I'm not building this TR6 to be a race car, really more of a summer around-town cruiser that's reliable and ready for moderate road trips. But, in that process, the engine is a bit hotter, and the original point of the car was for spirited driving, and they didn't take much prep to be a reasonable weekend racer, so it's totally in the car's spirit to do some zippier events.
This is my early '69 TR6. In 2018 it has about 75,000 miles on it and running well. It has an unknown early history, bouncing around different members of my family in Oregon and California before ending up with me in Minnesota. It was rebuilt at some point maybe in the '80s with a paint change from yellow to red, seats recovered and door panels replaced with home-made versions, and other fixes that were more shade-tree than original. I've been gradually fixing mechanical systems and doing a sort of rolling restoration as I go.
Log of work done so far.
It's a bit pointless trying to have a decent audio in a convertible. If the exhaust system isn't loud (mine is stock, but not quiet), the wind noise will overwhelm basically anything that isn't ridiculously loud. A radio is a bit more usable when the top is up, even with the rear window down, and it's really nice to have in a modern drive-in when you have to tune in a local station to hear the movie.
Anyway, my car came to me with this sweet vintage tape deck:
Nobody would call a TR6 a roomy car, and when you're over 6 feet tall, it can be a rather snug fit. Add in large feet, and the driver's options for positions get even more limited. It's a good thing i like wearing converse all-star shoes, because i would be hard-pressed to work the foot pedals with shoes that are at all larger.
This is a summary of the parts and specs for my 1969 TR6 engine and gearbox rebuild project, as a baseline and documentation for what was done.
Build completed and first startup: June 17, 2021
Car mileage: 78,xxx
Initial compression after cam break-in: 175, 180, 175, 175, 175, 175
Initial cam break-in and first 50 miles of driving were with Driven BR40 break-in oil. After that changed to VR1 20w-50.
With the engine finally mounted in the car, it's just a matter of making all of the connections needed to do the initial startup and break-in.
One of the changes i've made in the new engine build is removing the original fan and adding an electric fan instead. It's a fairly common modification - the stock cooling system is usually plenty to keep the engine cool while driving without any fan (so removing the fan removes a bit of unneeded drag), and an electric fan gives the option for full air flow when sitting at an extended idle (when the car would tend to heat up).
Once the machine shop had a chance to evaluate my replacement engine block and crank, i was finally able to make the last big parts order. Because of the surface rust in a couple of cylinders and crank journals, the block was bored out to .040 over and the crank ground to .020 under. I was hoping for a bit less crank grinding, but it's fine, and the bores are at the limit for most available pistons, but should be plenty good for my lifetime with the car.
The previous Battery box repair was just the first step of rust repair i wanted to tackle while the engine was out, and it was a good way to practice some skills forming and welding metal. Since most of the interior is also out of the car, i wanted to tackle the floor pans as well.
I saw some rough metal from under the car, but the top side had been covered up by some galvanized sheet, screwed in at the edges:
While i'm waiting to hear back from the machine shop on my engine work, i'm going to try to fix a few areas of the body tub while i have so much of the car stripped down anyway. Since i'm still learning about patching things with sheet metal, i decided to start with the battery box area.
The main problem with this area is that traditional batteries leak, and even if they don't leak they make corrosive vapor at the vent caps. This generally leads to eating away the surrounding metal, and mine was no exception.
The engine rebuild is moving along: the cylinder head is still at the machine shop, and the block has joined it there, but we may not continue with the same block.
I knew that the block had previous issues with a dropped thrust washer; the rear washer had dropped before i started working on the car, and after taking it apart it was obvious that it had also happened at least once before. The thrust washer is a known weak point of these engines, because it only covers 180° of the crank face, and is prone to accelerated wear if the clutch is pushed in when the engine is started.