Tag Archives: convertible top

Spring warmup

Spring is here in Minnesota! And that means it’s time to take the cover off the Triumph, dust it off, and go for a ride.

I did that on Thursday for the monthly meeting of the Minnesota Triumphs.  It was a bit chilly out, but the top on the car kept the worst of the cold out.

When starting the car in the morning (which took a while after sitting all winter), I noticed the starter made a bit of a funny sound.  It almost sounded like the cog that pops out of the starter didn’t fully retract when the starter was disengaged.  At best, it’s nothing.  At worst, it’ll chew up the flywheel.  I’m optimistic everything is fine since the starter was spinning the engine.

And, yes, the battery spent the winter in the basement of the house.  I brought it out Wednesday evening and connected the charger.  I was surprised to see that it was still fairly charged up.

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First Drive Of Spring

I took the Spitfire out for a short drive (and celebratory pizza) yesterday evening, which is the first drive this spring.

The brakes are a bit better.  However, as I told Paul, I’m not sure if that’s because they’re actually better, or if it’s psychological and I’m hammering them harder because I know components have been replaced and rebuilt.

The tachometer was making a bit of noise, as if the cable is slipping or jumping.  That noise went away after a while, then came back, then went away again.  Each time, the noise was accompanied by the tach jumping around a bit.  By the end of the drive, it seemed fine, so I’ll keep an eye on it.

Everything else about the drive was fun and easy.  Everything worked and handled as expected.

I kept the top up as it was still a bit cool out.

Perhaps the worst problem was just dodging all the potholes on the streets.  It seems some were large enough to swallow the little Triumph.

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Day Of Firsts

Thursday (9-9) was an interesting day of firsts for the Triumph and me.

The Triumph, parked between a blue Stag and a couple of SpifireIVs.

Let’s start at the beginning:

7:30a:  For the first time, I installed the convertible roof myself.  Previously, Agnes and Dennis and I worked to install the top (and tonneau) together.

7:30a:  Also for the first time, I put up the black roof.  Previously, it was always the white top.  But I thought I’d change it up a bit.  Frankly, I think it looks kinda nice.

8a:  After about 30 minutes the roof was on and it was time to hit the road.  For the first time, I drove the Spitfire to work.  I noticed a couple of co-workers eyeing the car, which looked particularly small next to their SUVs.

5:50p:  Time to leave work, and the Triumph started fine, but for the first time, encountered some uncomfortable bad sputtering while leaving the parking lot.  It idled, but only at about 500 r.p.m.  A co-worker drove up next to me and yelled “My ’63 MG did the same thing!”  I limped into a parking space and sat there for a few minutes.  Every time I tried to give it gas, it bogged down as if the engine would stop.  Not good.  Playing with the choke helped, but it still wasn’t right.  I don’t know exactly what was wrong but after a few minutes the idle suddenly jumped up and everything was fine.

We all had our tops up as the sky was threatening to rain.

6:15p:  For the first time, I went to the monthly meeting of the Minnesota Triumphs Sports Car Club.  On the way, the Spitfire stalled at a stoplight.  Fortunately, a fellow Triumph Spitfire driver was behind me.  He pulled up next to me and suggested holding the gas pedal down while turning the key.  After a few tries, that worked.  I later found out this helpful guy’s name is Dennis.

The meeting itself was fun.  Lots of Triumph experts there had lots of advice about things to do, repair and maintain.

One suggestion regarding the previous electrical issues was to connect more cables off the negative end of the battery directly to the engine block and/or starter motor.  The theory is that since there is currently only one cable from the negative terminal to the car’s body, we’re probably not getting a great electrical circuit.  Yes, the body is all connected, but Dennis (he has lots of Spitfire advice, which is a good thing – I think I’ll be picking his brain a lot) suggested a couple (2 or 3) cables from the battery to the engine block would make for a better connection and likely be better for charging the battery.

Dennis and a couple of other guys there also confirmed that the Spitfire was likely converted intentionally to a negative-ground.  The car was originally a positive-ground (positive-earth for those of you across the pond).  I feared that someone may have looked at that and, figuring it was wrong, switched the wires.  Several of the people at the meeting confirmed that’s probably not the case — otherwise lots of other bad stuff would have happened.  I kinda figured that, but it was nice to have their confirmation.

7:05p: The meeting itself was interesting — lots of business talk about the election of new leaders at next month’s meeting.

7:50p: I didn’t stick around long after the meeting finished, though I did chat briefly with Orrin about helping to maintain the Web site.

Looking back:  The day was a reality check of living with a Triumph.  It was simultaneously a lot of fun, mixed with a bit of anxiety, topped off with the realization that we are part of a much larger community that shares in the same experiences.

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