View Full Version : TR5/TR250 Need some advice on TR250

07-01-2015, 01:41 PM
So at the end of last year, I had a neighbor move and as he was cleaning out, I discovered the lump that had been under a tarp on his driveway for years was a TR250. He had it as his daily driver in the 70s, late 70s got in a fender bender. Bumper and some body damage (left front fender), but no frame damage. He started collecting replacement parts and bought a couple parts cars that he collected key parts from. The car has pretty much sat ever since. He would periodically fire it up and drive it down the block to test it out, but he hasn't done that since the 90s. So I ended up buying the the car and his parts collection and am planning on getting it running and rolling and doing the body work. Expecting this to be a very long project. My initial plan was start by getting it running. Over the winter, I changed fluids, cleaned out the fuel system, replaced plugs, points, wires, and rebuilt the fuel pump and carbs. I managed to get it running but only for 10-15 seconds at a time. Kept trying to make sure the fuel system was operating, but the old battery ended up getting too weak. Eventually replaced that, but now I only get a thunk sound when I try to turn over. Thought it was the starter or starter solenoid, but turns out those seem ok. I can see the starter shaft start to spin but just can't move. So I'm hoping my short starts were not enough to lock-up the engine. So far, I have done nothing with the clutch or trans. I was confident that it was out of gear because prior to doing anything, I was able to turn the engine by hand with the fan blade (with the plugs out). I pulled the plugs and tried that again recently and no go, but now that I think about it, I did not remove belts. Anyway, I'm thinking maybe it slipped into gear? Not sure what I should do next. Was thinking I should maybe pull trans and take a look at the clutch, etc...
Thanks for any advice.... I'm sure you've gotten a few laughs from where I'm at and what I've done wrong, but if you have ideas on what my next steps should be, I would appreciate them...
Thanks, Bob

07-01-2015, 02:07 PM
Ugh, doesn't sound good. If it was just in gear, you should see the starter try to move the car (or turn the wheels if it's up on stands). Likewise, the starter should be stronger than the belts, so I doubt it is one of the ancillaries locked up.

Hopefully, it's just a partial failure of the starter and it's too weak to do more than engage the Bendix. The starter motor is a 4 pole design, so if there is a bad brush or something keeping one pair of poles from working, it will still try to turn, but won't have enough oomph to do much. A bad connection (or battery, or solenoid) can do the same thing. One crude (but easy) test is to turn on the headlights and try to start the engine. If the starter and battery are good but the engine is locked up, the headlights should dim to about half brightness. If the battery is bad or there is a bad connection (very common for the battery clamps to not be making good contact), the lights will go out. If they stay bright, then most likely the starter motor or solenoid has a problem.

Anyway, the starter is where I would look first. Also if you can, find a way to confirm if the motor is locked up. If you can get wheels on the ground easily, then put it in 4th gear and push the car to turn the engine. You can push on the top of a wheel to get a bit more leverage. If it is locked up, even with the plugs out, then the next step is to pull the head and look for any FOD in the cylinders.

07-03-2015, 12:52 PM
Thanks for your input. I'll try a little more to confirm it's not locked-up and check starter & battery connections. I'll update with any progress...

07-05-2015, 10:10 AM
Fingers crossed for you - but these are pretty simple cars and nothing sounder terminal.

Any pictures?

07-07-2015, 09:38 AM
Slow progress on this as I haven't had much time to spend on it. I am planning on this to be a long project, so I guess that's ok. I did at least get a change to make sure all the connections on the cables are clean... still the same clunk from starter when attempting to turn over. I'll try the starter next, I should have at least one spare unit in that parts that came with the car. I'll swap that out and see how things go. I did pull the plugs and remove the belt and tried to hand turn the engine again, still no luck. Putting it in gear and trying to roll sounds like a good idea, but my brakes are frozen, so even that isn't going to be easy. Something I'll have to deal with eventually anyway... So thanks for the advice and encouragement. I'll keep you posted...

07-07-2015, 05:44 PM
Perhaps unbolt the tail shaft from the diff, that will tell you if you are definitely in neutral.

07-11-2015, 06:42 PM
The starter seems to be OK. I tried swapping with one from the parts that came with the car, but it was not the right one. I took the original starter to an auto parts store and it bench tested fine. I will try and confirm yet that the car is in neutral, but I'm pretty confident that it is. Assuming that it is in neutral, next step is pulling the head? Any thoughts on what I'm looking for or what's most likely? The car did come another engine and trans from a parts car, of course I don't know the condition of that and it probably hasn't been started for 20+ years. I'm assuming I should be digging into this engine deeper before I consider a swap?? Let me know what you think....

