Monthly Archives: August 2011

From 13 Points Of Failure To 3

For some time now, the little extra coolant heater has bothered me.  Now, it’s gone, eliminating several potential weak spots in the Triumph.

Let’s start with that little heater.  It was tucked into the driver’s side front wheel well.  It’s a little cylinder, about the size of a soda can.

It has a coolant hose running in through the top, and a second hose comes out the side to return coolant to the radiator.

It also had an electric plug that was wrapped around the front bumper (you may have noticed that plug in the pictures and wondered what it was).

Since the Spitfire lived in Nebraska, which gets very cold, having such a device meant that the car would be ready to drive on any cold winter day.  That’s a good thing.

However, its time has come and gone.  I don’t know if the device still works (I never tried plugging it in), it’s rusted and doesn’t look too healthy.  Besides, we don’t drive the Triumph in the winter anyway.

The real problem I see comes with the way it was installed.

To get coolant to the heater, someone replaced one of the coolant hoses on top of the engine with several other hoses and a copper T plumbing fitting.  The copper is corroding and, for some reason, short pieces of hose were used, which all had to be clamped together. This is all at the top of the engine, where the hoses feed warm radiator fluid to the heater box to warm the cabin.

All together, from the radiator connection, through all the hoses, there are 13 points where a hose or pipe connects to something else.  That’s 13 points where something could fail, causing coolant to leak all over the place (and that doesn’t even include that copper T fitting that I don’t trust).

This last weekend, I removed all that extra hosing and the little heater.  It has been replaced with one simple hose that runs from the block to the heater box valve.

Not only does it look better than the mess of red hoses, it’s much more reliable.  There are only two connections at either end of the new hose, plus the new cap at the base of the radiator (technically, I still need to install that cap and refill the radiator, but there’s another upgrade that’s taking my attention — more on that shortly).

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Summer Fun

I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while.  The summer has been hot and busy.  However, we have managed to squeeze a few Triumph road trips into the schedule, which have been nice.

AutoMotorPlex and Winery Tour

Earlier this summer, we took the Spitfire for the longest road trip it has been on since moving to Minnesota.

The day (June 4) started with the Cars & Coffee show at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen, MN.  Wow!  What an experience that was!

First, you have to understand what the AutoMotorPlex is.  It’s a series of garages that people can buy (lease?) to house their precious cars.  Some of these garages are about the size of a normal 2-car garage.  Those are the small units.

Then some are gigantic, with a dozen or more cars stored inside.

Naturally, the garages aren’t cheap, so why not spend a bit of extra money having the space customized with a loft and maybe, perhaps, a 50’s diner motif in side?  These garages bring “Man Cave” to a whole new level.

And then there are the cars!  On the first Saturday of each month (during the summer), many people open their garages to the public, and other car collectors bring their prized iron to show off, too.  The Spitfire was parked between (if I recall correctly) a Pontiac GTO and a ’60s era Mercedes-Benz convertible.  Elsewhere around the AutoMotorPlex were Ferraris, Audi A8s, a couple of DeLoreans, classic old Buicks and even a Messerschmitt.  Between the huge crowd of people, and all the interesting cars that you could get right up close to, the whole thing was a little overwhelming, but fun.

Then we got back in the Spitfire and drove up to a winery near Delano, Minn.  This was an event of several car clubs in the area, and it was a beautiful day (Paul and I actually got a bit sunburned).

The usual smattering of trusty Triumphs, MGs and Austin Healeys were there, but there was also an older Aston Martin and a Morgan +8.

There are lots of pictures online to drool over from the winery tour:

All told, we added about 100 miles to the Spitfire.  Of course, we had the top down the entire way, and by the end of it we were a bit wind blown, but happy.

InterMarque Picnic

Next up for the Spitfire was the InterMarque picnic in late July.  InterMarque is a group that works to organize events among all the different classic car clubs in the Twin Cities and Minnesota.  Once a month (in the summer), the group holds a picnic at Cherokee Park in St. Paul.

The July picnic was hosted by the Minnesota Triumphs (the club to which we belong), so we went to show our support.

The picnic itself was fine.  The food was good.  The conversation was good.  And the cars drew a lot of looks from passers-by.

But the weather was another thing entirely.  Though it was warm and sunny, it was incredibly humid, too.  I think everyone was sweating something fierce and we were all happy to go home and cool off.

Again, lots of pictures are online here.

Royal British Car Show

Most recently (as in last weekend — Aug. 20), we went to the Royal British Car Show (again, at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen).  Actually, Paul couldn’t make it as he was driving home from Fargo that morning.  But the Triumph and I drove out there to take in the show.

Like the previous event at the AutoMotorPlex, there was no shortage of interesting cars.  However, this was a much smaller event, which provided time to really appreciate every car there.

Of course, we were parked in the Triumph section, which had a good showing.  The Jaguar section had more than a dozen cars.  There were also a handful of MGs, Austin-Healeys, a Rolls Royce and a Bentley (oh, and a Riley — talk about your obscure British cars!).

I took a lot of pictures, which are available here.  I even hitched a ride up a scissor-lift thing, from which I snagged a few overhead shots.

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