Progress…..

So, with some time to kill whilst the fuel pipe is being modified to accept the 1/8″ BSP sensor, I decided to get the car over the pit and move on with the gearbox removal / exchange.

This being the first time I’d properly looked in the pit in the 5 years we’ve been here, it was a bit of a shock… there was a total of 750kg of old soil, rotted wood pallets, remains of an old bonfire or two and some discarded oil seals and bearings in the bottom that had to be cleared. 750kg as that’s what the weighbridge at the tip said when it was all dumped…!

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The whole operation was carefully managed by our faithful assistants of course… In the end, I cleared out the bottom with a couple of kilos of caustic soda and we now have a functioning, clean pit that even has a proper sealed floor.

Realising that the extractor manifold downpipe / first section of horizontal exhaust would need to be removed, I started above ground and dropped off the inlet manifolds and released the exhaust manifold from the studs. Fortunately, the sliding fitting into the main exhaust section came free easily and the manifold lifted away without problem.

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You can see where the head ports are miss-aligned with the exhaust path by the soot deposits so I think a bit of Dremel work before reassembly might be on the cards to smooth things out a bit.

In the car, the gear lever surround was lifted away and the centre console removed to allow access to the gear lever and tunnel closing panel. The two screws were slackened back and the lever removed to be cleaned up. All good so far…

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Next, the propshaft was marked up with a centre punch against the overdrive output so it could go back in the same orientation and then the flange split away. The main exhaust mounts were removed in the centre section and the transmission jack put in place. Oil was drained from the box and the filter removed from the overdrive and cleaned up. there was a bit of sludge in the mesh and a few deposits on the magnetic washers but nothing major so it was replaced and stripping continued.

The weight was taken up on the transmission jack and the rear crossmember support nuts were removed.

This allowed access to the difficult to get to bolts / studs on top of the box at the engine end and, eased access to disconnect the inhibiter switch connections. All good so far and with the starter removed and lowered onto the jack, I removed all the fasteners between the engine and box and separated the two away with the aid of a lever. The clutch slave cylinder was left hanging and will be replaced along with the nylon pipe and pipe between the clutch master cylinder and the reservoir. The engine was supported under the sump with a trolley jack and a block of wood to spread the weight a bit.

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The gearbox was dropped away which left access to the clutch cover plate, which was in pretty good condition and the friction plate was perhaps half worn or less. I guess these will clean up and go back in the spares cupboard as “used but good”…

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As can be seen, there’s some oil on the engine back plate though the flywheel and clutch were dry.

I removed the flywheel with a impact gun and pulled it proved to be sound with no wear on the dowel or elongation of the holes; good news! The spigot bush was barely worn but again, a new one will be fitted on reassembly. I have ordered some new ARB screws for the flywheel to give it the best chance of staying in one place… Must check the new torque figure for them!

I removed the engine back plate to source the oil leak and it seems it’s coming from the top screw of the seal carrier. On removing this, I found a spring washer rather than a copper sealing washer but also, a little damage to the surface of the carrier that I draw-filed away, making a flat surface for a new copper washer. I used some Loctite 577 on the threads and around the washer then torqued up the screw – hopefully, that’s the end of it now..! There was a smear of oil coming from the core plug at the back of the cam however, barely enough to register a run and certainly not worth smashing it out to replace and reseal it…!

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I noticed that the speedo cable sheath was damaged when the gearbox was out – Chris Witor has a LHD one in stock so will put that on the order list too.

Under the floor is as clean as the rest of the car – there’s no rust anywhere and, whilst the box is out, I’ll give all the box sections a good filling with Dynax S50 and the area above the gearbox, plenty of Waxoyl on all surfaces.

With the aid of a mate, I split the gearbox from the overdrive and swapped it over to the new box from Mike Papworth. At Mike’s suggestion, the 2nd gear switch will be left off the new box and the wiring modified to suit. I ordered some 80W gear oil on line, also a suggestion from Mike, as it seems just about impossible to find here in the stores.

Chris’s box of parts arrived yesterday so the weekend looks like being a little busy, starting with the Waxoyl and Dynax…

 

Going onto the next bit…!

