Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Will these mods mean your car is no longer a classic?

Things have finally settled into some form of normality back in the workshop with the Club Triumph Ten Countries Run having taken place and Maude having conducted herself perfectly except for getting a piece of crud stuck in the front carb needle valve nearing the summit of the Fluelapass necessitating a quick pit stop to clear the problem – hardly the car’s fault though.


Of more concern is the Department for Transport’s recent announcement that they will be extending the MoT exemption to all 40 year old cars on a rolling basis from May 2018 and the underlying issue which this carries with it, of the definition and possible certification of cars as Vehicles of Historic Interest – or not!
Whether or not your car qualifies for MoT exemption then depends on whether it is a VHI or not and if it is considered to be ‘Significantly Changed’ from the original spec which it left the factory with, then it is not. It seems that DfT are likely to use the ‘8 point rule’ including “has it got a power to weight increase of 15% or more”, to establish if a car is substantially changed and one of the main problems with that is that most cars have now had very sensible upgrades to safety related systems such as brakes, lighting, suspension and sometimes steering to make them easier and safer to drive in modern traffic. This obviously means that by making your car safer to drive you may well stop it from being considered a ‘Classic Car’ – what then?


The ramifications of this are likely to be considerable and rumble on for some time, we can only hope that by the time this comes into action – if it does – that the government have sorted out the mess they have now created, albeit possibly unwittingly.

Monday, 26 June 2017

June 2017

It hardly seems two weeks since the last blog never mind two months. Things have escalated to full on whirlwind status now with pretty much everyone having got the cars out of the garages, run around a bit and started breaking them all over again! We’re also into pre – 10CR checks and upgrades now with loads of brake work, cooling system work and all the stuff you’re likely to need to have working perfectly for all those Alpine passes. I hope I have enough time to get Maude’s power steering fitted – I’m definitely too old and my shoulders too knackered to go flinging the tiller over 57 times on the way up and another 57 times on the way down over every mountain. I also need to get the additional 13” high power electric cooling fan and in-hose controller fitted in case we get stuck in traffic too.

We have had a few rear suspension and driveshaft rebuilds in lately – you know how it is, rather like buses you go ages without seeing one and then three come along together. The third one is due in next Tuesday in the form of Triumph World editor Simon Goldsworthy’s lovely little Herald 1200 convertible which is due to be having new driveshafts with all the bearings, bushes and UJs being changed too, not to mention the brake cylinders, pipes, hoses and fittings.

We’ve also had quite a few injected cars with fuelling issues to sort out and two of them were Vitesses, one with a tuned 2.5 L engine into the bargain. Luckily the brakes and suspension have been suitably beefed up to cope with it so it’s not quite 0 to death in under 10 seconds although you can feel the chassis protesting a bit when put under pressure. Still, what’s life without a bit of excitement?

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Almost Easter

With Easter fast approaching the anticipated change from a steady flow of spring servicing, MoTs and general recommissioning to a minor flood has begun with the usual “You know that thing you said would need doing by the time the car went back on the road? Well, can you do that too please?” requests being made too. It’s a good job we write all these things down as I for one would stand no chance of remembering them all from one year to the next, I can hardly remember what I did last week!

Apart from these jobs getting customers cars out of hibernation, all the usual stuff is going on too. I have just been chatting to a couple who have decided to have their Stag put back on the road after 30 years in a garage – that won’t be a five minute job especially as we’re still ploughing through no fewer than three similar jobs and can’t take that one until at least one of the three is done and back out there gracing the highways and byways. I am now well into stripping and rebuilding the engine on one of those three cars, a very unusual car indeed being a sort of TR250 but with a very significant difference and quite a story attached, but more on that later.


For anyone attending the Practical Classics Restoration Show, I will be on the Club Triumph stand rebuilding the suspension on a Stag, so pop along and say hello if you’d like to. For those who might want to know a little more about some of our own cars and history with the marque, Triumph World magazine will shortly be featuring an article on just that subject. Ta ta for now.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Spring is almost here

With spring now upon us many people are starting to get their Triumphs out of hibernation and on the road for this year’s activities. We have just completed an engine rebuild on a Mk1 2000 with upgrades to fast road spec to the owners requirements and two unleaded cylinder head conversions, one for a Spitfire 1500 and one for a Vitesse Mk2. We have also had a few gearbox rebuilds this winter with extra work on one running to an overdrive rebuild and clutch replacement, crankshaft seal renewal and clutch crosshaft modifications on two others. 
 
