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Triumph TR6 - BC to ON in Ken's TR6
A month or so ago I said I was headed to BC to pick up a frame off resto 76 TR6 (turn key) and drive it back across country to Ontario. Many had asked for progress postings. Well my entries will be short and spotty due to limited WiFi access but here's a start.
Firstly I'll say that I was cleverly deceived by the seller and ended up with a car that is unfinished and full of problems. The body and frame are beautiful, the engine, tranny, and carbs "rebuilt" but the other mechanicals are bad and needed $$$ work done. Assembly of the car was dismal.
We have spent a week trying to make it roadworthy and today drove from Vancouver to Kamploops where the car has died. Since Hope it has been bucking, back firing, and stalling... we barely got it here. Not sure if I picked up some bad gas (some old 94 octane)or have an ignition problem. Seems to run well at high rpm in third but in forth under load it dies. Of course Monday is labour day so I may be stuck for a while. Will be doing some trial and error on my own.
Not a great posting guys I know but tomorrow I'll add a link to some pix taken.
|Here's a link to some pix taken during the past week.|
I am sad to hear of your difficulties and wish I was en route to be able to help out. Here are a few thoughts: examine all of the spark plugs.... check gap and burn characteristics replacing any chipped or cracked plugs; check all of the plug wires that they are correctly pressed into the rotor cap and over the plug ends: check the rotor and inside of the cap for undue arcing or for an ill fitting rotor (loose? may have to file/sand the lower shoulder of the rotor to have it sit down tightly over the shaft if pertronix ignitor is in use)... also examine the distributor advance plates for looseness. Examine the breaker points for arcing, looseness, improper gap. Any looseness under the cap can be the cause of an erratic spark and thus the bucking.
On the carburation side of things, start with the fuel filter ensuring that it is not semi plugged... unhook the fuel line at the carbs and turn it over feeding the fuel into a suitable container like a clear water bottle... examine the volume of flow and the clarity of the fuel (no water etc.) With the engine still cold, remove the plugs on the bottom of the float bowls and examine for fuel contamination draining the fuel into the water bottle.
Keep us posted,
|oops , I see that there is no pertronix...hows the grounding on the points?|
|Rob... thanks for jumping in here to help. I do have Petronix so your tips are valid. I'll begin the trouble shooting tomorrow.|
Not sure if this is proper here on the BBS but I'd like to post that the people who rescued my TR6 and got it to a driveable stage are Octagon Motor Group, 1538 Venables St., Vancouver, BC. 1 800 459 0251. They have a website. They are LBC experts, stock 1000's of parts, and do mail order. For those in the area they do LBC service. I wish they were in Ontario.
|That plate under the rotor and petronix unit is loose which I'm told is NOT a good thing. And, the ground wire on that plate is original... corroded. I have losened and retightened it to improve contact. All other items you mentioned check out. If I had a Triumph ready petronix total electronic distributor replacement handy I swap it out. Apparently I lose tach with it but that's the least of my probs right now. Stiff upper lip and all that!|
|Pull the petronix and reinstall the points to see if that helps.|
|How's the progress Ken?|
Gentlemen out there: how about some encouragement for our comrade! Ken's got along way to go and some good cheer would be welcome I am sure... along with thoughtful diagnosis of the TEMPORARY difficulties at hand.
Hang in there Ken... there are lots of us routing for you!
We remain for another night in Kamploops. We hope to get into a shop tomorrow for service. Today we drained the carb bowls (carbs rebuilt), tested the fuel pump (original but pumps well), checked ignition wires (new), put water removing gasline antifreeze in the fuel tank, replaced the fuel new fuel filter with another - the previous unit had some sediment in it as did the bowls when drained, checked the rotor and distributor cap, and basically walked through fuel and electrical systems within our knowledge.
Don... we no longer have vacuum lines (to return to points and condenser) since a mechanic put the petronix unit was put into the old distributor.
