Tag Archives: accessories

Triumph TR6 Bumpers

The other day I received a question about the bumpers on bowtie6 so I thought it might be of interest to explore the alternate solution I took regarding Triumph TR6 bumpers.  As you can see from the featured image above, bowtie6‘s bumpers are not exactly “factory”.  😉

First Some History

When I originally purchased bowtie6, the original bumpers were part of the deal (if you want to see what they look like, see this gallery on my original website).  However, they were in very poor shape:  rusted, pitted and dinged up – not very attractive.  I did some research on what it would take to “restore” them and quickly discovered this would not be for me,  To have the bumpers chromed would be too expensive, the “chrome” look was not for me, and most important, they were way too heavy.

We thought about giving bowtie6 a “commando” look without bumpers.  Something similar to what I did on my old Spitfire (pretty cool, huh?)  The problem with that was a TR6 looks plain ugly without some sort of bumpers fore and aft.

Another option would have been to go with the stainless steel bumpers now available on the Interwebs.  However, when I worked on restoring bowtie6 the stainless bumpers were not available and they too are too pricey.

The Solution – Bespoke Lightweight Triumph TR6 Bumpers

And so, after many hours of design my cousin Jim came up with this design for the bumpers and this is what the front bumpers look like:

The rear bumper looks like this:

The bumpers are very simple and extremely lightweight, perhaps fragile.  They are a “U-shaped” affair, painstakingly shaped and finished smooth.  The finished bumpers were powder coated with a matte silver finish.

So How Were the Bumpers Made?

We worked on the basic shape using the original bumpers as a starting point and made cardboard templates.  The templates were then transferred to sheets of aluminum and cut with shears.  What we ended up at this point was an “L” shaped form.  The top “lip” was then shrunk with a mechanical shrinking machine.

Now, before you start calling bullshit on me here, just keep in mind all this cannot be made in one piece!  The bumpers as a whole are one unit, however they consist of several smaller sections TIG welded together.  The welds were then hammered and filed smooth.  This took patience and effort to pull off.  Take a look at the following picture…


Shrink and weld marks are visible in this picture

This is the front bumper seen from below.  To orient yourself, note the lower radiator intake on the extreme left.  If you open this picture and look closely, you can see the shrinking machine marks, hammer marks and welding seams.

Mounting the bumpers to the body is very simple:  they bolt straight up to the body panels with a rubber “washer” between the body and the tabs on the bumpers with stainless bolts.  This is all achievable because these bumpers are feather light.  All the factory bumper bracing that tie the back of the fender to the frame are not used.  They are too heavy!

Here is another view of the front bumper from below (you can see the front spoiler):

Closeup of the mounting tab holding the bumper against the body

Closeup of the mounting tab holding the bumper against the body

This picture shows the close tolerance between the bumper and the front nose.  We tried to make this as close as possible so it would give a nice finished look.  Pay close attention here because you can also see the custom aluminum finishing strip on the radiator intake as well as the grill surround.  These were made using the same technique as the bumpers – they are all aluminum shaped by a shrinking machine.

Very close spacing tolerance between the bumper and body

Very close spacing tolerance between the bumper and body

Front grille surround and finishing strip

Front grille surround and finishing strip

And now, here are some pictures of the rear bumper.


Rear bumper corner edge

This bend (shown above) took some time to get because of the angle of the rear fender.  The front bumper does not have this longer lip and it was tricky to line up with the rest of the body.  Remember, the bumper is one complete piece that must fit perfectly.  The rear bumpers are also mounted on tabs against the body with rubber spacer washers.  Here are the mounts:

Rear fender mount

Rear fender mount

Rear roll pan mount

Rear roll pan mount

And finally, this is a picture as seen from below.  For reference, the “button” in the middle of the picture through the opening is the trunk release.

Rear bumper as seen from below

Rear bumper as seen from below

As you can see in the closeups above the powder coated finish turned out very nice indeed.  It is as smooth as the rest of the bodywork and gives a very nice, understated look to the bumpers.  I did keep a few “imperfections” – I wanted to show these are hand-made bumpers!

Small imperfections (click on the picture for a closeup)

Small imperfections (click on the picture for a closeup)

Excuse the bug marks, stains and overall untidiness…  But then again, bowtie6 is not a show car TR6 garage queen – she gets driven very frequently!!

Finally, for a twist on the whole hand made bumper concept, check out the rear bumper on my cousin Jim’s TR4 (click for detail):

If you are interested, you can read more about it in this article I wrote about an Ecotec Powered Triumph TR4 in this blog.

Flip Key for a Honda S2000


Flip Key for a Honda S2000 fully assembled…

I did some research on what options exist for a flip key for a Honda S2000.  As we all know AP1 S2000’s did not come with flip keys.  Here is the story on fitting a flip key for my 2003 Honda S2000.

