Monday, July 31, 2006

Bedford CC Mini rallies - related pics

A piccie of the car once the additional lighting had been mounted...

A piccie taken before the April rally (also present Tim Bancroft's Grey Mk.I 2.5Pi and Dale Barker's Herald 1200 conv.)

So what else has been going on over the last year...

Well... one of the main reasons I bought the Bus was because of it's strong engine and strengthened body... makes for a good road rally car... something I've always wanted to try. Bedford Car Club gave me the answer when members of Club Triumph were invited to participate in their navigation rallies. You learn a lot on your first rally...

We turned up on a bitterly cold February Sunday evening in a layby just outside Olney where we met with about 4 other Club Triumph crews. We received our clues and set about trying to solve them in order to plan our route and reach the finish, a pub in Lavendon.

It was at this point Keith C-B and myself started to learn very quickly.
1. when doing a rally on a cold evening, remember to take a flask of tea to drink whilst plotting.
2. you cannot plot using interior lights or even a proper map light - OS Landranger maps are far too big.
3. navigation rally organisers are evil (in the nicest possible way) and will try and trip you up - beware !!

After about an hour of plotting we finally got underway - 5 minutes in and we seemed to be going well, picking up the control boards as we went (confirming we were on the correct route - at that point anyway). It was about that point when everything went dark... We lost main beam - now bearing in mind we are going down single track roads in the middle of the country at night, this isn't good... (later inspection showed the indicator stork had cooked itself). Anyway, somehow we managed to get the car to the end in one piece, but missed a few control boards along the way through mis-navigation and just pure not concentrating. Still, we enjoyed it and voweled it wouldn't be our last.

I knew there was another rally in March, so decided to put right some of the problems experienced...
I re-wired the all of the lights through relays and fused them all seperately. This also included installing the Cibie Oscar+ driving lights and Hella 160 Fog lights I had bought. (see seperate post with diagram).
I purchased a twin flourescent tube 12v light to stick up in the car for plotting the route. Flourescent light is by far better than any other for this as it is a pure white light, white roads look white and yellow roads look yellow... (if you don't know what I mean, take a map out to your car when it's dark and try to distinguish between white and yellow roads using only a torch or interior light... you can't).
For the March rally, I had Dale navigating for me and we ended up being the only Club Triumph entrants. Before we'd even got to the start, we'd already started getting worried... 3 OS maps were required. Keith and I had problems handling one on the last rally, let alone three !! The start was near Milton Keynes, by Shenley Wood. Navigation seemed slightly easier this time, but didn't stop us going wrong a couple of times - but we were enjoying ourselves. The Bus was absolutely flying and the lights made a huge difference, not only with the addition of the driving lights, but the standard units were so much brighter. On the last of the four stages, we had to go through a ford... I drifted the car in carefully, keeping the revs high, gently let the clutch up to get some drive and yep you've guessed it... it stalled. Tried re-starting, no chance. I'd forgotten to stick it in 1st before bringing the clutch up and it didn't like trying to pull in third... d'oh... Anyway, 10pm, freezing cold water all around us and up to the bottom of the doors, there was only one thing for it... get wet. We got out of the car and pushed her out of the water. Dale wound the spark plugs out and turned the engine over a few times to blast the water out of the engine. I spent most of this time bailing the interior of the car out (which had accumulated about 3" of water). Amazingly after about 10 minutes drying, timed by Dale smoking 2 fags, he wound the plugs back in reconnected the HT leads and the car started first time. OK, she was spluttering a bit, but respect was earned that night !!! We reached the finish with eveyone wondering what had happened to us and unfortunately too late for what would have been a much needed beer. Oh well...

Over the course of the days following the March rally, I removed the entire interior to wash everything and allow the car to dry out properly... but it was evident, there were still a few issues, namely noisy bearings. Before the next rally, I replaced both front wheel bearings which had dried out as a result of the off road experience... the best was still to come though...

April's event, Keith C-B back in the navigators seat and we were determined nothing would go wrong this time... and to be fair aside from a couple of plotting errors, we should have been spot on, just didn't quite follow the route we'd plotted on the road, hence we had a few penalties.

The season starts again in October and I can't wait to get the Bus out there in the thick of it again...

Club Triumph 10 Countries Run 2005 - Part 2

Unfortunately, with the delays and weather closing in, we couldn’t make it to the Stelvio run, but did venture onto the Splugenpass. This was brilliant and we made great use of the SatNav, with me calling the corners to Darren in a rally stylee… just a bit hairy when we rounded a hairpin bend leading the pack of cars and were faced with a cow in the middle of the road.