So, after a few relatively quiet weeks, and a few trips out with the local unofficial club, it was time to get a few things underway.

I ordered, and received promptly from Demon Tweeks, a Stack Classic 80mm rev-counter and dash-top pod along with a  52mm SPA combined fuel / oil pressure  gauge.

A bit testing to fit but the tacho went on top of the dash above the ashtray and the combined gauge, under the rheostat / interior lamp switches.

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For the fuel pressure sensor, I’m going to get a work contact to crimp a 1/8BSP female fitting into the flexi line before the MU inlet – I tried making up a connection with assistance of the local hydraulics shop but space was becoming a problem using a T and adapters. This way, I get to keep the correct pipe fittings and, as the flexi is pretty new, it should be a good option for some years.

I had to make another penetration through the firewall for the sensor cables of the SPA gauge – it comes with excellent quality industrial-style sensors and end fittings and trying to find some grommets here proved a little difficult. In the end, I decided to use some epoxy putty which has the advantage of being resistant to heat, chemicals and fuel and, should keep noise transfer to a minimum.

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At the same time, I decided to have a go at overhauling the annoyingly intermittent instrument lamp rheostat. This proved easier than I thought after removing – simply opening the tags on the base allowed the top to come away and revealed a corroded central sliding contact and some discolouration of the main contact of the wound wire section which was otherwise, in excellent condition. This cleaned up easily enough with a splash of contact cleaner, a brass wire brush and, with a smear of Waxoyl before reassembly, a quick check with a Fluke showed the resistance was at least, variable again and it seems to work well when reconnected.

A road test showed the oil pressure gauge to be sampling too frequently (0.2 secs) which was giving over-active readings. When I reprogrammed it to a 2-second sample time, idle speed after a 10 miles run on the motorway gave 32psi and at 3000 rpm, pressure was up to 70psi which is OK I think.

Back in November, I decided to order a new gearbox from Mike Papworth as the one fitted was showing the usual problem signs; noisy at idle with clutch engaged, dodgy 2nd gear synchromesh and only quiet cruising in top – a ‘better than new’ version, one of his ‘specials’, based on a Stag casing with an uprated layshaft including more durable bearing pack and a higher first-gear from the Stag/late TR6, a remade main shaft and top-quality RHP bearings / steel bushes. That’s going to be heading to France early January for a fitting sometime in Jan/Feb, work allowing…! I’m just waiting for a mate to arrive to do some work on the coast here who is also familiar with Triumph gearbox replacement… I just need to keep some ‘Green Tea’ (Heineken) in the fridge to keep him smiling…

Trip 2, etc!

So, still trying to get to the bottom of the vibration from the front wheels / suspension I eventually bit the bullet, ordering a couple of new Bridgestone Turanza 205/60 15 tyres from a local supplier and they came to the house Saturday morning to fit them (at 07.15…!).

On the first drive out, there was an immediate difference, even at low speed around the valley – no slight ‘squirming’ of the steering wheel and then at speed on the motorway, vibration-free finally!

Quite a relief and now, I’ll get the rear ones replaced too – what a palava; you expect new tyres to be made to standard and waste a lot of time looking elsewhere to no avail. The bad tyres were Avon ZV5 – never again, which is a shame as I had no problem with Avon Turbospeeds in the 90’s on my XJ12s… Try to buy British eh??

Just as well really as yesterday, the Wife and I headed out on another trip with the local group into Italy this time, starting in Menton and heading up into the Italian hills for some lunch. Excellent and great value for money though galoshes were required – it rained like the tropics whilst we were in the restaurant…

No leaks seemingly into the car, which was nice, following an inspection on the return home – a great relief!

Topping up with fuel showed 24mpg for the run out, which wasn’t bad considering the roads we were on I guess. The car went well and sounded great through the narrow valleys and small villages…

I ordered an overhauled gearbox / clutch from Mike Papworth for delivery in the New Year – next project already planned.. The Mrs will love it!  Also, I ordered up a duel ‘oil pressure / fuel pressure’ gauge to help keep an eye on things. Something else to do whilst the rain pours down…

Had the second pair of Bridgestone tyres fitted this morning outside at the house again – at 0715, +2C but no rain! – will test the car at the weekend to see if we’re finally fully vibe-free.

