Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Looking back at 2013 and future plans ...

It's that time of year again !
Although my blog might tell a different story, 2013 has been a rather busy Triumph year. Sadly it was completely overshadowed by the death of a very good friend and fellow wedge owner, during the Deutschland Rally in August. Rob you are still missed very much ...






As a result of this work on the various upgrades for 't Kreng have been put on hold for a while. Mainly because most of the work (read fabricating parts) was done to keep his rally car going. And as mentioned earlier I have promised myself not to start on any physical work on 't Kreng until the DHC is completely finished. But since I made that promise another TR7 joined the collection. Resulting in a radical change of plan.

But that doesn't mean I have done nothing on the preparations for the rejuvenation of 't Kreng. Over the past year I have been working every now and then on various adaptations for 't Kreng V2.0, and recently I was able to reap the first rewards of my labours (consisting mostly of taking measurements and making drawings and computer models).

First there is the strengthening plate for the back axle, laser cut from 10 mm aluminium ...



And this piece of 6 mm thick aluminium sheet, which will be turned into a sump guard ...




But although these bits are all alloy, they are going to put a few extra kilograms to the car. The good thing being that these items will be mounted low down on the car, so it won't harm the cars centre of  gravity. I also acquired a pair of nice and shiny alloy front wheel hubs from Hamilton Motorsport, to shed a little of the extra weight gained. These should knock of approximately three kilo's of the front suspension. But as I won't be fitting them yet I stored them away for the time being, so no pictures yet. And before fitting them I'd like to have them anodised. So a search  for a company that can do this is near the top of the to do list.

Then there was the very long struggle to get the DHC ready for Club Triumph's 10th anniversary edition of the 10 Countries Run. But in the end I got her to the start and she performed faultless during the entire run. What more could I wish for !? And although I didn't use the cars as often as I would have wanted, they both saw a fair amount of action. With the best being these three events organized by Club Triumph;
Taith-o-Amgylch-Cymru (or a Tour of Wales)

I already mentioned that my TR7 plans have been changed. This is what the plans are as I see them now at the end of 2013;

The DHC: that needs a few finishing touches. The dashboard illumination needs upgrading. Despite fitting new bulbs one side is very badly lit. It looks like one or two of the bulbs are not working. Maybe need to fit another circuit to the back of the instrument cluster. Then there is the problem with the fuel gauge. Still have to look through my spares to find another low fuel delay unit. And last I am currently waiting for a friend to make me some nice and shiny alloy wheel centres for the DHC's new wheels. The finished product should look like this ...




And as a future project I will replace the SU carburettors with an original FI setup I have lying around. But I will replace the single throttle body, ECU and injectors for modern parts.

't Kreng: Initial plan had been to dismantle her as soon as the DHC was completely ready and reliable. But even before I acquired the '76 FHC that plan had been abandoned in favour of a "rolling" approach. So I will tackle the various jobs one by one without taking the car of the road for a longer period. Added bonus, especially with the suspension upgrades, is that it can be controlled much better. There is time in between jobs to drive the car and evaluate how the handling reacts to a modification. The rest of the plans for her are unchanged, safe for the paint job I had in mind ...

'76 FHC: As already mentioned :-). Hopefully the body man will be able to inspect the car within the next few weeks. So I can start to plan the various jobs that need to be done.

And in between I also managed to go back to Süd Tirol in a boring grey Euro-box for a two week walking and photography holiday. As a few pictures tell so much more than lots of words, some of the high lights ...


















And there are plans to take the DHC there for a touring holiday next spring or early summer :-)

I'd like to wish you all the best for 2014. See you next year.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Alloy Radiator Version 1.2

Although I didn't report any problems with the DHC during the 10CR, there certainly was something that needed rectifying. While heading towards Watou on the day before the start I noticed that, when driving over bad road surfaces for which Belgium is rather well known, the viscous fan would hit the fan's shroud. This problem was caused by the fact that the mounting holes for the shroud were positioned incorrectly. I had tried to temporarily fix this by putting a spacer under one side but that clearly wasn't enough. So just after entering Belgium I stopped to take the spanners out. As a temporary fix I just removed the shroud and put it in the boot.

And after returning home from the run I contacted the manufacturer of the radiator to see how this problem could best be solved. Easiest way would have been to reposition the mounting nuts on top of the radiator. But this picture clearly shows that the original shroud does fit rather poorly and is not very efficient in anything. It doesn't funnel any air and it doesn't act as guard against insect being thrown all across the engine bay ...


