Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The first job was to sort out the plastic rear windows. These had suffered from careless hood folding in the past and the effects of being left out in all weathers! I heard a rumour that 'Renovo' was the best thing to use so I bought some of ebay and gave it a go. It got a lot of dirt off and removed a lot of scratches. It also easily removed the sticky remnants of a sticker that had been in the back window. There is a patch that is cloudy and slightly crazed that it couldn't sort out, but other than that the improvement has been remarkable and it makes it much easier to see the car behind in the centre mirror.
The next job was to sort out the boot stay which was getting a bit stiff. This came out and after a clean up and regrease it was working smoothly. I also couldn't resist lightening it up a bit. According to the kitchen scales I've saved around 20g, which is better than nothing I suppose!
My next job is to sort out the boot! The piece of trim that goes over the petrol tank has been remade by a previous owner in some type of hardboard which was ill fitting and has curled up, presumably after getting damp. This really needs to be replaced and then I can mount my CD changer on it with the brackets I made ages ago. Then maybe my CD's wont skip annoyingly all the time!
That's about it really! The car's been faultless for weeks now and I honestly can't remember the last time I opened the bonnet!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
First thing that hit me was the sheer size of this show! This is a huge show. There were four halls worth of cars, traders, tools and general stuff! I thought the best place to start would be the first hall so I headed down there and took a look around. There were plenty of nice cars and plenty of Triumphs! All the Triumph clubs were in the first hall and there were plenty of fine examples on their stands. Club Triumph, the TSSC, the TR Register, Stag Owners Club and the Dolomite Club were all in attendance. The CT stand had a particularly polished example of a Spitfire 1500 on show along with a Spit 6 with Emerald EFI, a saloon and a Herald estate. There was a very interesting exhibit on the TR Register stand. They had a shell in ‘pre restored’ condition. It was held together by mole grips!
There were plenty of interesting cars from other marques too. The Meguiars stand was particularly good. There were also plenty of nice Mercedes. One I noticed had an original Becker Mexico radio which is probably worth a good proportion of what my entire car’s worth! I’m a big fan of American muscle cars and drag racing cars and there were plenty in the form of Chevy Camaros and Ford Mustangs along with various other hot rods, gassers and other drag racing stuff. I'm also a huge fan of vintage cars and Austin 7's in particular. My grandad built a special in the 60's and there were an interesting couple of specials on the Midland Austin 7 Club stand.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
With that done, the rest of the assembly was straightforward with the only other slight problem being the pivot pin. On the Spitfire 1500 the pivot pin has a recess around it but, oddly, is retained by a clip that passes through a hole drilled close to the end. Sadly, the hole was drilled so close to the end that it had started to 'pull out', rendering it pretty much useless. Interestingly the older pivot pin was not drilled for a clip but still had the recess. An 'E clip' from my collection fitted securely and, apart from refitting the interior, the job was done.
I gave it a try and discovered something was not quite right. The pawl didn't seem to want to pull away from the ratchet. I greased up the mechanism but it made very little difference. It was then of course that I worked out that the handbrake didn't have a spring in it! Luckily for me the 1500 spring is a perfect fit!
There we go. With the interior back in it looks pretty good. I just need to make my mind up about what type of grip I want to fit and it'll be perfect! At the moment I'm torn between going for the early style grip, which looks more comfy, or the later style, which would keep my car looking standard. Maybe there's another car that has a grip that's even better? I'll keep my eyes out for something suitable!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I took the car back and sorted out the wipers. It turned out to be an earth strap that I hadn't reattached after I repainted the bulkhead and was easily sorted. It's missing on the photo below but it should run from where the loom passes through the bulkhead and attaches to one of the wiper strap bolts. With that sorted I took the car back to the garage and demonstrated the wipers. They were happy and I finally got my MOT.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Unfortunately yesterday I noticed the leak had returned! So, despite the showery weather, I took off the master cylinder, rebuilt it, repainted the bit of the bulkhead underneath it, took the gearbox tunnel out and bled the system. Of course this was a pretty major undertaking but I managed to get it all done and back together before it got dark!
I've never really been happy with the feel of my clutch. It'd always felt a bit spongey no matter how often it was bled. This time I bled it by taking off the slave cylinder and pressing the clutch down repeatedly until it was at the end of it's travel. I've got an almost new slave by the way - I wouldn't recommend trying this with an old one as the bore is likely to be corroded and to damage the seal.
