Sunday, 23 December 2012

December 23rd. A few jobs completed.

After a few weeks of collecting the missing bits for the new car and with no more other commitments for a while, I had half a day today to get a few jobs done.
The first job was to fit the manual pedal box. While doing this I also fitted the brake servo, brake master cylinder and the clutch master cylinder. I also fitted the column overdrive switch and gearstick.
I now need to make up some new pipes for the brake and clutch systems and then need to finish the brakes on the offside rear. (And fit another shock absorber)

This car will need a fair bit of recommissioning after its 23 year hibernation, but I'm hoping to get most of it done over the Christmas break.
That's if the other cars don't keep interfering of course. The daily driver BMW decided it wanted Christmas off and refused to start and run yesterday morning, so I was forced to use the Mk2 estate instead. This car has been fine since I changed the petrol pump earlier this year, so I thought its 'air lock' issue was a dim and distant memory. However, it proved that this wasn't the case by breaking down in the pouring rain! Typically, because the car had been so reliable I had taken the tools out of it a few weeks before.
After trawling a nearby market and buying a screw driver I managed to clear the air lock and get it running again. Once back home I needed to get ready to attend a party in North London and decided not take any more chances with the estate and take Gertie instead. Only to find that her battery was absolutely stone dead! Marvellous! Luckily I had a spare battery and after a quick charge Gertie burst into life and I was able to complete my journey. Bloody cars!
Hopefully, they'll be no more trouble from the other two (I'm not even going to bother looking at the beemer just yet!) and I'll be able to focus on the red car. I'm looking forward to hearing it run for the first time since 1989.

(Temporary work bench!)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

December 8th. Work begins!

With nothing else planned this weekend I decided to make a start on the new project. The first job was to drag it out of the garage, sweep all of the leaves and dirt out of all the crevices and find out which brake was sticking and making it difficult to move.
The front wheels were removed first and after evicting a horrendous sized spider and demolishing his home the brakes proved to be free. It could do with new pads but I'll wait until the rest of the braking system is complete and fitted before I do this. (The previous owner had removed the pedal box, servo and clutch and brake master cylinder for his other car.)
The tyres on were of vintage age and all the side walls were cracked, so I've put my TR4 wheels with good Michelin tyres on for now.

The nearside real wheel was inspected next and while it was off I decided to grease the driveshafts and fit my spare lowered fast road springs while it was all apart. This brake was also free so it was looking like the off side rear that was going to be the sticky one.
Sure enough the offside had a seized wheel cylinder and adjuster. I also managed to shear the bottom of the shock absorber while undoing it, so I now need another shock. Further inspection revealed a smallish hole under the nearside front wheel arch, half the exhaust missing and the paint code under the bonnet showed the car to be Cherry Red! I thought it was a badly faded Damson!
The worst part of the car is the nearside wheel arch. It will need some work to look presentable, but considering this car was last on the road 23 years ago. It hasn't faired too badly. It must have been dry stored all that time to be as solid as it is. It's a cross over between the pre facelift and the facelift as it has the upright spare wheel well, but the later type gauges and heater system.
In the glove box were other interesting items which have revealed a bit of the cars history. I bought it from Hertfordshire, before that  it was puchased from Surrey, before that the car was in Derby, the previous owner before that was in Lancashire and I found a parking permit for Yorkshire! The log book also says one previous owner since 1977.
I also found a completed 'Customer Preperation Service' document with a bullet check list ticked, an operation guide for the Laycocke overdrive unit and a brochure for 'Operation and Installation instructions for Antiference Car Radio 1303. I also found a 'Tyres and your safety' brochure.
There is also a sealed envelope addressed 'Fleet users and Owners who move residence'. I have no idea what this is but the fact that it's been sealed for so many years makes me very reluctant to open it. Any ideas anyone?  
Also on the windscreen is a 'Kennings' sticker. Kennings were a car and van hire company and had dealerships. They are now known as the GK group (Initials of George Kenning) and found this link quite interesting:
Brochures and documents found below.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

December 2nd. At last I've done something. (But not much!)

Since the ill fated trip to Holland at the start of November I've done very little on the cars.  A combination of a sickness bug and lack of motivation ensured that my 'get up and go' got up and went!
The windscreen wiper issue that developed just outside Dover in the torrential rain turned out to be a knackered wiper motor. Luckily I had a spare, so this was fitted and the wiring was replaced as that had melted too. I now have wipers that self park whereas they never did before, so that's an improvement.
During one of my bored spells I've had a go at making a Mk2 2.5pi rev counter that will look at home in a Mk1. I will have to fit the Mk2 pi speedo as well and relocate the temperature, fuel and voltage gauges, but I wanted to see how it would look first before I go the whole hog. I wanted to keep the chrome bezels that the Mk1 has while using the Mk2 rev counter, so the end result is......