Very happy as getting the car out, it started first time after a week of non-use in a non-heated garage… Lucas injection? Excellent stuff….!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st trip out with the locals…

The wife and I went to a conference in Italy a couple of weeks ago in Alassio – great little place and a top networking event. One of the people we met mentioned he had a ’66 Mustang and was in a very unofficial, casual classic car club. Obviously, I latched onto this as the 2.5 was ready for a proper trip out finally and, arrangements were made to meet up last Saturday morning in the bay of Villefrance, between Nice and Monaco.

We arrived with the said Mustang close behind and settled into a couple of coffees and pain aux raisins… When we were all gathered, there followed a great trip up into the hills behind Monaco and Nice with the Triumph going very well and sounding great amongst the others in the fleet. There was, additional to the Mustang, a very clean E-Type, imported from Texas, a boat-tail Alfa Spyder, a Corvette, and a Harley….

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Great views from the top of the hills – out into Villefrance bay, a cruise ship the only thing spoiling the view perhaps but then again, showing just how big these vessels are now.

There was a good lunch in Beaulieu and some new contacts made – including a guy who works in the office next to mine in Antibes!

The Triumph acquitted itself admirably and on returning home, there was only a weep of oil noted from the distributer drive shaft – past the new o-ring… annoying! The recon clock is running pretty much to time and all seems worth the effort now!

Next month there’s another trip out with the group; hopefully, I’ll be able to get to that one, work allowing, and that’s it for the year.

I’d better start making a list of jobs for 2017 now…

 

 

Very close now…!

Had a warm feeling this morning – my overhauled distributer arrived back at the office, overhauled and retimed, ready to R&R…

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I think tonight is going to be the night for a quiet cruise – let’s see what a difference the extra advance makes, looking forward to it!

There’s now about 7.5 degrees dynamic advance from 2800rpm, total 18.5, but as I’m not sure what the original setting was for the PI engine, I can’t comment – actions speak louder than words..!

Whilst in the boot, I checked the main flexible fuel pipe from the reducing valve to the main fuel pipe running forward. It was pretty hard and, as the only piece not replaced so far, decided to get a new one from Chris Witor. Bending it a little further than initially, showed that the outer sheath was completely degenerated although the inner tube was not compromised as far as I could tell.

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Back into the garage, all good – very happy with the results so far. One problem remains however, some vibration through the steering wheel… I took the front wheels to a local tyre shop and they found one front one in tolerance of balance, the other was well off… A rebalance required 150g+ to bring it back under control, which is not good.

Tried again and still, there was a vibration – took the offending wheel to a known garage – the local Merc independant – who has some top-line equipment. He confirmed the problem and even switching the tyre around the rime somewhat, it was still bad result. He suggested that the Avon tyres were not the best, in his experience.

Another test drive revealed there was still some vibration around 70mph but less. I swapped front to back and there was again some vibration through the steering wheel however, at 60mph now and less than previous… I think it’s going to need an eventual new set of tyres to sort that out properly – Continental or Michelin perhaps.

In the meantime, I received some new plugs – Bosch Super 4 (WR78) – and a new set of ignition leads from Magnecor. Another final road test this week will hopefully show some final improvements before the next round of project jobs progress.

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Another oil leak became obvious when I returned home after the last trip out – turns out the original torque setting for the studs on the timing cover allowed them to come loose a little… I gave them an extra nip up and all is dry now after the last run out.

I also received the new silicone gasket for the alloy rocker cover – that’s a good job for a wet afternoon, lining it up and bonding it to the cover with RTV red, hopefully more successfully than last time… Currently, the old cover is dry and seems to be good after the adjustments with pliers and feelers – I might leave it on for a while till the tappets need doing again.

 

 

 

More stuff…..

