Thursday, 12 January 2017

A busy end to 2016...

An update at last. How many of these blogs have I started with that line?

It generally means I’ve been so busy in the shed I haven’t had time to write down what I’ve been up to or I’ve been so busy with what I was meant to have been doing that I haven’t been able to get near the shed ..
So let’s start with the 1972 Triumph 2000 TC (a.k.a Shedi 2000)

Shedi 2000- I must admit I surprised myself getting this finished in time to make the start of the Round Britain run- and surprised myself even more getting it to the finish without breakdown! ..That has to be said is down to fellow crew members “Homer and Pud”-the car wouldn’t have had seats let alone seat belts if it wasn’t for Homer, and doing the run with a three man crew makes life so much easier .. don’t get me wrong the car had problems from the start that I hadn’t had time to iron out but thanks to Homers and Puds patience and skill in driving the old tub we got round with “death wobble” “sticky throttle” and “arctic heater syndrome” in one bit with good humour ..And of course some  sat nav rage from me! ..
So to recap-
Back in the Summer of 2015 I ended up proud owner of the “Basildon Banger” a rather tired 2000 from fellow shed dweller “The Scrapman” ..It was tired but refused to die -the Scrapman taking it on the previous RBRR and a thrashing across plan was (at first) just to wipe a WD40 soaked rag over it, then tuck it away in the shed ready for the 2016 RBRR ..But I sort of got carried away. I knew the engine would “probably” make the run but it had a slightly iffy crank and it was only a bog standard 2000…Homer likes a bit of something under his right foot so I thought whip the engine out and put in a second hand 2500 -that will chug around better I  took the old engine out and looked around for a 2500 lump…I ended up with an early PI engine that had been used in  a TR6 –it had been resting in bits in an Essex shed for 18 years ..I did a deal and it came with original cylinder head.. tempting as it was to “just put it back together” and see if it works -It had already had a 20thou re-bore and was a complete unknown— I decided to think about that “later” as I had “lots of time” (ha ha) and needed to crack on with the body....Whilst the engine was out I thought I would “sort out” the engine bay. Oh and as the heater was rotten-fix that as well… then repair the bulkhead… as the brake lines were a bit iffy replace those. Oh and the brake master was from of an Alfa...Replace that. Oh and the wiring could do with being relayed up… it will need an electric cooling fan and decent upgraded rad … electric fuel pump...blah blah  .you get the idea ..I got a bit carried away. Then I got really silly and decided to replace the inner and outer sills which had been repaired so many times they looked like a patch work quilt. The work involved can be seen in the vid in the previous post. Believe it or not Rover P6 inner sills are almost the same length as Triumph 2000 ones –I picked up the inner strengthening panels from Mr Cooper and the outers from Lloyd...all spot on thank you – I am pleased I did replace them, I found previous inners that hadn’t even been welded top and bottom, these simply peeled off like opening a big “tin of sardines” (or can of worms depending on how you look at things!). Made me laugh out loud! If I had left them as found I reckon the extra torque from the 2.5 would have bent the car like a banana!

I also got a bit side tracked by wanting the thing to go round corners and stop. So picked up a set of stag struts, hubs and callipers-callipers were sent away for refurbishment at BCS …slow but I wasn’t in a rush! And hey they came back very shiny…oh dear this was getting way out of hand!
Rear trailing arms re-bushed with supeflex along with the front bushes... Rear springs were 575lbs from Chris Witor- fronts progressive 1” lowered, again from Chris, new rear dampers and front inserts...More of the front strut saga later!
The whole idea of Shedi was the exterior didn’t really matter...I wanted it to be a bit of fun...Leave the existing repairs as found ,new welds simply ground and painted ..So to painting... Enter the 7 year old with his paint brush and tractor paint. He decided the colour and brush painted doors and wings so they were all the same colour. (He couldn’t reach the roof). He also wanted some “cool stickers” to put on it and insisted on spraying the wheels gold 

