View Full Version : TR2/3/3A Tr3 modifications

02-18-2005, 06:50 PM
I do like to drive my old cars, a lot and often. New to the TR3 (56 mod 14502)but not to Brit cars. What mods/upgrades have you guys done that improve reliability and capabilities? Engine has 87mm pots, additional pusher electric fan (Arizona) and It came with a spin on oil filter. Had a nicely done home frame off and really goes well otherwise stock.

02-18-2005, 08:07 PM
pb51, if all was done correctly it should be as good as any car and better than some. Just watch your temp gauge and oil pressure for any indications of problems. Carry along a feeler gauge and screwdriver to set the points if they close up, if the car starts to run rough that is the first thing to check. Wayne

Geo Hahn
02-18-2005, 10:25 PM
The extra fan is a good thing for AZ summers and the spin-on adaptor does make oil changes quick & clean. For cooler running I also blocked the bypass hose & added an air dam to throw air against the bottom third of the radiator -- but I can't prove these things help.

Only other mod I have is a small thing... there is a modified steering box top plate available that has a spring loaded adjustment pin that can help tighten up/even out the steering if the cam & peg are a little worn.

02-18-2005, 10:31 PM
I second Waynes views. The TR3 is a rugged and dependable little car. If it is all fairly fresh, then you should have no problems with it, just so long as you don't overheat it out there in Arizona. I know what a pain in the butt overheating in 115 degree temps can be. I will say this though, take a set of wrenchs along too. But I always like to be safer than sorry.

02-18-2005, 11:13 PM
I love the car and sometimes 'less is more'. The car really runs strong - starts on the first 'press' cold or hot. Runs 'evenly' at diff rpm and I pass most traffic at highway speeds (75) with little effort - those 87mm pots really do add some 'umph'. I may upgrade to an alternator with a higher output for better headlights and maybe an accessory or two (lucas spots/radio). I've experienced the prince of darkness with my 59 100/6 and 71 E type so I'd like to nip that one in the bud. Wish I had discovered the TR3 earlier on though - some cars just 'suit' you. Ragged and tough are hard to beat.

02-19-2005, 02:03 AM
The only modification I'd do is to roll the odometer AHEAD as steady as possible. Enjoy the 3. Someday I'll have one.

02-19-2005, 07:10 AM
Hi, I suggest you locate a copy of Roger Williams' "Improving TRs" book. There are literally dozens of ideas and it's quite up to date. An older source of info is Kas Kastner's Competition Tuning guide for TR4, which is similar enough to TR3 that much of it applies.

Mainly, I'd encourage you to enjoy your car and make sure safety issues such as brakes and steering are 100% first.

Have fun!


02-19-2005, 02:01 PM
Alan, I replaced both master cylinders (had a seep in the clutch unit) and the resevoir, the flex lines look good. Stops well. The steering was rebuilt and is tight but I should replace some of the susp. bushings (urethane). The steering seems to be the weak point of the car, the box seems a bit wimpy for the car - anyone out there upgraded to rack and pinion? Pros and cons of the change?

Geo Hahn
02-19-2005, 02:12 PM
R&P kits are available as well as DIY. I believe some kits are bolt-in. For 'pros' - well I assume it would steer like a TR4 which is almost power steering compared to the '3. Only 'con' other than the obvious non-originality is the loss of the stock fan.

IMO, it would change the character as that 'grab an armload of wheel and pull' steering is as much a part of driving a TR3 as the elbows out driving position.

02-19-2005, 09:12 PM
Geo, I checked out your resto home page. Beautiful Tr3. I'm up in Wickenburg, we'll have to link up some time. How does your car handle the summer heat? I have added a pusher fan and am using an original sleeved thermostat. Does plugging the bypass and using a 160 d. conventional therm. work as well? Pat

Geo Hahn
02-20-2005, 07:58 PM
I've told the story before about driving past a Time/Temp sign on a bank and thinking it seemed later that a quarter after one... then the sign changed to say 2:30.

It handles the heat fine if I keep moving -- also have the pusher fan for when traffic stops. I think I still have 180 tstats in both TRs (non-sleeved w/ the bypass blocked).