I did some searching on eBay (where else?) and found a suitable candidate.  This one is available for about $25 bucks – a little steep – but I figured what the hell and gave it a try.  What you get for your hard-earned cash is a blank plastic enclosure for the S2K’s remote PC board and a flip key blank.  The key comes uncut so you have to take it to a local locksmith to have it match your key.

Flip Key fully disassembled

The only thing missing above is the flip key blank.  At the very top is the upper half of the enclosure.  The area with the blue ring is where the “chip” is inserted for cars equipped with it.  I have no clue how that works – my 2003 AP1 does not have a chip.

The rest of the bits include a tab for fixing a ring for more keys, the three little screws used to hold the two halves together, the spring and the little plunger that releases the key.

Finally, the bottom half of the enclosure.  The red circle shows a tab that requires a slightly modified to make room for a little metal tab on the remote’s PC board.  You can see the metal tab in the picture below, right next to the “OMRON” text.  I used a Dremel tool with an end-mill and carefully removed the excess material on the tab.  Click on the pictures for more details.

Next came the buttons…

IMG_1760The buttons that came with the enclosure are rather chintzy and did not fit so well.  So I just recycled the buttons from the original factory remote.  They have the right color, texture and “feel”.  Picture above shows the original remote on top and the new enclosure on the bottom with the buttons installed.  They just drop in place.  Above the big oval button at the top is a small recess where the clear plastic on the remote control PC board rests.  This is also where the tiny red LED light shines through when pressing the buttons.

This is what the flip key for a Honda S2000 looks like fully assembled and in working order (click on the pictures for more details:

 In Summary:

  • The flip key enclosure is fairly nice. I have about $27.00 in it.  $25.00 for the enclosure (free shipping) and another $2.00 to have the key blank cut.
  • Prior to assembly I had to smooth the edges with a jeweler’s file to remove all the sharp edges.  It is very obvious this is a mass-produced item with no time spent making it look OEM.
  • It takes some patience to get the spring that drives the key aligned properly.  There is a small tab on the bottom half were part of the spring is anchored.  Then one has to pre-load the spring with the key while making sure all the other bits don’t fall out.  The little “button” used to trigger the key must also be aligned properly.  Not rocket science but it just takes patience.
  • The outside of the bottom half is very poorly designed.  There are three tiny screws holding the affair together.  Two are easy to get to; while the single screw closer to the key resides in a recess where a foil with a tiny red “H” emblem is supposed go.  This is asinine.  If the little “H” foil is affixed then how do you get to the screw without ruining the foil when changing the battery?  I tried to leave the one screw out, but that makes the enclosure wobbly and the last thing you want is give that precious spring any chance to make an unannounced departure.
  • I’ll have to give the flip key a try.  Yes it looks very sexy and has a bit of a “wow” factor but the thing is a bit heavy and bulky.  On the other hand, the factory key and remote is so much lighter and thinner.  I suppose here is yet another example of where the Honda engineers got the AP1 S2000 oh so very right the first time…

SuperTrapp Performance Tunable Exhaust


Going through some bins in the garage this weekend, I found several spare discs for the Supertrapp performance tunable exhaust as mounted on bowtie6.  You can see the two discs in the picture above, towards the left.

I’ve written about the exhaust in a prior post (Click HERE) so I won’t repeat myself.  However, the idea behind the SuperTrapp tips is to control backpressure and noise.  This is accomplished by adding or removing those discs to the end tip of the exhaust.  The more discs, the less backpressure and the higher the decibels; consequently the less discs, the quieter it gets but the more backpressure accumulates.

So back to the two discs.  I got the notion to move things around as well as adding the two spare discs.  Here is what the two exhaust pipes really look like:


So I decided to remove a disc from the right side pipe and add the others to the left side pipe.  As you can see, the left side comes out at a 90 degree angle from the main 3″ pipe.  So, I figured what the hell!  The worse thing that could happen is that it sounds like crap.

Well, much to my surprise the experiment has worked quite well.  Backpressure has been reduced, noise went up (but only during WOT) and overall acceleration feels better.  I know, this is all measured by what is transmitted via the seat to my arse.  Good enough for me.  I like it!


Fuel Regulator Fittings

The Ecotec engine uses a similar fuel delivery system as fitted in the LSx engines in that the fuel rail is “returnless”.  This means there is only one line feeding the fuel rail on the engine.  In order to make this work, a special fuel regulator with built in filter has to be plumbed not far from the fuel pump.  There are several fuel regulator fittings available and in today’s installment I’ll document my experiences.

