Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More goodies

Visited Martin Knapp today - he is already competing on stage rallies with a TR7 16V.

So I learned a great deal about brakes and various other bits and pieces. Somehow I also came away with a few spares which I wasn't expecting - spare front struts, 2 spare Spax rear shocks and 4 Compomotive wheels with some serviceable tyres.

Meanwhile, BRP is at an autoelectricians as I type for the cut off switch to be wired up - it's all happening!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Would you believe it!

Almost finished fitting the extinguisher system today - I say almost because there wasn't quite enough pipework!!

Here's what it looks like under the bonnet though.

You can see two blue nozzles with the rear one next to the coil. The front one is positioned on the expansion tank.

With the engine canted over all the electrics/ignition and fuel systems/connections are on the same side and will be well covered by the nozzles.

BRP goes into my local auotelectrician tomorrow for the electrical cut off switch to be wired up. When this is done it will shut the engine down completely when operated and isolate all the car's electrics.

All in all the car is very nearly ready for the MSA scrutineer to see if it is worthy of a log book,

On plan for our first stage rally in April.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Not easy to see here but I have fastened a cargo net behind the seats to carry the first aid kit, the "OK" board and hold other bits and pirces like maps etc.

I need someone with more of a domestic touch tho I think cos there's a pouch in the net which holds the first aid kit etc but could do with some kind of fastener to hold the top closed whilst still being easy to open.

I'll give it some thought.

This afternoon was a general tidy up with me "fitting" a couple of grommetts in holes in the floor pan and restraining the wiring loom along the nearside inner sill.

That's another thing that needs more thought!

Finally got the column switchgear cover back on though - had to find a spare as one half had broke.

And also - the outer extinguisher switch was a bit vulnerable and could have been activated by anyone or anything brushing against it. Searching around I found something that will sit over it and give it some protection so it was araldited in place (seen in the pic as a black raised circle around the switch).

All in all - a "bitty" 2 1/2 hours but worthwhile.

Next will be finishing the extinguisher system, wiring the cut out switch, having a good walk round the car and check it against the "blue Book" followed by an appointment with an MSA scrutineer so BRP can get it's rally log book.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

As promised

As promised elsewhere today I can now inform everyone that I have replaced the exhaust manifold gasket!

Definitely blowing at the rear as I managed to diagnose so since the autotest the car now has it's no 1 spark plug in situ, a non"blowing gasket" and a quick tune up - so much better nowClapping Hands

In addition I spent 20 minutes fighting with wrapping for the fire extinguisher wiring and looking again at the heater which seems to be providing some limited heat now. All in all some further progress and the couple of test drives I took are building my confidence in the carConvertible

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Extinguisher wiring

3 flipping hours to wire up 2 switches - would you believe it!

Still, here's the result. The extinguisher power pack is above the glove box and the internal switch is on the lower dashboard bottom right of the "E" sticker.

It was quite a relief when we tested the circuit and the correct green light came up.

Now it's "just" a question of the plumbing - the pipework and nozzles. Next week's thrilling installment!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A day in the life of BRP

A full day just on BRP today.

First a visit to S&S Preps for an engine health check. Is this engine a sound basis to go forward with or something that is about to expire?

Of course it's neither!

The experts at S&S seen here working on BRP today found that the engine was basically sound with good compression, a blowing exhaust manifold gasket, carbs that needed balancing along with adjustment to the mixture as well as the timing needing adjustment.

By eck she flies now CaptainThumbs Up

The downside though is that there are only about 2 threads that are OK in number one spark plug hole and that the timing chain tensioner needs replacing. Then we get into the "whilst you are at it" syndrome so there's much to ponder over including at least 8 options we came up with!

After this though it was an afternoon of rally prep which really didn't get very far. Actually one switch mounted to the car as well as the accompanying sticker applied! I won't go into the whys and wherefores but, as always, I will return to this again.

Here's the sticker and "the hole" before it was filled with the switch.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas card?

