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Preparation for summer traffic


iana
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I’m in the process of working through a few issues on the vitesse with a long list of jobs to do when time permits, however we are going to start using the car to attend local shows etc, this will involve us getting stuck in the inevitable summer traffic, what precautions / checks should I do to minimise the chances of overheating etc. I’ve got no reason to suspect there is an issue, I’m just tying to minimise the chances

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yes most important to keep the occupants refreshed as you wait by the side of the road for the engine to cool down😂 No seriously it is possible to drive a Vitesse on a hot day in traffic and not overheat but you wont know until you try it. Beforehand all you can do is ensure the cooling system is as efficient as possible both inside and out so your coolant should be staying reasonable clear (if it continually goes brown there must be some sludge in there) and obviously the radiator fins must be clean and undamaged.

I recommend that you gradually test the car rather than attempt the Dartford crossing on an exceptional August Bank holiday afternoon! If you see a problem developing come back on here for loads of interesting suggestions to improve cooling.......

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I am gradually trying it, fixing the issues as they arise, coolant looks pretty clean, the heater doesn’t seem to give off much heat so there could be sludge in the system or it could just be that vitesse heaters don’t give of much heat (I’m comparing it to my recollections of a spitfire and a gt6 heater)

Perhaps when time permits the cooling system needs a good clean out.

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The heaters dont seem to produce much heat although the whiff of air that comes out of mine is quite hottish and I see some people do fit bigger fans from other cars. However Ive gone the opposite way and fitted a small valve in the right angle hose from the water pump to the carb manifold which I shut in summer so directing that coolant through the engine and radiator instead. Cant say Ive seen a massive improvement but it all helps......

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matrix  heater valve and pipe under the manifold all contribute to be partialy or totally blocked , my Vit6  heater would melt your socks.

with a plastic fan and 631 unwrapped tubular manifold would idle for hours in traffic and never miss a beat.

simplest cleaner is two cupfulls of  cheap washing soda crystals ,  allow to circulate for a few days and seriously flush out with bottom hose off.

heater valves can be stripped if you pop the rivet out and turn the case to open it up

use a garden hose to purge all the small pipework and heater matrix.

lots of other ideas to replace  the smiths heater valve on www.carbuildersolutions.com   good place for idea hunting

the 7 blade plastic fan is quieter and seems better CFM than the orig metal fan  all a straight swap.

dont start dreaming about electric fans  just not needed unless you realy want one 

radiator tubes do get blocked and you cant  clear these with a garden hose ,

just not enough flow volume...a recore  solves any thoughts , on this one 

Pete

 

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Pete, thanks for the suggestion of washing soda (Ill get some tomorrow from wilko when I pick my oil up) is it a case of putting a couple of cupfuls in give the car a few runs to get it circulating? Will it harm if its left in for a week?

I ordered the car builder catologue when you suggested it previously. It has just turned up so I can now see what’s available.

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not best for a week, soda disolves alloy so a already poor state thermostat hsg. may suffer if left too long 

you could  dissolve in hot water to aid initial fill with a solution   rather than tip in the crystals in the header 

the  catalogue like many are full of ideas you can search around for prices once you spot what you need ...happens all the time 

Pete

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Drove my Vitesse 2L Mk1 Convertible through the hot weather last summer only overheating was my backside on the black vinyl seat. Have had delivered from the club shop 4life coolant as antifreeze needs replacing before next winter, intend to use washing soda and a good flush through before using it.

Also solves the problem of disposal of old antifreeze solution as local recycling sites will not take it.

Regards

Paul

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10 hours ago, Pete Lewis said:

matrix  heater valve and pipe under the manifold all contribute to be partialy or totally blocked

Additional to that beware of thinking that if they are all clear then all is well.  From practical experience last year following Le Mans Classic check the 'pipe' through the inlet manifold is not blocked.  Heater valve and the hose at the front end off and a good prod with some brazing wire followed by a hose flush cleared much of it; being as the compressor was charged will not do any harm to give it a blow through.  That definitely cleared any remnants of sludge, over the inside of the bonnet/radiator and driveway.

Dick

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Well my fan belt I ordered has now turned up at last, it’s fitted and onto replacing the top hose and sorting the heater. I’ve reset the heater value control so it fully opens, however still no heat, so on with the cleaning. The antifreeze solution is clear, any ideas how I can establish what it is or to what rating or is it better to just replace.

One the heater only one hose was getting warm so im guessing it’s clogged up. But whilst I was messing arround with the fan I  felt it blowing air out via the mesh panel on the top of the bulkhead - is that correct as I thought that was where it took air from?

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1 hour ago, Badwolf said:

Watch out for an air lock in the heater pipe at the highest point in the system. Make sure any T pieces in the pipework are the correct way round. I had problems caused by both of these last year.

I get this after draining the system and have to force the air out of the heater by opening and closing the heater valve a few times while driving..... 

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Sorry if my reply is dumb ..as I have no knowledge of the Vitesse ..but have had some experience of an overheating straight-six while waiting for the Dartford crossing. 

