Here we go again.

No one likes doing the same job twice. I, especially, don’t like doing the same job twice. And yet here I am doing the same job for a second time running. A large part of me just wanted to say sod it and send the car to a mechanic to do the gearbox and engine swap, but the increasingly miserly aspect of my personality couldn’t look past the cost of doing so, as well as the fact that I’d be missing out on the opportunity to be able to say that I’d done it myself. Plus, nothing helps you learn more about your car than pulling its innards out.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to removing the engine and gearbox from a Triumph saloon – the first being to raise the car on axle stands, remove the engine and suspension cross-members and then drop the two as a single unit before sliding out from under the car. Whilst almost universally accepted as the easiest option I’m reluctant to go down this path because: 1) by my calculations the front of the car will need to be raised 700mm for the engine to clear the front valance and I don’t think my engine crane have the required reach for this (a block and tackle setup would be better) and 2) I need the car to remain movable whilst I undertake any engine rebuild work required and don’t really want the hassle of refitting the suspension in the interim.

The second school of thought is to remove the engine and gearbox as separate units – the gearbox from below and the engine from above. I’ve done this before on the parts car and it worked well. That said, when it comes to refitting, I may still investigate the option of installing the two as a unit from beneath, given that I won’t have gravity on my side when it comes to refitting the gearbox.

Raising
My timber-based Triumph raising method (patent pending) to allow easy gearbox removal.

So I headed down the now well-trodden path of pulling the gearbox – starting with the removal of the exhaust system. This has to be removed in two pieces as it passes through the chassis at the rear of the car – therefore the rear section has to come off first, followed by the middle and front sections (I removed these as a single unit to avoid having to split them). The rear section is attached by two rubber mounts along its length which, once removed, allows the unit to be tapped out of its joint with the middle section with the assistance of a large wooden adjusting mallet. The front and middle sections are fixed at the manifold as well as a bracket near the gearbox cross-member. Once these are undone the pipe can be dropped and removed from the car.

Downpipe
Luckily no sheared manifold studs this time round…

With the pesky exhaust pipe out of the way, the real fun of gearbox removal can begin – the first step of which is to unbolt the propshaft from the output shaft flange. The four bolts can be undone with a 9/16″ spanner and matching socket, although the prop will need to be rotated at least once to gain access to all of them. I found the easiest way of doing this was to undo the two bolts which I had access to and then lift the back of the car enough to turn a rear wheel to bring the other two round to an accessible position. Once all bolts have been removed, the front end of the prop can then be lowered to the ground and slid aside for access.

Prop
Be prepared for these to put up a fight.

With the prop and exhaust dealt with, the next step is to remove the gearstick, which is done from inside the car. This is held in place via a metal cup attached to the gearbox selector housing. To remove, the trim panel around the gearstick needs to be gently unclipped (a proper trim removal tool comes in handy here) and the single bolt holding the cup in place removed. Then, with the wiring for the overdrive switch unplugged, the cup is pressed and turned to release allowing the gearstick to be withdrawn from the car. Now is a good time to check the anti-rattle plunger and spring are still in place and order new ones if not.

Gearstick
The gearstick in all its glory.

The final preparatory steps before dropping the ‘box are to remove the speedo cable from the gearbox and unplug the wiring from the overdrive solenoid and inhibitor switch, as well as the reversing light switch – making sure to note the correct locations of the wires to prevent headaches when you eventually put everything back together again (potentially decades later in my case).

The gearbox is held in place by a mount at the rear, as well as somewhere in the region of 500 bolts between the bellhousing and the engine backplate (actually it’s around the 15 mark, including three studs, but it feels like an awful lot more when you’re lying on your back trying to remove them in the dark). The fixings at the top of the bellhousing are only really accessible with the gearbox dropped so we’ll deal with that first.

Dropping the gearbox involves removing the supporting cross-member from the car. As it is preferable for the lowering process to happen in a controlled manner (as opposed to very quickly and via your face) the cross-member first needs to be supported with a jack. If your head’s underneath it then I’d go all-out and chuck in an axle stand as well. With this in place, the four bolts holding the cross-member to the car can be removed, being careful to retrieve and set aside the myriad of washers, bushes and spacers that will follow. Mine are all very new but you might want to consider replacing the bushes and rear ‘box mount if they’re in poor condition. The jack can then be lowered slowly to drop the gearbox down as far as it will travel (i.e. until the cylinder head rests against the bulkhead), at which point the cross-member and mount can be unbolted from the ‘box.

Gearbox Mount
Removing the gearbox mount and cross-member from the ‘box

It’s worth being a tad vigilant at this point as the process of lowering the gearbox will tilt the engine backwards and present a small possibility of the radiator top hose over-extending, or the lower fan blades coming into contact with the radiator (or both). It’s also worth being mindful of the brake pipes which run across the bulkhead to ensure they are not going to be crushed by the engine in the reclined position. Luckily, mine was fine on all counts.

With the gearbox lowered, all of the bellhousing fixings become accessible, or at least as accessible as they’ll ever be – these can be removed with something varying from complete ease (in the case of the lower ones) to real hassle involving multiple socket extensions, psychic ability and unhumanly bendy arms (in the case of the top ones). Two of the bolts hold the clutch slave cylinder mounting plate in place – this should be moved aside and supported with wire or similar to prevent undue stress on its hydraulic line. On a safety-related note, it’s a good idea to leave a couple of the bellhousing bolts in place and finger-tight until you have properly supported the gearbox for removal to prevent it from slipping off and damaging itself or you (or both).

Having removed a 2500’s gearbox before using only a trolley jack, I had procured a secret weapon this time round to allow for easy removal – a transmission jack adapter. This nifty piece of equipment turns a standard trolley jack into a transmission jack, great news for skinny armed folk like myself. As well as forming a secure cradle to support the ‘box, the adapter also features a tilt mechanism, which looked like it would make removing the gearbox and then aligning it upon refitting a bit of a doddle.

Trans Jack
Not bad for $60 on eBay.

However, my optimism was annoyingly short-lived as it soon became apparent that the overall height of this unit was too great to allow the gearbox to be dropped from the car completely. In fact, even at its lowest height the top half of the gearbox remained well within the confines of the gearbox tunnel, leaving no options for rolling it out to the side or similar.

Trans Jack 2
A definite case of best laid plans.

Not to be deterred, and with a celebratory cup of tea at the front of my mind, I shifted my strategy towards a two-stage approach, using the jack to lower the ‘box onto an interim support of a timber beam securely lashed to the wheel ramps and a second jack positioned at the rear mount point. Two of the supporting lugs on the transmission jack adapter could then be removed, allowing it to be slid out to the side and out from under the car.

Timber
Strangely the Haynes manual doesn’t mention this technique.

