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.
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:
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.
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:
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.