(Gasket identifier resource)
In Feburary 2005 I bought my first Triumph, a '72 GT6 Mk3.
The car was in a partial restored state, it was bought by the previous owner for it's bonnet, and then he got The Bug and decided to restore it as well. He managed to do quite a lot of work on it before giving in to work on his Spitfire 6 as his only project.
The GT6 came with new rebuilt head, new alternator, water pump, fuel pump, brake master cylinder, clutch master and slave cylinders, TR6 radiator, sports suspension in the front (lowered 1"), a fairly solid bonnet with fibreglass louvres, brand new seat upholstery (not installed) and a mountain of spares including heaps of interior panels and vinyl, gearbox, diff, half-axles and a TR6 2.5L engine in a dismantled state.
The engine was fairly solid, but the rear carburettor (Zenith-Stromberg 150CDs with their emissions
gear taken off) leaked petrol. The brakes were clean, but nothing was hooked up, and the clutch
cylinder was empty.
All of the seals for the doors, windscreen, rear window and rear hatch needed replacing. The interior was a bit of a basket case, no complete carpets, the headlining damaged behind the driver, the rear 3/4 panelling broken, the seat foam shot and the lovely walnut dash in a sad shape.
So, a couple of months have passed.
The more I go out and fiddle with the GT6, the more I seem to find wrong. A little depressing, but thanks to the Spitfire/GT6 community on the internet I seem to have found replacement parts.
The carburettor problem was because the floats in the rear carb were way off. The float chamber
would fill up with petrol, which poured out of every available exit, including out the throat
of the carb. Messy and just a little exciting.
The GT6 came with a carb rebuild kit - but was missing the float chamber gaskets, I guess they were pulled for another project by the previous owner. After purchasing these from Spit Bits I rebuilt the rear carburettor and put everything back together... and proceeded to blow fuel all over the place again. After pulling it all apart again and readjusting the floats again I managed to get a smoothly running GT6.
I have yet to pull the car out of the garage and synchronise everything yet, however...
The next step in getting the vehicle running was to fix the gearstick slop. Also ordered from Spit Bits was a Shift Lever Kit, which includes all the washers, rings and bushings needed to outfit the gearstick. The primary bushing in the gear lever mechanism is hemispherical (That's half a sphere, guys) nylon ball about an inch in diameter. Said ball was completely missing from the existing set up, which is why the stick up and down with such freedom. After the rebuild (a 20 minute job with a vice, big screwdriver and hammer) the gearstick movement is truly a beauty to behold. Unfortunately I can't seem to find reverse, so there might be some kind of locking nut adjustment needed - I'm not positive. I figure I'll wait until I have clutch pressure before deciding.
The clutch system is all hooked up, with it's nice shiny new master and slave cylinders. Unfortunately
the brake system was a slightly different story. I'm not sure what the motives were of the person
who completely unhooked the brake system, whether it was to verify they drained all the brake
fluid out, or to ensure the maximum rusting inside of the brake lines.
Either way, I had to put EVERYTHING back together again - which really only consisted of tracing brake lines and screwing things together. Unfortunately the right-front hand brand line (that goes from the flexi line to the caliper) has one of it's brass fittings threaded, so I'll need to have that replaced.
More irritatingly the right-rear line (from flexi to cylinder) is completely missing. Thanks to a GT6 enthusiast I should have a bad line sent to me to at least take to a brake shop and say "I need to you make me one of these".
The fuel tank conundrum has me right now. The fuel tank has been unhooked by snipping the feed line from the bottom of the tank. This wouldn't be so bad of a problem (Just a short rubber connecting hose with clamps to patch the break) except I simply cannot work out how to remove the line fitting from the bottom of the tank. Hopefully fellow GT6 owners can help.
Finally the inner door lever on the drivers door is broken, and the outer door lever on the passengers door does not work - but I can't work out how to remove it to check it!
So, the engine runs, but thats about it. A start.
Almost an entire year. Weird.
So, it's not even a 1972 GT6 - it's a 1973. Shows how much I knew when I started this mess. I have made some leaps forward, and plenty of steps backwards. The question is only do I remember all the stuff I did this year?
The short answer is not as much as I'd like - but I'm a bit more motivated now. My primary
vehicle, a Ford F150, had its transmission die on me - so I need a running vehicle and the
GT6 fits the bill.
First I suppose was the frost plug. After getting it running nicely I discovered that the car didn't have any coolant in it, which I gladly filled and discovered was rushing out the side of the vehicle under the manifolds! A little investigation on the spare engine I have showed a frost plug right in the location the water was coming from (hidden from view as it is right behind both manifolds). Off came the manifolds, where I met two threaded studs and an utterly rusted through frost plug. With that replaced I discovered I had kinked the delivery tube that runs along the engine from the water pump to the heater regularly and it would not hold water. I ended up having a friendly Triumph enthusiast (Thanks Joe Curry) bend me up one from copper and send it along with the proper fitting, so now the engine was water tight...
Except the water kept draining from the radiator... without it dripping out onto the floor. The first time I ran the engine up (with my father over, visiting from NZ) the location of the water was made immediately obvious - lovely frothy creamy coloured oil over the rockers showed immediately the water was draining into the sump. I'm not sure where this problem lies. The head was rebuilt before I bought the car, and I have to hope whomever rebuilt the head would have noticed a bloody great crack. Possiblity exists that the wrong gasket was used (later GT6 engines have a bevel around the cylinder wall where it meets the head, which apparently can let coolant through). We'll find out when I pull the head off.
I decided to have a mechanic bend up the missing and broken brake lines for me. He managed to get
the front done, but said the rear didn't fit right and that there must be some kind of swarf in
the line. After looking into the matter we discovered much to our horror and confusion that the
front calipers have been tapped out to a metric fitting. Thusly the front calipers require metric
fittings, but the entire rest of the system is imperial. This required us making up our own lines,
which after borrowing the right flaring tool was no great problem. Brake lines are sorted!
The right-rear wheel cylinder was seized entirely, and I suspect the left is also. I'm going to order a rebuilt kit for the cylinders, and I'll redo them at the same time.
This lead into the next problem, the rebuilt master cylinder doesn't like to pump brake fluid into the lines very well, meaning bleeding them is almost impossible. When you push on the pedal, the little piston in the cylinder goes in, releasing fluid into the system, but takes a very, very long time to return. Actually, at first it didn't return at all. We took the cylinder apart and verified it had nice new seals in it. I think, however, perhaps some moisture crept into the cylinder bore and rusted up, and it needs to be cleaned out to let the piston return freely. We'll see.
I discovered why the fuel tank fitting seemed so obscure - the thing is actually supposed to have a hex head on it, but appears to have been completely sheared off leaving only the threaded part in the tank. Not sure how to get this out yet. Since the thing is brass, perhaps I'll drive a large screwdriver into it, and wind it out. Nasty.
While Dad was here we folded up some sheet metal and welded up a repair to the rear radius arm mount, as well as tacked down the floor pan repairs. He also taught me how to weld while he was here, which I've been needing to learn for a long time. Guess I'd better get practicing!
Oh, and I found reverse. I should've known that you needed to push down on the damned gear lever to get it in, it's not like I haven't driven all manner of British cars before. How embaressing.