Monday, December 31, 2007

Last post of 2007

Last night we had another look at starting BRP. 2 dodgy plug leads aren't helping plus we need to pull the dizzy out and re-install it as suspected. That can be done another day.

So, in the meantime, I have fitted the later cooling system which can be seen here.

In effect it's a metal header tank for the radiator although for the moment at least I have left in the original expansion tank too for the overflow from the header tank.

So, in order toget this beast to run without overheating it now has a new thicker headgasket to go with the later header tank system, a new thermostat, an uprated new radiator,a brand new electric fan and all new hoses.

Next, I'll move on to sorting a problem left over from Ictober 2006 - replacing the alternator with the new upgraded one.

I also have a few bits and pieces on order for the SU carbs too just to hopefully add a little more performance using what little knowledge I gained from a chap called David Vizard in his tuning books.

Of course, the engine needs to run and then not overheat yet!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A mixed bag

First of all, back to trying to get the car running.

The camshaft is aligned correctly with the crankshaft - that's a good thing.

The rotor arm is pointing at number 1 in the distributor cap when at TDC - again a good thing.

Oh,. what's this big crack in the dizzy cap? So, we replace the dizzy cap with a new one and then wonder why it won't run when we initially put the plug leads on wrong.

Put that right tho and it still won't run.

So, next we check the static timing and find we can't get enough adjustment on the dizzy to put it right. oh, right - time to pack away for a re-think.

Maybe we should pull the dizzy out and relocate it.

On the co-driver/service crew front tho there's progress. The list of possible co-drivers is being refined, one off it, another one contacted to see if he would like to restart after a layoff and anothre one contacted from the classicrallychat forum.

Regarding service crews - Tim Bancroft, Andy Pearce, Jon Ranwell and Neil Dowie have all offered help of some kind or another. AP has even promised an estate car as service barge

Meanwhile, I have just sold a pair of DCOes and the sports exhaust manifold for an 8 valve engine on e-bay which has raised alot of the funds needed for the roll cage. Good luck Simon with the racing by the way - I hope the DCOEs play a full part.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

No volunteers then?

Just kidding but if anyone fancies the co-driver role or helping out as service crew please let me know.

Co-drivers should be able to read a map, be good at organisation and not get upset when I shout at them! If you are very good this may not be the right opportunity tho as you will find me rather lacking in talent.

I would also expect co-drivers to share costs -entry fees (unless I can find a nice sponsor), fuel, accomodation costs etc.

Ideally a 20 stone 6'10" co-driver wouldn't be ideal either.

There, not asking much am I?

Service crew.

Let me make one thing clear - I have no budget so there's no pay involved altho I could probably run to fish and chips with a beer or two!

Anyone that would like to help would be welcome - ideally well versed in mechanics and diagnostics of course but any Club Triumph enthusiast for example would be very welcome.
Checking the car over after stages would certainly be involved, cleaning windscreens, handing the crew refreshments etc are all worthwhile. Even taking video and "interviewing" us at each service halt would be fine - a good record of the day is always great to look back on and learn from.

So - a pretty attractive pitch I reckon

Oh and if you can provide a van and trailer even better!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

So what next?

Well, having realised the first rally is less than 18 months away the next thought process is to review where I stand now.

Car - not running! So that needs sorting. Then it needs a roll cage, a fire extinguisher system, harnesses, the cut out switch wiring up and various official bits of paperwork.

In addition a helmet and flameproof suit for both driver and co-driver.

Going back to the engine, or tuning there of. I have been thinking about building a relatively high spec engine and fitting twin Webers or Dellortos.

Well, actually I reckon a standard running engine will be fine. If the one that's in can do this, fine but if not then rather than fanny about maybe I'll just buy a built engine form S&S.

Regarding carburration - well twin Webers , properly bought, installed and set up could easily cost £600 to gain how much BHP over slightly tuned standard 1 3/4" SUs? Not many I reckon, maybe 10BHP especially if the engine remains pretty standard.

I haven't got a huge budget so that £600 could be spent on buying a full set of Avon or Dunlop competition tyres - now in my view they will get me a bigger performance increase than the carbs.

Regarding the crew. Well at the moment I am still not legally allowed to drive until August due to medical reasons but that's hopefully only a question of time.

I do need to sort out a co-driver though and will be applying my thoughts to this important person over the next few days; like Santa, I'll be making a list and checking it twice!

Oh, and a service crew would be good too - more thought needed on that.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Declaration update

In my "declaration of intent" I set the goal of competing in the Manx Historic rally in 2010.

Well that is getting much closer now so I am going to work through what needs to be done here on my blog.

