Author Archives: bowtie6

Refining the Stance

Back to bowtie6’s birthplace for a few suspension tweaks..

First a Little History

If you look at enough TR6’s as I have through the years, you will notice very few (if any) have consistent gaps between the fenders and doors.  To help solve this problem, factory workers at the Triumph factory, added spacers between the TR6 body and the frame.  Quality back in the UK in those days was not great and on top of that, after years of use the frame would sag and the gaps had a tendency to get really bad.  Next time you go to a car show, pay close attention at any “original” TR6’s and you’ll see what I mean.

When Jim and I worked on fitting bowtie6‘s body shell on the new frame, we took a long time carefully fitting the body shell, fenders, doors, bonnet and boot lid.  I remember we actually spent HOURS doing this.  The effort was well worth:  all body gaps came out very consistent.  The downside was we had to make thicker body-to-frame spacers for the rear half of the car.  This essentially slightly “bent” the body and caused the rear half of the body shell to come up and thus exaggerate the distance between the rear tires and the rear fender.

My first set of tires on bowtie6 consisted of four Kuhmo 215/55 tires mounted on those sexy Panasport wheels.  The rears fit just fine; however the edge of the front tires rubbed the edge of the front fenders. I really didn’t any body damage so I found a pair of matching 205/55 tires for the front.  This solved the rubbing problem.

But since building a custom car is not an exact science and one must make compromises, this resulted in the car having a bit of a “rake”.  Not too bad, but when looking at bowtie6 from the side, one would notice the rear tire and fender gap was not ideal.  As a matter of fact, I remember my friend Michael reminding me the rear suspension needed some tweaking.

“Drop it down an inch”, he said.  Yeah, umm-hu.

New Tires

As noted in a previous blog article, this summer I bought a new set of tires.  This time I ditched the staggered sizing in favor of a square setup:  I bought from The Tire Rack, four 205/55 Yokohama summer-only tires.  Well, with the different tire height (remember, we went from 215/55’s to 205/55’s) the rear fender gap got really bad.

Before… (for the “after”, see the last photo at the bottom)

See what I mean?  The rear gap was not quite right.  Well, I was not about to go digging out the body/frame spacers because this would throw the body gaps all to hell.  Fortunately, Jim was able to come up with a small but effective solution to the problem.

Solution and New Stance

When Jim modified the rear axle to handle the coilovers, he made vertical mounting pads for them to bolt on to.  You can see the outline of the pads in the photo above.  Today, we took all this apart and added an extender to the pad.  This extender basically moves the axle about an inch upwards.

And the result is amazing!

Before the tweak…


After the tweak…

And there you have it!  The rake is almost gone.  Jim and I measured the end result and there is about a quarter of an inch difference between the and of the front fender and the start of the rear frame along the center of the body shell.  The gap has been reduced dramatically and overall bowtie6 has a much more refined stance.

Before…


After…


After… (see above for the “before” version)

Can’t Fix Stupid

I am constantly amazed by the carelessness of drivers around me and in this particular case, that carelessness gets upgraded into the realm of “can’t fix stupid”.

Since I have had some issues with my internet service provider’s billing, I decided to stop by one of their offices.  Yes, I tried the phone but they were reluctant to help.  I thought a face-to-face visit might solve the problem, but no.  I was greeted by a very friendly person, but that is as far as it went.  The experience was a complete waste of time because the person on the other side of the counter gave me her minimum-wage’s worth of help.  But, I digress.

Back to my story…

On the way out of the internet provider’s office I noticed this parked sad and lonely SUV with a flat right-rear tire.  What struck me as odd was the ring on the sidewall showing evidence of severe wear.  It is very obvious, this tire had traveled a long distance completely flat.  So much so, that the sidewall material is showing through the rubber on the sidewall.  Just imagine how hot this sidewall got too!

Cord exposed on the tire’s sidewall due to severe under inflation

I suppose I am overly sensitive to stuff like this because I am very particular about the care of my automobiles.  However, in today’s world there are so many people who ignore the basics of automotive care.  Are drivers so oblivious they don’t notice issues with their vehicles?