The final step in removal involved using the jack to lower the rear of the ‘box onto a bespoke cushioned surface (some bags of garden mulch and potting mix). One side of the timber beam could then be unlashed and slid down the wheel ramp to bring the front end of the box down to ground (or mulch) level. Not exactly textbook but it worked – the only damage being a small tear in one of the bags of mulch, which I’ll just have to learn to live with.

Mulch
Who says gardening and cars have to be two separate hobbies?

So the old gearbox is out. I haven’t yet had the time to inspect the release fork pin to see if it confirms my suspicions that it’s broken – but on initial inspection the release bearing is certainly past its best, having worn a considerable groove in the pressure plate fingers.

Flywheel
Groovy.

I have all new clutch components to fit to the new gearbox so I’m not too concerned about any of the existing clutch mechanism at this stage, but it will still be interesting to find out what’s been going on in there.

The next step is engine removal. I’ve made a small start on this in the form of ancillary component removal and labelling of wiring but the bulk of the work will have to wait until next time.

Storage
The fruits of my engine removal labour to date.

In my case I also have to worry about the power steering pump and air con compressor (defunct) which were not part of the equation when pulling the engine from the parts car. However with the radiator, flywheel and viscous fan removed I think there should still be room to remove the engine from above. Otherwise it will be time for Plan B – which doesn’t exist yet.

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Thanks for bearing with me.

Blimey. All I did was blink and seven months passed by. Well to be accurate I got distracted renovating a bathroom and, because of my well-documented inability to focus on more than one task at any given time, work on the Triumph pretty much slowed to a stop. However, the stars are gradually aligning – spring finally seems to have arrived and Mrs Rusty is overjoyed that we once again have a functioning toilet so I’m sensing an opportunity to sneak out of the house whilst she’s not looking and have another poke around in the oily depths.

Before I go any further I should probably add a small update on my previous post – despite my best (some may say heroic) efforts, the Triumph didn’t make it to the All British Day. Once I had finished faffing around with the cooling system I made a last-minute executive decision to try to sort out the clutch which bites about 5mm from the bottom of the pedal travel and makes the car a bit difficult to drive. The day before the event, and in the hope it was a hydraulic problem, I swapped over the known good master cylinder salvaged from the TC, fitted a brand new 7/8″ bore slave cylinder procured from Chris Witor and bled the system thoroughly but this had no effect on pedal travel. I presume that the problem is inside the bell housing – most likely the tapered pin securing the clutch release fork to the cross shaft has sheared and needs to be replaced. It’s a gearbox out job then. Luckily/annoyingly I’ve been there before…

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I feel I’m about to experience a case of Déjà vu

As I hadn’t driven the car a long distance before, and I had no idea whether the problem would get worse as everything warmed up and leave me stranded with no clutch, I decided to take the modern to the All British Day instead (yep, I’m a coward like that). On the plus side this meant I could go with family in tow, making me much less of a Larry-no-mates than I would have been solo. The ABD was great fun, so many cars (including a great display of Triumphs) to see – and I could tell by the look of general ambivalence on her face that the wife loved it too.

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Yellow Stag anyone?

So, whilst I haven’t had a chance to do much actual work on the car, it has needed to be shuffled around my vast estate a few times to make way for plumbers digging up my driveway and this has drawn my attention to the less-than-healthy condition of the engine. It knocks a bit when starting from cold (they all do that sir) and it enjoys spraying my driveway with a fine mist of oil from the exhaust pipe each time it runs. I’ve had my suspicions about the existing lump since I bought the car – the oil was black and filthy, the filter canister contained no paper element and the valve gear was caked in an appetising layer of black sludge (I did buy it from a breakers don’t forget). Out of morbid curiosity I’ll run a compression test and, if I’m feeling really fancy, might hook up my oil pressure gauge just to see what’s going on but seeing as it’s not the original block supplied with the car from new (the engine number is from a PI) I have no particular concerns about swapping it over for something a bit less crap.

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I have my suspicions about this particular lump of iron and sludge…

As luck would have it, my garage floor is still adorned with the 2500 lump I removed from the TC prior to it ‘moving on’. Whilst I don’t know much about the history of this engine it has a nicer aura than the one that’s currently in the car. When it came into my ownership the oil was clean, the filter element was new and the valve gear was sludge-free. The block and head also seem to be sporting various new gaskets, new freeze plugs and a fresh(ish) coat of paint which makes me wonder if it has been rebuilt at some point in the past. Annoyingly I didn’t run a compression or oil pressure test on it whilst it was up and running in the TC but it didn’t knock from startup or spray oil from the exhaust and has no discernible fore-aft play in the crankshaft so my money’s on it being a safer bet in the long run.

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The TC giving up its innards.

So, seeing as the gearbox is going to have to come out to fix the clutch I thought I might as well go the whole-hog and swap the engines over at the same time. I also have that newly-rebuilt OD box sitting all seductively in the corner of my garage which might as well be put to good use and swapped in too.

So, that’s the to-do list sorted for the coming weeks then, but what about more immediate progress? Well, to give myself an ‘ooh, something is happening’ ego boost I decided to start small and swap out the front wheel bearings. Having been off the road for 10 years or so, the bearings needed to at least be stripped, cleaned and re-greased so I thought I might as well go the extra mile and fit new ones. The replacement Timken bearings were sourced from Chris Witor a couple of parts orders ago and have been sitting on the shelf in my garage ever since.

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Ready and waiting to go.

The replacement process begins, as with all good stories, with the jacking up of the front of the car and securing it on axle stands. The brake caliper needs to come off first – it’s technically held on with two bolts but removal and refitting is much easier if the bolts holding the strut to the vertical link are loosened slightly too. Once they’ve been slackened, the caliper can be unbolted and suspended from the front coil spring by a length of wire to avoid any tension being put on the brake flexi hose.

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Just hanging around.

To remove the hub itself the dust cap needs to be levered gently off of the centre of the hub, exposing the castellated hub nut. The split pin securing the nut to the stub axle can be pulled out with pliers, after which the nut can be removed leaving the hub free to be pulled straight off. This process may or may not leave the inner bearing roller and/or grease seal attached to the stub axle – if so they can be pulled or gently tapped free. If the bearing rollers have remained in the hub, they can be pulled out leaving just the races, which are a press-fit in their seats. Each race can be tapped out from the opposite side of the hub through the two small notches that BL kindly machined – I have a handy box of long carriage bolts stashed away for such purposes.

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Removing the old bearing races.

You’ll probably find it cleaner and easier to see what you’re doing if you remove as much rancid old grease as possible from the hub assembly first – especially if a previous owner or their friendly mechanic has stuffed the cavity full of the stuff as is often the case (and by all accounts completely unnecessary). A few bold taps of the hammer, alternating between each side of the race should see it pop right out. Be bolder if not. Repeat for the other race et voilà – the disassembly process is complete. Enjoy a pat on the back and have a beer.

