After several long weeks all the parts are ready for assembly and re-installing in the Triumph GT6.
First step was to rent another engine hoist, cheap but very heavy, around $40/day. Fortunately the $20 engine stand held up, I really thought it would collapse under the weight of this cast iron beast, my guess is it weighed 500lbs. I am sure it would have if we put on the head and manifolds first, it would have collapsed, but we decided to wait until the engine was in the car.
Once the engine was hoisted we could install the clutch and pressure plate. Didn't have the $5 clutch alignment tool but did have the old main shaft from the gearbox that had to be replaced. The old clutch looked fine but as they say with consumables "if you are looking at it - you should replace it" so we did.
The gear box had to be rebuilt due to rust and other bearing issues. The car sat for more than 10 years and the moisture in the gearbox caused severe rust. Fortunately Dave at British Motorsports in Campbell CA (shameless plug) had enough donor gear boxes to create a new one for me, many thanks Dave!
The shifter unit was also pretty rusty but fortunately there is a Triumph rebuild kit for it, and even more fortunately Dave had a donor shifter unit that was in much better shape. Thanks again Dave! (shameless plug)
The rebuilt gear box mounted easily and here is Scott test fitting to make sure the shifter fits. We left this off for now, will install once it is in the car.
Here is the engine and gear box about to be installed, was a tight fit but with some tipping and shoving it worked out.
Time to assemble the cylinder head. The new valves, springs and valve guides were already installed at the machine shop so just had to attach the intake manifold (silver) and exhaust manifold (black) then ready to go. As I mentioned, we converted this to unleaded so no more lead additive for each tank of gas.
Head gasket installed with some head gasket copper spray to make sure it is a tight fit. Then time to put it all together. Cast iron head unit with manifolds is pretty heavy but worked out fine.
Torquing the head bolts is critical, have to have the right sequence and the right torque amount. After this we installed the rocker arm assembly and reset the gaps, .010 in, pretty tight but has to be right or else. You may note the rubber hammer, that was needed to get the head unit to seat right.
And finally the installed unit all together.
But there was a problem, the first of several. After installing the engine and gearbox, the drive shaft was about 1/2 inch off from connecting, what was up with that? After a spot of tea, and some pondering, I figured out that the motor mounts were trapezoidal and on the wrong side. Note that there is a long side and a short side on the motor mount flange below.
After switching left and right motor mounts the engine was back in the right position for the drive shaft and all was well. Rather than rent the engine hoist again for a 10 min task I took a chance and used my floor jack with a 4x4 to lift the engine a bit and quickly switch the mounts. Worked out fine. Whew...
Some final installations like the radiator and hoses, emission controls, etc.
So time to try to start this puppy...but wait...what's this? The starter is bad!! Arghhhh.... Amazingly I was able to find an original Lucas unit at O'Reiley's in San Jose on a Sunday no less, and for $45. Yes it was covered in dust and had been there for 20 years. The store manager had never seen a starter like this and didn't know he even had one until his computer said he did. I kept the original 40 year old Lucas starter for posterity.
But there was another problem, the choke cables. This car has two carb's so two chokes. That requires a single pull - headed two cable choke. The one on the car was already broken, only one cable, so I ordered another from a site in England which arrived in a week or so. But there was an issue, each of the choke cables was short by about 8 inches.
After some deliberation and a spot of tea I figured out that these cables were meant for a UK version of this car with the steering on the right....hence the choke handle was on the right....further hence the cables were shorter to the carbs then on a left hand drive car.
So now what to do. I called around to various parts houses, no luck, too rare. There were plenty of TR6 dual choke cables but they were also too short.
Some suggested a bike shop for custom cables. So I went to the best custom bike shop on the peninsula, the have cables but cannot fit this unit with a single pull. They suggested a motorcycle shop on Fifth in Atherton. Went there, they said no-can-do, but sent me to a custom cable shop in San Carlos. But alas they said the same thing...no can do. So for now the choke is installed on the right hand side, hanging inelegantly below the glove box until I can find a better long term solution.
The second issue was connecting the dual cables to the carbs. The new unit was a bit larger than the old so the standard carb clips wouldn't work. I managed to get it working partially with two vice grips holding the cable housing to the carb mount, not ideal. Eventually I found some Dorman clamps for 25c at Napa Auto (thanks!) that did the trick. There wasn't a mounting screw so a pair of zip lock ties to hold the clamps in place and we are in business.
And now the moment of truth, would it start? The engine fired up! Wasn't pretty at first I must say but did settle in after 30 seconds of smoke and billowing.
A major victory though it did take two batteries to eventually get it going. Turns out we had the distributor 180 off which was quickly rectified. And there is a small gas leak in the hose just below the fuel filter. And we seemed to have lost the radiator drain plug. All easily sourced so all is good.
And finally all reassembled, well - almost all. New dash, new seats, all the instruments and lights work. Car starts, even managed to drive it 100 ft. back in to the garage for tuning. Still have to do the final timing, pressure check the cooling system, re install the transmission housing and carpets and a few minor interior items like the radio.
Next blog will be the final test drive....stay tuned....pcow