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the school car. is sick.

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  • the school car. is sick.

    hello 6pack.

    I regret to share that the school car, that I have stewarded since 1997, is down. But, given the circumstances, and remembering some other problems that Ken, Bruce and others have encountered, it certainly could be worse.

    I have low compression on 1 cylinder, and it won't fire. I checked that today, got 120 or better on all but 1. And that one is 90. And in testing that cylinder, the noise it made sounded nothing like the others being tested. and in starting the car recently, the starting noise is odd thinking maybe worn starter, but that it could be something else.

    the school car has sat for a while. in the garage, helping me store little things like a foot stool in the passenger seat. inspired by the trials, and the event in texas recently, i rolled the car out, thinking i'd pull the choke, and it would fire right up like it has in the past. not this time, and it caused me to reach out to Ken on the carbs, and chase some float bowl clean up, renew the diaphrams, and do a general tune up - plugs, cap, rotor and oil change. all that went well, got the car running again, but noticed a light miss in the revs as i tested the carbs. even drove the car a little as i was cleaning the interior, putting the hard top back on, and just general, car waking, so to speak. it ran fine, except for a few stumbles when I would start it after sitting.

    but the miss turned into a dead cylinder. driving the car last sunday, noticing this bad cylinder, drove it gingerly thinking the cylinder would catch, and be fine. I had not put new fuel in her, so I threw 3 gallons of gas into whatever that **** was in my tank, thinking this would help mix up the fuel and help - which actually made it worse.

    letting it sit a few days, and chasing wires, newer plugs, and which cylinder it was, i took my time and decided to test the compression this morning. 120/120/120/90/120/150. from front to back.

    I haven't pulled the tank, but i think thats a good idea. but I don't want to run this motor right now until I have a better plan. So here I am. at the mercy of triumph werks, and those that support us all. As a steward, it is my responsibility to take care of this mark - it has been my core message on my blog, and anytime I chat here. I feel somewhat down that I have not taken better care of the school car, but I know I didnt abuse it.

    a note from a few years ago which may impact this discussion:
    in 2016, I prepped the school car for a cross country journey from texas to north carolina. safe trip in both directions. car ran great on both journeys. checking the oil in NC, oil at the top of the stick. on the leg back, checking the oil when i got back, oil not on the stick. I discussed this on a thread then, and the consensus was it was probably blow by, engine running a little over 3K for many hours. so now, I think all this is related - that cylinder....4 or whatever it is technically was injured on that trip back, rings, whatever and i've lived with it since, probably getting worse as I drove it around town. nothing gave me any indication that i had a cylinder problem until i began waking it up recently.

    other notes for those following.
    original motor with some minor upgrades before I got it. tr5 type cam. main and rod bearings replaced at 75K. no blue smoke, but i have had blow by since owning it. compression check 10 years ago? 140 or better range on all cylinders.


  • #2
    Sorry to hear she's ill LO. Scenario reminds me a bit of my experience with my dear 6. She got us to and from Flagstaff, AZ a few years back, and some OD electrical issues, not withstanding, the only thing I noticed, was excessive blow by, and pinging, on ascending grades.
    Some months later, in town, driving home from work, a horrible rattling noise sprang up! Turned out to be a holed piston. IIRC it was #4. Might be time to pull the head my friend.

    CF1634U+O Pimento/Chestnut
    2nd owner, since 1975
    Now in Fair Oaks, CA


    • #3
      Low compression could just be a burned valve on that cylinder, a vacuum gauge will tell you.
      Driving a 1973 TR6
      Doing ZS carb repairs
      email kencorsaw"at"


      • #4
        good morning,

        quick thanks to Ken for the call late yesterday. Always good to chat with the legend, and to catch up on football and a great Trials in St Louis.

        so, after the discussion with Ken, and realizing something is wrong with cylinder 4, I thought before I followed Ken's advice which was to check the vacuum from the intake cylinder, I would pull my valve cover, which I have done a few times. A few years ago, I had my valve cover blasted, painted, and added the thumb screws to the top for decoration - and added a nice chrome valve cover oil cap. So, I've pulled this cover several times. It has the new silicone gasket on it, seals great, and is easy to pull. Anyway, since that is simple, I thought I would pull the distributor cap, bump the starter a few times and watch the valve train. but before I did that, I looked closer at the valve springs and the rockers. So, knowing which cylinder is off, I see the springs are fine, but when i touch the rockers, one falls over. what?

        go to the other side of the car, and sure enough, you see in this pic what I see. a rod just laying there, out of the way.

        this is where I should have asked permission. I pull the pushrod, and look at it. at first it looks straight, but when holding it up like a rifle, and spinning it, it ain't straight. its bent. slightly. I'm sure i can put it back in place. I don't have confidence that this rod or any other are true, like they should be. and a quick chat with my non TR mechanic, he suggested pulling the head, as something caused this rod to pop out.

        I'm happy that this is probably the issue with this motor. but sharing with the forum for suggestions, and a reminder to pay attention to your car, its symptoms and be aware. And take your time. in this case, I've had that valve cover off 5 times, at least. I should have caught that push rod laying there the first time I pulled that cover.

        cheers - ps, good to hear from you Lou. I remember the piston problem you reminded the group about.


