1 2
gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/18/21 2:39 p.m.

A few weeks ago my 14yo son asked about getting himself a project car. This was a proud moment, without doubt, but it was also a bit of a shock. BHJ has only just started to show any real interest in shop time over the last couple years.

He was my Power Tour co-pilot in 2018

There was never an obvious turning point in his interest, but I have noticed a gradual increase in his shop presence since that trip.

So, I made a journey to the geographical center of the Bad Decision Triangle, burned some incense and drank a PBR.....ok, I can't back that up, but I did start throwing ideas at the boy to see what sort of cars interest him. Of course I also enlisted a few known enablers to assist in the search, and tomorrow BHJ and I will be picking up a TR7.

I'll leave this for now with the text and a few pics from the ad. Maybe BHJ will join the forum and may post some of his own updates going forward 


chandler UltimaDork
12/18/21 3:34 p.m.

This should be good

Indy - Guy
Indy - Guy PowerDork
12/18/21 4:04 p.m.

I'll be following along as the two of you embark on this journey.  What are your (or his) plans for it?

BTW, my first car was also a TR7.  1976 Red fixed head coupe.

12/18/21 4:12 p.m.


The cars themselves are interesting. The engine, not so much in my experience with two of them.

Then again, I don't see a high HP drivetrain swap as being the way forward with a young driver. 

jmc14 HalfDork
12/18/21 4:16 p.m.

So awesome!  Some of the best times with my son has been working on projects. From go karts to race cars to building our own car.  He's 27 now and a mechanical engineer.  Time flies!  

Have fun! 


TVR Scott
TVR Scott GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/18/21 7:01 p.m.


Neither of my daughters has asked for a project car, but my older one thinks a nice Miata would be a fine way to get to school every day!

Stealthtercel Dork
12/18/21 7:39 p.m.

When the TR7 convertible was new, I got into one at the auto show and some kid about the age of your son on the Power Tour scrambled into the passenger seat. We got ourselves comfortable in the car, and after a minute or so I looked over at him and said, "So, should we get one?"

He looked back at me and replied, "Two."

Looking forward to watching you both have fun with this.

paul_s0 Reader
12/18/21 8:21 p.m.

Excellent, I look forward to following along.  I'd recommend having a good look at the rear trailing arm mounts (apart from all the normal rust spots), they can pull out of the shell even if not too rusty.  On my FHC (to be fair a hard driven competition car / daily driver) I eventually ended up tying them into the cage when I got that fitted.  In mine I had the stock 8v, Rover 3.5 V8, and finally the 16v Sprint lump (twice, after getting conned on a lump with spun big ends by a chap I knew through work).

Stock engine is probably a good learning experience for a younger driver, although be wary of the head gasket replacement, if there's any hint of head gasket symptoms I'd strongly recommend re-torquing it at least.  Water pumps can be a pain. 

For bushes I'd recommend Superflex, other specialists' bushes can fail prematurely.  https://www.superflex.co.uk/products.php?cat=376   There was a lot of aftermarket junk around when I last looked, so be careful.


gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/18/21 9:20 p.m.

Plans at the moment are, get it home and clean. Evaluate the current condition and start a formulating a plan toward road worthiness.
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't already considered engine swaps, but there are a mess of sweat equity lessons to be learned before any hot rodding begins. I am glad at least that BHJ chose a car whose engine bay was designed for a v8 from the jump. Hopefully the car can stick around longer than my first car did, and grow with his changing desires as he learns his way around.

In reply to paul_s0 :
Not having owned a TR7, I appreciate any guidance available! I will have a look at the rear suspension pick-ups tomorrow. What are the common areas susceptible to rust on these cars?

paul_s0 Reader
12/18/21 10:03 p.m.

Everything can rust! smiley  Being a DHC, you've got to have a good look at the floorpans/inner sills. Otherwise they liked to rot the front turrets and inner wings under the seam with the outer wing/fender, the B post/sill (rocker) joint, and any other random points...  '79 should be the 5 spd (and it has the " 5 spd bonnet") which is a sturdy if slightly obstructive 'box.

Stock suspension even new is oh-so-very-soft.   The common after-market sell most things, there's Rimmer Bros in the UK, but they stock some junk too, plus Moss/Triumphtune.  I gave up on getting springs off the shelf, they were just plain bad quality and went coil bound before getting to the bump stops, they sagged, and were just generally bad - in the end I got custom made from a motorsport supplier in the UK.  This did do some rough events though.

One thing to note if / when jumping to V8, they had a different front subframe, mounts were different and they had some internal reinforcement.  That said, mine had the stock 2.0 subframe with mounts welded on for the V8, and never gave me any trouble. 

Cooling - even with a big engine bay and vents in the bonnet, traffic in the summer was always stressful (whether with 4 or 8 cylinders).  I ended up with 2 huge electric fans and an uprated alternator to run them, which just about kept things cool.  The water pumps on the 4 pots are fickle and fragile - there was a reliable electric pump solution coming out around when I stopped running mine.  The 3.5 V8 is stout enough in these, I had 2 failures with mine, one was a stuck-open oil pressure relief spring (complete random), and the other was a stripped dizzy drive gear - at 8pm on xmas eve in heavy traffic on a long trip to see family; I spent xmas day eating a cheese sandwhich and stripping all the timing gear from the engine, called up and old mate and got drunk, then as soon as the insurance companies opened on the 27th transferred the insurance to my 309 Gti and headed off again into a snow storm through Wales..