You should check out the BEAT on the forum events page... 2 day drive around AZ. First stop on Saturday morning is Wicky. Looks like our Tucson club will be having a show that date this year so I will miss the BEAT.

02-20-2005, 08:13 PM
I plan on the 'Beat' this year, that back way thru the Mtns to Flagstaff is a great drive. I belong to the Triumph club Phoenix and it seems pretty active, they participate in the run. I'll stick with the set up I have now and see how the heat issue goes. Thanks

02-22-2005, 12:00 AM
I agree with Alan Myers.
Brakes and suspension are the two most important parts to get right.
Although not essential by any means, I've added a power booster to my 3A, and the front suspension was rebushed with polyurethane. Makes a world of difference.
Consider rack and pinion if you are not in concours mode. Car will drive like a newbie.
I prefer a "puller" fan as a pusher can block airflow to the radiator when not operating. If you have a TR3A then make sure you have the factory shroud as well.

02-22-2005, 12:01 AM
I ran my TR4 for years at high altitude with a standard thermostat, no problem and no plugged bypass. It had good fitting aluminum radiator shroud and the radiator was flushed every couple years.

However, after hearing some tales of overheating, I had the radiator rebuilt and paid way too much for a sleeved thermostat. It happens to be a 160 degree. The engine is still being rebuilt, though, so I can't tell you how well it works.

I'd suggest just driving with the 180/sleeved and keep an eye on the temp gauge. If it's a problem, then start looking for a sleeved 160. Last resort is a "drilled out" stat, or a standard 160 with blocked bypass hose.

Be sure you have good fitting radiator shrouds.

Check that the proper radiator cap is installed and working. I think yours would be a 1", 4 psi version. (TR4s use 7 psi. The limiting factor is the heater core, which can withstand a little higher pressure in the 4.)

Another alternative is an upgraded water pump impellor, 6 blades I think, to move more coolant through the system. I think British Frame and Engine sells them.

TRF offers later (TR6?) 8 blade plastic fans, that I think would fit your car, but you already have an electric fan, right?

If you see overheating, consider an oil cooler, too (I'm currently adding one). But if you do, be sure to use one with a thermostat of it's own.

Consider an overflow tank, or maybe a true "header" tank, to improve fluid capacity and reduce airspace in the radiator.

Someone pointed out that 25% anti-freeze/75% water offers better cooling than the usual 50/50 mix.

"Water Wetter" can help keep temps under control somewhat.

Yeah, I've seen the heat in your area. I was in Phoenix during the record setting hot spell that closed the airport. 125 degrees, I seem to recall. We were installing a roof on a small building, of all things!

Re-reading your original post, urethane bushings will tighten up the front suspension. The only place they are needed is the upper/inner a-arms and it's a pretty easy installation (not necessary to fully disassemble... it's a good time to replace the ball joints, too, if needed.)

Urethane will ride a little rougher than rubber, and transmit more road noise. However, there are different "durometer" ratings of urethane, softer ones that provide a more stock feel, and still last a whole lot longer than the rubber ones which probably are shot within a year or two of installation.

The lower/inner control arms are nylatron which is harder than urethane and lasts a long time. The outer ones are brass bushings, also pretty durable.

So the only other place to consider urethane is the rear spring shackles, in place of the rubber bushings.

I've not done the R&P swap on a TR3. My TR4 has the early, solid mount style R&P and I always liked the handling (should like it even more now that the steering column and R&P are freshly rebuilt!) If you don't want to make extensive changes, I seem to recall reading about some possible improvements to the TR3 steering box, maybe in Roger Williams' "Improving TRs" book.



02-22-2005, 12:57 AM
Alan, Thanks for the report. I'm going to take your advice and just hang tight with what I've got (cooling wise)and see what happens. The radiator looks very clean (looks rebuilt)and I run about 180 D in 70 degree weather. I suspect a 160 T will be in order here. Mine's a 56 small mouth so the rad shroud is built in. I have an overflow in place but it will only 'save' the coolant. I replaced the rad cap w/ the proper 4psi unit when I got the car. I'm going to get the poly bushings and throw them on shortly and work from there - the box and steering are really very good as they were properly rebuilt by the po. When will your car be finished? Hard waiting but winter is a good time to do so. Pat