Peer­less GT

Has the Peer­less started up first turn? Err… not quite

Practical Classics (UK) - - CONTENTS - Gary Stret­ton CON­TRIB­U­TOR stret­ton­clas­sics@gmail.com

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.

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