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Here’s what you hopefully be looking at…

Despite having new bearings to fit, out of curiosity I cleaned off the old bearings and their races to see what condition they were in. Whilst not showing heavy wear or damage, the races showed some signs of light scoring and heat-related discolouration so their replacement was definitely due. The grease also smelled a bit burnt and around the bearings it had a very low viscosity, resembling more of a heavy oil than a grease. Whether this was age or heat-related deterioration, or the wrong type of grease had been used at some point in the car’s maintenance history I don’t know, but it felt good to be cleaning it all out.

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Probably about time for replacement.

The first step of reassembly is to drive each of the races into its seat in the hub. There are several ways of doing this – you could use a hydraulic press (easiest, but I don’t have one), you could drive it in with a suitably sized socket, or you can drive it in with a punch of some description. Whichever method you choose, the aim is to ensure the race is fully seated in the hub without inflicting even the slightest damage to the surface on which the rollers will run. Being the daredevil maverick I am, I chose Option 3 and used the same non-hardened carriage bolt that I used to remove the races to drive them home – tapping the races progressively into the hub, working around the top lip in a 12, 6, 3, 9 o’clock pattern. This has to be done extremely carefully as it would be very easy to slip and scratch the bearing surface rendering it scrap. Taking it slow and steady I got away with it – the obvious change in note of the hammer tapping the race being the signal that they had bottomed out in their seats without a single slip, scratch or bludgeoned finger. Another celebratory beer? Thank you, but not whilst I’m working with tools…

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Careful now…

The next step in the assembly process is to pack the new bearing rollers with a dedicated wheel bearing grease – I used a Timken grease as presumably they are best placed to know the lubrication requirements of their own products. Again, there are a couple of options here – you can buy a fancy bearing packer contraption or you can do it the fun, messy way. I chose the latter of course – this involves placing a nice big blob of grease in the middle of one palm and with the other hand biting away at the blob with the outer edge of the bearing roller until fresh grease is pushed through and out of the other side (see picture below). This is repeated progressively around the circumference of the bearing until it is fully greased. I then also run the grease around the rollers with my fingers to ensure they are covered. The races installed in the hub also get a coating to avoid dry spots.

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Mmmm, greasy….

Next the grease seal needs to be fitted to the stub axle – I went for the decent ones with leather inserts available from Chris Witor. These can be a bit tight and therefore tricky to fit, but a very light smear of grease and some gentle persuasion with a small hammer around their perimeter saw them sitting where they should be.

At this stage the inner bearing roller can be slid over the stub axle – it might need a careful tap if there is a small lip for it to slide over (although if there is significant wear to the stub axle it might be time to consider a replacement) but I am reliably advised that it shouldn’t be an interference fit. Once the inner roller is in place, the hub assembly and outer bearing can be installed, followed by the large washer and castellated nut (although don’t fit the split pin just yet). Give both sides of the brake disc a good going over with some brake cleaner to remove any wayward grease and re-attach the brake caliper (don’t forget to tighten the strut to vertical link bolts to the correct torque).

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The end result…

The final step in the process is to adjust the bearing – tapered roller bearings should not have a pre-load (i.e. an axial force which is great enough to remove play in the bearing components), nor should they be too loose. The tightness of the hub nut determines the pre-load on the bearing – the aim is to find the ‘sweet spot’ in which the nut can be locked by the split pin that will allow a very small amount of detectable play. The threaded portion of the stub axle has two holes drilled through it at right angles, meaning there are 12 positions in which the split pin can lock the nut in any 360 degree revolution.

My technique, and there are many, is to temporarily fit the road wheel and then tighten the hub nut with a socket to ensure that all bearing parts and the rear grease seal are seated correctly. Next I back the nut off again until there is free play in the bearing and then very gradually re-tighten until the point at which all the play is removed. Finally I back the nut off until the next available hole for the split pin is available – in this position if the wheel is rocked from top to bottom I should just be able to feel some movement in the bearing (if there is still no movement detectable then I back off again to the next hole). Remember with taper roller bearings that a little bit too loose is generally better than a little bit too tight but, as a rule, if you can hear the movement then it’s probably too loose.

It can sometimes take a few attempts to get this right and the bearings should also be re-adjusted after a few miles to ensure that any additional play gained through the seating of the bearing components is accounted for (so make sure you order a couple more sets of split pins as they should not be re-used).

So that’s my update – both front wheel bearings are replaced. The next jobs on my list are not so small. Watch this space…

Cool runnings.

Well, another few weeks have passed and against all odds another few jobs have been ticked off of the to do list – the main focus this time round being the rather grotty cooling system which seemingly last saw anything that could be described as a ‘better day’ back in the late 1990s. The hoses were perished and swollen, the coolant a very dubious shade of brown and the fan belt, well actually the fan belt wasn’t too bad, but you get the gist of things.

Some replacement hoses were definitely the order of the day – luckily before its final journey to the scrap man the blue car generously donated the new top and bottom hoses which the previous owner had put on just before it came into my ownership. The remaining assortment of smaller hoses were sourced from Rimmer Brothers in the UK, as was a new thermostat and gasket.

Before fitting the hoses however, the system needed a thorough flush to remove the existing coolant and any associated sludge that had built up over the last 30-odd years. The system was drained by removing the bottom hose and both the radiator and block flushed and back-flushed several times until only clean water emerged. After removing the heater hoses and moving the heater controls to hot, the heater core had the same treatment (this yielded a particularly appetising pan of brown silty goo), as did the small diameter pipe that runs behind the carbs. I would have done the same with the steel water return pipe which runs behind the exhaust manifold but somewhat annoyingly this disintegrated in my hand when I removed the heater hose from its T junction.

Old Pipe Broken
There is supposed to be a pipe teeing off at this bend. Also note the silt.

Being a mild steel pipe, corrosion here is a common problem which many owners choose to rectify with a stainless steel replacement from Chris Witor. Given the fact that at this stage I was already cutting it fine in respect to my deadline of the 10th February All British Day, waiting a couple of weeks for a part to ship from the UK was a bit of an gamble so I decided to inspect the engine I had removed from the parts car just to see if its water pipe was at least serviceable enough to use as a stop-gap measure in the short term.

To my surprise, not only was the spare pipe in great condition but it was also copper rather than mild steel and therefore completely free from corrosion. I’m not sure if this is a bespoke item made by a previous owner or their garage (or their plumber) or whether these were readily available at some point. Either way it saved me a lot of time and worry (and money – the stainless item weighing in at around $80 including postage).

New Pipe
Once again the spares car saves the day!