I'll be honest, some of my info may be horribly out of date - mine finally lost the rust battle back in 2009- ish, having had a good run from 2001 with me, serving as an all-season daily driver and navigational rally car.  


That inner wing rust?   About 2 miles after this photo...


..this happened (that inner wing seam should be straight, it's gone inboard about 1" after a big bump...)

12/19/21 12:02 p.m.

Got up early today left before dawn to go retrieve the TR7. Everything looked ok so now it's coming home with us. 

oppositelocksmith New Reader
12/19/21 1:23 p.m.

Looks like a lot of fun! 

I'm a TR guy from birth (Grandfather ran a dealership).

I don't know 7's well. But look forward to updates. 

Btw, get on the mailing list for The Roadster Factory. They have had a number of sales lately with 7 parts in them.

12/19/21 1:39 p.m.

To heck with the TR7, as a 16 year old, I want that wagon and a girlfriend!


Regarding the TR7 engine, I still have flashbacks to the head and water pump issues.  I seem to recall that the head studs were not actually perpendicular to the block. However that seems to be so obviously idiotic from an engineering standpoint that I don't trust the distant memory to be accurate, The water pump is on the side of the iron block, made of aluminum so welded into the block with no room in the engine bay to beat the thing out of place; hence waterpump can be engine out job. 

The zenith carbs were of a vintage that embraced the worst of the automotive malaise pollution- control- era. 

I seem to recall the Buick V6 as being the easy- button swap for these cars.

Dont recall the suspension geometry being an issue, but pretty much every suspension component was. Sure that can be fixed or lived with early stage.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
12/19/21 2:29 p.m.

Welcome Blockhead!!!!

TurnerX19 UltraDork
12/19/21 2:40 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Your memory is sort of correct about the head studs. One row is perpendicular to the block, and one is notangry. The factory provided slots in the top of the non perpendicular row to unscrew them before lifting the head. Yeah that worked, sure it did...not.

paul_s0 Reader
12/19/21 8:59 p.m.

Yep, the two rows aren't parallel.  The way to get the slotted ones out is with locknuts normally...

Waterpumps... normally come out using a slide hammer, but can be a bugger.   Lots of info on UK based forums, can't help much with recommendations in the states though..

gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/30/21 12:24 p.m.

Yes, I have a problem. No, admitting it has never moved me closer to a cure.

I won't say this is for the Triumph, but I was thinking about the Triumph when FBMP showed it to me

So there's that. 

Maybe it goes in the TR7, maybe it ends up in my T5 fanboi parts-bin collection.

Trent PowerDork
12/30/21 12:45 p.m.

In my experiences rebuilding the front ends of TR8's I am always shocked that there is no bearing in the upper strut mount. It is a metal cone that sits in a rubber taper. Even with lots of grease and the thrust bearing aftermarket "fix" they still don't feel good to me.

But I bet a BMW E30 strut bearing could work with minor modifications


Just an idea for when you get it on the road and start to think about power steering options because the steering seems strangely stiff

gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/3/22 12:01 a.m.


First layer of storage dirt has been removed.
We have functional front brakes. Gotta get an impact driver to remove the rear drums.
The engine will run on brake clean. I watched a couple youtubes tonight about Stromberg carbs to learn how deep I can go cleaning without buying rebuild kits yet...

We also pulled the rubber baby buggy bumpers

TR7 (Forum Supporter)
TR7 (Forum Supporter) Reader
1/10/22 1:11 p.m.

In reply to gumby :

Thats a cool idea with the bumpers, I have seen the mounts shortened and them "tucked" before, but this might be better. Ive also been looking for a rally style front spoiler, but shipping on those from the UK is cost prohibitive.


On cleaning the ZS stroms, I would start by checking the floats and associated needle valve down there. Then clean the passages up to the body. Make sure the diaphram on top doesnt have any tears/leaks. Those are big things to check for that usually get a car running, and doesnt require a big tear-down. 

gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/16/22 8:18 p.m.
TR7 (Forum Supporter) said:

On cleaning the ZS stroms, I would start by checking the floats and associated needle valve down there. Then clean the passages up to the body. Make sure the diaphram on top doesnt have any tears/leaks. Those are big things to check for that usually get a car running, and doesnt require a big tear-down. 

Haven't pulled the bowls yet to clean the needle valves, but I did yank the dashpots and slide pistons so I could hose out the jet passages. That was enough to get us running without supplemental fuel from an aerosol can.

Then we bled the clutch and got here:


AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/17/22 1:34 p.m.


dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/17/22 2:44 p.m.

Always a satisfying feeling! 

gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/17/22 3:35 p.m.
dherr (Forum Supporter) said:

Always a satisfying feeling! 

That feeling when you know you will need to move a project out of the shop because the owner doesn't have any money, but at least now you won't hafta push it wink

TVR Scott
TVR Scott GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/17/22 4:22 p.m.

Dang, you guys make this stuff look easy!

I had a terrifying vision of the car backing straight thru that garage door - I'm glad that's not actually what happened.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners