The Lobby
Enjoy the blog this week with the Brothers Johnson, Street Wave
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A successful trip to Galveston. No injuries. Travel is a new animal now. Routines are gone. New Normal – what is that? Change, frankly. I get sucked into my work industry and family and friends bubble and think this is only affecting those around me until I go to Sherwin Williams and find out how backed up they are in paint production. It ain’t beef or lumber that is in economic turmoil, its paint and everything else. Everything. But the sun is shining, confidence is improving, but some hitch with this delta variant. Lots to be thankful for, so lets focus on that. At least today.

Whats new
I'll drop my head in shame, and mumble the first part of this section. Um, accidents happen. Minor blemish on the right front corner from a falling object in the garage. I think I can rub out most of it, but there is a light ding in metal. But in the grand scheme of things with my paint and body on the school car, this is a nothing. And, frankly, probably not worth discussing except for the fact that we need to be reminded often that – if we want Toy Story Woody, all sewn up, we have to paint over andy’s name on the bottom of the boot. And give up some character. The school car does not live behind glass. I’ll improve my garage situation. I’ll polish that area, and leave the ding. And I’ll drive the piss out of this thing this weekend

Changed my mind on alignment again. I’m getting it checked anyway, even though the spring spacers aren’t in yet. Call it curiosity, at least a baseline for the other changes I will do. Tonneau is repaired, ready. VTR punch list in the works. Car is good, OD is, well, awesome. So good to roll this thing up to 90 again. And I bought one of those garage lifts that flew across my facebook – 200 dollar lift for 50 dollars plus 10 shipping. Lifts from your drill. I feel like I just bought that sea horse family on the back of some magazine. But for 50, I mean, cmon – I don’t mind being the guinea pig for this crowd if it will help us fiddle under these cars.

Did you put gas in your car this week? I didn’t, but will today. I promise.

The Wax
My continuing effort to talk the nervous off the ledge. To remind you, its ok to cut that check and take the keys to this experience. This week, rear brakes and stuff around them.

Like anything else on this mark, things change. Well, not the block and head, as discussed last week, but I just remembered that the cam bearing upgrade should be one of those improved areas to the block. Consumables are opportunity for growth. And the guts of this little rant this week speaks to those drum brake kits, and particularly the wheel cylinder. And maybe a little about keeping it rear drum, rather than going off script with rear disc conversions.
I have already mentioned the 6pack article and threads that trended around upgrading the 4 corners of this mark. Funny, cause I always considered it a decent stopping car. This article included the off the shelf stuff, minor adapting, and even testing, stopping distances, etc – before and after. The sexy caliper and pad discussion became the shiny nickel, hoarding all the attention. But what was lost, almost stepped on, was the wheel cylinder upgrade. You see, for the smallest spend, you can improve your stopping power.

So simple. In front of us the whole time. Find a cylinder that fits the rig, and has more capacity. And from other vehicles, so their parts availability help hedge this future demand – keeping this part on the shelf. The move, simply, is going to a 7/8 cylinder, up from a 3/4. And the change is a step, not a huge bang, so you don’t get this shocking lock up impact to the rear brakes. That would be bad. These cylinders are around 30 dollars apiece. Many have this upgrade now, discussed and tested enough that it’s a common item, found in most of our suppliers. And if one doesn’t have it, another will. Drum pad materials are improving, certainly with the input from the race shops. We don’t think about the industry and how the mix new concoctions to make new pads, but we are seeing that work today. Yay modern materials.

And lastly, the drum itself. Some may not know this, but the 240z drum fits our system. Why is that important? Cause its aluminum, finned, and lighter. Later in this blog, I’ll talk about power bleeding, and our heavy drum bleeds power. Drag, so to speak. Remember the electric fan and how that reduced 12 pounds of rotating mass? Yeah, well all that has to get to that rear wheel, on both sides, and the more we can lean up the drive line, the better, right?
Who knew there was this much R&D going on in our rear brake area.

