Sunday, 23 January 2022

January 22nd/23rd - A few little jobs.

 What with having Covid, Christmas and the cold weather etc, I've really not been up to much in the garage or working on the cars. 

Dave Maton and Gavin came round and a few odd jobs were carried out. I also had to move my cars around as my Blue Mk1 is going for a rolling road session on Thursday, so I needed to make sure that it was going to start and run ok. (It hadn't been started since last October) Once this had been started and parked in the street, I then started up my Mk1 Pi which hadn't been started since last November. (Since the new engine was fitted in fact) I then took it for a spin as it hadn't yet been driven with the new engine in. I have to say it went very well. 

The Mk2 wasn't keen on starting, but to be quite honest I think I flooded it. It could also really do with a bigger battery on it I think as it doesn't turn over very fast and just needs a bit of extra oomph. It did start eventually though and was driven around the block a few times to give it a run. 

On Sunday I started inspecting the Mk2 Pi engine that I had removed from the Mk1 Pi. It was a very good engine whilst in the car although had been getting a tad smokey. The big ends and main bearings look in good condition, so I might just fit a new set of big ends and piston rings and just keep it as a spare engine. 

The cylinder head also looked ok, so this may just be given a clean up and re-attached to the engine block once that's finished. I've also been doing a few bits to a spare set of twin carburettors that I have. 

Until we all get back to normal it doesn't look as though there are going to be many driving events for a good few months yet, so this is going to be my hobby for the time being. 

Sunday, 28 November 2021

November 24th-26th Project Pi engine completed.

 I finally had some time off work, so good friend Dave Harvey came down for a few days and while he was here we cracked on with the engine install. 

Dave arrived on Tuesday evening so we made a start on the car Wednesday morning. Gavin also came round to help. We had a bit of a late start on the Pi as we were messing about with the Mk2 first which was still suffering from starting problems. It turned out the choke mechanism wasn't working at all hence the poor starting. On the Pi engine we fitted the flywheel, clutch a new thrust bearing and fitted the new engine into the car. 

Thursday morning saw the slave cylinder, starter motor and cylinder head reinstalled. The front axle was also re-secured. (You have to loosen this and bounce the car on its springs to allow the sump to drop over the front beam) The oil cooler was then fitted complete with new pipes, then the alternator, fan, fan belt and throttle bodies. The temperature in the garage had by now dropped considerably so we called it a day. 

Friday morning saw the fitting of the metering unit, injectors and distributor and after a few false starts the engine finally fired up and ran. After a few more fine adjustments  it was running well and sounding good. Which was quite a relief with all the money spent. 

This is the first engine change I've done on a Pi and I was surprised how much longer it takes compared to a carburettor set up. There's so much more setting up to do. However, I'm really pleased it's now done and I'm really grateful to Dave and Gavin for their help. 
When I bought this engine I was amazed to find that it had been rebuilt before and that the block had been bored out and had plus 60 thou pistons fitted. It was an incredible coincidence because my other Mk1 had had exactly the same thing done to that. So I'm now in a unique situation of having two Mk1 saloons both with 2.6 litre engines as apposed to standard 2.5's. 

Sunday, 21 November 2021

November 20th, new project started and non starting issues with the Mk2.

 As in my last post, I said there would be a new project starting soon. Well that project is to replace the engine on my Mk1 2.5 Pi. There isn't a lot wrong with the engine that's in there other than the fact that it's a little bit smoky. The big end and main bearings were replaced about three years ago an the crankshaft looked ok, so I think it just needs a set of piston rings or possibly valve guide seals.

The main reason for the engine swap is the engine that's currently in the car isn't the correct engine for the year.  It's actually a Mk2 Pi engine instead of a Mk1 and being such a rare car these days, it should really have the correct engine. So, I spent a couple of hours each morning stripping off all of the ancillaries and extras that had been added (Oil cooler etc) and by Saturday morning, the engine was ready to be lifted out. This can be quite a task on your own so my friend Gavin came round to help me remove it. 

