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Triumph TR6 - Thrust washers & loose metal

In another thread, I posted a bit about recent travels in our resurrected TR6, and that wife & I were traveling to the Oregon coast. We traveled there, and a friend came to our rescue with a tow dolly to bring us home. Starts with carb(s) leaking gas (HS6 SU's)into the engine while it sat for 4 days after the run to the Portland Historic Races, and I had very little oil pressure and poor spark. Following the exam of the needles & seats, I found all 6 plugs fouled, & the wires to the pertronix ignitor had been pulled against the exciter ring, resulting in a degraded spark. Fixed that, changed oil, all seemed OK. Left Boise on a Friday night headed for the coast, drove 200 miles to Burns OR, and the paranoia set in, I was hearing noises all the way. Started the car the next morning, ran fine no noise, so we continue West. Stop for lunch, and when we get back in the car, we have a rod knocking on startup. So....back in Boise, I tore the engine down, I find the problems were not a result of oil starvation, as I previously thought, but I do have a hammered set of bearings on #6 rod and .036" of lateral thrust on the crank. The rod bearing appears that a bit of metal got in there, gouging deep into the copper. The cylinder walls show scraping, may have to bore to .030 in. (previously bored to .020) The cam is junk, as are the lifters, all from metal in the oil. I am planning on taking the oil filter to another machine shop for an autopsy, will post info on that as I have it. I had a machine shop build the lower end for me, as I felt uncomfortable putting that together. Now I feel uncomfortable with the fact I didn't go back in & check their work. I am planning on talking to them tomorrow, wish me luck there, as I am not expecting much more than sympathy from them. Lesson learned. I bought a parts car last week with a tired, yet running engine, which will be dropped in this weekend, to take the car to the All British Field meet in Portland, OR Labor Day weekend. The original motor will breathe again, it will get rebuilt through the winter. So, I suppose the word is, it never hurts to double check the other guy's work?!?!? Any thoughts? (Sorry for the length of the story)

Rod Nichols

Rod-That is a pretty depressing story. If my wife reads it she will probably refuse to ride around the block in the 6, let alone take a trip of any length. It sounds like your problems may have started with the dilution of the oil by the gas. The mechanical fuel pump can also leak gas to the crankcase. Hopefully, the autopsy will pinpoint the culprit. I will be at the ABFM Sunday and will look for a 6 with an Idaho license, preferably not at the end of a tow rope or dolly.
Berry Price
71 red TR6 with factory mags

As Steve Hedke of TRSC (Triumph Register of So. Calif.) once wrote with such wisdom, "The best place to work on your TR is in your garage at home, and the best time to work on it is before you leave". Wise person Steve. He and his wife Janet in "Scrappy", their BRG 1957 TR3, have done very well over the last 4 years in The Great Race that we can all see on The History Channel.

In my TR3A since I left for home (Montreal) after VTR in Breckonridge, Colorado in 2001, I've driven "TRusty" over 25,000 miles and all I've had to do is bleed the clutch, change the oil and give it grease jobs plus a new battery (the old one was 5 years old) and a new speedo cable. I also had to remove my starter to clean the output shaft because it was making a horrible noise. Oh yes, last week I had to put in a new flasher relay for the directional signals. Nothing very serious and everything was done in my garage at home.

I believe in the lesson from Steve.

