Tuesday, 29 January 2013

2008, Exhaust Manifold and Fan Problems

Now I had started driving it again it wasn't long before I found the exhaust manifold was starting to develop a leak.  The car had a mild steel tubular manifold when I bought it but sitting around unused for a couple of years had obviously allowed it to rust and get thin enough to crack in a couple of  places.  Luckily I had a new one in stock that I had acquired during the cars lay-up for just such a problem.  The new one was another mild steel tubular manifold that I got from Robsport via Ebay for a very good price.  The rest of the car's exhaust was stainless steel so no corrosion problems there.

Guess what?  Fitting the new manifold turned out to be a bit more of a problem than I expected - surprise, surprise.

Its a two man job to get it all lined up so I asked Chris Riley ( old mate and ex service crew from my rallying days) to help get it all lined up. We also had to make up a short sleeve joining piece as the two pipes were the same size.  The bolts into the head were also a pain with one starting to strip and a couple of others suspect.  They also turned out to be different sizes so the previous owner had also had a similar problem with them, but it all went together and we were mobile again..

Now back from being laid up it was not long before the next problem developed, there was a loud groan/rattle from the front of the engine. I recognised it from my Stag days and it didn't take long to trace the source to the viscous coupling unit on the cooling fan.  New ones were quite expensive at about £50 or more so I chose to go electric instead.

The first choice for an electric fan kit is usually the Kenlowe, but these are not cheap either at over £100. Best way I found was to buy the parts separately which I did from Ebay (again) for just over £60.  This consisted of a new 14" fan, a mounting kit and a thermostat control kit.   Oh, and you need a new much shorter fan belt as well.

All the old viscous stuff and the idler carrying it could now come off the timing cover and it turned out to weigh a ton, well OK not a ton, but its pretty darned heavy and it makes the front of the engine bay much more open as well.

Installation was pretty easy, just needed to fit a relay and sort out a power feed.  Now let the engine warm up and just dial in the temperature you want the fan to start.  I chose a temperature reading of just over half on the gauge and this seems to work well.  The fan rarely cuts in except in traffic.

Monday, 28 January 2013

2008, On The Road Again with Electronic Ignition

Having re-discovered the car, putting it back on the road was not too difficult. It started fairly easily but I couldn't get gears because of the stuck clutch.  My method for freeing it off (used before on several other cars) may seem a bit brutal but it has never failed me yet.
1. Get the engine warmed up and switch off..
2. Put the car in first gear and start the engine, this results in a kangaroo style progress down the road.
3. Holding the clutch pedal down drive the car with on-off-on-off  gas pedal until it releases. May take a few hundred yards but IT WILL release.
This can be an exciting event and should only be attempted in a traffic free area!

Seized rear brake cylinders were replaced and the front calipers freed off by pumping them in and out, with cleaning and application of lots of WD40.  New pads and discs completed the brake overhaul.

My local garage gave it an MOT and we were back on the road, but driving showed up quite a few things that needed work or that I wanted to change.

First thing was those points and the ignition timing.  It didn't take long to discover that changing the points on a TR7 can be a bit of a pain.  The distributor location at the back of the engine makes access difficult and then you discover the bolts that hold the distributor are tucked away under it and even more difficult.  The manual refers to a special tool for this job called a distributor wrench or obstruction wrench.  Its basically a 7/16" ring spanner bent to go round and under the distributor body,  Triumph special tool S349 and SnapOn part no.S9467 and rare as hens teeth.
the TR7 Holy Grail, a Snap-On tool S9467, distributor wrench

Now as it happens, I also wanted to change the inlet manifold as there was a leaky looking stain where a steel insert is located in the casting. The guy I got the car off  had obviously noticed it as well and he had included a shiny new manifold with some other bits when I got it.  Taking off the carbs/inlet manifold also makes access to the distributor much easier so good idea anyway. But then, having got those pesky bolts out I then found that the distibutor body was stuck firmly in the block and it took a lot of  work to get it free.

Having gone through all the aggravation to get at the distibutor there was no way I wanted to do that very often so the obvious next step was to fit electonic ignition.  No more points.  About this time I found a guy on Ebay selling new old stock fully electronic TR7 distributors for £69 which I think is a bargain. It came complete with an amplifier module.   I also found one of those special tools in the USA which cost me about £15 with the postage, but worth its weight in gold.  It all went back together and now ran much better so time to go out and drive it.

Electronic Ignition Amplifier Module
Insides of the New Electronic Distributor