The trip ‘oop North’….

I had booked a place at Revington TR in Somerset some weeks ago as an incentive to get the car ready for a good test run and, although cruising was fine, there was still something lacking top end of the rev-range that needed sorting out.

First of all, I needed a new spare tyre. The nearly new Michelin XAS was a 175/70 13 however it was date-coded nearly 23 years ago… I didn’t feel like starting a 4000km round trip without a safe usable spare…..


The only reasonably-priced 185/80 13 tyre I could find was a Maxxis MA1 for 58 Euro + VAT. A new Michelin is, of course, available from their ‘Classic’ range but it’s about 4 x the price. As it is, the Maxxis is correctly speed-rated and seems to be balanced without too many weights on the wheel. It’s only a spare after all – hopefully, it won’t get used….

After last checks on the car, I set off at 18.30 on the Saturday, heading to the Caen ferry leaving at 0830. I fitted my new ‘car radio’ – a Bluetooth speaker and a radio app on the phone meant Radio 2 all the way! The ashtray proved an ideal support for the phone whilst using Waze too – ideal car for cruising!


Stopping only for fuel a couple or so times on the way – it is a fairly small tank after all – I arrived bang on time and had a coffee. Great to see the sun-set / sun-rise on the way – it was a dry, clear trip and the car held approx 130km/h all the way without problem.


Coming into Portsmouth, we passed the new aircraft carrier – looking pretty big but not really to be used for the next couple of years…!




I used Revington’s website suggestion for a place to stay close by – 5km in the morning after a full breakfast was perfect.


Unfortunately, the only bit of rain for the whole trip was the night of arrival at the hotel and a little in the morning – but at least it did show up a small leak from the lower windscreen seal – a towel on the floor sorted that for the night and the next morning it cleared up and was hot and sunny again.

There was a short break on the way to Revington thanks to an early morning nature walk…


Having someone well versed in the PI system go over it made all the difference. There’s a Crypton tuning machine there along with the rolling road and together, it showed that the settings in the metering unit were quite a bit off. Carl had a bit of a fiddle using their software that calculates the settings you need after measuring what you have in way of springs and adjustments and produces the fuelling graph – interesting to see it in action!



I ended up with a little less vacuum on the inlet side but a much fuller torque curve and an engine that now pulls to 6000rpm without struggling.

Leaving Middlezoy, heading up towards the M5/M6 to Chester then onto the Wirral, I called into see Chris Witor and pick up a few pieces before heading up North. I stopped at Cheshire Classic Cars in Broughton for a look around and a bit of a gossip with Iain, the director, with whom I went to school. Great place there for an oggle – lots of exotics and a great team with several expensive restorations ongoing. I managed to get an afternoon top-down in my TR and a pub lunch before heading home to see the family.


I ordered a set of ‘classic’ raised-letter type registration plates to replace the rather nasty modern flat plastic plates that had been fitted sometime since 1998… Much better look now and a return the original look.


It’s completely original inside, done about 45k miles and only had some paint in the early ’80s to sort out the start of some corrosion on top of the rear wings. Really, a great example and quite rare now I think, a totally original one – so many have modern touches now but I like the traditional look. The red lamp under the dash on the passenger side was for a tow-hitch indicatior lamp fitted in the 70’s – the tow hitch has been removed since but I left the lamp in place as a period piece.

A couple of nights at home on the Wirral and I headed back towards Middlezoy to collect a few parts, including a couple of o-rings for the dizzy shaft that had been leaking. I left Revington and headed to Portsmouth in the sun.

Around Salisbury, there was quite a bit of traffic and I had an unexpected problem with the car – fuel seemed to be vapourising in the plastic lines to the injectors when stopped in traffic for a long period, to the extent that on filling up with petrol, the car wouldn’t start again on the garage forecourt…. I removed 3 injectors and bled them through on full-enrichment then the engine started and we were off again, the remaining 3 bleeding through of their own accord. I have a permanent fuel pressure read-out and that remained at 104psi so I’m sure it was a problem with fuel in the nylon pipes gassing up in the hot weather and stationary traffic rather than the primary loop to the tank which has a Bosch conversion. Once underway, all was fine again and it didn’t repeat itself.