Some improvements could be made here. At H&S they suggested to fabricate a new shroud that would envelop the fan completely. It should make the fan more efficient and keep the engine bay a bit cleaner. So they first gave me some homework to do, namely to take all necessary measurements so they could fabricate the new shroud. Which I did and the sketches plus the radiator were dropped of about a month ago. Because they are rather busy it took a few weeks longer for them to fabricate the shroud, but this week it was ready. Needless to say I picked it up immediately so I could fit it at last. I Have to admit that I was a bit anxious if it would fit properly, but I needn't have worried. Ones the mounting holes were drilled it fitted perfectly ...



According to my measurements the top of the shroud should sit at least 5 mm lower compared to the original shroud. But it looked like it was sitting considerably higher ...


I presumed this was a trick of light, but as I didn't fancy a dent in the bonnet I decided to be a little careful. So I taped a small scrap of 5 mm thick foam on top of the shroud, smeared some grease on and carefully closed the bonnet. I needn't have worried there was no trace of grease on the inside of the bonnet so more than enough clearance. Remains a little test drive to see how it all works.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Plans for the '76 FHC

While waiting for the last few jobs that need finishing on the DHC (Wheel centres and radiator) I have been putting some thought in what I will do with the "new" FHC. As mentioned earlier I want to restore it to late '70's specifications with some period "aftermarket" upgrades. To start with I have a set of banded steel wheels in black that came of the DHC and should look very good on the car. Especially with the colour I have in mind, Topaz Orange ...



And to make sure it doesn't become to orange I have decide to replicate one of the many striping designs that Leyland invented for the TR7 over the years. In this case I will be going for the striping as used on the Victory Edition TR7's, also sold in 1976 but for the US market only.
I have made a vector file using the scanned picture from an old brochure as a template. With this a friend should be able to cut it from black adhesive foil with his plotter/cutter. But first will make a life size plot for trial fitting ...



Also the door handles and all trim parts will be treated to a black finish, as on the DHC. I think this contrasts nicely with the bright colour scheme. The only item I am not yet sure about is the fuel filler. I want to use the original (large diameter) filler cap. But I am not sure if this is possible, as all three caps I have, have rotten seals. And these seem to be no longer available ...

On the inside the interior really needs a fresh up. And although I am a big fan of black interiors, I really like the red or green tartan as used in the cars built from 1977 onwards. So at the moment looking if I can have some new cloth made to use on the inside. Which should look rather nice and bright with a matching (red or green) carpet set ...


Remains the engine and transmission. A few people have already asked if this one is going to have a V8 installed. Rest assured, it won't. Fist thoughts where to stick to the original 8 valve engine. But as I have a brand new Sprint head and most of the parts to built an engine with it, I've decided to fit it with a standard tune Sprint lump running on SU HS6 carburettors. This engine will drive the rear wheels through the O/D Sprint 'box that came with the car, if I can get it fitted properly that is of course. And for the final drive I will use one of the 5 speed back axles I have lying around. I am not yet sure what CWP ratio I will be using, but at the moment I am leaning towards a 3.90:1 ratio, with 3.45:1 being too long for a Sprint engine. I have been thinking of sticking to the original 4-speed (3.63:1) back axle, but I am afraid it won't be strong enough for the approximately 140 BHP that the Sprint engine will throw at it.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Club Triumphs 10CR 2013 (part 2)

10CR Day two; Laffrey - Cheresco (448 km)




"... It was a quarter to 5 in the morning, time for a well deserved bit of sleep ... "
Which we had, well sort of, as it turned out to be a rather short rest. We were woken up by a few Triumph 6-pots blasting at full chat up the hill by 6:00 o'clock. Although it was still a bit early I have to admit that it was the best wakeup call ever! As I felt pretty good and Roger in the TR4 couldn't sleep at all we decided to hit the road too. A quick check of the car showed there was nothing wrong, no visible leaks and all fluids were still at the correct level. And less than 90 minutes after we stopped, we were back on the road again. By this time it was close to sunrise, which was an added bonus as we could enjoy the ever more impressive scenery of the French Alps.
From Grenoble till Gap the route would follow the N85 which is probably better known as the "Route Napoléon". In Gap we left the N85 and turned east onto the D900B. So far traffic had been light but here we got stuck behind a heavy logging truck. Luckily I managed to pass it within a few kilometres, but Roger wasn't so lucky. And this meant that when we pulled over at a fuel station in Remollon they didn't notice this, despite my navigator waving feverously at them by the side of the road. So we had to carry on alone. Via the D900 and the N64 we eventually reached the high pass of the Col de la Bonette. Despite a (mandatory?) idiot on a motorbike it was a great drive up to its 2715 m high summit, made even better by the nice smooth new road surface. As the weather was very fine we decided to take the road around the Cime de la Bonette, reaching 2802 m above sea level. And because of the fine weather this detour was rewarded with some very fine views.