        • #5
          so, i need some schooling on how to upload pics on this new forum platform. until then, 1 of the push rods is just laying out of the way, doing nuttin.


          • #6
            Doesn’t look like the photo capability is back yet...the dislodged pushrod might be a good thing compared to everything else it could be....

            81 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce, 81 Triumph TR8, 1973 Ford Capri
            73 Triumph TR6 CF4874UO, 68 Triumph TR250 CD5228LO
            62 Triumph TR4 CT6716LO, 60 Triumph TR3A TS69891LO
            60 Triumph TR3A TS64870LO, 59 Triumph TR3A TS44836LO


            • #7
              Bent push rod....I'd be looking for a stuck or sticky valve. That would also account for the low compression..
              Driving a 1973 TR6
              Doing ZS carb repairs
              email kencorsaw"at"


              • #8
                I have a complete spare engine/engine parts for sale that I would be willing to let go if you really need it. The engine has a reworked head @ 9:1 with performance springs and lightweight retainers along with shortened pushrods.


                • #9
                  update. cylinder 4 has a stuck intake valve. I checked all the pushrods - all seem straight, but that pushrod is bent. I have a spare from a local tr guy. i have a new shop that can do all this work, including pulling the tank, flushing, and even boiling if needed, and clean up the valve train.

                  if the weather is fair, im going to try this myself, and need your help. so far, my efforts to free up this valve have been wd40 with this nice flexible snout straw, and some marvel mystery oil with a cheap plastic straw. all that seems to spill over into those oil journals. i've put the bend rod back in place, pulled the distributor, and bumped the starter to get some motion on that rocker, but that pushes the valve open, where it stays.

                  i think this will free up if I keep at it with b12 or something like a anti seize fluid - if i can get it down the guide. the trick is not putting all this everywhere but that guide. and do i worry about contaminating my oil.

                  all over cylinders are fine - functioning properly, and as i said, best i can tell, no damage to the pushords or other assemblies. what i don't understand is why just this intake valve.

                  thanks 6pack

                  rjb - thanks for the offer. doublt i'll need it, but good of you to put it here. someone may need it.


                  • #10
                    good morning 6pack,

                    Patience. While I have driven it daily in the past, and year round, I'm not in a rush to get this sorted. Sleep is interesting. Causes one to see things differently, and have a better idea or response. been a big part of my work life, frankly.

                    About 20 years ago, I loaned the school car to an old college room mate for a weekend. After getting it back, about a month later, I lost a valve due to spring failure. I assume Ron drop the piss out of it, and didnt tell me he did. Long story, but great guy. I sourced a replacement, and replaced the spring. For those that don't know, you can't just take the spring out. There is some art to it, if you don't pull the head. Recommended by one of my mechanics, take some soft cotton rope, shove it in the cylinder with the piston at the bottom of the stroke, and then rotate the crank until you have now the rope is all squished between the head and the valves. This will keep the valve from falling down into the cylinder. I did that then, and I'm going to do this now.

                    I don't remember how I compressed the springs, but that should be a simple compressor - I may still have it in my tool box. but with the spring, retainers off, I'll have a stuck valve stem, with an exposed valve guide. From here, I worry that I'll damage the stem, or something else. but, the plan right now is to drop concoctions down that valve guide, let it sit, a and come back and tap, twist on that valve stem. All sorts of horror are going through my mind on this - snapped off stem, crushed or damaged guide. and so on.

                    and as I type this, I'm wondering if this was the same valve. I always thought I'd replace all the springs, and I am certainly going to replace my push rods. and in all this, I am just distracted with Wolf's roller rockers he showed us in Oxford in 2014.


                    • #11
                      I appreciate the "patience mode". That's how I'm desalting a boat motor. BUT, I think you should prepare to pull the head. If really lucky just ream the guide and polish the valve stem.


                      • #12
                        update. school car on the road.

                        about an hour after that post, and as I was preparing for this valve work, i got a call from one of the mechanics I had been referred to. since my last mechanic's passing, I was using more of that patience and procrastination, actually, which led me to this dilemma. Richard is a Jag mechanic, and has extensive experience on this mark, so we chatted, and told him what my plan was. And reitterated Pool and a few others - just tap that spring retainer. I didnt' have to pull the rocker assembly. since that bent rod was out of the way, I just laid the rocker back, took a hammer, tapped it about 6 times, and the spring cleared up. I put that bent rod back in,with the distributor cap off, bumped the starter a few times to watch the rocker motions. and sure enough, it was free and working properly.

                        Ive since replaced that rod, and reset my valve clearances - which were very tight in measuring it cold. I expected higher than .10, which is per the manual, so maybe previous mechanic Ed, had it tighter. I adjusted all to .09, and put the cover back on, cleaned it up, and replaced the distributor cap. bumped the starter, and it fired up, like old times. with this nasty gas, drove around the neighborhood for a bit, and parked it. rechecked everything, and so far, I'm back on the road.

                        so, not as crippled as I thought. But I am still learning a valuable lesson on maintaining a car that sits.

                        thank you - everyone.



                        the school car. is sick.




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