Back to France and the trip down South – all went well and the car cruised perfectly. Average MPG up was 31, back down 28. More fuel = more fun I guess…!


Photo just after arrival – before I had to set-to repairing a mouse-chewed water pipe and sink u-bend after an emergency call from the Mrs at 7am…

On arrival, after a trip to the hardware store for the pipe fittings and, a pot of Yorkshire Gold,  I attacked the front screen with some Creeping Crack Cure and a smear or two of Arbomast to seal that up and then went into the footwell to check the floor there – I guess it had been leaking previously so was expecting some problems however, it wasn’t bad at all in fact.

I cleaned off the old paint and surface rust with a drill and wire brush in the affected areas then painted up with Rustol primer and will  now recover with some top-coat after curing. As can be seen, there was little in the way of corrosion and the outer edge of the floor against the sill is in very good condition with some anti-corrosion coating along the seam already in place. The brown cable is the feed to the fuel pump direct from the battery to keep the voltage up at the pump.

Step 1 – manual wire brush


Step 2 – wire brush on the electric drill about to remove the rest of the loose coating and all signs of surface corrosion.


Step 3 – two coats of Rustol primer followed here by first coat of original colour followed by a second the next day. job done.


The other side is still perfect:

I also gave the original rocker cover to a local Company to sand-blast and powder-coat silver again as it was looking a little the worse for wear. They agreed to 40 Euros, which I didn’t think that was too bad considering where we are here….



I had fitted an alloy cover prior but couldn’t get it to seal properly – silicone gasket, cork, another silicone gasket and on comparing the original to the alloy one, it was rather obvious that it was never going to work…

The corners are very badly matched to the original – a shame really as it would have finished off the engine bay quite nicely….


That’s up to date now – off for another local club trip on Sunday into the Var – no doubt a bit of lunch on the way; rather nice I expect in the Autumn sun as it’s really the best time to be here.


Problem solved???

Under the car again this weekend, completion of the job at hand before next weekend’s trip out with the car to a show down the coast.

For interest, before reassembly started, I removed the bottom end bearing of No3 cylinder and main bearing No2 cap to see how they looked. The bottom ends seem to be original sized and the mains are marked -10.




A little unfortunate however, the marking on the shell was not sharp with edges that had been worn and the journal whilst discoloured, was not really ridged. Unfortunately, it looks like not enough care was taken at the rebuild previously and perhaps the crank wasn’t washed through sufficiently to prevent some carry over of deposit into the bearings.

Anyway, the bearings were replaced and torqued back up correctly and then, the oil pump was removed to be replaced with one of Chris Witor’s close-tolerance items. I ground the body into the block face as suggested and reassembled the pump with some engine build pre-lube smeared around. The suction filter was a 1/4″ longer than the depth of the old pump (which will be cleaned and checked then perhaps ground in to keep as a spare) at its shortest setting so I left it as it was. The suction tube length is adjustable on a screw / locknut arrangement.


Next, the front cover plate joint. I supported the block with the assistance of the transmission jack and a block of wood to take the weight then removed the radiator, fan and viscous coupling, crank pulley, water pump housing, alternator, timing cover and finally the plate itself. It was pretty messy with sections in poor condition.



Once thoroughly cleaned up with a scraper, it was ready for reassembly of the front bearing cap cover block. The new steel section fitted perfectly and the wood wedges tapped in nicely. I used a chisel to remove the excess and smooth it out with the block.

I used Hylomar on all the faces to be sealed – I’ve found this the best product in these conditions. New joints from Chris Witor and correctly torqued screws should HOPEFULLY end the leakage now….

During reassembly of the front end, I rechecked the cam timing and it was good at 106.5 degrees. I used the rocker on No1 inlet and a DTI to verify the lift and a protractor printed off the internet and stuck onto a piece of card. The TDC position on the crank pulley was already proven exactly correct and I used this as a reference.

Once back together, I refilled the cooling system with Evans water-less coolant and topped up with fresh 20/50 and pre-lubed the oil pump with an oil can through the pressure relief valve. I gave the valve seat a quick clean out with a hard nylon glow-plug brush to make sure of a good seat and with the plugs out, I turned the engine on the starter to ensure the oil pump had suction on the gauge prior to starting.

