Friday, 27 April 2018

Gearboxes and Transmissions a plenty

Well the warmer weather has finally arrived with a quick taste of summer for three days before the return to typical April showers and that seems to be heralding the arrival of the usual suspects bringing their cars out of hibernation. There is now a positive flurry of spring recommissioning, servicing, tuning, MoT testing and the odd job left over from last year to be completed too.

In amongst this we seem to be experiencing an unexpected rash of gearbox and overdrive repairs, rebuilds and conversions on everything from Spitfires through Vitesses and TRs to 2500s with a couple having new propshafts to cure long standing vibration issues.
Work also continues apace in the body shop with a brace of Heralds needing structural repairs, both needing the right hand side of the boot floor to be completely remade from scratch to incorporate new body mounts and bolt the whole thing down securely to the boot outrigger with new mounting pads and bolts to complete the job.

The second one of these also needs the body mount brackets further forward under the treadplate area to be replaced although unfortunately we’re going to have to remove a whole lot of fibreglass, filler and mastic which some very naughty person has put in there where there should be good steel for the brackets to be welded to rather than stuck on with seam sealer! It’s no wonder the doors don’t open or close very well on this poor little car – oh well, it will be better soon.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Soon be Easter

Looks like I spoke too soon as regards the better weather arriving soon! In the meantime 2.5 engine builds continue now that the custom cams have arrived and at least one should be going back in with the appropriate carbs, manifolds, uprated radiator and associated goodies to suit very soon.

A few of our hardier regulars have already been in with their cars for pre-season commissioning work, any upgrades required and issues remaining from last year to be resolved and with more wintry showers threatened for Easter it really is beginning to feel like Spring has arrived………………..
In other news, Dale went along to the Practical Classics Restoration Show over the March 24th/25th weekend and spent much of the time helping refit Charlie Deards 2500S estate on the Club Triumph stand. The car had just been repainted by a local technical college and needed all of its brightwork and trim putting back on. The CT Events and Shows Team were perfectly happy to help out but didn’t show too much enthusiasm when it came to drilling out old, filled-over rivets, wielding a small hammer to tap the mandrels through plastic moulding clips or a rubber mallet to knock the odd piece of chrome fully home so close to all that nice shiny new paint – I wonder why?

While there Dale accompanied CT’s Competitions Secretary and Ten Countries Run organiser Ellis Stokes to the prestigious National Car Club Awards dinner where CT was nominated in the category of Outstanding Car Club Event – Run, Rally or Tour for the 10CR. After a sumptuous dinner and a few sherbets they were duly called up on stage to receive the award from Classic Car Weekly Editor David Simister and TV’s Mike Brewer on behalf of the Club – CT had won!

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Two down and two more Triumph's to go

The engine work still continues with two down and two to go on the 2.5 litre front and a Stag V8 also stripped with various bits away for machining and the wet liner engine now being reassembled. The long awaited ‘custom’ camshafts for the 2.5s are threatened soon though, so they should be back together before much longer.

It’s funny how things go, as said before you wait ages for a transmission job then a gang of them turn up together. After the two non-overdrive to overdrive conversions, we got two o/d gearbox units to rebuild and we have also got a separate J type unit to fit to the back of a Borg Warner 65 in a 2500S. This conversion will be a first for us and promises to get around the old problem with the big saloons and estates that the automatics are way too short geared for touring and sustained motorway use. It also promises when we have worked out the details to be a fair bit cheaper than the four or five speed ZF conversion and effectively with the benefit of no fewer than six forward gears!

In the meantime we’re at the end of February and with the warmer weather expected anytime soon (it’s snowing as I type!), we’re starting to get the regulars in now for the annual service, MoT and sort out, ready for the start of the season so it’s all hands to the pumps.

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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Engine work on TR5

Blog 24
The engine work continues with the second six pot unit stripped and away for engineering and the next wet liner unit due to commence being overhauled in a short while.
In the meantime we seem to have been waiting for an overdrive conversion job for ages and as is often the way two have come in together. One of these is on a TR4A and the other on a TR5 so no great differences between the two as they are both using Laycock A type overdrive units.

The opportunity provided by the gearbox being out and stripped to change the mainshaft and machine the remote cover for the inhibitor switches also allows us to check the rest of it and replace any necessary parts at the same time. It is also worth whipping the clutch off to check that and removing the flywheel to inspect the rear crankshaft oil seal too.

With all that done it may be worth carrying out the usual clutch crosshaft mods to remove the broken taper pin problem for the future before fitting the rebuilt overdrive unit to the, also now rebuilt, gearbox and reinstalling into the car with the various new parts required to suit the new transmission condition, wiring it all up, filling the unit with gear oil, running and checking it, making any adjustments necessary before refitting the tunnel and trim.

This conversion isn’t cheap, anyone thinking that it can be done professionally for a couple of hundred pounds is likely to get a nasty shock when being told that they’re out by a factor of ten or thereabouts but it is one of those things you can do to your Triumph which pretty much transforms the driving experience especially on longer trips.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Winter Rebuild Triumph TR4

As is often the case at this time of year the amount of servicing, tuning and MoT work coming into the workshop has dropped off considerably and the amount of winter rebuild work has started to ramp up, particularly on engines. We have a fair waiting list for these at the moment with a TR4A power plant and two six cylinder 2500 units on the go. The wet liner engine is almost done and one of the six pots is going back together while the other one is coming apart.

We had special fun with the 4A unit removing the liners which after 50 years in situ really didn’t want to come out at all. After two days spent soaking them with release agent during which a pair of adapted heavy duty spring compressors were left on the first one under tension for the whole period all we had succeeded in doing was knocking a few lumps off the bottom of the liner and bending the compressors slightly!

More drastic measures were called for and an angle grinder used to cut a ‘V’ in one side of the liner before attacking it with a hammer and chisel to crack it and make it ‘relax’ inwards freeing it from the block. That done it did then knock out of the block revealing the shifting sands of time and more rust than I’ve seen in an engine for a very long time. Luckily the seats for the liner seals cleaned up OK, the block was emptied and the new liners fitted – job done!

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?