Tuesday, November 19, 2013

And it's back

A couple of weeks ago, approximately two months after the accident, I collected the GT6 from Backwell near Bristol. The car was not exactly as it was prior to the accident, but I never expected it would be. Having spent many hours over the years getting just how I wanted it, I'd have been pleasantly surprised if it was put back to its former self.
Just to complicate things, I sent the GT6 to the garage on my spare steel wheels (with older tyres fitted) so I could clean up the alloys while it was being repaired, this meant I had to re-fit the alloys before I could drive anywhere and would have to fit the four steel wheels into the back of the car, not too had really. However, my plan was to drive from Bristol to Cambridge for a steam weekend at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, so that's an over 400 mile round trip in a car that has only just been repaired and hardly run for the past two months, fingers crossed eh?

With the wheels changed over, the car given a once over and the paperwork signed off, my first stop was to the petrol station as the tank was very low. The mile long trip was a little peculiar feeling, having been in that modern spaceship of a car the previous two months, and the engine was not running right, it felt as if it was not firing on all cylinders at lower revs, but was OK once opened up. Once safely at the petrol station and with a fresh tank of fuel, I had the bonnet up with the engine running and felt along the injector lines to find that No.5 line was not pulsing like the others, ah, that'll be a partially blocked or air ridden injector and easily solved by withdrawing the injector and flicking the end of it until the steady spray pattern comes out. All reassembled, I set back on the road with the engine much happier, heading for the M5, M4 and Chippenham as I had another stop to make before I got to Cambridge.
A week or two before the planned trip to Cambridge, thinking I would still have the hire car, I offered to collect a Triumph 2000 door from Bill in Chippenham and bring it Cambridge for Pete to pick up. So somehow, Bill and I managed to fit the door into the back of the GT6, along with the four steel wheels and all of the odds and sods I needed for the weekend.



The rest of journey to Cambridge then back home to Wales was fairly uneventful, though I did have to stop a few times to re-adjust the bonnet cones, as the bonnet catches would come undone, allowing the bonnet to rise and wag around at speed, also there was the need to re-position the wiper arms as they were hitting the bottom of the screen and not clearing the rest of it properly. Mind you, I was glad for a reason to stop more often as going back into a manual steering car after a long break; I was getting pains in the side of my neck and upper arm.

So what next? The GT6 could do with a service as the engine still occasionally stumbles a bit at low revs, and then there is the rev counter, which looks to have failed in the impact. I was given another one as we noticed it had failed when I went to pick up the car, but I will need to change the internals around again to have a GT6 rev counter with the required indicator lamps built in, along with the electronic rev counter. The bonnet fit could be a little better, as it is bit high at the front, but cannot go any further down until the radiator shroud is repositioned. If we have a warmish day I ought to get some Dynax rust protection into the bonnet and new chassis parts before it has a chance to rust.

And longer term? I feel I have fallen out of love a bit with the GT6 and have a few times considered selling it, though I'm not sure what I would buy next, TR6? 80's Range Rover? The issue is that I use the GT6 as an everyday car and could do with a bit more space inside for moving things around and have a more comfortable driving position with better road presence.
I wonder if a Herald estate would suit the bill as a second car? ample space, simple (and familiar to me) mechanicals, with the possibility of an engine change or electronic injection for better driveability and economy.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Damage assessment

So it's almost three weeks after the accident and things appear to be moving on fairly well. I've had a quote for repairs to the car, been visited by the insurance assessor and have been told that it will be repaired by Ian at CCR, who did the paint and panel work a couple of years ago.

The GT6 replacement/repair list stands at;
Bonnet assembly,
a new headlight and surround for one side.
Both front plastic overriders are broken,
the bonnet hinge boxes and ends of the front chassis member have been distorted.
Bumper is scrap.
Both front 1/4 valances are slightly distorted on the top rear edge where they have impacted with the wheel, but may straighten out.
The drivers door has been knocked as the bonnet has hit it.
There are small paint chips on the bulkhead from the impacting bonnet and a slight dent on the drivers side bulkhead below the windscreen on the corner where the bonnet has hit it with more force.
Radiator and the coolant swirl pot is mangled.

One thing which has come to light is the personal effect it has had on me, with the usual whiplash injuries (neck, back and arm ache) but my breathing capacity also seems to have been reduced, in part I believe due to the seatbelt.
In my GT6 I have the standard static seatbelts, which I was quite happy to use, having had problems with the recoil belts in my old Spitfire. I am now seriously considering fitting recoil seatbelts as per the later Spitfires in an attempt to reduce any possible future injuries, it will need an extra hole and strengthening plate in the rear wheel arch, but should be worth it should something similar happen again.