Christmas cards perhaps?

Actually the latest addition - I have no money or time for this car so it won't appear very often but if I can get it on the road next summer for very little money or effort it would be great fun.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Extinguisher system

One hour this week - and that was just enough to site and mount the plumbed in extinguisher. I have bolted it in the boot where the battery is usually re-located in V8 cars.

Here's where the external button will go - probably next week although I am planning to collect another TR7 so we'll have to see.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Not too much to report but it's important to keep moving forward even if it's only a small amount.

So, I have put the spark plug back in, tidied up the car and even washed it. All the fluid levels were fine - no water used, no oil used and the brake & clutch fluid levels good.

I had the old tyres stripped off the black "minilites" and replaced with Avon Historic rally tyres so now I have two full sets built up on wheels - my dry tyres (the Avons) and my "wets", the Michelin road tyres.

Looking back on last week's autotest I am rather pleased actually - the car made a full weekend's activity and our performance as a crew was an improvement too over first time out. On the Little Devils we were 5th CT crew out of 6 and this time we were 5th out of 7, that kind of improvement will do for me.

This is especially so when I consider the fact that we were up against Doug and Katie Foreman who are out competing every other week, Mike Banks who has done 3 Autotests/Autosolos this year and Mike Bishop who is leading the CT Driver Challenge!

Monday, November 10, 2008

BCC Autotest Nov 9th

The BCC Autotest on Nov 9th.

Not much like a rally? No but it proved a few things.

1. The car completed 450 miles in the weekend which is encouraging :) Granted there's a few things to be sorted - like the fuel gauge that read half full when it ran out (thanks Andy J for bringing me some petrol), the heater that doesn't work and the spark plug that was blown out 40 miles form home(what).

2. The Randle/Johnson partnership is working well. We didn't get a single test wrong which is far better than the Little Devils. It's also encouraging for when we are talking about far higher speeds on stages.

3. Sarah is really getting into it - making extra notes on the test diagrams for example and giving more guidance like "keep wide left, tight - 90 right etc".

4. Sarah likes the tests better when I really "have a go" - a liking for speed is a good thing :) Giving me a hard time for incurring a penalty by hitting a cone is also a good thing - the competitive edge is there.

5. I am getting more confident and the car is going to be really good.

6. The roll cage, seats and harnesses are all fine and no problem for us.

We only came 5th out of 7 CT entrants but that's not the issue really - we'll have to get used to finishing quite low down the leader table as we won't be doing many events and we'll always tend to be novices against more experienced competition.

All in all - very satisfied with progress 8)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Where's the logic?

After the roll cage the next bit will be the plumbed in fire extinguisher.

I had already bought one to meet the MSA rally specs, electric activation and plumbed in etc etc with all the kit to be fitted so as it "fires" into the engine bay and cockpit.

On reading the instructions it says that the nozzles for the interior should be aimed at the crew's feet - OK, fair enough but -

There's only two nozzles provided, one for the engine bay and one for the cockpit.

Well, if it's ever going to be needed then who do I choose to protect then? That can't be right can it? It's certainly not acceptable to me as I have a strong sense of self preservation but I am certainly not going to leave Sarah at more risk than me.

Having checked this out I found that the spec was right but the FIA system is double the size with four nozzles, not two. So, I contacted Lifeline the manufacturer and Demon Tweeks the retailer and between them they agreed to take my system back and exchange it for a new FIA system.

All credit to them, I had had my system for 5 months and they are time sensitive but they were OK about all this and I got the better system for an extra £120.

At the end of it I have an over spec system as far as national MSA regs are concerned but much better protection should it ever be needed (god knows I hope it never is) and am lighter to the tune of £120, money which could be spent on more performance but that's not my priority.

Fitting it will be interesting but that will have to wait just a little while as the project Manx team are autotesting this weekend.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Mission roll cage accomplished!

Floor painted with white smoothrite - it certainly made a difference and makes the car look so much better. Having taken out all the carpets and trim, along with lots of sound deadening three were lots of different colours on the floor pan - much better now it's all one!

