Wednesday, 28 July 2021

2021, July. Covid Cancellations

Axle back in FHC 

The axle with rebuilt brakes went back into the FHC with a new handbrake cable and no problems.  Driving it felt good and the handbrake does actually feel better than before so I will let it all settle down and put a few miles on it before a final judgement if my work was worth it.

This was all done just before we went off to Portugal for our holidays as the government had declared Portugal to on the "Green List" of safe countries visit.  After only being there a few days things changed and it was now suddenly on the "Amber List" and our return flight got cancelled. Two more re-arranged flights were also cancelled. We have a timeshare there so were owed weeks from last year when no-one could travel and were able to use some of those and ended up staying for five weeks in all. We also had to self-isolate for 10 days on our return. Unfortunately this meant that three of our classic tours had to cancelled as well.


Dursley Rotary Cotswold Tour

A week after we got allowed out of self-isolation we took the DHC out on the Dursley Rotary Cotswold Tour. The start and finish is almost opposite to our house so was a nice way to get back in to driving the cars. 

Weather was absolutely scorching and was the hottest day of the year so far at just over 30 degrees.  The DHC behaved impeccably which was just as well because an old rally friend called Jos Way had also come along in his  TR7 V8.  Jos is new to TR7's and is really enjoying learning about the cars and their  various "issues". His car also behaved perfectly.

TR7's at the finish

Just to prove we made the finish!

 Getting mine ready for the day I had found the common problem with a perished rubber fuel line but was able to replace it easily before it caused any trouble. It's been on the car almost exactly two years so checking will now need be a regular part of my routine programme.

Two year old fuel pipe.


Tuesday, 25 May 2021

2021, 15th May FHC Handbrake

 FHC Axle Brake Rebuild and Swap

In a previous post I mentioned that I have never been happy with the FHC handbrake so have been pondering the best way to deal with it.  Don't think I have ever mentioned that the axle also has a little bit of a whine when cruising at say 60-70mph so I decided a way forward would be to rebuild the spare axle that had originally been in the cat when I got it and swap them over.

First job was to drag it out from the back of the garage and strip off the old brakes.  The drums looked very good and the brake shoes even turned out to be real Lockheed/Don ones.  

Before stripping, looks pretty good

First job after stripping was to re-drill the back plates to take the new TR8 wheel cylinders. These are larger internal diameter than TR7 ones so give more rear braking to match with the uprated front brakes. The TR7 and TR8 cylinders appear identical externally and both have a roll-pin to locate them in the backplate but it is on opposite sides, presumably to prevent the wrong ones being fitted by mistake. 

New Hole Drilled in Backplate

The new cylinders went on first and they are retained by an evil circlip. These can be a real pain to fit and have a habit of flying off into the most distant corner of the garage when you are trying to get them on. I have a special tool which uses a taper to open them up as you tighten a nut. It did work but it turned out the circlips are harder than the tool as you can see from the grooves it left on the taper!

Use a pair of grips to hold cylinder

Special tool to push circlip on

Circlip in position

Circlip has damaged the taper!

With the cylinders in place next job was to make up and fit the new brake pipes which is always a nice little job I enjoy doing but always struggle to get them as neat and straight as I would like.

New brake pipes on.

I had bought a new set of automatic(!) adjusters and levers so these went on as well before fitting the shoes and springs.  Last item is the brake shoe hold back springs with their little top-hat shaped cups that you have to push on and turn at the same time. A pair of pliers or a flat bladed screwdriver is generally used but it turns out there is a proper special tool for putting these on and I had been given one by a fellow 143 Motor Club member who was having a garage clear out.

Girling brake spring tool

and the retaining spring in place. 

All ready for the brake drum

Last were the rubber boots that seal around the handbrake levers. These are some British made ones that are guaranteed for two years so will hopefully last a bit longer than the usual couple of months previous ones did.

Rubber gaiters - but will they last?

And the axle ready to go into the car.


Wednesday, 28 April 2021

2021, 25th April, National "Drive it Day", FHC Handbrake.

Few little jobs on the DHC

At the start if April I brought the DHC back from its winter storage and did a few little tidy up jobs on it.  The weather the past few weeks has been great for open top motoring and now the Covid restrictions are easing we are being allowed out a little more.  

