Fall 2019 Wrap Up and Mikuni Update

Greetings from NW Ohio, where we have had 4 inches of snow already ! Fortunately I started my fall "putting Tillie to bed" routine early this year (mid October), so no worries about cold weather and Triumph abuse. :-)
A nice October week-end afternoon drive with wife Rhoda and dog "Happy" turned out to be the final TR6 voyage for 2019.

Happy dog needed some treats, so the first stop was our favorite pet store where "Barking Spots" are reserved for canine owners' vehicles...Miss Tillie fit right in!   


The roads along the historic Maumee River are always a favorite journey...especially this year since I recently read some War of 1812 history. One incident I read about was Dudley's Massacre, and it was not a bright spot in American military history. Dudley and his troops where supposed to come down the river from Grand Rapids,  spike the British cannons on the Maumee (north) side of the river, then retreat back across the river to the American encampment at Fort Meigs. Unfortunately, after they successfully spiked the cannons, the Indians drew them deeper into the forest where they were surrounded and suffered high casualties. 


So what's a TR6 adventure without ice cream ?  We recently discovered this candy/ ice cream shop in downtown Maumee...a great end to our day trip adventure!



Want to mention the annual "Cars for Critters" car show that is held each September.  "Cars for Critters" is a fund raiser for the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge here in NW Ohio. Where possible, cars are put in classes with wildlife names.  Such as, a Plymouth Barracuda would be in the Fish class, a Ford Falcon would be in Best Bird, and the Ford Mustang in Mammals, etc., and then they have best of the '40's, '50's and '60's etc.  Tillie won her class (Exotic/Foreign) among some stiff competition from other British cars. The weather was beautiful, great crowd, and everyone had a fun time.



So that leaves the Mikuni Carburetor update... the short version is switching from the ZS carbs to the Mikunis has been a positive experience...no stuck needle valves!!  I did change the main jets from 165 to 160 and the pilot jets from 22.5 to 20.  The air /fuel gauge was showing a rich condition (11-12) and my mileage was around 18 mpg avg.  After the switch, air /fuel gauge went to 13-14 and mpg jumped to 21 mpg avg. To be honest, I never really checked the mileage while using the ZS carbs so I don't have a base line to compare with. Tillie runs very strong after being warmed up...however, she is a bit cold blooded for the first few miles.
I had hoped to put Tillie on a rear wheel dyno this summer but it didn't work out , so look for a dyno report in 2020.

 Ok, now I'd like to share some information that some of you may not know...the difference between  Phillips head screws and JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard ) screws. I found out that trying to remove a JIS screw with a Phillips screw driver can be a real problem. Philips are made to "cam out" to avoid over tightening. JIS screws stop / reduce this cam out action. The big problem for shade tree mechanics like myself is these screw drivers look the same unless you look really closely. Or look at the head of the screw...if there is a dimple on the screw head (photo below) get out your JIS screw drivers. I ended up buying a set of JIS screw drivers to remove the float bowls on the Mikuni Carbs for changing the jets and was amazed at the difference. I ruined one of the float bowl screws trying to remove it with a Phillips screw driver. The JIS tool popped those screws loose with no problem.

So the moral of this story is, if you are working on anything that might be made in Japan, check for dimples on the screw heads!


We are almost to Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and of course December is fast approaching...then the year 2020! arrives already.
Best Wishes to everyone for an enjoyable Holiday season!

Spring 2019 / Goodbye ZS... Hello Mikuni !

Nope, I didn't give up and sell Miss Tillie...she's much too attached to our family for me to do anything that drastic!  However, sticking needle valves in the ZS (Zenith Stromberg) carbs did cause me to start down a rather drastic path concerning carburettors last fall.

Some of you may recall that I had a very qualified carb guru give my ZS carbs the once over trying to resolve poor idling and sticking needle valve issues. "The three darlings", as I liked to call them, seemed much better after the do over, but that lasted less than a year when the needle valve issue once again raised it's ugly head.

The "three ZS darlings"

ZS needle valve...brass color with plunger in the middle and a hole on either side 
 

Late summer 2018, I had to turn back home on the way to 2 different car shows because of stuck needle valves...wife Rhoda, being the ever sensible one, asked me, "Isn't there a more modern thingie available to replace the ZS thingies" ?
Well of course that got me thinking and I remembered hearing about Mikuni carbs.  A Google search turned up John Parker's company, "Vintage Performance Development"  http://www.v-performance.com/products/air_fuel.html.

A  review of the excellent web site convinced me that three Mikuni HSR 42 carbs might be the answer to my carburetor issues, which had been going on since 2014.