Getting the dashboard in wasn't too bad actually as it's much easier when there's less of it and aesthetics don't matter so much.

Getting the wiring sorted took much longer than expected though and over an hour was wasted trying to work out why the driving lamps now wouldn't work. The reason for this was a dodgy connection which, I am pleased to say, was a BL connection and not a Randle one!

More rally gear being located here - the footrest which has gone back where it was for now but will have to be moved to suit Sarah when time allows.

Then there's the hand-held fire extinguisher which is now actually located further forward than shown as it would otherwise have been tucked under the navigator's seat!

Finally - mission accomplished with the roll cage fully in place although there's a fair bit of tidying and fettling to be done yet.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Keep going

Keep going - that's the motto all rally drivers need. So do those preparing rally cars!

Another 4 hours slog and the heater is back in, the dashboard is in and the roll cage is at last finished.

Here's Bryce painting the front nearside bracket for the roll cage.

Pciture of the dashboard going back in - the heater is all back in place and bolted up.

The rear hoop now fully installed - everything welded up, painted and bolted in.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

No fannying about!

Another 4 hours on this - will it never end?

I am really getting excited now though as this rallying lark is getting to feel very real - first event should be in April so that means I have to crack on and get the car log booked etc with the MSA. This is no time for fannying about!

This is where Bryce and I started today - the roll cage pretty much in and tack welded.

Here you can see the door bar in place and I wanted to check how "easy" it was to get in and out with this in place. So, we lifted in one of the seats and I gave it a go - all OK so if I can do it then Sarah, being a slip of a thing will have no problems. (Flattery always helps I find!). Actually. to get the door to shut I had to remove the arm rest/door pull! A bit more weight saved then.

Here's a picture of the front leg mounting. TR7 competiton drivers will know about the dreaded "head banging" syndrome which is usually not helped by the fitting of other makes of cages. In those the front legs "kink in" to mount on the floor whereas ours is on top of the sill.

There should be two benefits to this - with the other makes the leg intrudes into the floor pan right in front of the accelerator pedal and so the driver has to hook their foot around it - this won't happen here.

The other effect is that the top of the bar as it goes along the roof line drops - I may not be explaining it very well but it means that it intrudes into the door opening at the top and comes close to the occupant's head.

This arrangement has helped us get the bar as high as possible - it shouldn't be an issue for Sarah as we have mounted her seat lower than mine anyway and she's about 4" shorter. It's still not great for me but anyone over my height of 5'8" would have more of an issue needing more radical work on the floor and seat mountings.

Next, here's the cross tube which links the front legs above the windscreen.Still tack welded in place in this shot.

We still had to get the offside door bar in place too which took some doing - it just didn't want to know.

Once we had done that tho, like all the other sections the brackets also needed to be tack welded in place so that we are sure (ahemm!) that it all lines up when it goes back in.

Following that it all had to come out again so that all the tubes and brackets could be fully wekded up.

Here's the cross tube, both door bars and one of the front leags all on the floor of the workshop ready for welding.

In addition all the mounting plates on the floor of the car and the sills needed welding fully up.

While Bryce was welding I was removing yet more sound deadening material.

Towards the end of the day all the pipework was primed and painted again.

Next week it's refitting the dashboard and getting the roll cage in.

I'll also be looking at fitting the main extinguisher in a suitable place - on the transmission tunnel between the seats wherre the armrest was comes to mind.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weight watchers

Back to rally prep on BRP.

Here's all the dashboard stripped out so that the heater can be removed.

This needs repairs to the pipework and we are going to deploy a Bryce rally mod - making it only able to have screen demist. The idea is to simplify things and we don't need the crew heating - the car and seeing through the screen comes first!

Meanwhile I have been removing sound deadening applied by good old BL. Actually they were really trying back then in a good way, there's lots of good design ideas and clearly they were aiming in this area to produce something more refined than had been the case before.

