Wednesday, 20 February 2013

2010, Another TR7 arrives

The car had always looked OK from across the road, but a closer inspection would reveal the previous owners welded patches, and the fact that the doors have been repaired and aren't aligned quite right, and the rust bubbles on the rear deck seams, etc etc etc. Under the bonnet the welded patches on the inner wings and turrets were very obvious.  It was all sound but not too pretty.

When I took it to my local garage for its MOT they noticed something else that I hadn't spotted. The flat tops of those rear chassis rails under the boot floor were starting to bubble.  I had never looked at them before but there was no mistaking the first signs trouble when you ran your hand along the top.  I treated them with some rust killer and paint immediately but it meant the bodyshell would need some proper attention if it was going to last for many more years.

A couple of days after the MOT, as I was walking past the local garage they called me in and asked if I knew anyone who wanted a TR7. It was local, been stored for years and the owner wanted rid of it.................
To cut a long story short I suddenly found myself with two TR7's

The "new" car was from 1981, Carmine Red and had done only 23000 miles. It was Zeibarted from new but had still needed door skins, sills and wheelarches done in the mid 1990's. The owner had lost his garage a couple of years previously and I think the car had been moved around lockups. The hood had split and closer examination also revealed it had got wet at sometime as the interior was not too good.  The panel repairs were good quality and the boot lid and bonnet were both good as new but it would need a respray to get it looking just right.

The plan would be to get the body painted and fitted out nicely, then change over all my good mechanical stuff with the new poly bushes, springs, dampers etc.  I also had plans to install a Sprint 16 valve engine.

The Sprint Option

Ever since I first had the TR7, people asked me when I was going to put a V8 in the car, but I always liked the Sprint option better.   A few of my reasons are:- is a lot less work therefore cheaper.
2..the Sprint engine has over 130bhp, similar to the standard V8 engine. changes to the bodyshell or gearing required.
4..there are loads of TR7 V8's about but not many Sprints.
5..the factory started making the TR7 Sprint but it never went into full production.

Its worth noting that all the TR7 factory rally cars were Sprint powered up until 1979.

2010, non-starter. Bugger!

So the scene moves on to 2010. I went to get the car out of the garage and it wouldn't start, well it would fire OK but wouldn't run.  It had been standing for a couple of months over the winter.  The fuel tank was a bit low so I added some fresh petrol and tried again.  Still would not run.
It was firing OK but that was all.  Hmmm.
Dirt in the fuel line/pump maybe?
Flushed it all through, cleaned out the pump filter and tried again.  Still the same. Hmmmmmm.
Checked the float chambers to see if they were clean but found the fuel level well down,  Ah, dodgy fuel pump maybe?  Fitted the spare fuel pump ( we all have one I assume?) and tried again.
Then I noticed the fuel leak, petrol was dripping from the new fuel pump. I found there was no way I could get the lid to seal properly. It was one I had bought ages ago "just in case" from Ebay- like one does - so no hope of a refund.
Robsport came to the rescue with a new one delivered next day and worked a treat.


Saturday, 2 February 2013

The TR7/8 Forum

Just realised I should mention the TR7/8 forum at this point.

I discovered the forum whilst looking for information about the TR7 on the net. Its very well worth becoming a member (its free to join) as the help and advice available from like minded folks all over the world is priceless. Whatever your problem someone is sure to have experienced it before and will be willing to help you solve it.
You will also discover that you can similarly help someone else which is a great.

Have a look at:-

They call it the "The best TR7/8 Forum on the net"  and I would agree with the description.

A couple of the guys who are noteable members - there are lots of others - with superb cars are

Clay Thompson:
U S A         
                             some very good "idiots guides" with lots of step-by-step pictures

Odd Hedberg:
Sweden                lovely pictures of Odd's projects and his TR8

Holland              car build blog with super pictures of Beans Triton green TR7


2009, New Suspension

In 2009, after 36 years,  BT offered me money to leave and not wishing to be rude I accepted their kind offer.  I decided pretty quickly in case they changed their mind!

Now being officially retired meant I had more time to spend working on the TR7, but the better half also had plans for the house so I couldn't spend all my time in the garage just yet.

Driving the car more also meant the poor condition of the suspension became more obvious.  The ride was generally not very good so I decided that new springs and dampers were called for.  Not surprisng really, as they appeared to be the original ones fitted in 1980. This is a pretty simple job on the TR7, the biggest problem was battling with the spring clamps on the front struts. This is a bit scary as there is a lot of potential energy stored when you have a road spring fully compressed, but I managed it without losing any fingers. I also fitted a set of roller bearings in the strut top mountings to improve the steering.

With the ride now improved, other things started to suggest themselves to me. I decided a set of polybushes for the suspension would be a good idea and I would also like to upgrade the front brakes at some time.

Polybushes must be one of the best things to do on an old car.  They are much easier to fit than replacement rubber ones and they are said to last for ever.  You can get a variety of different grades to suit all driving styles from soft road to hard race settings. Mine are somewhere in between.  I also replaced the front subframe mountings with polybushes at the same time. Interestingly the old subframe mountings I took out were standard rubber but seemed almost  new so I kept them "just in case".

The front subframe job is another slightly scary one. The engine has to be supported separately whilst the subframe with all the suspension and steering attached is lowered.  There are four long bolts holding the subframe to the chassis rails and all mine came out nicely.  I have heard these can be a problem sometimes as they seize and have to be sawn off.  Not a nice thought.  Bit of a fiddle lining it all back up but it went together  pretty well.  The manuals do not show the layout of these bushes very well but luckily one of the guys on the TR7/8 Forum (Odd Hedberg from Sweden)  has produced photos showing the proper sequence which makes it all very simple.
Odd Hedberg's Excellent Pictures

Better handling and steering were obvious as soon as I drove the car so what to do next?

Rear Axle Bump Stops.  Working on the rear suspension I happened to touch one of the axle bump stops and it just fell off.  Turns out it was some kind of original foam material and it just fell apart - perhaps not too surprising after 30 years.  I spoke to Robsport about new ones and decided that the cheaper rubber ones would be fine, no need for the much more expensive poly ones. The way I figure it 10-15 years with the rubber ones will see me out anyway.

Fittting them was interesting. No way could I get them to push into the chassis mounting hole so I devised a special tool method as shown in the pictures.
Just needs a piece of wood cut to length and a Jubilee clip (hose clip).
Apply plenty of lubrication and fit the Jubilee clip (not too tight) round the mounting lug.  
Then with the piece of wood in place as shown you can jack up the axle which pushes the bump stop into its mounting hole, taking the Jubilee clip off once the mounting lug has engaged.   EASY.

Wood block and Jubilee clip in place

Jacking pressure applied,  now remove Jubilee clip