Stag Adventure to Spain

Many thanks to Roy Smith for his Stag Tales in Spain….

I thought that I would start by sharing a picture of my wife’s Boobies. She took the picture in March 2012 on Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (near the equator) when we were warming up on a break from my Civil Service job supporting the British Forces in the South Atlantic in the Falklands.


It was later that day that – without any understanding of either the subsequent financial or social life changing consequences – she tossed me a 2008 copy of Classic Car magazine that she had found in the converted portakabin that we were staying in. As I browsed through, I came across an advert by Cherished Classics of Leicester who specialize in the Triumph Stag. I had admired the Stag since its launch – regrettably I am old enough to remember those days – but had never been in one or even had a close look. Heading for retirement, the following year I quite fancied the thought of something to enjoy after I left work and after discussing this with my wife Sandra we set about investigating the possibility of ownership then. Once a year, I was entitled to return to UK with my wife – the Ministry of Defence being all heart – and I wrote to Lee Court of Cherished Classics and explained that I would appreciate it if he would allow us to visit his showroom in May as he opened only “by appointment” on Saturdays – the day that the flight arrived at Brize Norton. I also explained that we were not in the market at the time but were interested. I am sure that he thought that we were just “time wasters” and initially put us off. I persevered and eventually he agreed to our visit. Sandra and I had done a little homework, looking at various websites and had concluded that we would particularly like a yellow or red Stag, one with solid rather than wire wheels as these are too difficult to keep clean. We didn’t want white.

Spain stag1

When the day came, after the 17 hours of flying we made our way to Leicester and Cherished Classics showroom. Lee pulled back the showroom door. There were maybe 6 cars in there but the very first, immediately behind the door was PKE 454L. White, wire wheels, love at first sight! Lee talked us through the cars in the show room and started two up. I still have the recording!!

We looked over the others but our hearts were set on the white one. She has been renovated – in 2006 but has covered – even now less than 5k miles. The interior is French blue leather with white piping. It’s funny, as we did not intend to buy for a year or so, we did not look in great detail at the condition of the body, although she looked immaculate but we did listen to what Lee told us about how to tell a good renovation.

Spain stag interior

She was priced at a figure more than we could afford so we thanked Lee and left. We watched Lee’s website and over a period of a month the asking price dropped by £2k. We offered a little less again and this was accepted! However, we were back in the Falklands winter by then and couldn’t arrange another flight for a month or so.

Our home is in Spain, near Gibraltar so we made all the arrangements, flights, ferry, hotels etc and arrived back in UK towards the end of July 2012. We rented a car from Brize Norton, drove up to Leicester and there she was, sitting outside the show room. Beautiful!

Lee ran through putting the hood up and re-stowing it, told us a story about another Stag owner and a problem he had had with the Torquatrol unit – the noise it makes when the bearings fail. He gave us a free pack of all the fluids and also the various “insurance” items that I had bought in preparation for our long journey to Spain – spare fuel and water pump, service kits (2), rear wheel cylinders, etc, etc, plus the right hand drive headlights as the car was now fitted for continental driving. It was at the front of my mind that neither Sandra nor I had ever driven any Stag before. Buying a car on the internet with no knowledge of this particular example, but with plenty of not so good press about reliability, overheating, mashing cam chains was a gamble and with the bookings made for our journey, we were committed.

We stayed with friends for 3 nights in Melksham before setting off on Tuesday morning for the Portsmouth – Santander Brittany ferry. All the time we had been in England, I had been praying that it would not rain. I just did not want to get the car wet. I did not know if it would leak, affect the electrics; stop us getting to the ferry…. The weather was fine.

The sea voyage to Spain was lovely and a chance to relax a bit but we had the thought of the next challenge – getting to Salamanca and the hotel – a 4 hour drive from the ferry. But the ferry did not dock until 1830 and by the time we got off and cleared customs….. Off we went, assisted by TomTom. The skies darkened and not because it was getting late, but because there was a thunderstorm ahead. The rain in Spain falls mainly on my Stag! Well, it did that evening.