07-11-2015, 08:23 PM
The head might tell you something, but to me it sounds like you are better pulling it if you have the room. The head isn't likely to be the cause, you likely have a frozen piston or some other issue in the lower half of the engine.

08-20-2015, 09:46 AM
Is there a bolt at the front pulley? I'd put a wrench on that, (with an extension if necessary), and try to turn the engine over by hand that way.

Marvin Gruber
08-20-2015, 10:17 AM
The 250 engine is notorious for sticking if its sat a while. For sure if its sat outside for a time. Pistons stick. 3 of the last 4 250's that I've had were stuck. I did finally get the last one to turn and actually cranked the engine but it didn't sound good. I'll build it in the next year. Curious, was the air cleaner off the engine when you got it.


Marvin Gruber
08-20-2015, 10:22 AM
Reread your post, you did say you turned engine over but can't now. Pull the valve cover and tell us what it looks like. I've seen valve trains froze up as well.

08-20-2015, 05:09 PM
I'll pull the valve cover & let you know what I find. I haven't had much time to get into this lately, certainly haven't had enough time to find anything.

08-20-2015, 10:26 PM
Ok, took off the valve cover and honestly I'm not sure what I'm looking for so I'm posting pictureshttps://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/attachment.php?attachmentid=38831&stc=1https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/attachment.php?attachmentid=38832&stc=1https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/attachment.php?attachmentid=38833&stc=1https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/attachment.php?attachmentid=38834&stc=1

Marvin Gruber
08-20-2015, 11:28 PM
Pictures posted upside down but valves look questionable. Take a rubber mallet and hit each rocker
that is up to see if valve will compress. You should see valve go down and a clack noisr when the valve comes back up.


08-20-2015, 11:52 PM
It does not look rusty, but that does not mean the valves couldn't be stuck. But it is more likely the pistons, I have read that if you don't want to take the engine apart to pour some solvent like ATF or PB plaster in the cylinders and work the engine back and forth with a breaker bar or pipe on a ratchet on the crank nut, even if it does not turn at all, exert pressure back and forth. It should start to break up the corrosion holding the pistons in place and over days or weeks you get it unstuck. I think you would want to go in and clean it up eventually, but it is not unheard of to get a motor unstuck and have it run fine for some time.

08-21-2015, 08:53 AM
Thanks guys. I'll give these ideas a try. Don't know how this pictures posted upside-down... sorry

08-21-2015, 10:12 AM
rotated the pictures and added a couplehttps://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/attachment.php?attachmentid=38835&stc=1https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/attachment.php?attachmentid=38836&stc=1https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/attachment.php?attachmentid=38837&stc=1https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/attachment.php?attachmentid=38838&stc=1https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/attachment.php?attachmentid=38839&stc=1https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/attachment.php?attachmentid=38840&stc=1

08-23-2015, 02:45 PM
Hey guys, I think I'm making some progress. I took rubber mallet to the rockers, had a hard time seeing the valves open, but I did hear the clack as they closed, so I think I'm ok there. I pulled the radiator and fan and put a pipe wrench on the fan hub to turn the engine. It took a breaker bar, but I got it to turn. I kept hitting the cylinders with PB blaster and turning. I can turn it now with the pipe wrench with no breaker bar. Kept hitting the cylinders with PB blaster and it is moving easier (I still don't think it would spin by hand turning the fan blades which it did a few months ago). So I'm thinking I'll just keep lubing up the cylinders and do what I'm doing till it turns more freely. What do you guys think? If going ahead as I am is good, should I be using something else to lube the cylinders?

08-24-2015, 02:01 AM
You can continue as you have been, get it running and see what happens. But my guess is that there is significant rust damage in one or more cylinders and you're going to find that it burns a lot of oil. So start saving your nickels & dimes for an overbore and oversize pistons, etc.

08-24-2015, 10:59 AM
Do you think that is what I have, rust in one or more cylinders? Just trying to understand what I'm dealing with...

Marvin Gruber
08-24-2015, 11:18 AM
More than likely one or two valves were open and moisture got inside engine letting those two cylinder walls rust. Engine should run. Rings will wear quicker and engine will use more oil. Rings may be stuck in pistons as well, again more oil usage. Try it for a while, won't hurt. You might be lucky and engine will do just fine.

08-24-2015, 12:28 PM
Thanks for the help!

09-01-2015, 02:26 PM
If you have a picture of the fuel line routing please post one.