After a few hours running, there was ‘that’ smell again – warm oil…

I checked around and found it was the joint on the rocker box passing a little in the back corner. On removal of the cover, I found a small section of jointing not secured very well – the only section on the whole of the cover of course – in that corner so, I removed the gasket – which will require replacement as the RTV had bonded particularly well…

I reverted back to the old cover and checked the joint flange with a .020″ feeler against a glass table. There were a few sections that needed ‘adjustment’ with a pair of large electrical pliers, including the three holes in the top that had been a little dished over the years I guess and then a good clean up with a scraper and some acetone to remove any remaining deposits from previous. I used a new cork joint with a smear of Hylomar Blue to all surfaces and the engine is dry. Yes, really!

I’ll get another silicone joint and clean up the cover to try again – it’s got to work!

After a run out, I removed the plugs to do a compression test with the engine hot and apart from the one cylinder on No4 that had a bit of a misfire that proved to be an air-locked injector just before getting home, which responded well to a gentle tapping from a Leatherman, all were good; an even brown colour:

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The compression test proved pretty good I think, certainly compared to previous!

1/ 178, 2/180, 3/ 180, 4/174, 5/180 and 6/176.

I’ll check No4 again once the engine’s back up again to make sure the plug is firing properly as that had a slightly lower compression pressure too.

The distributer will be back with me this week, all being well, with a TR5 CP advance curve, calibrated by Martin at the Distributer Doctor. I’m looking forward to getting that back in, timed up and going for a run. Hopefully, that will work with the other mods to give a great touring engine for the A/B roads around here.

In the meantime, I fitted a rev-limiter from Omex Technologies to be safe… Dead simple, just a connection to the coil and an earth. It comes pre-set to 6000rpm but I dropped it to 5800 to be safe for the minute. It’s set with a soft-limit and will be interesting to see how it works. I don’t particularly want to modify the dash or fit extra gauges so this is a good option I think.

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I also removed the recalcitrant clock to see if there was anything I could do to get it running properly. There was a 12v feed to it, no problem so I progressed to partial disassembly – front cover off, hands off, face off and a few checks with a multimeter… All to no avail, seemingly they have a propensity to fail with the contacts being a regular problem. I put it back together and sent it off to The Gauge Shop in Edenbridge in Kent for a bit of fettling and hopefully, that will be that for a while. It should be back in a couple of weeks or so, ready for a few Autumnal  evenings out.

 

Next, I took the chance to change the HP fuel filter with another Bosch item off Amazon. It’s part number 0 450 905 005 and came hot-foot from Bulgaria…

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I had to remove the pre-fitted reducer as it was on the wrong end but it went in OK and there were no leaks when testing. I have to admit, it didn’t ‘feel’ as good a quality as the one that came off (made in Spain as it happens) – it was a lot lighter in weight after I drained the old filter –  and looking through the ends, the filter element was slightly different looking. Let’s see what happens – the same item is for sale on Oscaro here in France at a similar price so I’m feeling good about it…!

Finally, I found the rear exhaust mount failed already after only a few hours running. After having had a quick mail exchange with Chris Witor, I fitted a spare I had with room for the length of the exhaust to increase along the slot in the top of the silencer and, drilled another hole through the boot floor to give a more advantageous ‘cold’ position of the mount. Hopefully, that’ll have sorted that too!

 

 

 

On the road again (Willie Nelson?)

I found the problem with the rocker cover at the weekend – it was the short penetration of the oil filler pipe into the rocker space touching a rocker on No4 cylinder.

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A quick session with the Dremel sorted that and silence prevailed…

For those not familiar with the layout of a LHD PI in the metering unit corner, see below. Not a lot of space to do anything really…!

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The new brake pipes were bent to suit and the servo refitted in place. Bleeding through the system took around 750ml of new fluid and all was good in the end. A bit messy as the Ezybleed pipe separated a few times due to age I guess and managed to spray oil around a bit.

A session on the Trakrite showed there was a few turns required on the track-rod ends to bring them into line and after, a minor adjustment to the steering wheel on the splines brought the steering back into line.

Time for a trip out! Round the valley a couple of times to make sure all was well and then off to the motorway for a 20 mile blast. All went really well; vibration at the wheel was gone – the steering rack end joints were to blame obviously, that on the left hand side being really quite worn.

