View Full Version : TR4/4A Newbie given a tr4

05-18-2005, 07:07 PM
Hello, I'm a newbie in many ways. I was just given a 1963 Triumph tr4. It needs my tlc, before I get to go play in it. I need help. The stick shift knob is gone. What is the layout, and how many gears do I have???? Please help. I can't wait to get her out on the road. The Emergency brake is locked up on it. After I get that repaired, and the usual mantinace things done I get to finally play.
Thanks Tiny86 /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

05-18-2005, 07:21 PM

If it is a stock transmission you have 4 gears:

1 3
2 4 R

Reverse is a little tricky as you have to pull the shifter up as you head towards the right and then down.

How does one manage to be given a TR4 ??? Please add me to the list! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

05-18-2005, 07:32 PM
When I turned 16, I almost bought a tr7, but let the jerk I was going out with talk me out of it. My brother in law heard my story, and has been storing his. He wants it to be driven, so of course I volunteered to take that job. Conditions are I drive it, and fix it as I go. Works for me. The engine still runs great. The interior needs tlc, it will need a rub down, and paint job. Just starting to rust. Got to stop that now. I feel like a teenager again, excited to drive!
Thanks for your help.
If he gets another I will pass on your name, hee!hee! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

05-18-2005, 07:42 PM
Right on!

I'm all for making it safe, making it run, and enjoying it!

There are plenty of trailer queens out there but the ones that really make me smile are the ones a little "rough around the edges".

Is the e-brake stuck open or closed?

Oh.. I forgot also. Did your brother happen to mention anything like "overdrive" ??? Some TR4's came with an optional overdrive that will give you an extra 2 or 3 gears - shift pattern is the same but there would be an electric switch somewhere that turns it on and off. On 4's I think it is on the steering column; on 3's it's on the dash.

05-18-2005, 08:01 PM
The e brake is stuck on, not released. Yes he did say something about the overdrive now that you say that. Another newbie quesion, inside on the floor there are 2 holes, one on each side. What is this for? He is ordering new carpet, and having the seats redone. I like this he pays for it I enjoy it. I have to pay for the regular mainetance things. I keep teasing him telling him I am putting hot pink on the seats, with matching pink dice. The dice I will have to do though. You should have seen him cringe /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif I will go outside and look for the overdrive button. Thanks

Geo Hahn
05-18-2005, 08:55 PM
The holes are for the original jack. It goes down thru the hole and has a hook that catches a slot on the frame... you then jack up that side of the car from inside. A very effective arrangement.

To do this you need both the jack and it's ratchet handle (available from the usual parts suppliers).

The holes should be closed off with rubber plugs to keep dirt and water out.

You may be able to back the brakes off a bit by turning the square-headed adjustment screw on the back side of the rear brake backing plate (around 10:00 on d/s, around 2:00 on p/s if I recollect rightly). Backing them off will enable one to pull the drum and inspect.

You do know how to release the brake? It's the opposite of modern cars in that you pull back and let go *without* pressing the button. The button is pressed to set the brake. It's called a 'Fly-off Handbrake'.

05-18-2005, 09:16 PM
Unfortunately every place I have called for parts so far has been no help. My brother-in law is sending me a couple of special books he said I could order out of. As soon as I get it off the trailer I will need to see if the rubber plugs are in it. If not that will be my first thing to order. I will try your secret method, it would be great to walk out there and do it, especially since the guys tried for 4 hours. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/angel.gif On an american car I would have said definately I knew how to do it, but I am learning there is a lot different about this car. I grew up with mostly guys, they were all mechanics, so I had 2 choices, learn or be bored. I chose to learn. It has helped me out a lot in life. I have to say I'm the only girl I know who has changed a tire with heals on, and not worried about breaking a nail and getting my dress dirty. Sometimes you have to just do it. You have been a great help!!!
Thanks so much

05-18-2005, 09:50 PM
Parts are available but not from most local stores.

go here and order the latest free catalogs:

www.mossmotors.com (https://www.mossmotors.com)

www.the-roadster-factory.com (https://www.the-roadster-factory.com)

www.victoriabritish.com (https://www.victoriabritish.com)

There usually is some guru with 50 cars in his back yard somewhere close... I just don't know of any in Michigan offhand.

Somebody out there will pipe up though.

05-18-2005, 10:08 PM
See if you can join the local club. (or nearest British car club). Having us online is helpful. I also had a barn find that was given to me, and I got a lot of first person advice when two members came over to give me a hand. You will be surprised what you can learn at a meeting, when the parking lot is full of these cars. Mine isn't on the road yet, but I learn more each day.

05-19-2005, 12:13 AM
Hi Tiny86,

Lucky you! Put me on the list, too, for the next freebie... especially if they'll continue to pay for major parts and repairs while I drive it!

