Friday, 27 April 2012

April 27th. Gertie's alive.............but poorly. :(

As reported in the last blog, my mate Dave was coming round to sort out some wiring for me. He adapted the starter motor wiring to suit the new pre-engaged high torque starter motor for me and also wired in the electric fuel pump. We originally decided to wire the electric fuel pump to the ignition, but have since decided it will be better going through a separate switch. I also ended up distracting him with some other small jobs, so we didn't manage to get everything done and another session was arranged.
A few nights later Dave returned and started work on wiring up the oil cooler temperature gauge and other items as well, so all is looking good in that department. However, when it came to getting Gertie started things didn't quite go to plan.
After trying various different methods of trying to get a spark at the plugs, we came to the conclusion that the sensor for the lumenition in the distributor had given out. God knows why, it was working fine in the yellow car, but for some reason it doesn't like Gertie!
So we stole the distributor out of Gertie's old engine and went back to points and condensor. We at least managed to get a spark now,  but Gertie still wouldn't fire. We also had petrol into the carbs, but she still wouldn't run. With time now getting on we called it a night and ventured indoors for a cuppa.

Friday night was the next time I managed to get to have a play and luckily another mate of mine (yes I do have two!) Andy called in on his way to work. (I bet he wished he hadn't) After much investigation and removal of the distributor again, we came to the conclusion that the drive cog that links the oil pump drive to the distributor drive (and runs off of the cam) wasn't quite in the right place. With this removed and refitted Gertie burst into life, albeit not particularly well. The engine was cut quickly to repair a split heater hose that was spraying water everywhere and then work resumed. Gertie was starting and running easy enough, but still not as it should be. I know with it's new highly tuned engine that it wont run as smooth as the old 2 litre unit (particularly on tickover) but she's definitely running far more erratically than she should be. Work will resume this weekend.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

April 21st. Almost there!

A new contract at work meaning plenty of late nights and weekends has taken my focus off of Gertie somewhat over the past few weeks, so I haven't done as much as I hoped I would.
I was never going to rush it anyway as I didn't want to end up missing things or doing them twice over, plus there were certain modifications to do as well.
One of these things was the throttle set up. Gertie was on her original 'rod and linkage set up' for the stromberg carbs, whereas the new engine has twin SU's that are operated by cable. This means changing the actual pedal itself, buying an adptor plate and having to drill three holes in the bulk head to mount it all. (Two for the pedal, one for the cable)
The bolts have to be screwed into the pedal mount from the engine bay side and given the location, in the dip behind the inner wing and next to the servo, there's isn't a lot of room. (Especially with big clumsy sausage fingers like mine!)

The next modification was going away from a manual fuel pump to a facet electric item. With the other mods there isn't a great deal of room under the bonnet so I was a bit limited as to where I could mount it. I did think about mounting it in the boot, but with all the spares and tools I carry on rallies, I thought it would be at risk of being dislodged. In the end I decided on the inner wing on the passenger side and will just make sure that all of the wiring near it is tidied up and kept away from it. The main wiring that was there was for the starter solenoid, but the car now has a hi-torque pre-engaged one, so the original solenoid has been removed.
An oil cooler system with temperature sender and gauge have been fitted and also an oil pressure gauge kit as well. These two gauages have been mounted in the centre console area (temporarily) along with the stereo which was previously mounted on the parcel shelf on the passenger side! (Not practical at all!) 

Working on the car four nights after work this week has seen a fair bit completed. My navigator and mate Dave is coming round tomorrow to sort out some electrickery for me and after that, there's not much left to do. As soon as Gertie is finished, I can get the yellow car up and  as well, renew the MOT and put her on the dreaded Ebay. The start price will be high enough to hopefully keep the banger drivers away from wanting the car for the 'All Triumph' banger meeting in the summer. (I've nothing against banger racers, I just don't want the car to go down this route!)
Hopefully, it wont be long before Gertie is up and running again and I can start getting the new eingine run in ready for the International Auto Eccosse (Scottish Rally) at the end of May.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Friday 6th April- Gertie has a new heart.

With not having to work through the Easter break I had made plans to remove the standard 2 litre engine from Gertie and fit the newly rebuilt 2500 engine. My 'Round Britain' co-pilot 'Davemate' offered to help and this being something I would struggle to do alone, I took him up on his offer.
Dave arrived around 8am and we got straight into it and by about 10.40 Gertie's engine and gearbox was extracted. As previously advised, the front cross member was unbolted and the car 'bounced' on its springs to provide more space between the cross member and bulkhead. With this done, the engine and gearbox came out together.