Working back from the "goal".

I have to have the TR7 at the start line mid July 2010 which is only just over 2 1/2 years away.

Now, working back from this I and my co-driver (note to self, co-driver needs to be sorted out yet!) need to have "National A" competition licences to enter.

How do you get them? Well you apply to the MSA but first you have to get signatures on your "national B" licence from four lower level events.

That leads on to the next bit in the timescale then. If we need four signatures then we need to have entered and completed four rallies before July 2010. They also need to be tarmac rallies as that's all I am setting the car up for.

Hmm - what should they be? Well, it seems to me that doing the tarmac rounds of the HRCR Northern rally championship should cover it.

So that looks like The John Overend memorial rally near York in mid May 2009, the Torque Bac stages at Swinderby airfield in June 2009, the Thor Hammer Stages in mid September 2009 and then the Cheviot/keith Knox stages at Otterburn in October 2009.

Crikey, the first one is less than 18 months away!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

That same old feeling

Got used to it by now!

BRP is all back together but won't start. Not even using jump leads or towing it made it want to run.

The rotor arm is pointing at number 1 when the car is at TDC, there's a spark and there's fuel but other than a few "gasps" it doesn't want to know.

So, the battery is now on charge and I am waiting for another day when it's not so damp and it's a bit warmer. Also when I have a bit more inspiration.

The Toledo on the other hand started fine even though it's stood out in the cold and rain - what a great little car it is.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

NESCRO & the 10CR

Well they are not related actually other than by my video skills.

Let me explain, as I said in my earlier post today I have been putting together some video for NESCRO.

That's the Northern England and Scotland Rally Organisers who offer a series of "entry level" events for anyone interested in driving rather than polishing their cars (A Club Triumph in joke I am afraid). I was asked to put some footage together from my competition in their events and send it off as a contribution to a promotional DVD they are making.

I am very pleased to do so - anything to spread the word. That's why I have just added them to a new links section on this blog; why not give it a go.

Which has reminded me, I have also finished the 10CR 2003 video so Tim, Doug, Graham,Mat, Andy,Sarah, Paul et al take a look!

So, another weekend over and back to work. More updates next weekend and over Christmas!

The real thing

After the "model" incident it was good to get back to the real thing today.

Unfortunately not for very long tho as household chores got in the way. Still, a snatched 30 minutes made a big difference as can be seen here. Should be running again over Xmas and then I can upgrade the alternator and coolant systems as planned.

Must dash now tho as I promised to produce some video for NESCRO (another task I seem to have taken on).

Imitation is?

As mentioned before, Corgi have introduced and are selling a limited edition TR7 model with the same registration as mine.

It is near identical to the car when I bought it - you be the judge, here's a photo of the model (bought by me) and the car, also bought by me (!) but in this picture is my good friend Kevin Makin at the start of the Round Britain Reliability Run.

Really frustrating though is that Corgi are not replying to e-mails or phone calls from me about this.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Great days

Here's a video of the start of the original 10CR back in 2003.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I should have been working on BRP this weekend and I suppose I could have been but I didn't.

I have, however, been out all day on Club Triumph business with my mate Paul. This should pay off very nicely for the competitivet types amongst us but more details will follow in due course.

As an aside, a curious thing has come to my attention this week. Corgi have released a special edition model of a white TR7 with my car's registration number on! More on this later too.

What I have done tho is produce two videos from some years ago now - here's one of a rally in a Mini I used to part own back in the 80s.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

2 hours more

Another weekend, another 2 hours.

The patient approach is proving it's worth tho as that troublesome bolt is back in it's rightful place!
An enjoyable afternoon really as my mate Kevin came round too and we worked on the car, an escape from work and all the other stuff that goes on.

Anyway, I would have taken a picture but yet another one of engine components going back together isn't really necessary. I was reminded though of the perennial problem I always seem to have when fitting these engines etc - the exhaust manifold bolts. There are 5 of them and I usually get 4 to co-operate out of 5, sometimes a different 4 out of 5 as well!

This is where it helps having patience and another person's point of view. On Kevin's advice I "felt" where the holes were lining up with a small screwdriver and discovered a "lip" on the bottom of the hole. The deduction then was that the manifold wasn't quite high enough so I got a scissor jack under the exhaust downpipe and lifted it slightly - voila, bolt goes in

And that was at the end of the 2 hours I had set aside so tools away, bonnet down and adjourn for another cup of tea.

