Saturday, 22 December 2012

Angle grinder meltdown

There I was, Saturday morning last weekend, working away with a cup brush in the angle grinder, removing the remainder of the paint and rust from the front valance of the Saloon, when all of all sudden the angle grinder starts to feel very light, the cup brush stops spinning and I hear a noise very similar to a differential stripping! I end up with an angle grinder that still spins its armature up to full speed but has a completely static spindle. The spindle, in fact, had gone completely loose with seemingly no connection to the armature.

It became clear what had happened when I dissembled the angle grinder. The four machine screws that secure the spindle assembly to the gearcase had worked loose. This had allowed the spindle to partly disengage from the pinion stripping the pinion teeth in the process.

It wasn't a particularly cheap angle grinder so I reckoned it was worth saving if at all possible. And after a quick internet search, and £3.50 later (the cost of a replacement pinion), it's working again as of this morning!

I'm wondering if the vibration you often get when working with cup brushes fitted to angle grinders is what caused the screws to loosen? So that I don't get held up again when an angle grinder goes down I've bought a second, cheap (£17) angle grinder as backup. What I'll maybe do is use the cup brushes with the cheap angle grinder and keep the better angle grinder for working with flap discs, grinding or cutting.

Anyway - work resumes on the Saloon as of this afternoon!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Cleaning up well...

It all went rather baltic up here a couple of weeks ago making the garage a very unpleasant place to be! It warmed up considerably over the weekend though and I managed to get a full day on the Saloon today.

The front lamp panel has cleaned up very well and the valance isn't looking too bad so far.

What used to look like this... looks like this:

Some minor pitting but no holes and I'll be able to remove all of the rust. This is much better than I was expecting. So much so that the Hydrate 80 I was planning to use isn't going to be needed here. Instead, once the clean-up's finished it'll be primed with Electrox then roughly finished as described in the previous blog with couple of coats of Triumph White.

As noted before the front valance will need repaired where it joins the inner wheel arch and front wing but that's all that's wrong with it. I'll deal with that when I'm sorting the floor, sills and wings next year.

Keeping my fingers crossed that it stays mild so that I can get a decent run at this and get it done!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Thinking out loud...

Not much to report I'm afraid. Work took me away from home for the best part of the last two weeks and that, combined with an overnight stay in Birmingham so we could spend Saturday morning at the FJ Classic Car Show at the NEC, has stalled progress on the saloon.

In an effort to keep the momentum up - on the blog at least - I thought I'd post a few words about my plans for the saloon's bodywork.

The general approach I want to take to getting the saloon back on the road is to keep as much of the original car as possible. This is not the approach I took with the Spitfire, and although it might sound a bit daft I have come to regret this to some extent. More of this later when I start on the jobs I want to get done on the Spitfire over the winter.

So, other than the serious issues noted in the first blog with the sills and floors which are going to require extensive panel repair and replacement, the only other areas that were showing obvious signs of rust were the front and rear front lamp panels, the front valance and the rear edge of the bootlid.

I cleaned the rust off a couple of times and tried a few tricks to stop it reappearing, but to no avail. It would always come back fairly quickly. However, when I got round to stripping the paint off I found it was all good, solid metal with only minor surface pitting evident, except where the front valence joins the front wings where the valence will need a small repair patch let in on either side.

What I'm thinking here is I'll finish derusting these panels and get all the old paint and primer off, get them as clean as possible, then paint with Hydrate 80, zinc primer and then I'll seal the primer with two or three coats of Triumph White from a spray can. The finish isn't too important at this stage - when I've got the bodywork sorted it'll go for final finishing and a full respray by someone who has the equipment and skills to do a proper job!

The other areas where I need to do some of the same sort of prep work are the roof gutters and a small area of windscreen frame in the lower O/S corner. There's no rust showing in these areas, but the paint is very tired and it looks as though they're about to start going the same way as the lamp panels and valance so best to deal with it now.

Where the bodywork and paint are OK and I'm not replacing panels it will be left as is.

What's left of the original underside by the time the front and rear floors have been repaired will be cleaned back to bare metal then treated and painted as required. I'll do all of this myself.