I'm quite happy with it, so the next task will be to do the same to the speedo. I had this in mind for Gertie, but there is a new project on the horizon. I quite fancy getting into the Historic Rallying scene. Not in a big way, just doing the odd events here and there, but Gertie isn't eligible for the class I want to enter. Being 1968 she is too young and also too modified.

The class I want to enter is Category 1 and the car needs to be registered before 1.1.68. It also has to be pretty much to manufacturers specification (mild mods are allowed) and the car has to be  standard in appearance too. Bumpers have to remain in place, and cars can only be one colour unless they left the factory in more than one. (there goes the cream roof and cream wheels trade mark!) You can't display any advertising and can only have certain sized wheels and tyres. You can also only have four forward facing lights, so spotlights are out too. (Unless you fit a big set of spotlights and tape over the standard full beam units like Charles Harrison has!) :)

Luckily, I got to hear of a 1967 Mk1 saloon and so made arrangements to view it. It needs work, but the price was right and it was ideal for what I was looking for. I don't want a mint condition one when there's a mild chance of disappearing through a hedge backwards at high speed at some point!
So hopefully, said car will be delivered one night this week and I'll have something to play with over Christmas. Apart from being robbed of a few parts it's fairly original and according to the dvla website was last on the road in 1989! So it needs a bit of recommissioning then!

Unfortunately, the purchase of the Mk1 will force the Mk2 estate out of the garage once again and I will probably have to put it up for sale. It's too good a car to be sitting outside in all weathers. You could well be seeing it on the dreaded fleabay very soon! :(

Sunday, 4 November 2012

November 2nd. 24th Nachtrit-Holland

At last! The time had finally come for my twice yearly jaunt across the channel to take part in the 24th Nachtrit in Holland. My partner in crime for this trip was RBRR co driver Dave Maton.
Dave arrived at my place at the ungodly hour of 6.30 and by 7.10 we were on our way. After a trouble and traffic free run we stopped at Tesco's Dover for fuel and breakfast and then booked in with DFDS. It was at this point that I got a strange case of dejavue and as I found out our 10.15 ferry to Calais had been cancelled just as it had been when we came out for the Chinese rally in March! Hmmm.......two bookings made, two bookings not honoured. Not impressed!  After mentioning their 100% failure record to them, they moved us onto the 12.00 sailing to Dunkerkque free of charge, so at least we'd be 30 minutes further up the motorway when we did arrive in France.
The sky had been getting darker and darker across the channel and the drive through Belgium took on a leisurely pace due to the constant torrential rain. After tackling Brussels in the rush hour we headed towards Liege and then Maastrict before reaching our location in Slenaken at around 7pm. We checked into the hotel Berg En Dal which we found manned by two 'mature' gentleman that weren't exactly of a friendly nature. If you can imagine Fawlty Towers run by Hinge and Bracket you are just about there!
After checking into our 1970's styled rooms, (I dont think they were intentionally designed that way-they were just that old!) we had a wander round the town to try and find something to do. When this proved fruitless, we headed for a bigger town five miles away. When we found this town also closed due to a beer festival the following day, we admitted defeat and headed back to 'Hotel land fill' for an early night.
The following morning we were greeted by yet more rain and also got a good telling off by Hinge for sitting at the wrong table at breakfast! (We hadn't noticed they were numbered!)
On our way out of the hotel I asked Hinge what time the hotel was locked as we would be back late that night. He told me that his front door was locked at ten, but I could come in his back doors at anytime!
We took a drive out to get some petrol before the nights rally and managed make an interesting morning of it. Dave wanted me to pose by the sign below, I can't think why though.
We did find an Aldi and bought some supplies for lunch and encountered some strange names which provided us with a giggle, although the locals must have wondered who these two madmen were in their midst.

On the drive back to Fawlty Towers we spotted this place......
....and although there appeared to be plenty to eten and drinken, I couldn't find any slapens anywhere! Most disappointing!

Once we arrived back we planned a military style operation to sneak the food and drink we'd bought up to our rooms without being spotted by Hinge, which went very well until we encountered Bracket on the second floor doing the hoovering. Busted!
An afternoon of watching the rain from the window and McCleods Daughters on TV (it was the only thing on in English!) and stuffing ourselves with bread, cheese, ham and coke was the highlight of  the day and I made a mental note to write a guide on 'Things to do in Slenaken' the next time I pulled up at a red traffic light.
After about three years, it was time to head to the 'Best Western Hotel' for the start and meet up with the other crews doing the rally.
I don't know how, but somehow we were car no.1, and so were the first to leave. It was Dave's first time at navigating tulip diagrams and I have to say he was very good. After driving some brilliant roads and some err....not so brilliant ones we arrived at the halfway stage where we shared a table and some lovely spaghetti bolognese with Colin and Michelle. The restaurant (guarded by a WW2 Sherman tank) had a real old fashioned and friendly feel to it. (The place we were staying at could have learned a thing or two, that's for sure!)
(A very dirty Gertie at the halfway stage)

