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Triumph TR3 - Cowl remove/replace

Hello all,

Time for some serious radiator repair, off comes the cowl. Does anyone have any advice/tips/magic words to help the process along. The manual SEEMS to indicate a straightforward job,[HA!!], but any and all previous experience would be a big help.

Thanks in advance.


First, are the original screws with the nut cages still intact? If yes, remove the headlamps, bumper,and grill. After the bolts are removed, slowly inch the bonnet out a little at a time from side to side. Once the bonnet is removed, there is a piece of angle steel directly under the radiator. Remove this by removing the long bolts that hold the bumper bracket to the frame on each side.

The screws that hold the radiator brackets to the frame are on the bottom and have fine threads. The clearance is very tight to get a socket or an open wrench into the area because of the frame. What I did was grind part of the frame bottom out unit I could get a socket and small diameter extension in to remove the bolts. I did not have to grind very much.
John Triska

If the bolts aren't rusted on, it's a pretty straightforward job. Just a lot more than most cars to r&r the radiator. I have to do it sometime soon, too. Just a seam leak, but no fun.

Oh, by the way, it's commonly known as the front apron. The cowl, I think, is more commonly thought of as the part under the windshield.

I had difficulty getting a wrench on those bottom radiator bolts too. (9/16"?) I heated the wrench bear the box end and bent it more i.e. the end is now bent at more like 45 degrees than 20. This let the shaft of the wrench clear whatever it is that's in the way, so I could turn the bolt a little bit instead of a tiny bit.
I've seen a solution for this: when re-installing, use bolts of slightly smaller diameter that will fit right through the captive nuts on the rad. Mount them bottom up as original, and secure them in place with a thin nut, so they are like studs for the rad to drop onto. Place the rad, and hold it down with nuts on top of the rad's captive nuts.
I wonder if this is clear.....
J. S. Wallace

Also while you have it out it's an opportunity to re-core with a heavier duty core. My local rad shop put one in that supposedly will give 30% extra cooling capacity over the original.
J. S. Wallace

Thanks all,

Your encouragement/advice much appreciated. Jim,your tip re the attach bolts noted; sounds like a good idea to me. The replacement rad is in the shop at this time for a recore with increased capacity. Thanks Tom for the correction re the "apron"; I'll no doubt call it a lot of things by the time the whole thing is done. By the way, the clutch slave cylinder you sent was re-sleeved and now installed. Works like the proverbial charm.

Cheers all.........Dale

With the front apron and radiator out you may wish to replace the water pump if you don't know when that was last done. The job will never be easier and at least you will know that it is done and should not need attention for a long time.
GG Krafft

Dale, I'm glad the part was able to be used. I sure wasn't using it.

The timing chain is a good project while the apron and rad are off, too. (If it's got a ton of miles on it.)

And especially the timing chain tensioner too.

When I remounted the radiator in the TR3A that we're just finishing, I cut a screwdriver slot across the bottom end of the rad bolts and then put them in a half a turn from the bottom as they were originally. Then from the top, I used a screwdriver and screwed the bolts upwards counterclockwise from the top till they were almost tight. Then from the bottom, I tightened them.

Send me your e-mail address and I'll send you a close-up picture of this.

Don Elliott, Original Owner, 1958 TR3A
58tr3a at videotron dot ca - change the @ and the .

Don Elliott

Many thanks one and all.........sounds like good advice! Lots to think about.

I'll take you up on your offer for the rad mounting pics Don. E-mail on its way.


I took mine out with the cowl in place; lift, tilt, turn, and I think from the passenger side. The generator and carbs were removed from the car at the time. Maybe it was the driver side.


NOW you tell me..........

Finished the job a few days ago.....cowl/apron removal and all! Everything back in place, and all well!!

That's twice now for this job......first AND last!!
Re- cored rad in place, new sleeved thermostat installed, runs nice and cool.

Thanks all for advice.


This thread was discussed between 18/05/2006 and 08/06/2006

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