Saturday, March 26, 2022

Not on the road: How is she?

 My Triumph has been leaking oil at an alarming rate. I was leaving a trail pretty much whenever I drove. 

The real problem is that I keep her in an attached garage and the smell, despite the absorbent sand the other tricks, continued to leak into the house. The missus was not pleased.  

So I took her to the garage and said, what do we have to do? Let's clean the engine, run it a little, and identify the main leak.


Triumph vitesse engine inspection

Triumph vitesse engine gasket set

Problem: it turns out that there are a ton of leaks.  So we've bought from Moss a complete set of gaskets and they're going to do the whole thing. Take out the engine, change all the gaskets, add some silicon sealant at the obvious problem spots, and then try to reassemble.  

It's been in the garage for two to three weeks but this is the week that they'll get to it. 

Wish us luck.....

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Fuelfed Coffee and Classics: Todays Ft Lauderdale Stars IMHO

 On the last Sunday of each month, I get up early and drive my Triumph Vitesse to the Ft Lauderdale Fuelfed Coffee and Classics get-together. It's two hours of from 30-100 cars parked together as people chat and oogle each others cars. 

Part of the fun is never knowing what is going to show up.  In my case, it's a huge educational experience where I can ask some serious experts about how and what I should be doing for my car.

The two most amazing cars to me today were distinguished by astonishing engines.  

One was an AutoUnion car, a German brand that I had had never heard of before.  This AutoUnion car might be the only one in the USA. It's a 1961 modeled like the Firebird which was brought over recently by the owner (a Brit) who bought it in Germany. It has - I can't really believe it - a three cylinder two stroke engine!  Apparently, this engine was adapted and used in other cars for a decade and the brand (look at the four circles) developed somehow into the modern Audi.

A two stroke three cyclinder engine

The other car with an amazing engine was a gorgeous MG, all silver. It had a rotary engine in it (I don't think original). Anyone else remember the Wankel engine that Mazda pushed so hard in the 1970s or 80s? Same idea.

A Rotary Engine

Other than that, I mostly paid attention to my Triumph Vitesse, Paul's baby blue Triumph TR4, and Hamptons brown mid body engine Fiat.

Thanks as usual to Martin for organizing it: 

This week, my focus was on dealing with my fuel leak from my Stromberg carburetors plus getting a mirror and seatbelts onto the car and getting the horn working.  Hampton pushed me to LBCarCo as a great place to buy parts like a kit from my carburetors. I'm also trying to buy seat belts and a side mirror for the right right. Plus a convex insert for the side mirrors to improve visibility. Another short term project is to get my horn working.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Gas leak

The car has a little smell of gas. I’ve traced it to a carburetor leak. The aft (rear?) carburetor.  

I’m not sure where to go next but here’s what my brother explained to me during his flyby visit.

The leak might be solvable by just tightening the six screws that hold the carburetor together. But they u screw from the bottom which seems impossible to reach. Even after removing the airfilter, it still seems impossible to reach them.

The solution might require a new gasket. But still, the screws need to be reached to open it and replace.

The root problem might be the gas pressure into the carburetor. After much searching, it seems that this car has no mechanical fuel pump. Does the gas get sucked in somehow by the carburetors? There is an electric fuel pump which sits back near the gas tank. There is an off/on switch for it under my dashboard and for the six months I’ve had the car, I have left it in the ON position so once I turn the key, it pumps. I think it pumps even if the engine is not running so long as the key is is ON. Could this pressure be causing the leak?


What to do? What to do? And who here in Ft LAUDERDALE can do it?

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Maintenance Basics

FLUIDS / OIL.  I've been told:  "If your car is not leaking oil, what's going on?"
Answer: It's out of oil. 

Yes, Triumph cars leak oil. So the first rule of maintenance I’ve learned is to  keep refilling it.
Ahhh, but with what oil?

