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Triumph - That was a year that was..

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Thanks Mrs6c.  I don't know Anglian Triumph Services but I'll check them out.

I hadn't noticed anything odd about the oil on the dipstick, only the emulsified water on the rocker cover cap.  Even peering down inside the rocker cover looks very clean, aside from around the cap's orifice.  I am of course hoping that the previous owner just forgot to re-torque the cylinder head bolts after he replaced the figure of eight gasket in April 2016.  As he's only done 200 - 250 miles a year since then ..and those being local club meets and shows, so just twenty miles now and then.. it's likely he just forgot to do after 300 - 600 miles.  I'm always the optimist !    

I dare not do the re-torquing today because of the sand being around the farm yard, where my container & tools are.  I was amazed yesterday, while greasing the king pins and wire wheel splines, how sand and straw was getting in my hair and literally collecting around to leave a silhouette of where I lay on the concrete. It's not the environment I want to take the rocker cover off in, but if the wind dies down for tomorrow - I'll tackle it then.   Stop press ; it's just started raining here.

No the other engine is in the same state as when I last worked on it a year ago.  I wanted to take the crank etc., across to another machine shop (near Woodbridge) but of course that was when we had the first lock-down.  So it never happened and I wasn't prepared to risk reassembling the engine without first being certain those things had been correctly balanced.  And then I was given notice to move house.. so the engine was wrapped up, moved and put on shelves.  Working in the container, with temperatures below 5 degrees over winter, just was working for me. 


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I have a clutch kit from my second engine so I could, if required, fit the friction plate and thrust bearing from that. The diaphragm clutch cover / pressure plate was supposedly balance with the flywheel and crank of that second engine so I wouldn't want to borrow that. 

How long does a clutch last for ?  This one was replaced 37,000 miles ago and I believe the car has only seen light use since, mostly to the local TR club meetings and local shows / rallies.  And that clutch is far too heavy to rest your foot on it enough to make it slip. 

My last Chrysler's clutch was in when I bought the car and I did another 140,000 miles on it and I think it was starting to indicate - enough is enough.

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22 minutes ago, Bfg said:

only the emulsified water on the rocker cover cap

Could just be the 'normal' state with this car, of course, given its light duties since 2016. Lots of older (and some not so old!) cars end up with a bit of emulsion up on the rocker cover cap from condensation, when they haven't had much opportunity for enough of the longer, 'up to temperature' runs on a regular basis. It won't hurt to re-torque the head of course.


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Yes, I hope you may be right.  Your advice is sound and encouraging - Thank you.  The head bolts need to be checked for peace of mind now, and then I think the car needs a good run.  After all she's not been used probably since our test drive in November and has since been put away through the winter. Prior to that it saw very little use because of Covid putting an damper on club meetings and car shows.  So possibly she's been sitting idle for 18months.  


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"How long does a clutch last for"?

Driving school, or rep on the motorway every day!

60,000 mile used to be the norm in the old days. 5,000 if you rest your foot on the pedal and hold it on hills.

I'd check the plate in any event. The pressure assembly  can make your pedal  heavy or light, but only past experience tells you which make is best.

On the stock car we vary the length of pedal and pivot points. Not easy and possibly illegal on a road vehicle.

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As I've said the farm yard, where my storage container is, is a dust bowl of sand & straw in blustery winds, so Saturday was a no show in regard to removing the engine's rocker cover.  However yesterday, although still a little breezy the ground was damp, and so I did pop across there to check and tighten Katie's cylinder head nuts. 

It's only a few miles drive from where I now live, but this is what we had . . .


^ what was that advert " it's frothy man !"  ?


^ yuk.


^ The rocker shaft needs to be removed to access the cylinder head nuts on these engines. I'd not had to do that before on bike engines, but it's not a big deal because the valve clearances would all have to be reset anyway ..if of course the nuts did tighten a little more.

Btw., I spotted before buying the car that the cylinder head was, I think, a TR4 rather than 4A one, because there’s no flat boss for its serial number besides #1 inlet port of the manifold. When I asked Bob about this, he said the head was simply an exchange unit for unleaded petrol. 


^ the two inside end studs showed frothing around them. That may be coincidence though, insomuch as the flow of oil may have washed the others clean of froth. Conversely it may be indicative that combustion gasses had been leaking passed the head gasket into those stud holes.


^ the core plug doesn't appear to have been leaking (no froth sitting on or immediately around it when I first removed the rocker cover, but judging by the pitting it does look like I'd better come back in here to change it sooner rather than later. 


^ The serial number on this cylinder head reads 3151, so I guess that implies it is a pretty early high-port TR4 head as opposed to a 1967 TR4A one.?   Its cast-in part number reads T276.

Anyway regarding re-torquing the nuts to the prescribed 100 - 105 ft lb -   I checked before releasing them and each were already tight to 105 ft lb or more.  But following Mikey's advice (on the TR Registry forum) I cracked them off just a little, which in practice was more like 25 - 30 degrees of the torque wrench handle.  I wasn't clear on whether I should do just one at a time and retighten it, or else to crack off each nut and then to retighten them all. I opted for the latter, cracking each nut off ( in the recommended head-tightening sequence), before re-tightening them all ..again in sequence.  I re-torqued them yet again at the same 105 ft lb., just as a check and to ensure they were all even.

Perhaps it's usual practice with car engines but I'd not heard (..or perhaps registered) the advice to crack the nut’s tension off.  It makes every sense and so obvious when one thinks about it, and perhaps so commonplace that no-one even mentions it. Anyway a BIG THANK YOU to Mickey for that tip .. because they all took up considerably more than the less-than one-quarter-of-a-turn they were undone.  Indeed I was just a little anxious when four or five swings (albeit in limited confines) of the torque wrench was needed to re-tighten some. This old dog learnt a useful lesson here.

While the rocker spindle assembly was out of the way - I cleaned out the frothy residue, and numerous blobs of what looked like silicone-gasket-sealant, and refitted the rockers. I set the valve clearances (pushing the car forward in 4th gear to turn the engine over) in accordance with the manual to their prescribed 0.010" gap.  And again did it twice., just to be happy with the feel of the feeler in each clearance. The rocker cover was of course clean out of its mayo and refitted. There is however no crankcase-breather re-circulation, catch tank, or valve on this car ..its pipe just leads down to the ground. 



^ task done, although I will surely revisit it some time soon, not least to get the cover's fastening studs the same length.

Next task was to flush the coolant of rust, but first I needed to address some chafing issues . . .



^ As it was..  To be fair Bob (the prior owner) had fitted a sleeve over this very coarse thread, but that had slipped down, out of sight. 

The angle of the heater's valve ought to be altered but just for the time being I shortened the overly-long angle-clamp on the battery and swapped its hook-bolt for a correct / smoother one. I then used heat-shrink around that to soften it.  It's a temporary fix but better than leaving it as it was.  And yes I'll need to replace that frayed bonnet release cable too.

The rust tinted coolant in the radiator had a faint taste of antifreeze, but there wasn't much in there.  It’s rusty discolour is now all flushed away by first removing the radiator's bottom hose.  I’ve cleaned up around and inside the overflow bottle, as best I could without dismantling things further (the bottle doesn't just lift out) and refilled it all again with just clean water.  I'll come back to add the antifreeze, which is nowadays just as important as rust inhibitor) after I've done some testing. 

On Friday I had shortened the radiator’s top hose by ½” and adjusted the radiator stays to pull its angle slightly back. The bonnet now clears it rather than clatters.

With everything back together again and a few cable ties added to prevent cables chittering away against each other, and a neoprene foam pad added under the bonnet stay to stop its own demented chattering away when the bonnet is closed.., all was good to go. 

I took a car for a 20 mile run, but by then the rain was starting to get a bit heavy for driving around with the top down, so I called it a day. With the wet from the rain, and now clear water in the radiator I couldn't see if anything was overflowing when I stopped, but from what I might make out there wasn't anything more dubious happening than the coolant water having expanded in volume as it got warmer.  I peering in to the radiator, and the water level was to the very top.  This is certainly a vast improvement on the radiator's core being exposed after just a few miles run.  

Since removing it, on the day we collected the car, I've had no thermostat fitted (one is on order) but even without that the temperature gauge used to read 1/8" off cold.  For yesterday's run it remained cold and the engine was hesitant (as if needing a little choke) when pulling away from junctions.  

So, although presently inconclusive, it seems that Bob simply forgot to re-torque the cylinder-head-nuts down, or didn't know to back those nuts off first, after he had the engine apart for the same gasket blowing into the water reasons in April 2016. 

I am hopefully now that the water ought to stay put.

Fingers, and all sorts of other things, crossed.


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Hi Pete, 

So very glad to see you've gotten one! And it looks fantastic. That's really put a smile on my face. 

Your rocker cover lining looks just like my land rover did when I cooked it and I gave it  a hairline crack in the core plug. Hopefully though yours is a simpler fix and you can get on with enjoying it. Interesting the head bolt tip, I should really double check my landy now that I've learnt that. 

Keep us updated with progress 👍🏻



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Morning Russ,   knowing of the crack in the core plug of your LR will give me something to watch out for - Thanks.

I've been meaning to drop you a line but my world has turned upside down at the moment with trying to get the car driveable ..hampered by strong winds or incessant drizzling rain.  In particular this past week has been preoccupied by my having booked the car in, to go into the spanner man on Thursday.  I needed to get all the parts in and a friend (who does a bit of car-bits horse-trading) kindly offered to help (I would save a little money and he would make a little) ..so I gave him a list of what was needed.  But his involvement just complicated matters when all the parts didn't arrive on my door step, and it has cost me more than had I just ordered everything from one place.  Anyway., that's how Murphy's Law tends to twist things around, and one re-learns the old adage - to get a job done it's often quicker and easier to do it yourself.

I've lost track but I guess by now it has happened in your home ?   If so., a huge ** CONGRATULATIONS  ** to you "three".  I do hope mother and your first-born baby are doing really well ..and that your own nerves has survived the excitement and anxieties .! 

I'll be in touch soon, but in the meantime - please know that I presently have no telephone at all right now. That unfortunately fell victim to my trying to do things in haste and to a budget. 



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Re-torquing the cylinder head / gasket leak into the coolant - mostly worked.   I'll probably try again as it's by far the easier option.

This past Tuesday my best laid plans... to get all the necessary clutch release fork parts in stock ready for the car to go into the spanner-man, first thing on on Thursday - faced a hiccup ..  

Our parts order arrived from Moss and again it was only - mostly  there, as part #   158777X    Pin C/Fork Securing      Ord Qty: 1     Del Qty: 0 (nil) :unsure:

.                                                                                          ..with a new fork release cross shaft -  Fed Ex Next day delivery      £8.95+ VAT

So despite express delivery, the essential item of that clutch release fork pin was missing. And as I didn't open the parcel until (after 6pm) Tuesday evening ..there was no time to order and get one delivered from another supplier.  

I put out an appeal for one through the TR forum and through my local TSSC (Triumph Sports Six Club) group - to ask if anyone happened to have one in their box of bits.?

Incredibly Colin, the AO our local TSSC group, not only happens to have a new one (in readiness of his rebuilding a gearbox), but was also passing by Ipswich on the A14 the following morning  ..so I was saved.  That said I was still awaiting a parcel from another supplier, with new bearings, gearbox oil and other parts in, which I hoped would arrive that same Wednesday.  As I said in the previous post ..things became very much more complicated because a very kind and well intention friend helped.   As it happened I didn't get the gearbox oil or a replacement speedo cable either. But at least they are jobs which can be done at another time.

- - -

On Tuesday, I needed to drive across to near Wattisham Airfield, as a friend Andrew had in his loft my steel gearbox cover from a TR3.  I bought and collected this on the way back from the Duxford Triumph meeting a couple of years ago, intending to fit it into Chance  ..the American project TR4 I was trying to buy.  I've been advised that the cover won't fit a TR4A without very extensive modification but, as the gearbox was coming out anyway, now was opportune to see how practical it might be to do such changes.   I'll report back on that later..

While over there, Andrew was keen to see what I'd bought in Katie,  and so in observance of social distancing (he was on one side of the car and I the other) I took a moment to check the water level in the radiator again.  Unfortunately it had gone down.  Not nearly as much as was being pushed out before I re-torqued the head ..but still things are ominously not right.  I then also notice fuel pouring out  of the forward carburettor's float bowl.  Fuel was on top of the cap but also running down (when the engine was running) onto the wiring loom and puddling in the bottom corner of the inner wing.  

Standing there, in the fine drizzling rain, I cut 3/4" off the end off each of the two pipes & then tried fitting smaller (better fitting) jubilee clips, and then also replaced a length of pipe, each of which made little improvements - but when flexed the petrol would pour out again.  I suspected a cracked cap, because the petrol was also on top of the cap, whereas Andrew suspected the gasket.  Thankfully he was correct. The gasket must, I think, have been a home-made piece of thin card, which was mostly missing and otherwise turned to mush in my fingers.  Again good fortune was with me, insomuch as Andrew has seven classic cars including a Mk3 GT6 and 1500 Spitfire, three Jags, and old Mercedes, and a Rover P5. And then he has a few classic bikes ..all projects !  The 1500 Spitfire kindly donated a correct float bowl gasket. 

I didn't investigate why the petrol level should be so high in bowl, nor the condition of the other float bowl's gasket. They'll be jobs for another (hopefully drier) day closer to home.  :rolleyes:     

- - -

Wednesday  was very wet in the morning but dried up in the afternoon, that was a good thing because I needed to get items of the interior removed. . .


^ Passenger seat, carpets, H frame (support brace to the dashboard) removed. One of the two top bolts "securing" the H-frame were very loose, undone only a turn to remove the nut, and the other had fallen out and was under the carpet. Clearly scuttle shake was doing its damnedest to break free !

Thereafter the tunnel-carpets and felt, and all the bolts holding the fibreglass cover down were removed, so now g/box cover is now loose and ready to lift out.  There were no fastenings into the bulkhead itself.  For reference, working outside in the yard, it took me 50 minutes to get thus far, but that did include me taking lots of reference photos, as it's been 35 years since I last did this.


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Thursday ; clutch out and fix it !

starting soon after 9am ;


^ 9.47am ; Having released the gearbox cover the evening before, it was just a few seconds to remove it completely, and then the gear change lever, the wires to the overdrive switches & solenoid, and to remove the solenoid itself so that it didn't get damaged.

The speedo cable and its 90-deg drive, the earthing wires from under the gear-change top cover nuts, and the prop / drive shaft were also released, and the handbrake lever (on the tunnel) was removed ..so the gearbox may be drawn up and backwards from the engine.  And the bell-housing bolts were removed


^ 10:05am ; ready to lift into the air to remove the bottom bell housing bolts, the clutch slave cylinder, and two big nuts under the gearbox rubber mount.  


^ 10:37 ;  This was the amount of free play in the lever.

All ready to remove the gearbox but no experience in how to do it.  My understanding was that the workshop had a gearbox hoist, whereas they only had a gearbox stand to support the gearbox as it is dropped  out.  But this gearbox was to come out from inside the car but the dashboard is in the way to get a hoist in. 

The back-end of the engine is to be supported on a jack (block of timber to protect the sump) and so we tried to get a second trolley jack under the bell housing to roll it back on.  That didn't work because Tommy had removed the front wheels and the car was hanging on the two poster lift, so that and its arms were in the way.  And off the two poster would have been too low to get his trolley jack under.  I went off to my storage container, to get my small trolley jack.. by which time Steve (who has the workshop) had come up with the good idea to use a longer piece of wood between the first trolley jack and the sump.  When pulled back, the bellhousing would then drop onto that. . .


^ I was more concerned about getting the shaft & its spline back in again, so added to his idea by packing other pieces of plywood on top of that first board (now sandwiched tight under the sump).  And those were of the right thickness (about 20mm higher) to support the bellhousing itself (so no dropping down - which also meant no lifting up when it was refitted). . .

With the trolley lifting the boards / back end of the engine a little and me lifting n' pulling the back end of the gearbox (mounting studs out of the cross member's holes) Tommy was then able to slide the gearbox back. A little more tilt, lift and twist cleared the gearbox's prop-shaft flange over the rear part of the tunnel.  An 18" length of 4"x 1-1/2" timber was then placed across the floor (spanning the hole) so the gearbox could then be swiveled around and slid further back from under the heater matrix and dashboard on that.  It worked well.


12.03pm ; gearbox out ..three hours. I would have thought a competent workshop, familiar with TR's, with suitable equipment and the right sized tools to hand, might have done this in half the time.  Nevertheless it was out, with fingers and car otherwise intact, and so the task could be got on with. 


^ unfortunately the clutch was shot, not just the friction plate but the diaphragm fingers were well worn too.  I had a new one in stock but had hoped not to need it because my spare engine's lightened flywheel & crankshaft had been balanced with it.. Nevertheless it was needed and so swapped out.


^ so very close to being down to the rivets.


^ I suspect the oil wash is from the engine's crankshaft rear scroll. the thrust bearing of course whirs when spun.  By the stiffening web, just seen below the middle of the cross shaft and the clutch release fork, you might notice the shiny end of a pin, quietly hiding in the corner there. 


^ 1. the sheared-off taper pin, which should be twice as long as you see.  With that part of the pin removed, the clutch release fork still would pull not slide down and off the cross shaft.  So the shaft was quickly cut through, close to the fork, which allowed each piece to be withdrawn from the bell housing.  2. I later spotted the clutch release fork was cracked close to where the pin screws in. I only hammered a drift against the fork and so I don't think I broke it, but anyway it was now scrap.Thankfully I had been well advised to buy both a new shaft and a new fork.

  3. the little pin, found in the bottom of the bell housing, was from where that clutch release fork n' shaft had been drilled at 90-degrees ..but it had fallen out !  



^ The cross-shaft bushes were replaced ..you wouldn't believe how loose the shaft was in its old very-narrow bushes. Indeed, when I first looked, I thought the bushes were missing altogether (the shaft itself was worn).  I only needed two of the four replacement bushes I had bought, as these are about 2-1/2 times the width of the original ones. I fitted the old ones too, as they weren't actually in bad shape. I suspect they had been replaced when the car was restored 22 years ago (38k miles ago) but perhaps the rebuilder didn't have a replacement shaft to hand.   