It was now the beginning of September – the engine wasn’t put back together, the front and rear suspension needed re-built– including replacing both rear box sections no heater/interior fitted and wiring still to be completed …over the next 30 days there were some very late finishes in the shed! –the worst day I think was getting the engine and box in on my own…I struggled to get my angle of dangle spot on before lowering the car onto it  ..Anyway got there in the end after much swearing.
I had a right old faff getting the new engine to fire and run (After priming the oil pump and getting good oil pressure etc.)... I kept loosing spark (I use one of those inline spark indicators you can see from the driver’s seat whilst cranking) .The fault- again difficult to detect when working on your own- was the dizzy clamp being a bit bent thus allowing the dizzy to move just enough to loose drive.. Just at it went to fire – once the dizzy was seating correctly she fired up and ran sweet –relief! 

Homer then visited and between drinking cider and cycling around in ill-fitting Lycra he fitted the seats and interior stuff –which was a godsend!   I worked through the long list of other jobs to get it ready for MOT/RBRR prep –I also had to get 500 running in miles on it! It was booked for Mot on the 30th Sept finally passing on the 1st Oct with just 50 miles on it...

Time to get some miles in...this was helped by the 9 year old being sent home ill from school -I couldn’t go to work and had to “look after her”- which consisted of her falling asleep on the back seat of the Triumph whilst I drove around the Somerset levels for two days- pulling my hair out trying to find an intermittent misfire, which turned out to be the brand new out of the box coil failing ….arggh maybe I cooked it whilst trying to start the lump?. 
Anyway with a new ballast and 1.5 ohm coil I knew worked it started to run better and I was able to get some miles on it -finally plucking up courage to take it up to 70 on the motorway-by now the 9 year old felt well enough to help me and the 7 year old put the gold go faster “speed” stripes on it! The motorway test showed up some nasty steering wheel wobble coming in at 60 mph …bugger so with just a couple of days before the start I went through all the obvious stuff..I checked and re-checked ball joint tightness, track rod ends, drag struts, made sure the bushes had settled (i.e. I didn’t fully torque up the first time I put it on its wheels, rolled it around a bit then torqued up)..I went through this process again and got rid of a bit of the wobble...but it was still there. So loosened the rack off on its mounts when through the rack installation process again etc. etc . . . . Had the tracking checked again... again this helped a little but wobble still there! What it did show up is there is a bit of play in the rack. This can be shimmed out but I had run out of time...I wasn’t giving up and set out for the start Friday morning...
After about 60 miles I pulled into the services …wobble seemed worse than ever at 60/70  the tick over was stuck on 2,000 rpm and me thinking what the hell am I doing? “It won’t ever make it...It’s going to be a nightmare...We will have to stick to 40 mph all the way round” those and  other such feelings of crushing doubt lasted about a minute …I put an extra throttle return spring on ..Which made the pedal /linkage very stiff but would do to stop the sticking for now, and decided to get the wheels balanced again in Stevenage before the start- just in case a weight had fallen off-I knew it wasn’t that but had to do something positive! My gut was telling me that it was something else that I had missed -either way it was something which we would “just have to put up with”...hey ho I thought- it will go one of  two ways!..Pud summing it up very aptly at the start  saying “let’s hope it breaks down in the first 10 miles  so we can spend the weekend in the pub rather than in the middle of no-where”
On a positive note the engine was running lovely – steady oil pressure, steady temperature, pulling well, sounding smooth –just let down by the dodgy carb linkage!

Kenbworth worked very well as a start location, stunning backdrop to 133 Triumphs lined up waiting to take on 2,000 miles-we were soon out onto the A1 heading towards Blyth..I kept to a very steady pace due to the wobble. And much self-doubt! After the control It became apparent I was going to have to up the average speed a bit and  see if the car dropped to bits ,so whilst bypassing the A1  road bridge repairs (via what seemed like a massively long detour-sodding sat nav) I held it at the speed limit for a good ½ hour ..Nothing fell off and if you got the speed just right the wobble decreased. Or I was getting used to it? At legal speeds on the  “carter bar” road  it felt fine, handling well and behaving its self-wobble just about at bay -my feelings of doom decreasing by the mile. 

