Friday, April 27, 2007

MOTD 5 Time and weekly news

MINIs on the Dragon (MOTD) starts next week. This will be the 3rd year that Kel and I have spent the first weekend in May up in the Mountains with a few hundred other folks who own MINIs. We are looking forwarded to getting sometime off and relaxing. I plan on reading a few Anthony Bourdain books and checking out the new Classic Motorsports mag. We both plan on spending a lot of time sitting outside in the sun and doing nothing. I am sure I will work a few runs on the Dragon in. I am guessing that I will get most of my runs in Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. After that, I will probably only make tow more runs. The AtlantaMINIs reverse dragon parade and the Midnight run. I'll have an update when we get back.

News from this week:

Still waiting on the replacement parts for the TR. I'm missing some good drop top weather right now and hope the parts are waiting for me when I get back in town.

Replaced the brakes and rotors on Kelly's Lexus this week. Took me 3 times as long as it should have because no one prints a Lexus repair manual and the dealer wanted $300 for one. Next time I have to do the brakes it will only take maybe 45mins to do all 4.

Monday, April 23, 2007

What's that smell?

Drove the TR out this weekend to watch my Tennis team play. After the matches, I was getting ready to head home and I decided to check under the hood (no real reason) and I noticed some fluid all over the engine bay. Ran my finger through it, turns out it was coolant. The top hose from the radiator to the Tstat housing had sprung a leak. I was able to get the car home without incident. I must have stressed the old house a bit when I was changing the tstat so it finally decided to give up the ghost. I have a new one on order from Victoria British. Pretty easy fix, just glad I decided to pop the hood!

I also have a new steering wheel cover and an emergency bonnet release on order that I will put in when they show up.

That's all for now.....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Why does this happen every year?

I have decided that from now on I just need to stay inside a concrete bunker somewhere for the 2nd week of April. 3 years ago, the car dealer wrecked my 1st MINI. 2 years ago I hurt my knee playing tennis. Last year, well I got lucky and nothing happened. This year? I hurt my knee again, playing tennis, on the same exact day I hurt it last time. Grrrrrr. Anyway, my Knee Dr. is going to take a look at it tomorrow. Probably going to get an MRI and maybe have him scope it. This is a re-occurring problem from when I first hurt the thing playing soccer in college.

How does this all fit into cars? Well both the MINI and the Triumph have stick shifts so having a bum left knee makes it a bit difficult to drive. I can get by driving the MINI as long as I don't sit in much traffic. Haven't even tried to get in the TR yet since it is so low to the ground.

I guess I do have some car news. 1st Autocross of the year was this past weekend. It was rainy and my first time running Hoosiers with adjustable camber bits. Had a good time and thought I did pretty good for my first event in a year. Never could get the rear end of the car to stay in line, the MINI was wicked loose and I know I left several seconds out on the track by not being able to attack several of the turns without fear of spinning the car. Looking forward to a dry event and being able to dial the car in.

That's it for now.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My TR4a's History

Ok, so I was bored sitting around after work and I was flipping through the new Moss Motors catalogue that showed up in the mail. A though popped in my head that I needed to add my recent receipts to the folder that I got when I bought the Triumph that contained all of the receipts for work done to the car over the years. I had flipped through all of these when I bought the car but had never sat down and looked at dates, names, items ect. So here is what I found out...

I know the names of the previous 3 owners.
Car underwent a complete restoration, engine rebuild starting in May 1989.
I know the name of who rebuilt the engine.
I have receipts (must be over 100 items) for everything that was ordered from The Roadster Factory for the rebuild/resto.
Oil pump went bad sometime in the mid 90's and was replaced along with the valves being reworked and some other engine work (biggest bill I found)
Car was repainted sometime around '90-91 as well as having some other body work completed.
Since '95 the car has had very few problems. Only two breakdowns both coming from issues in the distributor.

So the car was restored about 20 years into its life and now I have it 20 years after the rebuild. I would love to get in contact with the guy that restored it, maybe even meet him and show him how his work has held up (I'm guessing it is in better shape today than it was before the restoration was started!). Also would like to find out what he knows about the cars history before 1989 (oldest receipt I have is dated 5/89 along with a fax letter to The Roadster Factory dated the same month).

I'm going to take this on as kind of a car genealogy. I'll put together a timeline of all the work, owners, where the car lived, get the British Heritage Motoring Cert (Build date, color, when and where it was sold, find if all the #'s match) and put it up on the site when I get done. I hope that I am lucky enough to have the car for the next 20 years!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

General Exclaim UHP Review

Quick review of the tires that I ordered from to go on the MINI. I use 205/50/15s for the MINI for better weight savings (around 150lbs less than the stock 17s). After one good mountain run up to the Tail of the Dragon (US 129 in NC/TN, look it up if you have never heard of it. 318 turns in 11 miles.) I love these tires. They ride smoother than the old Dunlops, track well on the highway and did great on the twisty stuff.

The first run up the Dragon they didn't feel all that good. They felt vague and really didn't grip all that well. Now, the temperature was a nippy 40-45 degrees and the tires only had around 200 miles on them. After a short break we headed back down the Dragon. On this run the tires where completely different. They had great grip and feel. I had to get used to a tire that turned in right away, the old Dunlops had a good amount of flex to them (even when aired up pretty high) so you had to anticipate your turn in a bit and let the car and tires settle before the car would bit in. Not so with the Generals. No bad sidewall flex that I could feel (39psi). These tires do let you know when they are near the limit, talking quite loudly before ultimate grip has been reached. When they do let go it is gradual and not snappy so it is pretty easy to recover from any opposite lock moments.

All in all these are great tires for the money. Sure you can buy tires with more grip but for $61 per tire I'm really happy. Now I just have to wait and see how they age once they have a few more miles on them.