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RMP NC

Just Acquired TR4 - Lots to learn

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Hello -

New member and new TR4 owner in USA.  I've acquired what is titled as a 1965 TR4 but has a commission number (CT35002L) indicating what seems to be an early 64 build.  The car apparently was originally black exterior, red with white piping interior, wood dash and steering wheel, painted spoke wheels, front disc brakes, AM radio, soft top only, and no overdrive.  I am unsure of which of those items are optional and/or what other options were possible.  The car is fitted with Zenith-Stromberg carbs and I'm unsure if those are original for this build.

The car generally is together but most trim and removable interior exterior parts are off the car.  The engine is locked, appears to have been sitting in a garage since late 80's.  It was acquired in an estate auction by a dealer after the owner died I assume.  I got it from the dealer after it sat outside on his property for more than a year.  It was given a 1980s era terrible overall red paint spray without masking a lot of the engine area and wiring, painting over what looks to be normal for its age body rust.  I estimate the reason that most exterior and interior parts are removed was for this painting.  It looks like it was then painted and left sitting since 1989 or so.  The rust in general can be repaired easy enough and does not extend to the main visible body panel (is in floor mostly).

This weekend I am getting all of the removed parts and pieces from the most recent owner.  Right now I am missing the commission plate, hope to find it in the parts coming to me, but I do have the number from the car title.

I am first trying to free the engine and get wheels off to free the rusted brakes which prevent easy rolling.  I am also just getting myself acquainted with the details of owning a TR4 and the things to know and watch out for in the restoration process.  I have restored several other other vehicles, including a '69 MGB GT so I have restoration skills and experience and have done with a British car in the past.  I will admit this one is further gone than the MG was -the MG was a runner, just had terrible rust.

I welcome any hints, suggestions, questions, etc.  

Thanks in advance.

 

 

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Well hello,

and welcome to our forum, you will find the TR4  a straight forward car to

own, and restore, especially if you previously restored and MGB GT.

Ask all the questions you want to, here, you will find an abundance of help,

photo's of your TR will always be welcome, as well as your name.

As a start, yes twin Stromberg Carbs are correct for your TR4.

John.

 

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Thank you John.  I'm Russell Pennington from North Carolina.  Here are some pics of the car as it sat when I got it.  you can see the red interior and wood dash/wheel.  This weekend I'll get into it a bit more and take some engine compartment and other pics.  Any hints, pointers, observations welcomed.

BTW, I have spent a lot of time in the UK, lived for a year in Weybridge, Surrey and have spent many days in Cumbria around  Muncaster castle area (noting you are in Cumbria).

1032239512_I1TR.thumb.jpg.c245c1d16118d2364ab926e1245c940b.jpg867177332_3TR.thumb.jpg.feccf649c6adfe45e37054d5400d16bf.jpg1157187506_6TR.thumb.jpg.0203f891b88a450d54c67a5ab8c1916d.jpg123335388_4TR.thumb.jpg.2629d853656dbe871a5ef87047299073.jpg

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Welcome Russell,

As Roger has said, that looks in pretty good order to have some TLC applied.... have fun! 

......  Andy 

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Doesn't look too bad Russell. Hope there are no surprises lurking underneath.

Looking forward to some more photos. Oh, and welcome to the forum and to TR ownership!

Pete

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Hello Russell,

Hope you enjoy your TR4 ownership.

Guess you are of the Pennington/Duff-Pennington of Muncaster Castle ilk......did you have a pint in the Pennington arms in Ravenglass?

Good luck with the restoration.

Another Cumbrian TR  owner John

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Congrats Russell. Looks like a very nice start to a very satisfying winter project and a great TR4 for next years driving season.

Stan

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Thank you all for your welcoming comments.  I am eager to get going on the TR4.  My uncle had one in the 60s when I was small and my fond recollections of the sounds, smell and feel of being in the car remain today.  

I have spent time in the Pennington Arms- stayed there.  As to relations at the castle, my ancestral Pennington's landed in New Haven, Connecticut in the early 1600's. I tie in with the current Pennington's in the castle from way back, so I am related little more than in name but for an American mongrel it is very fun to see my family name associated with the castle there.  We met the owners a couple times before the raptor center was established, had a private tour by Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington once, during which he talked at length about the great need for and the cost of a new roof.  He was so nice to us and was an entertaining and charming gentleman.  We miss that area and hope to visit England and Muncaster again.