Performance was smooth and hiccup-free, pulling very nicely from low rpm in 3rd or 4th and ran very well on the motorway with great torque – the exhaust was howling in a most satisfying way up through the gears and 100mph came up very easily…

Next week, the distributer will go off to the Distributor Doctor to set it up for the engine mods and that will be that, all being well, for the next few months. Perhaps next session will be a rebuild of the gearbox as there’s a worn noise at idle, clutch out but otherwise, all is fine. Looking foward now to getting into the local club scene down here and perhaps up to Le Mans for the next Classic weekend… If anyone is passing the Riviera, pop in for a rosé and some BBQ – it’s a bit like that down here….!

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The end is night…

I received the newly recalibrated metering unit from Chris (along with an auxiliary oil feed pipe for the rockers in case it’s necessary) and, the set of pipes prepared by Malcolm at Prestige with nicely replated fittings.

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I tried to follow the enclosed instructions for fitting the metering unit supplied by KMI however, I found, with the 2.5PI, there just wasn’t enough room at the rear of the MU to follow their guidance. I think with a TR5/6, this would be fine however, not really an option in this case due to the lack of space.

I bolted the MU to the pedastal, removed the union for No.6 injection pipe and timed up the MU to the cam position. It ended up like last time, full open rather than a crescent however, it worked well enough before adjustment for the new cam. Only one hiccup was the original metering unit went up to the UK with the trunion still in place for the enrichment cable… I made up a mod with a couple of washers and lock nuts with a stainless screw. It seems to work OK – next order with Chris however, I’ll get a correct new item.

Once in place, I started the fuel pump and checked for initial leaks, of which there were none, and with the spark plugs out, bled the fuel up to the injectors and got a couple of good sprays going.

With the plugs back in and power off the fuel pump, I had Mrs Lewis turn the starter so I could set the rough timing with the lamp to 11 degrees BTDC and then attempted the start. After a bit of coughing, normal operation was resumed and the Six was idling smoothly and responsive to the throttle. I confirmed the timing at idle after a little while warming up and rechecked the rocker oil feed.

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I think I’m actually going to leave the external feed for the moment as there seems to be a decent amount of oil getting to the rockers and with the cover in place, the mist should be enough for the lube on the rocker tips. All the pushrods were spinning nicely and overall, the sound is smooth and a bit rorty through the throttle bodies on pick-up. It’s going to be a shame to refit the plenum and air filter…!

I fitted the alloy rocker cover from Moss-Europe and nipped it up to finish off the job and unfortunately, there’s a knocking from the rocker gear around no.4 cylinder. With the nuts off and the cover just sitting on the joint, the noise stopped – I guess there’s a little experimentation to do with tightening up vs. leakage, which is a bit of a PITA….

Next step will be to set the throttle travel on the pedal, refit the brake servo, remaining new brake pipes and then bleed out the system and finally, fit the wheels back and set the tracking.

Mid August, I’ll be sending the distributer to the Distributer Doctor for overhaul and modification of the timing curve to suit the new engine specs. All being well, by mid September, I’ll be able to join in with some local club events and get into the countryside after the tourists have gone home for a little entertainment!

 

 

Fuel pipes

On closer examination, several of the flexible fuel pipes to the injectors were beginning to become transparent where they fitted over the ferrules – I guess that means they were coming to the end of their useful….!

On closer inspection, both banjo fittings had pieces of o-ring in their body:

I carefully sliced part-way through the pipes running over the fittings to save scoring the metal surface then peeled them away with a pair of small side-cutters. Once all were free of pipework, I dropped the fittings into the ultrasonic bath for 20 mins with some boiling water and degreaser. Everything turned out really clean and I sent the ends off to Malcolm at Prestige in Wrexham to make up a new set in clear plastic.

I also replaced the oil pump relief valve and spring – the new spring is about 2mm longer than the old one so perhaps a little more pressure is on the way.