When we look under the distributor cap we see no evidence of arcing... in fact we do not see any marks whatsoever on the six contact points. Not sure if that's normal.
I am suspicious of the fuel. The performance worsened coincidently with a Chevron fill-up of 94 octane. It's been suggested that since fuel prices have gone up very little 94 has been sold and I could have bought some old fuel. The engine starts but sputters, coughs, back fires, roars and dies. Currently it will not idle. I might drain / syphon all the fuel out and refresh. Just a process of elimination for now until I'm on the hook tomorrow.
Any & all suggestions are welcome.
|As far as I know you still need the vac advance even with the pertronics. I think the mech,F... up and that is one of your problems.|
|Side note- Ken, did the mechanic install a Pertronics Dizzy or just the electrical part inside a stock one?|
|Just the piece inside the old distributor. Not sure what the Dizzy is Don. His boss said that I could go with a total distributor replacement by Petronix but that unit does not have a tach sender. Is that what you mean? Ken|
|Its a vacuum retard and if disconnected or inoperable may cause over/premature advancing of the timing at lower throttle speeds resulting in pinging... some fellows contend that the retard unit is not needed at all, however. At higher throttle speeds there would be reduced manifold vacuum and therefore no/little retard action... deceleration would create high vacuum and greater retarding. Is the distributor secure? has it slipped to a grossly advanced or retaded position? Have the mechanic time it to about 12 btdc at idle if it has moved.|
It sounds more and more like a fuel problem: try to have a shop back-purge the fuel lines using compressed air to ensure that they are not fouled from the old fuel tank; have the lines disconnected at the tank and the fuel filter and blow them out from front to back. Sediment and rust flakes can sporadically "dam" the lines creating a fuel starvation problem while under flow load.
Keep thinking and you'll win!
Just got back from the UK. Sorry to hear about your troubles on what should be an awesome & enjoyable trip.
I don't know how far you are from Kelowna but if you are near then call Len Drake (Drakes Motors) 0n 250-763 0883 (give him a call anyway) I am sure that he can help you out (email@example.com).
I am sure that we all will learn from your experiences on your journey home. Keep your chin up and the single malt down (hope you packed some).
Best of "British"
|Ken, I just now caught up with your postings and issues. My heart sank when I read them...ugh! Well sorry I can't offer much technical advice here, but can reassure you that if I could get my '74 back to Ontario from Kelowna, B.C. I know you will as well...hang in there. By the way, mine died on the first day, just east of Calgary on a Fri. night. The alternator was toast, but had it replaced and away I went. Keep us posted, and as you get nearer home let us know...I might just drive up from Erin (in the TR) to welcome you. Good luck Ken.|
|Oh dear, Ken. Sorry to hear you are having troubles. |
The later cars had no vacuum lines to the distributor for advance - just mechanical advance. The vacuum unit is for retard, it was originally connected to the bottom of the front carb, if you want to check. It seems to me that if the retard unit is connected to the port on the rear carb that would result in a problem under load, since the port is in a different part of the carb (so the high/low pressure is reversed). I could be totally wrong on this, though.
When I rebuilt my engine I had the distributor rebuilt and recurved and now I have the retard unit plugged. Engine has never run better (well, not while I have had the car!). If you suspect a problem with the distributor you could ask Jeff at Advanced Distributors for advice, or even for an exchange unit? His number is 602-804-5543. He is very fast (one day each way for shipping and one day to rebuild), though probably not as fast as you would like if you are waiting around in a motel!
Sorry to hear about yoor grief..I hope the restoration place will stand up and admit their faults.