With the engine removed we turned our intentions to my troublesome Mk2. I recently had problem with the float in the front carburettor sticking and therefore flooding and making the car difficult to start. Twice it has done this recently, but even with this cured the car was still difficult to start. I had already suspected that there was another problem afoot and sure enough when I tried to take the car to work on Friday morning it wouldn't start at all and wasn't even firing!
Mk2 Triumphs have a ballast resistor and a 6 volt ignition coil fitted. The idea is that the ballast resistor provides 12 volts while cranking over and drops to 6 volts once started. My suspicions were with the ballast resistor and putting a multi-meter on this showed that it was only providing 9 volts while cranking the engine over so the spark wouldn't be strong enough. We then by-passed this and ran a wire straight from the positive terminal on the battery to the positive on the coil and the car then started straight away, thus proving the ballast resistor that was faulty. We then swapped the 6 volt coil for a 12 volt coil and took the car for a test drive. The drive still showed the car to be a bit 'jerky' so we moved onto the distributor. This looked ok, but the sparkright distributor cap was a poor fit and could be moved about even with the retaining clips on it. I'm not a great lover of points and condensors on ignition systems anyway, so I fitted my old lumenition electronic ignition distributor that I had in my spares box. (It had removed from the Pi when I fitted the 123 ignition)
With this fitted the car now starts and drives a lot better. A longer test drive will take place later next week to do some more fine adjustments. 



Sunday, 14 November 2021

End of modifications, new project starting shortly.

 Today was the day that the Mk2 finally left the garage after completing the modifications that I wanted to do. They included fitting some bigger spotlights, lowered springs and new rear shock absorbers, adding a Pi dashboard and fitting an electric fuel pump. I also wanted to fit the bigger TR6 15 inch wheels, so to do this I had to fit Mk1 trailing arms and shorter drive shafts and not forgetting the shorter handbrake cable. 

A tiny problem of the front float sticking open and flooding the front carb had to be addressed before the car left the garage, but once this was done it was all systems go and the I will now be taking the car to work tomorrow for a test drive. 

While the Mk2 was in the garage my new wheels arrived for the Pi. I had these fitted along with new tyres last Monday morning and then drove the car to work for a few days. 

Driving the car to work though highlighted my smoky engine and convinced me that I need to crack on with the planned engine change. So the cars were moved around, the replacement engine was finally taken off the engine stand and everything was put in position to make a start at some point this week. 

New 2.6 engine ready to go in

Saturday morning saw a run up to north of Colchester to visit fellow triumph enthusiast Colin Wake. Dave Maton was also visiting, so we met on route and had a good breakfast at a Toby Carvery. It was a good day out and good to get out and have a blast in the cars again. 

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Saturday October 16th. Performance Modification.

 With my mate Gavin recently converting his Mk2 Triumph to injection, I jumped at the chance to buy his re-needled HS6 Carburettors and Pipercross airfilter that he once had fitted on his car. This allows more fuel and air to get into the carbs and a recent rolling road session was proven to increase both brake horse power (BHP) and Torque. 

Another friend of mine analysed the camshaft that is in my engine and compared it to the camshaft that was in Gavin's engine and declared that my car should run ok although some minor adjustments may be required. So, armed with this knowledge my carbs were removed and the new ones fitted. 

A test drive was delayed by a clutch slave cylinder failure, but once this was replaced we were able to get out and have some fun. It's definitely increased the power although the car is quite lumpy at low revs. It's certainly driveable though so I will persevere for now and get it booked in for a rolling session sometime in the near future. I'm very happy with the increase in performance though and it frees up a bit of space in the engine bay as well. Oh yeah, and it sounds bloody good as well! 

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Wednesday 13th October - A new arrival

 It was an odd thing. We were in the hotel bar after the RBRR and I  said to my friends Richard and Dave, 'I think a few cars have been purchased just to do this event only and will be up for sale soon. And I suspect that Rusty Custard will be one of them'. Now Rusty Custard was the name given to a Saffron Yellow Mk2 that was on the run that was being driven by three Morris Marina enthusiasts. It had had a fair bit of money spent on it prior to the event and was rewarded with a successful completion. 

I had a quick look on my phone that night at facebook when I went to bed and sure enough, there was an advert for Rusty Custard. It was up for sale. Uncanny! I used to run Mk2 triumph saloons and still quite like them. In fact I'd been yearning for one for some time now and I could resist the urge no longer, so I sent the seller a message and went to sleep. The following morning I received a reply and arrangements were made to view the car. We were still at our hotel in Knebworth and they were staying at a Premier Inn in Stevenage about 6 minutes away. That was handy! 

The viewing went well and a price was agreed including delivery to my house in ten days time. So, Wednesday 13th arrived and the car was delivered as promised. I didn't get much of a chance to look over it as I had to go to work, but the following day I removed the MGB Rostyle wheels that were on it and put on a set of more period alloys. After a quick check over I decided to take the car to work. 

The 2.5 engine is very quick and pulls well. I dont know what camshaft is in it, but it certainly doesn't seem standard. It's also smooth and quiet and is a very nice car to drive. There's a few more changes I'll be making to it, but nothing too drastic. I quite like it as it is. 