Whilst I’d had some luck finding a replacement pipe, replacing it wasn’t quite as straight forward as I had hoped. The pipe is easily freed from the block – is is held on by a single bracket at the rearmost exhaust manifold stud, two heater hoses and a compression fitting at the water pump end (I’ve heard these compression fittings can be a pain to undo but mine didn’t put up a fight). Getting it out is less easy – certainly on the S model – as the power steering pump and bracket preclude it from being pulled straight off of the car.

After much wriggling around, trying to find that one sweet angle at which it would clear both the exhaust manifold, the power steering pump and the radiator, I gave up and decided the easiest option was to remove the manifolds to give myself a bit more room. Although not a task I had planned to do, it’s not the trickiest job in the world (providing you don’t encounter any non-compliant studs) and it gives great access to the coolant hoses at the rear of the block, thus making replacement a lot easier. Removal of the inlet manifold (complete with carbs) just requires the disconnection of the throttle and choke cables, a few fuel, vacuum and PCV hoses and nine nuts (six of which also hold the bottom of the exhaust manifold in place). Removal of a further 4 nuts frees the top of the exhaust manifold, which can then be pulled gently away from the head.

Manifolds Off
Access to various nooks and crannies drastically improved.

With the exhaust still attached, the manifold is only free to move about an inch or so – but luckily this was all that was required to free the water pipe from its small and rather toasty prison. The old one was removed (and promptly chucked in the bin) and the new copper replacement fed in to take its place. I used a little bit of PTFE tape around the compression fitting to ensure it was watertight but other than that the fitting was a thoroughly unremarkable event.

Whilst the manifolds were off I replaced the various heater and other hoses at the rear of the block burning through my stockpile of new (well, newish) jubilee clips. I used the proper, correctly shaped hoses rather than just lengths of generic half inch heater hose as a) they look neater, b) it reduces the risk of kinking and suppressed coolant flow and c) they’re really not that expensive in the grand scheme of things.

Heater Pipes New
New heater hoses fitted.

With the hoses replaced, the manifolds were reattached to the head using the original gasket which looked to be in good condition. I was careful when tightening the manifold nuts not to go overboard with my crazy Popeye-esque strength just to avoid any sheared studs and heartache. I came away unscathed in this respect.

Next I turned my attention to the larger hoses – both of which needed some Stanley knife-based ‘adjustment’ (this does not usually bode well for the integrity of my fingertips). The car has two electric cooling fans fitted at the front of the radiator which I presume used to be controlled by a long-defunct thermo switch which was mounted on the front slam panel. When this failed the previous owner ran a bypass circuit into the car where a small toggle switch could be used to control the fans manually. This was seemingly never actually fixed to anything and was just floating around beneath the dashboard. This, coupled with the fact that all electrical connections had been made using insulating tape, spurred me on to rectify the situation.

A while ago I had purchased a Davis Craig thermal fan switch together with a adaptor kit to enable the probe to be fitted properly into the top hose, instead of hanging out one end of it which looks untidy and, from experience, invariably leaks. Fitting was fairly simple, 17mm of hose is cut out and the adaptor is fitted in its place. The temperature probe fits into the adaptor and runs out to the thermo switch – which I mounted on the slam panel using the same holes which held the bracket for the old switch.

New Top Hose
Top hose with adaptor for temperature probe.

Two short lengths of wire were then cut and used to join the thermo switch back to the original fan wiring loom, the result being functional, although not exactly factory (I’ve never really been a fan of these aftermarket thermo switches with their very obvious and messy probe cable) .

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Fan thermo switch.

For extra control and as a backup I also ran a bypass circuit into the car – although unlike the previous owner I went the whole hog and terminated in a proper automotive toggle switch which was mounted to the lower edge of the dashboard. Hopefully I’ll never need to use it but it’s reassuring to know it’s there just in case.

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Emergency fan override/something to play with in traffic jams.

The bottom hose also required some surgery as it originated from the parts car which lacked power steering. The S models did not use the same single-piece bottom hose but instead used two shorter hoses connected by a metal pipe which is of small enough diameter to pass between the power steering pump and its pulley without being chafed. Cutting the middle section out of the bottom hose and just using its two ends did the trick.

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Bottom hose and new fan belt.

The connecting pipe for the two bottom hoses is also mild steel and mine was quite badly corroded at one end – although in this case enough metal remains for it to be used quite safely in the short term. A stainless steel replacement has been ordered from Chris Witor but in the meantime I used some JB Weld epoxy to fill some of the depressions left by corrosion just to help the bottom hose seal as well as possible and to prevent leakage.

When the replacement pipe for the lower hose arrives I plan to run a coolant flushing product through the system before I drain and re-flush the radiator, heater core and block. That should hopefully shift any remaining gunk and ensure the car keeps its cool at least for the next few years.

So that’s the cooling system dealt with for now – there are just a couple of minor jobs to  complete at this stage and she’ll be good to go. I’m looking forward to getting out and about and exploring some of SA’s beautiful countryside in the old girl.

The beast emerges.

It has been quite a climatic end to 2018 for the Rusty household as, a mere seven months after being delivered on the back of a low loader and limping into my garage on three cylinders, the Beast has finally emerged from the shadows and has once again been able to enjoy the slightly prickly feeling of the South Australian sun on its back, dulling its paintwork and crisping up its vinyl components.

This means that I’m finally able to share some photos with my hoards of over-excited readers which haven’t been taken in the 3 foot gap between the car and my garage wall.

So, without further ado – behold the white car:

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Such a pretty face (for a forty year old).

The car was surprisingly dusty considering it had been tucked up in a sealed garage so it was treated to a wash and hose down – the water from which remaining largely on the outside of the car (a nice little bonus). I think it looks pretty good for a 40 year old car which was picked up from a scrap dealer.

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Nice rear end.

Yes, there are a few little bodywork issues which will eventually need to be addressed – there’s a small amount of bubbling around the right hand end of the rear panel seam, a small hole in the rear valance and a suspect bottom lip at the front end of the driver’s side sill – but ultimately it scrubbed up very well and has proven to be more presentable than I remember from when I bought it and quickly ensconced it safely in the garage/hid it from the wife.

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Thar she blows!

The slightly mismatched driver’s door (presumably replaced at some point in the past) looks ten times better now that I have added pin stripes – sourced from eBay and a very good match to the stripes on the rest of the car in terms of width, although they are a subtly different shade of gold so I will most likely re-do the whole of the driver’s side when I get a spare hour or two. The door also sits a little too far forward (i.e. the gap between the door and the front wing is smaller than the gap at the B pillar) – but I have some laser-cut hinge spacers which should sort this out. I replaced both the upper and lower hinge pins a while ago and this has levelled the door up quite nicely so it no longer drops at the latch end. The old pins were quite worn, especially the top one, so replacement was long overdue.

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Old worn hinge pin from driver’s door.