So I'm just waiting on arrangements for the GT6 to be taken over to Ian and hopefully by the time it has been repaired I'll be in a better condition to handle the manual steering and brakes. While I wait for my car to be repaired and returned I have been supplied with a hire car, a Citroen DS5. The Citroen is a veritable space ship in comparison to my 40 year old Triumph, packed with various electrical and electronic gizmo's such as auto lights and wipers, reversing camera, built in sat nav and electric handbrake, the last of which I have still not fully got to grip with.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's been a while

It's been over a year since I updated this blog, mainly because I haven't had much to say. In that time the GT6 took me to my first autosolo at Bovingdon and a track day at Goodwood. All was going well until I took a trip to the motor museum at Gaydon, only to find a catastrophic failure of the water pump when  I tried to head home, so that meant waiting around for a few hours on a cold February evening.

I've tried to take a break from working on the car, instead just enjoying it for what it is. My latest project is an old steam ship called Freshspring, which I seem to have got involved with as an active volunteer and society secretary amongst other roles. If you want to know more about the ship, there is a website, http://www.ssfreshspring.co.uk/ and a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SSFreshspringSociety

Unfortunately, while driving to the ship last night I was coming around a corner to find a courier van coming straight towards me on my side of the road. Brakes were fully applied ( I don't remember doing it, but I must have) but there was contact.



The insurance company has been informed and I'm now waiting on a quote for repairs.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A dashing time and Bovingdon Autosolo

The workshop I sometimes use was free for a week, so I set about making a start on the dash. Previously it looked like this;



The left and right panels are from different Spitfires and there was a redundant hole for the hazard warning light on the middle panel. The panels were removed from the car and all the switches moved as required, on this centre panel you can see where the hazard light was.




I cut a piece of wood to fit in the redundant hole and left it overnight with glue and a clamp on it, which meant the following morning I could remove the thick varnish and previous layer of veneer.
The veneer came off quite easily, using a mix of sharp chisels and various grades of sandpaper discs on the angle grinder.



I'd bought some American walnut iron-on veneer the previous week, as apparently that was what they used originally. I'm no originality freak, but I'm just not all that keen on the burr or dark finishes you can see in some Triumphs.
Anyway, I followed the instructions which came with the veneer, leaving an edge all around the pieces, so the veneer is stuck onto the dash panels. As suggested, it was left for 24 hours for the adhesive to cure before I trim them to shape and give them their first coat of varnish.




Once cured, I could trim the veneer, this could be done using a very sharp knife, but it still took over an hour as any mistakes would be hard to hide.




Then I could start building up the layers of satin varnish, it had a total of five coats. In between varnishing, work started on modifying the wiring loom again, adding in wires for the rear fog light and wiring in the 12v lighter socket, map light and radio.
With the loom exposed I could also work out why the light for the ignition barrel was not working, it turned out that the original loom had two wires each from the fuse box for the roof and ignition barrel light and I had split them. This had the effect that the ignition barrel light would only come on when the ignition was on, not what you need really when it should come on as you open a door or switch them on on the dash.




The cured veneered and varnished dash pieces could then be fitted back into the car, followed by the gauges, steering column and gloveboxes. You can see in the picture below that a radio has been fitted also, originally I was not going to bother installing a radio, but as this is my only car I was starting to miss having one. I'm loathed to drill a hole in the bodywork for an aerial, but fortunately I noticed that my mobile phone has a FM radio built into it, which means I can connect it to the car radio instead.




All this work had to be completed by last Saturday at the latest as on the following day I was booked in for a Autosolo at Bovingdon, near Hemel Hempstead. Scrutineering ended at 8.45, so it meant I was on the road at 5.30 to get there in good time, but having travelled a few miles down the road I noticed that the indicators were not working, damn.
The next half an hour or so was spent checking fuses, switches and relays, trying to work out what was wrong. After a while I worked out that the flasher unit was not getting any power, despite the fuse being OK, so I found a piece of wire in my tool box to make a temporary connection, it worked so I could get on my way again.

It was my first attempt at a Autosolo, I thoroughly enjoyed it despite the early start and impromptu road-side repair. In my class I came 10th out of 15, though it probably would have been 12th if one car hadn't retired due to gearbox problems, but for a first try I can't complain at that.

The following day back home I could take another look at the indicators and with the wiring diagram at hand I managed to diagnose the problem fairly quickly. The power for the indicators passes through the hazard light switch, so they can be disconnected when the hazard lights are switched on, but the hazard light switch was not returning to the correct 'off' position, preventing a connection through for the indicators.
It was a quick fix to get everything working again by making an adjustment on the hazard light switch and a relief that I hadn't messed-up anything while working on the loom earlier in the week.

