View Full Version : Drive it or tear it apart

02-23-2008, 01:33 PM
I wrote a while back that I got my TR250 a month or so ago. Now I need to decide what to do first all cosmetics and I am sure some mechanical work is needed.

But here is the question I am struggling with.

Do I just stat tearing her down, or should I take her for a few runs around the neighborhood to assess the situation with the motor, suspension, and transmission first.

It was sold as runs ok (as in motor, brakes and tranny function not as in ready for street use)

Since that assessmentthe brakes have quit, but I am thinking about doing the brakes first, then a few mild trips aroud the neighborhood to assess the other mechanical parts, then tear it all apart knowing what wrong and right. Any thoughts?

Car has been sitting for 10 years or more, but fuels system cleaned out and it does start.

02-23-2008, 01:49 PM
You have a 40+ year old car that has been sitting for the last 10 years. I would guess that most of the rubber seals are shot. Fuel pump would be suspect, etc. etc. Plus a bunch of other little things that don't function. Probably needs a total overhaul. That said I would guess, in your circumstance I would tool around the neighborhood just for the fun of it. You can determine the status of most all the systems by static testing. Not nearly as much fun as driving it. I sure wouldn't go far in it, though. Have some fun and then rebuild it.
My thoughts anyway, Tinkerman

02-23-2008, 02:51 PM
I want a nice daily driver/fun car. If that's
something like what you want, I'd keep it putting
and replace stuff as worst/first with an eye on
keeping it rolling. More fun, to me. If something
becomes inop, well, that's the next worst, right?

You got the desire for show car
or frame-off? Well, then you tear into it, because
now it's necessary.

I think what will keep you wrenching is being able
to putt around a bit after you install brakes or whatever
is dictated next. Likely your car will lead you; if it
doesn't, you have freedom to choose.

02-23-2008, 04:47 PM
Drive it.

You'll need the memories when you tear it apart and it takes 3x as long as you thought it would.

Otherwise there'll be another project on ebay...

02-23-2008, 05:26 PM
Car has been sitting for 10 years or more, but fuels system cleaned out and it does start.

The least you should do is completely go thru the brake/clutch hydraulics, pull and rod out the radiator (and fuel tank), freshen the carbs, check out the electrical system, and buy new tires and battery. Once everything is up to snuff, you can methodically go thru the rest of the car...... but ya gotta have brakes!

02-23-2008, 05:29 PM
Thanks guys, that was what I wanted to hear, no I won't go far orfast at all, but good to see how it goes before tearing into it.

I was talking to some of my club buddies the other day, both have some cery nicely restored cars, the one said he just assumes the engine and other major components need to be rebuilt and takes them out and does it, the other said he runs the motor and if the oil pressure is good and it doen't leak or smoke badly he starts on the cosmetics.

I think I am more in the 2nd school, partly due to issues of time and money, but I do want a nice carI can trust for trips when I am done, I will pull the pan and check the thrust whasher before it gets back on the road for good.

02-23-2008, 05:37 PM
Yes, definitely drive it for a while. If you have overhauled the brakes and fuel system there is no reason why you should not drive it for a season before starting on a rebuild next winter. The memories of driving it this year will keep you going during the rebuild.

Tim Tucker
02-23-2008, 05:40 PM
I drive mine. It's a tough call. I bought an estate auction '71 TR6 in May that had been set up since the early 80s. I went through the fuel tank, brake system all NEW (except front calipers and steel lines), fuel line is new, lucas alternator was repaired, all fluids changed, all fittings greased or oiled, wheel bearing cleaned and greased, and many other items looked at. I have been surprised how well they come back to life. The wife and I took it out last weekend and we were both very impressed. I don't take it more than ~5 miles from the house, NO interstate, local rural roads: perfect for out cars. BTW, I have a good roll back guy....:)

Enjoy your car! Good Luck!


02-23-2008, 06:11 PM
I wish I had my 6 together. All I have are the memories to keep me going.

02-23-2008, 06:48 PM
Only fix what you need to be safe and reliable, then drive and enjoy. I bought a 1964 MGB 5 years ago just knowing I was capable of restoring it. Then 1 year ago I bought a 1956 TR3 to drive because I could not wait to get the B finished. Well the the B is still not finished but I am having fun driving my Triumph.

02-24-2008, 01:02 PM
Like Tinkerman said, I'd focus on all the seals, bushings, and safety items. I'd focus on the big items, safety items, brake lines, clutch lines, and drive the car and have some fun, then get to cosmetics.

Here's a "to do" list for worriers and neurotics:

Check all suspension and steering components for safety, and maybe just break down the control arms/wishbones (actually easy with a manual)and replace the bushings and ball joints (and tie rods) so that's done and out of the way. It will take a weekend or more with parts you order, but it's satisfying knowing safety items are right.

Replace brake pads and brake cylinders (or at least the seals--but probably each entire cylinder since they are not too costly), install new front brake pads and caliper piston repair kits, clean and replace all master cylinder and clutch cylinder seals (and check for leaks), bleed the brakes and the clutch, check or replace ball joints and tie rods if any doubt exists, check, pack and grease the front wheel bearings, consider replacing the front and rear shocks while you're at it, check and correct the wheel alignment, replace the spark plugs, ignition points (I can't recall if a TR250 has points) and tune the car.

Definitely get a new fuel filter on that car if it's been sitting, or you'll have fuel line and carb issues.

I'd check piston compression just to get an idea on engine and cylinder head health.

Totally flush and refill the radiator.

Hopefully some of this was relevant and not a waste. Just me, but I'd do the above before any major driving excursions in a car I didn't know and which was "sitting." Anyway, be careful and have a lot of fun.

02-24-2008, 05:26 PM
Thanks for all the helpful suggestions, just to clarify, I just was thinking of a couple of shakedown cruises slow and close to home for diagnostic purposes (and yeas for the fun of driving it), the car is not in the kind of shape that it could be driven for the summer or anything like that without very major work. It would need lights, tires, etc. to be even a rough daily driver.

My plan is to quickly restore the car to good to excellent driver condition by late summer or early fall--probably optimistic, maybe extremely so, but it definitely won't happen if I don't try.

02-26-2008, 05:13 AM
I drove my TR3 for almost a year before the restoration. It was drivable, and it was a good way to check out the mechanicals. Some things got fixed along the way, and it gave us a good idea about what needed to be done.

My Triumph 10 was not drivable when I got it. Still isn't. Kind of wish I could drive it before the 1500 Spitfire engine/tranny swap, just so I could see the improvement/difference.

I'm of the school that if you can drive it, do it for a while before a restoration.