Goood luck on your journey...you know where I live so come by for a beverage
|The farther along you get, the better it will run. But if it does act up while you are in the Regina area (or just want to commiserate a while) look me up. Our British car club meets on Sunday mornings, so if you happen to be here around then and want to show it off ...|
|A. J. Koschinsky|
|Hey we're back on track and how sweet. After one good day of driving through BC in the TR I've forgotten 10 days of misery. Well not really but we did have a good day. I met a gem of a guy in Kamloops BC by the name of Francis who owns Riversyde Auto. He's owned LBC's for many years and with his knowledge and expert mechnanics troubleshot the car and found that I had a bad distributor cap. It was that simple. The cap & rotor was new but defective. So now, aside from loudness, no suspension, wind noise, exhaust fumes, and rain coming in, the car runs perfect! You gotta love these cars. |
Thank you guys for your suggestions. That saved me time with the mechanics - I was able to list off all the stuff I had tested to reduce diagnostics.
PS. Tomorrow... we drive Rogers Pass, Golden, thru Yoho National Park and into Banff. Should be good!
|Charlie... thanks for the offer of a cold one. Would love to but we'll be coming from the great white north down 17 and 11 and will head for home near Orillia. I have attached pix of your seat rail modification as interpreted by the fellow who did the car restoration. I took two quick pix. I've not looked close but it sure works. My right knee hits the console where the lighter is but I'm still better off and comfortable.|
Thanks to you too Alistair, Tony, Pete, Les, Don & Rob. Great to hear from all of you while on this trip.
|Hey, If you take a wrong turn and end up in Seattle give me a holler!|
|I'm glad I tuned in Ken... Glad to see you're back making progress. Sorry to hear about the deceptive seller. Since I can't be there to help you along I just cracked a cold one and raised it high for you!!|
Good luck my freind and don't worry. We'll help you get that TR into shape.
|HP Henry Patterson|
|Another good day in my clunkity clunk TR... rainy day with leaks everywhere but I just love going through those gears and splashing down the Trans Canada Highway. We're in beautiful Banff, Alberta. Here's that link again with some updates to the pix.|
PS... out of the cold rain in the Rockies we hit a hotel in town and jumped into a bottle of Crown Royal. It slides.
|How's it progressing Ken? Where did you get to today? Any more issues with the car? Clunkity clunk... is that the suspension?|
We're in Medicine Hat, Alberta tonight. The car ran great but is rife with unfinished business. With two of us plus luggage the car has the classic TR6 squat and bottoms out easily. I am hopeful that new springs and shocks will solve that. The right lever on the top of the windsceen for the convertible top rattles (it's loose) and the rear bumper was not mounted correctly so it makes a heck of a noise. Nothing I can't fix in time. I also need to find out where the exhaust fumes are coming from. The new Double S system must leak.
Sorry for the odd grumble Rob. The car was to be a concourse level "turn key" restoration and frankly there's lots of finishing work to do. Body and frame are superb and the engine & tranny are strong. The big stuff was done well. The detailed stuff was sloppy. I'm good at details so I'll get the car to the next level next year.
|Contact Double S ,they're good folks|
|Hi Ken, |
its a shame that the people selling you the car were so unscrupulous... was it incompetence or a complacent rip-off?
I see that the fuel cap is not correctly installed ( trim ring slots are misaligned ), lower rocker panels should be in semi-gloss black and the chrome finishing strips are missing. The fuel tank looked terrible... do you have a trunk lining kit? A measure of rear-end-squat may be attributed to the deformation of the swing-arm bushings...I can understand your grumbles Ken and would be very upset if I were in your position... no doublt you are handling it much better than I!
|I appreciate your observations and suggestions Rob. They, along with the help of others within the BBS will help me fix this car. It has potential but I have paid too much money for potential. I knew about the missing trim pieces but did not know that the filler cap was installed wrong. The trunk liner kit... well I have some of the original pieces. The piece that covers the tank and two side pieces. The "floor" is missing and what I do have are fibreboard. I'll look for pictures to resolve the fuel filler issue.|
Anger: I trusted this man and over time (nearly two years) I developed an expectation for excellence. My 35 year career working for a Forune 500 company was successful due to my work ethic and dedication to excellence. Unfortunately, this set me up for facing exasperating circumstance and disappointment but it also prepared me to handle a mess with professionalism when I've wanted to explode. I'm no angel and would truly like to resolve this whole thing in an old fashion way but I'm reminding myself to settle down.
