View Full Version : TR2/3/3A Stator tube, wires stuck

08-20-2013, 08:57 PM
Today I found that, in fact, I did not take everything apart on the TR3 years ago as I previously declared. While getting ready to install the steering column I realized the wires had not been pulled from the stator tube. They were broken off flush at the steering box when I got the car. When I pulled the trafficator off, the other end broke with about an inch of the 4 wires sticking out. It appears the 4 wires were wrapped with electrical tape before being stuffed through the tube. I tried everything but that inch of wire keeps getting shorter, instead of longer. From the broken end, I tried using a drill bit and drilling into the tube, hoping the entire harness would spin free. But eventually I came to the end of the bit (about 18" long). I tried penetrating oil and hammering a 1/4 rod into the drilled end. I can't get the wires to budge. Any ideas on how I might get these wires out? Melt them?

...and the trafficator hasn't been taken apart either. Just when the I thought the light at the end of the restoration was getting closer.

I am happy to entertain any ideas.
Thanks in advance, Jer

08-20-2013, 09:24 PM
If there is still something to grab, I'd try grabbing just the conductor of one wire and pulling on that, perhaps combined with some heat along the tube. Once the one wire (or just it's conductor) is out, the others should be easier.

If that doesn't work, you can try getting the whole tube hot enough to melt the PVC, but that sounds tricky to me.

Or as a last resort, just buy another tube. I don't really know why, but the tube that was in TS13571L when it came to me was rusted pretty badly inside the tube. The rust was locking the wires in place.

08-20-2013, 09:59 PM
I thought my tube had a little rust on it, but couldn't remember for sure. I think Randall confirmed that they do rust. In your car's case, being in salt water, it may have locked the wires...

08-20-2013, 10:43 PM
If you want another tube let me know I have 1 or 2.

Marvin Gruber
08-20-2013, 10:51 PM
Let me know if you get the wires out and how you did it. I have a couple of tubes that the wires are stuck inside. I did think about heating a tube up but usually found another one I could use.


08-21-2013, 02:59 AM
Having worked for years on aircraft wiring, stuck wires are not a new problem for me.

Usually we found that the wires must come back out the way in went in.
Usually you have to pull one end and push/hammer the other.

Don't suppose that's the answer you wanted to read.

08-21-2013, 08:16 AM
You need to come over to the Triumph Parts warehouse, I think I have an extra stator tube hanging in the rafters somewhere.

Geo Hahn
08-21-2013, 12:45 PM
If you go the replacement route, bear in mind that the tubes for the adjustable steering column are different from the ones for the fixed column.

08-21-2013, 03:50 PM
The drill worked for me; I welded an extension on an 18" drill & eventually got everything out.Took a while.

08-23-2013, 06:37 PM
Let me know if you get the wires out and how you did it.

It is much easier to remove wire and insulation from the stator tube, than a broken piece of threaded rod. I thought if I used a drill, and ran a #6-32x3' threaded rod into the tube from each end, it might grab the wire and yank it loose, or it might just free it from some stuck position. Maybe it did, but the rod broke off just inside the end of the stator tube, leaving almost 3' stuck inside with no way to get to it.

Being a type of hard headed person who refuses to give up, I decided I could still get it from the other end. A 1/4"-20x3' threaded rod with an edge filed on the end to cut a little, works well. Chucked in a 1/2" drill with the tube clamped down requires a long work area. In less than an hour, I had removed all the wire up to where the #6 rod was broken -about an inch at a time. I tried 8-32 rod to get around the broken threaded rod as well as heat and attaching an air hose at 100lbs of pressure over night, but the broken rod was not to be budged. I tried hammering the threaded rod out with a 1/4" steel rod from the other end, but it bent the 6-32 threaded rod and forced it out the side of the stator tube. Since the tube was no longer usable, I used a dremel and cut a slit the length of the stuck section and used a dental pick to remove some more wire. Once I got the #6 threaded rod out, I used the 1/4"-20 threaded rod to remove the last of the insulation and wire bits from the tube.

If I were doing this again, I'd be sure to not start drilling until all other options have been discarded. I'd be sure to have a rod no smaller than 1/4" and long enough to drill more than half way from either side. (The last inch is just a stuck as any other inch.)

Sometimes I wish I could give up a little easier, but then again, I wouldn't be at this point if I could.

..yes, that is the entire contents of the stator tube in the dust pan, aside from what blew away, dissolved or when up in smoke -or is now stuck to some threaded rod.


Marvin Gruber
08-24-2013, 10:38 AM
I have two if you want to practice some more. I thought it might be a challenge, believe I'll let mine sit for a while more.


08-24-2013, 09:30 PM
I realize its not funny ...but I can't stop laughing, likely because I've done similar doomed exercises! Marv will get you fixed up...

08-26-2013, 10:46 AM
I found it is easier to feed the wire in without the bullets on the end. I take them off and then resolder them once they are in the tube. If the tube is rusty, I think a rifle brush with lots of extensions might help.

08-28-2013, 02:07 AM
Saturday I tagged along on a field trip to check out some "field-find" TR3s that are so rusted they are being parted out. I got a "new" stator tube, with wires also stuck. It seems if they were twisted, they don't want to come out. But, being a well practiced person, I got them out without too much trouble. But when the top portion that slips into the trafficator finally came out of the tube, the top of the tube came with it. And that's when I noticed the whole thing was for an adjustable column anyway.

Lucky for me, Randy insisted I take one of his spare stator tubes -just in case. Thanks Randy, I owe you.

So today I spent the majority of the day taking apart trafficators. I had the original flooded one, another complete one, and some various parts. That write-up on disassembling is great, and I wish there was a part II (assembly). But I managed, and between all the units, I had enough good parts to make a complete working unit.

Installed in the car, tested, and I have (rear) turn signals that blink and self cancel.


08-28-2013, 09:18 AM
Like my body guy always says "we don't have a problem, we have a situation". So, sounds like in your case it's "situation resolved".

I will be dealing with my similar current "situation" threading the wires down the tube this weekend (again). A while ago I blew out the steering box due to a bone head move I made over tightening the bottom seal plate to try to stop that one last random oil drip. Broke the bearing. Had to remove the column, disassemble, rebuild. Hence why restorations take sooo long...

08-28-2013, 12:23 PM
I found it is easier to feed the wire in without the bullets on the end. I take them off and then resolder them once they are in the tube. If the tube is rusty, I think a rifle brush with lots of extensions might help.

As far as removing/installing the wires, I did/& will do, what Jerry recommends.

The outer surface of my tube wasn't rusty, except a 5/16" +/- section at the very bottom. But the upper SST "olive?" had worn down it's upper travel-limiting tit & it had been moving up & down the tube & left marks of it's movement.

In addition, the tube (adjustable steering) was partially cracked (horizontally) near the steering wheel end, at the bottom end of the 5" (+\-) long notch. My long-time friend & musical instrument repair man is going to try to silver solder it for me.

I've had good results, during my restoration of TS43919L, using apple cider vinegar to remove rust. Not the fastest process but good results. To remove rust from a tube I visualize cutting a 10' long (Standard Length?) piece of say, 1/2" dia. PVC pipe. With one end permanently capped, insert the rusty stator tube, place in the vertical position & fill with vinegar. Temporarily cap the top end & let set for 2 or 3 days then check the condition. I use a small SST brush. If the rust was severe, you could use Jerry's rifle brush method to expedite the process on the tube ID.