Plugs in, the engine started first flick of the key, which was nice! The management was happy, as you can see….


Steering rack back in, I checked the tracking with my Trackrite in the driveway and finally, set the steering wheel a couple of splines over to correct the dead-ahead position.

A final check underneath and I topped up the diff with about 200ml of oil till it overflowed the filler plug and that was it.

Test drive tonight perhaps, all being well; too late a finish last night and beer was required….

Back from the trip around the valley – no overdrive and another slight adjustment to the wheel position to correct it to straight ahead.

Overdrive easily solved; I forgot to connect the solenoid! Wheel equally quickly done and whilst under the front of the car, it seems there’s no oil leaking so far! Result…..

That little oil leak….

So, I decided to head down to the garage to sort out the leaking front end of the engine. The threads into the aluminium bridge piece were stripped and although I could Helicoil a repair, I decided to send off to Classic Technologies in the USA for a CNC-machined steel version to solve that problem for good. Marc Goldblatt provided great service and the part duly arrived a few of days later with a couple of wooden wedges via UPS I think for a total of $60 – no import duty or tax applied in Europe; the package was marked ‘commercial sample’ with a $10 value.

I removed the steering rack which gave enough access to remove the sump pan and then separated the gasket of the front plate away from the closing block with a craft knife blade then levered the bridge piece away, no problem. I can see however, that I will replace that front plate joint with a new one at some point in the future – it’s going to be difficult to get a good seal, even with a jointing compound, against an oil-soaked paper joint in way of the sump gasket.


The sump had a few millimeters of sludge in the bottom, or rather, thick oil perhaps more than sludge. I cleaned it and pressure-washed the sump afterwards.

On starting to clean up the block sump flange face, I noticed another leak site at the rear crank seal in way of the seal carrier / flange. When the engine was rebuilt previously, the seal carrier was not fitted 100% square with the machined surface of the block and this, I think, would be a cause of leakage from that area. Unfortunately, to fix this requires the gearbox to be removed again…


I had a beer, thought about it whilst Lewis Hamilton won the British GP and decided to go for it. Box out again in a couple of hours and seal carrier off. Plenty of cleaning up and I removed the old seal (which was in good condition) and inspected the seal running surface on the crank end. There was a little polishing of the surface but no ridge so no need for Speedi sleeve although, there is perhaps a case for fitting one anyway to protect the crank in the future….


I also ordered a close-tolerance oil pump from Chris Witor to fit whilst the sump is off. With the hot weather down here in the South of France, at low engine rpm after a motorway run for example, I think it will be a help to keep the pressure up.


I examined the sump pan and found after cleaning that there had been some damage previously repaired by welding – quite a neat job and not leaking in any way. There was also a dent in the bottom which I straightened with a lump of wood..


Before assembly, I’ll check the sump pan flange is straight and true to keep the chance of leaks down. Assembly will be with Hylomar Blue when the time comes – it’s the best I’ve found for sealing in oily environments.


Another week gone – busy at work but back to it this weekend. I thoroughly cleaned up the rear seal carrier with a scraper and acetone then smeared a little RTV Red in the seal housing to ensure a good seal – the seals are not a super-tight fit in there and could be pushed in with your thumbs. The silicone will prevent any leakage past the edge of the seal, just in case…


I ran a tap down the threads of the holes to clean them out, especially the one at the top which is open to the crankcase and had some Loctite residue from the previous reassembly.

Once completed, I used some Hylomar on the crankcase and seal carrier to make best possible joint and smeared some oil over the running surface of the seal and placed it over the end of the crankshaft. Again, the top screw was given a coating of Loctite 577 and a new copper washer then all screws were torqued up.

The lower surface of the carrier now mates up perfectly with the crankcase so hopefully, another source of leakage is removed!

Spigot bush, flywheel and clutch plate and cover followed then, the fun part, getting the gearbox in again.

It actually went back in OK, not quite as easily as the first time however, all secured. I noticed however that there’s a slight weep on the speedo drive with the box sitting at the angle going in – I’ll need a new o-ring at some point.


Exhaust followed and then the propshaft.

