The Lobby
Enjoy the blog this week with Little Feat, Texas Twister

Annual family trek to Galveston, this time, less than a week. Different VRBO each year, and each one with oddities which make it memorable. This one, an 8 cup coffee maker for a house that sleeps 15. And 4 coffee cups. But, on the beach – and we have been beach front before, but not like this. It will be next week soon, so I can’t procrastinate on this sunburn. On another note, we have this expectation that the world get back to normal, as in what it was before covid. What I see in my line of work is it will never be like that again. And I think much of life will be this way too. So, onward.

Whats new
As I decompress in Galveston, on the beach, and at one of my favorite watering holes, The Poop Deck, on the seawall, the school car sits in my chaos of a garage. My VTR punch list still there. My alignment put off until I get my spacers in the springs to lift my ride height on the front, but anxious to find out what it is. I want to autocross at VTR, and I should have enough in order to make 3 runs without hurting anything. What else – I am working up a design for J overdrive sump gaskets. More on that later.

The Wax
In the continuing series of what’s right with this car, here are some thoughts on engine oil.

As adverse as my family is to modern cars, we do have current ones – 2015 and 2018 Rav4s. Both white. I have a white tahoe, and a white TR6, and the CJ5 that I steward for a friend, is white. I need help.

Engine oil in both of the Rav4s is 0-20. These 4 cylinder Toyota motors are the same blocks that they put in celicas in the 80s. Same look anyway. Oil then, was probably 10w30. Over the years, improvements to that motor, and all motors, allow for tighter tolerances with better materials. Fully automated now, I assume, with some CNC assembly line of arms and grinders, and fluids spraying around, and out the other end, an engine block. Back then, a box filled with sand or whatever, filling with molten….whatever.

Our 2.5 is frozen in time. Block and head frozen. Everything else? Not frozen. Even that crank. We have some new stuff in and around the motor, and oil is part of that. Our book says – 20w50. And I won’t win any argument here or anywhere about oil choice, but I will say, other oils are ok. And for those rebuilding, and some or many of are now, a machine shop today is light years ahead of what we had available in the 70s or 80s. Or 90s, or 2000s…..hell, even 6 months ago. In other words, we can today, make things straighter, and better balanced. We can learn from testing over the years – R&D Brittish Leyland didn’t have during production. An example would be – engine builder today might say – the ring clearance should be .08 thousands, where the book might say .11.

I run Castrol 10w30, high mileage. Shocking, I know. I trust the book and comments made from engineers who put that there, but I believe the advice has shifted and with years and miles of feedback, there is a better or different opinion now. And, I feel, that if the engineers were still alive, they might say something to this effect too. Just sayin. Today, we have spin on filter adapters that hold oil in and around the filter. We are more attentive to oil changes than we were during production. There was no jiffy lube in the 70s. We didn’t’ change oil like we should have – we just added a quart at the pump per the pump guy cleaning the glass, who pulled that stick and showed you.

Regardless of how you go, oil management should not be a deterrent to owning this mark. Where it leaks from? Yes – the front and rear seals need further R&D work, agreed. Currently, we replace the seals, and work around wear lines in the crank where they ride to extend this zero drip. But the biggest issue today, in my opinion, is how we approach oil pressure. And this alone might push a new steward away. But don’t let it. Oil pressure came up last weekend at a D6 gathering. Steve G, is replacing his oil pump – in hopes that will improve his issue. We can also modify the relief valve to come on later with a simple washer behind it. Some consider thicker oil or an oil cooler. I did. And I want to stop everyone here and say this. Pumps, thick oil, rigged relief valves and even an oil cooler, while helpful, isn’t the right solution to an oil pressure problem. Your main bearing wear is. I’ll type this again. Sort your oil pressure problem with new main crank bearings, and while you’re in there, renew that oil pump and rod bearings too.

I’ll be a mind reader right now, and ask you a simple question. Is your car near 70K miles? If you stumble and say yes, then go get that checked. Or pull your pan, drop a bearing cap, and do that squishy thingy that tells you what the tolerance is between the bearing and crank. Yeah, replace those, and get your pressure back to 25/50 idle/speed when the car is warm, and 50/100 when its cold. Our book – which I have questioned, recommends replacing main bearings at 70K miles. Think about that in terms of other engines in any car. That is ridiculous, but it makes sense. Triumph and Brittish Leyland developed this wobbly crank, with technology and design from that period, and we are dealing with a high torque, long throw engine. The good news is, you can have this serviced with the motor in the car, the crank in the car.