I've nearly finished cleaning up the lamp panels, front valence and bootlid prior to painting. Hopefully, if things go to plan, I'll be able to finish what I want to get done to these over this coming weekend. At which point the saloon will go under cover for the rest of the winter and I'll get on with the jobs I want to get done on the Spit.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

More Saloon Stuff

The longest parcel I think I've ever taken delivery of arrived on Wednesday last week!

It was the NOS inner and outer N/S sills from Chris Witor. So far, the panels I've collected for the saloon amount to:

Pair of front wings (Chic Doig)
Pair of front floor pans and outriggers (Earlparts)
NOS N/S inner sill and full outer sill (Chris Witor) ...

... and two second-hand rear floor sections in that lovely brown colour (Andy G, Register Forum).

This is way beyond the scope of the work I've done on cars before so at this stage it's a little daunting. Getting this stuff together well ahead of time is going to be a big help in figuring out how it all goes back together again. I spent an hour looking at the NOS sills and what's left of that side of the car on Sunday afternoon and a lot of things became a lot clearer!

I also fired up the car on Sunday and ran it for about half-an-hour in the garage to get the engine warmed up and check that it was still OK, and also to start getting it ready to swap places with the Spitfire over the winter. It's nearly a year since I last started the saloon but it fired up without any problems and ran beautifully.

The saloon came with a complete history, including the original BL/Triumph Passport, owners manual and what I reckon must be every MOT and receipt. Browsing through it a few things caught my eye:

The Passport shows that the 1000 mile service was carried out in May 1976 (at 1332 miles) - when the car was two months old. The 6000 mile service was carried out almost exactly a year later in March 1977 (at 5816 miles). The 3000 mile service isn't recorded!

By the April 1982 MOT the recorded mileage was 32,132.

By the December 1987 MOT the recorded mileage was 54,198. The mileage falls off dramatically after the 1987 MOT. I suspect that it became the previous owner's 'second car' at this time!

The labour charge for getting a replacement alternator fitted by an auto electrician in 1989 was the princely sum of  £3.00!

By the November 1992 MOT the recorded mileage was 64,916.

By the June 1996 MOT the recorded mileage was 72,256. The MOTs and receipts stop in 1996 so I reckon it's safe to assume the car was taken out of use some time prior to the MOT due in June 1997. When I got the car in 2006 the mileage was 73,292.

I found a receipt that included N/S sill repairs in 1983 when the car was only seven years old. Presumably these are the repairs to the sill strengthener that I found when I cut the outer cover sill off. That these repairs are nearly thirty years old would probably explain why the inner sill has rusted away so badly behind the repairs. I couldn't imagine anyone repairing the sill strengthener and not fixing the inner sill corrosion. The inner sill was probably OK 30 years ago! The sill repairs are the third item on the second page of the receipt reproduce below. I wonder what this lot would cost now? Interestingly, Powdrake Servicentre are still open for business at the same location!

Anyway, enough history - back to the present! The priority for the next two/three weeks is to finish cleaning up the front lamp panel, front valence and rear lamp panel and get them painted so that the saloon can swap places in the garage with the Spitfire and go under cover for the winter.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

2014 RBRR Entrant - Taking Stock

I discovered Club Triumph's Round Britain Reliability Run (RBRR) rather late in life. That was back in 2006, when I volunteered to marshall at the Conon Bridge control stop, near Inverness. The sight and sound of the massed ranks of the old Triumphs, particularly the straight-six 2000/2.5 'big saloons', which are an extremely rare sight here in Scotland, was almost overwhelming and a vivid reminder of why Triumphs appealed to me so much when I was growing up and getting into cars during the 1970s.

By coincidence, it just so happened that at that time I was looking for a second Triumph to partner our Spitfire (more of which later) and after that day at Conon Bridge the short-list became very short indeed. It had, in fact, been reduced to a list of only one - a 2000/2.5 saloon!

