Tag Archives: suspension

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)

Rear Suspension Reassembly

In the last couple of posts I’ve described the reason for taking apart the rear suspension on bowtie6.  I had to send the coilovers back to the manufacturer for servicing and sure enough, after a few days they arrived back in as-new condition.  This morning, I started cleaning all the hardware and springs followed by a dry-run:  installing the coilovers on the rear suspension (without springs) and going through the entire range of motion of the axle using my jack.  I just wanted to make sure nothing was binding or out of alignment.  All checked out, so time to quit farting around and get down to business…

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Rebuilt Coilovers

The Man in the brown truck delivered a box containing bowtie6‘s rear rebuilt coilovers.  This stuff is like jewelry – too bad they are not in plain sight!

Needless to say I unpacked them and they are perfect.  Sure, there are a few scratches from wear and tear but overall they are mechanically back to as-new condition.  The rebuild price was not too bad:  $99.00 + shipping.

I can’t wait to get the springs assembled back on them and then mounting them back to the rear axle.  I’ll have a new post with pictures this weekend.  Stay tuned!  :mrgreen:

Coilover Repair

After nearly 25,000 miles on bowtie6 and countless number of rebounds the rear coilovers finally gave up the ghost; time for coilover repair.  In order to get them apart, I had to do a partial rear suspension tear down.  My cousin Jim designed all the mounts so they could be easily disassembled – “…remember, everything will eventually be replaced or serviced at one point or another”, he says; “…it doesn’t matter how nice it looks or how great it performs, if it is not easy to disassemble and put back together, it isn’t worth a damn!”.  Wise man, my cousin Jim.

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2,400 Miles and Counting…

I’ve been able to rack up about 2,400 miles on bowtie6 so far.  And, it has been a blast!!  The frame is rock solid, and with the ECM tweaks the engine is so much more responsive.  Yet we have been able to see 28mpg in city driving no less.  Not too bad considering the tune is now more so towards performance rather than for economy and I’ve been really putting my foot into the electronic throttle pedal.

A few weeks ago, I found a vendor that makes an awesome coilpack cover for the Ecotec.  You can see this in the above picture.  Four screws with spacers hold the water-jet cut aluminium cover and very nicely hides the valley between the cams.  Looks trick.  I was thinking about unbolting the intake, cover and valve cover and perhaps having this all crinkle coated in black.  Maybe later this year…

Along with the great news, there has been on unpleasant development:  a bad wheel bearing on the new rear axle.  It seems like we got hold of a crappy “foreign” made wheel bearing and it started making a racket last week.  New ones have been sourced and I’ll be taking apart the axles this weekend.  All good – the diff fluid needed to be changed after “break in” so this should be a fun Saturday.

I’ll have pictures and a full report once we get the new bearings installed.