And if you have considered adding an oil cooler for this or any reason, let me say this about the times you should really add one. Practically never. You need an oil cooler if you are towing stuff uphill, on the highway for hours, both directions, or autocrossing – thanks Jeremy for that last tidbit on oil cooler why or why not.

Next week. Rear brakes, bigger cylinders, better drums, and improving materials.

Tech coolant flush
The last 6
Throwback. Almost restored.

Tidy Bowl
One of the first things I did when I took over the school car in 98 or so, was to go over to the lube place and have them rig up that system that flushed the coolant. After going around the car, opening the radiator cap, seeing brown water, I thought – yeah, lets get that back to green. Which I did. Few days later, my water pump is leaking. Funny now, cause the only thing leaking was the gasket. But, like many, I get a new pump and gasket. And don’t paint it, which rusts up like the old one after a few years (shoot your water pump with some heat paint before you install it…). But even today, I have to check this system, and each year, I get some rust, which is expected given the bath of iron it lives in. Its just part of the routine, but lets not let this be unserviced. I am about to pull my radiator to adjust my electric fan mounts, so when I do this, I’ll have coolant hopefully in a pan and not on my garage floor. But I will have drained it. I don’t have a great solution on flushing, but I can drain, and refill. Regardless of how you do it, consider it, and use that cap off, coolant color as a litmus. I also pull my overflow bottle, flush it, and reinstall it with some coolant mix. So far, with more attention here, I don’t have water pump or pump gasket fails like I did then.

Done. CF58328U
We all hear the tall tales – where is that last car, or the first car, as new stewards think those numbers match, and all that. We are trained today to go to the vast library that is the web, and look for anything from stir fry recipes to the location they shot Animal House. And occasionally, someone shares a nugget that takes over your brain and brings on more questions.

Facebook 6 groups are good for throwing these nuggets out. This past week, black and white photo pops up – the last TR6, rolling off the line, surrounded by the factory workers that built our cars incorrectly. Im chuckling. Like a police line up. There! That’s the guy! He didn’t finishing spraying the underside of my hood! Sorry – bad joke, and not at all in line with this segment. But here, in B&W, is the last car – a dark car, and best I could tell, LHD. The comments start flowing, including Uncle Dave H, and his comment on what the commission number is. And most confirm, It is still in the Tullius family, as this was Bob Tullius’s car.

Later in the comments, a full color version of the car, up close at an event a few years ago. Green. More comments where this pic was taking, and even the window sticker pic gets thrown up. I don’t pull that pic up at first, but I do a few days later. Fascinating. This car was delivered to Continental Cars in Florissant, Missouri. It was listed as Brittish Racing Green with Beige interior. The EPA disclosure listed the general details – 152 cubic inch, 2 single barrel carbs, 4 speed transmission, non catalyst, and 3.7 axle ratio. 19 MPG city, 25 MPG highway.

Then it gets fun. That itemized list of stuff included or added to the bill. Tonneau cover – 50 dollars. Hard top – 265. No charge for stuff like the engine, alternator, brakes….seriously, N/C. And then, for me, almost a holy grail moment. Front Air Spoiler. N/C. Spoiler. I have a great memory for little things. The black plastic Air Spoiler was added to cars from 73-76. I’ve called it a spoiler for years, until a discussion on 6-pack determined, its not a spoiler, but a dam. By the time I am in this discussion, being corrected, I don’t have any evidence or backup. I concede, and think, dang, I don’t know how I got that wrong, but OK – Air Dam. Until that sticker.

