Category Archives: 1. bowtie6

Refining the Stance

Back to bowtie6’s birthplace for a few suspension tweaks..

First a Little History

If you look at enough TR6’s as I have through the years, you will notice very few (if any) have consistent gaps between the fenders and doors.  To help solve this problem, factory workers at the Triumph factory, added spacers between the TR6 body and the frame.  Quality back in the UK in those days was not great and on top of that, after years of use the frame would sag and the gaps had a tendency to get really bad.  Next time you go to a car show, pay close attention at any “original” TR6’s and you’ll see what I mean.

When Jim and I worked on fitting bowtie6‘s body shell on the new frame, we took a long time carefully fitting the body shell, fenders, doors, bonnet and boot lid.  I remember we actually spent HOURS doing this.  The effort was well worth:  all body gaps came out very consistent.  The downside was we had to make thicker body-to-frame spacers for the rear half of the car.  This essentially slightly “bent” the body and caused the rear half of the body shell to come up and thus exaggerate the distance between the rear tires and the rear fender.

My first set of tires on bowtie6 consisted of four Kuhmo 215/55 tires mounted on those sexy Panasport wheels.  The rears fit just fine; however the edge of the front tires rubbed the edge of the front fenders. I really didn’t any body damage so I found a pair of matching 205/55 tires for the front.  This solved the rubbing problem.

But since building a custom car is not an exact science and one must make compromises, this resulted in the car having a bit of a “rake”.  Not too bad, but when looking at bowtie6 from the side, one would notice the rear tire and fender gap was not ideal.  As a matter of fact, I remember my friend Michael reminding me the rear suspension needed some tweaking.

“Drop it down an inch”, he said.  Yeah, umm-hu.

New Tires

As noted in a previous blog article, this summer I bought a new set of tires.  This time I ditched the staggered sizing in favor of a square setup:  I bought from The Tire Rack, four 205/55 Yokohama summer-only tires.  Well, with the different tire height (remember, we went from 215/55’s to 205/55’s) the rear fender gap got really bad.

Before… (for the “after”, see the last photo at the bottom)

See what I mean?  The rear gap was not quite right.  Well, I was not about to go digging out the body/frame spacers because this would throw the body gaps all to hell.  Fortunately, Jim was able to come up with a small but effective solution to the problem.

Solution and New Stance

When Jim modified the rear axle to handle the coilovers, he made vertical mounting pads for them to bolt on to.  You can see the outline of the pads in the photo above.  Today, we took all this apart and added an extender to the pad.  This extender basically moves the axle about an inch upwards.

And the result is amazing!

Before the tweak…


After the tweak…

And there you have it!  The rake is almost gone.  Jim and I measured the end result and there is about a quarter of an inch difference between the and of the front fender and the start of the rear frame along the center of the body shell.  The gap has been reduced dramatically and overall bowtie6 has a much more refined stance.

Before…


After…


After… (see above for the “before” version)

Bad Wheel Bearing

Pitted bearing race

Yesterday, I jumped in bowtie6 and went for a drive when not far from home I heard the classic rumble that comes from a bad wheel bearing.  On the way back home, the rumble developed a slight thumping.

I’m like, wtf? 😯 This is the second bad wheel bearing!  Back in April 2012, I posted an article describing the Rear Wheel Bearing Replacement.

So with my cousin Jim’s help, we pulled both rear axles from the housing and inspected their bearings.  Passenger’s side was normal; but the driver’s side bearing was very rough, as expected.

Jim busted the bearing using the same technique I described in the article from last time and sure enough, this is when we discovered the bearing’s race nicely pitted.

The majority of the race was in decent shape, except for the big round pit shown in the picture above.  The ball bearings were not smooth and showed slight pitting with a very dull finish.  Jim explained this is normal when particles from a bearing start to shear off and make a mush of themselves.

Pitted ball bearings from the bad bearing

This picture above shows three of the worse ball bearings – sorry for the picture quality – and as you can see they are rather dull-looking.  The crack on the race was caused by us when we took the thing apart.

RW207-CCRA rear wheel bearing

And of course, this is crappy Chinese-made stuff.  Jim has gone through 3 rear bearings on his TR4 and this is the second failure on bowtie6.  Unfortunately, it appears these wheel bearings are no longer made in the USA and as expected, this is yet another example of poorly made products from China. Jim explained this is bad quality steel on the race and/or the ball bearings and that once the surface starts to peel, it is only a matter of time before failure.

I ran a few queries on Google today and found versions of this type wheel bearing made in Japan.  From what I have read on some forums, the Japanese versions are of a higher quality.  Needless to say, I’ll be ordering some soon.  However if you know where I could find these bearings made in the USA, please let me know.