I drove on to Kinross where a red bull infused Pud took over the driving – I jumped in the passenger seat- the first time I had been driven in this car...The Rover seats giving plenty of comfort- and guess what? As a passenger the car felt great! – Yes a bit noisy and unrefined but that was mainly due to Homer in the back- no vibration at average speed camera settings and Pud was driving it lovely – I was asleep within minutes it was great – I woke just before Skiatch and briefly when Pud had a “stag” moment-Ironic as it was him driving last time when we ran over a deer in Devon back in 2006!- this time the animal didn’t make a death run across the road, maybe the 15 quid E-bay spot lights blinded it into staying still ?
Pud reported the car felt great and drove well...
"really?”  I asked whilst taking over the driving for the leg up to JOG …this is where they always start “pinking” the only car that didn’t was the sprint back in 1996...fuel was a bit more full fat back then?. Anyway it meant I had to try and be subtle with a very on off throttle pedal! Once at JOG I backed off the timing a few notches on the dizzy thumb wheel (after checking the clamp hadn’t moved) –all good so with a slightly bewildered inner glow that we had made it thus far I went in search of a breakfast!
Breakfast was busy –as it was bound to be with this many entrants – but still really good and the staff were doing their very best to keep a load of sleep deprived grumpy old gits happy –no complaints from Team Shedi as we made our way down to the car park for photos with the famous sign post

The car had had a chance to cool a bit over breakfast and was running sweet although felt to be a bit heavier than before turning into tighter corners…a dim light went on in my head regarding strut top mounts...I made the most of the winding loch roads, we stopped more than we would have normally to take photos as the weather was so good and the scenery stunning it seemed a crime not to.
We made the 2nd Skiatch control just as the queue was easing and the pumps became free.
Perfect timing...I had a fiddle with the heater control valve which had been movable the day before -well I say have to adopt a yoga position along the lines of “squatting fly on jam tea cake” to get your hand on the thing to rotate it slightly from cold to warm -the levers and control cables had given up a long time ago-an operation that  once past the age of 45 has to be done with the car stationary driver’s door open and the operator lying face down half  on the seat ..Arms up “helping” the valve rotate. The valve didn’t want to. The last 800 miles of constant driving had obviously caused it to give up the will. Not wanting to force it too much and cause a coolant leak I left it where it was cursing myself for not setting it up in the “semi” warm position before setting off …again one of those little jobs that gets lost when you have a mountain to climb 

Post control I was demoted to the back seat and within minutes fell to sleep to the dulcet tones of Homer having an argument with himself, the sat nav,Pud and the road book all at the same time!.I left them to it...

Waking at Fort William I let Pud and Homer go off and buy the traditional fish and chips whilst I checked and adjusted the front wheel bearings just so I could tick them off my worry now I was pretty sure the “wobble” was down to one of the strut top mounts starting to give up...
Our fort William stop is unofficial but since team sheds first run back in 96 we always try and stop there for chips if time will allow
A five cylinder PI Pete joined us from Fort William to Sterling – one of his injectors had given up so we decided to stick together until the next control– we got split up taking our “quicker” route a few miles from the Morrison’s halt...i.e. following the sat nav and got scuppered due to traffic backed up from an accident closed motorway,. The throttle being a real pain …luckily the brakes were still on top form as demonstrated when rounding a corner to find a twat in a modern parked up on the left blocking our lane- he was on the sodding phone! The modern in front of me hit the brakes and came to an ABS assisted controlled halt...I, in the meant time locked up and resorted to cadence braking to come to a halt in a cloud of tyre smoke. Inches from the moderns. The guy on the phone just shrugged! The air was filled with my air horn and expletive’s trying to get them to move on before something spanked into the back of me! Homer and Pud might have also added some hand gestures...I was glad I had gone to the effort of fitting decent brakes and the very best tyres I could afford...Good Year Efficient grip this time around. Anyway they certainly helped deal with this years “brown trouser moment” and bought me a valuable half second to react and get the car to a controlled stop
I tried re-jigging the throttle whilst eating pies and filling with fuel at Sterling -we did a rough MPG calc coming to the conclusion it was doing around the 30mpg mark as Homer took the wheel for his traditional  blat…and blat it he did..I woke at Tebay services. It was here I noted the N/S strut top was sitting a couple of mm higher than the O/S...that will be the wobble then...
Complete Buffoon
We made good time to Glenrid in Wales and set off into the dark twisty magic of the welsh roads heading for Sugar loaf. I was behind the wheel indulging in the low geared diff like a child with a new toy, helped massively by the “cheap” eBay spot lights. Best £15 I have spent, they were excellent ! . Sugar Loaf onwards I was 100% focused on the black stuff – I had no spare capacity for navigating at this point as demonstrated when I had brain/sat nav conflict trying to get onto the M5 ..A few minutes of sat nav rage, map throwing and calling each other tossers got us on route to WZL...
 At WZL a much needed bacon roll hot coffee and a chat to mates sorted me out, we tootled down to Taunton services to fill the car for the run into Lands’ end. Homer took over driving again- allowing me to get some sleep...cursing the bastard heater valve as my toes felt the cold! Homer handed over to Pud at Oakhampton...