Those few jobs along with a few suspension rebuilds, a couple of brake overhauls and the usual running repairs, tuning and servicing work for those who continue to use their Triumphs over the winter period have kept us busy during the winter months. Now we seem to be encountering a glut of water sealing problems, either trying to stop coolant leaking out or rain water leaking in! I can only hope that as the year progresses and the weather improves, we don’t get too much of the latter and that we get to see the sun a bit more this year. Oh yes and did I mention that we had recently fitted new hoods to a TR5 and a Herald?
We are preparing ourselves for the rush of annual servicing, tuning and MoTing which inevitably starts during March (it already has) and will probably reach torrent proportions next month, though hopefully not full ‘flash flood’ status. More next time. 
 

Friday, 2 December 2016

Triumph TR7 Engine

As I write this the Round Britain Reliability Run is fast becoming a distant memory. All of the vehicles prepared finished the event and helped contribute sponsorship monies towards the massive total raised of over £90,000 – Well done everyone!
We are now into winter rebuild territory with a couple of long term jobs and a few engine builds being brought forward off the back burners and reignited. We have just finished a TR7 engine which has been lurking at the back of the workshop and will shortly be reuniting it with the car which it came out of earlier.

We are also rebuilding a set of TR5 inlet manifolds with new throttle spindles to go with the linkages which have also been deseized, re-bushed and are now capable of being adjusted.

A rare Dolomite Sprint automatic in remarkably solid condition having been stored in a dry garage for the last 13 years has also just been returned to the road. As you can imagine though after such a long period of disuse, every rubber component needed to be replaced as well as all the fluids, with the fluid systems all being thoroughly flushed and cleaned through. This car now drives very nicely indeed and should give many miles of enjoyment to its new owner.
Next up is a very pretty little Mk2 Spitfire which we hope to get back on the road in time for Christmas after a few years ‘resting and recouperating’.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Blog 17

Things are pretty hectic at present trying to get various customer’s cars (and our own) ready for the Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run. What with pre-event checks, servicing, MoT testing and upgrades to electrical systems, seats, seat belts and the like, not to mention suspension, steering, engine and transmission repairs and conversions it’s been really busy and we haven’t finished yet.
One regular customer who hadn’t used his car much this year needed the rear brakes completely overhauling with cylinders, shoes, cables, springs and a fluid change throughout plus front pads and flexible hoses! Another one didn’t realise that of the five mounts on his Sports twin exhaust system only one was still actually connected – the others had all broken – luckily the exhaust hadn’t quite dropped off at that point although it certainly would have very soon after.


There have been quite a few conversions to higher output alternators, brighter headlamp bulbs/better units, mostly with relays, and a number of people have had additional charge points for SatNavs, phones and other in car navigation devices fitted. We have also fitted a few electric engine cooling fans and/or additional switches/overrides to control them.
Seats are always a ‘sore point’ if they aren’t in good condition or if you have a small chassis car then the standard seats aren’t very good for long trips in the first place. There are many ways around this but the easiest and cheapest way is often to find an alternative seat from a more modern car which can be bought cheaply in reasonable condition secondhand, make up some sturdy brackets to adapt the donor seat’s runners to the Triumph floorpan and swap them. I have just fitted some Alfa 156 red leather seats in my Mk1 2000 and despite the time it took I’m very happy with the end result and the colour is really close to the original Triumph Matador Red interior too.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Triumph Spitfire - 21 owners!!

The 21 owner Spitfire came and went and is now safe, usable, roadworthy and has a fresh MoT on it. We are now well into the busy season with our current lead time being around 3 weeks for mechanical and electrical repairs, servicing and the like, which is fairly typical for the time of year. The main bulk of our present workload is, as you might expect, servicing, MoT work and tuning to get the cars out on the road for the summer.
In addition to all of that usual work we seem to have had quite a lot of injection work lately with several ‘aggravated’ tuning faults, all seemingly injection based problems. One of these required a new fuel pump as the original replacement Bosch item had developed leaky seals and two required metering unit repairs or replacement, one delivering unequal volumes of fuel to the cylinders and one leaking from the control unit end and also fuelling unevenly.


Although these faults were fairly evident, it never pays to be too hasty in assuming that all else is well. One of the cars in question had two partially blocked injectors and were hosing badly and underfuelling, one had also sooted up four of its plugs and another had burnt out points, low tension wire and block from the coil to the points due to the absence of a condenser! The difference replacing/fitting those made was quite significant and the owner had no idea how long the car had been like it!