal kit to arrive. (I thought I had one in stock, but that was for a slave as well.)
It was about this time that I retired to my warm house for a breakfast of ham and eggs and a cup of tea to warm up a bit!

       As I could nothing else to the estate, I turned my attention to Yellow. The last time i used it, it managed to blow the oil seal on the oil filter and spit most of its engine oil out all the the floor and chassis. (Good rust prevention if nothing else!) With a new Phram oil filter purchased and the old Wix  one binned this was quite a simple job. With the estate now off of the road, this can be the back-up vehicle for a while.
             Gertie was the next on the list as Dave Jones needed his gearbox cross member back that I borrowed off of him a few months back. I had borrowed it to try and eliminate the vibration issue I have, but it turned out not to be this anyway. This was quickly changed and the part put in my car ready for delivery to his house on Saturday.
        After another warm up indoors, the next item on the agenda was to start stripping the 2.5pi engine I have lined up for Gertie. Stripping the bottom half of the engine revealed that new big end bearings will be required (as suspected) and the crankshaft might get away with a light polish rather than a re-grind.
Further inspections will carry on at another time and parts collected ready for Gertie's heart transplant over Christmas.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Thursday 17th November- A change of rubber for Gertie.

For some time I had been considering fitting smaller tyres onto Gertie. When I fitted the TR6 wheels I had some good 205/65 x 15 tyres laying around and decided to fit them on the TR6 rims. These would have probably been fine if the car hadn't have been on lowered suspension, but then, everyone who knows me knows that I don't do standard road height on saloons.
When cornering hard these tyres would catch the front wing lips and bend the metal ridge down. This wasn't too much of an issue until a particularly deep rut on the South coast rally last week when not only did it bend the metal ridge, but it cracked the paint on the front wing as well!

I wasn't happy. What with the suicidal pheasant denting the front panel and this as well, poor old Gertie suffered some damage on this rally.
    Anyway, with this in mind, some smaller 195/60 x 15 tyres were obtained and duly fitted. The 195 tyres have a smaller radius and are also a tad narrower as well, so hopefully they wont catch the wing lips any more. (You can see the height difference in the pic below.)
 While I had the back wheel off on the driver's side I also took the opportunity to whip the brake drum off and replace a wheel stud that had been bothering me for a while too. It was on a second hand driveshaft that I had picked up somewhere. Three of the studs were fine, but one was shorter than the others. When the wheel nut was on the stud didn't even reach the end of it! So this was changed and all was well. There is a Club Triumph North London meet on Monday night, so I may take Gertie down there for a test run. It will also give me a chance to hand in my entry form for next Octobers  Round Britain Reliability Run.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Sunday 13th November - The South Coast Rally

With little preparation time after the Nachtrit rally the weekend before, it was lucky that Gertie needed nothing doing for this rally. A quick check of oil, water, brake & clutch fluids and a general check over on Saturday (including putting a wire back on the horn that had come off) revealed that all was well and we were ready for Sunday.
The signing on time of 9am near Lewes in Sussex meant a departure time of 7am and we made the cold foggy run down the A127, M25, A21 and down through Tunbridge Wells and onto what should have been the start location at Firle in Sussex. It was a pity therefore that Dave entered the finish location of Ringmer in the sat nav and we ended up there instead! With the route re-entered we continued our journey to the start and met up with some other Club Triumph peoples for breakfast.

Before long the official start time of 10am was on us and we were given our clues and started our plotting. We did quite well for the first half of the rally. We made both of the passage controls within the time limits and collected four out of the five code boards. We also came across a pheasant that no longer wanted to live and adamantly refused to get out of the way of the car. It was too late for me to avoid him and with a loud thud he hit the spotlight on the driver side and pushed it back into the front pane denting it! Stupid bloody thing!
After tea and biscuits at the halfway stage, we were given our next clues which turned out to be a lot harder. On our travels we also managed to get stuck behind a tractor that was trimming a hedge and couldn't get past him for about five minutes. This was bad enough but we then came up to a passage control, went to get our time sheet signed only to be told, 'sorry the PC closed three minutes ago'! Arse!
Never mind, we carried on regardless and by the end of the second and final stage we had collected another four code boards. (If you aren't on the right roads or tracks you wont see these and they will be counted as fails)
At the end of the route, we made our way to the finish location, (where we had already been that morning!) handed in our time sheets and awaited the results. I went out to inspect the car and found that over one of the bumpy sections I had caught the tyre on the wing and bent the wing lip down, which caused the paint to crack as well. Bummer! two lots of damage to repair now!
Back in the pub, the results were announced and we had finished 1st in class and 3rd overall. We were very pleased with that as we didn't think we'd done that well.
 Once again Gertie had performed faultlessly and the drive from Sussex back to Essex was also made with no further issues. Unless anything else comes up suddenly, this was my last rally for 2011, so I can now concentrate of prepping Gertie's new 2.5 engine for next year. What a shame the fun has to stop and the work has to begin! :-(
(Gertie before all the accident damage!)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Saturday 5th November - Off to foreign shores!