I spoke to many people and read many articles. There are many opinions and subtleties which I find confusing. But all agreed that I need an oil with zinc.
So I'm using Volvoline 20W-50 high zinc. If you have a better idea, I'd like to hear it.

I have a supply of large flattened cardboard boxes for my garage to absorb the oil. But since I have an attached garage and a wife with a sensitive nose, I've just bought oil absorbing sand in hopes that it will help suppress the odor.

FLUIDS / Petrol. This has been the subject of less discussion. I put in premium. I have heard very little about this issue but I asked a a FB Triumph group what they thought…Which should I use?

Consensus view. Use the high octane premium. Ethanol free would be better but it’s not necessarily worth the hassle. Ethanol is bad for old cars. I could buy ethanol-free gas and it's readily available in most marinas. Unclear to me if this matters but finding it is a simple web search or use the pure gas directory site. There’s also the questions of lead and octane.  Again, if you have a insights to share, I'd like to hear them. Tires. Pressure. The Vitesse Hayne handbook says front tire, 22 PSI. Rear Tire 26 PSI. Size 4.5J, 155 x 13. Likely Achilles brand.

Fluids/Break Fluid. I put dot 3 break fluid into my car. I picked the more expensive Prestone Max Synthetic Dot 3. I
f you have a better idea, I'd like to hear it. I think I've also heard that Dot 4 is the right one but then, I'm easily confused. Speaking of confused, there are two near identical looking places to put in fluids (pictured below).

Reservoirs for Brake and Clutch Fluid?

Both are directly in front of the driver (remember, it's the US version so on the left). I was told by one person that they are my left and right brake fluid reservoirs so they should be topped up whenever necessary with brake fluid. So I did. Today at a Coffee and Cars get-together, I was told that one is for my clutch, the other for my brakes. I'm relieved to see as I look in the manual (Haynes, Triumph GT6 & Vitesse by Terry Davey) that he cites for the "Brake and Clutch Hydraulic Reservoirs", Hydraulic fluid to SAE J1703 (sic) or Universal Brake and Clutch Fluid. So brake fluid is fine for both.

Speaking of brakes, Haynes says (P 140): Disc brakes are fitted to the front wheels of all models together with single leading shoe drum brakes at the rear. The mechanically operated handbrake works on the rear wheels only.... Drum brakes have to be adjusted periodically..." hmmm

Fluids / Grill.
I've heard that I can just put in distilled water since I live in a temperate zone. Others have said that anitfreeze is better for the car. So far, I haven't put any in. I'm open to advise.

 Fluids / What else is there? I've been pointed a few times towards these nipples on the suspension which I should be hitting regularly with a grease gun. I'm thinking this is something that my mechanic does.

All these fluids should be changed once a year. I do low mileage, probably less than 5,000 miles a year. But then, I've only had it six months and been pretty timid so far about where I'll take it. Tires. I need to add air to my tires and I can't seem to find any info on what's the right air pressure. Here's all the basic info written on my tires: Achilles155/80 R13 79T, E4, 027730-S2W81, 0258823, MASI-0426-08, DOT 5KCF TA2. I'm trying to sort thru all this info trying to figure out which are the model numbers, size, and details on the history of these specific tires.

Cleaning. Wow, a great number of people at the cars and coffee monthly meeting complement me on my car and then start giving me advise on how to clean it up. I guess they think it is dirty and gross. Hmmm. Here's what I've heard.

Leather cleaner for the seats. I was also told that a mix of a little ammonia in water would work. I do have some leather cleaner that I've been using.

Engine. People talk about putting a bag over the air filters and the alternator and all the electrical and then spraying the engine liberally with Motor Cleaner Foam and then rinsing thoroughly with water. I would think that I want someone who has done this before to show me before I try and somehow spray stuff somewhere which gums up the works.

Dashboard - Some wood polish.

I try to be like a doctor. First and foremost, do no harm!

