Monday, 29 December 2008

2 years

At the end of 2006 I bought my Bordeaux Red DHC from a friend. Most important reason for me to buy it was the 10CR 2007. I wanted to do it in a DHC, which I did. All in all I covered over 10.000 kilometres in it. Although it isn’t the best looking TR7 around, the body shell is almost rust free. To keep it that way I have decided to strip the car completely enabling me to have the body repaired were necessary and get a decent paint job done.

So today, exactly 2 years after I brought here home with me, I started dismantling the car. As a farewell one last picture as she was, waiting patiently to be stripped bare ...

The first day of dismantling didn’t quite go to plan, with lots of small but irritating setbacks. To name a few;
  • A front bumper that didn’t want to part from its centre pivot;
  • Washer hose refusing point blank to come of the washers;
  • Loom for the licence plate lights getting stuck somewhere in the boot lid.
But by the end of the day I had more or less reached my goal. Boot area is stripped, as is the nose area and the door trim;

Target for tomorrow is to get the interior trim, dashboard and the hood assembly of the car.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Last trip for the DHC ...

Fond memories of the Alps!

Yesterday was the last time I “drove” the DHC. Actually I only drove it from the garage accommodation to the workshop. Plan is to start dismantling the car tomorrow, in preparation for the repairs and repainting of the body.

As I quite hate body work, I want to do it thoroughly so I won’t have to worry about it for the next few decades (I hope). So one of the first things to do in the new year is find a good place to get the body acid dipped and/or shot blasted.

Also on the to-do-list is an upgrade for the interior. As mentioned on a few forum's I'm going to use the leather seats which were originally meant for 't Kreng. But after not to many kilometres I had to replace them, because they weren’t supportive enough;

Depending on how the interior trim is structurally I’ll have the panels re-trimmed by a local upholsterer (actually the same guy who did the seats 12 years ago) or order new parts. That will be clear in a few days time.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Merry Christmas

A bit quiet with the TR7’s for the moment. The new suspension I ordered for ‘t Kreng won’t be ready till early next year. But I haven’t been completely idle though.
Last week I visited the guy who’s going to do the bodywork on my TR7 DHC. We went over the car together and he thought he wouldn’t need more than a few days work to rectify the dents and the (little) rust on the body. Plan is to completely strip the body, have it blasted or acid dipped and then sent it over to him by the end of February. So more than enough time to work out what colour she’ll get. The colour choice is down to three options now;
  • Platinum Grey (MCA);
  • Argent Silver (MCB);
  • Triton Green (HAG).
But I wouldn’t be surprised when I switch to a fourth option before she’s in the spray booth!

Also been working out some ideas for the future of ‘t Kreng. As soon as the DHC is back on the road it will be her turn for some rejuvenation work to be carried out. At the moment working on the detailing of another change in the front suspension. For that I contacted one of the better known Escort specialist in Britain, but they haven’t replied to my message yet.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

X-mas present for Het Kreng

Ordered a new set of suspension uprights for ‘t Kreng this week from a firm called AST Suspension, which means I am going to adjustable coil overs on all four corners of the car. The great thing about this company is that they take pride in making one-offs for a rather reasonable price.
As space for the top mount is a bit limited at the rear;

I can’t use one of their standard top mounts. So at the moment I am working on the dimensions for the rear top mount. They will have to make up a pair for me, should look more or less like this;

Another advantage is that they can supply rather slim 50mm springs. This is rather convenient as clearance with their standard 60mm springs is a bit tight all round;

The set should be ready just before Christmas. Depending on the progress with the body work on the DHC, I am tempted in doing some welding on ‘t Kreng too. Thinking of welding on a pair of mounting brackets to change the front suspension lay out a bit, thus getting rid of the combined function for the anti-roll-bar. Just might combine this work with the fitting of the new front struts.
Needless to say the front coil overs from ‘t Kreng will find a new home under the DHC.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Brrrrrr ...

This weekend saw the first snow of the season!

Only a few inches and sadly though it didn’t last long! But more important is that I will go to a fairly local but respected suspension manufacturer this week to see if they can make up some new struts (front and maybe even some rear coilovers) for a TR7. So I have been busy collecting and dismantling a good set of front struts over the weekend.

