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Had a Great Polar Bear Run until.....

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Starshark Avatar
Starshark Joe Garcia
Gainesville, GA, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A "White Knight"
After a Summer of repairs / restoration, My 1960 TR-3A "White Knight" and I were ready for the Georgia Triumph Association ALS charity Polar Bear Run thru the North Georgia Mountains on Saturday 30 Dec. 2017. A good cause with great folks. More than 50+ plus folks driving all kinds of cool cars (pun intended) participated on a clear and COLD day. We left the Atlanta Motorsports Park north of Dawsonville GA off of HY 53 towards Neels Gap, Baldridge Mountain GA...the end/start of the Appalachian Trail. My little TR loved it and it's 3rd gear was used well... laboring up and thru curves that said 25 MPH which we took at 45+. Then...BANG, BANG, BANG, CLUNK happened...going down hill! I pulled over quickly feeling that I threw a rod or main bearing. With no cell coverage in the mountains (of course) I was rescued by a local who contacted a Blairsville GA towing company and then the GTA gaggle showed up with "support"...I was offered peppermint schnapps to lift my spirits but I declined. GTA's Mike Hurst feels I should check out the water pump first before I dive into the engine. A TR-4 buddy of his felt he had blown his engine (same engine as mine) but found that the root cause of all the commotion was a failed water pump bearing. I sure hope this is the issue since I have taken off and then back on the nose of the car 3 times this year alone! I really don't like doing that since its a pain... aka "labor of love" (BS). A $260, 57 mile tow back to my home was a bit humiliating but I'll get over it and hopefully back on the road soon. Life with a TR is an adventure for sure.

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gfe05111952 Avatar
gfe05111952 George Earwaker
Falls Church, VA, USA   USA
What a bummer Joe! I hope it's the water pump, too. That $260 towing bill really adds insult to injury. I guess towing prices have gone up since my last break down, years ago. A good reason to have a back-up plan like AAA or similar. It looks like some fine looking cars were with you. If you have more photos of the Polar Bear Run, please post. At least you guys are able to drive your cars this time of year. Most of us have ours put away for the winter because of all the road chemicals. Best of luck. smileys with beer



George
1967 Triumph GT6
1967 Triumph Spitfire4 Mk2
1968 Triumph Spitfire Mk3

Starshark Avatar
Starshark Joe Garcia
Gainesville, GA, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A "White Knight"
Thanks for the positive outlook...here are some additional photos...

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glcaines Avatar
glcaines Silver Member Gary Caines
Hiawassee, GA, USA   USA
When you say bang, bang, bang are you talking about a metallic bang or a back-fire? I'm assuming the clunk was metallic? Is the engine seized? Does the car roll free in neutral? Are you sure the timing chain is intact? I broke a timing chain on a TR3 once and it sounded like your description. Try turning the engine over by hand and see if the distributor rotor turns. If not, you likely have a timing chain issue. By the way, the cause of my timing chain break was that the tensioner wore in half and one piece went around between the chain and sprockets.



Current: 1973 TR6 W/Overdrive

Previous:
1963 TR3B W/Overdrive
1962 TR3A
1961 TR3A
1960 TR3A
1960 TR3A

Starshark Avatar
Starshark Joe Garcia
Gainesville, GA, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A "White Knight"
When you say bang, bang, bang are you talking about a metallic bang or a back-fire?

Metallic sounding bang, bang, clunk, clunk..

I'm assuming the clunk was metallic?

Good assumption...Correct!

Is the engine seized?

Nope runs fine...ran it up my driveway hill since the tow truck could not deposit the car up there.

Does the car roll free in neutral?

Rolls free...driveable but sounds like its ready to nuke.

Are you sure the timing chain is intact?

Timing chain is fine...just replaced the tensioner...see pics...was worn but not as bad as yours...

I broke a timing chain on a TR3 once and it sounded like your description. Try turning the engine over by hand and see if the distributor rotor turns. If not, you likely have a timing chain issue. By the way, the cause of my timing chain break was that the tensioner wore in half and one piece went around between the chain and sprockets.

Thanks for your input...I sure hope its the water pump letting loose...will see in the AM...IF I have no hang over....