A short while and another coincidence later saw Chris Allen posting a message on the Club Triumph Forum from a 2000 owner in the Edinburgh area who was hoping to find someone to take on their car as a long term project. 'They' turned out to be the original owners of the car, having bought it new in 1976 shortly before they were married. The car itself was a Triumph-white 2000TC that had been garaged all its life, with the lovely blue interior in immaculate condition, and only 73,292 miles on the clock. It had been off the road for quite a while - the only relatively recent use being about five years previously when it had been pressed into service as a wedding car for the original owners' daughter. It had obviously been very carefully looked after, was in generally very good condition, albeit there was some evidence of corrosion in the usual sill/floor/wheelarch areas, but nothing which looked or felt particularly bad.

The original purchase receipt:

The 2000TC shortly after I took possession:

The 2000TC ran faultlessly for two years and sailed through two MOTs until the inevitable happened in late 2008 when it failed the MOT because of excessive corrosion near the offside seat belt anchorages, the brake master cylinder mounting and rear nearside subframe mountings. I knew when I took the car on it was inevitable that I was going to have to deal with this at some point but I was a bit surprised by the extent to which the car appeared to have deteriorated since its last MOT.

Anyway, back to the RBRR. So far, the closest I've got to entering was as a co-driver in 2012 along with Dan Armitage and Glenn Gabriel in Glenn's 2.5pi saloon. Unfortunately, for various reasons, this fell through and once again I ended up spectating, this time at Morrisons Garage in Stirling.

I'm not quite sure why, but a line seems to have been crossed this year. I am determined that the 2000TC will be ready - in plenty of time - for the 2014 RBRR.

So what needs doing?

Mostly, as I'm sure no-one will be surprised to hear, bodywork. The floors, sills, and parts of the front and rear wings are in pretty poor condition. This is what I found when I started to investigate back in 2009. It very quickly became obvious that the rot was far more widespread that it had initially appeared.

This is what fell out of the N/S outrigger when I cut part of it and the N/S front floor away to assess what state it was in:

The N/S front sill extension (where?):

After cutting what turned out to be a cover sill off the N/S it became obvious that someone had been here before:

Inner sill not looking too clever after cutting off the previous repairs to the N/S sill strengthener:

Rear subframe mount/sill (front and rear jacking points were both completely gone):

Front N/S floor (note patch in the top right):

Rear N/S floor/rear wheel arch (fixing this, which includes the rear subframe mount, is probably what's worrying me most at the moment):

In addition to the above (and whatever I find once the above is fixed and I start on the O/S) it also needs a new boot floor and the usual front and rear wheelarch repairs.

There are good bits - the front lamp panel, front valance, rear lamp panel, roof, bonnet, boot lid and doors are all solid with only surface rust needing to be dealt with.

When I've sorted the bodywork I'll get Chic Doig to do a full respray in the original colour.

The front suspension, steering and rear suspension all need a complete overhaul as do the prop- and driveshafts. The engine is in very good condition, with no rattles whatsoever and good oil pressure, albeit it feels a bit gutless so may get some minor tweaks to pep it up a bit, but nothing too extreme. Overdrive is in very good nick and works perfectly. Gearbox is slightly noisy and will be getting rebuilt. Diff appears to be in good nick, it's quiet, but it's leaking slightly so will get new seals.

I'll also be fitting a Ted Taylor heated and tinted front windscreen.

I am extremely lucky to have a pair of front wings that I got from Chic Doig a couple of years ago.

A pair of front floor repair panels and outriggers arrived from Earlparts last week and I've also got N/S NOS inner and full outer sills en route from Chris Witor.

I've also got a pair of second-hand rear floor sections which should do for repairing the rear floor and subframe mountings - thanks to Andy G from the 2000 Register forum for these.

To be honest, work won't start on the saloon in earnest until spring next year because the Spitfire will be taking its place in the garage soon to get some things done over the winter. The plan for the saloon over the winter is to buy the panels I need, as I can afford them, so that I have everything to hand ready to start in March or April 2013.

Hopefully, going public with this blog will give me the impetus and motivation I need to keep going and get the 2000TC back on the road after three years of doing nothing. With little a bit of luck I'm also hoping that it'll stop Glenn and Dan asking too many questions...