Can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

The 20th Nachtrit, a pictorial review

Two weeks ago we had the 20th edition of our “Nachtrit”. Due to the fact that I broke my car slightly on one of the trips to map out the run, I didn’t drive myself this year. Which gave me time to take a few photographs at the start;

Mr. Bear doing some running repairs on his GT6.

Some of the many Triumph entries.

Some of the British entrants, Michael’s TR6 alongside Paul’s TR7-V8.

A nice variety of different Triumph models.
Sadly Ron’s TR6 (top left) had to stay behind with what later turned out to be a blown head gasket.

René (on the right) instructing one of the entrants on the (non)availability of fuel during the 280 km run.

Team Burner heading into the darkness of the Belgium/Dutch night.

GTRoger at the start, here the car was still doing fine.

Robbie’s Mk1 Escort RS2000.

Nice Dutch autumn weather.
Luckily the rain didn't persist so the road conditions were relatively good.

The last car to leave, but the first to finish.

Sorry for having a slight preference for wedges!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Great news, I got it wrong!

When I drove ‘t Kreng for the last time three weeks ago it handled like a drunken pig, constantly trying to turn right of the road. First inspection showed that the complete front suspension had moved to the right a fair bit. But it also felt like the RH side shock absorber wasn’t working properly. So time for some work.
After re-alignment of the front suspension and making up some spacers to accommodate the slightly wider new tyres in the past weeks, it was time to put the wheels back on the car today and how she behaved.

So after checking the tyres pressure and the shock’s settings it was time for a little test drive this afternoon. Although I did start pretty easy to warm up everything, first impression was pretty good. Only thing that immediately became clear was that the new tyres are not very suitable for small muddy and wet-leaf covered country lanes. But for the rest the suspension behaved as it should. Which means the car’s stable in a straight line on not so good tarmac and under heavy breaking.
And after everything was on proper working temperature it was time to try some winding country lanes at speed. Can only conclude that she’s pretty much as good as she’s ever been. Things that spring to mind are lighter steering under load/while cornering, which will probably be caused by the harder (or should I say less soft?) compound of these tyres. It also has slightly better front grip in longer corners as a result of the slightly wider(12 mm) front track. On the down side, it is a bit nervous on deeply rutted roads, but nothing very worrying. To sum it all up I am quite happy with the current set up.

Remains the question, why did it feel like the RH shock absorber was gone. It clearly worked fine this afternoon!? The only solution I can come up with so far is that, due to the suspension being out of alignment quite a lot, the effective spring rate changed between left and right. Combined with the tracking being out this probably resulted in the rather nervous behaviour?

Saturday, 8 November 2008

A space(r) oddity

When I wanted to fit my new wheel/tyre combination on ‘t Kreng, I found out that there were some problems with the clearance between inner tyre wall and lower spring seats. After putting the tyres on the car and taking a few half decent measurements I found out that I only had to find some 3 mm of extra space to give the inner tyre wall enough clearance.

As I want to try out my new tyres sooner rather than later I decided to solve the problem with a temporary solution. As the clearance, or rather lack of it, is marginal I decided to put a spacer between the front hub and wheel. I know not the best of solutions, but for a temporary fix it should do for the moment. I could have started from scratch, but why go for a difficult solution when there is an easy one?

Time to dig out a pair of rather rusty rear brake drums.

Remove the centres with an angle grinder ...

... and a hammer.

Smooth of the edges on a lath.

And you have a pair of 6 mm thick spacers.

See how it all’s going to work. Hopefully get the car back on its wheels tomorrow.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Boohooo ...

It looks like a rebuild of ‘t Kreng’s front suspension is very near! During a reconnaissance run for next Saturdays Night rally I hit a bump in the road a little bit too hard. The impact ruined the RH front damper insert, but also managed to move the RH strut backwards a fair bit. Due to the TR7’s front suspension set up the LH side was pulled forward by the anti roll bar so much that the LH tyre scraped the lower inside of the wheel arch on less than full lock!

