Saturday, January 20, 2007

Round Britain Run 2006 report 1

As published in Club Torque January 2007

Still mostly wearing overalls!

If you read my article in November’s Club Torque you will no doubt have been waiting with bated breath to find out how my TR7 Sprint (!) did on the RBRR. If you haven’t been in the least bit interested, here’s the story anyway!

To the Start

I left home on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border at about 8AM and drove straight to the premises of S&S Preparations. These chaps are TR7 specialists and have been very supportive with loads of advice, even on one occasion at 8.30 at night when I was trying to get the car to start in the frantic week before the RBRR.

Once at S&S in Bacup Simon (Simon and Steve are S&S) checked the car over for me, adjusted the carbs, freed off the linkages etc and then we stowed various spares before I hit the road again at 11.30AM for the Plough. Actually there was nothing to report apart from the very noisy top end which there was no time to work on. In the interests of preserving the unknown quantity that was the engine revs were kept down to below 4000.

At the Plough I met up with my co-driver and all seemed well with the car so it was a great occasion to meet up with old friends.

Here's the type of humour it's good to see - "The Acclaimers" at the Plough!

The Plough to Corbridge

Everything just fine, a nice steady run and our now traditional in car karaoke to Staus Quo on the A68!

Corbridge to John O Groats

A little bit of drama here as a TR7 went off the road and into a fence – not ours but we did stop and help pull it out back onto the road with no real damage (I am protecting the innocent here by not naming names!). No issues at all at Edinburgh airport, Inverness or all the way to John O Groats other than checking oil levels etc which were fine.

After breakfast I pulled on those overalls (thanks for the comments Dale!) but only to check things over again before we headed off on the next leg.

In the picture here, outside the Seaview Hotel, JoG, are two fine TR7 enthusiasts, Malcolm Paris on the left and Chris Shaw on the right. That's Malcolm's car on the left and BRP of course on the right (both cars had visited S&S prior to the event!)

JoG to Conon Bridge

Thurso was a pain due to roadworks which caused a traffic jam the likes of which can surely never have been seen there before. A quick detour saw us back en route and carrying on our merry way. Surely all was well with the world and all that hard work before the event was going to pay off in a trouble free RBRR for us.

Then, coming into Conon Bridge the temperature gauge suddenly shot up and we had an anxious couple of miles before we could park the car at the lunch halt and start to investigate. So, on with the overalls and we found that the radiator was falling apart with the result that we were now losing large amounts of water. It was also here that we had the first of many super examples of camaraderie. One of the marshals, “Badger” on the forum had been reading with interest the saga of swapping the engines over before the start and so immediately offered to go home, take the radiator off his own TR7 and fit it to mine! I can only say that you are a top man sir and I wish I had had more time to thanks you properly for this generous offer.

The actual solution we opted for, however, was to bung some radweld in that Garry Mimer in another TR7 (not the one off the road after Corbridge!) donated and top up the radiator.

Conon Bridge to Sterling

With some trepidation we set off from Conon Bridge keeping a wary eye on the temperature gauge. There were no more concerns however until Glencoe where we faced probably some of the worst conditions I have seen in a very long time. Up on top of the mountains there it was blowing at least a gale and rain was pounding down, often covering the road surface like a river. It was very difficult to keep the car going as the engine electrics got soaked so I had to gunn the engine a number of times to keep it running; stopping was an option I didn’t want to explore.

At this time a screech developed from the engine which I diagnosed “on the hoof” as a slipping fan belt to be dealt with at Sterling.

Having reach Sterling it was on with those overalls again whilst I adjusted the fanbelt before signing in and getting a coffee, sausage roll etc and joining in the banter with other crews. After a few minutes we were back out to the car, settling in and ready for the off until we started the car when there was one hell of a noise from under the engine bay as well as lots of smoke.

Guess what? Yes, on with the overalls again, pull out the tool box, grab the torch and investigate. It wasn’t the fan belt that was the problem; the alternator bearings had been on the way to seizing up and had now done so in a comprehensive manner. Two crews kindly offered spare alternators and I took up the offer from Mark McClain as I knew his was from a Sprint and should be fine.

I did have to swap over the pulley and fan from my alternator (thanks to Doug Foreman for assistance here) and then I found that it was “handed” wrong and wouldn’t fit as the mountings didn’t line up. OK, enough’s enough, time to retire and get the recovery company out.

