An inferior interior…

I’ve managed so source a few spare parts from Tassie thanks to a Triumph 2000 Register forum contributor – I was lucky enough to get a great set of front seats in the right colour vinyl which I can just bolt right in. I need to pick up a couple of new diaphragms from Chris Wittor first as the driver’s one’s gone and the passenger one is following close behind but other than that and a tiny bit of wear to the piping on the driver’s seat bolster they’re perfect. Have got them sitting loosely in place at the moment and the difference is remarkable.

Old:

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Someone seems to have had fun on these

vs New:

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New rip-less front seats

I have also decided that as the car’s now technically an S then it should look like one. I have sourced an S front grille and steering wheel from Tassie and have built up a great S dash using a load of spare dash parts that the guy I bought the car from included in the sale.

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The new dash in place, fully functional and looking good

Building the dash was pretty simple but, although both the original dash and the spare S dash I used as a base to build the new one were both from facelift cars, it wasn’t quite as plug and play as I would have hoped. Whilst all of the wiring was identical between models and the same style rubber connection plugs were used, the rubber plugs were laid out in completely different configurations between the dashes. In the end I cut the plugs off of the old TC dash and soldered onto the new S dash loom. Luckily the wiring for the tacho was already present in the car’s main loom so no extra wiring was needed here – I carefully cut a notch in the respective rubber plug to allow me to plug the bullet connector from the dash loom straight into the main loom to avoid having to do any soldering on the under-dash wiring.

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My limited soldering skills were unexpectedly called into action

The new dash looks much better and the tacho’s a great asset. Now I just need to either source the S centre panel for the clock, or carefully drill the one I have. The radio panel looks to be a bit of a homemade plywood bodge so that’s on the cards to be replaced too…

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Oh, I also played around with the warning cluster thingy as a couple of the colours didn’t seem logical – I changed the oil warning light from green to red as it’s far more noticeable in the daylight, I also changed the fuel warning light from red to yellow and the same with the handbrake light. I know the handbrake light should technically be red but yellow sits better with me as it’s more of an advisory light than an urgent warning in my opinion. I love these clusters – one of my earliest childhood memories was sitting in my grandparent’s Dolomite, being utterly fascinated by the colourful dashboard light display. The other Dolomite-related memory of poking my finger into the glowing orange dashboard light wasn’t so fun. Turns out it was the cigarette lighter which I’d been playing with whilst being left unattended in the car on a holiday to the Isle of Wight. Parents in the 80s were much less health and safety conscious obviously.

Anyway, I digress.

Other jobs to do in the short term are to sort out the worn front strut top mount, and do something about the mess of a headlining:

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I’m not particularly looking forward to that particular job. I will probably leave it until the eventual respray as to replace it properly I think the front and rear screens will have to come out which I would like to do to avoid that dodgy paint on rubber look. Sourcing a replacement will be interesting.

Eventually I would like to complete the S conversion with the vinyl rear pillars (after the respray), the front cross member with anti-roll bar, power steering and the S front suspension (could do with a rebuild anyway). Oh and the windscreen washers need fixing. Although they’ve had a quick once-over and a bleed, I plan to give the brakes a proper look-over when I get round to fitting the set of 14′ S Alloys that I procured from, you guessed it, Tassie. This will be when I can afford tyres. I might swap out the 40-year old brake hoses for braided ones as a precaution.

The other big job will be the gearbox. It’s currently got the non-OD 4 speed but think I may have sourced a good replacement OD box.

Watch this space…

Six months later…

Well, to be honest, work on the 2500 has been relatively slow due to pesky house renovations getting in the way – however, a few small but significant areas of progress have been made.

My first priority was sorting out the rough running. I sent the dizzy off to Performance Ignition Services in Victoria for a full rebuild – it cost a couple of hundred bucks but I cannot fault the service. It was back within a week, looking great and as tight as a drum. I think the advance weights had probably been sticking prior to the rebuild as it was slow to return to idle rpm sometimes. Here’s the rebuilt unit in all its glory:

Meanwhile with the help of a CRK185 rebuild kit from SU Midel in NSW, I stripped rebuilt the carbs (SU HS6s). I have long suspected that either the jets or needles (or both) must have been significantly worn as I could not get the car to fire, let alone run, at the initial factory setting of winding the jets down by 2 full turns (12 flats) of their adjusting nuts from being level with the bridge of the carb. The only way I could get the car anything approaching tuned was at a setting where the jets were lowered only 1/6 of a turn (2 flats) down from the bridge. This to me would indicate worn needles or enlarged jets meaning that the carbs had to be set considerably leaner than usual to achieve an acceptable mixture. Whilst the car ran like this, based on the sooty plugs and accompanying misfiring it obviously wasn’t happy throughout the rev range so something had to be done. Also, the throttle spindles had quite a bit of play so a rebuild was on the cards anyway.

