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"

A Tale of Three Carburettors

Hello everyone.  It's late September already, and that means the collector car driving season is starting to wind down here in NW Ohio.  So, I thought that I would bring you up to date on some of Miss Tillie's adventures so far this season!

On our 2017 schedule was a first time show for us...the 30th annual Michiana Brits British car show in South Bend, Indiana. This show is held on the campus of Saint Mary's college, just across the street from Notre Dame University.  Since South Bend is over 150 miles from our home, Rhoda and I decided to make it a two day trip with an overnight in Middlebury, Indiana.
The Das Dutchman EssenHaus is a great place to stay and the Amish Style food is outta this world!

During the first leg of the trip, to Middlebury, we stayed on the back roads and Tillie ran just fine for over 120 miles.The morning of the car show, we only had to go about 30 miles from the hotel, but Miss Tillie was not happy.... The air/fuel gauge was showing a "rich" mixture but we pressed on until only about 5 miles from the Saint Mary's campus, when, in the middle of a big intersection, she stopped running and would not restart. Two guys came to our assistance, and we got Tillie pushed off to the side of the road. When I got the hood open,there was gas coming out of the float chamber vent tube on the middle ZS carb.  It appeared Tillie had a stuck needle valve, so I tapped the float chamber, then waited a few minutes before trying to start her.  Luck was on our side, as Tillie fired up and we made our way to the show. Once at the show, conversations with other British car owners convinced me that I did have a stuck needle valve and that it was most likely a fluke and not to worry.
BTW, we saw many terrific, classic British cars at the car show.
Tillie did provide us with a Best in Class award, but I was still concerned about the trip back home. We decided to take the Indiana/Ohio turnpike (I-80) and give her the old "Italian Tuneup"...75 mph for 150 miles!  That seemed to work as the air/fuel mixture was back to normal and all seemed good when we pulled into our driveway (whew). My wife said that she knew that I would get us home OK!

Here is a photo of the "three darlings" as I have begun to call my triple Zenith Stromberg  Carburettors (note the British spelling of carburetor)  ;-)

Well, a few weeks later, another road trip found us 80 miles from home when the dreaded "rich" condition again reared it's ugly head!  This time it was the rear ZS that was showing signs of a stuck needle valve. To add insult to injury, a thunder storm passed though the area, and we ended up driving 20 miles in the rain before getting clear of that mess!  I again tried tapping the float bowl, but no joy.  By judicious use of the throttle, I once again was able to keep Tillie running until getting us home.

On the way home, my lovely wife gently suggested that perhaps it was time to get some professional help regarding the "three darlings".😊 I agreed, and the next morning contacted the 6-Pack ZS Carb guru, Ken (Poolboy).

Ken agreed to give the carbs a through going over to try resolve not just the flooding issue but a persistent problem with erratic idling.

Off the car and on their way to Mississippi

Less than 2 weeks later, the UPS driver dropped off this box with the "three darlings" all snugly packed and ready to be re-installed. 

Ken reported that he found 2 of the carbs had the wrong gaskets on the TBV (throttle bypass valve), and the third carb was missing it's TBV gasket... accounting for the erratic idle. Ken did not find a "smoking gun" that would have caused the stuck needle valves, but he did replace all three with new ones and put some of his "special touches" on the chokes and TBVs.

Ken suggested I put a shutoff valve between the fuel pump and the ZS carbs in addition to my shut off valve back under the fuel tank. Shutting off this valve will prevent overnight flooding from residual fuel pressure. I also used this time to replace the fuel filter and change out all the rubber fuel line hoses...just in case !

The red handled fuel shut off valve is installed.

Finally, this seemed to be a good time to install a fuel pressure gauge.

The "three darlings" installed and ready for the K&N air filters and the acid test...road miles.

Well, gentle reader, I'm happy to report that other than "leaning out" the mixture a bit, which Ken advised might be needed, Miss Tillie has gone over 300 miles with no ZS carb issues, and I couldn't be more pleased.  She now idles at stop lights like a good girl, and the flooding issues are gone.

If you know of some poorly- behaving Zenith Stromberg Carburetors, don't immediately assume you need to replace then with something else... instead, think about contacting Ken Dolhonde (a.k.a Poolboy) on the 6-Pack web site, or email him at kencorsaw@aol.com, and let him work his magic !

Finally, here is a short video clip of Miss Tillie in action following a recent car show in the
NW Ohio, area!  

           Happy Autumn Motoring !