Next week. Better lights – all of it, and it continues to improve

Tech. Full Tonnea
The black hole
Throwback. Tucker

Tech. cover that interior.
I have had 2 full tonneaus with my 2 TR6s. On my 72 car, I never used it. I remember trying to put it on, and never finished. I don’t remember the details, but what I do remember was trying really hard to make it fit, and looking at how far the snaps were apart, and thinking, who the hell drilled these holes, and how could they be that far apart? On my current car, I was determined to make this one fit. And I did, eventually. And since owning this second one, I have used that top a lot over the years. So much that I had to replace the big zipper, the hold down strap, and most recently, female snaps and had some stitches replace, and tears fixed. And its less waterproof now. Whatever was on there before, is now worn off – but, it would bead water, and on the inside, dry as a bone. So I will be soaking it with some Scotchguard. Waterproof. I think some just had to sit down. Yes, rather than put the top up, I had my full tonneau on the car, zipped up, and my interior was dry as a bone. And yes, this was big rain, not a drizzle.

So, here’s my tech tip – for those that at least want to make it fit better. Everyone says hot day, and yes, this is the best solution, but coordinated stretching helps make it fit better. But here are a few tips in at least getting it on. First, start at the dash and hook the 4 stud grommets. I’ve started in the back before, but trust me – this is easier. Next, the door snaps. This is where I stretched and tore one of the corners. I didn’t stretch enough. So, take your time, even days, to get this right. I just got my reworked tonneau back from the upholstery shop. And with those tear repairs, one of the snaps is now an inch apart. Rather than gorilla that onto the snap, I’ll leave that one off for now, with the rest in place. And tomorrow, try again, and in the sun.

Working towards the back, I have found once past the door snaps, the rear sides are easier. You will also find that if you skip one, the material is easier to stretch. Then go back later, and try it. Accept the fact that on day one, this cover won’t be completely on the car. It might take a week. But once its on, it will hold that shape. They vinyl, and their design was to make very taught - something that isn't obvious, and at this point, not well communicated.

Tight is good, for a few reasons. I am probably the only one who will leave their car out in the rain with a full tonneau on it. If not, keep this in mind. Push your head rests up. This makes the water drain off the tonneau. But for most, the tautness helps when driving – less flapping. This brings me to the hold down strap. Many probably don’t have the stud anymore, but from the factory, the passenger seat had the stud….that metal thing near the dash vents….sewn into the seat panel down by seat rack, between the seat and the hand brake tunnel. Mine is gone because I forgot to tell the upholstery shop to put that back in when they redid my seats. So, I tie mine to my hand brake – but this is where we can improve – maybe some Velcro, or maybe a snap and mounted to the carpet around the tunnel. Or if TRF has this item, get one, and sew it into the passenger seat. I still think the tunnel cover is a better solution.

I love the look of the car with this cover on it, especially when driving. And its very comfortable with it on this way. Keeps the phone cool in the summer, for example, and when parking in the summer – you don’t even have to zip it back up – just lay the driver side cover over the seat. You’ll find little things you like about this configuration too.

I don’t know what hit me this week, but I started thinking about how we are making more power even when we aren’t. On the surface, we scratch the chin looking at this motor and get distracted with the intake runners, or that flinstone rocker assembly. Cutting heads, swapping cams, shaving, porting…..beating our chests when we pull 170 or something on a dyno. But what we need to think about, while the world morphs into 1000 hp in muscle cars, is how to make the most out of what we have. From that flywheel to the rubber on those rear tires, this is a great opportunity.

These cars rolled off Coventry rated at 145 or 124, or 104, or whatever depending on year and fuel delivery. Those numbers were probably fair – who knows. I am sitting here trying to figure out how a BL engineer determined horsepower back then – I mean, maybe they had access to proper dyno equipment. But there is a chance Nigel sat there, with his pipe and short sleeve shirt, glasses, slide rule, and formulated this number. This is a 2200 pound car. And after we put some modern day work into a new build recipe, we will have more than what the factory delivered, regardless of PI or carb. In other words, lets stop GAS about what these cars had when they rolled off the line. We now know we can configure healthy, longer lasting power.