We made the Abba Hotel in Salamanca by 2300 that evening without incident with only a few drops of rain – which was pretty heavy at times, dripping through the firewall somewhere. The view from the hotel, of Salamanca at night was so wonderful that we went down to the front desk and booked a second night. The Stag was safely parked in the hotel garage as we explored the historic elements of the city and possibly exceeded our capacity for churches in the process. But I can thoroughly recommend the hotel and the city. The next day we set off bound for home, driving some of the excellent old “main” roads that have been replaced by the autovia’s funded by the EU.

Spain stag2

It was on one of these that the grinding began. Oh no! Cam chains!! In a bit of a flap, I phoned Lee Court and put the phone as close as I could to the front of the engine so that he could listen. “Oh, that’s the Torquatrol unit”, he said. “Get some oil on the bearing and it will be fine”. I don’t know if you have tried to drip oil onto the bearing here, on a hot engine but it is a bit inaccessible. Remembering a Bond movie where the villain dripped poison down a thread lowered from the ceiling into the victim’s mouth (Bond’s new wife I seem to recall), I used a small stick to drizzle the oil onto the bearing. It worked a treat. We had 300 miles to go but only had to do this once more before we arrived safely home in Los Barrios, Andalusia. Other than the minor problem that was nowhere near as bad as I had feared, the car had run perfectly. The car has a Kenlowe fan fitted and the temperature gauge never exceeded the 11 o’clock position. The outside temperatures had been up in the 30’s and all bar the thunderstorm had been done with the hood stowed. Many other motorists had peeped and given a friendly wave as they passed us or we passed them and it had been an adventure.

Spain stag3

We live only 13 miles from Gibraltar where our daughters live now so went over the border a few times but the queue of over 2hours (now sometimes exceeding 5 hours) made us decide not to risk sitting in traffic for such extended periods. When I got a chance to have a good look at the condition of the car in my garage, she is in better condition than I could have hoped. Great actually. I can recommend Cherished Classics of Leicester and Lee’s expertise. We flew back to UK and on to the Falklands a few days later.I retired at the end of last year and I have not yet managed to get the car back on the road due to Spanish red tape. But that is another story!



Silverstone Classic 2014

soc stand3

At last its that time of year again, time for 3 fantastic days of classic cars and top quality racing, and the great British weather decided to smile upon us and has given 3 days of hats, suncream and plenty of drinks!!!

SOC stand was well attended, we had over 30 Stags with us on Saturday

There were so many things going on this weekend, from the BMW wheel that gave fabulous views over the whole site, hot air balloons in the early morning and late in the eventing gave a spectacular start and end to the day. There was live music both Friday and Saturday evenings, the Paras also dropped in on Friday with a great display.

Of course the main attraction was the many varied races that took place over the whole weekend, from F1, touring cars, sports cars and GT’s. Here is jus a selection of some of the pics – see more on our Flickr Page.

On on Saturday during the lunch break, we were treated to a parade of Ford Mustang’s as they were celebrating there 50th anniversary. (Just for you One Man And His Mustang)

And heading up the pack was Wheeler Dealers Mike Brewer in his fully restored 1967 Mustang Fastback

mike brewer1

As all these beautiful cars were taking in the sun and soaking up the atmosphere of driving this wonderful circuit there name sake arrived to fill the sky’s

stag and mustang


Great weekend – looking forward to next year!!!

Aberdeen Stag Rebuild

With thanks to Anthony Davies for his story about his Stag……

I bought my second Triumph Stag in 1981 to use as my everyday vehicle and drove it daily for most of the next 8 years. Coming from an Engineering background, I tackled nearly all of the maintenance myself and got to know the car inside out. However, from the late 80’s to the mid-00’s, my occupation demanded that I worked away from home quite a lot – sometimes for very lengthy periods – before finally ‘coming home’ in 2005.

During this time the car was kept in reasonable order, living in a garage with essential maintenance performed, fluids topped up, oil and filters changed and so on but it had been gradually getting used less and less to the point of maybe a half dozen times a year, when I would take it out for a good run, get it up to temperature then return to storage for another few months. The thing is, older cars don’t really like this too much and in January 2006, on a sunny Sunday afternoon when out for one such run the inevitable happened and one of the Head gaskets blew.

The aluminium heads were removed but as I hadn’t really being considering the coolant composition too much over the years, the strength of the mixture had been getting weaker and weaker, resulting in severe corrosion which had reduced the internal waterways of the heads to a point where at best, they were well over 50% and at worst, totally blocked, rendering them utterly useless. And so the journey began…..

