Sheila the '69 Triumph

  • Is it time yet?

    For the past couple of weeks I've been getting our trailer tent ready for its first outing of the year.

    Next weekend is the Rotary Club of Lichfield's Cars in The Park 2010 event and, like last year, Betty and Sheila will be in attendance.  Unlike last year, Isabel will also be there (now that her owner has passed her test) and Sheila will be pulling our home behind us rather than having it wrapped up in her boot.

    In addition to the kitchen sink the trailer now has plumbed in 12v and 240v electricity / lighting and a fridge.  Now all I need is confidence that poor old Sheila with her bodgeneered camshaft is up to the job of getting it there and back.

    Putting that slight worry to one side, I can't help asking (about every 5 minutes)...


    Is it time yet???

  • Camshaft woes but BOY what a difference!

    Two days ago I decided it was time to replace the distinctly iffy camshaft in Sheila.  I'd discovered that there was virtually no lift on No 1 inlet valve when I did some head work on her a couple of months ago and had finally found a replacement camshaft on EBay for £2.99 + post.

    By making little wire hooks I was able to lift the tappets enough to get the cam out, thus saving the time (and head gasket cost) of removing the head again.

    Tappets hooked up


    Sure enough, the lobes on the old cam were either non-existant or in pretty poor shape:

    No 1 inlet cam

    Bad lobes and journals


    Unfortunately, so was No 3 bearing journal.  Not only that, but a lot of the missing metal from it had welded itself to the bore in the block so the bore was too tight for the replacement cam to fit to!


    The textbook solution to this is to remove and strip the engine, have the cam bearings line bored and replaced, then fit a small journal camshaft.  But that involves time off road, lots of cash (not really worth it on Sheila and no real fun-factor either face-smile.png )


    So the offending journal on the "new" camshaft was carefully ground down until it fitted and the engine reassembled on a wing and a prayer.  This stretched a pleasant day's work into two days of hard labour but the results seem to have been worth it!


    Initial startup didn't cause an explosion and the engine sounded much revvier than she had been:



    Road testing also showed a huge improvement in performance.  Previously, 30 to 50 mph in 3rd gear took a fairly lame 10.5 seconds.  Now it can be contained in a 6 second video clip!



    So, as long as she doesn't explode or develop too many rattles in the near future, seems like it's all good with Sheila's new cam!

  • Another 12 months

    As of this evening, Sheila has a full new MOT.  I must admit that the fail and especially the welding required had left me feeling a little down about her.  Once you're chasing rot you're chasing it forever.


    But when I cut out the bad bits all the surrounding metal was good and it gave me a chance to look up into the o/s sill which is also remarkably clean inside apart from that back corner.  So all in all I'm feeling a lot happier with her now and can start thinking about some of the "improvement" type jobs like fitting the new camshaft that turned up last week.


    The current one is all but missing it's lobe for No 1 inlet - there's a total of about 135 thou lift at the valve which means the cam lift is down from 0.228 inches to 0.070 inches.  That means she's effectively a 3 cylinder anywhere much above idle.  Thanks to EBay I now have a good condition Spitfore 1500 one to fit.  It's not as "sporty" as the Mk III Spitty one but getting an extra whole cylinder into play will be a pretty big performance (and possibly economy) boost on its own.


    Oh, and it's going to be a pig of a job to fit it seeing as I can't pull the engine!!!!!

  • MOT Woes

    Sheila was attacked by the dreaded MOT man last Friday and came off worse than he did!  I was a little gutted to say the least because I was fairly confident that I'd got everything sorted before taking her down but ended up with the biggest fail list I've had for years!

    One front balljoint was wobbling around, two holes had sprouted next to suspension mounts, the steering was too sloppy and the handbrake was (just) below par.

    Luckily, the balljoint is a rebuildable type and adding 15 thou of shims has taken all the play out again.  the only difficulty there is that the rubber boot doesn't seem to be available any more so i have to hunt around to find one that will fit.  Meanwhile, she's fitted with a cunningly shaped vinyl one to keep the grease in and the dust out while I search.

    The welding is done - not neatly but strongly - so all the wheels should stay on for another year and the handbrake will now happily lock both rear wheels, leaving plumes of rubber smoke in her wake.

    That just leaves the steering play.  Some is in the column joints, which will be rebuilt today, some is in a rack-end balljoint which will get the same treatment as the suspension one, and some is in the rubber rack mounts.  Again, these aren't listed by anyone any more so I've ordered up a pair of Dolomite ones on the basis that it's the same rack body, mounted to an almost identical subfame, using the same U bolts.  If the rubbers are different then surely they can't be all that different???

    She's also developed a nasty oil leak which I think is coming from her n/s drivehaft seal.  A little hunting around has found that Mick Dolphin has these still available.  Although, at £8.50 each, they're not exactly cheap for rubber seals it's got to be easier to slap in a couple of original assemblies (they're a seal assembly inside a tube with a flared end) than try to find and fit alternatives from standard engineering supplies.

    So, for the princely sum of around £85 including the MOT test, she'll be happily beating up Anglesey roads for another year. I may be annoyed at the stuff I missed but I really can't complain at that cost of maintenance!

  • All work and no play....

    certainly isn't what happens round here when the weather turns wintery.  Work on any of the stable is pretty well out of the question, so the only option is to play with them instead.


    On Wednesday Betty will be taking us on a 720 mile round trip to visit parents in Devon.  Meanwhile the stormy weather gave a perfect chance to play with Sheila!

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