Here are a few pictures depicting the state of the Triumph after sitting outside under a fabric car cover for twenty years… thank goodness it resided in Southern California. But it was truly a rodent hotel.
Clearly we are looking at new floor pans in the passenger area, as well as the trunk. And pretty much everything else!
One word of advice for you when cleaning out an old car that has been host to rodents… MASK! The trunk, for example was at least four or five inches deep in droppings and twigs and nut shells and dirt. Gross.
I was somewhat careful about wearing a mask as we filled a garbage can with rodent droppings and shells and whatever the heck all that other stuff was, but not as careful as I should have been. My lungs have literally never been the same since that original cleanup. This is serious advice, heed it, please! Best practice would have been a good painter’s mask with dual filters, reasonably priced at Harbor Freight. I did utilize one, but there were occasions when I just wore a paper or cloth mask… that is not sufficient.
The engine removal was straightforward. I left transmission and cylinder head attached, but removed manifolds and alternator, disconnected driveshaft, wires, and hoses. The head was stuck on the block so we used the hoist to separate it from the block, making sure it was pulled up evenly. Because the hoist was fully extended to the 1/4 ton hole, I added a reinforcing square tube all the way to the hook, which required drilling a hole for the 1/4 ton pin.
The other engines I’ve rebuilt were always mounted onto the stand at the rear of the block. After reading what other TR6 owners had done, I chose the side mount. This worked out very well, and the 12″x6″ quarter inch thick plate was plenty strong… no flexing or movement at all.
Well, everything looked as expected for an engine that probably hasn’t been freshened up since it was manufactured nearly fifty years ago. The cylinders looked fine to me, as did the pistons, but my machine shop of choice HDS/Carquest in San Marcos thought otherwise. Casey, the owner, knows what he’s doing. I absolutely trust him. Before getting the block and head over to him for the serious business, I decided to clean up the combustion chambers, ports, and connecting rods myself, as shown in subsequent posts.
Easily one of the most enjoyable parts of my rebuild was the file work on the connecting rods. I have read the stock connecting rods weigh in at 684 grams, which means I filed about 44 grams off each. My aim wasn’t lightening them, though, just wanted to remove any sharp edges, grooves, etc., that might be a point of failure by propogating cracks. HDS would restore surface strength with their peening process.
With the ports and manifolds, my goal was just to clean them up a little to aid the flow. I would advise being very careful around the valve seats… make sure you leave enough material to insert new seats and still have a nice smooth transition to the port with no big pockets behind the seats. I tried to be very conservative there.
In the combustion chambers, I was again just focused on removing sharp edges to eliminate hot spots and smooth things out a little bit. It comes at a very slight cost in terms of compression ratio since I was making the chamber a little larger in volume. I was asking HDS to lop .140 of the heads, so it was of no concern at all.
Separating the body from the chassis was a momentous occasion, and pretty straightforward, with the engine and transmission and the passenger floors and gas tank already removed. One of the online sites, can’t remember whether it is TRF or Moss, has a good illustration of all the bolts securing the body, and that was helpful for removal and re-assembly. Of course there are brake lines and fuel lines and other bits that need to be undone, as well.
We used our engine hoist to do the lifting, anchoring the chains as shown in the photos. I built a stand with wheels so that the body could be moved around in the garage. The stand also allowed me to work while standing up inside the engine bay or passenger area when necessary. As you can see in the pictures, I utilized the door hinges and latch holes, along with a couple other existing holes, to brace the body so it would not fold and create problems later. I really didn’t want to go to the trouble of welding and and then grinding off the braces, nor did I want to drill any holes.