Friday, 30 December 2011

Xmas period! Lots of catching up!

Due to having a fair bit of time off this year, I managed to get a lot of  jobs done on the cars that I'd been putting off for ages. The engine that I dropped into the engineering shop to be inspected is still sitting there untouched (Or even looked at) so it freed me up to get other bits done.
I'll start with the estate. Ever since I've had this car there have been things that have either been missing or not working. I'd kind of got used to just not having them, but recently I decided to finally get them sorted out. The first thing was that after finally getting the interior light working a few weeks ago, I'd now become spoilt and wanted it working when I opened each of the doors too. Four new courtesy light switches were ordered from Mr Witor and once fitted all worked as they should. The load area light was the next to come under attack and once the switch had been cleaned up and the wires reconnected this worked fine as well. (I was on a roll now!)  With the success of this I then tackled the nasty job of fitting a roof mounted radio aerial. I'm not a great lover of wing mounted ones and always manage to snap them off somehow. This was done without managing to tear any of the roof lining which was a relief, although it was quite tricky trying to get the aerial coaxial cable down the inside of the roof strut. It all went well though and I can now finally listen to the radio instead of boring myself to death with the same Cd's all the time!
The next job was something that I, nor anybody else had noticed all the time I have had the car. This was that my side light and indicator units were upside down!  (See pic below)

As you can see, the side lights are at the top and the indicators are at the bottom and it should be the other way round.  This only came to light after reading Mike Weaver's blog and seeing pics of the front of his estate. Once I had taken the lenses off I could clearly see a large LH & RH (left hand and right hand) moulded onto the units, so God knows how the previous owner missed that when he restored the car? Perhaps he just wanted to be different? Anyway, these were swapped back over and the car now looks as it should.  The other jobs that I did were to fit two rear drive shafts complete with brand new wheel bearings and swap the thermostat for a hotter one. My temperature gauge had barely been reading anything since the start of the cold weather and as a result the heater was only luke warm. With the new thermostat fitted, the gauge now reads a quarter and the heater is much improved. In fact, in the past few weeks, the car has gained lovely comfortable seats, an  interior light that comes on when you open the door, and a heater that blows hot, not warm, hot air. Oh what bliss! Life doesn't get much better!

Onto Gertie now, and the first job was to try and sort out the appalling demister situation. Mk1's don't have great heaters at the best of times but the demister on my car is virtually non existent. (Ferny found that out while driving the car when the rain came down in Germany on the 10CR!) I started by removing the heater box and the fan. What I found in the recess in the bulkhead came as a bit a surprise....................... This was half of Scrapman's Oak tree from his garden where Gertie sat for a few years before he decided to sell it. Needless to say, it was having quite a negative effect on the airflow from the fan. With the fan and heater cleaned out and back in place there was definitely an improvement. It's still not great and I will be visiting this area again, but for now its better than it was. As least you can feel some air coming out of the vents now.
Another job I had been putting off was replacing the trailing arm bushes. I don't know why, it wasn't that bad in the end. I guess sometimes, the thought of doing something is worse than actually doing it. As expected the old bushes put up a bit of a fight coming out, but not as much as the new ones going in.
(Gertie minus trailing arm.)

In the end a good dousing of boiling hot water made the rubber bushes squishy enough to 'give' a bit and I managed to persuade them to move into their new home. Hopefully, the car will seem a bit firmer on the back end now.

Once Gertie was all back together, I fitted a set of 15 inch compomotive wheels to her. This is only temporary as I am going to have her TR6 rims shot blasted and repainted. The wheels have started to look a bit grubby over the past few months and some surface rust has started to appear, so a good blast and paint should tidy things up a bit.  

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Friday 23rd December. Time to finish those seats!

Due to our strange Christmas rota at work I was blessed with a rare day off today, so with the weather being a vast improvement on last weeks sub zero temperatures I decided to get the seats finished off on the estate. (It's always easier to do the seats outside of the garage, so I can get the doors fully open) As learnt before when I fitted these Alfa seats to the Mk1, the passenger seat is much easier to do as it has no height adjuster bar to remove. So, an hour or so later the passenger seat was fitted and matched up nicely to the driver side one.

After fitting the drivers seat a few weeks back, it became clear that the black leather in the front and the black cloth seats in the back would look a bit odd. (It was was fitted with 2.5S cloth seats when I bought it) So a plea for black vinyl estate seats was entered on the Triumph 2000 register forum and a text message arrived the next day from Lee Godfrey telling me of someone who had some. (Thanks Lee)
The next issue was that the seats were in Leicester. After a few days wait I managed to find deliveries for one of my trucks at work going to Birmingham, Derby, and.......Leicester! (It's handy being a transport manager!) So, the seats were collected by one of my drivers and loaded into my car on in his return.
These were fitted after the passenger seat was finished, but to be honest, the colour match is not as good as the red Alfa seats were on the Mk1. However, the vinyl does match the leather better and the 'lined' pattern matches far better than the cloth patterned ones, so they will stay for the time being.