I exchanged emails with the owner John Parker who answered all my questions, so last fall I went ahead and ordered all the parts John recommended.

Left side

Rear view

Right side

 I order the optional tuning kit (recommended) that provides additional main, pilot, and needle jets allowing John to customize the Mikunis based on the performance modifications on my engine. This option not only provided a good starting point for tuning, but allows for any future changes.


I was able to reuse the "Goodparts" triple manifold  from the ZS setup.


The Mikunis are quite easy to install via rubber boots and clamps.


I cut the provided steel rod and used the provided couplings to link the three Mikunis. 


I needed to provide the fuel line, "T" connectors, and shut off valve (optional) to plumb in the fuel connections.  The cable running from the choke hardware to the fuel line clamp is to stabilize the fuel line ( my rube Goldberg setup ).  :-)


The reused "Ratco" throttle linkage did require a bit of modification to fix the pull angle as seen   below.


I bolted an extension to the original Ratco bracket to move the throttle cable out and more in line  with the throttle arm.


The final piece of the puzzle is the hardware kit John provided for the chokes a.k.a. "starter plungers". The chokes face the front of the car, so a special bracket is needed to be mounted on the front carb.


Rear view showing the starter plunger cables...note the main choke cable on top of bracket


John's kit provides 3 different length cables (one for each carb) to accommodate the different distances between carbs.


Finally, I needed a locking choke cable to replace the ZS cable.  It turns out the MGB choke cable was the perfect answer...right length and it locks on. I did need to turn to ebay to procure the MGB cable.


Plungers locked "on"


Final setup...this conversion is not what I would call "plug and play", but it is very well thought out, and the average car guy (or gal) can do the work themselves.

I only have driven Miss Tillie about 100 miles since finishing the Mikuni conversion, but so far it seems that I'm on the right path.  The idle is definitely better, and the power is strong all through
the rev range.  

 More Mikuni updates to come. 

Happy Summer Motoring !! 

2018 Driving Season Wrap Up

Greeting from N.W. Ohio !
As I look out my window, I see this "white" stuff on the ground...yep, it's called snow, and that is a sure sign that my TR6 driving season is finished.
Miss Tillie is snug in her garage with all the normal winter storage tasks performed.

I thought I'd share a few photos from our last ride of the season during the "peak" weekend in our area for the fall foliage color.  The small village of Grand Rapids, Ohio, is just about a 45 minute ride from our home, so it is a favorite spot to visit... located along the banks of the historic Maumee river, it has lots of small shops for finding unique gifts and good food restaurants.

Happy dog and I checking out the Grand Rapids scene


Miss Tillie, Wife Rhoda ,and Happy dog along the Maumee River


One more view of the foliage 


I almost forgot about a very nice car show we attended in August...Miss Tillie was awarded a "Top Ten" plaque,(out of 100 cars). However, I think Rhoda and Happy schmoozing the lady judges had a lot to do with the award !  :-) 





And finally, Rhoda and I both turned 70 years old (already?) in 2018, and since the lease was up on the Jeep, we decided to celebrate by leasing a bright red 2018 Dodge Charger ! 

This bad boy turns up 300 HP from a 3.6 liter 6 cylinder engine and has All Wheel Drive...what's not to like !!


Rhoda and myself want to wish everyone a Blessed Holiday Season and Best
Wishes for 2019!

2018 Tillie Update

I know I know, where have I been the past 10 months?

Never fear, gentle reader, Tillie has been providing our family lots of fun adventures so far this driving season...I've just haven't taken the time to record her antics!

Let's start with the new "toys" Miss Tillie received this spring... Yep, a Quick Jack to make getting under Tillie easier and safer.

Quick Jack came in three boxes and was easy to assemble and put in service...QJ has a great instruction video on You Tube plus a lot of information videos for the potential  buyer.
(FYI, I have no financial interest in any of the companies on this blog.)

 Instead of jacking her up one corner at a time and putting stress on the body /frame, the Quick Jack   takes Tillie up as a unit.


One of things that the Quick Jack allows is easier cleaning under Miss Tillie's skirts...so I grabbed    the Griot's Garage Catalog and placed an order for "lotions and potions", as wife Rhoda likes to say!


Richard Griot's catalog always features a different "cover car", and the Triumph TR6 made the cover of Garage Handbook # 447C ...pretty cool !



Earlier this year, Rhoda and I joined the "LEBCC" (Lake Erie British Car Club).  This is the group that puts on the annual British car show, "The British Return to Fort Meigs". For a little background, Fort Meigs is in NW Ohio and is where one of the War of 1812 battles was fought...that would be the second time the British tried to capture the colonies!