A reconditioned pair of heads was purchased, however another problem soon surfaced – the cylinder bores were fairly well worn and piston movement was also evident.

This was to become a turning point. Having owned the car for so long and knowing all of its history did I really want to start a full dismantling and refurbishing exercise on the original engine or would I be better to go along the exchange unit route? Electing the latter, I ordered up an exchange engine power unit and then very shortly after, a gearbox, overdrive unit, clutch assembly, diff and all the bits and pieces that go along with these.


Danny with refurbished engine

It was by this time over a year since the car had been laid up and only really starting to move. This is where the local Triumph network kicked in, as one of the members kindly asked around for a mechanic who specialized in Stags and I was given the name of Danny Taylor at Victoria Garage, Maud. In October 2007 Danny had a look at the car and said ‘It needs a fair bit of work done but yes, I can do it!’ And off it went….

Of course, now I had access to a specialist to tackle the mechanics I could think about going the whole hog – did I really want to do that? – well, I’d gone so far now that there really was no going back.

So, the whole car was dismantled and everything was now up for renewal – suspension, chassis legs, brakes, steering rack, bushes, body panels, wings, doors, chrome, electrics etcetera etcetera – it was now into the full resto. Not a job for the faint-hearted..

As I said earlier, I thought that I had kept the car in reasonable condition throughout its life but was horrified at what was found during the restoration. These problems were not always evident – I remember that there were some small bits of corrosion on the bottom of the A-posts each side, which had been there for hmm..a while at least and were always meant to get sorted, the next time the car went in for some bodywork. These and other ‘small bits of corrosion’ were actually rotten all the way through! Holes and weak points in the chassis only surfaced with a good dig into the underseal. All of these nasty bits were inspected, assessed and corrected accordingly either with completely new or repair sections.

I could go on and on about what else was done, what was replaced and so on but won’t; the list is substantial to say the least. All that I will say is that, after 3 and a half years, having had a full refurbishment inside and out, I now have a stunning example of what a Stag should be like, thanks in the main to Danny for his relentless dedication and enthusiasm, Victoria Garage at Maud, the Stag Owners’ Club, various specialist providers of Stag bits, e-Bay for those ‘special items’ including a perfectly matching oil pressure gauge which are like hen’s teeth and re-chroming of all the shiny bits.

Finally, just as the rebuild was nearing completion, I saw a number plate for sale and thought to myself ‘well, you only live once and it would finish it off nicely’…….it does look good…!


Road Trip to France

Thanks to Jason and Michelle for sharing the tales of their family holiday….

Me. “I’m bored of Aeroplanes and Airports”

Michelle.   “Well, why don’t we look at taking the Stag to France? But I want to go to the South because the weather is better!”

Me “Err, OK, are you sure?”

So that’s how it all started. I didn’t think Michelle would go through with it but she kept “reminding” me to look at holiday places.

I had better introduce myself. My name is Jason (stagstan on the Forum) Michelle is my long suffering Wife, Luke is our eldest Boy (8) and Zak is our youngest (3) and “Staggy” is our Stag. (the boys named him that)

We settled on Port Grimaud, it has a nice little Marina, it’s close to St. Tropez (a place Michelle has always wanted to visit) and not too far from Monaco (where I’ve wanted to go for a long time) A route was planned- Home to Lille for our first overnight stop over, then, down to a town called Valence just south of Lyon, then onto Port Grimaud. Hotels booked for the trip down then it was just a case of waiting.

We decided on taking the Chunnel due to the ease of use. We also decided to have an extra stop over close to the tunnel because that’s nearly a 4 hour drive for us. So, July 23rd arrived, we collected Luke from school, a quick change and some tea then off to Kent, isn’t the M25 a wonderful Motor Way? On the drive down my speedo became quite erratic, so a phone call to Faversham Classics saw a spare one bought. We awoke to a damp day but that didn’t matter as it was now holiday time proper. The Chunnel terminal was busy but we were able to get an earlier crossing, but a point’s failure put us back 2 hours so we didn’t gain anything, and didn’t lose any time either! While waiting in the queue for the train a very nice German Gent came up to us to talk about my Stag, which he really liked. Turns out he was on his way home from the Aston Martin centenary and was in his 1978 V8 Volante!


