Fall 2002

Halloween is just around the corner and the car will head to the storage barn within the week. Although not registered, or quite streetable, it is nearly done! I know the goal was to have it on the road by fall but there were too many things to be done. Ok there were lots of distractions with the highlight, my daughter’s unconventional wedding. Her husband is an auto enthusiast far from the TR6 end of the spectrum. He owns a 1969 Caddy hearse powered by a 472 V8. He’s talking Mini now. 

The interior is now complete with the exception of the side kick panels. They will just have to wait till Spring. It does look nice. The seats will be done this winter near the wood stove.

For some reason I took all the rivets out of the left hand door limiting strap. Not only did I remove the rivet holding the strap to the door but also the two rivets on the “A” post. Those two rivets hold a spring clip that latches the door in the open position. I should have left those rivets alone! I purchased new rivets and a clip but couldn’t get the proper angle to set the rivets. The backside of those rivets is recessed in an access hole in the “A” post. Punching the rivets straight on is nearly impossible. I ended up fastening the clip with two stainless pan head bolts. The heads are inside so as to not interfere with the limiting strap’s bumper head. Hard to believe but I spent way too much time on this.

The tail lights were disassembled, the sand dumped out, and cleaned. A couple of the lens screws wouldn’t release and cracked the plastic post inside the lens. The price of new lenses was such that with a dab of plastic welder they are now whole. Some of the mounting studs and nuts were pretty bad and they were replaced with stainless steel studs and nuts. The car looks so much better with taillights.

Getting those taillights to actually work took a bit more ingenuity. The right hand tail light socket appeared to be perfect but wouldn’t light the lamp. Turns out that the little grounding tab, designed to make contact with the side of the bulb’s base, no longer made contact with the socket. I soldered a bridge between the socket and the tab. The left hand socket may benefit from the same treatment but for now is working fine. The left hand rear side marker socket was rusted beyond saving. All my catalogs list this socket as “no longer available” so we were forced to find a replacement. The substitute socket from NAPA (LS6225) was far from a perfect match but it was the only 5/8″ socket I could find. The little retaining fingers were not even close to the original shape so they were bent with needle nose pliers until it would snap into the back of the light. The light fixture is badly corroded so a small ground wire was soldered to the socket’s fingers and run out to the black ground wire in the harness. The taillights now work. Probably better than they have in years.

November 2002

Closing in on Thanksgiving and my 55th birthday. That’s a sobering thought. Anyway I have been doing a small TR project since the cold set in. A friend loaned me his damaged rear hub that a local shop had attempted to repair. If you have followed the advice offered on various web sites and in the big 3’s catalogs, you would know a special puller is required. Owning a NAPA store and doing much of the machine work, I’ve rebuilt hundreds of wheel hubs. The TR6 has a rather complex hub. Today’s cars use a simpler system with a large sealed double ball bearing tensioned by the axle shaft nut. The TR6 is roller bearings with the preload controlled by a crush washer. My test hub assembly has bad bearings. With plenty of time and a big hunk of steel I’ve decided to build a TR6 hub puller. The plans are from the download section at Team.Net Triumph. Thank you Tony Gordon and Team.Net. 

The puller is called “the Beast”. It could have been fabricated from pieces welded together but if you have hunk of steel big enough, why not carve it from one big billet? I started with a section of steel shafting, 6.25″ in diameter and 5.5″ long. It weighed a ton!

It’s been turned down quite a bit as you can see in this photo. . More to do with the biggest challenge being the threading of the center hole. The plans call for a brutish 1″diameter by 5 acme thread screw. As a novice at the lathe, cutting an internal acme thread is a huge challenge for me. Still checking ebay as Acme taps are sometimes listed. Threading the puller is the next challenge. If all goes well I hope to take the sample hub apart, straighten the flange, and replace the bearings. Except for a seal, all the parts are available from NAPA. Once I have the old unit apart, there may be a number on the mystery seal that I can cross to a NAPA number. Will keep you posted.

Thanksgiving 2002

Not much happening in the TR6 arena. The hub puller is roughed out but holding until I decide how to thread it for a lead screw. Acme taps have been scarce on ebay all of a sudden. Reupholstering the seats will start in the next few weeks.

Just finishing up installing a four post lift in my garage. I was hoping that it would go high enough to park my truck underneath allowing me to store the TR6 overhead. No such luck. But it sure is wonderful to have a lift available anytime I want. This long weekend I hope to finish remodeling the overhead framing so a car can be put all the way up. Just have to make sure that the structure isn’t weakened so that a heavy snow load brings down the roof. I love having a lift.

