Friday, 30 April 2021

April 18th. An event at last!

 With chief clown Johnson finally easing restrictions and letting people having their lives back, a Classic car breakfast meet had been organised for April the 18th at the Battlesbridge Antiques Centre in Essex. Apart from the occasion drive to work on the Fridays the Triumphs haven't see any action at all, so it was good to get out and meet old and new friends. 

Luckily, the 18th was a beautiful day with no rain threats, so Gertie2 was the car of choice for the day. (The Pi is awaiting workshop space to have some welding done.) I met fellow Triumph owner and good friend Gavin in a local pub car park so that we could drive in together. 

Once in the showground we met up with other Triumph enthusiasts Ivor, Anthony and Peter. The guy who works in local car shop was also there with a Vauxhall Viva that he had dragged out of a back garden only five doors away from where I live. A very nice gentleman took a shine to my car as he had bought one from nearly new in the sixties and in the same colour. He and his wife used to go everywhere in it including holidays. He asked if he could sit in it to bring back back memories to which I duly obliged. 

It was a good turn out although a bit too much modern stuff for me. (Anyone who has a Porsche, Ferrari or Yank thinks they are classic cars!) It was a good day though and nice to finally get out again. 

Monday, 25 January 2021

Mid November- Windscreen Rubber Replacement

Ever since I've had my Pi, water has leaked in around the windscreen whenever it rained. Road trips have been tainted by the constant dripping of water onto my trousers and socks and having to stuff towels onto the parcel shelves in a bid to stop the water reaching the floor pans and rotting them out. This is also the reason I have never had a carpet in the car. 

After taking the car to work one day and watching the floor get wetter and wetter as I drove, I decided I'd finally had enough and resolved to do something about it. So one Saturday afternoon, I cut into the windscreen rubber with a stanley knife and removed the windscreen. My worries about finding rot and holes underneath the rubber were unfounded as the aperture all looked good. 

I then cleaned up all the aperture and the windscreen I'd taken out and fitted the new rubber seal ready for it to go back in. The following Saturday my mate Gavin came round and between us we managed to fit the windscreen at the first attempt. The next hour or so was spent sealing all round the windscreen with Butyl gutter sealant to plug up all the gaps. It's a very messy job, but the excess sealant cleans off easily with white spirit. 

With the screen re-fitted and all the excess sealant cleaned off, a week later, the car was then tested under monsoon like conditions by taking a hosepipe to it and spraying the windscreen from all directions with gallons and gallons of water.  To my immense pleasure, I found that I had no leaks at all. Job done. With this task completed, the car was then taken to a specialist who re-fitted the chrome trim for me. This is a nightmare of a job and I didn't have the know how, or the correct tools to do it. So now the windscreen complete with new rubber is fitted, the chrome trim is back on and it's another job I can cross off my list. Happy. 

Sunday, 8 November 2020

More fuel issues!

 Thursday and Friday I decided to take the Blue car to work to test drive it. I had recently changed the differential. Again! The test drive showed that I had at last got rid of the awful vibration at 60mph that has been plaguing this car, although the replacement I fitted is still fairly noisy between 30 and 50mph, so I'm still on the look out for a nice quiet diff. 

After leaving work on Friday night, I didn't get very far before the car just cut out and died leaving me stranded halfway over a railway bridge. 

 All the symptoms pointed to loss of fuel even though the fuel gauge was reading just over quarter of a tank. I bounced the car up and down with the fuel cap open, but couldn't hear any fuel sloshing about. I then rang my work place and one of the guys there found a can and went and bought me some more petrol. While he was doing that, I decided to remove the fuel line and blow down it to see if there was an obstruction. Annoyingly one of the plastic nozzles on the Huco electric fuel pump snapped off while I was trying to remove the rubber fuel line. 

With no way of fixing it I had no choice but to ring my insurance company breakdown line who then had to arrange recovery. They sent a patrol van out first even though I had told them it was unfixable. The patrol man arrived, tried to fix the broken nozzle for an hour with glue. (Even though I told him that petrol will just melt glue!) After his unsuccessful attempt and wasting a lot of time he then radioed in and told control I needed recovering! (Which is what I originally told them two hours previously!)  after another long wait for recovery, I eventually got home at 1am Saturday Morning! 

After replacing the nozzle on the fuel pump on Saturday morning, a friend of mine investigated the 'over reading fuel gauge' issue. It turns out that the float in the fuel tank had been fitted the wrong way round and was possibly catching on the side of the tank. Also, where the sender unit was seated it, it could be in two positions. In one position the gauge was showing empty and the low fuel warning light on the dash was on, (Which is correct with only a gallon of fuel in it)  in the other position, it was reading quarter of a tank and no warning light on. (Which it was when I ran out of fuel!) 
This would also explain why on the recent weekend drive along the south coast, my gauge appeared to be stuck on full all the time. If my car was always on three quarters of a tank (which is likely with the the amount of fuel stops we did) it would have been reading full. So hopefully, this is resolved now and I wont be running out of petrol anymore while still thinking I have quarter of a tank left! 

