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Re-Living My Youth Inspired - Cant beat the grin on your face on the Open Roads


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All,

I worked on Bertie in the garage yesterday (Sunday 24th July) whilst the weather outside was rubbish.  It had rained and I rarely go out on a wet roads to preserve the car and not tempt danger. GT6 Mik1 have legendary poor handling with the back end's stepping out. But the sudden urge to to drive got the better of me...

I been reading several articles on the forum titled "Re-Living My Youth" and how much joy a classic car brings to us and the memories. (Well for me equal joy and hassle/anexity  when not running well). Having owned a Midget 1275cc and now the GT6, being able to go out for a little drive over the years to escape the pressures of life was brilliant; the car brings me both solace and joy. I always drive the same route and with good straight ahead visibility, I attempt what I call "My Land Speed Record" by and gently coax the speed of the car for a few minutes to make remember it's past heritage of being "a real sports car"  and having the confidence to know that in the future when I need to overtake or accelerate out of danger Bertie going to know what is expected of him...

So here is a short video of yesterday evening drive from my dashcam I live in the highlands most of the roads on the NC500 are like this.  Yes, I talk to my car all the time in the audio and I grin and smile to the point of having a jaw ache in the evening.

Perfect Day!

Let me know what constitues a Perfect day or a memory for you when out in your classic. I always have my deck chair in the car and take a flask / water bottle.

Thank You 

John

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very nice roads.

Perfect day, things going well when working on the car, seems very rare now days. 

Just need to sort out the clutch slave cylinder on the GT6 to get it back on the road. Behind a load of DIY jobs since we moved last year.Graham

Thanks for posting.

Graham

 

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GT6 Mik1 have legendary poor handling with the back end's stepping out. 

Never found that in over 20 years ownership; in fact I'm more worried about the Herald which feels a lot less sure-footed than the GT6. I had both swing-spring and fixed spring on mine; Spitfire spring was wrong and a poor fit, original GT6 spring lasted a very short time so went back to the original and it was fine.

The story I've quoted here before was on my way to a show in the MK1, beautiful long country road that I know well, not a car for miles on the straight ahead so was trying to get the speedo to touch 100... check road, straight ahead, check speedo, check road: clear and straight, check speedo, check road....BEND! The main road turned left and a smaller road went on, giving the illusion of a long straight ahead. I turned left at over 70 and the GT6 never even squeaked. It held the road perfectly. That was admittedly a one-off, my driving was always much more sedate but I never found any problems throwing the car round the little country roads we have over here.

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I would echo Colin's comments over many years/miles of Mk1 ownership.  This is one of those 'facts' that get out of control and become a set in stone/everybody knows thing.  What is certainly correct is that no matter how much effort you put into it the Mk1 cabin will always be a period piece with poor ventilation and plenty heat; I paraphrase a comment from Colin decades ago that you can tell a Mk1 driver as they are in shorts with a damp patch on the back of their T-Shirt in December.

Dick

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36 minutes ago, Colin Lindsay said:

GT6 Mik1 have legendary poor handling with the back end's stepping out. 

Never found that in over 20 years ownership; in fact I'm more worried about the Herald which feels a lot less sure-footed than the GT6. I had both swing-spring and fixed spring on mine; Spitfire spring was wrong and a poor fit, original GT6 spring lasted a very short time so went back to the original and it was fine.

 

Colin, I am still on my first cup of Coffee this morning so may not be fully awake. Your spring changes in the sentence "I had both swing-spring and fixed spring on mine; Spitfire spring was wrong and a poor fit, original GT6 spring lasted a very short time so went back to the original and it was fine." are these comments relating to the Herald?