Replacing the hinge pins is relatively easy – with the door removed they can be driven out of the hinges with a punch, although they have one knurled end of a slightly bigger diameter which cannot be driven through the hinge so it has to be determined which end of the pin is knurled before it can be driven out successfully in that direction. If it’s not coming out fairly easily then you’re probably going the wrong way. In my case both pins were fitted with the knurled end upwards, although on my parts car one needed to be driven out downwards so your experience may vary. It is also worth replacing the two washers which sit either side of the door portion of the hinge – these wear with age and will cause further door drop if not replaced. I used some relatively unworn washers taken from a rear door of the parts car but obtained some new hardened hinge pins via Chris Witor.

hinge pin 1.jpg
Driving out hinge pin with punch.

Buoyed by the overall internal and external presentability of the car, the next logical step was to make it actually work. With some fresh 98 RON petrol in the tank and new 20W50 oil in the sump (along with the spin-on filter and adapter from the blue car), the rebuilt carbs at their base setting (jets wound down 12 flats from being level with the bridge), the static timing set at 10 degrees and the valve clearances, points gap and spark plug gaps all set as per the manual, the engine fired up quickly and ran smoothly, with the oil light extinguishing almost immediately – a promising start and at least confirms that I wired the coil correctly. There is a little bit of tappetty noise from the top end but at this stage I am putting this down to the engine having not been run for several years and am hoping it will quieten down once the oil gets flowing through some regular use.

However, before I could proceed with setting up the carbs and timing properly, it was obvious that there was a significant exhaust leak which would need to be addressed. Looking at the sooty deposits on the existing exhaust, it was easy to see where it was leaking from – the front silencer on the middle section was in the process of parting ways with the adjoining pipe, with a big split between the two.

exhaust split.jpg
That’ll be the source of the leak then.

Furthermore, the rear section’s silencer had a small rust hole in one of its ends, and the horizontal part of the front section was more oval than round – presumably due to contact with something hard at some point in its life. The system was essentially scrap. This is where having a parts car becomes an absolutely godsend, saving time and money in procuring new parts. Whilst the exhaust from the parts car was not shiny and new, it was very solid and dent-free. It seemed like a sensible choice to swap them over.

scrape.jpg
The old exhaust had clearly made contact with a ground-based object at some point.

As a rule I don’t like removing or fitting exhausts. It’s dirty, fiddly and rather boring. However, I didn’t really want the hassle of finding a garage or fast fit place that would touch a used exhaust, plus I’m a tightwad. I therefore spent a not particularly enjoyable couple of hours on my back doing it myself.

exhaust new
Replacement exhaust – not pretty, but functional. Just like me.

Removing the old exhaust from the car wasn’t too difficult – the rear section is removed first, and is supported by two rubber mounts, one near each end of the section. A bit of wiggling, pulling and persuading with a mallet saw this separated from the middle section without too much drama. Removing the middle section from the front section was less successful, partially due to the limited room to apply a decent amount of leverage. I instead opted to unbolt the front section from the manifold and, with the gearbox supported on a trolley jack and axle stand, remove the front and middle sections together by dropping the gearbox mount and cross-member.

Seeing as I had gone to the trouble of removing them from the car, I thought it was a good idea to replace the gear box mount and the cross-member bushes with the new items I had previously bought for the blue car – a genuine Australian-made Mackay rubber mount (the only ones worth buying by all accounts) and a set of SuperFlex polybushes for the cross-member fittings. To be honest, despite being covered in oil, the old ones on the car didn’t actually seem to be in too bad a condition – the rubber and metal portions of the gearbox mount had not separated and the cross-member already sported polybushes, albeit squashed and tired ones. I replaced them anyway as a precaution.

Gearbox mounts.jpg
Gearbox mounting hardware rebuilt.

Fitting the replacement exhaust was undertaken in the the reverse order of the removal process – although the front and middle sections could be fitted individually as they had already been separated. As well as a new downpipe to manifold gasket, I used some exhaust gum on the joints to ensure they were gas-tight. Annoyingly I did manage to shear off one manifold to downpipe stud upon reassembly, but luckily enough remained protruding for me to remove the remains with a pair of mole grips and I had a spare on hand from the parts car. A 30 minute diversion from the task in hand, but it could have been a lot worse.

To finish the job, the perished rubber mounts for the rear section of the exhaust were replaced with some new ones which I had in my stockpile and the rebuilt gearbox mounting hardware was returned whence it came.

gearbox mount.jpg
New gearbox mounts ready for service.

Firing up the car again produced an exhaust note much nicer than the chuffing previously emitted, confirming that the replacement had been a success and that I could finally get round to tuning and hopefully even driving the car. But, as excited as I was to get out on the open road, whilst the car was up on ramps it made sense to address the gearbox and diff oil levels in order to cross another couple of items off from the whiteboard list.

The gearbox has both a drain plug and a filling plug – the latter of the two on mine proving particularly difficult to remove. It is located on the side of the ‘box and access is fairly limited due to its proximity to both the side of the gearbox tunnel and a lip in the cast gearbox casing. It was also one of the square head variety of plugs, meaning that I was limited in terms of tools I could use to remove it. Naturally, after draining the gearbox of its oil, I found the filler plug was stuck tight and my repeated attempts at removal with an open-ended spanner were fast rounding off the corners. Luckily, my trusty mole grips came to the rescue and I was able to remove the plug, albeit at this stage in a rather mangled condition.

plugs
Drain plug at the bottom, (new) filler plug half way up the side.

Whilst I do have a couple of new square headed plugs lying around my garage, I wasn’t hugely keen to fit a part which would likely be equally as difficult to remove in future. Luckily, the broken gearbox which I had previously removed from the parts car had a brass plug with a more sensible hex head. I fished it out of the pile of bits and pieces strewn around the interior of the parts car and fitted it to the white car’s ‘box.

Filling the gearbox with EP80 oil was a fairly slow affair – it needs to be filled via the aforementioned hard-to-reach filler hole until the oil reaches the level of the hole (i.e. it spills back out down your arm). I used a large plastic syringe with a length of rubber tubing to do this as it made the job a bit cleaner – but also slower given that I could only add 100ml of the viscous, slow flowing fluid at a time.

syringe.jpg
Mmmm – squirty.

Technically, I could have drained the litre or so of old oil from the overdrive unit by dropping its sump – but seeing as the drained oil was fairly clean and as I did not have a replacement sump gasket to hand I decided to forego this step. I can always come back to it later if required.