I only woke again in the final few miles into Lands end...breakfast queue awaited us but it was worth the wait , I stacked my plate high- post feed..I took the drive to Bude,-which was superb, early morning sunshine, great road -car still running what more could you want?
Pud took over after the control and I was happy to sleep over Dartmoor...a first for me.
I took over driving from Dartmeet where our great mate “Uncle Slimey” met us on his motorbike –the car by now had developed “sticky clutch” pedal. Annoying as I had had a bit of a saga with the release bearing carrier…
Knackered one on the left ..wrong one on the right.

When I took the box off the old engine I found bits of the old carrier in the bell housing, the collar had been broken off, the spare I had obtained turned out to be the wrong one, so I bought a new one –all worked fine for around 2,000 miles then once hot the clutch would stick slightly resulting in “all or nothing starts” as Homer described them. Further investigation on my return revealed it can be a common fault possibly caused by the angle of “attack” on the leading edge of the sleeve... a quick fix is to drill a hole in the bell housing to allow careful application of spray lubricant on the sliding section of the bearing carrier. Something I did on my return with the help of a mini camera inserted in the bell housing to see where I was spraying the stuff. It worked but will need a proper fix when the gearbox comes out next –
Hey ho it was onto the cake stop with sticky clutch and racing starts in heavy traffic –not ideal- so we peeled off route and found some flowing back roads which cut out the worst of the infuriating A35 Sunday Traffic –arriving in time to make the most of the seamless endless supply of tea and cake at Pimperene
 We took a breath readying ourselves for the final slog back to Knebworth knowing it could take hours via clogged overworked Sunday afternoon motorways. Not what the car or crew really wanted at this late stage! But like the weather for the entire event we were blessed with a mobile M4, M404, M25 and A1 all the way to Knebworth...the only thing that didn’t make it was my bladder-overworked by Tea it had to stop on a busy M25 hard shoulder to be emptied! How embarrassing –never mind!

The Knebworth junction loomed into view and that lovely feeling of “we are going to make” it came over me, a final racing start negotiating the entrance gate and we were cruising up the stately drive to the finish control, bang on 48 hrs. since setting off in a car that a mere 30 days ago had been in far too many component parts for comfort.
It had got us round without breaking down , yes a few “niggles” which on my return to Shedtune HQ could be sorted- but overall a massive success-I was particularly pleased with how well the engine ran, smooth, lots of torque and fun to drive, just how they are meant to be.-the only thing that broke was the speedo cable on the way home

On my return “Death wobble” was cured with a second hand top mount on the N/S strut
 old strut top mount breaking up
-I also noted that on full lock the fronts tyres  were just catching on the ARB..Couple of things sprang to mind. Why on earth didn’t I notice when putting the thing together? I guess I didn’t notice/check as I was preoccupied with everything else going on? Had Something “settled”?I did notice the front track looked a bit narrow but not having a 2000 for a couple of years guessed it must be right. All I can conclude is that the second hand wheels don’t have enough offset...I was told they came off a MK2...anyway the quick fix could be some spacers I have kicking around with longer wheel studs (no bad thing) ..Will check that out when I have some more time.