Once more into the breach next weekend when we will see what another 2 hours brings - should be the inlet manifold on and an attempt to start the car. If it co-operates I will follow the advice I have been given of running it without water until up to temp, switching off and then re-torqueing the head.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm so much more laid back nowadays

Yup, another couple of hours on BRP and one of the sprocket bolts won't go in.

It's the one you can see in the pic looking a bit skew wift - oh hum, there's always next weekend

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Balance - something to be aimed for. Like moderation in all things

It has dawned on me that this blog has been all about components and nuts and bolts recently.

That's not very balanced and really not very interesting if technical stuff is all there is so - something else Triumph related but on another theme.

Here are members of CT Pendle and Pennine area enjoying (?) a Triumph based quiz put together by Jon Ranwell. All around google earth images of locations important to CT members.

Steph, Dave and Caroline ponder in the top pic, Spitfire racer Mik concentrates (and did vvery well), caroline gets the joke whilst Bob and Jo get stuck in.

Caroline won through in the end - great to see the pics of a great night out.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Time for a cuppa

A couple of hours on BRP this afternoon - following Trackerjack and Tinweevil's advice from the CT forum I have been putting the cylinder back on with a new thicker gasket.

The head looks OK on the bench but it's always so much better where it should be!

Then time for a cup of tea, pack away and then another couple of hours next week.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Header tank

Following advice from members of the Club Triumph forum (Trackerjack & Beanz) as well as from a new book on uprating TR7s I have decided to replace the plastic expansion bottle as standard on the early cars with the metal header tank system fitted from 1979 on.

The above picture are the components I got from S&S and the lower picture is after I have cleaned them up and painted them.

Never fear, CT members - this was no more than a quick clean up and paint to preserve them, certainly not a long time prep and painstaking process to beautify the car!

I also got the head back last night and the verdict is that it may be OK but the safest bet would be to strip it down and skim it.

Well, probably wrongly I have decided against that. Given that it doesn't take long to re-fit I have ordered a thick head gasket and will put it all back together following all the tips I have been given on torqueing the head down etc. Then it will have the new cooling system in place and we'll see what happens.

If it still overheats then I reckon I'll pull the engine out and fit one of the second hand ones.

I am determined to spend money on safety prep needed for rallying - not on engines. All I need is an engine that will work reliably, standard tune power will be fine.

Let's get out there competing whilst building another comp engine ready for when I can use it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The "spares" car's future

I got hold of this TR7 a couple of years ago now for very little money as the previous owner was never going to get round to putting it back on the road.

It's future could very easily have been one of slowly rotting away before finally being scrapped.

That would have been sad as it had only had 3 owners and this wa a FHC without a sunroof - a fine base for a performance car.

So here it is under my car port having been rescued.

Well, now it is has been passed on again to my daughter's partner, Bryce. Ha has exciting plans for it to become a TR7V8 rally car.

The latest picture from this week. Completely stripped with a "double bulge" bonnet now to clear the carbs on a V8 and on a rotating frame ready for blasting and welding.

I reckon it looks great already!

Well done Bryce, the future is looking much brighter for GBT.

The year after next we hope to see GBT and BRP both out together on a stage rally - that will be a glorious day

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bits and pieces

Here's all the bits and pieces needed to upgrade to the later system on the cooling front which will replace the early simple expansion tank.

I have it on good authority that this is the way to go to improve matters - all part of beating the overheating issue.

Next I have to clean up the second hand bits, refit the cylinder head after it has been checked to make sure it isn't warped (thanks Bryce), fit the new alternator and make sure all is well.

Then I can move on to getting a roll cage and fitting it to BRP along with the rest of the necessary safety competition stuff (extinguisher system and 4 point harnesses as well as the roll cage).


After each event I go through a review systematically about the car and what work needs doing or improvements that could be made. That's just the way I am - continuous improvemnt is the plan whilst keeping the car on the road or stage. I couldn't be one of those people who spend all their time in car preparation to the enth degree and then never actually use it

Anyway, part of that process identified after the 2006 RBRR that one of the issues was a new alternator as the original failed.

Well, other things got priority if I was to keep doing events like sorting out the overheating so quickly throwing on a second hand alternator on a temporary basis won through.

Here we are though, a year later and this A127 alternator has been ordered thanks to a tip from fellow TR7 rally enthusiast Paul Swindells - a big improvement over the standard alternator and brand new too so that should result in more reliability.

And the second hand one? Kept as a spare to be carried on events by "the service crew".

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A few spares and the head off

Through various stages I now have two spare Sprint engines, one with Sprint gearbox too.

Enough to keep the TR going I would have thought.

The Toledo could take a Sprint engine and box too maybe one day

Thanks Bryce for bringing the engines over.