Rob... I surely hope you have the patience to share your expertise from time to time. Now that I have a good car that needs finishing. I'll soon be able to help others and "pay it forward".
|Who knew... this old TR6 has made it to Kenora in northwestern Ontario. We are two and a half days from southern part of Ontario and home after what will have been 2 1/2 weeks of bending over. Half of me wants vengence and half of me can hardly wait to finish the restoration. I have a parts list from Octagon Motor Group in BC and have begun circling parts I need. As I've said, the chassis, the body, interior, top, engine, OD tranny and carbs are like new so the rest is easy. |
For those who have this opportunity - a cross Canada or USA trip in a TR - do not let it pass. The break downs are frustrating but since our countries are bigger and more beautiful than one percieves from home it's all worth while. Long sections of the Trans Canada are like old Route 66. It runs through small towns, farming communities, and often circumvents big cities. A fabulous experience that is best enjoyed, IMHO, in a neat car.
PS. Check above link for new pix.
|Great pics Ken! Wish I could be on the road too! We certainly have fantastic countries for wonderful natural views from safe and fun roads... both north and south. Please keep up the picture posting.|
Happy trails, Rob
|I've added a pic Rob of the space between the left rear wing - a top view looking down - near the soft top. This is post restoration! You can see the "N" for Newbalance on my running shoe at ground level! Next year I'll remove the rear wings and caulk them with whatever's correct. Some have suggested dum dum putty. |
|Forgot to mention... we are now in Thunder Bay, Ontario on the north shore of Lake Superior. Whiskey & Pizza in the hotel room will do for now. Getting tired of consecutive rainy days with 18 wheelers making us and the road disappear momentarily. |
Our seven days of TR6ing the Trans Canada has us two days from home if we boot it. We are told the travel along the north shore is spectacular so there may be some photo ops. If you're into this craziness I'll post more pix on my web page.
I've been following your saga both pre-trip and enroute. Cripes, you've had a rough time.
I bought my 71 TR6 in San Jose, flew out with my son, wrenched on the car for a few days, then we made a vacation out of the trip back to Chicago. It was such a great time for us that we've done two more LBC driving vacations since. We've had some minor setbacks, but nothing like you have.
Our first trip has been labeled the "Triumphant vacation". I think yours might be more adequately described as "Triumph over disaster"! Some of the scenery you've posted rivals what we've seen on our trips. Yeah, these kinds of trips are really cool despite the car issues.
Looking at your pics of the rear fender fit-up, it looks like the fender bolts aren't tight enough and they never put in any seam sealer. I'm currently working on an MGBGT restoration for a friend and have had to do the seam sealing on the front fenders there. I've used two different (professional) products - one is "Butyl Tape", the other is "seam sealer" in a caulking tube. Both are paintable and stay forever pliable, but the butyl tape never sets, so removal of a fender later is easy. The Butyl tape comes as black "ropes" about 1/8" (3-4mm) diameter and a foot (300mm) long each. That stuff will stick to anything (like sh*te on a Hudson Bay blanket!). It's best to not handle it too much, and apply while cool. Cost is about $15 US each item. The butyl tape comes with about 24-36 feet of the stuff, so you'll have more than enough. They're available through automotive paint supply shops. If you need mfg / part numbers, let me know.
As for your "restorer" - vengence isn't my cup of tea, but I'd sure be looking at some kind of legal/monetary redress. Believe me, I'm the last guy to recommend suing someone (having been on the wrong end of THAT stick), but someone needs to make him think twice before pulling this garbage on someone else. Hitting him where it hurts is the best way to ensure that. Document EVERYTHING, both what was promised and all the shorcomings / problems / issues as delivered. Take it to a concours judged show and get a score. Since this was supposed to be a concour level restoration, it will be hard for him to argue with the score! Present all of this info (no originals!) to the restoration shop and see if they will adequately recompense you for the work not done. If they won't, then see a lawyer.
