Tuesday, 29 May 2012

May 29th. New manifold and something I forgot!

The new 6-3-1 manifold finally arrived today and luckily just after 9am too, so I was able to get started on the car straight away. A new urgency had now developed as something was nagging at me last night and my worst fears were confirmed when I checked the MOT and found that it expired last Thursday! I'm normally on the ball with MOT's and as a rule present the cars for test a week early. However, with all the issues that have plagued me recently, it just completely slipped my mind. The car hasn't been used since the previous Wednesday anyway, so the expiry wasn't an issue, but with it booked in with Picton Sportscars tomorrow for a tune up and supposedly heading north of the border Friday, time was running short.
So I cracked on fitting the new exhaust manifold and re-fitting the inlet manifold, carbs, throttle and choke cables, air filters etc and then dived underneath to fit the rest of the exhaust system.
By 1pm, everything was done and the car was up and running again. A quick phone call to my local MOT station revealed that they weren't busy at all and a test was booked for 2pm. I had a quick check round the car and after adjusting the back brakes left to meet the appointment.
The guys at Phoenix MOT in Basildon are as good as gold and I've been taking my cars there for years. The newly fitted exhaust was fine while driving but knocking against the gearbox cross member on tickover, so the guys let me borrow a socket wrench and move the exhaust whilst it was on their ramp. Gertie was given a clean bill of health and passed with no advisories.

Gertie's MOT being due made me realise that I must have had the car for a year now. She'd only been MOT'd two days before I collected her last year. As you can see from the two photos below, she has changed quite a bit in that time. The lower photo was taken the day I drove her home.

I could use these two photos for a 'spot the differences' competition with a bonus point  for identifying the classic car in the background at the MOT station. :)

Monday, 28 May 2012

May 27th. Planned and unplanned jobs!

Since last Thursday night Gertie has been off the road again. A new 6-3-1 manifold was ordered only to find that when it arrived it was the wrong one! So while waiting for the right one to arrive, I decided to get on with a few jobs outstanding on the estate. I had to make up a bracket for the oil cooler and fit electronic ignition.
These were the planned jobs. The unplanned job came from going out into the garage and finding a pool of oil underneath the diff!
With it being very touch and go on Gertie being ready for the Scottish rally this weekend, because she still isn't running right, I'm trying to keep the estate as a viable back up car. Obviously a leaking diff would not be a good thing while covering over a thousand miles!

Luckily I had a spare diff oil seal in stock, so the car was raised in the air and the job was started. This is never a nice job to do anyway and with the weather being so hot and me wearing overalls as well, it was sweltering in the garage. I must have lost about five pints of water in sweat!  Anyway, a few hours later, the diff was back together and the rear of the car all reassembled.

The next job on the list was the electronic ignition. This is a relatively easy job and didn't take long. I've put the old points and condensor set up in the glove box as I've had one of these igntion modules fail before. (halfway across a junction at 11.30 at night!) With the module fitted, the timing was readjusted and the car was runnning as it should.

With it still only being 4pm, I decided to carry on as per previous plan and make up a bracket to mount the oil cooler. This was mounted in front of the radiator, but low enough for the slots in the front valance to get to it. I still need to get some longer pipes made up, but's it's a five minute job to fit them, so I'll do them later in the week. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

May 19th & 20th. More electrical Issues.....and a new toy!

A test drive in Gertie last Sunday was going quite well until the overdrive decided to give out. Luckily, I managed to get home before some  more of the electrics decided to burn out! In quite spectacular fashion too I hasten to add. At least it had been driven for long enough to get warm and re-do the valve clearances. These should have been set at 18 thou inlet and 20 thou exhaust by the engine builders but had been set at 10 thou all round. I also re-torqued the cylinder head while I had the rocker box cover off.