Filling the diff was less eventful – the drain plug, although square headed, was easy to remove and the unit only required the smallest of top ups of EP80 to bring the level back to where it should have been. The diff on the white car has certainly not been anywhere near as leaky as the one on the parts car – hopefully it will stay that way as my garage floor can barely absorb any more oily fluids…

Keeping on keeping on…

I’m not sure if there is something in the water at the moment or perhaps at the ripe old age of 38 I have finally attained peak physical and mental efficiency but unusually I have been on a bit of a roll in terms of ticking Triumph-related jobs off of the to-do list. Speaking of the to-do list by the way, I have actually committed the must-finish jobs to a whiteboard now, so they absolutely have to be done and then neatly crossed-off. That’s the rule with whiteboard lists…

list
The whiteboard makes it official.

Some of the jobs are quick and easy fixes, others will take a little while longer and involve me getting dirty and sweaty. Obviously I’m the type of person to pick off the easy stuff first in order to to give myself an over-inflated sense of achievement and worth (hence the optimistic opening sentence to this post).

One of the easiest yet also most satisfying jobs on the list is to swap the interior over from the parts car – as a reminder, here is the current state of the white car’s passenger decks:

interior1
The previous owner obviously liked to travel in style.

Whilst it has good elements it’s not exactly in tip-top condition. I love the red seats and door cards, and they seem to be quite rare on the 2500S – but the driver’s seat is in poor condition, with the squab ripped and collapsed, and a split seam on the backrest. I believe the original interior was bone velour – so it sports light brown vinyl trim around the gear stick and on the B and C pillars as well as on the parcel shelf, whilst the carpet is also brown. Not really a classic combo with the red seats. Speaking of carpets, the one in the white car has seen much better days and is ripped, worn and stained throughout. The wood door cappings in the white car are all deteriorated to various degrees – all have peeling lacquer, a couple have peeling or missing veneer and are not really salvageable

I had toyed with the idea of keeping the red interior – but this would have involved either sourcing a replacement driver’s seat, or getting the existing one re trimmed and also replacing the carpet with either red or black to complement the red seats. This would take time and $$$ that I don’t have, so in the end I decided to opt for the quick and free decision of swapping the very good brown interior from the parts car into the white car and to put the red seats and door cards up for sale.

The first job was to remove the interior from the white car and store it away for safe keeping until it is sold (crusty old carpets excepted – they will be dropped at arms length into the nearest bin). Four bolts hold each of the two front seats in place and, once removed, they can be lifted straight out of the car – taking care not to scrape the vinyl against any sharp objects (I learned a hard lesson about this through a previous car). It’s worth noting that there is a spacer at each of the four mounting points which should be collected and set aside. The rear seats come out in two parts – the base is held in place by two screws at the bottom of its front panel, whilst the rear section has two screws along its bottom edge, which can be accessed only when the base section has been pulled out.

Interior Stripped
This is already an improvement.

Door card removal is equally as easy – the two large screws holding the door handles to the door must be removed, as should the window winder handle. The latter is held in place by a retaining pin – to access this the black trim piece should be gently levered towards the door, at which point the pin can be pushed out of its hole with a thin rod (be careful with these as they’re small and easy to lose). With the window winder removed, the clips holding the door card to the door can be carefully levered out. To avoid damaging the delicate door cards it is best to use a proper trim-prying tool for this:

Draper-Door-Panel-Removal-Tool-1.jpg
Save yourself the pain of damaged trim with one of these.

In my case the door cards had aftermarket speakers fitted, which involved the removal of a small amount of wiring from the door, but this is likely not the case in most cars.

The carpets come out in several pieces – the floor mats in the driver’s and passenger’s footwells are individual sections, each with its own rubber and foam insulating pad – which I retained as they were in good condition. The main section of carpet covers the rear footwells and the floorpan beneath the front seats – with the seats and rear floor-level air vent trim pieces removed this can just be pulled out, although it needs to be fed over the handbrake lever mid-journey. The sections covering the sills and the base of the rear seats is stuck on with contact adhesive, although in my case this was old and crusty and did not put up much of a fight. Your experience may vary.

floorpan
Floorpans and sills are in great condition, if a little dusty.

I decided to leave the centre section of carpet (the bit which covers the gearbox tunnel) in place, as to replace it would require the removal of the centre console and possibly some under-dash gubbins relating to the heater controls etc. As it is the same colour as the carpet which will be transplanted into the car, and in a similar (if not slightly better) condition, it was not worth the hassle removing it. I just gave it a quick once over with upholstery cleaner and it came up a treat. Who says I’m an inefficient time waster? In your face multiple bosses!

Whilst the carpet was out I noticed that the wire to the handbrake warning light switch had broken off at the plug – it looked like it had possibly been repaired before and was subsequently now slightly too short so I cut a length from the parts car and soldered it into the white car, using a bit of heat-shrink to insulate the finished join. A quick test showed the previously non-working handbrake warning light was now functional once again, so that’s another item ticked off of the to-do list.

Handbrake wiring.jpg
A quick fix to the handbrake warning light wiring.

Refitting the interior was, as usual, the reverse of removal – the carpet sections salvaged from the parts car were carefully glued down with spray-on contact adhesive, whilst the wood door cappings and door cards were swapped over and clipped/screwed into place. The last and heaviest pieces of the jigsaw puzzle were the front and rear seats – each taking up its respective place within the car. And what a transformation…

Interior front
So much nicer in here…

The new interior completely changes the feel of the car from a down-at-heel wreck to a comfy and usable classic. As per previous blog posts, I had recently spent some time cleaning the brown interior so it still felt and smelled as fresh as a daisy. The new diaphragms which I had fitted to the seats made them comfortable and supportive, quite a change from the saggy, cushion-filled driver’s seat the car had been sporting since I brought it home.

Interior rear2.jpg
…and the smell’s gone.

The more eagle-eyed of you will have noticed that I have kept the bone-coloured vinyl on the B and C pillars, as well as on the rear parcel shelf. I had planned to re-trim this with new brown vinyl but it is so much less obvious with a brown interior fitted than it was with the red one that I don’t really think it looks that out of place any more. If this turns out to really bug me then I can revisit it down the line – but at the moment there are higher priorities than this.

Whilst the interior was out I did take the opportunity to replace the front seat belts with new Securon items, purchased a few months ago from Rimmers. The belts in my car were showing signs of fraying and did no longer feel as supple as seatbelts usually do. Plus with 40 years of exposure to the high UV levels here in Oz, and the unknown history of the car in terms of accidents etc, I can see no argument for not changing them. The 500/15 model of belt costs about $60 (£35) per side and is a direct replacement for the existing belts in the 2500 – well worth it for peace of mind.

Seatbelt box
Better safe than sorry.

Rimmers had a couple of options listed for the 2500 – including ones with longer stalks and also ones with the electrical connections for the seatbelt warning sensors – but my car does not have these fitted so I chose the slightly cheaper ones with the 15cm flat metal stalks.

Seatbelt old
Would you trust this 40 year old belt with your life?