The car is far more comfortable and definitely more 'driveable' with the new front seats and I would feel a lot more happier about making a long journey with these than the originals. Seeing as this car is also the 'Round Britain Reliability Run' backup car, that's definitely a good thing!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Saturday & Sunday 17th & 18th December.- Engine removal

As a quick update from the last blog, Gertie's starter motor was put in for repair and was indeed confirmed as 'terminal'. The shop concerned started talking of £50 to £60 repair bills, but when I said 'Don't worry then, I can get a brand new one for £47 inc vat. Unless you want to try and source me one  for cheaper of course?' They suddenly found me a new one for £35 plus vat. (Funny that eh?)
The shiny new starter motor was fitted that night after work and Gertie was able to ferry us to the Essex region Christmas Dinner. (Shame the heater isn't as good as the starter motor!)

Saturday the 17th saw me starting the project of removing the engine from the yellow Mk1. This engine has had many pounds thrown at it in the past and is worth spending a bit more money on to make it perfect. It currently has a 'rattle' from what appears to be the top end of the engine. (Possibly cam, followers, or small ends?) Despite the freezing conditions, I did stay in the garage all day and refused to give in until the engine was out. (Ok, I did have my space heater on for a while, but the sound of the constant roar does my head in, so I never have it on for long!)

Sunday morning saw work resume despite the freezing conditions again. (I wonder how much it would cost to get my garage plumbed in to my house central heating?) Stripping of the engine discovered that everything that was on the spec sheet when I bought the car was indeed all present and correct.
TR6 decked block: +60 thou Powermax pistons: Tony Dean RC2 billet cam: Gas flowed and skimmed 219016 triumph 2.5 's' head, Ported and 3 angled valves: Blueprinted oil pump: Lightened and balanced Flywheel.
I also removed the big end caps and the mains caps and found that none of them were down to the copper. (I didn't remove the pistons as I had another impending engagement and was running low on time.) The crank also seems ok (Albeit to my untrained eye) and the cam didn't show any amount of wear either. The oil pump filter was covered in gunk though as you can see below.
As I said though, I am far from an expert in these matters so the engine was loaded into the back of the trust rusty estate car and will be taken to Carlow engineering for further inspection and possible/probable rebuild. I'm still concerned that I haven't yet found any evidence of the 'rattle' noise I've experienced so I'll be asking them to check the small ends while they have the engine.
What good old buses these estate cars are! Everyone should have one of these! :-)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Sunday December 11th. Starter Issues & seat upgrades

 For a few weeks now I've had starting issues with Gertie. The symptom's were similar to me in the mornings. (Sluggish to start, and hard to get going!) I suspected a dying battery, but trying two other batteries today didn't resolve anything. The battery cables were also changed but again this made no difference, so the starter motor was removed and will be taken to a specialist to be checked out this week. With the starter off, I tried the old trick off attaching it direct to a battery via a set of jump leads. The starter spins round ok, but it's hard to tell if it would break down when trying to turn an engine over.

After the success of fitting the Alfa Romeo 156 red leather seats in Gertie for the 10CR, I had been keeping an eye out on ebay for a set in black for the estate. As luck had it I managed to find a set for the bargain price of £41.00! Even better was one of my drivers at work passing virtually next door to the people selling them a few days later, so free collection as well!
So, after messing about with the starter on Gertie, an afternoon of drilling, grinding, filing, welding and swearing began.(the swearing was listening to spurs lose 2-1 to Stoke on the radio!)  I did the drivers seat first, as this needs a bit more modifying due to the height adjustment bar. With this bar in place, the seat would be far too high on the Triumph seat runners, so I cut this out, got the seat to the right height in the car and marked it up, then removed the seat and then welded the side pivot joints to stop them from moving. The seat can still go back and forth on the runners, but no longer has the height adjustment. (which the car never when it left the factory anyway, so it's not a big deal)
With the 'new'seat in place and the original one still on the passenger side, you can see the massive difference between the two. Work on the passenger side will resume when time permits.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Wednesday 7th December. Not much going on!

I haven't really done much on any of the cars lately due to cold weather/general laziness/de-motivation. (delete as applicable) The 2.5 engine I took over to Carlow engineering has turned out to be a no go, so this brought about a decision to remove the fast engine out of the yellow car and put it Gertie and remove the standard 2000 engine from Gertie, put it in the yellow car, then sell it. Its getting too expensive and time consuming to run three cars so I'm going to reduce the fleet down to two. (Gertie the Mk1 saloon and CAC the Mk2 estate)
There is however, a noise on the yellow car engine that needs to be cured before fitting so Andy came round to try and give a second opinion on it. We first suspected tappets and finding two or three of them loose, we were hoping this was the problem.
 However, this didn't seem to quiet it down at all, so now the engine will just be removed and stripped down to be inspected.(Here we go again!) Work will progress on this hopefully over the Christmas period and and providing it doesn't need too much of a rebuild, will be ready for implanting in Gertie by late January or early February. (Hopefully!)

While Andy was attending to the tappets my other friend Dave (See? I do have more than one!) was looking at the interior light in the estate. Four years I've had this car and I've never had it working! Even trying to read a map the other Sunday night was done by holding an illuminated mobile phone over the page! (I know- I really should get a sat nav!)
Anyway, after a bit of fiddling about it was working again. Only for it to pack up again two minutes later! The temperature in the garage had dropped considerably by now, so it was decided to abandon the attempt and go and warm up with a cup of tea! The second attempt will take place on Saturday.