Tuesday night saw me taking a trip up to Colin's  (Scrapman) territory to collect distributor parts and some spare coils.
I was just thinking how well the estate was going and that she could be the back-up car for Scotland when she suddenly died a death! I managed to coast into a lay-by and started investigation. There was no petrol getting to the carbs so I surmised that she was having her usual problem of an air lock in the fuel pump. Normally, all I have to do loosen the fuel line and work the pump manually and this normally clears it. However, no amount of  priming was curing it this time. A phone call was made to Colin and he brought out a box of spare petrol pumps. I fitted a replacement on and she fired up straight away. Hopefully my long term fuel issue should now be resolved. It was on my list of jobs to do this weekend too! It could have waited!

(Cac broken down on the A120) :(

Come Sunday morning, investigations began into why the old petrol pump had given out. I expected to find the diaphram in the pump split, which if it was, I couldn't see. But then it wasn't exactly in prime condition either! There wasn't much I could with this and new ones are cheap anyway, so it was duly binned!

The next job on the agenda was to look at the engine electrics and why the car had decided to melt the low tension wire in the distributor and also an ignition coil. For some reason the last place that worked on it (Mentioning no names) had fitted a ballast resistor but left the 12 volt coil in place. I also think this may be why the overdrive packed up as when the car was running the feed for overdrive relay (another wire from the coil) was dropping down to 6 volts.  The wiring also wasn't as it should have been and it was probably this that created the issues.

(Melted low tension wire)

Anyhoo, with the ballast resistor removed, the distributor rebuilt and the wiring sorted out Gertie burst into life again. I was still suspicious of the live wire feeding the relay to the overdrive as putting a multi-meter on it showed it to be very hit and miss, so I added a new wire onto the ignition side of the fuse box. It seemed to working fine after this so fingers crossed.

On the Saturday morning I had ventured down to Partridge Green in West Sussex to look at another car. No, not another Triumph, this was something to be used as an everyday car. I tried to do this with the Triumphs but found that it's not just not practical, for various reasons. So the new addition to the fleet is a BMW 520i Touring. It had been looked after and the price was right. Compared to a Triumph it's very, very quiet and I can even hear the person next to me when they say something! It's just a pity that I have to pay road tax on it. I'll have to get used to that again! 

Saturday, 12 May 2012

May 12th - The bonnet returns!

A phone call early this morning told me that my recently louvered bonnet was painted and ready for collection. Knowing that I had a lot on today, I quickly rushed out in the estate to collect it. Once home it was fitted so that I could get on with my other chore for the day. I'll post up a couple of pictures  of the bonnet as I know there's other people waiting to see it before getting theirs done. I think it looks pretty cool myself. Now that the car is complete again I can start getting some miles on her. Hopefully! I just need to t-cut and polish the rest of the car now to get the colour match back!

With this fitted my next chore (and one that I've been putting off for a few weeks to be honest) was to lay some bitumen down where the concrete panels meet the floor in the garage. The cement round the outside wasn't great at keeping the water out, so more action was needed.
This meant pulling the cars out and then emptying all racking, work benches, cupboards and cabinets of their contents so that I could move them into the middle and be able to get to the inside perimeter.
As you can see there was a fair bit to move about and once the inside was done I found that I had enough bitumen left over to do the outside of the garage as well. Some time later it was all back to normal and looking tidier than it had for some time.

By the time the garage had got back to this condition I had a car full of junk bound for the tip tomorrow and was ready to call it a day. Especially as it now 6.45pm and I was knackered!

Friday, 11 May 2012

May 11th - And then there were two!

A bright sunny Friday morning started with a six o'clock coffee while I awaited the arrival of a fellow CT club member. (I wont reveal his identity-I'll let him do that if he chooses to)
The reason for his visit was to purchase my other Mk1 saloon, the Yellow Peril. I had been considering selling it for some time and had now made my mind up.
The problem with having three Triumphs, but only one double garage is that one of them is parked in the open all the time and exposed to the elements. (Which there's been a lot of lately!)
Plus, I was beginning to find while I can afford to gradually improve two cars, a third car is always losing out and tends to spend more time being ignored. So, reluctantly I decided to let the Yellow beast go. It was my intention to get it driveable after its recent engine change, re-mot, get it tidied up and and then sell it. But time is short at present and this would have taken more time than I was able to commit. Luckily the purchaser made me an offer which matched the figure in my head to buy it exactly as it was, so the deal was done.