Fitting was really easy – the inertia unit and belt swivel brackets are attached to the inner sill and B pillar respectively by single bolts (19mm from memory). The new unit can be attached into exactly the same fittings – I reused the same bolts to ensure they were fully compatible with the captive threads in the car. The new clasps also use the same fitting as the original ones, although I had to use a couple of (supplied) brackets to get the spacing and orientation right.

Seatbelt clasps.jpg
New clasps shown pre-tightening – hence weird angle.

All in all I’ve very happy with the fit and operation of the new belts – and I know they are strong and safe, unlike the unknown quantity that was the old ones. In a car with next to no crash protection in comparison to a modern vehicle, this is literally the least I can do to improve safety in the event of a collision.

Seatbelt new
Clunk-click every trip.

I haven’t yet tackled the rear belts – mainly due to budget. I don’t plan on carrying any rear seat passengers in the near future so this doesn’t concern me too much at this stage.

A couple of other jobs ticked off the to-do list in the last couple of weeks were tackling the inoperative brakes – I have swapped over the new master cylinder from the parts car to replace the non-functioning unit in the white car and also swapped over the front calipers from the parts car which had new hoses and pads (it was easier just to swap the entire units than to faff around with rebuilding the ones in the white car and having to contend with possible stuck pistons, degraded seals etc). The horrible green brake fluid was replaced with new DOT 3 and bled through the system. At this stage I have not swapped the new slave cylinders and shoes over from the parts car as a) I need to keep the parts car’s handbrake operational, b) the white car’s rear brakes are functioning well so c) I can’t be arsed with so much else to do. I will keep a good eye out for leaking cylinders etc and the rear brakes will be addressed in the near future.

Brake mcyl.jpg
New master cylinder in place on the white car.

I’ll save you the write-up of the brake work as I covered this in a recent blog post for the blue car – just before it was officially downgraded to the parts car.

Another quick job was to replace the cracked radiator expansion bottle with the one from the parts car – they were of slightly different styles with different brackets, so this involved some drilling and re-riveting on my part. The new one is not the prettiest but fits nicely and is at least watertight. I even treated it to a new length of hose to replace the hard brown stuff that the car came with.

Expansion btl
Not sexy, but functional.

Next on the list is to get the engine up and running – if it does run that is. If not, I’ll need to swap over the known good unit from the parts car. Keeping my fingers crossed for the easy option here…

Tanks for the memories.

A couple of months have passed since my last update on the white car and, somewhat surprisingly, plenty has been done in that time. Of course, along the way more issues requiring attention have been unearthed and added to the jobs list, but that’s pretty much par for the course when dealing with 40 year old British automotive technology.

The last post ended with one of those ‘what the hell will I find in my crusty old fuel tank’ cliffhangers. Teased almost to breaking point by the suspense I set about removing it so that I could have a good peer inside. The tank is surprisingly simple to access and subsequently remove – the boot trim needs to be removed (mine was held in place by an interesting assortment of self-tapping screws) after which the tank appears in all its glory nestled just behind the rear seat.

tank1
Behold the beauty.

Before removing the tank, the gubbins connecting it to the car need to be detached. In no particular order there is the filler hose, the breather hose, the outlet pipe and the fuel gauge sender unit. None of these gave too much trouble – although it’s worth noting that removing the rear seat provides much better access to the clamps holding the filler hose onto the tank inlet. The sender unit is held in place by a circular retaining ring – it is released by simply driving it anti-clockwise via a rubber mallet and a flat-headed screwdriver located carefully on its lugs until it can be pulled free (taking care to feed the float mechanism out through the hole without damaging it). The tank itself is held in place by four bolts – two at either end. Once removed, the tank can be carefully extracted from the car.

no tank
The easy route to greater luggage space.

Surprisingly, given the build up of sediment in my fuel filter, the tank appeared to be in pretty good condition. There was hardly any sediment in the bottom and very little in the way of surface rust, either inside or out. The tank did yield one surprise – a yellow plastic nozzle from a fuel can which must have fallen into its petrolly grave many moons ago. Given its potential to block the fuel outlet it was removed and added to my rapidly expanding ‘strange things I have found hidden in the white car’ collection (I’ll probably have enough to dedicate an entire blog post to this at a later date).

Nozzle
The car is gradually giving up its sordid little secrets.

Whilst the tank gained a fairly clean bill of health, the fuel gauge sender did not get away quite so squeaky clean – the float was half full of fuel so obviously had a hole in it somewhere. I checked the float in the parts car to see if it could be swapped over but unfortunately it was in the same sad condition so I ordered a new one online. Luckily floats for these Smiths sender units are fairly common between British cars of the era so I could buy one from my local Mini spares retailer instead of having to wait for international delivery.

new-vs-old-floats.jpg
New float vs old float (yes I did remove the attached fluff before fitting)

Once the float was replaced, I refitted the tank and its associated bits and bobs – having robbed the sender unit locking ring from the parts car to replace the rather mangled one on the white car. In hindsight I could have got away with not removing the tank at all but as least now I have the peace of mind of knowing that it’s not full of gunk or rust or plastic yellow nozzles.

With the tank replaced, I turned my attention to the rest of the fuel system – the first job being to clean up the mess that was my fuel pump. I carefully removed the worst of the sediment with a screwdriver before blasting away the remnants from the pump body with a tin of carb cleaner. The filter was gently cleaned in petrol to avoid damaging the gauze. I replaced all of the rubber fuel hoses with high-quality Gates Barricade R14 fuel hose (not forgetting the short length attached to the tank outlet). Australian unleaded does not presently contain ethanol like UK fuel does so problems associated with prematurely degrading fuel hoses don’t seem to be as rife here, but it pays to future-proof. To complete my rebuild of the fuel system the newly-rebuilt carbs were fitted, which look great – even if I do say so myself.

carbs.jpg
Mmmmm – minty fresh carbs.

Next in line for a good groping by my wandering hands was the ignition system, which you may remember from my previous ramblings had issues involving melted wire. Being a later 2500, the car is fitted with a ballast ignition system which means it runs a 6v coil instead of a 12v coil. During normal running a ballasted circuit feeds the coil with 6v, whilst a second un-ballasted circuit runs from the starter motor which feeds the coil with a full-fat 12v when cranking. The idea is to temporarily provide a bigger spark when starting the car, thus helping to overcome cold start issues. A good idea really.

Instead of an old-school ballast resistor, by the late 70s Triumph were using a length of ballasted wire to feed the coil – this made for a neater installation and, let’s face it, it was probably cheaper too. Sadly, 40 years of resisting the passage of electrons had rendered it a twisted mess of melted insulation and wire, most likely earthing out sporadically at various points along its length. The car can’t have been running well when it arrived at the breakers yard.

wire.jpg
Melty.