I had originally planned to move the Brantz tripmeter between my two cars but soon found this to be a bit of a pain so eventually bit the bullet and found second one on Ebay. Only problem was I couldn't find any of the satellite receivers to go with it so had to buy a new one of those from Brantz. Ouch! 
The wiring is not diffcult so that was a nice couple of hours tinkering.  I also made up a mounting bracket to carry the Garmin Satnav.  Again I had originally planned to move the mounting bracket between the two cars and had made it easily removeable, but I had some aluminium sheet and plenty of time so made another. Each car now has its own mounting bracket with a power feed so the Garmin just clicks onto the mount in either car.  The only thing I still swap over is the dashcam because I can't find another one as good yet, but that is just a rubber sucker job on the windscreen.

25th April 2021.  National Drive It Day
This is an annual national event intended to encourage classic car owners to get out and drive their cars.

Normally there are various organised events but this year the pandemic restictions prevented all except some small local meetings.  Even then distancing was required but a I managed to meet with a few friends outside Winstones Ice Cream factory and shop on Rodborough Common.  The weather was superb, blue skies but with a bit of a cool breeze. In fact perfect open-top TR weather and the ice cream was excellent.


FHC Handbrake issues

I have never been happy with the handbrake on the FHC. When I put the car on the road the rear brakes were rebuilt with all new cylinders and a new cable. The self adjusters were all new as well.  Turns out the new cable seems to be from a batch of new old stock cables that were produced and sold by most suppliers but which were made too long. 
The result is that it is impossible to set up the handbrake properly so it has too much travel and not enough "bite".   
Washers added to increase adjustment.

My answer to the adjustment part was a bit of a bodge but at least meant it worked after a fashion. I simply moved the locknut to the other side of the handbrake fork and added some washers to take up the slack.  Not pretty but it works.  The best answer will be to get the cable shortened so I am working on find someone who can do that. I spoke to my local machine shop and they have exactly the same problem with some Jaguar cables that are too long as well so they are on the case! 

Friday, 9 April 2021

2021, March. Some interesting SJW888S history revealed

SJW888S was a rally car in earlier times .
Browsing through some old rally pages on Facebook I am always on the look out for any TR7 related stuff and I noticed a familiar registration number on the entry list for the 1985 Port Talbot Novice road rally, 
TR7  SJW888S at start number 5.  
Asking around on the page I tracked down the navigator David Collins so I contacted him to ask what he could remember about the car.   He said it had originally been a BL managers car (hence the close registration number to the TR7 Sprint development cars) but had been rolled by the managers son.  The roof was quite badly damaged so it was sold off and rebuilt by his driver Martin Hall as a rally car.   They used it on quite a lot of events in the 1980s and he even sent me some pictures of them in action, see below.

When they rallied it the car ran a tuned version of the standard 8 valve motor and the obvious difference now is the colour was originally yellow.  Apparently it went pretty well and they had enjoyed themselves getting some decent results.

2021, March. Few tidying up jobs on the FHC

 Lower Front Panel 
When I got the car it had the standard plastic front spoiler as fitted to all the TR7s from about 1978. This covered the lower front panel that runs across the car but which had got a bit scruffy under the pastic. With limited time originally it just got some rust treatment and that was all so it was overdue a tidy up and now was a good time and. The car was registered in 1977 so I liked the idea of keeping it to the earlier spec. Looking closely it was actually in very good condition so all that was needed was sanding with wet and dry and some primer before a coat of Pageant Blue from a spray can. 

Nicer now with a bit of blue paint on.
Rear Panel 
The earlier cars also had the back panel between the rear lights painted Satin Black and as I needed to do some tidying up there as well I decided to paint it black.  There were some scabby bits of paint where the number plate is screwed on and needed cleaning up.   Again it was just a question of sanding with wet and dry before some primerand then a Satin Black spray can. 
Fellow TR7 blogger Beans had also noticed that the number plate was fitted too high on the rear panel.  I had done this deliberately to cover up an area of poor paintwork so I could now put that right as well.
Guilty secret, I had covered this up with the number plate!

Ready for some Satin Black paint.

Finished version, but is that plate on straight?

 Seems I need to adjust the number plate now!  Always something to do.

That is better!