Friday, July 06, 2012

A change of face

Decided the job for a day last weekend was to sort out the rev counter, when I converted to Megajolt I fitted a rev counter from a 2500 saloon as it was electrically triggered, but it did not have indicator repeater and rear demist warning lamps built into it, unlike the original GT6 mechanical rev counter. As I have a couple of spare GT6 rev counters and knowing one of them was knackered, I set to pulling it and the saloon rev counter apart.




It all came to pieces quite easily, apart from the needle on the electronic counter, needing a bit more force to pull it free. First off, the mechanical dial face had to be re-drilled, as it's two mounting holes were 90 deg out. Then I could set about making new holes in the rear of the mechanical counter body for the connections and securing screws.




With it all installed, I tried it on the car, but the response to changing revs was not as smooth as it should have been and it was obviously not moving as high as it should have either. It turned out that I have bent the shaft slightly when trying to remove the pointer needle, but this was soon straightened out and the rev readings checked against the Megajolt on my computer.
Then it was just a matter of re-installing the glass and securing ring, changing the indicator bulb holder again and fitting it to the car.




It would have been even better if I could have had the right needle for the old dial, but unfortunately their spindles are different diameters. 

Monday, July 02, 2012

Waterworks

It's been a while again since I've updated this, but I have mainly just been out and about enjoying the drive, though I have done a bit of tinkering and preparation for other work on the car.
A problem I have had for a while was getting a good seal on the bottom hose to the water pump housing. Despite using Mikalor clamps, I still couldn't get a full seal, probably not helped by the lack of a bead on the pump housing connection. I put feelers out for another pump housing, while at the same time looking at the alloy housings sold by Chris Witor and just as I was about to give-up and chance of finding a second-hand one at a good cost, James came up with an alloy housing.
A few days later I had the alloy housing and the cast one removed from the car as I went to transfer it over.



Things were going OK until I went to fit the connector on the back of the housing for the bypass tube, the original fitting and housing had a NPT thread, but the alloy housing had a UNF thread. The UNF thread was ony 40thou (1mm) smaller, but it was enough to prevent the fitting going in, so in the end I had that fitting re-tapped to UNF and now it fits together like it should.

Just as I was waiting for the pump housing to be delivered, the water pump decided to fail, it's done 30 months this time, better than the 6 months of the last one, still not very good. This time I have gone for one from Fitchetts, in the hope it would be better than the usual County stuff that most other people sell.

The water pipe work around the front of the car has been tidied-up a bit also, as it was before;




In that picture you can see a black pipe between the radiator and engine, some of that has now been replaced by an alloy pipe, running below the radiator at the same time, the bottom hose to the water pump has been replaced with a 45deg piece. These two changes tidy it up quite a bit and should give more space for the air filter box and hoses, which will sit beneath the radiator.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Updates and Prescott

It's been a while, so I guess it must be time for an update. First off, the BMW E21 has been sold and replaced with a Suzuki Bandit 600 as I couldn't justify having two cars, but it does mean that I can now travel over the Severn bridge for free when I take the bike.

The GT6 has been behaving itself and I have managed to find someone fairly local to me who can do TIG welding with a quick turn around, so having decided how I want to run the inlet pipes into the airbox, they have now welded the the pipes in position.




About an hour was spent smoothing out the internal welds on the pipes as much as I dare. Due to the angles of the pipes onto the box it was not possible to weld all the way around them externally.
It has been suggested to me that the airbox should have more holes in it to allow air to pass through it and back to atmosphere. The idea being that a free flow of air through it prevents the air stalling.

The next job will be to modify and fit the air filter assembly, which will sit below the radiator. To give me enough room to do this I will have to re-route one of the coolant pipes and replace it with an alloy pipe instead of rubber hose.


One of the problems I have is that I am too easily distracted by other jobs I would like to do on the car, so I have to keep on reminding myself what I really need to do next. In no particular order, I would like to:

make a restrictor to go in the swirl pot outlet
have more front castor
reduce front track width
fit the extra door seals around the bottom edges of the doors
fit a rear fog lamp and switch rescued from my old Dolomite
wire in a cigarette lighter socket
re-veneer the dash
fabricate or find another windscreen wash bottle
replace overdrive rear oil seal


Yesterday was the 2012 Standard Triumph Marque Day at Prescott hill climb circuit so I went along for the day, doing a couple of hours marshalling incoming traffic to the car parks and then onto the hill for a few runs. I had two and a half runs at the hill as on my first attempt the hill had to be closed after a TVR had an accident further up, probably quite an expensive day for someone.
It was my first go at something like this, so I took it fairly steady, but still gave it as much as I dared when I could.
Thanks to AndyGT6 for these next two pictures and further below should be some video I took of my two complete runs up the hill.