At our Hotel ready for the off!

Eventually we boarded the train and set off, 45 minutes later we leaving the train and heading off for the motorway and to our first stop. Lille was about an hour’s drive. Hotel found (satnavs are great) showers taken, all of us fed and watered and day 1 of the holiday was over.

Day 2. This was going to be a long day. Lille to Valence is almost 500 miles. We took plenty of stops along the way and the Stag performed perfectly. At some point a UK registered Aston Martin DB9 Volante came past us, the driver hooting his horn and punching the air as a sign of respect. They know a stylish car when they see one these Aston owners!!

The Hotel in Valence was very welcome, the further south we were travelling the warmer the weather. As we’re all used to air conditioning in our modern cars driving in 30 plus heat all day is very tiring. Again, showers drinks and food was required. A quick check on the Stag shows it still had a very slight leak into the “vee” from around the water pump area. The water pump having been rebuilt about a month before, the leak looks to be coming from the gasket, as it was using hardly any water (header tank fitted) I wasn’t too worried. Day 2 over.


Luke. Bored!

Day 3. This saw us having a leisurely cruise down to Port Grimaud, just 200 miles. To get to the Port you have to drive through Grimaud Village, which means driving up a hillside pass, a very twisty road which me and the Kids loved, however Michelle didn’t like it at all because of the drops off the side so no photos taken as she was too scared to take her hands off the seat!


Zak, enjoying sunny top down motoring.

Onto the Caravan site, not too big and a really nice Caravan complete with air con!


Stags’ well-earned rest

I’ll not bore everyone with what we did on holiday, after all it’s about the car, but we did have a great time. One of the days saw us in St. Topez, which totally disappointed Michelle, she thought it was quite shabby and Torquay was better! I tried to park in the marina to get some photos of the Stag with boats in the background but the traffic was awful.


St. Tropez Marina

The South of France is a very nice place to go for a Holiday, we loved it, a close town to Grimaud is St. Maxim, again another day spent there looking at the boats and just relaxing.

The day came to start our journey home, the route we planned was Monaco, Turin, Reims then home. We left Port Grimaud around 7am and set off for Monaco. 1 ½ hours later we were looking for somewhere to park. Never having been to Monanco before I didn’t know where to go so we settled on the first carpark we saw, Casino Square under gorund.

Now, Monaco is my kind of place, if only I was a millionaire!!

Having parked up we went looking for a coffee. Monaco doesn’t open until 10.00am!! Anyway, having found some breakfast we went and walked the F1 track. If any of you are familiar with the F1 track the hill from the pits is a lot steeper than it looks on T.V!

After having a little walk around we collected the car and drove the track (well, you have to don’t you?) We pulled up in Casino Square for some quick photos

Then, we made our way to Turin. The roads from Monaco to Turin are great, not a lot of traffic, lots of scenery.

Overnight stay in Turin then we make our way to Reims via the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Again great roads and great scenery. However, the Mont Blanc tunnel itself was like the blackwall tunnel only longer and cost 45 Euros to use!!

This photo is on the French side of the tunnel with the Alps in the background

As we got close to the middle of France the temperatures started to rise, however, the Stag temp needle stayed firmly in the middle of the gauge, cant say the same about the passengers though!


Me and the Stag on one of our many stops

An overnight in Reims then off to Calais. About 40 miles from Calais we pulled in for fuel when we heard a noise from the engine, I (stupidly) put this down to the Viscous Coupling and decided to “nurse” the car home. The train was on time and a few hours later we were home. The next day I removed the right cam cover to find a very slack chain! The curved guide had worn through, if id have known this I wouldn’t ave driven home, live and learn. Anyway that was soon sorted.

We (well me) enjoyed the holiday so much we’re looking at doing the same next year but not to the south but more towards Switzerland, we’ll see.

If anyone is thinking of taking their Stag to France or anywhere in Europe, my advice is just do it. I took just a handful of spares, fuel pump, belts ect. And don’t forget your  breathallisers!

Stags and Pigeons????