The rebuild was pretty straight-forward, I didn’t bother trying to tamper with the spindle bushes as I know that’s a specialist job – however, although it doesn’t look too bad in the picture below, the spindles did have a noticeable amount of wear so probably accounted for most of the play anyway.

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Throttle spindle showing wear at bushing location

There’s still a tiny bit of play with the new spindles so it’ll need rebushing eventually but in the meantime this will have to do. I also replaced the needle valves, needles, jets and butterflies and checked the float heights etc. I haven’t gone all out with the polishing as you can see, but I think they look fine as they are for a car that certainly isn’t a show-winner.

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A pair of successfully rebuilt HS6s

These HS6s have waxstat (or capstat as they’re known over here) jets – easily identified by their ‘top hat’ shape and lack of red plastic. The waxstat jets contain a little wax-filled copper cannister which, as the engine reaches operating temperature, is expanded by the heated wax whch lifts the jet slightly and thus leans out the mixture. Over time, it is thought that the properties of the wax changes which can result in an incorrect mixture. A kit does exist which can be used to convert the waxstat jets to the non-waxstat type but I have heard mixed things about the quality and ease of fitting. I therefore went for replacing the waxstat jets with new ones – If they start playing up then I’ll review the situation. There is another fix which involves removing the copper cannister from the jets and replacing with coins – this could be a cheap (4p to be exact) solution if required.

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Waxstat on the left, non-waxstat on the right

I popped the rebuilt carbs back on the car and the difference is immense – have got it tuned much closer to the factory baseline setting (think the jets are adjusted about 14 flats down now as opposed to 2) and so far the plugs haven’t fouled again which is a good sign. It idles flat and lovely, the rebuilt dizzy is doing its job. I spent some time getting the linkages, choke and fast-idle settings right and it starts on the button now. Very pleased with progress in this area.

Am waiting on my old Colourtune to be posted over by family from the UK (as they’re surprisingly expensive to buy new) then will spend a little while longer getting the mixture just right (as I’ve never really got on 100% with the SU lifting pins). Will probably aim for a little bit of orange in the spark as this seems to be the general consensus. At the same time I’ll double check the timing (advance it until it pinks under load and then back off slightly) and valve clearances and then she should be sweet as a nut.

That’s the theory anyway.

In the beginning…

Welcome, whoever you are, to A Triumph in Adelaide.

It is on these very (albeit virtual) pages that I will attempt to blog about the ups and downs of being a Triumph 2500 owner in the capital city of the driest state in the driest continent of the world – Adelaide. That’s here by the way for those unfamiliar with this part of the world:adelaide_map

I moved Down Under a few years back because of, you guessed it, a girl. Having been a Spitfire owner for 4-5 years back in the UK (which I converted to a Spit6 – tremendous fun and a long, winding story which probably requires its own blog) I had been on the lookout for another one since my arrival on Antipodean shores. Unfortunately the things fetch a bloody fortune over here so that plan was put on ice pending a series of lucrative money-making schemes being devised and put into action. That’s still pending by the way.

But, a few months ago I saw a Triumph 2500 advertised for sale relatively close to home so I popped out to have a look. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest out there but having been used to rusty and welded UK cars I couldn’t pass by such a solid and original body. The deal was done and within a couple of weeks this fine beast was sitting in my garage.

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The Beast

She’s a 2500 in a murky and very poor-condition metallic silver. The Aussie models didn’t get the cool 70s colours that the UK cars did but instead were finished in less funky Toyota colours of the day. Hence the silver.

The car had been off the road for many years (possibly a decade or two) prior to my purchase – by all accounts due to engine failure. It was due to be stripped for spares when the guy who I bought it from saved it with the view of putting it back on the road. One replacement engine later and here we are.

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Replacement 2500S engine installed recently

Whilst the body is that of a 2500 TC, the replacement engine is from a 2500 S. Due to the length of time the car’s been off the road the chassis number wasn’t on the police database so they have registered it with the details from the replacement engine which was still on file. I guess it’s therefore a re-shelled S as opposed to a re-engined TC.

Condition-wise when I got her she scored top marks for structural integrity but had a few issues. The gearbox layshaft bearing is going so it whines in 1, 2 and 3, the front seats were both ripped beyond repair, the headlining has been cut across its width above the front seats (apparently the work of vandals when it was laid-up), one of the front strut top mounts needs replacing, the dash is cracked to buggery thanks to the Aussie sun, the indicators work intermittently, the dizzy shaft had considerable play and, whilst it ran well when I got it, after a few longer runs the plugs fouled with soot and it started misfiring badly indicating a rich running problem.

Body-wise, the edge of the boot lid is rusted through but other than a one inch hole on one of the outriggers and a 5mm hole at the front of one of the sills (which I am sure will end up bigger after a bit of prodding) this seems to be the only perforating rust on the car. There is a fair bit of surface rust and the paint job is cracked and peeling so has reached the end of its life.

Plenty to be getting on with then, but that was the point – I didn’t want a finished car, I wanted a project. And now I’ve certainly got one. And a slightly annoyed wife.