With the slave effectively locked in position I could feel exactly how compressible the pedal felt. It was pretty much solid so I decided that was properly bled. I pushed the slave piston back into its bore and pressed the clutch again and everything looked good! A few tweaks at the master cylinder and I had both brake and clutch pedals at the same height and I was ready to go and get that MOT.
Of course on the way to the test station I tried to clear the windscreen and realised the wipers weren't working...
Good luck to all those drivers taking part in the Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I was chatting to the guy that owned this very nicely restored TR for quite a while about the merits of upgraded started motors. That's something to look into in the future!
Everyone loves an Austin Healey and this was an especially nice one.
I'm not usually a huge fan of minis but my brother (standing to the right of me on the photo) loves them. The colour, rollcage and engine mods made this one look very cool.
This very original looking late Spitfire 1500 caught my eye.
Unfortunately after taking these few shots the skies opened and we had to sprint back to my mums car, which was parked on the other side of the park! We would have gone back for another look but unfortunately we didn't have time because we had to be elsewhere. Ah well, there's always next year!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I started by checking the continuity and identifying the cables with the multimeter. Everything was pretty straightforward and I soon had the dipped and full beam working. Wiring in the sidelights was interesting because they have to hook up to part of the loom that isn't attached to the bonnet. I connected it up to make sure it worked but there was a bit of a birds nest so I'll have to come up with something better in the next few days.
The indicators were a good laugh. The left hand side one worked perfectly but I spent hours 'having fun' with the right hand side! Firstly, it failed the continuity test on the multimeter. I opened it up and found out why. I'd fitted the indicator unit without putting a bulb in it!
I had a rustle about in the garage and found another bulb and fitted it. It fitted in the socket perfectly but for some reason still wouldn't light up. That reason turned out to be because the American indicator unit was designed for a twin fillament bulb and I'd fitted a single. With that sorted the damn thing still wouldn't light up! It turned out to be a dodgy joint and I eventually got it sorted with a bit of sandpaper and copper grease.
That wasn't the end of my electrical issues though. With the hazards on, I noticed one of the rear indicators wasn't flashing. Fortunatly this was another dodgy connection - it turned out to be a spade terminal that'd come adrift and was a three second job to fix.
With the hazard lights flashing beautifully on demand I set about finding out why my indicators wouldn't work in twos. Another adrift spade terminal was the cause, this time on the flasher relay. I finally had working indicators!
I finished up my electrical marathon by 'spira wrapping' the loom to keep it tidy and by sorting out a minor problem with the horn. I couldn't find anything wrong with it but after removing and refitting the horn push I was back in business. Sorted!
Friday, September 19, 2008
I think everyone with a Triumph goes through phases like this. Eventually, and often for no good reason, you seem to just get some renewed enthusiasm and you get back into it!
With yesterday being a nice sunny day my mood improved and I finally got the bug again. I started off by bleeding the brakes. The car is out on the drive and that's got a slight slope on it so I had to chock the wheels before I jacked up the back end and popped under some axle stands. With the wheels off and a bit of help from my mum to press the pedal it was all done pretty quickly. I did have a 'one way' valve type bleeding kit but I never found it very good. When I dug it out for this job the piping had misted up from corrosiveness of the brake fluid. That's a bit of a design flaw! So instead I did it the old school way, with a piece of hose and an assistant. Seems to have worked okay and the pedal seems pretty firm.
I was slightly annoyed to find some paint peeling around the nearly new master cylinder for the clutch. I'm still looking into it but it does seem like it's coming from the main seal around the piston. Watch this space!
Another problem I've been having is with fuel overflowing out of the float chambers. I've got a repro fuel pump and it's a well known problem that they produce too much fuel pressure. In an attempt to sort it I've fitted a regulator, filters and new needle jets. It doesn't seem to work too badly at the moment but I'd rather not have to have the regulator. I'm currently looking into using a TR7 fuel pump, something a member of the CT forum suggested. Hopefully then I can get this thing back on the road!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The first major job I completed was the installation of the headlights. These are not yet wired up but they are fitted. It was a fairly simple procedure that just involved mounting up the plastic nests, fitting the lamp units and refitting the headlamp cowls.
These are the cowls as they came from SVC. The little metal tags you can see around the rims hold the light units in place - a completely different system from the standard fitting where the lamps are held in place with a spring.