The GT6 Mk1 handling issue I quoted, I was going to write a topic about my feeling of "less sure-footed"  and the merit of the Canley classic swing spring coversion kit for early MK1, my MK1 frame numbers is < KC5000. I have read that the later factory Mk1  KC5000+ have the Canley enhanced front anti-roll bar and new spring as standard.

https://www.canleyclassics.com/?product=swing-spring-conversion-kits

Considering the GT6 have had several evolution of suspension changes:

Mk1 standard + Late Mk1 Mod to the canley specification

Mk2 being completely different with Rotoflex

Mk3 suspension changes being more akin to the original Mk1 and getting rid fo rotoflex ec

All the above redesigns most of been done to address some issue?. I am open for both help and a thrashing from the forum for any misquotes. 

So I would like to know if the canley kit is worth the effort and peace of mind, tyre pressures is my also my next area of focus.

Thank you 

John

 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Top Banana said:

Considering the GT6 have had several evolution of suspension changes:

Mk1 standard + Late Mk1 Mod to the canley specification

Mk2 being completely different with Rotoflex

Mk3 suspension changes being more akin to the original Mk1 and getting rid fo rotoflex ec

No, you've mis-read or misunderstood.

There were NO changes to the suspension during Mk1 production. All Mk1 had the same fixed rear spring with thin front anti-roll bar.

The Mk2 had a very much improved Rotoflex rear suspension. This is a pig to work on and much harsher on the ride.

The Mk3, for most of its production run, had the same suspension as the Mk2. Only on the very late ones (last 9 months?) did they "cost reduce" it by fitting the swing spring with long shafts, as developed on the MkIV Spitfire (early MkIV had swing spring with short shaft). To accompany the lack of rear roll resistance from the swing spring, the front anti-roll bar was beefed up. This is the "Canley spec".

But as Colin says, the "terrible handling" of fixed spring swing-axle cars (Mk1 GT6, Mk1-3 Spitfire, all Heralds, Mk1 Vitesse) is mostly a myth. If they're badly set up, or fitted with poor tyres, or with a flat tyre, then they can be dreadful. If not - if they're properly looked after - they handle perfectly well for normal use.

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1 hour ago, Top Banana said:

Colin, I am still on my first cup of Coffee this morning so may not be fully awake. Your spring changes in the sentence "I had both swing-spring and fixed spring on mine; Spitfire spring was wrong and a poor fit, original GT6 spring lasted a very short time so went back to the original and it was fine." are these comments relating to the Herald?

Morning John, I'm ahead of you and on my 4th coffee... it's really vile stuff bought in error but as the man said, I've started so I'll finish.

I was referring to the GT6; it came with the fixed spring and after two years I replaced with a Spitfire swing spring and spring box, but after a year or so found that the spring (it might have sagged) was hitting on the rear brake pipes and distorting them - the end 'eye' was a large loop and rubbed on the rear wheel cylinder, as opposed to the tighter GT6 version - see photo. I bought a proper GT6 Mk3 swing spring, NOS and it lasted a very short number of years before also sagging and rubbing on the rear axles, which I only discovered after seeing strange marks on the halfshafts. I went back to the original fixed spring and refurbished that, and it was still on the car when I sold it. The Spitfire spring bottomed out quite a bit too, especially with a passenger. If I'm correct the Spitfire spring had six leaves, the GT6 had five and the original had eight. The Heralds just have their original springs which on the convertible is 11 leaves, but until I get used to the way it drives I'm taking it easy.

DSCF2143.jpg.e54953b7e3962f9f5c820f0494dfb186.jpg

 

 

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This canard about small chassis Triumphs and their poor rear road holding goes all the way back to their introduction.     Advertising them as having 'independent rear suspension' was true, compared to the old solid axles, but when the motoring journalists' learnt that they had swing-axles, their pens lit up!  They all 'kbew' that a swing-axle is prone to jacking up, extreme camber change and poor adhesion, so of course!  They all set out to provoke that effect.

And again of course succeeded, usually by extremely bad driving, which as trained motoring journalists' they would NEVER have done normally.   Lift off and brake in a corner, no wonder they could get them to jack up 

But in normal use no one ever does that.    And, Triumph produced the brilliant swing-spring that made jacking up ever more unlikely.