Geo is correct, the function of the parking brake is opposite of most modern ones. To set it, pull back the lever and then push in the button. To release, just pull back a little on the handle while not touching the button, and then let the handle go. This was done for racing - "standing start" road races and rallying - more common in Europe than in the US.

However, if the car has been sitting for a long time with the parking brake set there is a possiblity the brake shoes have "frozen" to the hub. Just backing off the adjuster might free them, or releasing the brake and rocking the car forward and back, or pressing on the brake pedal relatively hard a few times. If frozen, you'll need to get the shoes to release from the hub before it will be possible to pull the hub and inspect inside.

Sometimes drum brakes just stick or sometimes frozen brake shoes are a sign of a leaky slave cylinder. The fluid leaks onto the shoe lining, causing corrosion on the inside of the hub, which adheres the shoe to the hub.

If it's been sitting for a while, I'd strongly encourage a thorough check of all the braking system, front and rear, before taking the car on the road at all.

You might already know this and it sounds like you have a plan... After checking out the brake system, changing all the fluids and rubber parts such as hoses and belts are high priority bringing a "sleeper" back to life.

Sounds like your brother is helping with parts and info. Also, if he doesn't provide one, you might want to pick up a Service Manual for the car. There are some special maintenance considerations with older cars. For example, the gearbox fluid should not be modern GL5 gear oil. It will eventually damage the gearbox. GL4 is the right stuff, but is a bit harder to find.

By the way, you mentioned the car is a 1963. That might be true, or not. My 1964 TR4 was actually built in late 1962. It was common in the 1960s for car titles to relfect the year they were sold and licensed initially, rather than the actual build year.

This can be very important since some parts are different from year to year. There were changes to the suspension, engine and many other systems throughout production. When you go to buy parts, you'll need to refer to the car's chassis number.

That number also helps determine the actual year of manufacture. Tt's stamped on a plate under the hood, on the lefthand rear "shelf" (by the brake/clutch master cylinders and wiper motor). For example, my '62 is CT17602L. You'll find a similar number. Early cars only have the one number on the chassis plate, 1963-manufactured and later have a few more numbers indicating interior and exterior color codes.

The "L" at the end of the chassis just indicates the car is lefthand drive, built for export rather than sale in the UK. A TR4 built for sale in England or other parts of the UK where they drive "on the wrong side of the road" will have an "R" suffix after the chassis number.

Actually, the vast majority of TR4s were exported and relatively few (less than 2600 out of 40,000) were righthand drive and stayed in the UK.

One other thing about the chassis number, if there is an "O" at the end after the "L", it indicates the car originally had overdrive installed at the factory. It was also common for this to be added at the dealership, plus is a desirable option people still like to add, in which case the chassis number might not end in "O" even though the car has an overdrive.

FYI, the overdrive "switch" is a lever similar to the turn signal lever on the column, but on the righthand side of the column. When driving, pushing down on the lever will put the car in overdrive on 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears (some installations only operate overdrive on 3rd & 4th, but most TR4 overdrives work on all three). It's sort of like having 7 gears, but you can drive the car without using overdrive, if you wish, just shifting the 4 usual gears.

To give you some idea of when your car was built:

1961 - 2470 cars, approx. CT0001-CT2470
1962 - 15,933 cars, approx. CT2471-CT18404
1963 - 10,082 cars, approx. CT18405-CT28487
1964 - 11,518 cars, approx. CT28488-CT40006
1965 - only 250 TR4s were built, ending at CT40304, before the TR4A was introduced and the chassis numbers jumped to CT50001 (sequential thereafter, but sometimes using a different prefix: CTC to indicate independent rear suspension). Approx. 28,000 TR4A were built up through 1967.

Hey! Hot pink seat covers would be fine! It's your car, have fun! (But be aware that TR4s are increasing in value and originality is usually a big issue among buyers.)



05-19-2005, 02:37 AM
Welcome to the British Car Forum mischugas. It's good to have another excited newbie. You'll notice quickly that no matter how long we have owned our LBCs (little british cars,) we still act like we got them yesterday...That's to say that we a)get very excited when driving them or talking about them and b)we still make rookie mistakes when working on them!

I'll add my two cents on a few things:

1)On the ebrake -- it's mechanical, (literally pulls the shoes to the drums) so if you get the rear wheel off and release the lever, if the shoes are stuck, then you'll see slack in the cable. If this is the case, you'll need to see if it is the mechanism that is frozen, or if it is the wheel cylinder which has failed. This happened on my TR3, and it was really easy to pull the drum, take off the cylinder, hit it with some WD40 and a scotchbrite pad -- put it together again...and they've worked wonders for two years.

2)Consumable parts, such as cap, rotor, points, condensor, spark plugs, radiator caps, oil filter all can be sourced through your standard corner auto parts store.

