by Mike Peake
It’s still January 2014 and my re-commissioning starts in earnest.
Funds are still somewhat restricted so all work would have to be done myself in my council lockup. As the lockup is ¾ of a mile away from home, has very limited space, has no power, lighting, washing facilities or, more importantly, tea or bacon butty preparation areas, conditions were far from Ideal. With my comparative lack of spanner skills, I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge. Surprisingly enough though, I was really looking forward to it and couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
I ordered the plugs, points, HT Leads, filters and fan belt along with a new water pump and everything I thought I would need to sort the brakes out. As it had been sat without fluid for some time I’d decided to replace the seals in the master cylinder and replace everything else except the metal pipes
Unfortunately the recon callipers and water pump were not in stock but I asked for the service parts to be sent so I could start work. The rest would follow when available.
The parts arrived the next day and I couldn’t wait to get started. Saturday morning dawned cold and grey. I donned my best mechanics clothing which consisted of a pair of track suit trousers with holes and an old Leicester rugby top. (Well I wasn’t going to get my Gloucester one dirty was I?) I’d also thought long and hard about the limitations of my work space, outlined above, and came up with a cunning solution. I took a flask of tea with me!
I arrived at the lockup at the ridiculously early time for a Saturday morning of 8am, opened the bonnet and enthusiastically set to work. I soon had the plugs points and leads changed and fired her up to see if it all still worked. It did, which was good. I then removed the cheap pancake air filter I’d fitted some time ago because I thought it would look “cool” but actually seemed to reduce the power available. I fitted the old airbox, which I’d kept, with a new filter element and fitted it back to the car. I then adjusted the carburettor until smooth running was achieved.
Next, I removed the brake master cylinder ready for its new seals, drained the coolant and refilled with the correct mix of water and antifreeze. I’d remembered to bring some water up with me in our caravan water drum. I haven’t told Mrs FB about this yet and could really do with some advice on removing oily fingerprints from plastic water drums before she finds out.
It was about then that I remembered that I was going to change the water pump. So I drained out the correct mix of water and antifreeze loosened the dynamo, removed the fan belt and removed the water pump and fan assembly from the water pump housing, only to discover that there was not room to remove the pump and fan around the radiator, hoses and engine etc. I loosely refitted the water pump and set about removing the radiator so I could then fully remove the pump and separate it from the fan. I put the nuts and fan in a safe place for reassembly when the new water pump arrives. I did all this without using any bad words and benefitted from the added bonus that I now had much easier access to turn the crank whist setting the tappets.
I was feeling rather proud of myself for my achievements so far. Now, my old Granddad was forever telling everybody that would listen that “Pride cometh before a fall”. If I’d have remembered this, perhaps I wouldn’t have been quite so confident when I dived under the car to drain the oil.
You see, I’d forgotten that Triumph herald drain plugs don’t have sensible hexagon heads that a standard socket/spanner would fit nicely. No. they have square heads that get rounded off when you try to remove them with poorly fitting sockets, spanners, mole grips, pliers or whatever you can think of at the time. So when I dived under the car to drain the oil, I was greeted with a nicely rounded off squarish drain plug. I decided to call it a day and went home to order a new drain plug being fairly certain I was going to fully butcher the old one.
to be continued
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