I also found a little surface corrosion around behind the diff and up on the front end of the spare wheel well. This was wire brushed off and treated with Dinitrol RC900 and then a spray of Dynax wax to keep it in good condition.

During the cleaning of the area there, I found a hardened flexible jumper pipe in the return line for the fuel from the metering unit. I cut this away and replaced it with a new section of ethanol-proof pipe.

All else looks OK – next is the front cover plate gasket and fitting the steel bridge piece.




Annoying leak..!

After another evening out in the car, enjoying the fruits of many endeavours(!), I opened the bonnet to check all was OK only to find a little smoke haze coming off the exhaust manifolding.

Following it through under the car, I found both the inner front plate securing screws, the ones that go into the aluminium bearing cover plate, loose. One was held in with a bit of Sika, the other, with slightly less badly worn threads, unable to tighten without further stripping, which I promptly did….


Into the garage and the dismantling began. Draining of the coolant and removal of the radiator. Fan belt removed after loosening the alternator and thus access to the fan bolts was made easy. This was removed along with the damper bolt that took a couple of shots with a rattle gun and the pulley was free. With the damper removed, it showed that the new double lipseal on the timing cover was dry and access to the holes for repair was easy. I checked the holes were still ‘blind’ with a toothpick and will use a couple of new 5/16 screws along with some Loctite 577 to make sure there’s a good seal.

I ordered a 5/16 UNF Helicoil repair kit and a 90-degree drill off Amazon – there’s not enough room to drill end on with my standard drill to allow the new thread for the Helicoil to be fitted.

They consequently arrived from Amazon and I set to on the job. The kit worked well – drill out, tap with a bottoming tap then screwing in the Helicoil after a dab of Loctite red threadlock. The tang on the coil snapped off when it reached the bottom of the thread – no need to punch it off. The new stainless screws should arrive this week and it should be job done.

I have a viscous fan conversion kit from Chris Witor to fit on the reassembly so, I separated the fan mount from the damper using a punch and hammer and swapped it with the NOS adaptor from Chris. I locked the crank with the car in 1st gear, handbrake on and torqued up the centre bolt to 90 ft/lb. Radiator went in next, lowered onto a trolley jack set to the right height and with an old T-shirt between the rad and the fan to allow the bolts to be fitted without having to try and hold it up at the same time… I’ll be interested to see how the visco fan copes with the traffic and heat down here at the moment – it’s 30+C for the foreseeable and the tourists have arrived! It seems quite ‘stiff’ at the moment, not really going to freewheel much that I can see unless the rpm gets up there and the load comes on the fan blades.


With the new silicone hoses connected, I topped up the radiator with the previous charge of Evans Waterless Coolant and that was that. A quick run up at idle to ensure all was bled through the heater etc and set to go.

I was looking around for something else to fix and eyes turned to the windscreen washer bottle and pump… It’s been pretty poor since I had the car – not sure if it’s supposed to be any better or not however, I thought I’d overhaul the pump.

Removing the pump motor from the bottle cover and opening up the electrical box showed a bit of gunk around the rotor and some build up on the commutator. I cleaned all the bits up, found some 50 year old graphite grease squirted into the upper rotor bearing non too accurately and a little corrosion on the field magnet plates.



A good clean up with electrical solvent, a wire brush and a pick brought the parts back up to good condition and I re-lubed the rotor shaft bearings with Molykote and reassembled the motor. I also removed and cleaned the gauze from the water suction into the pump and checked all the pipes were clear. Reassembly and back on the car, I have a faster pump and a little better flow. I think removal of the jets and a wash in the ultrasonic bath will be the final job to get best possible operation now….





4 weeks on…

A business trip to Singapore, extended, and a week away in Italy auditing means it’s been about 4 weeks since I was last on the road in the PI.

In the meantime however, I ordered up a new cigar lighter complete and the anti-rattle spring and plunger for the gear lever.