Safety Mods to Prioritize

  1. Seat belts. Shoulder or waist? Where to buy? What size and color? Are there holes already drilled?
    1. Seat Belt Planet - Triumph section does NOT mention Vitesses or Heralds.
    2. Moss Europe- Triumph section does NOT mention Vitesses or Heralds.
  2. Mirrors. Originally, the cars were sent from Triumph to the dealers without mirrors. The dealers then put on mirrors. The Vitesse usually received hood mirrors of an octagonal shape. At least, that's the type of mirrors that was on ours. In any case, my car only has a left hand mirror which is wiggling all over the place, it's a bullet mirror. Replace with bullets on both side as perhaps less original but more useful? Again, where to get them? Or add a mirror on the right and give both a convex insert for better visibility?
  3. Horn. The horn does not work. Should be easy to fix. But I hear hard to keep working. I think the issue is the switch inside the steering wheel. What to do?
  4. Gas leak. The rear Stromberg 150 carburetor leaks. Is a gasket enough or should I buy a complete carb kit?

Monday, October 11, 2021

Pictures of my Triumph Vitesse - John Edelson


John Edelson, Triumph Vitesse. Happy Days.

John Edelson, Triumph Vitesse.
John Edelson, Triumph Vitesse.

 Carmen, Emy, and Bella.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Nothing Simpler than a flat tire

It couldn’t be simpler. A flat in my garage.

I splurged on a long handled ratchet. With a big enough lever, I’ll move the world.

I could also knock my bumper off if I’m not careful.
triumph Vitesse bumper

Wheels blocked!

But where exactly to put the jack. I only have this little original jack. Probably should have thought about that when I was at Autozone.

But is it placed right? Here’s some confusing bottom up photography.

Plus, once I get it off, how dangerous is it for the car to sit there on three wheels and a jack in the garage that people walk through ?

Where’s a cinder block to put it on when I need one?!!
Also, before I remove the tire, I thought I'd check to see if my local places will actually replace my inner tube. Five minutes on hold and.... NO, of course not. Nobody around does that. I can't think of anybody who will patch it for me......  Oh shit, now what?  Get a patch kit, a bucket of water, some of those spanners for putting wheels on and off?    

More research. 

It turns out that my vintage car doesn't actually have tires with inner tubes. Wheh! In fact, what was I thinking? How many decades of confusion are layered into my thinking? Cars have not used tires with  inner tubes for many many decades now. Bikes yes but cars went tubeless about fifty years ago.  How disoriented can a person like me get?  So now, am I out of the proverbial woods?
 But the car does require a tire that is not typically locally stocked.

my tire has lots of markings on it.
E0258923 E4 022139  S2 WRI
But, most importantly, I see 155/80  R13 79T.

This sort of maps to this chart on Moss.

And now I've been on the phone with them.
They do have a chart. But they don't sell tires.
They suggested Coker Tires: 866 5163215.
Brother reminded me that fixing tires is pretty simple.   Why am I even shopping?  Yikes, more confusion by me for no reason. Yikes indeed!

I'm now clear that I should simply be taking the wheel off and taking it to a local place to patch....duh....How did I get so disoriented?

OK, now I see what I'm up against. I have small but modern tires. No innertubes. Just take off the wheel and in most cases, get it fixed. Easy, eh?
Brother suggested to me to not rely on the jack. Too dangerous. Get a pair of jack stands. Right. Back to the shop.

Onto to jacks, jack stands, and finding where to place it…after all my confusion, I decided to get some decent stuff to work with…

A pair of jack stands and a solid hydraulic jack.

Real wheel blocks of just bricks.

The punchline to my day is I got the wheel to a tire center who filled it with air but… could not find a leak!!!!

So I guess it somehow leaked around the edges, perhaps bumped loose by speed bump or pothole? So next day, I brought it home and reassembled quite quickly.

All's well that ends well!  Although my confidence took a beating....

Not on the road: How is she?