Last weekend I spent a whole day under the car to get everything more or less in shape. I am happy that there‘s no visible damage to any of the suspension components or the body shell. The last one is probably thanks to the strut brace! So I only need a new set of front dampers to get the car back on the road. At least that’s what I thought until I got home this evening with the new tyres fitted to the wheels. Despite them being Yokohama’s with the same dimensions as the previous ones (205/50R15) they don’t fit with my current spring settings. With the old tyres the clearance between lower spring platform and inside tyre wall was minimal, but enough;

Sadly the Yoko A048’s have a slightly wider tyre wall with the wider bit slightly lower than the A032R’s. As a result the inside just touches the lower spring seat. Easily rectified by winding them up a bit, but then the front of the car will be too high. Other option is to put slightly shorter springs in. But that together with the shot damper(s) is reason enough for me to look into something different and use this set up under the DHC. Luckily first contact with a local suspension manufacturer was made a few weeks ago, with plans to visit them within the next few week. Call it foresight!

Probably to be continued somewhere in the (near) future. But it does also mean there will be no car with start number “0” on the 20th edition of the “Nachtrit”!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

My 2nd RBRR

Two years ago Roger and I did the RBRR in his mk3 GT6, but as he has just bought a house that needed redecorating etc. he wouldn’t do the RBRR this year. So I teamed up with McJim for this year’s edition and again it was in a mk3 GT6 (the ex Greeks’ car to be precise). As I thought it appropriate to start and finish the whole event as a team, I flew to bonny Scotland last week. This enabled me to adjust a bit to the car on the way down south to the start in London.
It started pretty good when we went to pick up theGT6 on Wednesday evening. It stopped after less than a mile! Luckily it had only run out of fuel, although the fuel gauge showed that the fuel tank was ¼ filled, or should be ...

The following morning we packed up the car with everything we thought we’d need to survive the run and set of down south. We decided that it would be a good idea to divide the down ward journey in two with a stop halfway down in Kelbrook, the heart of the P&P area. And as a few pictures of the 2008 Round Britain Reliability Run say so much more than words;

Having a coffee break in a road side Diner just south of Blyth, on the long way down to the start;

Marshalling at The Plough;

Around 18.40 we were flagged of for the first leg to Blyth services, and it didn’t take us to long to pass the car of the event (in my humble opinion that is). Team Atlas on the A10 between Hertford and Ware;

At Blyth Services I took over the wheel for the next stretch. Initial plan was to swap drivers somewhere around Corbridge. But as McJim was snoring away happily in the passenger seat and I wasn’t tired yet I decided to carry on. This was prompted by the fact that the planned fuel stop didn’t work out as the petrol station, despite being advertised as open 24 hrs, was closed. Luckily we had a safety margin in the fuel stops so we carried on till Edinburgh Airport for fuel and the second control;

After crossing the Firth of Forth I went into shut-down mode, so not much I remember from that. It started to rain somewhere on this stretch. I woke up to discover we had pulled into a petrol station in Inverness. Which isn’t one of my favourite places at the best of times, but on a rainy night it looks even more dreary. As this picture of a lonely Spit/GT6 at the petrol station proves;

From here on it was my turn again. The plan was that I’d drive up to the next control at John O’ Groats but in Latheron, just before the junction with the A99, I thought it a better idea to stop and give my eyes a bit of a rest as they started playing up a bit. As McJim was fully rested by now he took over for the last miles to John O’ Groats.
Here the weather was so Scottish that we hurried inside the Seaview Hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, a bit of sleep and a quick check of the car it was time to start on the long haul down to Land’s end. So just before 8.00 am, and with McJim at the wheel, we turned our backs on John O’ Groats. In still very wet conditions we headed west towards Thurso and the next scheduled fuel stop;

The further we travelled the drier it seemed to become and when I took over the wheel at the beginning of the B871 (the road running along the River Naver) the rain had decreased to a slight drizzle. This combined with the lovely scenery made for some very nice driving indeed. Only thing to worry about was not to get the car into the water that at some places was rather close to the road ....
On this stretch we also encountered our first breakdown. Well it was only that I managed to drown the cars electrics when I drove a bit to spirited through some standing water. Luckily after a few seconds the engine started without any problems. Slightly more cautious I continued down to the next control, the Conon Bridge Hotel. By the time we arrived there, the rain had stopped completely, which looked promising for the rest of the trip.