Sunday morning and the sun is out – thats the first thing to celebrate!! Second thing to brighten our day is that we are off out with the Stag Owners Club, and today a nice drive will be followed by a bit of clay pigeon shooting at Raunds Clay Pigeon Club.

Two yellow stags met up for the last part of the journey – to be honest it was just a half hour down the road but it gets the ole girls out, and the cars too!!!

10360348_572940652823779_7229421961707074644_n All arrived – seem to be a bit of yellow bias going on in the Northants area today!

Once the throng was assembled it was off for the all important safety briefing, to be honest having never picked up a gun in my life before it was a little daunting but the guys at the club were very professional and helpful so they eased any nerves that were there.

So we all got our box of shells and split up into groups of 5, we then had a go in 3 different traps where the clays either went sailing past left to right, straight at you or from behind towards the hedge.

Most of mine I have to say survived – as they say very few clays where harmed during the making of this blog!!



Pleased to say that the rest of the Stag Owners were a little better than me!!

Thanks to Roy – our able tutor I did manage to get a few, well 3 to be exact but have to say thats 3 more than I was expecting.

All done and we lined up for the group photo, Dave in the middle is responsible for organising today so a great big thanks to him, its always a pleasure to try out new things with a great bunch of folks.


So after the exersion of the morning, refreshment was required so along to a local hostelry where we had a wonderful lunch and some pretty good pudding too.

Cars all looked great lined up in the sunshine too.



It’s just an Exhaust……..

One weekend we decided to take the plunge and begin the process of replacing the exhaust from end to end. We had purchased the exhaust a while earlier and now it was time to take the hole ridden rot box off the stag and put the shiny new exhaust on.

The New Shiny Exhaust

The New Shiny Exhaust

With the exhausts approved by the dogs we loaded the stag on to the car lift and began what would turn out to be a long a drawn out process.

Once the stag was on the lift we could get a full look at the state of the exhaust and it was not pretty, between holes, rust and brackets falling off it made it an interesting adventure.

Have now seen the state of our exhaust we started by getting the nuts off the manifold end of the exhaust, well, we tried, 5 out of 6 nuts said yes but there is always the one that says no, and boy did it say No with a capital N.

A Stuck Bolt

A stuck bolt

These will get it out

These will get it out

When i said it said no, i mean it would not budge when we asked it nicely, hit it, used a socket set, bought and used nut extractors and finally swore at it – this thing was not for moving. We spent several hours using a junior hacksaw cutting round the bolt in the exhaust to see if we could get more purchase one the delightful little treasure.  After many hours of trying to get the bolt out we put in a call to friend with a welder who reckoned that we could possibly weld a nut on to the bolt and this would allow us to get some more purchase on the nut.

So, one cold january saturday morning our friend appears with his welder in the boot and Jules was wandering around like a kid in the sweetie shop wanting to have a go with the welder. So up went the stag yet again, welder was plugged in and 2 little goblins were sat under the car full of intent and optimism. At this point the the welding started and slowly over the coming hour the the colour of the air began to turn blue as the nut would weld to the bolt, but the bolt was not for budging.

After a couple of hours of trying to weld something, anything to the bolt to get it out we had to admit defeat and discuss the options, of which there were only 2, our friend goes home and gets their plasma cutter and we cut it out or we drill it out – out came the drill!

After a spot of lunch the rest of the afternoon are dedicated to drilling out the infernal bolt, and when i say the rest of the afternoon, it was light when we started and dark when we and finally drilled the little treasure out – now we can begin the the process of putting the new exhaust in place, well we can on sunday.

Up bright and early on the sunday morning to begin by removing the remaining parts of the exhaust left on the car from saturday and started the process of putting the new exhaust on to the stag, but first we had to find a bolt that would work with the new hole drilled out on saturday, and with this new bolt in place we begin the tricky job of getting all the parts lined up.

First to go on are the brackets to support the exhaust just before they go thru the cross member, and then the great threading began starting at the manifold end and then gently bolting up the each part loosely to allow us flexibility to nudge the exhaust in to place.

It took a couple of hours to get in to place where we could start to tightening everything and look to put the new oil filter back. All in all it took about 4 hours to remove the remaining parts of the old exhaust and put the new exhaust in place before fitting the new oil filter.

and with the shiny new tail pipes looking and sounding great our work here was done part from filling her back up with oil and running her in.