1. On that car (an old Jag) the radiator had been flushed out by a garage running a hose on full blast through it.  However, I still felt the car had issues. So I took the radiator out myself and flushed it with shaking and rotating,  all sorts of mineral deposits were freed from sitting in the bottom.   I then went on to replace all the core plugs (done with engine in situ.) and found the same issue.  The cooling system had recently been 'professionally' flushed, but still the bigger particles (many as sizeable loose flakes) of 50 years of accumulated debris were laying in the bottom around the wet liners.  I used a narrow blade to lift out a lot and then a jet-wash to blast inside the jacket (via the core plug holes).   I also removed the heater matrix from the car and again flushed it with shaking & rotating  ..I found a similar situation to that of the radiator.   

2. Not wishing to teach grandpa to blow bubbles in the bath but also.,  every water hose needs to be in very good condition.  It's just false economy to delay replacing a perished pipe verses risking the damage overheating an engine can do.  Perished pipes feel hard, even if you cannot see cracking in the rubber.  Cooling pipes are an obvious but heater pipes are all part of the same system ..and often neglected.  

To me., it's worth working through the whole system thoroughly and systematically.  OK,  it is not a nice job  ..but to be honest it's not expensive and it only needs doing every 20 years !   And the peace of mind is worth it.   

3. I don't know on the Vitesse if is there a radiator ducting cowl (the black cardboard things we need to have on TR's, and are 'sometimes' still fitted on a Spitfire).  If not then it ought to be easy enough a task to make one.  Again I know from experience these make a huge difference.  Personally I'm wary of electric fans because I've heard from experienced garages - they physically block the air-flow to the radiator.  If you go that route then a puller fan (behind the radiator) is better than a pusher fan. On the Jag there wasn't enough room between the engine and radiator so I didn't fit one.  But after my thorough cleaning out and refilling with the correct mix of Blue glycol antifreeze (..recommended by experienced mechanics for the XK engine, but I don't know what's best for the Vitesse) -  I had no further issues nor worry.  

4. Comfort of the occupants.  Again drawing on experience with the Jag.  The problem was the radiant heat from the exhaust rear manifold being little more than an inch-a-half away from the bulkhead,  and then the run of the exhaust immediately under the footwell.   It was nice in the winter months, and bearable at other times when driving along, but a veritable oven when stopped in summer traffic for very long.   The first I resolved simply by using a 12" welding  square pad  (made of an asbestos-like fabric).  I simply wrapped and fastened this to that area of the bulkhead.  Before doing this ; the steel of the bulkhead was so hot you couldn't touch it for a second. After it was fitted I could rest my hand (from the inside) directly on the steel panel.  It was warm but only 30 degrees or so.  I'm surprised it wasn't fitted as standard.   Under the floors should have been a pressed-metal heat-shield, spaced just half-an-inch below the floor. That was missing, but easy enough to make similar and to fit into place. 

I also recall on my old Spitfire MkII the amount of heat coming through where the gear-stick gaiter was split.  One summer, in some desperation, I made a felt insulation pad to sit under the gaiter, to close the gap, and fitted a new gaiter.  It made a terrific difference.

5. And finally, If your car is overheating in traffic then please just pull aside and wait for it to cool.  I did this under the flyover northbound approach to the Dartford crossing where it was busy and hot (!) as hell.   But much better I do that ..and face the embarrassment and 1/h an hour's delay,  rather than risk the engine and then face all the palava of getting recovered from a traffic locked road, and then the massive cost of rebuilding it.   It just not worth the risk and hassle.  These cars were not designed for that sort of lengthy traffic congestion. 

I hope I'm out of order talking of experience with other marques and otherwise something in the above helps.. 

Bfg.

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More anorak info from me.

Vitesse Thermostats - The original rating was 71c but was changed at engine number HB23300 to 82c (GTS 104). The 82c was a choice for all seasons. and applied to all Vitesse models if not all Triumphs.

However, in a hot summer (if we get one) it can help fitting a thermostat closer to the original 71c.  A 74c (GTS 102) is available. Though this would not cure any over heating problem present.

In the winter a 88c (GTS 106) was given as an option on all models of Vitesse.

Dave

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anoraks should use triumph part numbers   Ha !

Dave it makes you wonder where or why they started with a really really cool 71c  makes little sense  in the day a 78 would be ....cool

and good old triumph manuals my 1600 part list 

is mis printed     eng no. are correct but the deg C is wrong  

127745   71C

140970     88C   reckon this should read 82C  ???

146431     88C

keep em running 

Pete

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top hose now replaced, and car ready for a run, since I altered the heater valve cable to allow the valve to fully open, I think the hose was getting sllightly warm so hopefully with a decent run it will free up. If not Ill remove the valve and have a look. Ive decided as I dont know what the coolant liquid is, Im going to replace with a known product (any recommendations?) As Im changing the fluid I will flush the system out and give it a clean with washing soda. Im going to check each hose, is it worth putting a new thermostat in whilst the system is drained?

whats the best thermostat rating for all year round use?

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