3)Pick up a good book about TR4s just to learn about them. I'd suggest Piggott's "Original TR4." It's part history, part tech guide, part restoration guide.

4)Order all the catalogs tonight online. Jim gave you the links -- there are free catalog order forms on each. Besides giving you access to parts, the Moss and Vickie Brit catalogs provide exploded views of major assemblies -- so they are like tech manuals.

5)You'll need to learn the idiosyncracies of TR4s...Your carburetors have oil in them. (Unscrew the little plastic knobs on the top of each SU carb, and you'll see that it's like a dipstick -- there should be fluid in there -- like ATF or 20WT oil, but just up to that bottom line.) Your battery is probably "positive earth," which means the car uses the positive terminal of the battery set to ground on the body. It won't help to pump the throttle when engaging the starter, since the carburetors are "constant velocity venturi" type -- which means pumping the gas adds no fuel, rather it just opens a butterfly valve to allow more air in. (Just pull the choke and punch the starter button!) Also, you have two settings for headlights "Dim" and "Dimmer," and one speed for the wiper "too slow." Your oil filter is a cannister type--impossible to change without a mess. Your oil drain plug is square. The majority of the other bolts are 12MM and 13MM, with some 10,14 and 15s in there for good measure.

Oh -- and some quick vocabulary:
Tonneau=cockpit cover

And just one reminder of a universal truth: brake fluid eats paint (unless it's silicone!)

Again, welcome, and enjoy the craziness /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

05-19-2005, 10:03 AM

The guys have all given you some great advice, for starting out on this, so I'll just extend my greetings to you for now. Its great to have you join, and to see you getting so involved with an TR4 that needs a little TLC. Good luck on getting it on the road.

Simon TR4a
05-19-2005, 03:52 PM
WElcome, Tiny!
Good advice above, to which I will just add that there is a local Triumph club in Detroit and another just across the border in Sarnia, Ontario, the "Bluewater" club.
Always lots of friendly faces and free advice, and you can usually go to a meeting to try it out without any pressure to join.

05-19-2005, 06:21 PM
How do I find out about the clubs in my area? I really appreciate all the help you guys have given me. Now if the rain would stop so I could get out and try some of the suggestions I will be really happy. I think I will go play out in the rain if this continues /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif No have to be safe. It will be much easier when I get it off the trailer and into the garage. I feel like a kid, and someone stole my candy /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif I know have a little patince. I have been reading around on some of the other posts, and viewing the awesome cars. Gives me hope. Thanks!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/driving.gif

05-20-2005, 07:50 PM
Hello all,
Ok so I lied. It's going to need a little more than a little tlc. I finally got nice weather /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif I worked on the car for 5 hours. Where is a good place to get all new carpet? It was totalled. You guys would have laughed at me trying to figure out how to get the seats out. After about 15 minutes I finally did, it was so easy it was hard /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif I am getting excited about getting this back on the road. Thanks again for all the welcomes, and the helpful suggestions /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/savewave.gif

05-22-2005, 12:51 PM
Try this for a local club.


I would look into the Roadster Factory for carpets. They have a wide range to choose from.


I wish I could find fove hours straight to work on the car. Maybe I need to get my butt off the computer....

Geo Hahn
05-22-2005, 01:49 PM
I would look into the Roadster Factory for carpets. They have a wide range to choose from.

[/ QUOTE ]

TRF's carpets fit great but I have had a major problem with the Gray loop carpet they sell. I mention it here because that is the correct carpet for the TR4. Looked good at first but sadly has turned a strange shade of orange in areas exposed to sunlight.

I am not the only one to encounter this and report it to TRF.

They sent me a replacement piece for the worst area (propshaft tunnel) but other areas are turning orange and I expect I will be replacing all the carpet long before it has shown any significant wear.

Oh, I tried the spray on dye but that looks just as strange... gray but a very flat color lacking the luster and depth of the original material.

05-22-2005, 03:41 PM
i belive i speak for alot of ppl when i say ................now post a photo of it. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

05-26-2005, 06:07 PM
This is my second try to post the picture. If it doesn't go through I might need some tech help. Hopefully you will be able to see the picture, I did get the pink dice /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
My brother in law in coming here this weekend to see the progress, so it had to be a priority /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
I ended up getting the carpet from Jc Whitney's, It should arrive in 3 weeks. Has anyone had experience with them?
I went to the 3 web sites posted and ordered the catalogs, even recived one already. Again thanks for the great welcome, and all the helpful ideas.

Geo Hahn
05-26-2005, 06:17 PM
Since I see no picture here's some help. Couple of ways to do this, easiest is to enter your message below, then check "Preview Reply" and submit. Use the "Browse" button just below your message on the Preview Post page to select a file on your computer for attachment. Then click 'continue'.

