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Triumph TR3 - Radiator Removal

I need to remove the radiator from my 1959 TR3. Can anyone give me any tips or tricks on this procedure. When I bought the car, the gentleman that I purchaced it from gave me instructions to do this but I have seem to have mispladed them.
thanks Scott
Scott Feldman


Put the car up on jack stands and shake it to make sure it's solid on the stands.

Remove the bumper with the bumperettes all together. Leave the tubular supports that stick out through the grille in place.

Disconnect the light connections under the hood just behind the horns. If your colors are bad or dirty, use tape on each end and number them for correct re-connection later.

Remove the grille screws, then pull the grille forward, tilting it up over the "L" on the tubular supports.

Pull down the wires for the parking lights.

On your back under the front valance, remove the struts and the bolts holding the support where the hand crank goes through.

Remove the front wheels. Remove all the bolts (both sides) that secure the fender along the front curve to the valance.

Remove all the bolts along the front "arch" just where the hood closes flush with the valance. You may also have to remove the spring loaded catch for the hood. Make shetches as you take it apart so you can put it back later.

Loosen all the bolts about 2 turns along the inner fender down towards the wiper motor on one side and down towards the solenoid on the passenger's side if you can. This will help save you from scratching the paintwork on the front fender curves and the valance where they mate - both now and later. Spread the front fenders out from the valance for clearance.

Check if everything looks free. Carefully lift the valance up vertically at the "arch" and it should come free. Then lift it and move it forward out of the way. Put it somewhere where it can't get scratched.

Drain the rad. There is a valve at the bottom on the passenger's side - also one to drain the block at the rear of the engine under Carb #2.

Remove the hoses. It's a good idea to change the hoses and clamps too.

Then you have access to the 2 struts holding the top of the rad and 2 bolts down in the bottom corners. Remove these and then the rad. Don't lose the rubber pads for the 2 bolts at the bottom of the rad.

Remove the rad. I had mine done 10 years ago and use 50% antifreeze and 50% DI water. Never had a problem in 65,000 miles since then.

Reassembly is just the reverse. Use duct tape to hold the stainless steel molding in place while you are putting the valance back in and tightening all the bolts.

It takes me an hour to get the rad out. But during 1987 to 1990 when I was restoring my TR, I replaced all the square nuts in the captive boxes as well as all the bolts with stainless ones.

Hope I covered everything. I'm doing this from memory and visualizing what needs to be done. But after a certain age, older people start to lose their memory - called Alka-Seltzer disease, isn't it ?

Check down the Threads about 10 lines for "Essential Mauuals" and buy them. They'll help a lot.

Thus endth the first lesson on Radiator Removal.

Don Elliott, Original Owner, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

Steve-The radiator can be be removed without taking off the apron. It is not fun and it will take longer than an hour, but it can be done. Remove the gen., water pump, fan,pulley with extension and cross brace, and maybe the horns, and the rad. hoses. Tape a piece of cardboard over both sides of the radiator to protect the fins. Then remove the radiator.Since removing the radiator is such a miserable job, you might consider replacing the timing cover seal (maybe even the chain, sprockets, and tensioner), the 2 piece crank pulley,also check the metal pipe that connects the bottom hoses, and check the gen. for worn brushes&bearings. I would also recommend the use of the cogged type fan belt as the solid ones tend to crack after one or 2 years. I usually try to do everything that can be done while in the "neighborhood", rather than re-visit it.

Hey Scott, I have removed my radiator both way and find removing the bonnet the way Don has instructed the easiest way. I can now remove the bonnet and radiator in about 50 min to an hour. Once you know what tools you need it goes pretty fast. As one who never worked on any autos growing up I have found it to be quite satisfying.

Good Luck
Russ Austin
58 TR3A
Comm# TS41804-L
Russ Austin

Russ-I fiqured there was less chance of dinging the paint by leaving the apron in place. Either method is not my idea of fun. Fortunately, it is not an operation that has to done very often. Scott, I apologize for calling you "Steve".
Berry Price
former owner of TS 42561L

I need more help. I just started the project, I seem to be able to remove all of the bolts that hold the valance on but some of the bolts that attach to the inner fender wont come loose so I am trying to penetrate them with penetrating oil. I dont know what to do if this doesn't work. My bigger concern is the bolts that are coming loose will not retighten they just keep spinning. I would reaaly like to replace my fender bead at the same time so I really need to get all of the bolts loose. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks Scott
Scott Feldman

If a bolt resists coming out, you have to face the facts. I may have been there for 40 or more years. It may be rusted into the threads in the nut. The rust may have attacked the captive box holding the nut. If so, and the bolt head turns, it means that the captive box which is intended to hold the nut from turning isn't doing its job.

