My TRIUMPH TR4A IRS Restoration Page
After many years of looking for something to do with the left over parts from the restoration of my TR3A, I finally found it. I once jokingly said, "I should get a TR4 that is missing an engine to put that left over engine in." Over the years that joke started to take on a life of its own. A friend told me about a TR4 he heard was for sale (though in boxes and without an engine) and that was the beginning of this project.
I purchased the "car" in May of 1999 and I will go out on a limb here and say the plan is to be finished the restoration by Spring 2002. [UPDATE: I first drove it in May 2003] The title says it is a 1968 TR4A IRS, but according to the VTR web site the serial number indicates it was made in 1967. It use to take a long time for LBCs to drive all the way to Canada from the UK in those days!
An interesting twist of fate happened in the late fall of 2004. I came across a man driving a perfectly restored Morgan V8. We got to chatting and swapping LBC stories. After about 5 minutes of conversation we discovered that he had been the previous owner of this car. It turns out that over the same many years that I was toiling over this TR4A he was doing the same over his Morgan. The LBC world truly is a small world, not just a small car world.
All of the parts I needed to buy new for this project were purchased at Drakes British Motors situated in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. If you are in need of parts I highly recommend these folks. The service was great and it was the best price I found in Canada for Moss parts.
|The rear ride height had been low. After some investigation I discovered that the previous owner had used front springs in the back. Here you see the car with the proper rear springs installed and with more of the interior complete (for those with sharp eyes that noticed it was missing from previous pictures).|
|The summer of 2003 was spend building a house addition, so no work was done on the car for 18 months. This is the car in October 2004. Total milage since rebuild is 350 miles.|
|Engine bay as it stands in November of 2004|
|Other projects prevented finishing in time for this driving season (notice the snow - November 9, 2002). Maybe over the winter I can complete the work and have my wife driving it by spring.|
|The day I picked it up from the body shop. Many thanks to Alex, Alek and the painters for a great job. It now looks like a car and I have some motivation to finish for this driving season.|
|This is what the front sway bar installation looks like. The home made saddle clamps look like they belong there. And they match the ones in the rear, too bad the bars are not the same colour. If this works well I might add one to the TR3A.|
|I had a set of poly bushings for the front sway bar and link but the saddle clamps for them did not come with the car. I thought I would take a stab at making them and on the left you see what can be done using a hardwood mold and die. On the right are the pair with the bushings installed.|
|This bar and intallation kit came complete with poly bushings. I found a mouse nest in the frame doing this and it was interesting removing that nest. The kids on the street got a laugh when the nest finally flew out (onto me) after a lot of compressed air was blown into the frame.|
|This is a bfore and after shot from behind of the frame painting and suspention work. The tub is still up in the air. I could not install the rear tube shock conversion kits without the body mounted to the frame. But after testing the lever shocks I decided to leave them in until I road test it.|
|It was either this or put the TR3A away in storage for the year. I needed to work on the frame and suspension so I got the guys together and raised the tub onto a pair of workmates. Notice the safety lines going to sky hooks. Now I can paint the frame and install all the uprated suspension components.|
|Some patches were needed on these two wings. Mostly along the top where they meat the main body. It was fun getting all four wings done and test bolted to the car, as this was the first time it looked like a real car since we have had it.|
|I had two bonnets to pick from. On the left you have my first attempt with what I had though was the one needing less work. On the right is the one that turned out to need less work. Moral of the story is to use the part that came from the same car if you can.|
|Back in the garage, only the right way up this time. It looks a lot more like a car now. With some effort people can imagine there is car in the garage now. Maybe I will no longer be subjected to those funny looks from folks passing by.|
|Now that you have done all that work can you please put the car back where it came from. Be gentle and make sure it gets on the frame the right way round this time.|
|Trying to get six neighbors all working together to flip a car without letting it touch the ground. It took far longer to "talk" about before hand than it took to turn it over.|
|No this is not an episode of Home Improvement. I am actually weighing the tub. The rest of the group is trying to figure out why I wanted them to place the thing down on the bathroom scales. In case any one is interested the tub (complete with the support frame) weighs 450 lbs.|
|It was a dull day in my neighbourhood and I managed to round up six willing bodies. I think they were more curious than willing. Many thanks to Paul, Bob, Mike, John and Mark for the muscle power. Mark is the one hamming it up for the camera.|
|The last of the upside down car (I hope). All the welding and repairs on the bottom are all done. The bottom was painted with rust remover, cold galvanizing zinc, followed by three coats of primer and three coats of chassis black paint. All I need know is 6 or so people to help me flip.|
|Here you can see I have done all the welding and body work from the sills on down (grey primer). The sills and apron have rust remover and primer, but I wanted to do all the body work on them while the tub was upside down so as to avoid working overhead.|
|Here you have the rear light "socket". Both have had a large piece of the curves socket replaced and the right one also has the curved flange of the rear apron replaced. This was the first piece I felt real happy about, even though it took lots of on and off again trial fitting.|
This is the side of the front right headlight inside the front wing. This picture does not show it well but I was real proud of how I made such a compound curved piece. It curves round the headlight then as you go aft it goes inward while keeping the headlight curve, then flattens out for the last little bit.
This is the front part of the right sill (the part that is behind the wing). It is the largest patch I will need on this car and is all out of sight in the finished car. Part of the reason I turned the car over was that I wanted to do all the out of sight welding first, that way I get in practice.
