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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Peak District Tour - Days 3 and 4

Day 3 - Drive it Day
Sunday we awoke to more rain, not heavy but very persistant. After another big breakfast I succumbed to the still noisy rear bearings and jacked the car up, pulled the halfshafts and re-greased the bearings as a precaution whilst someone held a brolley over me. Not a pleasant task.
We had a list of places to visit for drive it day, some opted for a trip to Bakewell and Castleton, some to Crich Tramway Museum, we opted to head for Eyam and Hathersage. Eyam is known as "The Plague Village" In 1665 a village tailor was contaminated by cloth from London carrying the Bubonic Plague. 269 out of 350 residents died of the plague after the local preacher persuaded them to stay in the village to stop the plague spreading to other villages. A good museum tells the story of the plague village.
Eyam Hall - no casulaties of the Plague here as the squire fled at the first
signs of the Plague

Taking directions in the pouring rain at Eyam

We next headed to Hathersage via lonely moorland roads, stopping only for a snack in Hathersage, it was too wet to look at the area which is where Emily Bronte based her novel. We then headed out through Tideswell and Millers Dale before climbing up to the village of Flash, at 1500ft above sea level, the highest village in England.
The rain was fairly steady by now, with only brief dry periods.

Rainy views in the Peaks above Longnor.

Flash, the highest Village in England.

We then headed for Leek in the pouring rain seeking out Petrol, before having a quick Costa coffee in Leek along with another couple of Triumph owners.

Typical rain heading down A53 to Leek.

Triumphs at Leek.

Gill and I then headed into the Churnet Valley, visiting the Churnet Valley Railway and the Caldon Canal at Basford Bridge. We last cruised the pretty Caldon Canal about 8 years ago and hope to add to our list again shortly.

Basford Bridge - Caldon Canal

Cheddleton Station - Not much activity in the way of trains.

Diesels at Churnet Valley Railway - 33102 and 33021 Captain Charles

We then headed back along winding roads to Ipstone, Butterton, and Hulme End for a quick walk on the path of the narrow gauge Leek and Manifold Railway.
Nice house near Ipstones.

Heading into the Manifold Valley near Butterton.

Course of Leek and Manifold Railway.

Hulme End Railway Station - Leek and Manifold Railway

Typically, it been the end of the day the sun came out. We saw very few other Triumphs about on Drive it Day, a lone Dolomite seen in Cheddleton Station car park, a lone dark blue TR7 dhc seen between Hathersage and Hope, and from a distance 3 or 4 Heralds or Vitesse in a pub car park off the A53 near Leek. Biggest contingent we saw where old Citroens seen at a Pub near Flash. Oh and some ignorant MG's in Eyam who did not acknowledge our waves

Triumphs at the Manifold Inn.

Back at the Hotel for our last night we again spent the evening eating and drinking, entertained by the local Brass band who where practicing in the next room, some good old tunes, the Dambusters theme, Ilkley moor b'tat, etc. We retired to bed with ringing heads.
Day 4
After packing in the morning, a big fried breakfast, and settling up the bill Gill and I left, firstly calling in at Hartington to stock up on local cheese. The Dovedale Blue and Hartingdon Bomber is really nice. We then headed into Bakewell for more food shopping, namely a large Bakewell Pudding and a large Bakewell Tart which we are still trying to get through and some smaller ones to take back to our respective work mates, and additionally for me Denby Dale pork pies and savoury eggs.
We then headed down the A6, breifly looking in at Matlock Spa, managing to keep GIll out of Masson Mill retail outlet then heading out to the A50 and back home accross Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Cambridgeshire and back to Norfolk for 3-30pm, some heavy showers on the way back through the Peaks but mainly dry afterwards.
Thoroughly enjoyed this long weekend, we had good company, good food and drink, and despite the weather good driving. Bookings now been made for a trip to Wales next year.
The car ran fine except for noisy diff and noisy rear bearings caused by excessive endfloat, but they survived.
Thanks to Alan and Christine for organising this trip.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Peak District Tour - Day 1 and 2

Day 1
A group of like minded Triumph friends spent a long weekend in the Peak District last week. Although the weather was not good to us, we all had an enjoyable time, travelling round and visiting the Derbyshire and Staffordshire Peaks with no set agenda.
We set off early Friday from Norfolk, having an enjoyable ride through Oakham and Melton Mowbray on the way, arriving in the Peaks at lunch time. Booking in to our secluded hotel in the Manifold Valley we then visited Bakewell indulging in the obligatory Bakewell Puddings and Tarts.
Hartington Station on the Tissington Trail. The Tissington Trail follows
the course of the Ashbourne to Buxton Railway line.