And, a few mods can make it so even for an original car.   Raise the spring to lower the car so that suspension movement has much further to go to get into jack up territory.   Etc.     For motorsport cars that effect just doesn't exist.

"Legendary poor handling"?   Yes, a legend, like dragons and fairies.    Get out and drive your Triumph as it should be driven!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 03/08/2022 at 13:29, JohnD said:

"Legendary poor handling"?   Yes, a legend, like dragons and fairies.    Get out and drive your Triumph as it should be driven!

John, thank you for the quote "Yes, a legend, like dragons and fairies" (still smiling now as I write) I would like to explore this subject a little more with other forum members' cooperation.  

I have reflected above on the merits of changing anything on my suspension. @Colin Lindsay provided a detailed reply about his experience with his GT6 suspension changes. Fixed Spring to Swing Spring and back to Fixed spring and @NonMember feedback to Colin's reply (See quote inserted below) supported the view of keeping the suspension and other items like tyres in good working order.

On 03/08/2022 at 11:36, NonMember said:

But as Colin says, the "terrible handling" of fixed spring swing-axle cars (Mk1 GT6, Mk1-3 Spitfire, all Heralds, Mk1 Vitesse) is mostly a myth. If they're badly set up, or fitted with poor tyres, or with a flat tyre, then they can be dreadful. If not - if they're properly looked after - they handle perfectly well for normal use.

So I am currently focused on "they handle perfectly well for normal use" and what that means to me. To my knowledge, I have not had extreme "Jack up" incidents where I have felt life threatened and had to change my underwear when I got home. When I wrote my original quote at the top of the post "GT6 MK1 have legendary poor handling with the back end's stepping out"  I was referring to me driving on wet roads where I know my car acts like a different beast and I feel less "sure-footed" about it handling with instances where the back has stepped out. Likely the tyres losing grip on long bends that are getting tighter or of course applying power and getting a wobble from the back end. 

I noted that another GT6 owner in the forum is working on the ride and handling (see link below) I only refer to this because of the description/vocabulary of "the ride" of his car and what others have said in their experience. (Again we seem to be pre-occupied that things can be improved with so many suspension upgrade kits being available). This forum post made me reflect on the following:

https://forum.tssc.org.uk/topic/10427-gt6-roto-rear-shocks-comment-invited/#comment-159786

If I am the single occupant in the car then the car feels very "Hoppy" at speed depending on the surface and that is when I feel the back end gives and I miss the odd heartbeat. The other day I drove with a passenger (So, two six-foot Fat Boys around 19 stone each). The roads were dry and the car handling matched my expectation for the first time (I am coming up to 3,000 miles, being a GT6 owner). Only at one point did my passenger notice a drift wobble of the rear with him saying "you recovered that before it became an issue". With the extra weight on accelerating turning out of a corner, I didn't get the normal body roll (which feels like a torsion twist) or skipping out of the rear. And no evidence of the suspension bottoming out on a 70-mile journey, Eureka I thought "I need to carry ballast in the passenger seat" when out alone. 

So when reading the forum post "GT6 roto rear shocks comment invited" I was drawn to the ride description when adjusting the shock absorbers settings and the ride ranged from Wallowing to Hoppy. My car with a single person is in the Hoppy range and feels I am on top of the road and when I have more weight I am part of the road verging to the wallowing and I feel sure-footed.

I would like some help on what "Good tyres" are for the best grip and what tyre pressures to run on. I have never doubted the front end of the car it goes where you tell it to with no obvious under-steer and never over-steer. I read a lot about GT6 tyre pressures on the forum and I know there can be great debate.

Please see the pictures of the tyres on the GT6 they are virtually new and came with the car. I had the wheels laser tracked and the suspension cambers front and rear a spot and needed no adjustments with shims or anything.

