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dherr
dherr HalfDork
2/28/20 8:56 a.m.

So I purchased a 1965 TR4A rust bucket in 1989 and began a 10 year journey into restoring a car from the frame up. Car needed floors, rockers, inner rockers, fenders, trunk floor,front valance, you get the picture. I pulled the body off the frame, restored the chassis, did the body work and paint and built a "hot" TR motor for it. I went for the "rally" look at the time as there had been a feature article on three identical TR4's built for road rallys that had the look I was wanting to capture. After getting it on the road in 1999, I went down several paths for more power including a vintage supercharger and then finally installing a Rover V8 and 5 speed.

I enjoyed the car for many years, as the V8 made the highway a joy and it was quite fun on a back road. Mentally it had been fully restored, but somehow despite me not getting any older, we find ourselves in 2020 and the realization that my restored TR4A needs a refresh.......

The V8 installation as done in the early days of my confidence in doing crazy things like engine swaps. I did not have the tools I have today and there were compromises along way. The biggest issue has always been the leaf spring suspension. The solid axle TR4A should be ideal for this swap, but despite multiple traction bar styles, pinion snubbers and other attempts to fix the leaf spring wind up when you start off in 1st gear aggressively, it has always been a compromise. I know a 4 link would solve the problem for good, but the stock TR4A axle is not really up to the power level and does not have an LSD, so I would really need to start over with a new diff with LSD, cut it down and build a new suspension system or go another route.  I have been scrounging parts for the past few years to fix the issue and keep it a sports car. One of the unique things about the TR4A is it had two rear suspension options: solid axle leaf springs and the TR4A/5/6 IRS. The solid axle and IRS frames are the same except for a bridge piece for the rear springs. Having parted out an IRS car, I had all the pieces I needed to convert to IRS. The key ingredient is a Nissan R200 LSD, which is a bolt in using a Richard Good kit. It did not hurt that a guy on the Triumph forum had posted that he had cut the back of a TR6 frame that had been wrecked in the front but had rust free, solid rear mounts for the diff and coil springs. Made my search for those parts super easy.

So the project has started with the following goals:

  • Replace the entire rear suspension with the R200, Triumph IRS suspension, and coil over shock upgrades
  • Update the mounts for the T5 transmission and my Rover motor mounts
  • Clean and detail the engine compartment and do some minor rewiring for the alternator
  • paint the engine compartment again but keep the overall patina from the last 20 years as the car still looks great and is 100% rust free as it has always been garaged since restoration
  • Install a standard top as the Surrey top was sold a few years ago (these Surrey tops sell for $3,000+)

I intend to fast track this project as I need the garage space for other projects. Last weekend I pulled the engine and got started, body is on blocks will have pictures and updates shortly. I know every last nut and bolt on this car, so not a difficult project and the results should be quite fun to have the car back to 100%.

 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
2/28/20 9:03 a.m.

In!!

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/28/20 9:04 a.m.

Awesome!!!

Stampie
Stampie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/28/20 11:44 a.m.

I didn't realize that R200 was going into something as cool as this. 

dherr
dherr HalfDork
2/28/20 12:08 p.m.

Thanks Stampie, you were part of the plot to get me going on this car again! So as I said, this will be a fast project, so I am working on it over my lunch breaks and evenings with my wife traveling most weeks. So I have cleaned up the R200 and made the modifications necessary to use the Good Parts kit to install it in the TR4A frame. I also have rebuilt hubs, new u-joints and the trailing arms sandblasted and ready for paint.  There may be some MR2 CV axles also in the picture as I have that project going at the same time (slowly).

Lifted the body enough to let me work on the frame modifications, will pull the rear suspension afterwork. You can see the previous attempts to tame the rear axle in this picture.

Engine is out, so lots of clean up and will look to fix some leaks along the way before it goes back in the car.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
2/28/20 12:23 p.m.