05-26-2005, 06:39 PM
Post deleted by tiny86

05-26-2005, 07:55 PM
ok try this link, and let me know if it works.
eveidently the computer is smarter than me today.

Bill Redd
05-26-2005, 08:30 PM
Yup, saw it that time!

The red on the hood adds a nice touch!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

05-26-2005, 08:42 PM
That is the part I get to learn to sand with. When I was younger I helped a guy do sanding, and painting, so back to my past I go. If I can't do it without screwing up the car I will take it to a pro. I get much more satisfaction from things I accomplish though.

06-02-2006, 02:41 PM
Hey guys it has been some time since I updated on here. I have been slowly working on my TR4 over the winter. I just order a tune up kit for it, and a few other items to finish this off. It should be ready for a paint job in 2 weeks. Then the fun begins. Is there anywhere I can go to view colors of other Triumphs already painted? For those of you who followed the post before My brother-in-Law gave me the car, and is paying for the repairs, and I get to drive it. What a deal huh? I jockingly told him I was painting in light pink. The cringe look on his face was worth it. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif I am thinking of a blue color. Any sugestions?
Thanks again for the help on where to order parts and stuff.

06-02-2006, 03:05 PM
Hi Tiny,

I missed you last time around, want to welcome you to the list! On my website I have a gallery of TR4s, TR4As and TR250s that you could look at for color ideas.

06-02-2006, 03:49 PM
Hi Tiny,
You can try the photo archive on this site. There are a lot of pics there. Enjoy your TR4, it is my favorite Triumph model possibly because my first was a 4.

06-02-2006, 09:04 PM

This has the colors for Triumphs in 1963. Not all of these were available on TR4s, but if you're looking at blues, you can get Powder or Wedgewood -- both are similar light blues and are very pretty on the TR4. Signal Red is nice -- very racy. British Racing Green (dark green) is popular, but personally, it's not my favorite color for TR4s.

TR250s (the same body as TR4s with a 6cyl engine in 1968 only) had dark blue, and it is very elegant looking.

There's no reason that you have to go with a factory color. Go with what you like. As a general rule with rounded 1960s cars, light colors like powder blue, pale yellow, etc.. tend to look "pretty," loud colors like red and bright yellow look "racy," and dark colors give a more "luxurious" look.

Personally, I like Wedgewood or Powder Blues for TR4s.

06-03-2006, 08:31 AM
Congratulations! And you've certainly come to the right place for help and advice.

This may help you out a bit - The original TR4 Spare Parts Catalog:

The thumbnailed version...

And the entire thing in a big PDF file...

Good luck with your new TR4!

06-03-2006, 09:17 AM
Thanks so much for everyone's help. I looked the the colors of the other TR4's, it inspires me to get mine done even faster. The best part was when I ran into the pink one /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif I printed it off and emailed it to my Brother-in-law. (At least if I painted it pink I would be assured to keeping it /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif) Thanks for all the great help. I think I found the blue I want. The pdf file was great. I have the original manual with the TR$, but this was so much better. I will try to take more pictures as I go here and get them posted. I can't wait until I am able to drive it down the road:)
Thanks again
Tina H.
Jackson MI.
1963 Triumph TR4

06-03-2006, 01:01 PM

If it's any consideration.... the TR4 that just recently sold for $97,000 at auction was Powder Blue. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif


06-03-2006, 02:06 PM
Welcome Tiny. Whoever siad you don't get something for nothing was obivious quite wrong. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif

06-03-2006, 03:12 PM
Please don't tell mike, my brother in law that, I'll never have a chance of really being able to own it. After all the hard work I have put in it, I think I would have to kill him for taking it back. The good thing is his wife is on my side. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif I have spent most of the day out there today taking off the bumbers, and other metal pieces. I want the paint job to be done right. My knuckles are sore from bashing it to many time, but the reward will be great. That what I kept saying as I bashed the nuckles, and tried not to cry like I was 2 /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif

06-09-2006, 10:04 AM
Hi, Just a thought. There some good sources for parts in the UK. If you don't find them here. try Rimmer bros. Yes it can take time and a little more money, but getting that obscure part is worth it. I am lucky to have family in England and they have been great in getting parts if I need them, including those funny air cleaners and sleeved thermostats,etc. Good luck and have fun, the TR4 is my favorite too. My hint is get a spin on oil filter adaptor. Cheap and easy. Makes oil changes a snap I change mine every 500 mile os so. Yes thats a lot but my car likes it. Does your car have SU carbs or Strombergs. If you have a hose that goes from the valve cover to the carb air cleaner I have some air cleaners that will fit. Be glad to welcome your TR4 with a pair. Got a bunch from home. Will send a photo to show what I mean if you like.

06-09-2006, 10:10 AM
tiny, you probably know this already, but, if you try to pull on the wrench, when possible, instead of push you will have better control and help save those knuckles.