 Sticky throttle sorted by soaking the cable and stripped linkage components/springs etc. in EP90 overnight along with a home-made “lever pin thingy”-ultimately it needs new carbs,I like the idea of trying out some bike carbs!
Heater sorted with a new valve
Clutch has been fixed for now as described above.
Jobs and “nice to haves” before its next major outing –
New Strut top mounts
A new “Quick” steering rack would be nice.,but think I will have to make do with refurbishing the inner ball joint’s on the old one!
Get the doors to fit a bit better to cut some of the drafts/noise out
Tidy interior a bit, fill it with spares and fuel and roll on 2018!

I also picked up a 3.7 diff to put in to replace the 4.1 one in it –all though part of me wants to keep the 4.1 for the “hooligan” element it provides...but sensibility tells me I should fit the 3.7 for the longer runs!

Thanks to all that helped- in particular Chris Witor for putting up with me  turning up at random times with hands full of old broken bits wishing to swap them for new working bits! 

Dale Barker as ever for his advice and calming words of reassurance in my own abilities 

The 2000 register lads for advice and encouragement  

All the sponsors who have helped the event  raise £100k for Dogs for the Blind...awesome  

Last but not least all in Club Triumph that make this such a brilliant event –its after you  read Derek’s book  it slowly dawns on that you really have taken part in a historically important  motoring event that will be remembered for many, many years to come ,it’s been an honour and pleasure to complete 10 RBRRs and be a little bit of that history with my various sheds taking part since 1996 ,I intend to keep going, taking part in “Shedi 2000” for as long as it holds together..

So what’s next in the shed? ..well the  Scimitar needs a few minor jobs doing to ready it for a “Jolly” to Scotland in the summer
I also need to get cracking on the P6s ...I now have a sorted base unit to make a really good car out of the two
Then at last I can start the restoration of the Mini..Something I am looking forward to spending as much time on as I want, to make exactly how I want ...Happy Days lay ahead

Saturday, 15 October 2016

SHEDTUNE........ where sheds become shedi

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Its been a while..

The fact that I haven't updated the car blog for a long time normally means I am up to my neck in "stuff" and just simply haven't had time to write anything down..which is exactly where I am at at the moment ...the "stuff" being house renovations and family life ..rather than shed life ..I have been able to balance shed  life a bit over the last 12 months..

The scimitar has provided excellent service -just as well as the 12 year  family hack Merc has let its self down twice in the last couple of months- to the kids delight as they get transported around in the Scimi...the Scimi only failed once ...the brake servo letting go a couple of weeks ago a replacement fitted just in time for the Merc to pack up again!
To be fair to the Merc couldn't be blamed when both sets of keys ended
up in Belgium on a four day business trip..took me four hours to move the bastard thing stuck in park down the drive so I could get the Scimitar past it and pick the kids up from school!
My main shed time has been spend on the Triumph 2000 getting it ready for the 2016 RBRR ..I am massively behind schedule.. I am hoping anyone reading this thinking they are not going to be ready in time will be spurred on and not give up!
I was planning just to wipe it down with a rag soaked in WD40 but as you do I  kept finding things that I didn't see the point in not fixing now will still keep its "Basildon Banger" persona and patina but at least now it will keep them for the next five years or so!
Still to do -
Finish O/S sill repairs
Build and fit engine - short engine with machine shop having crank and a few other bits sorted atm
Re-bush/rebuild suspension
Finish wiring refurbish
Refit heater and interior etc
Refurbish/ refit braking system see when you write it down in a short list with not much detail it feels loads better !
I am glad I took the plunge to repair the sills.. found some really bad previous repairs from at least two or three owners belt mount was a clinch nut in the inner sill! oops
I shall let the pictures do the talking

NS middle sill peeled off without using a grinder! look at  the welding!

Seat belt mount N/S

Hey ho stocked up on cutting discs! roll on the RBRR ...will I be ready?