After enjoying the views for a few minutes we headed towards the "Camp de Fourches", an abandoned workers colony and the first control stop for the Friday. Here we met up with Roger and Els again. But there again were some issues with their car, but in that they were not alone ...




Again the problems with the TR4 were not life threatening, and the abandoned buildings provided a nice backdrop for some pictures of my car ...






From the abandoned village we wanted to join Roger and Els again, but when they got held up by slower traffic I decided to follow Andy and Michael down the D2205 for a while.




Right from the start I didn't have the intention of going to Nice or Monaco, because I didn't fancy the dense traffic along the coast. Especially as there is a much more entertaining option available, in the form of the Col de Turini. So after following the D2205 through the Gorges de Valabres and past Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée we took the D2565. Heading ever deeper into the mountains. It was by now almost noon and as we hadn't had a decent breakfast yet, we decided to stop in the little village of Saint Dalmas for lunch.
After lunch we drove further down the D2565, through rather French villages like Saint-Martin-Vésubie and Roquebillière, until we reached the D70. And one of the three roads going up the Col de Turini. So far traffic had been very light since leaving the D2205, with hardly any traffic worth mentioning, and it stayed that way right till the top. It certainly added to the entertainment value! While reaching the top of the Col de Turini we met two familiar cars reaching the top just before us and coming from the Lucéram direction of the D2566. And as they were heading down the Col in the same direction we had planned, towards Moulinet and Sospel, we followed them for a while.




At Sospel we turned onto the D2204, to rejoin the official route. From here it was rather straight sailing towards the border crossing at Tende. My original plan had been to cross into Italy via the Col de Tende but in the end I decided it was not worth the risk of taking this (partially unsurfaced) pass, so we took the tunnel into Italy instead. Which meant a 15 minute wait (yes it is a one way tunnel) before we eventually crossed into Italy. After which it took less than an hour and a half to reach the finish of the second day. And shortly after 5 o'clock in the afternoon we turned into the parking lot of the Holiday Inn hotel in Cherasco. Day 2 was almost at an end, time for a shower, a thorough check of the car, and a few well deserved beers. Sadly this turned out to be very few beers indeed, as the hotel ran out of beer very early in the evening with teams still coming in. So after diner we went of to bed for a very welcoming sleep. At least this way we would be fully rested for the third day. And the next evening we'd be in Germany, good food and beer guaranteed :-)


10CR Day three; Cherasco - Singen (563 km)




Fully rested we woke up next day and after breakfast we headed for the carpark, where we were again greeted by some lovely weather.




As I had done a full check already the previous evening, I only checked for leaks underneath the car and the usual suspect locations in the engine bay. But everything was fine so we loaded our luggage in the boot, and went over to Roger to see how he was getting on. Not very well, as the spanners were out again ...




Turned out that after checking the gearbox oil level he nearly set fire to the wiring loom. So in true TG style we left him there and at a quarter past eight we hit the road, heading North towards the Lago Maggiore and Switzerland. But first we had a few hours of Motorway driving ahead of us. As it was still pretty early in the day we made good progress through the western part of the Po Valley and the Piedmont area, reaching Arona and the shores of the Lago Maggiore at around half past 10.




About time for coffee but still too early for lunch. So we settled for coffee at the Lesa control stop. But we managed to drive past there without noticing it. Later I heard that the "Diner" had been boarded up. And as traffic thickened and parking space became almost nonexistent, we decided to skip the coffee and go for lunch at the earliest possibility in Switzerland. Seeing how some people parked their cars (or slammed doors into neighbouring cars), certainly did help in this decision! As ever the views along the entire shore were very nice, but that showed in the traffic ...