^ 15:17pm : with the new taper pin fitted, the new clutch release fork and shaft were drilled at 90 degrees for a 3/16" x 1-1/2" roll-pin.  The shaft is solid steel so it took a little while.  Its pilot hole was done with a brand new 3.5mm drill bit and cutting fluid, and then the 3/16" drill bit finished the hole to the correct size.   By the way., the shaft's hole through the release fork needed honing before the shaft would go through. 


^ The thrust bearing's bush was pressed out of the old and into the new. The inside of this was cleaned out and it, and the gearbox shaft, liberally smeared with molybdenum-disulfide grease.  During final assembly, this bearing assembly has to be fitted before the taper pin is fitted into the release fork.



^ the roll pin was cut to length ..leaving about 1mm poking out of either side, before being wired in place, together with the standard taper pin.  It's galvanised wire.  The fitted assembly was then lightly smeared with grease to help dispel moisture (rust).   

. . to be continued ..after a cup of coffee.


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Thursday continued . .


^ the new clutch fitted.  It's not that I'm a bit of a pack-rat but I still had the clutch-centering tool I'd bought back in the mid-'90s when I last worked on a TR4.! 


^ 16:07pm ; The all new clutch release mechanism together and ready to fit, with the Borg & Beck red grease on the gearbox splines. The thrust bearing shaft's new plain bushes were fitted flush to the outside of bell-housing case, and the old bushes refitted (with bearing Loctite) inside of those.

25 minutes later . . .


^ 16.32pm ; the refitting of the gearbox was the reverse of it coming out, save the jack under the engine with its gearbox support boards was adjusted to get the tilt alignment right, as the gearbox rubber mount's studs cleared the chassis cross brace. Tommy adjusted the height as I eased the gearbox forward.  

I might add that, as we were swiveling the gearbox in on the timber spanning the hole in the floor, I had one hand on the bell housing. The weight of the overdrive suddenly toppled that end down and the bellhousing pivoted upwards - my thumb nail was caught between the bellhousing and the underside corner of the heater box.  Neither of those were damaged nor did they shout out !  And neither of those now have a very bruised black thumb nail as a reminder of this auspicious happening.. the gearbox being back in situ.



^ The race was then on to get the bell-housing holes aligned and its bolts in, and to get everything reassembled enough to drive the car home that evening.


^ The bottom bell housing bolts of course needed refitting, and while down under - the clutch hydraulic pipe had to be disconnected ..so the slave cylinder's mounting plate could then be fitted onto the other side - where it should be (..the slave cylinder should be on the engine side of that plate).  'Interestingly' the clutch master cylinder's cap was seized on and the reservoir was all but empty ..it wouldn't have worked for very much longer without sucking air rather than the last dregs of its filthy black brake fluid.  That is now flushed through.

The clutch pedal was so light that (thinking there was air in the pipe) I suggested to Tommy that it wouldn't pump up.!    

My last photo was timed at 17:28pm, so the task took the two of us 8 hrs 28 minutes.  I wonder how long it would have taken a commercial garage or even an experienced crew.  The gearbox cover and interior / passenger seat etc weren't refitted, because they'd only have to come out again the following day, but my mistake was to not drop the cover in place ..to close the hole, as I drove home.  It was my mistake, made in haste because Tommy needed to rush off to catch a train, but I was thinking that the handbrake lever had to be removed again to get the g/box cover on. Of course that was only necessary to get the gearbox far enough back over the rear part of the tunnel. 

It appears my not fitting it has cost me a Samsung Galaxy phone, which has just disappeared ..I guess having skated across the floor and down through the hole in the floor !      Stupid boy Pike.

Oddly, after the 2-1/2 mile drive home, I pulled into this apartment block's car park, and not having the cover over the gearbox showed a flickering of orange flame from under the bonnet.  I swung straight into the nearest parking spot opened the bonnet to be faced with what appeared to be a bonfire !  Tommy had been refilling the clutch cylinder and, while he was changing to leave, I had refitted the cap and closed the bonnet.  I hadn't spotted the small silver bottle of brake fluid sitting amidst the silver manifolds behind the carburettors.  The heat of the exhaust manifold had melted a small hole the plastic bottle and its brake fluid had ignited. I'm a big chap and, being duly motivated ( ! )  ..I managed to blow the flames out.  Ironically, had the gearbox cover had been in place &/or had it still been be daylight - I wouldn't have spotted those flames or their smoke immediately. 

Being unfamiliar with another person's way of working + my haste to get the car done and out of the workshop that evening - very nearly caused a catastrophe.  Again I can be truly thankful that just two days earlier I had spotted and fixed petrol leak from the carburettor - Wow ! 


^ photo taken the following morning.

Even though I'd not have put the bottle of fluid there, Tommy was simply keeping the bottle handy as he topped the fluid up, and not wanting to place a bottle of fluid down on the bulkhead's paint ..Fair enough, but it's still something that good workshop practices would easily avoid. 

I hope it is a lesson we all might learn from ..

                                                          Calamity Pete !


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10 hours ago, Bfg said:

I then also notice fuel pouring out  of the forward carburettor's float bowl.  Fuel was on top of the cap but also running down (when the engine was running) onto the wiring loom and puddling in the bottom corner of the inner wing.  

Standing there, in the fine drizzling rain, I cut 3/4" off the end off each of the two pipes & then tried fitting smaller (better fitting) jubilee clips, and then also replaced a length of pipe, each of which made little improvements - but when flexed the petrol would pour out again.  I suspected a cracked cap, because the petrol was also on top of the cap, whereas Andrew suspected the gasket.  Thankfully he was correct. The gasket must, I think, have been a home-made piece of thin card, which was mostly missing and otherwise turned to mush in my fingers.  Again good fortune was with me, insomuch as Andrew has seven classic cars including a Mk3 GT6 and 1500 Spitfire, three Jags, and old Mercedes, and a Rover P5. And then he has a few classic bikes ..all projects !  The 1500 Spitfire kindly donated a correct float bowl gasket. 

I didn't investigate why the petrol level should be so high in bowl, nor the condition of the other float bowl's gasket. They'll be jobs for another (hopefully drier) day closer to home.  :rolleyes:     


Gasket is only there to stop fuel leaking when sloshing around.

Sticking float valve is the likely culprit.

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I've only just caught up with this thread and I'm so pleased it's made a return, it was always a 'go to' read.

Congratulations on the car purchase, it will probably be only a minor consolation to you but at least you'll be fixing things the right way, whereas if you'd have bought a car that needed less doing then you might have put up with small niggles.

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Friday :

The clutch is now so light that I first wanted to check that it was properly bled (after being used for two short journeys) and to fit return spring alongside the slave cylinder.  The was just a little air in the pipe (it's a nuisance having a bigger bore pipe when bleeding). Now the feel of clutch wouldn't feel out of place in a small modern car. 

- - -

I also wanted to check out the differences in gearbox covers and to see if we might get a steel TR3 one to fit in place of the TR4's fibreglass cover.  It wasn't intended to be, but this also gave me the opportunity to see how effectively and neatly Tommy worked with tin bashing, as I have much bigger changes in mind for the car . . .




^ sorry., I should have taken a little more time to align the two up. Their lengths are in fact very similar indeed, as are their footprint.

As you can see the TR3 cover (right) has an upturned flange at the front ..to bolt through the bulkhead, whereas the TR4 - TR6's  g/box cover sits on a flange coming back from the bulkhead.  The TR3 cover is noticeably fuller / rounder over the gearbox. This must have been altered because the later cars have a dashboard-support H-frame, and so their covers are slimmed down just forward of the gear-change hole, for the H-frame to straddle over it. 

The first thing I wanted was to split the TR3 cover into two parts. . .


^ I proposed a line about 3" further forward of the gear-change hole for the split, as this would allow easy access and if necessary replacement of the overdrive's solenoid without needing to disturb the forward part of the cover.  The split is also just forward of where the H-frame sits and so because I wanted to retain that (at least for the time being) I hoped reworking their (split) edges would be easier. 

The height from the front edge of gear-change hole to the floor was much the same between the two covers (1/4" difference), but the height over the rear part of the prop-shaft tunnel was an inch too high on the TR3 cover. That was easily sorted by simply re-bending its bottom flange ; 1" difference at the back tapering to no change in height at the front corner.

Meanwhile inside the car. . 


There's certainly plenty of space under there.  The solenoid switches and their wiring connections stick up but not that much. . .



^  although the footprint to the floor is much the same (and many of the holes line up), the width around the top is ..let's say 'generous'.  Personally I would prefer more spacious foot wells.


^ even the steel cover's fit against the bulkhead was very good.

In short ;  it all looked very promising and to my eyes easy enough to modify to fit very well.

However... Tommy seemed to be struggling with simply getting on with the job. It was his job and so I tried to only suggest client instructions to what was wanted.  In truth I was enthusiastic by the fit and I just wanted to get on and do it. His rolling & smoking cigarettes while he was thinking was getting to me ..as indeed was rap "music" out of the transistor, having tea and then toasted sandwiches, and his not being able to find tools.  There are no solid work-benches, and two lightweight stands are covered with tools and drill bits ..from however long ago.  So anything is done by scampering around on the floor or otherwise hammered over a steel (horse) trestle at the other end of the workshop

According to the photos, we started looking at these g/box covers at 11:40am. And the photo taken ..where the cover was simply cut into two, was taken at 13:12pm ..an hour and a half later !  ..by 16:00 we had packed up.