I’ve received several inquiries as feedback from this web site about whether it is worth restoring a TR6 and the cost. Doing a restoration is an individual decision for sure. Here is a recent email response:

“Thanks for checking out my TR6 project. It’s now away in storage for six months. Winter’s first big snow storm arrived today.

I haven’t kept track of expenses. It would probably scare me but I’d guess about $4,000. The biggest part of that is an interior ($1200), four fenders, floors, inner sills, rockers, rear deck, and a new grill. On top of those items there were lots of smaller items. I forgot that the rear frame swing arm supports were also replaced. If you are going to paint it yourself you can figure about $300 for finish paint supplies, more if you choose red.

Additionally I’ve picked up some tools such as a mig welder (the welder and a tank of C25 gas ran about $650). I still haven’t really done much on the engine mechanical side. The head is done but the other internals are original. Come spring, I think it will be one the road for less than $200. It’s nearly roadworthy.

I’ve enjoyed much of the project but there have been a few tasks that I have dreaded. There was so much to do that I could put off those dreaded parts for months at a time. Funny, when I actually attacked those trouble spots they weren’t all that difficult. My son is off to college so I’ve been single handing the entire project. A lot of things would have gone quicker with a bit of help. And there were distractions like the call of the ocean and there were times that I just plain didn’t feel like working on it. If you plan to do the work yourself be prepared to spend at least twice as much time as you think it should take. That said, the car is really coming together. I’m very pleased with the result and look forward to driving it.

Would I do it again? Probably not with a car in this same condition. I prefer to do mechanical work versus body work. My next major project will be convert this TR6 to reliable fuel injection. Let me know what you decide. You know they aren’t making these anymore.”

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Rick

Christmas 2002

This is the first Christmas that there wasn’t one TR6 item on my list! Santa was good to me -especially appreciate the band saw. It’s a small Delta saw but will cut aluminum as if it is 1/4″ plywood. The project for the next couple of weeks is to adapt a pair of side draft Delorto carbs (like side draft Webers) to a 2.0 crossflow intake. The VW engine is for my business partner’s VW ice racing Rabbit. Yes it’s winter in Maine. Christmas day we got 18″ of snow.

Just today I finished the hub puller. It came out really nice. Way too pretty to use but it will get a work out next week. While the puller was being finished we tried to separate the damaged hub with a 20 ton press. Even with the press maxed out and heat, the hub wouldn’t budge! I guess we’ll see how strong the puller really is. Once my TR6 project is done I’ll need to decide what to do with the puller. Perhaps I will offer to repair hubs or just loan it out. The picture doesn’t really show the size of the puller so to put things in perspective, the nut on the center bolt takes an inch and a half wrench.

Puller update January 15, 2003: The puller worked but not without great effort. Bolting the puller up to the hub’s flange and tightening the lead screw with a large breaker bar was unsuccessful. A breaker bar with a six foot pipe and a two hundred pound guy didn’t work either. Whacking the end of the tightened lead screw with a three pound sledge did nothing. Heating the hub cherry red and a 1/2″ impact wrench wouldn’t do it either. Wailing away at it with a 3/4″ impact wrench didn’t separate it! I must say that I was disappointed with the puller but was amazed at the abuse it could take! Finally it let go while stressed by the 3/4″ impact wrench when my son knocked it off the bench onto the concrete floor. He says it made a loud popping noise. Perhaps it would work better with a finer thread lead screw or was my test hub extraordinary? I guess we won’t know that until the next hub. Anyway the puller held up very well to the abuse but has lost that new look. It’s now got a brown patina from the heat searing a coating of oil onto it. Maybe the coating will work as a rust preventative. Until the next hub. . .

As this hub puller project finished up, Dave Massey sent over some photos of a failed TR6 rear hub. Frankly at first I was surprised to see where the hub broke. Looking at the hub that I have apart, it is obvious now that the weak spot is at the point where the shaft starts it’s taper to mate with the wheel mounting hub. In fact when the shaft breaks there is nothing to keep the wheel from falling off! Take a look at the broken hub. Before my trial hub is reassembled it will certainly be magnafluxed for cracks.

I was disappointed to miss out on a fuel injection controller called Megasquirt. There is a limited number offered a couple of times a year and somehow I missed the offering. That puts my fuel injection conversion back a bit unless I spring for a much more expensive ECU. That decision will wait till spring.

The seats have yet to be recovered. I expect to have them done before the end of January. There really isn’t much else going on with the Triumph until winter ends.

Have a Happy New Year!