Later in the day I pulled the head off the TR as I am working on the principal that the headgasket is blown and hence pressurising the coolant system, eventually blowing it all out the expansion tank.

Well I can't see any obvious signs here or on the block - any ideas?

Friday, October 26, 2007

2 TR7 rally cars

The blue TR7 was my spares car but now belongs to Bryce who is picking up a TR7V8 tomorrow too!

The TR7V8 will donate it's running gear to the blue one in this pic as he intends building a TR7V8 rally car!

One day we hope both of the cars in this picture will be seen on rallys together - wow that should be cool.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Well, I had to start sometime

It's been 5 months since the last time the TR was used in anger and since then the overheating problem has been diagnosed as a blown headgasket.

Ho-hum - I suppose it's time to start doing something about it.

Well' it's a start anyway - strut brace off, battery out the way, cam cover off, spark plug tubes out and the sprocket pulled off the end of the cam.

It might be a while before I do more but at least I have started.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Thanks mate

My mate Paul Darbyshire gave me a ring and asked if I'd like to join him in visiting the Autojumble at Newark. That was really good of him as he remembered I was no longer allowed to drive.

So thanks Paul - we had a very good day, the sun shone, I bought a few bits and pieces and also visited the air museum which was rather good.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lucky to live here

Already posted on the Club Triumph forum but deserving of a possibly wider audience (who knows?).

These are photos taken by Deana on her camera phone whilst on the way to work.

Need I say more?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Toledo Pics

The first of many attempts to fix the exhaust - that's me getting down and dirty!

Lake Maggiore - the Toledo puts a Porsche in the shade.

Can you believe it!

In the French Alps, after Col de la Bonnette.

Got the Porsche out of the picture now.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Ok, not as much fun as the Furka but never mind.

This is the air box or air filter housing on the TR. The thing is, it's cobbled together as the Sprint emgine has the carbs further apart than the TR7 8 valve engine.

I have been looking for a proper Sprint one for a while and recently bought one (I refuse to say "won one") on e-bay for £4.40!

Behind the grey outer cover there's the backplate which as you can see here has been "butchered" (by persons unknown - not me!) as it was also used in conjunction with 2" SUs. A result of this is that it is only held on by 3 bolts instead of 6 and I just don't like it being like that.

So, off it came to be replaced by the Sprint version for 1 3/4" SUs freshly painted.

It was also an opportunity to get the various fuel pipes to fit as Triumph intended.

Now that's better - bolted up with all bolts in place.

I am re-painting the grey cover as it has a bracket for the dipstick which the Sprint one doesn't. Shortly that will be in place and a small but satisfying job will be done.

Now doesn't that look so much better

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Remember the Furka!

I could have gone on about painting an airbox for the Sprint engine but a spot of "carry on" type double entendre is more fun.

This is the Furkapass in Switzerland and is a superb bit of scenery. We were lucky to be there as it was dropping dark at the end of the day and had the chance to look back over the road we had driven. We could also watch cloud come over the valley side and descend into it - very impressive but you had to be there.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Just for a change

Yes, just for a change I worked on the Toledo's exhaust yesterday.

It's amazing how one joint falls off with amazing regularity whilst another one puts up one hell of a fight - the one you want to come apart!

After the centre section kept falling off, the rear section started blowing around the rear silencer to tailpipe join and through a hole in the box itself. So, I ordered a Dolomite 1300 rear box and tail-pipe section from Rimmer Brothers and got the car up on axle stands. What fun to be under the car again working on the exhaust.

Anyway, of course the rear section didn't want to come off the mid-section but at least this gave me an opportunity to use an angle grinder I bought recently to hack through the rear pipe, drag it out and then take the centre section off the car.

Then it was a simple task of getting the joint cleaned up and re-assembling on the car again. The Dolly tail-pipe comes out on the other side of the car than the Toledo one but that was no hassle.

What is a pain tho is that the centre section has started blowing now but for now -

Reverting to the TR7 - yes it's still with me. Actually fired it up today and moved it on the drive.
The spares TR7 is probably going to Bryce who wants to rally it too so that will make 2 of us.

In the meantime, neighbour Jon now has his TR7 Sprint running which is very satisfying as the engine is made up of spares I had along with lots of hard work from himself building it - well done mate.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Exhausting Toledo

There you are, blasting up a French alpine pass after Besancon when bang - the exhaust drops off!

The 6th and final succesful solution was done in Belgium - here it is! Work on the exhaust is high on the priority list of jobs to be done before my daughter starts to learn to drive in it.
At least it's had a good test drive!