This engine was to go back into the yellow car which will then be sold once up and running, ( I want to cut down to two cars eventually.) but for now the priority was to get the new one fitted in place. This didn't seem to want to go at first and was reluctant to even line up, but after a bit of cursing, swearing, jigery pokery and some more swearing she finally slotted in place. We then bolted the front cross member back down so that Gertie was sitting as she should.

Seeing as it was still early afternoon, we devoured some cheese sarnies and cold Pepsi max and then decided to get Gertie's old engine fitted into the yellow car. This was even easier than trying to fit the other engine and went in without even having to unbolt the cross member! Eh? How's that then? I had been told without unbolting the cross member, the sump wont drop down over the power steering rack. But it did. Result!

With both engine and gearboxes in, we still had time to get the strobe light out and have a play with the timing on Dave's Herald. (And also did my estate while we were at it). Dave even let me have a drive of his Herald and has what I thought was a really cool option. He has his overdrive switch fitted on the steering wheel. It's brilliant and helps make it a great car to drive.
Dave then helped me refit both bonnets to the cars and we then called it a day as we were now into the early evening. The next few days will be spent finishing Gertie off and fitting such luxuries as an oil cooler and oil pressure gauge.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

31st March-1st April- Club Triumph Historic Counties Rally

After a lovely fish & chip supper, a freezing cold Saturday evening saw me driving Gertie round in circles and attempting to throw tennis balls into a plastic bucket while Dave operated the steering from the passenger seat. Third crew member Mark Thompson filmed the debacle on his phone. No, this wasn't one of my many bizarre dreams, this was part of the skills test at the start of the 2012 HCR. We didn't get any balls in the bucket but we did hit it three times.
The event hadn't started well and we managed to miss the start location due to some dodgy directions! To assist us once the rally started, some highly technical equipment was fitted to the dash board to aide Dave in his directional instructions!

With the theme of the rally being race circuits we set off in search of photographic evidence that we had visited these locations and whatever counties we could prove we'd been through as well. Our first stop was Bentwaters Park Sprint Course in Suffolk. We arrived there with others only to find the park closed and no access to the course. We settled for getting pics of the security guys van that had Bentwaters Park written on it.
 Next on our list was Snetterton Race Track in Norfolk and after leaving here we diverted off through Newmarket and managed to photograph the county sign of Cambridgeshire to add to our list. Rockingham Speedway in Northamptonshire was our next location although the satnav didn't agree with the road signs on this one, so a few twists and turns were made before finding it. 

The counties of Rutland and Leicestershire were snapped next and we even went up as far as Nottinghamshire before heading back to Donnington Park.

We were getting tight on time to make the halfway point deadline at Corley Services on the M6 in Warwickshire, so we made a quick a dash and managed to get there at 1.30am.
After a mandatory one hour break we started the second half and captured West Midlands and Worcestershire before eventually finding the Prescott Hill Climb Circuit in Gloucestershire.

Knackeredshire was suddenly a place that all three of us were familiar with, so a ten minute 'freshen up' break was taken in a deathly quiet and pitch black lay-by while drinking energy drink crap and looking up at the stars. Quite surreal really.

Our next port of call was Castle Combe in Wiltshire, before cutting across Hampshire to make Thruxton Race Circuit. By now it was starting to get light so the driving was a little easier. (So I'm told. Mark and Dave were upfront now and I was asleep on the back seat!)

After leaving Thruxton I jumped back in the hot seat and set off for the final circuit Goodwood in West Sussex. We managed to get to this before the crowds built up too much as there seemed to be some event going on there. Then it was off to the final location at The Greyhound Inn in 'Cocking' in West Sussex. (yes we've had all the jokes!)
Our time card was handed in, but then we had to skip breakfast and get on the move again. Dave's young son was taking part in an event at the Olympic Stadium and he understandably wanted to be there for it. So we rushed over to Gatwick airport so he could get the Gatwick Express to London, then the Tube over to Stratford.  
A brilliant time was had by all and our three man crew certainly had some laughs. I have to hand it to Gertie as well. That's yet another high mileage rally completed with no real issues to speak of. This was also her last event before her engine gets removed in favour of a rather 'tasty' one. It almost seems a shame to remove the standard 2 litre lump really because she goes so well, but she does bog down a bit on the climbs. Particularly with a three man crew, spares, tools, about 50 kilos of biscuits and apple pies and about four gallons of energy drinks!