Happy New Year


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twomanytriumphs Avatar
twomanytriumphs Gold Member Kyle Darby
Kelso, WA, USA   USA
1965 Triumph TR4 "My Baby"
1966 Triumph 2000 MkI "Bessie"
1970 Triumph GT6+ (MkII) "The Princess"
1977 MG MGB
Take a very close look at the bottom crank pulley as well. About 15 years ago I heard a loud BANG as I was entering the freeway. I pulled over, opened the hood and looked around and started to lower it. The cogs were visible on the fan belt... ie that fan belt was inside out. Looked closer and the whole bottom pulley was gone. I found a scuff/scratch on the bottom of the bonnet (bang) and the schrapnel on the bulkhead... it was an irritating tow. Backed off the roll back and drove it into the garage. Kyle.

Starshark Avatar
Starshark Joe Garcia
Gainesville, GA, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A "White Knight"
Gentlemen...Happy New Year.
Thanks soooo much for your support.
Today, I removed the fan belt, isolating the water pump and generator and started the engine...
Result...Bang, Bang, Clunk... = blown engine.
Will remove the engine once the weather gets a bit warmer.
Bummer but new 2018 project for Joe.

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glcaines Avatar
glcaines Silver Member Gary Caines
Hiawassee, GA, USA   USA
Joe,
I'm sorry to hear about your engine. They are normally very tough. You might want to remove the valve cover and oil pan before you pull the engine just to see what went amiss. If something went wrong in the valve train you might be able to repair it without pulling the engine. It looks like we are almost neighbors. I live in Hiawassee, Georgia. There is a garage in Cleveland, Georgia that specializes in British cars called The Roadspeed Garage, http://roadspeed.blogspot.com, (706) 348-6364. Bart Miller runs Roadspeed and he is very good. He might be able to help you on how to proceed. I've rebuilt several TR3 engines in the past and it is very easy and straightforward.



Current: 1973 TR6 W/Overdrive

Previous:
1963 TR3B W/Overdrive
1962 TR3A
1961 TR3A
1960 TR3A
1960 TR3A

TR3nut Nelson B
Atl, GA, USA   USA
Hey Joe,

Sorry to hear that. I was thinking that a possible culprit could have been the recent installation of the rear seal. Something may have not aligned properly and disrupted lubrication or blocked one of the oil passages. It was great to share time with you during the event. Let's keep in touch, you got my number. Happy New Year!!!

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Starshark Avatar
Starshark Joe Garcia
Gainesville, GA, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A "White Knight"
Well I did it again!
~40 years separate my two broken crankshaft experiences ! I am to blame. I reciently changed out my rear seal and replaced only the lower half of the rear main bearing which was toast. I should have done all lower rear main bearings at the same time. Too much for the ol' White Knight. I will hunt down a replacement crank (got any?). I will pull the engine and do a complete rebuild with 87mm pistons/sleeves (got any?). I will have the head redone as well...Question: Should I get a new head so I don't have to add lead additives? or... can I keep the head I have and put in new seats? I am in need of major TR engine counseling.


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glcaines Avatar
glcaines Silver Member Gary Caines
Hiawassee, GA, USA   USA
I'm very sorry to hear about your broken crankshaft. You mentioned installing 87 mm sleeves and pistons. I did that upgrade on a 1962 TR3A I owned previously. There was a significant increase in power with no noticeable decrease in fuel economy. However, the upgrade had a slight downside in that the engine had a higher tendency to overheat. I suspect this was due to the larger diameter sleeves restricting coolant flow. However, I lived with the overheating. The engine previously ran fine on lower grade gasoline. After the upgrade, which included a higher compression ratio, the engine tended to ping if pushed in hot weather. I would definitely recommend the upgrade, however. I put a lot of miles and years on my TR3A after the upgrade without any failures. I also replaced all bearings and had the valves ground at the same time. I never installed a rear crankshaft seal on any of my TR3s - I just lived with the oil drops under the car.



Current: 1973 TR6 W/Overdrive

Previous:
1963 TR3B W/Overdrive
1962 TR3A
1961 TR3A
1960 TR3A
1960 TR3A

Starshark Avatar
Starshark Joe Garcia
Gainesville, GA, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A "White Knight"
Mike Hurst of Georgia Triumph Associaton came over Sunday AM and in a blink of an eye, we had my TR-3A motor out and on my truck! It will be “deconstructed” by all at the next ATL GTA tech session which might be 24 Feb.

