The year is nearly ended and I have made a fair amount of progress on my TR6. It is now running on a computerized engine management system. Both fuel injection and ignition timing are controlled by the TEC3 electronic control unit. I must say it is quite satisfying to have assembled and built much of the system that now runs the car. Better yet, the car runs quite well! Horsepower is an unknown but it definetely much quicker than ever before. 2003 was a good year.
Since the car is in storage until Spring I have started several related projects in preparation for next year. Two parts cars have been stripped of any and all useful parts. Most important to me were the engines as my present engine is closing in on 100K miles and will give out a puff of blue smoke when pressed hard. Since the EFI conversion it seems that all I do is press hard. My aim is to build up a new short block that can be transplanted quickly this Spring. And why not do all the neat things to it at the same time? You know, balancing, lightening, hot cam, roller rockers, deepened and baffled oil pan, possibly a new intake manifold design, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Supercharger?
Tearing down the first engine was a big disappointment. The pistons literally had to be sledge hammered out! Only two pistons came out without a struggle and one is quite corroded. The block and crank look fine and can be salvaged. The bearings all showed copper indicating the engine was well worn. The second engine proved to another matter entirely. The rusted well beyond salvation 71 TR6 odometer read only 39K miles and now I believe it to be accurate! Other than lots of sludge from non detergent oil everything was perfect inside. No cylinder ridge, no bearing wear, nothing to indicate it had more mileage than shown. One of the flywheels has now been lightened about 4.5 lbs. At 23.5 lbs it is still quite heavy but should be safe. Not to say that it won’t spend a bit more time on the lathe before Spring.
The only problem with the second engine is a cracked piston. Number five has a hairline crack running right thru the wrist pin hole up to the bottom ring groove. The catalog listings all show pistons only sold in sets. Perhaps I shouldn’t cut this corner but I’m pretty sure a carefully checked used piston will do just fine. As luck would have it there is one good piston from the first engine. It measures exactly the same and the weight is within two grams. It will do.
Today is December 26, 2003. Santa dropped off Kasner’s new Preparation Handbook and a new auto darkening welding helmet. Nice.
The new welding helmet works great. So nice to be able to see where the arc starts and to adjust the light level. Couldn’t wait to try it out and used it to finish altering the oil pan. Per Kasner’s advice the pan is an inch deeper, baffled and a windage tray installed.
Here is the pan being marked at the three inch level all the way around with a compass. Cutting was done with a 3″ pneumatic “Wizzer wheel”.
Forming the 1″ by 1/8″ steel spacer band. It was tacked in place with a MIG welder then welded completly while bolted to a spare engine block. Same pan showing the baffle in place. It was welded from the underside before installing the bottom of the pan. Four bolts are welded in to support the windage tray. Under the tray each bolt will get a 1/2″ spacer. The bolts are grade eight, way more than needed but a better match for the grade eight style lock nuts. These nuts lock without using nylon inserts so I hope they will handle the hot oil without loosening.
The left hand shot shows the windage tray installed. The cut out in the center allows for the oil pump pick up. Welding the bottom of the pan back on was done with a small 110V MIG welder. The wire you see looping out of the pan was used to create a gap that could be filled with weld. Once the sections were tacked, the wire was removed and the gap welded all around. Things of this nature are usually TIG welded but MIG is so much faster that I took a chance and cut a corner. Hope there are no pinhole leaks in my future.
Here it is back in one piece, but deeper and baffled. Not having any way to pressure test the welds for pinholes I filled the pan with laquer thinner and waited for wet spots. Not a one!! That was a pretty good sign so if a leak does eventually show up, it will be minor. Lot’s of welding slag and grinding bits were cleaned from within the pan. Hope they are all gone but just in case I’m going to look for a magnetic drain plug. For neatness all the weld were ground down, the pan primed with a self etching primer and painted with semi gloss black high temp engine paint. One winter project done.
and for 2004
One of those unfinished projects is the conversion to Corvair rear hubs. A good friend happens to have a Corvair Spyder melting into the ground behind his house. He has generously given me the hubs. Trouble is he insists he will pull them and bring them to me and it’s winter here in Maine. I’ve offered to grab them but he insists he will bring them too me soon. I can’t complain as he won’t take any money, on the other hand I could be grafting them into spare trailing arms set right now.
The newest unstarted project is the addition of a supercharger. Don’t know what came over me but just couldn’t resist that ebay item. It’s a low mileage Eaton from a ’97 Grand Prix 3.8L. A few days before Christmas I made the deal and am now awaiting it’s arrival from California. Another friend donated an intercooler from an Audi. For now it will be just amass the parts and come up with an installation scheme.
And then there was a thread on the 6-Pack list about converting to a serpentine belt. Being a glutton for anything new and shiny, faster, more involved, etc I’m thinking about this too. I can make the pulleys but will need someone to vulcanize the balancer back together. Sure would be the best way to drive that supercharger. . .
The cam shaft was all decided until the supercharger reared its ugly head! Can the same cam be used? I don’t have a clue. And now I’m looking for a late model low compression head too. The head presently on the car was just what is needed except the compression has been raised to 9.5:1.
And to top it all off, Tom Rand, a Maine TR6er, showed me his go fast TR6 project. He is doing a terrific job. Autocross crowd be warned! Triple carbs, wild cam and more! Anyway, Tom showed me his coil over rear suspension, rear high mounted sway bar, and factory rims now 7″ wide! You know I could do that to my car. Damn him! But wait, there are only so many hours in a day. I guess there are some decisions to made and priorities to set. They say a boat is a hole in the water that you just pour money in, the 6 is similar but for me it mostly a matter of pouring hours in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I really enjoy working on this little British car.
Have a Happy New Year!