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Welcome to the Forum Russell. Looks like a good basis for a restoration. I bought a '68 TR250 in similar condition which had been stored since 1976 partially stripped but hadn't been painted and I recently completed its restoration. Good luck with your TR4 and I look forward to seeing its progress.

I was in NC a few years ago commissioning a new boiler control system at a pulp mill in New Bern.

Cheers

Graeme

Before

91606688_GarageTour-002-1024.thumb.jpg.06edfa25a5720fab0ab3019ba024827c.jpg

After

Qualicum_002a-1024.thumb.jpg.8e6db3fa5efbc29352f57ca1eca5a8d4.jpg

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Russell, you have the advantage of the toughest of the TRs with the benefit of rack & pinion steering, face level ventilation and all synchro gearbox - although you lack overdrive (but perhaps you could find one, as it makes touring more relaxing).

You are fortunate not to have the TR4A with all the extra wobbly bits in the drive train, and the problems of inadequate mountings for front suspension, rear suspension and differential (most of which can be overcome, albeit at some cost).  In other words, yours is a straightforward & simple beast.

Stombergs not as nice as SUs, and you need to carry spare diaphragms in case they split.

Having read your initial description, I was pleasantly surprised on seeing the photos, and agree with Roger - eminently do-able!

Ian Cornish

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Thanks again to all.  

Getting the removed parts today.  I’ll post some pics of a few details of them and the  car itself.  

Have had penetrating oil on the pistons for a week now.  Plan to try rocking the car in 4th gear today to free engine.  If that fails then the head comes off and the hammer and wood come out.  If that fails then plan C has to be developed.

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Welcome Russell from yet another Cumbria based TR4 owner. I'm also a newbie! Good luck with your project. You'll love it

Andy

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Hi Russell,

 A good car to restore, amongst the last batch produced....!!

With that commission number the car would have originally been supplied with Stromberg carbs.

For the UK Home Market many items were listed as “optional extras” : -

Leather seats

Heater

Overdrive

60 spoke wire wheels

Sunvisors

Tonneau cover

Occasional rear seat – Vynide or Leather

Specific makes of tyre – Dunlop, Goodyear & Michelin ( I do not know what was fitted as standard...? )

Windscreen defroster

Fog lamps

Spot lamps

Skid plate

Towing attachment

Reversing lamp

Wing mirrors

Safety belts

Cigarette lighter

Badge bar

Luggage grid

Fire extinguisher

Any of these items had to be fitted at the Factory, thus formed part of placing a firm order.

I think thing were treated differently for the USA, however I do not have any firm details.

One thing that I do know is that an accessory steering wheel was an optional extra for the USA market and thus your car does have a USA only optional extra fitted – a “Formula” steering wheel, which allows for the use of the original type horn push.

Regards, Richard

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On 10/5/2019 at 3:12 PM, RMP NC said:

Thanks again to all.  

Getting the removed parts today.  I’ll post some pics of a few details of them and the  car itself.  

Have had penetrating oil on the pistons for a week now.  Plan to try rocking the car in 4th gear today to free engine.  If that fails then the head comes off and the hammer and wood come out.  If that fails then plan C has to be developed.

Russel be careful with taking the head off and then trying to rock the car back and forth to free the pistons, you will more than likley unseat the liners instead. You need to make sure that you hold the liners down with heavy washers bolted down on the studs.

Have you tried diesel in the bores cheap and from my experience very effective.

Although I have a TR3a at the moment and have had a TR6, TR4a, and a TR2 in the past my favourite of all the TRs I have owned was the TR4 I sold a few years ago

cheers

Alan

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Thanks for all the good advice.  It is very much appreciated.  

I’ll post some pictures later-

Head is off, looks like three cylinders are sticky, if not stuck.  Number 1 drains the liquid over time, has a different sound and feel when you tap it where 2-4 hold it, sealed tight, different sound and feel when you tap.  Had diesel in for over a week already.  Previous guy had something like diesel in it also.  Now have the best penetrating oil I know of here, Seafoam brand, in there.