We started the second stage and after agreeing to follow Colin and Michelle who were having some fuel issues, we did about another 30 miles, before we lost all pressure on the clutch. Investigation indicated that it was a problem in the master cylinder and other than obtain a replacement, or a seal kit, there was nothing we could do. We had no choice but to retire from the event and set the Satnav back to the Best Western where everyone would be finishing and see if we could get some help.
We managed to continue driving the car by car by starting it in gear and jolting forward until the engine caught and changing gear at the right revs. This was to be the pattern for the 40 miles back to the hotel.
Back at the Best Western, nobody had the parts to be able to help us, so we retired back to our hotel deflated. Surprisingly, Hinge was still up even though it was well gone midnight, (he must have a had a tiff with Bracket) so we asked if we could settle up and check out. We'd already decided that we were going to try and drive home with no clutch and that it would be best to do it in the dead of night with no traffic on the roads.
This turned out to be a good call and we made good time arriving at Calais at around 4.30am Sunday morning. After pesuading DFDS to bring our booking forward 14 hours, we were able to catch the next available ferry at 6am (Although they did charge us 20 euros ammendment fee. I wonder what they would have said if I'd tried to charge them that for changing my booking at the start!)

(A Battle scarred and clutch-less car at Calais)

We embarked at Dover relieved that we had at least got back on British soil, so if we couldn't continue now, it wasn't such a drama to get home.
However, the gods hadn't quite finished challenging us as the no.1 fuse now decided to blow and continue blowing as well leaving us with no brake lights, indicators, heater, washers and more importantly...wipers! Needless to say torrential rain followed which made the journey back to Essex all the more entertaining!
Still being early morning the traffic was light and we made my home address with no further dramas. On opening the front door I found an envelope containing a clutch master cylinder seal kit that I had ordered before I left, but obviously just missed reaching me before I departed. Bloody typical!
Despite having no sleep and having been awake for over 25 hours Dave and I decided to get it fitted and bled up so at least Gertie was mobile again. While Dave stripped and rebuilt the master cylinder, I took a look at the electrics and traced the problem to a fault on the windscreen wiper circuit. It's possibly the switch, but further investigation is required. I had to break off from this as Dave had finished his bit and it was time to bleed the clutch. It was reluctant at first, but in the end it relented and we now have a nice firm pedal that selects every gear at the first time of asking.
Despite all of the above Dave and I had a great time and our ability to laugh at almost every situation saw us both through.
Hopefully, the next one in March will be a bit less dramatic!


Sunday, 28 October 2012

October 28th- South Coast Rally

A very cold early Sunday morning saw me picking up long term partner in crime Dave Saunders and then head South to take part in this years South Coast Rally. After a trouble free run (apart from the A21 being closed and a diversion through Tonbridge) we arrived as the first car at the start location.
The temperature inside the car was only mildly warmer than outside, (note to oneself-remember to remove the 'summer' thermostat before the winter arrives!) but Doug Foreman's hot tea and sausage sandwiches soon warmed us up.
With the instructions issued we started to plot our route. Dave and I always struggle with this bit, so it took a while to calculate our intended path. We set off hopefully and it all appeared to be coming together.
We drove some good roads, didn't kill any pheasants this time, or even bend the the front wing up by disappearing down a pothole like we did last year.
A sign that did make us laugh was a home made one on a narrow lane that read 'Caution! Hole in road. The council are looking into it!'
With our route completed we returned to the start/finish location and handed in our sheet. We felt that we'd done quite well, but joy turned to despair when we found that we'd missed four code boards! Bugger! Never mind, we shall continue to persevere.
The next event with Gertie will be next weekend for the 24th Nachtrit (Night run) in Holland. This is a great rally that takes us through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. I really enjoyed this rally last year but did it in a weekend which was quite exhausting, so this year Dave Maton and I are travelling out on the Friday morning to do it at a more leisurely pace. 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

October 21st. New driveshafts!

With today's weather so appallingly wet I decided not to go anywhere and to have another dry day in the garage instead. One of the biggish jobs on my list was to finally fit the new driveshafts I bought from Mike Papworth some weeks ago.
These driveshafts have a slightly different spline set up to the norm, but also have grease nipples fitted on so you no longer have to remove a driveshaft to grease up a spline. Laziness being one of my key features, this will suit me down to the ground.
The new shafts also come with new UJ's and just need the hubs fitting to them to make them complete. While I had the driveshafts off of the car I took the opportunity to remove the coilover shock absorbers that I fitted for the RBRR and refitted the standard ones. The coilovers are great when you have lots of weight in the boot and a three man crew, but make the car quite skittish when travelling light.
With the new shafts fitted and the car back together, I turned my attention to a couple of other issues that have come to light very recently. One is the starter motor. last year I had an issue with it failing to engage on numerous occasions. I had it reconditioned by a company in Grays and it has been fine until now. However, it's now doing exactly the same as it was before. It doesn't click or anything, it just doesn't seem to make contact and wont even try and crank the engine. I shall be taking it back to the same company tomorrow and be asking them to look at it again. This is a pain in the ass removing this as it wont drop out of the bottom of the car because of the 6-3-1 manifold and wont come out  through the top until you remove the throttle linkage, air filter box, K&N air filter, air horns and strut brace!
The second one is a clutch issue. Every now and then, and more so when you hold your foot on the clutch for a while, it seems to lose pressure. Pumping the pedal restores the pressure, but it does seem to be happening more and more frequently. The slave cylinder is reasonably new, so my money's on the master cylinder. Best get this sorted before the Nachtrit in Holland in a fortnight methinks!