The cuts (as darts) he'd made to bring the small rear part of the cover lower & narrower (to fit under the H-frame) was let's say "not as I would have done it".  Very ugly indeed, horribly hammered, and with just a few holding-tacks of weld to show for 4-1/4 hours work. The front / larger part of the cover hadn't yet been touched.

If I were to let it continue, then it would be a very expensive job (for what I was getting).  Perhaps it's a sad reflection on me, but I am not even able to watch someone work like this.  After doing things my own way, and just getting on with the job on my own for the past 40 years - I was getting more and more wound up.  I didn't say anything but.. I'll not continue with him doing this. 

So Friday, was such a disappointment ..when the TR3 cover itself offered such promise - with its fit and for being an easy mod. to simply slim down.   I now have to consider how best I might proceed on my own ..with no power and little space in my storage container.  In the meantime I have overheating and water loss issues to worry about.


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I've paid my bill and politely told the workshop that I will probably use them again but that I have to be more selective on who I ask to do what task. 

Following advice on the TR forum, I've just checked the flatness of the radiator cap filler and it's fine. Where the cap's inside seal sits is not so flat though because there is what feels like a weld or solder all around that edge. I guess that's standard though.


^ The cap that was fitted (left) is 4lb and was missing its rubber seal. The new cap (right) is 7lb.  And if the coolant system cannot take an extra 3psi pressure, then it would be running the gauntlet anyway ..with the system about to burst.  

I looked it up, and do see in Brooklands BL Heritage approved publishing's of the TR4 Spare Parts Catalogue, p.179 plate Z29, the filler cap's part number is 122136., and in Stanpart Spare Parts Catalogue for the TR4A, p.209 plate # AG3, the cap's part number is 137691.    

A higher cap pressure being specified (for the later / slightly more powerful engine) is logical, insomuch as the higher pressure also takes the coolant's boiling point up a little.  So as I understand it ; water at sea-level atmospheric pressure boils at 100 deg.  4psi would raise its boiling point to approximately 106 degrees, and at 7psi it would be approximately 111degrees.  In normal running - the difference would not be noticed, but in a hot climate (some American or southern European markets) and the engine is stewing in its own heat, when stopped in traffic, it might make all the difference.  Likewise for a sportscar that was being marketed as being suitable for club racing.

However, using blue antifreeze 50/50 mix takes the boiling point up to 130 degrees. So does it make much difference what the pressure is ?

Anyway, for today the plan is to test the water temperature gauge's sender and thermostat to see how well they work in a cup of near boiling water.  I also need to extend the length of the expansion bottle's pipe.

And before I add antifreeze - I want to replace all the water and heater pipes, and possibly some of their clips.  I hope to order those today, but first I need to search through this forum's archive of topics and see what's been said and advised.  I do NOT want brightly-coloured silicon hoses but aside from that - I don't know one pipe, or indeed one supplier, from another.   



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Yesterday afternoon  I went to the dust bowl (where my storage container is) to do a few more TR jobs - related to its running temperature. 

I'm more and more suspecting the temperature gauge sensor &/or its wiring to be an issue.  I did have one fitted into the spare 4Aengine I bought in Nov 2019 (which was intended to have been rebuilt ready to go into 'Chance') but with moving house that particular item was packed safely away ..and somewhat frustratingly remains 'out of sight.'  Anyway I removed the one from Katie  simply to clean it (in case it was encrusted with rusty crud) and to check its part number, so that I might buy a replacement. .


^ The numbers on three faces read ; GTR / 20G5 / 104.  I'm guessing GTR is the manufacturer, 20G5 being the part number, its length & fit, and the 104 might be the temperature that transmits "too flipping hot fella" to the gauge.   

Now I have those, I hope to cross reference, check it's the correct part, and to find another.

I also pulled the thermostat (yet again) to make some soup. .


^ The silver one in the middle is the new one (82-deg), the rust stained one at the bottom is the old one out of this engine (also 82-deg), the one at the top is a nos I bought for 'chance' (it is rated at 88-deg) and that to the left was one out of the spare engine.  The first three worked fine, but the latter, an old Waxstat, doesn't. 


^ I've now refitted the new replacement.  The one that was fitted has been cleaned of its rusty deposits and with the 88-deg one has been labeled and kept as spares.  The old Waxstat (right) which didn't work has been binned. 


Next up was the expansion bottle. . .


^ after cleaning as best I could while it was in situ., I pulled it out to clean it up and check that it wasn't cracked or otherwise damaged. The rusty colour staining was a hard encrustation. Whatever the root cause Katie has had this overflowing issue for a long time.   In any case it then took a flipping age to clean it off, with a coarse industrial scouring pad and a scraper.  Fortunately the bottle itself is in good shape and has been refitted. Its overflow pipe only reached a third of the way into the bottle. That's now been replaced with a new length of pipe which reaches to the bottom (cut at 45-deg so it can't go flat to the bottom).


I also pulled the bypass hose off ..


^ The bottom jubilee clip, on the water pump was loose enough to turn and pull up without undoing first) and there was again a fair degree of encrustation to be seen.  I've been told that the small hole size in this casting is correct for the TR4A, whereas the TR4 had a noticeably larger drilling. Again things were only cleaned up before the pipe was refitted.  There was also hard rust deposits within the first 1-/12" of the rubber pipe ends. I used a small rotary wire brush to get rid of those and then wiped the inside of the pipe with a smear of silicon grease before refitting.


The next, and final job of the day, was to get up-close-and-personal with Katie' s fan . .


^ The four blade fan is pretty useless at best and ..if possible, even more so when fitted back-to-front and with one blade slightly bent.  The fan's rotation is anti-clockwise when looking forward from the engine and so the ribs in the aluminium blade ought to face forward ..to offer a mediocre of leading edge shape to it otherwise non aerofoil shape.  As fitted, reversed / rotated 180-deg - the overall blade angle of attack is the same but the leading edge is facing backwards and so would induce stall.

Hey ho, it is an easy mistake to make but a pain-in-the-access to correct. Getting a spanner onto and undoing the four bolts has one's knuckles scraping over the radiator core, which feels as friendly as a cheese grater.  They did however come out and the fan was removed with the radiator still in situ. .


^ The existing, surprisingly heavy fan with aluminium blades but a hub of two layers of steel. And its replacement ..a very lightweight plastic contoured-blade fan from the TR6 (also GT6 &/or Triumph 2000 perhaps) which has the same pcd / hole spacings.  So it's a straight swap, except that the TR6 fan's hub is level with the back edge of the blades (not the middle of their roots) - and when fitted this pushes the fan 1/2" further forward than the TR4 type. Awkwardly too, its fastening bolts (those from the TR4 are fine to reuse) sit into the bottom of the cup (hub) ..and that makes it very much more difficult to fit them, not least because a flat or ring spanner cannot be used. 

The cardboard shroud between the radiator and the grille prevents the radiator from simply being unbolted and pushed forward.  But I was able to lift it and rest it on a block of wood, without having to drain or totally lift it out.   In retrospect that might have been easier though. 


^ It looks a reasonably clean working environment but this is after sweeping up the sand and dust that blows literally everywhere.

..so laying on ones back with hair (or bald patch) in the wet I achieved this access  . .


^ although I couldn't get a hand through that gap,  I could see what i was doing when reaching under the chassis rail, to get my fingers in to loosely fit the plate and its bolts. And then, with a 1/2" socket on a 1/4" drive ratchet - I could get inbetween the radiator and those bolts to tighten them up. Finally tightened with an 3/8" drive ratchet. 


^ The original lock plate as removed off the TR4 fan. The central hole is hexagonal and it is supposed to fit / lock around the head of big bolt through the crankshaft's fan-extension. The four fan-securing bolts then lock it from unwinding.  I flattening and refitted the plate correctly, albeit inside the TR6's fan.  And after fitting and final tightening I even painted it (using a toothbrush to get in there). 



^ While the fan was off I took a couple of photos of the fan-extension on this car, which  is interesting ..insomuch as it appears to have been modified to clear the steering rack . .   So I have to ask - is the engine sitting low or is the rack sitting high ? 

Some of you might wonder why I take so many pictures ?  Well that's because very often I can see more from a photo, taken with a camera in a position I'd never get my fat head in.  For example, the eagle eyed among you might have spotted the U-clamp which is securing the steering rack. !  I hadn't spotted that from above.  

I wonder how long Bob's been driving it around like that ? 

An equally interesting question might be what else has rusted away because an overflowing radiator has been ignored for years ?



^ TR6 cooling fan in place. Admittedly it's not very 1960's but I prefer it to fitting an electric fan.  And very oddly ..with the engine running on fast tick-over.. the blast of air coming back and down the side of the engine (where it is safer for fingers) is in stark contrast to what was not at all happening with the original fan (as that was fitted).  

Although it's only 2-1/2 miles from the dust bowl to home.. already the temperature gauge suggests things are noticeably better than they were.

These are just a single step at a time ..and yet they do seem to be in roughly the right direction.  

But I'll not use the car until the steering-rack fastening is corrected.