Am putting on some cut pipe with big washers to block the sleeves from slipping up.  Then I’ll put a bit of energy into the hammer and wood.  There is a decent (to me anyway) YouTube video series of a guy in Toronto rebuilding a TR4 engine and he shows that technique too.  

I have seen endless discussions of which penetrating oil is best.  Seems Plusgas is great from some discussions I’ve seen but it’s not available in US.  Tried to order it from UK sites but they won’t ship to US.

Keep the suggestions and info coming.  Thank you again.

Russell

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Russell, I would not sweat getting the pistons and liners out intact. A new set is likely in your destiny anyway and they are very affordable. Under $500 for the set and will give you a few more cc's with the 87mm kit without getting into esoteric head gasket issues.

Stan

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Seems to be going well Russell!

Nice to hear of your Cumbrian Connnection.

John.

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Engine is finally freed up after soaking and tapping.  Going to see if I can make it run and how bad it may be.  May still have a rebuild in my future. 

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Russell 

Well done that man !! A great feeling when it eventually gives up it's hold. I was months trying to free up the tappets on my

ex USA import. Needless to say it was from the East Coast rather than sunny California.

Crack on …. there is always plenty to do with a restoration , lots of battles before you win the war.

Bob

 

Edited by bob-menhennett

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Looks good! Welcome to the forum - font of all knowledge for sure! 

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I have decided to put the head back on and see if I can get it to run before I go further.  There are no obvious issues w the moving engine parts I see.  Starter spins engine just fine w no head, valves all seem all free, straight, etc.   I'll have to buy all the parts now -carb rebuild kits, engine spark electronics, fuel pump, thermostat, and of course the gaskets, etc. to put the head and manifolds back on. Going to try to clean the engine internally as much as I can with a solution to remove the settled gunk in the oil pan.  What suggestions for this?  Diesel fuel or kerosene in the crankcase and turn to engine over some to work it thru?  Drain and repeat a few times before I add oil?  Carbs have to be rebuilt regardless as do other accessories so if I get it running and it has some major mechanical issue that makes me have to rebuild the engine, all of the accessories are reusable - gaskets are not of course.  If i can get the car where it runs it makes working on it for everything else much easier as I can move it around as I need.

Any advice appreciated.

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1 hour ago, RMP NC said:

I have decided to put the head back on and see if I can get it to run before I go further.  There are no obvious issues w the moving engine parts I see.  Starter spins engine just fine w no head, valves all seem all free, straight, etc.   I'll have to buy all the parts now -carb rebuild kits, engine spark electronics, fuel pump, thermostat, and of course the gaskets, etc. to put the head and manifolds back on. Going to try to clean the engine internally as much as I can with a solution to remove the settled gunk in the oil pan.  What suggestions for this?  Diesel fuel or kerosene in the crankcase and turn to engine over some to work it thru?  Drain and repeat a few times before I add oil?  Carbs have to be rebuilt regardless as do other accessories so if I get it running and it has some major mechanical issue that makes me have to rebuild the engine, all of the accessories are reusable - gaskets are not of course.  If i can get the car where it runs it makes working on it for everything else much easier as I can move it around as I need.

Any advice appreciated.

NO! Diesel in sump not a good idea if you were considering cranking over. It will find its way into all sorts of places you do not want it to go. Flushing oil also not a good idea - will probably try and squeeze through crankshaft seal. I would suggest dropping the sump and give it a good clean (diesel fine for this - or a 50-50 mix of diesel/petrol). Inside the crankcase - scrub with  this mix, using an old toothbrush or two and make sure it drys out fully. Change oil filter, fill with cheap 20/50 and change filter and oil a few times. If head is off why not fit new valve guides (specialist job - but in UK about £90), and fit new valves, springs etc, head rebuild kit not too expensive. 

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OK, no solvents in the sump and turning over the engine, then.  The oil pan can be removed w engine in car?  I haven't been under the car yet to have good look.  I've got a "61 Plymouth Fury up on my lift that I need to move to get the TR4 up there.

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3 minutes ago, RMP NC said:

OK, no solvents in the sump and turning over the engine, then.  The oil pan can be removed w engine in car?  I haven't been under the car yet to have good look.  I've got a "61 Plymouth Fury up on my lift that I need to move to get the TR4 up there.

Yes, sump will drop with engine in place. You have a lift? Wow! I dream about having a lift!

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