October 20th- Give us a flash!

Monday 15th, I decided to take Gertie for a run out to the CT North London meet to stretch her legs again after the recent RBRR. After taking the slip road for the M25 I realised that all was not well and I appeared to have no indicators. Jumping out of the car and looking round revealed that the indicators were actually working, but just not on the dashboard repeater lights. So, I carried on regardless knowing I could get some advice on the problem at the meet.
After seeking advice from Colin Scrapman it turns out that the dashboard repeater lights are on the same circuit as the side repeater lights on the door pillars, which turned out wasn't working either! After further investigations and numerous calls to Colin later that week, we decided that the problem must lie with the flasher unit. I did have some spare flasher units, but all of mine were two pin whereas the one I needed was a three pin. So, a new one was ordered on Ebay and fitted when it arrived on Saturday morning.
With this fitted everything worked again and I can tell now whether I'm indicating or not! (it's an MOT fail as well having no warning indicators on the dashboard!)
So the three pin flasher unit must provide a live to the door pillar and dashboard repeaters. I'll have to remember this for future reference.
While I was in the garage, I decided to get another job off of my list. I had been avoiding this job for some time, but as someone said to me once: the 'thought' of doing something is sometimes worse than actually doing it. (Very true) So, with this ringing in my head I knuckled down and got on with it.
The job in question was changing the front springs on my estate. I had been told by the guy I bought it from that he had fitted 2.5S springs to give it a softer ride. Just lately I had found them too soft and the car leaned too much when taking corners. (Or maybe I have just got too used to Gertie's fast road springs and taking corners too fast!)
So I removed the front springs and set them down next to the PI springs that Colin had kindly loaned me to try. To my disappointment, they looked the same height and thickness. Perhaps the previous owner had got it wrong and they weren't S springs after all?
I fitted the springs Colin had loaned me anyway and a test drive later will reveal if the car handles any different or not. If it doesn't I shall have to look at some other options.
While having the callipers off I noticed that the discs and pads have worn unevenly. I was surprised at this as there is no feeling of braking deficiency's when driving the car, so maybe they have just always been like it. Further investigations to follow. Maybe it's time for a Stag Disc and calliper upgrade?

13th October-Post RBRR repairs.

After our little wiring issue on the way to the Plough for the RBRR, I decided to investigate a tad further. After removing both of the dashboard clocks I was able to get to the part of the loom that had got hot and melted.
After the laborious task of removing the loom tape  and separating the offending wire from the pack, I was able to see that the damage was contained to a two inch long strip and had not burnt through or melted any other wires.
This section of wire was cut out and replaced with new making sure that all connections were good and tight. I then decided to investigate the fuse box as really, the fuse should have blown before this wire had a chance to melt. Removal of the fuse showed it to be a severely scorched, but not blown 35 amp fuse! I have never seen a fuse that was so badly burnt, but not blown.
Then I remembered Doug and I had an wiring issue when we did the Chinese rally in Holland in March and had been putting in fuses every 50 miles or  so just to get home. In the end we had run out of the correct fuses and were having to put anything in. Obviously this was still in there from then. That will teach me to forget to replace the fuse for the correct one at the time!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Oct 5th -7th. The RBRR is finally here!

