bowtie6‘s Frame Failure – Revisited –

I have a few pictures with the rear section of the original frame on bowtie6.  This frame was as about as pristine as could be found when I bought my car several years ago.  There were gussets made and welded onto the frame, as well as reinforcement plates.  Every weld on the frame was gone through and reinforced.  Yet with all this work, after some 15,000 miles the frame failed.

The following pictures show the seam that failed.  Granted the rear is far from stock, but this goes to show that you can weld on the original flimsy frame but this does not guarantee it will survive.  The original frame might be OK for the anemic tractor engine that powers “original” TR6’s, but if you are going to put some real horsepower (and torque) in front of a TR6 then you might want to rethink if the frame will hold up or not.  In my case, sadly the frame gave up the ghost.

The picture above shows the Nissan R200 “long-nose” differential we used.  This diff came from a 280ZX and worked very well – however, it was quite heavy and did not have posi-traction.  The ratio was quite nice – actually a 3.90 to 1 – and this was the reason we chose the 3.80 to 1 for the solid axle currently being installed.  The picture above does not show the coilovers however, that can be found on my “old” website.  The failure happened on the left side (the passneger’s side) and the following picture shows more about it…

In the above picture you see the crack on the tower that supported the coilovers.  Here is another shot:

As you can see, the top section of the frame “lifted” off the rest of the beam.

Finally the above picture shows what the rear of bowtie6 looked like.  The diff is in the centre, with the custom made halfshafts.  The Nissan diff is held in place by the two bridges, the dual exhausts can be seen as well as the rear sway bar.  This was a nice setup and would still be in place except for the crapy Triumph TR6 frame giving away…

Seriously folks.  No joking aside.  I spent a considerable amount of resources on this “original” frame with the work we did to it.  Yet, it failed.  No, I did not abuse my car but I did get down on it in such a way that I could enjoy the upgrades.  For anyone remotely thinking about doing an engine swap using the original frame:  think and double-think what it is you want to do.

The original diff will never hold up.  Eventually after you put enough miles on it, it will fail.  Ditto for the frame.  Once again, the section that failed might have not been “original”, but we had a pristine frame to begin with.  I hope these article and pictures are of value for you.


5 thoughts on “bowtie6‘s Frame Failure – Revisited –

  1. Rupunzel

    Happened across this note about the TR6 frame failure. Kinda remember years ago a discussion on six pack about the designed in problems with the Triumph TR6 frame and how were got Tony at RATCO to build a special for our TR6 project. At the time Tony thought the suggested reinforcements to the RATCO frame was excessive. After RATCO special# 007 was done, some of the suggestions and modifications became standard on RATCO frames. Since that time heads ago, the TR6 with RATCO frame# 007 is done, TR6 been on the road for a few years now.. with zero problems. This TR6 is quite unique beyond the special RATCO frame, it has a Borg Warner T5 conversion, Nissan LSD diff, CV joint conversion and new hubs based on Saab 9000 & FORD, Triumph straight six, but nicely done up with Wiesco pistons, Elgin cam and all that, Designed an built from scratch wiring system using teflon wire, electric engine cooling with the thermoswitch built into the radiator, Walbro electric fuel pump and lots more. It is a true-key to drive TR6 with no issues or identical to a modern volume production car with all the charm of a TR6 or more.

    Any Triumph fan believes the stock frame is adequate for any significant increase in power or has no flaws is simply misguided and wrong. The frame is the foundation of any Triumph sports car, if that foundation is faulty as designed, nothing can alter that fundamental problem.

  2. Don Millspaugh

    I’m building a TR-6, RATCO chassis and am interested in coil over front suspension. How is yours working out and what did you use for shocks and springs? I’ll be using a 3.9 V6 60 deg, T5 trans. Any information will be greatly appreciated as my chassis scheduled for this summer/fall and if I have to make any modifications I’d like do it before it gets finished and painted.



    1. bowtie6 Post author

      Coilovers is the only way to go. The front “stock” springs load the front suspension a great deal and require a spring compressor to remove. In addition, ride height cannot be adjusted and coilovers offer a great deal of interchangeable springs; which comes in very handy when dialing in handling. This is why both I have chosen to go with coilovers on all four corners.

      You ask what I used for shocks and springs. Premium quality coilovers have a rebuildable damper and also contain an adjustable and removable spring. Coilovers are purchased as a matched pair and are not interchangeable from brand to brand – or at least not the ones I am using.

      You also mention you are having a custom frame made. I would highly suggest you discuss coilover setups with the manufacturer – after all they are building your frame. My frame was build in-house and quite frankly it was designed primarily for the coilovers we chose. Coilovers are sold in many different sizes with many different ends and since I have no idea what your frame manufacturer uses, I cannot comment on what you need. Spring rates are also very difficult to recommend because they depend upon the car’s weight as well as mounting angles.

  3. Duhamel

    Hi,After an MGA (much improved …) I’m working on a TR6 ( but typically … ) that ultimately will be the look the same as yours and I would have wanted to know the brand, and especially the size of your wheels and tires because they seem to be 16 inches? I put the link to the blog about the two cars :
    Thank you for your answer

    Best Regards Yves


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