      Saturday Morning at 04.40 saw us departing Wickford and heading for the '23rd Nachtrit' (Night run) rally in Holland. Our ferry was booked at 08.15, but neither Amanda or I could sleep (Excited I guess) so we decided to leave earlier and try and get an earlier ferry. We arrived at Dover at around 6.15 and managed to get on the 07.00 crossing. (Although Sea France did extort an extra £5.00 off of us - funny that because our original booking was 08.30, but then they changed it to 08.15 for 'operational reasons' but didn't give me £5.00!!!)
(A very dark Dover at 06.15)

Anyway, the crossing was smooth but grey and our departure from Calais was very wet with more rainy weather that had drenched the south of England all day Friday. (and flooded my garage-again!)

 The rain continued past Dunkerque, Zeebrugge and Ostend, but once past 'The Corridor' and heading south towards Gent it brightened up. By the time were on the Brussels ring road it was quite bright. (Well as bright as Belgium can be anyway!)

 We travelled the 202 miles from Calais to Slenaken without a break and by early afternoon we were in Holland. Whilst on our travels we found a town called St Geertruid which was quite apt seeing we were in 'Gertie' which is short for Gertrude! We thought it was funny anyway!

By mid-afternoon we had arrived at our hotel which was also the start location at 'The Best Western Hotel, Slenaken'. I have to say it was very plush as well. We then decided to go and fill up with petrol before the event which took us 5 miles away to Gulpen where we found the high street closed off due a beer festival! With the night rally starting in a few hours I decided to keep away from the beer and return to the hotel for an hours nap before the 'signing on' time of 16.00 CET (Central European Time)  
In the signing on hall we were greeted with coffee and fruit pie and given our road book and instructions for the event. The first car would be leaving at 17.00 with one minute intervals between the other cars. We were entry no.42, which meant we would be leaving at 17.42.
We left at that time and gradually made our way through the villages and towns of Gemmenich, Eupen, Moresnet, Baelen, Membach, Champagne, and many others and took in  some fantastic roads through the wilds before crossing back into Bullingen in Belgium for the halfway stop. Amanda and I didn't fancy a big meal at the restaurant so we were typically British and went and found a Pizza and Kebab takeaway. Result!
With our food downed we left Bullingen and covered more villages and towns including Schonberg, Galhausen, Crombach, and Ramersdael. We were obviously zig zagging across borders because by the time we arrived at the finish I had had two texts on my phone saying welcome to Germany and three saying welcome to Belgium! (Didn't get any from Holland though?)
    At around Midnight we returned to the start/finish location and joined the other competitors in the bar. The only other British entrant had already left and retired to his Hotel, but luckily there were other CT members there that could speak good English. A few beers were consumed, but not many as by now, Amanda and I had been on the go for 21 hours and were feeling a bit jaded! So, we bid our farewells and retired to our room.
     After a good nights sleep we demolished our continental breakfast of cheese, meat and bread (My favourite breakfast!) and then set off to meet Amanda's friends who live in Holland. We met them at a lovely hotel not far from ours that had a real friendly and family feel to it. I might even consider booking it for next years event.
The day had started foggy and damp, so with that in mind we left at around 11am and started heading home. It had also turned quite cold but that didn't stop some brave soles playing in their boats on the water!

The drive back through Belgium was quiet and uneventful and erm.......very empty! the pic below was taken at 12pm on Sunday. I wish our bloody motorways were as empty as this!

Once through Belgium we ran back into France to find.....more bloody rain! Oh well, we had set out in the rain, we may as well finish in it too. 
  Despite the fog and the rain we hadn't been held up, so once again were in Calais earlier than our planned sailing. (Quite a bit earlier actually!) We didn't fancy sitting around for two and a half hours waiting for our ferry so Sea France kindly extorted another £5.00 off of us to put us on the 15.00 hrs crossing. the crossing was a bit more bumpier this time but still took the same time, so all was ok. We then drove out of Dover and straight into a traffic jam! We had covered about 700 miles by now and not encountered one hold up, but as soon as we hit British shores everything stops!

Anyway, we had a great time and the rally was really enjoyable. There's another one also in Holland next March which we've already booked and hopefully, we'll be back for this one next year. Gertie performed faultlessly and we didn't even need to open the bonnet let alone the tool box. She does stuggle a bit on the hills when loaded up with spares and tools though, and for this reason I'm preparing a 2.5pi engine for her. I have just one more rally to do this year and then I can start getting her ready for her transplant. I plan to do it over the Christmas break.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tuesday 1st November- A few days to go!

            A chance remark in a pub Sunday night left me wondering if I could get something done on Gertie before this weekends rally in Belgium, Holland and Germany. That remark was...' your car's alright, but it's too Grey. It needs a cream roof to go with the cream wheels'. As soon as it had been said the image popped into my head and wouldn't leave me. So, Monday morning a phone call was made to the guy who painted the Mk2 rally car I had and luckily he had a empty slot on Tuesday morning.
            I have to admit to being somewhat unsure of whether to go ahead or not, as I wasn't sure if the 'two tone' look would work, but in the end I thought 'bugger it, I can always change it back!'
             Tuesday afternoon I got a phone call saying the car was ready and again I felt slightly nervous on the way to collect it. However, as soon as I saw it I was overjoyed. I thought it looked fantastic. It gives it a real 'sixties' look and suits the car perfectly. It also takes away the 'bland greyness' and brightens the car up no end. Roll on the weekend!