View Full Version : TR2/3/3A TR3A engine bay

03-16-2007, 12:54 PM
Is there a good online source of pictures of an original (or fully restored) TR3A engine bay that looks like it's fresh from the factory?

As the Piggott Original book is out of print, I'd like a primary source as reference to bringing mine to "original look". It's already got so much going for it, but there are a few things that have weathered and/or been altered.

Wiring runs and colors, peripherals placement, colors of valve cover, radiator, engine, starter, master cylinder, solenoid, etc.?

Brosky's TR6 restoration site is excellent. I'm looking for something similar for my TR3A.

Thanks all.

03-16-2007, 01:07 PM
Don Elliot would probably post some photos, if he hasn't already.

Don Elliott
03-16-2007, 02:03 PM
I have lots of photos of original details but I need to know how to post photos. I used to be able to before Basil changed the system.

03-16-2007, 02:45 PM
Click Reply on the bottom of post

Scroll down to file mgr


add etc


Don Elliott
03-16-2007, 04:03 PM
I have asked Tom for his e-mail address so I can send them directly to him.

Don Elliott
03-16-2007, 04:10 PM
Here are a few. My bolts are stainless. They should be body colour.

03-16-2007, 04:22 PM
Don - those are excellent. Thanks.
By the way, I did send you my email address.


03-16-2007, 06:32 PM
I hope that this fits properly. It's from a show that I expect to see you at later this year.


03-16-2007, 08:14 PM

Here's a differing version of the electrics...

Don Elliott
03-16-2007, 08:28 PM
Tom - You will notice a difference in my photo (TS 27489 LO) and the one from Paul who has a later TR3A especially around the voltage regulator. At a certain point S-T stopped putting in the separate bolt-in panel that was used on RHD TRs for the master cylinders. I can also tell that Paul's is later than mine by the outlets on his brake master cylinder. On mine the outlet pipes come straight up. On Paul's, they come out at a forward incline. Both are correct.

You will also notice that Paul has two brass number plates above his battery, whereas on mine (black), the upper one is painted body colour. It came that way and has always been that way. This upper brass plate was put on by Mulliners who built and then painted the bodies. Later, when S-T assembled the rest of the car, they put on the second lower plate and naturally this one stays brass as all the painting had been done earlier.

As with mine, both show stainless or clear zinc plated bolts. According to the judging standards from TRA, they should be painted body colour. Mine were during its first life, but I like the idea of the shiny stainless bolt heads. And the TRA judges always dock me a point for this.
What I enjoy is driving my TR. It's mine and I like it this way. At TRA, last June in Ohio I got 89 points and second in class out of 5 in the judging - and that was with 94,000 miles since I finished my restoration in 1990.

In short, it's your car, do it the way you like. I don't mind when judges dock me a point for washers under a nut where there should be no washer. Also when they dock me a point because I am missing washers where they should have been originally. You can't let these judges drive you crazy. We're all here for a short time, let's not make it a hard time.

03-16-2007, 08:31 PM
Don, it's not mine, but I wish it was.....

Don Elliott
03-16-2007, 08:57 PM
Tom I found a few more.

03-16-2007, 09:02 PM
That should keep him busy. I was over to Tom's garage to try to help him out with the starter late Tuesday and his car is very nice. It does need some under hood detailing and that's why these pictures will be a big help.

I say that not as a critic, but only because Tom told me it was his next project, after the starter.

03-17-2007, 08:16 AM
These photos are incredibly helpful. And very interesting to me when I note there are some relatively substantial variances (like the vertical versus horizontal voltage regulator, and flasher placements).

While I wait for the starter shims to arrive I'm peeking and poking around under the bonnet, seeing what might be done in the near future. I feel *very* fortunate that so much of my car is original - even the engine, which was a complete surprise.

I'm still puzzled by the "coating" over the original paint in the engine bay. In some small areas it isn't tight, and peels away something like cardboard. As you've seen from my other pictures, that coating is a dull black in color. As I can't afford to empty the engine bay and repaint it, I wonder if I'll just have to live with the "sooty black" finish.


