Finally on the road. I can’t deny it was an unusual experience, it was a bit like when I first drove it around the block for the first time on East 22nd st in Tucson, Arizona. The car now looked even better than it did way back in 1989, I wish I could say the same for myself. Now with power steering, power brakes and a front sway bar it felt like a completely different car. After the initial euphoria and the first buttock clenching spin around the block I quickly encountered some problems, some worse than others.
First problem I faced which turned out to be a big one was the steering box. It was a Delphi 600 gear modified with a couple of mounting plates to fit tri-fives. Apart from the 605 boxes this was the only thing available at the the time which sods law was just before the 500 boxes came out. It was pouring oil out of the top plate which turned out to be a duff ‘o’ ring. I couldn’t quite get to it with the box in place so I ended up taking it out, lucky I did.
When I took the pitman shaft out a bearing race fell out. On closer inspection it was clear that the whole lower pitman shaft bearing was completely missing apart from the old bearing race. This was supposed to be a modified, remanufactured part proudly made in the USA, my arse. The original vendor was long gone, maybe they’d killed some people with their parts and are now hopefully festering in some unpleasant sweaty Jail.
After a day’s research to find out what I had, I discovered the box was a modified Jeep Grand Cherokee unit. I found a power steering specialist in Grenwich who didn’t bat an eyelid, had the parts in stock and fixed it in a day. Top service and highly recommended.
Next problem was cooling, I’d fitted a 16″ Maradyne puller fan from Speedway motors. It was correctly fitted and wired with a fused relay etc. and it lasted 40 miles. Utter garbage, don’t touch Maradyne fans they are crap. I was guided towards 57 owner Graham over at Serck services for a replacement Spal Fan. They expertly modified my Ally rad to mount the fan and this worked fine so highly recommended. It was the end of August and surprisingly hot this year and I found that plodding around congested London that the fan was on nearly all the time. Although the setup worked OK I really wasn’t happy about the fan being on all the time so I decided to go back to a mechanical fan.
After some research on the ideal set up on the trifive.com forums I settled on a Derale 17″ fan #17117 , Stewart stage 1 iron water pump EMP-12103, Hayden clutch fan #HDA-2747 and an aluminium fan shroud from Ecklers. Luckily we were in Florida at the end of August so I had Summit deliver to the villa and we picked up the fan shroud at the counter at Ecklers. The fan shroud needed a bit of a trim to clear the fan but it all works perfect, sits at 180-195 degrees on the move and just over 200 stuck in traffic.
Next bother was a vigorous fuel leak from the sender unit gasket which really wasn’t on as I’d filled the tank and tested it before I put it in. I didn’t fancy seeing 10 years work going up in a raging inferno so this needed immediate attention by dropping the tank. Taking stuff off that I’d just put on was becoming tedious daily life.
The rubber sender unit gaskets they sent out at the time were really not fit for purpose. I hear Danchuck have finally got their act together on this and now supply cork gaskets. I couldn’t wait for one from over there so a call to Gosnay’s engineering in Romford tracked down some old cork gasket material. They sold me about 10 yards of the stuff for about ten bob, cheers lads.
I took this opportunity to calibrate the tank sender by carfully filling the tank to exactly half full and bending the sender to suit the reading on the guage. This was a complete waste of time as it’s a still gallons off a true reading. Shortly after I ran out of fuel on the M1 with a quarter of a tank showing on the guage! I’m not taking it back out again so I bought a matching red 10L petrol can for the boot. At least it doesn’t leak anymore.