Saturday, 26 April 2014

Sprinting to the Finish

Started today with the replacement of the overdrive solenoid, pictured with a new copper sealing washer and my cut down spanner. The short spanner fits inside the transmission tunnel, but to get enough leverage on it I use large ring spanners fitted to the stubby handle, which gets it all nice and tight.

That done - or so I thought, I took it to get some nice Yoko A539s fitted - 185 60s which are close enough to the rolling radius of the originals, but a little bit more tread and somewhat stickier.

I took it for another test drive, which revealed power on / off steer - so thats the suspension bushes to do with polly then, to fix this issue. Much grippier and the vibration at 70 gone, so far a good result.

When I got it home there was still oil leaking from the gearbox, but not from the solenoid. I've had this before on the Stag, so off with the transmission tunnel, and sure enough it was leaking past one of the top overdrive housing bolts.

Now I know I should remove and strip this, but would you if there is another way ? (bodge) so I removed the nut, degreased everything, applied gasket goo, a copper washer, followed by a steel washer and the nut, and with luck this will be fixed - I'll test again in the morning when the sealant has gone off. Yes, it is missing the strap between the gearbox and the gear change - something else to acquire.

Apart from the gasket which is probably damaged allowing this, it was time to investigate the gearbox breather, which was blocked causing this issue. A piece of welding rod soon cleared the problem

Pulling the transmission tunnel, did enable me to find a bad rattle that the car had, although the picture isn't great, it was loose nuts and bolts on the heater vent causing this, so thats a simple fix.

I then cleaned up the flanges on the gearbox tunnel, so I can apply new dum dum sealant and replace the over tired spire clips that secure the fixing screws, I might not then need the bathroom sealant that had been applied to cure the leaks round the tunnel !

I also need to make up a bulkhead mat that was missing from the driver's side, and with the tunnel and parcel shelf removed I can also put grommets in the remaining holes in the bulkhead.

Assuming the gearbox leak is cured, once I get the tunnel cover back in, I'll start polybushing the suspension tomorrow.

I keep reminding myself that it WILL be a nice car when sorted !

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Grrrrrr ..... I knew I should have taken the Stag on the HCR

Lets see now what has been bodged ? or badly assembled on the Sprint before I got it

Front Wheel Bearings

Servo Mounts

Rear Suspension

Water pump

Steering Coupling

Rack Mounts

Engine Mounts

Carb Mounts

Air Filter

Wiper Stalk


Thermostat Housing

etc etc

Its a long list

Whats Missing ??

Yep Gearbox.

More specifically Overdrive Solenoid, which wasn't tight enough, so on a long run it empties all the gearbox oil out.

Fortunately, I had EP90, axle stand, gearbox oil filler spanner, and managed to replenish the oil, but what I didn't have is the special 3mm thick spanner to tighten the overdrive solenoid enough to fix the leak. I did use a drift and a heavy wrench to try and knock the solenoid round to cure the leak, but not enough.

When an overdrive box looses oil, the OD stops working first, because its input is a couple of cm above the gearbox casing, which means the rest of the gears are still lubricated for a time.

We had just done the first 4 Counties, with the interesting bits to come along the seaside, when the overdrive stopped working. It had to be electrical or oil level, so I stopped, checked the electrics, they were fine, so then spotted the EP90 under the car.  So jacked up the car, filled the oil up, tried to fix the solenoid and set off again.

We had just got to the coast, when the OD started playing up again, so choosing a nearby Tesco Car park inspected the car. It was really game over at this point as we had another 150 miles left to the halfway point, and all the Service Stations I had dropped in at, had flowers, food and alcohol, but nothing useful for a car apart from screenwash. I still had another bottle of EP 90 but that wasn't going to get us home, and I didn't want to risk wrecking the gearbox.

So I called recovery (for the second time in a month with the Sprint) they turned up in 30 minutes loaded the car up, and off we went for Beaconsfield Services for the hand over to the next recovery driver. Just short of Beaconsfield the recovery vehicle's engine gave up the ghost (it must be Dolly Sprint effect!), so the truck, and our car had to be recovered back to the Recovery Vehicle Depot at the Seaside!!! - the engine failure meant they couldn't off load the Sprint and get it on to another vehicle. They finally gave us a loan car to get home in. Breakdown 10pm south coast, arrived home 6am !!!

Not our best night out !

Still thanks to Ellis and the organisers, the Helms for the food and the autosolo. The bits we did were great, and we will be back. The Sprint will be fixed on its return, its a quick fix really, drop gearbox tail a few inches, apply spanner, tighten, put gearbox back on mount. 1 hour start to finish.

I then await the next breakdown of this badly behaved Triumph

Friday, 11 April 2014

Running Again

I took the day off work today to finish the Sprint, it took until about 1pm to finish all the little jobs, prime the external water pump and fire her up

But she runs fine, no bearing noise so the crank is OK, the filter must have stopped the debris, but I am going to do another oil and filter change after the HCR.

Guess I'll be retorquing the head down sometime on that event, as I took the car for a 100 mile thrash this afternoon to check all was well.

On the Motoroway at 70 the temp guage sits just below midway and the fan doesn't come on, but sit in traffic and the needle rises a bit and the fan starts up.

After switch off fan and water pump run for another 2 minutes to cool the engine down. I am quite pleased with the external water pump, it does exactly what it says on the tin, and Mrs Weaver will be pleased as the heater still works.