They were targeting drivers of Porsche 924s no less!

For my purposes though this is unnecessary weight - again the performance of the car comes before the comfort of the crew.

Pics show it being removed with a wood chisel and mallet - there's a huge bit chiselled off the transmission tunnnel here and fallen onto the floor.

It must be 5mm thick!

Without this and the carpets we'll certainly here that LT77 working.

Then there's the foam backed insulation on the front bulkhead - it's not pictured here but it is perfect for trapping moisture against the bulkhead!

That's come off too.

About halfway there now and here it's all collected in a bag - having weighed it there's 8kgs here!

Another 8 kg to go I reckon plus I gained 10 kgs by cutting out the centre sections of the front and rear bumpers plus another 10kgs or so from getting rid of the radio cassette, door speakers and CDs etc.

That's a good 40kgs which using http://www.mintylamb.co.uk/powerweight and based on 140BHP in an 1100 kg car is worth an extra 5BHP.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Toledo sold

A very nice man has just left a deposit on the Toledo and will be collecting it on Friday.

It was very pleasing the level of interest in the car and I am happy it's going to a true enthusiast and a new member of Club Triumph no less.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Toledo for sale

Yes, I am selling my Toledo.

I could go into all sorts of detail but I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.

It's a lovely car though, very quiet, easy to drive and very reliable (it went all round Europe last year and was brilliant).

It's MOT'd until April 30th and will have tax for the same time.

Whilst I have had it I have had the radiator rebuilt (it's a larger 1500 one) and it's had stainless steel centre and rear box from a Dolomite 1300 exhaust fitted.

The interior is like new with no marks on the dashboard or headlining and 1500 seats are fitted (one tear in the rear of the driver seat). the original Toledo steering wheel will be refitted.

The bodywork is sound whilst having a fair few bumps and scrapes which have been painted over with a number of different shades of white over the years! There is a very small amount of welding needed (non structural) in the boot and the bottom of the offside rear door could do with a proper repair sometime in the next 12 months or so.

Don't get me wrong tho - this is an honest car! I doubt the engine (70,000 miles) has ever been apart, in fact I have a mountain of bills and MOTs for it all the way back to it's original owner and there's no mention of the engine ever giving any trouble or the gearbox for that matter.

I want £400 for the car but only from someone who is going to look after it - if it doesn't sell then I may be able to store it away under a dust sheet in a friend's premises. I need the space for a TR7 convertable you see

I don't want to put it on e-bay (goodness knows who might get it ) and being a sentimental type, as I said, if it doesn't sell I'll no doubt store it away - there can't be many left!

Oh - I said I wouldn't say much didn't I!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Marshalling on the RBRR

Just got in from Lancaster services where I was a marshal on the RBRR.

A pleasant evening from my point of view - great to meet up with all my mates old and new but also having the luxury of going home again to a warm bed!

Everyone seemed in fine form and I was able to have a good natter with lots of people.

Sorry Andy and Sarah - I forgot the spare hacksaw handle!

Sorry Paul D - I had brought some sustenance for Pendle and Pennine crews but somehow missed offering any to you!

Good to see Caroline and Mik in fine form.

Dave Pearson and Jason Chinn were a bit late with the Atlas as it had lost a core plug, they had replaced this and were topping up with water again at Lancaster. I bunged them some of the P&P sweeties and then they were on their way again.

Nice to meet Goody - fine hat sir.

Good to see Ruth Nobbs and co - I haven't seen them since Belgium on the 2005 10CR!

Unfortunately Chris Shaw didn't make it this far - a problem with hydraulics I beleive at Stirling.

Doug and Katie had gone to collect John and Clive who had had an accident - thankfully they were OK but the car is a different matter I believe. In true CT spirit tho they are now all 4 up in a Herald and heading for Lands End.

Having seen everyone away I set off home only to find Dave Picton And Fred Slezak stopped at the side of the M6. Apparently there is a terminal engine problem so they were awaiting a recovery truck. As there was nothing I could do to help I gave them the remainder of the P&P chocolate and wished them luck.

