Sunday, 9 February 2014

Time for an Update.

Unfortunately work has recently curtailed my Triumph Activities, but Anne and I have decided this must change, more about that shortly.

The FF Estate has not been idle, we took it to the Shelsley Walsh Breakfast Club last November, and got a great deal of interest in the car from the Ferrari and Porsche drivers who turned up. Walked the hill too, and the car got a write up in the Shelsly Walsh Mag too.

On the way home the car started to suffer from reduced accelerator travel and a reduction in power. It turned out to be the accelerator cable, which was a halfords Bike cable pulling through the fitment on the bulkhead. I had fitted this originally as a standard Stag or 2000 cable was too short due to the very large servo and other special fitments, a flash of inspiration then made me but a Stag left hand drive item which I have now fitted, its long, possibly a little too long, but it works and its genuine Stanpart.

Took it for a drive today, as the roads were dry and there was no rain, I had forgoten how quiet and nice it  is to drive, especially because of the other Triumph that I have just bought to do some of the CT driving events in.

The FF estate is simply too valuable and complex to thrash around every where in, and Anne wanted a car that was a tin top, as the Stag is a little noisy with the hood up, which we would have needed to do for the RBRR - I know driving with the hood up in November is soft but ........

So having had 2 Sprints in my youth, and I had loved driving them, I decided to buy another, but I didn't want one that needed lots of welding.

Eventually I found this one

( I know its a little high, more on that later). There's a long story behind it, its originally owner had it restored 20 years ago, but for various reasons it got locked away in a SteelStore until last year. It was then purchased by one of his staff who gave it a bare metal respray, and spent thousands of pounds on new parts for it. Circumstances then dictated that he needed to sell it in a hurry, and it was bought unseen by someone who decided he wanted a classic car. The drive from Derbyshire to London was enough to convince him that he didn't want the Sprint, and thats where I stepped in and bought it.

I like classics, I like Sprints, but the drive from London to home in Birmingham was dreadful, the car drove like a 3 legged dog, noisy, no brakes, vague steering and a nasty habit of the back kicking out over gentle bumps, no wonder the last owner wanted rid - thats why I took the estate for a drive today, I wanted to remember that not all Triumphs were this bad.

On the plus side, the engines had a full rebuild and is mainly good, gearbox is good, overdrive and syncro good, and the back axle is quiet - all these have been rebuilt at no expense spared, payen gaskets, vandervell shells, new camshaft etc etc, theres even a new fuel tank and nos fuel pump. The suspension has been rebuilt BUT, the rebuilder didn't know his Triumphs and a few items are wrong or incorrectly assembled. Niggles really, but there's quite a few of them. New brakes through out, fuel lines etc etc, new propshaft, starter motor, the list of new parts is almost endless

It certainly went up the motorway well, 3500 rpm in Overdrive top the whole way (not sure how fast this is as the speedo is not functional. :wink: )

However it did disgrace itself 1 mile from home by overheating - this was caused by coolant loss from the thermostat housing, because one of the retaining bolt threads is stripped, luckily I spotted the temp gauge rising and stopped quickly. I will helicoil this.

The chap I purchased it off, had already had a few jobs done on it, one of the NOS rear shockers was replaced, and the subframe and engine mounts were correctly fitted, with bushes (totally absent from the rear subframe so it floated about) . Amongst other new parts its had all the suspension replaced, but I suspect the dampers are shot as they are NOS, and the springs aren't quite as Triumph intended

It still has a few handling issues, going over bumps causes the rear to step out - I suspect the other rear damper is also shot (NOS from Rimmers), but I am going to fit Gaz adjustables, with adjustable spring pans to get the ride height correct.

The steering has a clunk and there's too much play, which turns out to be the rack mounts are shot (he replaced all the other bushes, why not these ?) and the locking plates from under the U bolts are missing.

The brakes, there's too much travel, although they do finally bite, but they don't inspire confidence. I'll check if they are plumbed correctly first, otherwise its servo or master cylinder, or something else

Headlamps will be changed for halogens via relays, and it turns out the original lamps haven't been fitted correctly. They have aftermarket plastic bowls, which mean you cannot align them correctly, and they have been fitted without gaskets.

Luckily my Stag / 2000 spares came to the rescue, and although I haven't got gaskets in stock I do have these rare items

The second high beam fitting will be using one of the existing Sprint ones after I have derusted it, and painted it, as apart from rust its in good condition. The lamp holders should be pop riveted in place, but I am going to use riv nuts to make lamp bowl removal easy.

The wipers aren't self parking, so I removed the wiper motor as I have a NOS parking switch for it, and I wanted to remove paint overspray from it anyway. After fitting the switch the fault persisted, so I stripped the column cowls and it was a bodged wiper switch. Stag / 2000 parts to the rescue, I happened to have a NOS unit which cured that problem, but fitment will need to wait as the column needs stripping to feed the wires down it, and it can come out when I do the rack mounts.

The indicators are intermittent too, which will be the flasher unit - I will change this for a solid state one as the new replacements seem to be made of cheese.

Its a very noisy car, I suppose the 4 or 5 missing bulhead grommets don't help, not the missing rubber gearlever gaiter and fixing ring - no where near as refined as a Sprint should be.

Door seals which were replaced need the corners cutting and a 90 degree joint making as theres a lot of wind noise from the corners, although I have a NOS rear door one in stock

Door cards need refitting with the water proof sheets behind the cards

Oh and the speedo needs to be made to work too, which isn't the cable, thats intact, there's no right angle drive at the gearbox, but again I already have a spare.

The instrument warning cluster has a few broken bulbs which I need to replace, there's no switch on the choke cable for the warning lamp.

The battery terminals were loose.

The propshaft flanges are secured to each other with bolts and standard nuts, which are too short to fit nylocs so theres a few more items  to add to the list of parts to get.

The centrifugal advanc in the dizzy is tight so this needs inspection.

Its got K&N pancake filters, so I need to source a proper airbox and pipes.

BUT the paint and shell are very good, the interior apart from the door cappings is near mint, although a little dirty. Door cappings and dash will get the Chapman and Cliffe treatment this winter I think.

The original shell was Ziebarted, and with 20 years dry storage and one owner the 73000 miles so on the clock are probably genuine, and there's little or no evidence of welding, even original rust free sills.

Once sorted its going to be a great car, its got a sound foundation, just needs some TLC

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