The final piece to this puzzle that makes this all possible. Clean rear bridge pieces from a TR6. The back piece is the same on a solid Axle TR4A, so I just need to weld in the mounting pins and will then use it and the Good Parts kit and the R200 to finalize the location of the coil spring bridge piece on the frame. All the welds are on the outside of the frame so pretty easy to reach and weld.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/28/20 2:27 p.m.

Yowza!

Indy-Guy
Indy-Guy PowerDork
2/28/20 3:31 p.m.

In reply to dherr :

You've mentioned this project in other threads, glad to see it moving forward.  I've got a lot of questions as I'm embarking on my own V8 TR4 adventure too. Did you do some reinforcement on the front lower A-arm mounts? If so, can you snap some pics while the engine's out?

dherr
dherr HalfDork
2/28/20 3:47 p.m.

Yes, it was time to document it, happy to help with your project. I did not reinforce my front lower mounts, it is all TR4A, but since my V8 weighs the same or less than the TR4 engine and transmission, I did not make any changes to the front suspension. Is your car a TR4 or TR4A? 

Indy-Guy
Indy-Guy PowerDork
2/28/20 4:00 p.m.

In reply to dherr :

It's a TR4.  I just pulled the body off the frame last weekend.  Here's the current state of things:

It looks like the rear section of your frame is substantially different than mine.

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/28/20 4:13 p.m.

And the award for "best use of a pool table" goes tooooooooo

TVR Scott
TVR Scott GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/28/20 7:57 p.m.
Stampie said:

I didn't realize that R200 was going into something as cool as this. 

You're like the R200 supplier to the stars.

Stampie
Stampie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/28/20 8:03 p.m.

In reply to TVR Scott :

If you're going to be a pusher at least sell the good stuff. 

dherr
dherr HalfDork
2/28/20 8:14 p.m.
TVR Scott said:
Stampie said:

I didn't realize that R200 was going into something as cool as this. 

You're like the R200 supplier to the stars.

He literally was sending me pictures of pulling it 48 hours after I asked if anyone knew where I could get one!

dherr
dherr HalfDork
2/28/20 8:27 p.m.

So the wife gets back tomorrow from her business trip, so needed to get more done tonight as we have plans for the weekend. So pulled the rear suspension, brake and fuel lines and exhaust tonight. So much easier to work on a car that was restored verse working on an old rusty car!

Empty rear section of the car, just needs cleaned up and paint removed for welding in of the spring bridge.

I'll have some parts to sell after this is done, as someone will want an old TR4A solid axle over on the Triumph forum.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
2/28/20 8:29 p.m.

In reply to Indy-Guy :

Yes, definitely TR4, with some mods. That LS is going to light up your rear end! I suggest taking a look at doing some kind of 4 link so it can't lift the nose of the diff. Your engine makes twice the power of mine!

dherr
dherr HalfDork
2/29/20 4:55 p.m.

Spent the afternoon using the old varnished gas that I drained from the tank to wipe down the entire frame. The nice thing is it is still fresh from the sandblasting and paint from 1999 so black paint under the dirt and grime. I'll weld in the spring brace and then hit it again with some chassis black to make it all really nice again. Nice thing about solid axle TR4A's is that they are typically in great shape on the section of the frame that has the holes to mount the semi-trailing arms, where IRS cars can often have bad frames. So in my case, frame is excellent and the holes with the reinforcements in the frame tube are already there.  I am using Good Part's  adjustable trailing arm brackets so I can set the camber correctly. I am also using his Nylatron bushing kit to keep everything nice and tight, especially with the V8 torque. I also worked on the engine compartment, cleaned up all the grease and oll residue from the last 20 years. No pictures as there is not much to see. I also sandblasted the spring brace, just need to cut it off the old frame section and then can start messing with where it will mount. For the rear mount, the solid axle TR4A already has the holes drilled in the chassis member for the studs for the diff, so just need to remove them from the piece I got and it will be easy to place them using the Good Parts bracket to hold them aligned for welding. I painted all the parts so far except for the aluminum trailing arms as they need to have the bushings pushed out first.

