Monday, 29 October 2012

Back on the Road

Got the repaired propshaft from Dave Macs today. One CV joint is fine, the other has been repaired, and should last a few thousand miles.

and 2 hours later fitted, all back together and the car is back on the road.

Drives well and all the nasty noises have gone.

I must thank Colin Radford tonight, after reading the blog about the propshaft, he has gone and found me one new CV joint, what a Star!

Another £90 spent and another 2 hours work.

Fixed just in time, as a Classic Car magazine are here tomorrow to do a photo shoot and article on the car. When I know when it is to be published I post the details

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Ready for the Front Propshaft

Its all reassembled now, refilled with various oils and ready for the propshaft.

When I visited Dave Macs last week, they had been unable to build a new propshaft because those 2.5" CV joints have been out of production for years. The rear joint was ok, and just needs rebuilding with a new CV boot, but the front joint has a large "pit" in one of the slots that the ball bearings travel down. As an interim fix this is going to be welded up, and then ground back with a carbide cutter. Not perfect but it will work for a while, and the front prop is fairly quick to remove and refit.

If I cannot find any new CV joints anywhere, which is unlikely as they have all been used up, its a trawl through the various breakers to find 2 good ones, as they were used on Spitfire 1500 propshafts, TR7s and a few other vehicles. Long term I will probably have to have 2 made from scratch (expensive) as the angles of operation are too big for universal joints.

As to the diff breather, I finally drilled a hole in the top grub screw and brazed a piece of pipe into it, to which I have connected a plastic tube, which finds its way above the diff to the front of the engine for now. I'll see if any oil does drip from it, and if not, cut it back and form a simple U bend in it - to let it breath and stop dirt getting in.

I have not updated time and money in the last few months so the figures to date are now 1145 hours, and £23031

I really really hope it drives all right now with no more major issues, or it may find itself locked away in the garage unloved for a time.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Diff rebuild (again)

I split the output shafts again and pressed them apart so I could fit the seal savers - just stainless steel thinwall tubes really. I'd have done it the first time if I had time to source them.

Diff was then reasssembled

and fitted back to the car - the "breather grub screw" is accessible when fitted - its what the allen key is inserted into

The 1/2" UNF nut is for scale, as Nick Jones has kindly offered to look through his parts and see if he has one that will fit

Got the propshaft off too, and here are the split gaiters - old rubber! This will be off to Dave Macs tomorrow

Finally I got the starter motor back in and the front subframe, I'll leave the rest for next weekend.

It will be nice eventually to spend more time driving the car, than time spent fixing it - its a moment that I am looking forward to - I hope

Saturday, 13 October 2012

I might have aborted the RBRR if I had seen this

Before I start the saga of the diff removal a quick picture of the Estate exhausts after the RBRR

Biscuit colour, so a little rich, I would have preferred a greyer tinge, but not bad as the carbs and timing have never been set up. No traces of oil though which is good.

Anyway back to the front diff removal, exhaust manifolds off first, and the rest of the system back to the middle box. Then remove front hub carriers with drive shafts, disconnect steering rack from subframe, and suspend in place using wire, and the subframe comes out

However what I found wasn't so impressive. I though I had heard propshaft "clanging" hollow noises, and I had.

The CV joint gaiters on the front propshaft had split, and the grease distributed itself round the underneath of the car. Both CV joints have play now too, so its a new front propshaft to be made - that will be fun, because although one end has a flange, the other has a spline, straight into the transfer box. Next week will see what Dave Mac propshafts say, and can do.

Front diff, just hanging there, I also had to remove the starter motor to get it out

And here's the diff out.

No breather at all, just an allen headed socket screw on the top, but no sign of any holes for a breather.

I suspect I will drill the socket screw out and fit a split pin, like triumph diffs, but certainly no provision for an air vent.

So tomorrow, I will strip the diff, fit the seal savers to the shafts and reassemble. 

I will say that if I had seen the mess from the front propshaft under the car on the RBRR I would possibly have stopped and called a tow truck. I guess the subsequent gentle driving saved it.

I knew this wouldn't be easy, and I knew something would break on the RBRR, the car simply had not had enough driving trouble free prior to the event.