For the previous few months, most of my spare time (Not to mention money!) had been spent getting not one, but two cars ready for this event. The first choice was always Gertie, but the estate was readied too because of uncertainties with Gertie's rebuilt engine.
So, Thursday afternoon Gertie was loaded up with spares, tools, supplies and goodies ready for Friday's departure. Theo (Beans) had arrived from The Netherlands (Not Holland. I got told off for that. It's a different region apparently!) in the afternoon. So after a few cups of tea and a chat we took a run down to Enfield in the estate to meet up with Davemate and Mike and Ann Weaver for a few pre-RBRR drinks. It was a good night and a good laugh was had by all. It was also a welcome release from all of the pressure and nerves that a run such as this brings in the lead up to the start date.
   Friday lunchtime Theo and I set off For the Plough in Enfield via Dave's house for a spot of dinner. On route to the pub I went over one of the speed humps in Bullsmore Lane a bit quicker than I intended to and all of sudden we encountered a burning smell and smoke coming out from the dashboard and the car started misfiring!
After the initial panic, we realised that it had stopped as quick as it started and everything electrical was still working. We booked in at the Plough and then returned to the car to investigate. The estate was sitting at home on standby, so if the worst came to the worst we would have made a quick dash home to swap cars. Investigations revealed that one of the wires had dropped off the back of one of the gauges and had touched the metal causing it to earth out. The main loom had got hot and melted slightly but the wire was still intact. So a decision was made to tape it up and carry on. (And hope for the best!)
Before we knew it the time had flown and the drivers meeting was on us and it was time to get ready to depart on this mechanical, physical, mental challenge!
Dave was the man in the hot seat for the first stint so he was 'flagged' out of the pub and we were on the way. The rain was once again was our companion all the way to the first control point at Blyth just as was in 2010. It's nice to see that some things never change.
A quick sign in and fuel up at Blyth and we were on the way with me driving. Just after leaving the services we all heard a metal vibrating noise and quickly pulled over to see what was up. All it was was that one of the headlight stoneguards had come loose. The retaining screw had workeded itself loose and wouldn't go back in, so the headlight guard was removed for the time being.
 I had already told Dave that I wanted to drive the A68 road,  (The pitch black roller coaster road!) so it was my turn in the seat next. This is a great drive and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wonder what it's like in the daylight?
  Carter Bar was the next control where Theo presented McJim with a bottle of Lambrini. I think McJim was quite pleased judging by his reaction. I think he was less impressed in 31 bottles time though!
Edinburgh airport was the next control and again we just got the book signed and moved on, before the car park got too crowded with various different Triumphs!
By the time we got to Skiach we were running quite early along with a few others and hung around for a bit waiting for the control to open. Petrol was obtained, coffee drank and sausage and tomato flavoured crisps snacked on. Life was good!
John O Groats was the next stop and a well deserved breakfast was devoured. Oil, water, etc was checked on the car but not found to be needing anything. Although she was starting to look a tad dirty by now.
The stunning drive across the top of Scotland towards Bettyhill went without a hitch (Apart from Gertie annihilating a crow just like she did on the 2006 RBRR!)  but just before turning onto the B871 we were met by a high pitch screaming noise that sounded like radio interference! Turning the radio down and even off showed that it wasn't and it turned out to be the propshaft rubbing on the exhaust. We found a lay-by and luckily some Pikey's had discarded a huge mound of tarmac that they no longer required. So, we drove up one side of it and got the car at an angle so that we could get underneath. A quick modification with a tyre lever persuaded the exhaust to go back to where it came from and it was all systems go again.
Dave then took over for the drive down to Conon Bridge where a lunch of Burger, Sausage and Bacon rolls were waiting. We even managed to scrounge a longer screw so that we were able to put the headlight stone guard back on.
After leaving Conon Bridge we took the beautiful route down past Loch Ness, Glencoe & Fort William. There's some absolutely stunning views on this stretch and it's my favourite part of the route.
Further control points at Stirling, Tebay, (Where I had a lovely hot shower) and Gledrid followed and then we were off to the eerily silent Sugar Loaf in deepest darkest Wales. The drive down to Gordano followed which I did while being accompanied by some strange grunting and rasping noises from the rear seat area. These were from Dave though, nothing to do with the car. I'm not sure which end of him they were coming from either!
A brief stop at Gordano and Okehampton followed and then we were down to Lands End to watch a beautiful sunrise and a hearty breakfast.
(Picture by Theo)
With breakfast dealt with we headed north to the Bude control and were visited by two of my customers that were holidaying in Cornwall. They witnessed most of crews coming in and were mightily impressed that even though most of them had had no sleep, were still full of enthusiasm and joviality. So much so that they have offered a generous donation to the cause. Brilliant!
We continued on and completed further stops at Badgers Holt, where Dave collected an engine part from Nick Jones while we were there. On leaving Badgers Holt we went through a large puddle which set off my high pitched frequency noise that we'd heard in Scotland. Once again the propshaft seemed to be connecting with the exhaust. However, by the time we'd found somewhere to pull over, it had stopped and was all fine again! We concluded that the water hitting the exhaust must cool it down and contract (or expand?) it in some way and move the positioning of it. Then when it heats up again it moves it back away from the propshaft. Very strange! I'll add it to my 'jobs to do list' as I don't want the car to sound like I'm tuning into to a long wave radio station every time it goes through a puddle! The propshaft and exhaust are obviously very close together!
Sixpenny Handly was the next control point and very nice it was too. A very friendly team supplied us with tea and biscuits to keep us going for the next few hours.
Dave then took the penultimate drive from there up to the TR Register offices where more tea and coffee was on offer and I did the final stint from Didcot to the Plough.
The route from Dicot to the Plough was the dreaded M40 & M25 route and although the M40 was heavy we managed to miss the road closure that apparently followed. The M25 was surprisingly clear for a Sunday evening and we managed to to report to control at the exact time of it opening.
We had a fantastic time and I think a 3 man crew is definitely the way to go. Although Theo wasn't taking part in the driving he was an excellent navigator and probably had less sleep than Dave and I.
Having that third man just gives the option of being able to climb in the back and get away from it all for a while. Dave also did very well on his first RBRR and I think his experience as an LGV night driver helped. (Although he needs to remember to bring a coat next time!)
Gertie once again performed very well apart from her scare at the beginning, and all she really needs it the exhaust moved, the melted wiring repaired and a bloody good wash!  
All in all it was a fantastic weekend and full credit must go to the organisers, Marshall's and anyone else involved in this event. Also thanks to the other entrants who make it such a laugh and a pleasure to be with. Will we be at the 2014 event???? Too bloody right we will! See you there?