In an earlier post, I wrote about bowtie6‘s Ecotec fuel system (click here) where I described the separate staging tank holding the fuel pump.  About two weeks ago, I noticed the insulation post around the fuel pump’s B+ terminal my cousin Jim had fabricated had deteriorated due to coming in contact with fuel from the tank.  In order to solve this problem, I had to take the small tank out which required disconnecting the fuel regulator fittings.  After putting all the bits back together I found the fuel regulator fittings were not exactly “clicking” correctly.  They held in place but I was not pleased with the fitment so I safety wired them in place as shown in the following picture:

We can all agree this is not exactly the most elegant way to do things.  So why the safety wire?  Well, turns out on the little plastic tabs that “click” the blue fitting in place are not exactly the best design in the world.  Sure, car manufacturers use them all the time and they work flawlessly.  However these are aftermarket units made by Russell (a division of Edelbrock) and they are not exactly OEM quality.  I found out this by experience and by reading the latest issue of Car & Craft’s engine swaps magazine.  So where is the problem?

The following photo shows one of the two pump-side lines going into the regulator.  I’ve removed the fitting so you can see the small ring around the metal tube (more on that later)…

The next photo shows the fitting and the small plastic clip that holds all this together:

The small white plastic clip is very cleverly made.  There are two sets of barbs on it.  The inner pair locks in place around the ring on the metal tube from the picture above this one.  That keeps the plastic piece from sliding out.  Then the barbs also lock in place on a shoulder inside the fitting.  However in order to make this work, the plastic spring loaded affair must be crisp and not in the least deformed.  Taking this apart deforms the plastic clip and this prevents a positive lock.

The last two pictures show the white plastic affair locked in place.  As mentioned previously, this assembly is then pushed on the tube in the regulator and if all goes well the two barbs on the plastic clip snap on the ring molded on the tube.  All this looks good on paper, but I noticed the plastic “clip” had lost some of its “spring” and this all did not really lock in place so well.  The kicker is that these fuel lines are holding 50+ psi pump pressure and if they decide to part ways, well… you end up having a real bad day.

Remember that magazine I mentioned above?  There was a very good article in that issue about fuel systems and they cautioned on using these fittings.  And, they also suggested an alternative.  Unfortunately, the alternative is also made by Russell.

I did call the Russell tech line and talked to a rather abrasive dude on the phone about my experiences.  Right of the bat, he was not very interested in my findings nor on making things right.  Basically he told me to buy the new fittings and took no ownership to the fact this was a bit on the “unsafe” side.  I even told him about the article in the magazine, but he dismissed that too.  At any rate why argue with someone unwilling to stand by their product so I ordered new fittings.  While not exactly “cheap” (they are about $16 each) quite frankly I rather spend the money and have the peace of mind this is not going to come apart and sling fuel all over the place.

The solution is to use these fittings:

These fittings have a much safer design.  Instead of the spring-loaded plastic affair, they have a threaded cap that holds the fitting in place.  The threaded cap has a “U” shape that slides over the tube on the regulator and when tightened grips the ring (look at the very first picture on this post) keeping everything securely in place.  With this together, there is no slippage and no danger of this ever coming apart.

This is what it looks like all completed:

As you can see, these fuel regulator fittings are much nicer and better designed.  If you are considering this for an engine swap, don’t waste your money on the fittings with the plastic spring-loaded clip.  Get the ones with the threaded cap.  You will be much happier and most important of all, safer.


S2000 Front Air Dam

When the S2000 was sold in Honda dealerships, there was a extensive collection of “factory accessories” available from the parts department.  Matter of fact, among the bunch of documents I got with my S2000 there was a brochure listing the accessories for the 2003 model year.  Needless to say, there are some that have sparked my interest.  However, since we are taking about a ten-year old automobile, some of these accessories are no longer available.

So what makes the genuine Honda part so special?  For starters is the fit and finish.  Sure,  there are many available aftermarket versions available on eBay for a substantial discount however from what I have read they don’t fit quite like the Honda version.  Next, the Honda part comes painted to match body color.  This is important.  Why?  Well have you priced automotive paint lately?

Well today I finally found a genuine Honda part.  Last week I had a chance to meet with a very nice group of local S2000 owners.  I mentioned I was looking for a front airdam lip and sure enough, a local member said “I’ve got one”.  Geez!  Talk about my lucky day!!  Today we met, and my new friend Andy produced a genuine Honda part in the correct color, brand new.  Cool!

Here is the “before” picture…

Here is what the air dam lip looks like before the install…

And…  Finally what the front nose looks like now with the lip in place:

The lip gives the front a little more aggressive look and I like it.  As a bonus, the colour matches 100%.  If I had a negative about all this it would be the mounting hardware.  This is what that looks like:

The part I was not very impressed with were the “U” clips provided with the kit.  They were very flimsy and as to be expected with something like this, they were extremely easy to cross-thread.  I ended up messing up one and it took quite some coercing to get the threads back to where they would accept the screw.

In the final analysis, I am very pleased with the “look”.  It certainly looks the part!