I have much to do…clean up all the parts, chase threads, bolts and nuts and spiff up the engine bay. My plan is for all GTA'ers to see and comment on my TR’s engine guts, get consensus re: what to do next and where then move out smartly.

Note: Cool rebuilt trani via Mark Macy, Ohio…exhaust and intake manifolds need mucho love.


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Starshark Avatar
Starshark Joe Garcia
Gainesville, GA, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A "White Knight"
The continuing saga of Joe Garcia’s TR-3A Polar Bear run Cracked Crank

The Georgia Triumph Association held their Tech Session on 24 February and did a deep dive into a TR3A motor by tearing it apart while 12 or so folks with coffee and donuts gathered around the engine for the crack-crank postmortem and comments. The 1960 TR-3A engine was rebuilt just 40 years ago and had 86 mm pistons and sleeves.

Findings:
1) The pistons were in good shape with some ring wear. The number 4 piston showed some evidence of “blow-by”…maybe because it was furthest from the water pump and ran hotter than the rest?
2) The pistons had created their ridge around the “turn-around” near the lip of each sleeve…to be expected for an engine with over 200K miles on it…so popping them out was “fun”.
3) The 4-cylinder sleeves were another story…tough to bang out of their rusted nests…had to use a block of wood and bang them out from below and “help them out” from the top. Consensus says get new 86mm sleeves but keep the old pistons and put in new Hastings rings…the sleeves were glossy on the inside and super crusty on the outside…it will be hard to buy just the sleeves…might have to get the entire 86mm kit. Why not get the 87mm pistons and sleeve kit you may ask? Because old, tried and true UK pistons are of superior quality and lighter than aftermarket substitutes?…that’s what the club veterans say anyway...between donut bites.
4) Only the front main bearing was in good shape. Not true for the mid and rear main bearings which were “toast”.
5) All rod bearings were “toast” as well. All toasted bearings showed some sign that anti-freeze got in the engine some time in the past…I fest up to having a blown head gasket way back when.
6) The cam bearings were marginal and will be changed out...need all new tappets as well (getting lightweight ones).
7) The timing marks and chain were spot on and looked fine…although the crank timing chain sprocket was way too easy to remove since it just slid right off…time for new Woodruff keys.
8) The cracked-in-half crank revealed a series of internal casting arched stress fractures leading to complete failure. This must have taken place over a long period of time since there was evidence that oil was being pressed out from the inside journal outward from where the crack started to propagate.
9) I purchased a used .010 crank for $100 and had it machined to .020 specs and had it checked out...all for $135 machining costs…what a bargain!
10) Time for Moss parts…thank God they have a sale on.

The plan is to gather up all parts, get the machine shop to doll up the head and engine block (inserting new cam bearings and freeze plugs), clean and paint all parts and then hold another tech session to put it all back together again....Stay Tuned!


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glcaines Avatar
glcaines Silver Member Gary Caines
Hiawassee, GA, USA   USA
I'm glad to see that you are making progress on your TR3A.



Current: 1973 TR6 W/Overdrive

Previous:
1963 TR3B W/Overdrive
1962 TR3A
1961 TR3A
1960 TR3A
1960 TR3A

Britnut Avatar
Britnut Randy DeRuiter
Nacogdoches, TX, USA   USA
Joe-

Sorry for the troubles but looks like you are well on your way back to being on the road. Great to have a good club to help with these old cars, I wouldn't have had near as much fun as I've had without my Texas club buddies. Its your car and your call for sure, but just some food for thought - if you wind up having to buy a full piston and liner set to get new 86mm liners, going to an 87mm piston/liner set for the same money with aftermarket pistons I think would beat any performance gains those old 86mm pistons may have had. Lots of people are running with the latest aftermarket stuff and I've not heard anything about piston failures - for sure if they are out there I'd like to know. The County brand pistons I've used twice are still running and were balanced by a machine shop with no problem. The old stuff was great and I wouldnt suggest abandoning the pistons if they are useable but some of the new stuff, like the current pistons/liners out there aren't bad. But then again I don't have a donut to help with my thoughts!

Cheers
Randy

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