Flat or under inflated tires are prevalent these days.  I’ve witnessed on several occasions SUV’s (driven by millennial soccer moms) with kids in tow and yet the tires on these vehicles are either low on air or past their prime (sometimes both!).  Then, I can just hear the conversations blaming tire quality when catastrophic failures like the one pictured above happen.

Can’t fix stupid.

Bedliner Clad Jeep

The other day, I walked to a little restaurant next door to the place I work at and in the parking lot saw this bedliner clad Jeep.  The olive drab paint job is indeed bedliner.  How cool is that!

I realize this is not something special.  This Jeep’s owner decided to treat this vehicle to an iron clad paint job that will quite frankly last forever.  Truth is to be told, I did the same thing (except in black) to the entire underside of bowtie6.

Think about it, this is one hell of a cool idea!  I walked up to the vehicle and touched it – the surface was far from “smooth”.  It was quite rough but looked awesome.  So much so, the material also covered all the emblems in such a way they could easily be read.

Pretty cool huh?

Ford Tough

Driving RedRock to work this week, I see this vehicle at a red light proudly wearing a Ford Tough sticker…

But wait a minute…  What is wrong here?  This is not a Ford Tough SUV!!  This is a Honda Pilot.  😯

I get a kick out of the different stickers people plaster on their cars…

  • Stick families (gotta include the dogs/cats)…
  • Holy rollers…
  • “My kid did this or the other special crap”…
  • Political affiliation – these are even more entertaining when comparing candidates vs car/SUV/truck…
  • Hardware (as in guns)…
  • In memory of…

And then, one of my favorites:  the ones that make no sense at all.  As in today’s featured picture making a Honda Pilot “Ford Tough”.  Wonder how the boys in Dearborn feel about that?

As we say here in the South, “Bless his heart”.  But it’s all good, after all he is a Clemson Dad.  😉

Question of Motor Oil Qualities

I decided to change oil on bowtie6 and headed to AutoZone with three jugs of used oil and responsibly disposed of the old stuff in their recycling tank.  Since they let me do this, I try to keep business with them so I picked up an Ecotec compatible K&N oil filter and a 5 quart jug of Mobil1 5w-30 oil.

The fellow behind the counter scanned the goods and said the bill was almost $50.  This didn’t make sense because the posted price for the oil was $29.  He said that is the price with a Mobil1 oil filter; otherwise the price of the oil is $38.  This is a scam because the Mobil1 filters are slightly double what the K&N filters go for.  So at the end, the price is almost the same.

I told him I would pass on the oil; instead I just bought the K&N filter.  This is when I asked him why the price discrepancy because I can buy the same jug of Mobil1 oil from Wal-Mart for $23.

His reply was very interesting…

Before he started answering my question, he informed me he was a previous manager at a Pep Boys and had also been in charge of an automotive department at a Wal-Mart before working at AutoZone.  And, he gave me the “look”, as if to say what he was about to say was the inside dope on matters.  Then, he proceeded to tell me that Exxon-Mobil makes two different qualities of oil.  AutoZone gets the premium batches while Wal-Mart gets the scraps.  Thus the difference in price between the two.

According to this fellow, the AutoZone Mobil1 oil gets certified as premium oil.  He then informed me that the Mobil1 oil sold at Wal-Mart is of a lesser quality.  In his words: “the Mobil1 sold at Wal-Mart is the bottom of the mixing vats and the size of the molecules is not up to par with the batches they sell at AutoZone”.

Hmmmm…  Again, I did some Google searches on this subject and indeed it is a matter of debate.  All I have to say is that given the law-suit friendly climate prevalent in our nation today, why would a huge company like Exxon-Mobil expose themselves to loss by making two qualities of oil branded under the same name?

Yet more food for thought:  what about the Mobil1 sold at Costco?  They don’t sell the jugs, instead they carry the six-packs.  Yet the price is comparable to the Wal-Mart price.  Reckon this has to do with volume of good sold and not necessarily quality?

What are your thoughts on this?

Like my Dad used to say, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one”.  😉

Until next time…