Got the correct airbox fitted too

And as a final touch fitted the CT logo

Just remains to clean it and we are off to Chelmsford

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Nearly ready for lift off !

Started tonight by tidying up the pump wiring, I still need to attach terminals to the wiring but this part is almost finished.

Then, thanks to a very kind man from Coventry who loaned me a bucket full of pallet shims, I got the valve clearances set, all 16 at 18 thou.

Head was then torqued down, cam connected to chain drive and rocker cover fitted.

I then did the usual electric drill trick, in the counterclockwise direction to get oil pressure and fill the filter bowl.

So all that remains to do, is finish the pump wiring, fit and time the distributor and plug leads, add coolant and its time to fire her up

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Head Work

Although this is one post, this represents 3 evenings and 1 weekends work, I was too tired last night to do an update!

I took the Sprint head to my local engineering shop in the week, and got it back after a light skim , it did have a slight warp.

Most of the past 3 evenings have been spent cleaning the valve gear and other items, which were covered in filthy baked on oil deposits, and modern degreasers don't work like the old ones, so by Saturday lunchtime I had a re-assembled head. There was very ltittle wear in the rocker shaft and rockers which was nice, but one or two items were missing when I stripped the head down, 2 dowls which help locate the cam bridges, and there was an incorrect long stud, head to block. These came off the second hand engine I have recently purchased off ebay, so I ended up with this

You can see why the pistons need cut outs for the inlet valves

I then refaced the oil pump cover to remove the score marks in its surface and refitted this and the oil filter

So time to check the valve clearances. I had assumed that as the head had recently had a new camshaft and the shims done, that they would not need attention. Strangely ALL the gaps are too big by 3 or 4 thou, and I had ground the valves in, so I had expected them to be a little on the tight side. But no, so I need a bucket full of shims to complete this job.

The second hand engine had also provided a brass expansion bottle, - my current one is plastic and these split, and a proper sprint air box. These rusty old items were dropped off at my local blasters, and I also painted these this weekend, after hammering out the dents  in the airbox

While these were drying, I decided to service the Stag in case I don't complete the Sprint for the HCR. - We drove about 8000 miles in it last year so it was overdue an oil and filter change, and I needed to check it over for its MOT which is due on the 2nd May. Needless to say another rubber boot had failed, this time on a lower ball joint, so I have ordered a set of those to be fitted later, and I noticed some of the water hoses have some small cracks so I have ordered a new set of water hoses, before these let me down too - I don't want 2 more head jobs! Came to start it, and the starter was playing up, so I removed that and cleaned the corroded solenoid contacts, still its ready for the HCR, even if I am not.

Back to the Sprint engine then, because of the water pump failure I am fitting an external electric pump, so the first job was to blank off the hole where the original pump fits with a brass bung - this is like the original cage on the Sprint / Stag pumps but solid - the bolt is there to stop the bung lifting out and needs adjustment so its a few thou below the water pump cover. Two O rings on the bung keep the water and oil apart.

That done, I fitted the cover and plumbed in the electric pump

I am going to change this slightly, by replacing the pumps inlet elbow with a straight input so that it can have a direct straight pipe to the radiator, rather than the 2 right angled pipes it has now, this will also let me drop the pump a few more inches so its slightly lower.

I then fitted the head, with all the pistons halfway down the bores, so I can do the pallet shims in situ. The head is not torqued down yet as the angled studs go through the cam bridges.I will also need to connect the cam to the chain too .But I did then get the exhaust flange bolted up, and the carbs fitted. The distributor is still out as I intend to spin the oil pump drive with a drill to get oil pressure up before I fit the distributor. The water pump wiring needs completing too as I have also bought the controller, which as well as controlling the water pump will switch the electric radiator fan off and on too

And that was it for now

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Back from the USSR

After 10 days working in Russia on TopGear Live, it was time to have a further look at the Sprint engine and try to decide on a way forward if we are going to take it on the HCR

Firstly I removed the oil filter bowl to check this had been assembled correctly, and fortunately apart from a dirty filter nothing was amiss with the assembly, so I then removed the oil pump and stripped this. There is some wear from the metal from the skew gears but it doesn't appear too serious.

so the big question is, will any remnants of the metal have got through the oil filter ? and then damaged the bearings.

I then stripped the head, for an engine that was supposedly rebuilt less than 500 miles ago, the head and valve gear is filthy, and I suspect wasn't stripped and cleaned, although all the valve seats are good. Lots of carbon left on the valves too.

So as far as I can see I have 2 options:-

1). Pull the engine and finish stripping it, then rebuild, and possibly not make the 10 HCR (we'll have to take the Stag instead ) I'll need shells and piston rings with a bore hone


2). Get the head skimmed, clean and reassemble with a new oil pump and a Craig Davis external electric water pump (which means the block and jackshaft don't need to come out.)

Option 2 is quick, but what if there is damage to the bearings ? - although there was no knocking from the engine when the pump failed.

Trouble is I don't like doing half jobs, and I do have plans for a rebuilt engine later on, but one done now will just be a rush job and will need doing again later anyway

Pity as when the head is stripped I can see how good it is,, water ways and face have very very little corrosion, for a 40 year old alloy head its very good.

Decisions decisions ........

Where am I?