Tissington Trail, great for cycling or walking.

Bakewell, home of the Tarts and Puddings

River Wye at Bakewell.
After an enjoyable evening meal and drinks we retired hoping for better weather the next day.

Day 2
Thankfully the next day started fine, after a good Breakfast we headed for Castleton and the Hope Valley. Gill and I first visited Speedwell Cavern at the bottom of the Winnat Pass.
At the bottom of Winnats Pass.

In Speedwell Cavern, aboard the boat on the lead miners canal. Trust
us to find a canal!

In Speedwell Cavern, boat approaching the end cavern where
the Bottomless pit can be seen.
After Speedwell we took the trip up Winnats Pass to Blue John Cavern which is on the road that Man Tor "The Shivering Mountain" has made unpassable due to landslides. The trip is very interesting made up of natural caverns where the Lead Miners have cut steps into the caverns.

Gill decending the steps into Blue John Caverns

Seam of Blue John

Under Man Tor

After the Caverns we returned down Winnats Pass to Castleton for lunch and a quick look at the many Blue John jewellers and touristy shops. We then headed down the main road to Hope then along the lovely road to Edale.

Descending Winnats Pass.
Heading for Edale at the end of the Hope Valley

Looking back to Edale and the Hope Valley

Same location in 2004, but better weather.

We then headed accross to Buxton and back to Hartington and Hulme end in some foul weather for a well deserved spruce up before another great meal with good company.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Halfshaft Endplay - Spacers not good idea.

I had to pull out the 2 x 1.5mm spacers this evening from behind the bearing inner race, dont think it was a good idea, whilst they seemed to cure the endfloat, with 2 up in the 7 and the hood up on the trip to the local CT meeting and back, around 35 miles, the transmitted noise seemed worst than ever from the back end. I cannot see any damage to bearings, looks like I need to keep a can of grease and trolleyjack in my boot!

Not sure what to do now, all I can think is get a real expert to build a guaranteed, smooth, quiet axle, but thats gonna cost:-(

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Halfshaft Endplay + Friday 13th Strikes.

Hopefully I have finally cured excessive Halfshaft endplay on my rear axle. I had a selection of spacers made up by a machine shop at mates rates.

Various Thickness spacers.

The spacer is intended to go behind the bearing race in the axle tube, I first tried with a 1mm spacer in the tube, but had to go to 1.5mm in the end.

Spacer in axle tube.

The bearing race is then inserted into tube and freshly greased halfshaft and bearings fitted.
Bearing race with spacer behind.

Had a quick check and it has improved the endplay, only minimal now, took the car for a 15 mile spin to check it out, seems ok, no bearing noise from the rear on cornering, have a long run next weekend to try and really prove it out. I still cannot really say what is wrong here, bearings? axle tubes? halfshafts? oil seal? end plates? or a combination?

Yesterday, Friday the 13th, I had the wheel alignement re-done and front wheels balanced as I had developed steering wheel shake over the past month or two. After balancing and alignement it persisted for a while, but after the fitter swapped a slightly misshapened front tyre for a back tyre all was perfect, except been Friday the 13th we found a grumbling NSF bearing!!!!
I know I probably use my TR7 more than most other TR7 owners but the bearing situation is really wearing me down, they just dont seem to last, I cannot be fitting them wrongly as they are so simple to fit and torque. Must be Chinese or Indian crap! gotta keep my eye on Ebay for NOS bearings.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Easter Run

We joined the TR Register on Easter Sunday for their annual Easter Run. Stag Owners Club where there too.
The run set of from the Bird in Hand at Wreningham, and headed for St Georges Distillery at East Harling for coffee, trips round the distillery and tastings. Whisky is not for me but I am reliably informed that it is very good and on a par with the Scottish stuff and many bought a few bottles. info here http://www.englishwhisky.co.uk/the-distillery/about-st-georges-distillery
The run then continued on into the Thetford Forest and Breckland areas with a break at the small church at Santon Downham in the forest. Some photos follow, poor images from the camera phone!

The run then took in some fine roads through the forest before we stopped for dinner at The Crown Inn, Mundford where we had a good roast lunch along with a pint.
After dinner the run headed for the Foresty centre at Brandom, in heavy rain, good old Easter weather before we all scattered for the trip to home.
Generally I think numbers where down on last year, maybe influenced by the Easter weather forecast.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Fan problem and New Hood

An update on things TR7 related as I have not properly blogged for a while.
We now only have one TR7, Gill sold her Blue FHC at the end of last year so she could buy a more modern convertible. Sad to see it go, but it has a good new home. It was a nightmare to sell for a decent price, there are some prize "t--s" out there wanting something for nothing, even so called Triumph Enthusiasts from the 2 forums I visit and dealers.