Here are some thoughts on minimizing power loss. Just so we are all clear, everyone knows we lose power from the flywheel to the end of those 6 u joints, right? Yeah, a crap ton. So, 104 at the flywheel? Was probably 60 at the rear wheel. That may be wrong, but I am not far off, I assure you. Regardless, it ain’t 104 at the rear wheel. So, remember this on this mark. From that flywheel, decent power transfer in this manual gearbox. Out of the gearbox into a relic of a u joint onto a moderately balanced drive shaft. Another u joint into what I consider a future boat anchor, this 3.71 or 3.45 factory diff. With nothing sexy inside of it, like limited slip. 2 more relic u joints, more sad, very heavy half shafts, and then the last 2 u joints, into decent rear hubs with heavy rear drums. After reading what I just said, I'm surprised we get more than 25 HP, frankly.

So, what can we do to improve? What is already out there? Well, starting with that clutch and gearbox, the Toyota and miata gearboxes are newer, and those newer design and materials will spit more power out the back. Same u joint, but there are better drive shafts now. Lighter, straighter, stronger. Same u joint on the other end, but now, we can swap that diff to the r200B. And while I don’t have data on it, there is no way that Nissan rig doesn’t spit more power out each side. And attached to the ends of that diff? Not relic u joints, but CV shafts, right into our hubs. Hubs are better now, with better materials, and at the end of it all, lighter, finned, aluminum drums.

A TR6 today is light years ahead of itself when it rolled off the line. It would be great if I had this running total of power recover on each of those items. Yeah, I don’t. Some engineer, even Richard Good, probably has some idea on how to measure all that. We like to think this 4 wheel independent half shaft car is special, and it is, technically. But in this age of better, stronger, faster, taller, smarter….we expect more. And while we will find a few more horsepower next year in that block, we can and should find more power efficiency in that Dr Seuss wobbly power transfer.

Throwback. Tucker.
I lost a good friend in a car accident during his first year in college, headed to spring break. Asleep in the backseat, I95, headed to Florida from Raleigh, best I can remember. I was a high school junior at the time, and the memory still lingers, and came to me this week as I was digging for old stuff to talk about with this car.

Tucker Vail was a legend of sorts. Fonzie like. Growing up, and before high school, Tucker had this mystique - calm, collected, and if you didn’t know him, very intimidating. As I continued to grow up, so did Tucker’s reputation. I get to high school, which for Kinston then, was 10-12. As a sophomore, I play football with Tucker on varsity. He was a fast defensive back, and would hit anything. And the more time you spent with him, the more you realized, he’s not Fonzie at all, but this genuine, caring great guy. And you remember the day when someone like Tucker, says your name for the first time. Dang, I have arrived.

In my sophomore year, after football, I get to hang with Tucker again on the track team, me fumbling with shot and discus, and Tucker winning medals in middle distance events. And in the middle of the season, an invitational track event comes to nearby New Bern, 30 miles east of Kinston. This event was for the elite track stars, and on our team was Ricky White, a very fast 100 sprinter. He would race Kelvin Martin, who went on to great things at UNC Chapel Hill, and then with the Redskins. The whole team was invited to go watch, and there was some coordination on how we would all get there – meet at the school gym, and load up in a few cars. I show up in my sad 72 TR6, and I assumed I would park, and ride with someone. Until Tucker comes over and says, “you wanna drive? I want to ride with you in this.” You can imagine that moment, wow. Tucker knows me, and wants to have me shuttle him to New Bern and back in this thing. And that is exactly what I did.

That drive was nice, and fits in that why we drive these cars. Kinston to New Bern was a simple drive, on an almost new state highway 70, divided 2 lane highway, flat, and comfortable. Top down, summer, running maybe 65, or something just over the national 55 limit. And listening to Tucker tell me stuff, and sharing stories. Hanging with Tucker and some others at the track event, and heading back to Kinston. He had a great time on this drive, and enjoyed stuff in the car that I took for granted, like the sound, the seats and how well it handled. Before he graduated, he joined a group of us for a concert in Greenville, NC, at Minges Coliseum to see the Brothers Johnson for their Blam! Tour. The song this week is from that album, and one that I still listen to.

That drive, football, the concert, and getting to know Tucker, are simply great memories, and I hope this brings some good memories for you as you continue to steward your car.

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 Toyota new car salesman from Puerto Rico, who owned a TR7 back in the day. 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, improved compression and roller rocker valve train. Oh, and AC.