Wednesday, 23 December 2015


We seem to have been overrun by early Spitfires of late, two Mark 2s and two Mark 3s in fact. These have come in for a variety of repairs and associated work with one Mark 3 in for its annual pre-winter service and MoT plus a few minor alterations to the electrickery side of things to improve the lighting with some nice new Halogen headlamps, the charging with an uprated alternator and an additional 12V power socket for all those important little gadgets we have these days. The other Mark 3 was in to have a long standing and worsening brake problem sorted out and to have some work done to the clutch hydraulic system and steering. This ended up being a set of replacement brake hoses with fluid renewal, a new clutch slave cylinder and a master cylinder repair and a set of new Superflex Urethane rack mounts, one new track road end and resetting the tracking – that got it going where it was pointed, starting off and stopping – what more could you ask?

The Mark 2s were in for a list of stuff to be sorted on one including many interior trim and control requirements from fitting a modern Bluetooth stereo compatible with hands free phone technology to replacing the aftermarket steering wheel with an original Mk3 type and the control knobs with new ones showing the correct icons for their purpose. There was also work to the braking system, carburettors, one driveshaft bearing, the overdrive unit and a general check over, service and tune up. To say that it felt like a new car afterwards is no exaggeration. The other Mark 2 is in for a bit longer with a few paintwork issues and some welding repairs in structural areas being undertaken as well as some repairs to the driveline – more on this one next time.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Winter Rebuilds 2015

With summer now just a distant memory – even the Club Triumph Ten Countries Run was two months ago now, what a rush it was getting several customer cars finished on time for the start of the event in the Netherlands and what a rush the event itself was too! I don’t think I have ever experienced more breath-taking scenery; there was just a constant stream of surprises from quaint local roadside cafes through huge 2.5Km + high mountains, tunnels, little rickety wooden bridges over mountain rivers. It seemed that there was something around almost every bend in the road.

Thoughts are now turning to winter rebuilds with orders confirmed for two engines to be built so far and a gearbox too. We have also had a late rush of ‘Reinstatement’ jobs this month, with no fewer than three cars arriving on the back of the transporter for sorting out and putting back on the road – that’ll give us something to while away the long dark hours until spring – think I had better order some more midnight oil for the lamps. 

The continuing rise in Classic Car prices seems to be fuelling more and more people’s efforts to dig old family motors out of hiding and get them back on the road. Either that or modern cars are so boring to drive that anyone with a sniff of a classic wants it ready for next year. Keep them coming I say, it’s just so nice to see them on the roads again.

My only reservation about all this work is that I have somehow to find the time to get my own little ‘garage find’ on the road in time for a few fairly important runs next year, the first of which is the Club Triumph ‘Tour of Ireland’ in May which I hope to be taking part in with my wife. Perhaps I had better stop typing and get to work – until next time then…………………

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Triumph Stag head gasket replacement (and other work)

Following an unbelievably busy few months, so busy in fact that I didn’t even have time to update the blog, things have settled into a nice even rush! All of the engine rebuilds have been successfully completed, another head repair/gasket replacement on a Stag with chains, sprockets and all that jazz has also been and gone and we seem to have had a few fuel system issues with various customers vehicles.

There have been a few injection problems on TRs one of which turned out to be a very badly routed and undersized supply pipe from the tank to the pump with another couple having injector issues. We have also seen 2 TR6s both with replacement ignition switches fitted which have been overheating and causing breakdowns in heavy traffic – one on the M25! This looked at first like an overheating fuel pump causing a misfire then cutting out completely, only to restart having been left to cool down for a while.

What it transpired was actually happening though was that partly due to the ignition controlled feed from the switch to the fusebox being too small (smaller than the original) and partly due to the fitment of a Bosch pump in place of the Lucas unit (the Bosch unit draws more current) and a couple of additional ‘modern’ add on pieces of electrical equipment, the poor old switch was overheating and going high resistant just to make things worse, until it failed to pass sufficient current for the ignition coil to function.
Once the true cause of the trouble had been established it was a relatively simple matter to replace the switch and fit a new 40A switching relay to take the strain off the switch so that it wouldn’t do it again. Until next time, ta-ra.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Triumph Stag engine rebuild complete - on to the next jobs.

The Stag engine rebuild is now complete, the engine is back in the car, has been run to temperature a few times, tuned and road tested. All that remains is for the owner to reclaim his prize possession at the weekend.

We seem to have a plethora of six cylinder engine work underway at present. The first is a TR5 unit which is being fully rebuilt to more or less standard spec but with an unleaded head and balanced bottom end, following an unfortunate incident when last used on a touring trip to Europe. This would seem to have been caused by a prolonged period of detonation – have a look at the piston!

The second one is a Vitesse mark two which the owner wishes to have the cylinder head somewhat ‘breathed upon’ to increase power output particularly in the mid-range and to generally optimise efficiency and improve gas flow by fitting different sized valves and cleaning up the ports and throats. We will also fairly obviously be converting this one to run on unleaded fuel – it would be silly not to at this stage.

The third one is a 2500 carburettor engine intended for a 2000 saloon, which is being built to a recipe which I have successfully used many times now. This is designed to maximise the torque of these units whilst improving the breathing and top end performance with twin 1¾ inch SU HS6 carbs on the longer 2500S inlet manifold, a custom camshaft, different valves, a little head work and a balanced bottom end. This recipe usually delivers around 140 bhp or so with a good spread of torque and a lovely smooth free-revving engine which is still perfectly tractable in traffic and not too heavy on fuel. As such it seems to be about the best compromise I have come across for road use with a good performance.