Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cool bits

My Herald usually coped with New Zealand summers, except in traffic on warm days. While we don't have much traffic in Moranbah, it gets hotter than Triumph imagined - usually high 30s, sometimes into the low 40s. To deal with this, I've been upgrading the cooling as much as possible. The first modification was to construct a shroud to mount two electric fans behind the radiator. The shroud is just a sheet of steel with holes for the fans, and rolled edges to seal against the radiator. The radiator is protected from the steel edges by fuel pipe with a lengthwise slit.

The fans are controlled by two thermostatic switches. The left fan uses a switch in the top tank which kicks in around 75 degrees, and the right hand fan is controlled by a Revotec adjustable switch in the bottom hose. The fans are wired via relays, and each has an indicator light and over-ride switch in the dashboard.

So far so good, a long blast on the open road showed temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees, depending on speed. Still, it's only Spring... I've bought an early Spitfire or Vitesse header tank to increase coolant volume. It needs cleaning up (and has a small dent to remove), and will sit above the distributor. There really isn't any other place for it. Apparently they were deleted from later Spitifres due to 'over-cooling'.

The tank came from Jon Wolfe of Wolfitt Motorsport, who also made these rose-jointed anti roll bar drop links:
They're a considerable improvement on the original links, which here have urethane bushes. I also bought alloy rack mounts from Canleys. Some people have advised against them, but then some advised against 450,b/in springs, and they're almost downright comfortable!

Wiring in the fans took ages due to an attack of shipwright's disease. To mount the relays I had to reposition the headlight relays, and then the loom was recovered in modern spiro-wrap, then the overdrive relay was replaced, then the dashboard wiring needed altering...

Right, off for a test drive!

Friday, August 08, 2008


Waiting when I got back from the Bunyas were a pair of 450lb/in 9" springs and set of Mintex 1144 pads. The new lower springs are now fitted, and yep, it's lower.

A new 9" spring, with an original for comparison. Getting the old ones out was a hassle (boing!) but the new ones just about slotted straight in. Hmmm, may need some sort of spring retainer if it ever gets airborne. The pads needed the locating pin holes drilled out to 1/4".


Thursday, August 07, 2008


Another camping trip, south to the Bunya Mountains NW of Brisbane. A long drive, ~2300km return. The official reason for the trip was a tour of the Acland Mine, but I couldn't resist throwing the tent in the car as well, and taking the scenic route back.

The Bunya Mountains are a high range, with a cool, wet climate. The rainforest is one of the only localities of Bunya 'Pines', a conifer related to Norfolk Pines (also not a pine) and Monkey Puzzle trees. Fossil Bunya leaves date back to the Jurassic - dinosaurs probably ate them! The cones are the size of a pineapple and weight about 10kg, so you don't stand under them when they drop in Spring!

Old house near Monto

Acland Mine. Thin seams, lots of them.

A mad Cuckoo Clock shop near Toowoomba. What's German for kitsch?

A pair of Bunya Pines

The Bunya Mountains have open grasslands called 'balds'. One minute you're in a dark, lush rainforest, the next you're in the open, with views for 150km.

Last rays of sun on the tree tops

Campgrounds are always busiest in winter, and often feature bush poets or singers around the campfire. The wooly hats aren't for show - even in the tropics, the temperature can drop to freezing overnight.

On the way back home, I stopped at Gladstone. Here's the harbour, and a tree lit up with green floodlights at the lookout.

Oh yes, and there was a pile of Triumph parts I'd ordered from the UK waiting when I got back. More on them soon...