Since we are members of a British car club, it seemed like a good idea to get the proper headgear for motoring about in our "LBC" (little British car)

Of course, "made in China hats" would not be acceptable for riding in a British car, so a few minutes on the internet produced "Holden Vintage and Classic Motor Vehicle Company" in  Bromyard UK. These folks have lots of cool classic car parts and "Motoring Clothing"...great fun!



The 4th of July was pretty hot here in NW Ohio...95+ degrees F, but we had planned on a road trip to visit some relatives in farm country, so off we went. Well, the first half of the trip was fine, but the second half, not so much.  Tillie developed a nasty trick where the exhaust note went flat...with no power. This happened on and off several times just before we reached our destination.  After visiting with relatives for a while, Tillie had a chance to cool off, and we headed home. There were no issues until the last 5 miles, when the problem recurred...luck was with us, and we limped home.   

Trying to figure out this kind of a problem can be difficult, so I posted the issue on the 6-Pack forum to get some feed back from other car owners.  My first thought was fuel percolation since the ZS carbs are right on top of the exhaust manifold. But a member  who lives in the south, where it is really hot, responded that the symptoms didn't match his experience with percolation, and I do have a heat shield under the carbs. (Thanks Poolboy)


Well, if the problem wasn't fuel, how about ignition / spark / or distributor (or "dizzy" in Brit speak)?
Back in 2012, Jeff at Advanced Distributor rebuilt my dizzy and installed Pertronics electronic ignition...no points to mess with, or so it was thought.  I called Jeff and asked his option on Tillie's problem.  His first question was, "do you still have the Pertronics?"  I replied "yes" and was surprised when he said that he doesn't sell it anymore...he has gone back to the old fashioned points/condenser due to performance problems, and he recommended I try points, also.



So, I ordered what was needed and received my new dizzy parts several days later.  I thought this would be an easy swap out... boy, was I wrong!  Not because of Jeff's parts, but because of my lack of  mechanical  expertise.


I thought I should be able to remove two screws and just pop out the Pertronics, but I have a vacuum advance with a micro adjusting wheel, and that caused me problems.


  I won't go into all the ugly details, but I took apart way too many components and then had to try and figure out how to put humpty dumpty back together again !  



My final error was putting the low tension wire from the dizzy to the positive coil post instead of the negative post.  This error cooked the new condenser and caused all kinds of mischief  when trying to make Tillie run.  Thanks to 6-Packer "RRR" for pointing out the correct polarity!


Well, I finally got things sorted out, and just in time for a local car show.  It was a fund-raiser for church missions, and Miss Tillie claimed a "Top 10" award. Not bad for the only British car out of 100 cars in the show! 



Hey Dad, now can I drive ?


So Tillie, wife Rhoda, Dog Happy, and yours truly, are once again enjoying the country roads here in NW Ohio.  Happy motoring everyone!

Our 2017 Autumn Color Sortie

Sortie: One mission...by a single plane. (Websters Dictionary)

Greetings from NW Ohio...it's late October, and the trees / foliage are changing to beautiful colors.  My TR6 "crew" (wife Rhoda and dog Happy ) and I like to get in a final mission before putting Tillie away for the winter.

One of our favorite destinations this time of year is "Hidden Lake Gardens" in Tipton,Michigan...only about 60 miles from our home base. In 1926, Adrian, Mich. businessman Henry Fee bought "Hidden Lake" and the surrounding 200 acres as a retirement home.  He soon decided the land would best be used as a plant /shrub nursery. In 1945, Mr. Fee donated the land to Michigan State University to be used for the public benefit.  Today the original 200 acres has expanded to 755 acres, with more than 6 miles of paved one - way roads and 10 miles of hiking paths. Several endowments ensure future generations will enjoy Mr. Fee's vision.




Wife Rhoda and dog Happy...note the dog drool down the passenger door !


Happy wearing his flight "Doogles"


Unfortunately he doesn't like wearing them when not in motion!


Scenic overlooks




Please try not to focus on my lovely wife and note the GoPro camera mounted on the windshield. :-) 




I keep working with my GoPro and a recently acquired remote microphone for a better combination of video and sound. Here are 5 short clips from our ride on the 15 mph one - way roads in the Gardens. Please excuse the "cockpit chatter", there was just too much to comment on!




Ok, so I made a mistake on this video clip...everything is fast forward and no sound, but it's a fun 14 seconds ride!


Well gentle readers, since it's almost November, and Miss Tillie is in the garage being prepared for her winter nap. I hope you all have a great Nov. and Dec. season.
 Best Wishes, Jim and the "Crew"