Sunday, 30 September 2012

September 29th. More final preparations!

I decided to do a few more jobs on Gertie today. To be honest a couple of them probably didn't need doing, but I did them anyway for peace of mind.
The two jobs in particular were the brake pads and front wheel bearings. The pads had plenty of wear left on them, but was it 2000 miles worth? Possibly, but why take a chance? I'd much rather do them at my own pace and in a dry and well equipped garage, than in the rain in a pitch black lay-by with the scissor jack sinking into the ground!
For the wheel bearings I just removed the hubs, re-packed them with grease and adjusted them back up. They were new bearings for the 10CR anyway, so they should be fine.
Other jobs to be done were to adjust the tappets again. I did this last weekend, but one had become quite noisy during the week. It was number three tappet that was out. I don't know why, possily a worn lobe, but I have plans to change the camshaft over Christmas anyway as I'm not happy with it.
I also did an oil and filter change, fitted new windscreen wipers and finally got round to fitting my headlight stone guards. (I'd forgotten I'd bought them actually and found them while looking for something else!) 
So that's it really. Gertie's ready to reacquaint herself with the RBRR. An event she last did a few years back (2006 I think?) with Colin (Scrapman) and Mike Bishop. Roll on Friday the 5th! :)

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Saturday 22nd September-Final pieces before the RBRR

With Gertie's engine now over 600 odd miles since it's second rebuild, I thought it was time to re-torque the cylinder head and set the valve clearances again. I also decided to change the rocker shaft as no matter how many times I set the tappets, they are still noisy as hell.
The car gives a beautiful roar from the back, but sounds like a singer sewing machine from the front!
Anyway, with all this done the car does seem quieter I have to say. - but I think the workshop manual needs an oil change!
With this job out of the way, I started on the rear suspension. Last weekend's trip to Coventry with loads of gearboxes and cylinder heads and stuff in the boot saw Gertie sitting quite low at the back. So with all the spares and tools we're going to be carrying on the RBRR (Not to mention our third man from across the sea as well) I thought she needed some help.
I'd managed to borrow a set of estate springs to raise the ride height somewhat, but since borrowing these have also been lent a set of coilover shock absorbers. (See below)
As you can also see from the above pic, the estate springs are massively higher than Gertie's lowered fast road springs. Now I know I don't want her dragging her undercarriage along the ground, but I also don't want her looking like she's just about to go for a tear down the strip at Santa Pod either, so I think I've reached a compromise.
I've left Gertie's lowered springs in but with the coil over shocks fitted instead of the standard ones. The springs still sit in place well and the back of the car doesn't sit down low even with all the tools and spares in the boot. Dave and I have a third man coming to the driver's meeting with us tomorrow, so that will be a good test. If it doesn't work out, I can always fit the estate springs before the event.
With my jobs all done, fellow big saloon owner Steve (First GT6 on the forum) came round so that we could grease the driveshafts on his Mk2 saloon. It was a straight forward job and only took around an hour. We pumped some grease into the propshaft UJ's as well while we were at it.
I'm looking forward to the driver's meeting tomorrow, and starting to get a buzz now for the RBRR. The reality of it all is sinking in with it now being less than 2 weeks away. Can't wait!


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Saturday 15th September-Yet another long day!