Sunday, 21 March 2021

2021, February Life begins again!

 FHC Front Suspension Job

When I built the FHC a couple of years back it was in a bit of a rush so there was not time for some little jobs like modifying the front strut tops for the roller bearings. The best way is to machine a recess in the aluminium bells so the bearings fit inside them. There wasn't time for the machining work so I fitted the bearings without the recess anyway which resulted in a slightly increased the ride height by about 5-10mm.   Now I needed to have the struts apart to replace the "rubber" bellows which had split so it was time to do the bearing job properly.  

These gaiters lasted less than 2 years!

The most commonly used bearings used are a standard part from a Ford Escort Mk4 and cheap, part no. 6150276.

Ford Strut Bearings, part no. 6150276  

Background:  The standard TR7 strut top bearing is a plastic/nylon bush running against a greased flat washer. This may have been OK when new but over the years these have often dried out and many owners now find the steering too heavy for comfort. Power steering was fitted to some cars back in the day, mostly the TR8s in the USA market but this has two drawbacks, 1 it is for LHD cars, and 2 it is almost impossible to find nowadays.  Some folks have used a modified Rover SD1 power rack but the modern equivalent is an adapted version of the electrically assisted steering column used in many cars now.  The other easier and cheaper option is to just fit the bearings which do the job perfectly for me. 

 The standard strut top parts look like this:-

1. Spring top pan

2. Nylon bush/bearing

3. Rubber seal (runs outside of 2)

4. Flat steel washer (runs on top of 2)

5. Aluminium cone (goes on top of 4)

6. Strut top with rubber insert

7. Cupped washer 

The new bearings replace the nylon bush (2) and the flat washer(4).

Like I said above, when I built the car I just put the roller bearings in place of the nylon bush but being much thicker they do raise the ride height so I wanted to fix this. 

Thickness of the Ford bearing

 The way this is done is to machine a recess into the aluminium cone to take the bearing with only the running surface being slightly proud of the cone, like this:-

Modified cones to take Ford bearing (photo Beans)

Putting it all back together with the well geased new bearings and new strut gaiters was pretty easy, not forgetting to include the bump stop on the damper shaft.  There are various options with the bump stop, some folks don't use one at all (not a good idea!) and some have the nice expensive polybush version.  I just use a cut down rubber one as suggested by Steve Wilcox of S&S Preparations.  The new standard ones sold now are too long.  All you need is one (yes one) rubber bump stop and cut it in half, so it does for both struts. Result!

Half a rubber bump stop is used

With the car back on its wheels I took it for a quick test drive and the steering feels excellent, light and precise - and back to the proper ride height.  

Monday, 8 February 2021

2020, September Tulip Run

Glavon Tulip Run

After a very strange summer September gave us a chance to actually go out in a TR7 on the Glavon Tulip Run.  With all the COVID restrictions in place our TR Register group managed to organise a small run out with the cars on 13th September.  

Fairview Garden Centre at Birdwood opened up specially early at 8:30am to serve the 12 crews with a nice bacon roll and a cuppa before we started. We were the only visitors there at that time and the lovely weather meant we were able to sit at outside tables.

Glavon cars at Fairview Garden Centre

The gentle route had been planned by Noel and Ange Jones and took us out towards Ross on Wye and then down via Upton Bishop and along the beautiful river bank at Hole-in-the-Wall where we got a cheerful wave from some folks camping by the river. 

River Wye at Hole-in-the-Wall
Socially distanced campers

 Being harvest time we did meet quite a few tractors with heavily loaded trailers full of sugar beet in the narrow lanes. No rest for the farmers who have to work Sundays when the weather is kind to them.

Jo calls a turn near Ross on Wye

We all paused for a coffee at Raglan Garden Centre where people were starting to arrive for Sunday lunch in the cafe.  This felt a bit strange to us but arrangements were in place to enable everyone to keep their distance and again we were all able to sit outside.

After a short run through the Forest of Dean we crossed back over the Severn Bridge to finish at the Royal Oak in Wotton Under Edge.   A Sunday lunch had been arranged for us here but we chose to pass on that and continue home which is only 7-8 miles away.

Glavon cars at the finish pub 

The day after our run the country entered a new lockdown and it turned out to be the only outing of 2020.