All in all, quite an eventful evening.

Good luck for the rest of the event everyone.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I didn't want to be here!

With the heater pipe problem really the only thing to do was to strip out the dashboard and remove the entire heater.

With the dashboard out of the way it makes fitting the front roll cage easier too so -

3 hours work and the interior of the car is now gutted. This is certainly somewhere I didn't want to go but hey - c'est la vie.

Now I'm here though I reckon I'll be removing yet more sound deadening too - more weight out of the car and less of a fire risk anyway.

But all this was done over at Bryce's where there was his rally car being sprayed in primer, my car being stripped down and his new gold TR7 with new floor pans welded in.

On the way back to my house I spoke to he who remain nameless for a while about the convertable I will be getting hold of shortly. Convertible

So Bryce and I will soon have 4 TR7s between us but how many will be roadworthy and when - that is the question.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Bits and Bobs

"Solved" the heater radiator problem by bypassing it!

Fixed the rear exhaust "bobbin" that was notified on the MOT.

Then moved on to a little job requested by the "navigator" - fixed a pencil holder to the door!

A simple little thing but pencils get lost on the floor of the car which is no use at all when times or route details need noting etc.

Missing something here can really screw up a good result so why fanny about?

Then the second photo shows another recent addition - an "OK" board. Costs nothing really but a necessity for a stage rally car.

All of these little bits and bobs add up to make a competition car!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

One solution - another problem!

On the Little Devils the glove box lid kept falling open and we had to stop it doing so by using tank tape! Here's the solution.

So that's one solution.

Now, we also had a problem with a split heater hose and ended up by-passing the heater completely.

So, I replaced the hose today. In fact, both hoses and fitted new clips with the aim of building in some reliability.

Unfortunately, this didn't solve the problem as the actual heater pipework looks corroded beyond repair.

To fix this I either have to do without a heater or replace the whole thing which I know will be a minimum 10 hours workThumbs Down

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A devil of a mess

I'll put a write up here on the Little Devils after it has been published in Club Triumph's magazine "Club Torque".

I can say that I have just about recovered though and started work on BRP again.

First off I have replaced a blocked in-line fuel filter but the car is running a little rough so I think I'll need to check that no bits and pieces have found their way into the carbs.

The outside of the car also looked a bit grubby too which is not surprising after the awful weather last weekend which turned the farmyarrd tests into mud baths.

There's a picture of one of the wheels and also of the co-drivers foot brace which also shows how the mud got into the car as well. The brace also looks slightly bent so maybe Sarah got a little tense a couple of times!

Now I'm no polisher but the car needs cleaning up, especially the wheels which were covered in farmyard muck - possibly corrosive over time.

So out came a new pressure washer to clean them off along with the underside of the car. It was that good though that some of the underseal came off as well under the rear wheel arches!

I'll need to really clean all the underside of the car and then get some Dynatrol over it but I'll wait until we finish fitting the roll cage as there will be some welding needed yet.

Immediate needs though are to replace a heater hose and to fit a strap to the glovebox lid to stop it falling open - we used gaffer tape on it during the LD to hold it shut!

Not bad at all really on the car side of things.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Little Devil's

It's going to take time for this weekend to sink in but here's a video of us on the first test to be going on with

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I don't think I wanted that to happen!

Passing the MOT and getting a RFL for BRP was what I wanted to happen and it did.

Then this evening I thought I would re-torque the cylinder head - all OK there.

Re-fitting the battery though the clamp on the earth lead split! It is quite secure and the car started no problems but will it stay that way over 25 tests on saturday afternoon?

I think a visit to the auto-electrician is in the cards tomorrow

Saturday, August 02, 2008

BRP back home

It's great to have BRP back home.

Lots to do, no time to do anything - no changes there then!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

That's all continued

Probably not too apparent here but this is the base of one of the front legs about to be trimmed - gulp!

