Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sunday April 28th- The Red Shed tests my patience!

The weekend started with a Chelmsford Motor Club 12 car rally on the Friday night. Setting out from Epping golf club Dave Saunders and I were doing quite well and by the time we reached time control six we had zero fails and were only a couple of minutes down. However, being thrown around in the car in the dark while trying to read a map and navigate for the past forty minutes had taken its toll on Dave who was by now being violently travel sick. The signs were there from TC2; the long puffs of air, the long windy burps. (It was like having Davemate in the car!)
We tried to continue but were losing too much time every time we had to stop for a vomit break. With regret we rang the clerk of the course and announced our retirement. We took a slow drive up to the finish point anyway and waited for the other entrants to arrive. We stayed long enough to hear the results fully expecting to finish last as we had missed the last three time controls, but to our surprise we finished second from last. Another crew had got more fails than us even though they completed the course. We didn’t feel so bad now.

 Saturday morning I made the trip up to a village near Harwich named Ramsey where I collected a nice set of wheels and tyres for the Red Shed. (Although the way she’s been behaving lately, I don’t see why I should treat her to anything!)  I then continued up to Lowestoft to go and see my Dad as it was his birthday and fitted the wheels later that night when I returned home. I think they suit the car better than the TR4 wheels and set it off quite nicely.

Sunday morning I resumed my efforts to get the Red Shed running properly. The previous week it had decided to refuse to even start at all. I had suspected the solenoid and so managed to blag a spare one to try.
However, even with the new solenoid fitted the bloody thing still refused to start and the starter motor just made loud clicking noises instead. I decided to show it that I could better its clicking noises in volume and velocity by taking my large ‘Universal adjuster’ (pictured below) to it to persuade it to return to work.

In danger of being beaten to death, the starter motor then surrendered its protestations and took to spinning the engine over as intended. For some reason, the engine which had been running well(ish) was now putting up a fight with regard to firing. Various plug leads were changed; ignition timing was set and reset again. Spark plugs and gaps were also checked but all no avail. I then decided to pull the garage door down and turn the lights out so I could see how good the spark at the points were. The answer was not very good at all. The brand new points that were fitted a few weeks back were removed and the old ones fitted. Much better! Now we were getting somewhere. The car was now starting better and running better but still not 100%. I changed the condenser as well, (this was new too) and also changed a couple of spark plugs which didn’t seem too efficient. Whatever the fault is, it’s very intermittent as the car runs quite well, but then either starts chuffing and missing for no reason or increases its idle by a thousand revs. Very strange!
It also seems to miss on low revs, but revs fine on high throttle, so a possible inlet manifold gasket fault? Who knows? Time was getting on now so it was time to call it a day. Guess what I’ll be doing next Bank Holiday weekend? L

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Saturday April 13th- Club Triumph Historic Counties Rally.

Instead of doing what I should have been doing this particular morning, which was checking Gertie over before the HCR, I was playing with the Red Shed in an attempt to get her running better. A ‘Eureka’ moment on Friday night made me realise that the wrong rotor arm was fitted. I know I fitted the last one, but I'd replaced it ‘like for like’ with one that was already on there! I should have realised at the time. The wrong rotor arm was longer than the one that should have been on there and was therefore cutting into the contacts on the distributor cap. With new parts fitted, the Red Shed was fired up and the running was much improved.
Right! Time to concentrate on Gertie now before I run out of time. Oils, waters and fluids were checked, a few tools and spares were loaded and she was ready for the off. Time to head indoors for an afternoon siesta before the long night. Co-driver Darren Sharp arrived at 3pm and we were soon on our way to the start at Soham in Cambridgeshire. Our third crew member Ashley Mills was already there and pretty soon the three of us were buried in maps and note books.
The historic counties rally is similar to a scatter rally where you have to collect points for counties and points of interest visited. It’s not possible to collect everything on the lists given, but a lot of crews try their best to!
After food, we headed down to the auto test site where we took park in three tests. I won’t say competed, because we were crap awful and made a pig’s ear of all of them! We did provide a bit of entertainment on the third test though by spending more time going backwards and sideways than forwards!
With this done we set out on our planned route which took us from Cambridgeshire over to Suffolk and Grimes Grave in Norfolk before dropping down into Essex to grab points at Castle Hedingham, Finchingfield and Newport. This part of the run took place in torrential rain and with the darkness closing in the pitch black country lanes were quite challenging. After Essex we then headed west over towards Cottered in Hertfordshire before jumping on the A1 and heading north again to grab the counties of Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and finally to the halfway point at Ferrybridge services in West Yorkshire.
While Ash and Darren were handing our time card in, I was having a play with Gertie and adjusting the tick over. For some reason the idle had turned itself down and needed a boost.