Weirdly they mount up asymmetrically with the adjusters on both headlights on the same side. I'm not sure if the standard ones were like that but it sure had me confused trying to fit them!
Another job I finally got round to is sorting out some of the paintwork on the bonnet. I've never been happy with the heavily oxidised paint and have tried using all manner of polishes and compounds to sort it out. None of them have worked so I resorted to more extreme methods! I decided that what was needed was to refinish the paint by flatting it back. Actually 'refinish' might not be the right word to use at all. The spots and runs on various parts of the car lead me to believe it might not have been properly 'finished' from the start. Either way after a session on the bonnet with 1500 grade wet and dry and plenty of soapy water I now have a lot less oxidisation. Of course now I have to remove the scratches that the wet and dry left and I've ordered some Poorboys SSR3 which should do the trick nicely!
I've also finally got around to starting it up! I unscrewed the dampers in the dashpots and put a little oil down the bores before cranking it over to get oil pressure. Then she rumbled into life! All I had to do was turn the fuel pressure down a tad to stop a float chamber overflowing and I was back in business. Result!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I've just had a delivery from the royal mail and it looks like my afternoon is sorted! I ordered some brake unions from Merlin Motorsport yesterday and they've arrived today along with the light 'nests' and wiring from SVC. I've just had a quick look at the wiring and they look perfect. Just got to fit them now!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I also pushed the car outside for the first time in over a year! Believe it or not the only thing stopping me pushing it before was a flat tyre! It seems these Yokohama tyres are so soft that a flat really can make the whole car nearly impossible to push! Anyway, the first thing I did with it outside was to jet wash off the dust and dirt that it had acquired over the year. I then went over it with Poorboys SSR2, Autoglym Super Resin Polish and finally finished off with Poorboys 'Nattys Blue'. Its finally starting to look a bit more respectable - just the quarter valance, brakes and headlights to finish off now!
Friday, June 13, 2008
I've ordered a halogen conversion set from Mini Academy to replace the dismal sealed beam units. Unfortunately fitting these kind of headlights with the original back bowls would mean that I'd have to go through this entire strip down again just to replace a bulb! I hadn't realised this previously but thanks to a well timed thread on the Club Triumph noticeboard I discovered a solution. Thanks to 'phil866' who suggested the 7" open back nest set from Stafford Vehicle Components!
That's as far as I've got with the lights so far, but I have spent a little time fitting the alloy alternator mount that I bought from Canley Classics about 6 months ago. There was very little drama to report fitting it other than the fact that I cut my hand on a stray piece of glass that was hanging around in the garage! Just out of interest I weighed the old iron mount (575g) and compared it to the new one (225g). That's a saving of 350g! Very nice!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Anyway, it's given me lots of energy to work on the Spitfire! I've had a good look at the parts I bought while I was abroad and I'm going to be fitting them and getting the car ready for the dreaded MOT over the next few weeks.
First thing I noticed when I stuck my head around the garage door was that the suspension has settled a fair bit since I fitted the wheels. The second thing I noticed was an oil slick! Looks to me like the sump plug is leaking a bit. I'm not quite sure what's happened there but I'll be having a look over the next few days. Another problem lies with the brake master cylinder. It's empty! I'm going to investigate and also replace the hose lines with some swivel fittings as I've never been happy with how the flexi hoses attach to the master cylinders.
I tried to push the car out of the garage and onto the drive the other day too but ran into some problems there as well. It didn't want to budge! I checked the handbrake and it wasn't on. I'd left it off deliberately to stop this sort of thing happening! Having rocked it back and forth a bit I've decided that it isn't a brake problem but it might be due to having a couple of flat tyres. I'll hopefully be sorting that soon!
I have done a few jobs already though. Firstly, I fitted my new number plate. This was a relatively easy one. I was careful to mount it at the right height and to get the holes in the right place. It worked out rather well and all I had to do was spray the plastic mounting screws black and fit it up. Looks good I think!
Then I began working on getting the lights sorted out. I'm fitting 'US spec' indicators and although it seemed like they would be a straightforward fit so far it has proven not to be the case! The back part is slightly larger than the UK part and I had to remove the quarter valances and open the holes out slightly with a Dremel to get them to fit. Of course regular readers may remember that I resprayed one of my quarter valances a while back. Unfortunately when taking the passenger side off I realised that it was just as bad (if not worse) as the drivers side had been so I reluctantly set to work on it.