Driver’s side rear end

Passenger’s side rear end

Passenger’s side axle with good bearing

Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 on a Triumph TR6

Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08R

After lengthy research I finally decided on a new set of tires for bowtie6.  Out with the old Kumho’s and in with a brand new set of Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08’s.  As usual, I internet ordered my new tires from The Tire Rack, delivered via brown truck in only a couple of days.

The decision to go with these tires did not come easy.  Given bowtie6 is not driven on a daily basis, I did not want to spend a ton of money on a set of high-mileage tires.  Instead, this time I wanted to buy something very soft and sticky.  However, soft sticky tires and “budget priced” does not pair up very well.  Fortunately the good folks at The Tire Rack had just the right tires priced at the right price.  Can’t go wrong with that.

As it turns out, the SCCA has changed their rules regarding the UTQG rating on these tires.  Therefore the folks at The Tire Rack lowered the price on these UTQG 180 rated tires.  Needless to say, I decided to order a set of four and could not be happier.  They are very soft!

Yokohama Neova AD08 directional tires

The reviews on this tire are interesting…

  • They don’t do well in wet weather
  • They don’t do well in the cold
  • They are noisy
  • They don’t last very long
  • However, they are very sticky and grip tenaciously (yes!)

The old tires were Kumho’s and they served me very well.  I ran two sets and this last set finally reached the point where they were rather “hard”.  During all these years, the rears have been 215-55/16’s while the fronts have been 205-55/16’s.  This time around, I decided to get a square setup and run 205-55/16’s all around.  Why?  Because these are very soft tires and I wanted to have the ability to rotate them to ensure even wear.  We’ll see how that goes…

bowtie6’s Panasport wheels now with Yokohama tires

I started buying tires from The Tire Rack many years ago and back then, I could find a store that would mount and balance the tires for a decent price.  Then, prices started going up with a certain amount of negative feedback coming from the stores.  This time, I did a little shopping regarding the install and found the best price at Costco.  So this morning I took the wheels and old tires along with the new Yokohama’s.  Total cost to mount, balance and dispose of the old tires:  $68.00.  Not bad at all.

The folks at the tire department called late this afternoon and told me the tires were ready.  I’ll mount them tomorrow and see what they feel like.  The plan is to go easy on them for a few miles and by doing so wear off any mold release compounds.  Once they get scuffed up I’ll see what bowtie6 will be like with a set of really soft tires.

Should be fun!!  🙂

I have previously talked about tires and wheels here:  Triumph TR4/TR6 Wheel & Tire Sizing

Fixing a Leaking 9 Inch Ford Rear End

Note the grade-8 washers

I have recently noticed that the 9″ Ford rear end in bowtie6 has started leaking.  Nothing severe mind you, but just enough to make a mess of the garage floor.  So I jacked the car up and slid my new Race Ramps under the rear tires.  As it turned out, all ten nuts holding the third member in place, were loose.

But why?  Sure, wear and tear might cause things to loosen up.  Not wanting to leave this up to chance, I did a handful of Google searches and sure enough…  According to what I read on several websites this is a common issue on 9″ Ford rear ends.  The solution is to use copper washers on each stud.

In Search of Copper Washers

As you can see in today’s featured picture, we used grade-8 washers when we put the rear end together.  At the time, that is all we had available and after a short conversation with my cousin Jim, he told me he was not able to source the right copper washers.  Hmmm…

Two sets of Ford copper washers

So I searched eBay for some copper washers for a 9″ Ford and success!  I found a vendor offering “original” vintage Ford washers exactly for this application.  After reading the auction, I promptly clicked the “buy-it-now” button and ordered two sets for $6.00 per set of 10 washers.  Not bad.

Delivery was very quick:  the washers arrived in yesterday’s mail.  Cool!  Today, I lifted the car up again and crawled under to replace the grade-8 washers with the new copper replacements.  According to my research the washers are very soft.  As the Nylock nuts compress the copper washer they “seat” and this prevents the nuts from backing out.  Of course, this never happened with the hardened grade-8 washers.

Washers Replaced

So here is what the new washers look like.

The new copper washers are smaller than the earlier ones (see the featured photo for the “before” look).  The advantage is they have somewhat collapsed to take shape.  This is the same principle behind the soft aluminum washer on the oil drain plug on my Honda S2000.  Another problem solved!

Happy New Year

And so, I bid you all a Happy New Year.  I hope 2017 brings you great fortune and good health.  Cheers!

 

TR6 Front LED Bulbs

img_4070The missing Triumph TR6 front LED bulbs came in this week.  I say missing because the “kit” I bought included the wrong front LED bulbs:  for the 1972 TR6, the bulb must have two “filaments”.  In other words, these bulbs double as parking lights and turn signals.

Today’s featured image shows the bulbs installed and in their “park light” mode.  I left the lenses off to show off the amber color and just how bright hey are!

And one more picture, this time a closeup showing all the little light emitting diodes and why the coverage is so great.

img_4074

Multiple rows of LED’s providing full coverage