I swapped out the cigar lighter although it did require a little filing out of the hole in the console panel to let the illuminated section fit in place. I also needed to exchange the +ve wire from the old fitting to have the same sized bullet connector to fit back in the harness and, change the supplied new earth connector from a ring to a spade fitting. All seems good there now and I can use the sat-nav if required on days out with the local club or, charge the phone…

The gear lever anti-rattle assembly was a little more involved than thought – the hole in the lower end of the lever seems to have deformed slightly with use and needed a Dremel to bring it back to the right size again. I tried a drill bit the material was VERY hard! Once the plunger was a sliding good fit, it was just a case of pushing the lever back into the selector slot in the neutral position after covering all with some Molyslip then, replacing the spring, sliding plate and locating screws… It was a bit of a faff but not too bad.

The gear lever didn’t really rattle or buzz prior to the job but it’s just something I knew was missing and should be there…

Once completed, a short run out was obviously required – full enrichment and it started first flick of the key; after 4 weeks, quite impressed! Long may it continue….




A little tweak….

With the big bits out of the way now and the car operational, I decided to follow up a few bits and pieces.

With the engine feeling a bit ‘flat’ at the top end, I checked out the internet and had words with Malcolm at Prestige Injection and decided to increase the maximum fuel stop screw 1/8 of a turn.

Initially however, I gave the rocker clearances a check – there were a couple a little tight – and did a set of dry compressions with the engine hot and throttle wide open.

1/ 175psi, 2/ 178psi, 3/ 174psi, 4/172psi, 5/ 171psi and 6/ 172psi – not too bad, a 174 average. I think next time, I’ll do a dry and wet test to see how the bores are and go for a max pressure check. A quick vacuum check at idle showed just under 9″.

Next, the adjustment of the max fuel screw. It’s a bit of a pain on this LHD model – it might be a bit easier with a UK car perhaps, but not much I fear… Access is pretty dire, even with a pit it’s not easy. I decided to add a nut to the end of the adjustment screw after trying all sorts to turn it with some accuracy. The lock nut is 5/16″ whilst the end is ground down to just over 1mm thick.

Using a 10mm nut, I filled the centre with some plastic steel and placed it over the end of the stud and waited till it went off.



With the modified end, the adjustment proved ‘relatively’ easy and it was time for a quick run out.

The car ran the same through the low-mid range and when it came to the motorway slip-road, flat in 3rd showed a good improvement and no smoke. I might try another small adjustment but for the moment, it’s running well.

Time to enjoy! After cleaning the block off a bit but there’s a leak from the headgasket at the n/s…. In the words of Tom Jones, “It’s not unusual” seemingly.




Keeping calm, and carrying on…

So, with a cleaned up clutch master cylinder and the new slave / flexible pipe fitted, I put a little brake fluid in the reservoir and left it to fill the master cylinder for about 20 mins. Mug of tea done, I noticed the level had dropped however, it was leaking from the bottom of the reservoir rather than finding its way into the cylinder….!

On loosening up the clips and removing the reservoir, it was obvious that the stub pipe fitting in the bottom had come away so a soldering job was required. I once again, cleaned the reservoir and the stub pipe in the ultrasound bath and using some liquid flux, proceeded to heat up the container with a blowlamp and soldered up the connection again. Back on the car, all appears good with the reservoir underside staying dry overnight.

In the meantime, I checked the reverse lamp switch operation – one blown lamp and that was changed but circuit working correctly. I also checked the non-working cigarette lighter – power found to the socket but not operating when I tried the sat-nav… More playing required there – a new lighter fitting perhaps?

Next, the angle drive for the speedo cable. It was loose and leaking a little oil so I removed it again and perhaps I lost the spacer washer when switching the o/d over to the new box however, I put a 1mm thick Dowty seal in there that seems to have the correct dimension to allow the angle drive to tighten up and perhaps be a good seal too – time will tell….

Next job, the exhaust manifold. I noticed on removing it from the car that there was some miss-match with the porting. The gasket is almost a perfect fit around the head ports however, as can be seen in the photo, the manifold needed a bit of ‘massage’ to match more correctly the head. with a file and a Dremel, I managed to get a pretty good match – not sure if the extra flow will be noticeable in running but at least it’s more correct now.