The next leg, from Conon Bridge to Stirling turned out to be the best so far. The weather had cleared and the Scottish scenery was at its best, what more do you want. At one point along Glen Coe I even thought of stopping the car and go for a photo shoot of the scenery but decided against it. Needless to say we made good progress to the control at Morrison’s Garage in Stirling.
Here McJim managed to bribe the marshal to sign the road book before the control opened so we could go over to his home in Glasgow to refresh ourselves a bit. After a shower and a simple but very nice dinner, prepared by his wife, we got in the car again to start on the second night. This is in my in my opinion the worst bit of the RBRR driving large stretches of motorway at night as you get more tired. Added bonus was the rain which kept coming down most of the time. But we did manage to get to the Lancaster and Gledrid Services fairly well on schedule.

We did have some annoying problems with the car though. Firstly it was impossible to get any heat into the interior which is very un-GT6-like. The other annoying problem was that the seal of the rear hatch was knackered allowing water to soak the driver’s seat and the parcel shelf behind the seats. Also the overdrive didn’t work as it should. In 2nd gear it would switch on and of randomly, in 3rd it worked OK and in 4th it was on all the time ...

While we were at the Gledrid Control the rain eased of so we decided to press on as long as it remained dry. Since heavy rain was forecast we decided to take a more direct route via Shrewsbury, Hereford, Abergavenny and over the Bristol Channel into England. The weather actually was fairly good until we arrived at the M4. That’s when it started to rain ... very heavily. Luckily large parts of the M4 are well lit by streetlamps making the driving slightly more bearable. Also having a rather heavy engine/counterweight right on top of the front axle helps quite a lot in keeping the front wheels in contact with the road when there’s standing water :x
The weather remained rather wet all the way down to Land’s End which didn’t make the driving any more enjoyable. At least it gave me the chance to take a few rather moody pictures;

James testing his car's battery.

After breakfast and signing of the road book we immediately left for Sennen Cove to get some rest before the other teams arrived. But as the weather was rather ... uhm ... photogenic I got the camera out and took some more pictures instead. Control stop number 11, the Lifeboat station at Sennen Cove;

After we visited the Lifeboat station and the road book was signed, it was time to start on the way back to London. Sadly just before Penzance we saw some vapour coming out from underneath the bonnet and the dashboard. Although the temperature was still at its normal place in the gauge, we thought it better to stop and have a look under the bonnet. This revealed that the water pump seal had gone. As McJim hadn’t had the intention of replacing one at the side of the road he’d left his spare home ... Luckily one of the other teams who passed by had a new one in the boot, which quickly changed hands. Half an hour’s spannering later, and with some assistance from yet another crew, we were back on the road (thx chaps).

As we had lost quite a bit of time we even had a chance to get another sighting of Team Atlas. Sadly shortly after this they had to retire with a broken wheel bearing. We didn’t have these problems and fairly on schedule arrived at the Dartmeet control. A quick check of the car revealed no more leaks, so after a cup of tea we were off for the cakes at Pimperne. This prospect alone was cheerful enough but then the sun managed to make an appearance a few times.
Just before we entered Pimperne I even managed to get the car’s tail out on a roundabout. As I wasn’t pressing on to hard and the over steer was rather viscous, I presume there must have been something like oil on the road. Luckily I could catch the car with an armful of opposite lock, but it startled some other road users. While pulling into the parking lot at the Pimperne control some people came over to point out that a fair amount of fuel was leaking from the car. A closer inspection showed the fuel hose to the fuel pump had come loose. Luckily fairly easy to fix but rather annoying as we didn’t have a clue how this could happen. But as it had lasted for more than 2000 miles already we didn’t worry too long and went for some lovely cakes.