With heavy traffic all the way to Ascona in Switzerland, were traffic started to thin out a bit. And about time for some fuel for the car and ourselves, or lunch in Cadenozza. Although we were in Switzerland they didn't speak a language which one of us understood, so ordering food was a bit of a challenge. But we didn't starve, and after a simple but very good lunch we headed north-east a bit till we reached the A13, which we would follow for a while. There were only two relatively short detours from the A13. One for control 10 and the San Bernardino Pass. But when we got of the A13 and into the parking lot where the control stop should be we saw no Triumphs at all. As there was a tiny bit of rain in the air we just carried on towards the San Bernardino Pass. Here we at last saw (and passed) a few Triumphs, so at least it looked like we were on the route! At the top it was rather grey and so crowded that we drove on, cherishing the memories of the 2011 event ...
After the descent of the San Bernardino we rejoined the A13, which we followed right across Switzerland, and through some stunning scenery, till the Bodensee. As all control stops so far on this day had been nonexistent, we decided not to bother with Austria and Lichtenstein. We stuck to the A13/A1/A11 till the Bodensee were we followed the southern shore towards Konstanz. This last stretch was dominated by two aspects, very fine views over the Bodensee (aka Lake Konstanz) and bicycle tourists seeking self-destruction. Although some were trying rather desperately, I am glad to mention no one succeeded in his quest and didn't scratch my cars paint work either. But the end of day three was in sight and shortly before six o'clock in the afternoon we turned into the parking area of the Holiday Inn hotel in Singen. Here we were greeted by the sight of Mike Weavers Stag sitting there all alone. And at the far end of the parking area stood what looked like a very nice and very traditional Gasthaus.
Gasthaus Kreuz indeed was everything it looked like. And I think it is safe to say that all the teams who were there, had a good evening. And around 21:15 hrs it got even better, when Roger & Els turned up as well. The TR4 was still going, albeit with some problems from time to time ...




And despite some heavy thunderclouds in the (not to far) distance the weather remained fine, so we could enjoy a lovely evening outside.


10CR Day four; Singen - Rolduc (590 km)




On the last day of the event we were greeted by some very wet cars in the car park outside the hotel. Clearly the thunderstorm that had been threatening in the distance all evening, had passed over Singen. Glad to say the DHC's hood is fairly weatherproof, as no water had reached the interior. But this meant I had to drive the first few miles with the top up so it could dry out a bit before folding it down. We hadn't done the last control of day three so we decided to stop there and see if there was anybody there. Turned out there were a few Triumphs lingering there. But as it was rather chilly we decided to head on. As the roof was still rather wet I decided to keep it up for little longer.
From control 13 we headed north on the A81 till we reached the B27. And after some failed attempts to find the correct exit (navigator not yet fully functional) we joined the B27. From here it would be Bundesstraße almost all the way till the French border. But the mishap with the motorway junction meant that we had lost Roger & Els. As they were now somewhere ahead of us, I presumed we would catch up with them sooner or later. Which we did pretty soon afterwards. In the small town of Schramberg we bumped into them again when I pulled into a petrol station to fill up the car and lower the hood as it should be dry enough by now. Although the weather was dry it looked like it could start raining any minute. It would remain that way all day.
After a short break we carried on, but I soon lost sight of the TR4 behind us. Don't know exactly where because the road was rather twisty as a result of which they were frequently lost from view. But as my navigator couldn't contact them on the phone we presumed they were still going. So we carried on, covering the roads towards Offenburg reasonably quickly. And just after half past ten we crossed the Rhine. We were back in France. Sadly we missed the entry to the control in "Le jardins des Deux Rives" due to a van standing in front of it, blocking the entrance from view. Twenty minutes later and having seen a large part of Strasbourg's harbour area, we were back at the entrance to the gardens. And this time I did see the entrance hidden beside some road-works and signs. As I was on the wrong side of the lane for us to enter, and we had seen enough of the bleak scenery of Strasbourg, we carried on towards the motorway. Luckily this turned out to be rather straightforward and soon we were on the A4 heading north-west back towards Germany. We crossed the Saar, being the border between France and Germany, just past noon. About time for a lunch stop which we didn't find along the route (maybe I am too picky). Decided to carry on till we found something decent. But as it turned out restaurants were either overflowing with guests or closed, not good. Luckily we still had some chocolates and drinks left, so we wouldn't starve.
By now we were well into Luxemburg, and as the route had been changed around Luxemburg City, the scheduled control stop had been dropped. So there was no need to stop and we decided to head towards Spa for the last control stop, and see if someone was there. And maybe find a nice Friterie along the route. But first I filled up the tank with cheap fuel just before heading into Belgium and towards Spa. But best of all was that the weather had started to improve slightly with the sun even making an appearance so now and then.
On arrival at the Spa control we again were on our own. But when getting out of the car Mike Weaver also stopped there. At least it looked like we had the location correct. So no reason to hang around to long so after a chat with Mike we started for the last leg of the trip. Over familiar roads towards Rolduc.
The road book would take the quickest route, over the E42 and E40 towards Aachen and from there towards the finish at Rolduc. But I decided to take a shortcut from the E42/E40 junction, heading due North towards Teuven. Here we had a rather relaxed light and late lunch in glorious sunshine outside one of the pubs there, before starting on the last 25 kilometres of the Run towards Rolduc. At 17:15 we entered the gate of the monastery. I think we deserved a few beers ...