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

October 1st-3rd Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run.

 What should have been the 2020 RBRR was finally taking place a year later due to the pandemic causing chaos to everybody's lives. A lot of us had been preparing for this event for what seemed like years and then all of a sudden a week before the event we have a fuel crisis! My area had been hit particularly bad with the fuel shortage and as of 2pm the Thursday afternoon before the event, I couldn't even get enough fuel to get to the start let alone drive 2000 miles across the length and breadth of Britain. My co-driver from Derby who would normally have come down on Thursday afternoon, hadn't been able to get fuel either, so things really weren't looking good. 

Luckily I received a phone call from a friend informing me of two petrol stations that had just had a delivery, so I quickly jumped in the Triumph and was able to fill up with fuel. My co-driver had also managed to get fuel so we were now back on. Friday afternoon I met up with the other drivers and co-drivers at a carvery in Stevenage for a last good meal for a few days. We were running as 'Team Spotlight' with three Mk1 Triumph saloons all fitted with 2.5 litre engines instead of the standard 2000's. (Although my engine is bored out to 2.6)

After spending a few hours catching up with old friends at the start at Knebworth House our 6pm departure time soon arrived and 120 Triumphs set off into the night. We headed north up the A1 towards the first control at Wetherby Services in North Yorkshire. We had heard that there was a limit of £45 on fuel, but luckily we managed to find another petrol station on the A1 with petrol and no queues so we filled up there as well. 

After having the road book signed we were quickly back on the road to head for the second control at the English/Scottish border at Carter Bar at midnight. This was only a drive through control and we had a trouble free drive up to the next stopping point at Kinross Services in Scotland for around 2.30am. 

The long hard drive up the pitch black A9 to Inverness was the next bit and this is where the sleep deprivation normally kicks in. Skiach Services at Allness was the next stop and by now were hitting the coffee to keep awake. We managed to top up with fuel again and started the drive up the North East coast road to John O Groats for a well deserved breakfast at 8am.

Breakfast was a long drawn out affair due to Scotland still being under covid restrictions and social distancing and masks etc still applying. Therefore the restaurant was at 50% capacity and the queues were coming out the door. we eventually got away after about an hour and made our way across the very top of Scotland through Thurso and Bettyhill and towards the next control at the Falls of Shin. We decided that we were ahead of schedule, so we pulled into a layby and made a cup of coffee on Richards cooker. The time was now 11am

Feeling fully refreshed we made a quick stop at the Falls of Shin to get the book signed then made the long journey down past Loch Ness, Fort William and Glencoe. At this point we were having no trouble getting fuel and the only thing that seemed to be against us was the weather. The normally beautiful Glencoe was being assaulted by win ds and rain that can only be described as 'Biblical'! 
After what seemed like an eternity we eventually arrived at our Saturday tea time control in Gartcosh in Glasgow. A very quick stop here and we were soon heading back down the M74 towards England and the next control at Tebay services on the M6 in Cumbria. 
It was by now around 9pm and the other two crews decided to stop here for a hot meal, but my co-driver, Dave and I didn't want to eat, so for the first time in the trip the convoy split up and Dave and I said arranged to meet back up with the other two crews at the next control in Gledrid. 
This we did and the three Mk1's ran together again from Gledrid to Monmouth for the next stage. Our next control after this was  Oakhampton in Devon and we arrived around 6am. We'd already been told that there was no petrol available at this stop so we stopped at Exeter services and got some there. Lands End was our Sunday morning breakfast stop and we also managed to find a Morrisons near Penzance and filled up with fuel there. A good breakfast was consumed at Lands End and with another photo session done, we were on the road again at 09.25am

Bude Castle for 11.30am was the next check point and by now we are always heading homewards.....sort of!. A lovely cup of coffee was on the agenda and a good chance to meet up with some of the other crews and have a brief chat. The rain was still with us as we headed to our next control at Badgers Holt, Dartmoor. We didn't stop long at all at this one as we were all now desperately tired and and just wanted to get on. From Dartmoor we went to the Haynes Motor Museum at Sparkford for the penultimate control. By now the rain had stopped, we all had enough fuel to get back and the sun was shining. Life couldn't be better. Amazingly, we even had a clear run up the M3 and around the M25 and all pulled into the finish at Knebworth together around 18.50 and in the same order that we had left.

 Despite all our fears and worries due to the fuel shortage, it had been a fantastic run and all three cars had performed faultlessly. At time of writing this we (team Spotlight) have also raised £595 for MNDA and Club Triumph as a whole has raised over £77K. A fantastic achievement from all involved. Here's looking forward to the next one!