Thursday, 19 April 2012

Odds and ends

Lots of odds and ends sorted out since my last update. Helped along by a long Easter weekend.

Having got the engine mounted properly I was able to finish making the mounting plate for the back of the gearbox. This is just a flat piece of 4mm steel drilled to mount onto the original chassis holes for the Triumph gearbox and then also drilled to accept the new gearbox mounting which is the same as a Ford type 9. A relatively easy job apart from having to dodge the rain showers whilst trying to apply paint.

I've also made up some proper mountings for the fuel tank. Previously it has always been mounted securely enough but I've never been entirely happy with the arrangement. A bit of fabrication with some aluminium box and angle has sorted that out.

Yes, there are a lot of blanking grommets in the boot floor! This car has seen a number of different tank mounting and plumbing arrangements over the years, plus all the holes that Triumph put there in the first place.

At some point I decided to fit two fuel pumps to the car. I don't entirely remember the reasoning behind this decision but it probably had something to do with protecting against pump failure during a race.

In any case, I fitted all the plumbing and finished the wiring for the pumps. The result now resembles a refinery but at least I shouldn't have a problem with fuel flow to the carbs!

There's just the last length of pipe to fit from the fuel filter out through the boot floor but I ran out of fuel hose at that point.

I've also finished building up the wiring harness for the engine bay and tested it. I'm happy to report that everything works except the horn and that's the fault of the horn itself (bought second hand "tested and working"!) rather than my wiring.

I think that the only electrical circuits I've not been able to test now are the radiator fan, water pump, water temperature sender and reversing lights. The first three because I don't have them on the car yet. The reversing lights because I broke a terminal off the switch whilst fitting it. A replacement is on order.

In between the bigger jobs I fitted a few external parts to the engine. When I came to fit the distributor I realised it still had a cheap "temporary fix" rotor arm in it. I have some good quality ones on the shelf so I fitted one of those but whilst doing that I noticed that the shaft didn't rotate smoothly.

That seemed odd, especially as the problem seemed to come and go at random as I spun the shaft. It seemed further investigation was in order. Stripping the distributor revealed that it was full of aluminium dust. It also revealed the reason why.

That screw, washer and spring washer were under the bottom plate that carries the advance weights and were gradually being thrown around and grinding away at the body. Part of the bottom plate was also bent.

I've no idea how long they've been in there. Obviously the engine has been running like that judging by the amount of swarf.

Once everything was cleaned and reassembled there was a screw missing from the baseplate at the top so presumably that's where the errant one came from.

Whilst reassembling I realised I'd failed to take note of which way round the drive dog was supposed to fit so I've no idea whether I've refitted it correctly or 180 degrees out. I'll have to check before fitting the unit to the engine.

The distributor cap also broke when I put that back so I'll have to try and track down a source of good quality replacements. The spare I have on the shelf is made of really thin and nasty plastic.

Next job is to borrow an extra pair of hands to complete the wrapping of the front sections of the wiring loom. After that there are a couple of light bulbs and a replacement horn to fit but I don't think there are many more big jobs to do before I stop work on this car in order to start on the other one.

That's not to say I won't have thought of a few more by next week mind you!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Suspension Turret Comparison

Well the engine is finally in properly. It turned out that I had somehow acquired a Spitfire suspension turret on the right hand side of the car and a non-Spitfire one on the left.

Apparently all the "small chassis" Triumph cars apart from the Spitfire and the very early Herald 948 use the same suspension turrets. The Spitfire has a slightly different design which makes the front of the engine sit lower down to clear the low bonnet line. I'm told that the early Herald has a completely different design but I've not seen an example of those.

Thanks to all those I spoke to about the problem and those who posted in reply to my query on the Club Triumph web forum. Also thanks to Pete at Yorkshire Triumphs who let me loose in his yard with a tape measure to compare the parts fitted to various cars.

In the end it became obvious that (early Herald excepted) there are two different left hand turrets and two different right hand ones. To fit a Spitfire engine, you need a matched pair of Spitfire turrets. To perform the common conversion of fitting a six cylinder engine in a Spitfire chassis ideally you need a matched pair of non-Spitfire turrets. It does seem though that this conversion can be performed if you only change one side which probably means there are more cars out there with mismatched turrets.

There seems to be very little information published on what the differences in these parts actually are. (Either that or I've been looking in the wrong place!). Having got both parts together I took some photographs and measurements in the hope that they will be useful for anyone else with similar problems.

First of all, here's the two turrets side by side and viewed from the inside, that is the side that normally faces the engine. The Spitfire part is on the right of this picture.

The only difference appears to be the engine mounting on the front of the turret. You can see in the picture that the Spitfire engine mounting is visibly lower.

Of course that wouldn't be obvious if you don't happen to have both parts to hand to compare them. Fortunately there seems to be an easy way to tell which kind of turret you are looking at.

On the Spitfire turret, the engine mounting face is flat with a small raised flange at the end. The non-Spitfire one has a crease running vertically down the centre.

Non-Spitfire turret
Spitfire turret
There are also differences in the dimensions. These pictures didn't turn out quite as well as I'd hoped but the Spitfire engine mounting is lower and also further inboard.

Non-Spitfire. Shorter top flange
Spitfire. Longer top flange
Non-Spitfire. Taller from chassis to engine mount
Spitfire. Much lower from chassis to engine mount
The measurements will vary between the left and right hand turrets as the engine mounting faces are different from one side to the other however both sides have the flat face mounting for the Spitfire and the mounting with the crease otherwise.

Hopefully this will help prevent someone else falling over the same issue I had. Once the correct part was fitted the engine bolted in easily.