But we still got round.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Firstly let me say thanks to the organising team (with the possible exception of Jason - who got me into trouble with McJim) - more later on that, and to all the Marshals who gave their time at the Control Stops, and to all the spectators who turned up, it was fantastic to be welcomed by so many people at so many of the Control Stops.

Anne and I had a great time, and will be doing it again. Anne has added a few words of her own in the section at the end of this post.

As you know the car made it, and mainly trouble free. I never thought it would get round, as its longest trouble free journey to date was its run to the Plough of a 120 miles or so on Thursday night. First long run on a Motorway too. Through out the event I refused to answer questions on how the car was, as I thought it bad Karma to say it was fine and would probably make the finish.

On Friday night / Saturday morning I spent most of my driving thrashing the car unmercifully chasing Dave Pearson in his Courier van. By breakfast Saturday it started to occur to me that the car might actually make it, so we eased off, and completed most of the rest of the run at 60 mph, far more suited to a big estate with an autobox, and far more likely not to break anything.

Sorry for not chatting at the Control Points, I was keen to leave early, and be gentle on the car

The main problem that I had, was with the alternator drive belt, which kept needing re-tensioning. I had a spare, which I was reluctant to use, as it was purchased from the same supplier at the same time as the first one, and it was clearly a part of a defective batch - or a poor chinese copy. The belt finally let go a mile after Gordano services on the M5 in the dark with Anne driving. I wanted her to drive on side lamps to conserve battery life, so she switched high beam on, doubling the battery load!. Fortunately there was another off ramp in a mile or so, so we got off there and I replaced the belt with the other one - which also kept stretching. Finally Andy Roberts gave me another one at Bude.

By late Sunday afternoon, I was hearing a noise from the front offside wheel, so we really eased off, and finally made the Plough 2 minutes before the end of official check in. Still, a finish is a finish. The noise is the CV joint as it now clicks on tight lock.

The front diff was Ok, although I did keep checking the oil level at every stop. A simple job with an allen key and reaching into the front wheel well from under the car.

Consumption figures.

Engine oil - nothing really - dipstick level dropped a few mm
Front diff - 300mm of EP90
Autobox - nothing
Fuel £624 mpg 25.1 - ok for an auto big saloon with FF and fully loaded
Red Bull - 16 cans
Chocolate Chip Cookies - 2 packets
Fruit cake - 1
fig rolls - 1 packet
chicken burgers and chips - 2

Items to be fixed after the RBRR

Front Diff - remove it, unblock breather, and sleeve the shafts where the oil seals bear.
Front right CV joint - replace
Check entire car over
Clean car
Finally have time to set the carbs up and tweak the ignition timing

Not bad for a fresh from restoration car.

That said it wasn't the ideal RBRR car with the autobox and low overall gearing, it had to be worked quite hard to keep up with people driving like Dave. On the really twisty bits the suspension is a bit soft, but give it a good A road with sweeping bends and with the 4 wheel drive, it left many Stags and others behind on bends.  In the wet it is superb, you just cannot break traction, even with full throttle making a start at a T junction turning left or right.

Now its all Jason's fault about the Lamrini and McJim, and entirely Jason's idea to hand over a bottle to McJim, - although I will admit to purchasing extra Lambrini and handing it out to the other crews when we found that no one had bothered to purchase any such gifts! Carter Bar went ok, but when I signed in at Tebay McJim literally grabbed me by the throat, making dire threats of revenge. He was smiling at the time though, and having read his subsequent "Lambrini Anyone" posts is to be congratulated on the spirit (no not the Lambrini) in which he took the wind up.

After the Lambrini challenge we are considering other gifts for McJim (or others)  in 2 years time, assuming that he is foolish enough to run Carter Bar again!

To conclude this post I am attaching a blog post from Anne which I thought many of you would like to read.