So that's all for right now,  I bid you a good weekend. 



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B) celebrations, I've now been Katie's custodian for 3 weeks...     where's the Brandy !

And yes I know.. the way I've been posting on here it must seem like three years !    You might thank goodness that I bought a roadworthy car rather than a project  :D:D


I've had a look this afternoon and the fan extension is tight to the feel (I grabbed and yanked at it ..in layman's terms).

The steering rack itself isn't worn (by the spinning fan-extension) and the hollowed reshaping in it isn't accurately aligned with the rack either.  I'd suggest it was done by hand or perhaps on a lathe  ..which must have been necessary because even now there's only the flat of a screwdriver blade between the fan extension and the rack, so there's not a lot of clearance.  The rack is in red poly-bushes, and these parts are included in a kit of suspension polybushes (poly44) bought from TRGB in August '03.  

The engine mount on the RHS (drivers side) is impossible to see even with my camera poked into places my fat head wouldn't fit, but on the LHS it looks like this . . .


^ That front engine mount may be passed its best-sell-by-date but it is in generally the right sort of shape rather than having slumped down.  According to the file they were bought from TRGB in May 2001 (so about 37,000 miles ago)

^^  Note ; the radiator's bottom hose and the water pump's intermediate pipe only have a very short steel-tube connector piece.  A cursory look suggests they are in good shape though, so it's mainly the top radiator hose that is imo iffy  ..that is aside from the heater's pipes . . .



^ The hot water pipe into the heater are both shot, and when touched leak.  I think Bob might have been in for steaming hot foot-bath had these not been addressed.  That scorching hot feet sensation is something I'd personally like to avoid.  I wonder when you last checked those in your own TR  ?  

Now the question is ; rubber or silicon ?    And I'd also question whether the the old wire type clips are perhaps better than the lumpy jubilee clips for these smaller pipes.?  Perhaps the Mikalor stainless steel band clamps are worth investing in, if they are available in that smaller size, as they tend to distribute the clamping pressure more evenly. Opinions invited

On the engine side of the bulkhead, the heat pipes are faring better but for the one having been chafed through to the reinforcement by the battery strap. 

    P1380299s.jpg.46731c8d6cf8eb510649591e6648570f.jpg   P1380305s.jpg.24d622cf4f336651c852a0c8e3623a9b.jpg

Surely there is a neater arrangement of these pipes, wires and cables, so they don't rub against the steering column rubber UJ or the throttle linkage.  I invite you to share your own photos of how this corner might be neatest - thanks. 

Yes, both top and bottom rubber doughnut are also perished. Possibly that's just surface cracking, but I can't be sure until I pull them out and give them a good twist. Might I ask, are they susceptible to suddenly breaking up or they fail safe and just become notchy or noisy.? 


The steering rack U-bolt clamp revealed a little something I wasn't expecting . . .


^ the U-bolt securing the steering rack was incomplete. It appeared, when seen from the other side of the car, to have corroded through for a 3/4" length. That impression being compounded by the splash of rusty radiator water over it.  However when poked with a screwdriver it revealed what felt to be black silicon sealant smeared over it ..and under that was a pretty colour blue bolt head.  That bolt's head had clearly been cut so the fastening might fit tight into the corner, and presumably this 'mod' was then hidden from the MOT man.   As noted above ; the poly-bushes appear to have been bought in '03.  So I guess with a J-bolt and this small bolt clamping the bracket down - things are not as dangerous as I first imagined.  

Good news also is that it hadn't just rusted away, which gives me hope for the adjacent chassis structure !



^ Sometime I'm going to feel compelled to tackle the wiring, and perhaps even repaint the bulkhead one colour ..but that can wait for the moment.  I was looking for the voltage stabiliser which I'd been advised might be on the back of the speedo. 

..it wasn't but I found it where the loom comes through the bulkhead. . .


^ The new one I've seen a photo of, on the Rimmer Brothers website, specifically labels one end as Top, whereas this (relatively speaking) is on its side.  Perhaps its orientation makes all all  difference, and would account for the unreliable fuel gauge and just-confusing temperature gauge readings ?  

Thanks for being there ladies & gentlemen..  these Autoshites  are such an adventure !



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Good evening ;

This afternoon I refitted Katie's  voltage stabiliser, back onto the footwell bracket (what an awkward sod to reach, a left handed operation and tucked up in the far corner, in line with the top of the pedals).  I did give the bracket a cursory scrape to remove a some paint ..but nothing much.  And then headed off to the farm shop for some green groceries, about five miles away. The temperature gauge is now reading on the cool side of normal.  Whether one of the wires had a dry connection, or the earth is now adequate - I don't know.  Nothing else was touched ..but it now works.  The TR6 fan is possibly why the temperature is on the low side of normal.  But all seemed well. 

After shopping, I came back via the dust bowl (about 3 miles) where, ostensibly because the tappets were too noisy, I removed the rocker cover and the rocker-shaft-assembly to again re-torque the head. This was for the second time in two weeks, but I figured.. if things were now mostly OK., then why not just settle thing down just that tad more, just to be sure. At the same torque settings of course. 

The inside of the rocker cover had a little condensation, and light mayo down one end, but not enough to write home about.  My re-torquing and resetting the tappets was done in double quick time because I had an appointment to get back to, but I did also check the level in the radiator.  And the water was both clear and full to the brim. There has been no sign of water overflowing from the expansion bottle over the passed few local trips.

Re-starting the engine and the drive home, just 2-1/2 miles from the still slightly warm engine, was quieter than I've previously known with this car.  And again the gauge soon settled to reading on low side of normal (needle pointing to 6:30 - 7:00).   For the first time, all appears normal.

it's ominously Weird !  :blink:

. . .

. .


... but good ! B)

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3 hours ago, Bfg said:

After shopping, I came back via the dust bowl (about 3 miles) where, ostensibly because the tappets were too noisy, I removed the rocker cover and the rocker-shaft-assembly to again re-torque the head. This was for the second time in two weeks, but I figured.. if things were now mostly OK., then why not just settle thing down just that tad more, just to be sure. At the same torque settings of course. 

Re-starting the engine and the drive home, just 2-1/2 miles from the still slightly warm engine, was quieter than I've previously known with this car.  And again the gauge soon settled to reading on low side of normal (needle pointing to 6:30 - 7:00).   For the first time, all appears normal.

it's ominously Weird !  :blink:

Just sitting out enjoying the still evening air  ..and of course thinking.  A little something I did, sort-of matter-of-course without noticing, was to screw the four finger-loose rocker-pedestal / rocker-shaft studs back into the cylinder head and pinch them up with a pair of mole grips.  Yes I know that's horribly crude. Normally I would remove them and thoroughly clean the threads out (with carb cleaner), and refit the studs with Loctite / thread-lock, and at the same time pinch them up tight using double nuts.  Not much of an excuse for my slovenliness on this occasion 'cept that I was in a mad rush.  I'll revisit and do them properly at a later date. 

However,  a point that some readers might relate to - is that the tappets were rattling when I bought this car (just 3 weeks ago).  I then re-torqued the cylinder head bolts (because the head gasket was seeping) and at that time I (very carefully) reset the tappet clearances.  And then, within a very short period of time (and distance) - they were rattling again.  On reflection ..helped by some rather pleasant red wine, it strikes me that the tappets themselves were not going out of adjustment, but that the coarse threads of these studs may have been somewhat "self-adjusting" and undoing (despite their top nuts being correctly torqued down). This being facilitated by the engine's heat cycles, and so when hot ..the long studs thermally expand and are then looser than when were cold. They are even loose enough to unwind ..albeit just a tad.  Together with the vibration inherent in a rocker shaft, they vibrate loose enough to adjust the tappet clearance.   And Yes, that does imply the rocker pedestals were rattling ..rather than the tappets. 

As soon as all four studs were tight into the cylinder head - my engine's tappet rattle was gone. 

So., if your or a friend's engine has a similar issue of noisy tappets, that are noisy again soon after adjustment - it may be worth your checking that the rocker pedestal studs are both tight and secured with thread lock. I seem to recall on Triumph motorcycles the studs were drilled and pinned. Perhaps they were on some car engines too.? 

I must admit, perhaps because I've always ensured engine studs are clean, loctited and tight - as I rebuild an engine, this is a new one on me.


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Good evening all, 

Well I bought Katie  very nearly a month ago now, and thereafter faced one seemingly serious issue after another. The clutch and the coolant issues have now all but been done, aside from that I've done a number of minor jobs and am starting to address the next items on the task list.  Tbh., I've only ever once before spent so much money on buying a car and I took the seller at his word when he told me that with this Triumph only minor things ..like the interior trim, the hood, and the speedo's calibration needed attending to. 

I don't believe the seller was dishonest, but he simply accepted those shortcomings in a fifty-four year old cheap sports car (well it was a "keenly competitive price" in 1967 !).  For the couple hundred miles a year he was doing - he could live with the heavy clutch, and equally the repeated need to top-up the water in the radiator. And other things like the wheels being so obviously out-of-balance, their tyres being 27 years old, and the number of loose bits and rattles can be ignored when the car is not subject to an MOT and you only ever drive five miles at 40mph to the local car club meeting, once a month. 

