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VTR trip and a broken frame

Posted on September 8, 2022

My wife and I drove 250 miles to the 2022 VTR Convention in Galena Illinois in late August, joining about 20 other cars from the Minnesota Triumphs club. This was the longest trip away from home in our TR6, but I was feeling pretty confident about it after last year's engine rebuild, this year's gearbox rebuild, and a few hundred miles of driving this year already. 

We were also driving down with 2 other cars, a TR3 and TR4, both driven by long-time members who have dealt with mechanical issues on the road. I loaded some tools and spare parts in the trunk, so even though our cars didn't share many parts we could fix things like leaking hoses or ignition issues.

Our group had a broken fan belt in the TR3 that we fixed quickly on a side road...

fixing the fan belt

...then an uneventful trip until my engine quit just under a mile from the resort. The engine lost power and sputtered to a stop, acting exactly like it has when I forgot to open the fuel shutoff valve. As guessed, the fuel pump had broken, the diaphragm disconnected internally. The top of this post should have a distinct T-shape at the top, to fit into the pump lever.

broken fuel pump diaphragm

In hindsight, we could have gotten a tow in from any number of people arriving with trailered cars, but we pulled the TR6 the last mile with the TR3 now sporting a replaced fan belt. Within 5 minutes of arriving in the parking lot we had the first of several offers of a replacement fuel pump that smarter attendees had brought as spares. 

I got the fuel pump replaced before breakfast the next morning and we enjoyed 2 full days of driving around Galena. We joined the funkhana, winery tour, breakfast run, the poker fun (collecting an ace-high straight), and dinner on a patio where we had the best sunset view I've seen since my last visit to the west coast.

While backing out of our parking spot from that last dinner, my front tire was rubbing oddly. We got home fine, but when I investigated in the morning, I found trouble.

top view of broken frame

Right below the bright area of the photos you can see a break where the lower a-arm bracket is pulling away from the frame. The driving portion of our trip was done.

We were able to attend the next day's car show thanks to club members loaning us their tow vehicle for the day. We got home thanks to other members who towed their TR4 and offered to drive it home so we could use their trailer. 

tr6 on a trailer

It wasn't a sad end to the trip, despite the breakdown and tow. We made it home safely. We were surrounded by the support and hands-on help from members of our Minnesota Triumphs club as well as many others who attended VTR from across the country. Ted Schumacher of TSI Automotive, who was a vendor at the conference, arranged to have a fuel pump shipped to us at the hotel so we could replace the spare so generously offered by Tom from Vermont. We had a wonderful time with everyone there, and arrived home determined to both fix the car and get to the next Triumph gathering that we can.