Has the Peerless started up first turn? Err… not quite
Regular readers will recall that I set myself the vague deadline of having the Peerless GT running by the summer. Spurred on by the imminent start of the kids’ school holidays, I thought it time to attempt the initial start-up of the Triumph TR3/4 engine. The special variable-timing distributor I had been promised hadn’t materialised, so instead I chose a new repro 25D4 distributor from my spares haul. I can’t recall who supplied this, some six years ago, as a sample, but it seems to be the preferred choice over the original TR3 DM2 distributor when using pistons larger than 86mm. I’m running 89mm pistons and liners. The points gap hadn’t been set, so that job was done first before fitting. I use a voltmeter set to the continuity buzzer for an audible warning when the points gap opens. Attach one wire to the coil feed and the other to the side of the points closest to the distributor shaft. The advantage of this method compared to the bulb method is you don’t need a 12v feed; it’s also useful if you’re not sure if power has reached the points with the ignition switched on.
Happy with the points gap, I realised the distributor was missing the O-ring oil seal on the outer shaft body, so a suitably-sized seal was fitted before the assembly was fitted to the engine. The rotor arm was pointing to No1 piston and my hopes were high. To satisfy my caution, I rotated the crankshaft through 360° via the pulley bolt and checked the points gap again using the buzzer method.
It was all going so well…
Although I have fitted 90 per cent of the fuel system, I chose not to feed fuel from the tanks via one of the electric fuel pumps. I prefer to use a simple gravity feed for an initial start-up, as it isolates one system from another and speeds up any fault-finding if required. The cooling system isn’t plumbed in yet, so I was only planning to run the engine for a matter of seconds.
The fuel gravity feed consists of a large plastic syringe for dosing sheep (I kid you not) held upright, minus its plunger. This connects to
the main feed hose into the carbs. I primed the float bowls first, checking for leaks as more fuel disappeared through the syringe until the float needles were satisfied. After a while, the fuel level in the syringe had remained stable, so the fuel side was primed. I activated the chokes manually, but wasn’t satisfied they were operating the idle mechanisms correctly, so they were adjusted.
No fire in the hole
I didn’t expect it to fire into life immediately, as fully rebuilt engines rarely do. Just as well, because it didn’t. There was coughing, spitting and spluttering, but nothing I’d call combustion. After several attempts it was obvious the fuel in the syringe was being drawn but not firing. At this point, Brian appeared and was roped into helping. With Brian on the starter button and myself fiddling with choke mechanisms and the distributor timing, we managed nothing more than more spitting and hot fuel vapour exiting the carb inlets.
Something is amiss that requires further investigation. Have I set up the Piper 270 fast road cam correctly? That will be my likely first check, as I’m confident I’ve got the other stuff right.
New repro 25D4 (left) and DM2 (right). The upgrade is better suited to larger-bore TR four-pot engines. Points gap was set on the bench before the dizzy was fitted to the engine.
Sheep-dosing syringe helped feed fuel to the carbs.