A lot easier with a lift

I am pleased to report that despite a small mishap with the oil filter the car is running well and sounds great and with everything copper eased should we need to do this again everything should come apart easier, all i have to do is a small trip to the tip to find the old exhaust a new home.

The old one out on the drive

The old one out on the drive



PLEASE NOTE – these are NOT instructions on how to undertake this job just some pics and words of our experiences, always consult professionals when undertaking any repairs or restorations. (please refer to the disclaimer on our about page)

Drive it Day 2014

So folks, Drive it Day…. the day in the spring we all wash, polish and proudly get out there in our beloved Classic Cars to show them off and have a jolly good day out to boot!!!

Heres the highlights from this year as posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…..

Our first picture is from Frank McGregor – About to go for a spin in my 1977 Stag. Rego is a STAG and it lives in Hobart Tasmania!!

About to go for a spin in my 1977 Stag. Rego is STAG and it lives in Hobart Tasmania from Frank McGregor

Next up Suffolk and N.Essex Dirve It Day Highlights

Couple of nice pictures via Instagram

Carlo Maria Del Conte all the way from Italy

Carlo Maria Del Conte

Aberdeen Drive It Day.
From the Beach to the Royal Deeside Railway Centre for a coffee stop then on to Leith Hall. Over 80 cars took part from a 1912 Stanley Steam car to a new Focus. More pics from Aberdeen – Click Here

Aberdeen Drive It Day. From the Beach to the Royal Deeside Railway Centre for a coffee stop then on to Leith Hall. Over 80 cars took part from a 1912 Stanley Steam car to a new Focus.

More Stags enjoying days out

From Warwickshire area SOC a drive out through the lanes crossing into Leicestershire and a drive out in Haarlem in Holland

Nice montage from the Stilton Cheese run (is that a Stag warning a Stag???)


And lastly, Classic Car Weekly promised to print EVER picture sent to them from Drive It Day – and here are the Stags that featured in the 10 pages they printed – well done guys a great memento to a great day…Till next year!

On Your Marks, Get Set, Will She Go??!!

Round Six – Final Assembly and Start-up.

After our ‘open day’ where the bulk of the work was done, we needed a couple more hours of final fettling to get the old girl running.  Sunday morning at a sensible hour (11am) saw Roger and Bill spending yet another day with me sorting out my car. What a couple of stars they are! This is what the Stag Owners Club is all about!

My flexible tool Sam getting to grips with the exhaust downpipe connection. Some quite colourful language was heard as it was proving a little troublesome.

Final Assembly 001

The second shift at the exhaust was taken by Dad. Not sure what Roger was up to but the body warmth was welcome…..(he was actually fitting the fan cowling).

Final Assembly 002

Bill, with a newly painted expansion bottle clamp.

Final Assembly 003

Here’s Sam still battling with the troublesome exhaust. We eventually had to undo the first joint clamps and support bracket by the gearbox to get enough room to mate downpipe to manifold and we needed to take off the oil filter so we could get the nut onto the stud.    What a pain!

Final Assembly 004

Bill and Roger spent some time sorting out the throttle and choke cables as they were frayed and the retaining screw had been modified (cobbled) so they had to sleeve the cable in the end so we could get it to bite and hold.

Final Assembly 007

Almost ready for the fire up. Fingers crossed.

Final Assembly 008

Running!      Phew!

Final Assembly 009

All done! Doesn’t she look nice. More to the point, doesn’t she go well! A massive vote of thanks to Bill and Roger for all of their expertise and help in getting this job done.

Final Assembly 011



PLEASE NOTE – these are NOT instructions on how to undertake this job just some pics and words of our experiences, always consult professionals when undertaking any repairs or restorations. (please refer to the disclaimer on our about page)

Stag Party (or bring a spanner day)

Round Five – Final Assembly Day 1 (main day).

We had a bright idea to have a Stag Party at my place for the re-build. Tall order to get the whole engine back together and running in a day, but we thought we’d give it a go. A few of our local Stag Owners Club members arrived at 9:30 for the start of proceedings. For people who had never seen an engine this far stripped they all seemed to enjoy themselves asking loads of questions and picking up a good few tips as we went through the re-build.

