1979 Triumph TR7 Project

Chassis Number: TCT100307UF
Original Color: Platinum Silver.  This is a really nice color!

    I have always liked the look of the convertible TR7, the coupe.. well, let’s just say I didn’t.  Anyhow, I had the opportunity to get this TR7 because the engine blew oil (probably worn rings).  The body is in remarkable shape for a series of cars known for rust problems.  It has spent most of it’s life down in California which means no body rust.  However, all the rubber is shot.  (easier to replace rubber than metal).  I have several plans for this car.  First of all, I am replacing the engine with a rover V8 w/ fuel injection supplied by Ted at TSI.  I purchased a “TR8 Conversion Kit” from S&S Preparations in the UK.  Very nice guys to deal with and the kit is very comprehensive.  I have also purchased a complete interior trim kit from Rimmerbros, blue leather and a blue mohair top and boot cover.
    While the car is all stripped down and I’ve always wanted to do this… I am going to convert the car to RHD.  I purchased all the necessary components to do this from Robsport in the UK.  The transmission I plan on using is from Triumph Rover Spares, their Toyota Supra conversion.  The rear end will be changed to have a much better rear axle ratio.  I’m thinking of installing a modified ford rear end.

Here are some photos of the car made by the previous owner, he had a golf course in is front yard!

Power Clutch – Geo Metro Brake Booster – Write up 3/22/04

Back in Week 33 ( a couple of years ago) I talked about having to change the clutch hydraulics to support the new Howe throw out bearing.  What I ended up with was a Tilton 1″ Master cylinder bolted to the firewall which directly operated the slave cylinder.   Although this worked, clutch pedal effort was extremely hard and I noticed that the bulkhead was actually flexing as I was operating the clutch.  Because the firewall is just sheet steel, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I started to get metal fatigue and serious problems would then start happening.  I started to think of ways to decrease the pedal effort but keep the hydraulic arrangement that I currently had.  I decided to try a remote pedal arrangement.  I had the 3/4″ Tilton master cylinder left over from tinkering with the Howe bearing.  I figured I could use this cylinder on the bulkhead.  If I got a 3/4″ slave cylinder, I have the beginnings of a remote pedal.  The easiest way I thought of to decrease pedal effort was to use some form of power brake booster.  I needed something small that I could fit on the battery tray.  I looked around and noticed that the Geo Metro brake booster would probably work.  I had machined two aluminum plates – one plate to bolt at the back of the booster to hold the 3/4 slave cylinder.  The front plate would adapt the bolt pattern of the geo booster to the Tilton 1″ master cylinder.   The way the system works now is that the 3/4″ Master and Slave cylinders give me a remote pedal mount.  The slave cylinder directly operates the 1″ master cylinder through the brake booster which gives me the assistance I need (and greatly reduced pedal effort).  There are two separate hydraulic systems for the clutch now but operating the clutch when the engine is running is now nice and light with no bulkhead flex.

Pictures of the booster and brackets:

Week 35: June 9th 2002:

Bigger Brakes

I took the opportunity this weekend to go and visit some people that I have met on the internet and to have some nice big brakes installed in the TR7.  The brakes are the Volvo 4pot calipers with Ford Escort vented rotors.  A custom hub adapter and brake lines were made.  Here are a few pictures of our endeavors

Week 33: November 11th 2001:

Mike Challenger,  For all of the custom machining
Pat Hall, For taking a day off from work and helping me install this transmission!
Carl McIver, Listening to me complain,  and helping me out with parts

It’s time for an update on the project.  Well, it’s taken a long time to actually figure out what to do about the clutch.  Let me tell you the story (the two month long story, for your amusement).  Well, my first thoughts in repairing the clutch was to just replace the throwout bearing since obviously (ya..) that is what was wrong.  Well.  Here in lies the problem with custom engineering and putting in transmissions and clutches that were not exactly meant to be run together.  The transmission snout on the supra transmission is about 3/4″ to short so when the bearing is engaged, there is not enough support and the bearing wiggles slightly.  This coupled with the fact that the bearing spun freely on the carrier (no locking pins) it machined a nice groove in the bearing carrier.  Ha!  So, this is where the  bearing was sticking and so not releasing the clutch!  So, I have to fix this in such a way that this won’t happen again.  First of all, I had a new snout for the transmission machined that was 3/4″ longer than stock.  I had the old scratched up snout removed from the transmission front plate and had this new snout braised in.  That worked great and it fully supported the bearing.  Now, how to stop it from spinning?  Ha!  The dang bearing is a solid unit made out of hardened steel.  If I welded it (which I wanted to do) I would have cooked the bearing.  Since it was hardened steel, I couldn’t drill it to install a pin (I have since been told that some machine shops can do this.. oh well).  Anyhow.. I thought long and hard and decided to try out a hydraulic bearing.  So, I ordered one of Howe’s hydraulic throwout bearings for stock clutches.  What I found great was that the bearing snout diameter was exactly the same as a GM tranny. hahah.  So, no machining was required there, it fit perfectly.    So, next problem.. The Girling master cylinder for our TR7’s do not displace enough fluid to significantly move the bearing.  So, Howe in their documentation say that the bearing is designed for a 3/4″ master cylinder.  So, I order one of these Tilton master cylinders with a remote reservoir kit.  Hook everything up and bench test.  Not enough displacement.  What the heck?  Ahh!   The documentation doesn’t tell me how much of a THROW the 3/4″ cylinder needs to have.  Obviously the weak 4″ that they TR7 pedal gives us isn’t enough.  I’ve got two data points now though, one with the 5/16″ Girling and now one with the 3/4″ Tilton.  I figure a 1″ master cylinder will be enough.  I get one of these, test it and low and behold, it works.  Now, before you think I have this problem solved, let’s go to how the hydraulic lines will reach the bearing.  First attempt was a set of bulkhead fittings on the bell housing.  Holes were drilled and everything before a very astute individual caught something that I totally missed.. Pressure plate clearance.  I’d been so focused on getting my bearing preload set right that I didn’t even thing about the pressure plate!  Damn!  Back to square one.  So, Here is what myself and a few other talented people have come up with.  The bell housing is thick in the back and has two bosses.  One on either side of the bearing carrier so The bell housing was drilled and tapped and fittings were installed.  A coupler was installed on the top of the transmission where the bleed nipple will be installed as well as the hose from the master cylinder.  Man, this has taken about two months to figure out.. On and off, one step forward, two steps back just about all the time.  So, the following photos I hope will show you how the transmission was modified, the installation of the bearing, and how the engine compartment comes all together.  Enjoy!

