View Full Version : TR2/3/3A Resto (almost) finished - first driving impressions

10-05-2014, 10:31 AM
After 18 months in the garage, I finally got to drive a TR3 for the first time 2 weeks ago. I'm new to TR's, so this is all a new experience for me. These are my newbie impressions:

-You guys weren't kidding when you said the steering was heavy!
-The car feels very solid, no need to avoid manhole covers like in a Sprite.
-Lots of bottom end grunt, like driving a V8 - but then not much after that.
-The brake squeal is the worst I've ever heard.
-I feel very tall driving the car, and I'm not. Eye level is almost to the top of the windshield, and I'm sitting in the lower of the 2 seats (the one with the reused old seat spring) with no wood spacers on the rails. I suppose it's something I'll need to get used to.
-It's got a funny little wiggle when getting on or off the throttle hard. It's not terribly disconcerting, but I think it has to be coming from the back end since there is nothing unusual happening getting on or off the brakes. I have rubber bushings all around, perhaps a leaf spring eye moving?

This is the second car I've restored, but it is just as rewarding as the first. Thanks to everyone on this forum for helping me to understand how to put it together! Here are the obligatory before and after photos:


10-05-2014, 10:54 AM
Love the look Andy, very, very pretty.
Not sure what's what with your brake squeal - never had issues with any of the three big TR's I've owned.
Agree about the available low end "grunt"...one of the engine's best features.
The 3's steering feel compared to the Sprite's, yeah it's going to seem heavy.

10-05-2014, 11:07 AM
It has been awhile since I've driven a stock 83mm engine, but none of those things sound normal to me. I've driven TRs with really heavy steering, in fact it seems that most of them are that way; but when everything is just right, they aren't that bad. I can literally parallel-park with one hand. And all that low-end grunt should hang in there until at least 3000 rpm. Power peak for a stock engine is just below 5000 rpm (4800 IIRC), so if you're feeling the power drop off before that, something isn't right. Tired valve springs and worn cam lobes can subtly rob high end power, as can a restrictive exhaust system.

Two things that have worked for me in fighting brake squeal:
1) Use a file to taper the leading edge of the pad a bit where it touches the rotor
2) If that doesn't work, try some of the "cut to size" soft aluminum shims between pad & piston.

Obviously, make sure the original anti-squeal springs and hardware are in good shape. Scuff up the surface of the rotor while you're at it.

10-05-2014, 06:45 PM
I changed the toe from 1/8" in to zero, maybe that will help. It seemed OK with a quick run up the road. I tried and I can steer it around the driveway with one finger, but it isn't easy.

I think the power is OK - I don't really know what the RPM is as my tach is jumping all over. Sometimes it steadies out and it is accurate there, but it's useless while driving. I've tried some graphite in it and I'll keep working on it. I know it can't have pressure from the cable.

One more question - is there a trick to get the bonnet catch to stop rattling?


10-05-2014, 07:18 PM
Andy, don't you have the thin shim behind the pads, they even have little arrows on them. They work, but I still use a thin smear of anti seize grease on both sides and if you don't have the shims use it n the back of the back pad. Autozone and others sell it in little packs for doing brake jobs.


10-05-2014, 10:28 PM
No, I don't have those. I'll add them to the list.

10-06-2014, 02:28 AM
Hi Andy,

"Eye Level to the top of the windscreen"?!?! That should`nt be!! Typ. when sitting in the car; Your "Eye Level" should be somewhat above the "Scuttle" not the "Windscreen". You should feel like your sitting / driving in an oversized "Go Cart"!! Pretty cool feeling by the way.

How tall are you?

Your TR looks great by the way.


10-06-2014, 04:06 PM
I was gonna say I'm 5'-11" and my eyes are probably 2-3" above the cowl.

Car looks very nice.

10-06-2014, 07:05 PM
Thanks all. I'm 5-6 and used to sitting low I suppose. "Scuttle" and "cowl" and are the same thing, and refer to the metal part of the body where the "scuttle vent" lives, do they not? If you are only 2-3" above that, then eye level would only be about the top of the steering wheel! I think that would be more like 4-11, or less.

I appreciate all the positive comments, I obsessed a long time over the color combo!

10-06-2014, 08:36 PM
I'm 6'5'', and my eyes are about mid-way between top of steering wheel and top of windshield, with the seat as far back as it goes. I feel very comfortable and secure when I drive.
By the way, your car looks beautiful.

10-07-2014, 01:17 AM
Andy, Check the seat padding.
One thing I was told is "one does not sit ON the seat, one sits IN the seat". Upholsters tend to overstuff.
(I was a pia with my guy about this!)
1959 TR3

10-07-2014, 01:29 AM
I've also seen some replacement seat springs that sit way too high. As noted, they should compress a long way.

I'm 5'10" and my line of sight is much closer to the steering wheel than the windshield frame.

PS, forgot to mention before. If all else fails, try a different set of pads at the same time as roughing up the discs (to a non-directional finish). Some pads just insist on squealing no matter what you do.

10-07-2014, 01:33 AM

Man, You should be peering just over or maybe under the steering wheel. Yes; "Scuttle vs. Cowl" is referring to the same thing; Top of the dash.


Thanks all. I'm 5-6 and used to sitting low I suppose. "Scuttle" and "cowl" and are the same thing, and refer to the metal part of the body where the "scuttle vent" lives, do they not? If you are only 2-3" above that, then eye level would only be about the top of the steering wheel! I think that would be more like 4-11, or less.

I appreciate all the positive comments, I obsessed a long time over the color combo!

10-07-2014, 07:02 PM
You're lucky. I sat so low my eyes were under the steering wheel (TR6). I had to raise the seats almost 3" with wood spacers in order to see over the wheel. Even now, I have trouble seeing the right front fender without raising up out of the seat. I'm quite short as you can guess - about 5'3".

10-08-2014, 07:07 PM
OK, since the height thing is what everyone's talking about, I've got some accurate measurements. These were taken with a digital level zeroed to a vertical 48" yardstick alongside the car, as I sat in it, so they are accurate.
Top of Cowl (at driver center) 35"
Top of windshield bottom channel chrome 36"
Top of steering wheel 38.5"
My eyeballs in driver's seat 43"
Bottom of windshield top channel chrome at driver center 44.25"
Top of windshield rubber seal at driver center 45.625"

So, my eyeball level is 1.25" below the bottom of the windshield trim, and 4.5" over the steering wheel. I'd feel more comfortable "centered" - I'm not used to sitting so high. The seat upholsterer was YT, and it has a used passenger side original spring with broken coils replaced, covered with a 1/4" thick rubber door mat sewn to the coil (I did this to prevent any chance of springs poking through and the springs don't break in the back) and 3/4" of new foam (not the nasty original 50+ year old weave.) The seat rails are bolted directly to the floor with no wood spacers.

At my size, the springs don't compress a whole lot, and I think the door mat spreads the load evenly so I don't sink into the middle.

Your mileage may vary because we're all built differently, but that's my view out of my TR3.

10-08-2014, 09:30 PM
I sit much lower than that. The original seat is very soft. If your but isn't bottoming in the seat pan over large bumps, then your cushion is stiffer than stock.

10-15-2014, 07:57 PM
Your paint looks just like mine. Not quite as dark as British Racing Green and with a very light metal flake that gives a hint of sparkle in the sun. I am 6-3 with no issues. 34872