Tyres are Nexan and 155/80 R13 on all four corners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TB,

What do you want from your GT6?   Less "hoppy" when driven solo? Less likely to lose adhesion in a wet corner?  

What the extra weight does is put your rear suspension in another part of the arc, further away from excess positive camber and Jack up ( which you are not getting!)  The "sack of potatoes in the boot" mod has often been suggested, but unless you like spuds ....

A better mod is to raise the spring, by a spacer and longer studs.    They are available from the Usual Suspects in various heights, 1" is popular.   This has the counterintuitive effect of lowering the car, but more importantly, making the camber more negative, just as does passenger ballast.

Then your dampers.  As Steve suggests, they may not be useful anymore.     Certainly, the OE installation for tubular damper allows and excessive increase in angle as they compress, which reduces their functional effect.    Better is to use the chassis extensions sold by the USes that mount them more vertically.

Other mods are available, such as a much stiffer spring (less movement in the suspension, so less tendency towards positive camber), an LSD, adjustable dampers and even complete redesign of the rear suspension!    Some/all of those have Ben used especially in racing GT6s, that I don't imagine you want to emulate, but prove how "legendary" are the shoet-comings of the swing axle/spring set up!

If you don't believe me, just Google for "GT6 racing"!

John

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The Nexen is a tolerably decent budget tyre and yours look fairly new, so that shouldn't be a problem, although their wet performance isn't as good as some.

I tend to run my tyres moderately hard - 30psi all round - to keep the sidewalls stiff. At lower pressures, the tyre can squirm more on bends and gives the feel of drifting probably more than it really is. However, being fairly hard does mean you get to feel more of the road surface.

As John says, if the rear is riding high (with positive camber) then a lowering block is an option. I wouldn't go as far as 1" - that's a fairly significant lowering and while I'm sure it's great on a circuit racer, isn't a good idea for Scottish roads.

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Wow, a lot to learn and consider thanks @JohnD @NonMember for the technical insight. I want to pay a little homage, so the Wayne's world sketch comes to mind. In my case (singular) I am not worthy 🙂 see YouTube clip 

Steve P with his experience of the dampers, mine could be at end of life...

Off to do some google searches on suspension basics "Camber","Caster" etc. And hopefully - reread JohnD suggestion as to what I want out of my GT6.

 

 

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Pete, Methinks you exaggerate the flexibility of spokes and their malign influence on handling.     Sure, racers don't use them, but I don't think TB wants to go there.    And spokes look cool!

TB, I recommend the works of the late Allan Staniforth.   His "Sourcebook" and "Competition Car Suspension" are out of print but lots on Amazon.    Some ask hundreds of pounds for a copy - don't go there, but take it as a vote on his worth!

John

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6 hours ago, JohnD said:

Methinks you exaggerate the flexibility of spokes and their malign influence on handling.     

that all depends on the maintainance of a good wheel      most are driven till they are just wobbly 

all wheels bend (distort) with  cornering  loads   . spokes  alllow the rim to float as  being a more flexible design.

how some powerfull  more fanatical cars manage is down to ignorance or the needs of deep pockets 

there is a good deal of blurb in the WSM about  spoke maintenance    and runout andd wobble tolerances are less on a wire than a steel 

so they need an eye  on them to keep true  and Tight 

Pete

 

 

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Thirty years ago I was talking to Brian Angliss of Autokraft (they were part funded by Ford and took over AC Cars) and he said when they dropped a 7 litre block in a new Cobra the wire wheels didn't fare well. He changed them to alloys. 

Iain 

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11 hours ago, JohnD said:

What part of three-and-a-half times the capacity of a GT6 makes that relevant?

True, wires on cars with our power, torque and weight are fine it's all down to esthetics. They worked on road spec E Types but are a pain to clean!

Moral of story should you wish to drop a 7 litre into a Herald don't use spoked wheels. 

Iain 

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