Having read a little more on the forums, I wrote to Chris Witor regarding oil feed to the rocker tips. With the spacers fitted to the rocker shaft to replace the springs, I could see decent flow coming from the gaps between the rockers and spacers but there was no feed to the rocker tips. On his advice, I’ve ordered an auxiliary oil feed pipe that will assist with that and, with the oil seals on the inlet valves now fitted, it shouldn’t make a difference to the consumption. It seems on the sports cars, there is a hole in the top of the rocker to improve lubrication at the extremities – NOS pi versions don’t have this and might need some assistance…

I also received the spacers and longer set screws to fit the throttle linkage, moving it away from the exhaust manifold. I put it together and it went togerther perfectly. Using a quick spray of WD40 in way of the butterfly sealing surfaces to judge when they closed, I set the throttles up to zero – checking with a .001″ feeler proved all to be pretty much the same – and fitted the throttle cable and idle speed control cable from the fuel enrichment knob on the dash. This will need to be adjusted to the correct setting when the engine is next warm.

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The exchange metering unit has arrived at Chris’s place and it looks like next week will be busy after work….

All that remains after that is the brakes – servo to reinstall, a couple of new brake pipes to fit and a thorough bleeding out; Next weekend – a run out? Who knows!

After that, I have a place reserved at the end of August with the Distributor Doctor to set up the advance in the distributer for the new engine spec. so will need to send it away mid-Aug.

Onwards and upwards!

 

First Start

A couple of weeks away with the Mrs to relax means back with a vengeance this weekend in the garage.

I topped up the coolant through the thermostat housing after having given an initial fill prior to leaving on holiday and drilled a 1.5mm hole through the ‘membrane’ of the thermostat with a Dremel to help with bleeding the system through, finally fitting the cover and gasket with a smear of Hylomar. The heater valve was left wide open to ensure all parts of the circuit were filled correctly, assisted by the pump when the engine ran up. There’s a new temp sensor in the cover and new stainless bolts with some Molykote to guard against seizure.

I replaced the metering unit flexible fuel inlet pipe and with the fuel pump 12v supply disconnected, I set the ignition timing with a lamp roughly, turning the engine over on the starter. With the electronic ignition, there’s no definitive point to use for setting the static timing that I could find.

Fitting the throttle linkage showed that there was some fouling of the throttle arm on the No4 exhaust header. I’ll need to pack it out a little with some spacers and perhaps get some longer screws to ensure it’s going to be secure. I removed the linkage as the engine will run up to around 2000 rpm using the idle screw.

With the fuel pump reconnected and the rocker box removed to check the oil feed to the rocker gear, I went for the start. With the enrichment set full and a bit of churning, the engine fired up. The enrichment needed to be reduced quickly to get it running well and it sounded great – smooth and even. A great relief!

Oil feed to the rockers proved to be good – I used some masking tape to create a little barrier at the rear of the head to ensure, as much as possible, the oil went back to the sump after feeding the rocker shaft, rather than down the back of the block…

I ran the engine for about 20 mins, ensuring the temps were at normal to run the cam in properly. I had previously changed the oil for some new 20/50 and a new filter, pre-filled with oil, just to be sure – cheap maintenance! I noticed that the engine seems to run a little hotter than with normal glycol mix, which seems to follow the internet forum comments when using waterless coolant.

With the engine idlng, I checked the timing and set it to 11 degrees BTDC, as suggested by Chris Witor, to suit the cam and exhaust. I also checked the vacuum and it’s running at 8.5/9″. This will be used to recalibrate the metering unit for the new set up. When the throttles seal up properly, I guess the real vacuum will be a little greater, perhaps steadier on 9″.

Next job was to remove the metering unit, box it up and send it up to be recalibrated. All off OK although I noticed that there were a couple of HP hose fittings weeping a little petrol at the metering unit – I have new pipe to fabricate up a  set before reassembly. It was the two against the side of the block, of course…

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With the ignition timing set correctly, the rotational position of the distributer was, I thought, too far clockwise, see below:

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When the metering unit / distributer go back, I’ll move the distributor drive round a little to give a position with the (now defunct) vacuum actuator running forwards and aft along the block.

 

The end is in sight!!