Sunday, March 25, 2012

The GT6 comes home

Today was the day I'd been impatiently waiting for for over a year. My GT6 came home - painted and ready for reassembly.

Joe finished painting it a few weeks ago, but the movers were booked until this weekend. Why use movers? Well, I'd shifted south since the car went to the painters, and to hook up a car trailer and drive north to retrieve it would have been over 1900km. Plus, the movers use a covered truck, whereas a car on a car trailer is vulnerable to stones thrown up by the towing vehicle and everything else on the road.

Inside a furniture truck - the best way to move a car. No stone chips, no exhaust fumes.

Furniture trucks don't have winches, so a tilt tray was used to unload it and bring it the last few km home.

My driveway is pretty steep, so I have a winch bolted to the floor at the back of the garage. Not sure what the Herald thinks about all this...

 Dynamat has been applied to the entire floor and bulkhead to reduce cabin heat and noise.

Because every detachable part has been stripped, painted or restored while the body was away, it shouldn't take long before it starts looking like a complete car. Dynamat has been laid under the carpet and on the bulkhead to reduce noise and heat. GT6s have a reputation for cooking their passengers, and I want mine to stay cool!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

No koalas

With the diff refitted, I've been using the Herald all weekend to make sure it's running perfectly again. A few clicking noises on Saturday told me to trim some of the halfshaft bolts. That done, I decided to take it to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary here in Brisbane on Sunday. We got about halfway there...

The good news is that the diff is working perfectly. Greg Tunstall had the gears lapped to ensure it would run quietly, and it does. No leaks so far either, so that leather pinion seal seems to be worth the trouble to track down. There seemed to be a driveshaft vibration at 50mph, so I'll turn the driveshaft around and see if that helps.

The bad news happened on Moggill Rd, one of Brisbane's busiest. I put my foot on the clutch coming up to a red light and it felt soft. A couple of pumps and nope, no clutch. I knocked it into neutral and we coasted into a driveway. The tableau was perfected by a large cloud of smoke as the slave cylinder dumped fluid onto the exhaust!

I could have fixed it right there. We stopped outside Super Cheap Auto Spares, and I had a spare slave cylinder seal in the boot. But thousands of people would have seen my bum sticking out of the car so I opted for the dignified alternative of calling a big yellow tow truck. Sorry, did I say dignified?

Looks cute, doesn't go though 

Of course it started raining as well...

Anyway, it's home and the replacement parts are on their way. It's the first time in twenty years that it's needed a tow truck.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Herald's back!

Replacing the diff in a Herald is one of the most awkward jobs in Triumphdom. Which is why, as soon as Gerald's diff's started singing, my heart sank.

It lost its oil after the pinion seal failed. Replacing the oil quietened it down slightly, but its days were clearly numbered. So I ordered the various gears, seals and bearings, as well as an alloy case from Canley Classics, and took the diff to Greg Tunstall Mechanical for an overhaul. He had the new crown wheel and pinion lapped to ensure it ran quietly, and built it into the new case.

The rebuilt diff with new crown wheel and pinion, and a Bastück alloy case.

I've just spent an entire Sunday struggling to refit the damned thing. Removing it was easy -  just undo all the bolts and stand clear, gravity does the rest. But refitting means shoving it into position against stiff bushes, limited room and the same, suddenly unhelpful gravity. Grrrr! For future reference, don't fit bolts through the rear bushes before swinging the front up, as it won't fit in properly. I figured that out eventually...

Once it was in I found one difference between the old iron case and the new Bastück alloy case. It's not possible to fit the halfshaft bolts once the output flanges are done up, as the case is a different shape. So I had to fit the bolts the other way, and fit enough washers so that the bolts didn't hit the cap head bolts holding the flanges in. Some of them come damned close though - if an ant squeezes in there it'll get a haircut!

Refilling took an age. The 140-weight oil Greg gave me was too thick for my oil pump, so it was refilled with a hose and funnel. Slooooowly.

Bleeding the brakes. The rubber brake hose was replaced with a braided hose. The swing spring was stripped and repainted, the eye bushes were replaced with blue urethane and the centre pad with harder red urethane. 

I also replaced a brake line and bled the brakes. Then it could sit on its own wheels for the first time in six weeks. It didn't start though, not until I'd removed a condenser fitted across the points to keep the radio crackles down. The radio's inline fuse also fell apart while I was looking for loose wires, resulting in some sparky excitement and a little Lucas smoke. Sigh.

Once running, the clutch turned out to be seized on... but I've learned how to free it off, so we shot around the block for a test blat. No new noises, and the diff's quiet. Thank goodness!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Steam, smut and storms

As we pulled into the last station of the day, the chap across the aisle finally managed to slide his window shut and grinned. "Any day behind steam is a good day". How right he was.

Several times a year, a bunch of enthusiasts from the Australian Railway Historical Society run steam excursions out of Brisbane. I wouldn't say I'm a big steam enthusiast - some of the middle-aged blokes were almost dribbling with excitement - but a ride up the coast in a historic steam train is a good way to spend a Saturday.

The trip went up to the town of Landsborough, on the Sunshine Coast (which is a district, so Landsborough isn't on the actual coast!) There were a couple of add-on trips offered as well, and I opted for a boat trip along the waterway between Bribie Island and the Mainland. It's a nature reserve, and popular with fishermen, boaties and people who just want to spend their Saturday at the beach.

"The train arriving on Platform 10 is noisy, steamy, smokey and quite possibly alive!"

"Have you seen a seagull?" "No." "How about a shag then?"

The resort town of Caloundra, at the head of the passage between the Mainland and Bribie Island.

Bribie Island. Sand, trees and weather.

A typical SE Queensland afternoon storm.

Another good way to spend a Saturday.

After a couple of hours it was back to the train and home. My carriage, which had been at the back on the way up, was now at the front. With no air conditioning it was a choice between hot or sooty... Triumph owners aren't afraid of a bit of dirt though, so it was windows open all the way. Or at least until we hit the storm front we'd been watching from the water. And the old wooden carriages were as waterproof as the day they were made!

(Triumph news: The Herald's diff has been rebuilt with an alloy case. I'll try and pick it up this week, or next Saturday at the latest. And the GT6 is painted! I've arranged an enclosed truck to bring it the 800km south, probably in a couple of weeks.)