With the Yellow peril wheeled out of the garage and strapped down to the trailer, documents, beer tokens and pleasantries were exchanged and I watched as it disappeared into the distance hoping I'd done the right thing. But then, the feeling of relief  I had when I was reversing my estate into the garage knowing it wasn't going to be sitting outside in the rain anymore convinced me I had.

So, for the first time in god knows how long my beloved estate took it's rightful place in the garage under shelter................and it never bloody rained all day! C'est la vie!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

May 10th- At last an update!

I’ve not been able to update the blog as regularly as normal due to work stuff taking over a bit, plus other issues. With the amount of rain we’ve had lately, the garage has taken to flooding again. The drainage channel built round the outside hasn’t been able to drain away fast enough so once again, the water has been finding its way underneath the concrete panels and over the garage floor. The recent bank holiday weekend has seen me putting guttering up at the rear (the roof slopes downwards at the back) and the rain will now drain into a 200 litre water butt. Hopefully, this will reduce the amount of water running into the drainage channel and will eradicate the flooding.

Anyway, onto the cars. The last time I wrote, Gertie was running, but rather erratically. After spending most of the weekend trying unsuccessfully to resolve this, it was transported over to Carlow engineering for further investigations. A spring inside the distributor, wrong voltage from the coil to the distributor and a knackered crankshaft pulley were diagnosed. They managed to get it running ok, but told me to change the crankshaft pulley as soon as I could as it was affecting the timing.

With this in mind I left for home and managed to get at least half a mile away from their premises before breaking down! The distributor hadn’t seated inside the holding clamp properly and had come out and moved which obviously threw all the timing out. As I had no tools on me I rang Carlow’s straight away and to be fair to them they came out and rectified the problem without complaint. Gordon also noticed the butterfly in the front carburettor was sticking open and making the car rev rather highly on occasions, so he had a quick play with this as well. Once Gertie was running again I managed to get home ok, but not before noticing that the overdrive no longer worked either. What is it with this bloody car? Stuff that was working fine before the engine change now no longer wants to work even though it hasn’t been touched! I think she’s sulking because she doesn’t like her new heart the bloody ungrateful cow!

On this particular night I also had to go out in the estate to collect something and this managed to break down about a mile away from where Gertie had! This wasn’t my night! Luckily, it was only its usual fuel pump problem (I must get round to replacing it) so just needed a pipe undoing, releasing the air lock and fitting back on. The last time it did it was in February and the last time before that was last March, so it’s not exactly a regular occurrence.

To aid cooling on Gertie, I’ve also fitted an oil cooler (I’ve got one coming for the estate as well) and also had the bonnet louvered. We became aware on the 10CR how much heat is generated and also trapped under the bonnet. The louvers will allow this heat to escape and hopefully keep things cooler.

Anyway, Dave managed to get round tonight and resolve the overdrive issue which turned out to be the switch holder on the gearbox needing adjustment so that third and fourth gears were triggering the switch properly. I should have checked this first really, but never mind.

He also managed to get the spotlights working that had packed up but didn’t know how, so that’s still a puzzle as to why they stopped working in the first place? On trying to start the car once we were all done, it decided not to fire! What now for god sake? Further examination revealed that the coil had decided to have no further interest in providing power!  A coil change saw power restored and we now appear to have a fully functioning Gertie.

The worry now is that with the Ecosse only a few weeks away, the car isn’t even run in or tested yet. I need to get some serious miles underway over the next few weeks to reassure me that she’s ready for Scotland. This would be easier if my bonnet wasn’t still at the paint shop being resprayed after having the louvres done.

Will Gertie make the Ecosse? Or will I have to take the estate? Time will tell. (Can you tell that she's been in the garage too long?)