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Essential brake fluid guide

 

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By Beth Judd
20th July 2018

Gertrude a 1969 Mk1 Triumph 2000 Estate

 

Adam, Technical Support Coordinator based at our London headquarters, not only talks the talk, he and his family very much walk the walk with multiple classic Triumphs between them. Their much loved 2000 Estate recently received some well-earned TLC. This is the story of Gertrude as told by Adam himself...

Karen, my wife, and I bought GKX 310G (Gertrude) back in 1993 for the princely sum of £900. She was to be used by Karen while her Mk3 Spitfire was having some work done. These big saloons were not worth very much at the time we bought the car but we found it very practical for holidays, shopping or just picking up compost from the garden centre. They have increased in value over the years as they are beginning to get rare due to lots of them having been banger raced in the 80s and 90s.

Gertrude was in fairly good condition but had an automatic gearbox fitted (3-speed B/W) with 17 mph per 1000 rpm, she screamed at motorway speeds! My first job on the car was to change the gearbox to a manual overdrive; due to having many friends with these cars already, second hand spares were plentiful. The gearbox with J type overdrive was free because it was in my mate’s way. The rest of the parts, propshaft, peddle box, master and slave cylinders, flywheel, clutch and bits and bobs were bought from various friends second-hand. The clutch I bought new, that was the most expensive bit!

 

Adam blog image 01

Credit: Image source - Adam Chignell. 2018

 

Karen used the 2000 every day for commuting to work all of two miles from where we lived at that time. We then started a family and needed to move house. Karen had left her job to be a fulltime mum but being at home all day drove her mad so she wanted to go back to work soon enough. A job was duly found in Slough so a 60 mile round trip was endured buy Gertrude, this taken in her stride with no real issues other than regular servicing and check overs.

Then came the day that a careless moped rider decided to change lanes without looking, this made Karen swerve which sent poor Gertrude into a spin. This resulted in damage to the nosecone and front wings, along with the rear valance where the bumper had pushed it in. This was luckily repaired and covered by our insurance company due to having agreed value on the car. Therefore, Gertrude was back on the road and being used again for the daily commute.

 

Adam blog image 02

Credit: Image source - Adam Chignell. 2018

 

I can’t remember the exact year but at some point it was time for an engine rebuild and new sills to be fitted along with other bodywork issues to be addressed. Rust was starting to bubble up on the front valance, lower wings and the sills were ‘hanging’ so work was needed. I took the engine and gearbox out while the body work was under way. I had machining to the block and crank done with the whole bottom end of the engine balanced. A Mk1 Pi camshaft provided an extra 10 HP over the standard 93 HP. Once back together, Gertrude went very nicely indeed.

 

Adam blog image 03

Credit: Image source - Adam Chignell. 2018

 

Fast forward to 2013. The windscreen pillars had started to bubble and get holes in them, this in turn was allowing the rain water to run into the footwell and bulkhead plenum. The front wheel arches were now bubbling up too, so we decided that the windscreen needed to come out and the front wings needed to come off so that I could cut the rot out and get new metal into the pillars. We then discovered that the front inner wheel arches were also rotten. I felt like I was chasing Mr Tin Worm around the car, never catching him.

During this time my son passed his driving test, so work stopped on Gertrude to help him with his Herald. When I did finally work up the enthusiasm to start again on Gertrude she was very poorly. She now needed a new drivers side floor pan and outrigger, these were duly bought and work started, cutting the old pan out to let the new pan in. I only had weekends to work on her out in the elements on the driveway so I would pray for good weather.

 

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Credit: Image source - Adam Chignell. 2018

 

Then the day came when my wife Karen said to me, “enough is enough, we need someone to do the car properly”. There was only one company that I knew I could trust to do the work, that was Enginuity in Acton. Mark, one of the owners, came around to our house to look at Gertrude and said he needed to inspect the car on a ramp to see what was involved in putting her back together.

Enginuity came with their low loader and took her away to their workshops where the full assessment could take place. I was somewhat shocked to see how bad Gertrude had got from sitting on the driveway under a cover for four years; the only thing holding up the boot floor was the exhaust pipe. The bottom of the door skins were showing signs of bubbling, the sills also were starting to show deterioration along with the other floor pans. The decision Karen and I made was for a full restoration to be done.