You see, this all makes sense now. I didn’t make up the word spoiler, I read it. In 1977 or so. I added a spoiler to my 72 car as a teenager – I’ve written about that event in the throwback on a previous blog. No Roadster Factory then, so I go to the local Triumph Dealer – yes, even in Kinston, NC. Head over to the parts counter, and they find the part on microfish, pulled the number, put the order in, and I paid the guy around 20 dollars – maybe 30, as I have said before to include shipping. And that spoiler, in a long BL triangle box was delivered to the Greyhound station, where I picked it up. And on that box, and on that invoice, were the words, Front Air Spoiler. Im not crazy, but if you are reading this segment like most, you probably sense some dude banging away at the keyboard with eyes wide, laughing histerically.

We have the window sticker shared on D6 – go click on it, and enjoy the details of this like I did. And so we are clear, I ain’t calling it an Air Dam anymore. Ever. The school car, and the butt ride both have Front Air Spoilers.

Throwback. The dream of restoration
My exit from TR6 stewardship in 85 pushed me a away enough that I wasn’t interested in the car at all – not a great car when I was rear ended. Daily driver at the time, and I was ending college, and I was going to need a regular car to get around with. The 72 car was never right, and there were always this unknown of spend in the future – as in, jeez, what else will go wrong with this car- we have replaced almost every part on it. I have to go back in time and remember how I felt in 85 after that collision – trying to get it fixed and State Farm nickel and diming me on shop hour rates. I take the money, sell it wrecked, and buy a Honda accord and a PC computer.

After a few years, Im not even secretly surfing for the mark anymore. It takes a few drives with a boss years later, looking for an MG, to nudge me. Other 6s in these shops next to MGs. And then finding the only item Dad and I kept from the 72 car – our Bentley manual. I’ve blogged on this experience a few times, but one piece I left out was, I wasn't considering buying another 6 - I was considering restoring one. And this experience reunited me with Harry Warner at the Buckingham Service.

Its this place that I had the tow truck drop the bent 72. And its here that it sat for weeks while I wrestled with State Farm. Harry never charged me a penny for storage. And when I had the idea to find a frame and tub, it was going to be here that I got a TR6 again. I was making decent money, and we were all making big bonuses. And this money would have been the spend for this restoration. Those meetings with Harry – prepping, talking about what this car would look like and have in it. I remember almost all of it. Including the color. He had already picked it out for me. That’s funny now. But to hear him say burgundy that day, I mean, I could see that car in that color, with tan interior, 72 car, hard top, and an A overdrive. Leather. And a rocket.

I was torn between this path and getting a sorted one. To keep the interest, I test drove a lot of cars, and looking back, had no intention of buying any of them. I think I was still in resto mode when we test drove the school car. And in one test drive, my restoration plan went out the window. But I still think of restoration, and looking back, almost glad I didn’t do that, as today, I have so much more input on what I want from this mark if I were to pull that trigger. And I have realized that almost any car is a great project for restoration – all I would care about is good frame, and good tub. I can find the rest somewhere.

That’s enough for today You and your Triumph TR6 are lovely diplomats. You help people around you with this car without even knowing it. You bring happiness to Interstate Battery guy delivering batteries. You are a steward, responsible for it, and to it. Please start the car with it out of gear and foot off the clutch to save your thrust washers. Pop your hood and have a good look around the engine bay. Please put fresh gas in your car each week. Smile when you drive, and whenever possible, take a kid driving.

See you on down the road,
L.O Guvna

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I am the steward of CF50460UO, born September 1975 with paint code 19 and black interior. Nicknamed “the school car”, is now over 100K in miles, with the original paint. I am the 3rd steward. Car was delivered with original hard top and factory overdrive. Current upgrades include Volvo overdrive gearing, Konig Rewind 16x7 rims, Falken 205s, 4Runner calipers and 7/8 rear wheel cylinders. Carbs by poolboy carbs, with a FlexAlite electric fan, pertronix ignitor ignition, TR5 cam, pacesetter header, 70amp Lucas direct fit alternator, Silverstar Halogen headlights, WBC blueprinted oil pump, Bastuck 9 pound flywheel, Goodparts suspension on all 4 corners, Goodparts sway bar, Goodparts trailing arm brackets, Uprated Armstrong lever shocks with cycle fork oil, JVC audio with 4 speakers, high torque starter, solid state Rheostat, pending LED dash gauges. My wish list: r200B diff, a quantum mechanics Supra gearbox, new interior, and new paint at some point, a fresh motor down the road with lightened crank, cam bearings, and much more...