As we came down the pass, everyone was getting low on fuel and we were pleased to find a little village with a fuel station/café. Everyone re-fueled and some emergency work was carried out on a few cars before continuing into Liechtenstein, Austria and then Germany.

We arrived at the Nurbergring after a few interesting detours whilst following one of the other cars who was “leading the pack”. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to venture onto the circuit, have to save that one until next time.

On to Luxembourg and to complete the 10 countries, Belgium where we stopped for the night.

Following a great BBQ with the other crews and a well earned rest for the night, we set off for Calais and the journey back to Blighty. We surprised a few Mercs and Beemers on the M20 after filling up with some 99 octane super unleaded and then finished at the Plough, near on 2000 miles around Europe in a long weekend – Marvellous.

A huge well done to Martin Randle and all his work to organise the event and to everyone that took part as that's what makes the event.

I only hope the next one is as good - cause I'm organising it... gulp !!!

Club Triumph 10 Countries Run 2005 - Part 1

The 10CR… seems so long ago now – but my word what a weekend. The car was pretty much faultless for the entire trip…

We helped one of the other crews on the way to the ferry who had over heated. This saw us miss the early ferry that most crews had caught, so once reaching France, we were on catch up. The car was really pushed and by taking some faster roads, by the time we reached the first fuel stop, we had caught the other cars.

Soon after the overdrive switch began to play up. Thankfully, this happened just as we pulled into a fuel station and I was able to fix the problem (wiring on the switch).

We headed into Switzerland and some great roads Martin Randle had planned out. Going through the Mont Blanc tunnel was definitely an experience… 4K revs held throughout… absolutely deafening for anyone near us – (Sorry Andy and Paul !!)

We continued on through into Italy and were stopped by the Police, brandishing machine guns. To be fair it was just a routine stop down a highway… they see a British car with stickers on the side, it’s bound to gain some interest… just a shame they couldn’t speak English as I think they were quite interested in the car.

A short detour to Monaco and then back into Italy saw us arrive at the overnight stop in Ventimiglia. Not exactly the Ritz, but a friendly enough place to get some rest. Next day, we set off for our lunchtime rendez vous in Lesa with Alberto from the Italian TR register. Again, we were made to feel more than welcome and following a quick fan belt change (it was looking a bit frayed to risk taking into the Alps), we set off.


Bit of wait and of an update...

OK, so it’s been a bit of time since I updated you on the Bus… so here is the update for the last 12 months.

Firstly, I’ll refresh you on the list that I originally pulled together, before I attempted the Club Triumph 10 Countries Run.

Rear brakes – replaced both cylinders and fitted new shoes (as well as one new pipe in the process)

Front brakes – replaced discs with genuine Stanpart units from Mick Dolphin and Mintex pads

Oil cooler / breather – had customer hoses made up, which are double sleeved in places to prevent chaffing against bodywork. In fitting the oil cooler, the blow back issue to a large extent disappeared, so no further work had been completed to date.

Diff – replaced diff with a “known” second hand unit – but that wasn’t the whole story… more to come…!!!

Boot lid – new one fitted and sprayed

Driving lights – before the 10CR, nothing was fitted, but have since been fitted with Hella fogs as well

Front Number Plate – new set of number plates fitted

Heater – yes it now works !!

Front seats – replaced with black leather Recaro’s from a Vauxhall Calibra. I welded my own subframes from 5mm steel and believe me, they are VERY comfortable. With an almost matching black leather rear seat from a Mk.I 2000, the interior looks the part.

Carpet – Fully replaced with black carpet to match the seats. Black door cards also installed.

Rear seat belts – fitted

Boot lock – Installed one that works

Aerial – installed a new one – why is it no-one does a wing mount aerial with enough angle to make it point in the right direction !!!

Stereo – Kenwood radio cassette installed with new speakers – able to pick up from my MiniDisc player as well.

Front Panel – no work carried out yet

Alloys – hmmmm, well I fitted a coupl of new tyres before the run, but the wheels still need a refurb… Would like a set of Revs or Minilites though really.

Compass – fitted and calibrated – comes in handy as well… fit one today !!!

Passengers Rear View Mirror – installed

Headlights – replaced main beam unit and aligned – more work required.

Starter motor – sticky solenoid fixed

Alternator – stuck with 17ACR for 10CR which was OK… have since upgraded to A127 55amp unit.

Speedo – still have the original unit, using GPS for accurate speed calibration.

Dissy springs – replaced but that wasn’t the whole story…

Following the above work being completed, the car was almost ready for it’s MOT… just a tune required. A trip to Moordale Motors and a couple hours with Dale on his Crypton Tune traced some rather weak needles in the carbs. Once replaced with some more respectable units for the job, the car was singing all the way up to 6K revs.