With our mandatory break taken we were given the clues for the second half. With some mad plotting to be done again we set off for the North East. Our first stop was the city of York and then up to somewhere called Sutton Bank. This was a hairpin bend on a 25% gradient that apparently causes major headaches for caravans and blockages for HGV’s! After leaving the very foggy hilltop we then travelled through Thirsk, Teesside, Darlington, County Durham, and then ventured up to Northumberland.
It was while we were going across the A69 near Hexham that we thought our rally was over when a massive vibration started coming through the rear of the car. Ash had said that he’d felt a vibration earlier, but Gertie does have a small vibration at a certain speed so I’d just dismissed it. A quick check of the wheel nuts showed that they were all tight, but the ‘wobble’ was still there. We then found a safer place to stop and had a proper check round. Darren managed to find a lump in the tread on the tyre on the nearside rear. So, the boot was emptied of tools, spares, fruit and energy drinks (More about the energy drinks later!) and a wheel change was made.
(Team Gertie pit crew) :) 

This must have cost us about half hour all told so we decided to skip a couple of places we had plotted and head north for Hadrian’s Wall.
This was a fantastic driving road and made even more beautiful by it just beginning to get light. Two more points of interest were collected here and we then headed across to Carlisle (Cumbria) and north again to Gretna Green in Scotland (Dumfries and Galloway)

We opted not to go for The Scottish borders county as we were keeping an eye on the time, although it turns out we would have had plenty of time in the end. Never mind. A run south down the M6 was next on the agenda before turning off at junction 39 to run down the A6 through Kendal. This road was so impressive that I’m going to come back up this way when I do the International Auto Ecosse in June. Another two points were gained and then we made tracks for Barnoldswick in Lancashire for the finish. Not far from the finish the energy drinks got the better of Darren who by now was quoting all the dialogues from the Monty Python films and singing the theme to Coronation Street in a Kenneth Williams style voice! Very Bizarre! (We’ve told him he’s not allowed any Red Bull for the next run)

A well deserved hearty breakfast at The Old Stone Trough was demolished while the results were calculated and we finally learned that we had come in seventh. A good result, but we know that we could done better if not the wheel issue and by calculating the time we had left a bit better.

By now we were all pretty knackered and we still had a 250 mile drive home to contend with. All in all I reckon we must have covered close on, if not over a 1000 miles this weekend. There can’t be many other club events where you can start in Cambridge, finish in Lancashire, and visit Scotland  in between! All inside 14 hours too!
We'd had a fantastic time and all of us really enjoyed ourselves. We worked well as a crew and once again Gertie was ultra reliable. (You can’t really blame her for a tyre going square shaped)  She’s got a couple of weeks rest before the next Friday night rally on the 26th April. Time to get another tyre sorted out then. J

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Easter Weekend 29th March- 1st April

Good Friday 29th March: The day started well enough as I began refitting the trim and front bumper to the Red Shed. Once this had been done I started to look at the exhaust system again. I had noticed when driving it home from the paint shop that the slight blow from the exhaust had turned into quite a major one.
A quick look underneath showed that the extra length of pipe I’d had added on (I’d asked for it to be welded, but the bloke who did it brazed it!) had snapped nearly all the way round!
The downpipe was removed and one I already had in stock was tried but found to be pointing at the wrong angle. No matter which way I tried it, it was always hitting the propshaft. So, back to the drawing board on that one! Finally got round to washing the Mk2 estate too as it was still minging from the journey home from the CT dinner at Milton Keynes the Saturday previous!

Saturday 30th March. A nice drive out to the other side of Great Dunmow was the order of the day as Gavin (Iggy on the CT forum) was leaving his Mk2 over there to have the differential sorted out. The guy we visited had a vast amount of spares lying around and luckily, he even had a Mk1 saloon downpipe! Result!
The snow started coming down on the drive home but fortunately, it wasn’t settling. Once back at mine, the new downpipe was fitted and this time we had no problems with alignment and it fitted really well.

Another mate (Steve)  called round that had problems with his Mk2 brake master cylinder. After pulling his one to bits and a spare that I had in stock, we were able to compare the two and see what the problem was. Once this was done he helped me refit the rear bumper on the red shed as this would have been a bit awkward doing it on my own and would have led to huge scratches no doubt! The only problem was that the original overriders were completely knackered with dents and rust holes in them, so I left them off until I can find some good ones.
Easter Sunday. March 31st: Couldn’t get going today and too much good stuff on TV (Touring car racing) so it was a late start. Didn’t do much, just removed the carbs and cleaned them up a tad and refitted them. I had to fit a new O ring on the mixture jet in the rear carb as the old one had disintegrated. I also added a stick on front number plate as well to try and get the look of the original 60’s Triumph 2000 rally cars.  (See Peter Colliers book-Triumphant rallying)  It’s probably not to everyone’s taste, but I like it so that’s all that matters. J

Easter Monday. 1st April. Dave (Davemate on the CT forum) came up for the day and fitted the Alfa seats while I refitted the carburettors. The seats looked quite good once fitted although I could do with finding a beige coloured rear seat now to match up a bit better with the beige leather fronts.

On starting the car up I found that the needle valve in the front carburettor had stuck again and she was only running on three cylinders. I’m just going to have to order a new needle valve I think because no end of cleaning it and adjusting it is keeping it operating as it should.