Category Archives: Driving

Driving an Ecotec 2.4L powered 1972 Triumph TR6

20,000 Miles and Counting…


20,000 miles and counting…

bowtie6 has now 20,000 miles and counting…  Yes indeed!!   :mrgreen:

Sorry for the crappy quality of picture but it is very accurate.  Hard to believe my TR6 has covered 20,000 total miles to date.

So how did we get this far?

  • I followed the golden rule and bought the best car I could find.  My near pristine 1972 TR6 had been in storage for over a decade and no rust.  The purchase price was also great!
  • After a 3 year frame-off restoration including a 3.4 litre V6, bowtie6 racked up  14,513 miles.
  • Then the original (and highly reinforced) frame failed.  Version 2.0 of bowtie6 started.
  • A new hand-made frame was made from scratch and a brand new 2.4 litre Ecotec inline four replaced the V6.  This took about a year to complete.
  • The Ecotec had 8 miles when it met bowtie6.  Today, after 20,000 total miles the Ecotec has covered 5,479 miles since installed.
  • What a journey!  Other than the frame failure nothing but one blown fuse has failed.  All I’ve had to do is add fuel and change oil.

And so, the next chapter begins…

For bowtie6 the road goes on and the party never ends!


Changing Oil

Last Sunday (03/04/12) was “oil change” day.  I wanted to get the “factory fill” oil from the engine out.  Remember, this engine had only 8 miles!

Changing oil on an Ecotec is a breeze.  These engines have a cartridge type filter, inside a housing in the block with a screw-on cap.  The “nut” on the cap is right large but you can get a special socket to fit the nut.  Since the oil drains back into the block, when you take the cap off there is no oil spill.  This is great.

Honest, it takes longer to jack the car up and let it rest on jackstands than it takes to change oil.  I have been buying GM filters but they are kinda crappy – I rather buy a premium filter.  They are a little more expensive, but IMHO they are worth it.  As I do with all my other cars, the only oil used is Mobil1 synthetic.  The stuff is not cheap, but this has worked flawlessly for me through the years.  This is the way to go.

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.

400 Miles and Counting…

Well, I’ve got about 400 miles on bowtie6 with the new frame and the Ecotec.  Simply put, this thing rocks.  I expected an improvement, but damn!  This thing is awesome.  And I have only scratched the surface.

Where to begin?  Well, the coilovers are amazing.  The front coilovers have made an incredible difference in the steering “feel”.  Before, with Richard Good uprated springs and SPAX adjustable shocks the steering was very “heavy”.  At parking-lot speeds it took quite some effort to turn the wheel.  Perhaps it had something to do with the 205/55-16’s up front or the extra heavy springs but now, this thing turns as if it had power steering.  At speed, the steering response is very quick; point and shoot actually.  What does this look like?  Take a look:

The front suspension towers were designed in such a way to accommodate the TR6 front suspension pieces but also the front coilovers.  Some things to note:

  • Yes, those are “stock” rotors.  They are cheap, and this allows me to use a very aggressive pad compound on my Wilwood calipers.  I am not racing this car so there is no need for the extra unsprung weight of “vented” rotors.  Contrary to popular opinion, these rotors along with the uprated calipers offer plenty of stopping power.  Remember, the master cylinder is from a Vette so this offers more than adequate clamping power.
  • Take a look at the sway bar end.  It has a blue SuperFlex bushing.  All the rest of the front suspension uses SuperFlex bushings – I ordered these from England.  They are amazing; a bit pricey but certainly worth the expense.
  • The coilovers are adjustable for rebound.  That is the little knob on the top, right below the top “A” arm.  I’m still trying to dial them in.

This is what the Wilwood caliper looks like:

Just like a good looking super-model, bowtie6‘s backside is just as sexy…

  • The rear coilovers are similar to the fronts; these are also adjustable for rebound.
  • The exhaust is a single 2.75 pipe.  We have a single resonator just past the bend off the headers and then at the exhaust end, a pair of SuperTrapp mufflers.  The basic principle with SuperTrapps is their adjustable baffles.  This works by adding or subtracting discs that add or subtract backpressure and noise.  The less discs the more backpressure and less noise.  With more discs, less backpressure and more noise.  I added quite a few discs but this made for a very high shriek anywhere north of 4500 revs.  So, I had to tone it down.  Right now we’re running eight discs – four on each side.

I’ve already started messing with the ECM a little.  HPTuners is an awesome tool to dial in the engine and I am just getting started.  With the new redesigned intake, headers and above mentioned exhaust things are flowing very “freely”.  I noticed the airflow mappings were way off and this has been the first thing I’ve started to modify with pretty good results.