Sunday, 3 May 2015

May 2015
You turn around and realise that a year has gone!

Just looked at my blog and see that I have not published anything for over a year! Where the hell does the time go?
Below is a blog entry that I started but did not finish last April, so I have just tidied it up and here it is:

'Easter 2014
I have been a busy chap over the winter as I have built a double length car port to house the Spitfire and Saloon, plus re-roofed the garage.
The car port was built using 4 x 4'' timber sections as uprights, and 2 x 4'' timbers as roof joists, these being attached to the frame by joist hangers.  For the roof I used corrugated bitumenised sheets with corrugated acrylic clear sheets at various centres to provide light. The port was built onto the side of my precast concrete garage, a large timber batten being attached using lengths of studding and locking nuts, all very simple. I have not finished yet as I need to concrete a section of the floor, at present I am using thick paving slabs that I got from a Waitrose site that we at work were re-surfacing, these were going to the scrap so I took 20no, blooming heavy units though! I have fenced the other side as it adjoins the property next door, one of the reasons for fitting this car port was that next doors fence came crashing down in the high winds before Xmas as it was rotten. I was lucky to get fence panels as the awful wet weather and winds of January resulted in a high demand for fence panels. There is still a backlog of panels, I have heard that one can wait a month for them even now. I still have to attach a gutter system and would like to fit some lighting,  I hope to do this over the summer.
The old garage roof was tricky as it had asbestos corrugated sheets, these were extremely old and very brittle, making face masks essential. I have still got to get rid of the old panels, these will have to be bagged and taken to an amenity tip that takes them, I believe the local Runnymede BC one at Lyne does take asbestos. Again, I used bitumenised corrugated sheeting again for the roof. Once I had fitted the roof I cleared out the garage and in an attempt to brighten the place up I painted the internal walls white, make the place cheerier as well. I had previously bought some racking units from 'Big Ted', umm, not too strong but sufficient for storing parts and tools etc. And whilst having a splurge, I bought a work bench. Made one last year for the wooden shed (old kitchen worktop and a few old battens), but decided that it would be a good idea to have one in the garage.
I bought all the timber for the car port from Beaumont Timber at Ascot, Berkshire all delivered on time and the timber is good quality. The roofing sections came an online company called Roofing Superstore, again all top quality (I used roofing sections made by Coroline) and delivered when I expected. Odds and sods came from Wickes, I was impressed by the fastenings that they sell, I used loads of 4'' screws, all inserted using my trusty Makita!!! I must thank my work colleague and sometime RBRR co-driver Howard Riddell, a true friend, we bicker like a pair of old woman but did the job very quickly together.

Since doing the above, I have done lots of work to the GT6 as follows:
Installed re-built gearbox: This was done by a friend of Clive Senior's, what a great job.
Rebuilt the front suspension: When I had the car re-built by David Picton, I bought a couple of old GT6 suspension units off him. Got all the parts blasted and powder coated and then fitted them with red polybushes. I also fitted new 440lb springs, the old ones were looking very shabby and it seemed cost effective to replace with new, rather than have them blasted and powder coated. I also cleaned up the vertical links and fitted greasable TREs and top ball joints. I had a devil off a job taking the steering column UJ off, ended up getting the trusty 4'' grinder out!!! This meant a new UJ, bought one from Canleys, all ok, however I am a bit concerned as I have heard that these recon ones do not last very long, time will tell! I also changed the brake flexi-hoses for some new braided SS ones I had in the shed, the old ones which were of the braided type looked a bit tired. Whilst at it I stripped the alloy hub and Canley Caterham stub axles down and found no discernible wear, all good news that gives the lie to the claim by some that I have problems with wheel bearings! So the front suspension is looking good again, I last re-built this section of the car in 1988, so she has done well. Back then it was not possible to buy polyurethane bushes, so I used TriumphTune's shore 70 harder rubber bushes, 26 years later they are still in good condition!!! It will be interesting to see how the red bushes last! The ARB link is a rose jointed type that I bought from Jon Wolfe years ago, this is still fine so no need to replace, much better than the standard rubber/monkey metal crap that most traders (have to) sell. So now I have to get the suspension 4 wheel aligned, this will be done next weekend as I have entered the TR Register track day at Castle Combe on the following Tuesday.

Whenever I do anything to the car I find lots of other jobs come up, this time I have had an issue with the alloy water pump housing, a bolt has sheared, so a little job tomorrow. Also, I have to change the bottom hose as this is perished. I also need to paint the underside of the floor, she is looking a bit rusty under there, see lots of silly little jobs!

Whilst underneath I was horrified to find that my oil radiator was battered and looked to be on its last legs, this needed to be changed so I took the one of the Spitfire ('er not a lot of progress so far with that car) that I fitted a couple of months ago and fitted that once I had straightened the radiator mounts. Something fairly heavy must have clouted the car as the bottom tank on the water radiator is dented as well, I cannot remember anything untoward happening, so I am mystified when the damage happened.

Next up, I must re-build the seats, the covers are looking decidely worn out. This will cost but it will be worth it as I am a fan of GT6/Spitfire seats, no MX5 seats for this car! I have a set of vinyl mk3 seats that I can use in the car whilst I re-furbish mine. My GT6 is one of the last mk2 cars and has always had the mk3 seats fitted to the car, years ago I changed the seat material to cloth as the late mk3 covers, will do again as I find them more comfortable and less sweaty. After this I must repaint the bulkhead panel that the master cylinders and solenoid sit upon, it is looking very crusty and spoils the look of the engine bay. When Dave Picton fitted the replacement bonnet, we found that the cross-tube bonnet support fouled the brake servo, so I had to take that unit out of the car. It's been weird driving the car without a servo, but not really an issue. The replacement bonnets all seem to be a different shape, not bad at a £1000.00 each!!

Then it will be time to fit a different engine, I picked up a Vitesse mk2 engine last year, so this will be used  as the basis for a fast road engine. My existing cylinder head has nice valves and has been ported so this unit will be used on the engine. Plans are to use fairly standard parts but lightened with a new camshaft and then get the engine fully balanced. Lots of advice is being taken from people in the know!

I have been discussing the quality of parts for the small chassis range recently with other Triumph enthusiasts. The small chassis cars definitely suffer with poor quality parts, wheras the TR, Stag and saloon owners enjoy better quality parts. I do think that problem partly lies with the owners of the small chassis range, the cars are looked upon as being budget type classics and they will not pay for quality parts, therefore traders have had to look overseas to get parts manufactured, as a consequence quality has suffered. However one or two traders who exist in the Herald/Vitesse/Spitfire/GT6 world have struck out to offer good parts, these being Canley Classics and Rarebits, many others are not so careful or caring! Just recently I have been reading on the CT forum that fellow round tail Spitfire owner has just had a vertical link failure, much comments have been made following this incident. I have a set of Canley Classics 'trunnion less' vertical links on the GT6 and will now be fitting a set of these to the Spitfire, at present they cost £329.00, but it does seem to be an obvious and safer choice.
That's all for now.'

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