Don Elliott, Original Owner, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

DON'T let your wife read it! I gotta say mine has been pretty understanding through this, and is ready to get back in and go to the ABFM next weekend! Our car is Mallard with new tan interior, license plate "TRSIX". Look forward to meeting you.
Don: Point taken; I've been pretty happy (not to mention confident) with the work that I did on the car. I did go to the machine shop yesterday, and the blame was basically put squarely on the trans input shaft putting too much forward pressure on the pilot bushing/flywheel/crankshaft. We checked that out last night, plenty of clearance, no problem there. I believe the motor was assembled with excessive clearance, and they didn't discover it til after all the machining was complete (Rods & mains @ .010 under and balanced) or didn't catch it at all. I won't go back for any further reason. There was a mention in another thread about a shop that didn't need a shop manual, and this one said he had all the info, didn't need my book.
Good news: The 'old mule' I bought to put in for the interim is checking out nicely, standard crank, we are putting in new rod and main bearings, as well as thrust washers. Life is good!
Rod Nichols

O my gosh , with all the crazyness around my home I completly forgot about the ABFM. Have to talk my wife into a trip to P-land for the weekend. Might be tough as I just got back from a whirl wind tour of Beutiful North Dakota with my to kids. If I go I'll try to write a BIG BBS on a tee shirt. Look for me!

Hey Rick saw your tip in the LBC newsletter.

Don K

Hey Don K & Berry & the rest of us out here on the left coast, can we get together at ABFM & tip back a cold one? It doesn't look like my 6 is going at this point, but I will be there with good intentions.
happy moToRing!

Rod Nichols

Hey Rod--got that bridge motor in your six running yet?

Rick O.
Rick Orthen

Wanna help me spend the 20 bucks?
That little tip I submitted to Jeff REALLY works and helps save the gold DOT5 from dripping everywhere plus the blead went very fast considering the end of the lines where plugged/capped for about 2 months.
YUP do it yourself in your garage ...even if it takes a while to heat it up:)

I hope yu'all have fun at ABFM... how many cars are at this show?
Rick C

Rod you make it sound so casual as you rip and pull motors in and out:) Maybe you need to post name of the shop so others do not have to post similar story.
Rick Crawford

Rick C:

It's actually been anything but casual around here. As far as the name of the shop, I have volunteered the info to anyone that cared to hear about it, and probably a few that didn't. The bottom line is, if the machinist you are dealing with isn't a member of your immediate family, take it apart and check the tolerances before you end up with a grenade motor. As I have talked to folks here about different machine shops, I'm really surprised to not hear complaints about ANY shop that is mentioned. A local repair shop, owned by two former BL factory trained mechanics, still go to the shop that did my short block. They think it's one of the better shops in town, but they still check the work on everything they send there. I got the same message above from Don E., and other shop owners here in town. I work for what I believe to be the best car dealership in Boise(Acura ,Volvo, Rover, Mercedes and soon to be Jaguar), we do care about what the customers think, but I learned long ago that even the best place still has problems, and makes mistakes. It's just how you clean up your messes that counts.
....sorry, I kinda went off there....

As far as the All British field meet, they broke all existing records with attendance of 795 cars. Jeff Zorn ( was formulating plans to drive out next year so he could bring the whole dog and pony show! The Big Honker,towed by the QE3. Plus, the event is held at Portland International Raceway, and the track had Vintage races going on all weekend. More than a body could take in! If you want to see some pix, go to: ....And I did get to meet two of our fellow 'BBSers' Don Kelly and Berry Price! Okay, my fingers are tired, I quit!

happy moToRing........Rod
Rod Nichols

Some very fine automobiles you are associated with.
That makes 2 of us..I met Don K. and Ignatius R. a couple of years back while in Seatle on time flys! Now if we could only get Don to get busy with his 6 and get her on the road ( hint hint Don).
795 all British cars..when you think about it , that's a lot!! I do not blame Jeff for wanting to go to that one. That would be quite a not tell Don E. about this show..he would probably go next year direct from Bronte Creek Provincial Park. Our big event ( which I have posted a thread on) up her in Canada drew some where around 1,100 all British I stated the biggest in NA. Jeff will not come to this show ( 3 hours drive for him) strictly because of his parts coming across the border.
Check it out:
The pics are now posted. I do not recall seeing any trailer queens.
Good luck on the new engine Rod.
Rick C
Rick Crawford

This thread was discussed between 21/08/2003 and 02/10/2003

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