Best of luck with the rest of the trip. We're all rooting for you!
I'll just echo what Tom say's about the gap with a little more thrown in based on my experience. The bolts that Tom mentioned should have squeazed the fender to the top piece tight with no to very little gap. If you take out the side liner in the trunk you can work your hand up to that seam from the inside and feel around. Hopefully you'll find loose bolts which can be easily tightened. That's the best scenario. The worst would be not enough metal left for the bolts... But I'd find that hard to believe the way the body was taken down and blasted. I had good success with the seam sealer that Tom mentions.
Anyway, you can look into this further when you get home. In the meantime enjoy the drive and have a safe journey back..what's left of it anyway.
|HP Henry Patterson|
|I am happy to report that I am preparing this note from home instead of a noisy roadside motel. |
On Monday we bid farewell to Thunder Bay and headed down HWY 17 for the Terry Fox Memorial. The memorial's been moved I'm told from its original location and currently stands overlooking Lake Superior and the city of T Bay – Terry’s facing west... the direction he was running when he had to quit his Marathon of Hope in 1980. The surrounding parklands and facilities are quite nice and manage the throngs that stop to pay their respects. I suspect this is the reason in part for the move...crowd management in peak season and perhaps removal of a former distraction for highway traffic.
Back on the road again we drove the beautiful stretch of highway that follows (several hundred feet up at times) the crashing surf along eastern shores of Lake Superior all the way to Thessalon east of the Soo. The rock cuts and winding highways serve up risk but magnificent scenes through big pines. It's a photographers’ dream... especially late afternoon when the lake shimmers silver light.
The usual road kill kept us alert including a fox being picked over by a bald eagle. I had not been that close to an eagle in the wild before... he was not intimidated as we slowly drove by and looked rather stately. There was one tragic scene though, near Marathon, where a cattle truck had rolled over. Police were on the scene at both ends of the mess. Cattle were strewn all over the road and a very large rubber tire front end loader with forks was gathering the animals and taking them down to a pile beside the road - a make shift staging area predisposal. The tractor had been righted but the trailer and its contents were not salvageable. It could have been that the animals tumbled forward and to the right inside the trailer when the driver slowed too quickly on a curve causing a weight shift and roll over. Frankly, it was a sad bit of business when seen up close.
This was a drive I had heard about for many years and am happy to have made it in our little car. A friend had recommended the Carolyn Beach Motel in Thessalon hence it was our goal for the day albeit making arrival at 9PM. Driving at night on the TCH is not to be taken lightly. Deer and Moose rule and our LBC was no match for a surprise visit, which thankfully did not occur.
Monday night in Thessalon was eerie. Dark... there was no one in sight. In fact there were no cars rolling or parked. The only light was neon coming from the Sinton Tavern... a drinking place remnant from the original hotel built in 1907. Inside there were two rough and ready fellahs but thankfully they were friendlies. One, the owner’s son, cooked us up a mess of wings and fries and was very accommodating. Cold beers soothed our tired bodies. It seems we broke up a slow night… he and his chum shot pool while we polished off our last questionable "meal" of the two and a half weeks of motels, restaurants, and bars.
A wrap up with final pix follows...
The vengeance thing is just me venting. I'll compose a thorough letter, complete with my justification (facts) and appeal to the man's reason. I have all invoices and much of the work done was done by one of his suppliers so he can quiz or second guess the work all he wants. They (the garage who checked the car for me before I hit the road) were stunned by what had been done incorrectly and what was incomplete. They were however very encouraging with regard to the state of the frame, body, top, interior, running train, etc.
For BBS entertainment I should list some of the short falls. Versus what was advertised... the list is a hoot. Well, not really. The list should be embroidered on a crying towel.