From my perspective though, who bought Katie  with aspirations to tour to different countries in a classic sports car, these same 'irritations' took on a different proportion. In fact by last weekend, and after 2 years trying to afford a TR, I was feeling pretty disillusioned with the purchase and thoroughly down in the dumps.  In short., I almost dared-not drive the car any further because I expected those same issues and/or a list of other 'something else' to leave me broken down at the roadside.  The rubber pipes to the heater for example are about to burst, I'm told the gearbox lay-shaft bearing is worn out, and there's a dozen or more 'needing immediate attention' items, before I might consider the car roadworthy enough to take a friend out for a ride.  In that month, I've driven just 133 miles almost exclusively to and from the dust bowl (my container / workshop). 

So, same car and both mostly honest appraisals ..just from different perspectives.

I had a chat with a good friend yesterday and explained these disappointment and my anxieties. I went on to say that I'll just have to work through whatever issues there are ..one by one, to check / replace any rubber parts that might effect safety &/or reliability; water pipes, engine mounts, rubber donuts in the steering, the flexi brake pipes, old tyres and their innertubes, etc. etc.  And then to go through the wiring and each n' every connection until I'm satisfied that they are going to be as reliable as might be reasonably expected.  Anyone buying an old ..and relatively cheap, car has to do the same.  It's of no comfort to think that many other folk spend a whole lot more money and still face the same ..simply because parts perish and fatigue with time and use, and anything at all may fail with age.    

- - -

Today, despite the invitingly blue skies overhead - I procrastinated all morning. I gather anxieties grow with old age.!    I had to face whatever was going to happen sometime, so by 3 o'clock I finally drew myself out to the car, tool kit in the boot and a gallon of water .. just in case.  If nothing else I'd just go and get some petrol (just two miles away !). If everything was fine I'd go further, perhaps out into west Suffolk. 

. . .

. .


Well, as it turned out.. all went very well . . .  B)











The water remained where it was meant to be ..as did the electrical sparks, the oil and all the guts of reciprocating and whizzing around mechanical and suspension parts and wheels.  80 miles round trip to nowhere but a nice house, now a hotel, whose coffee shop was closed.

Indeed I had a really great drive - I do love this car's precision steering and started to learn about its seat-of-the-pants handling and also how to use the overdrive as a quick change down into corners, hard accelerate through and then once streaming out.. to flick the switch back into overdrive.   I overcooked a couple of corners but Katie  really looked after me. The most memorable was a left hander that turned tighter than I'd anticipated. That coincidentally timed with a group of half a dozen bikers coming fast from the opposite direction.. so I was in a nicely balanced four-wheeled drift towards, but not over the white line, and I think the second-to-last bike was hoping to crop that same corner from the opposite direction at exactly the same moment.  I suspect he might have . . . . himself a little !  :lol: 


I really ought be more careful, after all I'm an old fart and supposed to be sensible !  :ph34r:

So there we have it, literally the trials and tribulations of classic car ownership.

Motivation reinvigorated. 



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Looks great in B&W Gerry, perhaps it might be just a bit more grainy.?  You could post that on FB or wherever and ask the world "What year do you reckon this photo is from"  and does anyone know this car ? ..Who knows someone may remember it from way back in the day.  Mind you the was factory painted in British Racing green.

Thanks, Pete.    

p.s. after yesterday's superb springtime weather, this mornings we've got gusty winds and snow flurries..! 

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On 3/29/2021 at 8:31 PM, Bfg said:

^^  Note ; the radiator's bottom hose and the water pump's intermediate pipe only have a very short steel-tube connector piece.  A cursory look suggests they are in good shape though, so it's mainly the top radiator hose that is imo iffy  ..that is aside from the heater's pipes . . .


^ The hot water pipe into the heater are both shot, and when touched leak.  I think Bob might have been in for steaming hot foot-bath had these not been addressed.  That scorching hot feet sensation is something I'd personally like to avoid.  I wonder when you last checked those in your own TR  ?  

Now the question is ; rubber or silicon ?    And I'd also question whether the the old wire type clips are perhaps better than the lumpy jubilee clips for these smaller pipes.?  Perhaps the Mikalor stainless steel band clamps are worth investing in, if they are available in that smaller size, as they tend to distribute the clamping pressure more evenly. Opinions invited

On the engine side of the bulkhead, the heat pipes are faring better but for the one having been chafed through to the reinforcement by the battery strap. 

    P1380299s.jpg.46731c8d6cf8eb510649591e6648570f.jpg   P1380305s.jpg.24d622cf4f336651c852a0c8e3623a9b.jpg

Surely there is a neater arrangement of these pipes, wires and cables, so they don't rub against the steering column rubber UJ or the throttle linkage.

where to start . . ?

My first step has been to sit down at the computer and with parts books, to order a new and complete set of rubber hoses for coolant and heater + new (original type) wire clips (..just so they look all the same).  I've also ordered a new through-bulkhead connector in s/s  and likewise in s/s a new bottom hose pipe (Katie's  existing one is just a short straight pipe so the rubber hose chafes where it was  supposed to have changed direction). 

I've also realised that the hoses presently fitted are the wrong way around. . .


What is seen (above) as the (inlet to the heater matrix) top hose has a 90 deg bend near one end (possibly the bend seen under the bonnet latch).  From looking at other cars - it would seem that this pipe should be fitted to the lower bulkhead connection and also reversed., so the straight section of it comes away from the bulkhead to run parallel with the solenoid and only then does it turn through 90 degrees to join the metal heater-water return pipe, which goes around the back of the engine.  Just there you can see the only remaining original type wire clip on the car.

The bottom (return from the heater matrix) hose (as seen above) is mould-imprinted with the Ford logo.  I'm not sure that motor company has done that since the 1980's, as more modern hoses tend to be ink printed or have a coloured tracer.  Anyway that's just a straight bit of hose and should it be in the top connector on the bulkhead. It then goes straight to the heater valve, which should be turned perhaps 30 - 45 degrees counter-clockwise, so the hose has a gentle curve.

The entwining black earth wire from the battery shouldn't be there at all. The battery was originally earthed to the bulkhead immediately besides its (LHS) terminal.  And the earth wire to the engine is from the chassis to the front engine plate.  Of course this may have been deliberate because the original design relied on a hope and a prayer to earth the body to the chassis.  Funny thing, on my Sunbeam motorcycles the speedo cable tends to earth its headlamp.

The bracket (by the heater valve) on the exhaust manifold clamp, and otherwise vibrating about but doing nothing useful, is pointing 90 deg., the wrong way. It should be almost straight up, and is for the PCV valve ..which on this car is missing altogether. 

So once I get the new hoses in, I can start off by addressing those few details ..and see where we go from there. 

The perished heater hoses are critical items, but tidying the under-bonnet space is a nice bonus for me. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

April 19th..  Wow the weeks slip away so quickly.

Previously, I'd torqued the head down and re-adusted the valves and the engine was nice and quiet ..but just for a very short time. There's very much more 'ticking' at tickover than there should be.  So, last weekend I decided to replace Katie's rocker shaft assembly. 

Unlike the side-screen cars, the pedestals on the TR4A (and possibly the TR4 ?) are of cast aluminium, rather than cast iron, and so under their nuts should be a thick plain washer to spread the tightening load under their fastenings.  However, a prior-owner had used square-section lock-washers, and this was the consequence. . .

P1380324s.jpg.5db733c6893b4b3a062844662e437ea9.jpg    P1380354s.jpg.3a18f8f0e7f25edb4285e7e4e33ae30c.jpg

^ the wire-like lock washers had buried themselves into the aluminium and part of the resultant rim had cracked and was about to break off.  

I did check the tappet clearances before I undid anything and ..bearing in mind I'd carefully adjusted these just 2-weeks previously, they were all over the shot.  From front to rear they were 1ex 0.010" / 1in  0.012" / 2in 0.008" / 2ex 0.010" / 3ex 0.014" / 3in 0.010" / 4in 0.008" / 4ex 0.012".   I see no rhyme nor reason.

Anyway, I had a good rocker assembly (from my spare engine) and so, because I'm presently having to work in a sandy dust bowl - the intent was to just quickly swap the assembles, and of course to fit plain washers.  At the same time I would remove the loose pedestal studs, clean out their threads and to refit those with a little Loctite thread-lock.  

..a 5 minute job then.. but just then, appearing from behind a tall barn the skies turned grey, the northerly wind picked up into a bit of a fury and it started to snow.  I thought I'd just wait it out inside my shipping container, but while in there - I'd get on and check the push-rods ; that their ends were tight and the rods themselves were straight.   More haste, less thinking and far less speed !   In my hurry to get the assembly off and the pushrods (kept in order into a tray), the engine cover temporarily back in place, the car's roof up ..and for me to get out of the momentary blizzard - I didn't stop to think.. and the suction of the push-rod ends in their sockets pulled four of the eight valve lifters out of their guides. I am so blinking stupid at times !

Hey ho.., as it turned out the worst of the weather blew over pretty quickly, but then I spent an hour or more with a cold northerly up my jacksie, and a magnet on a length of plastic tube, together with a piece of small-bore copper pipe (non magnetic) trying to poke the followers back into their holes.  I succeeded ..but I consider myself very fortunate.  I then proceeded with getting on with the "five-minute" job.    