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Pi Engine work continues.

 Further stripping of the Pi engine revealed more damage than I had hoped. I removed all of the pistons and when I removed the cap from number three piston, the bearing just fell out. It was also badly scratched and grooved. Both halves of the bearing were a very loose fit and wouldn't push back into their locations. This would indicate that at some stage the bearing has spun on the journal and caused excessive damage. 

The remainder of the engine was stripped and the crankshaft was removed. It looks like the main bearing journals on the crankshaft are ok, so the may get away with just a polish, but we'll have to see what the engineering firm says. 
The cam sprocket and rear crankshaft seal housing both had a fair amount of gungy oil on them, so it looks like both oil seals had failed as well. The camshaft does look to be in good condition though, so hopefully this can be used again. (I haven't had a chance to clean it or inspect it fully yet though.)
So, the pistons are now on the work bench and the engine block itself is pretty much stripped for cleaning. 

Friday morning 23rd  October, I met Colin Wake for breakfast to swap some other bits over, then took the crankshaft over to Thurston Engineering at Ongar for them to carry out the work. They are an established engineering company that have been operating for many, many years and have a very good reputation. 
It was a nice sunny day, so I decided to take Gertie2 for a drive over there. The crank is now in their possession so I now just have to wait for their report on what work needs doing. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

New engine to rebuild for the Pi.

 Ever since I've owned my Mk1 Pi, it hasn't had the correct engine fitted. This has always irked me somewhat and I've always kept an eye out for the right one. My Pi is currently fitted with a Mk2 Pi engine which starts with an MG prefix. The correct engine for my car should start with a CR prefix. 

Whilst browsing on ebay last week I spotted a CR engine which would hopefully be ideal. Luckily a friend of mine in Derby went to nearby Nottingham where the engine was situated and looked at it for me, confirmed it would be good and collected it for me. Even more luckily for me he was coming down to mine at the weekend anyway and brought it with him. 

I had some free time today so I started to partially strip it down to give me an idea of what I was up against and what parts I may possibly need. 

Removal of a big end bearing cap and a main bearing cap showed hardly any wear on the bearings and crank at all and the 308778 original Stanpart camshaft looked good as well. The oil pump filter also looked clean , so this engine has been looked after at some point. I say some point because when the engine arrived newspaper had been stuffed into the bores to keep them clean and extraction of the newspaper showed it to be 1983! 
All was looking good, but the cleaning of the top of the pistons gave the biggest surprise. At some point in its life the block has been bored out and had plus 60 thou pistons fitted. This will increase the CC (Cubic Centimetres) from 2498cc to 2601cc. (or in other words 2.5 litre to 2.6 litre.) 
At present it looks like this engine could just be fitted in the car and used as is. However, I will still be fitting a new set of big end bearings, main bearings, piston rings and a new oil pump, to hopefully get some longevity out of it. 
The funny thing is, the other engine that I have fitted in my Blue Mk1 has also been bored out to plus 60 thou as well, so I'll be running two Mk1 saloons both with 2.6 litre engines.

A decent drive at last! October 3rd & 4th.