 

Adam blog image 05

Credit: Image source - Adam Chignell. 2018

 

I started looking for new old stock panels, not many of these are about now but I did find a pair of new old stock outer sills and front wings, they still had the Stanpart sticker on them. Lloyd Read , a club enthusiast and avid owner of these big saloons, had become so fed up with the lack of panels for these cars that he decided to invest in having repair sections remade. Lloyd managed this project whilst holding down a full-time job. I contacted him and he was able to supply rear wing repair sections as well as middle and inner sills. One piece of the puzzle was missing; the boot floor. Enginuity and I looked at a Triumph Stag boot floor and thought that we could make it work, and so one was purchased.

 

Adam blog image 06

Credit: Image source - Adam Chignell. 2018

 

Work on Gertrude started in July 2017. The sills were tackled first and revealed some bodges done by previous companies. Enginuity worked hard for six months, getting the panel gaps correct and having to fabricate panels where repair sections were unavailable. The section around the tailgate area was also rotten, even a hole in the roof! This was the cause of the boot floor rotting out, the tailgate aperture didn’t touch the tailgate seal (which is glued to the tailgate) the rain must have just poured in! The body shop had to reshape the aperture by extending the area where the seal should touch. This had to be done with the glass and seal refitted to the tailgate.

The C pillars were bubbling up and needed to be fabricated with new metal. New door skins were offered up with the seals fitted to the doors to get the correct alignment. Gertrude was now starting to progress with new metal throughout the shell. Other areas were discovered to need attention, the rear spring platform had a pinhole that I was told could be repaired, I decided to just buy a new one, which was duly welded in.

 

Adam blog image 07

Credit: Image source - Adam Chignell. 2018

 

The front valance was unobtainable so a one was fabricated. The sidelight/indicator units were bought as new old stock and offered into place to get the alignment correct around this area. The arches of the front wings usually have a return lip to the inner arch, this is a water trap which inevitably results in rust, I asked if this area could be boxed in and Waxoyl used for protection. This was the approach that was taken and it worked well.

Once all of the bodywork was completed, Gertrude was pushed to the workshop to remove the engine and gearbox along with all the ancillaries in the engine bay, ready to go into the paint shop next door. Here all the old paint was removed down to bare metal, a painstaking, laborious job. Small amounts of filler covered up some of the slight imperfections in the panels and primer applied.

Meanwhile back at home I was busy refurbishing the heater box with a new matrix and seals, sorting out new parts for the engine bay as its quicker than rubbing down and painting stuff.

 

Adam blog image 08

Credit: Image source - Adam Chignell. 2018

 

Finally, 12th February 2018, Gertrude’s shell came out of the paint shop, I took a week off work to go over and make a start on fitting her back together.

Day 1: Install the wiring loom. Clean-up original grille, headlight cowls and rear light lenses.

Day 2: Fit new bumpers, rear lights, fuel tank and filler.

Day 3: On went the grille, sidelights, windscreen wiper motor, test circuits… fix pesky niggles with the indicator stalk and horn.

Day 4: Time to put the engine back in! On the 2000 the best way is from underneath, this involves removing the cross member, it’s only ten bolts and it’s out. The luxury of a two post lift and electric hoist enabled us to get the engine and gearbox back in without any issues. Next was to fit the fan and radiator with new hoses, then the headlights and cowls. Oops!... take the headlights back out and fit the wing mirrors, the only way to get to the nut on the bottom of the wing mirror is through from the front where the headlights fit. Refit the headlights.

 

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Credit: Image source - Adam Chignell. 2018

 

Day 5: The doors are out of the paint shop and are fitted by the body team with all the locks and glass, meanwhile I’m fitting the Brake servo and master cylinders with new lines.

Day 6: On went the exhaust, changed the fuel lines and fitted new fuel hose, doesn’t sound like much but it takes time to shape the fuel pipe correctly.

Day 7: Total brake system overhaul.

Enginuity finished off fitting carpets and the rest of the glass during the following week and bled the clutch and brake systems. They then started the engine and took her for a test drive around the block on trade plates. The outcome was all good news. On the Saturday morning I had booked her in for an MOT to which she past with no issues!

Gertrude now has a new lease of life and occasionally is on commuter duties!

 

Adam blog image 10

Credit: Image source - Adam Chignell. 2018

 

Adam blog image 11

Credit: Image source - Adam Chignell. 2018

 

 

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