Tilton master cylinder pushrod all lengthened correctly for the TR7 pedal w/ clevis

Clevis pin all welded up

External view, you can see the fittings screwed into the back of the bell housing and then hoses going up to the connector block mounted up on the top of the transmission.  All connectors have Teflon tape on the threads to prevent leaks

Interior of bell housing, the bearing all installed with the correct spacing.  Two stainless braided hoses (made myself with aeroquip fittings)  They have been routed in such a way that the hoses will never rub against eachother

Photo of car up on ramps ready to put transmission back in…

Here is a shot of the Tilton master cylinder, the reservoir is mounted over next to the wiper washer fluid bottle.  There is a short aeroquip hose that goes between the master cylinder and the bell housing

If you can actually see with all these hoses in the way,  the hose from the master cylinder is screwed into the connector block on the bell housing.  If you are really observant, you can see one of the holes where I had drilled for the bulkhead fittings (now plugged with aluminum and epoxy)

Week 32: September 9th 2001:

It’s been a little while since my last update.  I drove the car to the VTR in Breckenridge, CO and had a wonderful time meeting people from the list and making new friends.  The car pretty much ran OK but I had several issues.  The first one was that the car got very hot in the deserts of Utah.  The second issue was that the clutch throwout bearing broke and so shifting became almost impossible.   So, There are several options available to me for the overheating issue:  Water pump and better radiator.  I’ll have to get the car on the road first before I tackle these issues.  To get the car working again, I’m going to have to deal with the transmission & clutch.  I’ve been talking to a lot of people who have used a Toyota transmission, it appears that we have several options that need to be dealt with.  The throwout bearing is not properly supported by the transmission input shaft collar when the clutch is engaged.  Also, the bearing spins on the input shaft collar (is not pinned) generates heat and then binds.  I’m having a new input shaft collar machined which will increase the length by 3/4″ of an inch.  This will allow the bearing to be fully supported during its entire movement.   To solve the spinning bearing problem, I’ll install some pins into the bearing that will rest against the clutch fork.  This will stop the assembly from spinning.  I was able to remove the transmission without pulling the engine with help from Carl McIver

I almost didn’t get it in the garage.  It took several attempts to get the car into reverse…

Whoops..  Misjudged that suckers’ clearance.  That was caused by the flywheel….

Week 31: August 5th 2001:

The radiator sprang a leak (the nylon rods that held the fan onto the radiator rubbed against the core causing the leak – Don’t do that… Use those nylon rods I mean).  So, I took this opportunity to  increase the car’s cooling ability.  I ditched the single 13″ pusher fan that I had installed on the front of the radiator and instead got myself two 10″ puller fans.  These fans combined will give me over 2000 CFM of air flow.  Since I didn’t want to use the nylon rods to attach the fans to the radiator, I went by the local hardware store and purchased (on the advise of Carl McIver) some aluminum angle stock.  Using this stock, I created a shroud that attached to the top and bottom of the radiator which then I screwed the fans to.  The following are some photographs of the shroud and the radiator assembly.

Radiator w/ the top and bottom brackets attached.  These are held in place by the rubber mounting bushings

Here are the cooling fans with the modified mounting brackets (the radiator was too tall to use the brackets supplied)

First test fit before riveting the unit together

Complete assembly, rubber pads have been glued under the brackets to protect the radiator

I modified the electrical plug of the first fan so both fans come off the same plug

Assembly installed in the car, plenty of clearance and plenty of air flow!

Week 30: July 29th 2001:

Stranded by a dead battery for the last time!!!  Time to get rid of the nasty 17ACR alternator and install something with a little more charging power.  So, I ordered a 25ACR from Victoria British.  It arrived but of course, didn’t use the same Lucas alternator connector that the previous alternator did so I had to do a bunch of rewiring to make everything line  up.  Here are a few shots of the alternator installed.  It charges quite nicely.  Previously with the old alternator, with all the accessories on, the battery voltage dropped to about 11V (not good).  Now, with everything on, it stays at 12.5 (very good).