Friday night saw me having to make a trip over to Coggeshall to meet a  man in a hi-viz vest in a pitch black lay-by! (Very pitch black in fact!) The man concerned was Colin Wake who was marshaling a rally for Chelmsford Motor Club and he had some brake drums for me for Gertie. I took the estate for a run over there as my BMW was loaded up with parts.
Having a very long day planned Saturday, an early start was required. I awoke an hour before the alarm was due to go off and so found myself bored at 4am in the morning. The days plan was to drive to Coventry with Davemate and collect my newly rebuilt gearbox and differential for the estate (as well as other bits for Davemate and Dave Picton) then come back to mine to get them both fitted.
         Seeing as I had an hour to kill, I went into the garage and disconnected the battery on the estate and removed the gearstick to save us time later. So, once it hit 5am I jumped in my BMW estate to go to Dave’s and ….disaster! The car started and ran for 2 seconds and then just died. Trying to start it again revealed that there appeared to be no compression on the engine at all, so it wouldn’t be going anywhere. Bugger!
Gertie was still on axle stands minus her brake shoes, drums and drive shaft and I had just removed the battery, air cleaner box and gearstick from the estate. Double Bugger!!!!!!!
With haste I went back into the garage and fitted the new shoes, drum and drive shaft to Gertie and then had to tranship the two cylinder heads and gearbox from the BMW into Gertie's boot area.
I met Dave near the M25 at Enfield at around 6am and we proceeded Northwards to Mike Papworth's in Coventry. After a brief stop at junction 2 of the M6 to deliver the two 2.5S cylinder heads I had sold on ebay we arrived at Mikes at around 8.15. Mike is a great guy and after making us a drink he gave a tour of his workshop and a peak of his vast amount of spares. With all deals completed (and a few extra ones!) we left to head back home.
We had a brief stop to deliver a gearbox to Dave Picton and we arrived back at mine at about 1pm. A very brief inspection of the sulking BMW led us to suspect that the timing chain has broken and dropped into the sump. After making a phone call to the garage that does my MOT's, I was told 'Scrap it. The cost of repairing that will be more than the car's worth!'  Treble Bugger! So it looks like I now have a piece of worthless junk sitting outside my house. :(    (who said another one?) 
So with it being game over for the beemer, we cracked on with the estate which will now have to undertake 'daily driver' duties for the time being.

Davemate playing with thrust bearing!
With no time wasted, the gearbox was quickly changed and except for the gearbox mount which we managed to get round the wrong way several different times and in several different positions, all went well. With this done we lowered the front of the car down and raised the back up ready to fit the nice shiny rebuilt diff. 
Once the diff was all bolted up in place we called it a night as it was now 8.45pm. All I have left to do is refit the driveshafts, back box and propshaft and put the speedo cable and dash back in.
I also noticed in my haste early this morning, that I had refitted Gertie with one new brake show and one old one as well, so that will be done once the estate is finished.
I cant fault Gertie though, she went up to Coventry with 1 gearbox, 1 overdrive unit, and 2 cylinder heads in the boot and came back with 2 gearboxes, 1 diff, 2 towsure shocks and loads of PAS bits for Dave. She probably averaged about 70mph and returned somewhere between  25 & 30 to the gallon. (we didn't do exact figures)
I do need to raise the rear suspension for the RBRR though. She's lowered with fast road springs anyway, but with all that weight in the boot, she sits down a bit too much. However, Colin has managed to borrow a set of facelift estate rear springs for me and Mike yesterday gave me a pair of towsure (I think that's what he called them?) shocks to try.  So these are going to be fitted prior to the event for testing.
I also now need to look out for another everyday car. This could give me an excuse to have another toy. As I said to Dave when discussing the beemer, 'If I'm going to have something unreliable, I might as well get another Triumph!' :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Sep 12th. Well that didn't go according to plan!

Tonight's planned job was to remove the offside rear wheel and driveshaft, check both UJ's, grease the driveshaft, adjust the brake shoes and refit. It was quite simple and I planned to do the nearside tomorrow night. However, removal of the drum itself revealed a few hidden horrors. A knackered brake spring for starters and also badly grooved shoes and therefore drum as well.

I have new brake shoes, but I don't have any spare brake drums, so the search is on for a pair. (Just in case the other side is poor as well). On the plus side both UJ's appeared to be in good order so I'll leave them be for the RBRR. (But I'll take the new ones with me just in case!)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Saturday 8th September. Car shopping! (But not for me!)

While suffering from one of my insomnia bouts, I found myself browsing the interweb thing at around 03.30 Saturday morning. While nosing about, I stumbled across an advert on Gumtree for a Mk1 Triumph saloon for a very reasonable sum.
Knowing a man who was after a Mk1, I waited until the more respectable time of 7am before waking him up with a text advising him of the found treasure. I then went off to a work related training course while the victim of my early awakenings emailed, phoned and just generally pestered owner of said vehicle to arrange a viewing.
I arrived home from the training course to find that a viewing had been arranged for 3pm that afternoon. So, with no time to spare I loaded some tools and spares and decided to get more mileage on Gertie and go down to Slough with the potential purchaser to look at what I had found in the small hours.
When we arrived we found a very sound, but cosmetically challenged car. The underneath was very good and the sills need no work at all. It runs well and has an A type overdrive gearbox. A deal was struck and I can now reveal that DAVEMATE is now a proud member of the selective Mk1 saloon degenerates club.
After completion of the deal a short diversion to Hoddesdon on the way back to collect some twin electric fans (for Gertie) we returned to Dave's house where I watched with humour while he tried to persuade his wife what a great car he had bought. :)
The funny thing is though, while we were out, I received a text telling me of a car for sale that I had been interested in for a while. So am I going to find myself in the same position shortly? Watch this space! 