Manifold beforeManifold after

Finally, clutch bleeding time. With Mrs Lewis’s petite size 38 at the ready, we set to. All the air seems to have bled out of the cylinder – the pipe ran clear – however, on pressing the piston back into the cylinder, there was still air in the system. With more bleeding, I finally reached a truly massive 6mm travel on the piston – enough to move the arm but not nearly enough. I think I’ll bleed again with the cylinder hanging vertically to let the air rise and make it easier to clear. I’d like to have best possible chance at getting it correct before starting up. The pedal feels lighter than previous – perhaps that’s a sign of more air in the system as well…. From another forum, it looks like 16mm is the required travel on the piston to operate correctly so there’s a fair way to go….!

The modified fuel pipe is ready to go onto the metering unit now and with the sensor in place, I’ll have a read-out of the pressure on the dash. That went together nicely and I just need to drill a chassis member now to put a securing clip around it to keep it tight.


Last push today – an outing along the coast into Wine-Country beckons tomorrow. Final checks and test with fuel pump on for leaks – all tight, no leaks.

I bled out the clutch again, hanging the slave cylinder vertically and that did the job. A good travel was found with a firm pedal.

The new centre section of the exhaust arrived on Friday so that went in however, not without a little massage… I had to cut approx 30mm off the length of the extractor outlet pipe to allow the rest of the system to fit together. I used some red RTV in the joints to seal them up.

A 90% reassembly of the interior next with just the gearlever surround panel left off in case I had to drop the box again…! It’s quite a delicate panel so better safe than sorry…

The engine ran almost first flick of the key after running the fuel pump for about 10 secs first. All injectors fired up and there was a smooth uptake on the clutch in 1st and reverse at least. And, it was quiet at idle with no bearing noise!

I checked the air flow through each throttle body and found they needed adjusting to balance them up after being removed and realigned best poss using a view through the open butterfly against the head port. Easy done with the linkage fitted last year.

After a clean up, I set out on a quick test drive around the valley Saturday evening and managed to get about 500m before losing drive…

With oil under the car, it seems there was a problem with the slave cylinder. A tow back with the Mrs at the wheel of the old diesel estate and I left the car till the next morning and cancelled the trip to the vineyard. At 11 p.m., I’d had enough for the day! Beer called; time for a green tea….


Under the car again and it became obvious that the slave cylinder was the culprit:


Somewhat annoying, over-extension in the cylinder had jammed the clutch disengaged so no drive. One securing bolt removed in this photo – not one missing…!!

I released the bracket after removing the cylinder and checked the cylinder bore / seal. All OK fortunately and with the cylinder mounted the other side of the bracket, I then had to bleed the system again.

With the Mrs away for a few days, I tried just leaving the cylinder hanging vertically and having a mug of tea. This actually seemed to do the trick with air bleeding out of the nipple a few times before just oil appeared and with the piston pushed fully in and a cable tie around the end of the cylinder to catch the piston, I proceeded to pump the pedal to get a good position for the actuator rod length before re-securing.



Full operation of the clutch resumed, piston safely half-way down the cylinder and a test drive on the cards. I raised the back of the car on axle stands just to check all was well with the clutch before heading out and that was it – all good.

Finally, a couple of hours later, back home, happy and satisfied the car will be set for a summer season with the rest of the group here. Fuel pressure ranged from 101-104 psi during the trip out, water temp remained at halfway and oil pressure was between 80psi and 30 when on the motorway / idle in town.

I did hear, with the back end raised, signs of a noisy offside rear hub bearing – next project I guess, after a break and bit of use!

Reassembly, again…!

19th March 2017

So, starting to make moves in a positive direction, and not for the first time..!

I cleaned up the mating surface of the flywheel – there was a deposit of some sort, perhaps a Loctite product or similar, on parts of the recess and on the end of the crank. I also found a good use for my diesel glow-plug cleaners in wire-brushing out the flywheel retaining screw holes. Again, there was some deposit of Loctite in there that needed to be removed so as to set an accurate torque with the new ARP screws.

I also set to with the recently delivered S50 Dynax corrosion prevention wax. I went through a couple of litres of it in the chassis crossmembers and sills that had been previous prepared by Chris by drilling under the kickplates. I also drilled a 6mm hole in each rear suspension mounting member and repeated the spraying plenty in each side. These will be blanked before hitting the road with a rubber bung or a threaded screw and washer.