Hearing this by chance, however, was that fine fellow Dave Langrick who said “Don’t you know you can move the casing round? Here, I’ll sort it”. The scene now was us working on the forecourt of Morrisons loosening bolts on the alternator in order to move the casing but we came up against a problem – we hadn’t got the right size socket to remove the bolts holding the plastic covering on. “No problem” says Dave,” have you got a knife? We’ll cut it back to get access”.

Response? Yours truly chucking everything out of the glove box to find my “multi-tool” which has been in there for years waiting for just such an opportunity. Then there was a moment that reminded me of the scene in Crocodile Dundee that goes “you call that a knife? This is a knife!” Dave’s reaction to this blade was in a similar vein “blimey, that looks like something the SAS would use!” or words to that effect.

It did prove very effective tho and sliced through the plastic no problem. Unfortunately it also sliced very deeply into Dave’s finger – I was mortified as there was plenty of blood about. Now it was a question of me throwing things around inside the car so that I could get to the first aid kit and slap a plaster round Dave’s finger – quickly followed by tank tape applied by someone else (thanks whoever you were) as the plaster wasn’t up to the task!

Dave left at this point (I feared he was on his way to casualty!) and suddenly we were left with an alternator to fit and no-one else around apart from one other crew having their own problems. I can’t say I was very happy at that time as I was feeling guilty about what had just happened to Dave (thankfully he was fine and I note that in his report he made very little comment about this incident).

Finally I fitted the alternator while Andy my co-driver restored some kind of order to the cockpit after all of the drama. How great it was to fire up the car and set off again, even though we were very late.

Part 3 , “Still wearing those overalls” continues in the next Club Torque

A bit more prep

A couple of hours this afternoon replacing the rear damper covers and re-working the electric fan switch.

I have re-fitted the rear damper covers as a precaution against scrutineers! The fuel tank is under the rear boot floor and the damper covers close off the boot from the outside so that should cover the requirement to make sure there is a fireproof bulkhead.

On the electric fan thermostat switch I had only thrown the installation together when I fitted the Sprint engine so I have been re-visiting this and also wiring in a warning lamp to show when it is on. It all takes time and I am not finished yet.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

More pondering & a new forum -

I am using this shamelessly as a memory jogger for me for things I should do.

1. Fix the covers back over the rear shock absorber mountings.

2. Go back to the centre console and look at how to get a switch panel made up. I'll probably make up a template in cardboard and mark in a place for the oil pressure gauge. Oh - the gauge will be in a good place to get some power to illuminate it there too.

3. Take the 2" carbs of the spare car complete with manifold and swap for the ones on BRP.

4. Go through some of the spares I have and find some stuff to sell on e-bay as I could do with raising some cash. Probably the first thing should be a spare Sprint inlet manifold. Then I am sure I have some spare second hand pistons, con rods and even a crank or cam or two!
I must have some stuff I can get rid of as I now have 3 complete engines and 3 spare cylinder heads - heck, if I want to re-build an engine I will be using new pistons etc anyway.

5. When my budget allows (probably April!) get a new uprated radiator from S&S. I'll probably take my electric fan tot hem and we'll fit it to the new rad on their counter!

In addition to all that, I have found a new internet forum to haunt - which looks great. It is certainly keeping my motivation up and I'll be out on the NESCRO series this year on at least two, maybe 3 rounds.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Another Sprint engine & a bit of pondering

We completed a swap today - my TR7 8 valve engine for another Sprint engine. A friend of a friend wanted the 8 valve engine as less temperamental option than a Sprint.

This makes Sprint engine number 3 for me now ::)

Under that cam cover tho there is believed to be a new, never been run Triumph Tune group 2 cam. As I need to work on the top end of engine number 1 (in BRP) it's very tempting to swap the cam over.

Now, on engine 2 in the spare TR7 16V (following this) there are these two beauties - a pair of 2" SUs compllete with manifolds, linkages etc.

So, shall I go for swapping the cam into engine number 1, putting the 2" SUs on which in conjunction with the sports exhaust manifold should give quite a decent power output (150BHP?) for very little money - if it all works:-/

Time to think this over I reckon

Monday, January 01, 2007

A couple of hours in 2007

Spent a couple of hours on the first day of 2007 like quite a few more I would imagine - working on BRP.

All a bit fiddly really but I trimmed back the centre fascia panel to make clearance for wiring up the cut out switch and then re-fitted it all. Now without the radio cassette of course but a new panel needs making up for the oil pressure gauge etc.

I also fitted a spare alternator I had from amongst the piles of spares I have collected. This worked OK so I can now arrange to return Mark McLean the one he loaned me on the RBRR. I still intend buying a new one though in due course.

Then a bit of work adjusting the door latches got them closing more flush to the panelwork - very satisfying.