We started in my shed just fettling the last few bits.

Chains ready for the head fitting and final adjustments.


Bill applies the Wellseal sealant to the gasket before assembly. Some people put gaskets on dry, others use sealant. I chose to use Wellseal.

Rebuild day 1 003

Left hand head in position ready for new studs etc.

IMG_4007Right hand head gasket in place ready for the head. Note you can see one of the two short studs used to take the weight of head as you position it ready for the studs to be inserted. Without these locator studs you would really struggle to hold the heads and locate the studs. Once you’ve put the head studs in place you simply remove the short ones and put in the bolts. P.S. these locator studs are old ones cut down with a slot cut into the end for removal with a screwdriver.


Here’s the new stainless steel studs being copper greased prior to assembly into the head. Expensive studs but should be good for life! Being stainless there should be no chance of the heads ‘welding’ themselves to the stud in use.


Head being lowered into position. In this case many hands make light work.


Inlet manifold in place. A bit of a fiddle with the gaskets, but once you start one bolt it’s fairly simple to line up the remainder. We used the Wellseal on the inlet gaskets too.


Torqueing up the head. We did ours to 60 lb/ft.


Making sure we had the sprockets in the correct alignment with the slack on the correct side of the chain and the timing marks all lined up. Then we could release the tensioners, by removing the red plastic packing pieces.


Applying a bit of oil before we put the cam covers in place. Don’t forget, it will take a little while for the oil to get up to the heads once we start the old bird, so a generous soaking of oil over the followers beforehand is useful.


Carbs are on.

Rebuild day 1 005

Cables and pipe connection.

Rebuild day 1 006

It was always an ambitious task to get everything back in one day, especially when the better half keeps laying on copious quantities of tea, coffee, cake, biscuits and lunch……munching and slurping our way through that lot took half the day! We finished off the final bits the following day.

See the last instalment to see if we succeeded in getting the old bird going.



PLEASE NOTE – these are NOT instructions on how to undertake this job just some pics and words of our experiences, always consult professionals when undertaking any repairs or restorations. (please refer to the disclaimer on our about page)

Its All in the Timing

Round Four – Final Prep and Timing Gear Partial Refit.

This part of the proceedings is a few hours of finishing off dismantling of timing chains and the re-mating of heads and manifolds etc.

Here are the chains removed with the internal parts of the tensioners also removed.

Final Prep - Chain Removal 001

As if we needed any more proof that the gaskets were blown here is the number 7 piston crown showing clearly a very clean part, which has been steam cleaned by the leaking water into the bore.

Final Prep - Chain Removal 002

I made a spacer tube to fit on the end of the crank using the pulley bolt so we could turn the engine by hand, well at least with a ratchet!

Final Prep - Chain Removal 003

Chains off. I had to release the chain guides a little it the get enough room to get the chains out. You can just make out on the jackshaft that the alignment marks are pointed straight up and down at TDC….this is actually wrong. The mark should be slightly inclined down to the right. We reset this to be correct upon re-assembly.

Final Prep - Chain Removal 004

Good practice is to glaze bust the bores for re-assembly. The bores get highly polished over time. Glaze busting simply roughs-up the surface a little so that the piston rings bed themselves in again.

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Two of the four new guides in place.

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Other guides being fitted.

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Fitting the tensioners. After examining the new ones and old ones we decided to use the new internal components but keep the old bodies. The reason for this was that the old bodies have locating dowels and the new ones do not. Also the old ones have a plate that would stop the tensioners coming right out, so we kept them as well. If you ever got to that stage mind you, you wouldn’t half have some stretched chains…..

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Bottom tensioner in place.   Note the plastic spacer.    This is there to stop the tensioner releasing until you’re ready for final gap setting etc.

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You can’t finally set tension on the chains until the heads are on so we left this at this point and went and finished the prep work on the heads etc. Here we are fitting the manifolds.

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Nice shiny hot air intake goes onto the manifold.

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And finally, the nice (well I think they look nice anyway) cam covers resting on the heads.

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PLEASE NOTE – these are NOT instructions on how to undertake this job just some pics and words of our experiences, always consult professionals when undertaking any repairs or restorations. (please refer to the disclaimer on our about page)