Thank you guys for the pictures and suggestions!
PS - I've seen several "battery box protectors" in some of the pics. Is that a recommended addition?

03-17-2007, 09:29 AM
Tom, go to your local hardware store and buy some Krud Kutter, but if you can, get the Graffitti Remover version. It should take all of that old crappy paint away. If they don't have the extra strength version, try the regular. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results with a little elbow grease applied.

03-17-2007, 09:36 AM

You definitely need to join these three clubs, so you can see what's in these pictures up close and personal.


BMCNE meets every Friday night about 20 miles from your home at the Gazebo in Scituate.


A must attend for the scenic runs and British Legends Weekend at the Cape.


Great time mid summer, in Brookline, MA with all Triumphs.

Don Elliott
03-17-2007, 11:02 AM
Tom - Your oil filler cap is one that might have been on a TR which was shipped to Canada. Cars to Australia also had thesem oil filler caps. The cards to USA had a similar cap but with 3 indents like for your thumb and 2 fingers. I still lose points at TRA for having an "unknown" or "not original" oil filler cap. They won't accept mine even toug I bought my TR brand new and that's the cap it always had. "Sorry Don, it's the wrong cap and that's all !" say the TRA judges.

03-17-2007, 11:28 AM

I still like the O.D. switch controversy the best! How did that go... Is it switched up for O.D. engaged or down for O.D. engaged? I would have just said, "It works doesn't it?"

Don Elliott
03-17-2007, 12:30 PM
Mine is up for on. It's quicker when you need it. When shifting out of overdrive, you need less delay time as you are usually slowing down. Did you ever go into a room and flick "on" the light switch where you had to flick it down ? Also it's the driver who is sitting in the car (or a friend for the first time in the driver's seat) who needs to be able to read the word "OVERDRIVE" on the body of the switch. It's no good to have the word visible from the outside of the car.

There was also the controversy in 1992 of the windscreen washer button location, which I underdtand after 10 years, TRA have altered the judging standards to be a bit more liberal because it was a dealer installed option.

03-17-2007, 06:51 PM
Tom, FYI, Moss sells a fabric wrap that should go on and off easily, just to protect all that wiring in the meantime. Or, you could go the corrugated plastic tubing found at electronic stores. I'd hate to have all the wiring exposed like that...
I don't think I've ever seen a '3 without a battery box; these days, not so inexpensive protection. Someone on the list suggested a boat/marine store as a less expensive source; I've yet to check that out for my '6, but I will.

03-17-2007, 07:03 PM
I was informed on those oil caps, that you turn the cap to face forward the brand of oil that you use in the engine. Don't know if this is true but it made sense at the time.

Don Elliott
03-17-2007, 09:15 PM
Tom - All imports into Canada were stamped as they came off the ships with a numeral in front of the TS Commission Number. For example, mine really is 8TS 27489 LO, where they added an 8 because it came into Canada in 1958. A friend has a 0 in front of his TS number because his is a 1960. Ken Dahman of St. Louis, Mo. has a 9 in front of his TR number and later found out that the black TR3A he bought was really imported into Canada in 1959.

Tom - Would this explain the "Canadian" style oil filler cap on yours ? Do you have a pre-digit stamped in front of your TS number ? If so, it would have been a Canadian import.

Oh yes, I also get docked at TRA for having this 8 stamped on my TS plate because it's not "original" according to the US judging guidelines. But people who stamp new numbers into a "new" TS plate and put it on with pop-rivets don't get docked any points because it looks nice. Even though the fonts on the repro plates are not correct and pop-rivets were not used in the 50s and/or 60s. At least not by the S-T factory on TRs.

TRA do not deduct points for a plastic battery box because it's a "safety feature". Rubbish ! I never had a battery box, (see my black engine compartment above after 85,000 miles when that photo was taken) and batteries will not spill battery acid if you set the voltage regulator to put out the needed volts and no more. If it's set too high, the battery and acid get over-charged and too hot so it expands and spits. When it gets too hot, it evaporates faster and the owner usually adds too much water which causes even more problems.