 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
3/1/20 8:04 p.m.

That is a great shade of green. Cool project. 

dherr
dherr HalfDork
3/2/20 12:29 p.m.

Thanks, believe it or not the color is something like a late 80's Ford F150 color.

So had an hour over lunch and cut out the mounts from the salvaged frame pieces. Came out pretty cleanly, looked like have the welds were slag from the stick welders they used back in the 60's.

Set the pieces on the frame and we now have an IRS TR4A frame!

Next steps will be to use the Good Parts rear bracket to weld in the rear pins and supports in alignment and then I can use the differential and the Good Parts front mount to set the location of the spring tower, tack it in place, pull the diff and finish the welding. Quite happy with how these pieces came out fitting!

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
3/3/20 10:50 a.m.
dherr said:

The final piece to this puzzle that makes this all possible. Clean rear bridge pieces from a TR6. The back piece is the same on a solid Axle TR4A, so I just need to weld in the mounting pins and will then use it and the Good Parts kit and the R200 to finalize the location of the coil spring bridge piece on the frame. All the welds are on the outside of the frame so pretty easy to reach and weld.

That piece looks familiar.  I chopped up a TR6 frame that was bent in the front but saved the differential cross-member bridges.  If that's it, I'm glad it's serving a good cause.  Heck, I'm just happy you found a good part.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
3/3/20 2:14 p.m.

Thanks Joe, I am 100% certain it came from you as the guy I bought it from runs the DC autocrosses and had a garage space he said he shared with several people.  Can't remember his name, but he is friends with Apexcarver. Only one of us would cut a wrecked frame to save a good piece for someone else. I will be welding in the reinforcements to the bridge piece and welding it on the car by the weekend. Should have the R200 in the frame and can start putting this back together. 

dherr
dherr HalfDork
3/4/20 12:19 p.m.

Assembled the R200 last evening and installed the Good Parts brackets. Nicely engineered kit, well made and super strong!  Finished up the brackets and sanded the paint clear for welding. I also welded in the spring brace diff pin places on the sides and re-welded the top of the diff pins on the spring brace just to be sure they are strong. Mounted the brackets, spring bridge and temporarily installed the R200 so I could use it to place the spring bridge on the frame in the right location and alignment. Basically it can only go in one place, but this lets me be sure the diff pins are straight and aligned. Tacked everything in, will pull the diff tonight and do the final welding. 

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
3/5/20 11:08 a.m.

Are you boxing in the front diff mounts and welding washers/plates over the tops of the pins?  The pins are notorious for pulling out even with just stock power levels.  Also, the brackets underneath take a pounding when the diff torques and eventually crack, thus boxing them in.  I even welded some reinforcements on the rear pins, but these seem to be less stressed.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
3/5/20 12:34 p.m.

I welded the tops of the pins and boxed in the front diff mounts. Definitely advised, the welding is pretty weak here and I am not surprised they flex over time and eventually crack. Should be much stronger now.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
3/18/20 8:38 p.m.

Back from my business trip, all trips are canceled past June, so should be able to make a lot of progress in the coming weeks....

Installed the semi-trailing arms and been fitting the Ratco rear shock in coil kit. Requires some relief of the holes in the trailing arm where the coils fit. Happy with the kit, pretty reversible if it does not work out but much cheaper and better than the original lever arm shocks and much less than the alternative kit from Remington TR. This kit has the option of adding a rear roll bar that connects to the stock shock mounts at the rear of trailing arm and bolts across the spring bridge, which I am likely to purchase and install before I wrap this up. I had a sway bar on the rear previously so will wait to see how it handles, but I might just go ahead and install it. I am also tempted to weld a brace between the front and rear towers, still considering this as I have seen this done and can't see how it would hurt.

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