Unfortunately, when reassembled and with tappets correctly readjusted, the engine is just as tappity as before.  The sound appears to be coming from the middle of the engine.  The noise was there before I pulled the valve guides out so it's not something I've done.  I'm now following Nick Brooks's topic in TR4/4A Forum  < here >

Aside from that, this past week I've only been sourcing and getting in bits for the next jobs to be done.. heater hoses and other rubber & related components.


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April 19th.. 

This past Thursday a number of TR friends met up - table of six at the Alma, for the first time in months.  I was too late in getting my camera out to record our table, but Mike, who so very kindly let me drive his fabulous TR4A when I first joined the Register, a year or so back, brought along 'Triggers'  his recently (in December)  acquired TR6 . . .


It's a really very nice car, with Moss leather seats and a whole lot of everything replaced by prior owners. The chassis is tubular and said to be much stiffer than the original types, to the point where the suspension poly-bushes may benefit if replaced for a softer variant.  Mike tells us that much of the body and all four inner wings were then replaced ..but that the bulkhead may be original !  Similarly, the engine has been recondition and then changed again and so who knows what exactly is original (..hence the ref to Trigger's broom ).  That said - I was just so impressed by how neat the panel gaps were and how solidly together the car now is.  I believe Mike has done a number of jobs over the past few months and that has included finely adjusting the doors so they shut beautifully ..as quiet and reassuring as a modern production car.

Conversely (..but just for the time being because I've just bought, but not yet fitted, replacement locks) Katie's  doors, and all her other panels for that matter, sound more like the biscuit tin of garage spares with loose bits n' fastenings in it, where the door glass, door rods, and every bit of trim rattles. And the passenger door only shuts at all with a very  affirmative slam.   Mike certainly does set very high standards for me to aspire to.  Thanks Mike.  She's fabulous.  I wish you fun motoring and safe journeys

- - -

Back to my own reality, with the next job on my list.  Thanks to Mark in Wolverhampton, my ever kind friend Rich, and also the TR Shop, the parts I next needed are mostly in.  And so yesterday, as it was a nice day to be outside, I tackled Katie's heater hoses. . .


With the water drained down (bottom hose off the radiator) I removed the intertwined battery earth wire, the heater hoses over the bulkhead, the superfluous PCV valve bracket, and also secured the bracket for the pipe around around the back of the engine to the manifold stud.  With the battery leads off and the starter solenoid now revealed and removed, I photographed its wiring connections.



Oddly ..to my way of thinking, both the '+' lead from the battery and the wire to the starter motor were / are connected to the same terminal on the solenoid.  I'm only vaguely familiar with their workings but I would have thought one wire goes to each pole, otherwise (as is ) the solenoid is just a live wire connector and not a solenoid. no ?   Yes Ok., I need to look in workshop manual, and I assume that is also the same for when used with a hi-torque starter motor ?   

Anyways today's task was to replace heater hoses. . . 


^ I started by removing the steering wheel for better access and unscrewed / pulled out the footwell carpets.  This is what I had, and tbh I was not impressed with its design layout nor access.  Systematically I un-ravelled the wires poked up there, and the ducting from the screen demist,  and then with a catch pot for the heater's water removed each jubilee clip and the twist of hoses from the heater to the bulkhead connector.


^ the old and the new were not exactly the same shape but I guess they would do.  The end of each old pipe (top right & bottom pf photo) were seriously perished & cracked, and although each had been aggressively clamped - they still leaked when I touched them. 


^ how long does it take to take two screws out ?  Well these two took quite a while.  I think they are of (soft) stainless steel and were an interference fit in the connector piece which had damaged its thread, and then had a 8mm nut on the inside (and my arms aren't long enough to reach around).  The bottom screw one is close to the bulkhead's shelf and so access is difficult to get a screwdriver on squarely (..if one is also turn it !).  Bottom line was that it wasn't long before the Philips or is a Pozi-drive screw's head wasn't happening with any of the many screwdrivers I have ..and so I resorted to grips.  It was an illegitimate thing to get undone.

The new connector piece (in SS) is now held in place with hex-head set screws.  


^ the new hoses in place.  It's a rotten rotten job to get those pipes on, and even now they're not exactly the same twist as was before, but I hope they'll be good for many years to come.   Btw., I'm swapping back to these original type wire clips throughout. They have limited adjustment - so the right size is needed, but then again because they bind so locally - they take very little pressure to seal.

With those done, I refitted the ducting hose, the steering wheel, horn etc., and with it getting later in the day (so needing to get things back together or else walk home) I set to refitting the engine side of the bulkhead.  The heater hose that TR Shop had supplied were just straight lengths of rubber hose, but Rich had kindly supplied me with a correct lower pipe with its 90 degree bend. This runs straight alongside the starter solenoid and then turns to join the pipe around the back of the engine. That was quick to fit. The one to the heater valve revealed an annoying little issue. . .


^ oops !  ..in turning the valve to a better angle to intersect the heater hose (before it was facing the battery's stay) it fell orf in m 'and guv.!  

Oddly enough this had been working and providing copious amounts of heat to the heater matrix.  I'm not sure if its bi-metal corrosion had happened since this was last touched or whether it had been glued in place ..perhaps both.  But as the time was a quarter to five on a Friday evening I was in the doo doo ! 

I cleaned out the softish crud inside, and used a blade to find / clean out the threads in the adapter piece.  I then filed the valve to get rid of its shoulder (painted green) and tried to sweat a thread back into the aluminium. It worked for a bit but of course diecast aluminium isn't a ductile metal, and so it would strip out again. 

Walk home or bodge it ?

. . .

. .

I bodged it .. by sweating the valve on to get a bite of thread together with Araldite.  It's in there by about 8 - 10mm and I let the adhesive cure while putting the radiator's bottom hose back on, refitted the battery, then (again bodged) the earth wire to the voltage regulator (which had literally broken in two), and put my tools in the boot.

The radiator was refilled and the car left to run so that the thermostat would open and water would fully circulate ..to let the bubbles out. After a fountain and shower things settled down and the water level stayed where it should be.  

Finally the seemingly simple task ..of replacing just four heater hoses, was done (..well sort of) as the light started to fade., just after 7pm.  Katie  got me home without issue.  The cooling / heater system held its 7psi pressure.. but I'll not test to the limit just how secure the Araldite is holding it together. 

I was glad not to have to walk home.  :rolleyes:  After an 8hr non-stop shift I was tired.

On or about the 26th of this month, I hope to be moving home again ..to a ground floor apartment with a patio where I can work on the car, and where I'll have electricity.  I'll not have the sandy dust everywhere, I'll have longer sunlight hours (less shade), and if the weather changes or things happen and don't get done ..then it'll not be a big deal.  Although it'll be outside - I really look forward to having my own work space again. B)

Today, I browsed through the TR Register archives and read what they had to say about heater valves < here >  Thank to them there Gentlemen.  I've now ordered a Four Seasons 74648 heater valve from Rock Auto, in the US, which today cost £37.12 including tax with Fex-Ex international Economy. It'll take a couple of weeks to arrive but hopefully should be a quick job to fit.



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Blimey Pete. I've been reading through this and the issues you've been encountering, both number and variety of, are something of an eye opener.  

Fortunately you seem determined to resolve all of these problems systematically even though it must seem like three steps forward and two back. It does seem to be rather more than you bargained for, but don't lose heart, hopefully there's a fundamentally sound car there behind all the myriad little niggles.

Thanks for sharing your classic-fixing blog with us all! 

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12 hours ago, mk2_craig said:

Blimey Pete. I've been reading through this and the issues you've been encountering, both number and variety of, are something of an eye opener.  

Fortunately you seem determined to resolve all of these problems systematically even though it must seem like three steps forward and two back. It does seem to be rather more than you bargained for, but don't lose heart, hopefully there's a fundamentally sound car there behind all the myriad little niggles.

Thanks for sharing your classic-fixing blog with us all! 

My pleasure. I'm glad it's of some interest. B)

. . . thinking out loud, as much as anything ; to try and get my own thoughts into perspective... What I'm sharing is "just routine" with any car that's not been used in earnest for twenty years &/or following a budget restoration.  The prior owner bought an unfinished project 20 years ago, gave it a coat of paint and put it back together well enough to take him and his dear lady wife to local shows and club events, on average just 21 miles a month. He enjoyed pottering around in the garage and then every so often spent a little more money, but nothing too major. 

As the back tyres on this car are from 1994, so 27 years old (coincidentally half this vehicle's age), I reckoned other bits of rubber (that weren't seen) might be even older.  And should they happen to catastrophically fail, then that would effect the vehicle's safety or otherwise distract the driver's attention (like scolding heater water squirting up your shorts :shock: !) ..then they really ought to be checked and possibly replaced.  

Of course, many aspects of any car's design is to be assembled in the factory ..one layer over another, with little regard to it lasting 50+ years and then needing access to be replaced.   Assuming a lifespan of cars to have been ten or at the most twenty years, then things like bi-metal corrosion wouldn't even have figured into the design criteria.  Adding to the scenario is the likelihood that the car had a number of owners whose budget, expertise and/or interest &/or time, were less than conducive to its care and longevity.  Awakening any vehicle from years of slumber is going to be expensive, often a little frustrating and always time consuming  ..plus a little spilling of blood.