With a fresh MOT, she was ready for the 10CR…

Sunday, July 17, 2005

She's back on the road !!

Last weekend didn't see a lot of time being spent on the car apart from a massive thanks to Tim Ban(dit)croft for helping change the diff. Tim was set up for a day long job, but it ended up only taking 4 hours which was brilliant.

This week... well, a productive but knackering weekend...

Thursday night saw the long awaited cabinets destined for my garage, transported back from Sussex to my place... with big thanks to fellow TR7 freak Darren and my trusty co-driver and fellow drinking comrade Keith C-B.

The entire weekend was spent refitting the garage apart from a minor indulgence of getting the diff oil in, fitting a new brake pipe then bleeding the brakes... A short test drive proves the car is running better than I ever remember... Tim, you're a diamond for helping, because the new diff has transformed the car !!!

Anyway, thought I'd get the TR7 MOT'd as well... errrr maybe not... pulled it off the driveway and kept on going... Hmmmm, think the brakes might need bleeding before I take it down, but I'll leave you with this, the running fleet, side by side !!!

Oh, must get a new number plate for the Bus... your gaffer tape has given up Mr Reeks !!!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Rear brakes...

Well, I managed to fit new rear wheel cylinders and new shoes today. Also freed up the handbrake... Unfortunately as the nearside brake pipe refused to budge, I had to cut it off, so have got to wait for a new one to be delivered to bleed everything through, but if the handbrake is anything to go by, it feels a hundred times better...

During the proceeding, I may have been questioning the cars parentage and started to attack a rusty bit of the inner wheelarch... Why oh why do I do this... The result is another two holes that have to be welded, right by the fuel lines, so that going to be an interesting one !!! ARGHHHH !!!

Oh... and the last thing I learnt today... don't try and put down an aluminium gazebo/car port by yourself... the legs are weak and they will bend... D'oh !!!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Update to the list...

So a month has past, how much has moved on the list ???

Well the long and short answer is not very much and certainly not as much as I would have liked...

Things sorted or at least started so far include:
The starter motor (believe me, this was one of the most annoying faults) - it was a sticky solenoid as suspected, but due to the tubular manifold the job was an absolute pain, but after removing the inlet manifold and unbolting the starter motor, we managed to swing it round enough to unbolt the solenoid and clean appropriately.
Front brakes - new discs required, old ones were ridged badly, hence the vibration - awaiting delivery...
Rear brakes - new shoes required and as I suspected, one was sticking. Upon stripping the brakes down, one of the cylinders was stuck. We also found the other one to be leaking so new cylinders all round...

I've also found a couple more jobs to add to the list...
Replace steering rack gaiters
Replace track rod ends

The joys of owning old cars eh !!!

In true rally style, we carried on working through the rain...
Did someone mention beer ?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The List !!!

Upon returning from Gaydon on Sunday, Keith (my co-driver) and I came up with a list of things to do to the Bus in preparation for the Club Triumph 10 Countries Run... and here it is...

In no particular order:
Rear brakes - find them because it doesn't feel like there are any one the car
Front brakes - lots of vibration when braking at high speed, suspect warped discs
Oil cooler/breather - Install cooler and re-work the breather system to prevent blow back at high revs
Diff - Humming at 70mph and above - to change or not to change, that is the question
Boot lid - fit new one and paint
Driving lights - Following a bargain eBay purchase of 2 single Cibie Oscar+'s for £30, fashion some nice sturdy brackets and supports and wire via relay
Front Number Plate - replace (AJP - blame Greeksy, he broke it !!)
Heater - reconnect the front controls
Front Seats - Replace with something with more support (Saab black leather maybe ??)
Carpet - Replace
Rear Seat Belts - Holes created, waiting for belts...
Boot lock - Install one that works
Door locks - Fix comedy situation that allows people to get in but not get out
Aerial - Install new coat hanger
Stereo - Install (hence need for new coat hanger)
Front Panel - Remove rust, make good and paint
Alloys - Refurb, paint etc
Compass - Try and encourage it to point somewhere other than East
Passenger Rear View Mirror - Install (to help blind driver)
Headlights - Replace offside main beam unit and align both
Starter Motor - Replace solenoid with one that understands turning the key means start the bloody engine
Alternator - Upgrade to 23ACR (can the loom take it ??)
Speedo - Replace with one that matches and reads closer than 10% over
Dissy Springs - Replace the advance / retard springs which may help the pinking at high revs

Do-able in a weekend - what d'ya reckon ???

Watch this space for progress...