The TR 250 Rebuild

This is the car soon after I bought it .Do not adjust your set! yes its leaning to the left! The body looks pretty good but was worse than this photo suggests, the front left is sagging due to a bump to the suspension and was not right. Due to the total lack of rust in the frame, before rushing out for a replacement I first decided to try getting it sorted at a body shop. All went well and after some welded repairs to the front wishbone mounts, the chassis looked good. By now I had completely refurbished the brakes and had just got the engine running. The engine was in great shape, all I had to do was clean out the fuel system and it started right up, pretty amazing after a 9 year lay-up! Before starting on the body I did all the Mechanical work including refurbishing the suspension.

This is inside the footwell, most of the brown stuff is the undercoat! There was very little rust here and all I did was strip the surface rust, epoxy up a couple of pinholes and give the inside a good coat of rust inhibitor paint. Underneath there was a nice coating of a waxy type underseal (and oil of course--- its British) which was scraped off before getting a steam clean and Ziebart Underseal. I waxoiled inside all the cavities myself.

Here's where most of the time went in the bodywork. The LH inner wing, front valence and bonnet (hood) were replaced, the only other welding was some patching around the battery case, a patch to RH rear sill and patches to the sills under the front wings (a notorious rust trap!) The outer LH wing was in bad shape but the cost of a replacement made me attempt repairs. I learned a lot about panel beating and welding on that! In the end, the weeks of work on that wing alone, gave me the most satisfaction of the whole restoration.

Here's a rear view of the car after the boot and engine compartment had been painted. The car was in great shape behind the doors. I used an epoxy undercoat and made sure not to sand through by using a different colour hi-build primer, stopping to shoot more primer if I ever saw the red epoxy. A base/clearcoat system in the original royal blue colour. The clearcoat was fairly slow drying but I was talked out of an accelerator because of my inexperience in spraying. Next time I would use one, as sags and runs were not a problem. Dust and a swarm of flying ants were.

You can just see the trusty MIG welder borrowed from Jim Knight at British Racing Green who was a great help during the whole project.

This is just before I fitted up the wings and doors which had the inside surfaces fully painted and the first top coat only applied on the outside. I completed the painting after fitting the panels. as you can see my single Garage is a bit tight so prior to the final coats I stripped the garage bare and washed it down, I didn't forget to extinguish the gas pilots either! You can also see the "test" sprays on the wall, The wife was REALLY pleased about that!

This is the finished interior, the wooden dash, steering wheel and seats are original but all the dash pads were rotten and crumbling away so all were replaced, along with the interior panels and carpets. In the end every rubber part on this car was replaced. 9 years of storage saved the metal but not the rubber!

This is the Nearly finished engine bay, with new paint and shiny bits.

Whats done?

6000 mls on a Full rebuild to TR5 specs. New pistons and rebore, crankshaft turned and new bearings installed. New TR5 camshaft and followers,two row timing chain. Block decked and head skimmed to get 9.5 compression ratio. Head ports matched and (lightly) flowed, Head was also cc'd to balance the combustion chambers. Valvestem oil seals fitted to handle extra oil from accessary rocker oil feed line. New oil pump, spin on oil filter and oil cooler with steel braded lines and thermostat plus uprated oil pressure relief valve. Engine was fully balanced by engine shop.
Twin Su carbs fitted, (have original strombergs) sports exhaust header and twin pipe exhaust sytem. There are 2 Oxygen sensors for carb tuning
Original radiator cooling fan is supplimented by electric fan.

New clutch at time of engine rebuild but later installed a Toyota release bearing. Gearbox fully rebuilt with all new bearings and synchro hubs. Overdrive added at same time but standard switch on steering wheel not used, prefered switch on gear lever. New clutch master and slave.
Rebuilt propshaft, rear driveshafts and differential stripped, inspected and found in good condition. all diff bushings replaced.

All new polyurethane bushings, aluminium steering rack bushings. Front and rear anti roll (sway) bars, uprated rear springs and new standard front springs. Front shocks are spax adjustables rear shocks new original type. 72 spoke painted wheels about 4 years old and 195/65/15 dunlop tyres. New disks and rebuilt calipers at front, skimmed drums and new pistons at rear. All hard and flexible brake lines replaced, new master cylinder.

Everything works, New starter motor. Pertronix electronic ignition in a TR5 distributor which was tuned to suit the engine mods.

Whilst this is not a professional paint job its better than 90% of the "professional" jobs I see.. The body was repaired and some panels replaced (inner front wing, bonnet), rest was panel beaten and lead filler was used sparingly. Epoxy primer went on first and I was careful not to sand through it. The effort was worth it as there has never been any pop throughs or rust of any kind on this body. The drain pipes for the scuttle were extended to exit outside eliminating a famous rust trap. There are 1/2" holes in the end of the sills (rockers) plugged with rubber plugs to allow entry for waxoyl treatment which is repeated every 2 years or so.
The frame is solid with no rust, the lower front wishbone mounts were repaired and strengthened and there is a good repair to the diff front right mounting pin

Basically all new, at the start I went with new carpets, all panels were replaced then all the foam pads including steering wheel and bridge. Last year I replaced the seat covers and foam. The original seat backs are shaped with wire formers which break and poke out through the rear of the cover damaging it. New wire formers are not available so rebuilt them with wooden forms on wire springs this looks and feels like original but will never damage the covers.New Stayfast hood with zipout window.

How much?

I got the Heritage certificate which confirmed that wire wheels were originally fitted to this car when new. They had been removed at some time and it was sitting on old TR6 steel wheels. The first thing the wife said about the newly painted car was "The wheels look ratty" Now in my book, that was permission!... They cost a LOT of money .... she is very careful about what she says now!

The restoration breaks down roughly like this:-

$800 paint and underseal

$400 body panels

$1200 interior and hood frame parts

$400 stayfast hood

$500 rubber bits !!!!

$1000 wheels & tires

$700 Gearbox rebuild (including adding Overdrive)

$600 tools and consumables

$2000 Mechanical, suspension and electrical

$1,750 Engine rebuild

$800 SU carbs and sport manifold

too much more to list

Total parts come to well over $10,000 (until I stopped counting! there's really more than that in the car) and I did all the work myself, so be warned! darling I'm just ........ HONEST........there must be a missed decimal point somewhere.. ......Of course I didn't spend that much........I know we need a new kitchen........yes we could do with some new carpets.......don't hit me.....where are you going??? YOU can have the kids just .................DON'T TAKE THE CAR!!!..................

Joking aside, Irene still puts up with me, I really don't know why!