FHC ready for collection on 2nd Nov last year.

The Gold DHC is still on the road all year round.
Recent Jobs

I had to do a little welding in the rear wheelarch/sill area of the DHC where it had "popped" when I scraped the fire hydrant sign on my drive. I took off the electronic ignition as a precaution, not sure what welding would do to this, also disconnected main earth and battery. Happy welded away, then put everything back together.
Upon trying the car I found out that the new type electronic controller of the Kenlowe had packed in, this would not work, even with manual switch. Tested the fan, that was ok, so I removed the controller and sent away for test, the unit apparantly contains a mini circuit board, this had blown, possibly as a result of welding with it connected. Had to buy a new one at £45. So if you have to do some welding, remove the fan control unit!
The vinyl hood on my TR7 has really suffered this winter, the stitching has rotted, with the result that the pieces over side windows has come adrift along with a couple of other stitched joints, letting water in.
Costs locally for fitting are expensive so I took the plunge and bought a new hood to fit myself, having a read up on the method to do so.

Old Hood, faded, stitching loose.

New Hood

I took the plunge on Good Friday, after stripping off the header rail and unbolting hood from the rear the old hood was removed, I needed to put in new frame straps and to re-cover the front header as these where frayed and header vinyl was coming unstuck.
I used a piece of leather for the header, a little thicker than the vinyl but a nicer finish. I managed to find some black webbing strap for the hood frame.

Re-covered Header Rail

New straps to Hood Frame.

The old hood was used as a pattern to locate the rear fixing strip which needs to be encapsulated at the bottom rear of hood, the hood was then placed on car, and temporary fixed to aid location of poppers. Once popper holes are marked, the hood has to be removed to burr over the popper fixings, then hood replaced onto car.

Hood all fastened at rear and poppers in place,

The next job is to mark out the centre front, then prepare surfaces for glueing prior to stretching into position, I lost the sun at this time so had to wait an hour for it to re-appear. The hood needs to be stretched taught when glueing so it needs to be hot! Eventually the sun came out, and with an electric fan heater in the car adding to the heat Gill and I applied glue to the 2 surfaces then stretched into position.

Waiting for sun to come out to stretch into position.

Hood stuck to header rail, ready for trimming and glueing return under
header front.

Once glued, the front has to be trimmed, then the return glued under the header rail, quite tricky as it has a curve to it. The next job was to re-fit the header seal, this was quite frustrating as when the rivets where drilled out some of the rivet holes became enlarged, I had to drill a few new holes and use some slightly larger diameter rivets.
Finally the plastic hood frame covers have to be re-fitted.

Finished item.

I think it is a good job considering I have never fitted one before, It is not as taut as I would like, however I still have to source some 1/8" rubber strips to go along the 3 rails, to stop the metal frame members rubbing on the fabric, what I took off had perished, this should then make it slightly tighter. It rained heavy last night, no leaks and it also had a run in heavy drizzle today with no leaks.

I have a couple of outstanding jobs to do soon, the tappets still need adjusting, bloody awful job I keep postponing.
I still have the rear bearing with axle end play still to sort, has not failed totally so I keep greasing. I have an engineering machine shop making me some spacers to put behind the bearing race, they tried to laser cut these but as they are so thin they distort, so these will be turned on a lathe when it becomes free.
Paintwork needs sorting, faded badly plus the scrape I did but cannot afford this at the moment.

HCR 2012

This year I entered the HCR 2012 Essex and Behond as a co-driver with Andy Panter from the Norfolk Area in his 2 litre Vitesse. We had quite a good, smooth run, picking up enough points to get us into 13th place. As it was Andys first time we did not push it, just kept to a reasonable average speed aiming to finish in a respectable time without any dramas. We had a few extra counties and some race circuits however in hindsight we should maybe have bagged a few more circuits to bring the points total up as we where not short of time. Only downside was we paid some extorniate prices for petrol due to the petrol panic numpties, couple of garages only having the Vmax stuff. Andy only just found petrol in Norwich at 10am on the Saturday of the event.
Waiting for the drivng round cones bit in Essex.
Day break coming out of Dorset on the A30

In our T shirts at the finish.

A few more finishers cars at the Greyhound pub.

Thanks to Ellis and Mike for organising this years event and we look forward to next years.