I quite enjoy bodywork and I've been asked a few times how to do things like this so I might as well go through it in detail! First of all I stripped the mix of paint and Dinitrol off it using a knotted wire brush in an angle grinder and a wire brush on a drill for the tricky bits. Once the paint was off I had a good look at it and saw a few dents and dings here and there that would need a bit of filler and a few pitted areas that would need some rust killer. After cleaning off the remaining rust killer with thinners I gave it a good thin coat of Upol Acid #8 which highlighted all the bumps!
When that had dried I used a few thin smears of Isopon P38 to fill all the low points. After letting that dry I sanded it flat with a sanding pad on an electric 'delta' sander. The trick here is not to use a sanding pad which is too course or too fine. You don't want to 'polish' the filler but neither do you want to leave marks in it which might show through the paint! Also when you're sanding back don't worry about taking the paint around it off. You just need to respray it again like so.
If you think there are some more dents on the left hand side then you're wrong! Those are just the spot welds where the inner skin of this panel is attached. So now we've got a lovely dent free panel waiting for some more paint...
I think I'll carry on with this tomorrow!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I've been messing around with the front of the car since I bought it! When I first got it it came with an absolutely massive plate that blocked off virtually the whole of the radiator grill. Unsurprisingly there were some cooling issues! I'm sure they were largely due to the radiator, which was standard size and looked like it had seen better days, but the huge plate didn't help!
To sort it I fitted a wide radiator and cut the edges of the plates off, leaving the minimum legal distance between letters and the edge of the plates. The cooling problems were sorted but I still wasn't happy with how it looked. There was only so much chopping down I could do with the letters as big as they were (way bigger than the legal minimum size!) and I was left with square edges on each side which looked a bit odd! Something had to be done...
I looked at various options. Stick on plates didn't do it for me. I don't like the way they look mounted almost horizontally on the bonnet. I don't like the look of plates mounted on the spoiler either so that only left me with the option of using a smaller plate in the standard location.
This is where things got a little bit err....complex. In order to get what I wanted I was going to have to bend and break a few laws. Basically, I wanted a 3/4 size plates and these aren't strictly road legal. After doing my homework and looking on a few forums I couldn't find anyone that had been pulled over for having a smaller front plate so I decided to go for it.
This led me to the next problem. Getting number plates made is supposed to involve lots of hassle with ID and proof of ownership and stuff. The way the number plate sellers get around this is by selling plates that are for 'show' only. So without all that hassle I got http://www.fancyplates.com/ to make one up for me. It looks great and arrived the next day. So for good service they get recommended by me!
Saturday, February 09, 2008
My other little job is to finish off my cylinder head. I still need to finish the exhaust ports off and get a pro to fit bigger valves for me. Basically the lot need doing. It need new guides, valves and springs. It's sounding more expensive by the second!
Despite saying only recenly that I would be smoothing and polishing some rockers up I had a change of plan. Ebay turned up some Harland Sharp roller rockers that were going suprisingly cheaply. A bargain for just £84! I love Ebay!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
For some reason it now looks a bit higher off the ground than it did before. I rolled it backwards and forwards to let the suspension settle but it still seems to sit higher than before. I'll have to take it for a run and see how it looks after that before I decide what to do about it. I can just wind the AVO's down at the front but it looks like I may have to fit a lowering block at the rear. Thats another project for another time!
I've also recently joined Davesideways' new forum (http://www.sideways-technologies.co.uk/) and it looks to be shaping up quite nicely as good read for people who love their modified classics. I've already had a few more ideas that I will get around to another time. With me being on the other side of the world I don't think this is going to get updated too often over the next few months but I may have some news about parts I'm trying to aquire. Watch this space!
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I also thought I'd treat myself to an alloy alternator bracket (again from Canley Classics). I know its not going to save a tonne of weight but it sure does look cool!
I'm also trying to fit the 'all orange' indicators that 'GT6Steve' sent me from Las Vegas but I've run into a bit of a stumbling block. It seems that the fitment of them to a UK spec spit is not as straightforward as it would seem. The bulb holding back part of the light is bigger than the UK ones so it needs the hole opening up with the trusty Dremel!And finally a request for help! Anyone know how to remove the standard type of mirrors that come come on a Spitfire? I've only got one on the drivers side and theres a screw sunk into a recess on the back of it but it dosent seem to want to move! Do I have to get at it from the inside of the door?