I also removed the old speedo cable and replaced it with the new item just received. Interestingly, the new one seems far lighter than the older (original) – hopefully, it’ll be equally as durable!

The gearbox is ready to mount now, I’m just waiting for the new flywheel bolts to arrive and that’ll be the next challenge…


With the arrival of the new set screws for the flywheel, reassembly has begun – good weather and the weekend was a factor, obviously…

I mounted the flywheel after fitting the new spigot bearing and torqued up the bolts to 75 lb/ft after a few drops of oil on the threads and a smear of Molykote on the underside of the head where it’s in contact with the flywheel surface. I locked the flywheel with a prybar on the ring gear, jammed against the chassis.


Following that, the new clutch cover and the friction plate were centered with a plastic tool from Amazon – why make life difficult?!? This worked well and cost very little. The new cover plate need filing a little in way of the holes for the flywheel pins, which was a bit of a surprise but it’s a good snug fit now and the screws all torqued up nicely.

I removed the clutch master cylinder and stripped it down for cleaning and overhaul. It was pretty mucky inside and the reservoir needed some TLC.


The pipe clips on the reservoir pipe needed to be cut off with a Dremel and then the reservoir itself, the cylinder and piston went into the ultrasonic cleaner for half an hour with some degreaser added. All parts came up well and using my brass and nylon diesel glowplug cleaning brushes, the bore of the cylinder cleaned up well and showed no scratches, more a little polished in parts than anything else. I buffed up the exterior of the reservoir with a drill-mounted flapper wheel and a polishing mop afterwards. It’s not perfect but looks a lot better than previously where rust had marked it under the clamp and the galvanising was very poorly finished.

With new seals fitted, the piston was inserted with a little brake fluid to lubricate the seals and a spot of synthetic grease added to the socket of the ball end of the pushrod. I remounted the reservoir with a new length of rubber pipe, clips and a new mounting bracket to finish off. I left it open overnight to ensure the reservoir was fully dry before filling with oil.

Back under the car, I fitted the new nylon flexible section of pipe and attached the new slave cylinder loosely, ready to mount when the gearbox goes in.

I found a few more spots where I could get some Dynax into sections that I had missed previously – it’s deffo my favourite new protection wax; easy to apply and when dry, isn’t messy. As we have so little rain here and anyway, the car is mainly for sunny days, hopefully, it’ll last a good while without needing to be re-applied too regularly.


With a smear of synthetic grease on the splines of the input shaft, it was time to mount the gearbox. I removed the centre section of the exhaust beforehand to make access easier and found a production date of 1978 on the silencer..! There’s some surface rust on the pipe but the boxes seem in good condition so I’ll keep that for spares. I replaced the subframe exhaust mounting with a new stainless item with Superflex bushes from Chris after straightening the two mounting slots and the rear axle section now sits perfectly in the centre of the hole ready for the new semi-sports centre section from Chris.


The gearbox slid right in first time , which was nice, and then there’s the enviable task of doing up all the bellhousing screws…. I connected up the reverse light switch and power to the overdrive solenoid along with the relay actuator through the 3/4 gearlever plane switch. The 2nd gear inhibitor switch was left out of the circuit at Mike Papworth’s suggestion. After which, I changed the gearbox mounting with a new item from Chris as the original was beginning to separate and fitted new Superflex subframe mounting bushes as the others were deformed beyond further use. New nuts for the mountings with Mrs Lewis’s hoof on top of the saddle brackets when I was pushing up from under with the subframe sorted that and new bolts for the propshaft flange finished that off too – in all, a satisfying day! I noticed a very slight amount of play in the forward U/J so will order up a couple of kits to replace those at some point.

Luckily, the Mrs arrived with a mug of Yorkshire Gold to keep things on track and I was allowed out shortly after…


Next week, I should receive the modified metering unit fuel inlet pipe from Malcolm at Prestige with the 1/8″ BSP t-piece for the pressure sensor to allow permanent readout on the dash. That fitted, along with the new centre-section exhaust, the manifold and throttle bodies and a few other bits and pieces should mean back on the road next weekend. All being well!


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…!


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.


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…



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.


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”…



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…!



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.



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.


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…