03-18-2007, 09:10 AM
Paul - back in early February I joined TRA, BMCNE, NET, and VTR. I assume I'll start receiving a newsletter or something from them eventually.

I tried cleaning a bit of the engine bay "coating" with solvent, but nothing at all comes off. I'm *definitely* trying a small spot with the Krud Kutter Graffiti edition asap. (When I've finished breaking and removing the 6 inches of solid ice from my 200 foot driveway.)

Don - I checked my commission plate. There's no evidence of anything extra stamped anywhere, so no hint of Canadian import. By the way, the *very* old remnant of decal on the oil cap doesn't resemble either the USA or Canada decals in the pictures above, and there are no "finger grip indentations" at all.

Many of the posted pics show a round green handle on the heater valve. While my heater valve works, it does have a leak; the metal "extension" out of the valve actually wiggles in the opening, and the turning handle is just a straight bar head.

Kevin - the wire wrap is on my list. I'll probably use the plastic "corrugated" stuff from Advance Auto as a temp, until I get the engine bay paint cleaned off. After cleaning and replacing as needed, all wires and connections, I'd like to use that "original" black harness tape I've seen (Moss 162-025) if you guys think that's most appropriate.

As temp was 16 in the garage yesterday I didn't get the starter tested or installed - so I haven't done any electrical measurements.


Don Elliott
03-18-2007, 12:23 PM
Here's another Oil Filler Cap for a US TR. The valve should be brass with a green handle. The side pipe should not wiggle. I strongly suggest you buy a new one before you lose all your water and have a prblem while far away from anywhere. BTW, the wiggly pipe is available separately. If you buy a new faucet, you have to make sure you get both parts. Often the handle may be red (for a Healey).

03-18-2007, 04:20 PM
Hey, Tom, here's another pic of an absolutely stunning 3A I saw for the first time today: https://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p52/mrv8q/IMG_0533.jpg
I was almost ashamed of parking my car next to his, but he was such a nice guy, he just laughed it off. It was a TS 67XXX car, painted in a garage, just stunning! More food for thought...

03-19-2007, 02:16 AM
My TR3A was built on 25 Feb 1959, close to yours (TS44864LO; Eng TS45628E). I got it in 1980 and it was pretty original with about 80K miles. I restored it myself in 1990 and wanting to keep it authentic, reused as many of its parts as possible. I'm not sure how my posts of the engine bay will come out. The car is now in storage on the mainland, but I'll be able to take some better pictures in a few weeks.

Great photos Don. Mine has the 'smooth' oil cap as well, and I have no reason to think it is not original to the car. Unless there was an epidemic of TR owners losing oil caps, I think the smooth version was factory for the US.

For a starter story, my TR4's starter conked out while I was at USAF pilot training. I had just rebuilt the TR3 bullet starter, so in it went. It made a very 'mechanical' meshing sound when it turned the engine over, but it worked for the 2 weeks it took to repair the TR4 starter (grounded field coil). I think I remember one pinion had one less tooth than the other. (And the ring gear bevels were on the wrong side). You'll enjoy working on the 3.

Honolulu, HI
TR6 CF13816U (driver)
TR3A TS44864LO (stored)

03-19-2007, 07:56 AM

Our 1958 TR3A TS29694L was originally delivered new to Hawaii (per BMH certificate) before statehood. Later was shipped to CA where it spent its life until moving here to New England.

We envision it as original in pearl white, white hood and curtains, and black interior, driving through some pineapple plantation by a rich land owner with a big hat. But after moving to bling bling CA, it became signal read and black. Oh well.

03-19-2007, 08:28 AM
That's a very interesting one. I installed my overdrive switch so that it engages when switched down. I did this because my TR4A had a column switch that switched down to engage overdrive. Also in the UK the light switches work the opposite way around to the USA and presumably Canada, too. I was amused to notice this when I visited the USA. To me it is natural to switch something on by pushing the switch down!!!
Do you think that Triumph used the same switch, but turned it upside down on left-hand-drive cars?