With a project in this sort of shape you need a MIG welder. This is what a guy with some arc welding experience that is 15 years out of practice can do the first time out with a MIG welder.
At last I have the car in the garage and ready for work. If one wants to work on the bottom of the car why not turn it over. To boot for fun turn it front to back as well. Here I have the tub up above the frame waiting for me to start sheet metal work. Older brother TR3 looks on with fond memories of when he was in such sad shape.
|Some of the engine bay parts are now installed. Since I have my home made sand blasting cabinet I decided to bead blast and paint as much as is needed each part before it goes on the car. Here you can see the headlight pots, horns, wiper motor, exhaust manifold and pedal box all painted and installed.|
|Ever since I finished the TR3A I have wished for an engine that looked fresh from the factory, or at least fresh from the paint shop. Now that I have installed all the new components and am waiting for the head I thought this would be a good time to paint the block. I love the way it looks.|
|All the bits from the engine waiting to be cleaned. Everything was in spec. but the crank had a bit too much scoring so I had it machined down .010" and polished. The finished crank is shown in the picture to the right.|
|On the left is what remains of the block once all the pieces have been removed. The only hard parts to remove were the front and rear main caps and the big end caps. On the right the head sits as removed from the car. If you are going to do this I highly recommend an engine stand.|
|I had not intended to start the engine work so soon, but "something" happened which forced me to remove the engine from the old TR3. It is amazing how clean the block turned out after spraying it with Dunk and pressure washing it (the back of my truck on the other hand......)|
|I was worried about the stength of four small stud holes on the block being able to hold the entire engine, so I built this interface plate out of 3/8" plate. The plasma cutter the steel shop used to cut it out for me was something to see. Then I spent the afternoon aligning and drilling the 16 or so holes needed. I am glad I took the trouble to do this as I expect I will rebuild the TR3 engine some day as well.|
|Trussed like a turkey. I tried a little trick with this one. Not wanted to have to deal with too much grease if it could be avoided, I sprayed the entire engine with Dunk. Here you see the Dunk soaking. Next step will be to pressure wash it and see if the grease comes off.|
|This is right after pulling it from my TR3 parts car. Many thanks to Don, AJ and Andy for the muscle power to get it in the truck. This engine has been sitting for 18 years since it was last run. I did put over 24 litres of oil in it (including the cylinders) filling it right up to the rockers. It seems to have helped as it still turns over freely by hand after all that time.|
|Somewhere in there is the power plant that will one day send the TR4A speeding down the open road. My mother keeps telling me that engine will never amount to much more than a boat anchor.|
Now for what I have to do
|Before removing the tub, an exoskeleton was made for it to keep all the parts in line. What rust there was on this tub was limited to the bottom of the A and B posts and the seam between the rear wings and the rear deck. As I have some what limited space, in order to work on the bottom, I have the tub up-side down over top of the frame.|
|The image on the left is the A post and the one on the right is the B post of the right side of the car. This is where I have decided to start my work on this project. These repairs will be out of sight on the finished car and will give me lots of opportunity to learn a new type of welding.|
Already completed - before me
|This part almost sold the car all by itself. We walk into what looked like an old barn expecting to see a potential restoration project. What we find is a very nice work shop with this dash siting by itself in the middle of a work bench. But where is the car?|
|Turns out the car was in an other room of the work shop, as well as in the storage upstairs! Most of us are happy to just have a work shop, let alone a multi-room one, with multi-level storage. The frame and suspension have been completed. All new poly bushings, competition springs and Spax shocks included just for fun.|
|More good news. In yet an other place were hiding these seats. Need a little sewing on one seam as well as new diaphragms underneath but that is all. I will have to invent a matching "back seat" so that the kids can enjoy the car as well (if I finish it before they are as big as me).|
The only metal work that had been done was this patch on the front (under the wing) part of the left sill, as well as a few patches on the floor. I suspect the poor fellow that removed all the rust proofing "goop" is now in intensive therapy, it seemed like enough repetitive work to drive anyone crazy.
Notice the nice Morgan the TR4 got to share one of the rooms with.
It's all in the delivery
What have I done! When I arrived to pick up the TR4 I was informed that in fact the "complete car" I was promised was in fact 3 cars with more or less "at least one of each part." This is great - extra bonus points. Let me see how much we can get into one trailer. Don't forget to fill the inside of the Jeep also.
But how do I get the "extra bonus points" home with only a trailer for the frame and shell and a truck for "the rest of it." Oh, the driver only needs a little room, lets put all the interior panels, the windshield, the top, the tonneau and anything else we can squeeze in there beside the driver. Throw on two bonnets on as well, they may distract the police so they won't notice the rust on the truck. Sad when the parts of a restoration project look better then the truck transporting them.
OK so now the garage is full, my back hurts and I still have to find a place to put all this "left over" stuff. As you can see there are a few too many parts for one car, let alone one garage that has to house a daily driver TR3.
"Oh Adrio, where do you want us to put this stuff we all forgot was hiding back here? May we suggest......". On the Left is Trevor who passed on the add for this car in the first place along with his extensive research knowledge, and on the right is Andrew who supplied the Jeep, the trailer, his time and a whole lot of muscle. Good thing he had that shirt on!