From here on it was rather straight sailing to the last control at the TR Register's offices in Didcot and from there back to the Plough, where we arrived around 19.15 hr. We had made it! After a meal, a few drinks and some socializing it was time to say goodbye to everyone and head for the hotel;

The car made it back all the way to Scotlandshire without any further problems, clocking up some 2750 miles over the weekend. Though it did burn a few litres of oil;

Thanks very much to the organizing committee and all the volunteers who marshalled at the control stops, in making this great event possible.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Tinkering on 't Kreng

As the weather didn’t look to promising this morning I decided to do some work on ‘t Kreng. The idea was to work on the car in the morning and take her for a drive in the afternoon. First job was to fit some bonnet pins that I have lying around for ages but never got to fitting. So after butchering a rather decent bonnet the end result looked like this;

Although the pins are pretty well located with two rather sturdy washers this is only a temporary fix. When the body will be done somewhere in the (hopefully) not too distant future the large hole in the bracket will be welded up. I also used the opportunity to get the alignment of the bonnet a bit better then it was.
With the bonnet pins in place, the original bonnet catch and release mechanism could be removed. This provides a bit of extra room at the rear of the engine to inspect and work on the coolant hoses going to the heater, rather convenient.

Next job was a small service, new oil + filter plus a check of the usual things. Going over the engine bay reminded me of the fact that since a few weeks when I returned home with the car there was always a small patch of coolant just in front of the LH front wheel. Which meant that either the coolant system is pressurising or the radiator cap is gone. A close inspection showed that the rubber seal was indeed past its prime. Luckily there is a rather large US car parts store in our little village and they provided me with a cap that fitted the TR7’s header tank perfectly. Ok it doesn’t look original but I don’t care to much about that.

As can be seen in the picture the LH suspension turret is starting to get rusty indeed. Not yet very bad, but reason enough to have the body done sooner rather than later.
And by the time I had finished with the service the afternoon rush hour was about to start, so I took my mountain bike out into the forest instead ...

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Bleedin clutch

With the gearbox under the DHC more or less sorted the gear change still wasn’t as it should be. So I decided to renew the clutch fluid, hoping that this would also expel some trapped air from the system.
So with some help from Rob we renewed the fluid and completely ruined the working of the clutch. One way or another air had got onto the system and refused to get out. As we were rather short of time I decided to leave the car there and then and return the next day.

Next day saw another failed attempt to get the air out of the system in the conventional way. In the end we concluded that this was probably caused by the fact that the clutch hose on a TR7 is rather long, as a result of which not all the air in the system gets expelled before the master cylinders reservoir needs a refill. During which time the air in the hose has more than enough time to collect at the conveniently placed high point just outside the master cylinder;

(OK, this is not a picture of the DHC, but the routing of the clutch hose is the same)

As the fluid coming out of the system was also rather dark looking I decided to put a new slave cylinder in (the master was rebuilt the last year, whereas the slave was a good used one).
Again bleeding the system proved to be quite difficult indeed, there remained some trapped air in the (top of) the hose. In the end we decided on a rather different approach: we waited a short while till the air in the system had collected at the top and then started pumping the clutch pedal several times. This revealed quite a few air bubbles in the reservoir itself and the fluid level started to drop slightly!
Due to the fact that the air collects right at the top pressing the pedal will compress the air, but it will also squeeze some fluid passed the trapped air. When the pedal is released the clutch itself will press against the slave cylinder which in its turn will move the whole (by now non pressurised) fluid column back up into the master cylinder. Every time taking small quantities of air with it into the fluid reservoir ... Five minutes later there were no more air bubbles and we again had a fully functional clutch.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Historic GP at the Nürburgring

The second weekend of August is traditional the weekend of the historic Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in the German Eiffel. Contrary to last year there was some action on the Friday. Although it was slightly wet so now and then. But at least there was some visibility ...
The best bit of action on the Friday is always a long(er) distance race for historic sports cars and saloons, which is held on the famous Nordschleife. Sadly though (from a photographers point of view) health and safety struck hard here. They erected a safety fence along the track making it rather difficult to take decent pictures, even with a focal length of 400mm ! But I managed to take some decent pictures nevertheless;

The entrance to “our” camp site, the “Fat Sausage” club.

Corvette over braking into Breidscheid.

E-type in the pouring rain coming out of Eschbach.

More rainy action.

Firing up for the Friday night BBQ and a few beers.

As a result of the beer not everyone looked at his best next morning.

Parking brake German style.

Lotus 7.

And a very nice black ‘Vette.

BRM tuned Lotus Elan.

Don’t mention the war.

Big German in a big German car and an armful of opposite lock.

Into the evening sun.

Fierce Mini battle.

Pondering or wondering what went wrong.

Nice drift.

Fire spitting TVR Griffith.

Getting rather dark during the evening race.