I was not too sure what to expect when I agreed to be a co-driver for Mike.
He had at last finished the Triumph Estate and it was all ready to go.
I was a little nervous about driving his car (being so rare and so recently finished).
I am also a rubbish navigator and do not like driving at night, but despite all this he said yes that was fine and that he wanted me go with him.
Before we arrived at the Plough Mike made a very strange request. I was to go to Sainsbury’ and purchase 12 bottles of Lambrini. He explained why and I then decided that some tartan ribbon round them would just finish them off nicely!
We arrived at the Plough; the car was going very well.
I was chatting to various crews and what really struck me was what a lovely bunch they all are. I felt very welcome even though I did not know a lot of them.
Off we went (Mike was driving as it was dark!)
Got to Carter Bar, where we handed over our bottle of Lambrini complete with tartan bow. I was a little worried why Mc Jim was wearing yellow marigold gloves (any ideas anyone) but he seemed delighted to receive a bottle of Lambrini! He and Mike had a banter ending with Jim saying that he had keyed the car!
We motored on to Edinburgh Airport where Bill Murray had come specially to see Mike’s car, he had travelled a long way and it was very late too! I thought then how nice that someone was prepared to make such an effort. This is occurred at quite a few of the checkpoints. Mike had told do not chat, get the book signed and go – but he ended up chatting – which was the right thing to so as people had made the effort to see him!
The car was going very well except the fan belt was slipping (sounded dreadful!) but we carried on regardless with Mike saying ‘it’s a new belt and ‘I tightened it before we left’ many times!
We made it up to John O Groats, where there was the most beautiful rainbow. We had breakfast, cleaned teeth and reapplied lipstick (that’s me not Mike!).
Got to Conan Bridge early so we decided to both get a bit of sleep. I was straight off but Mike said that I kept him awake snoring. Well, he has snored always and the nights that I have been kept awake I have lost count. I do not believe that I snore, and I was telling another driver this when he helpfully told me about an app that you can get for your phone. It is called sleep talk and you can set it and it will record any sound that you make. He gleefully let me listen to his recording of his wife snoring – who says that she does not snore either. I am going to try this tonight. I will let you know at the end of the blog the results!
We were motoring on well, got to Gordano services where the local Triumph Club had turned out and was clapping everyone as they arrived – I thought again what effort and how lovely. It really spurred you on.
 We filled up with fuel and left. Mike was very tired, so I was driving even though it was dark. I was feeling quite proud of myself, however not for long. The fan belt snapped. Mike said go on to side lights. I said do not be so silly, I cannot see that well on headlights, let alone side lights on an unlit motorway at night! He was saying put your foot down, go faster, get off the motorway. I was not happy!!! (Nor was he actually!)
Anyway got off the motorway (using headlights) did go onto high beam once – told off straightaway!
I told him yes I do know that you cannot push start an automatic, and yes I did realise that the battery would not charge without the fan belt. (Not been married to him for 33 years not to know that).
Things were a little fraught but to his credit he did not shout or swear at me.
Told to get off the road and bump up a curb and stop the car half on grass with the pathway under the middle of the car. Honestly! Could not see why this mattered, then saw that he wanted the tarmac to lie on under the car.
I thought that I would be super helpful and clean the windscreen – wrong- when I got in the car whilst Mike was underneath (I hasten to add that it was not jacked up) the number plate dug in him and the exhaust burnt his hand. Still no shouting or swearing, but I felt really dreadful 
Well, all fixed and we were off again. I was still driving! But this time I could I have side, dipped or main beam on – fantastic! 
Got to Lands End ok had breakfast and applied lipstick again!
Got to Bude and met up with Chris Allen. He was taking photos and I pretended to pose, he said that would it be topless I said no too cold! He then topped up his oil.  Met him at next checkpoint when he told me about how he wondered why the car in front was smoking, then smoke came in his car he then discovered that he had forgotten to put his oil cap back on. Told it was my fault because I distracted him at Bude.
 He had his bonnet up at the next stop so I helpfully told him to put it down before he left. He did find that quite funny!
Got to the TR Register check point – got the book signed and the visited the ladies and applied lipstick again. I could not believe it – there was queue for the GENTS! The ladies non – in and out! That was a first for me!
If anyone had asked me would I do it again at 2.30 am Saturday morning I would have said no, but now I think that I might. Not too sure if Mike could though with me – due to my lacking skill of night driving.
I must mention all the Marshalls at the check points, they were all so cheerful and lovely, the drinks and cakes and biscuits were very much appreciated.
The spirit of the event was wonderful.
I cannot explain the feeling of joy when we arrived back at the Plough. Mike has worried the whole way that we would not make it – I KNEW that we would.
It was quite an emotional moment.
I am very proud of what he has done to the car.
 The hours of work, the cold days in the garage, the sourcing of the parts, the endless jobs to be done it, is such an achievement.
I am very proud of him and feel very privileged to have shared the RBRR with him in his special car.
10 countries next perhaps?  Yes, but in daylight please!
Anne Weaver
P.S. The sleep talk app did work and sadly it had proved that I do snore.
I have told Mike that I purr not snore compared to him!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Brakes Done