PS. The pictures have been updated. Use one of the links above.
|Wrap-up: As mentioned we are back home after a 2 1/2 week TR6 rescue and western adventure. Driving the BC interior, the Canadian Rockies, and northern Ontario around Lake Superior were the highlights for this Canuck. The prairie crossing was an unexpected bonus. It gave me a new view of the flat and open range. With blue skies and cumulus clouds visible down to the graze and crop land horizons for 360 degrees at all times one can breathe deeply, smile and appreciate North America from a fresh perspective. |
The shortcomings of the seller and the car dampened my spirits at times but driving a TR6 4400 kms / 2500 miles on challenging roads cross country really is a treat. I hope those of you who would like to do the same get the chance and take it. I just know that I'll soon forget the troubles we had and remember the sweet times and the sounds of that 6 going through the tunnels and mountain cuts.
1. Be excedingly thorough re the background check on the seller. Get references and follow-up.
2. Use Roger Williams' Essential Buyer's Guide if you are unfamiliar with the car's weak points.
3. Take a driving companion who is also a steadying influence if/when things go sour. Your emotions may run amuck and having a friend keep it in perspective is a good thing.
4. Take contact information regarding car clubs / enthusiasts along the route. One phone call can deliver friendly resources you did not know existed.
5. Of course the AAA/CAA card is a must along with basic tools and fluids.
6. Count on your buddies within the BBS... they are generous and have empathy for your situation.
7. Allow more time than you need. There's so much out there to enjoy not the least of which are the people and small towns.
Cheers everyone and thank you!
Now, let the work in my shop begin!
What a great (when the six was motoring) experience and welcome back to Ontario.
So with the 6 going strong you should have got back on the transcanada (after recharing with money/single malt and saying hello to the other one you love) and headed east through Quebec, New Brunswick, Confederation bridge to Prince Edward Island ferry to Nova Scotia, ferry to Newfoundland and Labrador to be in time for Targa Newfounland (google Targa Newfoundland) starting the 13th Sept and you could have entered the classic touring class no problem. Then you could say Bobs trip "From Sea to Shiney Sea".
I am back in my garage on Saturday hoping to do a compression test.
Good luck my friend, hope your 6 troubles are small.
|Thanks Les... in fact my wife and I planned to hit the road for the east coast in September - retracing some travels 40 years ago when we honeymooned there. This would have been a truck & fifth wheel adventure though with the Six put up for a rest. |
Had to cancel though... came home too beat in more ways than one - we both agreed to cool-it for a while. Still hope to do at least Newfie next year. B&B'ing it sounds like a nice way to do the Rock.
If travelling in Nova Scotia I can honestly recommend a B&B on Bra Dor in Cape Breton, right on the shore woonderful views and a great host.
Bubbles Bay Bed & Breakfast
1082 Hillside Boularderie
Groves Point Road
1 902 544 0496
Ask for June Powell and she will look after you, tell her that I recommended her (we served together in the Royal Air Force).
All I gotta say is..." I told you you would have an interesting trip home and take lots of pics".
Look at it this way Ken, you will be able to say YOU restored the car:)
Glad you are home safe.
|You were right all along Rick! It was an awesome experience albeit tainted by the turkey out west. If that car had rolled off the Searail train in Concord in the state I found it in BC I'd be some ticked. No cross country adventure and someone else's mess to clean up. Ugh! |
I can't take much credit for restoration but I can say that I am immersed daily in this project. I have the front grill area all apart now. With rivets drilled out I'll clean up the rubber coated portion, repaint it and put everything back together clean and somewhat rust proofed.
Eight hour days in the garage / shop have every part of this old body aching. It's still fun though!
|"It's still fun though!"|
Ken, this IS the ONLY bottom line.
Money is ONLY money
Life IS LIFE!
This thread was discussed between 01/09/2008 and 04/10/2008
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