Busy doing nothing.

Nearly three months has passed since my last post and to be completely honest virtually bugger all has been occurring in the garage department. I’d like to use the convenient global pandemic/economic meltdown excuse but in reality I’m just very easily sidetracked and am juggling a number of unfinished (and sometimes unlikely to be finished) projects around the house and garden – most of which Mrs Rusty ranks as much higher priorities than the Triumph.

One such higher priority was the construction of a large timber fort/slide/swing contraption for Miss Rusty Junior to play on that takes up half the usable space in the garden – this seemed like a completely frivolous use of time/money/prime lawn area until shortly after its completion we found ourselves essentially trapped inside our own property bounds by global events, now it feels like a blessing.

Back in ye olde days of yore (i.e. a few weeks ago) when we were allowed to gallivant freely around the Australian countryside I treated the wife and child to an enjoyable few hours at the 2020 All British Day in Echunga . The South Australian Triumph community was well-represented with a healthy selection of 2000s/2500s, Stags and TRs on display, as well as the odd GT6 and Dolomite.

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Also present was a rare 1969 2000 MD – an Australian market triple Stromberged, wire wheeled model of which 48 were built and far fewer remain.

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Triple nipples. Mmmm.

A few non-Triumphs caught my beady little eye including a beige Austin 1800 ute – a quintessentially Aussie version of a car my parents once owned and in which yours truly was transported home from the maternity hospital after being birthed unto this world:

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A lime green Mini Moke happily rubbing shoulders with an S-Type Jaguar:

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Plus two of my automotive guilty pleasures – a gold Rover SD1 3500 V8:

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…and an awesome Morris Marina Coupe with Starsky & Hutch-esque go faster stripe:

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I would consider either of these BL icons a fabulous addition to my driveway. I’m sure Mrs Rusty would argue otherwise.

So that’s a little update on the state of British cars out and about in South Australia, but what about the state of British cars inside my own garage? Well, picking up from where I left my last blog post, I continued the strip-down of the engine block – the pistons and cranks were removed, as were the front and back plates, the oil pump and whatever other bits and pieces also remained. I then bundled the whole lot into the wife’s my car and dropped it off to J.H. Southcott Engine Reconditioning & Machining Services in Richmond.

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This being my first foray into completely stripping a Triumph 6 cylinder block I was a little surprised at the sheer heft of the crank – it’s a big old lump which you don’t want to be lifting with greasy hands…

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The machine shop promised to hot tank the block and then take a look at the crank and camshaft to let me know what work will need doing. A few days later they called to confirm that a +0.020″ overbore and a crank regrind of -0.010″ would suffice. The jury’s still out on the camshaft – their initial thoughts were that it was borderline as to whether the hardened surfaces had been compromised, they are going to take a closer look and get back to me on that one. A new one might still be on the cards.

I have placed an order for the appropriate pistons, bearing shells and an assortment of other engine parts from Chris Witor in the UK – as to when they might find their way to Australia given the current lack of international air traffic is anyone’s guess.

In the meantime I have busied myself with starting some of the jobs which are easier with the engine removed – such as renewing some suspension/steering parts and replacing a few bushes whilst I have the access. There will be more on this in a later post. I’ve also taken the opportunity to clean up the engine bay a little – given that it was covered in oily deposits from various leaks in the original engine.

Here’s the nearside inner wing before my half-arsed scrubbing efforts:

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And after:

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The nearside before:

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And after:

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The cross-members and steering rack before:

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And after:

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Underneath before:

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And after:

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I’m not in any way aiming for concours under the bonnet (or above it for that matter) but cleaning off the bulk of the thick oil and grease deposits will mean that I should no longer get absolutely filthy every time I go near the car, nor should it smell quite so badly of hot oil after a long run. It’s a shame the offside wing and chassis rail have been damaged by brake fluid spilled over the years, I might see if I can do a quick touch up job on that with a vaguely-matching rattle can before I refit the engine. Otherwise it can remain as honest patina.

The old engine must have had quite a leak (or several of them) – the congealed oil was getting on for 10mm thick in places, especially around the engine cross member and offside engine mount, another good reason to be replacing the lump.

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Whilst the engine mounts don’t actually seem too bad, various other rubber components have fared less well to their extended dousing in the black stuff – particularly the offside anti-roll bar bush which literally melted off once I removed the mount. Luckily I have some polybushes to replace these:

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The anti-roll bar itself has cleaned up well. I might give it a quick coat of satin black if I’m really stuck for something to do, most likely not though as it’s quite presentable as it is:

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Turning the steering to full lock to remove the anti-roll bar also gave me another insight into the less than healthy state of my bonded rubber steering joint coupling. This will be replaced before the car sees the road again:

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So all in all, despite the large number of photos in this post, not a huge amount of actual work has taken place in terms of getting the beast up and running again. Hopefully the coronavirus situation won’t delay the arrival of the engine parts for too long and the machine shop can get on with doing their bit and I can start on the rebuild. In the meantime I have a fence that needs painting and a sash window that needs repairing. There will be no rest for the wicked…