We took off 25mm and then 3 more lots of 10 mm whilst continuing to offfer it up in the car.

What can't be seen here is the way that there is a dashboard supporting rail that goes just where this leg ideally wants to be.

Rather than cut straight through this rail we then trimmed back the dashboard to look at the rather more substantial rail on the offside.

At this point we decided to call a halt whilst we ponder the next move - as the car needs to be MOTd and ready for August 8th we will come back to the roll cage later in the year.

The roll cage isn't needed for the Little Devils anyway but seats and harnesses need to be in the car for the MOT so that's where we focussed our attention next.

Here's the seats and harnesses in place and they are fine but --

the seats need positioning for the ideal place for both the driver and co-driver.

We'll go for that on the day before the Little Devils if we have time when Sarah will be available for a trial fitting!

Then once the seats are in the right place the harnesses need "fettling" so that buckles are in a comfortable place and everything fits snugly.

All of that could easily take an hour for each side!

Still - next is MOT time in a couple of weeks.

Much has to go right yet, BRP has to pass it's MOT, I need to get my licence, we need to set the car up as described above, we should try a bit of navigational practice, the engine has to hold together after the head gasket change (maybe I should re-torque the head if there's any time) and of course we need it to keep going whilst the crew work together harmoniously on the Little Devils itself.

Not much then really.

That's all for now on the roll cage

Spent another 3 hours on the roll cage today with Bryce but I was amazed at how much work he had already done whilst I was away on holiday.

Here's some of his excellent work

The top mopunting brackets for the harnesses are vsiible here - the outer ones go into the standard production fixing points for the inertial reel seatbelts but the inner ones have been fitted using a patented method Bryce devised.

This involved much ingenuity and patience but means there's a reinforcing plate underneath the shelf here which sits above the fuel tank.

He has also made up brackets for the front harness fixing points just behind the cross rail on the floor - this is where the two front harnneses locate.

They then come up through the front seatbase and between your legs (ahemm) to stop the driver/co-driver "submarining" - ie - sliding forward under the harness.

The rear floor mountings are behind the seat frame and are re-inforced on the floor.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Roll cage update

Have spoken to Stuart @ Rollcentre who has proven very helpful all the way through this.

He agrees that the front leg should sit on top of the sill and that we can either adapt the "bottom plate" to fit back to the sill with a blanking plate made to fit or have the same kind of fitting as the rear cage.

We are going to go with option 2 so Stuart is going to make and post out a couple of angle brackets for us like the rear ones. Thanks Stuart.

Time is running out though for the car to be ready so the plan now is to get the rear cage in only, get the harnesses in correctly along with the comp seats and obtain an MOT. I must thank Bryce for his excellent work on the car - there's no way I would have the car this far forward this quickly without him.

After the Little Devils we can return to fully fitting the whole cage and then move onto the fire extinguisher system - it's all getting very real now this rally driving busines.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Roll with it!

The first trial fit of the rear cage and it looks really good - well made and sits really well in place.

The bracket on the sill - the sill itself has to be cut out under the bolt holes to allow the captive nuts to sit "inside it".

Then the front leg has to go down the side of the A pillar which means removal of some of the dashboard - here's Bryce at work on this.

Next is a case of getting the position of the front cage "leg" in the right position - here it is held by cable ties well up on the roof rail. It's important to get it as high as possible so as not to intrude on the cockpit area and be too close to the occupants heads!

But then there's an "issue" at the base of the leg where it fits onto a bracket - as can be seen here the bracket itself is sat on a block of wood to enable it to meet up with the leg.

Advice is currently being sought from the roll cage manufacturer!

No pictures at the moment but we also moved on to re-fit the seats and look at fixing the harnesses.

I had intended using a harness bar welded to the roll cage but the seats are too close to the rear hoop and there's no space so that idea has had to be abandoned (but at least there's a weight saving without that bar!).

A few more brackets will need to be made up and welded in - thank goodness Bryce is an excellent automotive engineer.