Friday 7th September. Propshaft and ball joint

While driving Gertie about recently and trying to get some mileage on her to get her run in, I'd noticed a very unhealthy clonking noise from the nearside front when cornering. On this basis I had decided to change the front ball joint.
However, on starting to undo the nut I found it was already loose. So I tightened it up and said clonking promptly disappeared. I'll keep an eye on it though as there must be a reason for it coming undone. Maybe the nylock part of the nut is worn and not keeping it tight.
With this done I decided to fit my newly balanced propshaft. I don't think there's a lot if anything wrong with the old one, but with the RBRR coming up I think it's always worth removing the prop to check the UJ's and carry out further inspections. The prop will be working pretty much non stop over the 2000 miles so it's worth doing for a bit of peace of mind.  

Sunday, 26 August 2012

August 26th. Speedo, exhaust and fuel pump.

After Gertie's successful test drive last Monday night a couple of minor jobs came to light that needed attention. One was the knocking exhaust and the other was a non working speedometer. Another job that had been on the list for a long time was the noise from the electric petrol pump.
I already knew what was causing the issue with the speedo. The thread in the housing that the angle drive screws into was knackered and so the angle drive just kept falling out. Luckily a second hand one came up for sale on ebay (complete with angle drive)  and I was lucky enough to win it for the grand total of four English pounds!
To fit this I had to lower the gearbox down, and so decided to do the exhaust at the same time. While doing the speedo,  I also noticed what was causing the exhaust to knock. In the haste to put Gertie back together I must have put the gearbox crossmember on the wrong way round. One side is lower than the other side to allow for the centre section of the exhaust to pass through. Having it the wrong way round loses about 6-7mm of clearance. (see pic below)
With this turned round I also set about fitting a new shiny exhaust bracket that I'd recently bought. The bracket bolts onto the side of the gearbox and hopefully stops too much movement.
The last job on the agenda was to sort out the electric petrol pump. This is mounted on the inner wing via a metal bracket which holds the pump. The 'metal on metal' fitment was causing a lot of vibration and making the pump very noisy as well.
After going through the spares bin I found two twin studded rubber mounts. (Similar to engine mounts, but smaller) I fitted these and then turned the ignition on to see if it was any quieter. It was a lot quieter-it wasn't working at all! Then I realised that the rubber mounts in between the pump bracket and the inner wing had taken away the earth. So, with an earth lead made up and fitted in place the pump was working again. It was a lot quieter too.
By the time these jobs were done time had gotten away from me so a test drive will have to wait for another day. I did start the car up for a few minutes and let it idle and the exhaust wasn't knocking on tick over like it had been, so things sounded promising. 


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

August 18th. Another long day!

Part of my work for Saturday actually started on the Friday night with the part removal of the steering column. I had noticed the week before that the steering link assembly had quite a bit of movement in it and should really be replaced. Dave Maton was coming up to do some welding on his wife's Herald convertible so I made use of an extra pair of hands while he was around.
By the time Dave had arrived Saturday morning, the old steering link had been removed and the new one was ready to fit.

With this job done, the estate was relegated to the garden and the Herald convertible was shoved into the garage so Dave could get on with his welding. Once he'd done his bit, he even managed to find some that needed doing on my estate as well!
My rusty piece of floor was cut out and a Tescos Fruit & Fibre template was made to construct a suitable replacement panel. (This was probably the nearest to healthy eating Dave's ever been!) :)

While Dave was cutting, burping, grinding, burping, filing, burping, welding, farting, swearing and burping, I was getting on with putting Gertie back together. By about 8pm, she was already to be fired up. We couldn't get the oil pressure up with no spark plugs in and turning it on the starter alone, so we ended removing the distributor and the timing cog wheel. We then fashioned a screw driver  bit to fit over the top of the oil pump drive. (see pic below) Once the oil pump drive was spun with an electric drill in reverse, we got the pressure we needed and was able to attempt  detonation!
After a few abortive attempts at starting which included a backfire loud enough to set all the neighbourhood dogs barking and was powerful enough to rid the back box of a good quantity of soot, she suddenly burst into life. Apart from the tappets (new cam followers) she sounded good but as it was now it was dark, we quickly set the timing with a strobe light and called it a day. 

Dave came up again on the Sunday after his visit to the porn shop (Machine Mart) and helped finish a few other jobs off. This included making up a new loom for the overdrive after the old one inadvertently got cut up! (Not by either of us I hasten to add) With this done Gertie was taken out for her first test drive with the new (again!) engine and it all went rather well.
I just need to get some decent mileage on her now before the RBRR!