Some boring statistics etc.
Distance covered: 2876 kilometres;
Fuel consumption: ± 282 litres;
Average fuel consumption: ± 29 Mpg
Maintenance needed: none


Well I only had to take the torque wrench out on a regular basis (about every 300 kilometres), because the freshly powder-coated wheels were fitted only days before the event. So as the wheels get hot the powder-coating on the mating face also warms up and softens, resulting in wheel nuts that slowly come loose and need to be re- torqued. By the time we reached Rolduc they were fine!




For the rest everything on the car worked more or less as it should, the engine was running fine, with the temperature sitting stubbornly somewhere on the ¼-mark. The gearbox was another of my worries as it had only covered 600 kilometres since its rebuilt, as a result of which it was rather notchy at first. But over the weekend the gear changes became better and smoother. They still are slightly "rough" at times, but all gears can be selected without any problems and there are no funny noises.


The only real problem I encountered was with the brakes. Sometimes, and only if the brakes hadn't been used for a while, the brake pedal would lock up when I wanted to apply the brakes. Easily sorted by applying more force on the pedal, but not very confidence inspiring in case of an emergency when a quick reaction is needed. Still haven't got a clue what's been causing this. I have driven the car a few times since and the problem hasn't occurred anymore, strange indeed.


Also the fuel gauge decided to throw in some entertainment on the last day. After filling up shortly after the start of the last day I noticed that the fuel level was still the same as before I filled her up. But over the next 50 or so kilometres the gauge slowly went back to its normal (full) position. At first I thought that the sender might be sticking but when I switched the engine of the gauge would point at the empty mark. But again it would slowly rise to its proper position over some kilometres. Probably something wrong with the low fuel delay unit? Not yet got around to fitting another one from the spares department.




Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Enjoying the DHC and finishing touches

As I had a day of from work and the weather was rather fine today I decided to take the cover of the DHC and went for a few hours' drive in the surrounding area. Was lovely to be out in the autumn sunshine with the top down. Also a good opportunity to see how the new wheel/tyre combination behaves. The same tyres on 5,5Jx13" original TR7 alloys gave a good ride but sometimes slightly wallowy ride. But on the 6Jx13" Wolfrace wheels the feel is markedly better. Probably helped by the wider stance of these wheel. But in my opinion they look rather splendid on the car...








But as you can see there is something missing on the wheels, the centre caps. There was only one cap left when I purchased the FHC. And so far my search for a set of new centre caps has been fruitless. I have been toying with idea of having them machined from solid alloy, but then I remembered that nowadays you can have this sort of parts fabricated with 3D printing equipment. So that question is now away to a small local company. Very curious after their reaction. This is how they are meant to look when they are ready ...



Edit; got a quotation for 3D-printing the wheel centres. Have to admit that the price offered was a bit over the top for me. Maybe in the future this method of fabricating will become more cost effective. But for now I will look at a more traditional approach. Either have them machined from alloy or visit some breaker yards in the area and see what they can provide.

Monday, 11 November 2013

New wheels for the DHC

Over the past few weeks I have been busy with getting the Wolfrace Turbo's from the FHC refurbished. But first I had to remove them from the car without immobilizing it completely. So fitted this set of wheels I had lying around, to keep the car mobile ...


With the Wolfrace wheels of the car it was time to inspect them in more detail. Although they looked rather tatty they were completely straight and undamaged. But definitely in need of a new coating ...



Probably the biggest challenge might be the rather special wheel nuts and washers, some of which were badly corroded ...



For (powder)coating the wheels I used a guy in Belgium to do the job (VRS Workz in Opglabbeek, sadly they are no longer in business) and I must say that he did a very good job indeed. Reasonably priced and ready in a week, what more do you want? And while looking around for someone to re-chrome the wheel nuts and washers, a friend pointed me to a company in the neighbouring village. Was a bit embarrassing in that I pass by there every day when I cycle to work. They too did a very fine job. Leaving me with the final job of fitting some new original specification tyres (Continental Ecocontact3 185/70-R13) and fit the new wheel/tyre combination to the car ...




Only one job remaining, finding some decent wheel centres. Or have a set made?
And the black steel wheels? They will find a new home on the '76 FHC.