And that applies equally to any make or model of older car.  Fortunately Triumph parts are readily available and relatively inexpensive. Had I bought a rarer type, an import, or something more exotic, then the availability of parts (&/or the time needed to get those spares in) and prices would have been much more.  I chose the Triumph, not only because i very much like the car and its characteristics, but because it has a bolt-on body (onto a chassis) and bolt-on wings ..so body repairs and even panel by panel respraying is easy, compared to cars of monocoque construction.   I sold my lovely 3.8 ltr Jaguar S-type simply because I couldn't afford to deal with paint blemishes and possibly rust issues appearing after the car was left outside for three months. 

I was recently interested in buying a 1998 Austin Metro.  It was a very low mileage example, but nice because it hadn't been tampered with.  Alas, I decided that it would likewise need all its rubber parts checked and possibly most replaced, likewise its engine and transmission seals, and then all the grease (often in sealed bearings) replaced. And it's surprising common for grease in things like old wiper motors to be so hard that the motor struggles and then fails. Wiring connections may be very ( ! ) firmly attached but were assembled dry and there's often a poor contact after humidity has had its long-term effect.  I looked at this car's MOT history and there were advisories of rust in the sub-frames, plus a number of other minor items like brake pipes.  They were only 'advisories' but still they would need attending to ..sooner rather than later.   I didn't buy it because I just don't have the time nor energy, nor the budget to take on another 'rewakening'.  And that's a great shame because i would have very much enjoyed driving that.  So the point I'm making (in this thread) - is that any  car which we might now regard as Autoshite or 'an affordable classic' is going to need a whole lot of time and patience before its going to be both safe and long-term reliable. 

Yes, I do get frustrated and disillusioned, but that's just me and how I value things, especially now that I don't have a salary.  This TR4 was as 'cheap' as any on-the-road example I've seen in quite a few years.  But to me - it was a huge amount of money.  So to have the car overheat within just ten miles, on its collection trip, and then to have to replace the clutch and its release mechanism within the first month was a shock I wasn't prepared for.  I'm coming to terms with it now, but I'm also having to come to terms with my needing to spend a whole year on sorting the car out., before I dare use it for serious touring (the primary purpose I bought it for).  That in turn means - any and all other projects I have on the go will have to wait.  And that again was something I hadn't expected.  I naively thought that spending that much money would buy me a "roadworthy" car, which I could then improve and play with over a long period of time.   And so yes ..an eye opener.! 


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20th April :

I'm leaving bigger jobs until after i move next week  ..but yesterday saw particularly beautiful spring weather and so I took the opportunity for a little pottering around on the TR. 

I started off with freeing up the seized pivots to the rear stay of the folding hood frame. This stay (supposedly) hinges out of the back of the main loop to hold the rear window up.  These brackets had been ripped off before and both had weld repairs, so it is a little surprising that for the sake of a drip of oil (literally just a drip) it was left to happen again. . . 


^ This had happened on both sides, although the other side bracket is still just about clinging on.  In due course I'll take the hood frame off and weld them up again.  In the meantime I crudely used a pair of plumber's grips to rotate the pivot as I dripped oil in.  I was surprised at just how much force, with 8" of leverage, it took to get each pivot to move. Eventually, with lubrication, they turned freely in my fingers.  Interestingly ..or not, there are 11 pivots on either side of these (TR6) hood frames that need a drip of oil every five or ten years, particularly on hood frames that are rarely put up or down.

- - -

My next little task was to adjust the steering column.  As I now have the seat right the way back, moving the steering wheel back too will give me much better clearance between it and my leg.  The TR has a split steering column inner-shaft with sliding flats on its two parts, and a clamp to hold that position.  The steering column's outer sleeve has U-clamps, which may be loosened and the column pulled out (wheel closer / shorter arm reach) or pushed further in to the dashboard.  It's not a very convenient but it is a great boon for those who are not of average size or proportion.  As I wanted to see what those clamps were and I can't see around bends (even after sucking a lemon) nor in the dark - I took a photo. . .


^ That light grey block is the column's clamp at the dashboard. There is another where the column comes through the bulkhead. This one has through-bolts so I needed to hold a spanner on the bolt head as I slackened off the nut.  I'll have to see if those bolts were originally captive or perhaps square headed, so as to not turn, because as it was this was an awkward little episode !   The clamp at the bulkhead was much easier ..although I couldn't see it, it felt more like a u-bolt, so just a 3/8" drive socket on its extension undid that easily. 

I've been advised that the stay to the dashboard clamp is incorrectly positioned, and that it shouldn't cross at an angle to the column, but for the time being I'll live with it ..and just get on and adjust the column's position


^ From the engine bay's side of the bulkhead this is the steering column's outer sleeve, protruding (as it was) by about 80mm. The clamp which holds the two parts of the steering column shaft in place is that block with the two bolts through it.  The rubber doughnut / coupling can be seen to the bottom right of the picture.  And Katie's  new heater hoses, now with original type wire clips, is across the top of this piccie. Yes the instrument cable was just hanging loose and being chafed by the coupling.

After my adjustment ; the column's protrusion is now about 38 mm, so I've pulled the steering wheel and column, with its switches, back by 42mm (just over 1-1/2").  I'll try it there and see how it feels.  Just sitting in the driver's seat - it feels much better clearance but whether the reach for my arms is now comfortable or too close remains to be seen (.. or felt !).

While, focused on the steering column, it was a good opportunity to replace those rubber couplings, after all they were not probably not replaced when the car was restored 22 years ago. . .


^ I'm sure they had years of service still in them but I'm just replacing any perished rubber I see ..so that I can drive the car and feel a little more reassured by its reliability and safety.   You'll see above that the bolts had not been lock wired. And I saw no evidence that thread lock had been used, nor were there lock washers, instead.


^ The old and the new.  The hole through the centre is where the horn's earthing wire goes through the rubber coupling (rather than around the outside where it might get snagged). 

I'd guess the old rubber had deformed a little because when I reassembled the coupling with the new rubber I needed to use a B&D Workmate to pinch the holes closer together (by about 3mm (1/8") before i could get the bolt through.  Of course it may just be that the new rubber is of metric dimension.  Anyway they went together fine. 


^ The reassembled coupling with new rubber and its bolts cross lock-wired.  NB.  if you're doing this task, do have a 1.5mm drill-bit ready to clean out the holes for the lock wires.  One had a wire broken off inside and it took almost an hour to drill it out.  I had just one drill-bit of that size, and of course they do bend and break off very easily ..I was lucky.  The braided earth-wire can just be seen ..tucking in between the metal and going through the centre of the rubber.  That wire has an eye connector on each end which fits below a bolt head into either side splined clamp. 


I replaced both couplings.  ^ This was the bottom one, close to the steering rack. It's easily removed, to be rebuilt on the bench, by undoing the clamp bolt nearest the rack and simply tapping the coupling upwards off its spline, together with the column's shaft (the top coupling having already been removed).  You can see here that one of its splines onto the shaft was loose, and wearing every looser.  When the rubber was replaced, I reassembled it by reversing the couplings, top to bottom. Their slight difference in fit tightened everything up nicely.


^ another job done.  Because I working outside my apartment block I didn't have my spare nuts n' bolts & washers for those clamps, but these are now easily accessible to be swapped-out in due course.  Likewise the cable strap holding the instrument cable away from the coupling is just temporary. 

That's it for yesterday.


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20th April :

After yesterday, I didn't get much of anything done today.  Being woken at 5:15am by a neighbour readying themselves for early morning work (..poor sod), and then not getting back to sleep ..until after my alarm went off.  And then not waking up until quarter to eleven.  Not a good start to my day,  so I wrote what I posted and then went out to combat a clatter - the bonnet which rattles n' shakes more than a ice cocktail in a smashed shaker. .

Upon investigation I found this . . . 


^ The keen eyed observer will note its lock nut ..fully unscrewed.  I wound the dovetail latch (screwdriver in its end slot) back in by 3-1/2 turns, tried the bonnet for its closed fit, before tightening that lock-nut.  Now the bonnet pulls down to the rubbers on both sides rather than bouncing around on the sprung latch. 

Funny how that job took 10 minutes to identify, look up in the manual how to adjust it, and then do the job and it makes more difference than 8 hours working on the car yesterday. !

I then made a couple of urgent phone calls to the TR Register's office, re. my passwords on that website as I was keen to buy something advertised in their classified Ad's section, before taking the car out to a farm shop for my green groceries.  Came back via the dust bowl / my storage container where I sorted out and collected tools n' bits for the next tasks I want to tackle.   

During that little drive, the bonnet rattle is many times better ..so that I can now more clearly hear numerous other tappeties, rattles, and whirring noises. :lol: 

And the steering wheel is now sufficiently clear of my leg.  In fact I wonder if it might go forward again by half an inch as a better compromise to a slightly straighter arm driving position.  Should anyone find their steering heavy at parking speeds - they might try bringing their steering wheel closer. The geometry and ergonomics of doing this makes the steering a good bit easier as such speeds.   

By the way, I propose adhering anti-drum / sound deadening to the underside of the bonnet .. Any recommendations ?  Nothing that looks too modern please.

Cheers, Pete

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