 With the Postponement of the 2020 Round Britain Reliability Rally and the fact that we were unable to cancel the hotel bookings we had already made, a few of us decided to plan our own weekend away and end up at the Novotel, Knebworth on the Sunday night anyway.
So, after a few weeks looking at routes and times etc. we decided on a trip out to the most Easterly point in Kent (Joss Bay) then all the way along the South Coast to Lands End. 
Fellow drivers Richard Warr and David Harvey arrived at my place on Friday (Needless to say Beer and Curry was on the agenda Friday night) and Dave Maton arrived on Saturday afternoon. A good dinner was had at a Toby Carvery in Wickford and after filling up with fuel at Basildon, the two Mk1 Triumph saloons set off  at 4.30pm for the first check point in Kent
The weather forecast that we had looked at with growing horror on the Saturday morning was turning out to be fairly accurate and not long after starting the journey the rain started. It had stopped by the time we reached Joss Bay in Broadstairs and we were lucky enough to get a few minutes out of the car and take  a few photos before the dark closed in. 
Our next stop was the Old Lighthouse at Dungeness and by the time we arrived here it was totally dark and the wind was getting up as well. We managed a quick coffee out of a flask before moving on and within the next twenty minutes the rain had joined the wind to keep it company. 
From Dungeness we travelled through Camber, Rye, Hastings and Newhaven and on towards our next planned stop at Brighton Marina. The rain was now Hammering down and the wind was battering the cars as we travelled along the coastal roads. The plan was to stop at Brighton for 30 minutes and have a cup of coffee somewhere, but to be honest, the weather was so awful we just quickly exited the cars, took a few photos, jumped back in and carried on! 
With the gale force winds now coming off the sea, we moved inland slightly and took the A27 through Worthing, Arundel and Littlehampton. We took on more fuel at Chichester and managed to have a quick chat and a laugh under the canopy of the petrol station away from the continual wet stuff falling from the sky.
Our route took us along the A27 to the M27 past Portsmouth and Southampton then onto A31 past Ringwood and into Dorset. We stopped again for a coffee and biscuits at Dorchester while the rain left us alone for a short while, but quickly hit the road when it returned with a vengeance. Honiton and Exeter were passed through and our next stop was for fuel in Whitehouse Services in Oakhampton, Devon. It was now around 4am in the morning and coffee and energy drinks were the order of the day as we were all now feeling a tad jaded. 
According to the satnav it was now 98 miles to our next intended stop at Lands End and we were running approximately two hours ahead of schedule. We had planned to have more coffee and break stops, but the appalling weather had kept us confined to the cars. We decided to just punch on and get there early and use the time to have a bit of a sleep when we got there. 
The rain continued until we were around half hour away from Lands End where it was replaced by a freezing cold wind. It was still dark on arrival so we parked in the car park and grabbed some shut eye. Daylight arrived and we moved the cars into position for a photo shoot and then headed for Bude Castle.
Within thirty minutes of leaving Lands End the rain had returned and with the wind as well it was like monsoon season. Bude Castle was only a quick visit because of the weather and we then found a Morrisons Supermarket with a cafe so we could get some breakfast. Very nice it was too, and cheap!
We had planned to visit Badgers Holt on Dartmoor and The Haynes Motor Museum on our route back to Knebworth, but we deemed Dartmoor to be too Dangerous with its narrow roads and slippery surfaces and the Haynes Museum was closed. The constant rain lashing down was starting to take its toll on us as well and we all decided to just head back to Knebworth. Our route back took us along the A30, M5, then A303 past Stonehenge, Andover, and onto the M3. Visibility on the Motorways was very poor due to the spray, but we made good time on the M25 which was lighter than normal. 

We arrived at Knebworth at around 4.45pm and after a quick shower and change of clothes we headed into Old Knebworth. We managed to find an Indian Restaurant and celebrated our trip with a good meal and a couple of drinks. We had had a good trip and driven some great roads, but the constant rain did reduce the enjoyment a tad.
Richard and I were both pleased with our cars as Richards was doing its first trip since the 2000 engine had been replaced with a 2.5 and my car was on its maiden long voyage with its newly rebuilt cylinder head and camshaft. Both cars never had a single issue (Thank God!) and the only time Richard opened the bonnet was to check the oil. Even then the wind nearly took it off and the oil he tried to pour in the engine got blown all over it by the wind anyway! 
A brilliant weekend away with some great company and hopefully, things will get back to normal soon so we can look forward to some other driving events. 

Monday, 13 July 2020

5th July. A few problems.....

Another Sunday morning run, this time with Colin Wake in his TR6 and Dave Maton in his Mk1 Saloon. (Gavin had the diff removed from his car so couldn't make it)
The meeting place was Howe Green (Just outside Chelmsford) for 9am and once again it was a beautiful summers day. 
I had brought Gertie2 this time as this will be my weapon of choice for the (Hopefully) impending Round Britain Reliability Run. 

The plan this morning was to drive up through Bicknacre, South Woodham, Latchingdon and out towards Bradwell, only some idiot went the wrong way at Bicknacre (me!) and we ended up at Howe Green again! With the proper route selected, we tried again and this time got it right. 
Our patriotic Red, White and Blue convoy stopped just before Bradwell and decided there were too many motorbikes about for our liking (Why do they all ride like such twats on country roads?) and headed towards Burnham On Crouch. 
We then found the road to Burnham on Crouch closed, so ended up on the back roads towards Steeple. This was just as well really as Gertie2 decided to break down with fuelling issues. We did manage to get her going again, but only for a few hundred yards. We soon identified that the fuel tank was blocked at the outlet, but no amount of blowing down the fuel line could clear it.
Luckily, a good mate of mine only lived about a mile and a half away and he came out and towed me back to his place in his 7 series BMW. 
Once at his house we used to his compressor to blow down the fuel line which soon cleared the blockage. I then put a bit more petrol in to dilute the debris somewhat and luckily managed to get all the way home without any further breakdowns. (Good old Dave Maton followed me back as well just to make sure I got there)
On the Monday morning before work, I removed the fuel tank and was horrified at what was in there. I know this car spent 20 years without moving, but I've also completed two very long mileage runs in it since then so it was quite strange that it should choose now to block up. 
Lot's and lot's of rust has obviously come loose since I've been using the car and this was evidently the problem. 
I'm glad really that this problem has surfaced now, so that I have plenty of time to do something about it. If this had happened on the way to, or even on the Round Britain event there would be no quick fix and it would have been game over, so it's a blessing in disguise really. 
I have managed to source another good fuel tank which will be fitted when I have it in my possession. In the mean time, it will give me time to address another couple of niggles that I noticed on the run.