So face the inevitable. You have already tried the penetration fluid. Try heat next. If you don't have an oxygen/acetylene torch, try a propane torch.

But if the captive box is gone, you'll may have to use a grinder to grind off the head of the bolts. If there is not enough space, use a die grinder. They are available for 110 Volts (about $150.00) or pneumatic (about $50.00). Chisel them off. Use a "nut-cracker". Torch them off with oxy/acetylene. Don't give up. You can get them off.

But you'll have to get all the bolt-heats off in order to remove the fender, door or whatever - to have access to drill out the rest of the threaded portion of the nut that is still rusted into the nut. More oil, heat - then an extractor or vice-grips on what is left sticking out. Or tear off the rusted captive box (if it's still there) and then the nut rusted into the nut will fall out.

These cars were designed by humans, (men and/or women - not to be called a sexist). The parts were made by man. They were assembled by man. They were driven by men and by women. They were allowed to rust and rot by man. But they can be taken apart again by man and restored by man.

I went through all this in 1987 to 1999 when I did my restoration. I bought $750.00 wotrh of stainless steel nuts and bolts and had a machine shop make me up 150 square captive nuts out of stainless too. I never want to do again what you have to go through now.

Good luck to you.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A (PS - I hope that this will not be reported to the wem-master as "abuse")

Don Elliott

Don, I wanted to see how difficult it would be to grind the bolts off. I groung two of the bolts off in about a half hour so I dint think the job will be so bad. I did notice the on bolt just before the cockpit that the captive box and nut are not exsesable they are behind part of the inner fender. How do I access the nut? I really appreciate all of your help and everyone else that responded to my question.
Thanks Scott
Scott Feldman

Scott - I'm not sure of which bolt your are referring to but maybe it's the one which you get to from under the dash. For the driver's side crawl in on your back so you nose is rubbing on the bottom of the rubber pad on the end of the clutch pedal. Reach up behind the dash on the sidewall above the dimmer switch (way above) and you will find a hole about 1" diameter. Get a 7/16" socket and extension and poke it into this hole horizontally. About 1 and 1/2" in, you will locate the socket on the bolt head. Turn and pray it will loosen.

When I put mine back together, I MIG welded a 2" long bolt onto the top of the hex head of the normal 1/2" or 3/4" long bolt that holds it together. This way the 7/16" hex head of the second bolt is visible from under the dash.

Then do the passenger's side the same way.

If this is not the one, let me know.

Don Elliott
Don Elliott

Don, They are the bolts that I am asking about. Once again thank you very much for your help and advice.
Scott Feldman
Scott Feldman

Scott-You might put some Never-Seize on the bolts to prevent the problem from reoccuring.

So far so good, I am down to the fan assembly. I thought I would be able to take the whole fan assembly apart including the extension hub without taking the fan off of the hub but it seems like the hub will not come off. Do I need to take the fan off first or is there someting I am missing.
Thanks Scott Feldman
Scott Feldman

Scott - You will want to remove the fan because you will likely want to change the rubber washer grommets for new ones if they are had or in bad shape. These fit into the 4 holes where the bolts hold the fan on.

To get the hub off you have to remove the huge bolt holding it onto the end of the crank. This has a hex head that also serves to engage the hand crank when you need to use the crank.

Have you been checking the other thread just below (Suggestions for Front End Work) covering all the other things to check and/or change while you have it apart ?

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

Thanks again Don, and yes I am going all out and replacing everything I can whil I have it apart.
Thanks again Scott Feldman
Scott Feldman

Don, In taking the fan off I did exactly what the manual told me to do, When I got to the part where I am pulling the hub and belt pully assembly off it comes as far as the support tube (that goes from one side to the other). The belt pully hits the support tube. What am I missing?
Scott Feldman
Scott Feldman

You have to remove the 6 nuts and bolts holding the pulley to the raer of the hub. It will come apart as 2 separate flanged discs - then you can pull the hub off - I seem to remember - I think. . . . . . .

Don Elliott
Don Elliott

More info needed. I pulled my Timing Chain cover and found a hole worn from the chain tensioner. What should I do? Have the hole brazed or buy a new cover, it doesn't look like there any avalable in any of my catalogues.
Thanks Scott Feldman
Scott Feldman

Scott - Take the cover to a welding shop and ask them to weld a piece of sheet metal in place where the hole is. It may cost you $15.00 or so. Make sure that where they weld it into place is smooth on the inside where the tensioner will rub for the next 10 years. You don't want the end of the tensioner to "hang up" on a rough edge. Buy and install a new tensioner. They only last about 30,000 miles.

Welding or brazing is OK for the "patch".

I'll e-mail you photos of my bracket for my electric fan (off-line) since you have the valance all off.

Don Elliott, Original Owner, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

This thread was discussed between 29/10/2002 and 16/12/2002

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