My local Porsche Dealer spent 3 hours or so skimming the discs on the car, and they are now perfect. I am so grateful to him. But he has asked NOT to see another Triumph! so I won't give his details. But well done Mr Porsche Dealer and your workshop staff.

If anyone wants to track our progress on the RBRR I have added a Google lattitude app to the blog, so our progress can be tracked. Scroll down to the section below add a comment, and there I will be with the FF estate. Although it doesn't display on the CT blog section due to the feed system, you need to go to the original blog at

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Game On

And this morning on to the other side which revealed this

After application of emery cloth strips, it ended up like this, still a few marks, but the seals should last a few thousand miles

It could really do with refacing in a lath, but no time for that now.

Upon re assembly, I noticed the CV joint boot on this side was also touching the cross member - hard to see in this picture, but with the suspension on full droop the folds on the CV were catching

A trip to my local motor factor saw me with a selection of different boots to try and get clearance, needless to say it was the third one that fitted well and cleared the body work - so that was 3 CV joint strips and rebuilds just to get the boots on and off. Doing the CV joints took nearly as long as the diff drive shaft seals this side.

Anyway all done, short test drive done and all seems well, we will see what a gentle Motorway Thrash does tomorrow.

So its RBRR game on.

The Range Rover has a split inlet manifold (they are made of plastic now) so it resides at the Dealers Workshop for a few days, glad I am not picking the bill up for that job, when you see what the manifold is buried under.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Team 47 down but NOT out.

I had my suspicions about a front diff leak for some time - if you remember the CV joint rubbing saga.  Anyway today when I got to work there was oil dripping from both front drive shaft flanges - just visible on the part of the crossmember by the sump.

There's no way to risk the RBRR with leaks like this, as I am sure a new front diff would be very expensive.

So what to do?

When I removed the drive shaft and front hub this was visible

No nut inside the flange like with Triumph Diff flanges, but the whole assembly was held in with 5 nuts, which soon came undone, revealing this

The inner race supports the crown wheel, so I didn't remove the other side at this point.

Stripped down you get this

When looking at the output shaft its easy to spot the rust that caused the seal to fail

Now one advantage of living in Birmingham is that after 6 or 7 phone calls I had located new seals and outer bearings, and set off to purchase them.

Heading home at 3pm with the parts an 18 month old Range Rover (Anne's) decides to call it a day - dash flashes red warning triangle and Reduced Power mode enabled. I was on the M5 at the time, and reduced power was good for 10 mph - not safe on a Motorway so its a 1 hour wait for recovery. You can imagine how happy I was.... especially as when the recovery driver arrived the car had reset itself and now worked. he still took me home and the car onto a Dealer, but said they sometimes do this, and no one knows why!!  Even more anger £80k on a car and it does this - the dealer had better find the cause and fix it.

Anyway I cleaned the rust off with emery paper and reassembled the shaft

It slots into the diff here - which I didn't have to remove after all

Anyway 9pm and this side all finished

The caliper still has to go on but I want to degrease the disc first.

The other side is also stripped bar 2 nuts that I cannot get at that may require removal of the steering rack or exhaust manifold but that's for tomorrow.

I also need to refit the diff sump. It doesn't appear to be a breather issue, but simply worn seals - I may yet add another breather, but it looks like the RBRR is still on

Where am I?