Luckily the rest of the engine bay loom had been spared from damage by the self-destructing ballast wire, so I had no further work to do other than deciding how best to reinstate this circuit. The options were to a) fit a new length of ballasted wire b) try to re-sleeve the existing ballasted wire c) fit a length of normal wire, do away with the ballast resistor and fit a 12v coil instead or d) fit a length of normal wire and a separate ballast resistor. Option A would involve sourcing a new length of wire of the right length and resistance, plus knowing that it might go all melty again and take out half the loom with it, Option B would require me to unwrap the loom both in the engine bay and behind the dashboard and Option C would potentially cause cold starting issues. I therefore chose sensible Option D and put in an order for a ballast resistor, which I mounted neatly next to the coil.

resistor
The ballast resistor in its new home.

The melted remnants of the ballasted wire were carefully chopped out of the loom and a new length of 15A white wire (in keeping with the BL wiring colour scheme of the day) was run from the ballast resistor back through the grommet in the nearside end of the bulkhead and down to the car’s fuse box. From there I piggybacked onto the fused white circuit, which is live whenever the ignition is switched on.

wiring-e1544489524468.jpg
The shadowy origins of the coil ignition circuit.

All in all it looks pretty neat and cost less than $30 to fix. All that remains is to tidy up the engine bay wiring by re-wrapping with some loom tape but I’ll spare you the blog post on that one…

 

Priorities, deadlines and minor achievements.

Having had some time to give the white car a jolly good poking I am now in a better position to quantify the work which will need to be done to a) get it roadworthy and b) bring it up to a really nice standard. The former is the short-term goal, the latter is likely to take several years. I always think it’s healthy to throw a deadline or two into the mix – granted, it didn’t quite work out for the blue car but it did spur me on to do a bit of work when a lot of the time I would have probably rather been sitting in my pants in front of the TV eating Cheesy Wotsits. Not that I’ve let myself go since getting married or anything…

In terms of deadlines, they range from the realistic to the less-realistic. In the latter bucket there is the Triumph Sports Owners Association of South Australia Day of Triumph at Glenelg on the 20th October. I rate my chances of attending in the Triumph as slim at best, although I’ll definitely head down for a look. More realistically, there’s the All British Day on the 10th of February – it’s held in Echunga in the beautiful Adelaide Hills and normally incorporates around 800 British vehicles so it should be a great day out.

So in terms of getting the beast roadworthy by February, the to-do list stands as follows:

  • Rebuild the carbs – the HS6s had noticeable wear on the throttle spindles, the rubber jet hoses were perished and by eye the jet orifices looked a bit oval and worn
  • Drain the 7+ year old fuel from the tank, clean sediment from fuel pump, install new in-line filter and replace all fuel hoses
  • Replace the ballasted wire on the ignition circuit due to common problem of melted insulation. The options here are to replace like-for-like with a suitable length of ballasted wire, replace the ballasted wire with normal wire and a ballast resistor or swap the coil out for a 12v and do away with a ballasted circuit completely
  • Rebuild the brakes – master cylinder is likely shot given the pedal sinking to the floor, flexi hoses look old and front brake pads are worn. I have all-new stuff on the blue car so it makes sense to swap it over and give the system a complete overhaul
  • Change the oil and filter, fit spin-on conversion from the blue car
  • Fit reconditioned distributor from blue car, set valve clearances
  • Replace perished fan belt
  • Tune carbs and set ignition timing
  • Flush cooling system and replace all hoses – the existing ones are very perished
  • Check wheel bearings, replace if required
  • Check and change/top up gearbox and diff oil. Carry out scheduled lubrication elsewhere
  • Swap new tyres from blue car onto the better alloys from the white car
  • Re-align driver’s door and sort out dodgy interior (neither are exactly roadworthiness issues but are not a good look)
  • Sort out registration and insurance

At first glance that seems like a very achievable to-do list for a four and a half month period, but throw a demanding little baby into the mix and quality garage time starts looking a bit tight. I am determined, however, to make this deadline mainly because the All British Day looks fantastic.

I’ve already started to tick a couple of items off of the list – the first being the carb rebuild. I did toy with the idea of swapping over the rebuilt units from the blue car but I never went as far as having the throttle spindle bushes replaced and there was still some slight wear noticeable after the new spindles had been fitted. In addition, the blue car’s carbs had the arguably less-desirable waxstat jets.

Carbs before.jpg
One of the white car’s carbs before rebuilding – not in the cleanest of states

I won’t bore you with the details of yet another carb rebuild but in summary I stripped down and cleaned the carb bodies and sent them off to SU Midel in New South Wales who did an excellent job of drilling out and replacing the throttle bushes for a very reasonable $90. To save costs I built up the units with the new spindles, butterflies, needles, float valves and gaskets salvaged from the blue car’s set, only needing to buy new non-waxstat jets and butterfly screws to complete them. I think the finished articles look great – I’m not a fan of the polished dashpot look, clean and tidy is more my thing:

Carbs after.jpg
SU HS6 carbs rebuilt with salvaged new parts

One change I did make to the carbs was to swap over the pistons and dashpots from the blue car’s carbs as they have the more advanced HIF-style twin track ball roller bearing arrangement which reduces friction in the piston/damper rod assembly and eliminates the possibility of the piston sticking. I know that swapping of moving parts between carbs is usually considered a bad idea but the general consensus among the online Triumph community was that as long as the pistons and dashpots were transferred in matching pairs then it should be OK.

I’ve also started on the rest of the fuel system, finding time to drain the tank of the whopping 5 litres of stale fuel that it contained. This was pretty easy, although had the potentially to get dangerously messy – luckily I was well prepared with containers and a length of hose so my house and eyebrows remain unsinged. The outlet to the tank is very accessible from beneath the car, just to the side of the diff – the rubber fuel hose is simply attached to this with a jubilee clip. Removing the clip and hose, and very quickly sliding on a longer length allowed me to drain the fuel into a suitable container for storage and potential use in my long-suffering mower.

fuel-tank-draining.jpg
Fuel draining is an easy task but make sure you’re prepared before removing the hose

Tank drained, I moved forward in the fuel system to the mechanical pump – located on the side of the engine block. It is a typical classic British car arrangement incorporating a glass bowl which can be removed to access a filter gauze and sediment trap. Mine is very dirty as per the photo below:

Fuel pump sediment
Fuel pump glass bowl removed revealing lots of sediment

The filthy nature of the pump means it will need to be removed and possibly dismantled for cleaning – a job which I’ll get on to next time I get half an hour or so in the garage. It also raises questions of the internal state of the fuel tank which ideally should be at the very least removed and cleaned. Nuclear options involve rust-treating and sealing the inside of the tank with one of various different products marketed for such a task, but I’ll take a look first and see how bad it looks. Hopefully a good swilling out should do the trick.